Archive for October, 2009

A Sunwell Radiance by Any Other Name Would Still Nerf as Much

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29, 2009 by firsthandtengen

So… yeah. Once again I feel compelled to point out that I did not raid during the Burning Crusade and only ever cleared the Sunwell last week in a PuG full of 80s, but I know a guy whose friend is the cousin of someone who did thus I am qualified to open a discourse on the subject. Sunwell Rad… uh… “Chill of the Throne” will be an instance-wide debuff reducing all dodge by 20%. As a tank with about 30% dodge when raid buffed, I’ll be knocked down to 10% dodge, 21% parry, 15% block. This nerf, of course, will make it functionally impossible to be unhittable (102.4% avoidance) so at least I won’t have to worry so much about whether or not I’m block capped.
I think it will be fantastic to not have bosses hitting me for 25k anymore as I always hate the Random Number Generator god. He hates me when I’m tanking, when I’m looting, and when I’m rolling. As a block tank, even if I’m not unhittable, I should routinely be taking less damage than other non-block tanks and, coupled with the likes of Sacred Shield or Power Word: Shield, may even routinely take next to no damage if I stack enough block value. I’m interested to see how Blizzard will balance around this. Warriors, with their Critical Block talent, should take even less damage than me. Perhaps this is their way of apologizing to Warriors for neglecting them in favor of Deathknights and Paladins for the duration of this expansion, making them the clear OP tank for non-magic-damage-cooldown-dependant fights.
While this may not turn out to be true (here it is, the first time I’m putting my self out on a limb in the “informative paladin / tank blogosphere”) I think parry has just doubled in itemization value as it is not affected by the global debuff. Parry has always been harder to get than dodge, but ever since they normalized the two avoidance stats so that Parry was not the obvious inferior because of higher point value costs and poor itemization, it has actually become a worthwhile state. No one gems or enchants for it, lets be honest, but that fact may change. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any tank with 30%+ parry, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. I don’t think dodge will disappear as an itemization secondary stat on gear in icecrown (especially not in favor of parry) and it can’t be ignored, but it will be far less valued. The Armsman and Bladeward enchants should see a resurgence among tanks who picked up Agility and Mongoose for the armor / dodge / threat.
Because we are losing a flat 20% dodge and not a percentage of our maximum, we definitely can’t afford to ignore or remove dodge as a tanking stat or we’ll soon find ourself at 0% dodge along with all the DPS and the healers. While all tanks get a free 5% from talents and dodge has been plentiful on gear thus far in the expansion, it should be very difficult to see tanks dropping below that 5% minimum because parry will still suffer from diminish returns as it gets higher, and dodge’s DR will not be affected. I wouldn’t be surprised if the more math-savvy people on Elitist Jerks, Tankspot, or Maintankadin find a new “soft dodge cap” where getting dodge above a certain % will start yielding less value than the DR on parry because of the 20% diminishing. And, keep in mind, while dodge may be screwed in Icecrown, people are still running Ulduar and ToC. The gear in Icecrown will logically be better than what we can get out of it so dodge will still be useful to people going back to finish off TotGC. I would be surprised to see tanks with much more than 12% dodge in Icecrown because the DR is likely going to be applied before the instance nerf, so start looking for that parry gear and gems and enchants 🙂

Who Has the Hardest Job in Raids

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29, 2009 by firsthandtengen

Oh that old chestnut. Despite the fact that I just spent a whole (long) previous post explaining that I felt no need to tread posting ground that was already well-traveled, here I am again. Why? Well I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately is why. Amber’s post on her blog which I read recently just happened to be the proverbial straw that broke the back of my resistance to posting about this. A long time ago, think back to those Nax days of WotLK, I was party to some discussion on forums and blogs about who had the hardest job in raids. Having always been a tank, it’s in the blood you know, I knew that my job was at times difficult, but I never felt that it was “the most difficult.” I had spent a brief period of dalliance into the world of Holy Paladin healing and realized that I didn’t like the pressure of it. Being the tank has it’s own kind of pressure, but one that I rather enjoy and look forward to. I can only imagine there are people who feel the same way about healing. Healing pressure is not for me, however. I hadn’t, at that time, spent much time playing on the DPS spectrum of my class.
I when I started playing World of Warcraft, dual talent specialization was still just a pipe dream, so I made 2 paladins. One whom I resolved would forever be a tank, the other would fulfill the Retribution DPS role. I figured one or the other could give healing a shot if I was bored sometime in the future. Well, dual-spec came out and I decided to go Protection / Holy so that I would basically always have a spot in a PuG, since that was how I ran heroics once I hit 80. My specifically retribution paladin was still hanging out down around 68 so there really wasn’t much dungeon-level DPS experience for me on him.
So back in the Nax days, I firmly believed that healers had the hardest job, tanks the second-hardest, and DPS was a distant third. Now, having played all three specs in Nax, Ulduar, and ToC, I have been forced to reconsider that assessment. As I’ve said before, I never raided before Wrath of the Lich King, so I can’t say how it was prior to Naxxramas. There are so many mechanics jammed into individual fights these days that everyone has to be on their toes in encounters, but I’m starting to feel like DPS needs to be even more on their toes. Patchwerk is a long time removed now, and we can’t expect that all a DPS needs to do anymore these days is plant their feet and blow shit up. There are lots of adds that need to die, lots of fires that need to be run from, lots of chain-lightnings to spread out around, and lots of big AoE to avoid. Almost every hardmode in raids now has degenerated into “blow it up faster” which is rather disappointing to me as my guild’s DPS is on the low side almost across the board. We have to off-tank 3 of the 4 adds in Anub’arak on regular every phase or we don’t hit the enrage timer. But DPS doesn’t have the luxury of fight mechanics to blow bosses up faster. Especially in fights like Faction Champions, DPS really can’t just plant their feet or too many monsters will run free killing people. With CC nerfed retarded for that fight, you can’t even just sap some guys for a minute or chain-polymorph things and win the fight like they were actual monsters.
A tank having sympathy for DPS? Surely this is the end of our society! Soon dogs and cats shall lay together and blood shall rain from the heavens! Tanks have to worry about holding agro and not doing something stupid that gets them killed. Healers need to worry about not getting killed and keeping others from getting killed, DPS needs to worry about killing the boss, not pulling off the tank, doing more and more and more damage, time on target, switching targets appropriately, doing things that don’t get them or their raid killed, and saving the healers when the tanks screw up. That’s a lot of responsibility when you lay it all out there. With so much DPS-hate running around and everyone blaming them for everything since it’s never appropriate to blame the healers it’s gotta be tough to be a DPS these days, so, yes, I do have sympathy for them. It is hard to do their job, but it is by no means impossible, even if, at times, it might seem a little unreasonable. I’m not saying they can never be at fault, or even that we, as non-DPS roles, should ever cut them any slack, but because they have several mutually exclusive jobs (be tops on the meters but make sure to run 10-30 yards away from the boss and everyone else constantly and for god’s sake don’t run through that fire on your way…!) it’s a lot harder than it looks.
The old BC mantra of, “If the tank dies, it’s the healers fault; if the healers die, it is the tank’s fault; if the DPS dies, it’s their own fault.” just feels sadly quaint in an era of intense, unavoidable raid-wide damage (gem and enchant for Stam obviously, lol) and hard modes crammed with so many mechanics at times it is tough to remember them all. DPS, it is still your fault, but I love you anyway (Except you Mortigan, you blame the tank wayyy too much). 🙂 Now hit it like you mean it! Two Rows! I don’t see enough DoTs!

Blogging Responsibility

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29, 2009 by firsthandtengen

When I showed a guildie, a veteran blogger himself, my blog the other day and asked him if he had any thoughts, he chuckled mildly to himself and said that I was just like a typical new blogger, writing about what I know and what goes on in my head. He probably didn’t mean it thus, but I took it as an insult; partly because I hate being thought of as average and anything less than a unique precious snowflake, but more than that, I was insulted because I knew he was right. You always hear about “transference” of feelings in psychology and the things you hate about yourself are what you see in people you don’t like. Well, him calling me out on my stubborn refusal to do anything but slink by with the bare minimum, even on my own person, not-packaged-for-consumption, vanity online journal, just made me mad that he was right, and that I hadn’t really planned to do anything about it.
So that got me thinking. I knew right from the start I wasn’t going to consider this something that I wanted a large amount of exposure or feedback on, it was basically all for my own personal vanity and maybe for a few people to see where my head was at. If someone stumbled upon it while falling through the series of tubes that is the internet, then so be it. Maybe they find something to their liking, maybe they just click the “back” button; either way, it wasn’t really a concern of mine; though I do try to spell everything correctly and form complete sentences. My guildie is once again proclaiming he is a changed man and promises to update his blog more, though I’m sure my hazing of his lack of updates didn’t contribute to this fact at all, and his “re-re-re-introductory post” mentions all those blogs who helped him when he needed something from the community and now he has resolved (*cough*again*cough*) to give something back himself in case he is ever able to provide a similar service to another faceless entity in need of aid. All of this brings my thoughts back to the concepts of personal honesty, responsibility, and the difference between personal journalists and bloggers.
As a Paladin, one who has dabbled in all 3 specs available to my class, my blogroll is filled with Paladin-specific blogs that I frequent with a few others thrown in there for perspective’s sake. There are people who have been playing this game far longer than I have, understand it far better than I do, and work far harder at sharing that knowledge than I likely ever will. With that in mind, I knew I never set this out to become “another paladin advice blog.” That, along with my desire to mostly bitch about things I don’t get to tell people to their faces for the sake of tact or guild-harmony and other off-topic nonsense such as the latest pretty dress I found, made me feel justified in believing I have no responsibilities to fulfill to anyone who may ever read this. I have no responsibility to educate, inform, sway, communicate, reassure, placate, conform, or even update, it’s all-selfish all-the-time. Perhaps that would be a good blog name… but in any case; Responsibility.
Is a blogger (or online journalist) responsible to deliver content to their readers? I suppose not, at least if you’re not being paid for it. Some people may feel a sense of responsibility depending on how often they check their hit-tracker, or if they feel that what they offer is something readers can’t get anywhere else. They may feel a responsibility to an imagined “other,” a sort of invisible karmic reader, their own superego perhaps, to post things of a “valid” nature, informative in a non-selfish way or otherwise. As a paladin with a blog, in a virtual sea of blogs by paladins and for paladins, I can’t really claim to feel any kind of responsibility. Even if I were in the upper 5% of skilled and knowledgeable paladins playing the World of Warcraft, by sheer volume of other paladin blogs available (and tanking blogs in general) the odds that I would have something unique to contribute education-wise, or even a unique train of thought on a subject of the community, is statistically unlikely. Does this mean I can’t talk about how persecuted I felt when I read that Lay on Hands would no longer be self-cast enabled just because EVERY paladin blog out there obviously made such a post? I suppose not, but, if I did, I would be little better than a unique web-address which basically replicated a forum post on every other unique web address discussing the subject, and I wasn’t too motivated to do it when it’s looked at in those terms.
Do I feel any sort of responsibility to make my blog exist for the sake of a karmic future; of someone who MAY happen upon this blog who then MAY decide to read it and thus MAY take something away from it that betters their life? As a believer in the Chaos Theory of the world, I suppose I do feel at least some small responsibility in that sense, but it’s really not enough to motivate me to make a post, mostly just to constantly be in some form of nagging, etherial pain; the kind you get when you’re so tired you really don’t want to do your homework, but then can’t go to sleep because all you can think about is how you’re going to feel tomorrow knowing it isn’t done. I never could ascend to the bliss of apathy about homework when I was in school, so I can still remember that irritation years after graduating from college.
Do I feel any sort of responsibility to make my blog accessible to readers? As I said, I never intended this to be read by more than a handful of people and thus did not package it for consumption. It was written with at least some care to not be overloaded with acronyms or with exclusionary dialog familiar only to those in the same intellectual and social “clubs” with whom I shared admittance. Why, I suppose only to diffuse any sort of self-doubt about the small potential damage to accessibility in that hypothetical situation that a non-initiate finds their way here. And along with the responsibility of being accessible, do I feel any responsibility to make it, subjectively, and possibly grammatically, well-written? Here, I confess, I believe I do, but only to a point. Even if no one reads it, I read it, because I have nothing better to do. I will embarrass myself while re-reading entries if I don’t make an effort to be erudite and eloquent. It’s all about vanity you see; to come back and say, “I wrote that, and it was pretty cool, even if I’m the only one who ever sees it,” and I can be happy with that. But by the same token, I know almost no one will read it, so laziness and corner-cutting enters into it. As an intellectual fact, I understand, and accept, that people who make the best story-tellers are not concerned with facts, but with feelings. You do not make connections with others through fact, you make them through a mutual belief in a shared aspect of the experience of The Human Condition. I am a very “fact” kind of person. Curt, specific, and to the point, to my social detriment, and thus, often boring, impatient with others, and impatient with myself. I could use the opportunity this space provides me with to improve myself. That is what my father, whom I deeply admire, respect, and am often falling far short of in comparison to in my own personal measurements, would do. I could use this space to be less about fact that no one cares about, and instead use it to present the facts in an emotional way that people could identify with. That “shared experience” is what builds communities, both in the real world and on the internet.
Bloggers get traffic for 3 main reasons; constant updates, controversy, community interaction. No blogger with any significant number of hits doesn’t have comments. If you want to get your name out in the internet age, take a stand, be specifically unpopular, cause a controversy, and roll in the dough once people come to your comment boards to flame the shit out of you and your dumb ideas. Once you have your captive audience you can either win them over, or become more acidic to keep them coming back just to see what you say next so they can indulge in their annonymity-fueled desire to freely, blamelessly, unselfconsciously, self-righteously, and unabashedly throw shit at you from their moral or intellectual high horse. And the horses get taller by the day. As someone far too lazy to indulge in trolling or controversy, I feel no need to further add to the cesspool of internet drudgery and turn my blog into another boil on the internet’s ass. You don’t need controversy to create a dedicated readership, that just takes constant updates and consumable content. Once you build the community, however you do it, all you need are the updates, regardless of the quality of the content. Since I did not set out to build a community with this online journal, some might call me an irresponsible blogger; and that I may be; but I believe therein lies the inherent distinction between “Blogger” and “Online Journalist.” Whether it is your priority to build a community yourself, or merely accept it if one finds its way to you. Therein lies the essence of whether or not the author has any “real” responsibility or not, even if that responsibility is only to themselves.
So then, do I have a responsibility with this space? Is it a “blog” or an “online journal,” or have I decided yet? Is there a responsibility for it to be accessible and publish-worthy, a responsibility to help create and foster a community, to be a hotbed of discussion or teaching, to update it at all, to use it as a means of bettering myself as a person and a writer, to write for the unknown reader who may never come, or to do anything other than allow it to chronicle my continuing downward spiral into apathetic, unchallenged average-ville? When you are at the bottom, the gap between “terri-bad” and above average is wide in distance but not in time. The difference between above average and exceptional, or, for the purposes of this article, “scholarly,” is very small in distance, but very very wide in time. I would have to invest a considerably larger amount of time into learning, honing, and perfecting my paladin-craft before I would feel comfortable throwing my hat in the proverbial ring of “Paladin Blogs.” You will likely never see anything I post referenced in any place read by masses seeking either entertainment or knowledge. If I set out to better myself as a blogger, I suppose that is what I would have to do. So, for now, I am content with my lack of responsibility and the void of desire to acquire any sense of such, despite any ego-bruising that may occur as a result of it.

My WoW-Top-10

Posted in Uncategorized on October 27, 2009 by firsthandtengen

I was reading through some older posts at the Pink Pigtail Inn and came upon this post about the Top 10 WoW Moments for the author. It made me stop and think of mine, and to remember that my long term memory is horrible. I can’t even remember what I did yesterday sometimes, loll. But, to the best of my ability, here is my contribution to the subject of 10 best moments (in no particular ranked order)

1) When, at 66, I realized I could pull the entire Scarlet Monastery Cathedral room, survive, and consecrate them all to death.

2) When my brother and I went to Warsong Gulch in my new Mechano-Hog and I got the Ironman achievement thanks to his selfless help peeling them off me with his hunter, and to the kindly resto-druid who followed us. That was the first time that I had been more unhappy that he didn’t also get the achievement than I was excited for getting it for myself.

3) After reading an article about a hunter soloing UK on regular, I went to see if I could do it. I not only solo’d UK erg, but I then went to test my limits and found I could also solo the Nexus and Drak’Tharon Keep on regular. (noticing a pattern of paladin invulnerability, no doubt, you are… god bless patch 3.1 and it’s 100% uptime of Divine Plea)

4) When I was level 35, my father and I paid a Ret Paladin on my server to run us through SM:Cath so we could get triple-XP from the enemies as well as from the quests. This was shortly after 3.02 went live and Divine Storm was new and shiny. I was so entertained by his ability to blow everyone away (he was lv70 at the time) and at his skill (I later learned he was the best Ret-PvP on our server, and still is) that I gave him a huge tip (in my mind, I was still new to the game, what did I know, lol) and a thank you note in the mail.

5) Joining my first ever guild on my level 55 Orc Warrior back when he was my highest-level character. It was the first time I actively interacted with people in the game who were not my father or brother.

6) Leading a For the Horde raid. I parked my warlock, my father, and my brother in the deep-run tram, summoned the raid, logged back into my main, got summoned, and successfully led a raid out of the deep-run tram and through stormwind and ironforge. We wiped once in Stormwind but I was able to keep the raid together, regroup everyone, we all resed instantaneously in the room next to the king, barricaded ourselves in, healded quickly, pulled in the king, and made a hallway-o-aoe-death for the alliance trying to stop us.

7) Getting my Bronze Drake from Heroic Culling of Stratholme. My brother was 70 and had bought epic flying back when I was still lv30 or so, and I had used his account to multibox some of my lowboys through instances to maximize RAF bonuses, so I had flown before. But getting MY OWN PERSONAL DRAGON, man that was pretty cool for someone who had only been playing the game for about 4-5 months.

8 ) Being my level 55 Orc Warrior running, terrified, through Un’Goro crater trying to farm Thorium Ore without 1) killing anything 2) dying. Why not kill anything you ask? Well I was lv55 and RAF XP only lasted till 60, and when you hit 60, you lose the ability to grant levels to the other account, so I wanted to leave as much of a safety buffer zone as possible. Un’Goro is old world. The mobs are grouped closer together, were less forgiving at the time, and I was still new to the game. There were lots of elite dinosaurs and the area of the crater I was in was called “Terror Run”, how apropos I thought at the time, because that’s exactly what it was for me.

9) The first time the Fel Reaver killed me in Outlands. Yeah, we’ve all been there. There are some big, scary monsters in the old world, but that Fel Reaver (who I am convinced is a rogue, because he stealths up right behind you before the fatal backstab-stomp) is something else. And then, conversely, the first time I went back and got revenge, soloing him at lv80.

10) Making 1000g in a weekend on the AH. Because I was being power-leveled on 5 characters through all lower level instances, I had accumulated a boatload of greens and blues. Being a new player still, less than 3 months into the game, I sold them at what I thought were fair prices, and as time went on, I started making more and more money on the AH every weekend. The first time I ever made 1000g+ on the AH in a weekend, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t help but brag to my father and brother how much money I made, because they weren’t making nearly as much in their day to day playing. My father always vendored all his greens, my brother probably did the same. Time has since passed and I’ve made over 20,000g from auctions just on my main (who used to be my auctioneer, the one who made all that early greens money) but that first big influx of cash, for a new player, was something special at the time.

I could go on listing more, and part of me is tempted to because remembering these things has given me a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling inside, but I’ll stop it here for now. Maybe a post in the future. I know one of the things I see on a lot of these types of lists is “first time i went into my major faction city.” I wasn’t terribly impressed with Orgimmar to be honest. I hated UC because I was always getting lost, I still love Thunder Bluff to this day, and I still think half my faction doesn’t know that Silvermoon City exists. But what DID strike me about my first time in Org, was seeing all the raid-geared people. Warriors and Hunters in full merciless gladiator gear, and all I could think to myself was, “man I want to look that cool one day.” And I think I’ve gotten there now. Even though Paladin tier is always pathetically ugly… (except for my beloved Tier2)

The Sunwell and Molten Core

Posted in Uncategorized on October 27, 2009 by firsthandtengen

I finally cleared the sunwell. I was in a pug of about 20 80s and a few 70+ led by someone who cleared it pre-nerf, so I wasn’t especially worried. It was nice to get in there, see the place, clear it, and picked up 3 pieces of Tier6 for vanity sake anyway XD. It must be because there were 25 of us and most of us were heavily geared up as well as the post-nerf that made it seem so easy. We wiped 3 times. Once on Felmyst because we failed to burn him before his air phase the first time and people got mind controlled. We wiped twice on twins because people didn’t understand how to run away from the raid when conflagrated apparently. I was kind of disappointed how easy M’uru and Kil’jaden seemed considering M’uru was called a guild-breaker, and a very small % of the raiding world had even seen Kil’jaden, nevermind killed him. But I was happy to clear the sunwell and see the content, even LONG after the fact.
I and two guildies, a deathknight and a mage, also went in and cleared the Molten Core and my Judgement Legplates dropped off Ragnaros. I had totally forgotten that they dropped so I was not only surprised, but incredibly pleased that I don’t have to farm them and I now have 2 pieces of the 8 for my tier2 set. Everything else is in Blackwing Lair now. Ragnaros was interesting. I might have been able to solo him, but I apparently was positioned poorly for the knockbacks so I was constantly taking 13-18k fall damage then having to run back to catch up to him. The mage would slow-fall me so I’d take no damage from the fall but i’d be even further away and then take all that damage in the lava trying to cut corners getting back to Rag. All in all, it was a fun experience. Time to get my Onyxia Scale Cloak and go take down Nefarion

Tune in next week for “Progression” or “It’s About Time”

Posted in Raiding on October 27, 2009 by firsthandtengen

I was going to have separate posts for Downing Flame Leviathan Four Towers in 10man and downing Anub’arak 25man in an all-guild raid, but I decided just to clump them up to talk about another issue, progression and the excitement that hopefully comes with it (so go get a snack, this is gonna be a long one). I never watched the Ensidia video where they downed Algalon for the first time, but a former guildie saw it and told me that they all cheered when they won. I wonder how a guild as skilled as Ensidia can ever feel excited about any accomplishment anymore. I would imagine it would all feel like some boring inevitability. Even Algalon, a boss you have to unlock by clearing every “hard mode” in Ulduar except for Yogg-Saron, whom you only get 1 hour of attempts on per raid lockout before he despawns, would just feel like he was on farm status before you ever walked through his door and pulled him because you knew you were good enough. You had cleared Nax40, you had cleared Sunwell pre-nerf, Nax25 was a joke, and you had cleared Ulduar25 pre-nerf. How was Algalon supposed to feel like an accomplishment?
My guild had never done Flame+4, but I was reasonably confident that we wouldn’t have too much trouble. We had some frustrating attempts last week where we got him down to 20-ish percent with only 1 overload phase. It was a lot of bad RNG mostly, him always chasing Demolishers so they could never stack Pyrite, etc etc, and those damn flowers. After some strat searching and team-building we brought in one of our plethora of skilled mages in place of a rogue so we could have 2 ranged DPS to attack turrets and proceeded to chain-overload him in tandem with our warlock and our first attempt of the new lockout ended with him at 1% health, and we had suffered more bad RNG. I honestly thought we’d 1-shot him when he got down to 80k health, but only 1 Demolisher was alive, all the stacks of pyrite had expired, and there was no one else for Flame to chase and kill.
I was disappointed, but not disheartened. I was sure we’d get him the next attempt. Next attempt, more bad RNG, more fantastic overload work by our Mage and Warlock, and again we all die when he is at 1%. Now I’m getting just a tad irritated. Third attempt, flame glitches, we wipe at 50%. He changed targets just as we triggered an overload so he decided he didn’t want to overload and just kept chasing people. Then when the “overload” stopped, he instantly teleported halfway across the room away from all of us chasing him, and owned some face. Next several attempts had us getting chased into corners, running through fire walls, getting frozen in place and mauled by plants. By now I was lamenting our disturbing tendency to just about 1-shot every encounter we ever try then proceed to get progressively worse with each successive attempt.
Finally though, through exceptional overload work by our ranged DPS (and catapult aiming by the demo driver), some great driving, and a near-flawless execution (and two Bubble-taunts), we downed him. Many of the 10 in that run loudly proclaimed their excitement and satisfaction on vent. Not me. I was satisfied that we had finished, and may even have smiled for a moment, but the whole issue was over with as far as I was concerned. Part of it was, no doubt, due to my growing irritation over how long it was taking us, and part of it was no doubt because every one of us was in ToC25 gear. My Siege Engine had almost 2.4million health. Flame could still kill me, but what about those people who do Orbituary when they are in Uld25 gear? 2 million heath tops maybe? Being so overgeared for Ulduar that I routinely solo-tank trash pulls and we have to tell our DPS to stop attacking XT’s heart because we just want to kill him, not trigger hardmode, makes all our accomplishments feel trivial to me. Meanwhile, XT 25 hardmode has yet to be triggered. Maybe next week.
After Flame, of course, we smashed XT in the face and it was so irrelevant to me I forgot he even dropped loot. Not like any of us needed anything, but he had just become a trash pull to me. I zoned right into the antechamber before anyone even clicked on the boss to loot him. When I realized what I had done, I hated the fact that we were still in Ulduar. I love Ulduar as an instance, I think it’s a lot of fun. A hell of a lot more fun than ToC to be sure, but like Nax and Ahn’Kahet the Old Kingdom, I can’t remember when it was hard being as I am now. We go to IC and oneshot Steelbreaker and get our 3rd Archivum Data Disk, soon 3 of us will have the 10man Algalon key. We kicked Kologarn to the curb and skipped Auriaya and started smashing Hodir trash. Several times we were less than careful and ended up pulling 3 groups at once, but unlike the first times we had done that, I never felt like we were in danger of wiping, only that I was in danger of losing agro on 8 worms to the blizzard-happy mage. Eventually we got to Hodir, readied ourself for our first “real” attempt at hardmode and went in there and one-shotted it. We had about 15 seconds to spare, and I never really worried. My biggest worry before the fight, if we weren’t going to be able to hit the DPS numbers needed, would we be able to wipe it before he died and locked us out for the week. Those worries were unfounded and our holy Paladin got the nice hard mode shield and our priest got her offset T9 legs. A bow that another hunter in our guild could really use dropped and we DE’d it with regrets.
Yesterday we had a whole day for Anub’arak. We had cleared up through the Twins on Wednesday, which, for us, is pretty good. I know people who are in guilds who throw fits when ToC25 isn’t cleared in 2hours or less, but that’s not us, yet. I was excited to have a whole night devoted to killing the last thing in our guild’s way to clearing the instance. We had revised our strategy, had a big raid-leader meeting, and we got everyone on the same page. Unfortunately some people who we would normally have come with us weren’t able to make it, but we had enough guildies on, who other raid leaders had more faith in than I did, and we brought them along to round us out. We explained the strat to everyone and began our attempts. Because our overall dps is rather low, we elected to kill 1 add, offtank 3. Because the adds only get bonus damage on urnmitigated hits, I was basically taking very little damage the whole fight even though I constantly had 2 adds on me. Being unhittable (I was 103.xx after raid buffs) made me quite comfortable shouldering the burden. The first few attempts the other offtank and I had some communication issues leading us to taunt the same add, having one add unchecked killing the raid, problems moving the first add to the ice patch behind Anub’arak so the melee could hit it too, grouping up the 2nd wave of adds, etc, but by the 4th attempt or so, we had it sorted. We had varying degrees of success in phase 2 with grouping up, killing scarabs, killing 3 burrowers , having people run out, etc. Overall, however, we were reasonably consistent in our performance and on about the 6th attempt or so, we finally got to phase 3 and blew everything we had on him. We still had 2 adds up so I had the other OT taunt my add and I used Bubble-Sacrifice to lessen the raid damage. Soon our MT died and I picked up the boss and we finished him off. Only 1 person dead, the MT. It wasn’t any of the usual suspects and especially it wasn’t any of the people who I had been wary of inviting, which pleased me more than our victory.
Everyone was pleased. We had done it. We had done it as a guild. It was the first kill I can remember being legitimately excited about. Heroic 10man Beasts and Jaraxus were nice, but they didn’t feel like victories. We had killed them on 10man regular so it was the same boss. They felt like foregone conclusions to me even when we had difficulty on them initially. Even Yogg felt unsatisfying to kill on 10man (more on this in a bit).
This was not the first time I killed Anub’arak on 25, however. Back when ToC was still new, I had transferred servers for 2 weeks to play with a former guildie who had left our guild and our server in search of greener playing pastures. He found a happy home with a high-ranked guild on a high progression server and convinced me to come try it out. I was curious what it would be like to play with people who were “better” so I went. The day Anub’arak came out, I went in there with his guild and we one-shot him. I was happy at that victory because it was a victory, but it also wasn’t “my victory.” I was just a tag-along in their guild. That I was a tank, geared better than all of theirs, didn’t change the fact that it wasn’t my guild, my kill. This time, almost 60 days after the first time I killed Anub’arak on 25man, I finally had a kill that was not just “mine” but “ours” and I was pleased. I had killed Yogg on 25 with a different guild on that server the day before. It wasn’t my kill, but I was happy to have killed Yogg. I smiled then too, even though it was farm content for the guild I was with. The day before I killed Yogg on 25, I pugged all the way to Yogg on 10man and got in a few decent attempts. My former guildie had killed Yogg25 within 5 days of transferring to his new server and joining his new guild, so I took it as a personal challenge to do that same. The guild I ran with were nice people and after a rough start on Freya trash with them, I settled in and we cleared Freya, Thorim, Hodir, General, and Yogg. I was all smiles after Yogg that time, not because it was my kill, but because I had matched my former guildie. It was sort of a “look, this server really is ‘better’ than our old one, we’ve both killed yogg within 5 days of transferring and only 2 guilds on our old server have even killed him and we’re both running with guilds that have him on farm. The guild I cleared Yogg with didn’t even have their full A-team or my first kill of Yogg would have been “3 Lights” because their Holy Paladin was gonna get Val’anyr.
I took pictures of my Yogg kill on that server, but I didn’t take any of Anub’arak. We didn’t take any pictures of our Flame+4 or Hodir hard kills. We didn’t take pictures of our guild-first Anub’arak 25 kill. Was it the excitement of it that made us forget? Was is that our GM has basically abandoned his blog, so taking pictures to blog about wasn’t on his mind? Or were we all subconsciously thinking like me, that Flame+4 and Hodir weren’t really challenges, but were inevitabilities, considering our gear, and thus not really worth a screenshot?
After we killed Anub’arak on 25 a few of us headed to Ulduar to try to knock out some more hard modes to open Algalon’s door. We went to try Thorim hardmode and we wiped 4 times destroying any good feelings I had and frustrating me to no end because once again I was back in ulduar doing content I heavily outgeared and I was wiping…

Heroic Northrend Beasts vs. M’uru

Posted in Raiding on October 23, 2009 by firsthandtengen

I read an interesting post on Blessing of Kings (which you are now required to read in order to contextualize this post) earlier today that got me thinking about where my guild is and about WoW difficulty. Rohan basically stratifies the skill levels of WoW players and guilds and explains each strata’s access to content. As an individual player I consider myself either on the low end of the Royalty or on the upper end of the Aristoracy (as far as PvE is concerned. I’m still looking up at the Gentry with envy in a PvP setting). My guild, at least the 10man group I run with consistently in my guild, is definitely in the mid-upper Aristocracy. We’re currently working on 10Heroic Faction Champions but we don’t get a lot of time to spend on them because it’s more important to us to go back and finish off Glory of the Ulduar Raider to get our Rusted Proto Drakes before they are removed and to finally topple Algalon. In 25mans however, we are firmly in the Gentry. We finally downed the Twin Val’kyr last week in 25man because we now have two, relatively stable, 10man groups who can clear ToC10 so people have now seen the encounter and gotten comfortable with the mechanics. I still see some people running around like chickens with their heads cut off when it’s time to switch portal colors, but, hey, we’ve killed twins 2 weeks in a row now, so I guess we’re ok. Anub’arak we have yet to get many solid attempts on as we only got to try twice last week before the lockout expired. Hopefully we’ll get him down this week. But we are FAR away from clearing the Beasts in 25H (which is pretty much the entrance requirement to 25man Aristocracy). The highest-ranked Horde guild on our server still has not even downed the Beasts on 25H and their raid-total DPS is significantly above ours.

I know there are some people who completely devalue any accomplishments made in 10man because “25man is harder” but I can’t agree with that. While it is true, the more people who are in a raid, the more of them that can potentially screw up, there feels like less margin for error in 10mans. Back when I used to heal, I loved healing in 25mans because there were so many other people to pick up my slack. I hates 10mans and 5man heroics because I was much more responsible for the success and survivability of the group. When I see a DPS or a healer die in our 10man hard mode attempts (or even on Yogg+4), I die a little inside because I know our chances of success just dropped by 30%. In 25mans if 1 DPS or 1 Healer dies, we lose between 5-10% chance of success. While the 25man content is tuned to be difficult when there are 25people available to deal with it (be it more boss health or more healing available so more damage to tanks is required) thus making it technically “harder” than 10mans, I can’t help but feeling that 10mans will always be harder than 25s because each person is far more responsible for the success of the group on an individual basis than they are on 25s.

I would love to be in a guild where our 25 was as strong, or stronger, than our 10man is. I hate 10mans because there are only 10 slots and I have 15-20 people I like to play with (and the Ironbound Proto-Drake is sooooo much cooler than the Rusted) yet I also like the intimacy of a 10man group. I know I’m not the first person to ask why Blizz made it 10/25 instead of 10/20 (when it used to be 20/40 in Vanilla). I don’t think WoW is “too easy” and I’m happy that Blizzard decided to make as much raid content as possible accessible to a majority of people. I guess in BC, what we consider Hard Modes here in Northrend was the only mode. I sometimes wish I was a raider back in the guild-shattering M’uru days, or pre-nerf Illidan, just to see if I would have been able to do it. Then I remember, I’m a tank, I can’t solo these things, and my raid accomplishments are only as good as my raid group. If I can’t do hard modes now, I wouldn’t have been able to do content then. Rohan suggests a more smooth gradient of difficulty progression into hardmodes, and in a sequential dungeon like Trial of the Grand Crusader I can certainly agree, but somewhere like Ulduar where you could pick and choose not only your boss order, but who was hardmode and who was not, I see no point. My guild has IC-Steelbreaker on faceroll farm, but if we had to do Flame Leviathan 4Towers before we could get there, we’d still be stuck in our Siege tanks… In 10man heroic we could very likely defeat the twins, and maybe even Anub’arak, but those damn Faction Champs man… loll (much hate @ them for being immune to taunt making me useless that fight)