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Miri’s Thoughts on Guilds

January 27, 2012 3 comments

It was a simple enough question, posed on Twitter Thursday morning while I made my morning commute. Rewt, of HearthCast, asked “What does being a Guild Leader mean to you?” I told Rewt that I could write a novel on the topic, and thus this blog post was born. Once again, this post will be a running steam of my consciousness that I hope to be able to tie into a tidy package when I’m done.

While I am not a GM currently, I have worn the hat in previous years. I ran a fairly successful raiding guild in my BC days and incorporated much of my business background into how I ran my guild. So let’s start there.

Miri’s Past as a GM

As I’ve mentioned, I was the GM of a raiding guild in BC. I set up a medium sized officer core (There were 7 in guild leadership, yes, I just had to pause and count): 1 GM, 2 Raid Leaders, and 4 Officers who each wore a different hat. 2 were in charge of recruitment. 1 was responsible for strat planning and illustrating positioning for fights, and 1 was responsible for dealing with guild drama. The raid leaders were responsible for setting the raid team each week and I, the GM, was responsible for our loot system (EPGP), forums access, guild website updating, and paying the bills each month. My expectation was that my officers would represent the guild well and that we would meet weekly as an officer team to review issues, applicants, the roster, and any other topics of discussion.

The guild as a whole was responsible for reviewing applicants, commenting on their performance by reviewing their logs (I totally forget what WoL’s precursor was at this point), and helping supply the raid team.

We were raiding before guild banks even existed (gbanks went in with 2.3.0), but I remember the patch where guild banks were added into the game. And I hesitated at first, wondering how people would feel about a central repository for supplies. Would they feel like it was taking away from their own collections of mats, or would they embrace it completely and load it with stuff? And who would fund the creation of the bank and it’s tabs?

Amazingly, I didn’t have to worry about it. People threw gold at me to buy tabs. Which was incredible. Gold was hard to come by for raiders. We could  do a couple dailies (there was a low cap at this time), but people were trying to afford flying (and epic flying!), and pay repair bills and everything else. Gold wasn’t easy to come by back then, especially when there was no dual spec!

Within weeks we had 6 tabs and I was amazed! So then I had to wonder how we were going to keep them stocked…

And I sat with the officers and pondered it in one of our weekly meetings. How could we put the guild bank to good use? And the response was what was expected: “to supply the raid team!” And then I asked, “how do we do that?” And the response was as you could expect: “Enchanting mats (this was pre-scroll days)! Gems! Food! Herbs! Flasks!”

My next question was simple as well: “What could we do to make people want to gather supplies and possibly even give up their personal stocks to benefit the team?”

That night we devised an addition to our weekly EPGP calculations. Every item donated to the bank was assigned a value. Even money. We agreed on a set amount of EP that could be earned by guild bank donations and published it on the guild website under our guild FAQ.

But how did we get our social members to participate? They didn’t need to earn EP if they weren’t raiding. We agreed that anyone who donated would have the ability to be the recipient of items in the bank. BoEs, patterns that the raid team didn’t need, crafting supplies, etc. But they couldn’t receive if they didn’t donate.

All guild bank withdrawal requests were published to a special forum. Each requester had to make a case for the item. Flasks for raid that night. Primals for crafting resist gear. Whatever it may be, it was published for all to see with an approval or a reason for rejection published by the officers. And since we didn’t want to wait for our weekly meeting to get supplies to our team, a “majority” vote between 3 random officers could be performed at any time and the supplies granted.

All major guild decisions were socialized to the guild. I was very big on driving open lines of communication with my members. We held a guild “State of the Union” every month. Every member of the guild was invited into Ventrilo and we discussed our successes and our failures over the past month. We asked for membership feedback on what our strengths were and where we could improve.

One of the things outsiders thought was odd was how we handled our raiding decisions when Patch 2.4.0 hit (dropped all the attunement requirements for the raids). While all the raid team was attuned to the content we were progressing in, we hadn’ t downed Kael yet. We could create an artificial wall and not let ourselves move into Tier 6 content until we downed him, or we could begin to progress in the Tier 6 content while still working on downing Kael. Instead of the Raid Leaders or the officers making the call, we put our progression decision into the hands of the raid team. The final vote was surprising. The team was willing to make a push into Tier 6, but their priority was Kael dying. And then they became even more specific in that they were willing to step into Mount Hyjal. But Black Temple would have to wait until Tempest Keep was completely cleared. The decision surprised the officer team, but it was a majority decision. That night, after the meeting, we stepped into Mount Hyjal.

We never saw Black Temple as a guild. Kael was eventually our  guild killer, but we had progressed to 3/5 in Hyjal when we shut our doors. To this day I wonder if we should have broken our rule of skipping BT, but honestly? I’m glad we stuck to our decision. It was a raider decision, and we respected that until our dying breath as a casual progression guild.

A Guild is a Business

Think about it. Not from a money-making perspective, but a good guild will operate like a business. Let me explain.

Totally using the Apple store as an example for this–no, I am not an Apple employee and know nothing about their business practices, but having sold electronics, alcohol, firearms, and a good amount of other stuff in my life, it’s a fair basis for this discussion. –Miri

A store will have a Store Manager who oversees all the business that is performed there. They may be in charge of the raises, the bonuses, and they report back to a chain of command that in this case really doesn’t matter. They are probably largely responsible for the appearance of their store and make sure that signage is current, the product on display is in good working order, and that the employees are a good representation of their customer base.

That store manager probably has shift managers; people who are responsible for overseeing how the team operates and performs when the store manager is off or unavailable. They may handle assignments and tasking of the other employees, provide evaluations to the store manager, and be around to address any customer or team concerns.

You’ve got the Genius Bar employees. These employees are going to be much more skilled than the other floor workers as they have a particular focus. They spend time after work doing training, possibly responding to issues on a forum or traveling to train other teams. These employees are a small subset of all the employees in the store; a customer must book an appointment to get time with them.

Then you’ve got the regular store employees. These are the people who greet you at the door, ask if you have questions when you look at a product, ring up your purchases, refresh stock, and thank you for stopping by.

So why do I use Apple for this example? I’m not going to lie–my  best shopping experiences have been in an Apple store. They work as a team, represent their product well, and are efficient and effective in service and support. From a business perspective, they do it all right.

You know you’re walking by an Apple storefront because it’s uncluttered and welcoming. The products are sitting right out for anyone to touch. They supply the basics of information with each product in unobtrusive packaging. And if you have a question? Someone is quick to address your needs and concerns.

Pause and think about it.

Your Guild is a Business

That store manager? That’s your GM. They hold the power of guild repairs, promotions to officer status, the keys to the guild bank, and in all reality, the success of the guild rests on the shoulders of the Guild Master. If a GM doesn’t give their guild members (or a store manager their employees) the tools to succeed, then a guild will not succeed.

The shift managers are your officers. Your officers may wear different hats or may be aligned to specific causes. Some officers may be responsible for recruiting. Some may be the Raid Leaders, some may be tasked with the technical needs of the guild. But like the GM, the officers are responsible for making sure that the guild is a healthy place for growth and development of it’s members (just like a manager needs to help an employee grow professionally).

The Genius Bar? That’s probably your raid team. These are players who play a very specific role for the guild. They are your tanks, your healers, your DPS. They probably spend a lot of time outside of the game researching their classes, looking to improve themselves. They are reviewing data from previous raids, looking for weak points, studying boss fights, strategizing with fellow teammates. They probably devote more time outside of game to the game than they do in the game (or at least I hope they do. We’ve already established that I have a much higher level of expectation set for my raid teams than others do, but we won’t venture down that rabbit hole right now).

And the general employees? That’s probably your social core. They are the non-raiders, the friends and family. They may be trying to work their way up to the Genius Bar level, or maybe they are just content with signing on and playing for a couple hours. Maybe they have high aspirations. Maybe they don’t. But at their level, it doesn’t matter if they do or don’t, because there’s not a lot of responsibility foisted on this role.

And your storefront? That’s your guild webpage, that’s your guild tag in game. Most guilds have a web front that potential applicants can be directed to. It may host forums, a tally of boss kills, miscellaneous information about the guild, the application process, anything your mind can think of. A website that isn’t current or a forum that’s pretty inactive can lead an applicant to wonder if the guild is really as active as they claim to be.

Why You Should Run Your Guild Like a Business

A guild is only as strong as it’s officer team is. A weak (or largely inactive) leadership team will create a lot of tension in a guild environment. Ineffectual leadership will also have a toll on the member base. Guild leadership must prove that they can wear the hat(s) that they need to in order to help the guild succeed.

It sounds crazy, but think back to past employers, or even your current job. If you have a weak manager, you’re probably frustrated. They probably aren’t championing you for a promotion or a pay increase. You may feel that they are doing nothing for you but just enough for themselves to get a moment in the spotlight. Maybe you won that big deal or delivered ahead of schedule to a very demanding client. Was your success acknowledged? Did you benefit from the effort you put forth?

If you answered no, you’re probably unhappy in your current job. If you could transpose words about raiding (gonna be honest, singling out raiding here because being a non-raider in a guild is pretty much a foreign concept to me) into that sentence, you could possibly make it relate to your guild or your progression (YMMV).

So how do you supply benefits to your raid team to make them keep showing up week after week and wiping as the team learns content? Well, Blizzard created guild repairs, funding that comes from the guild bank. The basis of guild perks also allows for additional gold to be skimmed off bosses and even mobs killed while questing (aka, basically free money)! Guildies can also help add additional funds by helping cap the guild’s weekly heroics requirement.

Repairs can be funded by the guild. Feasts can be cooked and dropped before a boss fight (fish either purchased or gathered by the raid team members or even by others who want to help the raid team out). Cauldrons can be dropped for flasks (and once again the mats can be gathered or purchased). Some guilds go so far as to pay for gemming or enchanting supplies as well.

As odd as it may sound, those sort of things being supplied to a raid team are a lot like “spot awards” or bonuses to employees. They get some benefit for their efforts.

A funny side story. A few years ago, my employer decided to remove all the soda machines from our break rooms. We had full access to every Coke and Pepsi product on the planet, and kept nice and cool in chillers. We had bottles of water, we had fruit juices, we had everything. And it was all free. It was a perk that made people not mind working 10-15 hour days–they could wander right down the hall and grab a drink before heading back to their desk. They never had to leave the building. And then they vanished. And honestly? It was the beginning of the morale dip that has had a major impact on our output and in my mind, our quality. Some can sit there and scoff and say “it’s a fucking soda, Miri” and they would  be right. But it was a part of the culture. It was something that made you feel like you were a valued employee. It wasn’t a bonus, it wasn’t extra cash you had to pay taxes on, but it was a small thing that made you feel wanted. Food for thought…

If your raiders are supplying a large majority of their supplies, then assist them with tips for crafting fees, access to the bank for repairs, etc. It may seem like a tiny and meaningless gesture, but it’s probably appreciated and shows that you value the contribution that they make to the guild or the raid team.

Side note, a guild that I have an alt in turns on guild repairs for even the lowest ranks. I will admit that I was amazed when I went to repair on a lowbie and could use the guild funds for that! It wasn’t a large amount (probably no more than 3g a day), but the gesture was incredible.

In Conclusion…

Being a guild leader isn’t easy work. Well, it can be. It truly depends on the team that supports you. A good guild leader is easily accessible, whether it be in game, or on the forums, or some chat program (people are big on Skype and AIM and even texting nowadays–we didn’t do that stuff when I was a GM!), your members can always drop you a note. It’s about being able to make the hard decisions, and knowing which decisions you need to propose for vote. It’s about making sure your guild management reflects what the guild is about and that it represents players from all avenues. It’s not for the faint of heart!

A good business has a passionate leader and management team. A good guild will be built on the same premise.

And like a good business, a good guild will continue to grow and expand.

Dragon Soul Tanking – 10M Hagara the Stormbinder

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Hagara the Stormbinder

Hagara, one of the first students of arcane magic under the Forsaken, showed surprising potential for one who had started learning so late in life. But in her undisciplined attempts to bind elementals into servitude, she was ensnared and twisted by the Windlord, Al’Akir. Now fiercely loyal to the Twilight’s Hammer, Hagara binds others for her elemental masters to torment. ~Dungeon Journal

Hagara is another solo tank fight in Dragon Soul. If your raid team is REALLY bored (or lacking in DPS), the first 4 fights of the raid can be solo tanked (but that’s another post).

Hargara has roughly 3 phases: Ice, Lightning, and her “primary” phase. Each phase lasts 50 seconds (minus the first primary phase you start in, which is 30 seconds in length). The phase you start with depends on the weapon imbue she has when she spawns, but each ice and lightning phase has a “normal” phase between them. So let’s look at phases!

Primary Phase

Generally a more aware tank and spank, the notable things a raid should be looking out for are as follows:

  • Focused Assault (Tank) Physical – The only thing a tank will need to worry about during the primary phase. Focused Assault is cast every 15 seconds (twice when you start the fight and then roughly 3 times for every other primary phase you enter) and simply requires the tank to run through Hagara, strafe, or step backwards. Hagara will not move when casting Focused Assault, so it is very easy to avoid. She deals 50% of her melee damage every half a second for 5 seconds.
  • Ice Lance (Ranged/Healers) Frost – Ice lance is cast twice per phase and the ranged DPS and healers need to be on the lookout for beams. The spell will focus on 3 random players and will cast once a second for 15 seconds, dealing 15K damage to the recipient and any other player within a 3-yard radius. The spell also applies an attack speed debuff of 25% but not a casting speed debuff. Due to the close positioning of melee with a tank, the splash damage can escalate (and all the melee want their attack speed to remain the same), but the 3 beams of ice can be interrupted by any ranged DPS or healer. If you have an ability to reduce your damage taken while “soaking” the ice lance, use it to help out your healers.
  • Ice Tomb (DPS/Healers) FrostJust thinking of this spell gives me flashbacks back to Wrath! The plus side of this attack is that it doesn’t chain–but that’s about the only plus side. Ice tomb is cast once per phase and will “freeze” 2 players in ice blocks that need to be DPS’d down to free the players. The entombed party members will be unable to receive healing and take 7K damage each second from the spell. The faster they can be broken out, the better. Targets are identified with a small blue arrow over their heads (looks exactly like the arrow that bounces over a tank’s head on Madness for the impale) and it is recommended that they stack on an assigned side of Hagara to be AoE’d down. Affected raiders have 7 seconds to get into position before they are frozen. It is worth noting that the ice tombs create an LoS issue for healers so try to position them on the opposite side of Hagara from your ranged team. Anyone can be entombed, except for the tank, and there is a distinct possibility that 2 healers can be frozen at once. Plan accordingly.
  • Shattered Ice (All) Frost – A large spike of damage that deals 78K damage to a single random target in the raid. Movement is also slowed for 4 seconds. According to Icy Veins the spell is cast right before or right after Focused Assault.

Based on Hagara’s weapon imbue, you’ll either be given the Lightning Phase or the Ice Phase 30 seconds after the fight starts. Neither are hard to deal with and your phase order will always go as follows: Primary Phase (30 sec) > Lightning/Ice (until you beat mechanic) > Primary (50 sec) > Lightning/Ice (until you beat the mechanic) > Primary (50 sec) > etc., etc., etc.

When Hagara transitions, she will put up a shield that makes her immune to damage. The shield will drop as soon as you complete the objective set forth in the Ice or Lightning phase!

Lightning Phase

Unlike 25M, where the Bound Lightning Elemental spawns right next to one of the Crystal Conductors, the add is slightly North(east?) on the map. The add will always spawn in the same location, so there should be no issues for your team finding the add.

The tank needs to pick up the add (be forewarned that Army of the Dead will able to taunt this add, which can sometimes make positioning difficult) and drag it over to one of the nearby Crystal Conductors. Kill the add and chain the resulting lightning to the 3 other Conductors to end this phase.

Lightning Storm is cast every 2-3 seconds and will target 3-4 random players in the raid with 15K damage. Each time they are hit by Lightning Storm, they gain a stacking debuff that increase the Nature damage they take by 5%. Any resistance buffs that can be run should be popped during this phase (meaning, unlike what you’ve seen in LFR, hunters should run Aspect of the Wild instead of that joyous Aspect of the Daze).

Once you complete the objective of the Lightning phase (activating all 4 conductors), Hagara’s shield drops and she becomes stunned (thanks to Feedback) and takes 100% increased damage for 15  seconds. This is usually a great point to pop Bloodlust (timing is totally dependent on your raid leader and which phase you choose to burst her down in). Once the stun falls off, you are put back into the Primary phase.

Personal Raid Herp Derp

Ice Phase

The ice phase is a great moment to determine which of your raid team is prone to herp derp. I am guilty of totally doing stupid crap during this phase and dying like a fail. More fun (as pictured on the right), is when all 3 healers bite it and then the tanks zone out (I pulled with little to no warning to my co-tank and he didn’t have time to spec swap) and die together as well. I’d like to point out that all the DPS is alive and they managed to finish the fight without half the team >.> I may have also died last night while healing along with my co-tank again! Moral of the story is: watch out for the ice! –Miri

Just like the Lightning phase, there are 4 pillars that need to be dealt with–in this case they are Frozen Binding Crystals.

When the phase starts, Hargara generates another shield to protect herself with,  but this one comes with a deadly debuff: Watery Entrenchment. The debuff drops a player’s health by 15% every second and slows their movement speed by 50%. It is wise to have the raid in motion towards the outer edges before this phase officially starts.

When the transition occurs, the 4 crystals drop into place and can be immediately DPS’d by the raid team. Once these 4 crystals are brought down, the phase ends.

Between each crystal spawn point (slice the platform into 4 wedges, spin the pie 45° and do another 4 wedges. The first 4 are your crystals, the second 4 are your ice waves), an Ice Wave will spawn. Ice waves result in an instant 200K damage and will usually 1-shot every player that they touch. If the wave manages to not kill you, touching it will result in a 50% increase in frost damage taken for the next 2.5 seconds. The best way to handle movement with the Ice Waves is to remain as close to the bubble as you can, without touching it, to make sure you have enough time to move from the wave: The further out on the circle you are, the more time it takes you to move versus a person who is running on the inside of the platform.

While DPSing Crystals and dodging Ice Waves, you’re also on the lookout of Icicles. If you’ve run The Deadmines, during the first dream sequence in the Foundry, there are circles that spawn on the ground before ice falls. Exact same concept on this fight: the circle will spawn on the ground, make sure you remember where it was and move accordingly, as the circle will vanish after 4 seconds before the ice lands 1 second later. Icy Veins notes that anyone within a 7-yard radius will be damaged for 100K.

Avoid the circles, outrun the waves, and kill the crystals to push your team back into the the Primary phase. Rinse and repeat until Hagara dies!

Paladin Pointers

  • If you usually derp on Focused Assaults, it might be worth popping a CD right before one lands so you don’t eat the damage. It’s worth noting that I have timed movement just right on this fight and managed to cancel out a Focused Assault that she only cast for a split second. It took some really good timing and some fast movement, but it can be done!
  • Pop Mirror of Broken Images when you’re running for the Lightning phase.
  • Another option is to use Divine Protection (should still have this glyphed) while running the Lightning phase when Mirror drops off.

Glyphing Thoughts

These are my picks, YMMV.

Final option is a bit flexible, depending on your gearing and raid. My thoughts:

  • Crusader Strike: Valid for fact that fight is a single mob fight. Increased crit results in more damage and a slightly faster boss death.
  • Judgement: Totally dependent on if you have the 2pc T13 bonus which grants you an absorb shield each time you judge. Basically you get a larger absorb, which helps to reduce healing required, but I haven’t looked to see how much of a bonus you get. Probably not worth it in the long run, but every little bit helps.

Pick whichever one you feel most comfortable with! I typically glyph for threat over survivability, but it’s personal preference.

My logic: Focused Shield because it’s a single mob fight. Lay on Hands for the shorter duration (survivability again, but there’s really nothing stopping you from having a shorter CD on this “save your ass” spell). Divine Protection for the magic damage reduction.

Dragon Soul Tanking – 10M Warlord Zon’ozz

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Warlord Zon'ozz

Countless ages ago, Warlord Zon’ozz and his soldiers waged endless war against the forces of C’Thun and Yogg-Saron. Millennia have passed, but the warlord still serves the chaotic might of the Old God N’Zoth. Deathwing has now unleashed this legendary faceless one to crush the defenders of Wyrmrest Temple. ~Dungeon Journal

Warlord Zon’ozz was the biggest PITA at the launch of Dragon Soul. The orb he spawns would bounce off just about everything. Or so it seemed. It could have also been people not moving when they were told to. Anyway. Much rage was had over Zon’ozz and I finally now feel like I can do a legitimate post on him without putting myself into an incoherent rage.

The fight is comprised of 2 phases that alternate. Phase 1 lasts as long as the raid chooses to let it, and Phase 2 has a set length before Zon’ozz reverts back to phase 1. Zon’ozz is a solo tank fight, due to one of his mechanics (explained below).

Zon’ozz

Phase 1, also known as Pong, requires your raid team to separate into 2 teams and act as the “paddles” in pong to bounce a summoned orb between the groups.

During Phase 1, the following abilities are in play:

  • Focused Anger (tank) Physical – Focused Anger is a stacking buff that Zon’ozz gains every 6 seconds, causing him to deal 10% increased physical damage and increases his attack speed by 10%. The higher the stacks go, the more damage the tank takes.
  • Psychic Drain (tank/healers) Shadow – a 30° frontal cone that hits whomever is standing in front of the mob with 120K shadow damage every 20 seconds. Psychic Drain also heals Zon’ozz for 10 times the amount of damage he deals with the spell. Your raid will need to be very aware  of their positioning and the heal is why you solo tank this fight. No need to heal the boss for any more than you have to!
  • Disrupting Shadows (healers/DPS) Shadow – A DoT that is cast on 3 members of the raid team (never the tank) that must be dispelled before it kills it’s target. The challenge: the DoT deals 30K damage every 2 seconds (for up to 20 seconds) and when dispelled deals another 60K to the target. In addition, the dispelled target is knocked back. Healers will need to make sure health pools are above 60K before dispelling, and DPS will need to make sure that the knock back won’t send them flying into the Void of the Unmaking.

While your tank is trying to use CDs, and the healers are trying to dispell and keep the tank alive, the DPS are playing a fun game of ball bouncing.

We usually choose to put 2 healers with the melee group. One to focus on the tank and another to dispell and heal the melee group. A third healer remains with the ranged group and has full responsibility for that team.

It it worth noting that the  orb has a 5 second ICD that it can’t be bounced. This will lead to situations where the ball will pass through the melee and (usually) 1-shot the tank. An easy check to determine if your ranged and melee groups can be done as such: If the ranged healer can heal the tank, the groups are too close.

When the orb is bounced, Void Diffusion occurs, which deals 180K shadow damage evenly amongst the team that bounces it. This fight is a good reason as to why you should bring an even spread of melee and ranged–you need at least 3 to reduce the damage split down to 60K a player for the ranged group.

Zon’ozz has a chance to spawn an orb roughly every 90 seconds. The 2nd phase of the fight lasts approximately 30 seconds, so your raid team will have to plan accordingly on how many times your team will bounce the orb before triggering Phase 2.

Black Blood of Go’rath – AKA, the pre-Ultraxion PC test

Phase 2 begins when Zon’ozz absorbs the orb that the DPS team has been dutifully bouncing between the melee and ranged. The orb will reset all stacks of Focused Anger and Zon’ozz will take increased damage from the raid for 30 seconds. The amount of damage Zon’ozz takes is dictated by the number of times the raid bounced the orb. For each bounce, Zon’ozz takes an additional 5% damage (we choose to bounce the orb 5 times each phase 1, which means Zon’ozz will take 25% more damage when we enter phase 2).

Over the course of the phase, Zon’ozz will cast Black Blood of Go’rath, which causes about 14K damage to each raider every second for 30 seconds (so go for a group hug and stack on Zon’ozz’s butt!). This phase is a great time to use CDs like PW:B, raidwall, AM, Tranq, and AMZ. Depending on your raid makeup, you may be able to use 1-2 CDs a phase. Also save Bloodlust for a black blood phase so you can do faster (and more) damage!

After 30 seconds, Zon’ozz reverts to phase 1 and you rinse and repeat until he dies!

Paladin Pointers

  • CDs are your friends, but save them as stacks of Focused Anger ramp up as the orb is bounced. I usually try to chain my CDs off of Psychic Drain, trying to mitigate as much of the shadow damage as I can.
  • Another fight where you can make use of Mirror of Broken Images. If you don’t have this trinket after it being a god for 3 tiers, I’m gonna smack you.
  • If you are bored for the 15 seconds between the orb absorption and half of the Black Blood of Go’rath phase, you can Holy Radiance. It’s pitiful, but it’s something to do while you’re not getting melee’d.

Glyphing Thoughts

These are my picks, YMMV.

Final option is a bit flexible, depending on your gearing and raid. My thoughts:

  • Crusader Strike: Valid for fact that fight is a single mob fight. Increased crit results in more damage and a slightly faster boss death.
  • Word of Glory: Situational at best–depends on how much faith you have in your healers =) It’s helpful if your healers are juggling dispells or DPS that don’t stack and are requiring extra healing.
  • Judgement: Totally dependent on if you have the 2pc T13 bonus which grants you an absorb shield each time you judge. Basically you get a larger absorb, which helps to reduce healing required, but I haven’t looked to see how much of a bonus you get. Probably not worth it in the long run, but every little bit helps.

Pick whichever one you feel most comfortable with! I typically glyph for threat over survivability, but it’s personal preference.

My logic: Focused Shield because it’s a single mob fight. Lay on Hands for the shorter duration (survivability again, but there’s really nothing stopping you from having a shorter CD on this “save your ass” spell). Divine Protection for the magic damage reduction.

Dragon Soul Tanking – 10M Yor’sahj the Unsleeping

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Yor'sahj the Unsleeping

Since the fall of the Bastion of Twilight, Yor’sahj the Unsleeping has eagerly assisted Deathwing, providing the Destroyer with the means to release more faceless ones from their prisons deep beneath the earth. Their numbers are endless and their power is beyond reckoning, and Yor’sahj intends to reap a grim reward for his faithful service. ~Dungeon Journal

Yor’sahj, while a simplistic fight in regards to mechanics, is all about quick thinking and solid executing by the involved parties.

Let’s discuss what Yor’sahj will do before we look at the oozes do.

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Yor’sahj

The boss itself is not complex for a tank team to deal with. Yor’sahj only has one ability, Void Bolt. Simplistic enough on the ability count list, the Void Bolt does a significant amount of damage and is cast at an irregular rate while applying a shadow damage DoT to the tank currently at the top of his threat list. The DoT ticks for roughly 5K every 2 seconds, and your tank team can decide if they want to tank swap or solo tank this fight.

Yor’sahj also has a melee ability that he uses every 2.5 seconds on the tank which deals some damage as well.

Every 75 seconds, Yor’sahj will summon three oozes into play. Since Yor’sahj is not attacking a tank during the summons, a tank can logistically drop their stacks of the Void Bolt DoT and continue to tank him once the summon is finished. Yor’sahj can still continue to be attacked while he is summoning, so make sure that your ranged are making good use of the time getting to the oozes by doing additional DPS.

The goal of the DPS is to burn the ooze identified by the Raid Leader, which will cancel out Yor’sahj receiving that buff. The remaining oozes become immune and will be absorbed by Yor’sahj and distributed back out onto the raid.

Oozes – Taste the Rainbow!

It’s worth noting that every globule provides some form of magic damage (minus blue because it just sucks your healers and casters dry), so plan appropriately.

  • Shadowed Globule (Purple) Shadow – The Shadowed Globule applies Deep Corruption, which causes a large amount of Shadow Damage on the raid (46K roughly) for each fifth heal or absorb that a player receives. Should you not choose to kill the Shadowed Globule, you’ll want to put a healer with large heals on the tank currently tanking Yor’sahj in order to reduce the amount of healing spells that are output. Other healers should be assigned to heal the raid if the other color combinations are green (Acidic) or red (Crimson), but your goal is to do as little healing as possible with the Shadowed Globule out.
  • Acidic Globule (Green) Nature – The Acidic Globule applies Digestive Acid, which causes damage (60K) to a random member of the raid and all players within 4 yards of them. This ooze is the only one which will cause the raid to spread instead of stack.
  • Glowing Globule (Yellow) Shadow – The Glowing Globule applies the Glowing Blood of Shu’ma, which allows Yor’sahj to attach your tank 50% faster and casts Void Bolt twice as often. The Glowing Globule also results in the Void Bolt having an AoE effect that hits everyone the raid while the DoT is still applied to the tank. The raid is expected to stack and soak the AoE healing that the healers will put out. Tanks will need to be aware that stacks are applied at a quickly increasing rate and should be ready to use CDs and taunt on a much quicker basis if you choose to 2 tank this fight.
  • Dark Globule (Black) Shadow Damage Adds – The Dark Globule spawns a large number of Forgotten Ones which fixate on random raid members and cast Psychic Slice for 35K damage. The raid should quickly stack in preparation for large amounts of AoE to kill the adds and heal the raid.
  • Crimson Globule (Red) Fire – The Crimson Globule applies Searing Blood, which looks a lot like a fiery chain heal (our shaman all want this ability). The spell jumps between 3 players and the damage increases the further out from the boss that the raid member is standing. The raid is expected to stack on the boss and continue to DPS until Yor’sahj loses the buff.
  • Cobalt Globule (Blue) – The bane of the casters, the Cobalt Globule spawns a Mana Void which drains the mana pool of all your casters/healers. Once all mana pools are drained, casters can resume regenerating their mana slowly and resume casting. When the Mana Void dies, the mana is distributed evenly to all casters within 30 yards of it’s death location. When the Mana Void spawns, all DPS want to switch to it so that the healers can resume healing the tanks and the casters can resume DPS on the boss.

The TLDR stack vs. spread of the globules can be found here:

  • Stack – Shadowed, Glowing, Dark, Crimson, Cobalt
  • Spread – Acidic

ES ooze kill order:

  • Purple > Green > Yellow

This fight simply repeats until the boss dies!

Paladin Pointers

  • Be prepared to raidwall through through the Acidic Globule, Glowing Globule, and maybe the Dark Globule. Acidic and Glowing take priority though.
  • If you are solo tanking, save CDs for Glowing. You’re going to be taking a TON of hits, so as many as you can reduce the better off you are and the more mana your healers have to heal you. This will especially get ugly if you  have a combination that results in both a Glowing and Cobalt globule being absorbed by Yor’sahj. Your healers are going to be drained of mana and you’re going to be getting owned. Here’s your chance to shine with all your lovely CDs!
  • Mirror of Broken Images. AKA, the tanking legendary. Use it.

Glyphing Thoughts

These are my picks, YMMV.

Final option is a bit flexible, depending on your gearing and raid. My thoughts:

  • Crusader Strike: Valid for fact that fight is a single mob fight. Increased crit results in more damage and a slightly faster boss death.
  • Word of Glory: Situational at best. I would probably lean on this if I was solo tanking the fight, just because being able to get a quick WoG up when you’re low on health on something like Glowing is good.
  • Judgement: Totally dependent on if you have the 2pc T13 bonus which grants you an absorb shield each time you judge. Basically you get a larger absorb, which helps to reduce healing required, but I haven’t looked to see how much of a bonus you get. Probably not worth it in the long run, but every little bit helps.

Pick whichever one you feel most comfortable with!

My logic: Focused Shield because it’s a single mob fight. Lay on Hands for the shorter duration (survivability again, but there’s really nothing stopping you from having a shorter CD on this “save your ass” spell). Divine Protection for the magic damage reduction.

Dragon Soul Tanking – 10M Morchok

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Morchok

The most powerful elemental still under Deathwing’s sway, Morchok–once a passive guardian–is now convinced that his only respite will come with Azeroth’s demise. Morchok rages against the foundation of Wyrmrest Temple, Azeroth’s last beacon of hope in the Hour of Twilight. ~Dungeon Journal

Morchok is the easiest fight you’ll encounter in Dragon Soul. The fight requires awareness, but is pretty forgiving in regards to execution. The fight is basically 2 phases and as long as you can survive those, you’ve discovered your BC “Lootreaver” replacement.

Phase 1 – Crystals

There are 3 abilities in play during Phase 1:

Crush Armor is a stacking debuff that your tanks will need to be aware of to coordinate the timing of taunts on. It stacks up to 10 times and each time it is applied it reduces the armor of Morchok’s target by 10%.

Stomp (think Rhyolith here) is an AoE attack that deals 750K  to all players in a 25-yard radius. The damage is shared between all players, BUT, the 2 players closest to Morchok (this should be your tanks) take double damage. Morchok will stomp every 10-15 seconds, so it is wise to be stacked in a general location within the 25-yard radius so your healers can pump out some AoE healing before the next Stomp lands.

The Resonating Crystal is an awareness check. If you get linked (you’ll see a wavy yellow line between yourself and the crystal), your responsibility is to move to the crystal until your link turns green and then to eat the crystal explosion, which happens 12 seconds after being linked. The closer you are to the crystal, the less damage you take from the explosion. Three players will be targeted and no one is immune to being selected–it can be healers, melee, or ranged.

In general, Phase 1 is very simple and shouldn’t be an issue for any raid. I would recommend marking the map with a stack point for AoE healing during Stomps, but otherwise, be aware!

Phase 2 – Black Blood

After the third Resonating Crystal explosion, Morchok is pushed into Phase 2, the Black Blood phase. Once again, he has 3 abilities that the raid needs to have awareness of:

You’ll know you’ve entered the Black Blood phase of the fight when you’re sucked up under Morchok’s gigantic feet and start taking a good amount of of damage (5% of your health every second for 5 seconds, so 25% of your health). As soon as you become unstunned, the raid needs to run and hide behind the Falling Fragments. Morchok will channel the spell for 5 seconds, which he begins channeling as soon as he’s done pulling the raid to him. The fragments do deal damage if you are standing next to the fragment spawn location (15K), but it’s minimal and easily healed through when you are in position behind the pillars.

Running behind the fragments enables you to protect yourself from the Black Blood of the Earth. Morchok channels the spell for 24 seconds and the blood applies a debuff to anyone standing in it (1 stack per second that does 5K nature damage per stack). As soon as you step out of the blood, the debuff falls off. Healers will be tossing out heals to heal the raid up from the Earthen Vortex during this time, so make friends with a healer and grab some AoE heals.

It is worth noting that ranged DPS can continue to attack Morchok while they are hiding from Black Blood!

Once 24 seconds have passed, the boss reverts to Phase 1 and you repeat the phases until he dies.

The Soft Enrage

At 20%, Morchok will soft enrage, gaining the buff Furious, which enables him to attack 30% faster and 20% harder. This is a wise time to use Bloodlust as long as the raid is in the Phase 1 setup. If you hit the soft enrage during Phase 2, save Bloodlust until you are back in Phase 1 positioning and blow him up.

Paladin Pointers

  • Crush Armor is a physical debuff. Make sure you’ve unglyphed Divine Protection so you can get the damage reduction again.
  • Stomp is also physical. I choose to raidwall though as many of them as I can. This becomes easier to do when you have a 4pc set bonus (reduces CD on Divine Guardian by 1 minute).
  • After Earthen Vortex is cast and you’ve moved behind a Falling Fragment, help out your healers with your pitiful Holy Radiance to help heal anyone stacked with you (since the raid just took 25% of their health as damage).
  • When Black Blood of the Earth is cast, sob that you’re not a DK with Anti-Magic Shell and wait for the cast to end before running back in.
  • Save some CDs for when Morchok goes Furious. You’ll be taking a significant amount of damage and should able to chain CDs to help reduce the hits you’re taking.

Glyphing Thoughts

These are my picks, YMMV.

Final option is a bit flexible, depending on your gearing and raid. My thoughts:

  • Crusader Strike: Valid for fact that fight is a single mob fight. Increased crit results in more damage and a slightly faster boss death.
  • Word of Glory: Situational at best. If a larger WoG is going to keep you from dying, I’d probably revisit your healer team first. WoG I could see being part of a survivability package for Heroic Morchok, but on normal mode, I’d probably skip this glyph.
  • Judgement: Totally dependent on if you have the 2pc T13 bonus which grants you an absorb shield each time you judge. Basically you get a larger absorb, which helps to reduce healing required, but I haven’t looked to see how much of a bonus you get. Probably not worth it in the long run, but every little bit helps.

Pick whichever one you feel most comfortable with!

Some odd picks, but you really don’t have much to work with. Focused Shield because it’s a single mob fight. Lay on Hands for the shorter duration (survivability again, but there’s really nothing stopping you from having a shorter CD on this “save your ass” spell). Ascetic Crusader because the other options suck IMO.

4.3.2 – RealID Raiding

January 9, 2012 20 comments

So a discussion had apparently started yesterday on Twitter–one which I apparently missed because I wasn’t paying much attention to Twitter (aside from bemoaning the fail I was finding in LFR all day). The talk of being able to RealID raid with your cross-realm friends has been noted in the 4.3.2 patch notes, and the Twitter community is fairly close–some members get together for parties, see each other at BlizzCon, text/call each other, etc. Some of us have even run cross-realm 5-mans when the RealID option first appeared. It should be no surprise that with the newest PTR data, the hash tag, #10MTwitter and #25MTwitter were born.

But then there’s the challenge–I love all my Tweeps, and I don’t want to alienate anyone who would want to run stuff. And I love running the old content, but there’s still a lot I’d like to accomplish, and haven’t accomplished yet, with the Cata tiers.

And so I pondered. And I went to my favorite thinking spot (my shower). And I thought some more. And then it hit me. I could achieve my goals for Cata, while playing with people who were of the same mindset.

And so my plan was born.

Miri’s RealID Heroic 10M

Who: A selected group of interested individuals for a team

What: T11/12 Heroic modes and achievements

When: 2 nights a week, most likely Thursday & Friday from 9p-12a Eastern

Why: Because I feel weird if I’m not doing difficult stuff in WoW–I like achievements and I like fights that require effort

If You’re Interested…

Drop me a comment and let me know if you want to keep it private. I am being selective and have had some communication with people who I have played with in the past and some that I play with now to gauge their interest.

If you’re a solid player and have a desire to see the Heroic endings of several raid tiers, are willing to come as supplied and prepared as you do for a progression night with your own guild, and are Horde, please let me know!

So What Now?

January 7, 2012 3 comments

This post will have no beginning, middle, or end. This is truly me pondering the hands that I’ve seen dealt over the past month as I try to find my own way. There may be feelings, there may be frustration, there may  be an awareness as to why I haven’t been able to sleep for a week and still cling to memories and my own what ifs. –Miri

I internalize. People see me get annoyed, people hear me lose my temper. But people never understand the sea of anger that I keep within me, that I work to balance each and every day. While I am not the most patient person in the world, I realize that if I truly let my rage loose, there would be a lot of stunned people. The same goes for my sadness. There are days where it slips out, unable to be contained, unable to be controlled. And yet it’s still only a small glimpse into me as a person. For me to admit to lack of control, would be the defeat of who I am. And so I internalize.

I won’t lie. The past month has been absolutely horrific for raiders. Every time I load a blog or glance at Twitter someone else is stepping back from raiding, someone else is quitting. My own guild has been plagued with such a loss of players that we’ve had to downsize from a 25 to a 10. And each night I sign in, wondering who’s going to stay and who’s going to go. How we’re going to make it work. And then I long for the ability to rebuild the 25 so we can all remain together.

Kirian, Raz, and mini-Sel

But it doesn’t work that way. 10s are easier to wrangle, easier for progression purposes. And that’s why I raid. I raid to progress. I raid to down the bosses. I raid to be the best I can at slaying internet dragons. Raiding is fun, but raiding is why I play WoW. I want to play with other people who have as narrow of a mindset that I do. And then I deal with the war of the “casual” player. As much as I would love to, I can’t sustain 4 nights a week of raiding. I get that.  2-3 I could do, and even on a diminished schedule, I think as long as I ran with people of a like mindset, then I’m fine. But I’m considered too “focused” for some. I’m that good player with an aggressive attitude. I’m not here for fun. I’m here for control and power. My highs come from racking up those kills. In BC it was just the ability to support a core 25 team. Being on a raid of that size already set you head and shoulders above a large majority of the players. You were raiding at a different level than people in Kara or ZA. This worked for me. This was a perfect fit to my play style.

And then Wrath came along. And suddenly, there were 10s and 25s alike. You got better loot to run a 25, and you could run both raid sizes each week. And I did. 2 days in 10s, 2 days in 25s. I ran so much Tier 7 that I could scream. And then the guild imploded and I bailed. I bounced into a casual guild for Tier 8 and ran screaming after 2 weeks. I stepped into ICC with another team and threw in the towel, once again after 2 weeks. Sloppy raiders, clueless raid leaders, and I just couldn’t take it. And so I closed the book on my Wrath raiding, netting my Lich King kills with PuGs on my realm and spending my down time leveling a pack of alts.

And now we enter Cata. PuGging on my old realm was a joke–you had to have the gear before you could even get into a raid. And T11 became a distant goal. And then I decided to realm transfer and start fresh elsewhere. T11 became T12, where I went into full main tank mode, seeing Rag’s defeat multiple times. But the hours weren’t working, and so I made preparations to move yet again for Dragon Soul. And we saw 3 weeks of Dragon Soul, making good progress, pushing forward on and working to master Spine.

Then the shoe dropped with the departure of a good friend. That departure was soon followed by the resignation of another. And then we were down a DPS. And then 2 healers. And then we watched the team dissolve before my eyes.

And then I look to Twitter, where another has stepped down as a raid leader and MT for his team, official last night. I read blog posts of players tossing in the towel.

And yesterday, a question was posed to me: “Is this normal for the end of an expansion?”

And I paused. And my honest answer was “I don’t know.”

Wrath saw the merging of 2 raid IDs into 1, Cata saw the introduction of LFR. And as was highlighted in a blog post by Vidyala, why join a raiding guild if you can see the content in LFR? And for some, like Cyn, closure in an expansion is done by killing the  big bad. Cyn has done this, thanks to LFR. Why should he remain in game?

I’ve killed Deathwing. I’ve watched the flood of people who I love and respect share that they are leaving the game.

Raz and Ursal

So what now?

Where do I go from here? I don’t know if I’ll honestly be able to accomplish my goals this Tier–my mind doesn’t mesh well with the goals of the leadership. So do I toss in the towel too? Do I take my break until MoP? Or do I keep going, because deep down, I don’t want to let my ragtag (and still unknown) team down?

I have no answers for myself. Just a lot of conflicting emotions and a lot of unanswered questions.

I tell everyone that they have to make the decision for themselves. Sadly, I can’t abide by even my own advice. While I may be a self-centered asshole to many, I don’t want my decisions to impact the rest of my team. The loss of another tank could either close out our progression, or it could enable another to step up. I don’t want that resting on my shoulders.

So what now?

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