Bear Brought To you By BoondockSaints

Achievements are a time sink that is lower in my list of priorities for WoW, which reminds me that I really need to go grind for some rep and get another flying mount. Achievements that give some kind of rewards are another story. I tried to put a raid together to go kill all the horde achievements, but more importantly that it grants you the reigns of [Reins of the Black War Bear].

The story begins a couple of weeks before. We’ve had a handful of guilds wanting to do run with us and had the chance to do Naxx 25 and OS 25 last week. Also some of them have been asking to merge, but we are not interested on dropping our name or having 1337 players that will tell our friends how much they need to improve. We have a couple of smaller guilds that are pretty much extended members and they provide us with whatever we need to fill groups. As far as mergers we were only interested on mature players that wanted to raid during the evenings and weekends. In our low population server this seemed almost impossible to accomplish, but we were not in a hurry. There was a guild that was recommended by one of our new members, so I started conversations with their GM two weeks ago. We set up events together to have most of them not available… they seemed interested but really could not seem make the effort. Most guilds seem to overstate their membership, and they told me they had 10 regular players but I never saw more than 5 online at once. I was not holding my breath, but it would have been very nice to fill the guild with players that would take us to being able to do a full 25 man with mostly BoondockSaints.

I have been leveling my priest. We really are goon on healers right now since our main healer is back from an extended vacation and we have added 4 new people that do an excellent job keeping our tanks alive. But I leveled Logtar extremely fast and did not get to enjoy the labor of love that is running things your level and working on your professions. I have been having fun healing BGs and old world dungeons with the priest.

This past weekend I had the best group in a long time. The pace was good, the people were funny and polite and we just had a blast in Sunken Temple. It made me remember the times when I grouped with Moon and Star back when we were all 40s. So after we finished the dungeons I asked if there was anyone over 20. Someone replied and told me they were over 30 but would not say how old. We stayed and chatted for a bit and what do you know… there was a small guild of people that were trying to do heroics, and they were all real life friends all over 30. Not just that, they were looking for a guild our size to come to. I did not get too excited, I discussed it with the officers as a just maybe type of deal. The following day some of them got to run with one of your heavy DPSers and we exchanged tells back and forth.

The next day I get a tell… hey, someone wants to ask you a couple of questions… I said sure. We chatted for a couple of minutes, and then, ok, we’re ready. We all want to come over… O.o

Seriously? Yeap, our guild merged just like that… the next day everyone was on vent and their personalities fit right in! So now with over 20 people on we said, hey lets do For The Alliance… and BAM, full raid in about 15 minutes.

We had attempted to kill Sylvanas Windrunner in The Undercity not too long ago, but we had maybe 15 people in the raid we knew and the 5 extra just did not push us over on DPS. We got her half way down and then THE HORDE showed up. I did not have high expectations because I have seen what happens when a horde town is attacked and how quickly they come and counter any attempt.

To my surprise though, the group did awesome and we not only pwned the Windrunner, we pwned the resistance that showed up at Undercity. We did so well that we headed to kill Lor’Themar Theron in Silvermoon City and got him even faster. People started talking about Ogrimar and my death alarm started going off, but I said what the heck… portals up, lets get it on.

This is when the heavy horde numbers started to show up, but we pushed through even as we got separated and had to do the fight with Warchief Thrall in Orgrimmar with almost half of the people from the raid on ghost form. This was at 9:00 P.M server time when most people in our server play. We struggled but we killed him… had a harder time getting out of Orgrimmar but prevailed. That is when we got a little too confident and when we showed up to kill Cairne Bloodhoof in Thunder Bluff we were outnumbered.

I was not sure about attempting to finish it the next day, but when we had almost 30 people in the guild on, and getting a couple of tells from the people that got on our raid the night before, I said sure. We slowly got a lock and a small group to the north of Thunderbluff, got everyone summoned and with only a handful of people besides the twenty some from our guild we killed eat more Tauren. We circled around and killed the Windrunner again since not everyone was on the night before, but were stomped in Orgrimar since we lacked the numbers we had the night before. Most people in our guild now have the Warbear, and now its just a matter of getting it for other alts. Its a neat achievement to complete because you truly need to be able to lead a raid of 40 which is like trying to get 40 monkeys to sit still.

That was tons of fun!
Ogrimar Down

Bellow ToC

Bellow ToC So we have been taking a group to Heroic five man ToC with mixed results.  Sometimes we can beat the Black Knight, sometimes he just stumps us like chew toys.  Its a fun and challenging encounter, but the buggyness sometimes makes it even more frustrating.  Under ToCThis weekend though, during one of the runs while fighting just the first tree people I seem to have gotten a little too close to the door they come from.  I ended up dropping to a cave bellow and perishing.  Not before I took some screen shots though.  It looks very interesting and I have not read up to see it it is maybe part of the raid.  Enjoy.

*Update* I guess it is some unreleased content called (The Icy Depths.)

Raiding – Am I Ready?

Raiding is one of the funnest things you can do in WoW. Coordinating a group of people to accomplish a goal is the most exciting and challenging thing about the game IMO. I get questions quite often about how to run a certain dungeon or when will I be ready to run a raid… so I wanted to write something that applies in a general level to people that want to get started in the raiding world.

As much fun as raiding can be, it can also be nightmarish and time consuming. Nobody likes to have a repair bill with nothing to show for week after week. Some people don’t mind doing the same content over and over, (check out my pug checker, I can do DTK every day and still love the place) but die enough times and it will grind a group to a halt. Lucky for us, our guild has been very relaxed and even though we have not advanced as much as some people might like, we still love the game and playing with each other which I think its the most important thing.

That said I wanted to be very honest about how involved raiding can be, and how the following are some of the things you seriously have to consider when you start raiding.

Every class in WoW has very specific intricacies that put together in a raid group lead to killing that freaking big dragon. While every class is extremely different in some respects and the level of customization in the game is the highest I have ever seen for a video game. All of that flexibility makes things complex enough that you can truly hurt yourself with your character build. But, when it comes right down to it, playing the World of Warcraft raiding does have some basic principles.

Movement

From the first time a whole raid was charred to a crisp fighting in Kara I learned the frustration that can dismantle a group after a wipe. Don’t move means serious, don’t move… no seriously, let go of the keys, don’t try to get that last spell out, don’t try to move a little bit to get a better angle view, just seriously don’t move. At the same time, RUN AWAY, means just that. So many elements of the game have to do with where you are, how far you need to be from something or other party members… don’t stand in black circles. Whenever you are not sure about an encounter, you need to ask and follow the directions of the experienced people.

Your CAP

The thing that will dictate a lot of what you do when it comes to raiding is your “CAP” which means that you have hit the maximum level for your more important stat. However, there is other caps along with that one. While a tank being 540 is very important so he does to get “crited” anymore, his hit rating and expertise are also crucial so he lands the hits and does not get dodged or parried. Once you know your goals, then you can start planning your gear shopping list

The LOOT

Loot at times feels like chicken and egg. Blizzard just made things a lot simpler and even though I was already playing a simpler game than original WoW raiders, this latest patch (3.2) equalized a ton. You have the Tournament of Champions, a place that you can get 10 man raid level gear with just 5 people. That and now all the badges put into two groups make it very stright forward to obtain new pieces of gear without relying on the luck of a drop and the chance at a /roll.

With LOOT though, you have to once again do more research. You need to know where the loot drops that you need. If you are still missing that amazing neck piece and your DPS is still towards the bottom of the list, you need to read up on where to get it. Gear will help you achieve tons, but it is only part of the equation.

The other important thing once you have the gear is to get it enchanted and gemmed.

The Build

So you have the gear, but your (DPS, Healing, Threat generation) still are lacking? The next thing to consider is your build. Your build simply put is the methodology you use when assigning your talent points, and also what glyphs you use.

The easy way is to look for someone’s build and copy it, however this is not the answer. You don’t know how that person plays. Some people have no problem using 5 or 6 abilities, some people use simply 3 or 4. That does not include cooldowns. I will caution you on your builds and glyphs to make sure you don’t spend valuable talent points or spots on your glyph slots that you just don’t use or use very little.

The Rotation

What buttons you press on what order is as important as everything else in the game. If I don’t hit one of my shouts or charge into our DPS and my rage will suffer. If I am DPSing and don’t hit my trinket that gives me extra attack power right before I hit one of my special abilities, I am not doing a good job. If a high DPS hunter does not misdirect on me when we start an encounter, their DPS might pull agro from me.

While your primary abilities are important, knowing what secondary abilities you need to use in what situation makes a huge difference in a raid. It also ensures that your DPS, Heals or tanking stays constant. It does not matter that you hit 4K DPS once, if you cannot maintain it over the course of a run.

How do I know when I am ready then?

The baby step for almost everyone is to join a guild that raids, casual raiders will probably be more patient than people that are doing the hardest content and consider themselves hardcore. If the guild has people that know the class you want to play and are willing to share their knowledge you have struck gold. Keep in mind that they will be able to steer you in the right direction. They can only open the door, you have to actually go through and learn the theory behind things.

That said, there are tons of ways to “cheat” to acquire the knowledge above about your character.

There are several add ons that will tell you where the gear is “hidden” all over WoW. Also there are gear evaluation add ons, and a new nifty interface built right into WoW itself that will compare the gear you want with what you have currently on your character.

The internet is full of resources, class specific blogs and “evaluators.”

So if you want a straight answer, Imba can tell you where you are ready to go based on your gear (check out the Gear-O-Meter at the bottom), and WoW Popular will tell you what is the most popular currently. But you cannot replace everything with shortcuts, and if you want to raid, you need to do your homework and practice.

Feel free to post the resources you use in the comments :)

Guild Meeting



Last night we gathered on the stairs of the StormWind Cathedral to have a guild meeting. The officers and I wanted to share the rules and our vision of the guild. We are averaging about 20 people online every night and are very happy about our new regular players. Last night we had almost everyone there at the time of the meeting except for those that had family visiting from out of town. After we had gone through all the information we needed to discuss Aloea’s new little addon started counting down Wintergrasp and we decided to head there as a guild, plus a couple of our friends. We had our own raid and had a blast actually taken over with about 10 minutes to spare. The we decided to go raid Undercity since we had an actual guide with us.

We entered via the sewers and did quite well until the horde started showing up. Our raid had 20 people and was able to get Sylvanas more than half. I perished when I tried to take some of the hunters that showed up only to encounter about five others around. They picked us off quite easily after our big bruisers all of our plate wearers were subdued. We try to start it back up again but guards plus horde were too much. If we would have had a full raid, which is what we will do next time :) she would have been down. It is an interesting encounter, and a lot more fun than what I thought it was like. My previous experience has been simply defending Ironforge and a failed attempt by a mostly pug Thuderbluff attempt, and for it being our first time as a group I was impressed.

For The Horde

Raiding seems to have taken a back sit lately for our guild, its funny because now that we can get a 10 man going any night, we are busy having fun doing something else. While some of the W007 L007 is still stuck in Naxx25 and Ulduar, the Tournament of Champions has made getting people ready for those encounters a matter of running 5 mans. The stuff that drops on the regular ToC is comparable with Naxx 10 gear, and much, much easier to obtain with a good group. I think the past 3 days we have replaced the blues that our main raiding group had left. The gemming and enchanting is also going well and I think that as soon as we want to run something, we will be able to. Besides leaving dragons up in OS, there are really no runs that I think we are going to do this week.

I read a while ago that factions were going to experience some changes. It was mostly around the discussion of being able to “change” factions. It all sounded far away and I have not been in the character creation screen for a bit. Then Mr. Honjuder created a horde in our server… and we all went What? After the shock wore off… Yeap, you guessed it, our Horde guild was born. It has been hilarious because people are even transferring toons from other realms to our newly created full of lowbes guild.

A long time ago during some down time in our server I rolled a Belf Pally, and leveled him to six… that was the extent of my horde experience. However I now have a rogue and a cow… yea, I have a freaking cow! I am loving it too. I think we all are excited to run around doing low quests together. Our vent has stayed full and we have pulled resources together again and have a tabbed bank in the other side and pretty much everyone bagged. We also have finally found a druid that is going to bring l337 heals to our raids… and now getting a 10 man together is just a matter of deciding where to go. Bottom line everyone is having fun. This patch has improved playability quite a bit.

I got my first piece of 226 gear Shard of the Crystal Forest via emblems. I am also getting closer to my second piece, but I am afraid that I really don’t need much gear until we start doing harder content. Its not necessarily a bad thing. I do have to regem for hit to get my DPS up a bit though. Running chain heroics and ToC over and over has been a lot of fun, that and running around on a cow hitting things with a stick. LOL. Good times.

The Patch 3.2 and the Guild

One of the most interesting aspects of WoW is that at least since I have been playing it (I heard rumor of old school WoW being truly for the L337) is that the company has managed to maintain the balance between access and playability. While most hardcore raiders that burn through content and add rusty dragons to the stable still mantain that raiding is now too easy, Ulduar 25 is still not a slamdunk for most guilds. I would even go as far as saying that Ulduar 10 requires more than just gear to complete.

Now the game has been changed dramatically with the emblem system revamped. We will now be able to farm heroics to obtain gear rather than having to deal with a 25 man raid full of immature people more worried about t-bagging each other than actually running something smoothly. This changes the game completely for our guild. It will make progression that much easier since it is not dependent only on drop rates and we can gear as a group at a better pace. While we’ve had several players being able to join 25 naxx groups and 10 man ulduars to get gear, only some lucky night have proven fruitful in our pursuit of better gear. While skill still plays the biggest role in raiding, it takes a heck of a lot of skill to do things grossly under-geared. The new system makes 5 mans; which has been one of my favorite parts of the game since there is not as much sitting around waiting for people as there is on 10 and 25 man, not just fun to run but very fruitful. Last night I ran 3 heroics a little over an hour and was able to put my remaining emblems of valor to good use on a tanking ring.

Also very exciting is our JewelCrafter extraordinaire Moondust who has been saving tokens to get the new patterns. She was gracious enough to use all of her tonkens evenly throughout classes and outfitted our tanks already with awesome new gems. My survivability is pretty awesome right now with almost 28K unbuffed health as a warrior not being too shabby, specially since I don’t really have many 24stam gems in sockets anymore… lets deal some damage!

My wife was gracious enough to put my vision into reality and created some graphics for our guild site. It is still being constructed but you can now go take a look http://bds.logtar.com. There is also more being built in another site, but we will have to keep that a surprise for now.

Some of the coolest things about the patch so far that impressed me have been,

The Gear Manager is a lot easier to use, they fixed the clunky old way to save the profiles.
Being able to queue up for WG from all mayor cities.
Faster mount cast time makes grinding even less of a hassle.
Quest log being double panned is a huge interface improvement.
Character name auto completion will help with the funny character names during invitation time.
Item comparison is awesome. (I already had something similar with an addon, but happy they did it to the main UI)
My lifeblood from herbalism (which I use quite often) and toughness from mining both got a nice buff!

So what things have you liked from the new patch? Looking forward to the new content?

Azjol-Nerub & Old Kingdom

Besides hopefully getting on a 25 man Naxx as a tank my to get a hold of the Bracers of the Unholy Knight my tanking set is ready to take on Ulduar 10. That will put me officially beyond needing anything from Naxx even though a full clear still seems to be weeks away for our guild. Its actually exciting to know that there is still all that content to enjoy as a group, and so far it has been fun having a very balanced group.

There are still some good pieces of gear stuck in places I rather not visit. Oculus has to be by far my least favorite dungeon. I went there with our regular group, and we had fun figuring out the encounters until we wiped, and wiped and wiped some more on that last boss. It left a bad taste on all of our mouths that made it even worse because we were not able to finish it. I am not in any hurry to go there again, however I do want to get both Azjol-Nerub & Old Kingdom on farm status.

I have done both instances before, and even completed A-N which a lot of people like because its quick. I have not been able to do it without an overgeared healer or a totem dropper. Even with those two elements it is not a slam dunk, and it is still a tanking challenge for me because most of it is poor crowd control. Its very frustrating when you lose control of your character and you know it is going to cause the whole group to perish.

The Essence of Gossamer is probably one of the must have tanking items in your tanking set. I see it as not just the gap bridging item that the Seal of Pantheon is while you get your tanking set over the cap, but a necessary tool to build your survivability. This item along with some of the pieces that are missing for some of our healers is stuck in those instances and I cannot hide behind the fact that they “suck.”

So in the coming week or so I am going to buckle up and just get these instances done. I think the way to tackle them is to do them in normal mode first and get everyone used to the encounter and then just go and get it done. I am really looking forward to being able to put them both in farm status to include them in our upcoming Heroic Chain List.