Hop Skip Jump

Individuals in our guild have done a lot of content from this last big patch, some even completing raids on the ToC area. Personally I have seen more content than I thought I would see this quickly. However, overall as a guild I think we have skipped too much content.

For me it all started with places that are not warrior tank friendly. Az N and Old Kingdom for example. Both fairly straight forward places now that I am over-geared for them. They are both mid 70 dungeons that should have been mastered before skipping them altogether, but it was a lot easier to do a place I enjoyed like DTK over and over.

Don’t get me wrong, some poorly structured content like Oculus should be skipped, but most of the dungeons that have been designed are pretty good training grounds for future raiders.

Now we have once again started doing the same thing. Instead of perfecting every wing in Naxx we are doing Ulduar and even H ToC raiding. Then people wonder why Ony is such a pain in the butt.

Ony is the perfect example of gear vs experience. No matter how good your gear is, if your party has not mastered movement and position awareness you will wipe there over, and over. It is already being pugged bu some people and it will be farm content soon enough, but the opportunity to learn is missed by just having an overachieving healer or tank or insane DPS “take you” through the content.

Raiding is about team mechanics, but specially about everyone doing their assigned job. Skipping content that shows you certain mechanics of the game does a huge disservice to you as a raider, and it hurt your future performance in a team. Another example of commonly skipped content is Heigan’s dance in Naxx. Overall not a bad fight, but one that people dread because it requires everyone to do something they are not used to doing… moving around.

Before you skip content on try to get into the next new shiny dungeon make sure you are at a point where you enjoy the current content you are geared and experience for. Understanding the fight mechanics is not just the raid leader’s job. Sure its fun to just say, let me know where to stand and I will fire my 9K DPS at the boss, but it does not help the group.

I have been leveling a priest and been loving the experience. As frustrating as it is to be the main target in every PvP encounter, it is also very rewarding to be able to make a difference and “save” things by getting the right heal out at the right time. There are comparable skills like rage management vs mana management, and watching threat… but it also has a lot more situational, like mobs just trowing something at you because they felt like it and interrupting you. That is not even counting someone pulling agro or standing on (yet again) the fire. Its a lot more fun than I thought it would be and will most likely ultimately make me a better tank.

Tanking New Content

I have only tanked an instance that I knew nothing about and did not get any advice one, Drak Theron Keep. Because of it, it is still my favorite instance. I discovered little things and ways of doing it along the way, and it is now something that I can do with most groups in about 20 minutes even on Heroic.

Most raids I have either watched a video online, read a guide or gone with an experienced tank and played OT. While it makes progression easier that way, it also feels like I am cheating myself a little.

As a video game player I have rarely needed a walkthrough. I have been playing Prince of Persia on the Xbox and I am amazed at how easy games have become. There are safety nets everywhere and help along the way. Wow Add ons like questhelper and DBM do the same thing. Maybe I should get burned by the fire more often so I learn where not to stand… maybe the poison should kill me quicker so I don’t stand on it in the first place.

I am amazed at the number of people that still get hit by the wall of lava in OS, and it makes me think that maybe calling the walls out in raid warning might be a bad thing rather than a good thing. The dance in Naxx is probably the best example of this mechanic, because different computers will paint that room at different intervals and there is a definite lag. If you are following someone blindly and don’t know where to stand or stop, you will get hit by a poison shower.

The more I play this game, the more I see how it mirrors real life in many ways. Managing a guild is a lot like managing a department at work. Teaching people to do things has the same parallels. Some people can learn from theory, some can learn from watching a video, most will only learn by doing.

We have people at all stages of the raiding curve at the moment and doing very well in Naxx and Ulduar but still not there with the full clears and still stumble in some bosses. Some of it is tiredness, some of these raids take long time, but most of it is knowing the content that is new to most. These is where the dancing beings.

Here is where tanking gets tricky and where I made my first mistake as a tank. If you have a DPS spec you will see content a lot sooner than as a tank or a healer.

Even though everyone says that DPS are a dime a dozen, this is not true. Sure, there are DPS out there that can do some serious damage, but DPS that can listen and help out in fights are hard to find. If a DPS warrior can cut a mob off while it is running towards a healer and take a hit and survive, you just saved a wipe. Also you get to see the fights live and see how the other tanks are doing it.

If you are lucky, the tanks on the fights you are seeing for the first time are already geared and you might end up with a new piece out of the whole experience.

You have to walk before you run, specially as a tank. Brute forcing everything by overgearing everyone and heading to the greatest and latest content will leave you scratching your head when you start paying tons on repairs on fights that seem simple. Have patience, let everyone around you learn at their pace and you will have stronger and stronger groups.

Our guild has done this and we have a very good 10 man group, bring in only a handful of friends to our 25s. It takes patience and time, but it has made progression a lot more fun. Its all about the journey, not the destination right?

PvP Madness

Waiting for our victims

We have been doing lots of raiding, and also have to mention our arena addicted members that take breaks to fill a spot for us. Overall PvP has been low in our schedule and I think we are almost ripe for another attempt at getting the people that are missing the War Bear their chance.

However this week we revisited WG. Since the patch that attempted to balance the numbers things are getting a lot better. Things are not completely fixed, but it is at least feasible for the alliance in our server to win even during peek playing hours.

WG is a fun way to farm honor which translates into gems if you are all decked out for PvP. What makes it even funner is to have several people in your vent doing some shared objectives.

The more I do PvP, the more I realize that one on one skill is almost overridden by class mismatches, but a solid group can even things out even against awesome PvPers and even Pallies.

Give it a try, get a group of 10 people and go into WG and just hang out at sunken ring while defending. It can really tip the scale over to the other side.

Have fun PvPing!

Ulduar Progress

Continued progress in Ulduar

The guild is making good progress in Ulduar now, partly due to easier access to better gear, but mostly because everyone is learning the fights. We were able to one shot three bosses Flame, Razorscale and XT-002. We also tried and defeated after only one wipe Kologarn.

We have reached a pretty good rithm for raiding with doing some easy content like old school raids or Naxx with 10 man ToC or Ulduar in between. We also continue to have plenty of alts with our hunters and mages all having new tanks either at 80 or in the works, it seems that I might have to work on my priest or finally roll a druid.

Speaking of my priest, the 50s went pretty quick, but the 60s seem to be dragging. I need to spend a weekend working on him and questing a bit. I have been slowly but surely just doing battleground and having fun healing and sometimes even topping the charts. It is still a big crap shoot when you BG.

As for Logtar’s gear, I just got a new pair of bracers that will help out a bit. Reading about the content that will come out for the patch 3.3 it seems that I will have to regem for stamina. The patch is getting closer so getting into our 10 man ToC might have to become a priority for me so I can replace a couple of pieces. The patch should help out with also upgrading the emblems to the same level so the gear can rain from the heavens again. I am sitting on 200 emblems right now that should probably go to building a better DPS spec, but I hardly ever really need to or want to DPS.

Everyone that has asked to join the guild lately, its not you, its me :)

We are at a good place right now and like the current group we have. We will add players to the guild, but they need to be have someone sponsor them in. We are slowly but surely talking about the next expansion and we want to have a strong core group to attack that content. Who knows, we might get our wish and have a pretty solid 10 man to start raiding content very early into the next iteration.

Naxx Pwnage

Believe it or not I have finished 10 man ToC, done several Ulduar bosses, even come close to spanking the new Onixya but I never actually finished a full clear of Naxx.

This week the guild had several things going on, but I decided to participate on a Naxx gear run. We are obviously over-geared for that content, but it helps the people that are new to raiding to be able to see how a 10 man runs.

Besides that mind control dude that is just a pain in the butt we were able to clear two wings in a couple of hours. The next day I had more unpacking to do so I just logged for a bit, but most of the original group was clearing the rest of the stuff.

Farming Naxx is fun, specially because we can do a 25 man as well. The weather is getting colder and I am getting settled, its nice to see our numbers right around the sweet spot to be able to run stuff when we want to.

I have also been working on my priest and have fun healing. I am enjoying pvp stuff a lot more than I used to and love to top the charts even in Alterac Valley.

I also hooked up a computer to the big screen TV so I will be doing some 42 inch wow playing this week :)