How Nerfing the Game is Making it Better

I honestly never expected my wife to truly become addicted to WoW. I always knew she would enjoy it because of the types of games she plays and the themes she likes on her reading and movies. I did not expect her to get addicted beyond the level that I play, but I am glad she is having a blast. The interesting part is that she is a better player than most that I have seen, and she will be raid ready probably as soon as she hits 80. Funny thing is that from watching me raid, I think she is looking forward to her first raid, and as soon as she hits 70 I think to Kara we will head.

I have raid many of the people that were downing bosses on 40 man raids talk about how getting a piece of gear now feels like entitlement. That has always bothered me about the game when I started playing it. So many people I encountered had terms that would put down people if they did not know their little “secret” terms about raiding and being inside of a dungeon. The thing is that getting to do a dungeon was difficult and most high level players would only help you with the places that were either quick or they would know very well so they could maximize their playing time. Someone run you through Mara? forget it.

Getting into a dungeon in previous iterations of the game required that you had at least one experienced player. Someone needed to know where the stone was and direct at least one other person to get here. If you had no FPs close to it you would be waiting there for a long period of time. Most of the time you were stuck doing the same dungeons that most people knew how to get to, Deadmines, Scarlet Monastery come to mind. So you really did not get to see a lot of the content when it came to dungeons, you were pretty much stuck leveling through doing quests and killing pigs over and over. That is how people used to level.

People would hit cap and want to go into a raid, and that is where the problem started. Most people had done dungeons with a very experienced player, and at times levels above them. This created the illusion that dungeons were a simple thing and you did not have to pay attention… then BAM, you go into a raid and the difficulty level goes through the roof. You die, or make a mistake and people don’t invite you to raids anymore, or you simply get discouraged… your raiding career is over before it even started. That used to happen a lot in the old days of WoW. Most of the people I met playing the game had never been in a raid and were just terrified of the whole idea.

I wonder how many of the wannabe top raiders realize about what it really takes to get a world first. You have to prepare for content way in advance of it being released and the PRT is where they probably spend a lot of time… I wonder what the actual % of the top guilds is on PRT vs live Realms is. I don’t get how someone that is simply following a strategy from a place like tankspot can feel entitled to look down at any other player… when they just basically did what a 5 year old does when they buy a guide to a game they cannot figure out by themselves.

Trust me, the jerks that still talk down to people for their simple mistakes are still there in every realm. I just will not ever get that mentality because if you wanted robots (or an IA) to run a raid with you, simply play a solo game. The human factor is what makes the game fun for me, the mistakes that the group compensates for and make everyone laugh after is what makes thing enjoyable. The kill after several wipes is what makes things feel like an accomplishment.

Now the dungeon tool lets people make mistakes with other toons around their level. They start learning about aggro, DPS, DOT, healing, situational awareness and yes move out of the fire very early on. My wife is a better player at 60 thank I was even after months of playing as a 70. Part of it is that she has a great guild behind her with people that have advice and lend a hand when she needs it, but it has mostly been that she has had to learn through just pugging with people and learning to DPS.

Titles, legendary weapons, world firsts are all fine and dandy for those that want to pursue it. Sure it would be nice to get a realm first with our guild some day. Being able to play with friends and now family and still see some awesome content is making the game better for me. I enjoy this game quite a bit, and the changes that are coming are making me even more excited. So keep on nerfing blizzard, I welcome the opportunity to have fun.

5K DPS FTW!

During an AOE pull your helpful “recount” meter hits 5K and you go OMG! I AM READY FOR ICC! because gearscore and DPS of 5K is all it takes. At least that is what everyone in trade chat has been advertising lately.

Damage Per Second (DPS) is one of the most talked about subjects in WoW. The moment you start tracking it it almost becomes an obsession even if you are just a tank or a healer. The numbers are misunderstood a great deal though. Gearscore also does not make it any easier.

This week our server’s weekly raid is the first boss in ICC which created quite the stir all over the place, from trade chat now asking LFM ICC 5K+ Gearscore, checking gear in the South Bank; to our guildies still farming frost emblems asking, can we go to ICC?

We have about 2 ten mans that can clear the first 3 bosses of ICC. Eventually I think we will even have a 25 capable of entering and getting some loot out of there. I think only our 10 mans will be able to actually kill Arthras, but you never know. However, this week we need about 4 groups of 10s to get most people to get their 5 emblems of frost, and that is not an easy thing to do. What does it have to do with DPS? everything.

While we can teach people how to position, move out of fires, have the perfect strategy, and every flask and special food that should put us where we need to be… in the end WoW is a game on numbers. You need X number of DPS to kill Y boss in Z minutes, not even counting your healers running out of mana.

The first encounter in ICC is very simple once you learn how to do it. There are two things that are complex and one is a simple move out of the fire, and the second one is kill something (in this case bone spikes that just impaled potentially one of your healers.)

DPS also needs to be measured accurately. We have DPS that can in a multi mob pull do more than 10K DPS. They also can do about 5K in situational DPS, meaning moving out of a fire to another spot that you can DPS from. You can do unreal amount of DPS, but if you spend too much time getting back into position to do DPS, your DPS is lost during that period of time. That is why DPS as a number is inaccurate and damage done is more telling of what actually happened when you look at meters.

Those skills need to be learned and practiced, and gear will not get you to those numbers. Raiding is all about that, being able to do things that help the team achieve the goal. Standing in the right place is the first step, but also being able to consume the slice of life assigned to you by your group is essential.

So far we have done 2 ICC runs this week, one mixed with another guild that has been gracious enough to take us all the way up to Festergut so we can get our tanks some gear, and one guild only run that took some tweaking and learning but we killed the boss. I think we still are capable of running a couple of more and have plenty of people that can actually pug ICC for this week (since everyone in the server will be at least trying to do it.)

So be careful of how you measure yourself against those numbers, specially if survibability is the priority in a fight. Doing 5KDPS for the first minute will never compare with someone that does 2.5K DPS for an entire 5 minute fight. When we downed ICC this week as a guild, not just our progression people but regular guildies we did it with teamwork and everyone pulling their weight. We even did it with someone wearing their chefs hat!

Wicked Pug Diaries

I have hated pugging quite a bit during my WoW life. I think I have even done quite a bit before the new pub system to remind our guild that pugging is bad for your sanity. Then blizzard throws a curve ball and makes the game yet again funner to play by making the idea of pugging cool again.

Two things used to make pugging painful beyond belief. Getting people to the dungeon. Someone would tell you, I am on my way to the stone… only to find out later that they either did not know where the stone was or had not paid for a fast mount yet. That would set the tone for the run and a pug would take hours on top of some more hours. Now the new system lets you to deal only with issues during the run and those can be a lot easier to deal with and you are only subjected to them for 15 mins. So why not talk about some of them here, specially the ones that amuse me.

We have a third or maybe fourth wave of 80s leveling up. I think most people in our guild now have 2 raiding 80s and have a couple more on the way or already there. Some of us have stayed away from the DPS since we have plenty there, but we have several people trying to catch up with Kabara and Theydrin on their ridiculous DK DPS specs.

As a guild we always try to help out people through their last push of levels and when I have a chance I tank even regular dungeons to have people que up faster. So two guildies and I set out to dominate DTK… my favorite instance.

We que up and the first statement out of the pugs that join is like MAAAAAN! THERE GOES MY EXPERIENCE… THERE ARE 80s here, the other one was a mage and started down the same path. My reply was simply, “no worries this will be quick, and remember the door is just a click away we can 3 man this if needed.” The non mage pug quickly corrects himself and comes back with, I just want my emblems so its cool with me.

The run was a lot of fun, and since I was tanking and did not need much healing the pulls were big and we moved quickly. The pace was set and we were almost done with the whole run and just cleared a big pull right after the big Dino. There is single pat with mobs all around, but he can be pulled by himself. My plan was to pull him first then kite him to another group and grab agro. The mage had been having fun with his blizzard and was not pulling agro so it was all good.

As I run forward and I am ready to press my charge button I see a fireball flying over my shoulder. I try to recall if the mage has been pulling or not but I had not been paying too much attention since I run DTK almost in autopilot. I stopped and did not press my charge button but instead turned my toon around to face the offending mage.

The mage has cojones, I will give him that. He gets ready to down this elite and did everything to get ready except flex to show me he could handle it. So the mob is running past me and I am static and just waiting to see what he is going to do. I am half waiting for him to either cast something to slow him or freeze him in place when the mob starts to go into a whirlwind.

See, casters are squishy, but a whirldwinding mob in WoW can mow down even plate weares… so a 70s toon in a dungeon wearing green cloth will meet the spirit rez faster than you can say “lightning bolt.”

As soon as the mob start spinning the mage stops casting and starts backing away… then the magic word comes! I’m Sorry, I’m Sorry! I promptly trow my weapon and the mob and charge him. Sometimes the best thing to do is to let someone stick the fork into the socket… you might just have the power to take the electricity off and just let themselves give a little shock.

Lady Deathwhisper and Gunship Battle Down

We are on a roll ladies and gentleman. Last night we took a mixed group between our original kill and new comers that were not saved and had our second kill in ICC as a guild.

Lady Deathwhisper was not as tough as originally thought and after one run through just to make sure everyone knew their roll pretty good we got into a great rhythm. We got to the second phase extremely quickly in our second attempt and knew exactly what to correct. Our DPS was amazing and our heals even better. Even with a couple of the healers only stepping into ICC for the first time ever.

The gunship battle is a lot simpler of an encounter and all about teamwork. We had that down path and spent more time just having fun with the jet packs. I need one of those just to have in game, that thing is cool.

It was getting late and we all had to work so we only attempted sourfang once but he does seem a little tougher than the previous bosses. I think this week we should have an easier time in the encounters we have already figured out and actually get to work on the later bosses more and more. 3 encounters down in one week is not bad progression. Hopefully this week we can get one more under our belt and continue to progress. We also had some awesome loot drop :) that is only going to make two of our top DPS even better. ICC is turning out to be a lot more fun than frustrating. We are also going back and clearing Ulduar, I think after a full clear there we will start attempting some hard modes. Happy raiding.

Lord Marrowgar

We did it! our first ICC boss kill as a guild!

We have been farming emblems every week and making sure that everyone gets their frost from the weekly raid. We are getting to know the new people that joined us and have been able to run things a lot quicker because of it.

So last night after we got done with the last couple of runs in OS to make sure all alts had their emblems of Frost we happened to have some of our top DPS and heals on. I was originally going to tank, but after the advice of Theydrin who practically ran the raid for us (he is up to Festergut with on 25) I switched to heals and let our other tanks do the tanking.

The fight is simple if you 1) get people out of spikes quickly and 2) stay out of the fires. Once everyone understand that there should be no hesitation to lose some DPS to get out of a fire or burn down a spike your success rate goes through the roof.

Our first attempt was a wipe, but we got him to about 10% and simply ran out of mana. We started very organized and positioned properly, but after the first bone storm we went all over the place and started to run into people out of reach of the healers. We did not lose anyone during the first bone storm, but by the second one we actually had to brez someone. We then got into a groove but even though we did not get close to the enrage timer all of our healers were out of mana.

During our second attempt everyone knew what to expect and our positioning was a lot better throught the fight. We did not have as many close calls as we did in the first one when it came to heals and bone spikes were burnt quickly. During the first attempt people needed at least two or even heals until they were brought back to full, the second attempt they were down very quickly and only ran into a snag when someone got spiked right over a fire.

We burnt the boss with time to spare and just enough mana. We moved onto the next boss and got a couple of very nice attempts, but since we all have jobs to attend to we decided to pick it at a later time.

We are making progress slowly and I am sure we will do another ToC this week, who knows maybe even TogC which takes less time and still gives cool loot!

Thanks again for everyone’s patience and hard work!

10 Man Progression

Ladies and gentleman we are advancing. This past week we completed almost every 10 man raid available to us except for ICC. The funny thing is that we have been doing it without a schedule or set times, it is just whenever we have a group on and a raid to go to we seem to simply go and get it done.

We now have one of our trees back, hopefully the other one is done with basic training soon. Our healing corps are doing amazing. We have two Shammans which now seem to be what everyone wants on their raid, and not just any Shammans but they are doing excellent.

This week we completed ToC and VoA as a guild on the same night and I believe that everyone ended both runs with a smile on their face. We even got the Salt and Pepper achievement from the Valkaries.

Hopefully this week we get a different raid boss so we can do more Naxx runs and start getting some more people the raid experience they need to get into the harder content. While I am thankful for the Emblems of frost from the weekly riad, they do end up getting most of our toons saved to different raid locks and prevent us from doing all of Naxx as a guild. Maybe this week.

Great job guys, and thanks again for the raid leaders that are stepping up!