I have a dream!

Ever since the LFR was announced I have been salivating at the opportunity to run a raid with some of my real life friends that I have never had a chance to raid with. Now that dream is close to a reality because Blizzard will soon implement cross-realm raiding. See, I was late to the WoW party. Most of my FPS friends played WoW from the beginning and some had way more hardcore raiding experience than I did. They are spread over many servers and I have always wondered what it would be like to run a raid with all of them together.

Furthermore, what about running a raid with all of the WoW bloggers I read?

While there is the little caviat of me not having a horde character… which might have to be fixed by me rolling a DK and gearing them up. All of my alliance brothers and I could get together and do an awesome Firelands 25 or an LFR together in the not too distant future!

So my dream is to be raiding with people all over the world of warcraft! I cannot wait for this feature to come out.

LFR Tanking Guide

Before you even que up for the LFR as a tank, be aware the the tables have turned and your queue will not be instant, no sir! be ready for a little bit of a queue time. So without much more to say, let’s have a real quick LFR tanking guide. This is quick, and oversimplified!

1 Debuff – Taunt at 2 Stacks!
You can survive more, but 2 seem to clear nicely and not cause you much issues.

Taunt in the middle of the road. You might have to reposition. Make sure you are always stacking with the other tank.

Rotate through your cooldowns while you are tanking and be ready for getting hit a little harder towards the end.

1 Debuff – Taunt at 3/4 Stacks!
Oozeappoloza! Purple – Yellow – Red (Green does not do splash damage on LFR)

Make sure you help kill the Oozes, there always seems to be a DPS (see hunters) that refuse to switch. If one of the oozes that comes out is the black one, be ready to AoE taunt adds and be free with your AoE abilities.

If you are the OT you could be the one bouncing the ball back and forth. If you have aggro, face the boss towards the raid initially and once the ball is formed face him away. No other movement needed besides stacking up.

Hagara the Stormbinder
Probably the first fight that actually requires some tanking.

Focused assault hurts! you could just pop a cooldown, but learning the timing and running away will make it so you take no damage.

Try to tank off center and be ready to tank the add during the electric phase.

Do not tunnel vision during ice phase DPSing a crystal, move early and stay alive.

Tank and Spank… well kinda!

This is a fun fight for tanks, we get to use our cooldowns a lot more. Make sure you time them correctly and this fight will be no problem.

Warmaster Blackhorn
2 Debuffs – Lots of movement
You start having to tank two types of adds. While it is important to swap, it is more important to not let one of them run wild. Get everything controlled and the talk to your off-tank if you need to swap.

Help soak all incoming damage to the ship. Rotate through your cooldowns.

The boss will have to be move away from void zones and avoid his shockwave.

Spine of Douchewing
This is the fight where you will become a STAR! make friends across all realms and have post written about you!

Mark and kill 1 (uno) tentacle. Grab the add and get it to 30%. Let the OT kill 9 bloods. Pick up the 10 bloods, nuke the add. Rinse and repeat!

Here is where this fight causes issues to everyone though. The very first add comes out when there are not enough bloods… people see adds, people blow up add without sufficient stacks, process has to start all over. If you time things right with your OT, the first part will seem to take forever, but it will help the new people understand what is going on.

Towards the end of the fight the issue might be too many bloods beating on healers, so if you are the free tank, go pick the up with an aoe taunt, and potentially keep them from the main add until it is at 30%

Mark and DSP the tendon and WIN!

Madness of Douchewing
Debuffs that can KILL YOU! BEWARE!

Not a bad tanking fight. Move to the back to start tanking the tentacle, specially on the last platform because it spawns almost as people are arriving to the platform (if they left blue for last like most people do).

Tank swap on debuff (survivable with cooldowns, but not recommended)

When you actually get to DPS deathwing, don’t forget about the green button specially when you are going to take a big damage spike.

Kill all the tentacles and WIN!

Bear to wood transformation

You would think that a druid shape shifter can do great things on all of the different specs, it is just not that easy. I am a sucky druid but I am working at it.

Gatoso, my bear, actually grew up during wrath alongside Trizilla. He had the added bonus of our accounts being linked so he leveled quickly. Back then we had a serious shortage of tanks and well, the natural thing was for me to do some bear tanking because of the similarities with warriors… they both use rage (that is where the similarities start and stop). We also did not play with a lot of resto druids and the ones we had were excellent healers. I have never actually played with a true Boomkin (I call them chubby chickens… maybe I should stop so we can keep a attract more of them.)

Once we moved to our new server it seemed that what the server lacked most is healers, so I played a lot with my priest… and ended up building a quick set for my bear. During Firelands it seemed that my healing style as a resto seemed to work well, fast forward to dragon soul (and a bag full of non straight intellect gems) and you have a resto druid that has gear with all the wrong gems and probably reforged poorly. I am simply not putting out the numbers I need, and even though he is not one of my main toons I don’t like to feel carried by others.

So I am going to start working on him seriously and get better at resto. It has changed a lot over the patches and I have plenty of resources to pull from. Just last week I read a great post from Cannot be tamed which will already help a lot in a couple of fights.

One of the drawbacks of having alts is that they always seem to be able to get gear drops a lot quicker than your main. Dragon Soul is proving to be an exciting raid, and like Lich King one that we will probably be able to get everyone that wants to get through it, through it on normal. Who knows, by next month we might even be doing well into heroics! Death to Douchewing!

Why I love the LFR

The Raid Finder (what most people are calling Looking for Raid, and then shortening it to LFR) is a new feature introduced in WoW that throttles the difficulty of the raid (first out being the Dragon Soul where you kill DEATHWING! – yesterday I LoLed when someone called him DoucheWing.) and automatically groups 25 people to complete the content. It is divided in 2 parts, so you get 4 bosses at a time. There are still game mechanics, but for the most part they don’t penalize you if about 5 people are under-performing. I would say it is like doing Naxx 25 with 20 people on Ulduar or ToC gear.

If your group has about 10 competent players, the whole experience is a breeze and easily completed from top to bottom in less than 90 minutes.

The Dragon Soul gear is itemized above the current dungeons but bellow the normal version of the raid. Firelands normal was 378 and so are the new dungeons, LFR is 384.

As an added bonus for raiders to do the instance besides valor capping if you are not yet clearing dragon soul (500 valor points from running which is half of your weekly cap) is that the raid also drops gear tokens that mix and match with the normal and heroic versions of the gear, so it is very manageable to actually achieve your 4 set bonus. Something that was previously challenging for casual raiders or infuriating for guilds that had a lot of people on the same token.

First lets talk about the bad.

Because it is a place where you can complete your set (or quickly valor cap.) raiders of all experience and dbag level come to play. You easily get into BG type of discussions about “FAIL vs e-PEEN” and “Carebear vs Troll.” Reason being that even though there is a “Go Go Go!” mentality, there also is a little bit of down time (unless someone ninja pulls… actually more Leroy pulls… which reminds me that I should find an addon that spams who the heck pulled.) when in between bosses you lose and add players. I’ve had a couple of awesome runs (probably because they were filled with guildies) but in most cases you lose between 3-5 after every boss. There is a great discussion going on in Manalicious about how this is eroding the community aspect of the game.

I however find the LFR a complete success.

I think the community creation part is up to you with your guild and other guilds you have a relationship with. I don’t remember BC or even Wrath as fondly as some others do. Sure it was nice to be known as a good tank or healer to group with people, but at least in my server there was tons of raider poaching between guilds… or casual guilds used as farms for the more serious raiders. The whole server community thing for me did not exist. Now the new more populated where we reside does feel a little more like a community (still now, in the days of LFG and LFR) and we have been able to mingle and have fun running things with other guilds.

The LFR to me fills a huge gap for the people that want to experience the thrill of killing the dragon, but don’t really care to itemize themselves and work towards being part of a raid team. While you would think that would erode a guild like ours that has mostly casual players, it does quite the opposite. It gives the opportunity for people to gear more alts quickly. It also satisfies the needs of our members that want to still raid, but not on a schedule. They can be part of a community, fill gaps when needed and not feel any presure. That in the past was a pipe dream. Every time you lost a raider it was a setback. Now, there is no excuse for people not to be geared and valor capped when you can do it in one night a week.

I also don’t think that raiders see how much the truly benefit from it. They will still be able to do their normal and heroic modes, and if that unlucky shamman does not get his should drop week after week, or you have a token heavy group full of priest/pallies/warlocks, they can just go to the LFR and complete sets. I know in the past, whenever there was a gear check fight in an instance that required gearing it meant weeks and weeks of pain. Now with just 3 weeks of raiding we made it past the first gear check (Ultraxion). We have about 60% with 2 piece sets and even a couple of 4 sets. Heck we might even be able to not just kill Deathwing on normal but actually do some heroic modes while they are still relevant.

The LFR is doing a lot for a guild like ours. I know a lot of people in the raiding community maybe see us as not being deserving of the loot we are getting because of how easy the LFR is. Sure, our 4 sets might be 3 LFR pieces at first, but it will allow us to play the game at the speed we want without having to hit the reset button every time one of our raiders gets a different work schedule or wants to take an extended break.

If you want to enjoy your LFR experience, que with your friends, set up an LFR night, reach out to your server community and create groups for it. Don’t fall pray of the negative view of the world and enjoy the game for how awesome it is right now. You are in control of the communities you build and play with. So if you decide to just que on your own and end up in the ultimate dbag group, just do your best… besides, its always over before too long.

4.3 and what I am playing

My first character was Logtar born during the burning crusaded. He is the protection warrior that later started to PvP and DPS as arms, but he seems to always be a tank. During wrath I finished leveling my priest, druid and a warlock. I raided with all of them to some extent but by the beginning of Cataclysm I seem to go back to Logtar and he is the one that raided the most for tier 11. While the priest was geared and capable of doing tier 11, he was relegated to alt runs.

We moved servers while firelands was on their way and our new home realm seemed to be lacking healers more than tanks. The priest and the druid saw a lot more use and they both got to see a lot of the orange instance. Logtar was not raiding with any of the guild we were a part of during that period but found a weekend raiding group that got him to kill Ragnaros. I also ended up also bringing over the DK for his blacksmithing capabilities. So right now I have 4 toons that are doing dragon soul using the LFR and the priest doing the normal modes with our raiding team.

Priest healing is not as fun as it was during the Firelands. While discipline did see a nice buff in 4.3 and it seems easy to play, I still don’t find it as cool as I did towards the end of wrath when I was a bubble spammer. I am still not sold on the new healing model at all. I have 2 healed a couple of 10 mans, but still feel more comfortable in the 3 healing environment of current 10 mans.

The bear is really a beast right now and feeling very competent both in number output and survivability. Being able to hit trash packs harder than some DPS is fun, and even on single target I can pull ahead of other tanks. However, the druid seems to be more needed for healing than for tanking and I am getting more proficient at it, at times finding even a little more fun than priest healing.

The DK is just ridiculous. He is the last geared of all my toons but the ones that seems to hit the hardest. He ends up tanking LFR and dungeons but does not seem to find many current raids to do. I wish we had a full time blood DK (I miss you Phaetel!) again, their 4 piece during this tier is all kind of ridiculous.

Last but not least is the warrior. The arms DPS is just amazing right now, but he is not seeing much more than LFR right now. He finally had a decent shield and he seems to be the one I want to transmog. I think he will be PvPing more this patch than actually raiding. He has not had the luck in LFR than will give him his 4 set, and having a full time protection warrior on the raiding team makes it that he is almost exclusive for alt runs.

That is the summary of 4.3 probably the perfect time to get back into the game if Cataclysm was not your cup of tea. It feels almost like Wrath did towards the end. The dungeons are easy to do, the gear is dropping like candy from the heavens above. So come and join the fun. We are actually going to recruit a bit to see if we can get a rated BG team going and our raid team should be killing Deathwing on normal in the coming month!