Ruby Sanctum 10 Man – Down

We actually completed RS the same day it came out. I tanked the clearing of the trash and then healed the initial attempts at Hallion but wanted to go to bed. The group stayed and picked up a couple of pugs and cleared it that night.

We have been pretty busy with ICC but decided to do another guild only attempt this week and even did some hard mode attempts when I forgot to switch it back from doing hard modes in ICC. We cleared the trash in one night and last night came back and actually killed Hallion.

We now have about 4 tanks that know the fight well and while it might not be completely farm status because the trash can be challenging for some groups, the content is now under our belt.

We now have 3 solid 10 man groups going every week and have taken 25 to kill the ugly brothers and blood council. Summer is a hard time to put raid together but we are going strong and this week will concentrate on more LK kills on 10. Darn it, I totally forgot to take a picture!

The End of Guild Hopping

One of the most annoying aspects of running a guild is the hopping. People that come in with the idea that you will get gear, or knowledge and move on to greener pastures when the opportunity is there. While the changes coming in the next expansion will not end this issue, its nice to know that Blizzard is at least trying to discourage it.

Even though we will not know until the expansion is actually released, it seems that they have axed a lot of what would make the guild leveling system a dividing thing (Raiders vs PvPers comes to mind.) As our progression has slowed down and summer is in full force, a lot of us are PvPing a lot more, and having an expansion that would make us pick between being a PvP guild and a Raiding guild would have been a sucky choice to have to make. While our strict PvPers are not many right now, as we all get better at it, we all see lots of fun in it. Heck even my wife now has a spec for PvP and has doing BGs.

I do think that leaving some of the rewards you get from being in a guild behind if you chose to leave its fair. It has been frustrating trying to explain to people that reaching 5K DPS single target does not mean they are raid ready, but I have seen people do it and go get a better “raid” spot. While it has been very few and far between, I rather keep the same group together. The success of a progression raid is directly related to how well the team works together to help each other out. Once you have out-geared content some of those things can be made up with specific players, but when you are trying to get stuff done for the first time you do need that cohesiveness between your team members.

I am sure we will still see guild hoppers come and go in the future, but I think the rewards of being in a guild that works together are finally going to be very tangible in the coming expansion. I am curious if there will be changes to the guild bank, some flexibility there would help tons… also more rank options. The guild leader and officers right now have little tools for managing things or even mass communication, which is ok when you have 20 people in a guild, but when you have over 50 active players it turns into a huge mess.

We will have to wait what those changes mean, and as we get more reports from the people in the beta this expansion seems to really have some meat beyond just new classes and flying all over. I hope that most of it does not end in the cutting floor, specially everything that will regard people for being loyal and hard workers in their guild.

Preparing for Cataclysm

The new expansion promises a lot of new content, but besides the changes to the world itself (and being able to finally fly around everywhere!) the most exciting feature is the changes that encourage people in a guild to work together for shared rewards.

Initially there was going to be a talent tree associated with the whole thing, but the developers made a very wise and removed it. Why would you want to limit your decisions to just a small group of people (do we take things PvE or PvP… do we get this rewards that benefits this 10 people or this 50). Now the rewards are more across the board and I think this was a great axe to something that could have created guild hoping until people found the right set of rewards in a guild.

Professions is something that I did not get into until recently and I between the wife and I we are getting close to having every single profession in the game maxed out. The guild has strong crafters in every spot. From Moon now having every single epic gem pattern in the game, to a couple of our inscriptionist having every singly glyph not to mention enchanters with even the hard to find ones. We will enter the new expansion with people not just eager to conquer new content but also max out their profession and this time the guild will benefit equally from both.

It seems that besides killing Arthras a lot of people are preparing alts to take even possibly a center stage in the next expansion. It provides a great opportunity for you to make an alt your main and enjoy that new content from a different perspective. I am personally very excited about the disc priest being rewarded for DPSing! I cannot wait to start stacking smite and getting benefits from it!

The Fall of the Lich King

Moon and Star used to rock the tag Gutbusters Brigade, from the moment I saw it and chuckled we became fast friends leveling our toons from 40s to 70 running group quests and dungeons when we were on at the same time. Those days I would have never imagined that we would become close friends and now spend even holidays together!

Back then I was very stuck on a guild called The Old School that was run by a former coworker that never truly became a friend (I wish he would just “let it go”, I had never had a dude be as stalker like as some of the crazy chicks I have dated). Eventually drama over at the Gutbusters made it so most of their members were left looking for a home and I totally wanted to play with them because they were a great bunch. That was my first taste of WoW Drama, and the beginning of my distaste for it.

Drama seems to always be the demise of guilds. I got sick of the drama where I was and started to think about going to a raiding guild but my friends did not want me to leave them behind. They believed that we could have a “casual raiding” guild that actually moved forward; at a slow pace, but actually move. I went back and forth and eventually gave into their idea that I could be a great guild leader, so we created the BoondockSaints. The guild grew in days to have more members than I had imagined, I did not know many people had other friends that they just did not want to subject to the past guild. We multiplied to a healthy size and kept the motto of no drama.

We started getting content under our belt and slowly got out of just being able to clear one wing in Naxx to actually stepping into Ulduar and getting past the initial bosses. Suddenly we were not stuck anymore but actually inching forward and catching up with content. It was still challenging and the gear made it simpler but we were actually acquiring skills which are worth a lot more. I still laugh at people that think that WoW is easy now but have never even seen how Putricide or a Val’Kyr can wipe a raid on 270 gear. We had enough to create 2 solid 10 mans and found other like minded people along the way. Uncontrolled Aggro and Eat More Tauren made our guild stronger and more capable. We ended up with several adult couples that play together and wanted to raid but not be nasty to each other when someone did not move out of the fire. (I actually still have to remind people to move out of fires… lol what is it with fires and people wanting to stand in them)

A hunter by the name of Frotobaggins who is one of the coolest cats in the server had once again joined our ranks and since he pugs like no other he started getting some of our raiders into a 25 with one of the progression guild in the server. I knew a couple of the Nightstalkers from previous pugs and because they were willing to help me see more of ICC than the first couple of bosses so I could take our guild further. Things happened over there, they lost members to other guild and to real life situations. Family comes first and those things made it hard for them to keep a guild together. Their leadership thought that I was better at running a guild and they liked the way I ran my raids. I had no clue that a bad ass Lock from another guild and I had a similar speed for running raids so people would be willing to follow two raid leaders when at times is tough to just follow one. He taught me that is possible to run a 25 raid without wanting to quit the game after (I still prefer it when he runs them, I like 10s better).

I had the first big decision of the guild’s life in my hands, the two CO-GMs told me they trusted me with the final decision I would make and support it. I knew in one hand I had a very good problem, actual progression raiders wanting to join our casual guild, in the other I knew some people would be put off by the decision and felt like they were left behind or will be slowed down by us. In the end I decided that you cannot make everyone happy and people will always find a reason to complain, but in the horizon I saw that there would be a reason to celebrate. There was the chance that we, the group of 50s that had no clue about what “LFM Kara Run” in trade chat meant were now healing, DPSing and raid leading current content We could actually be in a guild that killed The Lich King, before the next expansion came out.

The first couple of weeks were not as rocky as I anticipated and even though there will always be a level of weirdness when there is any type of perceived clique, people ran randoms together and 10 mans take less time than a random without a tank to put together. We started going back through content and cleared Ulduar up to the last boss and ToC 10 and 25, and have even attempted and almost cleared TogC. We have struggled with the progression part of things because it is hard to get 25 people in the same page, but even with the issues we are 7/12 on 25 and tonight we could probably go even further.

We have been working on LK since the 15% buff made it possible for us to single tank zerg Sindragosa. When the 20% buff came out I knew it was only a matter of having the correct balance of classes and buffs, but we never seemed to be able to get them on at the same time. Then last Tuesday after a week of running with mixed groups (but getting some people the experience in the later phases of the encounter which is what we needed) we got the combination that we knew will make it happen.

DK – Phaetel (Tank)
Pally – Arthren (Tank)
Pally – Kiree (DPS)
Kitty – Lyrics (DPS)
Mage -UnknownMage (DPS)
Lock – Bootylicous (DPS)
Hunter – Frotobaggins (DPS)
Tree – Sylei (Heals)
Sham – Restoftw (Heals)
Priest – Hollogos (Heals)

This post already went too long, so I will recount how we did it sometime later. Lets just say that I did not even know we were that close to being done when I saw the OT get aggro and tried to bubble him and pennance him… I knew everyone dies in the end of the encounter but was totally surprised when we started to hear the screams over vent. Better yet, my wife was now a WoW player as well and could understand what we had just accomplished. I think she screamed more than I did and even woke me up the next morning to, THE LICH KING IS DEAD! Congratulations Kingslayers!

I Hate Defile

This is officially the second week that we have been working on The Lich King. The 20% buff has made it that we can now do a full clear up to The Lich King in a little over 3 hours and our time will continue to improve ever week. Now more and more people are getting used to the harder fights, and our strategy of single tanking Sindragosa works like a charm since we have some pretty strong (overgeared) players for 10.

Arthras is a whole different story. Working on that fight is a pain in the butt unless you have the same group every time. We have not had the same group yet, but we are now consistently getting pwned in the past phase by the combination of defile and the kamikaze ghost. The ghost we can survive if all of our healers are alive and well, defile seems to be the thing that is the most annoying.

Defile as a game mechanic has 2 big annoyances. The first is that the animation is not accurate and even when you think you are out of it, you might still be standing on it and making it bigger. The other one is that the tank can get it… and where there is a tank there is going to be mele DPS… two people in one defile means double the fun and exponentially easier to end up paying a repair bill. We are getting better at it, we just need to have the same group in there twice in a row and he will be history.

Our 25 mans are going better (We killed both fester and rott last week), or maybe worse depending on who you ask. In one day we can clear 6 or 7/12 on regular mode, but the continuation seem to not happen. I am thinking of changing the schedule completely this week and dare I say… pug the continuation if we only have 20 people. I hate puggin when we have the numbers just an hour after we started doing something else, but with summer here and less people loggin it might just have to happen. Just don’t come crying at me when you lose your shinny purple to a pug.

I also finally tried Starcraft II, I had the beta key for a while but had not tried it. I am sorry to say that I am pretty disappointed with the game that seems to have been years and years in the making. I honestly don’t see anything groundbreaking on it and it simply feels dated already… it has not even been release yet. I might have to get into FPSs again since we seem to have a big group of C.O.D players in the guild. Now Diablo III has me a little more excited about. That and Cata is looking just awesome and all the guild related stuff is going to be amazing. I hope I get to play some of both of those in Blizzcon.

So lets hope that today Arthras finally quits killing us with that defile today and we can start unlocking heroic modes in our 10 mans. Ruby Sanctum is around the corner and it might put the 25 in the back burner for the summer, but I think that concentrating on 10 mans might not be that bad after-all.

ICC 10 Sindragosa – 25 Blood Council DOWN

Yesterday was a very productive progression day. We started with 25 man ICC and after one shotting Cpn Crunch we moved onto work on Blood Council. We had Festergut and Rottface already down path but knew putricide would still be tough even with the 15% buff. We are still gearing a lot of people for 25. However we wanted to start trying 25 Blood Council since we had the group composition to do it. We tried it the first time and it was a rough fight. We had many people that had not even seen the fight on 10 man yet. The second try we did a lot better. We were prepared to just get some attempts in so we could get more people used to the fight. We did not expect to get as good as we did so quickly… all of a sudden it started to see very possible to actually get it done and after a clean attempt we got all of the prices down! BAM.

I had to heal the warlock tank for this fight. Its not an easy thing to do because there are so many AOEs going on in the room and he has to constantly move to pick up orbs, but with the help from other amazing heals we were able to get it done!

Blood Council Kill

Then we took a little break and did Ony25 for some alts and new people and got some awesome loot out there. I ended up tanking it and getting the 25man version of the resistance helmet. On the progression raid I always go in as a healer, but since none of our other progression tanks were on and I had just semicompleted a nice frost resistance set we decided to work on Sindragosa. Little did we know that we were going to get her under 1 mil on the first attempt. We had to adjust a couple of things in our strategy since we decided to single tank the fight. After everyone got to know the fight better (the fight is all about position and knowing when to run like crazy) we beat the crap out of the dragon and got to take couple of just (lets see how the fight is) with Arthras.

Sindragosa Kill

So in a night that we thought we were just going to get some new people to see the fights we actually progressed in content! I am still pretty excited to have both tanked and healed the fights. Its kind of cool to say that I actually single tanked Sindragosa! and we are only the second guild in the alliance side to have hit her over the head.

Gear, You Produce Jealosy I Fear

Ah the joys of being a WoW CO-GM.

Even though we don’t recruit in trade chat or have open application drives we have steadly grown as a guild. We have added severa groups of players to our guild and recently merged with a guild that was larger and further in progression than we were. Heck they pretty much were responsible for our progression up to that point becaue they allowed us to fill up spots on their 10s and their 25s. Our guild growth has always been done through relationships with other guilds or people and even with the new influx, it still feels like home.

I have been trying to watch the merger closely and even though I predicted that it will have more positive than negative points, there are still plenty of people in either side of the merge that feel like the bad outweights the good. The simple solution is always, the door is wide open… but surprisingly that has only been the case for maybe a handful of people. I would say the mayority of people like our ways and are starting to settle in quite confortably.

Even though we don’t tell everyone, the officers and GMs have been dealing with quite a bit lately. We have to dispel fears that other people are taking over, or that now we are a hardcore raiding guild and our days of taking the time to explain fights are over. While all of that is nonsense, it is rooted in perception and it quickly becomes reality.

After the two intial weeks we have a simple plan. We are going to make or 25 man progression group stronger by concentrating on 10 mans and leaving the 25 man as a regular run for a bit. It will allow us to slow down and let everyone that has not been that far to progress. Our goal is to have every 10 man progress to our 25 man proression level and leave only one 10 man group to work on Sindragosa. The more people that get geared and learn the fights, the better.

Now he challenging part is the gear, point systems and drop rates. I want everyone to switch gears and look at things from 3 perspectives of play.

One person has been diligently taken our advice on running randoms and getting embles for their first tier set. They recently learned about a set bonus and only play a couple of nights a week but their progress is slow. They were told that soon they will be getting to ICC and they are only waiting on that elusive drop from the ICC 10 mans. To me this is the perfect example of a true casual player.

Somene else has been dodging bone spikes since the first day the content was released and remembers when putricide only had 10 attempts. They have helped several people that promised to stick around gear up only to have them switch guilds, factions or even server. They have not seen a new piece drop for weeks and the content for them is getting as stale as killing rats for candles.

The third and last type is the one playing quick catchup. They might have taken a break from the game for whatever reason, but have the skills and time to gear up quickly. They can get ther tier gear in a couple of days instead of a couple of weeks. They can also deal more damage, heals or know how to kite better than someone with better gear.

If you run a raid or a guild, trying to build a house for all of this guys is more complicated than chinese alphabet soup.

Enter the BoodockSaints. Our philosopy is simple. We want to game with our friends and tolerate zero drama. Our mayor goal is to allow everyone to see the content they paid for when they purchased the game or te expansion because we find it unfair that it has always been only a few that get to see current content. That however has changed quite a bit. We slow down most of our raids to the speed of our slowest player, and are catering to a new audience now by also hosting progression raids. Like our speed of players we also have our speed of raid leader. Some of us will go very slow, some of us will not be cool with staying in the fire too long and causing

Shinny New Gear
Can spell the demise of guild my Dear

Then I read this article and it bring everything back into focus for me. (please go read it, its a good one)

This is exactly why I don’t reward tantrum or drama. /gquits – angry DC’s – whinny whispers about loot rules. All that stuff to me is simply the inmature way to deal with issues and it should not be acknowledged. Like my no revolving door policy, (talk to an officer before you leave for greener pastures or you will not be returning to eat our less shinny grass.) think about how your actions affect the group. A guild is only as successful as their member willingness to do what is best for the group and not just themselves. That is one of the reasons I cannot wait for the new expansion and shinny loot that stays with the guild when someone decides to gquit.

In conclusion we are not perfect, but the officers and I are trying hard to make it fun for everyone. From running old content for achievements to running 25 man rep runs. Eveyone is welcome to suggest things that they want the group to back them up with. Just make sure that the next time you don’t like something, instead of whinning about it, see if you can present a solution to the problem. To parapharse a really hard working dude on a crab fishing boat from the deadliest catch. “Complaining is like a rocking chair, it gives you smething to do but it will not take you anywhere.”

I cannot wait to go on our next Bear Mount Run!

New ICC Raids

Here is the way the new raids are going to be setup.

ICC 25 (Up to Gunship) (1DKP)

Depending on availability and what the weekly is, we will be running ICC 25 on Tuesday and it is open to anyone’s main, and even some alts. Priority for this run will be mains first. Loot distibution will be DKP.

The reasoning behind this run is simple. If anyone in progression 25 still needs a drop from these first bosses has priority and will have the flexibility to use their DKP points. If you don’t need anything from here you don’t have to attend or get a chance to get an alt in. If you want to join the 25 progression group, this is the place to show us what you can do. Also it is great opportunity for people to get gear and experience in a 25 man raid environmenct. You can also start earning DKP points for future progression raid.

ICC25 Progression (Sourfang and Up) (2DKP)

Raid by invite only and for mains only. One point to show up, one point for staying the duration. See guild schedule for detail.

ICC 10s

Depends on raid leaders availability. Our progression 10 is at Sindragosa and getting closer to TLK. Once we have him down we will have the raid leaders split up and run more clean ICC 10s. We currently have 3 non progression 10s scheduled, but as more people are geared this number will go up.

Again, e-mail me questions you might have and I will do my best to keep this updated.

Loot Rules

Ah, the beauty of having new problems in a guild that overnight multiplied.

Ok, so now we have a new issue, but in my opinion it is a good one. We now have a progression 10 group and a progression 25 group. The problem is that now we have to change our loot rules, well, just a bit, and just for that.

We have been a loot council guild from the begining. It has worked for us becase we all know each other pretty well and in 10 man there is hardly ever 10 people that can use the same piece. However, a 25 and a progression 10 are totally different monsters, so we have inhereted the DKP system that was in place before wher most of our serious raiders come from.

First let me say that there is no perfect loot system out there. Some benefit those that are hardcore and have the time to show up to ever raid, some benefit the lucky roller (and lucky with drops, that happen to be in a raid where nobody else needs the gear). In the end I think our method of loot council of replacing the worse pieceof gear in the party works when you know everyone very well. The roll system of one piece per run, and MS before OS works well when we have pugs.

DKP is pretty straigh forward. It rewards participation and sticking it out through wipes. There are no rewards for the, “Sowwy guyz, I dizconetz.” when you are working on progression. You show up, you get a point. You stick it out, you get another point. We added a little confusion by allowing more people to go to 25 by starting it earlier in the week just to clear up to gunship. We think it will work out well because it gets people a chance to show us they can handle 25 and joining our progression group while giving them also a chance a loot. Of course if a progression persons shows up to the early start the will have a higher chance at loot because they are accumulating more points. Badges, a chance to learn the content and chances at primodial Soronite are all good incentives though.

BOE items during this run will go to the GB as well as patterns. Soronite in all progressions runs goes to the GB so we can get more crafters with all the patters from ICC. (I am working on the list, I promise, just have not had the time.)

I hope this makes it all a little clearer. Send me a message in game or e-mail me if you have questions an I will update this post!

Progression is a Ladder NOT a slope

It still amazes me that people think that they don’t have to constantly work on their class to reach new levels, even after 80. Some people think that squeezing X amount of DPS on Y fight makes them automatically raiders, and that could not be further from the truth.

Being a progression raider is having the patience to wipe not just 3 times in a boss, but 30. While your progression group on 10 might be clearing content, a group gearing it behind it will wipe a lot more. Just having one uncommitted player will wipe a raid very easily, and that is not even counting the people that forget to switch specs, equip their weapon after fishing or having technical difficulties. After wipping over and over on a boss because people don’t seem to be able to kill the spikes, move out of the fire or poison or simply cannot run away when the wolf yells at you (not to mention how expensive things get when you have better gear); you cannot blame people for not wanting to do something over and over.

Enter our guild, our mantra has leaned more towards the constant wipes on the same content until everyone gets it. Now that we have grown, we have amongst us people that might want to help but are not really into the business of waiting for someone to “get” a fight. They see the game from the mechanics perspective and one a mechanic like “move out of the fire” is in their arsenal, they don’t understand why the pretty blue flames are any different or harder for people to grasp than the green flames or purple puddles.

I don’t blame them for feeling that way. I sometimes feel that same way too, however I play the game for the social aspect as much as I play it for the kill the dragon aspect. I love my guildies, I love that the guild gives them the opportunity to see content that they might have never reach in other guilds. I love watching the progress and getting advice from one of the people that gets study the class they play like a college course. Even before we got the talent that we now have we had already progressed beyond my wildest imagination where there was only a dozen of us starting out.

However there is something I want everyone to understand about progression and our guild. Every new boss requires you to use skill that you should already have but in addition there is coordination, gear requirements (resistance, DPS level), homework and attitude. You will see guilds that are very geared but still cannot get a boss down, and it happens because the teamwork is not there. To have progression you have to balance all of those things or you will be hitting walls over and over. No raider, even in our very helpful guild, will be happy to carry you to the next step, lend a hand sure, push your butt to the next step? no.

Progression is NOT about gearscore. Progression is simply about being able to do what you are supposed to do when the raid leader asks you to do it. Be it, move out of the fire, or only heal to 50% because anything else will actually heal the boss that you are about to kill. Also understand that that ladder can turn into a slide very quickly (almost like a cartoon mouse turning a switch on that pesky cat) when you lose a key player. Be patient, progression takes time, and if you are told you are not ready don’t get mad, ask what will make me ready? The cake is not green!

Even in the days of loot falling out of the sky, not many guilds are farming ICC. We are now right in the progression race and this week actually got to Sindragosa with one of our 10 mans. Like one of our guildies said, you can smell the lich king from there, and yes we do smell blood.