Master Looter vs Personal Loot

Before I get into the meat of the post let me make it clear that I am biased towards personal loot from the start. I will try to be impartial when discussing the topic but at the end of the day not having to hand out gear and make mistakes (we are after all humans.) makes things a lot simpler.

Lets get some facts out of the way.

Master Looter does mean that every boss will drop a certain number of items. 1 drop per 5 raiders (on our 20s, that means 4 drops per boss)

Master looter puts the randomness on what gear drops (we could get 4 plate belts)

Seals of faith (extra roll) works with either system.

Lets get some of the fluff stuff.

Personal loot can seem very *unlucky to some.

Master looter does have the feel of handing out presents (hey, at least someone got something for Christmas)

Master looter allows for funneling gear (we are doing normal, we are geared, lets gear player X) – can feel positive or negative.

Master looter WILL create loot drama. As much faith as I have on people passing on things, someone, somewher

Master looter can be a burden *keeping track of who is getting gear vs who is not.

Master looter /roll can give gear to those that might not be performing or participating often which might piss off those that show up every raid night.

So after reading all of this you might be questioning why on earth as a group we would use Master Looter instead of the easy Personal Loot system, and it is because most people have felt quite unlucky during our runs. Not sure if it is because we have been hovering between 15 and 25, but it has not seemed to us at least like we have been getting 3-5 drops per boss, not counting coins.

Most of the gear that I have personally has come via extra roll. Even with not garrison effort you can buy an extra roll every week for 500 gold. I am not saying this should be required, but your gear woes could be drastically lessened if you rolled more often. Or maybe not, some of the people that have felt short changed have been rolling extra on almost every boss.

So with all of that said I want to give Master Looter a chance going forward, but I want to make it democratic. I am leaning towards making it an vote right before we start a raid (or switch difficulties) and making it a majority rules type of situation. However, I do want to hear your thoughts. Some people are more vocal than others, so I don’t want to discuss this in the middle of a raid but let you guys have some time to think about it before next Tuesday.

6.0 Eve, will WoD see me play more?

Last week i decided that I still enjoy the game and even the impending changes to everything that is currently WoW will be for the better. This week felt pretty fantastic for me as both a player and a GM. We finished SoO months ago… too long ago really. Heroic did not feel compelling to enough people not to enjoy the summer so we took a good break. Last week we got the last guildie that wanted Ahead of the Curve and their nerd pony through SoO normal. I heal all the challenge modes on gold and Landi got all silver for her mount. Not that we had a big list but it was good to get that out of the way before 6.0 which actually drops tomorrow.

So what is actually happening? Here are some of the things that I think affect a guild of casual players.

So Guild levels are gone, most perks also go away, but we do get to keep mass res and remote guild bank.

SoO is going Flex for normal and heroic, Mythic will obviously be 20. So tonight is your last chance to do a 25 man… if you are going to miss that size at all. What is even better though is that looking for that elusive Heirloom weapon is going to be easier with a guaranteed first drop. (make sure you pick the right specialization)

There are going to be tons of class changes, however the big ones that affect all are that reforging, Hit, Expertise, Dodge, Parry, all gone from stats.

Our bank is going to get a little cleaner with now having the Toy box, reagent bank and additional void storage.

All your auctions are belong to us! well basically all AHs are being merged, Alliance, Horde and Neutral.

Today is the last day for you to complete Challenge Modes and get the current rewards as well as Ahead of the Curve for SoO.

There are many other changes coming with this patch and WoD, but those are probably the ones that will be at the top of our guildies list.

Blizzcon – Warlords of Draenor

When you go to a con it is hard to separate your experience with people from the excitement of just being part of what is being shown, sold, advertised or just free. Blizzcon takes that to the next level because it is a great community mixed in with taking their games further. I would never finish a post if I talked about everything about the con, so I will ignore for now all the personal interactions I had (met so many cool people), the fact that we entered the con with just 3 games they supported and exited with 5… the 2 new ones that I will be an avid player of… and also ignore that tournaments happened there and money was made. I could talk for probably a good month every day about every idea that comes to mind just from 2 days of being there. Keep in mind that Blizzard as a company interacts directly with its customers there… from the dude that answers your tickets to the dude that runs the company. You can shake hands with them.

So lets get to the meat and just talk about WoW. There are plenty of people out there just gushing about how awesome this is, and how awesome that is. Also plenty of doomsayers. One thing that we need to keep in mind is that everything that was said is subject to change. That said a lot was announced that can change the game quite a bit for everyone. The fact that some statements were made that we are not doing this to dumb the game down it says that they expected that in some level.

So Warlords of Draenor. We go back to outland before it was blown up. It is interesting to me that Cata was all about blowing up a world we already knew to pieces and Draenor is about seeing a world put back together. I don’t feel cheated with the whole back to the future thing, I do feel like there is a lot of opportunity for time travel fun stuff. Time travel has been part of WoW for a long time… I mean we do have a place called the caverns of time where the quests and lore are all about time travel. Heck, even cata involved a ton of time travel. So I am not mad about them using this story telling tool and I am excited to see a brand new world. I am not going to do an outland comparison in my head but just tackle it as a brand new world.

The next big change that is coming and could be significant is their revamp of itemization. Items are way too complicated right now. They always have been, we just learn and kind of ignore it but we all know that warrior on intellect plate. That issue is going away and it needed to. Not just to save people from their noobness but because it really served no purpose other than bloat in the game. Stats in an item need to be interesting and engaging and not be about getting a math degree while you play a video game. The min maxing that the game got to is kind of ridiculous and I know some people enjoy that aspect but if you want a math degree, do math. I was happy with letting software do the calculations for me and I am glad that I am not going to have to check a website to tell me what stat does what til what breakpoint. You get plate, you get to use it. You want to tank, just switch spec… you don’t have to change all your armor just some of the trinkets you use. It make sense, it clear bag space and it will be awesome. They are also simplifying things by making the numbers smaller. They needed to, it was getting way out of hand. I welcome all this simplification and don’t find it to be a dumbing down of the game.

While connected realms were not announced here they are one of the many systems that are going to support the changes they are doing. Even though they keep on saying that population control and faction balance is not why they are doing it, they might eventually have to. For now we should be happy that realms with no people are finally getting some help. While this system might have been something they wanted to do for a while the upcoming raiding changes made it a necessity.

Right now raiding has been in flux since WotLK. We had grown to a place in raiding back then that had flexibility. You could do raid on 10 or 25 and manage difficulty kind of that way. That changed dramatically when Cata came and difficulty went up and lockouts were shared. They admittedly tried to play nanny in some ways so that people did not have to run the same content multiple times… that said it also removed the amount of “content” people had. Slowly but surely since then the flexibility of raiding has grown again and during this patch we have 4 difficulties. LFR, Flex, Normal and Heroic. After the expansion we are going to get that same level of difficulty but we have a curv ball. Group sizes are flexible up until you want to do the hardest mode, the new Mythic. so LFR, Normal and Heroic will be 10-25, and the new hard mode will be 20.

There are many, many reasons for this and here are some of the biggest guesses I have behind the motivations.

25 man raiding was in decline. While many people say that 25 is the way to go, many 25 man raiding teams in all levels of play normal and heroic were just not being able to fill rosters consistently.

10 man tunning was way too difficult and restricting. You had to account for a group like us that ends up with too many DKs and too many hunters. In a larger raid size that is not a big issue, but for 10 man you have to allow groups like this to still be viable. When you are trying to make content that is challenging you have to make things a little tighter and 10 man heroic was really all over the place when it came to tunning. I can tell you this because during Cata I did a lot more heroic pulls than in MoP. The difficulty level at 10 man was just nuts when it came to execution, I cannot imagine now tunning that was.

They were creating more content than before and not able to have people play it. Raids are amazing assets to build, but when a big portion of your player base does not experience it, it does not count as content. Raids are going to be more accessible now by a bigger number of people and that is going to hopefully breathe new life into the raiding and the game.

The biggest problem with MoP was dailies. They were a barrier of entry for returning players and burned out a lot of their playerbase. I know in our little microcosm that it cost us 2 of our regular players. Thankfully daily quests seem to be a thing of the pasts and rewards seem to be easier to get now. I think the changes to itemization and raiding might bring some of them back. I can only hope. In the end, we play this game to interact with friends… that is what makes it an MMO right?

Wipe Threshold

A while back I wrote a post called “The Raider Code.” Back when I wrote that post LFR was not what it is today and we did not know how much it would change the game. My wipe threshold used to be in the 100s because I used to not mind at all teaching the fights to other people. Today raiding is a different game. Nobody has the patience to learn a fight anymore. There is a video of it, there is LFR, there is just one wipe. There is no wipe Threshold, bosses should just be dropping at the sheer size of our purples. I see people geared better than me under performing all the time, and I asked myself why is the gap so big? I think the answer is LFR.

Cataclysm started to create the division between people that enjoyed learning mechanics to kill bosses and people that would just rather not die even once. You can be very good at WoW, good at questing, good at gathering, good at the auction house; but just like with any other skill practice is what will make you good at those things. I like raiding, I have done it since late BC and had plenty of chances to die because of mechanics. However, the learning curve was different for me than someone that started raiding in this expansion. I have died to mechanics over and over before, so I know that standing on something that makes me lose health will kill me. I have done content when even a couple of second of standing on something or not reacting to means everyone dies. Those mechanics are things I do without even thinking now, but not everyone has had the same number of wipes I have. Another factor is computing power. I was reminded of this not too long ago when I had to play WoW on a 2 year old laptop. The game has changed so much in this last couple of years that it almost feels unplayable. I say almost because even though I would not dare to raid on a slow connection I was able to complete an LFR. That is where my issue comes with the game today, LFR is killing the game for me.

I used to be content doing normal modes most of the time and heroics when I could get a group going that wanted to wipe a little more. Today, that same group can only do normals. Its weird but content has become so challenging that to have progression rate of any kind the mechanics have to be super complex on the surface. I would not say challenging because in reality none of what we see today in LFR or normals is really challenging with a group of seasoned raiders, however to think that someone that has been only raiding LFR can do normals is unrealistic.

A lot of people that used to play before are now content only seeing bosses via LFR. That alone poaches the numbers of normal raiders everywhere. After a couple of weeks of clearing an instance or completing the part of the legendary quest they need there is really no incentive to keep playing. Better gear with a little more stats is not enough. Being able to upgrade that gear with valor is not enough. There is really no intensive for someone to wipe 100 times trying to do a boss in normal if they can just go to LFR and LOL 6 Deternimation stacks DERP!

Raiding used to be an exercise in learning mechanics at a certain pace. Some guild could do 30 pulls in one night, others only 10… now most groups are tired after just a handful. Why would you want to have a repair bill if you can just do LFR? It really makes no sense to wipe over and over for just a little more item levels and stats. I really can’t argue with that point and sometimes I question my sanity for trying to still raid normals.

I am curious though, and the reason for this post is kind of to find out within the player base we have in our guild, what kind of players do we have today?

Making LFR harder or normals easier won’t solve the problem either. I know LFR itself is making me want to stop playing WoW because of the toxic behavior that almost every group has. A tool like LFR should have a ranking system that will allow you to rate other players… then again, they would never do that in WoW.

The Current State of WoW


Some days I feel like not playing WoW anymore. There are tons of things to do in the back yard, a lot of more reading I want to do, learning another language… the list goes on and on. Then I actually jump into the game and use it for what I have always used it for, catch up with a friend about their week. Since I started playing WoW the social aspect is what has kept me logging in again and again.

I got really close to quitting WoW last week. Weather is getting nice, I just got back from a quick bike ride and I thought, man I really don’t want to log into the game at all. Then I realized something, I was not enjoying the social aspect of the game anymore. The game to me has always been about doing things with my friends, be it raiding, PvP or just the grinding of questing was all done with friends and had a blast. I was raiding with a group I was getting to know and liked, but the format (25 man somewhat progression oriented) and the pace (3 days a week) was simply not for me. I started to dislike the game and it made me take a step back and look at why I was playing the game.

Cataclysm really killed the game for me in many ways. MoP revived it in some ways, but the daily grind killed it for many of my friends. We were left with a small group of people that still wanted to play but simply not the numbers to do so. For a while we struggled trying to do the raid thing until people just not showing up became an issue. We thought a larger group will be the solution but it really was not.

Blizzard is getting better and better about tuning, not just raid bosses but the game overall. It does not take a whole expansion to fix the big issues but rather a patch.

The beginning of MoP gave us a wonderful new place to discover until the moment we started to play our alts and realized that we had a lot of content to redo with them… the problem was that it was the same content we already did with our main. Cataclysm had done a huge disservice to all of us getting us used to instant catch up for alts, instead we were met with the reality that if you wanted an alt with a max profession you would have to not only get that toon to 90, but you also had to do the whole reputation grind. If you wanted to get that toon ready for raiding… good luck, drops are not easy to come by and the valor gear is double gated (valor points + rep to buy them). It really punished the people that got used to having a stable of max level characters to raid with… I think it hit harder the medium level guilds like ours that relied on alts to do more than just one raid group a week. While you can argue that LFR is for those people, the fact is that LFR unless you have 25 people you know is an exercise in patience… I dread joining LFR… LFR is worse than pugging.

So that burned a lot of people out.

Then this last patch came out and things got a little more stable again. There is no instant catchup like there used to be, but you can very easily jump from regular to heroics to LRF now. The drop rates are way more forgiving and the last 2 rep grinds are almost enjoyable (unless you want to do them on an alt.) This is a great time to come back to the game. In one week of Shield Wall dailies and new Thunder Isle with some luck you can be ready to join a raid team. The story part is also pretty amazing, and if you want to take your time and just do one part at a time it is actually quite a great piece of story telling.

I know this post is all over the place but since I have not blogged in so long I just wanted to put some of it down just to get it out.

I guess what I am trying to say is that overall I am enjoying WoW and mostly because of the social aspect. I still love playing with my friends in a relaxed environment. I am not interested in heroic raiding anymore, just normal raiding seems to be a good difficulty. Getting Firelord or two healing Spine before MoP came out were not the experiences I thought they would be… mostly because I was not doing it with my friends. The most fun I have with this game is downing a new boss with a group of my friends. I have to keep that in mind and continue to have fun with the game, I have never cared about geared and I already proved it to myself that I can play at a more hardcore level… it is just simply not for me. I have a lot more fun making fun of Froto or Kati for standing on something or blinking off the ship 🙂

Will Challenge Modes Kill Raiding?

One of the features that I have been looking forward to is challenge modes. When it comes to content and lockouts, the game has made it so my friend Froto once he is locked to the instances for the week he has nothing to do. If I did not have alts I would be on the same boat.

I pride myself on being a decent tank and a slightly better healer. We have exceptional players in the guild right now, but we are a couple of people short of a solid 10 man raiding wrecking crew. That said we do have an amazing challenge mode team. We have always dominated dungeons and have been doing speed runs just to compare with each other. Now there is bling involved which will make it even cooler.

There has been a lot of crying from 25 man guilds that not giving them a higher status when it comes to rewards killed them. I did see that in the old server when a belt dropping 3 weeks in a row lead to gear drama and a 25 man groups demise.

I seem to be in the minority with GrumpyElf. I don’t care about gear. I do however like mounts and titles. Gear to me is an annoyance that has created nothing but drama. People seem obsessed with collecting it and when they do, they feel like they are done and don’t want to collect it for others. I think if we all kept our awesome gear for a whole expansion with new content, the game would be more enjoyable.

Gear has become a meaningless grind and I think the fun will be in challenge modes.

I mean, you can get legendaries that the next expansion makes useless. That just does not seem fair after all the work you put into them.

I don’t hope it kills raiding altogether, or raiding guild themselves. I do think that it will be people like me that like the challenge with a group.

The fun in raiding has dwindled for many. Even thought the game has grown to a healthy size, the raiding population at the hardcore level seems to be shrinking. The biggest reason is that not many people have the amount of time or stomach it takes to wipe to a boss 400 times. I however enjoy trying to figure out the best pull for every trash group in a dungeon. I think having hardcore guilds figure out the most effective way to do something takes the fun out of it. Gear makes it so instead of having fun with encounters we want to maximize kills so people get more gear.

I think challenge modes will be happy mediums.

I am still trying to figure out what the right speed will be for our guild. Do we want to be ready to clear regular dungeons and start on heroics ASAP and make that the progression level? or do we want to kill a boss per week and make the content last?

People will have a week to check things out, hopefully I can recruit a couple more people for permanent spots and we will have a raiding meeting to iron things out. I am very excited about pandas and pet battles… but I can’t wait to see what challenge modes will do and how they will change the game.

Why Does My DPS Suck? – Cool Downs

The “Why Does My DPS suck?” is a post series written for the person starting to raid. While a raider might learn a thing or two, it is written more for the WoW Rookie than for the WoW Pro.

Why Does My DPS Suck?

Add Ons

If you have ever listened on a raid, you might have heard the Raid Leader say, “pop your cooldowns!” sounds like fun doesn’t. If you want to get into raiding one of the first things you should do is ask if you can listen in on a raid. You will start to get a sense of what is said during the fight. You might be lost at first, but if you que up the videos of the bosses the raid team is attempting you might get a good visual of what they are facing.

Cooldown management is something a lot of new DPS have trouble with. Healers learn quickly that you have to use mana regen abilities to keep their mana pool going, but some DPS don’t know how much DPS they are leaving on the table by not using their cooldowns correctly.

Cooldowns are abilities that give you a boost but have a reset timer. Think of them as the “nitro” boost you see on some racing games. They come in a lot of different shapes and sizes, but they accomplish the same thing, they give you more DPS.

Your trinkets might have something called a “proc” which means you don’t have to worry about them, but if they are an “on use” trinket, that means that you have to click it to get the boost. The simplest way to start experimenting with this cooldown is just to drag the trinket to your bar and use it on click. Another way is probably to macro it to an ability that you already use. The best way is to know exactly when to use it and be smart about it.

Like your trinkets, most classes have abilities that allows them to do a lot more DPS for a short time. You might have heard the term “burst damage” being used. Some classes have lots of it, meaning they pack a punch when they use all their cooldowns. At one point some classes used to be able to line up several and the fabled “one shot macros” were all the rage on PvP. That does not happen all that much anymore, but you can still pack a lot of DPS in a short period of time.

The fight against Deathwing calls for it a lot. This is where saving your cooldowns for that moment it is needed is critical.

If you have played with a Demo Warlock you have probably noticed that they go on demon form. That is one of their DPS cooldowns. You might have also seen a mage get turned into a human icicle, that is a defensive cooldown. You might be thinking that you don’t care about defensive cooldowns, but they are just as important… a dead DPS does ZERO DPS.

As important as finding out what your cooldowns are, it is when to use them. Every boss is different, and also every raid team lines them up a little different.

There are also cooldowns that affect the whole raid like Heroism/Lust. You have to learn when to use your cooldowns and how they are affected by other cooldowns. If your cooldown gives you more strenght, then it is prime for using during the Heroism/Lust phase; however if you cooldown gives you haste, it might not help that much since Heroism/Lust is already giving you that stat and probably will simply be a wasted cooldown.

So your homework is to investigate what your cooldowns are and make sure that they are available in your arsenal. Play around with them and see how they affect your numbers. Are they things you want to use every time they are up? or are they ones that can be saved for burn down phases? Its all part of the fun of the game.

Happy Hunting.

Gear Inflation

I don’t think it is a secret anymore, the people at the top 100 guild raiding level believe that “Raiding is for ONLY the RAIDERS!” They are really not interested in anyone else joining them. The more people that become better and become “raiders” the less “special” they feel.

The question really is, who are truly the raiders?

WoW has an issue with labels. Raider is probably the one that most people want to use for themselves but nobody really understands anymore. Raider is a catch all term for anyone that goes into an instance that requires more than 5 players. However there is a big gap from a person that killed Kelthuzad when Naxx was a 40 man and someone that killed Deathwing in LFR.

Time put into the game aside, there are plenty of BC and Wrath babies out there that are now raiding, there are huge factors that change how you look at those people.

The raider code is kind of an attempt at further defining that, but in reality a raider has been and will be defined by their gear.

If your gear says heroic and your ilvl is maxed out, you are at the top of your game. You might not be a hardcore raider, you might have been carried… but in the end the prestige of that gear is there.

Some of those people are now really troubled by the fact that anyone can now have a 4 set.

That used to separate people that could do progression vs people that could not. Now that 4 set capability is available to not just LFR babies, but normal mode teams.

Before the LFR our raid team had maybe 2/3 people with 4 set per tier if we were lucky. Now we have about 15 toons with 4 sets. That makes a huge difference. Something that was pretty unattainable for us before because of luck (some tokens seemed to never want to drop.) or just lack of progression, is now there.

The agility trinket that would have taken us probably months for our 2 hunters to get, I think they both have now. I remember deathbringers will almost broke up our raid team before. Once piece of gear… and so much drama. Can paladin’s really benefit? Why is that hunter getting it if so already got it… oh no we pug one DPS and he wins the roll for the trinket I waited 4 months for! I do not miss those days.

Now in our normal raid everyone passes on gear if they have the LFR version. I don’t even have to use loot council or points anymore to track gear. We know we can fill the gaps later. Same thing when I pug, I give loot to their toons because I am raiding on an alt with LFR gear… it does not hurt me, it helps other raid teams. (I prefer to pug normal with other guild teams rather than full trade chat pug.)

So from my point of view this is all unicorn and rainbows, but Raiders of the hardcore flavor are starting to say that “bads” don’t deserve 4 set. The same people that don’t understand that LFR is really not tuned or targeted at them, now feel that others don’t deserve the 4 set.

Is this whole prestige thing really that important to people?

I simply don’t get it, and not because I cannot attain it either… I am sure if I put enough effort into it I could probably be in a guild raiding more competitively, but I like raiding with my friends and our wives.

So I don’t think making it easy to gear right now and 4 set available to everyone is a bad thing for the game or for raiding. How do you feel about it? Seriously… is someone like me not worthy of a 4 set? Should we go back to a place where only a couple of people are able to attain it on a normal mode raiding guild?

I hate Douchewing

He has spent an entire expansion frying me like only goblins should be fried (I wonder if they taste like frog legs… I have never had froglegs btw.)

Well in reality, I have summoned more people to their death than I should be comfortable with. Only in our game do we get excited about someone getting an achievement that involved walking into a wall of fire to get a “Charred and Crispy” achievement.

Killing Ragnaros with new acquaintances in a new server felt really weird. I was used to only killing stuff with guildies. Sure in WoTLK I did a lot of Naxx, Ulduar and ToC with pugs… but after getting Kingslayers I thought it would always be a guild affair to down a new boss.

So I said to myself, lets make sure we kill Douchewing together… however Mr Frotobaggins had other plans. Elune bless him… he can pug like no other.

I knew he had been close to killing Douchewing before, with 3% wipes that seemed to be hunting him and the pug group that seemed to clean up the place after we were done with our attempts on the ship.

I was about to log off last night, and I recognized the person spamming in tradechat as possibly one of the people Froto was in Dragon Soul with. They needed a Disc Priest… I asked Froto, how are the attempts going… and he said, we need a disc priest. I cursed a little under my breath and told the pug RL that I will be right back on my priest.

3 attempts later and we had the shinny new “Destroyers End” title.

I should be happy right, I killed Douchewing before the OMG NERF! and sure, I am in some level. I know that what Froto and I did will help our future raids quite a bit. We now know what it takes to down that humongous dragon.

We could have never done that in our last server. This server has a lot of great pug raids… it seems like the quality of people is about our speed. No it is not a “everyone is awesome realm” more of a “everyone seems to be a decent person.”

There was excitement in vent after the kill. It was a first kill for everyone in the group. Besides my guild mate, it looked like it was a combination of groups of 2 from some guilds I recognized and some I had never heard of before.

The Douchewing fight is not too bad (madness that is) it just required lots of DPS and very frantic healing during some of the fight.

I was assigned the very daunting task of healing the tank as the last elementium bolt tried to just decimate us. The last burn phase with the adds is just as frantic and we ended up with only 3 people alive when he finally gave us the shinnies… none for me or froto because his /roll skills sucked.

The fight is actually very similar to the LFR, but just a lot more damage.

Most groups in the LFR go Left – Left – Right/Right/Right, but I guess the normal version goes Left/Left – Right – Right/Right. Other than that it seemed to be the same, just requiring tons more numbers… I think everyone was 40K plus on DPS… and I contributed about 10K worth of smite healing.

Without coordinating the healing cooldowns I think it went pretty well. The group seemed somewhat DPS centric with lots of big numbers just killing things quickly rather than tank or healing centric. It made me realize how different each group is. Our tanks do ridiculous damage… that should help this fight a bit when we get to it as a guild… who knows, that might even be tonight.