Loving 10 Mans

My hat is off to anyone that can run a 25 man group week after week. I know that casual or hardcore it is very challenging to keep everyone motivated, interested and more importantly showing up. That is why the change in Cata where 10 mans are going to have equal reward when it comes to look than 25 is going to make things easy.

We are pretty much done with this expansion and most people show up to our 25s to collect loot. After the easy stuff is done they all have to work, sleep, etc. Even if the night before and the night after they still sit in Dalaran doing nothing it seems that our 25 night makes everyone allergic after we clear 6 bosses.

I get it though, running a 25 is like taking a picture of 25 hungry monkeys. Unless you are all super focused it can take up to 3 hours to clear even “easy” content. Nothing wrong with that, but when it comes time to do the harder bosses nobody wants to continue or extend the raid lockout. 80% of the people are ok with just farming gear, but 20% are not. Those people are the ones that have seen that fight in the 100s of times. 10 mans will make all of these issues in a casual guild go away. We can still have some progression minded people running 10 mans week after week and getting further, as well as having the casual enjoy the content that has already become farmable.

Trying to fill up a raid with 10 raiders, 10 casual and 5 pugs can lead you to clear 6 bosses easy, but it could also leave you with some pissed off people saved to 2 bosses on 25… and OMG losing on emblems is a “huge” deal.

I also see the frustration of some of the people that have been doing ICC since it came out but have not been able to complete their set because we have only attempted the end wing bosses and not downed them. It takes practice and we are not doing it every single week, its more like every other week on 25.

However, our 10 man are doing awesome. We should have group 3 and 4 of kingslayers soon. We have about 4 10 mans running now with some hardmodes sprinkled in between. Its just a lot easier to get 10 people on the same page than it does 25. Also most people seem supper interested on getting Kingslayer quick since the achievement seems to be rumored to be going away… while I doubt that, it does seem that for the goals of our guild which is to primarily see all content we are doing better than expected!

Player vs Player

Ah, the end of the expansion is coming to a close and we still have so much to do. We continue to raid a lot more than I thought we ever would but for the most part people are having fun. Recently I have entered the world of PvP and having fun learning about it.

While boss encounters, like the LK fight, have a lot of challenging mechanics that require a high level of team play and people knowing what to do; PvP is all of that in a short burst. You first have to see what the other team is going to bring and in seconds come up with a strategy. Then if it does not work (because the healer is just not running out of mana, or another player seems weaker) you switch strategies on the fly.

I am kind of late on this Arena season and have learned a lot. I recommend that if you plan on doing it start getting your experience now so that you don’t feel like a total noob when the next season is out.

I am playing only with my warrior and going arms and I have the good luck to play with all different classes in our teams, from a resto druid to a ret pally we have tons of fun winning. I even almost got the winning streak achievement the other day, but as you rating gets better so does the competition.

If you are interested on starting out, PvP gear is a must! Its the difference between making it lots of fun and frustrating. BGs and WG should get you the starting gear… or maybe you can spend some of those emblems you have no clue what to do with.

If you have a hunter check out Cata’s new camouflage ability, it makes me almost want to roll one… almost!

Arthas’ Fall

Before we even get into how we killed the Lick King we have to start with Blood Queen, Professor and Sindragosa. Professor and Blood Queen had been previously conquered by the Clan, but we needed our tanks, healers and DPS to all be able to also perform during those fights. There are still only about 3 tanks that have the experience of tanking Putricide, Blood Queen and Sindragosa successfully. It has been about a month since we actually killed Sindragosa and we had kept that raid lock out to work on the king. The problem was that it was only about once a week that we were getting to really work on him and it seemed to be a different group of people every time.

Then the holiday weekend happened and we decided to start a full clear on that Tuesday to see if we could get back to Lich King fight with a single group. With only one replacement we were able to get a 3 hour 11/12 in ICC 10. It was a pretty cool thing to accomplish, but it was just the beginning.

We gave it some attempts with that group, but we really wanted to start working on it when everyone was fresh. For the next 10 days we had probably about 20 different people on the fight. Mime, Froto, Moondust, Drago, Cybrook all played the hunter role in the fight. Kabara, Chaudara, Unknown, Lyrics, Kiree, Theydrin, Booty, Zeal and others also took turns at the DPS. Sab, Fara, Mumbles, Sylei and myself took turns at healing. Last but not least, Achilles, Phaetel, Death and Arthren all took turn at the tanking. I know with confidence that the first two phases of the fight are pretty burned into everyone’s mind that had attempts with us. The third phase, well, we will get to that later.

For the purpose of talking about our kill I will simplify things by talking about 3 actual phases and two transition ones. They all get less challenging as you start working on them, but they are all very complex and just one new person to the fight can spell huge trouble.

From the first phase this fight separates itself from the rest of icecrown. There are a lot of things going on, but you have to get into a nice grove or you will be dead before all the adds have even spawned. The tanking is key to this part, but you also need solid healers or you will not make it to the first transition phase. The thing that actually was a huge hinderance to this part of the fight was actually the 15% – 20% buff. You see, you have to manage your DPS during this fight or you will be left with too many adds. You have to make sure that nobody kills the easy to down adds or the disease will not jump from mob to mob. (if you are confused you can read a strategy guide to kill Arthras, or read our forums where our start is posted)

Then the transition to 1.5 can also be very tricky and at first will feel like a full phase, but than as you get into the groove you will see that this is more of a mana up phase than anything else. Healing becomes secondary and Tanks and DPS really shine making sure the additional adds get picked up and focused fire down so they don’t kill the raid. Once over (and it is timed) you are left with some adds to deal with and running in while dodging exploding presents.

Phase 2 is probably the most frustrating phase because if everyone is doing their job its not all that difficult, but one mistake by a single player can end your attempt. This is what happened to us over and over, we would start the phase very well, but then we will have defiles all over the place and will get a stranded DPS or a healer picked up by a valk too close to the edge. This one is simply a practice and you will get it phase, but it takes time to get to it. If you have new people in the raid you will be stuck in the transition phase or in this phase for some time… and the people that have been there are not getting to practice the last transition and last phase which is actually challenging.

Once people can get past the defile and correct positioning you seem to get past this phase quickly. Having the right amount of range DPS will help quite a bit during this part of the fight. Having a lock and hunter also does not hurt at all. You spread out, and watch for defile and valks, time everything correctly (even for the unlucky situations) and you are golden.

The last transition phase is what I think makes it almost impossible to “one shot” this with a fresh player. You have to be aware of where the whole raid is and get to your position while dodging defiles on the ground. It is very easy to try to run out on the side opposite of your raid which will mean you are dead if it is the way that the adds are being faced or you are low on health. While it is easy to say that the tanks can control everything in this phase, this along with defile makes it that everyone on your team has to be on their game.

The last phase of the fight is probably the most fun but the one that you don’t get to practice much on. Once we has spend a couple of nights of attempts getting to it consistently I knew the kill was not far away. We put the group together for the kill based on who was available and conquered the fight as a true team. There is definitely a little bit of luck to the last phase; but it all comes down to teamwork and doing your job one player down (someone is going into the sword periodically).

In the end we were left with all healers being responsible for 33% of the healing, which was amazing. The DPS was also pretty evenly spread out and we all made it to the very last phase. We worked hard on it, from refining our strategy to teaching several people the fight from beginning to end. It was an amazing accomplishment that I certainly loved actually leading not just the kill but several of the unsuccessful attempts… we actually “beat the game!” even if it was with an extra buff it still feels awesome to wear the Kingslayer title. Now we just have to do it over and over again so the rest of the people that helped us get to it can also be proud to actual finish current content. Thanks again for all your help and hard work.

Authenticators

My wife has an iphone and downloded the little app to get an online authenticator. We also purchased authenticators for both of our accounts. It seems like a pain when you are getting used to it, but after this weekend I think it was a great investment.

We had two guildies get hacked this weekend. In fact, it seems like our server was hit pretty hard this weekend with attacks. My guess is that the hackers probably had to deliver some gold that as bought.

I had google adds on this page, but it was pointed out to me that the ads sometimes lead to gold sellers pages, so I decided to remove the completely. I want no part on helping those people make a buck out of the game they exploit.

Check your virus software, change your password, and please, please get an authenticator. If you have an android or an iphone or touch its pretty much free… also ordering it is not too expensive. It will make you a lot safer… it sucks to log in and have no gear anymore, or in some cases, not even characters to play with anymore.

Naxx Pwnage

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

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

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

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

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

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

Truly Stuck

You know you have a WoW addiction issues where after securing a bed to sleep on and clothes to make it into work the next day, your next priority becomes getting internet set up!

I am away most weekends doing stuff IRL, but I pop in and check on stuff. The last couple of weeks have been spotty at best with kid aggro and packing duties.

I am ready to get back into the full raid schedule and see some of the new content we are into.

We have been doing lots of daily heroics and the Headless Horsemen try for the mount, but after that and just regular GM duties I am ready for bed.

It has also been nice to use Facebook as a guild communication tool and easier to host pictures and share information. Thanks to Moon for setting it up and keeping it fresh!

We have some exciting things coming up, and I cannot wait! See you in game.

Is that a plane? Is that a drake?

No its Logtar still flying on that bird!

The last 5 times that I went into timed CoS I was sure I was going to walk out of there with a drake. The roll gods have not smiled upon me, but the good news is that I have helped 4 guildies obtain a drake! The only one that burned a little was in a run that someone else put together with some pugs, and the person that won the roll I had outdpsed. I am looking forward to the drake picture, and there is talk of a everyone buying a goat for whatever reason, I am sure it will be hilarious.

So in the last couple of weeks it seems like the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place for our guild. We now have enough people on every night to run 25 mans by ourselves. We are still working a little bit on our raiding skills as an overall group, but I am happy to say that we are not carrying anyone, everyone is pulling their weight and more. We have 5 bruisers competting to break the 4K DPS mark. Its funny to see how they can just compete and call a win on a heroic by doing 3072 over 3000. I love it, they have fun, they compete in a very good way. Even the mage we sometimes lose to the horde side came out to show her DPS once again, I don’t think even the new 80s are under 2K.

Our healers are not staying behind, and our newest druids who claimed to have no skills are making running things as Theo put it, easy modes. That and we have our original healer back from her summer hiatus.

Our tanking corps grew quite a bit with some of DKs picking up enough gear to be tanks, not only that but Hon and I both have backups now. Its great not to have to be the only tank available but appreciated when I can always get in a group. We have at least one group pwn H ToC every night and it seems like 3 other groups are farming heroics every night. Heck even morning play picks up once in a while and I was able to get 10 badges in less than an hour.

Old Kingdom is now on farm, and Oculus stands as the only wall for me to get the Norther Heroic Raid achievement.

This weekend we also put together events that I did not run at all, but was merely a happy participant. We have a pretty excellent group of officers that are keeping the bank stocked and people in check.

I am happy to say that we have reached a level of membership that we all feel comfortable with and we are probably not going to grow much besides bringing friends into the guild. The progression is going a lot faster than we had expected originally thanks to some experienced players picking up the game again and raiding with us, as well as the new additions. We are raiding, we are farming, but overall we are having more fun than we ever did before.

Skills > Gear

Logtar was born during TBC. I have been to ZG to farm a mount and to Molten Core and ZG to farm achievements. In those days the only 10 man that Logtar ever saw was Kara. I learned tons of bad habits when it comes to evaluating people for groups and I am sad to say that for the longest time I thought gear matters more than skill. I honestly thought that gear was about 80% of what a player needed to be successful at raiding. Then that notion was not just questioned, it was shattered.

I started doing dungeons with my main group during WoTLK. DTK is my favorite dungeon because nobody knew how to do it, nobody looked any guides up, we just entered the dungeon and figured out each boss on our own. I still enjoy doing speed runs there, heck we might have to do our first BoondockSaints video a timed run there. All the people that ran that place with me became better players because we all have to sharpen our skills to be successful. We learned where and where not to stand, we learn where to DPS and where to hold back. I then started suspecting that gear was not a factor, because doing that place was all about knowing the fights and doing the right things and not so much having the right gear.

The first time I saw someone in greens “outheal” someone in purples it did not compute in my brain. Then when that person told that they had no mayor UI enhancements and that they were still a “clicker”, I was floored. All notions that I had learned in the past playing this game were incorrect. The constant gear checking or achievement checking was pretty mute from that point on. Gearing people up becomes pointless if when they have the gear their skills are not already there. That is why I wrote the “Raiding, Am I ready” post because it is all about going back to the basics.

Its been a couple of months since that rude awakening. The 3.2 patch made gearing people up just a matter of grinding. Theydrin made another DK and was doing 2K DPS before he even hit 80. A group of people cleared Ulduar in only blue gear, and that alone cements the view that skills matter more than gear for me. TankLikeaGirl goes as far as saying that putting gear into the myth category.

Our guild has been blessed to get one of the coolest groups of people in our server together. We are going a lot stronger than I thought we would in such a short period of time. We are not only close to running our own 25 mans, we are ready for Ulduar 10. A casual group of friends is getting to see content that just weeks ago seemed months away.

The toughest thing about all of it is having to tell people that they are just not ready for something. Being realistic about progression is the only thing that can move a guild forward. I think the Greedy Goblin is a little extreme, but his ideas are applicable. If we don’t start moving ahead on content until everyone is ready for the step, we will be running Naxx 10 for months to come. What makes me even happier is that I am not the one doing the push, the guild as a whole is, and we have been able to do it while having fun, without minimizing talking down to anyone and constantly improving on everyone’s skills. We even have 4 people now that can lead a raid successfully. Gear is pretty much a non issue and we have gemmed and enchanted pretty much every single new piece anyone gets that same night.