A Week in Cataclysm

After a week in the post Cataclysm Word of Warcraft I have to start by being a blizzard fanboy. I did not mind that ICC was the only new content for a year as much as other people did. It became the training grounds for many players that had never raided before, including my wife. All that time spent in there made them a lot more prepared to take on this new content that is a lot more challenging but far more rewarding. The finished product feels a lot more polished than Wrath felt when it came out. I cannot stop saying, WoW. I never cared much for a game being beautiful because always find gameplay more important… but I just cannot stop flying and swimming through some of these areas and saying, this is just amazing. One freaking paragraph in, and I am already going to start using all the positive adjectives in the English language.

Before I go into more of the love fest, lets talk about some of the bumps on the roads have been.

While the added complexity of the dungeons is truly fun and challenging, there are some mobs and some pulls that are too complex for non heroic content. I keep on thinking on the people that don’t raid but still like to go into dungeons, they almost have no chance against some of these mechanics. As casuals that raid, we are used to not only moved out of the fire, but read the buffs that the mobs have to paint the roadmap of how we are going to kill them. Hey, that thing has a mana bar and its casting healing spells or silencing our healer… kill it. A lot of people will not get why they keep on ending up dead and become frustrated easily.

Even though 90% of the quest content has been revamped to be really easy to complete, there are still some quests that are very frustrating. We play in a PvP server and the other faction does not play nice, and in some cases mob tagging becomes very, very annoying.

Tagging is the practice by some players of hitting an NPC right before you actually engage it so they get the kill. This can be done to an elite that you need to complete a quest, if the target’s health bar is gray it means you will not get credit for it.

I have personally have not been frustrated by world PvP. Even walking through a group of about 30 opposite faction members we were left alone. It seems that for the most part people are trying to level. I have heard from other guildies that some areas become simply infuriating with the ganking, but my response is simple… the moment the game is becoming frustrating, just log into another toon or switch areas. Most gankers are also cowards, so every time we show up to rescue a guildie they seem to leave, even if they were camping. I would say in most instances it has not been worth our trip, but it has been very satisfying to just drive people away from anyone wearing our tag.

Tanking has been pretty difficult specially in heroics. While there is really no more one shots due to gear, most of my deaths have come the way of oom healer (out of mana). This is a little frustrating when it happens because DPS are still thinking ICC or Wrath (burn the whole group) and ignore CC attempts or marked targets which depleats the healers mana. Most healers are also not used to letting DPS drop to conserve mana. Once these shifts (not sure it really will) I think that DPS will get the idea that they cannot tank, even if they do have enourmous health pools now.

And that is it, that is pretty much all I can complaint about… and I am starting to realize that this is becoming lenghty and rambly! So I might have to leave some of the rest for another post!

The End of Wrath

I started playing WoW during The Burning Crusade. I had the chance to experience some of the raiding at that time, but it was still not as accessible as it is today. My warrior was power-leveled to become a tank and saw some of the end game content. Being there for WotLK release gave me the chance to see how much things start changing before the release. I was not freaked out by the whole revamping of talents or even the elemental invasion. In fact, I think that in the past the whole points reset happened tons more often when they were tweaking things. I am not just looking forward to Cataclysm, I am excited for it to come out. It’s cool because I am as happy for this as I was when the Harry Potter books were being released after I became a fan of the series. (I am not as excited about the movies even though I do watch them.)

Our guild has a lot of plans in motion for the Cataclysm expansion and we will be having a lot of fun leveling to 85, and probably even re-rolling to enjoy the worgen and goblin experience. The month of December will be full of discovery and Blizzard seems to be expecting a lot of people back to see what’s new. They are a company that seems to listen to the community and is going to put out the content people want. Flight in all zone, you got it! More complex fights for raids and dungeons, checked! Being loyal to a guild giving you cool rewards, granted!

As I look forward to this, I want to take a look back at what Wrath of the Lick King did for me as a player, raid leader and most importantly part of the best guild in the world (That might not be a fact, but it is a truth because, for me, there is no other group of people I would rather enjoy my gaming experience with).

Before I dive into the whole discussion I want to make something pretty clear. I am not one of the people that believes that the game begins at cap, if your resilience is bellow 1K you should L2PLAY or that only raiders are doing it right. Many guildies enjoy the game simply for the leveling aspect or even solely the social aspect. Some just like to log in and have people to chat with about their day, or the food that is cooking (or at times burning) on the stove. While this post will have a lot to do with raiding, our guild is casual first. Friends > Loot

Our guild was born out of two thoughts. 1) Let’s help people become better at the game so they can see the content, they paid for it, they should see it. 2) To achieve that goal we don’t have to be nasty to each other. Yep, it was that simple. We had seen a stream of “hardcore” raiders parade on and say “you guys are awesome people but you suck at killing bosses.” Nobody took the time to explain that add-ons to heal made things simpler, or that add-ons needed to be configured, or that macros were actually helpful. Nope, most people would just say “you suck, you noob,” and move on.

I still remember a conversation with my wife back when she did not even play the game. I asked her if she would be OK with my starting a guild; she had even mentioned the option to me in the past when I mentioned that I might be joining another guild that was trying to do more progression (back in the Naxx days). I said to her “it is going to require that I spend more time in the game than I do now, so I want to make sure you are OK with it before I take this step.” She said go for it. (I am not interested on digging up the corpse that it is how me creating a guild affected my last guild. The story is simple but it always becomes a point of debate. All I will say is that there was never any malicious intent to destroy anything, only intent to create something new.)

BoondockSaints was born; it was small guild but we quickly gained some strength and were able to start raiding casually. I started to not just learn the fights more but actually lead more raids. I had done it before at a smaller scale, but now I had the responsibility to learn strategies, know what classes to bring and see where we could do better. We did lots of Naxx and some of Ulduar. We did not have the success other guilds had, but we were able to let people at least enter into those places and get some experience on what raiding was all about.

ToC was painful. We worked on it, but it started to show us that we needed to get lots better if we wanted to finish it. We wiped there a lot, people started to hate going there but we worked through it. I also had been leveling a healer, but this time I had taken my time and enjoyed playing him very much. Having another toon and its being a healer opened my eyes to the game and raiding a lot more. I saw how important it is to move out of the fire (as a tank you don’t have to deal with fire as often as you do as a DPS or a healer.)

When ICC opened and frost badges became the thing to get the game changed dramatically. The gear you could get was a lot better and a lot easier to get. We had also been getting a lot better at raiding and our casuals were now becoming actual raiders. We had come so far from before that some of them were filling up the ranks of other guilds on their 25s. Yep, those people that had left us behind to become “Elite” now needed our help to progress. I continued to run 10 mans and was making progress in ICC, small but steady. Then a bubble spammer became more and more of a commodity and it allowed me to go into a lot more raids, and see more and more content.

Our goal as a guild was simple during WotLK. We wanted to kill Arthas and therefore get the end game title. While some people in the guild do want hard-modes and drakes and the whole enchilada, our goals as a group were simple. One of the guilds that we were filling spots for had a migration to a more progressed guild. This situation put us at a crossroads. I tried to get everyone’s input but at the end we had to make a quick decision before the opportunity was missed. We were going to end up with a merger and potentially some excellent players that knew more than I did about ICC and progression raiding. It was not going to be without the bumps, we could potentially lose some of our ways (helping others, raiding slow and explaining every fight.) It was a rough change for most people and we were able to keep the identity of our guild even though most of the raiders did move on eventually. The end result was that we added more quality players to our casual ranks and loads of knowledge. Before they moved to another server we were able to get a combined group the Kingslayer title. As a guild, the BoondockSaints had accomplished what casuals in a low pop server should not have been able to do.

It is months later now and we have done a lot more raiding and a lot more wiping, but I am happy to report that as this expansion closes we have our 4th new group of kingslayers. We are trying to get at least one new group through the content a week, but the fight takes time to get used to because defiles just suck the soul out of people. Sure, it is a lot easier now and its not as amazing for a raider that has already conquered 25HM. But for a small guild from one of the lowest populated realms, on the 1:3 outnumbered faction, is really cool.
Fourth Group of Kingslayers

TL:DR

WothLK allowed us to become raiders. We might never become hardcore, but we were able and will continue to see content in Cata. We will do it with a group of friends that help each other become better at the game every day and are looking forward to the challenges ahead!

Blizzcon 2010

Before I even begin to talk about this great weekend I want to say that without the people that I got to meet, hang out and just share this wonderful experience this would have simply been a good time; instead this will be one of those memories that stays with you for the rest of your life. We were lucky enough to have 10+ members of our guild joining the festivities!

Crowd
Even though Blizzard does do an excellent job to get people what they need quickly, there are lines… tons of them. While there is a lot of stuff to do and see while there, you at one point or another will be stuck in line somewhere. The only way to avoid them is to know the schedule extremely well, but honestly I did not see any of the cool stuff (or where they gave free stuff) without a line after the opening cermonies were over. The problem with the lines behind the obvious waiting and waiting is that some or our fellow geeks have not found it important to break the stereotype and some of them still don’t know what deodorant is. It was not horrible but I am not a fan of smelling people. Who knows maybe there is a niche market there to make some quick soap/deodorant combo that can help some of this people out. Thankfully there were plenty of hand sanitizing locations all over the convention center that at least made me feel better about touching keyboards and just overall other surfaces.

Everyone that we did had to interact to in lines and just standing around was extremely friendly and it was very easy to strike up a conversation. We had a big group of people, but others would approach us and ask us questions about our guild or what classes we played. It was very cool to have people just be so friendly and willing to just have a good laugh with you.

The only other negative thing was that their announcements were not earthshattering. I was really looking forward to them announcing something big like what their next MMO is going to be about, but they kept everything very current and concentrated on the release of Cataclysm and SCII related announcements. While they did unveil that Diablo III is going to have a PvP component to it and it looked amazing, revealing what the last playable class “Demon Hunter” was going to be was about it.

Being able to play their upcoming games was probably the most organized and what you could do in less than an hour. Everthing else that was related to a line felt like a ride at an amusement park, minutes upon minutes of waiting for just a 45 second thrill.

Now lets talk about the awesome. 95% of the people that dressed up really put months worth of effort into it. It was amazing to see the dedication some people put into their costumes. I thought this was going to be just a handful of people that knew what they were doing and lots of bad rushed jobs, but no; there were some serious costume makers there doing actual leather work and complicated things that were just jaw dropping. I think 3 of them were actually provided by blizzard and they were simply amazing, but the fan made ones really showcased dedication and sometimes humor. I would say that surprisingly the costumes were my favorite part of the convention.
Diablo Witch Doctors
Jay Mohr has been the host of Blizzcon and appearently last year he was a little under the influence of alcohol which he made fun of saying that he was just simply nervous and not drunk. The first night was the costume/dance contest. You do get to see most of the costumes up close from just walking around and they love to have their picture taken, but if you want to really see them all you must attend this event where they all get to walk on stage. The problem is that some of the get ups are quite elaborate and get heavy and toward the end of the night you could see some of the people having a real hard time moving on them. Nobody from the costume contest actually tripped on stage which was amazing to me.

After that part of the show finished the dance contest started and it was a riot. Basically every in game race/sex combination has their own dance emote in World of Warcraft. You type /dance and they characters go to town. Well now the humans behind the strings get to show their ability to move themselves with some comical consequences. I could seriously not stop laughing during some of the dances and some of the performances were just genious. The whole night was without incident until a kid who was getting really into his dance (and getting some amazing hang time to his jumps) actually ruptured a ligament. I am happy to report that he is “all good” and was at the convention the next day.

The next thing on my favorite list was the PvP tournaments. To see some of those people battle it out in front of an audience is amazing. Their level of skill at the game is just unreal. I was glad to see one of the North American teams make it so high in the later, but Asia simply dominates when it comes to competitive gaming. I would say that it is one of the things you should not miss!

Beating a Dead Horse

Or rather horseman. Yes kids, the new holiday is upon us and like a lot of the game right not it is “OMG BROKEN GAME.” It seems to be related to mousing over the pumpkin, so until you are sure you don’t have the bug just don’t touch it. I know it has flames coming out of it but don’t be a moth. The good side effect is that like the other holiday bosses, this one is pretty easy and if you beat him while everyone else is DC it seems nobody goes without the goody pumpkin… which btw will sometimes give you nothing; but don’t fear, your justice points are still there.

In the spirit of beating a dead horse lets talk about the current state of the game.

Software can be a complicated thing to write and release, and currently we have a mixture of what Cata will be and what WotLK was. It is unfair to judge the game in its current state and almost silly. The full patch is going to be 4.0.3 but nerd ragers willl complain and start fires all over Azeroth because 4.0.1 is so broken. If you exercise patience in a couple of months you will see what the game is really supposed to be. On some of the comparisons of Live vs Beta you can see that if you have a decent machine the Beta really is giving you better performance. So welcome the preview of your talents, relearn your character if it changed considerably and just log onto another toon if yours is being too buggy. Better yet, go read about the bug you are experiencing and see if there is a simple fix. (/reload is your friend)

ICC is on its last days as the new shinny months old toy now. The 25 and 10s we ran this week felt like a cakewalk (probably how it has felt to most serious raiders for a long time.) Damage is up for some classes, but tanking overall feels a little nerfed (unless you are a Paladin). So after adjusting a little bit for the changes most raids can clear 10/12 with easy and work on the last two fights. I seriously suggest any raid that has trouble with Sindragosa to go the single tank route and just burn her to the ground. LK, well, that is still a fight you have to learn and practice… really no shortcut to killing valks and stepping out of defile.

If you are having lots of issue with lag and low FPS make sure you turn down your graphic settings to the lowest setting as well as get rid of (or update) all of your addons. At the very minimun turn them off and try the game without them at first. They have done a lot to update the UI and there are now some raid frames that are actually workable.

Even with all the bugs I think this is a wonderful preview to Cataclysm. I look forward to see what they have in store for us there. Also! see you at Blizzcon!

Loyalty & Respect

“The greater the loyalty of a group toward the group, the greater is the motivation among the members to achieve the goals of the group, and the greater the probability that the group will achieve its goals.”
Rensis Likert

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”
Lao Tzu

While the patch is being downloaded and people are going on about the builds they are going to use for the remainder of Wrath I am in the mood to look back. As a guild we have accomplished quite a bit. We managed to raid 25 month content with various degree of success. We managed to kill Arthras before 4.0.1 in our small little server. We also managed to stay together and I blame lots of loyalty and a bit of respect.

One of the side effects of having a guild that is able to actually do current content is that other people think you are trying to compete with them. Furthermore you get people that want to come into your group and make it about competing with others. We managed to not buy into it, and I made my ignore list that much longer. I was amazed when people were interested in discussing with me the policies of our guild even though they were never in it (nor plan to be in it.)

Overall the drama has been very little over the last couple of months and besides the people that left to hardcore raid (and in reality most of them were never truly Saints to begin with) we have kept our membership pretty intact. Even some of the people that tried horde for a bit came back. Our only problem now is that we have too many people that want to raid and get stuff out of 25 while there is a difference between it and 10 mans. Ah, but today a big percentable of that goes away with the flexible raid lockout and the capability of farming for gear not by going to get frost emblems but simply doing heroics! Badge farmers rejoice!

The reality of the sucess of our guild is that as a group we sacrificed many personal aspirations for the good of the group. Sure some people might have felt left behind here and there, but overall anyone that put in the time and the effort got to raid current content and kill bosses. Now new content promises to give us a lot more to do and having everyone be on the same level to start getting new lootz will make for interesting adventures to come.

Our guild is positioned right where we want it. We are big enough to not be ganked and camped, and we still know each other by first name. We will be leveling professions and helping each other wonder the world of warcraft after the Cataclysm. It feels good to have such a great group of people together with a high sense of respect and loyalty for each other. While some might argue that its just a game, we have created a very strong community :) with even our own BoondockSaints baby on the way. (Gratz Evan and Daniel).

We have a couple of months of doing lots of finishing up titles and getting used to our new talents and rotation, but most of all becoming a even better team of players that are always willing to help each other achieve goals. From finishing a tough quest, to killing bosses, the Saints are here to enjoy this game to the fullest!

Guild Management

When I started playing WoW I never imagined that the social interactions of a multiplayer game would translate so closely to real life situations. I have played multiplayer games online for years, but the communities that are formed in WoW are above and beyond even the groups of players that I used to have LANparties with. When it comes to guilds, the similarities between running one and running a company are hard to ignore. Everything that I have learned in management courses applies directly to guild management, and vice-versa. The things that I have learned in the game have also given me insight into managing people and even hiring.

Today’s topic will revolve around the creature we see running around Dalaran with a gear score that puts them “above” us mere mortals, the “hardcore raider.” For this discussion I want to define a couple of things. I consider myself and most of our guild casual raiders, and I put us in that category for the following reason. While we do like to raid and get the phat lootz, to us it is more important to have a peaceful and drama free community than to put up with rude and elitist attitudes. (see Friends > Loot.) I also define a hardcore raider as someone who’s goals in the game revolve mostly around raiding and progression.

WotLK has made the game more accessible. Ask a player that has been to MC when it was current content and he will tell you that the game is now easy. I personally find this a wonderful change because I think that as a consumer we should all get to see all of the content. Games have had a way to enable hard modes for a while and WoW in the past seemed to only allow some people to reach that level. Now raiding seems more accessible to the masses with hard modes and special mounts available to the more dedicated and skilled players. I think that is a good method of offering content, instead of not letting 90% of the players see the end game.

One amazing phenomenon I have observed is that when for whatever their reason (lack of time, weird schedule, family obligations, burnout) hardcore raiders end up in casual raiding guilds. We provide them with the flexibility of not having to show up to every single raid, and still be somewhat competitive. I can only assume than when Cata comes out this will be less appealing to them because what we provide for them for the most part is numbers. Filling up a 25, where the phat lootz are at right now is not easy for a hardcore raider that cannot make the time commitment most progression guilds expect. The interesting thing is how similar these group of people are to consultants in the real world.

Consultants for the most part are people that have a very specialized skill that is needed in a company but not necessarily a full time position. Because of their knowledge they are well paid, but the company wants to get their services and cut the cost as soon as possible. That is also the main reason casual guilds will ultimately take a chance on letting hardcore raiders in. They want the knowledge and the experience they have to help them enter the raids they also want to accomplish. Many consultants will train people in the companies they visit to perform some of the tasks they do, and in guilds it is the same. DPS goes up, strategies are laid out, healing teams seem to work better because of the expertise they bring to the table.

Like in the real world, there are good and bad consultants. I have seen that consultants fall into 3 groups.

Experienced Consultant – They have been there, done that and priced themselves out of a permanent position.
Temp Consultant – They have the knowledge and can consult but would like to be hired on.
Bad Consultant – They like the money consulting offers, but don’t have the experience or expertise to do it.

It was very eye opening to see that hardcore raiders also fall into these same categories when they come into a guild.

Most hardcore raiders that end up in a casual guild have done the content and come ahead of where the progression curve the guild overall has. They are very helpful because they have put in the “wipes” to learn what needs to be done. They offer valuable tips and their contribution to the raid in general is amazing. They will be top DPS, amazing tanks or can single heal fights if you lose people. I consider them all experienced consultants and they will be with your guild until their situation changes and they can get back to the hardcore raiding they really enjoy. They might be wonderful people, but for them the game is about raiding and getting titles, gear, achievements and making friends is secondary to them.

The raiders that I compare to temp consultants are people that for one reason or another got a taste of hardcore raiding (spouse, friend, a guild) and became good at it. They eventually end up at a casual guild for the same reason as those above and like the social aspect of a casual guild. They bring a lot of positive things into the table and might sacrifice that shinny carrot of progression for being part of a guild. They are the most likely to want to become a full participating member of a casual guild and make a home there. I think cata will be the prime time for these folks since you can make a hardcore 10 man inside of a casual guild and be successful. In the current content cycle a 25 hardcore inside of a casual guild is a very difficult thing to accomplish specially in a low population server like ours.

The bad consultant is also the bad hardcore raider. They are either extremely good and elitist thinking they are better than anyone else in the casual guild, or have had a taste of raiding without any real accomplishment but come in with “stories” to back them up. They are the most dangerous to your casual guild and even raid because they will turn casuals off raiding completely if they are not managed properly. The really good ones at the game tend to constantly talk down to others and chastise them for not doing their job. They are the ones constantly pointing the finger at someone so that they are not discovered as really non raiders because they don’t know basic game mechanics like focus targeting or staying out of the fire. They end up in a casual guild either to become a big fish on a small pond or dragged into it by a friend from the groups above. They will be unhappy and want you to change the guild to fit their speed.

Raiders can be part of a casual guild for a period of time as long as they understand that the core of the guild is casual and they are willing to compromise. Like a consultant they need to understand that they are there to bring expertise and become part of the team, but if they want it to be permanent they have to buy into the company’s culture or not become permanent. You can get a lot of them if your guild wants to see content, but you have to be ready to do damage control because they will rock the boat directly or indirectly. Any manager will tell you that bringing consultants in means that their job becomes more difficult because if they don’t keep a close eye the project will not advance.

As a guild leader always keep your goals clear and your team working together. Make sure that your officers buy into the idea of having a group of people come into your guild with raiding aspiration or you will end up alienating some of them. Also remember that its impossible to make everyone happy and any time you add people to your guild either by recruitment or merger personalities will clash. Just make sure that as a leader you have clear vision for your guild and don’t be afraid to change it if most people want a different direction. In the end everyone pays for their own game and they are part of your guild out of their own free will. Just don’t forget to have fun.

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.

Summerize your WoW

Yes people, this is the post that you have been waiting for! How to make your WoW ready for the summer!

The summer months mean higher temperatures and with dust build up it could make your computer run like a brick. So the first thing that you need to do is care for your machine in the physical type of way. You need to give it some TLC and it is actually pretty simple to do.

If you have never cracked your case open I am given you permission now. Have a nice vacuum cleaner close to you and get ready to suck some dust out of there. Unplug all cables from the computer, specially the power cable. Use one of the nifty attachments and make sure that if you remove some screws opening the case, they don’t get sucked in by the vacuum. Once you have it all clean and and free of dust dinosaurs, FIRE IT UP with the case open. Check to make sure that every single fan is working (specially the one for your video card and the one for your motherboard and CPU.) Also make sure that none of them are too loud. If they are you might have to replace them. Get a friend to do it for you if you have never done it before, but someone with some hardware knowledge should be able to replace them.

Depending on how hot the room is, you might want to consider to leave the case completely open during this summer months. The CPU and video card can get really hot and leaving it open is an option. Also be very mindful of positioning and don’t have it too close to a wall or inside of a cabinet, airflow is the key!

The following are not summer related, but a good reminder of things that you should do to make your WoW work awesome!

Defrag your computer.
– Clean up any viruses or malware. (Malware bytes) is the newest free flavor or the month.
– Always have at least this one running (AVG Free)
– Back up your data.
– Change your Password (both e-mail and WoW)
– Get an authenticator.

There will be plenty of fun to be had on and off the game this summer, just make sure you keep your computer clean both software and hardware wise!