Restoration Druids in PvP

[Matticus’ Note: Quiz Thursday, presentation Monday, exam Tuesday. Expect a decline in material as I finish my cushion of columns. Besides, Pwyff’s always an interesting read. Just don’t come screaming to me if you start reading things that you object to. I’ve always loved to have discussion. Please welcome the Ooglar himself!]

For those who were interested in startling tidbits about my current arena teams (“The Art of trash talking when you lose”, or perhaps “Why does my Warrior have an outdated weapon while that Warrior chunks off 50% of my health at a time” or even finally “Is my Rogue going to be on, or will he (once more) be playing Pokemon”), I will have to defer your probing eyes for one week more. Todays and ‘morrow day’s articles will be concerning the Restoration Druid in Arena. The few, the proud, and sometimes the very, very bad.

What is a Restoration Druid? Aside from being ye olde Celtic Holy Man who presumably has garnered the reputation of being uplifting; the Resto Druid is potentially one of the most powerful healers in arena play. Today’s articles will focus on our strengths; next time I’ll address our biggest flaws.

So what makes us powerful? Essentially, the Druid is the only healer that can constantly CC (crowd control) an opposing team with any semblance of reliability. We possess an interrupt that is almost (or just as in some cases) as good as a Shaman’s, we are an extremely difficult class to consistently DPS, and we boast some of the silliest looking tier sets this side of the moon. I’m fairly certain that they giggle about us every now and then on the other side of the moon as well.

Our CC, Cyclone, has so much potentiality that it’s rather staggering. It is, ultimately, one of the most powerful CCs in the game by its very nature (outside of Fear; because Fear is really in some kind of quasi-Godlike tier of CC that would even force Jesus to trinket out of). Taking someone out of the game, quite literally, for 6 seconds / 3 seconds / 1 second is an astonishingly sharp double edged sword. If, however, you don’t wield it stupidly, it bypasses all that other stuff and goes straight for the goods. As an offensive CC, it obviously renders healers completely unable to heal. Obviously. Furthermore, if you should offensively (I don’t mean like screaming fuck every time you cast) cast Cyclone on an opponent that is low on health; you effectively render all things cast on this opponent as immune.

Can you see the strategic effectiveness of this? Common Druid CC-trains do not fully consist of CCing the healer alone. Our effectiveness lies in the fact that we can really screw with healers by the chain of:

Cyclone the healer – Feral Charge interrupt – Bash – Cyclone to interrupt – Cyclone to interrupt – Now Cyclone the player they were trying to heal – Feral Charge interrupt the healer after the heal recipient is out of Cyclone – Go Cat, Build a combo point and maim – Cyclone the heal recipient – Cyclone the heal recipient – Cyclone the healer for full duration.

Obviously this has only worked ‘perfectly’ like… once for me; but the fact that I know I’m capable of such ‘leet shit’ is pretty cool. I may have done a jig after my CC-fest was over and done with.

The reason why such a CC can be a double edged sword is generally the immunity portion of it, combined with its (in comparison to other ‘grown up’ CCs) short duration. All Druids, skilled or not, can testify to their ‘lolcyclone’ moments where a Rogue has rushed to blind a silly Priest, only to see, horror in their eyes, an immunity sign appear, grey devil-matter swirling about the Priest’s body. Or perhaps a Mage finds that he has a few seconds to spare to poly the Paladin before beginning his assault on the Warrior afresh; and to his horror, an immune sign appears. The Warrior is soon ‘all up’ on the Mage once more. We can imagine in all these scenarios the players staring squinty eyed at their screens, the words “fucking cyclone” meandering past their lips.

Obviously such demonstrations of pure angst can be avoided by careful communication; but even the best of teams find that their opportunities to sheep or blind may fall directly within the time frames of your fucking cyclone. C’est le vie.

The other thing that makes us so powerful lies in our mobility. Everything about us is concerned directly with our ability to do it on the move. The longest cast time for a good arena Druid is Regrowth, which is 2 seconds. We use this cast only occasionally. Outside of that, a Druid can keep constant heals over time, averaging about 800-1000 +HP per second (without MS applied) on a given target (fullstack Lifebloom + Rejuv), and he can do this on the move, or sometimes even when he’s not there. While those other poor shmucks, the Shaman, Paladin and the Priest are walking to their intended heal-ee, and then standing there while trying to re-invigorate a teammate, the Druid can simply run past like naked man who is halfway done jogging his route and has realized what cold air does to his goods. Those other healers must stand there, tiny bits all exposed; the Druid can simply sprint by, intent on getting to a safer location, yet still doing his job.

Furthermore, outside of facing insurmountable odds, like lolstunfests from Warriors (Rogues? Pshaw), the Druid is always capable of using his incredible mobility and pre-emptive heals to line of sight even the scariest of pain trains. The mage, one of the biggest potential threats of damage to most players, is rendered a lot less ‘freakish’ when faced with the fact that a Druid who wants to avoid damage will never sit there to eat an Ice Lance combo, or anything that takes a while to cast for that matter.

Ultimately, it is this combination of extreme mobility and excellent CCs that turn the Druid into an extremely strong contender as a powerful healer. Nobody else has our enormous repertoire of pre-emptive heals; it is these heals and our ability to consistently stay out of the line of sight of casters and DPS alike that make us what I like to call neato.

As a class in itself, Druids excel in outlasting teams, by our nature of mobility and control; we are excellent in offensive teams that can provide enough DPS, yet cannot afford to babysit their healer; we are the most independent healer in game, and so any matrix that makes such demands are ultimately the roles that we are fit for.

In the end, my tip for aspiring Druids out there is ultimately to learn your class, and learn it well. Mobility is the key factor with any Druid; and in the end, the motto “no damage is the best damage,” ought to become something of a life mantra. This is to be repeated every time you needlessly stand beside your Warrior; thinking that healing right beside him will benefit you somehow. It doesn’t.

Druid weaknesses to come, and further tips on how to prevent these weakness from being exposed like a raw wound to a rabid gopher.

How to: Maximize Your Raid’s Potential with Special Teams

WOW! What a way to end Thanksgiving Weekend. I managed the catch the Cowboys vs Bills game on TSN. I have a whole newfound respect for the sport. I’m amazed at all the plays by both teams. Five interceptions? I figure that’s a lot. That’s the best game of football I’ve seen since Remember the Titans. A wiseass would then remark “Well what football games have you seen since Remember the Titans?”. To which I would respond “None!”. But the literally down-to-the-wire win by Dallas is an attitude that should be adopted by everyone. Two seconds can be all it takes to from a humiliating wipe to a resounding boss kill (along with special teams play which we’ll get to in a moment).

Today’s piece is about organizing your raid. You’ve got your 25 members ready to go. You’re excited for Gruul’s because it’s the first time you’ve ever done a 25 man. You’re pumped and and the adrenaline rush hits you as you take down the first Ogre showing him whose the man: You. Then you come up against the High King and his goons and now you’re left gaping in awe because you’re not sure how to set up your groups, right? Face it. With the many different races and classes available, there are multiple auras and passive racials to take into account.

Enter Special Teams

Your raid consists of five separate parties. Special teams are important in Hockey and other sports. You want the Power Play units to generate and capitalize on scoring chances. You want your Penalty Killers to fend off the opposing team out numbered. I’m sure Football has numerous cases of special teams but I don’t know the names of them yet (That’s my goal for the end of the year). How you set up your parties in your raid can make the difference between a 1% wipe and a Guild first down.

What follows is a unit-by-unit break down of a hypothetical raid. This will be your standard, generic, default, 1st unit raid set up against trash and some bosses which assumes the following:

You’re using four tanks (Two Druids and Two Warriors)
7 healers (3 Paladins, 3 Priests, a Resto. Shaman)
14 DPS (3 mages, 3 warlocks, 2 hunters, 2 rogues, 1 warrior, 1 enhancement shaman, and 2 shadow priests)

Unit 1: Tanking Unit

This is the group your Main Tank (Henceforth known as MT) is in. What you are concerned here with isn’t damage dealing, nor mana regenerating, or the like. The main objective of this unit is to survive as best as possible which means loading up with Stamina, Armor, and whatever else the MT needs to do to stay alive.

Warrior (Prot)
Warrior (Hybrid with Commanding Shout)
Druid (Feral Tank)
Paladin (For Devotion Aura)
Warlock (Imp Health Increase)

Seems simple enough, right? Your MT here is bolstered by Devo. Aura (for the little armor it provides), the second warrior that has Commanding Shout (for temporary health increase), the Warlock’s Imp (health increase), and the Druid’s Leader of the Pack (What they hey, this bear’s tanking and should benefit from all this stuff too, plus he adds extra crit percent).

Unit 2: Secondary Tanking Unit

This is your second Tanking unit. It’ll mainly be deployed against trash pulls of 3+ or against certain bosses that have multiple parts (Fathom-Lord, High King are good examples).

Paladin
Druid (Feral)
Paladin (Holy)
Warlock (Imp Buff)
Hunter (BM Hunter)

At first glance, this unit seems like a mish-mash of left overs combined together (which it is). It’s the same principle as above except this unit has one feral druid tanking. The Imp buff provided by the warlock is a staple, and the Ferocious Inspiration from the Hunter is an on crit effect by the hunter’s pet which increases damage done by everyone in the party by 3%. Two Paladins means two different auras (Retribution Aura and Devo. Aura). In a nutshell, this is a mishmash of left over classes combined together. As you read on about the final three units, you’ll find out why.

Unit 3: Healing and Mana Regeneration Unit

Shaman (Restoration)
Priest (Shadow)
Priest (Holy)
Priest (Holy)
Priest (Holy)

This unit is your next important group to set up. You want to maximize the return on mana to your healers so they can sustain the rest of the raid. With that objective in mind, we task the Restoration Shaman here (His spell crit racial is a plus along with mana spring AND mana tide on emergency). We’ll use one of our Shadow Priests here for the mana and health returns from VE/VT. The rest of the group is rounded out with 3 Holy Priests. Note that we still have a Paladin kicking around. I would throw him in this group, but Paladins hardly ever run out of gas anyway so he doesn’t need the mana regeneration.

Unit 4: Close Quarters Combat Unit

Enhancement Shaman (Windfury is a no brainer)
Warrior (Hybrid, capable of tanking and dishing out punishment)
Rogue
Rogue (Kind of a given)
Hunter (BM Hunter)

This unit contains the Melee DPS of the group. The Enhancement shaman will rocket this unit’s DPS sky high with Windfury alone. In addition to WF, the Shaman should drop Strength of Earth and Healing Stream totems. Your Warrior is the last tank available in the event there’s an extra trash mob running around. At the very least, he’s a good OH $#%@ tank who can slap on a sword and a shield and taunt. Two rogues are in here, enough said. Our second Hunter is in here as well. I don’t know a lot about Hunters but I think the norm is BM hunters now? I’m not quite sure since I’ve been noticing more Hunter pets in raids. Ferocious Inspiration is an on crit by the hunter’s pet which increases damage done by everyone in the party by 3%. It’ll be up for the majority of the raid. [Thanks Melanne]

Unit 5: Caster Sustained Siege Unit

Priest (Shadow)
Mage
Mage
Mage
Warlock

This is your nuking group. The extra Shadow Priest again is for the VE/VT combination to fuel the firepower of the Mage and the Warlocks. Extra mana return helps to further extend the length of time that your casters can use. Shadow Vulnerability from the Shadow Priest helps the Warlock add a bit more extra punch.

I know this hypothetical raid group did not cover all possible classes or races (Sorry Horde players, I don’t know what kind of benefits your racials get). Obviously moonkin druids get no love at all (Carnage does not utilize any). There’s multiple ways to establish your Special Teams and they will consist of a variety of players and skill sets. You as the Raid leader needs to decide what is best overall for your raid Group. It’s a never ending game of balancing the pros and cons of races and classes with one another. Today’s piece was just a minor example of how to pull it off. Different bosses will yield different looking Special Teams. Bosses like Hydross will scatter your Paladins in different groups for Frost Resistance aura. Sometimes there is a particularly hard 5 pull that has all of your warriors and druids tanking and you’ll need to substitute players from your Close Quarters Unit with your Secondary Tanking Unit. Just remember to always use your discretion. Your Guild and raid makeup will obviously be far different then the one used in my Guild. Use this guide as just that: a guide.

Happy Thanksgiving Canadian Readers, and various minor updates

As you may have noticed, I’ve changed the look of the page substantially. World of Matticus is almost two months old and the viewership has increased dramatically. I’ve recognized that fact and decided to overhaul the entire layout to become more aesthetically pleasing. A lot of bloggers like going for the dark look. I wanted to stand out a bit more since as a Priest, it doesn’t make much sense to have a dark and foreboding page (unless you’re shadow or something). At the same time, I wanted to throw my support behind my home team (Vancouver Canucks). I believe in blue. The team is now 1-1-0 (Because Luongo freakin’ robbed Iginla, buahaha).

If you notice any bugs or if you just want to comment in general, please leave a note at the end of this post so I can take a look at it. My viewing space is different from yours and I want to maximize compatability as much as possible.

Changes and Additions
Added a Flickr stream to the right. All of my screenshots and photos will be tagged worldofmatticus. The plug I’m using is Flickrss, but to my knowledge there is no way to force refresh the image feed. So images added there may take a while before they appear here.
The Main page now displays the latest post only. With this change made, it means I can do away with the “Show More” link expanding the column. Recent posts can be viewed on the left pane.
New tagline for World of Matticus on the upper right.
Facvicon added (Influenced by Kestrel)
Link mouse overs now say alternate text.
Images also gain new mouse overs.
Expansion from three column to four column look (left, content, middle, right)
Added additional posts to the Best of My World section.
Added Recent Comments to the left pane.
Removed link to my hockey blog.

Future Updates

I’m at the point now where as a Priest, I don’t know what else to write about that hasn’t already been discussed at length by other colleagues. I’m going to begin expanding to raid boss encounters and tricky pulls. They won’t cover the entire kill strategy, as I’m not the one in charge of that department. But what I can cover is healing priorities, techniques, and other things that you absolutely need to know as a healer.

Noted Bugs

Comment produces SQL garbage…
… but your comments will still appear

Fix0r’d

Leotheras the Blind Down

LEO DOWN

And let it be said, that Matticus’ computer did strike fear into the hearts of the blind. Resist, he attempted! Carnage members were strewn across the battlefield. Hope wavered. Dwarf and Dranei fell one after the other. So did Mallet cast one final Power Word: Shield and threw himself willingly into the his Whirlwind. Then the ground trembled, the clouds parted, and the power of the Paladins spoke in unison with their hammers of justice! When the dust settled and the smoke cleared, there laid Leotheras the Blind… Another casualty to that known as Carnage.

Loot:

[item]True-Aim Stalker Bands[/item] – Florandraa
[item]Gloves of the Vanquished Defender[/item] – Langsaebel
[item]Gloves of the Vanquished Hero[/item] – Troen

Introducing Another Feature Writer, and Healing in PvP

With the advent of examinations and other academic nightmares approaching, I found myself hard pressed to solo blog. Enter Pwyff: Restoration druid, PvP Veteran, and friend. He maintains his own blog over at Gameriot while allowing me the pleasure of relaying it to my viewers whenever applicable.  

Today’s column comes from Pwyff. It starts with healing in Player vs Player combat. If you’re already aware of this, just skim it and come back next time. He’s working his way up from the bottom. Expect to see more advanced topics coming soon. If anyone figures out what an Ooglar means, please tell me.

Top 3 PVP Rules as a Healer:

1.) Don’t be fancy!
I sometimes find that healers will get too caught up trying to bait out CSes and interrupts. Quite simply, I’ve seen a WAR+PAL team go down because I decided to go Bear and intimidate the heals. The Paladin spent so much time watching me and trying to fake out an interrupt that his Warrior died while I sat in Bear and looked threatening. If you’re going to bait, fine, bait, but don’t be stupid and fancy with your stopcasting macros.

2.) Be aware of your surroundings! Don’t simply watch everyone’s HP levels all the time!
Keeping aware of where that Warlock is so you can line of sight a key fear is the sign of a good healer versus a bad one. If you see an enemy Druid getting focus fired, and he goes Bear; stay out of line of sight! This can severely cripple the Druid’s ability to get away from everyone by Feral Charging you.
If you see a Paladin or Priest trying to get close to you, run away! A lot of the time, they’re trying to get in that HoJ or Psychic Scream that will put a severe dent in your capabilities to do things. Keeping aware of your environment while healing ultimately leads to an increased capability of healing as well.
Furthermore, by keeping tabs on where your players are, and keeping communication lines open, you can create advantageous scenarios by positioning yourself in key protected areas where you can predict your players to be, and then get off heals. Finally, it prevents you from getting LOSed by your own team when they panic and try to run away.

3.) Keep everyone topped off, or as high as possible.
Only in very specific battles is mana efficiency valued at even near your capability of keeping an individual alive. Thus, while I’m sure it does pay to be as mana efficient as possible, do not make it your priority. Your priority should be always trying to keep your teammate(s) out of burst HP levels. That is to say, out of the level in which a team can consistently ‘burst’ your player down via a full out CD spam, or even a Mage pet nova, frostbolt, ice lance vomno. The logic stems from the fact that having no mana is better than having nobody alive. At least, last I checked.

Top 3 PVP Rules as a DPSer:

1.) Don’t be fancy!
This comes a second time around for the arena DPSer by the simple that some individuals tend to get carried away trying to create some kind of insane vanish immune cheapshot full-parry-chun-li-special type of thing. If you don’t think you can do it, and in attempting to do it, you mess up your chances at bursting someone down, don’t do it.

2.) Control is often greater than DPS!
This is always and constantly true. As, say, a Warlock, you may feel completely inclined to set up your full UA dot cycle on everyone within your grasp, but if this means that the Mage can’t sheep anything, you have to ask yourself; should I really be UAing the Pally?
The answer is no, so stop fucking doing it.

3.) Trust your healers!
As a DPS, you may find that when you get to a scary low digit of health, you’ll panic and turn Sword+Shield Defensive tanking (thus losing your team MS), burn a talent to get the heck out of there, or quite simply, run.
Don’t do it! Keep your healers in consistent line of sight, and always trust that they’ll let you know when they can’t heal you, or when they’re controlled, or when you’re out of line of sight. Arena is a team game, so always trust that your teammates will support you! This in turn will give you greater confidence in pulling off your bursts, because you won’t suddenly find MS missing on the target because your Warrior is hiding behind a pole, spell reflecting moonfires with his sword and shield.

New Computer!

As you know, my birthday was last week. I decided to get myself a new computer as a present. It freakin’ rocks! Pictures below!
Thanks to Paul and the guys at Frontier PC for helping me out with the selection!

Here’s the specs:

Gigabyte Intel P35
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33 Processor (1333mhz)
OCZ Gold 2GB (2x1GB)
EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 320 MB
Western Digital 160 GB
BenQ 22″ 5MS 700:1

I added my old 320 GB hard drive in as well, so I’m sporting a little under 500 GB of drive space.

My monitor

Setting your Raid Schedule

In past guilds, we would set a day or four to raid. We would raid on those nights of the week until we accomplished our goal or until it was no longer practical to do so. I don’t know about you, but raiding with no end in sight does seem a bit demoralizing until you get a boss down. One of first policy acts a newly minted GM needs to do is to decide when their guild plans to raid.

Conquest raids from 6PM – 9 PM flat (Pacific). It doesn’t matter if we’re one shotting bosses or if we’re wiping like no tomorrow. It’s three hours in duration no matter what we do. With that in mind, it’s absolutely important for us to maximize our time in the raid instances. Some of you may set your raid times to end at 10 PM or 11 PM. But all too often, I’ve noticed on several pug raids that I’ve taken part in is that there are set start times, but end times are insanely flexible.

So consider setting a final, non-negotiable end time that everyone can look forward to.

Why?

It gives you and your raiding team a specific time to look forward to

Would you prefer a 9-5 job or a job where you would clock out whenever your boss says so? You might be wiping on trash or boss attempts, but at least you will know HOW MUCH LONGER it’s going to go on for. If you stare at the clock and notice that you have 30 minutes of raiding left, all of a sudden, you realize that you can actually endure one more wipe if necessary.

Everybody tries to get out of a raid

My dog ate my mouse.

My in laws are in town.

My exams are here.

What’s more, people give these excuses in the middle of the raid because they don’t want to raid anymore. They’re looking for an easy way out. It’s all human psychology. They come up with a BS excuse that may or may not be right with the intent of getting out of the raid so they can do something else. By setting an end time, your raid mates can plan their life around it.

For example, knowing my raid ended at 9 PM allowed me to delay construction of my 1500 word essay on criticizing Lysistrata until after the raid. It allowed me to calculate that I could watch the NHL season openers on Wednesday and finish the paper which would have been due this morning.

Clearly this is a poor example of time management, but if I had not known when our raid would end, I would have missed out on watching the NHL season openers. That would have been deeply tragic.

Which days should I pick?

Tuesdays are server reset days.

Friday and Saturday nights often have people out doing other stuff (like parties or social events).

Sundays will have holidays throughout the year that players may miss out on.

The time of day will also matter. Make it too late and raiders that work won’t be able to join you. Make it too early and people might just be getting off work or class. Many of the guilds I’ve seen schedule their times between 7 PM to 11 PM. This gives everyone optimal time to eat dinner. The raid also ends early enough for everyone to get enough rest during the weekday.

Keep time zones in consideration. The hours between 5 PM to 9 PM are optimal for players on the west coast and east coast (North America, of course).

You can choose whatever days and times you’re comfortable with. Just make sure you tell everyone so no one gets confused!

How long?

Lastly, the amount of days spent raiding will also have a huge impact. Whether you’re aware of it or not, raiding three days a week versus two days a week can be far more draining. You might think to yourself ‘Oh its just an extra day’, but to some people it’s a lot more time for them to invest in. It’s also dependent on your raid’s ability to solve certain encounters. If you easily clear to Shade of Aran, but have a harder time cracking him below 80%, then chances are your raid isn’t ready to take him down yet. There is no sense in scheduling another day of four hour consecutive 80% Aran wipes. It demoralizes your team, it adds unneeded expenses, and your team won’t try hard at all because they know they can’t do it yet. It’s best to try the boss a few times, gauge the probability of success with your team before calling it and coming back when the week resets.

In the end, you know your raid team best.

If they’re willing to jump back in there and continue running into the brick wall, then do it. Perseverance helps. For the past two weeks, we’ve been getting Leotheras down to phase 3 where he is below 10% every attempt before our guild wipes. If that’s the same with you, then maybe coming back another night would be the right answer.

Having a refreshed raid is far more effective then a fatigued raid.

Know your Guild and what they’re capable of doing. Push them to the limit, but don’t tip them over the edge.

 

You heard it here first, and finals thoughts on Loot Distribution

Nethaera wrote:Meditation is also going to get a bit of a bump up and it will increase to 10/20/30% mana regen as well.

I posted this earlier, but it didn’t hit home to me until I checked out the next druid changes. From what I understand, they get a similar talent upgrade, yes? If so, I suspect we’ll see an increase in healing endurance based fights. I’ve got 413 mana regen. Does that mean I will then end up with 537 mana regen? Honestly, I don’t know. My specialty has always been with theory and philosophy. I’ve never been good with hard numbers. I don’t know if that talent applies to your entire mana regen pool, or just your base without taking into account your gear, etc. So much for being a Priest resource, eh?

By the way, I got another post referenced on WoW Insider (1609 hits today). Apparently my Loot Distribution article generated a lot of views. From the responses, I could see that people were overlooking a few things and I want to elaborate just a bit more.

It will cover a basic DKP system, discouraging DKP hoarding, and a loot hierarchy [to prevent people from joining, taking loot, and then leaving].

Those three are the basic problems that many starting Guilds will have. Many new players have yet to embrace the system of working collectively together and achieving a goal. I wrote this article on the basic assumption that everyone is greedy and not willing to trust other players. Perhaps they’ve been backstabbed before in the past, or someone took loot and left, etc. I don’t know if a survey has been done on this, but I would hazard a guess that 30% of all loot acquired by a Guild will no longer be utilized by them: Players quit the game, players quit the Guild, etc, etc. It’s important to remember that these things do happen. There isn’t much you can do to screen for them. You can always consider it an expense. There is always going to be some kind of turnover.

Nadiaron made an excellent comment:

Nadiaron 03 Oct 2007 at 1:12 pm

Attendance is a horrible DKP modded system. It punishes people for having a vacation, and makes them less likely to want to come back afterwards. It also gives people who aren’t going to be sticking around, better gear whenever they have excess time to play WoW.

My response was already at the end of the article:

Matticus wrote:

No system is better then that of human discretion. Always use it. Different ways to handle loot are useful for different types of Guilds. Find out what works best for you.

Human discretion. Human… discretion. It can be misguided or it can be beneficial. If you’re going to have a player take off on vacation or who has family problems, it shouldn’t be difficult to suspend that player temporarily so that their DKP does not decay. There’s always going to be Pros and Cons to every DKP system. If there was a perfect system, I wouldn’t have a series on loot distribution. Instead, I would only have one featured article. Every Guild would be using it. The problem here is that no Guilds are made the same. Different Guilds have different needs. Some Guilds like zero sum. Some Guilds prefer to use timed accumulation. Some Guilds don’t use DKP and rely on Loot Council. The purpose of this article was to suggest a method by which new Guild leaders, who probably don’t have a clue what system to use, can start with. It offers a basic frame work of loot priority and distribution. In a nutshell, if you raid more, you’ll get rewarded. If you’re a veteran player, you’ll get it before the new guy. At the same time, if you’re a new guy, you are not completely shut out. A veteran player doesn’t need loot from an instance, his attendance goes down, his accumulated total goes down, but the new guy whose shown constant dedication in raiding for the past month has an equal shot at the loot.

Again, it is by no means the best solution. But it’s just a step in one of many different directions.

For cryin’ out loud, BUFF ALREADY!

I need to de-stress myself. I just found out that this summary for a 27 page journal page article which had to be finished within 4 hours is actually due on Thursday. I had this one sitting on the backburner for a while, and it’s a great raiding topic to touch on especially for us Priests.

The short version: If that group isn’t your assigned buff group, buff them anyway.

The long version: Us raiders spent a lot of time buffing our groups. We do it so we can maximize the performance of everyone involved. Allow me to post an actual live transcript:

Raid leader: Everyone buffed? Good! Pulling in 3… 2…. 1…-
Random mage: WAIT! I DON’T HAVE FORT OR SPIRIT!
Raid leader: What the hell, why not?
Random mage: Sorry I zoned in late because I was repairing at a time when I shouldn’t have because you called for us to repair earlier and I didn’t because I was hungry and I auto-followed someone in.

Now the raid stalls for a priest to give him Fortitude and Spirit among other things. Then the buffers need to replenish their mana. By the time this happens, Paladin Blessings will have worn off (At least, last patch it would have).

Priest 1: Hey, he’s in your group, buff him.
Priest 2: I don’t have any candles. Besides, you were assigned to buff that player anyway.
Matticus: *sighs and gives the poor mage a 30 minute Fortitude and Spirit*

So is there a point I’m trying to make here? Yes, as a matter of fact there is. Follow whatever buff assignments your leaders tell you to do when you’re about to pull a boss, recovering from a wipe, or some other situation where everyone needs to be buffed again. If you have a few stragglers coming up behind you who didn’t get the group buff, just throw thm a 30 minute buff anyway even if he’s not in your assigned group. You can save a lot of time and minor heartache this way. Really, there are other significant things to argue about then whose responsibility it is to buff who. So save your efforts for that. What’s the most it will cost you? It will set you back one Conjured Glacier Water. And you got that for free!

Now I’m not a mage, so I can’t say this with absolute authority. But I enjoy the refreshing refreshments that these anklebiters throw out (assuming their Gnomish). To last a whole raid, I will need over one stack of water but never more than two. So Netherlord, I’m looking right at you. Hook me up with TWO stacks of water, NOT one otherwise I’ll have to open trade with you again at an inconvenient time for some much needed juice.

This reminds me of something else: Asking for water openly or just opening trade with a random mage in the raid. I am personally in favour of the latter approach as it makes it really convenient for a mage to just drag and drop water into the trade slots. Asking for water openly is like asking for a volunteer to do something. You shouldn’t bank on that. Push the issue and pop trade open with them. It also applies to buffs as well. Don’t openly ask for “Fort please” in raid. Either you’ll get overloaded with three fort buffs or none at all because the Priests assume someone else will do it. Whisper any Priest in the raid and ask them for a Fort.

Lastly, regarding rebuffing. Here’s another transcript:

Random Hunter: Fort please!
Random Priest: Looks like you already have it.
Random Hunter: It’s going to come off in five minutes.
Random Priest: *sighs, buffs*

It’s not a big deal, but again it saves on the minor stressors in WoW. If you have a buff which expires in another 10 minutes or even 15 minutes, right click it off. Chances are, the classes that can buff you will notice that it is off and reapply it again before you even ask. During every pull, as a healer, I constantly scan every member in the raid anyway so I know if there is a Fortitude or Spirit buff missing. But again, just click it off to save the questions.

I’m guilty of getting worked up over minor issues like this. I try to make raiding as easy on other people as much as possible by handing things out like that before they even realize it’s gone. It helps the raid transition and move much more fluidly. It helps to reduce any friction among member.

1% wipes are not fun

We took on Leo yesterday and got him down to about 12% on the first try. Five straight attempts saw Leo float around during phase 3 between 15% and 1%. The last one of the night had him at 1% with two of our priests doing everything they can to kill him. Sadly, Smite rendered ineffective. Must make a note to Blizzard to buff Smite.

I have a sinking feeling that we could’ve killed the boss had I gone to repair when the raid leader called for it. But the only that was broken was my enchanted, gemmed T5 shoulders! SURELY it would not have made a difference between 1% and death! …Right? :O