Seven Ways to Your Raid Leader’s Heart

Seven Ways to Your Raid Leader’s Heart

I was having a discussion with a fellow officer last night after our raid. We had just completed ToC 25, Ony 25 and VoA 25, with relatively few speed bumps. My friend and I were talking about what makes me happy from a leadership perspective in a raid. I decided to type out the list I came up with as what I look for from my raiders.

Sign up! – One of the biggest problems any raid leader or anyone who organizes a raid is knowing peoples availability. My guild is very raid oriented and we do have raid sign-up sheets as well as a section for people to post when they are out of town ahead of time so we know who is available and when. We also ask our raiders if they can’t show to sign up on the list as not available. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to track down people to make a raid happen. There has been many a time my guild leader has sent me a text asking where certain people are. The end result is both of us (more him than me due to my work schedule) scrambling to find people to fill gaps so that everyone else who signed up isn’t left in the cold without a raid.

Bring Consumables! – My guild supplies flasks, food and elixirs to raiders. We have officers and raiders that are potion and elixir specced so even if you don’t have access to the raider tab of the guild bank, you can get your consumables made. Often times us crafty types won’t even need all the mats, usually I just need the Frost Lotus and I can whip up a ton of flasks. We also have raiders who bring a ton of fish feasts so there’s always food buffs available as well. There’s very few things as frustrating durring a raid as waiting for people to buff up with flask and food or to hear someone didn’t bring any. If you need flasks, ask before the raid!

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Have Your Gear Ready! – Before showing up to a raid make sure you’re gear is properly enchanted and gemmed. If you have that shiny new piece of gear you want to wear to the raid that is fine and dandy, but make sure it’s ready to use! It’s incredibly frustrating to see a raider show up with empty sockets or no enchants. I know in my guild, we supply Abyss Crystal’s for guildies to use on enchants, and enchanters will supply the rest of the mats 9/10 times. JC’s are always available and we stagger patterns for the most part so there is always someone who can cut a gem that you will need.

Make sure your gear is repaired before starting the raid. One boss in it’s not fun to hear some one’s gear is in the red. Also make sure you’re using the right gear. Some people will fish or cook before the raid and sometimes forget to take off their fishing pole before heading off to the run (*cough*fishingpoleZabos*cough*) and then do part of the instance in the wrong gear.

Know The Fights! – Most raid leaders will have the information readily available and posted for you to view well before the raid begins. I make it a point to sticky all the boss strategies and videos at the top of the thread aptly named “Raider Forums”. With the Internet around and sites like bosskillers, tankspot and our own little space here at WoM there is a plethora of information available on most if not all fights in the game. At least have a general idea of what is going to happen, it makes our job a little easier when we’re explaining what we need you to do and it helps keep the pace of the raid up.

Don’t Ninja AFK! – Having players afk or ninja off of ventrillo without saying a peep to anyone is very annoying. Calling out for someone to do something over vent and get no response is not fun, nor is waiting for someone to get back from the afk before a pull. While I used ventrillo as an example, this holds true to raid chat, party chat. Basically just pay attention to communications. If you need an afk break just send a tell to the raid leader and say “afk 2 min” just let us know!

Mind Your Attitude! – This is a very social game. In a group or raid you are interacting with 4, 9 or 24 other people all with the goal of having fun in mind. We all understand that real life happens and things outside of your control will affect your mood, but when you’re in such a dour mood that you’re bringing everyone around you down or you’re spending more time kvetching rather than raiding, it might be time to take a break for the night. Getting snippy, pitching fits or the like is non conducive and counterproductive to a raid. You need to be able to check the baggage at the door and unwind and have fun for a little while with a group of people.

To quote Matt “Either leave it at the door or just leave”.

Don’t Stand in the Fire!!! – Since the dawn of raiding, players have been drawn to standing in the fire. It’s warm cozy effect lulls them into a sense of security and happiness. As a raid leader there is nothing more frustrating than watching someone stand in the fire / void zone / thunderstorm / aoe damage and just die instead of moving. It is the bane of all raid leaders! Yes sometimes things happen like lag or graphics bugs. But as I told one raider last night, if you don’t see a spell effect and your health is going down maybe move a couple feet to the left or right and see if it stops! Help us help you stay alive! Remember you can’t DPS if you’re dead!

Leading a raid is often times thankless and almost always a very frustrating job. We see to the happiness and well being of a multitude of people and try to make sure the raids happen in such a way that people are still having fun rather than feeling more worn down at the end of the night. We appreciate any help we can get in making things go smoothly. When your raiders come prepared and happy it makes things so much easier not only on the leaders, but the raid as a whole. My raiders do the things above and I can honestly say I love raiding with my guild because of it. It lets us goof off and have a good time enjoying the game together and less time worrying about making sure everyone is ready. Yes hiccups happen but for the most part they are all on the ball, and that makes me very happy.

What about you? What do you do to help make raids and groups easier?

P.S.

A total non sequitur here but like matt I too have my own projects I work on when I’m not writing for WoM. If I could I’d like to take a second to plug my latest project (Thanks matt for the go ahead to plug =D).

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know this but for those who don’t I’ve recently started co-hosting a podcast about gaming with two other “gentlemen”. Rodger / @wowdawgs from www.wowdawgs.com and Enrique / @spoonwolf from www.spooncraft.com. Our podcast is For The Lore and is available free for download from iTunes. Direct links can be found at Forthelore.com. Join us for all things surrounding story driven gaming. We stream live on mondays through ustream with pre show starting at 6:45pm est. We cover all games with a story there as well as our own works of fiction writing and game design. We do cover WoW but not exclusively!

That’s all I have for today. Until next time, Happy Healing!

Sig

Image from druidheal.com

Shadow Priests Are Allowed to Divine Hymn

Yesterday’s post on hybrids spawned a great discussion on when it becomes useful for DPS players to switch out to different roles. Today, I wanted to expand it further and delve into the topic of Priests.

Now according to the Rules of Raiding #77:

DPS and tanking players should not have to heal.

It’s a good rule that states that if you’re in a DPS position or in a tanking position, there is no reason for you to have to change your role to heal. For one thing, you don’t have the spec or the bonuses or the gear to pull it off long term in an encounter.

If you’re a Shadow Priest, all you need to do is simply wail on the boss.

Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. Rule #10 for instance states:

Every possible course of action should be considered by every player no matter what they do in order to beat the encounter.

In a case where rules may clash, rules that are lower on the scale will supercede the ones above it.

Let’s apply it.

Shadow Priests will almost never be called upon to drop their Shadow form to heal. It’s inefficient and often times unnecessary. But a Shadow Priest is still a Priest and they have access to some valuable cooldowns.

There is one in particular called Divine Hymn.

Don’t shy away from using it if you have to. As one of the healing leads, I look and see what cooldowns are available. I won’t hesitate to ask for Shadow Priests to Divine Hymn. I won’t hesitate to ask a Ret Paladin to use their bubble-sacrificing abilitiy. Feral Druids know that my Priest is the Hummer of healers in the guild and that I am one heck of a mana guzzling machine when I hit the accelerator. Yet I’m playing a hybrid class, right? (That’s a joke).

Anub’arak is a stressing fight for healers. This oversized frost beetle ramps it up a notch when he hits the 30% mark and everyone in the raid starts taking damage. A quick glance at the cooldowns available is followed by me barking out names and abilities. They respond with either an affirmative or a negative. This isn’t the time to debate why their cooldown isn’t up. Maybe a Paladin had to bubble earlier in the fight to survive. Stuff like that gets discussed after the fact, not during.

I run a total of four Priests during raids. Two are Shadow and the other two heal. Shadow Priests know they’re not going to be asked to drop form and heal (usually). But four Priests means access to four Divine Hymns which is extremely powerful during a a phase with high incoming damage.

The final point I want to stress is that a Shadow Priest isn’t required to keep the raid alive for long periods of time. That’s not their job. But they can help keep the raid stable enough for everyone else to stay alive and pile on their damage.

If you’re in a top 100 worldwide raiding guild, your Shadow Priests might not have to do it. For the rest of us, every option needs to be considered.

The Hybrid Pedigree

This is a guest post by Mimetir, an oversized owl of a raid leader on The Venture Co (EU). You can find her twitter feed at http://twitter.com/juddr.

I understood little about the game back when I was a young whippersnapper of a hammer-wielding paladin but I did know that those rather unfriendly zombies were hitting my party real hard now and I’d better cast that flashy light spell because no-one else did anything similar. Nowadays my boomkin suspects her claws are actually roots given the amount of times she’s dropped out of form to heal at a critical point. On the rare occasions my guild’s feral gets to DPS, he often finds himself bearing up and growling things off of the clothies. Even so, I regularly hear players bemoan that the hybrid classes are forgetting their utility and simply focusing on their single, chosen role. These comments usually come after an unsuccessful event or fight; a little help in healing from the paladin might have given the edge, or if the cat had just engaged bear’s-behind mode to help the overwhelmed tank out for a few seconds… A hybrid forgetting their flexibility just like a warlock forgetting to soulstone a healer. It’s something so integral to their class that they should do it automatically.

Hybrid classes allow a player to perform any and all of the three roles a group may require. Need a tank, DPS or healer? I can do all of those, says your paladin, druid or shaman. Admittedly the shaman can only tank under certain circumstances such as pre-60 instances, but this flexibility is something which makes these classes very popular choices for groups and also for players. Data shows that many players choose the paladin class, second only to the death knight – no surprise given the surge of DK mains when WotLK hit.

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Still, some players are not able or willing to play a class to its full hybrid potential. I think there are three types of hybrid players:

  • Those who are able to play different roles or specs for a sustained length of time – these are more common since the availability of dual spec
  • Those who are able to respond to a situation by switching into another playstyle and back out at the drop of a hat
  • Those who cannot or refuse to do either of these things and focus on one task.

I’ve said that a hybrid should know their class’ utility backwards – but should they? If hybrid players are a minority now this suggests that they are a dying breed. WoW is a lot easier to play than its previous incarnations, quibble as you like over the finer points. Perhaps gameplay no longer requires sharp hybrids with an eye always on utilizing their out-of-spec abilities. Mayhap the game has made facerolling, overpowered roles the hero of the day and has sidelined hybrid utility as a luxury addition to a raid. That would certainly explain why there seem to be less active hybrid players out there: Look, we are indeed all just DPS. Do you, as a raid leader or officer, notice more if your hybrid classes or your top DPS dies early on?

Raid setup is a lot more flexible nowadays and most encounters can be downed by any combination of characters. I have heard that level 60 raid setup required a lot more thought and arguably a different approach from the player to what they could contribute with their class. I often wonder whether a willingness to change roles at the drop of a hat is a long-term satisfying playstyle for hybrid classes. The cons spring to mind immediately. Two healers just went down; you the boomkin needs to heal, while the feral waits for an opportune moment to combat resurrect the tree. There goes your rotation. There goes your proc and DPS concentration. There goes the raid’s moonkin aura; the new order of the day is the stress of switching mental gears and trying to find your healing spells in order to keep the raid up. Your place on the DPS meter – sixth of ten. Yet again. Nevermind.

That shouldn’t matter of course – you have just saved the raid from a potential wipe: congrats, have a pat on the feathery back. Now get back to eclipsing.

Having a pivotal role in averting a wipe can be hugely satisfying. I would bet, though, that many hybrids find it wearisome to keep doing so. Speccing into a particular role means that you enjoy doing that and intend to do your best at it. A player constantly carrying the hybrid "millstone" may find that they don’t meet their own spec specific targets or feel that they are achieving their best. It can also be argued that WoW is a more competitive place than it used to be and many players no longer look deeper at performance than your DPS done during a fight, no mind that you spent half of it healing. That, too, can lead to friction in a group and for some players a disinclination to perform hybrid tasks or play that character at all – these are things which should be watched by both the player themselves and a prudent raid leader.

That said I believe that successful hybrids are still prized raid members. if you can perform whatever is needed without a moment’s notice then you may get a reputation as reliable and a quick thinker – attributes likely to get you a spot in the raid as much as the top DPSer of your guild. And wearisome though the millstone may be, it’s there as a reminder that you’re playing one of the most situationally flexible classes in WoW and that there are always new tricks to learn for a jack of all trades. What do you think? Do hybrid players play their classes as well as they could? Do you as a hybrid enjoy being pulled from pillar to post? Do your hybrid raiders matter more as flexible players or solid DPSers?

Raiding 10 v. 25: Which is better?

Raiding 10 v. 25: Which is better?

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Since Blizzard implemented the 10 man raid I’ve been hearing debates between players on which is the better raid format, 10 or 25 man raids. I find myself drawing parallels between the debate of 25 v 40 raids. Lets look at some of the virtues of both shall we?

10 Man Raid

Easier to organize

Easier to coordinate raider movement

Less vent / teamspeak chatter

Easier to spot problems

More individual responsibility

Less margin for error

Lower gear leve than25 man

Allows smaller guilds and pugs to experience end game content

25 Man raid

More room for error

Higher Gear level than10 man

More drops per boss and zone than 10 man

Less people have to be “benched”

Bigger sense of accomplishment after defeating a boss

Looking at the points in both I see a lot of the same arguments from 40 man raids to 25 man raids. I’ve had the fortune to experience 40 man, 25 man, 20 man and 10 man raiding and I’d like to offer up my opinion on it. They are all fun.

40 man raids were a pain in the rear to organize and in many cases required you to carry a certain number of a class in order to succeed (Princess huhuran needed at least 4 hunters for tranqshot rotation and such). It was a pain in the ass that required a good hierarchy in order to do successfully. This involved raid leaders, officers, class leaders and such. In a 40 man raid it was very possible for five people to hold a raid hostage and cause all sorts of mayhem.

With that said I loved the content of the 40 player raids, they felt epic. Zones like Molten Core, Black Wing Lair and AQ40 were large and just amazingly well done. Problem was you needed a full group or mostly full group to do these end game raids. Many smaller guilds would form raid alliances and venture forth into the end game content.

20 man raids were introduced with the instance Zul’Gurub. It was a well designed zone and forced you to pick a smaller team to proceed. There was less margin for error but it was easier to grab 19 other players and go in rather than hunting down enough players for Molten Core. The zone was smaller than other end game raids at the time, but offered an opportunity for greater emphasis on fight mechanics than 40 man raiding did. It was a wildly popular raid and showed that the smaller format could be successful.

25 man raids made things a lot easier. Guilds would have a better time getting together enough raiders and wouldn’t have to enter as frequently into raid alliances in order to see the end game content. This was partially helped along by the success of ZG. At this point players for the most part had embraced the smaller format. It offered greater raid accountability on the raiders and easier coordination of the group for the raid leaders. One person could wrangle 24 others without the aid of officers and class leaders if they needed to. Fights could be explained faster than 40 man and it was easier to spot mistakes. This was hailed as a large success on the raiding scene. In 25 man raids though it was still easy to hide behind the skirts of a better healer or DPS just like in the old 40 man raids

When 25 man raids were new and successful, Blizzard also introduced the 10 man raid. Karazhan was for many people their first full raid. It was big and epic in both zone size and scope of what it set out to do. Fight mechanics were interesting and fresh and easier to implement than they were in 25 man. Fights like Netherspite lended itself well to the 10 man raid size as it was much easier to coordinate, but still gave players jobs to do other than just sit and dps or sit and heal. With 25 man raiding though there was still the problem of smaller guilds still needing to enter into raid alliances or pug raider spots if they couldn’t show up with 25 people ready to go see the endgame.

After a full expansion of 25 man raids, Blizzard announced that in Wrath of the Lich King you’d be able to toggle difficulty on all raids between 10 and 25 man. This news sent waves throughout the community. People called it both genius and folly. It allowed you to really take your raid and simplify it. You could take 10 raiders and do all the same raids that the 25 player content was providing and it allowed content to be more accessible to a wider variety of players. Allowing raids to be done at a 10 man level also allowed for greater accountability. If you messed up in kara back in the day, you noticed. It was a lot easier to see what you were doing wrong. It’s much much harder to look at 24 other people and catch problems before they cause wipes. You have much more personal responsibility in a 10 man than you do in a 25 and as a result you are a more integral part of the team. Some fights are inherently harder in 10 man version than they are in 25 man, and some vice verse. You have options now to be able to see all of the games content.

Lodur’s opinion:

Personally I like both formats a lot. I love 25 man raids because at the end of the night I feel accomplished. Being able to help lead 24 other people to a successful boss kill and hear the screams of joy when we get through a particularly hard boss(vent the night of the first Yogg kill was electrifying awesome) is priceless to me. At the same token herding 24 other players even with assistance is grueling and can wear you down. In 25 mans I find myself constantly watching the raid trying to find and stop problems quickly before they cause wipes. I love being able to take the vast majority of my raiders into a zone as well so not everyone is sitting idle.

I love 10 mans because of the intimacy of them. Recently due to some raiders being out, my guild split into two 10 man groups for the night. We ran ToC 10. I lead one group, the GM lead another. I had with me some very good people and a rather nice setup. I also had two people that have had problems in the past staying focused or people I like to refer to as “Fire Huggers”. I was able to coach those two players and get an absolutely phenomenal performance out of them on the fly. Especially when we got to the Faction Champions (pre nerf). This fight was the hardest in the zone (IMO) and lots of people were caught cutting their teeth on it for a while. We wiped once, I saw what was going wrong pretty quickly and was able to change tactics and issue commands on the fly much easier than in 25 man raids and we were able to adapt and overcome the encounter quickly. 10 mans are much easier to coordinate and I didn’t feel nearly the same pressure that I do when I’m thrust into leading a 25 man.

Bottom line, I love both formats just for different reasons. I think they are both solid and offer everything raiders could want.  I also think there shouldn’t be a debate between which format is better. They both work, and they both work pretty damn well (loot distribution aside *shakes fist at blizzard for putting all the good spell shields in 10 man hard modes*).

So how about you? What do you prefer 10 or 25? Why do you like that format?

Well that is all I have for today. Until next time, Happy Healing!

Sig

Image courtesy of www.edinphoto.org.uk

Raiding: It’s a Team Sport

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This is a guest post by Thespius.

If there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s actually having fun playing WoW. I wasn’t around for "Vanilla WoW", but I am a 3 year veteran of the game. WoW is my hobby. I take it seriously, but it’s still the place I go to "escape". I’ve been in leveling guilds, raiding guilds (hardcore and casual), PvP guilds, and guilds with friends. When it comes to raids/groups, I’ve learned one thing that I bring with me at all times:

"How do you make the best party? Simple. Bring friends."

I don’t mean only invite the exclusives (guildies, RL friends, etc). It’s called the WoW Community right? How does one become a "friend"?

I tend to gravitate towards people that are positive and contribute to the group/raid’s success, not take away from it and hurt morale. Anyone that’s been in a raid knows how much smoother it runs when everyone has a positive, goal-oriented mindset.

Yes, this can be tough through wipe-fests or newer players in the mix, but there are numerous ways to contribute to keeping morale and spirits high: Attitude, Willingness to learn/help, and Courtesy among them. If everyone involved puts in that little extra effort, it keeps the fun alive.

Attitude

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t cry over spilt milk. Don’t get pissed if you wipe. This has caused me to stop raiding with a group more than anything. Most of us aren’t in the "uber-leet" guilds and are going to have problems along the line of progression. The best way to always handle it, in my opinion, is to shrug it off:

"We lingered a little too long before starting Phase Two of Mimiron. It’s all good. Keep at it, and we’ll get it next time." (In my mind, even the top guilds could perform even better if everyone focused more optimistically than pessimistically.)

How do you make sure you’re making the best effort you can? Take the time to do it right the first time. The easiest way to waste time and boss attempts is to rush through them. Mark your targets, /readycheck, communicate. Our paladin tank (an ex-Army Ranger) always reminds us: "Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast. Fast is deadly." Truer words were never spoken. Be focused, but not rushed.

Once you get that in place, HAVE FUN! It’s a game. We all play it to enjoy it. I love joking around in raids–as long as it doesn’t distract from the raid itself. Keep in mind, however, that not everyone may share your brand of humor/sarcasm. Pay attention to the reactions of others and be mindful of possibly "crossing the line". If you want the raid to continue to go well, avoid making comments that can make it go sour really quickly. I know I’m a stronger healer when I’m having fun.

Negativity is going to breed more negativity. Even an optimist like myself is going to fall victim to it. It’s easier to make 5 people mad than 2 people happy. I actively take up that challenge to keep the raid’s spirits up. That’s my "hard mode" – Get through the raid night without people getting up in arms. I tend to call myself the "Guild Politician." I try to keep everyone happy. I’m a healer in game, and a healer by nature.

Willingness to Learn/Help

We all had our first toon. Mine was a Human Warlock (the original "Thespius"). I stepped into the world of Northshire Abbey and had NO idea what a spell was, or Intellect, or even that I would eventually battle with Talents. After playing this game for 3 years, I’m still learning new things every day. I personally love how this game is constantly evolving. New mechanics introduced, new thoughts shared. In this, I know I’m not perfect.

Avoid elitism. Be confident, but not pompous. I think when it comes to healing, I’m pretty confident. Am I the best? No. Do I think I’ll ever be the best? No. Do I strive to BE the best? Of course. I do that by staying open-minded, listening to those around me, and paying attention to the online healing community.

If I encounter someone who seems to be struggling with kill order, or threat, or healing "rotations", I could choose one of two ways to proceed:

  1. [Party]: HAHA!!! THIS N00B DOESN’T USE RENEW!! HAHAHAHAHA WHAT A LOSER!!
  2. [Whisper]: Hey, I noticed you don’t utilize Renew a lot. Is there a reason why you chose to do that?

I hope everyone can see that the second option allows room to suggest a change rather than belittling the person for not knowing. Who knows? Their reasoning may be solid, and may open your eyes to a different style that you can build on. I hope that others would exercise the same kindness if I’m having trouble with something. Remember, optomism over pessimism.

Courtesy

This is where you can make a raid stronger or label yourself as "selfish". A chain is only as good as its weakest link, right? We’ll start with the basics:

Make sure you’re not going to have to go AFK a bunch of times. Obviously extenuating circumstances arise (family, roommates, etc.). Ready to go means a stock of snacks/drinks and an empty bladder. We’ve all been there.

If you do have to go AFK, make sure you have clear communication with the raid leader that you’re gone. Raid Leaders, make sure you’re paying attention (or delegating that responsibility) to chat/vent to see who needs a momentary break. If you MUST go AFK, try to save it for a good downtime in raid. If the whole raid is going to take 5 minutes, go restock your supplies and empty the bladder, even if you don’t NEED to. Get back as soon as you can, and make sure people know you’re back.

If you must leave for the rest of the night, give as much notice as you can. This allows the Raid Leader to decide how to proceed. If you consistently bail at the last moment, it’s likely you won’t be asked back. It also puts undue stress on the raid, dampening the mood. Remember, easier to promote negativity than positivity.

However, I try to be most considerate about loot/upgrades. I serve as my own loot council. If there’s someone in the group (yes, even a PUG) that could use the gear more than I could, I’ll gladly pass to them. That gesture is usually a huge comfort to people, and promotes the Team environment I’m trying to build. In our raids, we give PUGs equal shot at gear. In doing this, we’ve created a great little niche of people to pull from when we need subs. We’ve also gained a few new guild members because of it.

Throughout all of this, our guild and its members have the reputation of being the best to run with. Why?

  • Our attitude is positive and team-oriented. We’re out for everyone to succeed, not just the individual. It makes every run fun and memorable.
  • We take a proactive approach to helping those that need it. We don’t belittle people for not being familiar with a certain aspect of the game. It allows for people to be honest about not knowing something, or being open to suggestion.
  • We exercise courtesy with everyone we play with. People know that they’re not going to get "screwed over" in a Team Sport run. Anyone that contributes to the run’s success should be rewarded.

Just mind the bad apples in the game, because they are out there. Keep your heads up.

Raider Nostalgia: Patch 3.2.2

Raider Nostalgia: Patch 3.2.2

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As most of you have heard today patch 3.2.2 is going live. With it marks the triumphant return of the Brood Mother and her many whelps. So what’s in store for us?

The Brood Mother Returns
After years of lurking in her lair battling the many brave adventurers who travelled from afar to challenge her, Onyxia returns stronger than before to commemorate World of Warcraft’s five-year anniversary.

  • Onyxia has been scaled to offer new challenges to level 80 players and is now available in 10- and 25-player modes.
  • Adjusted for modern raiding, but with the fundamental experience of fighting the Brood Mother still in effect, including the horrors of her Deep Breaths!
  • Onyxia will now drop level 80 item versions of some classic loot items from the level 60 encounter.
  • Brood of Onyxia, a very rare 310%-speed mount modeled after Onyxia herself will be available for the luckiest of challengers

This has gotten me very excited. For many of us, Ony was our first real raid experience. I know it was for me. I had done some molten core, but my first real raid with my guild (same one I’m still with today) was Onyxia. Of course my first ony raid tale is a little bit different then most. I happened to have participated in this raid from a bar. My then girlfriend worked at a bar that happened to have really good wireless Internet. I hoped on my laptop while waiting for her to get out of work and wound up getting invited to an Ony raid. We killed the Brood Mother, I got a shiny new helm and I did this while having a frosty cold pint. When we heard that they were updating her for the anniversary at Blizzcon, I definitely joined in screaming at the top of my lungs in excitement. Along with this announcement also came the news that in Cataclysm Rangnaros, Nefarian and a few others will be back again! This announcement even got me to dust off my hunter and level her to 80.  This type of boss is something that many of us remember fondly and I think it was a good call on their part to update her to level 80 and bring us back some favorite loot updated for level 80 as well.

Let’s not forget this is a patch though, so some things are changing for classes and abilities. Healers this patch are largely untouched. Shamans however get a nerf of sorts, not as bad as it could be but bad enough.

Shaman

Cleansing Totem: No longer purges instantly when dropped

Like I said could be much worse, this change will require Shaman to change tactics slightly. On fights like the Faction Champions in ToC, dropping a cleansing totem was a great way to get 5 people cleaned from poisons and diseases very quickly. Now we have to use this totem more proactively rather then reactively as once you drop it you have a good 3 seconds to wait before it starts doing it’s thing. Complete Patch notes can be seen HERE

More Patch Notes

Dungeons & Raids

  • Shadowfang Keep
    • Wailing Guardsman: Screams of the Past will no longer have multiple applications on a target. Recast time has been increased.
  • Ulduar
    • Increased the cooldown on Immortal Guardians’ Drain Life ability in the Yogg-Saron encounter.

Achievements

  • The Achievement “Iron, Dwarf Medium Rare (25 player)” now requires 25 kills, down from 50.
  • The Frostwolf Howler and Stormpike Battle Charger Achievements will now be awarded when a player learns the respective mount spells.

Professions

  • The blacksmiths of Orgrimmar grew tired of running to the rear of the city to craft items and have installed a new anvil & forge at the General Store in the Valley of Strength.
  • Engineering
    • The Mind Amplification Dish no longer changes the appearance of your helmet.
  • Inscription
    • Added a recipe for Runescroll of Fortitude. This item grants a stamina buff equal to the highest rank of Power Word: Fortitude (untalented) to all players in the raid. The effect of this runescroll is exclusive with other stamina scrolls and Power Word: Fortitude.
  • Leatherworking
    • Added a recipe for Drums of Forgotten Kings. These drums increase all stats by 8% for all players in a raid. The effect of these drums is exclusive with Blessing of Kings.
    • Added a recipe for Drums of the Wild. These drums grant a buff equal to the highest rank of Mark of the Wild (untalented) to all players in a raid. The effect of these drums is exclusive with Mark of the Wild.

Items

  • The Black Heart: This item’s animation has been changed and no longer resembles Hand of Protection.
  • Death Knight Tier-9 Tanking 4-Piece Set Bonus: Now decreases the cooldown on Vampiric Blood, Unbreakable Armor, and Bone Shield by 10 seconds instead of 20.
  • Druid Tier-8 Healer 4-Piece Set Bonus: The amount of healing this set bonus grants on the initial cast of Rejuvenation has been reduced by 50%. In addition, this set bonus no longer has strange interactions with Harold’s Rejuvenating Broach.
  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Bone Shield: This glyph now grants 1 additional charge instead of 2.
    • Glyph of Flame Shock: Redesigned. This glyph now makes Flame Shock periodic damage able to be critical strikes.
    • Glyph of Mind Flay: This glyph no longer reduces the magnitude of the movement reduction on the Mind Flay victim.
    • Glyph of Scourge Strike: Redesigned. This glyph now causes Scourge Strike to extend the duration of Frost Fever and Blood Plague by 3 seconds each time Scourge Strike is used on a target, up to a maximum of 9 seconds.
    • Glyph of Typhoon: This glyph now increases the range on Typhoon by 10 yards in addition to its current effects.
    • Glyph of Unbreakable Armor: Now increases the armor gained from Unbreakable Armor by 20%.
    • Glyph of Vampiric Blood: The glyph now increases the duration of Vampiric Blood by 5 seconds instead of 10.
  • Libram of Obstruction: The buff to block value from this relic is now exclusive with the buff to block value from Libram of the Sacred Shield; it is impossible to have both buffs at once.
  • Libram of the Sacred Shield: The block value buff from this relic has been increased to match its item level.
  • Relics: All buffs provided by relics (idols, librams, totems and sigils) now share an exclusive category such that gaining a buff from one of these items will remove all other buffs gained from items in this category.
  • Totem of Quaking Earth: Attack power value increased to 400.

User Interface

  • Battleground Queuing
    • Players may now only queue for no more than two Battlegrounds at a time.
    • The dialog box for entering a Battleground match has been changed to reflect the following options: “Enter Battle,” “Leave Queue,” and “Minimize.”
    • The time a player has to enter a battle when selected has been reduced to 40 seconds when not already in a Battleground and 20 seconds when in a Battleground.
    • Players already in a Battleground can now choose “Enter Battle” for a new Battleground under any circumstance (i.e. while dead, in combat, falling, etc.).
    • A new Battleground will not launch until the maximum number of players on each side are in the queue (i.e. 40 players per side for Alterac Valley).
  • The size of the Focus Frame can now be adjusted via the Interface Options menu.
  • Mail System Auto-Complete Feature
    • The inline auto-complete feature for the mail system has been added back into the game. The mail system will now have both the pre- and post-3.2.0 auto-complete features available.
    • Added a label to notify players that the Tab key will allow players to navigate through the character names listed via the auto-complete feature.
  • For additional notes on Lua and XML changes please visit the UI & Macros forum.

Bug Fixes

  • Death Knight
    • Rune of Razorice: The frost vulnerability granted by this enchantment will now increase the damage done by Frost Fever as intended.
  • Druid
    • Balance of Power: Misleading tooltip reworded. The tooltip previously reported an incorrect value for the increased chance to hit with spells. The actual benefit of the talent is unchanged.
  • Hunter
    • Master’s Call: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Infected Wounds, Frostfire Bolt, and Slow.
    • Trap Mastery’s (Survival) tooltip now states the correct amount of snakes summoned.
  • Mage
    • Arcane Missiles: Ranks 12 and 13 will now properly cause players to enter combat.
  • Paladin
    • Hand of Freedom: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Infected Wounds and Frostfire Bolt.
  • Priest
    • Divine Aegis: Ranks 1 and 2 will now work with Holy Nova.
    • Glyph of Power Word: Shield now correctly uses the Priest’s spell critical chance instead of the target’s.
  • Rogue
    • Vanish: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Frostfire Bolt.
    • Honor Among Thieves: This talent will now work properly again if two rogues with different ranks of the talent are in the same party.
  • Shaman
    • Grounding Totem will now properly protect against the Death Grip spell.
    • Lava Burst can no longer deal critical damage to targets who are immune to critical strikes (due to, e.g. Roar of Sacrifice, Blessed Resilience).
    • Lightning Shield: This spell will no longer set off some trinkets when it is cast.
    • Stoneclaw Totem’s pulses will no longer break stealth on nearby hostile units.
    • Thunderstorm and Shamanistic Rage can no longer be used while Frozen, Cycloned, Sapped, or Incapacitated.
  • Warlock
    • Demonic Circle: This ability now correctly removes the snaring component of Frostfire Bolt.
    • Fel Armor: This spell was unable to set off trinkets and other effects. That has been corrected.
    • When using Shadowbolt or Incinerate while having Backlash and Backdraft active, only Backlash will now be properly consumed.
  • Coliseum Trinkets: Some spells that should have triggered these trinkets will now trigger them (such as Holy Nova and Fel Armor).
  • Death Knight Tier-9 DPS 4-Piece Set Bonus: Now grants the correct chance for disease damage ticks to be critical strikes.
  • Hunter Tier-9 2-Piece Set Bonus: Critical damage from Serpent Sting will now work properly with the Mortal Shots and Expose Weakness talents.
  • Lightweave Embroidery: This tailoring item enhancement will no longer trigger from the periodic healing granted by the warlock spell Fel Armor.
  • Mote of Flame: Corrected a typo in the tooltip.
  • Paladin Tier-9 DPS 2-Piece Set Bonus: Now grants the correct chance for Righteous Vengeance ticks to be critical strikes.
  • Shard of Flame: Corrected a typo in the tooltip.
  • Val’anyr, Hammer of The Ancient Kings: Healing from Prayer of Mending now triggers the shield from this item. In addition, a bug was corrected which would cause the shield points to be overwritten rather than stack up as intended.

So, how do you feel about the patch? Excited or angry that it seems like it came too soon? Does it make you think back on your time in early raiding? What was your first raid? Any other bosses you want to see ramped up to 80?

Until next time, Happy Healing!

Sig

Image from pewpewlazers.wordpress.com

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!

steve_phixr

Avast you scally wags!, happy talk like a pirate day from us at World o’ Matticus, shiver me timbers! Hope you have a fun day and don’t forget t’ get your achie’ement in Booty Bay. Tis’ quick and easy. Fly t’ booty bay and head o’er past the horde flight point. Jump up ont’ the roo’ and talk t’ Dread Captain Demeza, argh! Get your free pirate costumes and then find some wenches and raid some ta’erns!

From Blizzard

Yarrrr matey, it be Pirates’ Day! Commoners wearing pirate garb have appeared in all the world’s cities with the news that the Dread Captain DeMeza and her crew have landed in Booty Bay and declared it Pirates’ Day! If you are brave enough to share a drink with her, you may have what it takes to become an honorary crew member for the day.

First, talk to any pirate commoner to receive a costume to help you get into the spirit of Pirates’ Day. Once appropriately attired, head down to Booty Bay to join in the fun. There, look for Dread Captain Demeza and her crew, who have taken over the roof of the Booty Bay bank and auction house. By talking to Captain DeMeza, players become an honorary crew member and transform into a pirate of their race and gender for 12 hours. This costume buff may be clicked off but persists through combat, mounting, death, and so on. Other highlights of the holiday include:

  • A large crowd of pirate revelers (“Dread Crew”) who dance, talk, eat, drink, laugh, and shoot fireworks. Ask Baron Revilgaz what he thinks of the visitors.
  • The Tauren First Mate Hapana and his giant South Seas assault parrot, Nyuni.
  • A trio of cannons and cannoneers who periodically fire out into the bay – at times, just barely missing the sails of the incoming transport. Those crazy corsairs.
  • Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket, two curiously-named pirates.
  • Lively pirate-themed music that plays upon the rooftop.

so what be you goin’ t’ do this fine holliday? Goin’ t’ any pirate theme parties? Breakin’ out the de’iate delights and raidin’ pirate style? Rollin’ around with your admiral’s hat? Aye, me parrot concurs th’s be soundin’ like good fun!

Share with us your Talk like a pirate day pictures, your favorite pirate joke or just feel free to chime in with some good old pirate speak! YARRRRRRRRRRRR!

Edit, I’ve been informed this post needs more pirates. So in honor of my guild master


SigPP116

Image courtesy of Fox Studios (PIRATE WASH FTW!!!!)

Healing Crusader’s Coliseum: Val’kyr Twins

valkyr-twins

Val’kyr Twins is one of the more interesting fights in the Coliseum especially for healers. The encounter consists of two Val’kyr who share a relatively large health pool (28 million+). This encounter requires relatively decent buff management along with snap DPS switching in order to get through it.

Setting up

Divide your raid equally in two groups. Split the tanks, DPS, and healers down the line. One group will be on the left, and the other group will be on the right. For the sake of healers, use groups 1 and 2 on the right, groups 3 and 4 on the left. Doesn’t matter which groups. Just have it set in such a way that group positions match group numbers.

twins-essence

How the essences are positioned

Right clicking on the color provides the appropriate essence buff. Your DPS will wish to pick up the buff that is opposite the twin they are engaging. Healers may wish to collect the same colored buff as the twin their DPS is attacking.

Example: The half of the raid that is attacking Fjola Lighbane will be picking up a dark buff. The healers on that side will wish to pick up the light buff.

Main abilities

Vortex

Each twin has a vortex that will do ~6000 damage per second every 5 seconds. It’s an 8 second cast. The best way to mitigate it is to gain the same colored buff that matches the twin who is casting the vortex.

Example: Eydis Darkbane is about to case Vortex. The players who are attacking Darkbane should immediately pick up the dark buff to mitigate incoming damage until her channel is finished.

When I did this encounter as DPS, I would stand next to the buff that was opposite the one that I currently had. This way, I could switch easily and DPS the opposite twin.

Twin’s Pact

One twin will cast a shield on themselves. It absorbs ~700000 damage. While their shield is up, they will cast Twin’s Pact. It takes 15 seconds for them to cast that and when it goes off, 20% of their health is restored. The idea  here is to have the entire raid switch to the twin who is casting Twin’s Pact and break their shield. A Rogue or a Shaman can then interrupt Twin’s Pact.

Example: Fjola Lightbane just cast Shield of Light and is channeling Twin’s Pact. The DPS attacking Edyis Darkbane will run behind her, pick up the darkness buff, and start opening up on Fjola. MacktheKnife, a Rogue, manages to kick and interrupt Lightbane from healing.

Surges

Surge of Darkness and Surge of Light are raid wide “auras” that inflict damage to everyone who is of the opposite buff. Light buffed players take damage from Surge of Darkness and viceversa. Nothing can be done about it.

Incoming balls!

Periodically throughout the fight, there are going to be balls that come in from all sides. You’re going to have a dark ball and a light ball. If a ball hits a player who has the same buff as the color of the ball, they will gain a buff. If the ball hits an opposite coloured player, they take damage. The balls will naturally be drawn toward the twins.

If you want some practice for hard mode, have your healers run interference with their colored balls so that the DPS won’t get hit by them.

Example: Matt’s healing the side that’s DPSing Darkbane. Matt’s buff is the dark essence. Balls start appearing. Matt starts shield everyone and begins chasing dark balls and running interference so that the light balls can get through and hit the DPS.

Healing tips

Raid groups starting out will want to try their luck with 6 healers before dropping down to 5. Split them down the line. If you have an odd healer, coin toss it or random roll the side for them to go on.

Do not get tunnel vision here. Remember, just because you’re on one side with one buff doesn’t mean you cannot heal the other group if you need to. You can cross heal if one side happens to be struggling for some reason.

How do Discipline Priests heal through the raid-wide tick?

Drop some gold on the Prayer of Healing glyph. That will help soften the blow. Shield spamming 10 different targets helps too if you can keep working the global cooldown.

Paladins?

This is going to require a bit of cooperation from the raid. Try to have your members stand near each other when they’re not trying to intercept balls. Holy Light splashing helps. If not, stick to beaconing the tank and going on auto heal on everyone in the area.

Guild Talent Point Wishlist

wish-list

The guild talent point system is an upcoming feature in Cataclysm that will allow guilds to invest points into certain special abilities. It’s the same idea when it comes to our individual classes. The only difference is the fact that guild talents will either give your guild some cool abilities or passive perks.

So Blizzard! My birthday is coming up shortly in another week and 2 days. I know you’re hard at work on Cataclysm and Icecrown. One of the biggest features I’m waiting for is the new upcoming Guild talent point system.

I’m aware you’ve included example talents like extra gold on mobs, reduced repair costs, mass resurrect and the ability to summon everyone to a certain point. I’m no game designer and I doubt I’ll ever make a good one. As a guildmaster, I have my own wishlist of guild talents I’d like to see. If you have time, I’d very much appreciate it if you could look it over. I don’t expect you to use any of them but I hope something on my list might inspire your talent designers.

  • Cauldron of Enlightenment: Alchemists are able to create a Cauldron of Enlightenment which is able to produce 25 Flasks of Enlightenment. Flask increases your highest individual stat by 40. (Remember, this is when spell power and mp5 and such gets compressed down to base stats).
  • Bug out: Immediately renders a player immune to fires on the ground… by teleporting them out of the instance, removing them from raid, and from guild.
  • Overdrive: Haste of all members in raid increased by 25%. Does not stack with Heroism or Bloodlust. Causes Exhaustion. Only usable by the Guild Leader.
  • Skilled Negotiator: All faction discounts increased by an additional 5%.
  • Asylum: The 10 yard radius around you is instantly converted into a sanctuary. You cannot attack opposite faction members and opposite faction members cannot attack you. Lasts 30 seconds. Not usable in PvP.
  • Let’s be pals: Reputation gains increased by 5/10/15% (Okay, that’s too much. I guess a realistic number would be 2/4/6%)
  • Slavedriver: All crafting professions create items 10/20/30% faster.

What about you, the rest of my readers? What type of guild talents would you like to see? Remember, the rule is that you cannot include any ability that could aversely affect PvE or PvP. So no class damage modifiers. I only included the pseudo-heroism for guilds that might not have a Shaman.

Matt on the WoW.com show 3 PM PST UPDATE: Show’s over

I’ll be on the WoW.com show in about 15 minutes. I’m not quite sure what I’ll be talking about. If you’ve ever wanted to listen to a Dwarf Priest do improv, this is your chance! Not sure if this embed works, if not here’s the direct link to the Ustream page!

Live TV : Ustream

Update: Show’s over! Thanks for listening! Will post MP3 up later!