I Can Carry You

I Can Carry You

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Remember that scene from Return of the King? Frodo has just about given up hope. He’s at the bottom of Mount Doom. Sam can sense the frustration coming from Frodo and then says:

Sam: Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields… and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?

Frodo: No, Sam. I can’t recall the taste of food… nor the sound of water… nor the touch of grass. I’m… naked in the dark, with nothing, no veil… between me… and the wheel of fire! I can see him… with my waking eyes!

Sam: Then let us be rid of it… once and for all! Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you… but I can carry you!

And so he did. Sam starts carrying Frodo and begins climbing up one step at a time until they enter inside.

We all know how that ends.

The random dungeon tool

You’ve run into “those” players, haven’t you? The ones that don’t seem to try very hard? They’re sporting a full set of T9s and are firing spells that don’t begin to approach the potential of the player. There’s all sorts of reasons for it. Maybe it’s an alt they’re unfamiliar with. Could be chatting on the phone and distracted. Perhaps they just dinged 80 and are wearing an awesome flavor of blues and greens and decided to start gearing up as quick as possible.

The simplest answer would be that such players downright suck.

You don’t have to be spiteful about it though.

It doesn’t matter to me if they just hit 80.
It doesn’t matter to me if they’re an alt that doesn’t know what they’re doing.
It doesn’t matter to me if they’ve never done that instance (or any instance) before.

I’m willing to carry you.

As a healer, we’re in a pretty unique position of being able to support the entire group if we have the skills.

Bruteforce healing

Ever tried brute force healing an instance before? It’s exactly what it sounds like. The ultimate 5 man healing experience is when every DPS pulls aggro or the tank is simply not able to keep the threat up on all the mobs. Or if the tank decides to chain pull 3-4 sets of trash.

To top it off, you’re at 30% mana because they didn’t notice your mana pool before the trash pulls went off.

Bruteforce healing means you won’t be relying on so much finesse. There isn’t much emphasis on healing rotation or using the “right” spell for the right job. Damage is coming from all over the place and every action needs to be prioritized.

This is where you take the shotgun approach and hit as many AoE and preventative spells as possible. It’s a lot of fun for a Disc Priest.

Whether intentional or otherwise, if a DPS player pulls aggro, I will have their back. I’m willing to be patient and to explain encounters. I’m willing to eat a few wipes.

Unless it’s Oculus.

That’s where I draw the line.

The Hyjal / Sunwell Effect

The Hyjal / Sunwell Effect

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I use PUGs to gauge a lot of player response to content, the new LFG tool has made it that much easier and given me a broader spectrum to poll. A lot of times I’ll bring it up in random banter and ask people what they think of the current content and such. Occasionally I’ll join a PUG raid on my Hunter in an attempt to gear her up outside of the guild’s assistance, but also to see how the pugs are doing on raids and ask questions without “Lodur” around. I’m guessing you’re wondering what this has to do with the “Hyjal / Sunwell” effect, and indeed what is the effect anyways? Well, I’d like to share some recent and past observations with you.

Let me explain to you what the Hyjal / Sunwell effect is.

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Back in BC when end game raiding was all the rage, you had Black Temple, Hyjal and then the culmination of all things raiding for that time Sunwell. Hyjal Summit was an interesting raid instance. You sat in one of two camps and waited for trash waves to come to you. After you were done killing the trash waves a boss would spawn and come for you. The zone had 5 bosses. 4 of those bosses could be broken down into tank and spanks after their various tricks were discovered. Aside from the last boss it was a very easy instance and at the very least on my server, the zone up to the Archimonde fight was easily PUGable and there were many many Hyjal PUGs weekly. I know because I used to go to them on my hunter. So we can assume a level of ease at least for the first 4 bosses, with one boss that was a PITA but still killable.

Then came the Sunwell, and everything changed. People ponied up and the PUGs surged forth expecting to roll over some trash and get some trash drops and maybe even down a boss or two along the way. Then they encountered the first pulls, and it was like watching a charging bull hit a steel wall. Giant arcane powered robot wiped the raid in nothing short of what could be called a spectacular explosion of brightly colored bodies. I heard stories of established raiding guilds having to work hard on some of the trash and in some cases still wiping, let alone hitting the bosses. Trash required solid use of CC and careful maneuvering. The bosses were complex and required coordination in order to succeed. I never saw a PUG get past Kalecgos, and the ones I heard got there, only barely beat trash. That is at least how it was on my server. There were PUG / Farming groups that would go and kill trash, then run out and reset and lather rinse repeat in order to farm gems, gold and trash drops, but those groups required a certain level of gear (and they did check) before they would consider you. And that’s just for trash farming! People pissed and moaned that Sunwell was “soooo hard”, my argument was that Hyjal made people complacent.

WoWScrnShot_092309_232622Enter Wrath of the Lich King. The raiding scene in wrath mirrors pretty well that of BC but builds upon it. Naxxramas became our new Kara. Ulduar provided us deep lore and some decent challenges. and then came ToC (25). Trial of the Crusader offered an easy loot system (the tier available for badges alone), an instance with NO trash only bosses, and to be honest fight mechanics that weren’t terribly difficult. While it did require some coordination, I have seen more PUG groups successfully complete it then any other raid instance. The 4 bosses leading up to the final boss are gimmick fights like Hyjal was, with the final boss being a tank and spank get out of the way healers just heal fight. I’m not saying they aren’t fun, and as much as I hate to admit it Faction Champs is a blast watching my raiders run around like chickens with heads lopped off, but it just mirrors Hyjal a little too much as far as it’s placement in raid progression, content and general feel of the zone.

Now in Wrath we have Ice Crown Citadel. It mirrors Sunwell almost perfectly as well, especially with Chill of the Throne being so very similar to Sunwell Radiance. The fights are markedly harder and the trash is capable of killing a raid. The trash pulls require use of CC like priest shackles and paladin fears / stuns as well as requiring careful positioning of the raid. Random triggers cause giants to spawn that can interrupt spell casting and saber lash a tank into nothing in no time. The bosses while not overly complex, still require a certain amount of raid awareness and coordination and use of abilities such as CC to win. Lady Deathwhisper is a pain when not done right and it requires a lot of coordination to get all the components down pat. Saurfang is a beast of a fight currently and while people have beaten him I have yet to find one strategy that doesn’t call for at least two people to be sacrificed. That says something right there. What amuses me the most is the people who were pugging ToC (25) went rushing headlong into ICC (25) and in most cases hit the trash on the first landing and splatted. On my server I can’t find a PUG for ICC (25) on my Hunter, as a matter of fact she has an easier time finding ToGC (25) pugs. And while the argument can be made that the 10 mans are puggable, I say that while I’ve seen some pugs do ICC (10) the players almost always out-geared the 10 man tuned version. I also hear it from some of my raiders. We’ve been having fun with Saurfang. Random things like moonkin’s pushback randomly not working, Tanks dcing, starting the fight and immediately having 8 raiders get Mark of the Fallen champion. These are things that make new instances fun for me.

But IWoWScrnShot_092309_232622 hear the murmurs in the crowd. I have some raiders in my group that think ICC is too hard, I’ve been in pugs with my hunter that people have done nothing but complain about the difficulty of the new fights. This is what I call the Hyjal / Sunwell effect. ToC gave us a certain level of apathy. Sure Heroic Faction Champs is a hell of a fight, but once you get the basic concepts down for it is it really that hard? ToC spoiled us with easy loot and fast content, and as such continued the cycle of Hyjal / Sunwell. The effect is in the disparity between two level of content on such a level that it is noticeable among the general population. So now I hear people complain that Marrowgar hits too hard, or Saurfang is tuned too high. Personally I love it. I love content that makes me think and re-evaluate my raider assignments. I love actually having to go through trash to get to that boss and fight mechanics that while they may not be new are interesting in the way they are combined and presented. I love going through cut scenes and NPC conversation and hearing the lore behind the raid zone and feeling like I’m in epic content. The difficulty will only go up as each wing and each new boss and it’s mechanics are unveiled, and personally I can’t wait. I’m also excited that the vast majority of my raiders feel the same way and not everyone is suffering from the Hyjal/Sunwell effect.

What about you guys? Have you noticed people complaining about the difficulty? Raiders or PUGs? How do you feel about the new content so far?

Until next time,

Sig

Images courtesy of Matticus, My own screenshots and mmo-champion

Little Things of Joy

Little Things of Joy

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Those that have followed my posts here since I started writing know that I’m a two-faced WoW player.  =)  I don’t mean two-faced in that way.  I mean it in another sense.

I belong to two guilds.  Unpossible, and Team Sport.  Both guilds are fantastic, and I’m so proud to be in both of them.  I always consider myself a multi-faceted player.  I like progression, and I also like casual.  Each guild provides me with a different part of that.

We’re all in the mood to pound our heads against the new content.  Whether you’re struggling or conquering, it’s always exciting to battle new bosses and collect your new rewards.  It’s something we’ve all come to love about raiding or just gaming in general.  What about some of the little things that bring you joy?

Unpossible

Lodur and I have definitely bonded since we started talking.  I had been looking for a new place to send my priest, since my last guild wasn’t working out.  I wanted a place that was progression-oriented but had the same “family” feel that Team Sport does.  When we started talking about Unpossible, my eyes lit up.  It seemed (on the surface) like everything I was looking for.  It wasn’t brow-beating its members into submission.  Family and real life always came first, but they were all there to conquer the endgame content.

The application process was complex but well worth it.  I was being asked to join raids, main nights as well as off-nights.  This is one of the oldest surviving guilds on the server.  Most of this team had cleared Vanilla WoW content together.  Needless to say, I felt like an outsider.

There were two moments that absolutely solidified my feeling of being a member of Unpossible.

The first, was our first walk into Icecrown.  No one had seen the..

Instance not found.

Our palms were sweaty with anticipat…

Instance not found.

Okay, let’s at least try to get a warlock inside so we…

Instance not found.

Sweet, we’re all in!  We manage to get the first couple of mobs down until the huge Skele on the wall spawns.  Almost reminiscent of the terror that the Statue of Liberty spreads in Ghostbusters II, we lose a couple healers and a couple DPS.  It’s okay, let’s have them rez and run back.  Everyone rebuff…

Instance not found.

You get the point.  All joking aside, stepping into Icecrown and figuring things out from scratch made me feel like I was truly an Unpossible member, even if we only got one attempt in on Marrowgar.

The second solidifying moment came a week later.  Now that the initial instance server issues had been somewhat resolved, it was easy to actually get our whole team in there.  We cleared Marrowgar with little difficulty, and it was time for Deathwhisper.  With our raid leader hollering out orders, demanding we step it up and get the hell out of Death and Decay, Deathwhisper’s health dwindled.  People died to the invincible ghosts.  Healers started to drop.  We were seconds away from the enrage timer.  Then, she enraged.  Tanks were one-shotted.  Healers were brushed into non-existence.  Two people remained, and the DoTs were ticking away.  1%.  0.7%.  100k Health. 47k Health.  6k Health.  The final raid member at 4,000 health.  “You have defeated Lady Deathwhisper.”  Screams echoed through Ventrilo.  It was the first time I had been there for a guild first.  So satisfying.  I’m truly a member of Unpossible now.  Killing a tough boss is one thing, but bleeding and sweating for that first kill with a new guild is amazing.

Team Sport

I’ve been gaming with most of these guys since early BC, when my warlock was 40 and had just gotten my first mount.  We’re a rag-tag group of knockarounds, but we love the game, and we love trying to do our best at it.  There may be people that disagree, but people generally really enjoy adding us to their raid.  We’ve got about 18 members with varying schedules, so it’s tough to get our own raid together.  We don’t mind.  We all knew this signing up.  Anyone that applies to Team Sport (yes, we even had someone server transfer to play with us) knows this as well.  This doesn’t mean we’re lackluster about raiding.  When we can get enough people on, we jump all over it.

Is each and every member totally top notch?  No.  No team is totally perfect.  Even I’m not completely on my game (I’ve had a few too many “Diet Cokes”).  Personally, I was a little worried about some of the coordination needed for some of the ToC fights.  After initial struggles with tanking Northrend Beasts, we made it through Icehowl, and one-shotted Jaraxxus. 

Here’s where it got interesting. 

A lot of guilds have CC rotations and full-on strategies for Faction Champions.  Druids, Warlocks and Mages alternating their crowd control.  Rogues and Warriors locking up healers.  I initially tried to craft a CC plan.  We tried it, and we failed.  So we did it the Team Sport way.

Team Sport is known for our love of PvP.  We have various Arena Teams, and we do Battlegrounds galore.  Our pally tank, Dralo, is one achievement away from his Battlemaster title.

“Everyone go into your PvP spec, and let’s just kill Horde”.

And we did.  In one shot, and it was easier than any Faction Champs fight I’ve ever done.

This, was my moment of pride with Team Sport.  We’re still struggling on Twins, but we annihilated the Faction Champions with ease.  Yes, I know this was after the nerf.  Yes, I know that overall it’s easier.  Still, we got such a kick out of doing that fight, because we did it the Team Sport way.  We trusted all 10 of us to know what to do, and we came through.  THAT is some group synergy right there.

How about you?  Is there a little thing about the game or your guild that makes you happy or brings you pride?

ThespiusSig

“Big” image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Relief

Just downed the final exam boss. For those of you unaware, it’s a seasonal boss and it usually involves a massive 300 person raid to do. I don’t know who designs the encounters but sometimes I wonder what goes through their minds when they do it. In any case, things started off a bit slow during the multiple choice phase. All I can say is, all that time spent grinding the weekly lecture raid paid off. During the last week, he gave the “Exam material will only be based on lecture slides” buff which over two thirds of the raid didn’t get.

Skippers.

But yeah, a bit of a struggle during the multiple choice phase (and I hope I maximized my luck stat).

Definitely strongest during the short answer phase as I knocked over every question, definition, and example with confidence.

Now the final essay boss?

Utilizing everything you learned thus far in lecture, how would you go about exploring the issue of a relationship between heritability and musical appreciation?

Another heavy reliance on the luck stat.

It’s okay though. It’s over. Now it’s back to blogging business!

Can It Be!? A Dwarf Shaman!?

Can It Be!? A Dwarf Shaman!?

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So as I’m sure many of you know, I’m waiting not so patiently to turn my blueberry into a Dwarf Shaman. To this effect I’ve recently commissioned a wonderful artist by the name of Ginny to draw me one! Who’s Ginny you ask? Well let me tell you. I met Ginny through my podcast (For The Lore), she’s a wonderful artist who has done a lot of the work for our podcast’s episodic icons. She has a great eye for composition and pays a lot of attention to detail. I went  to Ginny for a commission work, I wanted to pay her to draw me up a Dwarf Shaman! I just couldn’t wait anymore and I had to have something to hold me over until Lodur can be reborn with a beard and a penchant for ale! When I approached Ginny I didn’t have anything specific in mind and honestly in retrospect didn’t give her much to work with. My conditions were a Dwarf Shaman, from the Wildhammer clan, Wearing Tier 10 armor (because honestly I’m a fan boy of the T10 art). Originally I had asked only for a Black and White drawing with shading, but instead I was surprised to watch as Ginny proceeded to color him in and did so very very well. I was so pleased with how it came out that I had to share it with all of you here. So without further ado, here’s Ginny’s rendition of a Lodur as a Dwarf Shaman!

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See how the armor is frosted over (and just a little bit on the beard too) and Lodur seems a bit angry at the fact his Tankards are empty! Notice the Facial Tattoos that are common to the Wildhammer Dwarf clans and the lightning coming from Lodur’s eyes! To be perfectly honest I am in LOVE with this picture. I’ve already set it as my computer’s background and the background of my phone! This picture will indeed be how I envision my Shaman from now on and it makes me want even more so to be logging into the game to see the diminutive figure throwing chain heals and getting surly when the ale runs dry! I figured also I’d take an opportunity to share with you the images of some of Ginny’s other commission work. Heres a few more examples of this amazing artist’s work.

Taldraion

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Kraint

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Shizu

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This talented artist is also a wow player and plays a toon named Tsunomi on the Earthen Ring server. So I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, “Lodur! How can I get Ginny to Draw me something so fantastic like that!?”

Well Ginny does accept all commission work and works for very reasonable rates for the quality of art she does. I mean just look at the ones above! Well if you’re interested in seeing the above pictures at full size or are interested in commissioning Ginny into drawing art for you, you can head over to her Gallery over at Deviant art or Newground and soon enough you can visit http://magicalmelonball.com and you can even find her on her Twitter immamoonkin. She accepts all commission work and she takes care with each piece. She pays great attention to detail and as you can see does a fantastic job. I know personally I’ll be going to Ginny for all of my commission artwork as I know from first hand experience the talent she has and the care she gives each of her projects. Now obviously commission work is paid work as she is an independent artist, but I think that she is worth every penny! She’s having a sale now until the end of January and the prices are as follows:

Black and white (screentoned/one character) – $15

*Additional characters – $8 each

Color (less detail/one character) – $25
*Additional characters – $5 each

Color (more detail/one character) – $40
*Additional characters – $10 each

Sketches (one character) – $5
*Additional character – $3 each

BACKGROUNDS ONLY $10 EXTRA!

So if you’re looking to give your character a little extra love this year, stop on by and give Ginny a message. Oh, and expect to see that Dwarf Shaman picture randomly =D

Until next time,

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It Came From The P.U.G. 3.3 Edition!

It Came From The P.U.G. 3.3 Edition!

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Well on the off chance you missed it patch 3.3 is live! and with it comes the next installment of it came from the P.U.G., a column where I throw myself into random groups and the report the end results.

With the patch last night we got three new heroics, The forge of Souls, Pit of Saron, and Halls of Reflection. After much server raid instance stability issues, my guild decided to call it an early night, breaking off into heroic groups to knock out the three new heroics. I have things to take care of administration side so I bow out and take care of some behind the scenes guild maintenance. When I was done all the guildies had gone for the day, so it was time to open up the brand new LFG tool and get my rear in The Forge of Souls.

I open up the tool and put my check mark in The Forge of Souls and then sit and wait. After about 10 minutes the group fills up and I’m delighted to try to use the new port to instance function. I hit my button and the zone loads and one by one everyone pops into the instance. I myself am on the Zul’jin server, I get two people from Arthas a Gnome Warrior and a hunter, and then a rogue and a mage. Everyone is fitzing with their UI’s so we give them a few minutes and while we’re waiting around the Gnome Warrior notices I have a Val’anyr.

“well shit, guess I don’t have to worry about this pugging tool, that or I hit the konami code before I went in, this should be sweeeeeeeettttttt”

we go through and we do our pulls and things are going smoothly, then my earth shield tracking mod goes on the fritz. I type out in party that I need a minute to reload my UI and then hit the /RL to get it going. When I come back, all of the party is nearly dead! Apparently they missed my message and pulled not one, not two, but three groups. Before I can catch up to them the mage and the rogue explode. The hunter follows as soon as his deterrence drops, so it’s just me and the Gnome versus about 5 mobs. I’m dispelling curses and refreshing earth shield and dpsing when I can and eventually we stave off a wipe and down the mobs. I res up the dead, and the hunter asks

I point out that I had to reload my ui and we  carry on. The group goes on to finish the zone before the server explodes and dumps us all back in Dalaran. All in all a good run.

I decide to give the random tool another go and this time leave it completely on random. I wind up in a group with a mage, a warrior, a paladin and a DK. We wind up in heroic gundrak. First question I ask

“Ok, who’s the tank!?”

The paladin pipes up

“the one that’s got 45k health”

I look over the party list and see that the paladin, warrior, and dk all have roughly the same health and the paladin and war are in prot spec.

“well.. I’m just asking cause all of you are pretty much prot spec. That’s cool though at least we’ll never die!”

The paladin tries to reply but then must have looked and saw in face all three plate classes were in prot spec. We all have a good laugh about it and go on. The run goes smooth and we complete it and go our separate ways.

I dare say the smoothest pugs I’ve had in a while. Everyone was good natured and equally geared, and now that we can pull from other servers finding groups is much easier. There is no waiting to get to the instance you can just click on the tool and port in, and then when you’re done you can port out. It’s handy and I’ll be honest this was the highlight for me on the first day of patch 3.3. The tool works and works really well. Everyone in my groups was of comparable gear levels, the groups were actually fairly balanced and well… quite honestly it made me a little giddy. I know I’ve been eagerly awaiting this tool since I heard about it at Blizzcon and it was nice to see how it worked in a live environment. Good job Blizz I think you hit this one out of the park!

So have you guys gotten to try the new LFG tool? Any good stories to share? Any horrible stories to share?

Next time maybe I’ll have more drama to share but until then, happy healing!

Sig

Your Winter Veil Gift, From Us

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Winter Veil’s a’comin! The nights are closing in, the frost’s creeping over the tavern windows and yetis are Icehowl’ing in the snowy fields. It’s a magical time of year that we’d like to celebrate alongside you folks – what better time than to give you a gift? That gift is – a chat by the fireside with each of us. But we need your help to do it.

What we want from you is a topic of conversation. We want you to nominate a different topic to write on for each of us – that is, Matt, Wynthea, Lodur, Thespius and me, Mimetir (Syd is still AWOL being happy and busy, I believe). The topic can be anything at all you like – whatever you want that writer’s thoughts on. WoW related things are a good start for a WoW blog obviously, but as it’s Winter Veil – if you want us to write on something else, we might just do it.

You have until Monday 14th to reply to this article with your topic nominations for each writer. Of course we can’t write on every topic you guys nominate because if we try that we’ll miss Winter Veil ourselves! So once the five-day nomination time is over, Matt will make a list of the collected nominations for each WoM writer and make a secret santa roll to decide which topic we each write on. We’ll each then write an article on our individual topic, given by one of you, and post it up during the holidays.

Sound complicated? Sure, it does a bit. I’m a bird brain trying to explain something, been at the eggnog too much and all that. I’ll give you an example to clear things up.

  • Say six of you nominate different topics for Lodur to write on. That makes six potential topics for Lodur’s Winter Veil-time article
  • Matt takes a 1-6 list of those topics, ordered by when they chronologically appear in the comments on the article
  • He then does an independently adjudicated ‘Lodur roll (/roll 1-6)’ to decide which topic Lodur writes on (this does of course mean that RNG might decide it’s not your topic’s turn this year – but it might decide it is)
  • He does the same for the other four writers – me, Thespius, Wynthea and himself  – and announces the winning topics, along with details of when the articles will go up

Then you watch out over the holidays to read articles on the selection of topics you wanted to hear our deepest thoughts on. You then respond with what you think about your topic and our thoughts. Win.

So how about it? Help us give you something this Winter Veil. What do you want to talk about?

How Our Guild is Handling Primordial Saronite

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Primordial Saronite is the item that’s required for the next level of crafting gear out of Icecrown. There’s all sorts of methods of picking up this stuff and our leadership’s been hard at work figuring out what our approach should be. There’s a few things that are high on the priority list.

Shadowmourne, for one, requires over 20 of these. While going for another Legendary isn’t required, it makes a statement about the guild (not one but TWO Legendaries after all).

Our tanks can get an early boost to their gear and not have to rely on random drops from the different bosses. The better those guys get, the easier time we’ll have moving forward.

As we’re packing a number of sharpshooters in the raid (4 hunters), they’re also going to need some heavy artillery. The recipes for bullets and arrows will cost one Primordial Saronite to learn.

There’s lots of different ways we can go about spending Primordial Saronite to maximize raider utility.

Our approach

In a recent thread on the WoW forums, Ghostcrawler was clarifying a question regarding Shadowmourne. At the same time, he wanted to know this:

We’re also interested to see how various groups handle the Primordial Saronite issue. We designed it so there isn’t necessarily a right way to handle the material and we don’t want to over-prescribe your social dynamics anyway.

I found out over the weekend that Blizzard devs do read this blog. Wyn and Lodur kept bugging me and insisting that they did, but I remained a disbeliever until one of their guys pinged me on Twitter about it. That was too cool!

So here’s our answer:

Prioritizing Saronite to the tanks – Our tanks will get first crack at the Primordial Saronite that they need. The better their gear gets earlier on, the easier time we’ll have heading into Icecrown. I think they’re shooting for the boots first, but I can’t be sure of that yet. I’ve created a queue list on the forums where the tanks put down what they need (not necessarily what they want). I’m not sure how the legs are. If they beat the tier legs, then I’ll devote more Saronite to it. Until then, the queue list is just for the tanks and once they have all that is requied, the list will be opened up to the rest of the guild.

Ammo recipes – This is another one for us but it won’t happen until later on. Not only do you need the Saronite, the engineers need the reputation to purchase the recipe. It’s Goblin and Gnomish right? One crafts bullets and the other does arrows? Once our engineers have the requisite reputation, we’ll send one their way as well.

Shadowmourne – The Shadowmourne quest line is fairly extensive. The last step involves taking down Sindragosa which isn’t going to be anytime soon. Not only that, you have to perform a variety of tasks at different bosses (like standing in fires while surviving for a prolonged period of time). This step can wait a little longer before we invest.

On the other hand, there is some speculation that you need to be on the opening quests before you get the Shadowfrost Shards from the bosses. We don’t know how often the drops are and there is no confirmation.

Getting saronite

To that end, we’ve decided to increase the chances we have of obtaining Saronite. Sundays have been opened up for a new alt raid. We’ve been doing this for a while now, but we’ve decided to lay down some ground rules for it.

Why an alt raid?

For one, there’s many players with nothing to do on Sunday nights. We could either jump on our alts and join a pug with a 50-50 shot of succeeding, or organize our own with a higher chance of it working out. We like having multiple geared characters!

Our alts are almost as geared as our mains and it gives us a nice “break” from our normal duties that we have to do on our main characters. It’s nice for me to randomly destroy stuff on my Ret Paladin or my Elemental Shaman.

As I said earlier, extra Primordial Saronite is a plus. We can channel the results of those into the main raid. Not only that, since they’re alts, the players that are comfortable with it can spend their Emblems of Frost that they have to purchase Saronite for their mains if they need to.

Our main raids are overstaffed. We do this in order to ensure that we have enough players to raid. This inevitably means that some players are going to sit out during the week.  I don’t want them to fall too far behind us in gear. So any main raiders that don’t get to come in during the week are able to come in on Sunday in order to use up their lockout period. At the very least, they’ll get some Emblems.

We’re still working out loot systems for the time being. Last Sunday, when we walked into ToC 25, we had 23 alts in total. The other 2 were friends of the guild. The one thing that we’re lacking is another tank for our alt runs. If we can field a full crew for 25, then I can definitely apply loot council rules and prioritize main readers who need loot and balance it with the alts.

If you’re a tank out there with nothing to do on a Sunday night, come and check us out. Of course, anyone who feels that they are exceptional healers and DPS are welcome to apply regardless.

Let’s take down Arthas and move on to Deathwing already!

Healing Lord Marrowgar

I stayed up late last night assembling a quick healer’s guide to Lord Marrowgar. You can find it over on WoW.com. Today’s going to be a very busy day for many guilds as they’ll be coming out of temporary retirement.

Remember, you have a multitude of options today:

  • Assault Icecrown on 25 man
  • Assault Icecrown in multiple teams of 10
  • Grab the weekly raid quest

If ICC is deemed too unstable, we’re going to fall back to options 2 or 3. Happy patch day!

Matt’s Guest Post Appearances: Part 1

Last week, I made a limited time offer  to write a guest for any blogger who was interested. I’ve been hard at work since then and it’s been such a surreal experience. My main intent was to give myself a jumpstart and to help give back to the community.

When I was working on guest posts, there’s a few things that needed to be done. The first step is to analyze the blog and the comments in order to get a feel for what kind of readers that will be on there. I tried to tailor the post towards the audience of the site. The people that read Larisa’s Pink Pig Tail Inn are going to be vastly different than the people who read Zemalf’s Trek in the Blogosphere.

The thing when writing for other people, no matter who they are or what their blog size, is that you really want to put your best work forward. It’s like going to a friend’s house for dinner. You want to look presentable. Comb your hair (add a bit of gel, if you’re me). Dress nice. Be courteous because they’re the host and you don’t want to offend them. Find different ways to spice up your post. Write it as if it was going to be the last post you’d ever do and you wanted to go out with a bang.

Of course, if you really want to go the distance, you look up their code and find out what the width of their site is and send them pre-sized images without having to ask in advance thereby saving them the trouble of doing any cropping work. Look up what their commonly used headers are within posts and use those accordingly.

Anyway, here’s what I have so far.

Don’t worry, there’s still more to come. I do intend on honoring my commitments and I will make sure I get those posts out to you (those that made a request) by the end of the month.<