Transitioning to 25 Man: Your Tips?

Nikalia on Plus Heal posted a question:

Do any of you have any tips/hints/tricks/advice on some things one might expect when transitioning into 25 man hard mode healing after being used to 10 man for so long?

As I’ve primarily been a 25 man healer for the longest time, it’s difficult for me to do a compare/contrast between 10 man hard mode healing and 25 man hard mode healing.

Healing Assignments

One of the replies made to the thread by Oleander is the importance of healing assignments. Vik and I (both priests) will usually tag a pair or groups in 25 man. For example, on Ultraxion, I’ll tell him I’ll target groups 4 and 5 and he generally takes 1 – 3. That doesn’t mean I won’t heal the other groups if needed, but even though I’m casting Holy Word: Sanctuary on the ground, I’ll be dropping Prayer of Healing bombs on the 4th and 5th groups meaning he can effectively “blank out” players in those groups from his target selection.

Egos

I don’t know how often one would encounter this in 10s, but there is a high chance that you may be working with player egos in 25.

Be prepared for it.

Don’t let other players get under your skin and don’t take it personally when you have the occasional bad day. Some players like to playfully use meters as a way to proclaim their own sense of superiority (namely Druids, because I find that they’re compensating for something ^^). That being said, feel free to go along with the banter a bit. But when push comes to shove, make sure you shove that ego aside and troubleshoot any healing problems you come across collectively.

Damage

The sheer amount of incoming damage can be staggering. Instead of 10 players, you’re responsible for 25. Know which players to prioritize (As in, oh that guy’s a Mage, he can Cauterize himself and is going to die in 8 seconds but that guy’s a Rogue, he’s probably going to die in 2 seconds so I better heal him). Your decision making needs to both get better and faster. But the bright side is more players means more cooldowns you can use to for raid saving purposes.

What other piece of advice would you offer a player making that change from 10 to 25 man?

Handling Raiding Couples

Handling Raiding Couples

Couples that raid together in the same guild can be a nightmare to deal with. I’m glad to say I’ve only ever had to deal with a small handful of them. There were some great husband/wife combinations and some not-so-stellar ones.

Interacting with them individually can be a chore at times because most couples share information with each other. There’s little (if any) secrets between the two and I get that. Talking to half a couple may as well be like talking to the whole couple because the other half will usually be brought up to speed about any decisions, events, or other information shared with them.

Here’s the worst part.

Ever tried giving criticism and feedback to one of them? Maybe they weren’t doing so  hot or they entered a streak where they just had some bad nights. Or maybe that individual just plain sucks at dealing with a certain mechanic. You drag them out to the side on an off night or send them a message trying to figure out what’s wrong. They reply back with “But I’m doing everything I can possibly do” and deep down inside you know for a fact that it’s not true because you just looked at 4 other players of the same class, progression, and gear level then coming to the realization that they really weren’t. You send back another message laying out the information you have found along with some additional pointers.

And then what ultimately ends up happening is the other half just swoops in.

“WHADDAYA MEAN MY WIFE IS TERRIBLE HEALER? SHE’S REALLY AWESOME! SHE HEALS MY ASS ALL THE TIME IN BATTLEGROUNDS AND KEEPS ME UP, NO PUN INTENDED”.

Naturally, a cursory glance at other logs and incidental information proves otherwise.

“YOUR INFORMATION AND INTERPRETATION OF IT IS WRONG. THOSE FRAPS VIDEOS OF ATTEMPTS WERE OBVIOUSLY DOCTORED WITH THE INTENT OF SLANDERING HER AND MAKING HER LOOK AS UNSKILLED AS POSSIBLE.”

It’s at this moment where you introduce your face to your palm.

“THERE IS A CONSPIRACY HERE DESIGNED TO THROW HER OUT AND SPLIT UP OUR MARRIAGE. WELL IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.”

inception

We’re not out to get you

Seriously, there’s no conspiracy. There’s no secret organization designed to screw over a couple and split their marriage. It’s an honest to Elune criticism of their performance and the fact that it’s lacking.

That’s it.

Just not worth it

After a while, I realized then that some couples just aren’t worth having around especially not with such an overprotective attitude like that. GMs need to be able to deliver that honest feedback without a vulture jumping in and protecting every chance they get. Handling couple applications usually warrant a much closer examination and the questions asked during any interview stages are going to be different then the solo applicants. It’s gotten to the point where I’m tempted to blanket ask “If I said your significant other was performing poorly in this area, what would you do?”

On the other hand, you could just auto decline couples entirely and sidestep any potential drama problems that might happen later.

Thankfully the couples I have in guild right now are quite mellow and I haven’t had a reason to punt any just yet.

Poll: Guild Site Hosting

Hey team, can you do me a favor? I want to conduct a poll about your guild website. I’m curious about what your guild is using and why. My interest is both personal and professional (Disclaimer: I’m with Enjin).

Which site hosting does your guild use?

View Results

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Note: If you can’t see the poll because you’re on a reader, try this link

In addition to voting on the poll, could you drop a comment answering the following questions for me?

  1. What influenced your guild to use that hosting service?
  2. What one site feature are you most thankful for?
  3. What’s the URL to your site?
Heroic Morchok Down: Where Next?

Heroic Morchok Down: Where Next?

Managed to score Heroic Morchok on Tuesday. Ended up using 6 healers. Another classic 22% wipe, then a 16% wipe, then a 13% followed by an 8% then a kill. Actually, the numbers aren’t precise. But that’s what it seemed like anyway.

How to Land 3 Healing Spells in Under 2 Seconds

It seems impossible, doesn’t it?

Note that I didn’t quite say I would cast 3 spells only that I would land them. You have to be precise when it comes to timing and you need to be ready to pounce on the next spell the moment the other one is finished.

We were working on heroic Morchok for a total of 6 – 8 hours (over 4 weeks, with raid hours lost due to a healer shortage). Our longest attempt was just under 6 minutes. Most of the wipes occurred between 2 – 3 minutes. The trickiest part for me was maintaining tank health right after a stomp. A common occurrence I noticed is that after Kohcrom stomped, he would attack the tank around 2 seconds later. If I timed it right, I could land a Flash Heal and a quick Holy Word: Serenity. But sometimes that wasn’t enough. I needed another way because those two spells just weren’t consistent enough. Sometimes the tank lived, sometimes he died. I wanted a better (and consistent) way in keeping that tank alive.

It all revolved around the Stomp.

After a few wipes, I realized the consistency of his melee swing following the stomp. I didn’t want to focus exclusively on the tank to the detriment of the group. But at the same time, if the tank dropped it was game over.

Timers from DBM gave me a 5 second count down on approximately when the stomp would land.

I ended up watching the animation of the stomp. The moment the foot start rising up, I’d target the tank and hit Prayer of Healing ensuring it would land just after Stomp connected with the group. This gave me time for a quick Flash Heal (Or Binding Heal) followed up with Serenity (or a Circle of Healing if the tank was sufficiently high enough.

Credits to

Lodur for gemming all strength reforging to Mastery giving him the ability to really stabilize players and allowing me to spike them back  up.

The DPS warriors on my side who picked up on the fact that when I frantically called their name, it meant I wanted a Rallying Cry (and giving us that buffer after a fumbled heal).

Logan of the LeetSauced podcast (and soon-to-be host of the Matticast) for remaining calm, collected and patient after enduring hours of frustrating incidents beyond his control.

Tanks with 4 piece bonuses. Seriously. More bonuses like this in the future.

Old Spice. I smelled awesome that raid.

Now what?

What’s the next hard mode boss that you went to after Morchok (25 man as I understand 10 man has different priorities)?

Hagara?

Ping pong guy?

Ooze boss?

Seems like we’re going to take a hard look at Hagara. Pointers?

Mists of Pandaria Needs More Ulduar

I miss Ulduar. I have a suspicion that it ranks up there as the raider’s choice raid instance of all time. From the pacing, to the art, the difficulty and so forth, it has a fond place in the hearts of most Wrath raiders.

But what exactly about Ulduar made it so enticing? How can Blizzard recreate that feeling of wonder and accomplishment in future raid instances?

Atmosphere

The one that did it for me the most was that it wasn’t a typical dungeon like atmosphere. It wasn’t dark or dreary. It wasn’t like Black Temple, Icecrown Citadel or Blackwing Descent. It’s not the standard dark and dank dungeon. It was way brighter and had more variety with the different rooms. Granted, you had to siege your way in but once you were inside, it felt like you were in a type of shrine. Ice cavern on one side, lush tropics on another side, and it had a tram.

Every raid instance needs a tram.

In Mists, I’m hoping to see more encounters in outdoor instances. Less inside a dark cave or the side of a mountain. Maybe more in a dojo or up the side of a physical mountain (Mount Hyjal anyone?).

Limited time

Sadly this raid instance didn’t have the shelf life that other raid instances had. It felt really short because it came out in the spring. Right as summer rolled around, Trial of the Crusader came out and the players heading back into Ulduar stopped because that gear and challenge incentive wasn’t there anymore. Maybe the reason the instance is remembered so fondly is that most players didn’t have time to get sick of the place yet.

Amount of bosses

Ulduar had 14 bosses (1 of them was Algalon). I think there’s a sweet spot somewhere if you’re looking at number of bosses in a tier and amount of time allocated to clearing that tier. Ulduar’s time frame was effectively 4 months with 13 bosses (and this excludes the hard mode variations). The other tier that ranks in my favourites list was tier 5 which had 10 bosses (6 in Serpentshrine Cavern and 4 in Tempest Keep). Firelands was the only one for tier 12 (effectively 7 bosses plus hard modes and a Baradin Hold boss).

I liked the model which had more than one raid instance per tier. Tier 5 and tier 11 are good examples of this. You had a good amount of bosses that were spread out over multiple instances allowing raid groups to pick and choose where to start from each week. Instead of jamming them all into instance, having them spread out gave the feeling of not burning out as quickly.

2 – 3 instances of 3 – 5 bosses sprinkled throughout seem to be the most ideal and I hope they’ll revisit that consistently in Mists.

Catch phrase

Every raid instance needs a catch phrase.

IN THE MOUNTAINS!

… Right?

Conditional hard modes

Activated hard modes of each boss had to be triggered manually by doing specific encounter things. This was first made popular in Obsidian Sanctum against Sartharion where the amount of drakes killed affected the difficulty level of the boss. Flame Leviathan was affected by the amount of towers that were killed. Deconstructor’s was triggered by whether or not your raid group DPS was high enough to destroy the heart. Nowadays all your raid leaders need to do is toggle a switch.

Actually, now that I think about it, there were scalable hard modes. Iron Council could be engaged multiple ways depending on the order. Freya was just nuts.

My finest moment?

Orbituary on 25 man. You’d be hard pressed to find another encounter so demanding in terms of coordination required. When successfully pulled off, it was one of the greatest highs experienced because you were taking on an encounter where most players weren’t using their actual class abilities (other than the boarding team). Each catapult launcher had to coordinate navigation, sprints, fuel reloading and maintaining DPS. Those on the bikes had to make sure they were in position to retrieve launched players, drop oil slicks and so forth. Can’t remember what the siege ones did other than interrupts and trying to shoot fuel.

Though I suspect if Ulduar had been out for another month or two, we would all have been annoyed with it.

Maybe Pandaria will have a similar installation hidden on the island.

When it Comes to Guild Apps, Pick Two

When it Comes to Guild Apps, Pick Two

pick2

Historically speaking, most of the players I’ve picked up in the past had two out of the three attributes. Rare is the player who manages to possess all three. Recruiting seems to be at an all time low according to a few GMs I’ve spoken to (10 man and 25 man, Horde and Alliance). It’s as if the majority of players just want to see the content, regardless of what difficulty level it is (meaning the path of least resistance gets selected the most or the LFR tool). It seems like the applicants I see seem to exhibit 2 out of the 3 traits.

Skilled

Manages to bring the pain (or the healing). We’re talking on a consistent basis. I often find myself wondering about the players who (over a 2 month period) go from the bottom to the top back to the bottom again.

Of course, no one wants the player who has a really hard time hitting that Hour of Twilight button and ends up burning all 3 Battle Res skills allotted. The ability to pick up what the rules and requirements for each encounter is a big plus (as is the ability to do it fast).

High attendance

Willingness to reschedule most events in their lives around raiding is an advantage. I’m not that much of a tyrant though.

Wedding? Sure.

Exam? Yeah, you better go study for it.

House on fire? Go.

But if you’re missing out on a raid to catch the series finale of American Idol, I can tell you’re just not into it. Or if a new game came out and you’re signing out of raid when I can see on Steam that you’re clearly playing Skyrim. That tells me where your priorities are and it’s clearly not with WoW.

Drama free

Perhaps drama free might not be the best choice of words to use. When I mean drama free, I’m not referring to guild splitting dramatic incidents. I’m talking about the little things that can get under people’s skins eventually leading to guild splitting incidents.

How difficult does a person need to be?

There’s been times I’ve tried to compromise on issues to reach the best approach for everyone involved. In other cases, a single course of action was settled upon because that’s what the leaders wanted to do, period. I really hate working with players who argue for the simple sake of arguing. I can tell you it takes away my efforts and focus on the next item I want to resolve. Pick your battles carefully. Otherwise the GM might exercise their right to throw you out because you keep causing problems and end up being more of a liability instead of an asset.

Now going back to the original question, if you were restricted to two selections, which two would you pick?

Admit It: You Get High From Being Clutch

Admit It: You Get High From Being Clutch

gs-save

Ever wonder what it’s like to feel “high” in this game?

This is one of those methods.

I’d wager that Holy Priests get a bigger kick out of it then the other healers. Unlike the other clutch healing abilities, Guardian Spirit has two key effects: It offers both increased healing received on the target and the ability to grant a second chance in case the target dies.

Usually, when Holy Priests burn Guardian Spirit, it’s meant for the extra healing because of some massive amount of incoming damage.

But if tank health, your global cooldown, your lag and your reflexes all line up, then you just made a great save. The rest of the raid might not be aware of your efforts. But who cares? Deep down inside, you are the one that made that save and salvaged a possible kill from a definitive wipe.

It’s one of the best feelings in the World of Warcraft. I’ve never been able to score that feeling of satisfaction playing other healers. Sadly, whenever you do pull off the save, it ends up being a wipe. Seems rare whenever such a tank save results in a kill.

In any case, a new year means new responsibilities for people. Players have new priorities in their lives (or other games). My guild’s looking for 2 healers. I’m not picky on any classes. Yes, we’ll even consider Priests even though we have 3 right now. I would genuinely like the services of a Holy Paladin and a Resto Druid.

Coffeecraft

Guys, get this. I was in Starbucks the other day. Just ordered my coffee (I like mine mild) and as I’m adding non-fat milk, my eyes dart over to this guy in a suit next to me. Noticed he was adding sweetener to his coffee. Not only that, he put Soy in it.

And his stirring technique was way off.

He was using his stir stick going clockwise 3 times before going once counter clockwise. Everyone knows proper technique is to go 2 clockwise and 2 counterclockwise to really optimize distribution of cream to sugar. He wasn’t even mixing it the right way. No way did he deserve to be at Starbucks.

He also has to use exactly 2 cream and 2 sugar.

I mean what a total scrub, right? He should just quit coffee entirely. What a casual. That’s not real coffee. Him drinking coffee is ruining my caffeine ingesting experience. He should be using real cream and legit sugar. Oh not only that, there was no lid on his cup of coffee. Come to think of it, I don’t think the cup that coffee was in is even worthy of that coffee that he’s drinking.

Sometimes I think real coffee is only for the hardcore crowd.

All the noobs should stick to instant.

You know, speaking of coffee, many of friends give me sass for drinking that stuff. Someone brought up the point that coffee’s just getting too old and outdated. Energy drinks are the way to go now.

There’s more energy in them.

There’s different taste.

And it’s just a new, different experience altogether.

But come on, let’s be real.  When a new energy drink comes out, I’ll try it out for a bit. I might even give it a month or two. But after a while, I just end up losing interest and switch back to coffee. Yeah, I guess coffee can be boring. But you know, I go to different coffee shops. Every few months, they release new blends and brewing techniques. The experience is slightly different but at least you’ve surrounded with the warmth and familiarity coffee has to offer. You’ll always have that small group of people who’ll enjoy their energy drinks despite the fact that coffee continues to be one of the biggest on the planet.

Now you might make fun of me for this, but I like to add a little non-fat milk to my coffee. Helps cool it down a little quicker which means I can consume it earlier without risking my mouth being incinerated. Even I get made fun of by the real hardcore crowd. We’re talking the 1% here. They tend to be the first people in their regions to try out new coffee.

They drink theirs black and look down on everyone else that adds cream or sugar. Something about altering the secondary stats of coffee and it being the complete wrong setup?

And then you’ve got the crazy folk who add honey.

You know, there’s more coffee shops around then before. Here we’ve got Starbucks, Waves and Tim Hortons (I hate Tim Hortons). It’s really increased accessibility. I’m seeing more and more people drinking coffee now than before. I guess that’s okay though. I mean, why shouldn’t people get to experience coffee regularly? I can understand the fact that not everyone has the ability to set aside time in their week to really sit down and enjoy their coffee. At least they’ll still get that chance.

What’s really annoying is the people who like to make snide remarks about your coffee preferences months and months after you change them.

Seriously. Get a life.

All I want to do is to enjoy my coffee in peace. Maybe I can’t drink as much of it as the best coffee drinkers in the world, but I’d like to think I can hold my own. I know some people out there have questioned my choice in blend, size, roast and milk usage. Some are even appalled that I don’t add sugar! But honestly, coffee can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways. There’s no one ultimate way to brew coffee. So why the remarks, huh? How am I harming you?

The way I drink my coffee has no impact on the way you enjoy yours.

Hmm, maybe that’s the way it should be approached. Of course I might randomly make fun of people I know based on how they drink their coffee. But as long as they’re enjoying it, why give them too hard of a time? Coffee should just be enjoyed best by however people choose.

And all you coffee haters out there?

Go back to drinking tea.

The Worst Thing a Guild Leader can do to a Player

The Worst Thing a Guild Leader can do to a Player

GM-sup

I think I’ve found my guild prank for April Fools!

I know of other guild leaders who joke about doing it (and some who actually have done it because they couldn’t do it anymore). So to all the guild leaders out there, I salute you. Doesn’t matter if the game is Rift, Guild Wars, SWTOR, WoW or what have you. It’s often a thankless job and you’re the butt of every joke but without you, your guild would be non-existent.

Although, I learned last night from Lodur that changing guild leaders can result in a bugged guild bank.

It’s okay, Logan. Your job is still safe. No plans for retirement yet. Sometimes I’ve always wondered about holding mock guild elections and what platforms people would run on. Fiscal guild responsibility?

P.S. I just noticed this. Which one of you clowns set my guild note?

Actual Cross Realm Raiding Soon? Nice!

Picked this up on the news wire this morning before I went to bed (late nights and early mornings a plenty).

We previously introduced the ability to form cross-realm parties with Real ID friends, and now with Patch 4.3.2, we’re adding the ability for players to use that same functionality to form raids to run older normal or heroic raids, or participate in Battlegrounds!
This will allow you to join up with your Real ID friends from other realms and:

  • Form a cross-realm raid and use Raid Finder
  • Jump in to any classic dungeon or raid and be automatically placed in the same instance
  • Join forces and dominate the Battlegrounds

Please note, you will not yet be able to run normal or Heroic Dragon Soul with cross-realm Real ID raids.
As we look forward to the BattleTag system, it’s a very exciting time for World of Warcraft. No matter what realm you and your friends are on you’ll be able to team up and take on group content throughout the game.

I’ll bet you my Benediction that everyone is thinking this question right now. “When will we able to run normal mode or hard mode instances over cross-realm Real ID raids?”

I doubt it’ll be anytime soon. If anything, not until way later when the launch of Mists of Pandaria becomes imminent. I suspect players who are looking to join guilds for progression content will still be asked to play the requisite transfer and faction fees.

And no, I don’t think this feature is going to kill guilds anytime soon. I think we’ll eventually get to a point where raid globalization becomes a possibility for progression. Guild levels are tracked on a server by server basis. Conquest on Ner’zhul would be different then Conquest on another server. There might even come a day where I can ginvite a player from Proudmoore into my guild on Ner’zhul. They can see Gchat from across servers, participate in raids, and kill Horde players in battlegrounds. But they’d have access to a different economy and wouldn’t be able to help us kill Hogger.

Overall, I’m a fan of this feature. It’s hard to find people who want to do old world raids sometimes on the same server. At least with the benefit of cross realm raid groups, we can set up some transmog runs on a Friday night. Completing Legendary staves would be easier because you can draw on the pool of expertise from players outside your realm.

Here are some other questions for you.

“What’s the point of having separate realms then?”

That’s an easy question to answer. They need multiple servers to help with population distribution. Can you imagine what a globally centralized auction house would look like? Good luck trying to load into any major city. Or navigate through thousands pages and pages of Embersilk Cloth single listings?

“What is the point of server transferring to join a guild?”

For now, so that any activities can be conducted on the same realm. You can level up and quest together on alts for example. If you’re being attacked out in the world on a PvP server, you can breathe easier knowing that reinforcements are minutes away from exacting revenge.

Anyway, who is up for some cross realm 25 man Sinestra?