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!

Healer DPS: The Good, The Bad, The Unfair

Healer DPS: The Good, The Bad, The Unfair

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The boss looms before you.  Psh!  Boss?  More like pansy!  You’ve worked on this guy for a whileand are just not yet on farm status.  You look at your raid frames and see that everyone seems to be taking minimal damage.  The tank is taking slight damage, but it’s nothing like the early days of learning Patchwerk.  Your mana bar is moderately full, everyone seems to have everything under control.  Your finger hovers over Smite/Lightning Bolt/Wrath/Holy Shock.

You start pressing.

In a very broad sense, this makes my skin crawl.  The hairs stand up on the back of my neck.  My ears start to bleed and my eyes start to fog over.  Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but it certainly ignites a chain reaction.  Basically, a little bit of my soul dies.

The Good

There’s always a reason to need some extra DPS from the healers.  I usually only do this at the request of the raid leader.  He/She (He, in my case) is running the show.  I try to keep cycling Shadow Word: Pain on the boss when I can.  As Holy, I can use my Surge of Light proc to throw a quick Smite here or there. 

When working on Heartbreaker, I usually expect to stop healing, pop cooldowns, and Smite until that heart is dead.  Unless the raid is overgeared for the encounter, this is usually how I’ve seen it done.

Any fight that has a small “add” (Loatheb Spore, for example), it’s not detrimental to help the dps down it quick.  It usually requires minimal mana, and can help get the benefit to the raid quicker. 

If you’re running up against any kind of enrage timer, there may be a point when a little nudge from you could make the difference. 

Notice that I said, “a little nudge”.  The emphasis is on the word “nudge”.

 

The Bad

There’s a point when it becomes excessive.  If you find yourself DPSing to a point where you’re making a significant effort to damage the boss, then that’swhere I start to have issue with it.  I’ve seen it happen a number of times.  Thankfully, I’ve only seen this happen in PUGs.  I would really have a tough time in a guild where I continually heal alongside that kind of “healer”.

If you’re paired with someone else to heal a target or many targets, your shift into DPS mode then places responsibility of your original healing job solely on the other healer.  I have little faith that most “DPS Healers” will keep an eye on their original assignment if they choose to DPS instead.  Imagine carrying a TV up a flight of stairs with someone else.  Maybe they could feasibly handle it alone, but it makes it easier if you’re there to help out.

If you’re expending all that mana to do maybe a third of what the other DPS classes are doing, what are you going to do if something unforeseen happens and you have to go into overdrive healing mode?  Someone accidentally gets caught in a cleave, or another healer gets bombarded by too many of the wrong orb on Twins.  We all know accidents happen.  A raid’s strength is measured by it’s adaptability.  If you’re not capable of helping out when it’s needed most, then you’re not doing your job.

In my eyes, you’re running the risk of being disrespectful to the other healers in your raid.

The Unfair

Let’s say that you get through the encounter okay. Let’s say everyone’s alive at the end.  A key healing piece drops that everyone has been vying for.  You roll/bid on it?  In my opinion: No.  You just spent a majority of the fight DPSing the boss while the other healers did the healing work, right?  Why should we reward a player who didn’t do what they were supposed to do?  It’s like giving a raise to the guy in the office who sits on his computer checking Facebook all day. 

If you find yourself in raids consistently where your healing is not needed, then let a DPS class go in and take your place.  You’re essentially taking the raid spot of a player who can do what you want to do, but he/she can do it better.  If you’re determined to keep along your path, then re-spec/re-gear/re-gem into a DPS spec.  Healing has times of being slow.  It’s the nature of the beast.  If you’d much rather snipe some damage instead of heal, then guess what?  You’re not a healer.  You’re a DPS.  And as a DPS, you’re not specced or geared right.

Some fights may require more healers than others.  Dual spec is a fantastic thing.  Make your off-spec a solid DPS spec, complete with proper gear.  When you know a fight’s coming up where your heals aren’t needed, recommend to the raid leader that you switch into your DPS gear.  If you find yourself in your DPS spec more than your healing spec, it’s time to consider changing your “main spec”.  I would be significantly upset if someone was getting healing gear over me, although they DPS’d more than they healed.  Would you give awesome tanking gear (an upgrade for the main tank) to the 2nd off-tank who only tanks for 1-2 fights each night?

Is “Healer DPS” taboo?  Yes.  Why?  Because in the eyes of this Discipline Priest, you shouldn’t do it unless the raid leader calls for it.  Remember, raiding is a team sport.  Maybe you need to take a step back and figure out which part of the team you really want to be on.

ThespiusSig

Email: Elder.Thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

 

Trophy vs Token

Trophy vs Token

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When Burning Crusade touched down we received a token system. The system tied multiple classes to a single drop from a boss. This allowed for less loot being sharded or discarded and allowed for quicker gearing as a guild. The tokens could then be turned in for your tier set pieces. A lot of people were afraid of this method, but it worked out really really well. Guilds were able to gear out their raiders quickly and efficiently and very little loot was left to rot. We began to see the starting of this in Vanilla WoW in Naxxramas and the tier 3 raid sets and AQ40 with the 2.5 pieces. “Token” bosses dropped two tokens a piece and everyone was generally happy.

When Wrath of the Lich King came out, it was more of the same. Naxxramas and Ulduar continued the token system along, but added with it two levels. A 10 man level and a 25 man level that we affectionately refer to as tier x and tier x.5. The system continued to work well. Bosses that were token droppers continued to drop two of them and it was even made so that we could purchase tokens with badges for two of the slots. Gearing was a bit faster now thanks to the addition of two purchasable tokens and content flew by for a lot of people.

Then patch 3.2 hit, and brought with it Tier 9 content. Trial of the Crusader distributed loot in a very, very strange manner. First of all the Tier 9 gear was split into three item levels of quality. We’ve been referring to them as Tier 9, Tier 9.25 and Tier 9.5. Tier 9 can be bough fairly cheaply with Badges of Triumph, the next level up 9.25 requires an amount of badges and a Trophy of the Crusade which can only be obtained in the 25 man version. The tier costs can better be broken down by this:

Tier 9 = ilvl 232 Tier 9.25 = ilvl 245  Tier 9.5 = ilvl 258

Head: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector(item level 258) or 75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Hands: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258) or 45 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 30 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Chest: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258) or 75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Legs: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258) or 75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Shoulders: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258) or 45 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 30 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Confused yet? Most people are. The stat difference between ilvl 226 gear (25 man uld) and ilvl 232 gear is not that big of a jump. going from 226 up to 245 is a big jump for most people. Enough of a gap that most pieces are clear upgrades. So why is this a problem? Trophies only drop from 25 man ToC. You get 1 per boss and a variable amount per tribute chest based on how many wipes you have. There are only five bosses in the instance. (Beasts, Jaraxxus, Champs, Twins and Anub). We’ll go with the model of running 25 man raids. You have 25 people, who all want that trophy. Being only 5 in total that means only roughly 20% of your raid a week can get them and upgrade. Lets look at Ulduar Five bosses drop token pieces, and two tokens per boss which is a theoretical 40% upgrade rate for your raid. The trophy system slowed gearing up way down because most people, especially those progression minded will be focusing on upgrades that can be obtained with Regalia (and it’s like tokens) from Trial of the Grand Crusader or Trophies and badges from Trial of the Crusader.

You can argue that with the drop increases from the tribute chest that better raids are rewarded based on performance, and that is true, but it does not really have any room for guilds that are done with Ulduar but not quite at Trial of the Grand Crusader (example would be guilds that just got a series of new recruits that need to be geared up before ToGC). This however can be chalked up to time spent in a normal version to gear people up, and get them used to the fights before heading into ToGC.

My main problem is the level of competition this generates in a raid. Right now in Ulduar if Gloves the the Wayware Protector drops, you know it’s going to a Warrior,  a Hunter or a Shaman. When a Trophy of the Crusade drops, everyone in the raid is sending tells. Everyone wants them over just regular tier 9 badge gear. I’ve seen this cause resentment and bitterness already in a couple people, and it can lead to bigger problems down the line. How do you distribute loot fairly? What is considered fair?

It’s for this reason I’m not a fan of the trophy system. I’m ok with working on harder content for a bigger reward. That is fine and dandy, but when I see an entire raid of people sitting, waiting, wondering if they’ll get the item it becomes a problem. I never saw this problem with a token system. Players might be mad at the game for dropping Vanquisher over Protector but it was RNG and nothing could be done about it. It’s a different story when you’re eligible for the item and watch other people get it over you. It’s a lot easier to accept something out of immediate control like RNG.

It’s not a bad idea in theory. It allows you to select the item you’re upgrading, it allows you to make sure anyone and everyone can use the items instead of seeing them rot due to RNG but I personally feel the token system is the way to go. While loot distribution is always an issue for any guild, I think the trophy system has too much potential to cause harm and additional stress that is unneeded in a raid / guild environment. I asked a question on Twitter about what people thought about the Trophy system. I got a surprising number of replies with people who just won’t run the content or have all together stopped raiding as  a result. I’ve also heard reports of guilds having to re work their entire loot system and policy because of this tier content, and that’s not good.

What do you think? Do you like the trophy / badge / three levels to the tier set? Do you hate it? Have you had any interesting stories revolving around loot distribution in tier 9 content?

Well, that’s my two cents on the subject until next time Happy Healing

Sig

Head 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector(item level 258) or

75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Hands 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258)

45 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 30 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Chest 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258)

75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Legs 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258)

75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Shoulders 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258)

45 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 30 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Pass the Parcel: When Raiders Won’t Roll

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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.

Loot.

Shiny items of [insert rainbow colour here] pot of gold goodness.

Many players actively strive to better their equipment and make that their main goal in the game. Better, stronger, faster, more purple pixels than before, able and willing to go forth and vanquish something corrupt for the good of Azeroth. Go on, admit it – we all want loot: if we didn’t, our characters would still be pattering around in recruit’s regalia and would be prone to splattering over the scenery as soon as they looked at an end game raid. Better gear is a must not only for those players who actively raid but also for the other people they raid with in order to aid smooth group progression. But what about the people who just… don’t go for loot?

Say a guild decides that they are ready for Trial of the Grand Crusader and choose to invite one of their regular and generally competent raid healers.

Call him Homer.

The catch is that Homer’s in Naxx25 kit and the Trial is, well, at Grand Crusader level. Homer struggles and there are a fair few deaths and extra strains being put on other raid members to keep the group alive. There is limited success and the road to progression is rocky; the guild is increasingly beset by much wailing and gnashing of hooves. These are effects which would quickly avalanche into morale killers and unnecessary wipes – and, the longer they continue, similar cracks may start appearing in the guild.

You might think that Homer would have better gear considering he is a good healer and turns up for raids regularly. Is he contending against 9 other clothies for his loot? I’d hope not unless their lock is an astonishingly good kiter. Has he been on runs plagued with plate drops? Not at all, he’s seen useable loot every week for the past six and counting. He just never rolls on loot. He’s been known to pass gear with twice as much spell power than his own in favour of the druid tank’s off off spec.

Twice.

Players like Homer are not as rare as you might think: I have seen many different players pass on loot which seems a boon giftwrapped for them from the loot gods.

What goes through a player like Homer’s mind? Perhaps one of the following:

I don’t need it as much as X does, give it to him. This reason is quite acceptable if it’s not a regular occurance. The player may just be a nice person – it’s sweet for players to occasionally pass loot for other team members and can bond the group together. But if a player regularly passes in favour of giving loot to others it may cause frustration and have other, deeper reasons behind it…

I have equal stats to [equivalent class] so I must be just as good without new loot. This reason can be somewhat deceptive and is the by product of a lack in knowledge of game mechanics and an over or underactive confidence. The player may truly believe what he’s saying, in which case nodding and smiling at him is probably the best initial reaction. On the other hand it may mean that the player doesn’t believe this at all and is trying to mask the fact that he’s hopelessly confused.

I use custom / old stat weightings and that item doesn’t fit. Not many items seem to. Stats are understood in different ways by different people – some people have trouble getting their head around them at all. Some players get a grip on stats and then hold on to that understanding for all time, even though stats change over time. These approaches are fine and can be addressed gently, starting with the basics – not everyone needs or wants to know the mathematics in depth.

I don’t understand loot and you’re waiting for a decision from me so give it to someone else already. Some players have never got a grip on loot at all. They may think that there is a complex maze of mathematics and stats behind understanding loot and be terrified of entering it. Alternatively they may not want to ask for help in case people think they are stupid. Whatever the case, these players may get easily irritated when attention is drawn to them during loot rolls.

I don’t have any interest in progressing this character but I’m relied upon to be here with this character. If this is the case the player will show no interest in anything to do with the run – gear progression, instance progression, tactic progression. They may become bitter and, gradually, an unreliable raider in more than the loot sense. They may also spoil for fights; in this situation regularly passing on loot would just be an indication that this player needs a break.

There are probably many other reasons but those are the main ones I’ve heard players use. All of these responses can lead to an uncomfortable atmosphere in the passing player’s group – just look at the effects Homer has on his guild’s progression run. Progression requires every member of the group to be of an equal standard in their role in order that the group knows they can trust and rely on one another. Homer’s loot behavior may inspire bitterness and futility in his healer teammates, for example; the longer it goes on the more uncertain they are whether they will have to keep an eye on picking up Homer’s role.

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A player who is in this situation regarding loot is also likely to be feeling uncomfortable himself. Whatever his reason for passing on loot regularly, Homer is likely to be aware that it is creating tension. He may also feel cornered and not know how or whom to talk to about it: he has, to his mind, a good reason for passing on loot but his group members’ teeth are wearing into dust and their hooves getting chipped. He may realize that on some level he is letting the group down. This may lead to a drop in his performance and skill level, and potentially to a voluntary or forced drop from the raid team.

A player’s reason for constantly passing, whatever it may be, is their reason – not an excuse. It should not be ridiculed or dismissed out of hand by anyone in the group, including themselves. Neither should a blind eye be turned to this behavior if it is causing tension in the group. I think it should be brought into the open and discussed in a supportive manner, either as a team if everyone is comfortable to do so, or one to one between the player and either an officer or someone who is close to the player, who is comfortable being a mediator. Most of the reasons listed above are easily addressed – the second, third and fourth could all be eased through a variety of methods. The player might be directed to theorycrafting sites such as Elitist Jerks to read around their class in order to nourish or update their understanding of it. They might be encouraged to start playing with sites such as Lootrank, Warcrafter or download Rawr. Class group discussions and workshops could be run within the guild. Hell, a few patient players in the guild might take it upon themselves to run a few more relaxed instances with Homer to have him learn more about his class or become more used to loot rolling in a less stressful environment.

The fourth and fifth reasons listed above are the most worrying ones for a guild. Those are the ones which most quickly lead to a player feeling like they are being forced to do something they don’t want to, and becoming alienated from the guild. The player knows he is relied upon and this fact becomes a burden. He becomes more stressed and disinterested with varying reactions depending on his personality: the progression path gets rockier for everyone on it.

In my opinion it is crucial to watch out for raiders repeatedly passing on loot. I’d say that from a raid leader’s perspective it’s important to open those lines of dialogue with a Homer-like player and get an idea of his mindset and what should, if anything, be done about it: Obviously as a raid leader you don’t want to be stuck with a player whose loot behaviour holds the rest of the group back and causes cracks to appear.

Of course, depending on your agreed loot set up, as a raid leader you could simply give loot you consider beneficial to the player even if he passes on it, but that may cause its own problems. Will the player feel even more cornered and forced to do something they don’t want to? Probably. Will they and other group members loose or gain respect for you and the loot system and will it cause more cracks or cement over old ones? Probably the former. Do you, in fact, know better than the player himself?

So if you know someone who regularly passes on loot – or are someone in that situation – get talking about it. There’s no shame in not understanding something and the mechanics of WoW are too vast and perhaps fluid to be nailed down in one in one brain at any one time. Whether you’re Homer or Homer’s group member you may just learn something about another class or person and become a closer, better, faster – more purple – group for it.

I’d be interested to hear what you think, too – be you the uncomfortable Homer, the gnashing group member, the exasperated raid leader/officer – or you’ve seen it before, from afar, and pondered on the subject. Do you think loot passing is something which happens often? Something which is a taboo subject, especially in raiding guilds? Something which shouldn’t happen if the guild or group is set up correctly? How do you think this kind of loot behaviour should be addressed – with sidelining or discussion and support?

Officers and Alts and Raiding Oh My!

Officers and Alts and Raiding Oh My!

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So very recently one of our Officers has been bringing his alt to our raids, not just farm content but our progression nights. This was obviously given the go ahead by raid leadership but it did stir up interest in a few raiders asking what was going on. As a standing rule my guild has never really taken alts on main raids. Normally alts are left to the alt raids on the weekends. We have in the past however asked very well geared alts along to fill gaps in our raid make up. So after taking care of a few guildies concerns, I figured it was something post worthy.
There seems to be a large concern about officers abusing their power to take their alts on main raids and get loot that would otherwise go to mains, or using their positions to get main raiders / toons to take their alts through content to gear up. While I’m not saying this doesn’t happen, because I’m sure it does, but I don’t think it happens as much as people think. Most time I see guild officers gearing up their alts to be able to pitch hit in a raid if need be. I’ll use my guild as an example. Most of the officers there have well geared alts, it breaks down something like this

GM DK tank main – Well geared Rogue alt

DKP officer/hunter class lead – Well geared Warlock alt

DKP officer/Warlock class lead – Well geared Unholy DK

Recruitment officer Dps DK – Well geared Paladin alt

Raid officer/Shaman class lead – Medium geared DK tank / low to medium gear Hunter

I put myself on the list because I am actively seeking to bring my hunter up to the well geared level of things. Other officers have other alts and such but you get the idea. The intent behind our gearing is something to help our raid and groups out. Let’s say our guild is doing two ToC 10 man runs, normally we have 6-7 raiding healers available. You don’t need 7 for two ToC groups. Let’s say one group is short a tank, my goal would be to be able to hop on my alt and fill that role so the group doesn’t fail to start. Another example and one that we’ve been using. We’ve been a little short on the melee front this past week. As a result the warlock class lead hopped on his Unholy DK for this weeks raids. It provided the same spell buff his warlock did to the raid but gave us the melee we needed for our encounter. It was useful to be able to pull someone’s well geared alt to fill the gap and keep the raid moving.

It should be noted that this isn’t required and that the vast majority of the time we spend gearing our alts up are through pugging instances and farming badges. That said it’s already proven useful a few times.

How to Handle Loot Priority:

So something that is key is to set up a loot priority for any guild raid even if it’s not a main raid. Our weekend alt runs we use a loot priority to keep things going smoothly.

Main spec > Off spec  // Main toon > Alt

Pretty straight forward  right? This has also encouraged more then a few people to bring their main toons to these alt runs as they are normally instances we don’t run anymore or alternate versions of what we are running (my guild is a 25 man focused guild so we do 10 man / alt 10 man runs on weekends) Everyone has fun and anyone can bring their alt along if they want, as long as we get a group composition we need.

Having well geared alts in a guild raid environment is a very useful tool that an be called upon when needed. It seems most people’s apprehension is when they see officer alts pop up in a main raid, I suppose I can understand that. If you’re in a situation that you feel like the officers or some officers in particular are taking advantage of the system, say something just like my raiders did to me.

Now, with all that said, this doesn’t just pertain to officers, but as the questions and concerns was about officers taking advantage of the system to bring in their alts to gear up that’s where we kind of hovered around. Raider alts can be just as helpful and there have been occasions when we asked a raider to bring in their alt. Sometimes this has even lead to them wanting to switch their mains for both their enjoyment and the good of the raid.

So, what do you think about alts getting geared up to raid? Do you have an alt army ready to take down Icecrown? Ever bring an alt to a main raid at the leaders request?

That’s it for today, until next timESig

2 PuG Raid Loot Systems: Performance Based vs Tichon System

I’ve had my heart broken again. You see, I was chasing after this cloak on my Elemental Shaman (yes I DPS too). It only drops from Sartharion with his 2 lackeys up. We were supposed to be together. After the buffs were set out and the strategy explained, we entered the fray. Sarth was pulled and positioned in the corner. Moments later, Tenebron landed. One of the tanks picked him up and corralled him in the back. It was like a synchronized swimming performance. Everyone moved in unison. Every fire wall was dodged. Every void zone, avoided.

Except for one player.

He fell to a void zone early on and swore he wasn’t standing in it. Obviously the results spoke for themselves.

It was a Paladin.

I thought nothing of it. Slowly but surely, the synchronized swimming team started to lose focus. One by one, players drowned in the sea of mobs, walls or voids. The remaining few pressed on. The first drake died. Vesperon landed. He, too, fell at the cost of a healer and 2 hunters.

When the smoke cleared and the dust settled, there were 10 players remaining. The island was littered with corpses. Slowly but surely they were brought back into the land of the living.

The loot was linked. Sure enough, my beloved cloak had dropped.

As it was being rolled off, I rolled an 86. I held my breath. Would it hold?

A 73,
A 81,
A 26,
A 35

Until I saw a 95.

My heart stopped and I stared. The same Paladin who was our first casualty won the cloak.

I was crushed. I bowed my head, accepted my fate and hearthed.

Performance System

If I were to devise my own loot rules for an encounter with multiple difficulty levels, I’d impose a set of conditions.

Just because a player has the achievement doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a good player. While they are a useful tool in filtering out really standout players (who wouldn’t want to invite an Immortal?), achievements only say so much.

So let’s go back to our OS 2 drake example here.

When you link to me your 2 drake achievement, what does that tell me? It tells me that you’ve successfully done the fight. You’re aware of the fire walls. You know about the void zones. You know about the elementals and the mini-drakes. In theory, you should be to avoid those hazards.

What about a tiered reward system?

Let’s say we start out with a free roll system with main specs. If Pennant cloak drops, the casters can go after it. If Obsidian Greathelm drops, all the plate wearing DPS ground pounders can square off for it.

Here’s where we make it interesting and this is where its put up or shut up time.

If you die to a void zone, a firewall, or something else that’s easily avoidable, you forfeit the right to roll the bonus item. You can still take a crack at the tier tokens or whatever the base level items are.

In theory, this should be an incentive for experienced players to become even more extra careful. It emphasizes a lot more on player survivability then DPS since there are no DPS conditions attached.

It would be more challenging to model it into a Naxx pug. But you know, I do get tired of seeing “undeserving” players getting items they should have no business wearing. Is that elitist of me?

Yeah, it is. I’ve got no problems with players getting the best items in the game if they’ve proven that they deserve it. Dying in a fight, and AFKing only to come back and win a roll after every other player alive finished off the encounter does not prove to me that they deserve it. I find that insulting.

But that’s just my take on it. Obviously the downside to this system is that you might not get any players at all in your pickup raid when they find out the conditions attached to it.

Tichon System

This is a slight departure from above. It’s designed to be much quicker in the handling of loot and addresses the main spec/off spec delays. It’s got nothing to do with the performance aspect. In most raids I’ve been a part of, the loot master typically handles an item in a way similar to this:

MAIN SPEC ROLLS

5
4
3
2
1

OFF SPEC ROLLS

5
4
3
2
1

BEG ROLL (anyone)

5
4
*insert 25 different rolls here*
2
1

That usually lasts around 20 to 30 seconds.

So what’s the Tichon system?

I was introduced to this a while ago when I was messing around on the Tichondrius server. Basically the loot rules are even easier then above. It goes something like this:

LOOT RULES

Main spec rolls 1-1000
Off spec rolls 1-100

That’s it.

No questions. What’s done is done. Everything is settled quickly and efficiently. Loot drama only flares up if players allow it. Everyone gets a shot at loot. Off spec players have a 10% chance of winning (I think). The players who need it more (the main spec players) have a higher chance of getting it but for players who the items are off spec still have a shot at also getting it.

But here’s the thing about pug loot drama

I’m of the opinion that the raid leader explains what the loot rules are before players zone in. The moment a player zones in and gets saved to a raid (after a boss kill), then players forfeit their right to complain about the system. By joining the raid and getting saved, there’s an implied agreement somewhere that they will respect the rules and accept whatever the loot gods say without question. But once the loot rules have been explained, its up to the player to decide whether they should stay or to leave.

Obviously if the loot master loots an item to a different player then the winner, then all bets are off.

Anyway, this is just something to mull over the next time you lead a pickup raid. It’s simple, clean and easy to administer.

Restoration Shaman – Ulduar 10 Gear

Restoration Shaman – Ulduar 10 Gear

It was requested that I do a post highlighting the gear for the 10 man raiders, so here it is!

It’s often easily looked over when your focus is on 25 man raiding, but 10 mans are there and are a wonderful thing. They allow smaller guilds to still be able to see endgame content and to be honest some of the best loot comes from 10 man raids. Lets take a look at the toys a shaman has available to him running around in 10 man Ulduar!

Head - Couple good pieces for your head come from 10 man Uld First up is [Helm of Veiled Energies] (XT-002) Haste, Crit and good spellpower, can’t really go wrong there. Second choice is your tier piece [Valorous Worldbreaker Headpiece] (Mimron). Your tier pieces are always a good pick up

Neck[Pendant of Endless Despair] (General Vezax) is a good pickup Crit and MP5 will help keep those mana stores filled and it has decent spell power to boot. Another choice is [Pendant of the Shallow Grave] (Thorim) Haste, Crit and Spellpower as well as a yellow socket. Not bad at all.

Shoulders - Not much for us unless you have some odd obsession with spirit (let’s hope you don’t) so I would say just snag your [Valorous Worldbreaker Spaulders] (Thorim) and say thank you =D

Back -  Here we have three choices, two of which are zone wide drops from trash. First up is [Cloak of the Dormant Blaze] crit and MP5 make this an attractive pickup if you’re lucky enough to see it drop. [Drape of the Spellweaver] this one has Haste and Crit. It’s a bit more of a dps cloak but it’s still good for us. If you don’t want to wait for trash to drop it, you can take a gander at [Shawl of the Caretaker] (Ignis). Good stats, if you see it drop I suggest trying to snag it.

Chest – Obvious choice would be the tier 8 chest piece [Valorous Worldbreaker Tunic] (Yogg). If you’re find yourself with time before you get to yogg you can always opt for [Firestrider Chestguard] (Flame Leviathan). Haste and Crit, its a good pickup.

Waist - [Belt of the Iron Servant] (Iron Council) is a great belt from the 10 man. Great smattering of stats, good regen. Well worth the pickup. Another option if you have the cash to burn, you can pick up [Blue Belt of Chaos]. Crit and MP5 as well as two sockets make for a good belt. Toss a belt buckle on there and it’s even better.

Wrist[Armbraces of the Vibrant Flame] (Ignis) are BoE so you can probably snag them on the AH if you don’t see them drop. Another option is after you snag 60 Emblems of Valor to pick up [Pigmented Clan Bindings], they should last you a long while.

Legs[Ironscale Leggins] (Razorscale) has good MP5, a nice smattering of haste and some good spell power. Worth the pickup while you wait for [Valorous Worldbreaker Kilt] (Hodir)

Feet - [Greaves of the Earthbinder] (Thorim) are a good pickup. Crit and MP5 as well as a blue socket make these very nice.

Main Hand – First up is [Pulse Baton] (Mimron) A solid main hand weapon and well worth picking up. Less conventional options are [Stormtip] (IC) and [Plasma Foil] (XT-002) they pack good spell power with either Haste or Crit respectively. The only problem with them is that they pack spirit, which is wasted on a shaman. If these are going to be sharded or offer a significant boost in spell power and either crit or haste they are worth grabbing as a transition piece. But its something I would avoid if possible.

Offhand[Ice Layered Barrier] (Hodir hardmode) is a best in slot item for even heroic level. It’s a rock solid shield with great stats. If you can get this get it! Another very solid option is [Pulsing Spellshield] (XT-002) Crit and Haste help it be a very nice shaman shield.

Rings -  [Fire Orchid Signet] (Freya) is a great pick up. The ring has all the right stats and a socket to boot. Another good option is to get [Renewal of Life] (25 Emblem of Valor) with your badges. It’s a solid ring and will last you a while.

Trinkets – There are three trinkets from 10 man ulduar that are worth looking at. [Energy Siphon] (FL) has great MP5 and the on use effect is nothing to scoff at.  [Eye of the Broodmother] (Razor) 87 crit (almost 2%) combined with essentially a 125 sp boost makes this an amazing trinket to grab if you can. Last up is [Sif’s Rememberance] (Thorim) Good spell power and it gives you a chance to proc more MP5. If it drops there is no good reason not to take it.

Well thats it for today. Those are the items you can look forward to from Ulduar 10. They are really nice, and in serveral cases comparable to gear from Heroic Ulduar.

Until next time, Happy Healing.

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Restoration Shaman – Best in Slot 3.1

Restoration Shaman – Best in Slot 3.1

puzzle-piece_phixr

Once again we find ourselves with new content and as a result new upgrades. Our tier sets await us as well as many more foes that must be conquered. That means it’s time for another best in slot post for my fellow raiding restoration shamans. Before we get started I would like to say just a couple things.

  • First, this is my opinion. Use this as a guide or not at all, but this is based on my value of the stats we use.
  • Second, please feel free to make your own list or suggestions, after all it is your character and you should equip it as you see fit.

Head: [Steamworker’s Goggles] – Flame Leviathan 25: Good MP5 and great stats

Neck: [Charm of Meticulous Timing] – XT-002 25 (hard mode) this is a tough one to get, and so you might not get a chance at it for a while. In the meantime a good alternative is [Frozen Tear of Elune] which will run you 19x Emblem of Conquest.

Shoulders: There are two options here, first is [Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Spaulders] – Yogg Sarron 25. Haste, good mp5 and a red socket. Second runner up is [Amice of the Stoic Watch] - Auriaya 25. Crit instead of haste, decent mp5 and a red socket.

Back: [Shroud of Alteration] – Ulduar Trash 25

Chest: [Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Tunic] Hodir 25 or 58 Emblems of Conquest

Wrist: Again two options here, First is [Binding of Winter Gale] Hodir 25 (hard) or if you aren’t quite there yet, [Armbraces of the Vibrant Flame] from Ignis 10. These are BoE so you might be able to find them on the auction house as well.

Hands: [Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Handguards] Mimron 25

Waist: I’m going to give this to [Windchill Binding] This will cost you 28 Emblems and it’s a great upgrade from the Naxx 25 loot. If you want more crit you can go with [Blue Belt of Chaos] but I’m finding the price rather inflated to have it crafted right now.

Legs: [Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Legguards] Freya 25

Boots: [Boots of the Forgotten Depths] General Vezax 25 Good MP5 and haste.

Rings: There are a lot of options here, I’m going to give my top 4 choices though to [Pyrelight Circle] – Ignis 25. [Sanity’s Bond] – Yogg 25. [Ring of the Faithful Servant] – Auriaya 25 and [Signet of Manifested Pain] – KT 25

Trinket: Again a lot of options my top picks are [Scale of Fates] – Thorim 25. [Living Ice Crystals] – Malygos 25. [Energy Siphon] – Flame Leviathan 10.  [Pandora’s Plea] – Mimron 25,    [Je’Tze’s Bell] – BoE World Drop. I’m normally not a fan of on use trinkets, I prefer ones that give passive buffs most times, but Energy Siphon and Living Ice Crystal’s passive mp5 make them worth picking up alone. The on use effect of each is icing on the cake.

Off Hand: Two solid choices here, First is [Ice Layered Barrier] – Hodir 25 (hard) or [Pulsing Spellshield] – XT-002 10. Both have good stat allocation (and it helps they look cool!)

Relic: [Steamcaller’s Totem] – Flame Leviathan 25 or [Totem of Forest Growth] – 15x badges of heroism.

Main Hand: I saved this for last. First weapon that should be on EVERY healer’s list of wants is [Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings], Amazing mace with good stats. The proc as we’ve seen from the blue posts is crazy good. This will be at the top of everyone’s list. Second to this mace I vote [Guiding Star] – Razorscale 25, for best in slot runner up.

Looking at this I’m sure you will see it’s got a decent mix of MP5, haste and crit, while maintaining good intellect for replenishment and good spellpower. Some of the choices seem predictable, such as the tier 8.5 set pieces. The four pieces I selected I feel offer the most bang for the buck and allow you to gather the four piece bonus, which is worth it’s weight in gold.

If you’re looking to place value on items and stats, and figure out what weight works for you, you can use Shaman_hep, an addon from Stassart which allows you to calculate a miryiad of information from your combat logs to help lend a hand figuring out what’s best for you.

So now you’ve seen my list, What do you think are the best in slot items for Restoration Shaman?

Until next time, Happy healing

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Image courtesy of UToronto.ca

Revisiting Shaman Tier 8 Gear

Revisiting Shaman Tier 8 Gear

gears_phixr

I took a look at the bonuses for Restoration Shaman’s tier 8 sets in this post HERE before the patch. Now that Ulduar is out and we’ve begun trudging through, we are beginning to see these items drop and get ready for use. To recap here are the set bonuses

Personally I like the 4 piece bonus but with the addition of the Riptide Glyph I’m very meh about the 2 piece. The 4 piece bonus is equatable to the 4 piece bonus of the Tier 7.5 set. Lets take a look at the set bonuses for 7.5

As far as those are concerned I still think that 7.5 got the better allotment for set bonuses, at the very least on the 2 piece. The 4 piece bonus comparison boils down to either a 5% boost in your healing, or what essentially  turns out to be 8% haste. Seems pretty even to me. Now that you know the set bonuses, lets take a look at the stats on the gear.

Stats Valorous Earth Shatter Regalia Conqueror’s Worldbreaker Regalia
iLevel 213 226
Required Level 80 80
Intellect 338 386
Stamina 369 381
Mana Regeneration 93 79
Armor 5224 5337
Critical Strike Rating 95 228
Haste Rating 176 173
Spell power 449 525
Sockets 1Meta 5red 1yellow 1blue 1Meta 2red 2yellow 3blue

This is assuming you’re using all 5 pieces for each which isn’t always the case but will be good for highlighting the differences between the sets. Lets look at what you gain moving from 7.5 up to 8.5

  • Int: +48
  • Stam: +12
  • MP5:  -14
  • Crit: +133 (~4%)
  • Haste: -3
  • Spell Power: +76

I am confused a bit at the lack of regeneration, I mean we actually lose 14MP5. While that might not seem like a lot, it’s a good chunk. I imagine that the idea is to use Improved Water Shield more often to compensate. My guess at this is based on the large amount of crit the set gains. It just seems odd after bringing MP5 amounts down in patch 3.1. All the other stat gains seem normal enough, a slight loss in haste (3 rating really is a drop in the bucket) and it does have a healthy increase in spell power. The choice in colors for the sockets also seems odd to me. Moving away from 5 red slots and spreading the love. Perhaps to make room for +in/+crit gems ? Haven’t quite figured that out yet, but that’s my best guess.

When Should You Switch to Tier 8?

To be honest, I think you should continue to use your Tier 7 until you have a 4 piece bonus from the Tier 8. The Tier 7 bonus being a straight +5% more healing on CH and HW is just plain good until you can don a 4 piece Tier 8. It should be noted that on a pure Heal Per Second value, Tier 8.5 pulls ahead. It does however consume a lot of mana. Even if you switch to 8.5 it might be worth keeping your 7 and 7.5 around for longevity fights. As I gather more numbers I’ll be able to provide a move definitive answer as to when one set is better then another.

The good news is not much has changed. Aside from a slight increase in our crit raiting, and the removal of a little MP5 (still scratching my head at that one) the rest of the set seems on par for upgrading. It feels very much like the increase from Tier 4 to Tier 5 back in Burning Crusade.

On a final but purely aesthetic note, I do love the way the new set looks. =D

Next post we’ll take a look at what I think our current best in slot gear is now that Ulduar is up and active.

What do you think about the Tier 8 set?

Until next time, happy healing,

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Val’anyr’s Vilification?

Val’anyr’s Vilification?

440px-mjolnir_phixr

As I’m sure you’ve seen yesterday, MMO-Champion put up the stats for Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings. As of the time of this writing the link is gone. Here’s the link go ahead and click it.

Val’anyr Armory

Poof! Searching for the item on armory as well has yielded no results. This comes at a time where every healer has been foaming at the mouth for stats and a chance to claim the legendary mace that had been promised to us. I’m certain when people saw that the stats were released, like me, their hearts beat a little faster with anticipation and hope.

Here’s a link over to MMO-Champion’s Val’anyr photo but I’ll go ahead and post the stats here for you guys to take a look at.

+52 Stamina

+54 Intellect

Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 47

Eguip: Improves haste rating by 46

Equip: Improves spell power by 587

Equip: Your healing spells have a chance to cause Blessing of Ancient Kings for 15 seconds allowing your heals to shield the target absorbing damage equal to 15% of the amount healed

To be honest when I saw that slathering of stats my heart sank a little bit. I was expecting something with a bit more oomf. It’s an item level 239 which is a step up from items like Guiding Star who clocks in at an item level of 232. The stat increase is about 6-8 points higher (average) then iLevel 232 gear, spell power is a bit higher, by 30 to 40 points, and the item budget seems in line for the haste and crit as well. It follows the same jump from say Torch of Holy Fire (iLevel 226) to Guiding Star.

Don’t get me wrong the shield proc alone makes this thing worth it’s weight in gold, but I was expecting something a little more awe inspiring. Something that said “yes that is an amazing weapon and worth every second of the time I put into assembling it!” Lets take a look at the games past legendary weapons.

Vanilla WoW Legendaries

Back in the days when Molten Core was endgame, two legendary items were introduced. Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros and Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker. These items were are amazing. Hand of Ragnaros on an enhancement shaman was the most fearsome thing in a battle ground, if he hit you, you were going to die. Thunderfury on a tank was like a cozy fire on a snowy night, you knew you were safe and warm no matter what happened. They were awe inspiring, you knew those who had it knew what they were doing, went to great lengths to get them and they stacked up heads and shoulders above the other items in the game at the time. To be honest well into burning crusade Thunderfurry was still being used as a premier tanking weapon, it was just that good.

Later on in vanilla WoW, Naxxramas came to town. It brought with it two more legendary items to the game.The Corrupted Ashbringer / Ashbringer and Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian. I include the Corrupted Ashbringer and The Ashbringer because it was amazingly well done, and little things like walking into Scarlet Monestary and having all the NPC’s bow down to you was truly epic. The corrupted Ashbringer also talked to you in whispers(click HERE to listen on youtube). The item alone spawned so much speculation it became a legend in it’s own right. People guessing when they would allow the quest to cleanse it or if they would bother at all. The item has fan sites !

Atiesh  had four different flavors for healers and casters here they are for you to look over. Atiesh 1 , Atiesh 2 , Atiesh 3 , Atiesh 4 .  It’s stats were amazing in any iteration and the time to build it as well as the lore behind it was truly powerful and awe inspiring. Compared to other staves at the time like Spire of Twilight from old Naxxramas, Thadius. It also felt truly epic if you walked around with one of those.

Burning Crusade Legendaries

Burning crusade continued our story into outlands and eventually brought with it two legendary items. The Twin Blades of Azzinoth and Thori’dal the Stars’ Fury. The twin blades have been iconic since we were first introduced to illidan back in warcraft. They had a great set of stats, and the set bonus for them were really good. Star’s fury from Kil’jaden is a jaw dropping item. It may not have a ton of quest or lore behind it, but it’s rarity and the unique ability of the bow to not have to use arrows is amazing. It is still the best bow in the game,  and hunters still crave it. Most servers you will still find groups trying to go do sunwell and among those groups you’ll likely see many hunters chomping at the bit to get in for a chance at the bow.

Compare those legendary items to Val’anyr. Each of the legendary items prior to the mace has been leaps and bounds ahead of the weapons of its time in the sun. Each item truly felt epic and getting one was something to be proud of, perhaps even an apex for that particular content. With the leaked stats on Val’anyr it seems more meh. It’s proc is very very nice and depending on if it has a cool down on the proc or any other restrictions will determine whether it’s good, or really epic good.

I asked for reactions from my friends on Twitter . I asked if they thought it felt like a legendary item. general consensus was “IT NEEDS MORE SHINY!” to quote one of my Moo Cow Healy friends Kiki. It’s good, but it seems like it would be more on par with its item level and as a result could potentially be replaced when Ice Crown drops as a raid.

I think they took the link down on purpose, perhaps to tweak things before people start getting enough shards to build it.

What are your thoughts on Val’anyr? Do you feel it is legendary quality?

Till next time

lodsig11

Feel free to follow me on Twitter

Image of Mjolnir courtesy of www.Marvel.com