Shaman Tier 9 Aesthetics

Shaman Tier 9 Aesthetics

WoW.com did a little post comparing the Alliance to the Horde Shaman tier 9 pieces, I’m sure you’ve seen it by now, if not it’s worth the read.

The tier 9 stats are good so far, but I really think they dropped the ball on looks. Lets take a quick peak at them

Alliance:

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Horde:

mmocwow-t9h_shaman

Just look at them, it’s nothing to write home about. The alliance one though just makes me very sad. If you go back to my old post Why Play a Shaman? I posted a picture of a bunch of  the tier sets up to Tier 7, add in Tier 8 and we’ve had a hell of a good run with some nice looking gear. (with in my opinion one exception, but more on that in a second). I was excited for the new tier set and was interested to see how they would do the faction specific gear. Let me share my opinion with you.

Alliance Set

I’ll be honest. I don’t like it. I’m kind of ok with the helm, but the rest is just…. blah! Looking at the set it reminds me of another odd set we had back in the day, the Stormcaller’s Garb (also known as Tier 2.5).

Here’s a picture of it:

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In a time where Tier 2 and Tier 3 sets were around, this set just seemed out of place. Thats how I feel with Nobundo’s set for alliance. The set lacks anything distinctly “Shaman”, honestly to me it feels more like a Druid set look-wise.

Where is the power of the elements? Tier 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 all have very obvious signs of elemental power coursing through it. Tier 4 was a little subtle with its touches of elemental power but it was still there (the water orb effect of the shoulders). So you have Stormcaller’s Garb and Nobundo’s gear which both lack anything that is distinctly “Shaman”.  Give me lightning or caged fire! Something! Anything that says “The spirits of the elements flow through me”! The color scheme as well is something that is lacking. Teal, orange and Purples? blech! Give me a color scheme that makes sense! Also, my faction symbol is a lion’s head roaring, why not make it more prevalent then two small icons on the shoulders?

Horde Set

Horde fared much better then alliance here. Very clear Elemental influence, Color scheme is solid with Blues and Reds worked into the metal coloring. Faction symbol dead center on chest (just like the old Tier 2 set!). The set might be very similar to the Cataclysm Set (Tier 5) but I’ll forgive them that because it looks pretty cool still. My only gripe is it doesn’t seem horde enough. Now I’m sure I’ll get flamed for saying this, but to me the height of Shaman gear was Tier 2. That set was amazing, particularly going to talk about the shoulders. Carved Wolf faces with lightning crackling over them? Not only did that scream shaman it screamed Horde (at least to me) I would have liked to have seen some animalistic reference in there. All in all though, much better then the alliance set.

I think this was an ok effort, but I find myself lacking any motivation to wear the pieces. Sure I’ll get them and use them during raids, but I think I might have to resurrect a “vanity” set for general use when not raiding.

How about you? What do you think of the sets? What do you like or don’t like about them? What would you like to see?

Until next time,

Sig

Images courtesy of mmo-champion

Of Heroes and Villains Part 3

Of Heroes and Villains Part 3

daredevil109

In Part 1 we took a look at hero classes and made some speculation as to the next expansion. In Part 2 we took a look at how the Death Knight hero class was introduced into the game. In part 3 here I’d like to talk a little bit about the hardest part of the hero class, balance.

When designing classes for any game, balance is always an issue. Even years after classes have been established sometimes things need to be tweaked. The goal is to make sure no one class is so powerful that it becomes the only one anyone plays. Essentially trying to keep the class from becoming a “Mary Sue” of the game. We’ve seen this over the years with balancing and re-balancing of all the classes, as well as in burning crusade giving the faction specific classes to both factions (Shaman and Paladins playing for both teams). When you add a hero class to a game it’s really hard not to make it into the favored child. At the same time a hero class should add a new mechanic or do something in such a way that people stop and go “oh, that’s just cool” . With Death Knights this was the addition of Runes and Runic Power.

When Wrath of the Lich King beta went out, I could not get my grubby hands on a key fast enough, I was dying to try out the new Death Knight class. I rolled my toon and found myself climbing the levels. Each build of the beta Death Knights got what some of us refer to as “Flavor of the Month” builds. In these builds one tree was emphasized over the others to test that tree out. The idea is if you make the first two sub-par, everyone will play the third. This is an old technique in beta testing to gather data. For example, in one of the Wrath builds Scourge Strike was hitting for close to 6k damage at level 65. This happened several times and each time players dutifully left their feedback and devs took it all in.

When wrath went live, Death Knights were good. Scary good. They had superior mitigation, better cooldowns and better DPS it was hard not to love them. As a healer I loved healing them, it took a lot less effort then the other three tanking classes. But therein lay the problem. When listening to all the feedback and launching it’s first hero class, Blizzard arguably made them too good. Look at all the patch notes from Wrath’s launch to now. Death Knights have been revised several times in an effort to bring them closer to the other classes, including recently where the cooldown on Icebound Fortitude is being increased to match other tanks.

It’s hard to find that sweet-spot. You want the class to feel epic and new and shinny, but you don’t want people to stop using the ones you’ve already made. It’s a very fine line to walk and it’s very difficult to do it right. With Death Knights even after they’ve been normalized I still love playing them. I love the way the Runes and Runic power system works. It’s incredibly intricate and allows for a free flowing rotation that let’s you be reactive rather then just spam a key sequence or a one button macro. It’s fun so I’ll always like to play it.

If Blizzard introduces another hero class, they are going to have to be careful to make sure it’s properly balanced. Let’s say they introduce a new healing class, it would have to be balanced so that it did not over power the other four healing classes. At the same time the mechanics of it would have to be something innovative or new to keep it fresh and exciting. Same goes for another ranged physics DPS class. If one was added it would have to be balanced as to not overshadow hunters, and at the same time provide a new way to deal that damage that is fun. (for the record I really like the idea of another ranged physical DPS class!)

It’s a tough to add new classes without overlapping or overshadowing the ones you’ve created before, but I have faith Blizzard will be able to do it again and will do it better then they did Death Knights. Death Knights just had the bad luck of being first out the gate =D

So what do you think? Do you think they can balance another class in? What would you like to see as a new mechanic?

That’s it for today, Until next time,

Sig

Image courtesy of Marvel.com

Healing Naxxramas – Sapphiron (10 man)

Healing Naxxramas – Sapphiron (10 man)

sapphiron-banner

You’re almost there. Get through Sapphiron, and Kel’Thuzad is next. I’ll walk you through what’s relevant and what’s not.

The position

As you run in for the first time, make a mental note to keep your camera trained on the animation sequence. There isn’t quite another boss in the game which has a similar or haunting experience.

Your tank should immediately run straight through Sapphiron and set up shop on the side opposite the entrance that you came in from.

I personally position my raid on one side. Pick Sapphiron’s left or right. For the purposes of this explanation, we’ll set up on the right (or north).

Phase one

Frost Aura – Everyone in the room takes ~1200 Frost damage per second.

Life Drain – A curse that will drain players for ~2400 health (Shadow damage). Sapphiron then gains about 5000 health every 3 seconds. 2 random players will get affected by it every so often.

Chill – Looks like a big Blizzard. A really powerful one. If you’re caught, you’ll take some big damage and your movement speed will be slowed.

Phase two

As you enter this phase, Sapphiron will start flying up into the air. Several things will happen:

Ice Bolt – He’ll fire off two Ice Bolts at two different players. Those players will turn into blocks of ice and become immobile. Any players within 5 yards of the Ice block will take significant damage.

Frost Breath – After the Ice Bolts are fired off, he’s going to drop a nuke that will deal lots and lots of damage.

sapphiron-iceblock

Wait until both bolts are fired before you move and start hiding behind them. Remember the Ice Bolt deals AoE damage upon impact. You don’t want to start grouping up together only to have the second bolt impale you and your cohorts, right?

Position yourself in such a way that the frozen player is between you and Sapphiron. Hide behind the block to avoid the insta gib that you’re about to take.

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Sapphiron will then land, and it’s back to phase one.

Rinse and repeat!

Execution

During phase one, your best friend is Prayer of Mending. Ensure that you’re firing these off as soon as you can. This is where the 2-piece Faith set really comes in handy due to the bonus (Your Prayer of Mending bounces an additional time). This will help against the whole Frost Aura crap that your raiders have to endure.

Against the Life Drains, task any player that can Decurse. This includes your Mages, Druids, and Resto Shamans. That curse has to fall off or else it will slow the kill down. This fight is a matter of endurance.

Keep an eye on the Chills that float around the room. Be liberal with your Power Word: Shield.

As you enter phase two, Sapphiron starts flapping his wings and flying. This is when you want to start falling back and spreading out. Top off as many players as you can. Wait for both bolts to land, then pick the one closest to you and hide behind it. Don’t stick around and wait. Use your instant spells to try and catch as many players as you can.

For the Holy Priests, slam your Circle of Healing. For the Discipline ones, Penance and Flash as much as possible.

Once the blocks shatter, resume phase one. Keep up what you’re doing, and you’ll end up in the clear.

Extra tips

Remember to Shadow Protect your raid.

Consider crafting around 2 Frost Resist sets if your healers are undergeared (or underperforming) to buy more time.

Potential exploit: I don’t know if this is intended or not and I’m not sure if it’s been fixed. But I’m saying it here so that I can raise awareness. During phase 2, players can run toward the back of the room onto the grated area. By standing there, you can avoid the Frost Breath that lands. Don’t even have to worry about using the blocks to line of sight.

sapphiron-grate

10 v. 25-Person Content Revisited

10 v. 25-Person Content Revisited

green-vortex

Well, darn. I figured out something last night that should have me eating my hat, or humble pie, or maybe a boiled crow, or else four-and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. One of my biggest predictions about Wrath of the Lich King turns out to have been dead wrong.
some-very-humble-pie

When I first heard about the 10 v. 25 raid size split in Wrath, I made a logical assumption. To be entirely fair, the conclusion I drew was well-supported by blue comments. I believed that since the rewards would be demonstrably better in 25-person content, as a consequence the difficulty level would also be higher. Either that, or the difficulty level would be exactly the same, the only reason for a reward difference being the Organization Boss that all larger guilds have to face every week.

However, last night I ran two “normal difficulty” raids that took my breath away: Sartharion with two drakes and Malygos. Without a stacked raid, our group–which took out Sartharion 25 with 2 drakes earlier this week after only an hour and a half of tries–just could not make any headway in the 10-man version. We had to settle for just one drake, and since we picked the baby dragon-spawner by accident, that was no cake walk either. And as for the rewards at the end? Nothing anyone wanted, since we had been doing so much Sartharion 25 and Naxx 25. We were pretty psyched to get the achievement, though.

As for Malygos, we took him down with two healers, and boy, was I sweating. Tank healing was tight, and raid healing was even dodgier. Meanwhile, my mana pool dipped to absolutely scary levels–which became an emergency when I made a mistake on one attempt and blew my innervate in the gap between phase 1 and phase 2. In my panic I hadn’t even been checking Mal’s health bar. Malygos is a fight I love on 25s, but I have to say that the 10-man was breathtaking. It’s exactly the kind of challenge I want–one that I know I can meet, or that gives me a chance to make improvements between attempts. It has me tempted to go back again. However, once again the rewards aren’t in proportion to the difficulty. I’d say the loot is about on par with Kel’Thuzad’s from Naxx 25–pretty darn good, but not nearly as nice as the stuff that comes out of the easier 25-person version of the same instance.

Has Blizzard Made A Big Mistake?

Clearly, I think they have, or I wouldn’t have written this post. Knowing what I know now, there’s no reason to separate Emblem loot by normal/heroic raid tier. I think I definitely earned an Emblem of Valor or two for that Malygos kill. I had heard before that Sartharion with 3 drakes was absolutely monstrous on 10s, and I thought that was just a freak thing. But based on my personal experience, I’ve come to think that the phenomenon is more widespread. Nothing in Naxx–either version–is all that difficult for my guild, but I do remember that Kel’Thuzad is harder on both healers and melee-heavy groups in the smaller size. Like it or not, I’ve come to the conclusion that raids who run 10-person content only deserve the same compensation as 25-person raiders.

What Can the Developers Do About It?

A lot of people in this game min/max, and it looks like right now, the biggest rewards for a person’s time and effort come out of 25-person content. This is a disappointment to me, because I want the game design to lead me–and my fellow raiders–to the hardest possible content. The game needs to lure us there with rewards and encourage us not to be lazy. I also want everyone to get fair compensation for what they do. I just feel bad about getting better gear for less work than a smaller guild might do. A 10-man guild who clears Sarth with 3 drakes has absolutely played better than I’m capable of right now–and they get a Heroes’ glove token, while I’m wearing a Valorous one? Ludicrous. Moreover, assuming that Ulduar-10 is harder than Ulduar-25, could that mean that a raid really needs i-level 213 gear to do it? The gear gap between 10-person raiders and 25-person raiders is pretty noticeable. As promised, it is very nearly a whole tier of difference. I think I had smaller upgrades, say, between T4 and T5 than I did between Heroes and Valorous.

For Ulduar and all future raids, I urge Blizzard to do one of two things.

1. Eliminate the i-level gap for 10 v. 25 person gear along with the Emblem difference. Put either equivalent or exactly the same items in each tier. The dichotomy was a nice idea, but the dungeon difficulty doesn’t actually support it. Clearly, I never favor lazy solutions, so I’d rather have totally unique sets in each dungeon size tailored towards the attributes that tend to be more important in that particular raid size. For small raids, survivability and mana regeneration/total mana might be key, whereas you might want higher damage output for the larger raids.

2. For the love of Pete, make the 25-person content different from the 10-person content. It’s not enough to adjust the health and damage values. Make the encounter feel different. Add lots of chaos for the 25s so it feels more on the difficulty level of the 10s. Give every one of those 25 raiders something to do, as in the Lady Vashj fight. I would even go so far as to give the bosses different mechanics–think about, say, the difference between Mechano-Lord Capacitator from Mechanar on Normal v. Heroic. Make the 25-person raiders earn their higher i-level sets.

Don’t Be Lazy

The solution to most of the problems I’ve seen in Wrath so far can be summarized with this adage. Wherever the developers have cut corners, things didn’t come out so well. No one’s complaining about the design of the leveling content or 5-person dungeons. That’s because they clearly show that Blizzard lavished time and attention on them. The same is, unfortunately, not true of the dual-tier raid system. I think it’s time to bring it in line.

Raid Frustrations: Malygos

Raid Frustrations: Malygos

So there he is, a giant dragon. He’s pretty, isn’t he? But guess what–this dragon isn’t your cute and cuddly friend. He’s insane, and he wants to eat you, and probably the whole universe too.

Welcome to heroic Malygos–the best (and worst) boss so far in Wrath of the Lich King.

On Monday night, Conquest spent three hours tackling this internet dragon, and what follows is my post-raid analysis.

Why Malygos is a great fight

1. The boss and his instance are absolutely beautiful. It reminds me of Archimonde in that way. I find myself wanting to take screen caps of the action, particularly in phase one.

2. This is a dragon boss that broke out of the ground phase / air phase model that we’re familiar with from Nightbane, Felmyst, and Sapphiron. There’s only so many times dragons can do that before they become utterly predictable.

3. This is a fight that challenges healers on every skill they have–throughput, mana management, movement, and, in particular, targeting.

4. The fight is genuinely difficult, unlike the current incarnation of Naxxramas or Obsidian Sanctum (cleared the standard method, with the three drakes killed ahead of the boss). I would place it’s difficulty level around that of Magtheridon before the last nerfs to that boss, which makes it exactly right as the keystone of the initial tier of Wrath raiding.

5. Phase 1 and 2. These phases are examples of great boss design. The Beserk timer puts emphasis on dps, and the amount of movement and chaos is enough to be difficult without being totally frustrating. For relative difficulty, think movement in Gruul, not movement in Archimonde. Also, the melee dps gets to ride flying skateboards in Phase 2. Now, tell me that’s not the coolest thing ever.

Why Malygos is a terrible fight

1. Phase 3. Combat on dragonback is a wonderful idea, but both here and in the Oculus, execution by Blizzard is poor. In the Oculus, at least, there are ledges to serve as reference points. However, in Malygos’ uniform 3D space, there are no markers for distance or even relative height except the dragon himself. Even guidelines like “be head height with the dragon” are not error proof. Healing range in this 3D space is more challenging than it ought to be. In addition, I believe that a count of combo points needs to display right there on the vehicle bar. Healers are not used to thinking in combos–I think counting them for us would be the least Blizzard could do.

2. Phase 3 interface. Just like the rest of Wow’s standard interface, it’s all right for dps but practically unusable for healing. If this is what they mean by making healing “more dynamic,” no thank you. It’s well known that healers see our interface, not the encounters. If that interface is difficult to use or does not show enough information, our job is frustrating at best.

3. Phase 3 interface v. Grid. This is mostly a personal complaint. Because the dragons are vehicles, don’t expect to target them through normal means. I was having to physically click on teammates in the air. I’m told that I should use X-perl raid frames for this fight, or just the standard ones, because they will allow me to click target on people’s health bars. That won’t solve the range issue–I will still have to be moving around to find my groupmates in space. However, the issue of having to actually see them will disappear.

Tips for Healers

We did this fight with 6 healers, which is probably the right number for us until phase 3, where we will want more people to convert over to healing once we’re all on dragons. In phase 1 and 2, we scrambled to output enough healing and to manage mana. Here are my suggestions for healers trying this fight.

1. Privilege throughput over mana efficiency. For druids, make sure the tank has all of your hots at all times. Use Wild Growth in between tank refreshes. I alternated between targeting the MT, a select dps, and myself to hit the largest number of people.

2. Heal like mad during vortexes. If you happen to be a tree, just spam that Wild Growth or Rejuvenation and Swiftmend. When I looked at wws last night, it seemed that Rejuv actually did a lot in vortex phase even though it only targeted one person at a time. For priests, CoH seems the way to go, or else Renew. Paladins and Shamans are unfortunately out of luck here.

3. Be ready to move. Use your minimap–which looks just like a compass–to orient yourself. Anticipate your movements before you have to go. Particularly in Phase 1, you’ve got to avoid that nasty Dragon Breath. I died to this on the first attempt but then figured it out. Dragon Butt good, Dragon Head bad.

4. If you have two mana restore abilities, like potion and shadowfiend or potion and innervate, use one in mid-Phase 1 and one in mid-Phase 2. You will have a few seconds to regen at the end of Phase 1, so as Malygos approaches 50%, don’t pot.

5. It’s all right to blow through your mana in phase 2. In fact, keep everyone up at all costs. Don’t be conservative here. AoE heal, pop your cooldowns, innervate yourself–use it all. It won’t matter that you’re dry by the end–phase 3 is on dragonback.

6. Stay alive. Phase 2 is going to challenge priests and druids. When the Scions target you with Arcane Barrage, your health bar will disappear fast. Do what you can–shield, healthstone, etc–to keep yourself alive. No guarantees that your teammates will save you, or even notice that you’re being targeted. Grid doesn’t seem to be able to pick up the ability, so it’s not a situation like Rage Winterchill or Kel’Thuzad where you will receive big heals from your fellows to counter the effect.

And beyond that, good luck. I expect Conquest to beat this encounter in 1-2 weeks–just as soon as we can overcome the Interface Boss of Phase 3.

Don’t Worry, it Gets Harder

I just finished doing a partial Black Temple clear on my Priest. I decided to swap Priest specs for the night and try my hand at full Discipline. I really like it a lot. Would I switch to it full time at 80? That’s going to depend on the healing corps we have then. I’m grown comfortable between deep Discipline and deep Holy specs that I don’t foresee it being any trouble at all. I think every healing Priest should take the time now where it doesn’t really matter to try out both sides of the coin and become fluent with both types of specs.

Yes, it really doesn’t matter.

I’m being outhealed by Retribution Paladins and Healing Stream totems. But that doesn’t bother me at all one bit. The game has fundamentally changed and raid instance difficulty has been toned down a lot to the dismay of some and the delight of others.

Karazhan now takes an average of 1 hour.
Zul’Aman bear runs can be done with 17 minutes left remaining on the clock.
Black Temple? Illidan down within 2 hours.

And that’s a good thing.

But don’t take the current game in stride. Don’t assume that things will be this easy at level 80, because it’s not going to be. You get yourselves new bosses, new mechanics, and new challenges to toy with. Relax now while you can and have some fun. It’s back to work when you ding 80. Allow yourself to get complacent for a while, but keep it in the back of your mind that things will only get harder from here on out.

Some guild’s are pissed off because all that they worked hard for means nothing. Some guild’s are happy (and back together) because they were able to get over the hump that stopped them from raiding in the first place. My guild was able to take down Kalecgos and Brutallus for the first time this week. We still have some time remaining in order to bring down the rest of Sunwell. I know I’ll be working hard to get that Kil’Jaden achievement (I’m up to 2175 points).

The clock is ticking. Now is the time to hurry and explore the game. Visit the bosses that you thought you’ve never seen. Raiding guilds should trial players for the time being. Swap players around and bring in alts.

It will get harder. Don’t take it for granted.

Guides to 3.0.2

Didn’t feel the need to do one of my own. Already technically contributed to the Priest column (and really inaccurately at that).

Happy patch day!

Most likely not going to update a whole lot of addons. Not sure how much more we’re going to raid. Just going to update raidframes and thats it. Going to try to configure key bindings via WoW default interface (Thats going to be fun).

To do list

  • UBRS for the Leeroy title
  • Leveling every capital city and smashing said leaders
  • World domination

Might squeeze in some study time in there. Who knows?

Healing Naxxramas – Four Horsemen (10 man)

Healing Naxxramas – Four Horsemen (10 man)

4H-title

Here it is. Welcome to the most potentially complicated 10 man boss ever. By popular request (from Jove!), I’ve nailed down the process of how to handle the Four Horsemen on Normal Naxx mode. I’ve seen a few questions asked by a people asking me if I’ve ever done this fight before. I did do it on 25 but I didn’t feel qualified to address this on 10s. I’m not going to write about a fight until I get to experience it myself first hand (and that will continue to always be the case with boss fights).

The Four Horsemen have had a reputation for being the most difficult encounter before Burning Crusade hit due to the level of timing and coordination that it required from players. The Wrath variants, while a little easier, will still require some semblance of coherent teamwork.

The Abilities

The Knights have their own individual debuffing marks which gradually increase the amount of damage that tanks and other players around them take:

Note the fact that it is a stacking debuff which increases the amount of damage you take. The first debuff is applied after 20 seconds and then every 12 seconds after that. It has a max range of approximately 65+ yards and is applied one everyone within the vicinity. You cannot use any abilities to make the Mark fall off (Divine Shield, Ice Block, etc).

Every Horseman must have a player nearby that can get the Mark. If there is no player within 65 yards of the Horsemen, the raid will take massive damage and subsequently wipe.

Each Knight has it’s own unique spell:

Placement

4H-placement

Four Horsemen is unlike most encounters you’ll see in the game as the bosses are on preset scripts that take them to specific locations. Sir Zeliek will always go to the back right of the room, for example. When setting up, send your Caster/Healer pairing to the back end along the left and right walls respectively.

4H-right Note: I really recommend using a healer class and a class that has the ability to heal itself (Balance Druid or Elemental Shaman), but I stress that the fight can be done without either of the two. The healer in the back has to compensate by being really on the ball with their regeneration and healing if such a player is unavailable.

Left: Matticus sneaking up the right wing. Those Knights won’t know what hit them!"

To activate the event, all you need to do is walk up to them and shoot them before they automatically race off to their locations.

Lady Blaumeux and Sir Zeliek do not move from their positions at all for the duration of the encounter and remain stationary. Korth’azz and Baron Rivendare are tauntable and movable.

Strategy

This strategy used makes sense if you remember the fact that each Knight has their own debuff that they apply. Each tank is required to pay strong attention to their debuffs.

Raid DPS starts out at the front of the room working on Korth’azz and Baron Rivendare. The raid will be positioned on the front left side of the entrance engaging Korth’azz first to eliminate the Meteor effect as quick as possible.

Caster tanks

Once the Knights are in place, they’ll start locking onto the players that are closest to them. Zeliek does have his own chain damage type spell (Holy Wrath) and that’s why the Zeliek tank is going to be alone for the first half of the encounter.

The magic number of debuffs before you move? 3 maximum.

Once you get 2, signal the other tank on Lady Blaumeux. Remember, the debuffs have ranges. The only way to shake them is to outrun the original Knight.

Example

I was tanking Zeliek and I had a boomkin as a partner on Blaumeux. When we got to 2 debuffs, we’d slowly cheat towards the middle. Once we hit 3, we made a mad dash to the other side and star tanking each others original mob. As I ran by, I loaded up my boomkin partner with Renews, a Prayer of Mending, and a Shield. Similarly, he’d hit me with a full stack of Lifeblooms.

4H-switch-caster

Center: Me and my Boomkin homeboy tag teaming. Note the Shadow Bolt from the left and the Holy Wrath from the right about to nail the two of us. He’s running right towards my original Knight and I’m running left towards his Knight. Void zone on the bottom left.

Don’t worry extensively about the damage being done. The Holy bolts hit me (clothie Priest) for about 2500.

4H-DPS-Z

Be aware that Lady Blaumeux does put out void zones. She targets the player when she does so. Keep your eye on the ground and when you see the black hole, side step it. Try to be tactical and strategic about your placement. Don’t place them in the path between Blaumeux and Zeliek. (Pictures at the bottom)

Melee tanks

Set up 1 healer on the front right and the front left. Those healers will be assigned to the tanks that are immediately close to them.

Got the raid set up on the left? Good. They need to stay within 8 yards of Korth’azz to distribute the meteor equally. Here’s the tricky part of the encounter which is based mainly on observation and inquiry.

Tanks will still switch after 3ish or so debuffs, but there is a trick. The two tanks for Rivendare and Korth’azz have to run towards each other and meet in the middle. Then they taunt off each other, and turn around and run in the direction they were originally coming from. The raid group and the supporting cast will need to stay in their locations. Some things have changed. The DPS group runs towards Korth’azz (meteor guy) and the lone healer on Rivendare will also follow. The idea here is to shake off the original debuffs. Let the tanks switch their targets. When the original debuffs fall off, they return to their original targets.

Example

That last part may not have been clear, so let me try again.

Ubertank the Death Knight tank is on Korth’azz left. PseudoPally the Paladin tank is on Rivendare on the right. The third mark’s about to hit, so they run towards each other.

At this point, they’re within melee range of each other and will soon begin to acquire debuffs from both Knights.

PseudoPally tanks Korth’azz, turns around, and drags him back to the bottom right. UberTank, the smart Death Knight that he is, realizes that PseudoPally’s taunt affects more than 1 mob at a time and waits for PseudoPally’s taunt to go off before using his own taunt to peel Rivendare off and back to the left.

The two Knights have now switched locations allowing time for the original debuffs of the raid to wear off. DPS stays for a few seconds and DPS Rivendare. After the FIRST MARKS WEARS OFF, they run towards Kor’thazz and the Paladin on Rivendare switches back to healing PseudoPally.

Both Knights should die within seconds of each other as the DPS will be split amongst them fairly equally.

Korth’azz and Rivendare down

At this point, the initial Knights are dead. The entire raid will then move up and start working on Zeliek and Blaumeux. The same tank switching principle applies. All healers will collapse back to the original spawn platform where the Horsemen stood. If any player that isn’t a tank picks up too much of one debuff, have them turn around and run back towards the south side of the central platform. At that distance, the Mark should easily slip off and allow them to resume.

Get the raid to focus on Blaumeux first before the Void Zones become a pain. You don’t want to deal with Ziliek’s proximity chain Holy spell just yet anyway.

After 3 Marks, PseudoPally and Ubertank will have to switch and continue to do so. Just mind the Void Zones! Keep that up, and the boss will go down.

Congratulations! You just killed what was once considered the toughest boss in Naxx!

Healing

For Priest tanks, I suggest keeping a Renew on yourself to help lessen the blow. When you reach around 60%, drop a Greater Heal. If you’re healing the other tank near you, don’t forget to use Binding Heal and maintain Renews on the two of you.

When you’re on the just the two Caster Knights, work out a rotation with the healers. Try not to eat the Marks. Sometimes you have to because of LoS issues or because you just have to.

Action shots

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Above left: Even at this distance, I can still hold aggro against this boss. Note the positions of the Void Zones. As I’m tanking, I try to position as many of them together in a cluster as much as possible.

Above right: Me trying to shake off the two Marks on me. I’m at the back of the platform not healing and the other 2 healers are aware of this. We’re each taking turns switching on and off.

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Above left: A Starfire about to kill Void Zone queen here.

Above right: The results of our labor. A 2H sword. Where’s my freakin’ caster loot?

EDIT: 11/25 – Modified strategy for the Kor’thazz and Rivendare aspect. Look for the Strikethroughs.

Did I forget anything? Please post a comment! Questions? Post those too! I’ll do my best to get to them! Otherwise, feel free to check out my healing guide for the Naxxramas bosses.

4 Key Guild Related Tasks to do Before Wrath Hits

4 Key Guild Related Tasks to do Before Wrath Hits

Its Wrath Boarding time!

The Wrath plane has landed and passengers are boarding soon! Are you going to be taking it first class or taking the back seat in the economy section?

Veneretio wrote a hot post about dealing with the last few weeks before the new expansion hits and the game resets.

So what does Vene say is the most basic thing to keep in mind as time passes by? His number 1 is to continue to make goals for yourself. He admits that “a lot of what you get now [will be] replaced later”. I’m inclined to agree. Even the most equipped players will be hanging up their present armor and gear once they approach the upper level 70s.

For me, most of my hard work was done over the summer. My reputation has largely been grinded out. The last one was Sporregar (which I felt took forever, personally). I may not have enough gold to live and spend lavishly, it will be enough to function comfortably once raiding expeditions start up again. I’m not as invested in my alts as other players are. I level them and gear them to the point where I know I can switch healers if necessary for raids with different people. My Priest is my main and any fun stuff like Achievements and Titles go straight to him.

While Vene says to make goals, Matticus has another rule that’s more prominent:

Relax!

I’ve played this game hard for over 2 years with intermittent breaks. Realistically, the point at which we start raiding as a 25 man unit will not occur until the Christmas holiday arrives. This means that most raiders will be out of action due to Christmas and New Year parties. This pushes back our raiding until early January.

I don’t know about you, but I plan to take it easy as much as I can over the next few weeks. Outside of WoW, I have a few papers, several exams, and a presentation to deliver. The assignments are due within 3 weeks. The presentation is due 4 days after Wrath releases (and I want to finish constructing it first so I don’t have to over the weekend).

Now is the time to get all the real life stuff out of the way. Finish off your work projects. Get cracking on school essays. Bury yourself in the textbooks and take time away from the game where it doesn’t matter as much anyway. If you have goals to complete, then by all means, go ahead and try to get them done. But leave a bit of room for yourself if you’re a progression oriented player who wants to sky rocket to 80.

Revisit loot

Numerous guilds will be wiping their DKP systems and starting fresh. Take the time to examine your loot system. Find out what worked and what didn’t. What would you have changed differently? Try bringing it up as soon as you can. Work out any kinks or problems with the loot system so that you don’t have to do it later when it matters the most: In the middle of a raid.

Roster check

Examine your roster again. Try to ascertain who is likely to stay and who is likely to go. Find out if there’s any holes in there that need to be plugged. My guild has lost a Rogue already and we may lose a mage. We realize that we can always sift through and acquire replacements during the leveling process, its far better to find players now so that the guild can spend more time knowing about new players.

Promotions

Now is an excellent time for promotions. If anyone is stepping down or retiring from the game, its a good time to find players who have demonstrated veteran and leadership qualities to take their place. Raid leaders: Let others take over. See if anyone has expressed interest in doing so. Try to find alternative raid leaders to run your raids. It’s great to have alternate leaders in place in case your main guy needs to sit for a while. There are no less than 6 people in my guild who are qualified to run and lead raids.

One of my guild officers have stepped down and I’ve been promoted. If you do decide to promote someone, the most important thing you can do is outline their tasks. Tell them straight up front what they are expected to do. I signed a 2 month contract as an officer because I wasn’t sure if I was willing to do this long term. I’ve served in a leadership position before but I didn’t feel particularly effective at the time. In my case, I’m being asked to provide healer presence to officer chat and contribute to raid strategy. I also get a vote in what raid directions the guild should go in. I’ only agreed to do this on the interim. Between responsibilities with my blog, WoW Insider, and school I don’t know if this is a position where I can actually contribute to.

Wrap up loose ends! Get it done quick whether its real life related or in game related! Need a title? Hurry and join a group or form it on your own! Want to push reputation? Start soon before people stop running certain instances!

Quick leak: WoW Insider’s going to be doing a quick and comprehensive guide for the various classes when 3.0.2 becomes official. The brass wants us to outline major talents, and changes to the way we operate and other things of interest.

Help me out. I have to write something up by Sunday. I already wrote about healing at level 80. What would you like to know about Holy Priests at level 70 in regards to the new patch?

I plan on including stuff about:

  • Talent suggestions
  • Quick spell overviews
  • Game mechanics that affect us

Anything else you can think of?

Image credits: photos71

Bank of Matticus Goes Public

Bank of Matticus Goes Public

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Due to requests from certain Hunter bloggers, the Bank of Matticus Financial Group has decided to go public. As part of the public disclosure process, CEO Matticus Moneycus has decided to reveal various assets that the public needs to know if they wish to invest in this banking powerhouse. Matticus leads a syndicate of prominent WoW Investors who have entrusted him with their finances and assets.

Hydroponics

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This is but a fraction of the hydroponics sector of the Bank of Matticus. Herb specialists continue to acquire species of plants around the clock to invest in Inscription the moment it becomes available.

Consumables

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In a bid to stream line workers, over 1000 Gnomes were released with severance pay with the option to rehire within the next year. Simply put, there is too much supply of consumables and not enough demand for them.

Ore

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Efforts to equip the soon-to-arrive Death Knights are well under way. They’ve agreed to become Smithies in order to augment themselves. Here is a fraction of some of the Ore and Stone that’s been gradually accumulated.

Supplementary

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The supplementary portion of the bank has largely been liquidated or is still in the process of being liquidated. Epic gems have largely been sold as well as a significant number of normal gems. Food consumables still remain as do other high performance consumables.

You’ll notice the gold count looks unimpressive. There’s a good reason for that. Bank of Matticus finances are spread out through a network of Dwarven and Goblin banks. In the event of a security breach, it will not result in the complete loss and destruction of BMF. Rest assured, hard currency sits at the 5 digit level. But that information cannot be disclosed here for the time being. It’s a result of Enchanting mats and numerous amounts of cloth being liquidated. The fifth bank tab has been hidden as it contains sensitive items and materials. Negotiations are currently underway Ironforge International Bank of Commerce for rights and access to a 6th tab. This is expected to happen within a year as assets continue to accumulate.