Skewering Vizier Zor’lok

Skewering Vizier Zor’lok

Wikipedia states that A vizier […] is a high-ranking political adviser or minister in an Islamic government.[3][4] The word is derived from Middle Persian[5][6] and then adopted into Arabic root. The vizier stood between sovereign and subjects, representing the former in all matters touching the latter.

Well, today I learned. Not exactly the voice of Psy, but he’s fun and engaging nonetheless.

Healers looking for pointers can visit this page.

We got trolled. For the longest time, Vizier would always run to the Attenuation platform. We would routinely trigger the boss from the middle and then run to it. We figured he’d go there everytime. Sure enough, the one time we set up at the Attenuation platform, the Vizier runs to the Force and Verve platform instead.

I was never able to take down the Vizier during the beta. Either I ran out of time or the gear or skill just wasn’t there for the groups I was in. I knew the Attenuation platform was going to be challenging for players (especially those who use the keyboard to turn instead of to strafe). Pay attention because Attenuation rings can go clockwise or counter clockwise.

Pro tip: Rebind your A and D keys to strafe left and strafe right respectively. It helps with moving through discs. Point your camera so that it’s from the top down. Paladins with the Relic of Chi Ji are instructed not to use Light of Dawn.

Look how blinding that can be. My guild likes to joke about it and call it the vagina of light.

With all the movement that’s going on in the Attenuation phase, I switched up my glyphs and used the Glyph of Shadow Word: Death instead. When I’m dodging discs, there’s situations where I’ll get lucky with Mind Blast, Mind Spike, and Devouring Plague procs. It’s possible to stand in one place and get a 2-tick Mind Flay through before interrupting it. Shadow Word: Death just gives you an extra spell for to to use on the go.

During the Convert platform, pop your Psychic Scream and Halo spells early and on cooldown. People get pissed off at you if you’re Mind Controlled and dropping fear bombs all over the place. Halo if used at the wrong time will chunk or even kill players.

On the Force and Verve platform, I’d activate Vampiric Embrace while under the Noise Cancelling shield. We assigned all the ranged players to the bubble furthest away. Healers would take the next closest (or middle) bubble. Melee DPS and the tank would secure the closest bubble to the Vizier. Any bubbles that had more than 9 players would have extras reassigned to the healer bubble.

Heroism was used in the final phase during the first Noise Cancelling bubble. It was used defensively to help the healers keep up with the healing without activating their raid cooldowns.

It’s not the greatest fight for a Shadow Priest with the amount of moving that’s going on. I’m still struggling with maintaining meaningful uptime. 80.5% on my Vampiric Touch just isn’t quite cutting it. The DoTs just keep falling off and I’m not able to refresh them fast enough. I try to reapply them with anywhere from 3-4 seconds left, but I’m not all there. Shadow’s fun this expansion (compared to Cataclysm where maintaining 3 different DoTs was a chore).

I’m using Fortexorcist to help track my DoTs but I think I need to find a better place for it. Maybe underneath the target on the top right? Where do you Shadow Priests park their timers? Should I just clip more and throw it up earlier?

Transitioning to 25 Man: Your Tips?

Nikalia on Plus Heal posted a question:

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

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

Healing Assignments

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

Egos

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

Be prepared for it.

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

Damage

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

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

Matticast Episode 12 – Officers, Healing Assignments, and Multiple Guild Raid Groups

Welcome to Episode 12 of The Matticast. This week Borsk, Matt, Kat, and Brian, discuss:

– Officer Options and Hierarchy

– Healing Assignments

– Running both a 25 and 10 man raid within the same guild.

Don’t forget you can send us your questions or topics or tweet us with the hashtag #matticast

Subscribe to the show: iTunes | RSS

Question: When do you Call a Wipe?

Keeping the post really short today. Whether it’s in a 5 man, a 10 man, or a 25 man, I’m curious as to under what circumstances your raid leaders call a wipe.

Does it ever frustrate you when your raid leaders do?

Does it annoy you when they should and don’t?

For the raid leaders, does farm versus progression content impact the times you call wipes?

I’ve called snap wipes when we lose 2-3 people in the opening minute of a fight. I’ve called for a continual push even when we were down a half raid.

What’s your take?

Podcast Topic – 10s vs. 25s

Each week on Matticast we will be featuring a topic driven by our audience. You can submit your comments on this post, or e-mail us with your thoughts. You can even send us an audio clip (mp3 format please). This is your chance to have your say on what we discuss on World of Matticus. Also don’t forget, if you have general questions you’d like answered on the show, you can send them our way. Remember we record on Sunday nights, so get your thoughts in before then!

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the unique challenges each size raid has. What are your opinions? What pro/cons does each have when it comes to raiding, recruiting, organizing, loot, attendance, etc? Also, are they really of equal difficulty in Cataclysm, or does Blizzard still have a ways to go to balance them? Is there a bigger discrepancy in heroics? We are leaving this one pretty open. We want to see how many different things the choice between the two is effecting for everyone and organize the discussion around those. So whether it is just letting us know your preference or some deep spreadsheet-laden analysis let us know what you think!

Podcast Topic: What Dungeon/Raid Bosses Are Causing You Trouble?

Each week on Matticast we will be featuring a topic driven by our audience. You can submit your comments on this post, or e-mail us with your thoughts. You can even send us an audio clip (mp3 format please). This is your chance to have your say on what we discuss on World of Matticus. Also don’t forget, if you have general questions you’d like answered on the show, you can send them our way. Remember we record on Sunday nights, so get your thoughts in before then!

This week we are looking for the Dungeon/Raid encounters that are troubling your guild. Having healing issues on Vanessa Van Cleef, DPS troubles on Magmaw, need help with phase transition on Nef? let us know what bosses are troubling your guild at this point and we will do our best to help ya out.

POLL: Will you raid 10 man or 25 man in Cataclysm?

POLL: Will you raid 10 man or 25 man in Cataclysm?

One of the best — or worst things depending on your view — to happen to raiding in a long time was the inclusion of smaller group sized content. I talked a little bit about this over on BDTU with my pieces on the Evolution of WoW part 1 and part 2.

The trend started with the addition of Zul’Gurub, a troll instance of now infamous reputation, when it broke from the 40-man raid standard and offered 20-man content. It hailed back to the days of Blackrock Spire being a multiple group raid, and people loved it.

Karazhan further stoked the fires of the smaller group raid desire, and did so while offering epic and story filled content. Players loved it so much that the forums were filled countless replies asking for more smaller group . With Wrath came the revelation that all raid content would be be available in 25-man flavor as set forth by Burning Crusade, but also  in new raid 10-man flavor (all of the raid, less than half the calories). Different levels of gear purchasable by badges came out (as well as loot tables that varied between 10 and 25 man), and both 10 and 25 man raids dropped the same badges. The trick, and the problem, was that people felt compelled to run both 10 and 25 man versions to maximize badges. Some people felt that you absolutely had to run both to “beat the game”.

This is also a result of how loot was distributed. Badges gave you the entry level gear for the items at the end of this expansion cycle. Badges gave you the “entry level” piece for the tier set, this was considered the 10 man version of the tier. Tokens in 25 man raids would drop that allowed you to upgrade the 10 man piece to the next level up. Heroic 25 man dropped yet another token that allowed you to upgrade it to it’s maximum potential. You can see how it would be assumed the more badges you had the better gear you had and the quicker you could climb the gear ladder right?

Well, the devs didn’t like that, nor did less hardcore players (or those of us who don’t have the time to devote to constantly running raids all week long) and a new system was proposed for Cataclysm. The system says that the same content will be provided for 10 and 25 man versions, and the reward levels will be the same. That is to say that the Ilvl of gear will be on par between versions, and they will share the same loot tables. The major difference will be that 25 man will have more damage and more health to worry about in boss fights and such, and you will get MORE loot drops than the 10 man content does. Also, a raid regardless of being 10 or 25 man, all share the same raid ID and lockout. Do a  25 man version and kill a boss? Cool. Split into two 10 mans of the same thing and that boss is still dead for both groups. You can’t up-convert from 10 to 25, but you can down-size if attendance becomes an issue or some such.

So this brings up an interesting question for a lot of guilds and raid groups right now. Is it worth it to run 25 man content if the rewards for 10 are the same? Is the extra loot enough of a benefit to keep you raiding in 25 man content or do you give up and just say screw it? I know a lot of guilds are going through this debate right now. I know some of them personally. This happened in a smaller capacity when Wrath was announced to have 10 man content. Some guilds decided the smaller size was for them and paired down into tight-knit, more tactical 10 man groups. So now that the gear is equal level between 10 and 25, aside from quantity, I know many guilds that have weighed the pros and cons of both formats and decided to go for the smaller size.

My guild Unpossible recently had this discussion. We pulled all of the officers into a private vent chat and hashed it out. it was about even split on the case of 10 vs 25, and there were a lot of good points made. After a good half hour discussion, we decided that we would stay a 25 man raiding guild. Our structure was already in place and had been since the release of Burning Crusade, and it has been stable and working since. We have a dedicated group of raiders who love the group we are in and the dynamic we have going. We also decided that we just felt more comfortable in the 25 man environment.

For me personally, I voted in favor of keeping the 25 man raid group. I love the logistical challenge of tracking so many players — and yes I know it’s not the 40 man content or raids from vanilla but I served my time in those — and the dynamic we have set up between all the various parts of the raiding group works well together, and I’d hate to break that up. I also didn’t like the idea of balancing multiple 10 man groups. Something I’ve seen over the last few years, people have an easier time being benched for a raid than they do taking part in a raid that is behind another group. I didn’t want to breed an environment of Group A vs Group B and cause any unnecessary drama.

So with Cataclysm on the horizon, has your guild discussed this at all? Has your raid group decided whether it will raid 10 man or 25 man content? Were you already raiding as a 10 or 25 man group? What do you think the benefits of both are? What about the drawbacks? I’d love to hear your opinions on this and see how the community as a whole has decided.

Will your guild raid 10 man or 25 man content in Cataclysm?

  • 10 Man / 10 Man Hard Mode (69%, 346 Votes)
  • 25 Man / 25 Man Hard Mode (21%, 103 Votes)
  • Banana (12%, 61 Votes)

Total Voters: 498

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Until next time, happy healing!

Guerrilla Raiding: How To Scale Up to 25 Mans

Guerrilla Raiding: How To Scale Up to 25 Mans

TheFuture

My guild is special. No, really. We’re like a guerrilla force descending from our airborne stronghold to plunge deep behind enemy lines in a surprise raid. This is, you see, an affectionate way of describing my guild’s raids.

We are a small, ten-strong band of fighters not all wearing the same colours because our roots are in a small core relying on PUGgers. It is sometimes a surprise when our raids get going, even though they’re organised in advance. Yet despite these things we’ve managed to storm the citadel right up to Rotface. Not only that, we’re thinking to scale up to 25 man operations. How I hear you cry, is that special?

My guild, you understand, is not a raiding guild. At least that’s what we keep telling ourselves. Herding Cats is a small group of real life friends. But many moons ago we got together, grabbed a few random PUGgers, and poked our noses into Naxxramas, like guilds do. Northrend’s raids became second homes over the months.

In ye olde Naxx runs we decided we just wanted PUGgers to be friendly. Not imbah, not a great tactician, not rocking 18k DPS. Our raids might not be lightning fast but they should be jolly good fun, old chap. Whenever we found a friendly stranger we rejoiced. And kidnapped them. Oh, we didn’t recruit – only invited them to our raids. In this way we cultivated a network of friendly people who fit in with the raiding group.

Our network of non-guildies quickly outgrew the slots we had for 10 man raiding and priority was given to people who were already raiding with us. We thought it sensible to develop a core. Tactically the group would become a single unit capable of learning encounters and to work together in order to move forward. Naturally this had social benefits for our raid members, who were rewarded with progression, loot and group friendships.

The downside of this was that many Herding friends are left out. As the raid leader/organiser, I really feel bad about this downside, as we are lucky enough to have people ask every week if there’s a raid spot for them this week even though they’re often told “I’m sorry but we’re full at the moment.”

So my guild is special but not unique. I’d wager there are a lot of guilds either already in our position or considering adapting to something like it.

How can we include people? 25 mans. Our network is big enough to fill 15-20 slots of a 25 man raid. It’s one huge step for Herding-kind. Dangerous almost. It might bite. Going into the hydra’s den unprepared is a bad idea so we’re arming ourselves and going at it as a team. We’re still thinking about it but this is the current battle plan.

1. Delegation. There are a lot of hats to wear in a 25 man so we’ve agreed to split the hats between the five of us. We’ll have leaders for each role, and they will each have a chat channel to communicate with their players. For example, in the tanks channel the tank leader will ascribe tactics to the tanks and foster communication between them. The other leaders will do the same for healers and melee and ranged DPS. The raid leader’s task is to introduce the raid, keep an eye on the group chat channels, be the deciding force in conflicts and handle unforeseen shenanigans. We’ll also have someone acting as a mentor. Unofficially we’ll have someone else as a morale officer and someone acting as a raid HR department.

2. Housekeeping. This is a brief introduction to the raid, given by the raid leader, which sets out a few basic points. These include our core principles for the run – for example, that we will welcome people amicably and expect them to do the same in return. We’ll also set out other rules on behaviour, breaks, tactics and loot. I’ve spoken before about how important this is, and it can only get more important the more people you have to organise. Setting clear rules from the start creates a safe, fun raid for everyone, Herding Cats veteran or first-timer and gives everyone a fair warning of what’s expected of them before we start.

It relaxes strangers, too. I think that people can join PUG raids expecting an atmosphere of every man for himself; having to constantly defend their playing style, DPS, healing, gear, whatever. We’ve had PUGgers say they’re pleasantly surprised to find a group where this isn’t the prevailing culture.

3. Communication. I believe the more information you communicate the more time you’ll save on wipes. Tactics are fluid things, changeable in progression content and per player experience. We’ll explain tactics for all encounters, provide a chance for suggestions and encourage raiders to ask questions in chat or privately to raid officers at any time. Officers will also keep an eye on their players and have a quiet chat if they suspect a player isn’t clear on something. “Hello Mr.. rogue, nice work on adherents there but you didn’t seem to get any time stabbing Deathwhisper. Any questions about that?” Likewise, we’ll check in with random raiders at random times to find out how they’re feeling.

Communication is most important when things go wrong. When we wipe we have a quick brainstorm in Herding Cats Land. Then we talk to the raid, saying something like “ok, what went wrong there was a deformed fanatic getting loose as phase 2 started. Easy mistake, we’ll get it right this time. Oh, and nice work on her mana shield, guys.”

4. Social. I play this game for fun, don’t know about you. It’s not a single player game and I like interacting with other people. I hope our raiders do too, but in a large group it’s easy for negativity to spread. The morale officer will keep the atmosphere cheery. The mentor’s role is just as important. It’s his task to be there for anyone who’s in any way unsure or needing reassurance. They might be new to raiding, they might be unsure in group settings, they might still be learning their class (who isn’t?). We welcome new players – given the right encouragement they can turn out to be some of the most loyal and best you’ll find.

5. Networking. We can’t fill 25 spots off the bat. We rather like that. It means that we have room to do what we did way back in Naxx times: meet new people and kidnap them to our raids. This way our network will grow whenever we find a new person we like and the entire group will benefit both in raiding and social terms.

If we get a PUGger we don’t like? We call them ‘That Guy’. You know – the guy who backseat raid leads, continually pastes DPS meters, abuses other group members. The list can go on. Ideally we’ll have a very strict policy, backed up by the housekeeping which already informed people what standards we work by. Some people have different attitudes and expectations to raiding than what they find in our group: that’s fine, but if you join a group you go by their expectations.

If someone insults our group members or any Cat finds them annoying in some way, they’re out. Sorry. I don’t care if they’re saved for one raid lockout, I don’t care if they’re the leader of the server’s top raiding guild. I don’t care if they’re hitting 11k healing every fight. I’ll protect my own group over someone who’s just griefed the priest healer they know nothing about. I think this is the most controversial point of our game plan, particularly if we just find someone annoying.

So those are the basics of our arsenal. There are some finer points such as where to begin our venture: we’re thinking ToTC25 for the first raid. It’s relatively short and should be a good ground to help the raid find its feet and bond. Not only that but it should provide some folks with bits of kit for the real progression and leave everyone salivating over the prospect of more next time. We also have a raid spam addon tailor-made for our needs in the works.

And do we, the raid officers, know what we’re doing? Why, yes, old bean. We know the enemy lines and the guerrilla force we’re leading into the Lich King’s chambers.

What about you? Is your guild in a similar position, or considering something like this – are you worried it’ll be a lot more work than you have time for? Are you in a large guild that does in house runs? Are you a PUGger who wishes you did/did not come across more groups like this? Do you think leaning a bit towards carebearing is going to hold us back or benefit us in the long term (and what’s YOUR playing style)?

Systemic Looting of Your 25 Naxx Pug

Pickup raids. We can’t live with ‘em and we can’t live without ‘em. For the players that don’t have the scheduling ability to raid with a guild, they have no choice but to raid with 24 other players ranging from the chivalrous to the downright nasty.

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a Naxx 25 pug on my alt Shaman which went somewhat smoothly for the most part. Patchwerk and Four Horsemen absolutely stoned the raid and we had to call it later.

Loot System

Here’s how loot was handled and I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

1 Tier roll for entire night
1 Need/1 Greed for Spider and Plague Wing combined
1 Need/1 Greed for Military and Abomination Wing combined

I felt that it was simple and that it worked. With the amount of loot that drops in Naxx, this was simple, fast, and effective. Players were limited to only one tier piece, period. But having four other roles helped prevent sharding of gear and helped spread the loot around more than if it was just 1 need, 1 greed.

My Elemental Shaman clocked in at ~1900 DPS on Patchwerk. I got some more work to do, it seems.

Handling loot in pugs is a lot more different then handling loot in guilds.

Have you participated in any Heroic raids lately? How has loot been handled?

A Note about Mother Shahraz Post 3.0

A comment from Xserisi has been brought to my attention. I figured it would benefit many players if they knew about it as well so I decided to turn it into a blog post.

Last night we saw BT, we stopped before Mother Shiraz, seeing we ran out of time and were unsure about our health if we would go in with with low or nill shadow resist gear. (anyone tried after patch?)

Yes. I can say with certainty that you don’t need to have full Shadow Resist gear on for Mother Shahraz. Prayer of Shadow Protection or Shadow Aura from the Paladins should be enough to get you through it. DPS has to be high. You don’t want to take more than 3 or 4 teleports. She should be able to go down relatively fast.

Keep in mind, everyone has to commit. If you go full Shadow Resist, make sure every one does so. If you want to go for the blitz method, then keep your raiding gear on. Soak tanks are still important. Your healers have to stand on their head (hockey expression for goalies making unbelievable saves).

As my ancestor Napoleonicus once said:

There ain’t a problem in the world that can’t be solved by copious amounts of DPS.