My Love/Hate Relationship with Heroic Naxxramas

My Love/Hate Relationship with Heroic Naxxramas

naxx-kel

Last night, I had the pleasure of working with some of the most skilled players in beta and we were able to clear out Heroic Naxxramas (otherwise known as 25 man Naxx). Let me tell you about my initial impressions, what I love, and what I hate.

I love…

the fact that the number of tanks needed for Naxx don’t seem to have changed. Our main tank was a Warrior. No fusses about class here. The reason he was the MT was because he was the most geared (he ran Naxx, Obsidian Sanctum, etc. every day). Prot Paladin was the second tank for any massive AoE related pulls. Feral Druid was third although he would switch up with the Prot Pally depending on what the job was. Didn’t have the pleasure of working with a Death Knight. I’m happy to say that I had no problems healing any of them on the various bosses or mobs. Druid tank had the most with 34k while the Paladin and Warrior clocked in at about ~31k. I made sure to address this first, due to a question I got from Twitter:

@honorshammer Are you seeing much disparity in healing tanks of various classes?

Hope the above question helps! Love your blog by the way ;).

I hate…

my mana regen. I took a look at one of the other Resto Druids and he was sporting a jaw dropping 1500 mana regen while not casting. In my PvP gear plus other assorted PvE epic items, I hit around 600+.

I love…

how Priests will be virtual requirements for Heroic Naxx. You can get away without having other classes at all, but you need Priests for 2 of the encounters because we have to Mind Control certain mobs in order to successfully do them.

I hate…

Sapphiron. He’s the 2nd to last boss in Naxx and he’s going to be a huge headache.

I love…

how the bosses drop between 4 – 6 pieces of loot (some of them are tier bosses).

I hate…

how people complain about not getting the loot they want because its freakin’ beta and you don’t get to keep it anyway!

I love…

that while most players were still wearing blue PvP gear to raid, we were still able to 1 shot almost every boss in the instance. We didn’t over gear it. All of us were on par with or were what could be considered slightly undergeared. This proves to me that if you have a large number of skilled players going in, you won’t have a lot of difficulty. There are a few exceptions:

Instructor Raz: 2 shot
4 Horsemen : 4 shot
Sapphiron: 5 Shot
Kel’Thuzad: 1 shot

I hate

the fact that it took us a little over 7 hours to clear. But there are a few important factors to keep in mind:

  1. Pickup raid
  2. Boss explanations are complicated
  3. Some people had to leave and we had to pull in replacements

If it’s a Guild run, I can see the time knocked down to about 6 hours or maybe even 5. Obviously if you over gear the place, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see it drop down to even 4 and a half. But suffice it to say, I suspect most guilds will take at least 2 days to clear the instance and learn it.

I love

Death Knights. Look at this screenshot below:

op-dks
The top 5 players are all Death Knights. Number 6 is a Rogue. The numbers ARE slightly inflated since Thaddius has a little mechanic about him that increases DPS. Here’s a slightly better representation:

naxx-dps1 naxx-dps2

DPS order by class on Noth:

  1. Death Knight
  2. Hunter
  3. Death Knight
  4. Death Knight
  5. Ret Paladin
  6. Ret Paladin
  7. Mage
  8. Death Knight
  9. Death Knight
  10. Rogue
  11. Boomkin
  12. Feral Druid
  13. Boomkin
  14. Mage

Your mileage may vary. We only had 1 Rogue and 1 Warlock. Our raid was stacked with an abundance of Death Knights as you can see above and all of them made up the top 10.

I love

the DPS averages. Again, scroll back up and look at the DPS on the side, not the damage done. You should be pushing over 2000 DPS when you enter Naxx. Of course, I might take that statement back later. Who knows? But I’m just going by what I’ve seen thus far.

I love

these crits:

heal-crits

Repeat after me: MASS OH PEE. That’s a Resto Shaman above me there and my own Prayer of Mending.

I hate

this whole loot homegenization thing but I understand it. I started a discussion on Plusheal about how to tell whether or not you should roll on certain cloth gear or to pass on them. Wyn will be exploring this topic at some point later on, as well. It feels weird for casters to roll on gear. But I accept it and I understand it will be better in the long run.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be doing detailed healing guides for the normal and heroic versions of Naxx and Obsidian Sanctum. You’ve seen a sample of them earlier when I published a few of the 10 man ones. They’re not designed to replace WoWWiki or Bosskillers guides. What they’re meant for is to provide you (the healer) with the knowledge that is relevant to you in order to keep your raid alive. I’m most likely going to miss out on a few abilities but I’ll be sure to nail all of the ones that are important including all major boss mechanics.

Yesterday night, I took a boat load of screenshots, recorded vent when the raid leader was delivering explanations, and I have a plethora of notes all across my desk with diagrams, and post-its scattered all over the place.

By all means, if you’d like to savor the learning experience yourself, go for it. I’ll be here if you need a quick pointer or two to help you out.

Which is what this blog is for.

Questions? Comments? What else would you like to see? Will the Canucks make the playoffs this season? Will Brady get usurped? Do you require more Vespene gas? Are you, in fact, a hollahback girl? Will I ever stop beating myself up over the 7 questions I know I for sure got wrong out of 50?

Big shout out to Totodile for having to put up with the various morons in the raid, as well as organizing and quarterbacking the whole show!

6 Reasons Why I Haven’t Killed Archimonde Yet

6 Reasons Why I Haven’t Killed Archimonde Yet

archie-sad
Image courtesy of KLatham

Note: If you are against WoW players with elitist attitudes, don’t read this post.

"No sacrifice, no victory!"
Sam Witwicky (Transformers, 2007)

I’m sure you’ve read about some of the frustrations that I’ve had with Archimonde in the past few weeks that we’ve worked on him. I wrote off the first few wipes as attempts on learning. Following one of our recent raids, a raid leader asked me for my thoughts on the issue. At the time, I did not know what to say because I did not put a lot of thought into it. After a few days of reflection, I’ve come up with a list of reasons about what our Guild is missing and why we aren’t getting things done.

Willingness to bench players

Remember Bruce? He’s an active member of our 25 man teams. When I mentioned to my raid leader that we should be switching out players that aren’t cutting it, he responded by saying that it isn’t going to work all the time. This is true, I will admit. But this is a progression encounter and we need to bring our best players in at all times. The fact is, Bruce doesn’t qualify as that yet. I respect the fact that he decided to go hemo spec to further help the raid. Unfortunately, I don’t for a second believe the DPS output of the raid has increased to offset the amount of potential damage he can do if he’s not hemo. For a melee player on Archimonde, he has to perform more damage then that.

When we first started on Archimonde, the raid leader said he was going to keep a list of names on who was dying and why. Enough is enough. It’s time to put that list to good use and bench the players that are at the top of the list. I don’t care how good or reputable that player is. If you’ve died many times, then you’re only gimping the raid. Hell, if it were me holding up the raid, I would voluntarily sit out because I know that I suck.

But there are certain players who make me groan to myself everytime they raid with us. It’s because they’re stupid or they don’t listen or they don’t pay attention. I’ve had to mute myself on numerous occasions because I have one hell of a temper. I don’t mind occasional wipes as long as we learn from them and it doesn’t happen again. Those are called progression wipes, and we learn best by experience. Yet if the same players continue to die for the same reasons, why are we bringing that player to a progression raid?

Examples:

  • Players unable to time their air burst tears
  • Shamans who don’t stay with their group for decursive purposes
  • Paladins who can’t seem to listen or understand their assignments

Lag cannot continue to be an excuse

Several of our players were affected by lag issues (no doubt stemming from 2.4 patch related problems). But even before then, some players were complaining about lag affecting their timing. Those players have got to go. We cannot blame all problems on lag. If you cannot compensate for lag, then the law of probability dictates that sooner or later you will get air bursted, die, and subsequently wipe the way. In fact, based on the amount of players that were lagging that day, we should have done something more lag friendly instead. But my point here is the fact that if you’re experiencing connection problems, bow out of the raid and watch some TV.

Healers are being blamed

The whole blame healer excuse also needs to stop. Every once in a while, if it genuinely is a fault of one of ours, I know that our healers are man enough to accept that they had a brain fart and lapsed. But in an encounter with Archimonde that has Doomfires that snake out from Archimonde at a slow speed? We have the best healing corps, in my opinion. Yet a lot of pressure has been directed at us. Statements like "I need heals through doomfire" or "I wasn’t getting any heals" don’t cut it here. As a survival fight, there is no reason for any player to be suffering through doomfire. Healers might be able to compensate for one player getting it, but not when multiple players are getting hit. And they have the audacity to say that they’re not getting the proper heals? Why are you eating doomfires in the first place?

Consistency

In hockey, goalies that are on fire continue to play. Goal scorers that continue to score are paired with the same players. Why? Because of this magical thing we call chemistry. Those same players continue to deliver the same results night after night.

We’ve had nights where we one shot the first 4 bosses in Mount Hyjal with absolutely no problems on trash within the first 90 minutes.

If that’s the case, why do we change up our roster when we get to Archimonde?

The raid leaders said it themselves. This is not a DPS fight, this is a survival fight. We can afford to keep certain classes that might not boost our DPS up a lot because we know they’re not stupid. Instead, we bench those players to bring in players who aren’t as good but we unfortunately need their buffs that they bring to the table. I’d rather take an extra Shadow Priest or a Ret Paladin instead of an Elemental Shaman or Holy Paladin. I know it’s extremely hypocritical for me to say that after I mentioned Bruce earlier above. But that case is an exception. Melee players are the rare few who get to go all out on Archie without much fear of anything happening to them.

I will take veteran experience over buffs any day.

Where’s the focus?

Everyone needs to be present and on the same page. I downshift my focus on trash, but I still go through the motions. However, when we get to bosses, my back is straight, my door is closed, and my cellphone is off. One small mental slip in concentration will result in a wipe. In an area like Hyjal, it is often disastrous.

One of our Warlocks once pulled aggro on Azgalor without realizing it. The raid promptly died and it was 5 minutes to the end of the raid which lead to the raid being called. That’s 30 minutes wasted. For a guild that only raids 11 hours a week, every minute is precious.

One voice

It’s nice to have 2 or 3 authority players who are leading the raid. But there are times when too many cooks spoil the broth. I’ve seen times where one person said to do this, and another player told that same person to do something else. Both players hold rank in our Guild. We cannot afford to have more than one person directing the play. Uncertainty is going to kill us. Those raid leaders need to get together and pick one person to lead quarterback that play and be done with it. If he’s wrong, then it’s another lesson to add to the playbook. The point is that he picks a clear direction for the player to proceed in with no hesitations.

This is one of my harsher posts and it’s for good reason. But the tone of this post pales into comparison to the moods I’ve felt after some of the recent raids. I’ve tried to structure this post in a way that can reasonably convey how I feel about our Archimonde attempts with some reason and thought behind it. My tolerance level is quite high. I’m not at the point where I’m openly going to criticize my raid leaders (yet). This is just what I think and my vantage point is different than everyone else in the raid.

In review, I believe my Guild needs to :

  1. Toughen up and crack down on underperforming players
  2. Stop subbing out players
  3. Not blame lag
  4. Bring back the focus and turn off the distractions
  5. Have one leader that’s clearly in charge of the operation