The Hard Mode Thrill

The post you’re about to read is from the past. I wrote this post on Saturday hours after we had taken down Deconstructor on hard mode. It’s the 10 player version.

Going in there, I figured that this was a boss well within the crosshairs of what our guild was capable of doing.

The adrenaline rush and feeling the entire raid got was immense. It’s been a long time since I had a feeling like that wash over me. I could tell it was the same thing for the others in the group. The challenge, the wipes, and all the little things added up and resulted in a big giant virtual fist pump when we took him down.

Some of these hard modes really transform the fight into a whole new level. The complexity, the demands and requirements transcend everything. Sometimes I think to myself what would have happened if I was in an organization that was way more involved then what Conquest is now. I’d imagine one of the requirements would be doing everything on hard mode first before dialing back. Could you imagine? I tried Thorim on hard mode a few times. It made me appreciate just how much simpler and stress free the easy mode was.

If you’re looking for a pre-nerf Hyjal, Black Temple, or Sunwell type of experience, give hard mode a shot. They do drop Badges of Conquest after all.

That feeling can be replicated on 10 mans. I found it similar to hitting the Zul’Aman bear timer.

Expect a post sometime later this week with a tactical break down of how Syd, myself, and the rest of the raid handled the walking bunch of bolts.

An early teaser

Quick notes though for those of you wanting to get some attempts on him.

  • 1 tank
  • Doable with 2 healers
  • Position at the front of the stairs not to the sides
  • No bots to worry about at all
  • Priority on life sparks that spawn
  • Designate positions for players to run to with gravity well (they spawn void zones)
Healing Ulduar: Kologarn

Healing Ulduar: Kologarn

kologarn

For other bosses in Ulduar, check the Ulduar Healing Strategy Page.

Kologarn is the sentinel that stands in the way between your raid group and the rest of Ulduear. He is a challenging boss guilds that are new to raiding. Like Deconstructor, victory lies in the ultimate ability of individual players.

Abilities

Eyebeams: Two ways to handle this. Run out the door or run circles on the right side of the platform. More on this later.

Stone grip: He’s going to pluck three players in to the palm of his hand and attempt to squeeze them to death until they get broken out. The only way to break players out is by DPSing the arm. Once it takes 380000 damage, the players are released.

Execution

DPS priority is going to approach the boss in this order: Right arm, Elementals, torso. When any arm is destroyed, the torso loses the same amount of health.

It’s best to call out right arm health at 5% intervals starting from 20 so your tanks know when to switch. After the right arm falls, elementals will spawn.

Two tanks are needed to hold Kologarn’s attention. He’s got a Gluth-like debuff that requires two tanks to taunt off each other. Otherwise, the debuff becomes flat out unbearable.

kolo-beams

Dodging eye beams

When you get focused by twin green beams, you have around 2 seconds to start hustling before you get rocked. There’s two ways to handle avoiding them:

Out the door

Make a beeline for the door and down the stairs. The upside is that it presents minimal risk to the players in your raid group. The down side is if the player is too slow, they might die due to line of sight issues. As healers, we don’t have to worry about this.

Laps on the right side

Have beam focused players run circles along the right side of the room. The pros and cons are the exact inverse of the bailing-out-the-door method. Focused players are well within range of healers. But poor kiting can lead to multiple casualties.

Whatever solution you choose, drill it in the heads of the rest of the raid to immediately get out of the green. The beams are extremely hard to miss. Keep your head up.

The Elemental Tank

It’s happened before. I’ve seen the off tank gain aggo of all ads and get focused by beams at the exact same time. As a tank, he’ll live for a few extra seconds but not anymore after that. Use whatever saves you can on him to help lessen the blow. Pain Suppression, Guardian Spirit and Blessing of Sacrifice work admirably.

Healing strategy

Around 6-7 healers is a good number to start with. Expect an enormous amount of raid damage being doled out. His left arm sweeps the entire raid for around 15000+. Pick two of your strongest tank healers and assign them to the main tank (this will vary as they’re taunting off each other). Be sure to have Kologarn’s target up so you can see which tank he’s presently on.

If you have access to two Resto Shamans, they can anchor the Stone Grips quite easily.

Healer items

Ironmender – OH (Priests, Druids)

Gloves of the Pythonic Guardian – Gloves (Paladin)

Robes of the Umbral Brute – Chest (Priests)

Unfaltering Armguards – Wrists (Paladin)

Paladin Healing in 10 man Ulduar

This is a guest post by Adgamorix, who’s launched his own blog: Divine Plea.

So last week I wrote a post talking about Paladin healing in Heroic Ulduar, and voicing my opinion that I thought Paladin healing was spot on. I was open about my lack of 10 man Ulduar experience, and was told to come back when I’d experienced that pain – with the expectation that my opinion would change.

Taking that to heart, the next day I rounded up nine of my fellow guild mates and began my assault. This week has been an absolute blood-bath of raiding, seeing me log six days of straight raiding (no less than three hours a day) when I normally log two or three. Why did I throw my schedule to the side and perform this atrocious attack on my sanity you ask? Simple. I thought maybe I was missing something.

So 9 hours of 10 man raiding later and we’re staring at General Vezax and laughing at how the trash was essentially mini-bosses. We’re now one boss away from Yarg himself, and of course a whole slew of bosses on hard mode to go. I believe that I’ve tasted the cool-aid, and I have a response for those who still say Paladin healing is broken.

What’s the fuss?

Yeah, it’s not a real adult reaction, but it fits in my opinion. Our raid makeup was fairly balanced, with a Resto shaman, and the Holy/Disc priest from my 25 man group. We used a Druid/DK tanking combo, two rogues (our hunter is suffering from severe wife agro), ret paladin, a shadow priest, and a balance druid. Yes, we could have had a better raid makeup for buff purposes, but this group is a solid core of players and we did our 10 man Naxx together.

We had our share of wipes and pain (Mimiron alone took 2 or 3 hours), but the overall experience was enjoyable. We learned new bosses, we got to hear the “I thought the button started the encounter!” cry from a curious rogue, and we learned some things to help with our 25 man raid. I learned that more than ever, I have to trust my fellow healers, and trust my raid mates to know when to use cool-downs and consumables. I felt the agony of no mana return with Illumination on Vezax, and I may have actually shed a tear the first time I tried casting a Holy Light while under the effects of Thorim’s Defaning Thunder (75% increased cast time). Overall though I felt like the raid was tuned beautifully, and it was a lot of fun actually being challenged.

So what’s different between me and those that think we’re broken?

I will concede that our group is the x factor in this equation. Are the healing problems coming from Paladins in unbalanced groups? Are they trying to two heal, or heal content beyond their gear/experience level? Maybe it’s the synergy between the healers, in that we know the role we play, and can accurately predict the actions of our fellow healers. For example, I know that on Mimiron while I’m healing the MT through the Plasma Blast, if someone gets Napalm Shelled I can toss them a quick Holy Shock to absorb the base damage while the tree HoTs them up and the Disc priest keeps the MT alive. We don’t have to talk about it, it just happens. Would it be awesome if I could still throw a Sacred Shield on them to help with the damage absorption? Of course it would, but we seem to be making it through ok as it is.

Canceling out the X factor

So after healing a lot of 10 man (and more 25 man), I decided to take the x factor out of the equation. I couldn’t down rank my gear (short of taking a piece off) to simulate healing in blues , but I could put myself in the LFG channel and heal any PUG that came along. I tossed aside any gear/instance standards I had, and went willy-nilly into the groups. After getting through Gun’Drak, VH, UK, and UP – I decided Paladin healing still isn’t broken. Yes it’s slightly tougher, the lack of multiple SS and Glyph crits huts some, but it’s still doable (and fun).

I’m going to stick by original statement that Holy Paladins are in great shape right now, and while we could use another tool in our kit, or maybe some kind of decent raid heal, we’re still really strong.

Healing Ulduar: Flame Leviathan

Healing Ulduar: Flame Leviathan

flame-leviathan

For other bosses in Ulduar, check the Ulduar Healing strategy page.

I managed to squeeze some PTR time on this boss earlier in the weeks before. But here’s a step-by-step break down of what you need to do in order to get through the encounter.

Quick notes

  • Vehicular fight
  • Trash should be cleared using your vehicles
  • After ~two attempts on the boss, trash will respawn (not sure if there’s a link to time)
  • Four towers control the difficulty of the boss
  • Vehicle health is based on item level not stats

Map

fl-map 

Trash phase

This is not a Hyjal style waves encounter. Your raid group will have access to vehicles first. When your raid is ready to move out, speak to Brann Bronzebeard to engage the Iron army.

bronzebeard-thumb

(Click image for dialogue)

Tower information

Your targets are the four towers throughout the area. The difficulty level of Flame Leviathan can be controlled based on which towers you leave up. Towers are easily identifiable because of the color of their glow. Location of the towers are shown in the map above. Use your vehicles to bring them down.

Storm beacons will summon additional units. Destroy them to stem the tide of incoming spawning mobs.

Roles and vehicular abilities

There are different roles that each vehicle plays. I’ll break them down below.

Carrying capacities

Chopper: 1 driver + 1 passenger
Demolisher: 1 driver + 2 passengers
Siege engine: 1 driver + 1 turret + 2 passengers

Chopper abilities

Sonic horn (20 energy): Conical DPS within 35 yards to all enemies
Tar: 10 yard pool of tar that slows down enemies by 75% (important)
Speed boost (50 energy): Increases vehicle’s movement speed by 100% for 5s

Demolisher abilities

Driver

Hurl boulder: Throws a really big rock at variable range. Think Wintergrasp or Strands type. Ignites Tar upon impact.
Hurl pyrite barrel: Using 5 pyrite, will do ~30000 damage
Ram: Damage and knockback effect
Throw passenger: Used only when the passenger is in the catapult. Dwarf tossing is finally a reality (important)

Passenger

Cannon: Fires a missile. Upon impact, deals damage to enemies within 10 yards. 50 yard range.
Grab crate: Uses a hook and chain to grab crates. Lets you pick up pyrite off the ground.
Increase speed: Uses pyrite to add extra speed to the demolisher. Lasts 1 minute.
Load into catapult: Self explanatory. Passenger gets into the catapult. (important)

Siege engine abilities

Driver

Ram (40 energy): Damage and knock back effect
Electroshock (38 energy): 25 yard conical, interrupts spells, and 4 seconds of locking out the magic school (important)
Steam Rush (40 energy): Sort of like a sprint effect.

Turret

Anti-Air launcher (10 energy): Fires missiles at aerial targets.
Cannon (20 energy): Up to 70 yard range. It’s a gun that shoots stuff.

Siege Engines

The Flame Leviathan will only lock on to one siege engine at a team. The targeted engine must kite the boss around.

Non-kiting siege engines will have to stay close to the rear of the Leviathan as much as possible and should interrupt Flame Jets. After 30 seconds, Flame Leviathan will switch and target a different Siege Engine and chase after that. Use Steam Rush to build up some distance.

Here’s a kite path you can try out.

kite-path

Blue line: Opening route. The boss will be weapons free at this time (as in engage-able).

Siege engine passengers should be targeting pyrite ammo that’s floating in the air. If there aren’t any available, switch fire to the boss.

If you’re out of siege engines, FL will go after demolishers or choppers.

Choppers

There should be 1 chopper following the targeted siege engine. Choppers will be laying down tar directly in front of the Flame Leviathan to slow him down and the tar can be ignited by Boulders from demolishers.

Choppers also have to extract the FL Unit (explained further).

Demolishers

Stay as far away as you can. DPS with Hurl Boulder. Firing Pyrite Barrels should be held off until FL is stunned.

Demo passengers not being thrown up will need to work the catapult to load up Pyrite.

Flame Leviathan stun unit

Your demolishers have the capability to launch players onto the Flame Leviathan. The FL unit is going to comprise of:

  • 3 DPS (Suggest Druid, Death Knight, Rogue)
  • 1 Healer (Suggest Paladin or Druid)

I suggested those classes because they’re going to be under fire from various guns while up there. You’ll want maximum survivability.

Both players must be in the passenger seat of the demolisher. There’s an ability called “Load into Catapult” which places them in the throwing arm of the demo as a projectile. When it’s called for, your demo’s close in. The driver then hits “Throw passenger” which launches the passengers on top of the Flame Leviathan.

When the FL unit is on the back of the boss, they will be able to take out all 4 turrets. When the turrets explode, there’s a button. You hit the button which starts a 10 second channel resulting in a stunned boss and a damage taken by Flame Leviathan by 50% and resetting his speed.

The FL unit will then be ejected and parachuted off the boss. Your choppers must swoop in and extract them back to the demolishers. You’ll want to stun Leviathan while he’s in a tar’d area.

Video

For a visual “how to”, see this video below. Actual encounter starts around 20 seconds or so in. Note the positioning of siege engines and how the tar is laid out.

Healer drops

Heroic

Constructor’s Handwraps – Cloth gloves

Embrace of the Leviathan – Cloth belt

Freya’s Choker of Warding – Necklace

Glowing Ring of Reclamation – Ring

Steamcaller’s Totem – Ranged slot

Steamworker’s Goggles – Mail Helm

Boots of Fiery Resolution – Cloth feet – (Hard mode only)

Shoulderpads of Dormant Energies – Leather shoulders – (Hard mode only)

Ulduar Caster Weapons and Tier Gear: A Primer

Here’s a list of all spellcaster related weapons that drop from Ulduar. Items are sorted in the rough order of progression that raiding groups will be going in. I linked all currently known spellpower weapons and off hands so that your raid group can get a general idea of what item to go for and what items are better off in the hands of other players along with the rough order they will appear in. It seems heroic mode drops slightly more weapons. Loot tables for some of the bosses are still unknown at this time (like Yogg-Saron and Algalon). Read the bottom of the post for a theory of tier gear drops.

Heroic Mode weapons

Weapon Weapon Type Source
Overcharged Fuel Rod OH (Spell hit) Flame Leviathan
Intensity 2H Staff (Spell hit) Ignis the Furnace Master
Scepter of Creation Wand (Spirit) Ignis the Furnace Master
Guiding Star 1H Mace (MP5/Haste) Razorscale
Quartz Crystal Wand Wand (Spell hit) XT-002 Deconstructor (Hard mode)
     
Rapture 2H Staff (Spirit) Iron Council
Ironmender OH (Spirit) Kologarn
Runescribed Blade 1H Sword Auriaya
The Lifebinder 2H Staff (Spirit) Freya
Staff of Endless Winter 2H Staff (Spirit) Hodir (Hard mode)
Scepter of Lost Souls Wand (Haste/Crit) General Vezax

 

Normal Mode Weapons

Weapon Weapon Type Source
Firesoul MH Sword (Spell hit) Flame Leviathan
Plasma Foil 1H Dagger (Spirit) XT-002 Deconstructor
Pulsing Spellshield OH (Shield) XT-002 Deconstructor
Stormtip 1H Dagger (Spirit) The Iron Council
Nurturing Touch Wand (Spirit) Auriaya
Pulse Baton 1H Mace (MP5) Mimiron
Unraveling Reach 2H Staff (Hit) Freya
Icecore Staff 2H Staff (Spirit) Hodir
Ice Layered Barrier OH Shield (MP5/Haste) Hodir (Hard mode)
Pillar of Fortitude 2H Staff General Vezax

Tier gear

All we know right now is that Mimiron drops tier 8 gloves. I’m assuming Yogg-Saron either drops the chest or the helm. I have a sneaking suspicion the other 3 Titans (Freya, Hodir, Thorim) drop the other 3 tier 8 pieces. My theory is unconfirmed, however. But I think it’s a decent assumption that the 4 titans along with the “end” boss of the instance are the ones that drop the tier pieces.

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.

WoWScrnShot_092908_233810

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.

Obsidian Sanctum with Drakes Up

Tonight Conquest is going to take a shot at Heroic Sartharion with one drake up. For those that have done it, I have a few questions to ask:

  • Which drake did you leave up and why?
  • Did Death Knights D&D (due to the visual similarity between that and void zones)?
  • How did you set up portal groups?
  • How many healers were sent down low into the portal?
  • Did Firewalls affect those in the portal?
  • Any other last minute tips or insight that you can offer?
The Off Armour Problem

The Off Armour Problem

guest-post This is a guest post from friend and bodyguard Cassio

I’m Cassio, I’ve been playing a rogue on Ner’zhul for the better part of three years so my area of expertise is something different then the writers here.

I’m a damage guy. I run numbers to figure out how to squeeze another one or two points of damage per second out of my rotation or how much I should weigh hit stat verses attack power or agility. So please understand that I will not be talking about the best way to heal a boss encounter. Most of the time I have no idea what a healer is doing in them since they are behind me somewhere. Instead, I’ll be trying to stay remotely within the sphere of this blog by talking about loot distribution.

The problem

With the changes that have been made since the release of Wrath, almost every spec to become viable for raiding. This means that some classes may be dipping down into gear that’s exclusive for other classes to use due to armor class restrictions. Boomkins, tree druids and holy paladins may start to want to take gear that all cloth wearers can use. The same goes for titans grip (TG) warriors and to some extent enhancement shamans and hunters with rogue/feral druid gear.

It is my opinion that this should be avoided whenever possible.

Taking gear from a class when it is all they can use and giving it to a class that is moving down armor types to pick up an upgrade might seem fine in the short term. However, it will hurt raids in the long term due to the limited upgrade pool available to classes who have no other option other than leather or cloth.

In my guild, I am currently the raid leader for ten man raids and it falls onto me to sort out loot distribution and how to do so without causing problems that could destabilize the raid group and force us back due to people leaving and having to replace with new people. The system I have worked out is part science and part art but the basics of it is to keep gear separated to classes that are restricted to their armor type before opening it to others. There are some exceptions, such as if the gear is only a miniscule upgrade for a rogue and a large one for someone else.

Weapons

Weapons are handled by letting those that get the biggest upgrade from them roll, any two-hander classes have to roll against each other just as any one-hander users and casters have to roll against each other. So that means that ret paladins, TG (Titan’s Grip) warriors and death knights all have to roll against each other. This method relies heavily on the loot master knowing the different needs of the classes and where his raid members are in gear progression.

Suggested process

While I find that I can do this (with some help from officers and others outside my guild that know the other classes better) I would not suggest that anyone try such a method in a twenty-five man environment. Instead make your officers/class leaders do gear upgrade charts for your members and give the upgrades from the different raid instances a set value, making sure to include heroics gear where it applies, and then use that as a way to check which gear is a better upgrade for who. The higher the number the larger the upgrade, also there should be a method worked out to reward those that go out and craft or farm the gear for outside raids that will help you progress through the instances you wish to run.

While all this sound complicated it really comes down to the simple idea that each classes chances for upgrades is different. If someone needs an item that is all they can use, then this may be one of a limited amount of chances to get it. Someone that can use other armor has a larger pool of gear to pull from and so has better chances at upgrades.

Guild Goals: Deciding Between Normal Raids and Heroic Raids

Guild Goals: Deciding Between Normal Raids and Heroic Raids

10s-raiding-25s-raiding

A number of guilds are beginning to have their members approach level 80. Now they’re stuck at a cross roads. Do I raid 10s or 25s? Setting a raid to Normal difficulty allows only 10 players to enter. Toggling it to Heroic allows 25.

First question GMs need to answer is what kind of raiding guild are you? I’m not referring to casual or hardcore or anything like that. I’m not interested in your style. I’m referring to your end game goals and intentions. When I formed Conquest a few weeks ago, this was the first question that popped into my head. I felt that it was important for a GM to define what their end game is so that steps can be taken towards achieving it.

I basically had 3 options when it came to guild endgame objectives:

  • Strictly 10 mans
  • Strictly 25 mans
  • Both 10s and 25 mans

Not only that, I had to make a choice for myself as a player. If you think about it in terms of BC, this would’ve been tantamount to running SSC, TK, Karazhan, and 2 or 3 resets of Zul’Aman per week. I wanted to commit to no more than 12 hours of raiding per week because a lot of players have other things to do.

Looking at that list, I crossed 10 mans off the list. I am far too ambitious for that.

This left me with the option of either 25s or guild sanctioned 10s and 25s. I had to deliberate this a bit more. Having to organize both 10s and 25s meant extra organizational and logistical work on my part. Since most drops from 10s will be replaced anyway, it made much more sense to me as the GM to stick the guild into the 25s.

Factors

Organizational and logistical: I’d have to plan out raid days for 25s and I’d have to plan out raid days for 10s. I would have to run 2 separate raid groups which would involves its own unique set of challenges. I have to pick out the days for the right group. I have to ensure there’s enough tanks and healers. What happens if someone can’t make it? I’d have to scramble to find replacements. That’s too overwhelming for me to do.

Time: 12 hours of mandatory raiding per week is all I ask for. My experience in beta taught me that 12 is the right amount of time to spend in order to clear out all of the raid instances. To ask them to do more would tax their stamina and increase burnout which is something I want to avoid. Throw in 10s and I could be looking at 20 hours a week of raiding. I won’t even consider that.

Increased freedom and autonomy: By not making mandatory 10 mans, I give them the option of participating in it on their own. From a personal standpoint, I have almost no innate desire to run Naxx 10’s. I suppose that was a side effect of the beta. The 10 man instances are nice, but they’re just not my cup of tea. Between blogging and school, it’s difficult for me to find the time to run 10s on top of the 25s. If players have friends in different guilds, they don’t have to feel obligated to turn down runs with their friends for the sake of guild runs. I make it known that they are on their own. There’s always a few people in guild that feel otherwise and I’m sure they’re capable enough of organizing runs on their own.

Besides, I prefer Earl Grey.

At the end of the day, I decided to give my guys the choice. They can run whatever 10 man they like on their own time with whoever they want, however they want. Loot Council won’t be responsible for how the drops are done.

And it becomes one less burden. This belief plays into the concept of the path of least resistance assuming 25s are the primary objective.