Video: Conquest’s OS3D Kill


Conquest- Three DrakeFunny bloopers R us

A big round of applause to cameraman Dannamoth for capturing our first OS3D kill two weeks ago and getting it on tape. This is the first time I’ve watched this fight from a different perspective. As the Disc Priest, I usually keep my eye toward Sartharion and healing the tank on him.

(You can sort of see the various Penance bolts that fly out on the bottom right corner of the screen from time to time. That’s me.)

Dannamoth is proof that Mages have more to bring to raids then food, drinks, and intellect.

Any comments, improvements, ideas and suggestions will be forwarded to him.

Heroic Sartharion 3D Conquered

Heroic Sartharion 3D Conquered

matts-drake

It is done. Approximately 24 hours since the experience and epiphany I had last night, it all paid off.

Sarth and his 3 drakes are down.

Twilight Drake

A big thank you goes to everyone in the guild. Without their efforts of them, the assistance of the Plus Heal Community, and the various bloggers who’ve written about their experiences, this post would not be here right now.

The handling of the Drake was flattering. The officers and an overwhelming majority of the guild felt that I should have gotten the first one.

Needless to say, I double checked to make sure.

The last thing I want on my hands is a riot because the GM gets awarded the first Drake. I’m not one for mounts. Even though I made a Flying Carpet, I still ride on my purple Gryphon. But I guess the Gryphon will get rested for a while.

Subsequent mount drops will be handled with interested members rolling instead of the loot master doing a raid roll. This gives players a measure of control and it allows players who don’t care about the mount to opt out of rolling for the ones that do.

My hands were shaking once we got that Shadron down. It was the first time we hit that plateau and after that, it just felt like smooth sailing from there.

Total time spent: ~8 hours on just 3 Drakes alone
Time of death: 7:04 PM PST, January 28

  • Worked on the pull
  • Worked on the Drake positioning
  • Worked on Whelp and Elemental tanking (We used a Death Knight)
  • Worked on healing the ad tanks and the Drake tanks
  • Worked on surviving Fissures and Firewalls
  • Worked on timing Main Tank “saves” (Pain Suppression, Barksin + Survival Instincts combo, and Guardian Spirit)

Extra things

These points may be minor, but they might help you. We increased the healing from 6 to 7. This gave us 2 Paladins. The fight took slightly longer, but it paid off.

Now what these Paladins did was they spent 17 points into Protection to pick up Divine Guardian.

The moment I used my Pain Suppression on the first breath, I’d pick one Paladin and tell them to bubble. Since a majority of the raid members are standing together, this helps mitigate raid damage during that period. On the second save, the Druid tank on Sarth popped his Barksin and Survival Instincts to outlive that breath hit. At this point, if it goes off, I alert the Holy Priest to get into position because his Guardian Spirit is up next.

Reader Rivendael brought up a great comment that I wanted to reiterate:

Hi Matt, I’m surprised that you have to watch the animations at all :)

It’s very responsible of you, considering that most healers need to/are very used to watching mainly health bars, but in the end, I’d say that the job of watching for breath cooldowns should in fact fall on the tank.

As my guild’s druid tank on Sarth (we’ve downed 3D), even before the fight, I establish player orders for the cooldowns we’re using. When Vesp lands, I call for the first cd-user to “prep” (usually all my healing pallies and priests). When I see the breath animation, I call for the prepped player to use his cd. Then I call for the next player to prepare. And so forth.

My healers just need to macro their cd to me and be in range, that’s all, and I take the burden off them so they can -visually- focus on their heals, while dodging lava walls and void zones. As the one player facing Sarth’s bigass head all the time, it’s the least I can do. Since your Sarth tank obviously has a mic, why not suggest that he do the same?

The answer to that is we both do it. The Sarth tank and I are able to watch for his head. As a healer, I like to use IceHUD so that I can see the health bar of my target, the health bar of myself, and the action that’s going around. This goes hand in hand with my heads up technique of healing.

The “double affirmative” from the Sarth tank and myself strengthens our judgment. It’s better to have two pairs of eyes on it if possible. It helps confirm that it is the right time to use a save when two players are saying the same thing. While there’s nothing wrong with allowing Sarth’s tank to call out when to use the save, I prefer keeping my head up instead of relying on reflexes to hit the tank.

Either we’re both right or we’re both wrong.

I do have a video from a DPS perspective. Just need to find a suitable host. Any ideas of a Youtube or Filefront alternatives?

Also: Ner’Zhul is ridiculously PvE competitive. We’re in the top 20 of guilds that have successfully killed Sarth 3D.

10 Seconds with Sartharion 3 Drakes

I’m the type of player that likes to relentlessly playback previous events (or wipes) in my head. I try to see if there’s anything I can do better from my perspective or anything I should have done differently. Here’s a 10 second mentally recalled highlight reel moment of a time that happened all too often.

We run a 6 healer setup and I’m the only one on the Sarth tank.

0:00

Vent call: Firewall, move!

*Casts Shield, Renew, and dives narrowly avoiding a wall*

0:02

Vent call: Vesperon landing!

*Casts Penance*

0:04

Sarth tank: I have the debuff!

*Casts Flash Heal*

0:06

*Casts another Flash Heal*

0:08

His attack animation stopped and he’s raising his head.

WAIT! HIS HEAD IS RAIS-!

0:10

Sarth tank: I’m down!

Reflections

Thankfully, that was just earlier on in the night. After I settled in more and got into the groove, I was able to get my timing down perfectly. The problem with me was that I ended up being off in my timing.

The timing was off enough to get our tank 1 shot.

But I managed to fix it. I figured that I was zoomed in too close on my character that I had to adjust my camera more to keep my sights on Sarth. That took up precious time and added increased risk.

I managed to solve it by maxing out my camera distance so that no matter where I ran, I’d still be able to keep an eye on his head.

FYI

I use his head as an indicator for when he’s about to breathe. When he tilts back, that’s the time to use the Pain Suppression.

What’s killing us

We lose 1 or 2 people to void zones in the beginning or to a Firewall. There is a bit of inconsistency. Some attempts, the raid group is able to blast through the first drake with no problem. In other cases, people are just getting sloppy or we have bad lag luck (like a player dying to a void even though they’re 15 yards away from it).

The second problem occurs when the third drake lands. Players are killing themselves. Going to see if that can be fixed by having Paladins “tactically bubble” at certain times to lessen the overall raid damage with that Shield talent thingy.

As for me, the 10 attempts where the raid lived long enough for Vesperon to touch down, I was able to squeeze off Pain Suppression fast enough for 7 of them.

That’s a 70% save percentage.

Not good enough Matt. Not good enough.

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.

5 Mistaken Beliefs of Raiding Guilds

5 Mistaken Beliefs of Raiding Guilds

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The comments from Wednesday’s post drew a consensus where everyone called for a Gkick. As some readers observed, it’s not exactly going to win the Emmy for Best Drama of the year.

On the other hand, the fact that a Paladin on break is the best I can offer in terms of drama should say something about myself and the organization.

Please understand that I wrote that post to inform and let readers know that no guild is impervious. I did this to inform. I didn’t mean for it to come out as a rant (because there’s far worse things in life then a Paladin leaving).

I’m not going to remove him. I’ll let him stick around in the guild. On the flip side, it doesn’t mean he’s going to get the start when the 2 raiding instances come out. He’ll have to earn his stripes.

Belief 1: Your GM Owns You

Wrong. I don’t own my players. They recognize that they’re all technically free agents. They didn’t sign a multi-year contract to raid. I’ll elaborate on this in the next point. But there is nothing to prevent people from walking away.

All I can say is this. If you don’t want to clear out Heroic Naxx, OS with 2 Drakes, Malygos, and Vault of Archavon within 6 hours, then you don’t want to be in this guild.

It’s all about incentives.

And if a player doesn’t want to do that, I’m damn sure I can find someone who’s willing. When a player’s goal differs from a guild’s goal, no amount of incentives will win them back.

Belief 2: It’s a One Way Street

The relationship between a guild and a member is a symbiotic relationship. It works both ways. The guild serves the individual by providing them with a home, discounted prices on materials, and a supply of other likeminded people to do 5 mans or heroics.

On the other hand, the individual serves the guild by being present for raids, investing their time and money into raids, and just being there.

Belief 3: Your Excuses Mean Something

Whether a player wants to leave because of burnout or they have exams or their wife is pregnant is irrelevant. I realize this sounds quite harsh. But the reality is, no matter what the reason, I’m still going to have an empty hole in my roster for a period of time that has to be filled. I can’t be expected to wait around for 4 months for a player to come back. I’m not going to raid short handed with 24.

Whether a hockey goalie injures his groin, breaks a leg, or has to deal with family issues is important. But the team’s general manager still has to go out and make a trade for a goalie or promote one from the minors because the team needs one.

No matter how you slice it, it all leads to the same result. In this case, it is a net loss of one player for a few months.

Belief 4: Your Spot is Guaranteed

Sorry, that’s not the case here. If a player doesn’t perform, they get replaced. If a player isn’t here to perform, they have to be replaced anyway.

The difference between a Paladin who leaves and one who stays with the rest of us?

It proves to me that they’re willing to stick around and dedicate themselves. Those are the type of troopers I want.

Readers, understand that we’re all expendable to an extent. It’s going to be easier to replace a healer because there are 4 different healer classes to choose from.

But it will be much more difficult to replace the guy who tirelessly draws out maps, sets up strategy and organizes the kill method on a weekly basis.

The hint here is to be be valuable as much as possible. In the end, the Paladin I lost is just one Paladin. They’re a dime a dozen.

My guild is in a good bargaining position right now since we’re ahead of the raiding curve (also coming soon). Finding people isn’t the problem especially when I’m not terribly concerned with a player’s gear level. When I started Conquest, I didn’t have a reputation. I’ll elaborate more on this later.

Belief 5: Gear Makes You Important

I can see this being true to an extent. But in my years of raiding, I’ve learned something. I’m going to refer to this concept as the 30% rule.

30% of loot will be wasted

This factors in upgrades, players leaving, and off spec items. Inversely, this means that 70% of loot awarded will actually be used for raiding and be effective for guild progression. It’s just the way of guilds.

While I may invest a large proportion of gear into players, I know that gear alone isn’t going to win me any favours. But progression will.

We say stuff all the time about guilds rewarding players or just gearing them up for whatever reason. But the reality is that every instance has a “minimum standard of gear” before it can be completed successfully. What the standard is will deviate from guild to guild.

I wrote my recommended requirements for Naxx last week. Note how the comments vary. Some agreeing and some disagreeing. Your guild’s “sweet spot” will differ from mine.

Another example would be Brutallus. A raid DPS of 20420 (post nerf) is required to kill him within enraged timers (another post entirely). Once you reach that threshold, you’re gold.

Reflections

If a player is going to burn out after only 6 hours of raiding a week, then this guild is not for them. What’s going to happen when the second tier of raiding instances are released? How will they handle the wear and tear of progression raiding where we commit ourselves to 12 hours a week?

To me, these early farm raids are a dress rehearsal. If we compare raiding to a season of sports, then Naxx, OS, and Malygos is just pre-season for me.

Remember that when I formed this guild, I had nothing to go on but my name, my reputation, and my promise. I could’ve lied and said that I was a proven guild leader. But I didn’t. I managed to convince around 25 players to buy into my vision and my goals. This was a combination of people that I had raided with for a long time, readers via my blog, people on twitter, and players in trade chat. I had no way of knowing whether or not it would work. I didn’t know whether they would gel together. There was so much uncertainty when I started out.

I’d by lying to you if I said I didn’t spend every waking moment second guessing myself.

A new guild does not have it’s fair share of pickings. There’s no reason for star players of other guilds to come play under your banner. I had to build from the bottom up with all sorts of people without knowing what their motives were.

Use these “easy” raids to learn more about your guild. Find out about their strengths and weaknesses. Figure out habits and tendencies. What makes them laugh and what makes them cry.

Oh, one more thing. I want to extend a thank you to all the Paladins and healers who emailed me and sent in applications. I believe that position’s been settled for now (unless they turn out be pure crap, in which case I’ll put the call out again).

Image courtesy of barunpatro

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?
*** SPOILER*** Missed Dungeons and Raids? Screenshots if You Want to See Them

*** SPOILER*** Missed Dungeons and Raids? Screenshots if You Want to See Them

Mark this post as read if you want to remain in the dark.

For every one else, I had the screenshots in my library for quite a while.

It’s no fun listening to audio streams and listening to “Oohs”, “Ahhs”, and applause without getting to see it.

Check out the last shot, too. I don’t know if anyone’s ever mentioned that yet before. I found it interesting.

So here’s a few shots of Eye of Eternity, Obsidian Sanctum, Halls of Lightning, and Storm Peaks

malygos-2malygos-1

Left: Here’s a shot of Malygos in his humble abode. The raid instance is literally a giant disc with Malygos flying around until you activate him. It’s a 3 phase encounter. I haven’t successfully completed him yet so I can’t offer much at this time.

Right: Me in my awesome attempt to try and do something. Alas, Malygos is overpowered and promptly kills us a matter of minutes.

os-2os-1

Left: This is a shot of Obsidian Sanctum. Here is a shot of the party engaging the mini-bosses.

Right: You’ll notice the phasing mechanic put in play. Even though it “looks” the same, I get thrown into a different dimension. Here, I have to kill that shifted drake along with the Rogue or else something bad happens. I don’t actually know what.

os-3os-4

Left: We’re taking on Sartharion. The guy hits like a pansy. For the raiders, take a good look at positioning in terms of tank, boss, and group. There’s a good reason for it.

Right: … Because every so often, a big wall of fire is going to rake the island that we’re on. Notice there’s a hole. Right when the wall warning occurs, the entire raid needs to ensure they’re in one of the two “safe zones” (on the left and on the right, by his tail, if you look carefully). If you eat the fire, you get knocked back and take a non-pansyish amount of damage.

uld-1uld-4

Left: One of the old guys, I think. Wouldn’t dare hit a Dwarven brotha’ from anotha’ motha’. But I don’t dare test out my hypothesis.

Right: Another shot of the exterior. Place looks b-e-a-utiful.

uld-5uld-6

Left: Interior shot of Halls of Lightning. See those Dwarves on the left? It’s the Terra Dwarva army, baby!

Right: The roving boss that was mentioned in the D & R panel is this guy. We decided to set him up in the corner. There’s me with the lightning debuff (Pro tip: When you get it, don’t move. Trust me.)

uld-7

Left: Lastly, check out this interesting shot. It’s right after a wipe and after I released spirit. When you died in Tempest Keep, you’d automatically res to full health and life outside. But if you die out in the Halls, you seem to res in spirit form while mounted on Ghostly Gryphon.