More Upgrades and a Plea for Recruits

Killed Kael again and picked up Lord Sanguinar’s Claim. I think it’s arguably the best healing neck right now in the game until 2 dot 4 hits. Right now, I’m in the midst of compiling a checklist of the best possible Priest gear I can acquire before the next patch arrives. Hopefully that’ll be up sometime over the weekend.

Also acquired Breeches of the Avatar last Sunday thereby completing my 4 piece set.

We Need Help

I mentioned earlier yesterday about the right way that players should leave Guilds. We’ve lost two players earlier in the week and I’ve been asked to help find some quality players to help fill that void.

The Short Stuff

Guild: Carnage
Server: Ner’Zuhl PvP (PST Server)
Faction: Alliance
Raid Times: Tu/Th 530 PM – 900 PM PST, Sun 330 PM – 900 PM PST (25 man raid times only. 10 man raid times may vary.)
Progression: 3/5 MH
Apply: On the Carnage website forums, or make a character on Ner’Zuhl and send tells to Blori, Maeve, or Mallet (that’s me!)

Attunements to MH and BT are preferred but not required. if you required gear from Karazhan, we’re not the Guild you’re looking for.

If you are not keyed, we will try to accommodate and key you!

Classes wanted

:

Healers

We have immediate openings for either a Restoration Shaman, Restoration Druid or a Holy Priest. This is a guaranteed full time starting position. We’re currently running our raids with 6 healers. We killed Rage Winterchill and Anethron on Monday shorthanded with 23 players. While the Carnage healing corps might be able to sustain it for a while, the stress and pressure will cause us to eventually buckle. We need a 7th healer to help fill that void. Unfortunately, we’re full on Paladins.

DPS

We have immediate openings for an Enhancement Shaman. Our melee team consists of the most badass warriors and rogues in existence. Our main tank is able to dish out enough threat to convince Roger Clemens to admit to steroid use. Depending on your performance, this could potentially be a full time starting position.

The Long Stuff

About us

Carnage is one of the oldest Guilds on the oldest server in existence. It’s had a long and illustrious raiding history in which the Guild has been known to progress at a steady pace. The only thing casual about our guild is the raid times. Should you apply, you will find yourself in one of the most fun and professional raiding atmospheres. Every criticism will be backed up with solutions and suggestions. You will not be raiding with idiots who don’t know what they’re doing or players who take 30 minute AFK breaks holding up the raid or players who like to hit the damage meters. You will be playing with mature, intelligent, and supportive raiders. We will not nitpick your performance but if we there is a way to improve it, you will know. We will give you a job and if you can do it, great! If you can’t, we’ll try to help you until you do. We want to beat this game and we’d like your help doing it. Ever since the new year started, we’ve been progressing at 0.5 a boss a week. Archimonde is projected to go down by early April with Illidan weeks later.

We get the job done… eventually.

Healers: Simplify Your Healing Tank Targets

New hotness

Nowadays, our raids frequently carry as little as 3 tanks to as many as 5. Keeping track of who’s heaing who can be a bit of a doozy. Even the tiniest confusion or overlap can be wipe a raid. Here’s a quick tip make assigning heals easier.

Old and Busted

In older raids, we’d have only 1 main tank and maybe a handful of off tanks. Jobs back then were pretty static. A set number of healers would overheal the main tank while the rest of the healer benchwarmers and waterboys would keep tabs on the off tanks. It worked fine then because the encounters weren’t that complicated to deal with. But oh how times have changed.

New Hotness

I’m introducing a new concept of mine that I came up with a few months ago. It started when my Guild began working on Hydross. As you know, Hydross requires 2 different tanks to jump and hold aggro on him. It doesn’t make sense to say heal the main tank. There’s only one real main tank. Even then, that main tank might be rotated off to different roles or different mobs depending on things like resistance fights and such. For some fights, it’s impossible and even inconvenient to declare a single main tank. A great example is a fight such as Al’ar where you end up using as many as 4 tanks simultaneously. When you’re fighting Leotheras, half the time you’re healing a warlock who by most definitions would not be considered your Guild’s main tank.

Chances are your Guild’s already doing it. I’m simply putting a name to it.

The Active Tank

I defined the active tank as the player that’s currently holding aggro on the main boss right now. It could be any player or any class on the the boss at any time. It’s usually determined by the target of target window.

An example of healing assignments for Al’ar on Phase 2:

  • Pete the Paladin is healing Tim who is grabbing all the birds
  • Reginald and Riley, the 2 Resto Shamans, will be healing the raid
  • Penelope, Price, and Dominic (2 Priests and a Druid) will be healing the active tank which could either be Tyler, Thomas, or Tootoo

If you’re the healing leader, you’re going to recognize what a pain in the ass it is to tell your healers:

“Heal Tyler, Tootoo or Thomas, whoever happens to have aggro on Al’ar at the moment.”

It’s easier to tell your Priests to cover the active tank. By saying that, your healers should recognize that their job is to heal whoever has aggro on the boss.

I’m always on the lookout for different labels and methods to make healing assignments easier on a raid. Are there other ways that you use or that your Guild uses to simply healing assignments more?

Finally: The Kael’Thas Death Story

Kael'Thas down

I was debating between that title or 40 Raids and 40 Wipes.

But he’s dead. What a thrill! =)

We started him at 4:00 and killed him about 40 minutes later. First attempt of the night! That gives us about 4 hours to play with Mount Hyjal. Whoo hoo! Expect a Priest primer on Kael in the coming days and how to assign healers to the various assignments.

Anyways, can’t blog much right now. We’re heading into Hyjal.

A Glimpse in the Mind of a Priest

In 10 seconds, anything can go wrong. In upper level raiding, there’s a certain element of micro management that needs to be done. We tried Kael again today and we still could not polish him off. Our best attempt was at 57% in Phase 4. It’s like your trying to get a good solid grip on running water. You can feel it through your fingers but it continues to slip away elusive to your grasp.

Here’s a scenario of a crazy, paranoid, overanalyzing Dwarf Priest in overdrive on a Kael fight during Phase 3:

00:00

Thought process

Tank at full health. Weapon swing coming in half a second. A quick glance at the Heads-up display reveals a Fear happening in 3. Thaladred’s gazing at a Priest adjacent to me and is heading to my direction (Gaze means he’s going to walk towards a player and hit him hard).

Actions

Activate a shield on my healing assignment, and start moving north away from the incoming mob.

00:03

Thought Process

I currently represent half the healing on my tanking assignment as the other Priest is busy evading Thal. Big heals are a must as is the fear ward.

Actions

Fear Ward, Renew, Prayer of Mending.

00:09

Thought Process

Gaze is off my partner and is now on a hunter next to me who just went flying through the air and is sitting at 45%. A quick glance at my assignment with 80% health shows my partner has him targeted with a heal on the way about to land in 0.7 seconds.

Actions

Hunter’s not going to be able to sustain another hit. Target him, Shield, Renew, switch back to healing assignment.

00:14

Thought Process

“FEARED!”

I recognize that voice. It’s my Priest partner. There’s a tremor totem on the ground from the shaman in our group and it pulsed 2 seconds ago. Not enough time. Hunter should be fine and in the clear. I’m going to be on my own for the next several seconds on my assignment.

Actions

Prayer of Mending. Better hope the WoW gods are listening and that it is able to mitigate more damage then the tank is taking. Tank’s health returns up to 60%. Activate Divine Illumination. Additional 25% chance to crit is better than 10%.

00:18

Thought Process

Blue rings shimmer around my assignment. It looks familiar, what the hell does it mean? Too late, I think to myself. It’s a Remote Toy. That equals stun. Stun equals lack of ability to take defensive measures by my healing assignment. Which also means not good. He’s down to 35%. Adrenaline’s already coursing through the system. The coffee I had earlier in the day is all but exhausted. He needs a big time crit heal now.

Actions

Slam max rank Greater Heal now.

00:19

Thought Process

XPerl shows my colleague starting to cast a heal not a moment after I did. Wait a minute…

…He’s casting a Greater Heal, too.
…There’s only 2 of us healing him.
…Which means he has less then 2 seconds to live based on weapon swing timers from the boss…

Action

Do the simplest action to cancel a heal which is move. At the same time, blow a PW: Shield and pray it can withstand a hit. Oh no, Thal’s arm is up, and that means-

00:20

“MAN DOWN”

Thought Process

Oh crap. You failed the team. One simple miscalculation. One wrong heal at the wrong time. Sanguinar is now free and goes forth rampaging the raid.

Game over.

Priests are so easy to play. There are so many options to choose from. It’s easy to scrutinize one’s play in hindsight. But when you’re in the moment, the difference between raid success and failure can hinge on a something so insignificant as using the right heal at the right time.

Over 5 options to choose from and I picked the wrong one. Kael could have died tonight. This is going to haunt me for a long time.

It’s quite possibly one of the worse feelings anyone can experience in the world. It’s not being told what you did wrong by someone else. It’s knowing what you did wrong and knowing that it could have been prevented.

I should have rolled a Hunter.

Raid Juggling

In hockey, there is a term called line juggling. Typically, when a team has difficulty scoring and getting momentum going the coach will start juggling his forwards together in the chance that they will click, find chemistry, and score.

On Sunday, Carnage has been able to consistently transition from Phase 3 to phase 4 while losing no more than 1 player. We were able to get Kael down to approximately 70%. Earlier in the night, one of our Paladins had to leave due to personal problems. Instead of 4 Paladins, we ran 3 Paladins and replaced him with a Resto Druid.

Tonight we’re diving back into Kael. The confidence is there. In fact, all of our future signup raids have changed from SSC/TK to Mount Hyjal/Black Temple.

But here’s what puzzles me.

Apparently, we’re dropping our Resto Druid and bringing our 4th Paladin back into the lineup. Both of these players are trial members so there’s no issue of seniority here. Now I also know it’s not my place to question the wisdom of the raid leaders. My job is to make sure our players in the raid have the health required to do the job they need to do. I’m not the one deciding who gets benched for the rest of the period or who gets coupled with who out there.

But Sunday was the furthest we’ve ever gotten on Kael. Why change what has arguably had the most success? Not only that, but our last two attempts that night were so spot on that we got him down to that 70% range (+/- 10%) consecutively.

How does that old adage go again? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it?

I’m not going to openly question the decision of the GM’s in this one. It’s out of my hands anyway. They have more to handle on their plate without me asking why we’re changing the lineup. I just found it surprising. I don’t know enough about Paladins in a 25 man situation. I don’t know what kind of advantage we would capitalize by bringing a 4th Paladin (Kings, Salv, Might/Wis, Light?).

But for all you young GM’s out there, if you have a set group of players that have been able to deliver success then I say stick with that group. Ride their momentum. Players are on a hot streak for only so long.

On the other side of the spectrum, if your raid continues to have troubles on a raid boss that you should not be having problems on, then start raid juggling. Get your prot pally to respec Holy and your Warrior to respec prot. Start changing things up. Move your healers around, put your tank healers on the raid, your raid healers on the tank. Something is not working and you’ve given it 9 tries. It’s unlikely it’s going to work on the 10th. Bite the bullet, start juggling.

Tip for Shadow Priests on Kael’Thas

Sasstar told me about this yesterday when we were busy heroically wiping on Kael. If you have Shadow Priests in your Guild, what you can do is have them cast rank 1 Shadow Word Pain repeatedly on all the weapons during Phase 2. This will stack the Shadow Weaving debuff (which increases shadow damage by a lot). Just cast Shadow Word Pain back and forth on the weapons.

Your Warlocks will love you.

By utilizing this, we’ve managed to kill the weapons quicker and get into positions for Phase 3 when all of his advisors are back up. Our best has been Phase 4. Sunday we’re going to spend the entire evening from 1630 – 2100 on Kael. Hopefully we can take him down early, go back to SSC and clear out Vashj.