Little Things of Joy

Little Things of Joy

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Those that have followed my posts here since I started writing know that I’m a two-faced WoW player.  =)  I don’t mean two-faced in that way.  I mean it in another sense.

I belong to two guilds.  Unpossible, and Team Sport.  Both guilds are fantastic, and I’m so proud to be in both of them.  I always consider myself a multi-faceted player.  I like progression, and I also like casual.  Each guild provides me with a different part of that.

We’re all in the mood to pound our heads against the new content.  Whether you’re struggling or conquering, it’s always exciting to battle new bosses and collect your new rewards.  It’s something we’ve all come to love about raiding or just gaming in general.  What about some of the little things that bring you joy?

Unpossible

Lodur and I have definitely bonded since we started talking.  I had been looking for a new place to send my priest, since my last guild wasn’t working out.  I wanted a place that was progression-oriented but had the same “family” feel that Team Sport does.  When we started talking about Unpossible, my eyes lit up.  It seemed (on the surface) like everything I was looking for.  It wasn’t brow-beating its members into submission.  Family and real life always came first, but they were all there to conquer the endgame content.

The application process was complex but well worth it.  I was being asked to join raids, main nights as well as off-nights.  This is one of the oldest surviving guilds on the server.  Most of this team had cleared Vanilla WoW content together.  Needless to say, I felt like an outsider.

There were two moments that absolutely solidified my feeling of being a member of Unpossible.

The first, was our first walk into Icecrown.  No one had seen the..

Instance not found.

Our palms were sweaty with anticipat…

Instance not found.

Okay, let’s at least try to get a warlock inside so we…

Instance not found.

Sweet, we’re all in!  We manage to get the first couple of mobs down until the huge Skele on the wall spawns.  Almost reminiscent of the terror that the Statue of Liberty spreads in Ghostbusters II, we lose a couple healers and a couple DPS.  It’s okay, let’s have them rez and run back.  Everyone rebuff…

Instance not found.

You get the point.  All joking aside, stepping into Icecrown and figuring things out from scratch made me feel like I was truly an Unpossible member, even if we only got one attempt in on Marrowgar.

The second solidifying moment came a week later.  Now that the initial instance server issues had been somewhat resolved, it was easy to actually get our whole team in there.  We cleared Marrowgar with little difficulty, and it was time for Deathwhisper.  With our raid leader hollering out orders, demanding we step it up and get the hell out of Death and Decay, Deathwhisper’s health dwindled.  People died to the invincible ghosts.  Healers started to drop.  We were seconds away from the enrage timer.  Then, she enraged.  Tanks were one-shotted.  Healers were brushed into non-existence.  Two people remained, and the DoTs were ticking away.  1%.  0.7%.  100k Health. 47k Health.  6k Health.  The final raid member at 4,000 health.  “You have defeated Lady Deathwhisper.”  Screams echoed through Ventrilo.  It was the first time I had been there for a guild first.  So satisfying.  I’m truly a member of Unpossible now.  Killing a tough boss is one thing, but bleeding and sweating for that first kill with a new guild is amazing.

Team Sport

I’ve been gaming with most of these guys since early BC, when my warlock was 40 and had just gotten my first mount.  We’re a rag-tag group of knockarounds, but we love the game, and we love trying to do our best at it.  There may be people that disagree, but people generally really enjoy adding us to their raid.  We’ve got about 18 members with varying schedules, so it’s tough to get our own raid together.  We don’t mind.  We all knew this signing up.  Anyone that applies to Team Sport (yes, we even had someone server transfer to play with us) knows this as well.  This doesn’t mean we’re lackluster about raiding.  When we can get enough people on, we jump all over it.

Is each and every member totally top notch?  No.  No team is totally perfect.  Even I’m not completely on my game (I’ve had a few too many “Diet Cokes”).  Personally, I was a little worried about some of the coordination needed for some of the ToC fights.  After initial struggles with tanking Northrend Beasts, we made it through Icehowl, and one-shotted Jaraxxus. 

Here’s where it got interesting. 

A lot of guilds have CC rotations and full-on strategies for Faction Champions.  Druids, Warlocks and Mages alternating their crowd control.  Rogues and Warriors locking up healers.  I initially tried to craft a CC plan.  We tried it, and we failed.  So we did it the Team Sport way.

Team Sport is known for our love of PvP.  We have various Arena Teams, and we do Battlegrounds galore.  Our pally tank, Dralo, is one achievement away from his Battlemaster title.

“Everyone go into your PvP spec, and let’s just kill Horde”.

And we did.  In one shot, and it was easier than any Faction Champs fight I’ve ever done.

This, was my moment of pride with Team Sport.  We’re still struggling on Twins, but we annihilated the Faction Champions with ease.  Yes, I know this was after the nerf.  Yes, I know that overall it’s easier.  Still, we got such a kick out of doing that fight, because we did it the Team Sport way.  We trusted all 10 of us to know what to do, and we came through.  THAT is some group synergy right there.

How about you?  Is there a little thing about the game or your guild that makes you happy or brings you pride?

ThespiusSig

“Big” image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Trophy vs Token

Trophy vs Token

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When Burning Crusade touched down we received a token system. The system tied multiple classes to a single drop from a boss. This allowed for less loot being sharded or discarded and allowed for quicker gearing as a guild. The tokens could then be turned in for your tier set pieces. A lot of people were afraid of this method, but it worked out really really well. Guilds were able to gear out their raiders quickly and efficiently and very little loot was left to rot. We began to see the starting of this in Vanilla WoW in Naxxramas and the tier 3 raid sets and AQ40 with the 2.5 pieces. “Token” bosses dropped two tokens a piece and everyone was generally happy.

When Wrath of the Lich King came out, it was more of the same. Naxxramas and Ulduar continued the token system along, but added with it two levels. A 10 man level and a 25 man level that we affectionately refer to as tier x and tier x.5. The system continued to work well. Bosses that were token droppers continued to drop two of them and it was even made so that we could purchase tokens with badges for two of the slots. Gearing was a bit faster now thanks to the addition of two purchasable tokens and content flew by for a lot of people.

Then patch 3.2 hit, and brought with it Tier 9 content. Trial of the Crusader distributed loot in a very, very strange manner. First of all the Tier 9 gear was split into three item levels of quality. We’ve been referring to them as Tier 9, Tier 9.25 and Tier 9.5. Tier 9 can be bough fairly cheaply with Badges of Triumph, the next level up 9.25 requires an amount of badges and a Trophy of the Crusade which can only be obtained in the 25 man version. The tier costs can better be broken down by this:

Tier 9 = ilvl 232 Tier 9.25 = ilvl 245  Tier 9.5 = ilvl 258

Head: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector(item level 258) or 75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Hands: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258) or 45 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 30 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Chest: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258) or 75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Legs: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258) or 75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Shoulders: 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258) or 45 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 30 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Confused yet? Most people are. The stat difference between ilvl 226 gear (25 man uld) and ilvl 232 gear is not that big of a jump. going from 226 up to 245 is a big jump for most people. Enough of a gap that most pieces are clear upgrades. So why is this a problem? Trophies only drop from 25 man ToC. You get 1 per boss and a variable amount per tribute chest based on how many wipes you have. There are only five bosses in the instance. (Beasts, Jaraxxus, Champs, Twins and Anub). We’ll go with the model of running 25 man raids. You have 25 people, who all want that trophy. Being only 5 in total that means only roughly 20% of your raid a week can get them and upgrade. Lets look at Ulduar Five bosses drop token pieces, and two tokens per boss which is a theoretical 40% upgrade rate for your raid. The trophy system slowed gearing up way down because most people, especially those progression minded will be focusing on upgrades that can be obtained with Regalia (and it’s like tokens) from Trial of the Grand Crusader or Trophies and badges from Trial of the Crusader.

You can argue that with the drop increases from the tribute chest that better raids are rewarded based on performance, and that is true, but it does not really have any room for guilds that are done with Ulduar but not quite at Trial of the Grand Crusader (example would be guilds that just got a series of new recruits that need to be geared up before ToGC). This however can be chalked up to time spent in a normal version to gear people up, and get them used to the fights before heading into ToGC.

My main problem is the level of competition this generates in a raid. Right now in Ulduar if Gloves the the Wayware Protector drops, you know it’s going to a Warrior,  a Hunter or a Shaman. When a Trophy of the Crusade drops, everyone in the raid is sending tells. Everyone wants them over just regular tier 9 badge gear. I’ve seen this cause resentment and bitterness already in a couple people, and it can lead to bigger problems down the line. How do you distribute loot fairly? What is considered fair?

It’s for this reason I’m not a fan of the trophy system. I’m ok with working on harder content for a bigger reward. That is fine and dandy, but when I see an entire raid of people sitting, waiting, wondering if they’ll get the item it becomes a problem. I never saw this problem with a token system. Players might be mad at the game for dropping Vanquisher over Protector but it was RNG and nothing could be done about it. It’s a different story when you’re eligible for the item and watch other people get it over you. It’s a lot easier to accept something out of immediate control like RNG.

It’s not a bad idea in theory. It allows you to select the item you’re upgrading, it allows you to make sure anyone and everyone can use the items instead of seeing them rot due to RNG but I personally feel the token system is the way to go. While loot distribution is always an issue for any guild, I think the trophy system has too much potential to cause harm and additional stress that is unneeded in a raid / guild environment. I asked a question on Twitter about what people thought about the Trophy system. I got a surprising number of replies with people who just won’t run the content or have all together stopped raiding as  a result. I’ve also heard reports of guilds having to re work their entire loot system and policy because of this tier content, and that’s not good.

What do you think? Do you like the trophy / badge / three levels to the tier set? Do you hate it? Have you had any interesting stories revolving around loot distribution in tier 9 content?

Well, that’s my two cents on the subject until next time Happy Healing

Sig

Head 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector(item level 258) or

75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Hands 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258)

45 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 30 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Chest 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258)

75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Legs 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258)

75 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 50 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Shoulders 1 x Regalia of the Grand Protector (item level 258)

45 x Emblem of Triumph + 1Trophy of the Crusade (ilvl 245) or 30 x Emblem of Triumph (ilvl 232)

Healing Crusader’s Coliseum: Val’kyr Twins

valkyr-twins

Val’kyr Twins is one of the more interesting fights in the Coliseum especially for healers. The encounter consists of two Val’kyr who share a relatively large health pool (28 million+). This encounter requires relatively decent buff management along with snap DPS switching in order to get through it.

Setting up

Divide your raid equally in two groups. Split the tanks, DPS, and healers down the line. One group will be on the left, and the other group will be on the right. For the sake of healers, use groups 1 and 2 on the right, groups 3 and 4 on the left. Doesn’t matter which groups. Just have it set in such a way that group positions match group numbers.

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How the essences are positioned

Right clicking on the color provides the appropriate essence buff. Your DPS will wish to pick up the buff that is opposite the twin they are engaging. Healers may wish to collect the same colored buff as the twin their DPS is attacking.

Example: The half of the raid that is attacking Fjola Lighbane will be picking up a dark buff. The healers on that side will wish to pick up the light buff.

Main abilities

Vortex

Each twin has a vortex that will do ~6000 damage per second every 5 seconds. It’s an 8 second cast. The best way to mitigate it is to gain the same colored buff that matches the twin who is casting the vortex.

Example: Eydis Darkbane is about to case Vortex. The players who are attacking Darkbane should immediately pick up the dark buff to mitigate incoming damage until her channel is finished.

When I did this encounter as DPS, I would stand next to the buff that was opposite the one that I currently had. This way, I could switch easily and DPS the opposite twin.

Twin’s Pact

One twin will cast a shield on themselves. It absorbs ~700000 damage. While their shield is up, they will cast Twin’s Pact. It takes 15 seconds for them to cast that and when it goes off, 20% of their health is restored. The idea  here is to have the entire raid switch to the twin who is casting Twin’s Pact and break their shield. A Rogue or a Shaman can then interrupt Twin’s Pact.

Example: Fjola Lightbane just cast Shield of Light and is channeling Twin’s Pact. The DPS attacking Edyis Darkbane will run behind her, pick up the darkness buff, and start opening up on Fjola. MacktheKnife, a Rogue, manages to kick and interrupt Lightbane from healing.

Surges

Surge of Darkness and Surge of Light are raid wide “auras” that inflict damage to everyone who is of the opposite buff. Light buffed players take damage from Surge of Darkness and viceversa. Nothing can be done about it.

Incoming balls!

Periodically throughout the fight, there are going to be balls that come in from all sides. You’re going to have a dark ball and a light ball. If a ball hits a player who has the same buff as the color of the ball, they will gain a buff. If the ball hits an opposite coloured player, they take damage. The balls will naturally be drawn toward the twins.

If you want some practice for hard mode, have your healers run interference with their colored balls so that the DPS won’t get hit by them.

Example: Matt’s healing the side that’s DPSing Darkbane. Matt’s buff is the dark essence. Balls start appearing. Matt starts shield everyone and begins chasing dark balls and running interference so that the light balls can get through and hit the DPS.

Healing tips

Raid groups starting out will want to try their luck with 6 healers before dropping down to 5. Split them down the line. If you have an odd healer, coin toss it or random roll the side for them to go on.

Do not get tunnel vision here. Remember, just because you’re on one side with one buff doesn’t mean you cannot heal the other group if you need to. You can cross heal if one side happens to be struggling for some reason.

How do Discipline Priests heal through the raid-wide tick?

Drop some gold on the Prayer of Healing glyph. That will help soften the blow. Shield spamming 10 different targets helps too if you can keep working the global cooldown.

Paladins?

This is going to require a bit of cooperation from the raid. Try to have your members stand near each other when they’re not trying to intercept balls. Holy Light splashing helps. If not, stick to beaconing the tank and going on auto heal on everyone in the area.

Your Opinion: Is Raiding Too Easy? Or Just Accessible?

Here’s a post that an officer of mine wrote on my guild forums. I wanted to share it with the rest of you to generate some discussion as we head into the long weekend. Check it out! Do you agree? Why or why not?

If you partake of the wow forums you will notice a large number of QQ threads lately that divulged from the nerf wars that usually take place.

ToC is too easy!

That is a huge complaint from a very small minority!

Now its not that I disagree with the statement but I disagree with the reasoning. It is my belief, and I think it is very very true, that the main reasoning people complain about the level of difficulty of ToC stems from the following basis.

People love to lord over other people.

It is that above statement which drives a majority of people that do raid. That statement is slowly being crushed by Blizzard’s belief that all of its subscribers should have the opportunity to do content.

Now if you do not quite understand what I mean by that I will explain it out fully. In Vanilla WoW on my old server, my guild was the only guild to be able to fully clear BWL, AQ40 and most of Naxx. We had roughly 40 or so people in the best gear. Every other guild that raided struggled with Molten Core and could barely kill a few bosses in BWL.

The ego that goes along with that level of success was amplified greatly. Believe me I had every hunter on the server drooling over my gear and asking me all sorts of questions. In BGs, it was common for me to rack up 120 killing blows and 0 deaths. I could one shot people and to be perfectly honest, it felt very good.

Blizzard realized soon after the release off Naxx 40 that they had indeed made a mistake. They released the best raid they ever built and no one saw it. Only a handful of the total population ever stepped foot into Naxx. They then decided they needed to change the game and they did just that.

We are now in the world of easy epics and 10 mans. It is relatively easy to see most of the bosses in game and actually kill them. Epic gear is widely available and if you only play a few hours a week you can conceivable have a raid ready character in a month. The casual players rejoiced.

But those few hardcore people did not.

They were no longer lords and masters of there respective servers. Thus their ego shattered and the crying began in full force.

I don’t know what kind of person can define themselves by this game. I define my hobbies as something I enjoy doing. I enjoy the game and I enjoy the camaraderie of the people I play with. It’s much the same with any of my hobbies be that golf or hockey. I don’t define my existence around it though. I don’t sit around work and brag about killing C’thun in Vanilla wow or being 6 of 6 Sunwell pre nerf. But I think many of these people who do have this perception about themselves where this game defines the type of person they are.

I find that very odd and disturbing but it in it self is nothing more that human nature.

The guy who buys a Corvette because his neighbor bought a Mustang would be that person. He defines himself on what he has as compared to others around him and that very concept drives many WoW players.

It’s a strange world we live in.

Crusader’s Coliseum: Heroic Hard Mode Details (Updated 10:30 AM)

Updated with more details, 10:30 AM.

These details come as a courtesy of my officer, KimboSlice and is obtained from the TankSpot forums (which is reposted on MMO Champion). Figured I’d share it (summarized) with everyone who is waiting for maintenance to expire (and who don’t actively check MMO Champion or Tankspot).

Northrend Beasts Encounter

Gormok the Impaler

  • Impale does 150% weapon damage instead of 100%.
  • DoT ticks for 80% more damage and lasts 5 seconds longer. Tanks must switch at 2 stacks.
  • Yes, you will need 3 tanks to handle the DoT rotation. All 3 will need heals.
  • Each Snobold that is out there increases his damage by 15%.
  • The direct damage from Impale will hit for ~35000.
  • Stomp on melee from 9k to 12k

Acidmaw and Dreadscale

  • Imperative for players to spread out.
  • Acid hits for 5000 every 2 seconds.
  • Burning bile is 9000 damage every 2 seconds to players within 10 yards.
  • It is expected that if one enrages, it will be a wipe. Therefore, both snakes may have to be taken down together. Not sure of this, but keep it in mind.
  • Whatever happened to that third snake?

Icehowl

  • Arctic breath does 30000 damage over 5 seconds. I suggest assigning healers to the left or right of Icehowl to help reduce increase survivability.
  • Random whirlwind on melee from 10k to 14k

Lord Jaraxxus

  • Touch of Jaraxxus inflicts ~4000 damage over 12 seconds which causes players to be affected by Curse of the Nether (AoE dot). Possible decurse?
  • Mistress’ Kiss: Next spell with a cast time gets that school interrupted for 8 seconds and causes 8000+ damage.
  • Incinerate Flesh needs 85000 healing instead of 60000 to remove it.
  • Burning Inferno (Incinerate Flesh after it’s not removed) ticks for 8000 damage a second for 5 seconds (Yeah, that’s a wipe)
  • Pain Spike from the Mistress does 100% of a target’s health over time
  • Legion Flame now ticks for 12000
  • Fel Lightning from 10k to 12k

Faction Champions

  • Spells and abilities are more potent.
  • Shaman LHW from 20k to 60k
  • Paladin Holy Light from 50k to 80k
  • Warlock Corruptionf rom 18k to 24k
  • Expect the trend to continue with the other class abilities.

Val’kyr Twins

  • Touch of Light (or Dark): Inflicts 4000 damage to players of the opposite essence every second. For example, Touch of Light will do ~4000+ damage to players under the effect of dark Essence every second. Light touched players will not take any damage.
  • Surge of Light (or Dark): Inflicts 1500 damage every 2 seconds to enemies of the opposite essence. For example, Surge of Light deals 1500 damage every 2 seconds to Dark essence
  • Shield health increased from 700k to 1.2 million (Ouch)
  • Power of the Twins: +20% damage and hit, 10% attack speed if Twins are too close.
  • Unleashed Light/Dark orb hits increased from 9000 to 15000.

Anub’arak

  • Leeching swarm ticks for 20% health instead of 10%
  • Extra add: Nerubian Ice Darter (No other details)

There might be some more surprises tonight as we head into the Coliseum. If there’s anything else you or your raid group notices, I encourage you to post comments to reflect that. As I experience the encounters myself, I’ll do a follow up post later on with more healing specific tips on getting through them.

Good luck and good hunting!