I don’t have the bored bug

•October 2, 2008 • 2 Comments

I may have been cooling off with WoW a couple of weeks ago with the stress of my guild and the looming expansion, but now that I’ve started my own guild and am making plans for Wrath I’ve got too much to do.

Characters:

I’ve been struggling with this topic for a while now: which character(s) am I going to play/raid with in Northrend?

When TBC came out I had no level-capped characters.  In fact, I rerolled on a TBC server when it came out and leveled my priest to 70.  Then I had to choose one character to play and was committed to him for a long time.  Not so now.

I started leveling a Shaman (Enhancement) and am really liking him.  To the point where I am trying to push him to 70 before the expansion to have him as an option.  So far he is at 38, WTB dual wield!!

One of the things I want to do in Wrath that I wasn’t able to do until the end of TBC is have one character of every role.  I have a 70 priest, warrior, and warlock now and can heal, dps, or tank as needed.  One of the things that really got us when my old guild was growing was missing one key role here and there.  I intend to have something ready for any situation as my new guild grows, likely settling into a role when we get a solid base.

My planned trifecta so far is priest (healer/ranged dps hybrid), shaman (melee dps/healing hydrid), deathknight (tank/melee dps hybrid).  Can you tell I don’t favor pure DPS classes ;) I don’t really plan to use my lock and warrior much.

To Do:

Finish leveling the shaman.  My 60 mage is on the opposite account and has become his buddy.  It’s so nice to be able to AoE groups of mobs for quests and the ability to port myself all over the map is a huge time saver.

Professions:

Our new guild is going to need all the resources it can get to push into Wrath and that includes having all the professions covered.  One of the things I need to find out that I can’t seem to find anywhere is where the majority of the patterns are going to be coming from.  If the good patterns come BoP  drops like a lot of them did in TBC (soulfrost, I’m looking at you /shakes fist) I will need to have the professions spread out among the raiding mains so we don’t miss out on opportunities.

If, instead, they come mostly from faction reps and BoE world drops we will be in much better shape and will relax our needs quite a bit.  Myself and another guy who came to our new guild from our old one have an armmada of high level characters and most of the professions taken care of each by ourselves.  If an alt can have all the useful patterns we won’t need to shift professions around much.

To do:

Gather mats so my priest can drop Tailoring and power-level Inscription.  I read that the new tailoring epic items are going to be BoE so there isn’t as dire a need for my priest to have it personally.  I’ll still have it on an alt. Siha wrote a great guide to leveling Inscription and that’s what I’m using to prepare.

I plan for my Death Knight to have Blacksmithing and Engineering.  A huge resourse tank I know but they are the last 2 professions I don’t have and they will compliment the class very well (plus, we’ll all need our motorcycles!!).

The Shaman is leveling Mining and Enchanting so I’ll have the low level mining mats for BS and Eng saved up.

Gold:

I only have one epic flying mount as yet, on my priest.  At least I didn’t blow the gold on epic fliers for the lock and warrior since I don’t plan to level them right away.  My current plan gives me a herber in the Priest and a miner in the Shaman so the Shaman will likey get the next one to speed up gathering, followed by the DK for accessibility in Northrend.

To Do:

Reseach what we won’t be needing in Wrath and start selling off what we can from the guild bank.  We bought 4 tabs already and they are bursting with ore, primals, leather, and gems.  Once the Shammy is up I will need to farm dailies, herbs and ore to get my gold supply ready for new mounts.

Reputation:

I don’t know how much I will have time for hear, but I should at least finish the SSO rep on my priest for the title.  A lot of the new achievements will be looking at old world reps, but I don’t think I’ll have much time for it.

So I ask you, how could I be bored with all that to do!

Winter is Coming

•September 22, 2008 • Leave a Comment

It’s been some of the roughest weeks for me in WoW and at the same time some of the most exciting.

My guild is practically on standby with all the officers but me off playing Warhammer and raids getting cancelled one after another from lack of personel.  We did actually step into Black Temple last week and got some pulls on Najentas but we only had 23 people and only two were officers and at least 4 new recruits.  It was cool to see some of the instance but we didn’t get anywhere.

I said it’s been rough because more and more I’ve been having differences of opinion with the other officers, mostly regarding the disciplining of poor raid performance.  It tends to come out in iritated bursts right in the middle of raids and I’ve gotten lots of negative feedback from it.

Any attempts by me of confronting the problem always end in “Who are they, I’ll go talk to them and straighten it out” or “I think it just you that has the problem because no one has come to the officers about it”.  But that is just the point.  No one wants to be in that conversation.  How do you tell someone you don’t like the way they yell at people in raids when they post topics in the guild forum saying they know their personality is harsh and they have no intention of changing?  The issue can’t be resolved one on one for every person in the guild especially when no change will be made.

So after a lot of thought Vix and I have decided to leave our guild, one that I’ve been in for almost a year and a half.  I feel a huge weight has been lifted.  The core of DF has some really great players and I will miss the opportunity to jump right into the 25 man raids in Wrath, but I won’t have to deal with that stressful environment anymore.

Now for the exciting part.  Vix and I have decided to create our own guild to build and lead through Wrath!  The looming expansion has given us the perfect opportunity to start fresh and the ability to run the entire raid circuit with a 10 man group has us very excited.  We will be able to keep the guild relatively small, not to mention that we both prefer the 10 man dynamic to the 25 anyway.

Some other interesting elements of this move will be the opportunity for me to design my own guild website and forum.  We decided to use a theme from George Martin’s fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire” for the guild and it’s insired our imagination and is a lot of fun!  I first heard about the series a while ago from BBB and I highly recommend it.  Basically we name the guild “The North” after the major protagonists in the story.  They rule the kingdom in the north and are the last defense to the realm against the undead incursion attacking from the top of the world.  Sound familiar? ;) I plan to use cold icy themes for the website as well as the Northern Kingdom’s colors and sigil: a direwolf, white on dark blue.  Our tabard fits with that theme too.

I even bought us our own vent server!

It’s going to be a lot of fun.  You can expect to see a lot here about our effeort to build our new guild. Vix will be the GM handling the social aspects that she is so good at, and I will be the Raid Leader so I intend to spend a lot of time going over boss fights and strats and I will be putting them up here, or perhaps linking them from the guild site.  I still haven’t decided whether I’ll be healing or not for Wrath but with my experience healing I imagine my guides will still have a healing flavor either way.

Those who have already read the Ice and Fire series will already recognise this post’s title.  We have a lot to do before Wrath arrives.

Winter is Coming…

Mount Hyjal and Preparing for Warth

•September 10, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I haven’t been posting much as most of my focus has been mostly on preparing for Wrath.  Most of the mechanics/gear for healers is changing and I’m trying to wrap my head around it but I haven’t posted much on it because a lot of it is in flux.

I am in the beta and have been playing around with some of the new stuff, but I’m kinda torn because I really need to be level 80 to really see the good stuff and I don’t want to level through all the content now and ruin the excitement of the launch.  Now that they set up a premade realm I need to make an 80 priest and try some things out.

The guild has been progressing still, though it is still like pulling teeth to get people to show up.  We’ve had people quit the game (including our main off tank) which has made it tough.  We are now 5/6 SSC, 3/4 TK with just Vashj and Kael to down yet and 2/5 MH.  I know I said we were planning on getting Kael and Vashj first but we were outvoted by those who didn’t want to spend the remaining time before the expansion wiping on them.

Mount Hyjal has been fun the two time we were in there.  Our heal team did a great job overcoming the healing challenges of the Rage Winterchill fight.  I found that using my old trick (which I also use for Shade of Aran and the lynx form of Zul’Jin) of setting the boss to my focus and hovering over his target ready to heal the ice bolt damage when he switches off of the tank (3000 dps on clothies is brutal!!).  I’ve read that having a priest shield the vicitm of ice bolt while others spam quick heals works well, but I found that flash heals worked just as well.

I’m sure if you’re anywhere near T6 you’ve heard that having the PvP trinket for Hyjal is key.  Don’t make the mistake I did and think that it is just for Archimonde.  There are two uses for it in Rage also.  The ice bolt tomb can be broken (which would completely remove the difficultly with healing it I mentioned above if everyone was using it) and you can break out of his frost nova when he uses death and decay on top of it.  I definitely recommend having the 2 minute cooldown one.  On our first kill I used it twice to break ice tomb and since I’m one of the primary ice bolt healers, it may have saved the fight twice.  If you are healing that fight make it a priority!!

I’ve been continuing on my effort to prepare my armada of characters for the expansion.  My priest now has all his proffessions maxed out and I’m nearly done with exalted reps too.  I got my Netherwing Drayke and Cenarion War Hypogryph so I don’t have to go bad for it when wrath is here (how crappy are rep grinds in old world content? and the drayke is awesome!!).  My mage is 60 and I now have a character of every class.  I still need enchanting and jewelcrafting to get maxed out, but I’ve been toying with the idea of getting enchanting back on my priest and dropping herbs.  The only issue is that he is the only character with an epic flyer so farming is the easiest with him.  I’m pretty broke right now, but I need to save up gold for wrath anyway.  I hate farming…

One of the other things I’ve been working with is developing my priest’s shadow set.  I’ve started respeccing shadow a lot and it’s been a lot of fun exploring the other side of my favorite character.  I’ve been thinking of spending my 200 saved up badges on my shadow set since my healing one is solid (I got my Earring from Lurker a few weeks ago!!).

Anyway, there’s a bit of a catchup.  I can’t wait to talk about the wrath ability changes.  The shadow improvements, especially the Mind Flay changes, our very exciting for priests wanting to keep up with other in the dps race.

Gear List Refresh and More Progression

•July 17, 2008 • 4 Comments

I was discussing gear lists and healing priest stat weightings with some folk over at PlusHeal and I got to thinking about my Pre T5 Gear List. I made it to share with the community as much as to use as a reference for myself when looking for upgrades.  Now that I’m well into T5 I’ve have the #1 or #2 item for every item in my list and some that are above them so it’s about time I made a new one for Pre T6.  I can’t get to my research sites from work so it’ll have to wait for tonight or perhaps this weekend.  Look for that.

Our GM said something last night that I thought was very telling about our raiding core and expresses just how I feel about our team too.  He said he was very impressed with how well we are progressing while raiding only 3 hours a week and he really wants to get back to 2 nights a week so we can progress that much more before the expansion comes out.  We are killing on average 1 new boss a week for 3 hours spent.  Huh-what?!?

We started 25 mans with Gruul on May 22, and now 8 weeks later we have HKM, Gruul, Mag, Void Reaver, Al’ar, Solarian, Hydross, Lurker, and Tidewalker to 3%.  That’s 8.97 bosses in 8 weeks with only 3 hours spent each week!  After the success we’ve had the last 2 weeks in SSC we put up a poll for adding Friday back into the raiding schedule and it looks like people are starting to get the fevor again because we have nearly enough people sign up as we need!

Our raid leader said we are planning to get kills on the remaining 3 bosses in SSC and then start going straight to Vashj and Kael.  We have the gear for them already so we really don’t need to grind the lower bosses all that much (though I do hope I get my Earring from Lurker before we move on though /grin).

His key modivator is the fact that there are a number of guilds in T5 on our server, but only two have ever downed Vashj and Kael, or even Al’ar!!  They seem to be getting to 3/6 SSC, 2/4 TK and then starting T6.  I’m glad my fellow officers share my desire to not skip anything.  I take great pride in how far we’ve brought the guild and our standing on our server means something to me.  We should be comfortably the number 2 guild Horde side by the expansion (minus possibly the one that transfered here from a more progressed server, they shouldn’t even count) and should also have a good shot at being competition for the others in Wrath.

So as I hinted at, we got Lurker down on the second pull yesterday (after one-shotting Hydross, we got that one down already /grin) for another guild first and TW to 3%.  He’ll go down likely on Friday and we should get some good work in on Fathomlord.  2/6 SSC, 3/4 TK.

Raiding up dates and PlusHeal.com

•July 11, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I’ve found that my interest in getting new posts up here is directly related to my enthusiasm toward WoW in general.  We’ve had a raiding slump because of the holiday and summer in general but had some new fire this last week so I felt the need to get updated.  I’ll keep the points short as it’s really just a lot of little things.

First, I want to give a shout out to PlusHeal.com.  Some of the healers in the WoW blogasphere have started a new forums site to bring all the healers together for discussion and brainstorming.  I think it has a lot of potential, especially at being a great place to organize data for the expansion before and after it’s released.

As far as raiding goes, we did our first SSC run this week and that got a lot of people excited.  We got Hydross on the forth pull (we have had the resist sets ready for a while now).  I love learning new bosses.  We got stuck at Lurker.  We still haven’t gotten the organization down for the adds phase and a couple people still need to get down jumping into the water, but our DPS is rocking.  5%-10% above recommended DPS rates per phase.  We’ll get him next week.  1/6 SSC, 3/4 TK

Finally got another healing article up (Al’ar).  I went to a briefer format that’s more for reference and healing assignments for the 25 man guilds.  I know healing strategies can be very guild / raid strategy specific, but hopefully they will help someone.  If not it’s a good reference for me and my heal team.

Getting some more time in on the Warrior.  He now is well above the entry Kara stat requirements (12k HP, 12k armor, 490 defense) at 12.4k HP, 13.5k armor, 504 defense.  I got the T4 helm and gloves and about 4 other things from Kara so I’m starting to get there.  I still need practice though.  I’m no where near as polished as I am when healing.

I used the Fire Festival to my advantage and got a few easy levels on some of my lower toons.  My paladin is sitting at 30 waiting for the next patch to give him a mount and my mage is finally at 58 and riding around in Outland.  His enchanting/herbalism was maxed at 300/300 for both and he needed the Master training.  Now my only enchanter is leveling again to support my other toons.  I’m thinking he’ll take up Inscription when wrath comes out and drop herbs.

The more I hear about the Deathknight the more I am excited to play one.  He may very well take my tank spot in my top three toons (Healer/DPS/Tank) over the warrior.  Everyone will have one but no one is going to tank with them right? lol

I’m still deciding who will be my raiding main in WotLK.  One of the other officers in my guild said he would probably be returning to his Druid (currently a frost mage) who he played pre-BC to heal in the expansion to heal.  With our shadow priest and rogue officers (the rogue healed as a shammy pre-BC) both wanting to get back into healing too a healer might not be the #1 thing our guild needs me to be.  It would be hard to leave my priest though, maybe shadow?  If the rumors are true about possibly getting 2 specs to swap between and gear needs for DPS/healing being the same maybe I could go shadow and heal when needed while getting gear for both at the same time (currently if my main spec was shadow I wouldn’t get priority for healing gear and wouldn’t be able to switch easiliy once we get very far in raiding).  If I could use the same gear for both I very well might go that way.  If it becomes that easy to switch, my top three may become my top 2 (DPS/Healer and DPS/Tank).

Al’ar Healing Setup

•July 11, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Recommended Healers:
Total: 6+
2 AoE Healers (AoE): Shaman or CoH Priest
2 Direct Healers (DH): Paladin or Priest
1 Single Target Padder (STP): Druid or Priest
1 Additional (Any): Any Class

Healing targets

Phase 1
Active Al’ar Tank – 3 healers: 2 DH + 1 STP
Adds Tank + Melee DPS – 2 healers: 1 AoE + Any
Ranged DPS: 1 healer: 1 AoE

Phase 2
Active Al’ar Tank – 3 healers: 2 DH + 1 STP
Adds Tank – 2 healers: 2 Any
Raid (everyone not tanking) – 1 healer: 1 AoE

Positioning

Phase 1
Active Al’ar Tank Healers: Stand with and follow the ranged DPS in the center of the lower level as they move to follow Al’ar below the tanking platforms.
Adds Tank + Melee DPS Healers: Stand with and follow the Adds Tank and Melee DPS as they move back and forth between the bottom of the 2 ramps.
Ranged DPS Healer: Stand with and follow the ranged DPS in the center of the lower level as they move to follow Al’ar below the tanking platforms.

Phase 2
Active Al’ar Tank Healers: The tanks should be trying to keep Al’ar in the center of the lower level so stay near there while avoiding Meteor and Flame patches.
Adds Tank Healers: The adds tank will be moving all around trying to collect the adds as they drop at random positions.
Raid Healer: The raid will be spread out so no one place is best. Chain Heal FTW.

Comments
To make it simpler we like to have the two adds tank healers from phase 1 just continue on to the adds tank for phase two (we use different tanks for these 2 roles). The adds tank in phase 2 doesn’t take more damage than 1 healer can handle but we use 2 because of how much they need to move around. It ensures that there’s a better chance one of them is close enough to them. We also put a raid mark over the adds tank’s head for phase 2 because it gets crazy and hard to find them quickly.

More success in Tier 5

•June 20, 2008 • 1 Comment

Wednesday Dysfunctional Family downed Solarian and are now 3/4 TK.  I have to hand it to the Wednesday group.  We are getting solid attendance on Wednesday and clearing TK to Kael with a one-shot of Al’ar is not too shabby.

It really goes to show how good the badge gear really is.  We’ve cleared through to Kael in TK in three weeks of starting 25 man content which means very little of it was due to T4 and T5 loot.

Our core of players is very skilled as well and we tend to be really quick picking up a new game mechanic.  I’ll throw in an exception here: Wednesday was our first day pulling Solarian.  Solarian is a very easy fight except for her explosive debuff.  Once you get that one piece it is cake.  We walked in there expecting to two-shot her at the least and only got her to easymode (20% when she turns into a giant voidwalker) and finished her on the 6th try.  Every single time it was someone not running out for the Wrath debuff.  Then we went and shot-shot Al’ar, go figure.  For the record, Vix and I both got the debuff just once and no one died on either occasion.

Now for the goodies!  I got my second T5 upgrade, Mantle of the Avatar after 3 weeks of handing out the few Defender tokens which dropped to the tanks.  I can now retire my Pauldrons of the Solace Giver (I hated that model! Yay for wings!).  I said second because last week we got the pattern for Belt of the Long Road to drop and I was able to have it crafted immediately. With that upgrade I have now retired both the whitemend set and the primal mooncloth sets in their entirety and could drop tailoring if I wanted to, but I probably won’t in anticipation of new stuff to come in Wrath.

And where does that put my unbuffed +healing?

/evil grin

2095!!  That’s nearly 2400 raid buffed!  I am consistantly coming in second on the WWS report in TK (and that’s with Prayer of Mending still not being counted /grin), only behind the superb shammy I have healing melee during Void Reaver.  Stupid chain heal and its awesomeness.  But really I love it.  Our undered geared healers are all but caught up on gear now and that last 3/4 TK clear was with only 6 healers.  I have a great team.

 
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