The Trifecta

•June 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I haven’t had much motivation for writing lately mostly because it’s summer. No, not because I’m out and about not playing but because everyone else is >.< For the second week in a row we were unable to staff a 25 man raid on Saturday, our second of two 25 man raid days.

It’s really frustrating to me because we just finally get rolling, getting a couple guild firsts every week and then everyone just stops showing up. We have the people, over 35 raiding members. We just have been having trouble getting people to ignore the nice weather and play. It’s great for those who have lots to do or live near all the people they play with, but I plan to raid well in advance and clear my schedule and then am left up a creek come raid time. WTB Fall.

Another thing that’s been bugging me is the complete lack of interest in 10 mans from the key roles, even on scheduled nights! We have 22 people on, 4 tanks, 8 healers, and what happens when they call the raid? All four tanks are offline within 5 seconds. I spent 30 minutes trying desperately to put together a 10 man (for Vix and the other newer raiders who still need the badges and a couple drops still from Kara and ZA) and had to settle on Kara with two people playing alts for our tanks who had never even seen a heroic. One of them was me on my freshly dinged 70 warrior /flex

Yup, I finally finished off my warrior’s leveling and now have three level 70s, a holy priest, affliction lock, and protection warrior: The Holy Trifecta. I now have a healer, tank, and DPS and can fill any role needed. It’s been a goal of mine for a while to finish a tank and I’m really enjoying the new challenge. I moved the warrior to my other account and have a blast two boxing him and my priest or warlock. With my priest at his side he is unkillable outside of dungeons. With my lock there he is an AoE farming machine.

I’m not sure how much anyone wants to hear about my warrior on this blog as I started it for my priest and to a lesser extent my warlock so I haven’t really been inclined to write much on it, though there’s plenty I could and probably will. Seeing the game from all three roles is adding so much to my enjoyment of the game and to my knowledge level too. You have to know so much more about every mob in every instance if you want to tank. That’s something I’m working on as I go through them all again with new eyes.

So I’ll try to get some more healing strategies up soon (Gruul, Mag, Void Reaver, Al’ar), but until people start showing up for raids I’ll likely be spending a good amount of time on my warrior, the young pally, and maybe the 55 mage who just maxed out enchanting 300/300 pre-outland and needs to get through the portal asap.

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The Pheonix God Circles The Eye No More

•June 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Al’ar has to be the most fun I’ve had learning a boss fight yet.  DF went back into TK after our guild first kill of  Void Reaver earlier this week with the Pheonix God in our sights.  We didn’t one shot him or even four, but we did finish him on the first night of attempts.  I think this is the first fight where I really started to feel that the battle was epic.  We tried a lot of different things, learned a ton, and by the last pull we knew he was going down with 20% to go still in phase 2.  I can’t wait to write up the strategy and assignments for the heal team on this one!  2/4 TK!

Something else that made this raid special is that it was the first 25 man raid that Vix was able to come to and it was awesome to have her sitting next to me on her hunter being a part of it all.  I believe it was her first time being present for a guild first too!

In other news, I’m determined to have a tank ready by the time WotLK comes out and since my warrior hasn’t been inspiring me lately (in fact he is very fun to tank with and I got my first opportunity to do so this weekend in Mana Tombs but I am kinda bored with trying to solo with him) so I went and rolled a paladin.  I have no intention of healing with him (though it could help me understand the class better from a heal lead’s perspective).  I am leveling him Ret and plan to kit him for tanking.  He is level 23 so far and I’m really enjoying playing him.

Healing High King Maulgar

•May 29, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The High King Maulgar (HKM) fight is primarily an exercise in pulling technique and class balance. It is intended to challenge you to organize 25 people for the first time and make sure you know how to take advantage of each class’ strengths.

As the focus for this fight is on the pull and unique and standard tanking techniques, if all goes well the healing is pretty straight forward.

HKM is an adds fight. Maulgar and his four counselors need to be tanked in such a way that they can be dealt with one at a time without the others interfering. Healer placement is going to depend on where your raid lead decides to tank the adds, but in general the healers should stand near the entrance to Maulgar’s room or near the gate to Gruul’s chamber, whichever is closest to their healing assignment.

Blindeye the Seer (Priest)

The Priest is the first to die and does not require a tank and therefore does not require a healing assignment. DPS will be interrupting his heals and he doesn’t do enough damage to need a dedicated tank and healer.

Olm the Summoner (Warlock)

Every minute or so Olm will summon a felhunter which should be enslaved by a warlock. A tank and the enslaved felhunter will tank Olm together.

Olm will be second on the kill list, and if the warlock controlling the felhunter is using its abilities properly, the felhunter and tank shouldn’t be too hard to heal. Assign one healer to heal Olm’s tank and the felhunter. A priest, shaman, or druid make good choices here as there are two characters to heal.

Krosh Firehand (Mage)

Krosh will be tanked at range by a mage. He does fire damage both as fireballs and an AoE blastwave centered around himself. He also has a fire protection shield which can be spell-stolen by the mage which is why that strategy works.

Damage to the mage tank comes spikey and fast, so I recommend two healers (Krosh running around free because his tank died is probably the quickest way to complicate this fight because of his AoE). A paladin works great to catch quick damage and a druid, shaman, or priest to help pad the spikes.

Kiggler the Crazed (Shaman)

The last add to die is the Shaman. The simplest way to tank the shaman is with two hunters trading aggro while using their nature resistance aspect. This is not a difficult healing assignment as long as the hunters are decently geared and only one healer is necessary, though as it is one of the last to die make sure it’s someone with decent longevity.

Because their are two characters to heal I would recommend a priest or a shaman healer. Kiggler does have a polymorph so you could also have a druid in tree form heal it, though I have performed this role myself and have yet to be polymorphed.

High King Maulgar

Maulgar is the last to die. He has warrior type abilities like whirlwind and an enrage at 50%. While enraged he will do an AoE fear and charge random people. Fear ward the tank (usually the MT who can take the bigger beating for the longest) or use tremor totems.

Ideally you want your best geared paladin paired with a druid or priest to heal HKM’s tank. They will need to heal the longest and the paladin + druid/priest combo provides a good buffer to the heavier damage Maulgar does.

In Summary:

Priest:
Tank: NA
Healer: NA

Warlock:
Tank: 1 paladin/warrior/druid and enslaved felhunter
Healer: 1 priest/shaman/druid

Mage:
Tank: 1 mage
Healer: 1 paladin + 1 druid/shaman/priest

Shaman:
Tank: 2 hunters with nature resist aspect
Healer: 1 priest/shaman/druid

High King Maulgar:
Tank: MT, your best tank
Healer: 1 paladin + 1 druid/priest/shaman

This overview calls for 6 healers. Have any additional healers watch HKM’s tank, then the mage tank, then raid heal. As each add dies, have the healers on the freed up tank do the same.

We are a Tier 5 raiding guild!

•May 29, 2008 • Leave a Comment

When someone talks about the classes I play, or raiding in general I like to know where they are at in the game and what successes they’ve had. That said, as a frequent reader of many WoW blogs I know that reading post after post about how this person or guild downed this boss isn’t all that interesting unless they can convey an entertaining account or can offer insight with the encounters.  I will try to keep my progression updates short and/or interesting and keep a record of our progress in a page on the sidebar for reference.

As I am new to all the content I am now experiencing I am still wrapping my mind around the complexities of 25 man raiding but my aim is to create some detailed guidelines for healing these fights, as well as how to plan and assign the heal team from a heal lead’s perspective.  I am working on High King Maulgar now, so that’ll be up soonish.

On to the epeen:  DF cleared T4 again (this time in an hour and a half) then proceeded to take out Doom Lord Kassak.  Then we took our first step into TK, taking out Void Reaver on the second pull.  I really wasn’t overly pleased with my performance or my heal team organization, but a lot of that has to do with never having seen the fight and our raid in general not being very organized with positioning.  Of course that says loads about our DPS.  I am confident that once the ranged get used to avoiding the orbs it will become a simple matter of healing the melee while being spread out.

In eight days we have 5 new guild first 25 man bosses kills and are officially raiding in T5 content.

Woot

Postponing Leak Speculation

•May 28, 2008 • 1 Comment

Just a quick note. I know I said I was going to go over the WotLK changes that were leaked, but after seeing the most recent priest updates on wotlk.wikidot.com, I am disheartened and think I’ll wait a bit before taking that plunge.

  • Circle of Healing now has a 8 second cooldown.
  • Vampiric Touch now gives mana to your party members for 2% of your shadow damage dealt, down from 5%.

The leaked talents and spells add a lot of focus to what priests will be doing in Northrend, and these changes to current abilities seem to support those rolls.  Healing priests will be more of a tank healer and less of an AoE healer and Shadow priests will be less of a mana battery and more of a pure DPS class.  But we shall see 😉

Packrat

•May 27, 2008 • 2 Comments

I think of all the extra features I’ve heard discussed that people want for WoW in the expansion, I think the one I would enjoy the most would be customizable player and guild housing. Not so much that the structure itself be customizable but rather what is in it.

I have purchased every bank slot available for my priest main and I am within three or four slots of being full. And not with profession materials or raid consumables either. Three quarters of my bank is filled with old armor.

I started the habit when I would get an upgrade and wanted to free up bag space but wanted to save the item to do a more thorough comparison when I had the time. Then I would get things like the dungeon 3 set and didn’t want to get rid of it because of nostalgic reasons. Granted there is still a lot of crap I need to go through and get rid of that has been upgraded many times over and has no sentimental value, but a lot of it does. I’m a packrat, and I don’t want to have to get rid of that stuff either.

What I want is a way or a place where I can display my armor sets, weapons, faction reputations, raiding achievements, mounts…

What I envision is armor stands to hold my Dungeon 3 set, my Primal Mooncloth and Whitemend Sets, and each of the Tier sets as I retire them. I didn’t get to raid pre-TBC but I know plenty of people who did and have the Tier 3 set rotting away in a bank in all its glory.

I see a wall of weapon mounts where I can proudly display my Shard of the Virtuous, Light’s Justice, Amani Punisher, and Gavel of Naaru Blessings. I can only use one at a time, but would never get rid of any of them with how much they’ve seen me through.

I see a stable where all my mounts rest.

I see tapestries and banners decorating the hall in the colors of all the factions I’ve become exalted with.

I see great murals drawn on the walls depicting each raid dungeon I’ve conquered, and tokens of the battles proudly hung for all to see.

I’d love to see guild halls too.  All the realms have progression threads on their official forums.  How cool would it be if the game supplied a way for the people who maintain those threads to walk through a guild’s hall to verify their achievements instead of relying on screenshots?  I like the idea others have had of having portals to raid dungeons from the guild hall so members can convene there instead of having to travel individually.

It’d be cool to have special dress robes/armor accents that appear only in the guild hall when you wear the guild talbard which depicts rank (ok, I am an officer so maybe I’m a little biased /grin).  It would be neat to be able to recognize prominent members by their look.  You see them all the time in your raids but how often do you really look at them, especially with gear getting upgraded all the time.

Oh well, enough rambling.  Maybe I just need more bank slots lol!!

Tier 4 Lays In Ruins

•May 22, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I really don’t know where to start… after months of building, growing, recruiting, and learning we finally took our first step into 25 man content last night.

And finished all of the remaining T4 content in three hours!

High King Maulgar?  We performed the pull flawlessly on the first try, no deaths:  one-shot.

Gruul the Dragonkiller?  Four people died on the first pull.  Of course, one of them was Gruul himself: one-shot.

We finished Gruul’s lair on our very first attempt with two one-shots in about 48 minutes.

“Wow, I figured that would take a little longer.  To Mag’s!!”

Now Mag has a lot more going on and we did not one-shot him.  But on the fourth pull he did eat dirt.  It was so satisfying to have 24 people gathered around the mound in Thrallmar as the head was turned in.  The pillar appeared before us, displaying our guild first kill of Magtheridon on our first night and we all flew up to take screenshots around it.

Another source of satisfaction for me is that I am the heal team lead for our raids and my strategies worked and my healers performed beyond expectations.  I intend to continue my series on raid healing strategies as I did with ZA, but as I have three new boss kills to write about and being that I have plenty of improvements I intend to implement (it was my first time every even seeing those encounters after all and my initial strategies were slight modifications to the strats on Bosskillers) I will hold off on those write ups until I have had a chance to run them at least once more.

Another reason for celebration is our graduation into 25 man achievements and our next mark in our realm standing.  After each kill in ZA we posted we had the hecklers on the forums trashing the fact that we hadn’t even started 25 mans.  “Who cares about ZA?  One shot Gruul and I’ll be impressed.”  I didn’t make that up.  Someone really said that.

Well sir?  Consider yourself impressed.

Our current standing on Velen is:

11/11 Kara

6/6 ZA (Third guild Horde side to clear it, the other 2 were our only BT guild and a transfer guild)

2/2 Gruul’s

1/1 Magtheridon (Seventh guild Horde side to complete Tier 4)

Only one guild has finished T5 (the BT one I mentioned, who has also finished T6) and the runner up is 5/6 SSC, 3/4 TK.  I hope they’re checking their rear view mirror.  That growing cloud of dust is Dysfunctional Family and it will be upon you very soon.

/cue ominous music