Archive for January 2009

Update; Two more first kills

January 23, 2009

Playtime has been limited lately – a few other things keeping my busy and/or distracted – but what time I’ve had has been constructive.

This week I hit exalted with both Son’s of Hodir and the Kaluak, so I now have my good shoulder enchants and epic fishing pole.  Doing daily quests for these two factions have taken up much of my non-raid playtime, so not having their quests on my list daily is a bit odd.

Tuesday night we did our 10-man Naxx, this was our first one night clear of the zone.  Under 3.5 hours;  certainly not setting any speed records, but a pace that I’ve quite pleased with.  The simple fact that I don’t need to remind anyone how anything works is still amazing to me.  Once people have seen the fights twice, everyone just does their thing.. having spent BC being forced to remind people to get up close to Nightmare, or not to move in Flame Wreath, well, this is pleasantly different.

So, Thursday night we were left with Sartharion and Malygos.  In late December we had tried leaving a drake up in Obsidium Sanctum, but quickly decide that we weren’t ready yet.  Last night, having plently of time, we decided to try it again.

I suggested leaving Tenebron – the drake in the back, who summons whelps – up for the fight, as this seems easiest.  When Tenebron joins Sartharion he only brings his whelp adds, and higher shadow damage for anyone in void zones.  Since the void zone damage can be pretty simply avoided, that just left the whelps to deal with.

The first pull was simply letting the off-tank get a feel for where things are positioned.  Discovered that Tenebron lands in the rear (on Sartharion’s left flank), with his portal being closer to the front (Sartharion’s right flank, on the fire wall boundary).  Since we want the melee stacked on the portal, so they can pick up the Whelps, the drake needed to be pulled back to where the dps normally stays.

For the second try Tenebron was pulled to position, but the drakes and elementals caused havoc – and the fire wall ate a lot of people.  It is funny that something that is so simple on by itself manages to cause problems as soon as another element is added.  It felt like my off-tank had too many things going on (Drake, whelps & firewall) and everything just felt like it was going at light-speed.  Rather than suggest that I give it a try, we had a feral off-tank the all the adds.

The third try did it.  After two hectic attempts, everything slowed back down, and it felt fairly easy.  Adds were (mostly) controlled, within a few minutes Tenebron died, and then it was simply a matter of not screwing up Sartharion.  The progression pull-to-pull was great, and it is a more interesting fight done this way.

Following on from that, Maylgos was the plan.  The past few weeks we’ve spent quite a bit of time throwing ourselves against him – we’ve seen phase three enough that drake control has improved considerably, but we’ve always been behind on the enrage timer when we get to that phase.  So, I swapped to my Malygos spec (basically added Improved Spell Reflect to help in phase two) and off we went.

On the way I explained to 3.0.8 changes – no CoH or WG while in Vortex, and some of the tricks being used to stack sparks are gone.

Buff buff buff, feast, flask and go.

One shot. /gasp

Mostly, it was just that we had higher dps.  Phase one was done with over 7 minutes on the timer, and we were on our drakes with more than 4 minutes left.  We lost three people along the way (while on drakes) – but still got him down with more than a minute to spare.

There was some discussion about exactly what changed – many thought the fight must have been nerfed in the 3.0.8 patch, but from a glance at the WWS numbers it looks like we just had a lot more pew-pew.

A still have a few things to mop up, but I hope to have the time this weekend to get a new title.

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Raid Difficulty

January 13, 2009

Sunday night, in about three hours, we knocked out Vault-25, OS-25 and two wings of Naxx-25. We were not moving terribly quickly – in fact, at times we were downright crawling along. Nothing major, but just the typical “15 extra people make things harder” problems.

These Heroic Raids are run by our guild, but we only bring about half the group on most nights. Another guild (basically a sister guild, both having apparently been spawned in the same guild-split ) bring several, and we have been mostly filling things out with a few others.

A negative here is that at least 5 people had to sit out of one fight or another because they had gotten themselves locked earlier in the week. As this was a scheduled event, this is crap. We may not need everyone for each zone (heck, we did the Vault with only 19) but it isn’t to much to ask that everyone be able to at least zone in. An appropriate amount of frustration was put forth, and I think all parties understand that going forward the raids are an ‘all or nothing’ event.

So, How are 25’s different?

In Tier 7, there isn’t really any difference in raid difficultly – in fact in a lot of ways the 10-man content is harder due to the increased importance of every single raider.  Loosing one dps in a 10-man hurts more than loosing two or three in a 25.  So the content isn’t harder, why do 25-mans give better loot?

The 25-man Tax.

The leap from Karazhan/ZA to Gruul/Mag/SSC taught me this lesson. Those 10-mans weren’t without drama and hurt feelings, but every 25-man run was a stress inducing slog. Back then content *was* tougher, but the real problem was the people management, the loot, and the coordination. These days, on Heroic Raid night when an officer growls ‘just a sec’ on Vent (accompanied by the background tap-tap-tap-tappity-tap a “/o WTF!”), and I know I that have a moment to stretch, or grab another tasty beverage,  I try to remember to say a prayer of thanks that I’m ‘just a raider’ &  ‘just a tank’.

Perhaps a recent example is in order: We have successfully been using a simple loot system in 10-mans – everyone pass on everything, we’ll /roll (or whatever) and then each person gets their item. Simple enough, but it has always made me nervous. Last night it burnt us. After Sartharion went down a Rogue rolled need on two epics. He wasn’t from our guild, or our sister guild – just a friend of a friend.

He correctly played the “$#!@- oops!” in raid chat.
Our raid leader correctly booted him.
His friend, playing the well known role, testified that “it must have been a mistake.. he didn’t understand the loot rules.. known him for years..”

In the end, he was offline within moments (guilt or embarrassment? Don’t know, don’t care) and within a few more moments we continued on as well. Everyone handled it calmly. No shouting or threats. There will be more loot, lets all get to Naxx. Oh.. and make sure to set Master Looter, right?

Did he intentionally ninja? is he just that stupid? Hard to say, and I’d really put it at even odds either way. I chalk this up to the 25-man tax. You bring 15 more people, the chances of this type of things happening goes way up.

This is the worst we’ve seen, and for that I should be thankful.  Truth is, we have a solid group of people, and more often than not have to force people to take items over objections of “It isn’t a huge upgrade for me.. let someone else take it!”

Starting next week we will be doing two nights of 25’s each reset, which should be plently of time to at least work on everything available.  I am actually looking forward to it, but only partly because “it is a challenge we haven’t conquered”,  and largely because there is better gear.  I do want to see the fights on both modes, but gear aside, I’d rather be farming with just 9 others every week..

A few days a youngish rogue said “Boy, I really miss 40-mans” in guild chat.  The immediate reply was “..then you never organized one!”.

True fact : that reply wasn’t from me, but from one of our current raid leaders

Another true fact : only because I was the slower typist