Archive for February, 2011

This post was written on february 28th 2011. Even if the raids have changed, the following still holds true I feel.

So it’s pretty official now. I’m raid leading again. I’ve done it in Vanilla, BC, Wotlk and now Cataclysm. I know I promised myself never to do it again last year, but the awesome people in Walk the Plank made me believe in raiding again and the awesompeople in Eff the Ineffable allow me to do things my way wich helps me not go crazy. Overall, its been an enjoyable experience.

So I’m writing this today with the hope it will help some of you out there in small guilds who want to raid but are not quite sure what to expect. We started out in Eff believing it would work a bit like Wotlk and well… we got a surprise. I hope some of our experience can help you out as you start raiding.

1. The gear jump is brutal

The first thing that jump to my mind is that the gear jump between heroics and raids is nasty. Thought the jump between normals and heroics was hard? This is way worse.  And to make it worse there’s no gearing bosses this time around. In the previous expansions there was always three or four easy bosses at the beginning to help gear people out but not this time.

Well… there is the Told Barad boss but if you count solely on him to gear you up you’re going to be waiting a very long time.

This means in effect that you need to be on top of gear when you get in there. You should have 346 items in all your slots and crafted/valor/reputation epics where you can. Going in with someone in mostly 333 gear is asking for trouble… You need to have those reps farmed and those epics crafted.

2. Your healers need to be epic players

It used to be that the tanks would take the brunt of the damage and raid damage could be largely avoided if people didn’t stand in bad. Raid wide, heavy AoE damage was rare and only happened for short periods.

Not anymore! This time around everyone takes damage all the time and to make sure it’s fun, you cannot always be clumped up. Healing a whole raid that is spread out while keeping the tanks up is not an easy task. But it is one your healers need to be able to handle.

3. You raiders need to be patient

Remember when I said there’s no easy bosses to farm? This means that you get right  into the thick of things and you can’t expect fast progress right off the bat.  Halfus, Magmaw, Omnomtron are all bosses that require practice, raid awareness and good execution to down and you can’t afford to be sloppy.

This means wipes, and lots of it without a real feeling of progression.

4. Raiding demands to be dedicated to raiding

This is the big change I believe. BC started off with offering Karazhan as a place where small casual guild could go enjoy raiding. A lot of them never went past Karazhan and they were fine with that. Wotlk took this further and made raiding accessible to everyone.

Cataclysm goes back to an older model. If you want to progess here you need to take raiding seriously. You cannot just head into BWD and expect to down a few bosses for fun. Sometime down the road that may happen but right now, if you want to be raiding the new content you need to be serious about your raiding.

This is my most important advice to small guilds. If you’re interested in “once in-a-while-for-fun” raiding wait out until the content gets easier. Don’t burn yourself wiping.

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Dear Novocaine

From the desk of the Monkey:

Dear Novocaine,

We met yesterday in Vortex Pinnacle and I wanted to write this today to let you know of my undying hatred toward you. When we first met you were wearing all those epics and I was hopeful ours would be a great, if brief, steamy love story in wich we would annihilate our enemies, get our loot and fly away into the sunset, glad to have found one another for a short hour.

I should have suspected something when you started using language befitting a 18th century slave driver.

The fact that you brought along your three incestuous, retarded sisters did not help at all. There was Sleepy, never there when we needed her. Loopy, who knew of autoattack and nothing else and finally Dumbass, who felt that healing was better done in dps gear. By your own admission they were failures but they were your sisters so I guess it was normal you loved them.

So I pulled, each pull more painful than the last, each time coming close to death and each time I was doing more dps than the dps, more healing that the healer thank to my healing strikes. How we managed to kill that first boss is beyond me.  As we went along you never missed an occasion to demean or belittle me .

I admit, I have my faults too. I accepted this without a word. I was blinded by my standing with the Guardians of Hyjal and by the promess of buying a new pair of pantaloons for my next dance with Magmaw. I hope in time I will be able to forgive myself.

Before Altarius I threw down the gauntlet. Either you would remove Sleepy or I would be excusing myself from the run.  You chose Sleepy over me and I was glad for it.

Before continuing further I want to ask you a question. How is it that with all your gear you do less dps than me, the tank? It’s obvious you knew the ways of Blackwing Descent and Twilight Bastion so how can you be so bad?

So I left the party, sad that our love story would never happen but glad that the abusive relationship was over. That’s when you pulled out your ace. You rolled a character on my realm and whispered to me: “LOL! Its Novocaine! We really thought you’d drag us threw the whole place with Sleepy faking AFK. We had bets for how long you’d last. Your a nub! LOLOLOL!”

I wish you upon you the seven plagues of Egypt. I wish you to be kidnapped by pygmies and molested in every possible way until the end of times. I wish you to have to watch Twilight for ever, movie after movie after movie in an endless loop. I wish you pain and suffering.

The 400 pound ape about to ripe you apart.

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Wanted: Magmaw

Oh…. do I hate that worm! But fear not! We have the plan and this friday we’re having a tar and feather party!

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Damn you gear!

First things first. Sorry for the lack of meaningful posts in the recent days/week. I said it before but I am overloaded right now. It’s crunch time at work and will be for the following weeks (up into April from what I heard) and this monkey time is becoming increasingly rare and precious. What little time I have I’d rather spend it actually playing a game rather than blog about it.

So… sorry for the lack of frequent updates and I’ll try to do my best in the upcoming weeks.

Now to the main topic. Last weekend saw Eff the Ineffable have its first real wipe-a-thon. We went in and wiped straight for two nights.  The good news? We got great execution, people get their classes and they don’t panic the second something goes wrong.

What went wrong? Gear… that’s what went wrong. As a guild, Eff the Ineffable is at the tipping point in raiding gear. We’re geared from heroics apart from 1 or 2 pieces, our stuff is gemmed and enchanted but we don’t really have raid level gear aside from a few crafted epics.

The end result? We can kill bosses… if everything goes perfect and RNG doesn’t screw with us. For example Magmaw decided to target one of our hunters over and over during an attempt, another time it was timing on Halfus. With gear so close there’s no room for any mistake from anybody and when you have 10 people during a 7 minutes fight, one mistake is bound to happen at some point. If the penalty for a tiny mistake is a wipe… it’s a harsh penalty.

I’ve been in that position before in Karazhan and the answer back then is the same as today, gear. We’re so close to the tipping point that I can almost touch it. And I know that once we’re past it things will fall into place rapidly. We got execution, we got skill, all that’s missing is gear and I can’t wait.

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Raiding soundtrack

I don’t know about you but whenever I raid I tend to put some music in the background. Not too loud and never for the whole duration of the raid but over the years I’ve sort of always made some sort of playlist for the various raids I’ve been in and most of the time each raid would have its theme song that I would have to play at least once.

Now the reasons for inclusion in this very exclusive list are varied. Sometimes its just because the theme fitted and other times there’s more obscure reasons like a comment someone made, an inside joke or simply because I got the song stuck in my head. Here’s my list of theme songs for the past few expansions and I’d be curious to hear about yours too.

Molten Core: Ring of Fire / Johny Cash
BlackwingLair: The roof is on fire / Bloodhound gang
Ahn’Qiraj (both 20/40) : Creeping Death / Metallica
Zul’Gurub :Welcome to the Jungle / Guns n Roses

Karazhan: Skullcrusher mountain / Jonathan Coulton
Gruul’s Lair: The lumberjack’s song / Monty Python

Naxxramas: Safety Dance / Men without hats
Ulduar: The frayed ends of sanity / Metallica
Icecrown citadel: Hardware store / Weird Al Yankovic

Twilight Bastion: Rime of the ancient Mariner / Iron Maiden*
*it’s a bit early to say if this one will stick but I had that playing last friday and I would just replace the part “Water, water, everywhere!” with “Fire, Fire, everywhere!”. Seemed fitting.

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