Queen no more

28 January 2010 § Leave a comment

The Blood Queen fell today, after 7 attempts. A very interesting fight, which involved a lot more teamwork than usual. The fact that bite victims get to choose who to bite themselves really adds a nice strategy twist to the fight.

We used 3 healers (myself, a holy priest and a resto shaman), and I think we really cannot afford to go down to two – at least, not now and not in the immediate future. Maybe when we can waltz through the encounter and do it with eyes closed – but as I said, not something I think will happen soon.

The first couple of attempts people were getting used to the Essence of the Blood Queen/Frenzied Bloodthirst debuffs, and gauging ranges for the bites etc. We also had the usual series of wipes as people understood the mechanic behind the links, the swarming shadows, and the AoE splash damage of the bloodbolts.

Our biggest hurdle was the third bite phase, when the 4 people with Essence bite 4 more. Initially, this was happening during the second air phase of the Queen, so we would have the combination of bite + splash bloodbolt kill someone (me, in both cases – and one more person in another case). We decided to avoid this by waiting as much as we could on the first two bite phases – and thus managed to have it happen when she’s landing after the second phase, when the bloodbolts are mostly stopped. Also, we chose to “spare” myself and the holy priest, and instead bite the tanks, who by then have enough of a lead they don’t have to worry about threat anymore. This allows the two of us to chain our Divine Hymns, thus a) healing immediately the damage done by 4 bites; b) increasing the health of most people in the raid, which meant the bite damage could be absorbed more easily.

With 5 dps all with a debuff it was then kinda easy to bring her from 25% to 0 in about 10 seconds…..

This is a poster fight for Fear Ward, by the way: her first air phase is about 2 mins into fight, so if you Fear Ward yourself just before the pull, you will consume that Ward with the first fear, then it will come back up when she’s landing and thus you will not worry about fear – at all. Admittedly, our weird, bring-the-player-not-class raid includes 3 priests (one of each spec) and 3 shamans (an elemental, an enhancement, and a resto/enhancement) – so coupling that with a couple of extra undead, fears are something we can handle pretty well…. Still, fear ward means your casts are not interrupted, and given the amount of damage on the raid is pretty high, I’m thankful for that.

We then cleared to Putricide, before my computer decided to decide I had played enough and started giving me some nice BSODs and refusing to restart. This had indeed started yesterday, and I had managed to make it start enough for the two raids – which was awesome enough. I’m sorry my raidmates had to suffer through my late arrivals, and then through 35 mins of me restarting my PC. I also hope my raid managed to kill Putricide without me, though I know full well how hard it is to find replacements at 5am servers. Honestly, though, and quite selfishly, I’m quite happy I was there for all the awesome first kills of this week!

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Plagueworks – done; Crimson Halls – work in progress

26 January 2010 § Leave a comment

After a 2 week absence, I finally managed to go back to raiding today. We had a pretty awesome raid, getting Putricide down, finally, and as a bonus killing the Blood Prince Council and pulling the Blood Queen twice. So, let me record some thoughts about healing these encounters.

Putricide

No need to cover strategy: Dreambound does a fantastic job of detailing a 10-man strategy, complete with pretty pictures. Our only change is that we pulled Putricide from the right-hand side, i.e. from underneath the green goo-spawner. We would then wait until the first slime puddles appeared, then move over to the left-hand, orange side. Doing that, we achieved two things: 1) we didn’t stand on the left-hand side for multiple slime puddles round, thus we had more space to move once that became important; 2) the abomination had puddles and ooze close by, which greatly simplified its job. The main drawback is less dps, but since the dps race only starts in phase 3, we decided it wasn’t much of a problem.

My raid has practiced on this guy for the last two weeks, while I was otherwise occupied – so really, I just came along and rode on their coattails. Apparently, the big question was whether to 2-heal or 3-heal this. The raid had kinda waffled on that last week, mostly because of some serious healer fail. We decided to 2-heal this (I pushed for this solution), and I honestly think it’s the only way to go. We ended up killing Putricide with one tank with 3 stacks of Mutated Plague, and another having 4 – basically, in another few seconds we would have hit the unhealable wall. From my perspective, here are the key issues in the fight.

Abomination: This was the cause of our earlier failures. Simply put, the abomination player (usually, one of the tanks) needs to familiarise himself with the abilities and mechanics of it. I’m kinda happy it doesn’t go to me

Movement: The fight combines the usual void zones mechanic, with some almost Heigan-like group-dance moves. The main issue is the need to burst-heal random people in the raid, while at the same time moving from one side to the other of the room to maximise the distance between ooze spawn and target, and avoiding the pools. We had a fair amount of wipes which happened when someone got out of range (either a healer falling behind, or a tank running ahead, or a dps being slightly too much to the side, etc).

– DPS target switching: Hopefully, like void zones, this should not be a problem anymore if you got this far – it never was for us, except for the very first tries when we were still figuring things out.

– Healing: Healing is not too bad (unlike some other fights in ICC). Tank healing is relatively light – except it may “spike” a bit occasionally. After a quick conversation with my tanks, I realised that it is not healing or boss damage that spikes – this is simply an artefact of high avoidance. Putricide hits hard, but of course once your tank gets avoidance streaks, it feels like he’s getting next to no damage. Then you’d get 2-3 hits in a row landing on the tank, and you’d suddenly find your tank at 10%. Of course, that’s when you’d have to move as well, because Murphy’s Law still applies. So, the hardest thing in many ways was to stick to my assignment and trust the other healer (a resto druid) to take care of the raid. I could still systematically throw a shield and a renew on the ooze target, and help in case I saw someone get particularly low. I tried to get close to the green ooze target, but that’s a dangerous proposition: not so much because of the damage you take, but if you’re unlucky, and get punted in the opposite direction to the tank, it may take you a little bit to get back in range, and that may well be bad. Phase 3 is a bit frantic in terms of healing, and we basically blew every cooldown possible, including Divine Hymn from our local shadow priest and some serious offhealing from the elemental shaman. We still downed him with only one death (sorry Homni!), well, 2 really given that our elemental shaman had earlier died and popped.

There’s lots of room for improvement, and I think we were slightly overcautious at the end: although the Divine Hymn and shaman offhealing were needed, if they had not switched we would have had more dps on the boss, and thus a faster kill. I’m pretty sure next time things will run more smoothly, now that we know we can.

Naxxanar was merely a setback!

The Blood Prince Council

Mad props to Blizzard for their capacity to make fun of themselves…

This fight didn’t really challenge us that much: we got the hang of it in less than a dozen tries. It is reminiscent, for people that have raided a while, of the Illlidari Council fight. Like the IC fight, it is LONG – our kill lasted 6:33, which is fairly long (a little bit shorter than Putricide, but you have the two phase changes in Putricide that inflate the time a bit). Like the Council fight, you basically split into semi-independent teams each handling one of the bosses. And like the IC fight, it is not very difficult conceptually, everyone just needs to be on the ball and keep executing correctly until the end.

Two key issues we had to solve:

– Kinetic bombs: Three of them had to be juggled, so you need your ranged dps to keep communication up so they can coordinate who is watching what bomb, and make sure none of them hits the ground. This is much more important than you think: the damage they do is high but not fundamental. However, their knockback can separate tanks from healers, or bring people close to vortices about to explode, etc – in other words, given this fight is all about execution, a major disruption like Kinetic Bomb can really start a snowball down the slope and quickly turn into an avalanche.

– The ranged tank: Both Dreambound and Rejuvo used a feral tank. We went traditional and used a warlock. The key here is that the ranged tank will spike, quite a lot. I was basically spamming our warlock, and of course shielding on cooldown etc. Most of my healing went into overhealing, and our warlock ended up first in damage taken. Also, if you want to go with a clothie ranged tank, you probably want to have a Disc priest healing him – shields really do make it essential to soften up the blows, and make it possible for the warlock to take some of the huge spikes (especially at the beginning). EDIT: We now use a melee tank here too – we found that a “real” tank has a much better ability to absorb damage spikes.

Healing-wise, as I said, I was spamming most of the time. We 3-healed this (with a tree and a resto shaman): the resto shaman was almost out of mana too, by the end of the fight, while the druid was doing very well on the mana front (which meant I could get the innervate, which was quite useful). Pain Suppression was used every time Keleseth got empowered, and it helped quite a bit.

All in all, this was a fair bit of fun, and a nice change of pace from Putricide. And yeah, we got the achievement as well Next week: Blood Queen, so we all get to be vampires…. I wonder if we can go to Elwynn forest after the raid!

Craaaaaazy!

22 January 2010 § Leave a comment

Toys in the attic, I’m craaaaazy!

Well, actually no – I’m not going to ask a groupie to run to the bedroom, in the suitcase on the left you’ll find my favourite axe. However, my life has been a bit crazy in the last two weeks, which resulted in me missing the raid both times. Last week, I had to rush home because my father had a minor medical emergency (which seems to be on the way to getting better, thankfully), and this week I spent the night before the raid worshipping the porcelain gods, thanks to a fantastic stomach bug that seems to be doing the rounds around here (my nephews had the same, so I may have got it while I was home visiting, ironically enough). That means I have yet to see the Crimson Halls, and/or attempt Putricide after what I last reported. My raid is doing ok, though they still haven’t got Putricide: apparently, they got caught in a 2-healers are not enough, 3-healers make us lose too much dps kinda situation, so hopefully my coming to heal may improve that, right? Right?

Ok , don’t answer that, never mind….

Hopefully, next Monday I’ll be able to go for the last 6 attempts on Putricide, and we’ll get him down (I hope). Then, next Wednesday, I’ll be there for the full clear.

In other news, I think I’m almost done with Emblems of Triumph loot for most of my alts – which is awesome on one side, pretty sad on the other. I guess I’ll start getting a lot of gems from now on…

In other, other news, I’m reorganising my links. Mostly, I found a couple of good resources for 10-man raiding strats and comments, and I decided to group them together with the Anathema blog by Sinespe. So, the 10-man raiding link category is born!

Wrath of the raid nerd, redux

19 January 2010 § 3 Comments

This is a difficult post, because I will have to criticise people I like and respect. So I want to preface it with a big warning: if I’m linking to your blog in this post, and I’m actually criticising what you’re saying, it is mostly because I was surprised and you elicited a reaction. I still think you’re awesome and all. Now that that’s out of the way…

If you know a Protection Warrior, chances are he or she is full of RAGE – and not in the sense of the nice red bar that lets them do stuff like tanking and dps’ing. No, I’m talking about foam-from-the-mouth, KHAAAAAAN! sort of behaviour. The reason? Why, a disgrace! Quite simply, Protection Warrior tanks do less dps than the other classes (DKs, druids and paladins).

No, really – you read well, and I haven’t mistyped it or anything. TANKS are complaining about their DPS. I think next in line we will have warlocks complaining that they cannot compete with ret paladins for healing. I mean, seriously: if a raid leader had to choose between a warlock and a ret paladin, and they both did the same dps, they will CLEARLY choose the paladin because the pally has a much higher healing through JoL, Art of War and what have you, right?

I’m gonna try to split this post in two. I will first offer some thoughts about the current issue – admittedly, an outsider’s perspective given I only played my warrior until lvl 3o and not even as Prot. I will then become more ambitious and mumble about nerd rages in general – and why they seem so frequent in the WoW community.

The Prot Wars

(Har har har! See what I did there?)

Warriors are getting hit with the nerf bat because, quite frankly, they are off the scale in PvP. Their toolbox of silences, stuns, snare escapes, and sheer survivability makes killing a warrior almost impossible. This is not “unauthorised pwnings of their better – y’know mages, hunters, etc – in arenas”, as Linedan writes. This is in BGs (which are much more lenient in regards to class balance) and against just about everyone, so much so that even a PvP noob like me noticed. To address this, Blizzard is reducing their Shield Slam damage and taking away from them a snare-escape tool. The snare escape seems relatively uncontroversial – most of the negative reaction comes from the Shield Slam change.

Ghostcrawler and the other blues have said they aim to keep threat generation unchanged, so what they take away from sheer damage, they will add back as threat coefficients. This is still on the PTR, of course, so I’d expect the numbers to be massaged and changed still, to make sure they reach this goal.

The negative reaction has two parts:

1. Prot warriors already have the lowest dps of the tanking classes: they risk their raid slots in tight dps races (like Festergut) if that dps dips any further. Honestly, I really, really cannot see this happening at all. I will accept the “warriors have the lowest tanking dps”, although a guildie who tanks on paladin, warrior and DK tells me that his warrior dps is higher than his paladin – but again, I don’t have hard data to back this hunch up, so I’ll accept the data Warwench compiled and Linedan comments. So, warriors are behind by 500 to 1000 dps to other tanks. Let’s say we’re in a 25-man raiding situation, with 3 warrior tanks: our raid is thus 3k dps behind a raid with DK tanks. That’s huge, right? Well, it sounds huge, until you realise that the same top guilds are producing in excess of 120k dps on Marrowgar, 140 on Saurfang, 115 on Deathstrike. Festergut, the famous dps race, has data recorded for more than 160k damage. In fights that last between 300 and 500 secs, the lack of 3k dps is adding about 10 secs to the fight. Will there be cases where those 10 secs will make the difference? Yes, of course – which is why all good raiders try to get even minimal increases to their dps. Will it be often? No, I don’t think so. Will it make anyone bench a warrior tank? Well, human stupidity has no limit – really. So I won’t say it won’t happen. I will also say that tanks were benched (or tank players rerolled to a different class) before, during Wrath – but because their tanking was more appropriate/more effective, especially on some encounters (Vezax and Sarth 3D being the two obvious cases, with Anub adds counterbalancing that). I find it hard to believe that guilds are going to bench their ICC-capable tanks, because of a 2% raid DPS difference. All raiders are investments for a guild – and tanks more so than most. I’d like to meet a raid leader who is happy to throw that investment away for a 10 sec gain.

2. Threat modifiers are a thing of the past: they scale badly, and most importantly, we were promised threat-through-damage in Wrath. Honestly, the promise part of this is not something I hold in much weight. Even assuming that Blizzard “promised” anything (and they are very cautious about that, because they know the fanbase will hold them to anything they *do* promise), I think their first job is to deliver a game that functions. Part of that functionality is, according to the current paradigm, some semblance of class balance which makes PvP viable and ensures enough variety in classes played to make PvE viable. So, if to deliver their main promise they have to break a lesser one, so be it – Asimov’s laws of robotics teach us that lesser laws can be broken in the name of higher ones.

The scaling issue is, potentially, more serious. Both in Vanilla and in BC, tanks had some trouble towards the end of the expansion cycle because their threat was not keeping up with dps. This was because threat came as fixed threat values associated with moves – and they were scaled to the starting gear for the expansion, not for the last tier of gear. The change towards “threat as damage” was supposed to solve this particular problem (which is, afaik, one of the reasons druids and paladins started winning out over warriors in BT and Sunwell – their threat scaled a bit better than warriors’). However, I don’t think we should worry too much about this issue either, simply because we are on the last patch of the expansion, so there will be very little (if any) further scaling before the major overhaul that is Cataclysm. Thus, assuming Blizzard does its job right and properly assigns threat modifiers to the various moves, we will see very little change because there will be little gear variation for dps to take into account.

So, in conclusion, I really don’t think we need to worry about scaling (because the next expansion is not too far off, and thus scaling cannot); I don’t really care about minor promises Blizzard needs to break to deliver a good game; and if anyone benches a warrior tank because a DK does more damage… well… let’s just say that doesn’t sound like a raid I’d like to join – and it’s also a bit premature to think about consequences that may happen in the future in reaction to a change, especially if that change actually solves a clear problem. Note that a) I’m not saying that the changes proposed will solve the “Prot are OP” problem of PvP (I don’t know enough about the mechanics of the class to judge that); b) I cannot in clear conscience exclude that some idiots will not force their tanks to reroll – but then again, some people were forcing Disc priests to gem spirit because “that’s what priests gem”, so….

Nerd rages!

This is the second time I find myself writing a blog post in reaction to another blogger, because their virulence surprised me (the first time was a reaction to Seri’s post about ICC gating). So, am I too much of a brown-noser, Panglossian type, always thinking that what Blizzard does is the best action in the best game there could be? I doubt that, and I think I’ve criticised Blizzard’s more than once in my blog, most often about their handling of 10-man raiding (great idea, needs to go deeper). I do however frown on extreme reaction – which is kind of ironic, because IRL I tend to have a true Mediterranean character, getting very involved in discussions with friends and heating up whenever I need to argue a point (which has brought me, more than once, into some embarassing situations when my discussion partners were not hailing from my neck of the woods and mistook my particular discussion style with animosity towards them).

I doubt Blizzard reads more than a few of the blogs out there – and I’m pretty sure no-one at Irvine reads my blog, for that matter (not that I can be compared to either Panzercow or Snarkcraft, of course). But I really don’t think we do the community any service by getting so caught up in our love for the game and our avatars to become irrational in our argumentations. Blizzard has shown before the ability to change their decisions, when faced with arguments and data that showed unintended consequences of their decisions. In fact, thanks mostly to Ghostcrawler’s efforts, we, the fans, have been much more part of the development cycle throughout Wrath than ever before. The result? A game that has gotten a lot better – and we’re not talking incremental improvements here, we’re talking orders of magnitude. Simply the idea of having 4 equally viable tank classes, and to have hybrid specs be competitive, is mindboggling to someone who went into Molten Core and was told to heal, even though I was, at the time, specced deep shadow. But hey, I was a priest, right? And priests cannot do anything but healing….

So, consider this my modest plea: let’s not give in to the temptation of the forum troll, who threatens and yells. If we have something to say, let’s use reason and arguments – my suspicion is, we will have a much higher chance to be heard.

Plagueworks report

12 January 2010 § Leave a comment

This week the second wing of Icecrown Citadel opened up, to the joy of 95% of the raiding population who was chafing at the bit four weeks ago already (the fact that the Lower Spire is puggable is awesome on one side, as we can do alt raids – pretty bad on the other, because there really is very little challenge). The Plagueworks is, in fact, a sizeable jump up in difficulty. My raid killed Rotface and Festergut in our first night. We came back once more, and exhausted our Putricide attempts without killing him (we got him to phase 2, though I wouldn’t be able to say how far into phase 2 precisely). All in all, I liked the fights: they are fun, and even the trash is correctly paced: the two doggies are a lot of fun, and it’s really amusing to see Gluth, a boss in Naxx (though admittedly an easy one), turned into a trash mob three tiers of raiding later (Gluth had 2.7M health – Stinky and Precious are around the 3M mark…).

Festergut was an interesting fight. I like the “reverse build-up” mechanic, which forced us to do some weird use of healing cooldowns and of assignments. Stacking up on the gas spores was also a nice counter to 4 years of raiding – and again required a modicum of coordination to get everyone covered.

Rotface was a lot harder: we did it pre-nerf, so we apparently got the 25-man infection rate. This one required a lot of work – handling the oozes was the main sticking point, and after several tries we decided to still have a paladin tank on them, and keep Ezma, our DK, on the boss. We tried to do it with one tank only, and have the oozes kited by a warlock. This will probably work if you have some practice and a really good warlock, but you have little to no margin of error (whereas the paladin tank can survive a few hits from the oozes here and there).

Putricide is freaking hard. Between the movement, figuring out the Abomination abilities well, the switching of targets, and the bugginess of the encounter (hello bugged oozes who keep switching targets), I think we really started learning the encounter after 5 tries of insta-deaths. We got to phase 2, and we had one really good try where we kept going for a long time. Various blues have mentioned that the encounter is “slightly overtuned” and in fact it got a nerf today, with the acid pools not growing anymore during phase changes. I think if we didn’t have the limited attempts gating, we would have had it – so I’m quite happy, and sure we will get them down this week (or my raid will, as I won’t be able to join them this week).

All in all, two considerations stand out. The first is, bravo Blizzard, because this wing is fun and challenging. The second is a marginal correction on the first. This is not the first time that the 10-man version happen to be VERY badly tuned: Marrowgar was doing 25-man damage when released, and now we have Rotface for sure and possibly Putricide that are out of tune. I realise that Blizzard cannot test all the bosses on 25 and 10 on the PTR – but I don’t understand why we’re testing them all on 25, and not have some on 10 and some on 25. This way, maybe the mistakes will be spread over the two types of raids, instead of having the 10-man be the second-class citizens that we already feel we are in other ways.

Sex, talk and videogames

11 January 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s now more than a month since 3.3 is released, so I guess it’s time for me to talk a bit about the Dungeon Finder. To start, kudos to Blizzard for turning what was always an awkward system that they tinkered with several times (LFG channel, meeting stones/innkeepers, global LFG channel, LFG tool) into a fantastic addition to the game. Even more interestingly, they took two pieces of infrastructure that they put in place for other reasons (the cross-realm queueing for BGs and the cross-realm instances to solve the “additional instances cannot be launched” issue) and combined them in a new way (with a new algorythm to match roles and gear etc) – nice example of emergent strategy and tinkering.

So then, the LFG tool. I want to make two comments that partly echo what others have said – and then add my own perspective to a third issue. First is that I’m surprised at how well things are working out. Sure, you have the occasional douchebags: from the people who are asleep at the wheel and pulling 1k dps (sorry, was doing that at 70, you MUST do better at 80 – no gear excuse), to the assholes that like to blame the others (especially prevalent in Halls of Reflection – but the Douche award goes to this guy), to the idiots who leave group if it’s Oculus, to the tanks who leave group if it’s not the exact instance they want (clearly they prefer waiting 15 mins for the debuff to clear – and I agree tanks are the new prima donnas). But I also met some great people, from the rogue who tanked Skadi from 60% to 0% when the tank and the other 2 dps failed to move out of whirlwind (sorry, only so many miracles I can do) to the guys that are thankful if I try to explain the bosses in the new instances if they say they are seeing them for the first time.

Second, many people have compared this to casual sex. Now, I don’t know what kind of casual sex you guys have had, and maybe I’ve been lucky but… no, just no comparison. Casual sex still beats LFG tool, sorry. I guess I’m not enough of a WoW junkie (or maybe I’m too much of a dirty slut IRL? One of the two…). For once, you actually talk MORE during casual sex than the average Dungeon Finder PUG. There’s this “code of silence” that really drives me nuts: not as if people cannot spare 2 mins to say “hello” and a couple of other one-liners. In fact, this silence is, as I hope to show, one of the biggest problems of the Dungeon Finder tool.

The biggest snag in the Dungeon Finder system (and so we get to the REAL topic of today’s post) is that there’s five people in that instance. They don’t know each other. Chances are, they haven’t played with each other before. In a best case scenario, they all want the same thing (2 Emblems of Frost in the shortest time), and have the gear that makes this goal attainable. The worst thing to do, however, is to assume precisely that- because no matter what we think, people are different and there’s different options for each instance. Some people may want to kill all possible bosses to get as many Emblems of Triumph as possible: Gundrak, Old Kingdom and Halls of Stone allow you to skip bosses, so it’s important to know where people stand on this issue if you have one of these three instances (I think theoretically you can skip the Commander boss in Nexus, but he’s in the way if you take the shortest route through the bosses anyway). Some people don’t have the gear to keep up with a whirlwind-pace run: not a big problem if it’s a dps (it will just take a smidge of times longer), a bit more of a problem if it’s a healer or (worse) the tank. Some people may actually have other priorities in the instance, too: witness this conversation I had with my druid:

DF Tank: druid, u lagging? y u not w/ us?
Me: I’m skinning
DF Tank: wtf? i’m chain pulling

Me: and I’m skinning….

Aside from the surrealist character of the conversation, the point I was making is, I think, a valid one: my druid still values the leathers, and dungeons are a good source (my only source, since I don’t much quest with him anymore, and I’m not gonna grind mobs to get leather). If the tank wants to pull without a healer, that’s his problem (as long as I’m not taking 15-mins tea breaks between pulls, obviously).

Differences in pace preferences can lead to cans of worms all over the place. The tank may pull ahead of the healer and die – or viceversa, the dps (or the healer!) may get impatient and “help” tanks pull. This doesn’t go down well with our plate queens. Before Linedan and the other tanks start cursing my name and blacklisting me, let me qualify that. I think tanks are control freaks: they want every little thing under control, so that mobs die in a certain order, they are all attacking them, and nothing bad happens. DPS, for the most part, are chaos kids: they jump into groups of mobs and start AoEing everything, and you can almost hear them over the game shouting: “Wheeeeeee!” as they spam their AoE moves. (I’ll refrain from saying what healers are: as far as I’m concerned they are Saints purging the sins of the world with nary a recognition – and this is the version I’ll be sticking with, even if it’s irrelevant for today’s post). The problem is: to chain pull an instance (or, worse, a raid) and keep perfect control, you need an inordinate amount of skill. The other problem: total control is boring if you’re outgearing an instance, as a dps or a healer.

I’ve been in both situations (yay alts!): the reason for this post in fact was reading the post by Linedan and then, the following day, tanking an HoL run with a stellar team of dps from my guild, and a PUG resto druid in ToTC25 gear. Everyone was really trying their best to make my job easier: the druid was innervating me, the tank, every two minutes; all the dps was handling the easier mobs (the casters, basically) without me; we completed it in just above 15 mins; and it was still a run I thoroughly hated. Tanking doesn’t come natural to me, and having to do it at twice the speed I’d be choosing on my own was too much stress for a game. I like being pushed outside my comfort zone: that’s the main reason I play an enhancement shaman and a paladin tank, neither of which role is a natural for me. But that’s exactly the problem: baseline, normal speed tanking is pushing me already. Doing it at breakneck speed is turning “pushing outside comfort zone and improving my game” into “pure stress”.

The solution is pretty simple: communicate. If you, as a tank, want to try to go fast, say so at the beginning. If, as a healer, you outgear Heroics so much you hardly need to drink, make it clear to the tank. If, on the other hand, you want to go a bit more slowly, let everyone know. If you want to skip bosses and just get to the end one, ask if everyone is ok with it.  I really think these 2 mins of communication would make everyone’s life a lot easier, at the very least by aligning everyone’s expectation. Who knows? Maybe we’ll manage to make people realise that they 1 min they lose by stating out their preferences for that run would really help everyone (themselves included) avoid any undue stress. Or at least once they do have some casual sex, they’ll know that they’ll still need to talk to their partner, or just turn it into bad sex.

A New Year! A New Wing! New Posts!

5 January 2010 § Leave a comment

I’m back! Life is slowly going back to normal after the craziness that are the holidays, and I’m starting to think about a lot of new posts I want to put up here. We’re also looking forward to the Plagueworks which will (hopefully! Please?) open tonight on our realms.

Also, Paolo over at Penance Priest has an interesting interview with Sinespe, a priest who focuses on 10-man raiding. He makes similar comments to what I said before about 10-man raiding: great idea, half-baked implementation in that Blizzard still needs to decide whether it’s a full progression path (and then it should have more varied loot available, covering all slots, and possibly also its own legendaries), or just something to keep 25-man raiders occupied in their off-nights. Here’s hoping that with Cataclysm they will push the 10-man philosophy further. Here’s a link to Sinespe’s own blog, Anathema: he is apparently more Shadow than Disc, but we’ll try not to hold it against him.

Finally, Zusterke has surpassed himself again, with a great post on theorycrafting haste vs. crit for Disc priests. The conclusion is a vindication of Paolo’s philosophy of “strike a balance”, which I’ve been following for while now.

That’s all I have time to do today. I know, I know, I’m just recycling other people’s posts: bear with me, I swear to share some mediocre nuggets of wisdom with you before the end of the week.

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