An Old Shared Topic

25 09 2009

Stop, from The Stoppable Force, recently linked to his first post, a Blog Azeroth Shared Topic. This one asks what your character’s theme song would be. It didn’t take me long to find a suitable one for me:

It’s a terrible video, but the whole idea of the canary in the coal mine is fitting. If I die (in a raid) something has seriously gone wrong. Most of the time. Sometimes I just zone out and stand in some fire. I also just love the crazy lyrics and the fast pace. What would your theme song be?





Recruiting, Officer or Not

21 09 2009

Whether you’re an officer, a GM or just an every day raider, you can help with recruiting. Part of this means finding out what classes you’re looking for and trolling the official WoW forums (along with other channels, such as WoWRaid and LookingforGuild) for LFG posts. If you’re not too invested in spending more than 5-10 minutes a day on recruiting, here are a few things you should do:

  • Look at the pages 1-3 of the official Guild Recruitment Forum (note, the link is for the alliance forum)
  • Post a response, generally copy/pasting whatever is in your recruitment thread on your realm forum and adding in a short, personal note to show that you read the post
  • Bump your guild’s recruitment threads (realm forum and others)

When you’re trolling the official forums…

  • Make sure you read applicant’s posts thoroughly (unless the spelling and typing is so atrocious it makes you want to barf)
  • Get the relevant details: e.g. what kind of guild the poster is looking for (hardcore, casual), make sure your raid times mesh (are they looking for early morning, but you raid late evening?) and make a quick assessment of whether you think their personality would fit with your guild
  • Post! Don’t be afraid to post in many different threads. Just try not to post in the same threads that someone else in your guild has already posted in.
Not the best way to go

Not the best way to go

Want to put a bit more effort in?

If you’re not satisfied doing the bare minimum of recruitment-related activities, there’s always more work to be done!

  • Make profiles for your guild on sites like LookingforGuild
  • Check recruiting forums more often and go past page 3
  • Look at how your guild is recruiting and troubleshoot – is there something you feel is lacking or simply could be more efficient?
  • Run PuG raids such as VoA and Ulduar25 (either start them or join existing runs) and start dialogues with unguilded raiders who stand out from the crowd (I joined an excellent guild back in BC by running a bunch of heroics with some people and then applying to their guild)

One other thing you can do (that I recently did) is to look at your application form. What questions are you asking applicants and is there a good reason to be asking each one? Start a dialogue with the rest of your guild (officers might have a reason to be using certain questions that you don’t know about) and trim the fat off your application. Some things to look out for:

  • Yes/no questions – you want to provoke long responses from those stand-out applicants who are willing to put the effort in
  • Questions that will likely provoke dishonesty (for example, “How do you deal with disagreements?” – applicants will never answer that they are likely to ragequit if they disagree with something, so you won’t learn anything useful from this question)
  • Questions that are likely to get the same answer from any applicant to a raiding guild (such as “What are your goals in World of Warcraft?” If your guild is primarily a raiding guild, 99% of the time the answer will be “to raid” or some variation thereof)

What kind of questions does your guild put on its application? I’d love to hear about any eccentric/uncommon ones.





Onyxia and the Raiding Doldrums

16 09 2009

Ulduar has been out basically forever. Trial of the Crusader and its heroic modes are…well, not really the most exciting raids ever. I still think that a tournament was one of the worst ideas for a raid, regardless of the lore reasons. A whole raid in one room is simply not as interesting as a place like Ulduar was when it first came out.

As well, the normal modes of most ToC fights are basically jokes. Compared to Ulduar, where fights like Mimiron and Yogg-Saron actually required some solid playing to down. So how does this tie into Onyxia? 3.2.2 – I think – should be skipped. I know it’s mostly for the 5th anniversary of WoW, but I can’t help feeling like it’s only going to make Icecrown feel further away.

Some raiders I know are sort of in autopilot these days and I can’t blame them. Ulduar after months and months is pretty boring and ToC isn’t much better. Icecrown is supposed to be the saving grace of an expansion that’s had its fair share of rocky moments, but we have to get through 3.2.2 first. Personally, I couldn’t give two shits about Onyxia coming back. Some are excited, but remember how many people liked Naxx after a few months?

At this point, I really just want to see Icecrown. Enough of raids that only tangentially involve Arthas or are easy/boring. What’s keeping me playing isn’t the current content but what’s on the horizon: Cataclysm and Icecrown.





A Bloody (Well-Deserved?) Nerf

12 09 2009

If you haven’t heard, Blood is getting a bit of a nerf in 3.2.2. This is the proposed change: “Heart Strike: Secondary targets of Heart Strike now take half as much damage.” (source) The reasoning, apparently, is that we shouldn’t be able to do extremely good AoE damage without somehow losing out on single-target DPS.

While I, like anyone else, dislike getting nerfed, I agree with this philosophy. One discrepancy that bothers me is the case of Ret Paladins. In their regular rotation they use two powerful AoE moves, Divine Storm and Consecration. If there are 3-4 targets around, Ret Pally AoE begins to really outshine DK DPS without even having to break from regular rotation. DKs currently still have to use Pestilence to spread diseases in order to make AoE truly effective, so the reasoning is a bit fuzzy to me.

I wonder, though, if we deserve some other way to boost DPS in place of this nerf? Blood has pretty bad AoE damage (especially with the nerf). The best suggestion I saw was something on the EJ forums: that Blood Strike should get an AoE component through a talent deep in the Blood tree. That way in order to do AoE DPS, we’d have to sacrifice some single-target damage to get more cleave.

Making a change like this allows for more choices to be made during Blood DPS, akin to the way Frost works. That’s the one thing I think Blood is really missing. Aside from cooldowns, the Blood rotation is very set in stone which makes it a bit less fun to play with.





Guest Post #2: Timing Those Diseases

9 09 2009

Another guest post at No Stock UI, this time about disease timer addons. Enjoy!





Argent Coliseum Strategy: Heroic Edition

5 09 2009

So last night my guild wandered into the Trial of the Grand Crusader (hard mode Crusaders’ Coliseum, for the uninformed). We managed to down Beasts, Jaraxxus, and Faction Champions in 10-man. While most of the changes were straightforward, such as boss damage being raised, some upgrades came as a surprise.

Northrend Beasts

Gormok the Impaler

Instead of having a second tank (3 are used in 25-man, I’ve heard) taunt at 3 stacks of Impale, we had our OT taunt at 2. At 3 it becomes simply too dangerous. In addition to more boss damage, you have to kill Gormok in a certain amount of time (I forget the exact amount, but DBM has a timer) or else the worms come out regardless of whether he’s dead or not.

We also had anyone who got Snobolded run out of melee range or, if they were ranged or a healer, run to just outside stomp range until the Snobold was killed.

Acidmaw and Dreadscale

My guild’s strategy on normal mode was to burn down Acidmaw first and just heal through the enrage. On hard mode, the enrage is significantly more dangerous so another option is to burn down both worms at once. We chose to focus our DPS on the mobile worm due to the knockback that the rooted worm does on those in melee range. While this means that you will end up having to switch to Dreadscale while he is in the ground to avoid killing Acidmaw early, this strategy worked well. Aside from a more potent enrage, the worms are the same as on normal.

However, if you’re overgeared for the worms (say, you run 25s in addition to 10s) you can also choose to just burn down Acidmaw right away and blow tank/healer cooldowns to survive the enrage. If you’re using this strategy, the worm-burn phase is a good time to Heroism too.

Icehowl

The only difference my guild noted (aside from more damage on basically everything, including the freezing breath, which makes spreading your raid out very important) was that after the 3rd charge-into-the-wall thing, Icehowl will enrage whether he ran into anyone or not. This simply adds a “burn or die” component to the fight, similar to Gormok, where he has to be taken down before the worms come out.

You also get no speed buff to get away from his charging into the wall, so you have to be more careful.

Lord Jaraxxus

The major difference between normal and hard mode in this encounter is that the Infernal Volcanoes and the Netherworld Portals must be destroyed or they will continue to spawn Mistresses/Infernals. With good timing it’s possible to avoid getting a 2nd Mistress/more than 2 Infernals. Aside from that, everything else simply had its damage upped.

My guild made one strategy adjustment, and that was to have the ranged/healers stand in staggered pairs in a semicircle. Doing so makes sure that Fel Lightning only chains to one extra target. If your raid simply clumps up, you can get dangerous chains of Fel Lightning.

Faction Champions

The only real difference is that all the mobs do more damage, have more HP, and heal for more. It’s harder and takes a bit more focus/communication than 10-man on normal, but it’s not a huge adjustment by any means. They are also untauntable/have PvP trinkets on short cooldowns (courtesy of commenter Gil).

Valkyr Twins

Similar to Faction Champions, everything just got a boost numbers-wise.  It’s important to position the twins close to their same-essence portals (for example, the Dark Twin should be next to a Dark portal). The reason for this is that for most special abilities cast by the twins, it’s necessary to be able to quickly swap essences.

One other strategy adjustment that I had to make was saving DPS cooldowns for the Twins’ Pact shield, which was difficult to get down. To aid DPS (especially melee) the Twins should be tanked close together, and with their backs facing the middle. This way melee DPS have very little distance to travel.

Anub’arak

There are a few significant changes in heroic mode, aside from the expected buff in damage and HP (30% to both on Anub’arak). First, the Burrowers now cast a spell called Shadow Strike (8s cast, halved by the haste buff they cast on themselves). This ability does a base damage of 40000 (likely to one-shot anyone who’s not a tank) and is interruptable. These adds are still stunnable as well. The Burrowers also continue to spawn in phase 3 (the Leeching Swarm phase) unlike on normal.

Another of the changes is that you have a limited amount of Frost Spheres to work with (6). So when players are pursued by Impale in phase 2, they must take care to kite as far as they can. This accomplishes two things: first, it allows other players to move far away from the pursued player so that the next target will already be far away. Secondly, kiting for longer before running onto Permafrost allows you to break fewer Permafrost areas during phase 2.

Here are a few notes and tricks for phase 2.

  • Hand of Protection grants immunity to impale damage but will not make Anub’arak choose a different target to pursue
  • Immunity effects (such as Ice Block and Divine Shield) will cause Anub’arak to pursue another player
  • If an unfortunate raid member with no escape mechanisms/blinks is targeted, it’s probably better to use Hand of Protection on them rather than on classes such as Warlocks and those who can force a different pursue target via immunity effects
  • You may not necessarily want to drop all 3 Frost Spheres for the first phase so that you don’t accidentally have none left for phase 3 (where you need at least one patch of Permafrost to prevent adds from burrowing)
  • No matter how much Ghostcrawler says “bring the player, not the class” doing Anub on heroic without a 50% healing debuff (Wound Poison, Aimed Shot, Mortal Strike) it will be significantly more difficult

Phase 3 works much the same way as on normal, except that Anub’arak heals for more and does more damage. It’s important to keep only the targets of Penetrating Cold and the tanks at full health – everyone else’s HP should kept be as low as possible to reduce the effects of Leeching Swarm. Your best bet is to only kill as many adds as necessary to allow your tank to survive the stacking debuff. You should also be allowing adds that are not being killed to burrow when new adds spawn to reduce their uptime over the encounter.

Having a Paladin tank on add duty for phase 3 is also very valuable due to their Holy Wrath ability to stun everything around them. Warriors can also shockwave to accomplish this. Interrupts have a high priority since they will one-shot anyone they hit.





Faulty Thinking And The Armor Penetration Nerf

5 09 2009

In a recent blue post, Ghostcrawler stated that the ArPen nerf going live in 3.2.2 (on PTR now) was intentional. He claims the reason for this nerf is that people were focusing on ArPen at the expense of all other stats. So it needed to be nerfed to make sure that melee DPS and MM hunters wanted other stats.

Does anyone else see the faulty thinking involved? Ever since I hit 80, I’ve been gemming pretty much purely for Strength at the cost of socket bonuses and other stats. As it stands now, especially with the ArPen nerf, Strength eclipses Crit, Haste, and ArPen. So why are they nerfing ArPen as opposed to buffing Haste and Crit to make them valuable stats for DKs?

Instead of avoiding gear without ArPen, as GC stated was the case, I often find myself choosing gear with sockets and caring very little about the stats, be they Haste, Crit or ArPen. How is that any better? I’d prefer it if they were useful rather than simply stuff that isn’t Strength on gear. That’s what I like about my Mage – Crit and Haste are both valuable stats, which makes gearing choices a bit more interesting than simply taking whatever has the most Intellect, or whatever it might be.

The only gems that matter

The only gems that matter








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