Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~Albert Einstein
Sometimes I wonder if Albert Einstein raided. Surely he must have, because he seems so in tune with how I feel sometimes on raid nights. Either that, or raiding really is rocket science and we just haven’t realized that fact as yet.
I didn’t do a Monday Musings last week for two reasons. First, I had something else on my mind; but second, because we had one of the worst raid weeks that we’ve had in quite some time and I needed to give my feelings some time to settle down. For the most part, the latter has happened.
We went in last week high off of our first Heroic Nefarian kill. Now, I didn’t expect a second kill to be a given, or even smooth. In fact, I fully expected it to take some time, as we crossed the finish line on our first kill by the skin of our teeth (or a single standing mage).
Our first night back with the encounter proved my beliefs. We took 11 pulls, many reaching the 10% level and us losing our kite tank and wiping. No big – up to that point the pulls were smooth and clean, indicating to me that the raid had mastered the encounter outside of the add kiting. I left feeling confident that we’d have a kill the following evening.
Only we had a metric shit ton of people out for Mother’s Day – and the majority of them didn’t give us fair warning that they would be out. Which meant that we didn’t plan our raid week well, as a result of said missing key information. So we didn’t get to go back in on Sunday – something that irritated me to no end. And of course, spawned a reminder for people that they need to give us fair warning of absences when possible so we can intelligently schedule our raid week.
Anyhow, I digress.
We went back into BWD Monday, making the decision to go back to trying to push two crackles in phase 1, since we’d had so many sub 10% wipes our previous raid night. The reasoning seemed sound – if we could shorten phase 3, we’d have it in the bag.
We continued to wipe in phase 3.
No big deal. It happens. Except that about half way through our raid, after a 2%-ish wipe, our new tank recruit who had the add kiting responsibility, quit. Just completely logged out of the game, without one word. We had a bad feeling about it when he went offline. We didn’t think it was simply an LD – as he also left vent very quickly. And sure enough, our suspicions were confirmed when he sent a PM to us 10 minutes later.
At this point, with everything else that had gone on, I simply felt defeated.
There is no other way to describe it. No matter how hard I tried – I could not solve this problem. No matter how hard I played, personally, it didn’t matter. No matter how hard I recruited, there were always gaps in the roster to fill. No matter how hard I motivated or begged, there were still people losing focus and their play suffering as a result. I wasn’t sure what to do, I was frustrated, and quite literally holding back tears, trying in earnest to hold everything together.
It was quite possibly one of the worst raid nights in my 6 years of raiding in WoW. I’m not exaggerating here. I cried for about an hour after the raid, just so completely overwhelmed with everything that I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. While I am embarrassed by my coping mechanic – I am also not too proud to tell you that I wept with defeat and frustration, unable to hold it together once I’d logged out of the game.
It was our Prot Paladin that pulled me out of the funk. “Why are we playing like we lost something, when we didn’t”. Followed up with “I can do this, no problem, just give me a shot”. With no other options, and him eager for the job, it was his. He had struggled with this task when we were working on this encounter in a 10 man setting back in December/early January, while waiting for our 25 man raids to start. But it didn’t matter. He knew that the guild needed him to do this job, and dammit, he was going to do it. Failure was not an option.
And I’ll be damned if he didn’t get down there and do just that.
There was still a learning curve, and we didn’t get our second kill last week. But we did it in just a handful of pulls this week. And I’ll tell you something else – it turns out that of the three tanks we’ve had tackle this task, he’s by far been the best one. I’m so incredibly proud of him. And grateful. Because when I faltered, he gave me a much needed smack in the face. He was right – we didn’t lose anything.
This week has been quite different from last week. After the struggles we saw last week - the raid seemingly came into our raids with an attitude to prove that we could accomplish anything with the team available to us. And we did just that, clearing out everything but heroic Cho’gall on Wednesday and Thursday, with an extra hour to spare both nights.
In short, we kicked ass. And I’m thankful for it. I really needed it.
Last night we started our work on Heroic Cho’gall. We spent about 26 pulls on our first night with the encounter, and we learned some things, but there is still a long way to go. Not having a warrior tank with Heroic Leap, we are attempting a Life Grip the bear over the puddle strategy, that I’m not entirely sure that we’ve managed to execute cleanly yet. But practice will make perfect, no?
We are also trying to find a sweet spot on how to handle the elementals. We’ve decided to bring each of them down to about 50% health, to help mitigate the damage. And going into the first set of adds, our DPS on Cho’gall is on par for a kill. However after that, not so much. I strongly suspect that our DPS on the large adds is slow, and that is ultimately why our DPS on Cho’gall suffers after that point. We take too long to get those adds down, which means we aren’t getting back to Cho’gall soon enough, and our damage on him suffers.
I could be wrong. It just feels like that is where we start to slow down.
I’m hoping that as people grow more comfortable with the encounter, the overall damage of the raid will increase and we will find that our damage on Cho’gall is sufficient to navigate a kill in time. Right now I feel like we are about 10%-15% slower than we should be to transition Cho’gall into phase 2 before that fifth wave of adds spawn. Last night we were seeing about 60% ish at the third wave of adds.
Things we are still trying to make some decisions on:
- Insane Mages. While we are learning it seems like an awful lot to worry about, for results that could be unfavorable. The damage is insane, but is it worth the risks?
- Elementals. To DPS or not to DPS? Right now we are asking that they be brought to 50% – DoTs from DoT classes and one or two direct damage shots from other ranged should achieve that, but we are seeing most of them go to 1%. The reduced damage is nice, but I’m not sure we can afford the lost DPS on Cho’gall. If you are familiar with the encounter, how are you handling the elementals?
- Add Positioning. We are really trying to make life grip work for us so that we can have one pile of shit on the floor. We’ve yet to make this work. Is there some random strategy that warrior-less guilds are using that simplifies this, or is it just a matter of getting more used to the life grip?
- Phase 2 – we aren’t there yet, but I’m sure there will be questions! In anticipation: Giant tentacle - ignore it? Small tentacles – can we find that tanking sweet spot so we can AE them effectively?
On the Dungeon Journal
Apparently, a lot of people feel very strongly about this new addition. I am not one of them. Let me attempt to explain why:
- 95% of the information provided in the dungeon journal is already available before most raids see the content, via PTR testing and data-mining. Very few raids go into encounters “blind”.
- The information provided is largely informative in nature. It’s not really anything that you’d not figure out in your first rounds of wiping on the boss. It really just saves you the time of having to comb through your log to figure out “what was that that killed me” in your first few wipes.
- The information that is provided won’t make you a “better” player or magically mean that your raid team executes better. It will still largely be up to guilds to work through the strategies and work around the weaknesses of their raid teams.
To me, it largely just seems that Blizzard is adding in a tool that is essentially already being used by many people. I can see where the hardest of the purists might object to it, and how it is taking away key parts of the learning processes in raids, but to them I only ask “do you not educate yourself as much as you can before a raid already anyhow?”. I understand where they are coming from, I just don’t see it as “game breaking”. That’s my two cents on it, anyhow.
I had my Troll pet pop up yesterday, and was able to complete it before our raid. I have done several more Tol’vir solves and still have not had any additional rares come up, more or less my hand. I’m so incredibly close to writing it off. So close. We will see how this week and another wave of Tol’vir solves will do for my sanity and drive to collect this pet.
Archeology could be improved so much by simply allowing the player to chose what race they’d like to dig.
On My Computer
My hard drive was fried. I still do not know if I will be able to recover anything off of it or not. However, I’ve got a new hard drive in and with the exception of losing years worth of data, I’m pretty much as good as new. Better, in fact, as I replaced my hard drive with a new SSD. I’ve also purchased a 2TB external drive to store my data. In fact, once I’m done with all of my moving expenses I’ll buy a second one for back up of the first.
I raided on my new hard drive last night, and save a few add on related things, everything was running just fine.
We actually got some more things packed up over the weekend, even with all of the computer drama. We now have boxes starting to litter our house, and believe it or not, it’s somewhat calming. I guess the boxes represent progress, which means that the daunting task of moving is solidly underway. There is still much to be done, but I think we are past the half-way point in packing.
That, and we are buying a new grill next Wednesday to go with our new apartment. (Our old grill got tired and the bottom rusted out). Corn on the cob is also starting to come into season. I know what the first thing I will be cooking on Sunday for dinner, once the mover is done moving us.
I finished Day of the Dragon. I found Richard Knack’s writing somewhat distracting from the actual story. Just the way that he phrases things, and his rhetoric was awkward. But, once I got past it, I enjoyed the story. I’ve started The War of the Ancients, and I’m actually enjoying it quite a bit. Between the two books the author has gotten much better in his writing, and I find the writing much less distracting. In fact, I’m engaged enough in the story that I’ve opted to read instead of other things quite a few nights lately. I find myself looking forward to a bit more