Archive for the ‘Raiding’ Category
If I had a theme song for this expansion, I’m pretty sure it would be Survivor. As we finally stop to catch our breath, I feel like I’ve just gone through nine rounds with Sugar Ray Robinson, and while he won by unanimous decision, I had the victory of being able to walk out of the ring at the end of the fight.
Raiding in Cataclysm has been an experience that has had many ups and downs for me, and as I sit here at the end of it all, I find that I don’t have as much to say about it as I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have a few things to say, but at the end of the day I find myself exhausted from the journey, and happy to be finished so that I can stop and rest a minute before charging into MoP. However, before I hang my gloves up for the off-season and go drink beer and shuck oysters (wtf…I don’t even LIKE oysters!), I thought I’d give a few of my thoughts on raiding this expansion.
The Biggest, Baddest, Hardest Boss of Cataclysm was Recruitment
Hands down, I think the thing that just about every guild struggled with was maintaining a roster of players capable of meeting their goals. Trying to recruit to keep up with the attrition, especially for a 25 man raid team, was a daunting task that unfortunately doesn’t look to be getting any easier as we move into the Mists. It was also the thing that killed more guilds than anything else, although I think that Heroic Rag is probably a close second for “guild killers” this expansion.
The Best Raid Tier Was…
For me, I think it was Tier 11. My only complaint with the tier was how long it was, and how little time we had to finish it out relative to its length. Ok, and maybe the over use of interrupt mechanics. But overall, I really enjoyed most of the encounters present in the tier and found the level of difficulty to flow pretty well. Even though I hated Ascendant Council with a passion, and wanted to shove a lightning bolt up Al’Akir’s ass, I found most of the encounters to be dynamic and interesting from both a healing perspective and a raid perspective.
The Worst Encounter This Expansion was…
Dude! Read like two posts ago! (I jest…) Heroic Spine of Deathwing, without a doubt. While I was frustrated with the pacing of the Heroic Ragnaros encounter, nothing compares to the tedium of the Heroic Spine encounter. Since I just posted on it, I won’t rehash everything outside of stating that I hope to never see an encounter designed like this again.
The State of Druid Healing at the End of the Cataclysm
At the end of the expansion, I’d probably grade us at a B/B-. As our gear progressed we were a little less constrained with utilizing rejuv, but I still feel like it costs us more to have the output of both Holy Paladins and Priests, and that we were less effective, less efficient and had to work harder for the same results, all while bringing less to the table. However, being a druid at the start of T13 and working through T13 progression was often times painful and frustrating at best. It is my hope that as we see some changes moving forward that help to supplement our strengths without punishing us for them.
Killing Deathwing was…
A breath of fresh air. I know a lot of people indicate that they feel the encounter is somewhat unfulfilling, and to an extent I can agree with them and see where they are coming from, for me, however, I was just so glad that we made it. I’m glad that, despite many struggles, I held in there and that the guild held in there and we pushed through to the end. In an expansion that almost killed us as a guild, we persevered, and I guess that what our victory meant to me was more important that the actual thrill of the kill. If that even makes sense. I’m just thankful that our team pulled together and that we have some down time and some extra time for “fun things” before Pandas take over the world. I’m really looking forward to that.
My Overall Thoughts of Dragon Soul
Unlike some other folks, I didn’t really mind the use of re-hashed scenery. I thought that most of the boss encounters were OK, but none of them were anything that will be retold in my WoW history as I recount my past glories. I’d probably give it a B- if I had to grade it. Some of the zone is colored by non-raid related happenings that aren’t really the fault of the zone, but even setting that aside I just can’t think of one boss in the zone that felt like killing Illidan or C’thun or Princess Huhuran or Nefarian (either time).
An Observation of the expansion
I think I’ll conclude with one last observation. For me, everything about this expansion felt very rushed. I felt pushed into new content before I was ready. I felt that content came out too quickly for a large majority of the playerbase. I felt like I was moving on Blizzard’s seemingly rigid time table, which was disconcerting when it felt like a little more time was needed. And as we come upon a new expansion, with an unknown release date and a beta that hasn’t even started yet – I can’t help but ask “what was the rush?”. Would adding another month of T11 progression have been a bad thing? Would another month of Firelands have let more of those 6/7 guilds push into 7/7? Granted, I don’t know Blizzard’s reasoning for their time table, but sitting here at the finish line, I do believe that I would have preferred a little more time at the start of the race than at the end.
Regardless, I’m weary, glad for the rest and so very proud of our team!
I was going to post a huge rant about just how awful the Heroic Spine of Deathwing encounter was, but when push comes to shove, I think I said it all in the guild update I posted after our kill. As such, I thought I might just repost that here, mostly because I feel it says so much while saying so little. Don’t worry! I will also offer a few additional thoughts afterwards, along with the video of our kill.
I have been raiding in WoW for over seven years. I’ve seen encounters that you had to spend two months farming BRD for fire resist gear, encounters where you wiped 50 times just trying to get into the room, encounters where you had to have a special macro to throw the damn ball, encounters where you learned just how bad people were at staying out of the bad, encounters where your pathetic magic betrayed you, encounters where all you want to know was who missed the fucking interrupt and encounters that took you 388 pulls to kill. But never, in those seven long years, have I partaken in an encounter that was as lackluster and mind numbing as Heroic Spine of Deathwing. I can honestly say that this encounter had zero redeeming factors.
In fact, this encounter was so bad that you were frustrated and bored with it before you even took your first pull. Let’s look at it shall we?
“Hey guys, we are going to pull Spine”
“uh..I’m going to need a minute”
“Are you ready yet?”
“No, really, are you ready yet?”
Once you finally got everyone back and ready to pull, you damn near had to reflask. Of course, then you spend the majority of your time working spine doing the following:
“No, really, GRIPS”
Needless to say, everyone was quite pleased to be finished with this mind numbing experience. We can only hope that Blizzard fired the dev team responsible for creating the encounter, and that we never, ever see another fight this mundane again.
In all seriousness, this was truly the least dynamic, most mind-numbing encounter that I’ve ever experienced. Let me see if I can articulate a few of the reasons why I feel this way. Read the rest of this entry »
A couple of weeks back, I read a post by Graylo where he pondered the vitality of 25 man raiding as part of his “MoP Wishlist” series that he’s been writing. I agreed with a lot of what he had to say in regards to the struggles that 25 man raiders have faced, and I do think that 25s are a dying breed. Throughout the course of this expansion I’ve watched guild after guild close their doors, many of whom I had great respect for and who stood the test of time and survived…until now.
Watching many long-standing, successful guilds shut up shop, and having first hand experience with some of the struggles 25s are faced with, I was already intimately familiar with the challenges that Cataclysm brought to guilds trying to retain a 25 man environment. Graylo, of course, put some numbers to his insights and speculations, but I don’t really think those numbers are needed to show that 25 man raiding is slowly bleeding out. Read the rest of this entry »
This topic is actually something that has been on my mind quite awhile, and in fact was something I brought up back in November when I was chatting on the Blessing of Frost podcast with Vidyala and Kurn. Back in November I questioned why Blizzard felt so strongly that they needed 10 and 25 man raiding to be considered “equal”. Which, frankly, has caused almost insurmountable problems as they’ve struggled with tuning and class/role balancing trying to meet this seemingly unobtainable goal – often times to the detriment of the player and their enjoyment in the game.
Put your torches away, and let me explain what I mean before you decide to torch me.
WoW has changed significantly since I first pulled those five CDs from the vanilla box and installed the game on my computer. One of the things that have changed for the worse, at least in my opinion, has become this focus on the progression “race” – which is heavily perpetrated by guild ranking sites like WoW Progress and GuildOx. But I’ve opined on that previously, and I don’t really want to go into a rant on my thoughts here as I’ve done that previously. However, I do think it’s important to acknowledge this change because it plays into what I do what to discuss: The “equality” of 10 man and 25 man raiding, or more specifically why there is such a push to make them equal. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week I talked about my post 4.3 frustrations while healing. I spent the majority of that week feeling like I was championing a “this is why we are frustrated” cause to everyone who isn’t a druid (and feeling like I was talking to a brick wall 9 out of 10 times), while being a beacon for other frustrated druids who thought that perhaps they were alone in their frustrations and that they must be doing something wrong (and found out that they weren’t). I’m tired of trying to explain the frustrations of our class to people who don’t regularly raid as a druid, subsequently think “druids are fine, I don’t see what you are so frustrated about”, and have spent the past eight months living with what I’ve termed “tranq envy” (thanks for that, by the way, Blizzard).
Since I’m fairly weary (and emotionally worn out) from these conversations (and dealing with the frustrations), I thought perhaps today I’d flip that and write something a little more positive in an effort help the forest that came forth and said “I’m so relieved that it’s not just me”. In short, let’s talk a little bit about how to maximize what we can do with the tool kit we’ve been left with. Read the rest of this entry »
For those who were blissfully unaware, there was a fairly serious exploit utilizing the LFR tool that permitted people to jerry rig the way the dungeon loot was set up and loot gear from multiple different LFR ID’s. Not multiple loot from LFR, but literally multiple loot items from multiple LFR instances, even after they had been technically “locked out” of being able to loot after they had killed, and been eligible for loot, in their initial LFR. Jarre talked about it some when it was first uncovered and made widely public. Paragon admitted to knowingly using the exploit and acknowledged that they were aware it was not Blizzard’s intent to allow one player to loot from more than one instance. Vodka was frustrated that they followed the rules and maximized the system “legally” and were lumped in with everyone else in people’s minds simply by virtue of being a highly progressed and publicized guild.
Hotfixes flew and Blizzard had a few stern words to players. The raiding community waited with bated breath to see what punishment Blizzard would hand down for those deemed to have taken advantage of the exploit. Blizzard responded last night handing out a plethora of eight-day bans to not only those who looted the items, but to those who participated to facilitate the exploit in any fashion. Of course, they also stripped every one of their ill-gotten gains.
As the news came down, we started talking about it in guild chat. I was quite honestly surprised by the diversity of opinions on the punishment that was given. Several people thought that taking the gear away was sufficient and that the 8 day ban was excessive. The most common argument made was that it was Blizzard’s fault that the bug was even available in the first place. That if they had properly QA’d their content, it would have never been an issue. This was an argument that brought back memories of Ensidia’s first Lich King kill. Read the rest of this entry »
I have had the opportunity over the past week of participating in three separate, completely PuG, Looking For Raid Dragon Souls. One on each of my three alt healers (Shaman, Paladin, Second Druid). I had two fairly good experiences and one pretty terrible experience (let’s just suffice it to say that I probably won’t run LFR on a Friday night again, as I clearly don’t have the fortitude to deal with the 13-17 crowd). There were a few fairly disturbing trends that I noticed happening in all three groups that I feel should be addressed – as I’m worried that people either have the perception that this is what raiding is about or will start to think that these are acceptable raiding behaviors.
As such, let’s go through a few of the things that I saw with alarming regularity and attempt to dispel some seemingly popular misconceptions about raiding, at least as they are evidenced by the general population participating in LFR: Read the rest of this entry »
In a word: I’m frustrated.
I was trying to express this in vent last night, but I’m afraid I wasn’t very articulate about it. Borsk was pretty much like QQ more druid – which I suppose is fair, since the frustration that I felt last night is likely similar to what shaman have been feeling for the past two raiding tiers. So I’ll let him have it. But that does not change the fact that I was so frustrated and disheartened last night that by the halfway point in the raid, I didn’t even feel like being there. It is not fun to feel like you are giving it everything you’ve got and yet everything remains so insufficient.
I’ve had two druid experiences so far: a completely PuG LFR with Elentari and my Progression raid with Beru. In my PuG Elentari dominated – but I suspect that has more to do with me being a competent and skilled healer in a PuG setting than anything else. I also dominated on Mynn in the LFR I did with her, and she’s the healer I’m least comfortable with and least geared. So take that for what you will.
However, when I got into my progression setting with five other competent and very skilled healers I felt like I was busting my ass – and felt like that no matter how hard I tried I wasn’t going to catch up. Now, in looking over my logs this morning, I was far from perfect. My LB uptime was much too low on several fights and my harmony uptime needs to be picked up (but wasn’t terrible). So there is definitely room for improvement – but I have to think that everyone on my raid team was in the same boat as we looked at these fights for the first time. Let me see if I can articulate the problem without it simply sounding like a bunch of whining. Read the rest of this entry »
388 pulls. That was the final number. It included every pull that someone face pulled Rag. It included every pull someone was in the wrong gear. That included every pull that we took before the Great Firelands Nerf (roughly half of them). Most of the kill was a blur to me, partly from the cold I had been fighting all weekend, but partly from the shock of realizing that it was finally over. I had to pinch myself this morning just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming again.
I’m sure there are those of you who are thinking “thank fucking christ, she will finally start talking about something else”. And you are right, I likely will. But before I get there, I do want to take a minute to reflect on things from the other side of the fence.
But, before we get into that I want to offer out some deep felt thank yous. First, to my guild. Has it really been seven years? Regardless of our struggles and our shortcomings, you guys are part of what makes kills like this worth fighting for, and victory taste so sweet. The experience wouldn’t be the same without you. Next I’d like to give a huge thank you to Vixsin and Derwent. You both offered strength and advice when I needed it most, and there aren’t words to express my gratitude or to thank you enough. And lastly to everyone here who stayed along for the ride and offered kind words and encouragement. Every bit of it helped, even if I didn’t tell you at the time.
Let’s move onto those reflections, before I have to grab a tissue. Read the rest of this entry »
Caveat: This post is somewhat unorthodox in that it is actually a repost of something that I posted for my guild today on our forums. We have had, arguably, two of our best nights working on heroic Rag – yet everyone’s morale (including mine) seems to be tanked. Because of that, I spent a lot of time last night thinking. And, ultimately, this is what came out of those thoughts. The reason that I’ve reposted it here, is because I am somewhat fascinated with the fact that of everything else – this is where my brain made a connection. And I think the topic and similarities in and of themselves are extremely interesting. As such, I thought it was something that a lot of my readers would enjoy and would spark a fair bit of conversation, which in turn I think would be equally as fascinating. I am very much looking forward to everyone’s thoughts. However, since standing alone it may read a little strangely, I thought that adding context was important.
I am not an overly religious person, but at some point in my education I was tasked with reading a play called J.B.. It is exceptionally good, if you are interested in it, and I believe it even won a Pulitzer prize. Anyhow, the play is essentially a modern day version of The Book of Job, which consequently I was also tasked with reading.
Right about now, you are probably wondering why the fuck I am bringing this up, and exactly what does it have to do with raiding. Well, I’ll get there. Eventually.
The Book of Job
As I said above, I’m not really a very religious person, but the story of Job really resonated with me and is something that has provoked many of my thoughts and outlooks. The Beru’s notes (I’m trademarking that shit as soon as I’m done typing this…) version of the story goes something like this (please forgive me any missteps that I may have in my retelling of the story, and note that I’m not going to go into much of the theological debate surrounding the story, as I’m hardly qualified to do so):
Job is an incredibly pious man. Satan comes to God and theorizes that the only reason that Job is as devout as he is, is because God has afforded him many luxuries in life and Job has never really known hardship. Satan and God have a debate about it, and eventually Satan asks God if he can prove his point by testing Job. God agrees to permit it. Over time Satan, with God’s blessing, takes away everything that Job had and cared about – his family, his livelihood, his home. Job’s wife pleaded with Job to forsake a God who could be so cruel, and yet Job was unmoving in his beliefs and devotion. Read the rest of this entry »