Archive for the ‘Raiding’ Category

At What Cost?   25 comments

 Last night we killed Sinestra. This did a several things for us – for the first time in our history as a guild, we can definitively call ourselves a “server first” guild, having snagged all three server first end boss kills. Additionally, depending on which set of arbitrary rankings you look at, we are debatably a top 100 US guild…for now (if you’ve been reading here for any length of time you already know how I feel about progress rankings).  But in the aftermath of Sinestra dying, instead of being overjoyed I found myself asking “at what cost?”.

All, I am about to share with you things that I’ve not really shared to anyone, save privately to Brade.

Aside from the fact that this content tier has been excruciatingly long – I can honestly tell you that in my six years of being in guild management in this game I’ve never worked harder or felt more unappreciated and disrespected as I have for the past few months.  And I find myself asking if it was worth it.  Were all the hours I spent researching, reaching out to anyone and everyone I could for help when I found us struggling and crying myself to sleep at night because I was worried about if I was missing something or handled something poorly, worth it?

I don’t expect people to shower me in accolades, but every now and again a simple recognition for the work I put in or a thank you would go such a long way.  You don’t even know.  To be fair, a few people do occasionally thank me or say very nice things to me – usually when I need it the most and it shows I need it.  And I’m grateful, because what they probably don’t realize is that they were the person that kept me going, that picked me back up when I was certain I wouldn’t be able to stand up again.

Last night after our kill instead of someone saying “man Beru, those tips you dug up these past few days were great!”  - I was advised that I wasn’t the top healer for our kill.  I’m sure it wasn’t meant maliciously, and I know that wasn’t this person’s intent, but I was pretty hurt by the comment nonetheless. I mean how do I even respond to that?  “Sure, but I had 1mm more healing done to the tank than the other raid healers and was more of a team player?”.  “Ok - but there was less than 500k  healing difference and I still ranked on the fight?”.  “Sorry, I’ll do better next time?”.  I mean, seriously, what the fuck do I even say to that?  Ultimately I opted to respond with (what I felt) was a gracious response: “It’s good for other people to outheal me, I shouldn’t always be at the top, plus it keeps my ego in check!”.  After I picked my jaw up off the floor, that is.  Because I’m going to admit to you, I was pretty upset by the comment.  That after all of the work I put into the encounter, the only thing anyone said to me was essentially “you weren’t the best on our kill pull”.

I can’t help but feeling a little bit like this expansion and tier of content has changed my guild – and while it is for the better in some ways (progression), I’m not entirely sure it’s for the better in others (community).  Perhaps I’m just being cathartic about it, I don’t know.

Recruiting this tier has been brutal, and it has taken a lot out of me.  We’ve had more turn over in our raid roster the first few months of this expansion than we had in all of WotLK combined.  And while I’m fairly certain we aren’t alone in that, it has been difficult to juggle that on top of everything else.  I will also be honest – we have some personalities right now that don’t mesh well, and it’s been extremely taxing to keep them in check every raid.  There’s been more than once that I’ve felt the need to actually ask “do I need to turn this car around”?  Which is tough, because we built our guild on the foundations of respect – and to have people shitting on that pretty much just pisses me off.  I’ve had to have more individual talks with people this expansion than I have….ever.

There are a couple of people right now that seem to come into the raid some nights with a giant chip on their shoulder – and I don’t have a clue as to why.  Frequently these are the same people that get immediately defensive at the suggestion that they have room to improve or that they made a mistake.  And to be honest with you, it’s not healthy for the raid – and it’s certainly not healthy for me.  Their attitude is obvious, it does not go un-noticed by myself or others and it’s poisonous.  It’s vital that I contain it and do not let it spread, or it will overwhelm what I am able to control.  I’m trying to be patient.  I’m trying to be understanding.  I’m trying to be the bigger (responsible) person.  But deep down inside I really just want to get up in their face and scream at them drill sergeant style asking “what the fuck is your problem?”.

Maybe I’ve also changed.

Please don’t get me wrong, I love my guild.  I am amazed and grateful at what we’ve been able to accomplish this expansion.  I’ve poured so much into the guild, more than probably most people realize.  It’s hard to watch something you put so much of yourself into grow, evolve and change.  Everyone that takes their leave has left a footprint on the guild – and on me (ps I miss you so much, Chris, you have no idea).  Just as everyone that comes into the fold creates a new footprint.  Some will create bigger footprints than those that preceded them – and some won’t quite fill those that were previously left.  But those footprints will be created and will remain, nonetheless.

I’m worried.  No “server first” guild on our server has lasted the entirety of an expansion.  They’ve all fallen down and broken apart.  It was Rapture back in Vanilla.  Pinnacle in The Burning Crusade.  Anguish in Wrath of the Lich King.  We’ve always acknowledged that the candle that burns twice as bright often only burns half as long.  Monolith has always been the slow and steady turtle in the race – maybe we didn’t get server firsts but we always saw content and survived into the next expansion.  So that leaves me to ask, is this Monolith’s flash of light?  Are we going to burn bright and then fade giving someone else the opportunity to rise and shine?  I’d like to think that after six years, we’ve got some stamina and can survive the curse of the “server first” guild – but it’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to take true dedication.  Which is something I’m not convinced 100% of our raiders have,  and I have no doubts that there will be a need to recruit again as we continue through this expansion.

The truth is, I love the progression.  I thrive on it.  But the question I’m left with is: what cost am I willing to pay to have it?

Monday Musings: Insanity Edition   4 comments

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.
 
Read the rest of this entry »

Monday Musings: Blackwing’s Bane Edition.   4 comments

Just a few quick musings today, as I seem to have run a bit short on time!

On Raiding

This past week has been fantastic on the raiding front.  We snagged kills on both Heroic Al’Akir (10 man) and Heroic Nefarian (25 man).  Not only that, but we somehow managed to pick up realm firsts for both kills, which is something I’m not sure we’ve really ever been able to claim before!  And I would be remiss not to say that it was somewhat exhilarating watching the spam flash on my screen.  Everyone was very excited about both kills, I just hope that it doesn’t go to people’s heads and we keep trucking along with clean, progressive play – egos firmly in check.

I do, however, have a few comments to offer on both of the encounters. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted May 2, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Hard Modes, Healing, Raiding

Healing Heroic Conclave of Wind (video guide)   3 comments

Conclave of Wind is the next encounter that I decided to tackle in video format!  For this encounter, I am on Anshal’s (nature) and Nezir’s (frost) platforms, so you will not see any excitement from Rohash’s (wind) platform in this video.  This video was taken pre-4.1, so you also won’t see any of the new toys or shorter cooldowns in use during the video.  I am primarily tank healing again for this encounter, so it will be similar in perspective to my Halfus video.  In addition to adding some notes below, I’ve also added a couple of notes into the video!

A friendly reminder that this video will be viewed best at one of the higher resolutions and in full screen, the notes added may not be readable at lower resolutions.

A few notes!

  • Beru, why are you on the boring platform?  To answer simply – because I put myself there!  But in all honesty, I lead our raids which from time to time does have an effect on my play.  I was concerned that I would not be able to give the appropriate attention needed for the wind platform while leading and would be a detriment to my raid over there.  We also have a very competent healing team, and I knew that any of them would be up to the task!  We usually use the a Holy Priest, Resto Shaman and Disc Priest on Rohash’s platform – but have also had a resto druid as part of that combination as well.
  • How do you druid the Rohash Ultimate?  Now, I have never had this responsibility, but as I understand it from the druid that does it regularly “it’s the easiest job in the fight”.  Once Rohash tosses you into the air, you pop into ToL and put a 3 stack on both yourself and your partner in crime (we use a shadow priest who can disperse during the ultimate, but rogues work well too), along with rejuvs and swiftmend as necessary.  As Rohash finishes his Ultimate and drops you, shift over into cat form to reduce your fall damage.  Your priest will be levitating themselves.  Wait for the calvary to arrive, and head back to Nezir’s platform.
  • Why two people for Rohash’s Ultimate?  The reason you want to place two people on Rohash’s platform for the ultimate is because it will mean there are more targets for him to select for Slicing Gale.  This in turn means that one person won’t have 7 – 8 stacks by the end of the ultimate and there is a more even, and survivable, split of damage during (and after) the ultimate phase.
  • When do you know it’s time to jump back to the wind platform?  With good communication!  There should always be communication about the status of the wind burst between those currently on the platform to those who are returning to the platform.
  • WoL on Rohash’s Platform.  While you are learning this encounter, it’s very beneficial to make sure that you have someone on Rohash’s platform uploading WoL so that you can determine exactly what is happening over there – as that is likely where most of your trouble with the encounter will be.  If you are on the Nature/Frost platform your parses will not pick up everything from Rohash’s platform.  We generally upload two different WoL each night we see this encounter: one from me, and one from Brade on Rohash.
  • Mind those frost patches!  Towards the end of Nezir’s ultimate, the raid should scatter so that your entire raid doesn’t eat a frost patch (as you see happen in the second ultimate that I am on Nezir’s platform).  You will inevitably lose folks if this happens.
  • What is your platform split?  We use the following:

Anshal’s Platform: 1 Tank, 2 Healers, 1 Frost DK kiter, 6 DPS (combination of ranged and melee).

Rohash’s Platform:  3 Healers, 7 DPS (combination of ranged and melee, basically people who can navigate the platform well).  One thing to note here is that to use 3 healers here, your DPS needs to be sufficient to bring the storm shield down.  If they are slow, no amount of extra healing will help.  You may need to consider 2 healers and 8 DPS on this platform, depending on your raid.

Nezir’s Platform: 1 Tank, 2 Healers.

I hope that you found this helpful!  Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or feedback!

Posted April 29, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Hard Modes, Healing, Raiding, Video

Monday Musings: The Heroic Al’Akir Conundrum.   6 comments

I’ve put myself in a bit of a pickle.  Not the friendly kind of pickle that you may have played with your coach during baseball practice, but rather the kind that you see in a world series game where the players are vicious and it’s only going to be resolved through a risk on the runner’s part or the baseman’s part.  The kind of pickle that generally ends with the runner sliding into his base and a somewhat dubious call being made by the umpire that everyone will contest anyhow and will be analyzed in close up replays for the next four episodes of sportscenter.

The Pickle

A few weeks ago Brade and I began discussing Heroic Al’Akir, and more specifically were discussing how a lot of guilds were doing it on 10 man as opposed to 25 due to the relative ease of the encounter  on 10 man.  The pros to taking this approach were plentiful, including getting a set token that can be used for head/shoulders, and getting some experience with the encounter, which would be of benefit for everyone in the guild.  We figured we could take in a solid group to learn the fight over a night or two, and then rotate people in for the fight until we were ready to tackle it on 25s. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted April 25, 2011 by Beruthiel in Hard Modes, Raid Leadership, Raiding

Healing Al’Akir (video guide)   2 comments

I’ve had several people ask me about the Al’Akir encounter in general, and I know that it’s a fight that has been a point of consternation for a number of guilds.  As such, I thought I’d give a shot at a video guide for Al’Akir to see if folks found it helpful.  I know that it’s not a hard mode video, but with so many guilds struggling or skipping the fight, I thought that it still might be relevant and helpful!  Something that I did differently for this guide is that I added some text notes into the encounter for some of the things that I forget to mention in the audio, but think are important to know for the fight.  They will be easiest to read if you watch the video in full screen at one of the higher resolutions.  Just in case they are hard to read, or you can’t watch the video at a larger resolution, I’ve added the notes below as well :)

A few notes!

  • Tranquility – I use tranquility in phase 2 as our stacks start to grow.  However, it’s important to time when you utilize the spell so that you aren’t forced to move right as you start casting.  I have found the best time to use tranquility to be right after a squall line passes, so that you know you will have time for the entire channel.
  • Squall Lines – We have people call out where the gap is in the squall lines and which direction they are coming from.  So, for example, “Right Back” would indicate that there is a squall line coming around from the right side and that the opening in the line is at the back of the line.  Additionally, you can add the debuff “Squall Line” to your raid frames to track who gets picked up in the tornadoes.
  • Movement in Phase 3 – I use “x” to move down (my sit button) and space bar to navigate up.  This works well for me, but if “x” is an awkward or clunky key for you to use, consider rebinding your sit button to another key that is easier for you to navigate.
  • Camera Angle in Phase 3 – I have found the easiest way to manage phase 3 is to adjust my camera so that it’s in line with me, and I’m looking at Al’Akir from the side.  This allows me to easily judge if I am in the proper plane and if I am out of the lightning clouds.
  • Lightning Rod – Raid members affected with lightning rod should move 20 yards to the left or right of the raid (never up, down, forward or backward!).  Once the are out of the raid, make sure they receive heals for the duration of the debuff.  We generally assign the tank healers from phase 1 and 2 to heal the lightning rod targets in phase 3.
I hope that you found this helpful!  Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or feedback!

Also, because I’m really pleased with how it turned out, have a sneak peek at an un-narrated (music) Heroic Omnotron Defense Council video! I should have the narrated guide ready later in the week :)

(In case you can’t tell, I’m learning how to do new and exciting things in the video editing program and having a lot of fun!)

Posted April 23, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Hard Modes, Healing, Raiding, Video

Healing Heroic Halfus (video guide)   3 comments

Halfus Wyrmbreaker is the next in my series of narrated Resto Druid guides.  Halfus is probably the easiest of the thirteen hard modes in this tier of content, and is likely the first one that you will encounter.  I’m actually tank healing for this fight, so it will have a slightly different perspective than the other videos that I’ve done to date.  As always, I’ve added some additional notes below the video :)

A friendly reminder that this video will be viewed best at one of the higher resolutions, and either on YouTube or in full screen.

A few notes!

  • Atonement – In before half the internet corrects me, atonement is FIFTEEN yards.  I mistakenly indicated that it had a sixteen yard range in the video, so have everyone take one step closer.
  • Hand of Protection – You heard me state that I received our “first Hand of Protection”.  I forgot to mention that we HoP a healer for each roar – and if we are out of HoPs our paladins will bubble the roar.
  • Power Word: Barrier – While this isn’t as vital as it was before they changed the mechanics of the encounter, it is still helpful to drop a PW:B under your tanks during the roars.  (The tank tanking Halfus at the time of the roar should also utilize a cooldown as well).
  • Four Dragons? – We only free four of the five dragons (we never free the one that stuns Halfus).  We found that our damage was sufficient with just the 400% buff, and not having to worry about healing two tanks through the roars made them much simpler to deal with.  However, there are benefits to having that last drake active, as the stuns to Halfus to mitigate a fair bit of damage.  (Most people that I know that free him, don’t kill him, just free him after all of the other drakes are dead for the benefit of the stuns).  You will have to decide which strategy works best for your raid team :)
I hope that you found the video helpful!  Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions or feedback!

Posted April 21, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Hard Modes, Healing, Raiding, Video

Monday Musings: There Are Squirrels in the Walls Edition   7 comments

On Being Completely Off-Topic – Most of today’s musings don’t have much of anything to do with WoW, so if you came here looking for something druid, or WoW, related you may want to check back tomorrow!  Today I’m going to talk about the family of squirrels that have been living in the wall of our apartment. 

This whole Squirrel Saga started back on April 1st – which is oddly fitting when you come to think of it.  You see Brade heard what he thought was a squirrel fall down our chimney.  We called the office to inform them that a live squirrel was in our chimney only to be repeatedly told “sorry, we can’t do anything about it until Monday”.  After listening to it bang around and cry for 24 hours, we decided that “waiting until Monday” was insufficient.

The long story short – Brade and I ended up contacting someone to come out and remove the squirrel from the chimney.  Only to find out that it’s not a squirrel that had fallen down our chimney – a momma squirrel had gotten into the wall behind the chimney and had nested.  So there was now a momma squirrel and 3-4 baby squirrels living in the wall behind our chimney.  The banging we heard were the baby squirrels moving around, and the crying we heard were them letting momma know that they were hungry.

Somewhat dissatisfied with how things had gone to date, we figured we’d just get it resolved quickly so that we can move along with our lives.  Only that didn’t happen.  Not only did that not happen, but on my first call with our apartment’s management the woman made me so angry that I immediately called Brade and told him that I wanted to move.  I hate moving.

He told me to wait a day and see how I felt then.

So I waited a day.  In fact, I waited over a week and a half to hear back from the apartment management (who was going to contact me “tomorrow”) on how they were going to resolve this issue.  And still, we heard nothing from them.  Finally Brade called them – deciding that almost two weeks was pretty much sufficient time for them to have gotten back to us.  And after that phone call calm, level headed Brade called me to advise me that “that woman” (the apartment management) was “a piece of work”.   Not only did she deal with him poorly – but she actually hung up on him.  HUNG UP.  On a four year tenant.

Many phone calls later, including a conference call with the apartment management and a conference call to the corporate office, everything is still pretty much unresolved.  Well, that is not entirely true.  Brade and I pretty much resolved to move.  And now, 17 days after the original incident, our resolve to move is still pretty much the only thing that has been sorted out.

We went out this weekend and searched high and low for a new place to call “home” and were fortunate enough to  find a new place (squirrel free!  and with 24 hours maintenance 7 days a week!), where we will be moving at the end of May.  (Oh God – the packing).

Why am I telling you this?  Partly because the saga of the Squirrel has been dominating my life for the past 17 days.  (No, really, it’s driving me nuts!).  But mostly because I wanted to let you know that if I’m somewhat sporadic over the next month it’s because I’m packing, scheduling the appropriate appointments, and pretty much in a constant state of panic about the upcoming move. 

If you email me, it may take me longer than usual to get back to you, so please don’t be offended!  The same will probably go for replying to comments the closer it gets to our move date.  Also if I seem grouchier than usual – don’t take it personally!  Just blame the damn squirrels!

(Oh, I suppose there is some WoW thoughts after the break…if you’ve made it with me this far!) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted April 18, 2011 by Beruthiel in /rant, Guest Post, Off-Topic, Raiding

Healing Heroic Maloriak (video guide)   6 comments

Continuing on with the narrated guides for this tier of content, I asked several places what people would like to see next – and almost universally everyone responded with Maloriak.  So I tackled Maloriak next, and you’ll find the video below.  I actually think that I remembered most everything this time, but did realize that I forgot to give a note about healing assignments so I’ve again added a few additional notes below.

Another friendly reminder that this video will be viewed best at one of the higher resolutions, and either on YouTube or in full screen.

Just a few things to mention:

  • Breaking Down the Healing Assignments - we assign two full time healers to the Maloriak tank, the same resto druid/holy paladin combo that you saw heal for Magmaw.  We assign one healer responsible for keeping up the swill tank – who will also heal him while he’s tanking the aberrations (Usually a resto druid or shaman).  And one healer to heal the second aberration tank (usually our disc priest).  Both of the aberration healers also assist with healing the raid.  We have three healer assigned full time to the raid, who will also assist with the Maloriak tank during Engulfing Darkness (usually a holy priest, resto druid and resto shaman).  All of the healers help cross heal during key parts of the encounter as needed.
  • Barkskin - this is another encounter where there are lots of optimal barkskin moments.  Scorching Blast, Consuming Flames, Ice Blocks, anytime in phase 2.
I hope that you found the video helpful!  Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have feedback or questions!

Posted April 16, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Hard Modes, Raiding, Video

Healing Heroic Magmaw (Video Guide)   11 comments

I received a lot of positive feedback from my first attempt at a narrated guide (thank you, everyone!), so I’ve been working through some of the other encounters that I’ve taken footage for and have started adding commentary to them as well.  The next encounter that I decided to tackle was Heroic Magmaw, and you’ll find the video below.  As I did with the Chimaeron guide, I realized after I’d finished recording that I forgot to mention a few things in the commentary so I’ve added a few notes additional notes below.

Just a friendly reminder that this video will be viewed best at one of the higher resolution, and probably a tad larger.  Because of the way wordpress auto embeds, I’ve yet to find a way to embed the videos in a larger viewing size.

A few notes that I forgot to mention in the video (one of these times I’ll say everything I mean to say!)

  • Tree of Life – I mentioned that I use ToL fairly early in the encounter, but then don’t talk about when I utilize it after that.  The answer is pretty much every time it comes off of cooldown, as long as we aren’t in a head phase.  There is constant damage in the fight, so you will generally always be able to maximize using it.
  • Barkskin – Something that I forgot to mention is that using barkskin for as many of the lava spews as you can will really help mitigate a lot of damage.
  • Power Word: Barrier – While not druid related, I meant to mention that while our disc priests bubble the ranged and healers, we do drop barriers on the melee for lava spew as often as we can.  This is a little less important since the hotfixes went in, as the melee are no longer in a constant state of being barbequed, but the mitigation is still extremely helpful!

I hope that you found the video helpful!  Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any feedback or questions!

Posted April 13, 2011 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Hard Modes, Healing, Raiding

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