Monday Musings – Mistakes Edition   23 comments

Monday.  You know, I often ponder why everyone hates Monday so much.  Sure, it’s the start of a new week.  Sure, it means that the long haul to the weekend is just beginning.  But I think I’d love it if someone had a much more positive outlook regarding Mondays.  How about a TGIM button?  No?  Alright, fine.  I suppose instead I’ll offer my (somewhat) weekly brain dump here.  RIGHT AFTER I GO TO KINKO’S FOR TGIM BUTTONS FOR YOU ALL!

On Raiding and Mistakes

We did well this week, and I’m quite pleased with how we performed.  Mostly.  We snagged a heroic Shannox kill in roughly 10 pulls on Wednesday night and then started to put some work on Heroic Rhyolith Thursday evening.  It did not go as well as we’d have liked it to go, and it was clear that we needed to shore some things up in our strategy.  So there was lots of conversation about what to fix, how to fix it, etc.  And we decided that we’d take two hours of time on Sunday to continue working Rhyolith.

This is where the mistakes come in.

The plan was to work Rhyolith for the first two hours of our five hour raid night.  Then move along to the other two bosses we had up before Rag: Baleroc and Staghelm.  We figured the two of those should take and hour, and that would leave us a decent bit of time for Rag on Sunday – and clean up with him Monday if need be.  Only after a 10% wipe on Heroic Rhyolith – we decided to push him a little bit longer on Heroic.  Only about 30 minutes.  But it was still 30 minutes.  Of course then when we flipped him to normal mode, which should have been a walk in the park after two nights of heroic work, we fumbled and required a few pulls for the kill.

I know, wtf, right?

No big.  We got him, let the raid know that we really need to get some time in on Rag tonight and ask that everyone put on their A-game hats as we move forward.  Except it didn’t go as smoothly as planned.  Baleroc started very poorly.  In fact, I was actually shocked at this, as we have an extremely strong healing team.  After motivating the healers to eat their wheaties, we get him down.  But it took significantly longer than anticipated.

I look at the clock and feel a small wave of panic.

We move to Staghelm.  Our first pull was damn near a kill (I can’t remember now exactly what went wrong) but then we stumbled for a couple of pulls before finally getting him down.  10 minutes before our raid is set to end.  FUCK.  Well, Beru, way to go.  You did not plan this well at all.  (Or I had too much confidence in how long it would take for repeat kills, take your pick).    We managed to reclear everything, which was great.  But I felt that we really, truly needed a night and a half to ensure a rag kill.

I made a mistake.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have given us the extra time on Heroic Rhyolith.  But I really didn’t think we’d take as long as we did on Baleroc and Shannox.  And the raid truly seemed to want to push Heroic Rhyolith.  But I wanted to prioritize a 25 man Rag kill this week (recall earlier post about holiday week raiding).  And I screwed it up. 

We still have a full raid night.  But with there being a week between when the raid team was there last and tonight, I’m quite nervous about that being enough time.  I left the raid last night with a plea for everyone to realize the importance of tonight’s raid.  For everyone to refresh themselves on the encounter, watch videos, walk through what they will be doing on the fight as they review.  But I’m nervous.  I’m nervous we aren’t going to reach this goal because I made a mistake.  Sure, it’s debatable that it was a “mistake”.  Sure, I’m likely being too hard on myself.  But it’s important to me – and I misallocated the time needed to meet the goals that were set.

Hell, maybe I’m worried over nothing.  Perhaps we will walk in and do an amazing job and that will be that.  But if we don’t…I’m going to be a bit disappointed.  Not in my raid team, but more in myself for not planning as well as I ought to have done.  No, it’s not the end of the world.  Worse shit can and has happened.  I won’t lose sleep over it – but I’ll do my best to make sure I don’t make the same mistake again next week.  I suppose that is all that you can ask for, isn’t it?  Learning from your mistakes?


On Being Grateful

One of the things that I don’t know that I say enough (here or anywhere for that matter) is how grateful I am that my guild has continued to be strong and push forward.  Even through the rough times.  Every week you hear of or see another guild that has collapsed under the weight of WoW’s 6th year and third expansion.  And I’ve never really acknowledged how grateful I am that it isn’t my guild.  That we’ve had the fortitude to keep pushing forward.  It hasn’t always been easy, and I don’t anticipate the road growing any smoother the further down it we travel.  But it’s definitely something that is worth acknowledging.

In fact, any guild that survived T11 in tact deserves a huge pat on the back.  That, in and of itself, was a feat larger that any internet dragon that was killed.


On Alts

Dannie did her first Firelands alt run this weekend.  We managed to snag kills on Shannox, Rhyolith and Beth’tilac.  Not too shabby for a few hours of work!  I didn’t find that I had any real huge mana problems with her, but I also made a concerted effort to be smart about how I healed in light of the changes.

As for my other alts?  Well, not a whole lot is happening on that front.  My hands are still bothering me a bit and after Elentari, I’m not quite ready to jump back into the leveling game just yet.  I feel the itch starting – but it’s got a bit before I feel the need to scratch it.


On Harry Potter

We are going to see it at the Adult Only theater on Friday night.  I’d tell you if you spoiled it for me, I’d have to hurt you, but I’ve read the damn book.  I know how it’s going to end.  So, you know, whatever.  I’m looking forward to the final installment of the movie, and I’m quite tempted to pick up and read through the books again as it’s been awhile!


On Reading

I just finished up some Harry Dresden short stories in preparation for the newest installment of the Dresden Series here in a week or so.  However, in the interim, I’ve started reading the Song of Fire and Ice/Game of Thrones series.  They were recommended to me by a friend and I had put them on my “when I’m out of things to read” list.  But I got hooked on the series on HBO over the holiday weekend – and it didn’t take me too long to realize that the series was based on of the books that my friend had recommended.  I’ve picked up the first one and have high hopes for the others!


What have all of you been up to?

23 responses to “Monday Musings – Mistakes Edition

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  1. Definitely being too hard on yourself! You feel as though you know what your group is capable of and when they don’t quite meet those expectations, it’s easy to say “damn, I should have anticipated that!”. So you’ll know for next time that when time is of the essence, your raid group may not quite meet what you expected. Just account for that. It varies hugely, of course, and sometimes they’ll surprise you (like maybe tonight?), but I’ve learned to learn from these timing issues and take them into account for next time. My raid group is NOT good under the pressure of a clock. “We have to clear this whole instance tonight” is bad for motivating them. “Relax, take it easy, you’ve done this 20 times before” is much better.

    So don’t blame yourself for not anticipating some issues on new content. Just file it away. 🙂

    I also second your gratitude for getting through T11 and that my guild isn’t one of those who has folded. It’s miraculous to me every single raid night. 🙂

    • I know sometimes things are out of my hands…I just have a hard time accepting it!

      We ended up doing an amazing job, and my raid team continues to astound me night after night. 🙂

      If I never see another tier as gruelling as T11, I think I’ll die a happy druid!

  2. Don’t get too worried about your “mistake.” It wasn’t a mistake, you just didn’t meet your goal for that raid. I’ve done it plenty of times and it’s usually the hardest decisions during the week for a raid leader. “How long do we work on X before moving on to finish”.

    Going to have one of those this week (maybe) when it comes to Heroic Shannox vs a Ragnaros 25 kill.

    • We ended up doing really well and pulling it through, so I was all worked up and stressed for nothing as it turns out! But it really is very hard to try to plan as best you can with limited time. We don’t have the option of saying “and tonight we will raid until our fingers fall off, or we kill him, whichever comes first!”. I’m OK with that – but it doesn’t make it easier when you start to wonder if you made a bad decision 🙂 Of course – I know I’m preaching to the choir here! I’ll just sing real pretty!

      Good luck on both Shannox and Rag!

  3. By the way, the next time you decide to not go those extra 30 minutes, you’ll one shot everything and finish your raid week a day early.

    That’s just how things go. 🙂

  4. Beru! Spoiling things for yourself again?? When will you learn! 😉

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the raid schedule. I mean, you did your job by having a timeline / guideline IN MIND when your raid went in. Beyond that, some things are simply out of your control! Expectations are great to lay out and plan, but sometimes there are curveballs and unexpected snags. Don’t stress over them!


      Ah, the best laid plans, haha. It turns out all my stress was for nothing, we managed to get the big guy down regardless of all of the disconnect hurdles that were thrown at us! It was an ugly kill, for sure, but those are the most exciting first kills are they not?!

  5. Sounds like you’re in the same situation as my guild. H Shannox was easy, so we figured H Rhyolith would be too. Two raids later, and we’re left with no H Rhyolith kill and both Staghelm and Rag alive. We weren’t even able to kill Rhyolith on normal because we ran out of time last night. -.- We only have 1 raid left, and because we don’t have 25 man experience on Staghelm, I’m worried we won’t get a full clear this week.

    It rough, but at least it’s not quite the same pressure as last week’s “we HAVE to kill Ragnaros or else we can’t do heroics” craziness.

    • We had no misconceptions that H Rhyolith would be easy. I mean he LOOKED easy when you watch all those kill videos, but a lot of those early guilds are at a level of play and execution that they make what is hard look easy! 🙂 I’m hopeful that we will be able to snag Rhyolith early this week and then start work on Beth’tilac – but we will see! Those stupid feet have a mind of their own!

      I hope you were able to get Staghelm alright!

  6. Beru, you are being too hard on yourself! 🙂 Now, *I* can say that, I raid, I love raiding, it’s awesome, but I have never considered going at it like you do, with heroic modes and all, you are much more into it and serious about it than I am. Just don’t think you have to grind through every thing in just a couple of weeks, after all, this is our ONE raid to last until 4.3, so don’t burn it all and then have nothing to do!.

    Heh, of course, while saying that, I’m wishing my guild would get it a little MORE in gear.. it’s summer, with all the consequences thereof, our GL is looking for a house so not on much, and we really need a few more good people to hit it hard (our latest heal app is somewhat unappealing), but two weeks of trash runs and some work on Shannox are beginning to wear quite thin. I wants some boss action, some loots and/or some of the mats to make the lovely boots I’ve been drooling over.

    I’m a bundle of contradictions, I freely admit it. 🙂

    • Summer is so hard on raiding. So hard. I hope you guys are able to get some more work in on Shannox soon!

      Mostly, my goal for this content patch is to get through the content quickly enough that we can have some down time and a small breather before the next content patch! Even if it’s just a couple/three weeks 🙂

  7. Trying to plan out time needed for bosses is always a pain in the ass. It always seems to end up being either too much or not enough.

    Enjoy the GRRM ASoIF books. Don’t let yourself get too bogged down in the first book; there’s so much character introduction for tons of characters and all the politics. All the books are good, but I enjoyed the ones after the first a lot better.

    • I don’t think I would have been sooooo stressed about it if it hadn’t been wanting to get the 25s kill driving me. Turns out I was worried for naught – we went in last night and pushed phase 3 in like our 3rd pull. We then had rotating disconnects (the internet was conspiring against us, I swear!), but manage to get him down AND have time to go in and kill Cho’gall for his meta achievement 🙂

      I’m really enjoying the book so far – it’s not at “can’t put down” stages yet, but I do find myself picking it up and reading frequently when I have down time!

  8. I have also been reading A Game of Thrones 🙂 I’ve seen a lot of people on the train on the way to work reading it too, and I keep hearing rave reviews about the TV series. It’s got itself a bit of a following here in Aus it seems! I’m reluctant to watch the series before I finish reading the books though.

    • The TV series is only the first book, at least season 1 anyhow! So once you finish book 1 you are probably all set to watch the series! I watched the series first, and am still enjoying the books 🙂

  9. Hi Beru!
    While I read your MM post as usual (and agree, stop being so hard on yourself, you guys are kicking ass!) I’m going to be honest and say this comment has a personal agenda and is very much a drive-by cry for “HALLLLP”.
    I’m really desperate for some healer advice for my 25 man raiding team. We’ve totally hit a wall with Beleroc – I don’t understand what is going on because we have a great healing team. I know you are ultra-busy with your own guild progression, but I really trust your advice and always find it easy to follow and in-turn, pass on.. I’ve spent hours researching videos/info for this fight for my healers, writing up assignments and breakdowns and nothing is helping. Morale is so low and the entire raid team have their fingers point in our direction at the moment – it’s not fun.
    I keep hitting refresh on your page every hour hoping there will be a magical Beleroc guide waiting for me, lol.

    Do you have any suggestions or advice? Anything that springs to mind that might have had you guys ‘stuck’ on this fight? Is there anything huge I could be overlooking? I’m honestly desperate >< I'm healing lead and while I feel I have my head around the fight ok, something is going very wrong for us.
    Any advice you could spare would be extremely appreciated.

    • Hey Blix!

      I’m actually hoping to have a video guide for Baleroc up at some point tonight/tomorrow morning along with my power auras for the fight. (I need to do the recording for it, so it’s just a matter of getting it done tonight and then rendering the video and uploading it!). However, in the interim, let me see if I can lay out our strategy for the fight.

      First and formost, for the healers to do their jobs, the DPS with the torment stacks needs to effectively do their job as well. If they don’t, it’s going to be hard for healers to gain stacks of sparks! The way that we handle this is to make 6 groups – three melee groups and three ranged groups. Each group as two people (so 12 DPS total). We make sure that each group has one person that has the ability to hold torment longer than 9 seconds (DKs, Moonkin, S Priests, Feral Druids, Warlocks). Then what we do is assign an order for the torment shards. There will be two shards up each time they spawn – and there will be one melee group and one ranged group that deals with each shard spawn. One person will hold the shard for ~9 seconds, and the other will hold it until it ends (one of those listed above). Rotate your three groups out as each shard set spawns, and make sure they have good communication about swappping.

      It’s important that your ranged stay relatively close together (your healers should be near the ranged as well) so that torment shards dont’ spawn in BFE. Additionally, we have the melee all start on the left foot and then move to the right foot once the shard spawns, save the person who is supposed to take that first torment. Then rotate that for each spark.

      Next let me talk about the tanks (I’ll get to the healing! Honest!).

      We use a “fire weapon tank” and a “decimation taunt tank”. The decimation tank starts the fight, and holds the boss until he’s at ~250k life. Then the main tank will taunt the boss back. The taunt tank will take the boss everytime he uses decimation – and the main tank will take it back to build stacks in between. Now, and this is pretty key, the first two decimations can very hard to deal with if they come early because healers don’t have a lot of spark stacks and aren’t pushing huge numbers and able to get the tank topped off. We solve this problem by having a LoH rotation for the decimation tank for the first two decimates. We use a Ret paladin (Do not have him take torment stacks, because it causes reduced healing) and have our Prot Paladin LoH for the first two decimations – you can have holy paladins do it as well, just know that it may throw off their rotation for gaining sparks. Not a huge deal, but something to consider. However, the LoH to stabilize the tank on those early decimations is a life saver.

      Additionally, if one of your two tanks is a prot paladin and you have him as the flame/main tank he can sac the decimation tank and that tank will take reduced damage. THe MT has so much life that the damage back to him pretty much only tickles – but do note that this will only work if it’s the tank using sac, as it will kill a holy or ret paladin.

      Onto the healing!

      We use 7 healers. We break the healers into three groups – one group of three and two groups of two. We call them group 1, group 2 and group 3.

      The group of three (group 1) will always start on the tanks (as there are three healers). The other two groups will start with healing torment. After about 15-20 seconds of the first shard spawning group 2 switches to the tanks (decimation possible here) and group 1 starts healing torment. At 3 seconds left on group 2’s Flame (I’m in group 2), the call is made for group 3 to heal the tanks. Group 2 switches back to torment. ~12-13 seconds in the call is made for group 1 to switch to the tanks and group 3 swaps to heal torment. We rinse and repeat this. (Note that I’m not johnny on the spot with calling switches for anyone but group 2 – as I can see my own timers. I do my best, but sometimes one of the groups will be on the tank longer. It’s not the end of the world, but do try to be somewhat consistent so that everyone can build sparks equally).

      Now, sometimes with a decimation or towards the end of the fight when the damage is really high, we will overlap so that there are two groups healing the tanks and only one stacking torment for tank stability. I do try to limit this, and only have one group on the tanks at a time, but sometimes I do put two groups on the tank and then stagger them back off.

      The next trick is building spark stacks. This is important. You want to build stacks as quickly as you can, so you want to use a faster heal on the torment target to build stacks. It’s tricky because you also do not want to run out of mana. So use haste buffs and whatnot to help you get stacks faster. I’m not 100% sure what other classes use, but here is how I heal:

      I start with stacking LB and putting a rejuv on the Decimation tank (that’s who starts the pull). I then Rejuv the MT and the first two targets for torment, so that I have nature’s bounty effecting my nourish, bringing it down to a very cheap 1.3 second direct heal. While I am healing torment targets, I spam them with nourish – trying to remember to keep Rejuv up on at least 3 people and refreshing lifebloom on the tank. I will toss a regrowth on the torment targets when OoC procs.

      When I swap to healing the tank, I will use a quick direct heal or a swiftmend to get my flames debuff straight away. I will then attempt the following rotation: Spam HT on the tank for the first 10 – 11 seconds. The last 4-5 seconds before my flames wear off I refresh my HoTs on both tanks, so that they get the increased healing from flames even after I’ve moved off the tanks. I will use trinkets, time NG or berserk (If I remember…) as I HoT the tanks and/or SM so that they get extra ticks from the extra haste. I will also ToL during a tank heal rotation for the healing boost.

      When I swap back to torment targets, I try to remember to put up a third rejuv for hasted nourish.

      Rinse and repeat.

      I am sure that other classes have their tips and tricks for stacking sparks and healing the tank – however for tank healing, I believe eveyrone wants to start with their largest direct heals and at ~3 swap to faster heals so that they don’t inadvertantly reset their flames debuff and are able to swap back to stack sparks again.

      Also, don’t be afraid to rez a fallen tank during the fight as they will retain their buff from Baleroc through death.

      I hope that helps some! I will try to get my video up tonight along with my power auras. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions!

      • Hey Beru!
        Thanks for your amazingly detailed response – I can’t believe the amount of effort you put into it and really appreciate it. I’ve meant to respond sooner but time has gotten in the way.

        Thankfully I read the response to this post about 2 hours before our raid, and guess what – we downed him in 3 attempts. Thankfully we were already using the basics of the strat you outlined but we had two prot warriors. As I had described to you in my first comment, it was seemingly the healers that were the only ones that were screwing up (in the fear of sounding conceited, my healing team is awesome and I rarely feel we can’t handle stuff, which is why I was so desperate/frazzled)

        Anyway, one thing I gained from your post was that for our starting swap, we were calling it faaaar too early, I think we were panicky. Also, for some odd reason we weren’t away that the burning flame was refreshing itself when healers were on tanks, which was screwing up our swaps even further (it seems so stupid now looking back on it, but ahh well, lol). Once we waited a bit longer for the initial swap, then followed the 15 second vital flame countdown, it picked up drastically. We went from barely seeing 65% to a 4% wipe then our kill was very clean!
        Having some direction from your comment really helped me and also, I had the a little bit of time to get all the healers watch your Baleroc post during out ‘break time’. I think it made them sit back and think about what spells they were using a bit more too, which would have also helped a lot.

        On a personal front, I also play a resto druid and followed your tips as closesly as I good. I must say I wasn’t overly impressed with my own performance – I think I was just really stressed about what everyone was doing and calling the swaps etc. The 3 rejuvs seem to help a bit though, but nourish still feels so sluggy and pumping out too many regrowths was making me cringe. I didn’t get anywhere near your stack amount, but I will hopefully polish it up a bit more next week as I’m sure our kill will be easier now that everyone’s confidence has been boosted.

        Also another thing I found that was really throwing me off, was I had grid setup to show both the ‘torment’ and tormented’ debuffs. They look very similar and when I removed the ‘tormented’ one things became far more simple and I was able to zero-in on my targets much faster ( as the fight progressed the kill order became more memorable which was good!)

        Anyways, I can’t thank you enough for both the response to my comment and your guide – it helped us an incredible amount.
        On to the firebird >< lol!

        I hope yourself and Monolith are doing well! I can't wait for more video guides =)

    • I also forgot to mention…for what it’s worth I was at 167 stacks on our kill this week using my OH GOD NOURISH SPAM. All of our healers were able to push over 100 stacks.

  10. I think you’re doing a great job. You’re respectful, insightful, and you care about your team. You’re also taking responsibility, which at times can be hard to see in our mostly anonymous World of WoW.

    What have I been up to?

    Well, I’ve been doing the Fireland Dailies on Zwingli. But, I’ve also been moonlighting as a Tankadin on a different server. It’s been a lot of fun. I actually got a compliment last night, one that has really stuck with me. A healer, one whom I respect, told me that I did a really good job. She even broke it down a little bit, telling me what I was doing well in particular. I was stunned, totally blown away. I mean, I’ve been a huntard for so long, I’m just not used to compliments. Then, to think that I actually “may” have done well as a tank?! I almost fell out my chair. So, it has been a good patch for me thus far.


  11. I was wondering sense your feet is well into firelands if you was going to post your new Power Auras for firelands?

  12. I will be waiting patiently. Though here are some good ones, that have been compiled together thus far from other people.

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