Archive for the ‘Raid Leadership’ Category

Mailbag: Spirit Gear For DPS   23 comments

I received an email yesterday looking for some advice on how spirit gear should be handled when there is both a healer and a DPS that can make use of the item.  Since this is an issue that I think many guilds probably have to deal with on a regular basis, I thought it would be interesting to see how everyone handles spirit loot.  Below I’m going to provide the question as well as my response to the question.  But then I’d love to hear your take on the issue as well.

The Question

(Please note that I’ve taken the liberty of changing some specifics to generalities in both the question and my reply).

Last night we had a spirit item drop that both a healer and a DPS could use.  The healer and the DPS rolled… and the healer won.  After the raid a number of us were on vent and there was more talk about the DPS rolling on spirit gear.

 Our guild leader thinks it’s important to think about what is needed for the best of the raid and that healers need to get the gear first.  I, personally, have a serious problem with dps rolling on spirit gear and then also rolling on gear without spirit on it.   It just seems like double dipping on two loot tables when the healer only has one loot table to roll on. 

I went to EJ to see if there was a clearly defined answer to the question, and wasn’t able to find one.  However, what I did find was a note that said just because you CAN roll on spirit gear doesn’t mean you SHOULD.  Of course, the same note then also listed the contested item as BiS for this DPS class, so I’m trying to figure out how to deal with this situation when it comes up again in future raids.

What is your guild’s take on this?

My Answer

We open spirit gear up to: Moonkin, Elemental Shaman and Shadow Priests, as well as our healers and everyone is pretty much on equal footing for it.  Largely because so much of the gear is shared, and a lot of the spirit gear is also BiS for the DPS classes as well as the healers.

That being said, we do ask everyone to know what is BiS for them gearwise, and take that into account when they are asking for an item.  Sometimes when we are trying to decide where to award an item, we will ask the DPS class where it falls in their gear list before awarding it and take that into consideration.  If it’s an item that is BiS for them, and they won’t be replacing it with something else down the line, it’s equally open for them.  We don’t not award it to a DPS just because a healer wants it as well.  The converse is also true, however – I received my BiS weapon from Magmaw over a DPS, even though the weapon does not have spirit on it.

The only people that we really ever favor gearing up over others are our tanks – and only to a small degree.  In my opinion gearing your DPS is equally important as gearing your healers because DPS pushing a boss down faster will also make an encounter easier.  We really try very hard to gear our raid team equally, so that every member has equal gear to perform their job and so that our raid team grows at the same rate.

The item you referenced is really tricky, mostly because there are very limited options for that gear slot.  Because of the lack of options, and the fact that the DPS can make good use from the spirit on the item that did drop (and is his BiS), I probably would have given him equal opportunity to receive it.

As for looking forward – I would probably just ask your DPS to know what spirit options are good for them (they will have some BiS gear that contains spirit), and ask them to refrain from rolling on spirit gear that isn’t BiS for them unless your healers don’t need the item.  I think that should be a reasonable compromise on both ends, as it lets your DPS have an equal opportunity for gear upgrades that contain spirit, but also doesn’t put your healers in a bad spot either.

Regardless of my advice – I’m curious how other people handles spirit gear within their raid teams.  We have always been open and aware of “BiS” for people that may be “unconventional” – such as leather for warriors and cloth for shaman/druids in prior raid tiers.  We have always accepted that BiS is what it is, and trust that our raiders have spent the time to research their gear before asking for loot.  I’m curious, though, if we are just really open-minded in this respect.  What is your take on this topic?  If this email had come to you, how would you have responded?

Posted April 19, 2011 by Beruthiel in Community, Deep Thoughts, eh?, Raid Leadership

Sometimes It’s The Little Things   2 comments

I don’t think that it is unusual to have periods where you are frustrated with your guild.  In fact, I’d probably say that if you don’t experience these times you are probably living in denial of said frustration!  I think that frustrations have possibly run higher than usual in this tier of content: it’s a huge step up in difficulty, the hard modes are fairly unforgiving, and there is a lot of content to push through – which can be somewhat overwhelming.

I am likely not alone when I admit there are nights where I want to strangle my raid team.  Or when I admit that there are nights when I feel like I am perpetually giving my monitor the finger.   But I recognize that often times it’s so easy to focus on everything that is going “wrong” and forget to give equal attention to all of the things that are going “right”.  And often times it’s the little things that you forget to appreciate and notice.

Last night I had one of those moments where it was the little things that reminded me why I love my guild.

We’ve had a pretty good raid week the past couple of weeks.  We’ve cleared most of the content pretty efficiently, and have started working on Heroic Nef.  Last night we cleared just about all of the content we had left – and still had almost two hours of raid time.  So we decided to go ahead and head down and poke and Nef a little bit more – with some very specific goals on where we wanted to focus our time and improvements.  We took about 5 or 6 pulls, and in that short amount of time we made what I feel was some pretty significant progress on the encounter. 

But that isn’t the small thing that really made my night.

I mean, progress is always awesome.  But it’s also what I go into every raid expecting.  Rather it was what we did in the last 30 minutes of the raid that really made me appreciate some of the little things.  We decided after a bit of wiping on Nef that it might be good fun to go and tear up Stormwind a little bit (and idea I got from someone on Twitter).  Now, we’ve done other “fun” things to try and shake up the raid and engage people – and these activities are met with differing levels of excitement by the raid.  Some people love them, some not so much.

So when we announced that we would be heading to SW for the last 20 minutes or so of our raid, I had expected a few people to grumble or comment on how it was a waste of our time and ask if they could head out early.  Only that didn’t happen.  Not even close

What did happen was people seemed to get…excited.  We had people go fetch their PvP gear and vent got very chatty.  Several people asked if I would be FRAPing the run to put up on the website, and started offering suggestions for the music for the video clip.  We chuckled as we all tried to navigate the new and improved Stormwind (I’ve got to say – Garrosh hired the better interior decorator).  Even after we went in to meet with Mr. Wrynn – and were greeted by at least 100 Alliance and had our collective asses handed to us, people continued to enjoy the experience. 

There was much laughter as we watched an achievement for killing 2500 alliance in a capital city scroll across our screens – and even more laughter by those who hung around Org once we returned to our home town as we watched the alliance attempt to retaliate.

The simple fact that no one complained about our adventure, and that everyone truly seemed to have fun really just made my night.  I didn’t have to feel guilty about making a bad call.  I didn’t have to worry if someone was unhappy that we didn’t spend those last 20 minutes on another two Nef pulls.  And in all honesty – I think the kick back and opportunity to blow off some steam was good for everyone.

Sometimes the little things can really have a lot more value than the big ones.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember to appreciate all of the little things – but it is important to remember them!  What little things have impacted you?

A Little Elbow Grease   11 comments

When I was a kid my parents had the Easter Bunny deliver me my very first two wheel bike for Easter one year.  They had probably saved for months to be able to afford it, and had likely stayed up until three in the morning assembling it – complete with training wheels, banana seat and flowered basket on the front.  My dad took me out that day and helped me up on it, and watched me wheel around completely in love with the gift.

After a period of time, it was decided that I had become proficient enough that it was time to take the training wheels off of the bike, and let me have a go on my own.  I remember my dad running behind me holding onto the back of the seat as I peddled furiously.  Knowing that he wouldn’t let me fall off the bike, I felt uninhibited.  I was a big girl now, look at me go! 

Of course, it was only a short time after, as I peddling around in a circle around the parking lot, that I looked over and saw my dad on the far side of the lot waving at me.  It took my mind a bit to connect that if Dad was standing over there waving at me, he most definitely wasn’t holding onto the back of the seat anymore and I was riding the “big girl” bike all by myself!  Yes!

Days went by, and then weeks, and I went out and rode my new bike around the parking lot (by myself!) without incident.  Mom or dad, or sometimes even the friendly neighbor lady from upstairs would keep an eye on me and cheer me on as I peddled along, content as could be. 

And then one day it happened.

I mean, it was bound to happen, right?  You dont learn to ride a bike without a scraped knee here and there.  But up to this point, I’d never really fallen off of my bike.  Truth be told, this is probably a very good thing because I’ve always pretty much been a wuss.  However, it was inevitable that at some point I was going to take a spill.  And sure enough, I did.  But not only did I manage to take a spill, I somehow managed to fall into a parked car with a dented bumper (only me…).  A scraggly thing, with sharp edges.

In addition to scraping my knee, I cut a massive gash in my right index finger on the bumper of the parked car.  And it bled.  Profusely.  And I panicked and started screaming, sending my mom, dad and the neighbor lady from upstairs on a mad dash to see what had happened to me.  As parents do, they got me all patched up, and calmed me down.  The cut was bad enough that I still have the scar on my finger to this day – but I also still have my finger

Of course, the entire incident shattered my confidence and I refused to ride my bike again unless my dad would come out with me and make sure I didn’t fall off again.  In fact, I was so terrified of falling off of the bike that I would constantly look over my shoulder to make sure that he was still there and hadn’t pulled his trick shenanigans making me think he was there but really not.

However, as time passed, so did my fear of falling off the bike again.  I regained my confidence and was eventually back to peddling my way to glory all on my own.  To this day I’m still terrified of falling off of my bike, I am still a giant wuss, but those things don’t stop me from getting on a bike.  I didn’t quit just because I fell down, in fact my parents made it a point to make sure I didn’t quit by dusting me off and putting me back on the bike – even if I needed the security of my Dad’s help for a bit.

Hey Beru, great story!  But this is a WoW blog, what exactly does this have to do with anything?

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Posted April 8, 2011 by Beruthiel in /rant, Deep Thoughts, Raid Leadership, Raiding

The 14th Mile   6 comments

Someone once told me that raid progression should be treated as a marathon.  That at the end of the race it didn’t matter where you placed, just that you crossed the finish line.  This really hit home with me, and in a lot of ways I agree with this philosophy.  Raiding is about endurance and stamina.  It’s about accepting a challenge, recognizing that it will challenge you and working with a team to overcome that challenge.

But what I’d like to start some conversation on today is what to do when you are halfway through that race and your legs start to turn to jelly – and if you’ve ever done any kind of competitive sport you likely know exactly what I’m talking about.  I was a distance swimmer.  For me when my legs started to go numb I constantly reminded myself to kick – one two three, one two three.  I stopped looking at the markers at the end of the lane and thinking about how much more I had to go because they became daunting – and I took the race one lap at a time.

The problem that I’m struggling with right now, however, is what do you do when your raiding legs start to turn to jelly.  How do you motivate your team to “KICK” halfway through the race?  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted March 29, 2011 by Beruthiel in Deep Thoughts, Raid Leadership, Raiding

Monday Musings: Is Nature’s Bounty Worth It Edition   7 comments

Be Warned, this is a fairly long Monday Musings! I’ve been so busy that I’ve not been posting with the frequency that I normally do, so I have a million things floating around in my head to get out!

On 4.0.6 Resto Druid Specs, or Is Nature’s Bounty Worth It…

For the sake of science I decided to try out a spec with Nature’s Bounty in it for this week’s raids. Here is what I went with. I will admit that while I really liked it on Heroic Chimaeron, I found it lack luster in a lot of other places, especially on Nefarion where I thought it would really shine in phase 2. This leaves me questioning if it was worth the loss of points from Furor to pick it up.

I’ve also seen a lot of other specs floating around out there, some drop LS and Efflorescence, some drop a point or two in GotEM, some drop Nature’s Cure and Nature’s Swiftness. And even considering all of those other options to find the points for Nature’s Bounty – I’m still not sure that it’s worth it. Personally, I just can’t give up my cleanses or Nature’s Swiftness. I get that some folks are comfortable with that decision, I am not.

The most common arguments that I hear for dropping other things to pick up Nature’s Bounty are that the other talents just aren’t competitive with Nature’s Bounty. In this light, a lot of people seem to be giving up efflorescence to pick it up, stating the efflorescence just doesn’t heal enough for 3 talent points into it. So I decided to look at my numbers for the past few raids that I’ve had Nature’s Bounty in my spec to see exactly what benefit it provides and how it performs

Even though I’m including my Regrowth numbers – they are a bit misleading as I would have still cast those regrowths, just now perhaps I had more crits from them. So when you see the regrowth numbers, take them with a grain of salt because they don’t really accurately reflect the healing I’m attributing to them. Really, all that is gained are a few more crits – so when trying to evaluate them for Nature’s Bounty’s vs. Efflorescence purposes the values are somewhat inflated.

If we look at my Heroic Chimaeron kill – where I felt that I got the most bang for my buck with Nature’s Bounty and really tried to weave nourishes in, Efflorescence accounted for 5.3% (361,226) of my healing – where nourish accounted for a whopping 2.8% (192,413) of my healing. Let’s go ahead and throw in Living Seed at 1.1% since I have to waste points there to get to Efflorescence. And we can look at my Regrowth crits (I had 34 of them) since presumably they’d be higher – bringing Regrowth to account for 3.00% of my overall healing done. When all is said and done – Living Seed + Efflorescence accounted for 6.4% of my overall healing and Regrowth + Nourish was only 5.8% of my healing. And that was with my really trying to give Nourish a fair shake.

Now, I know you are thinking that Chimaeron is a “perfect” fight for Efflorescence, and boosts the numbers. And that’s a “best” scenario. And I hear you. So let’s look at my Atremedes normal kill then. Efflorescence was 5.4% of my overall healing, regrwoth was 3.2%, living seed came in at 1.6% and nourish was a weak .8%. Again this puts Efflorescence + the lackluster living seed at 7% of my total healing and regrowth and nourish at only 4%. Although to be fair, with all the movement in this encounter nourish isn’t really super stealer, even with its 1.5 second cast time.

Ok, I hear what you are thinking now “but all of those encounters have SO much raid damage that efflorescence really shines”. I agree! So I thought “ok, let me find an encounter without a lot of raid damage”. And you know what? THEY DON’T EXIST! You know what else? This is even truer in Heroic Mode! There wasn’t a single encounter where there weren’t times that the raid is taking heavy damage.

In the interest of being thorough, however, let’s look at two more: Nefarian and Cho’Gall.

Nefarian – the one encounter where I really, really wanted to love Nature’s Bounty and Nourish: Efflorescence 6.1%, Living Seed 1.3%, Regrowth 3.4% and Nourish 4.3%. Efflorescence + living seed come out to 7.4% and Regrowth + Nourish come out to 7.7%.

Cho’Gall – Efflorescence 3.8%, Regrowth 3.2%, Nourish 3.0%, Living Seed 1.3%. Efflorescence + Living Seed come out to 5.1% and Regrowth + Nourish 6.2%.

Now, that the numbers are out there, let me also go ahead and state that every single encounter I was absolutely sucking fumes at the end. Gasping for more mana. Sometimes before I should have been.

My conclusion after a week of raiding with Nature’s Bounty? I do not think it was worth the points I gave up in Furor to get there. I also do not think that it’s better than Efflorescence. In fact, I think I’d even go as far as to say that, at least for 25 man raiding, it’s worse.

Has anyone else that has run any numbers with it that has any thoughts?

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Posted February 14, 2011 by Beruthiel in Alt-aholic!, Druid Healing, Raid Leadership, Raiding

What Motivates You?   20 comments

Last night at 8:45 pm, which is about 45 minutes into our raid, we had a 3% wipe on Nefarian. I thought to myself “great! New strategy seems to be solid, just need to give the kite tank a few more pulls in phase 3 with this strategy and we’ve got a kill, no problem!”. Famous last words. For the next two hours we were plagued with mistakes, disconnects, game freezes at the load in screen and other miscellaneous unfortunate things – basically you name it, we had it.

Somewhere about 11:15 – I lost my patience with the raid.

I had tried to stay calm. I had tried to stay collected. I had tried being nice. I had tried talking through what went wrong calmly. But mistake after mistake started to wear me thin. The clock ticking down to the end of our raid started to wear me thin. We weren’t failing because we couldn’t do it, we were failing because collectively we weren’t focused and we weren’t performing. And after one very unfortunate missed interrupt in phase 2 that wiped the raid – I unleashed on the raid. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted February 1, 2011 by Beruthiel in Raid Leadership, Raiding

Monday Musings – Up or Down Edition!   13 comments


On Raiding

We are now exactly two full weeks into our 25 man raids, and we’ve accomplished 10/12 with Al’Akir seeing 7% last night. I have to say that I’m really happy with how well we are progressing in 25s, and the individual improvements that we’ve seen most of our raiders make during these two weeks. Honestly, all bugged rankings aside (will get into that later), we are doing very well.

Having done all 12 of the encounters on 10 man and everything but Nef on 25s my initial thoughts are that anything that is extremely healing intensive is more difficult in a 10 man setting. Now we are running 3 healers in our 10s and 7 healers in our 25s – meaning that both groups have roughly 30% of their composition being healers. I just feel that I am far more strapped – mana wise, GCD wise, ability to heal wise, in the 10 man raids than I am in the 25s. On the converse anything that requires serious organization (Al’Akir, Atramedes, Council) is more challenging on 25s – part of this is the number of people you need to herd to “do the right thing” is significantly increased, but part of it too is the amount of space that you have to work with in a 25 man setting as well.

As a guild we’ve always been above the average curve, but just under the top progression guilds, usually falling in the 3-5% rankings. I bring this up, because I am very curious what the new Hardmodes are going to bring to my guild. I’m looking forward to them and to their challenges – but I’m curious about how much time we will have to work on them and succeed at them before we are being faced with another tier of raid content.

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Posted January 24, 2011 by Beruthiel in Raid Leadership

Beru’s T11 Boss Power Auras (BWD, TFW, BoT)   5 comments

One thing that we did this expansion is make Power Auras a required mod for our progression raiding team.  One of the reasons that we did this was because, as a team, we have historically struggled with situational awareness in our raids and we decided that we wanted to improve this.  Now, Power Auras will not fix all problems – and people who are prone to stand in the bad will still generally stand in the bad, but this has helped a lot of folks learn encounters quicker and become more focused on key aspects of an encounter that could potentially lead into a wipe.

Now, please note that folks will absolutely still need to know what is going on around them, and Power Auras cannot play a person’s character for them.  But they can help quite a bit, especially when learning a new encounter.  In fact, we sometimes would stop a few minutes during learning phases to create an aura that we think would be helpful going forward.

For us integrating Power Auras into our raid team has been highly beneficial.  We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from our raiders on how much it has helped them on Boss Encounters and with learning new mechanics.  And outside of that, we have also now have a lot of our raiders looking at what else Power Auras can provide them and creating and sharing their own auras amongst their classmates to help boost performance, which I think is fantastic.

Now, before I share the Auras that I created for our boss encounters, I want to talk about them for just a moment.  First and foremost – you will see that many of them look identical.  This is because we wanted the warnings to be simple and now overly complicated.  We wanted them to be OH GOD THE BAD!  And we wanted to brain to process the information quickly.  Where the auras can be intuitive, I tried to make them as such.  I think simplicity is important when creating Boss Auras because there is already a lot going on in encounters that your brain needs to process, without added another level of complication.

Additionally, all of my auras have auditory queues.  This is because even with an OMG HUGE RED SKULL in your face, sometimes you just miss it.  But it’s a little harder to miss a cackle or SHING! coming out of your computer.  I find that auditory queues help a lot of people.

You may find other things that you’d like to add auras for on different boss encounters – this is just the list of auras that we’ve found beneficial to date.

Now – let’s take a look at what Auras we’ve put together!

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Posted January 17, 2011 by Beruthiel in Add Ons, Power Auras, Raid Leadership, Raiding

Why Guilds Will Struggle With Al’Akir   16 comments

Last night we went in and spent some quality time with Al’Akir. Before we encountered him, there were a few crass jokes – like our goblin warrior refraining from wanting to tank him because “he’s too big for my tiny goblin body” *ahem*. But once we got in, we were ready to get down to business.

We had done our research, were ready for the encounter, and after a couple of hours managed to snag a kill.

However, I’m not really here to talk about the kill, per se, although I will answer any questions that you might have regarding the fight in the comments or via email. (We used a 1 tank, 2 melee, 4 ranged, 3 healer set up). What I am here to talk about is why I think that guilds will end up struggling with what is largely a fun and interesting encounter. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted December 31, 2010 by Beruthiel in Cataclysm!, Raid Leadership, Raiding

Adding a Pinch of Spice   7 comments

The past few weeks our raiding has sometimes been a struggle. We have a team that is 100% capable of the content that we’ve been clearing for I don’t even know how long now getting, well, bored. And when people are bored they start to tune out, and become lacsidasical in their performance. Malaise sets in and people start phoning in performances while keeping one eye on the raid, and the other on Monday Night Football.

It’s a problem.

So, in order to try and spice things up a bit this week, and to bring some fun and excitement back into raiding, we ran a little contest during our raid this past Wednesday that I think can ultimately be considered a success. I’m sure some people thought it was silly or juvenile, but the majority of the raid seemed to enjoy it – and the results of keeping the raid engaged and their mind on the raid were undeniable. We didn’t spend the night wiping on encounters that we have had on farm for months. We smoothly went through the content – and had a lot of laughs on the way.

So What Did You Do?

Before the raid, I visited the Auction House and picked up a number of rare pets to offer as prizes. White Kitten carriers, pet bomblings, little raptors and alliance specific pets that some folks might not have. I think I may have to shop on the alliance side next week, having bought the horde out of all of their rarities! Anyhow, I tossed all the pets in my already overflowing bags, and headed to the raid.

During the day, I had come up with a little mini-game to be played between each boss encounter as we cleared the trash, ran back from a wipe, etc. It was really simple and didn’t take me too much time to put together (I’ll have to get more creative next week though!). I picked a handful of NPC/creatures in WoW and came up 3 “hints” indicating who they were. When it was “trivia” time in the raid I would read off the three hints and the first person in the raid to supply the answer, by either blurting it out in vent or typing it in raid chat, “won” and was rewarded with a prize.

Those who had already won were still welcome to play, but had to send me a whisper with their guess – and weren’t able to win another prize.

Going into it, I was a little nervous that people would think that it was lame. And I do not doubt that a couple of people in the raid probably thought it was. But as we would move from one boss to another, and people asked for “trivia!”, I felt pretty confident that it was a success, and that as a whole, the raid was enjoying this change of pace. Enough so, that I will have to be even more creative for next week! (I still have a few prizes left for our last 3 bosses this week).

Because the raid enjoyed it so much, I thought I’d share my “hints” with all of you, and see if you have the same fun trying to figure out who everyone is. Some people were able to figure the answers out with just one clue – and some required all three clues. Many of the clues have my own added snark in them and may not be 100% factual! So – let’s see how you guys do!
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Posted October 8, 2010 by Beruthiel in Just for Fun!, Raid Leadership, Raiding