Have you ever had one of those nights where everything just went wrong? And the harder you tried to make it go right again, the more it went wrong? Yea, that was my raid night last night. Y’all I was so off my game, that I shit you not, I didn’t use swiftmend on the first two encounters we did. Just…didn’t use it at all. Yes, I am now wearing the cone of shame.
In the hopes that this post can work something like confessional and wipe away my sins, let’s start. Read the rest of this entry »
Heroic Scarlet Monastery
I finally had some time this weekend to get into a couple of LFR groups and do some raid testing. Having been unable to participate in almost all of the other testing because of the times testing was available, I was excited to get in there and see how druids played out in a raid setting. Even though this was just LFR, and the weakest of the 25 man raid settings, I was able make a few observations with regards to our stat priorities and our toolkit. As such, I wanted to talk a little bit about how I felt we fit into the overall picture.
I did two front half LFRs comprising of three bosses. The first one I did we couldn’t get past the second boss – as in grand LFR fashion a wipe meant half the raid dropping and having to refill (even in beta!). The second one I was able to kill all three bosses in the first half of the zone. Overall I found the bosses to be fairly fun; however I strongly suspect that the second boss will see a nerf to phase 3 in its LFR version before it goes live.
Let’s move on and talk a little bit about the healing. If you have any specific questions about the raid or bosses themselves, let me know and I’ll try to answer them to the best of my ability! Read the rest of this entry »
Have a video of Heroic Scholomance.
Yesterday Blizzard’s devs dropped a bit of a bombshell on the raiding community that was met with mixed reactions. Namely, they revealed that while there are three instances comprising Mists’ first raid tier, only one will be open at launch. Not only that, but they alluded to the first instance, Mogu’shan Palace, not being opened until the second week the game is live. There was talk about how second two zones in the tier were tied together in a story arc, that admittedly looks kind of cool, and would be released a few weeks after Mogu’shan Palace became available.
These announcements were met with a combination of sighs of relief from some and anger from others. I wanted to take a minute and explain my thoughts on the topic, which may well be a minority opinion amongst progression raiders. I like that the instances will be gated. Let me see if I can articulate why I feel this way. Read the rest of this entry »
Monolith is Recruiting!
As we move into Mists of Pandaria, Monolith would like to add a few strong members to our roster. We are currently looking to add 2-4 DPS to our roster, and if one or more of those happened to be a skilled warlock, I would probably kiss a felhound on the mouth. But in all seriousness, we are considering just about any DPS class right now with the exception of a hunter or a moonkin.
We raid 10.5 hours a week, over three raid nights (Sun/Wed/Thur). We raid from 8:30 – midnight est, with midnight being a hard cut off time for us. We are 8/8 Heroic, and have been farming Heroic DS for the past 3 months. Right now we clear the zone in one night, and then use a second night for Firehawk farming and other achievement shenanigans. We are an adult oriented guild, with a median age of mid-late 20’s, who enjoy what the game has to offer on limited play times, with a goal of clearing content while it is relevant.
If you think you, or someone you know, may be interested, you can learn more about the guild at http://www.monolithwow.com or email me with any questions that you may have!
And yes, for those curious, I did decorate that cake in the picture above.
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 »