The General dilemma

August 20, 2009

This week we began working on the General Vezax hard mode and it has been a little difficult. Associated with this was one of my guildies recent blog entries about bloggers in the guild. I’m really excited that she has found her ‘coming out’ a positive experience but I’m also super aware that she, and perhaps the others, will be reading this. While she notes that I read their blogs for an insight into the raiders minds, I hasten to point out that I’m not all business – I really enjoy it, reading is my thing. However, it’s undeniable that there is a cross over. I have begun to implement alternatives within the raids based on what I read (from all three, not just one) and I have been waiting for entries about things that have happened – like General Vezax.

We have a three strike system. It was created when we were doing Archimonde and while I could confidently say that our guild did not struggle with encounters in general…Archi was very different. We killed him on our 146th attempt. When you are learning it, the fight is unforgiving. It’s not hard per se but if you stand in the fire you’re probably going to wipe us. Hence, three deaths to fire and we bring someone else in. We found that it was fair and reasonable, accidents happen and it doesn’t mean anything beyond sitting for the rest of the night. Unfortunately it doesn’t translate so easily to other bosses. Wrath opened all types of ways we can apply this so we did – to very great confusion. Decision making on the fly is a hit and miss affair. Pull aggro and it’s a strike. But whose fault is that? Blame starts to be thrown around and people stop having fun. Clarity is lost and I don’t like it, it impacts how fair we can be. In the General HM we had a few practice goes and then if you got hit by a crash it was a strike. My side sucked :(

We only spent an hour that night on him and then we killed him. We swapped the groups a little to enable loot allocation for eligible people over non-eligible and, just before we started, it was decided that if you got hit by a crash this go, you would lose attendance (we use an attendance system broken into hours instead of dkp, simply have over a % of attendance and you are eligible for loot with a round robin system for each attendance block). In my opinion loosing an hour’s attendance is not a big deal, the attendance blocks are large enough that it is only going to impact you if you are consistently underperforming or if you are on the cusp, which is rare. I seem to be the only one that thinks that though…attendance is avidly watched and questioned – we have an officer who can justify his position simply because he handles all attendance areas (though he does other things too). In this case, however, I really thought that it was unfair. Five people lost attendance, one hadn’t made a mistake all night and another had just been brought in – that other is the blogger that I mentioned before /wave.

I hesitated writing this entry for two reasons. Firstly, as I state my opinion more and more there is a chance other officers will read what I write and dislike my revelations. Secondly, I don’t want my fellow guildie/blogger to feel that I was writing it for her benefit. I’m reasonably sure that she feels it was unfair and I think several people would agree with her. I think it is unfair but I’m finding I need to pick my battles carefully right now. Politics /sigh. I have decided, however, that this is my blog and that what I don’t get to express ingame can be expressed here. To my detriment perhaps but hopefully to my benefit as I work through what I think and decide how I can apply it next time.

Gloves from Al’ar

August 18, 2009

As I read other blogs I notice variations of the question ‘why do we play Wow?’. Each person has had a different reason, ranging from ‘shinies’ to ‘because’. I must admit respect for both. I still remember being lvl 40, seeing Neltharion’s Tear and thinking it was the most amazing, sublime, and perfect pixilation I had laid eyes on. How could anything be so powerful!? It was hawt and I wanted it. It was then that raiding opened up to me as a possibility external to the enjoyment of lvling. Sure killing stuff was good but I knew it was going to end…unless I raided. So I did raid, I got my trinket the first time it dropped, I used it right into Naxx (the first one), and I even used it in early BC raids. It was and is glorious (albeit gloriously sitting in my bank) – shinies are a very good, very common reason for Wowing.

Also, if you are in our guild, Wow is a sociable experience. People have met in our guild and married; I was in the bridal party with several other people from our server there as well. This isn’t narrow minded geekiness though. We get along and we like each other. Wow players are as diverse as any hobbie group but we are faced with tasks, research, and trial and error. As officers we are perhaps a little closer. Each of us were partly chosen because we view things differently to the others (area specialties aside). I see long term issues and attempt to solve them before they are created, I also see small, negligible elements that people can argue over – if we can’t answer each issue we rethink the solution (though that doesn’t always work either). My memory, however, is crap. Did we do that before? Oh. Did it work? Oh. If your name starts with D you’re all the same to me. Don’t get me wrong, I have a picture in my head of who you are. I know your strengths and weaknesses, expected dps output per boss per your current mood…but if I ask for a soulstone you’ll have to work out which one of you I asked… way to many locks starting with D (and now the rogues and dk’s are starting as well, Darkthis and Darkthat). I just don’t remember stuff – like gear. I don’t know where it comes from, what it’s stats are, how many times it’s dropped, or even if I have it or not. I have a list of my wants and that’s it.

One of our long lost members rejoined Wow the other day and lvled to 80. As the assistant GM inspected him he laughed and commented that he was still wearing the gloves from Al’ar. He dropped gloves? I guess my trinket was my first encounter with gear…and my last. I don’t want gear. I don’t care about upgrades. I play Wow because I don’t watch tv. I play Wow to chat and to experience something outside the everyday research that I do – though I do love researching and writing up boss strats. I play Wow because I can problem solve every single day. I play because it’s pretty and I play because it’s fun. I play Wow because.

The Freya Bug

August 13, 2009

Female raid bosses are not very common (I can think of 9 or 10 but one is a Spider, two have horns, and another has 6 arms…) and until I encountered Freya I never really thought much of it. I remember reading something about ‘enjoying the feminine charms of the Eredar Twins with 24 other men’ and having a good giggle. But really, what is it in bosses that appeals to men? Apparently not breasts. Seems conquest plays a larger role in raiding than arousal which isn’t really surprising but, finding myself reasonably immune to the attraction of breasts and conquest, I appreciate the alternatives that female bosses give. In my world representation is important (sometimes I even tick the ‘non-gender associated’ box just to give it added value).

Faced with an evening of Freya hard mode (HM) should appeal to me and to those guys who don’t mind 10 foot tall, gray coloured women. Seems not. Player one just got home and needs to make dinner. Player two has DC issues for the past… oh 5 minutes. Player three is feeling sick and hasn’t player one made dinner by now…? Seems the Freya bug is catching and it takes out a lot of people. We had so many ‘unannounced akf’s’ that the raid leader had to comment on it. Admittedly we didn’t have a bio break on schedule but that was because we had one each time someone’s IP decided to operate at 50% for the rest of the evening. Tired of it? Yes. Tired of Freya? Um yes.

3 Elders is reasonably simple. Same fight with more dmg and 3 added abilities – take an extra healer, stop casting when there is a big blue warning, and move more than usual. Try two wiped 80% of the raid 30 seconds into it when 3 Solar Flare’s spawned on the same spot with everyone standing there – 8-9k dmg x3 = a 2 second death. /Blink. Who had a NR aura up? No one. Why not? I’ll do it now. Who read the strat today? Oh wait you’ve all gone to make coffee while we get Mr Vomit’s replacement.

So we killed Brightleaf and the Flare’s went away (in our defense they were also a little hard to see which I hear is a bug but the BIG BLUE WRITING wasn’t and then I was confused). Slowly we got better and I certainly couldn’t complain. After wiping repeatedly on the first round of adds we suddenly seemed to get it. Round 1 dead, round 2 dead, wipe. R1, r2, r3, wipe. R1, r2, r3, r4, wipe. Good :) And then everyone went to sleep. Nature’s Fury killed 14 players, 11 or so were killed by others not moving. Someone commented that healers have to stand out of mushrooms if they have it so they can’t heal themselves – which was translated in my head as ‘we’re just going to smash our head on the wall from now on cause’.

Uh oh. I think I vomited on my modem, its short circuiting and now I’m hungry again so I better go make dinner.

So we killed Stonebark and no one was interrupted and the sun started shining and we got to phase 2 and a tree grew (cause there was suddenly so much sun I bet), no one killed it, she healed right up, and we all died horribly to an enrage timer. Right at the end of the raid too. Amusingly it was suggested that we stay and go again to save having to do trash tomorrow night…. But alas no. Way past bed time for him and him and him. TBH I would have argued the need for beauty sleep as well, except I sort of enjoyed seeing Freya getting big and turning red. Must be a gay thing.

You do wha?

August 13, 2009

Last week two things happened. Ok lots of things happened but I’m going to talk about two of them. One of the officers respeced his Warlock alt to Dest and I did some heroics on my newly 80 Priest.

Firstly, when people lvl a Warlock they ask me questions. Most ask all about lvling specs or about haste and crit but this officer (I say officer to gently indicate that he is regarded as a good player) asked if I was serious? – ‘You watch dots, cast times, and cooldowns? Seriously?’. Apparently that’s a lot. When I mentioned that I also monitor personal buffs, spells cast within the personal buffs, personal health, personal mana, my pet, personal positioning, raid positioning, raid mana, boss stats, raid deaths, and threat metres… he respec’d back to Afflic (I didn’t tell him I also monitor heal output because he’s our Holy Priest). Now, he does most of that as well – as an officer it’s second nature. We wipe and officer chat explodes with imput from each area about what was going on and solutions we have thought of (or if it’s the 7th Yogg wipe it just explodes with explitives). What he didn’t like about Dest was the…priority element? The way I think of it (which may make no sense), is that the Afflic dot play style streams along at a set pace with one short cooldown that is easily cast in place of Shadow Bolt – it’s forward momentum. Dest isn’t like that though: we stream with one or two dots and prioritise when more powerful spells are available. Add the buff from Backdraft (30% haste increase) and the necessity of Immolate for Conflagrate and suddenly you can’t stream or simply prioritise… you have to think and you have to monitor. Complicated? Sure but I can do it in my sleep ;)

Secondly, my wee Priesty was invited to a Heroic (whoopdi do) and I had to explain that I was not confident healing an undergeared tank. My Priest has always been heals but she’d often swap between Disc and Holy. I couldn’t handle the small, fast numbers SPriests used to output, especially when I had played with Shadow as a Warlock. For me there was no comparison – Shadow is for Warlocks. Now, I consider myself a good healer, a very good healer, but I was wearing greens and I didn’t have any shoulders (the slight downside of Heirloom pieces and a shoddy memory). I had 10k mana and I wasn’t looking after a tank with 12k hp. Wait wait though, I can come as Shadow…. Keep in mind that I lvl’d 0-60 as Shadow and that I am the caster officer with a fair idea of how each class is played. I was sat on my ass. Suddenly there were all these spells and they all took different times to cast and some only needed to be put up once and some finished really quickly and some took a lot longer and there were lots of pretty sounds and streams of purplish light and WTF is with a 4 second COOLDOWN!! I spent most of the first 2 heroics trying to remember what spells I had then the next 2 trying to remember to cast Mind Blast every 4 fucking seconds. When we hit the 5th my friend (who is one of our raiding SPriests) gently reminded me that I have Shadow Form which will up my dps a little – much to the enjoyment of the other 3 (grr). The next night we repeated the process a little and I was much more pleased with my dps because I wasn’t wasting time dotting trash… until I was reminded that I should Mind Sear if there is more than 3 mobs…. I was mortified.

While I didn’t quite plummet from my exaluted station of pride in Warlocking, I did gain a much much greater respect for other caster classes (though I must admit to a little added disrespect for Mages who seem so much easier). I’ve played Boomkin before but never enough to really count and certainly not in a raid. They aren’t as complicated as SPriests but they have their own issues. Add utility to that mix…I demand that our casters assist on dispells and decurses, it works very well because the healers do it automatically also – if healers are hard pressed it gives them room to breathe and if they aren’t no-one looses out. Monitoring all those spells and dispelling though…. Well done mulit-taskers I say.

Virgins? No.

August 10, 2009

I have recently found that two of my guild mates have a blog which is primarily used to discuss World of Warcraft. I am not a blog reader and it didn’t occur to me that people would blog about Wow. They do though and it’s interesting reading, especially for me because these two guildies are both intelligent adults. Not to belittle non-adult blogs but one of the guildies comments on things like frequentist and Bayesian statistics while the other mindblowingly measures her attention span per night and per boss kill…and then she provided enough data to suggest that she has measured the length of her attention span against the success of each boss kill which perhaps insinuated comparative measures with the rest of the guildies (atleast it did for me).

As an officer and as the caster officer of my guild, this sort of feedback is invaluable – and wonderfully accessible on my own time. What do my guildies think? I’m ‘responsible’ for the largest (17 not including offspec) and one of the most diverse (5 classes) groups in our guild. I like to think that all the casters would come to me with opinions and suggestions, and a lot do, but I know that a lot don’t. There is trust aspect in our guild, we are trusted. We built our guild with the aim of being as fair as possible and communicating how that fairness was reached. Naturally we aren’t completly fair, we can’t be :( but everyone knows it is our cornerstone and we have stuck to it (sometimes painfully). However, while we are fair and while we are trusted I get the impression that some players think we have all the answers. These, amoungst others, are the players that don’t come to me with their opinions. Arguably these are also the players whom I am especially interested in hearing from. Partly because they are standing on the sideline judgeing but partly also because I’d rather we didn’t suprise them with an unpopular decision (it’s happened before, justification doesn’t replace imput as effectively as inclusion).

Anyway, this is my first blog (ever?). I am the caster officer of a 25 person raiding guild which jumps from 3rd to 5th on server progression from week to week. I began raiding when Zul’Grub was released and have taken 1 short break since then. I have been an officer in 3 guilds over that time, I have seen just about everything players can throw at the game and at officers (I say that deliberatly, something new would be hot). I have always played a Warlock  but I also have a Priest and a Druid. I have raided as a Warlock, Priest, Druid, and Mage at various times, but my experience and knowledge of other classes comes primarily from theorycrafting and talking to my friends :)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.