Archive for the 'Raiding' Category

My Beef with T10

I guess I’m a little slow on the uptake (ok really slow…) but I just realized that the ilv 277 Tier 10 gear has a slightly different tint to the ilv 251 & ilv 264 versions! While this is pretty neat and a nice way to distinguish between those who are in doing normal ICC vs hardmode, this only works if you can actually tell the difference. Is it just or does the druid T10 264 vs 277 set have a barely noticeable tint change? Did we get left out on this one?  The only difference I can visibly see is that the helm has a more greenish tint vs a yellowish tint. Everything else essentially looks the same. Any colour shift woulda been nice, hell gimme a nice pink tint what you guys think?

Whats up with that Blizz? 😦

Can you see a difference?

Notice the large change in tint? (and look its me with a Shadowmourne!)

Same thing on the dk set

Whoops forgot to switch SM off...

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Icebound Drakes, Lasers, Beta & More!

Progression, Achievements, Beta information galore.

Sounds like an exciting time but really it doesn’t feel like it. All we’re doing is killing content that we’ve already killed that is slightly harder with better gear.

So whats been going on? Well first off, we (Daybreak) finally killed Heroic Sindragosa in 25 man last week so this week we punched out all the remaining meta achievements and we got some pretty drakes. Unfortunately they are very similar to the ICC10 drakes (and to Glad Frostwyrms too if you had one of those) so really there’s not much excitement here. Personally I’m not a big fan of these drakes being available for such a long extended period of time. While I understand that Blizzard has to give time for guilds to work and earn these drakes there should be a set duration. For example if the next level of content is out, the prior drakes should be removed. A good example is Ulduar proto drakes, whats the point of having them still available now?

Either way, just another thing off the “to do” list before Cataclysm hits. Grats Daybreak!

10 and 25 drakes look too similar :/

We started working on Heroic Halion this week (guess my break wasn’t so long after all). I didn’t kill Halion on normal mode last week so this was my first exposure to the encounter. Personally I don’t like the encounter at all. It has some new and rehashed concepts which is fine but the thing that pisses me off the most is this feels completely out of place. After killing Heroic LK on 10 man doing this on 10 man just feels stupid. It does not compare in anyway to HLK10 in difficulty or challenge and all it really feels like (and is) is filler content to get us closer to Cataclysm. Heroic Halion was killed by a lot of 25 man guilds in the first week and if you compare that to the challenges of HLK25 it seems unjust to give away 284 gear just like that.

We put in 3 hrs on this so far and we’ve gotten to a best of around 45% (Phase 3) but haven’t quite worked out the strategy yet. As I mentioned above this really isn’t that fun nor is it that “epic” so there’s not too much drive to push more than 1 day a week so we’ll probably wait until next week to try again.

LASERS

The NDA was lifted by Blizzard and we’ve essentially been flooded by information about Cataclysm. Its to the point where its hard to keep up if you skip a day or two of reading. Will I be posting about all the feral goodness that is coming? Probably but its going to take some time to catch up on my reading. Stay tuned for some of that soon (hopefully).

Lastly, I’ve been contemplating making a character change, no not dropping my druid I mean a gender change. I’ve been male since wow was released and I’m really started to get bored of it. Should I change to female NE? Thoughts? 🙂

Heroic Lich King 10 – DEAD

WOW

Yes, one word sums it up, finally after exactly 3 months since we unlocked heroic Lich King and about 1.5 months of truly working on this encounter we finally (and I really do mean finally) completed this unbelievably challenging encounter. This is by far the most intense fight I’ve ever experienced in 10 man and Blizzard truly has done a fantastic job at making something that really pushes the boundaries of its players. I can’t even begin to imagine how players dealt with this encounter without X% buffs. I believe the first kill was at 5% which is just ridiculous. True cudos to those who were able to do it earlier but in my mind, even with a kill at 20% buff there is absolutely no shame in that. I thought it would be fun to list out all the different ways we wiped in the progress of learning this encounter:

  • Death by Infest (I love you disc priests)
  • Death by Shadow Trap
  • Death by Shadow Trap because warlock’s in demon form don’t say “Shadow Trap on Me”
  • Death by incorrect transfer of necrotic plague due to Shadow Traps causing clumping of adds/players resulting in too many adds up during transition
  • Death by double enraged Shambling Horror
  • Death by Raging Spirit Shockwave via aggro pull
  • Death by Defile
  • Death by Valk grabbing tank healer
  • Death by Valk grabbing infest healer
  • Death by Valk drop due to Defile dropped in melee range
  • Death by Spirit Bombs in Frostmourne Room
  • Death by Wicked Spirits in Frostmourne Room (yay for boomkins)
  • Death by Vile Spirits not being soaked correctly due to incorrect positioning
  • Death by tank mismanagement of cooldowns for Soul Reaper
  • Death by tank moving in the wrong direction into Vile Spirits after teleport out of Frostmourne Room
  • Death by clumping on a defile after teleport out of Frostmourne Room
  • Death by disc priest falling off the platform at 4% because hes tunneling raid frames

I’m sure there are more things that caused wipes but these are the ones that stuck out in my mind. How many total attempts did we use total? I have no flipping idea. About 5-6 weeks of work and using anywhere between 10-25 attempts a week so you do the math, definitely not a small amount. The worst part of this fight is the duration of the fight. A kill can take anywhere between 15-20 minutes and that’s a very very VERY long time for many things to go wrong. You can pull off a perfect attempt for 15 minutes and then one person will make a small mistake and you’ll have to start from scratch. Or you could be playing flawlessly and RNG just smacks you in the face (example: disc priest getting grabbed by valks) It’s truly not an easy task for 10 people to play flawlessly for that long of a time period or for RNG not to throw something nasty your way.

Above and beyond the challenges of the fight itself, as I mentioned before we experienced a lot of turnover in our 10 man group. No drama, no fights just life catching up with people. In the timeframe between when we killed LK to LK heroic we had plenty of struggles to get the right people on that have the drive and motivation to get it done week in and week out. Just to name a few things:

  • Only 5 people from our LK10 kill made it to our LK10 heroic kill
  • Of the 5 remaining, one switched classes from dps to healing
  • Of the 5 remaining, one switched from dps to healing (for heroic lich king)
  • Only 3 people remained on the same class, spec throughout the whole LK10 heroic experience
  • Aside from the 5 who have been here for every kill, we used 11 people (at least more than one week) during from start to kill
  • Of the 11, one switched from dps to tanking

I truly believe that our 10 man group is top notch and although we wished the kill had come a lot sooner than it did, a US 217th is pretty awesome in my books. Now hopefully we can enjoy a nice long break before Halion & Ruby Sanctum.

Grats Daybreak!

Kitty Gearing & Ruby Sanctum

MMO recently released the normal mode loot table for Ruby Sanctum and while it is essentially underwhelming, there is one specific item of interest that is somewhat of a game changer in terms of gear selections for kitty kats. This post will address folks that are already into Heroic ICC 25 and have access to ilevel 277 gear, while it can apply to those who only have access to normal ICC 25 it is geared more towards a higher level of raiding. For a full summary of the Ruby Sanctum loot table, you can check that out here.

One of the major issues that currently exist is the choice of using ilv 277 non arp gear vs ivl 264 arp gear. Or another way to put it, a significant increase in raw stats vs being arp capped. There are essentially two specific gear slots that end up falling into this debate. Cloak and Weapon.

Cloak Slot

If you are fortunate to be in a guild that is capable of obtaining TOGC insanity cloaks (Vereesa’s Dexterity) or if you’re lucky enough to have your cloak drop, then this may not be as significant of an issue. If you aren’t as lucky, you’re probably using the badge cloak (Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape) which is fine and all, the problem is, the raw stats of said cloak are much lower than what is available from the heroic version of Shadowvault Slayer’s Cloak.

Lets do a quick comparison, as you can see the pure raw stats of the 277 cloak far outweigh either cloak, and the only real loss from using this cloak is the arp.

Weapon Slot

Similarly, if you have a need for an arp weapon, there is one item that sticks out as the best available option which is Oathbinder, Charge of the Ranger-General. The natural upgrade would be the Heroic version of the weapon but unfortunately majority of us do not have access to Heroic LK 25 (and probably wont for the near future) so for the purpose of this discussion I will assume this as not a viable option. Instead, the decision becomes do I use a 271 arp weapon or, should I use a 277 non arp weapon in Distant Land.

Lets do a quick comparison, not as clearcut of a decision as with the cloaks and I would say would depend on the gear selection/choices of the specific person. For me, the 115 arp on Oathbinder just can’t be replaced elsewhere and as I am a proponent of arp and hardcapping, outweighs the stat gains from Distant Land.

Solutions via Ruby Sanctum

Whether it be by design or just by chance, there is one item that will essentially resolve some of these hard choices/decisions that need to be made currently.

Sharpened Twilight Scale: Increases your armor penetration rating by 163. When you deal damage you have a chance to gain 1304 attack power for 15 sec.

This is the first time that we will be able to equip double ARP trinkets (STS and DBW). Which immediately resolve any arp issues you may have had previously. For example, lets assume you were using Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape and Oathbinder, Charge of the Ranger-General to reach the arp cap (52+115 = 167 arp). Now, through one item you can essentially cover the arp covered by two. This then frees you to use 277 loot w/o arp which will keep you arp capped and increase your raw stats significantly. This isn’t a massive game changer but it can change what items you’ve been looking for. Personally I’ve been ignoring the 277 Distant Land which is now a priority to pickup prior to the start of Ruby Sanctum.

While I am stating that there is nothing else in Ruby Sanctum that is of interest, that only applies to the Normal mode loot table which is the only table currently available. Once the Heroic version loot tables come out (which could be soon since PTR testing is set for tomorrow), the ilv 284 loot will probably look to make some additional gear changes.

Cataclysm Raiding – Two Thumbs Up

This post is definitely much later than most, but as per my last post I have good reason to be behind! Mommy and baby are both doing fantastic and its unreal how fast they grow even in the span of 3 weeks. Even though this is stale news I did want to share my thoughts on the new Cataclysm raiding structure and how I plan on approaching it when the time comes. The full summary & follow-up discussions are located here.

New System Highlights:

  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will share the same lockout.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids difficulty will be as close as possible to each other.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will drop the exact same loot, but 25-man will drop a higher quantity of items (items, badges & gold)
  • Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel
  • Achievements will be universal to 10 & 25 man, can be obtained from either

Cause and Effect

The question is what is Blizzard trying to achieve with these changes? Lets look at how raiding has evolved in the past 6 years.

  1. Vanilla WOW: 40 man raiding
  2. TBC Raiding: 25 man & 10 man raiding, achievements introduced
  3. WOTLK Raiding: 25 & 10 man raiding, hard modes introduced
  4. Cataclysm Raiding:  25 & 10 man raiding merged

Personally I think Blizzard has done a good job of understanding the age and age limitations of the game. As the game aged, they made the necessary adjustments to reduce the personnel commitments and introduced new ways (achievements & hard modes) to entice people into raiding. The elitist hard core gamers will say this game has been ruined since Vanilla due to the “casualness” of it, but realistically, how many people would still be raiding if we were on 40 man content? I definitely wouldn’t be. Spending 6 nights a week busting your face into content was fun when the game was new but not after 6 years. Top end guilds will always exist (as in any game) but the raiding population would be significantly smaller if it weren’t for the adjustments that Blizzard has made over the years. As Blizzard has stated, whats the point of developing fantastic new content if only 1% of the population will see it? They want as many people as possible to experience it. Finally, there naturally are potential negative side effects that should be considered as well,

  • 10 and 25 man raid sharing same ID will result in a smaller recruiting pool for 25 man raids
  • Same loot/achievements in 10 and 25 mans results in less reason to participate in 25 man raids
  • Similar challenge in 10 and 25 man raids, does this mean further simplification of 25 man content or increased challenge of 10 man content?

Rarren’s Predicted Cataclysm Experiences

Personally, I really would prefer to only participate in 10 man raids. Simply because there is a lot easier to rely on 9 ppl vs 24 ppl. The ability to play with the same people week after week greatly improves the cohesion and skill level of a group, which is significantly easier to accomplish with 9 people. Not only that but the bonds you form with 9 people are a lot tighter than with 24 people. I’ll be the first to admit that I do not chat with all 24 people in our 25 man raid and without those kind of bonds its hard to drive a raid to success.

If content is similar to WOTLK difficulty, we’ll probably be able to finish content within 1-2 days of raiding which is fine by me. In fact, if I really wanted to push our my raid schedule what I foresee happening is actually raiding with two characters in Cataclysm, both in 10 man situations. Healing/Tanking in every raid can become mundane and having an opportunity to flip to dps helps to keep things fresh. Our initial ideas were to have healers/tanks in our 10 man go dps and dps go healing/tank in our alt 10 man group.

While I may be ecstatic about the upcoming changes, there are many out there who probably hate this as well. It really depends on your WOW experience and how successful you have been in 10 vs 25 man content. What are your feelings on the upcoming changes?

Contrary to one negative anonymous poster, no I am not quitting wow or blogging. If I were I would done so by now. Have no fear, I am still here! (Hey, it rhymes!)

ICC Heroic Progression Path: 2 > 9

I’ll start off by stating simply that this is a pure bitching post, so if you aren’t into complaints then you might wanna skip this post. I’d like to address what I feel is a design flaw in progression raiding in ICC. The primary question I’d like to bring up is…

“Why is Lady Deathwhisper (Heroic) the 2nd boss in ICC, but 9th or later in terms of progression?”

When ICC was initially introduced a gating system which provided a clear and concise path to tackle new content.

  1. Storming the Citadel
  2. The Plagueworks
  3. The Crimson Hall
  4. The Frostwing Halls

At the end of each wing there was an “end” boss which rewarded you with T10 tokens, which traditionally would be what you would consider the most challenging boss in that area. Progressive guilds were able to clear the whole wing and move to the next one. Guilds that were not so fortunate ended up clearing what they could in the existing wings and moved to new bosses in the new wing. An example of this would be a guild unable to kill Professor Putricide and moving to Blood Princes/Dreamwalker instead. A good move on Blizzard’s part to allow guilds to continue experiencing new content even if they could not finish a wing.

Now, many guilds are past Arthas and are tackling heroic versions of the content. The problem here is, the logical progression path that was seen in normal ICC is completely out of wack in heroic ICC. Instead you find some encounters almost verbatim to the normal version (Gunship) and other encounters which are very out of place for the difficulty that it entails (LDW). The point of this post as mentioned above is to focus on the challenge of LDW.

First off, we killed it, it was awful, it was a bitch. That being said, most guilds are taking the path of keeping LDW as the 9th boss to tackle in the heroic progression chain only behind Sindragosa and Professor Putricide. Why is it that the 2nd boss of an instance is the 9th most challenging encounter progression wise? Below I took a screenshot of wowprogress updates in the US. As you can see PP and Sind are still the most challenging encounters on heroic but why is it that LDW is more challenging that Saurfang and BQL which technically should be more challenging as the rewards are greater?

Yes, you can switch a boss to normal mode kill it and move on to other progression fights but when you’re at 8/12 and all you have left is LDW, PP and Sind you have to make a choice and LDW is generally what people go with. This essentially forces you to work on a very early boss in the instance with a steep penalty of potentially missing out on killing farm content.

For a 3 day raid guild, time and momentum is everything. We don’t have all week to trudge through content, we need to execute and make use of our time effectively. If we don’t, we run out of time and we lose out on the rewards of raiding. So if we happen to blow a day or 2 on LDW trying to progress and experience content, we’re stuck with a day left to kill 10 more bosses. Doesn’t that seem a little unreasonable? Why should guilds be penalized for progression?

That’s my 2 cents.

Heroic: Professor Putricide

So I finally remembered to take some screenshots and by some I mean one, which does helps to illustrate one of the points I wanted to make. It’s so very hard for me to remember to take screenshots mid fight as quite frankly my mind really isn’t thinking about it with everything else going on. There’s also the challenge of getting into the right position to take the screenshot so that it illustrates my points effectively which again is challenging. However I am happy to say I can finally make this post as I think the shots are adequate! The screenshots are from different kills (one as resto one as kitty) in case you were wondering why it looks different.

Heroic Professor Putricide

From a progression point of view, this is probably one of the last bosses you will want to take on but I do like the heroic mode concepts of this fight which is why I wanted to discuss this second. Also by this time I would assume many people have already gotten to or near the end of Heroic ICC10 so this may be a good time to discuss PP as some folks out there may find this useful in their efforts to progress in ICC 10 heroic.

Normal vs Heroic Mode

There are several unique changes to this fight:

  1. PP gains an ability called Unbound Plague (Inflicts damage every 1 sec, the damage is increased every second the Blight remains on you!  If you get too near to a friendly target, you will transfer the Plague from you to them.)
  2. PP will no longer Tear Gas during transitions (80% & 35%) instead he will spawn both Gas Cloud & Volatile Ooze at the same time

The challenges that are introduced naturally are the management of Unbound Plague and also the management of both cloud/ooze at the same time during the transition.

Keys to the Fight

  1. Quick Add Switches
  2. Unbound Plague Management
  3. Transition Control

The first point is true for whether you are doing PP on normal or heroic. Its very easy (and I’m definitely one of “those” people) to just sit on PP and nuke his ass to rack your meters up. But to do this on heroic mode you have to have the discipline to be ready to switch as soon as adds spawn and take them down quickly. The faster they die, the less damage done to your target and less chances that the raid will take unnecessary damage, the happier your healers will be.

Unbound Plague is probably the primary reason that most guilds will wipe to this. It is a debuff that deals damage to  a specific target and continues to increase in damage until it is dropped off onto another raid member. Once it is dropped off the prior target will get  Plague Sickness which will increase shadow damage by 250% so essentially you are unable to take the plague again. Thus it is critical to continue dropping the plague off to other members of the raid until the plague duration has worn off (1 min total).

During transitions the management of both Ooze and Cloud are extremely important, the positioning of the raid and dps priorities are critical to ensuring that the adds time in a timely fashion while at the same time mitigating the damage taken by the raid.

Composition

Similar to Saurfang, we used a 2 tank, 2 healer, 6 dps group composition. A resto druid really shines in this fight as the ability to prehot the raid during transitions significantly helps to reduce the chance of getting exploded by Volatile Ooze.

Strategy

Many aspects of the fight in normal can be applied to the strategy for heroic mode. You’ll still need to be rotating from left/right tanking PP on the opposite side of where the ooze is going to spawn. The key is to have your raid spread out so that the initial application of Unbound Plague is only applied to one person. We generally try and stand in a straight line so that there is no confusion as to who the plague is getting dropped on. Depending on how much range you have, this will dictate how long you hold the Plague for. If you have a lot of range you can drop the plague every10s if you have only a few range drop it every 15s.

Note the red line I've drawn through all the range in the raid. Notice how clear it is the path in which the plague will travel. In this case, I was the first person to get the plague (notice the debuff) and I just dropped the plague off to our hpal to the left.

Timing of the transitions is naturally important (just like in normal mode). Make sure you don’t bring PP in just as he’s casting another add as there is the potential of getting a 3rd add (we got 2 ooze and 1 slime once!). Once he does go in though, the key is to immediately stack right on the spawn point of the Volatile Ooze (Green). The reason for this is so that as soon as it becomes active, everyone must immediately start dpsing. You wont be able to kill it before it selects a target so it will explode on you. This is why its important that you all stack and face the same direction. Once everyone is pushed back, if the raid was facing the same direction you should all be close to each other so that you can quickly run back to the next target that the ooze will select. Do not kitty charge back in as being there first is not important, in fact being there before anyone else most likely will mean you’ll get instagibbed since the rest of the raid is not around to soak the dmg dealt.

At the same time that this is going on, one of your raid members will also get targeted by the Gas Cloud, the target selection should happen right around the same time that the Volatile Ooze selection happens so the target should get pushed back just as they get targeted. This person should start kiting the Gas Cloud as you would in normal while the rest of the raid deals with the Ooze. So in other words, the priority is Ooze (Green) -> Cloud (Orange). Once both adds are dead, you will have free reign to move around and in most cases, time to pump some extra dps into PP. He will be stationary so you should get over to him and hit him up.

This is us grouping at the first (80%) transition. Notice the folks in the green box are stacked right on top of the green ooze. Also note that the healers (in red box) did not, on this kill we did not use a resto druid so they stayed out to continue healing. Also notice the hunter (in red box) that is way off to the left, this is a prime example of what NOT to do.

As mentioned above the transition will happen twice (80% and 35%) and the unbound plague will happen throughout the fight (p1, p2 and p3). There is a cooldown on the plague (I believe 1 min) so there will be periods in which you will not have to worry about the plague. Once you reach P3 it will be exactly like normal mode + unbound plague. Again make sure you spread out, and manage the plague accordingly and that’s all she wrote.

Other Tips

  • Unbound Plague can be cast on anyone including melee and tanks, when it is about to be cast (off cooldown) make sure the whole raid spreads out including melee so that it is not accidentally spread to several people at the start. It is more important to ensure that only 1 target gets it vs pushing dps
  • If a melee gets the plague first, have them immediately drop it off on a ranged so that they can go back into melee range and continue dpsing w/o fear of dropping the plague on another melee or tank
  • All ranged should spread in a line so that it is clear who is taking the plague next, and to ensure that it is not applied to any extra people
  • During transition, try your absolute hardest to not only fact the same direction, but stack as if your raid were one person so that the angle at which they are punted back is exactly the same. If someone is facing slightly to the left or right they will get punted out off on their own which can cause problems
  • If an unbound plague target is selected by the volatile ooze, have someone quickly pull it off them so that if stacking is required the whole raid does not get the plague, and so that the target does not take plague + ooze damage at the same time. Naturally the person that steals it should stay out of the raid group and soak the plague while the rest of the raid kills the ooze.
  • As Kitties, always try and get a fresh set of dots up on PP before transitions so that they continue to roll as you deal with adds. However do not put them up at the expense of using all your energy is dpsing adds has higher priority to dpsing PP
  • Use Feral Charge generously to jump back to PP after dealing with adds

Up Next: Heroic Sindragosa (if I can remember to take screenshots!)


I’m Retired!

As of 04/04/2011, I have officially retired from WOW. This blog will remain as a archived resource for those who know that CAT DRUID IS 4 FITE!

About Me

A blog for the ramblings and thoughts of Vallen, a full time raiding cat druid from Auchindoun-US with a passion for raiding & achievements. An avid wow player since 2004.

For any questions or concerns contact me via comments or e-mail

Achievement Points
12250
Flying Mount
Mimiron's Head
Mount
Amani War Bear
Shirt
Master Builder's Shirt
Title
Commander
Tabard
Tabard of the Lightbringer

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