Friday, January 29, 2010

Leading Icecrown Citadel: Lady Deathwhisper

Lady Deathwhisper is the second encounter in the Lower Spire of Icecrown Citadel.

Phase One: (10 man) Lady Deathwhisper will remain stationary, casting shadowbolts at random raid members, and throwing out green death and decays. She will spawn adds. These come three at a time. The first spawn will be on the left hand side, and have two Fanatics (melee), and one Adherant (Caster) in the middle. The next spawn will be on the righ side, and consist of two Adherants, with a fanatic in the middle. Spawns will alternate sides. She will occasionally reanimate, empower, or transform these adds. You will need to tank and kill these adds, while DPSing through her mana shield to enter phase two.

(25 Man) The gist of the fight is similar. The major differences is that there are now seven adds spawning, the three on the left, the three on the right, plus one random add in the back. She will also occasionally mind control a player, requiring you to CC them.

Phase Two: Phase two begins with a complete aggro drop, she ceases spawning adds, becomes mobile, and begins using a melee attack and a powerful frostbolt on her main aggro target, in addition to her abilities from the previous phase. She will no longer MC players. She begins applying a debuff on her main aggro target called Touch of Insignificance, which reduces their threat generation by 20%, and stacks up to five times. This will neccesitate tank swaps, unless your DPS can do magical things with their threat generation. The frostbolt should be interrupted, lest it do a large quantity of irressistable frost damage to the tank. A rotation will be needed in 25 man, however, any competent warrior, rogue, shaman, or DK can do it in ten man. She will also spawn ghosts, that pick a target, and explode after a time interval. they need to be kited away from the raid during that interval.

Look, She Brought Friends!: There are many adds in this fight.

Fanatics: These are melee mobs. They hit hard enough to one shot most clothies, and feature a cleave, so face them away. If they become reanimated, they gain a shield that makes them immune to physical damage, thus ranged DPS need to burn them down. If they become Deformed, they start hitting like a freight train. 35K+ on a well geared tank. However, they move slowly, and can be strafe kited with ease.

Adherants: These are caster mobs. They cast shadowbolts which hit for about 10k. If need be, they can be tanked by a melee DPS. If they become reanimated, they put up a shield that reflects all spells. It does not however, reflect weapons, so have your melee DPS lodge theirs in it's skull. If the become empowered, they immediately begin spamming AoE spells, and inflict significant damage. Empowered Adherants should always be a priority.

Tanks: Two tanks will be required to allow for the switches in phase two. One tank will be needed to tank each side in 25 man. A third tank can be helpful to pick up the add in the back, but is not needed.

Establishing Dominance: The pickups in phase one can be a little sticky. The adds spawn far enough away from each other that cleaves and other multi mob pickups are ineffective. DPS need to be disciplined, and wait for the tank to complete the pickups. A hunter for misdirects is a godsend. The mobs drop aggro if they become deformed, empowered, or reanimated, and must be reaqquired ASAP. When you enter phase two, you need to have a tank ready to taunt as soon as the barrier drops, otherwise she'll start attacking the DPSers who weren't smart enough to pull out. When you reach the tank transition, if you are the tank taking her, it's important to build as much threat as possible during the first stack, so you aren't gimped when you get two or more stacks. If you're the tank switching off, you don't need to worry about threat management as much as you would on say, Festergut, because the debuff will ensure you don't take it back.

Gearing Philosophy: The actually difficult part of the fight in terms of tank damage is usually phase two, and most of that is magic damage. Feel free to go straight stam for this fight, as armor and avoidance won't serve you too well.

Tank Death Scenario: There's two potential points of tank death. A careless tank who does not pay attention to the adds once secured, might accidently find himself tanking, rather than kiting, a deformed fanatic. 35k melee hits plus other incidental damage can be painful. Keep in mind that if a Fury Warrior or Feral Druid is MCed, the tanks will be crittable, and in this case, instagibbed. Always kite the deformed fanatic immediately. The second scenario is an uninterrupted frostbolt, typically combined with a melee hit and splash damage from a ghost or D&D. This is preventable by having a skilled interrupt cycle set up.

The Raid: The raid should have prexisting assignments for which adds they DPS, and who CCs the MC target on 25 man. In ten man, a coordinated quasi zerg is sufficient. All DPS on adds, then all DPS on boss, then back on adds, then back on the boss. However, in 25 man, the increased number of adds, and increased mana pool typically sees this strat ending in failure. I've found it better to assign a group to each side, and then setting up the remaining DPSers as full time on the boss. The number of DPSers you leave on deathwhisper depends on how well your raid can handle the adds. We began with 2 on our first kill, but now we leave seven on her to push out of phase one ASAP. The fight is easily healed with five healers, so long as your DPS doesn't camp in the fire.

Outrun or Outlast?: Outlast. While the enrage isn't as relaxed as Marrowgar's, you've got plenty of time. The important thing in this fight is to make sure that adds are dealt with properly.

Wipe Scenario: Most wipes on this encounter occur in phase one. An add isn't picked up, or is pulled off carelessly, and winds up eating a healer or two. If you fall behind on the adds in particular, the pickup becomes very difficult. Makes sure your tanks are tanking their assignments, and make the the DPS are watching omen. Also, ensure you have enough DPS assigned to adds that they all die before the next wave spawns.

Shift Fire: This fight will involve a lot a changing targets in phase one. Every add wave needs to be dealt with. Any spare time between waves should be spent burning the mana shield down. As she mutates adds, it's important to shift your DPS accordingly. Kill order should be Deformed>Empowered>Reanimated Caster>Reanimated Melee>Melee>Caster.

Heroism: There's two optimal points for Heroism, either right before, or right after the phase two transition. Use it before phase two if you have trouble hitting phase two before the next add wave spawns, this gives you a lot of breathing room on the enrage timer. If you're clean about the adds, then it would be optimal to save it for after phase two starts, so that the bulk of it is spent with the most DPS possible on the boss.

The Fire: In this fight, the fire is green bubbly runes and blueish green ghosts. It may also be any AoE that your MCed players can use. Don't stand in the fire.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Leading Icecrown Citadel: Lord Marrowgar

I have a certain perspective on encounters. I operate both as a tank, and as a raid leader. Most guides that I have seen in the blogosphere have been written from the perspective of a healer. Not sure why, perhaps the same personality that's inclined to write a guide is inclined to play a healer. But as I read these guides from the perspective of both a tank and a raid leader, there's a lot of information that I wind up having to sort out on my own, because my perspective, and the perspective of the people who write the guides often do not concern all of the same issues. At the same time, I read a lot of post from bloggers who are looking for that same information that I had to figure out on my own. So, I guess it's time that I share some of that information.

Lord Marrowgar is the first encounter in Icecrown Citadel. It is a two phase encounter.

Phase One: Begins at the pull. Marrowgar will be picked up by the tanks, while the DPS attack. Twice per phase 1, Marrowgar will cast Bone Spike Graveyard, impaling 3 players on 25 man, one on ten man. These bone spikes have health, and must be DPSed down to free the impaled player before he dies. He also launches out a path of Coldflame which is aimed at a raid member farthest from melee range. This may occasionally be the tanks if your raid stacks within Marrowgar's obese hit box. After two Bone Spike Graveyards, he will transition to phase two.

Phase Two: Marrowgar will initiate a whirlwind, and spin about the room like an arms warrior on crack. He will move to a random spot in the room, launch Coldfire in four directions, and then spin to another location. He will repeat that process several times before dropping aggro and transitioning back to phase one.

Tanks: You will need three tanks on 25, two on ten. The major mechanic that governs the tanks is Saber Lash. All this requires is that the tanks stack together to split the damage. Imagine it as a cleave on steroids.

Establishing dominance: At the beginning of each repetition of phase one, there is a full aggro drop. Marrowgar is now tauntable, however, it is still advised to move towards his final whirlwind destination, and the damage from the whirlwind is somewhat negligible, and it is much more advantageous to have some additional time to build threat before some overzealous DPSer decides to get himself killed.

Gearing philosophy: Given that the only non physical damage is the Coldflame, which you shouldn't be standing in, and saber lashes are avoidable, and mitigatable, pretty much everything works to one degree or another. Armor, Stam, Avoidance, it's all great for this fight.

Tank Death Scenario: The risk of tank death in this fight primarily occurs at the transition between phase two and one. As the tanks pick aggro back up, if they are not stacked correctly, this may lead to the primary tank taking an additional 50%-200% damage from a saber lash being not properly shared. He doesn't hit that hard in easy mode, but you'd still be talking about a hit in the 40k range on 25 man on a well geared tank.

The Raid: Positioning in phase one is not extremely important, so long as no one is moronic enough to stand next to the tanks. Generally you want to keep people fairly close together in phase one, so that bone spikes can be downed quickly. In phase two, it's pretty much just run for your life, and don't stand in the fire.

Outrun or Outlast?: Definitely outlast. The fight can be controlled. The enrage timer is absurdly generous. If your tanks have got glass jaws, and you need to bring 9 healers to keep them alive, you can get away with that. At the same time, the majority of the non tank damage is avoidable, so as long as you've got decently geared tanks, you could get away with as few as four healers.

Wipe Scenario: It's a slow death in this encounter. It'll typically begin with a healer getting either saber lashed during the transition back to phase one, or bone spike in the coldflame right before the start of phase two. The tank healing becomes strained, and eventually you lose a tank. When one tank goes down, it greatly increases the incoming damage on the other tanks, and they wind up dropping. The key to avoiding this is quick downing of bone spikes, and personal awareness of positioning.

Shift Fire: The only meaningful DPS shift in this fight is jumping from the boss to the bone spikes, and back onto the boss. In 25 man, to optimize speed, you may wish to use a program like DBM, that will place raid marks on the spikes, and assign a group to free each mark.

Heroism: Heroism is best used as soon as the tanks have enough aggro. It promotes synergy with offensive cooldowns, and the initial phase one provides the longest time on target. There are no frenzies or soft enrages to deal with.

The Fire: In this fight, the fire is blue moving fire on the ground. The fire is also a giant screaming whirlwinding skeleton. Don't stand in the fire.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Blood and Glory in the Crimson Halls.

Well, the new wing of ICC, the Crimson Halls opened up on Tuesday. As Legacy is wont to do, I mustered up my ten man team and ventured forth. We bored our way through the first seven bosses, including a one shot of Puticide which was executed to perfection. Nothing of any real interest to me dropped, although I won a pair of shoulders for my retribution set.

With our previous conquests behind us, we strode confidently into the Crimson Halls. After AoEing down the trash, we moved into the central hall, and prepared to face down the bosses. The Blood Queen's long winded speech prompted me to remark, in jest, that it was Kael'thas all over again. Our feral druid, who was in Get of Fenris during BC, and was intimately familiar with the pain of pre nerf Kael'thas remarked that this was nothing like Kael'thas.
My druid friend was swiftly laughing his ass off in vent and admitted that, yes, it was just like Kael.

And just like Kael did, the Blood Princes kicked our tails out through our teeth. We didn't have a pull that broke the two minute mark. We started out trying to have the Professional Hunter tank Keleseth. But he wound up getting nuked into the ground in record time. So we broke out the feral druid's pvp resto set, so the Hunter could have a dedicated healer. That didn't work. So we had the fury warrior switch to prot and try to tank Keleseth. It turns out that Keleseth hits really hard. Like 24k melee hits hard. So, as the optimally geared EH tank, I switched off Valanar and onto Keleseth.

At this point we managed to sustain the pull for longer than 30 seconds. I was getting trucked, but by popping a cooldown when Keleseth became empowered, I managed to survive, and we managed to find new and interesting ways to die. We found out about kinetic bombs the hard way. After assigning the Hunter to manage them, we found out that up to three of them could spawn at a time, also the hard way. When we had the Mage and Hunter managing bombs, with only the Shaman and Death Knight still actually DPSing, we found out that while a cooldown would keep me alive through the empowered shadow lances, it left me high and dry when Taldaram threw an empowered flame orb that hits me for 60k.

At that point I made the decision that there was no chance in hell that Blizzard intended for us to run with 3 tanks, 3 healers, two controls, and only two DPS. We still really didn't have a very good picture of what the fight actually looked like, so I decided to call it for the night. Truly humbled for the first time in ICC.

The next day, we marched through ICC 25. One shot every boss from Marrowgar to Rotface. Then we diverted through the Crimson Halls, and ran into a similar issue on the 25 man princes. Our Warlock was getting obliterated. However, one thing that the 25 man forced us to do was confront our positioning issues. We refined the spacing of the mobs, and began to use all of the space available to us. With the information we gathered in the 25 man, we began to put together the picture. Information is ammunition, and my ten man was now armed to the teeth.

We rode back in, cleared trash again, and threw down with the KTs three. Our hunter grabbed his PvP gear, and with a couple of stamina trinkets was sitting at over 40k health when we pulled. This prevented the instagib factor while he tanked Keleseth. He spent the initial phase spamming killshot to build threat, and collecting orbs. We determined that the initial invocation shift took place when the health pool dropped to 85%, so we kept DPS slow enough to allow him to collect three orbs before the shift. The Mage was tasked with juggling kinetic bombs. I found out something very useful while tanking Valanar. The kinetic bombs can get bounced back by my AoE. Avenger's Shield, HotR, and even Consecrate all kept them from hitting the ground, so in order to streamline positioning, when Valanar was not empowered, I took responsibility for a bomb that spawns on the dais. When Valanar was empowered, I tanked him essentially right where he began the fight. The Co Tank tanked Taldaram off to the right. Whenever Taldaram launched an empowered flame sphere, with my handling the bomb on the dais, this allowed the melee to run with it as the target kited it, so we stripped the stacks off. If it targeted me, I just popped a cooldown to eat it.

After several attempts, we got our coordination timed right, and finally downed them. It was getting late, so I put up a vote as to weather we wanted to go on to blood queen, or take here the next night. The vote was 6/4 in favor of waiting, but the Hunter needed another 2k rep to hit exalted, so we all agreed to kill the trash.

Once we cleared to her, we mulled over the strat, and concluded that it was a gear check more than anything. We decided to pull her, once and only once, to see just what we were in for. After all, she was right there. So we pulled her, and she bit our fury warrior, who promptly began to pull 18k DPS. Fifty seconds later, he stopped attacking. Ten seconds later, he started attacking again, although he was attacking me. Well, it seems like we'd have the DPS. If only we could figure out how to bite someone.

We found out that he, like most of our raid, uses Bartender4. So we began trouble shooting. We reworked his vehicle bar, his pet bar, and his stance bar. I thought about similar mechanics, and the best comparison I could come up with was Eadric the Pure in ToC five. I never remembered a vehicle bar coming up, and my pet bar was disabled. I thought about how the hammer just popped up on my first bar. As I was describing it on vent, our warrior commented, "Oh, I don't use the first bar, I use 2, 3, and 4," Well, that's... odd, but whatever. So we had him activate his first bar, and lo and behold, he could bite with the best of them.

So, Protip: Make sure your raiders have Bar 1 active for Blood Queen.

After that we wiped a few times to stupid things, mostly involving the shadowflame. People didn't see the shadowflame when they got it. People died after being feared into the shadowflame. People got the shadowflame and the blood link. I forgot to turn on Righteous Fury and the Blood Mirror jumped to a melee DPS... those sort of things.

Just before midnight, we got a nearly perfect pull. We didn't lose anybody, and our DPS was cracking down hard. Then we hit the four minute mark. The four minute mark, on ten man, is where you begin to run out of people to bite, and thus, people begin to go insane. Also, the raid damage from the Shroud of Sorrows jumps up to a painful 6,750 damage every two seconds. We had her at 10%, and all of a sudden she fears the raid, and flies off. Well, shit. With people in vent reporting less than 5 seconds before they go insane, we decided to throw our precise formations for avoiding splash damage out the window. We opted for the less organized plan of the Co-Tank, who cried out in vent "Throw things at her!" And so we did. Wand bolts, Hammers, Heroic Weapons, Lightning bolts, and Arrows. The sky was darkened with them. Right before people began to go insane, the Blood Queen let out a shriek, and died. And thankfully, unlike Sapphiron, gravity brought her corpse, and more importantly, our loot, back down to us.

I'm really proud of the work that my group has done. Along with the server first Putricide kill, Guildox is reporting our Blood Queen kill as another server first. Wowprogress has us listed as the best ten man team on the server for two tiers running now. Later this week, we plan to go back to Ulduar to down Yogg with no keepers, in order to solidify the number one ten man slot for the expansion thus far on guildox. While the guild's 25 man runs haven't had the same impetus as my ten man, they have become much more focused, and are a far cry from the clusterfucks that saw us ranked in the mid 40s on the server. With a week to go before the next wing opens, we are ready.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

And the Devil Makes Three.

Meet Claíomh. He continues in my fine tradition of plate classes with foreign names with accented letters to keep the gold spammers at bay.
He's a fresh 80 fury warrior whom the guild was kindly enough to run through all the new ICC 5 mans in hopes of getting him some gear. Unfortunately, pretty much all the shaman/hunter/rogue gear dropped. To my great embarrassment, most of that gear was superior to the quest blues I rode into town on. So, dual wielding his 2H mace and 2H axe, he looks like some sort of hulked out enhance shaman. Hopefully, through diligent running of daily randoms, he will eventually become a decent contribute to whatever guild members need my expertise on something that I've already saved my main to. It's amazing how easy it is to diagnose a group's flaws when you can tank three of them a week.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Terrible New Everyone!

Rotface 25 is dead. Took 3 attempts last night. We found that the secret to killing him efficiently was to abuse the Rotface tank (me), magnificently.

We ran in to the issue that rotface would begin to cast slime spray when everyone scattered for volatile ooze explosion. Because of the long range on the spray, and the fact that I had taken Rotface to the side, this lead to upwards of 50% of the raid finding themselves in the blast radius. After two wipes to this, I got kinda frustrated. So as the next ooze explosion went off, I just popped Divine Protection and stood there. And took no damage. Every ooze missed me.

I wasn't so lucky the second explosion, and when I reached for my cooldown, I realized that I had traded in my 4 piece t9, and it was on cooldown. So I quickly took stock of options, and hit the only defensive cooldown I had up. My Corroded Skeleton Key. This time I was not so lucky, I took about 7 slimes to the crown, and barely walked away, thanks to some pretty amazing heals.

The third explosion was much less harrowing, as Divine Protection was available again. At that point, we had entered the 6 second infection "oh shit" zone. At that point somehow a second big ooze spawned, and took out the Co-Tank. The Professional Hunter and Shameless Boomkin immediately started attempting to kite them as we blew hero and tried to outrun the fact that the bottom was falling out beneath our feet. With about 5 people down, Rotface hit the ground. There was no tanking loot to be had, but we did get the blood out to our Charter Ret Pally, who made the first Shadow's Edge in the guild.

We proceeded to go and attempt Professor Putricide. We lost one attempt to the Co-Tank, using a completely stock ui for this fight, not having bars spawn for the abom. We lost two attempts to glitched oozes trying to target the Co-Tank in the abom, and thus burning all their snare time trying to pick a target. The most annoying however, was the attempt we lost to our resto shaman who DCed while autorunning up the hall. Grrrrr...

Anyways, in the six non fucked attempts we got in, we got him into phase three twice, with our best attempt hitting the hard enrage at 28%. I feel confident that we'll down him next week.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sorry Rhidach, but... GREAT NEWS EVERYBODY!

I took a vacation, along the way, I met up with several guild members and former guild members while in the Orange County area, this caused my raid schedule to be a little eclectic. However, the raiding the past week has been awesome.

I flew out on Friday, and hung out with some friends and family in the bay area. Then on Monday, I flew to LA, and was greeted by the shaman officer in my guild who was kind enough to not only put a roof over my head for the night, but also let me ride along on his Internet connection for the raid that night.

Monday is the night we clean up progression objectives. Because we had already facerolled all of ICC 25 on Wednesday, we were cleaning up progression objectives that had escaped our grasp back when the content was relevant. On Monday, we cleaned up Yogg-Saron, probably the source of the most bitching and gquits in our guild's history. We had about half of the raid that had never seen Yogg on any difficulty. We two shotted it, and the one wipe was due to a hunter not having his particle effects turned up, and hitting about all the clouds within 20 seconds of pulling.

It felt good to finally drop something that had been bedeviling the guild for so long. Although part of me was disappointed it was so easy. We probably could have done it a long time ago.

We rolled through some ToGC 25 to finish up the raid period, we downed Jaraxxus right before we ran out of time, and he dropped a nice pair of 258 tanking pants. Because I've missed out on most of our marrowgar kills due to various issues, the other tanks all had the 264 tanking pants already, so I got it uncontested.

Then we put together a slapdash ToGC 10 group. Decked out in oddball items like Nexus War Champion Beads and Black Spire Sabatons, we decided to go for Dedicated Insanity. It was kinda an oddball thing to attempt, considering some of the hoops we had to go through, like having our fury warrior respec arms because he only had one weapon that met the criteria, having our feral druid who goes resto for CC on faction champs do so without gear in like 4 slots because his resto set is his relentless gladiator set. Somehow, we made it to Anub'arak without any wipes. Because we didn't want to deal with trying a new comp, we went ahead and did what we always do, we two healing it. With a resto shaman and a disc priest. I can't imagine what that must have felt like for them. We got him into phase three cleanly, but also with a couple adds up, which meant that the OT was going to be on a pair that won't be killed pretty early in the fight. The healing was intense. We wound up losing our feral druid pretty early on as the healers triaged, and the DPS took us through 4 freezing slashes, which is a nightmare for me, because all I can do is take everything on the chin during those. However, we managed to pull it off. We are now the only ten people on the server who have the Argent Defender title. I think I'm gonna keep wearing Starcaller for a while, but it's nice to have options.

On Tuesday, the Shaman and I went to go visit the Prodigal Resto Druid, and by extension, the rest of the exiles. As such we missed the ten man ICC 10. They two shotted Festergut, and then proceeded to painfully claw their way past Rotface. Having our Professional Hunter tanking on his DK, and our Utility Man stepping in on his undergeared hunter made things more difficult than they needed to be, and for that I feel kinda bad. But the food at Marie Callender's was so good. Anyways, they opted to not attempt Putricide until a better raid group showed up.

I missed most of Wednesday's raid due to travelling back home. They facerolled their way through the first four bosses, but then wiped for about two hours on Festergut. Meanwhile, I was cramming my 6'8" frame into a middle seat in coach on a 737, in between two fat guys who snored. Then I was waiting for my backpack to get unloaded off the plane, which apparently requires a crew of 12 to find. Then I got to play dodge the drunk homeless guy on the Link Light Rail. Then I had to suffer through the aural torture of bad guitar guy on the ferry. Then I had to drive home behind mister "I drive 10 miles under the speed limit in no passing zones!"

I arrived online about an hour before the end of raid time. They were struggling on Festergut, and asked me to step in the place of the lowest DPS so that Super Priest could come on his priest, and not his prot pally. I came in, and we wiped about two more times. Exhausted from my trip, and having traumatic flashbacks to Thaddius 25, and I just kinda snapped in vent. Angy Dammer was in full force. But something miraculous happened. Suddenly, it seemed as if every DPSer seemed to find an extra thousand DPS in them. Not having to rotate 5 cooldowns to have a tank survive the 3 inhale blitz probably helped too. Festergut went down, and we took a few exploratory pulls on Rotface, only fitting in three pulls, each with a different set of trash respawning in between them, we managed to get him down to about 18%. I'm confident we'll be able to down him on Monday. I apologized for my mass transit induced bloodlust, and formed up the ten man group. This time with the Professional Hunter on his hunter.

We walked into Putricide's lab with full Algalon protocols in effect. We were hermetically sealed within a vent channel that only I know the password to, stocked with full flasks and fish feasts. All non essential chat channels were left, and we went to work.

Putricide was unbelievably bugged on the PTR. It wasn't so bad on live, but we still lost 3 attempts to bugs. We had one attempt where the mutated abomination registered as a mount, and as such didn't have an independent action bar, we lost a couple of attempts to Putricide only spawning one slime pool at a time, which meant that the abom couldn't get enough ooze power to actually do anything of value. We lost one attempt to our resto shaman accidentally dropping a cleansing totem, which meant that every time that our abom came near the totem, the abom was cleansed off of him. It took some hard looking at the parses to figure that one out. Finally, we managed to get a clean pull, that pushed him into phase three. Phase three got a little weird, and I fucked up the tank taunting, so we wound up with much more raid damage than we needed to. We cut it to the razor's edge, with the bottom falling out at about one percent, when everyone else in the raid was killed off by the AoE, and the slime pools were everywhere. Only my co-tank and I were still alive, and we managed to burn the last 120k off of him for the kill.

Some crappy leather dropped, but so did the Unidentifiable Organ. I beat out the co-tank on the roll, and it's definitely going to replace the Heart of Iron on my Marrowgar/Festergut set.

During 3.2, after we had downed Algalon and Tribute to Insanity and just before the Exiles left, the Professional Hunter had a chat with me. He said he wanted our group to compete for server firsts in 3.3, which even on ten man had previously been the realm of guilds like Awaken, Crisis, and CSM. Well, we aren't competing for server firsts, we're taking them.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thoughts on Gearscore, and how it can be done correctly.

Gearscore has infected Destromath. First running rampant on the horde side, people have begun to treat it as the gospel on alliance side too.

This is my opinion on gearscore. It should be thrown in a sack. The sack should then be thrown into a river, and the river hurled into the sun. The idea of rejecting people based on what is essentially a summation of their item levels is moronic, given the amount of data it doesn't include. The whole notion of the addon is to cause people to forgo actually looking at someones spec and gear. Which is why it fails. It's an abacus, not an audit.

However, the concept of an addon which does the work of inspecting a players gear is not without merit. Sites such as Wow-Heroes and Be.Imba.Hu have been doing so successfully for years, and without the flaws of Gearscore. This is because they run a full audit which takes into account specs, gems, and enchants. The DK with spellpower gear is properly called out for being a tool, not rewarded with a bigger e-peen to flex.

There is an addon that does this correctly. It is new, and it will hopefully displace gearscore. It is Elitist Group. What elitist group does is present a rudimentary audit to any player who is in your group. This is most effective in the LFD pugs. Upon opening the summary screen, you're presented with a panel that shows you each item they're equipped with, their item level, gems and enchants, and if each is appropriate for their spec. It also points out if they're missing any talent points, and how much of each teir of content they've cleared. At the end of a five man, or on command in a raid, a window comes up that allows you to rate a player 1-5, and write a short note about them. These can be shared with other players running the addon, creating a kind of reputation system.

The system is not perfect. It flagged me for using the 30 stam to shoulders PvP enchant. However, it's leaps and bounds better than gearscore, and something that I'm not afraid to endorse.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Sordid History of Legacy: The Origin

This is my guild. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

Legacy was founded in March of 2009 by a resto druid who believed that all content could eventually be downed with enough determination. Through sheer willpower, he managed to construct a guild that had Malygos 25 on farm before anyone actually in the guild had ever downed Sapphiron. His "LF1M Maly 25, must have key!" spam has become somewhat legendary in trade chat. Legacy began as one of "those" guilds.

About two weeks after Legacy was founded. I found the current guild I was in, Mean Machine, dismantled when the pressures in the officer corps built up too much. Looking back, I probably wouldn't have joined a guild like Legacy if I were to be put back on the market. But they offered me a chance, and very quickly, a level of control that I would be unlikely to find in other guilds. I was installed directly into the officer corps of Legacy, joining the resto druid GM, a young rogue, and another protection paladin.

Together, we slogged our way through 3.0 raiding. Thaddius 25 was the bane of my existance for several weeks, as apparently for some guild members, and far too many pugs, charges was something far to complicated for them to wrap their heads around. Clearing up to Thaddius in less than 2 hours was not uncommon, and spending 4 hours on that damned flesh giant was about an equally common occurrence. I rapidly displaced the other tanks in the guild. The prot pally officer became a skilled holy paladin, and the other prot pally became a solid ret pally.

Once we overcame the Thaddius hump, and began to smoothly clear Naxx, I put out feelers to fill in some of the holes in the guild. I brought in one of the DK tanks and hunter officers from Mean Machine. Clearing Naxx with regularity brought an end to the legendary Maly spam, seeing as several members of the guild now had their own Keys to the Focusing Iris. We were clearing Naxx and Maly 25 weekly. However, we were still pugging about 8-10 raiders for every raid. About half of those were vetted pugs who ran with us weekly, and a few of them later went on to become guild members.

However, there was still a good measure of instability within the guild. Which caused us to ultimately fail to down the marquee encounter of 3.0, The Twilight Zone. While we were able to kill 2 drake sarth with impunity, the addition of Shadron to the mix created just enough chaos that the raiders who were pugged in couldn't adapt quickly enough. It also didn't help that our primary tanking corps consisted of two prot paladins and a warrior.

3.0 was not without it's fair share of drama. The young rogue I mentioned eventually wore out his welcome with the guild. His constant throwing of party grenades at the raid when they were attempting to eat great feasts, his constant chatter in vent, and his outbursts in gchat eventually wore on the GM to the point where he was given an ultimatum, gquit, or be gkicked. He chose the former, and would up spending an unfortunate amount of time bashing Legacy at any opportunity.

With a core of about 10 consistent raiders, with an outer orbit of causal members, Legacy had managed to entrench itself enough to prepare for the rigors of the first content patch of Wrath. Boldly we walked forward to plumb the Secrets of Ulduar.