Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Worst Punishment

For those that aren't familiar with the Leotheras the Blind fight, he basically switches between demon form and human form every minute. About 15 seconds in to the demon phase, he'll summon people's inner demons on a few random people. Those people have to kill their own inner demons (nobody else can do damage to them) within 30 seconds, or the demon will MC them, and then the rest of the raid has to kill them. So, every 2 minutes, you have to deal with the possibility of some people getting MC'ed/killed.

It gets kind of tricky for some classes as well. Hunters and Warlocks cannont use their pets. If the pet lands the killing blow on the inner demon, then the person will get MC'ed anyway. Then there's the obviousness of not all people in a raid are used to having to do DPS.

At any rate, we've had a few people get MC'ed while fighting Leo. We've told people what to do to practice and get ready for the scenario that you get Inner Demons. So, on our forums, we started posting ideas of things for non-dps classes/specs to do to kill your Inner Demon. My "suggestion" was that any mage that did not kill their inner demon would be kicked out of the guild.

It was a rather flippant suggestion, but it got me thinking about how bad of a thing that would be. I mean, we generally value our raiders, and kicking somebody out would most likely be just a joke. There's only 1 person that I can think of that we actually kicked out of the guild.

We used to have a derogatory rank where the person could not talk in Guild Chat. Then it almost became too much of a joke (people were asking for it), so we got rid of it. It was always a joke, but when people starting asking for it, it got a bit too distracting from our purpose.

At any rate, I was trying to think of what a "horrible" punishment would be. Or what have other people done? You could always hit them in the pocketbook by making them pay x amount of gold, or else they wouldn't get invited to another raid until doing so. If you have the guildies on the sidelines, you can always sub the person out. But that seems to be more along the lines of a bad raider... which a lot of these people are not. If they live close, you can make them bake you cookies. (Okay, see? I've run out of ideas already.)

So, any effective punishments that you've seen in Wow? And no, I'm not talking about /gkicking. I'm trying to think of creative punishments. Hmm... maybe something like making the guildie kill a certain type of elementals until they've farmed a certain amount of primals. If it was a fire mage, for example (and none of our mages have gotten MC'ed yet), you'd make them farm primal fire.

Creative thoughts?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Playing Favorites

Almost any time you get a group of people together, you're going to have your favorites. Even grade school teachers that are supposed to treat all of their pupils the same, most certainly have some children that they like more than others. (Unless, of course, it's one of those grouchy teachers that hate all the children.)

Now, I'm going to take this post in two different directions. Basically, I'm making two stories become 1. Why, you ask? Because I can.

Last Friday, I made it happen that I hung out with my favorite people that play Wow. My wife wanted to play, and I suggested that we run an instance. Then so we wouldn't have to PUG it, I got my best friend (of 25 about years (Wow... has it really been that long?)), his brother, and his brother's wife. We've been friends for so long, that they're all my extended family. My best friend (who actually introduced us all to the game) got to tank for us, which was something he doesn't do much. (While he seems to have about 15 alts, I'd consider his "mains" a priest and a hunter.) My wife and I both dinged 67 while in Sethekk Halls. It was a lot of fun to just hang out and do an instance.

I've found that I'm a voice communication elitist though. They suggested using the in-game chat system, and I claimed that I couldn't take an hour (or however long the instance took) using tin cans. So, I made them all download the latest version of Vent, and we used our guild's Vent server.

Why was this so different than any other night? Well, my wife hasn't hit 70 yet, and so she hasn't raided at all. My other friends aren't really raiders either. They like instances, but aren't the 4-night a week dungeon crawlers that the rest of my guild is. So, we chat almost nightly through our own in-game channel, and then get together on fun nights like last Friday.

I wouldn't trade my guild, but it's a heck of a lot of fun to hang out with RL friends as well.

Next favorite: This one was a case of me wanting to play favorites. One of my guild members was asking if we could basically alter the DKP system we have so that he (it could also be a she, but I'll use "he" for simplification) could get a T-5 item before others of the same token group. This guildie's argument was that they'd been running with us for a long time, and because we have a zero-sum DKP system, some of the newer guild members might get some loot before him. I really wanted to make it happen because I like the "guy", but there was really nothing I could do. We'd set the policy, to maintain the integrity of it, we must adhere to it. Any deviation would most certainly be cause to scream "murder" from other guildies. So, as much as I wanted him to get what he wanted, there was nothing I could do. I took a day to think about it. Then explained why we couldn't do anything about it. I told him that he's one of my favorites (which is true.. the "guy" is always very nice and considerate and asks me what he can do to improve), and after the explanation, he understood why we couldn't change it.

So, the point being here... you can play favorites, but just don't screw up established rules. :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Case of the Friday's

This has pretty much nothing to do with World of Warcraft whatsoever. Since I post from work (shh... don't tell), you get my thoughts while at work. That said, today you get my hatred about Fridays. Or more specifically, Friday afternoons.

I work at a job that's basically 8-5, Monday through Friday. Come Friday afternoon, I'm pretty much done for the week. I'd go home early, but then I don't get paid, and seeing as how we're currently building a house, I kind of need the money. Plus, I doubt my employer would appreciate if I took off every Friday afternoon.

The office is generally pretty empty, so I can be productive, but because it's Friday afternoon, I don't really want to be productive. That make sense? I feel like I'm back in grade school staring at the minute/second had for the last few minutes (or in my case, hours) so that I can go home. Since I'm a contractor, these are the hours. If I were an employee, I may be able to do some type of flex hours so that I could work extra hours during the week and go home Friday afternoon; but alas, that hasn't happened yet. (Way too long a story to go into, but should hopefully happen soon.)

So, whether you're one of my cubicle brothers or you're at school on Friday afternoon... Who's with me? Who else hates Friday afternoons?

Note: Once you're done with whatever it is you're doing this beautiful Friday (at least it is where I am), have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hydross Down

There's really not much to report about last night except that we took down Hydross last night. We're really kind of steamrolling over a lot of these bosses lately. Besides the huge investment in time that we used for Al'ar, we've only taken 2 nights maximum on the next 4 boss kills.

Part of the explanation is the dedication that our guild members have to learning the fights. Part of it is the experience that some of our raid members have doing this fight already. But certainly part of it is also the new, 2.4 Badge gear that a lot of members have purchased.

I know there's at least a few guilds (that are probably about on par gear-wise with where we are) that have skipped a lot of SSC and TK because of Badge Gear and have gone straight into Mt. Hyjal. Why not? The attunement is gone, right? Well, call me more of a traditionalist, but we'll probably finish most, if not all of SSC and TK before we venture into Mt. Hyjal. And if we keep downing new bosses in 1 or 2 nights, we'll be in there in no time. :)

As evidence of how good the 2.4 Badge Gear is, and how many of our raid members have bought it... we're sharding "new" items that drop. We have all classes represented, but the items just aren't as good in a lot of cases. I'm sure we'll have Leo on farm for quite some time upgrading people's gloves, but there's a lot of upgrades that we can now skip because of 2.4 Badge Gear.

So, the point of this small tangent is: Yeah for Badge Gear. :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lightbulb Fights

There are a lot of boss fights in Wow that I would consider lightbulb fights. They're those fights where you seem to be pounding your head into the wall, but you just can't seem to kill the boss. You get to the point where you feel like you just can't take another wipe, but yet you still do. It's the fight that has become the bane of your Wow existence. It makes you want to stick puppies in the microwave. You're contemplating cancelling your Wow account because of this one boss, and then... you kill it. Furthermore, you go back in the next time, and you 1-shot it. That's the lightbulb fight. It's the moment that something clicked, everyone has finally figured out everything they're supposed to do, and it's as if a lightbulb has finally gone on in everyone's brain. The fight is then practically farm status because it's become so "easy".

There's a few lightbulb fights that are like this in World of Warcraft. I would say that Shade of Aran is kind of like this. Once you figure out all the things you have to do AND deal with the elementals... it's usually cake-walk. Netherspite is another one because it's so hard to stand it beams. High King Maulgar: positioning. Magtheridon: clicking (although do people still have problems with him post 2.4 nerf?).

And now, to add to that list, Al'ar. Well, maybe not completely "easy", but still. Last night, we walked in and smacked Al'ar upside the head on our first shot. That's only the second time we've killed him. And yes, only the first attempt after our last kill. We still had a few deaths by the end of the fight, but the whole thing felt very controlled and when somebody died, it was easy to assign another person to the position. I doubt our gear has improved that much in the week and a half since our last kill... it's just that the lightbulb went on.

Side Note: My DPS is now officially sick. I'm still learning the best way to use my super combo of IV, trinket, AP, AB spam. Originally I was told to use mana gems/pots in the middle of that, but I think my quick evocation (when IV is still on) will probably take care of most of my mana. At any rate, if I can get that one down and using it every 3 minutes, I'll easily top the charts.

Side Note 2: Went with a guild group into ZA last night, and pretty much pwn'ed the first 4 bosses. Got the Hexlord to about 20%, but then we were all getting pretty tired. It reset this morning, so maybe we'll go play again tonight. (We'll see when the SSC run ends.) Also got 2 of the timed bonuses. So much fun to have runs that are fast paced like that.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Unlocking Epicness

I realize that this may be old news for a number of people, but I'm still kind of surprised at how many people don't understand what we get from opening the phases for the new daily quests. If Bronzebeard was like most servers (which I'm sure it is), people were very focused on progressing us to phase 3 and unlocking the Badge gear vendor. I think we had the anvil built before we were even 50% through phase 3. So, let me focus on something other than creating the anvil for the badge gear vendor.

From some of the feedback I got, people understood that opening new phases would allow additional bosses to be accessed in the 25-man Sunwell Plataeu raid. (Edit: Thanks for the clarification, Matticus. See? Even I screwed it up. lol.) But since there's only about 4 guilds on our server that could attempt that, a lot of people got the WIIFM attitude. (What's In It For Me?) Let me spell it out in 2 words:

Epic Gems

Up until 2.4, the only way you could get uncut epic gems was by raiding Black Temple or mining a certain node in Mount Hyjal. That's it. There were a few other epic gems that dropped in Heroics, but they certainly weren't customizable as the uncut gems are. Furthermore, in order to cut the gem, you'd have to have Scale of the Sands reputation, which again... would be Mount Hyjal rep.

With the latest patch, all of the gem cuts can be obtained by reputation with the Shattered Sun Offensive. Magtheridon drops a Black Sack of Gems which contains 3 epic gems. And finally, you can also purchase gems from a different Badge Vendor.

The Gem Badge Vendor
Once your server finally opens up phase 4 through daily quests, you can now work on the daily quest to open up the Badge Vendor that sells uncut, epic gems. For a mere 10 Badges, you can purchase a nice, shiny, uncut, epic gem. (Edit:) This quest is called Discovering your Roots, and it can be found in the recently reclaimed harbor Inn. The quest requires you to go back to Shatt, fly NE to an elevated part of Terrokar Forrest to gather some roots. Pretty easy and straight forward.

So please, don't just focus on the Badge Gear Vendor. There's more to the Shattered Sun's plot to equip us all than that. They also want to make our gear the best it can be via these upgraded gems. So, get out there and do the dailies that will unlock stuff for your server AND for YOU!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Getting into Arcane... again

As I mentioned, I now have the two pieces of my Tier-5 armor which gives me the bonus of 20% increased damage and mana for my Arcane Blasts. I spent a little bit of time in Battlegrounds last night, and I saw that 20% increase in mana in action. I was spamming AB to protect one of our flags, and all of a sudden, I was out of mana. Since I was mostly just messing around with it anyway, it wasn't a big deal. Heck, I haven't even respec'ed back to Arcane yet, but I do recognize that there's going to be some big play style changes.

Most of my ideas for my future respec come from Dreamweaver of Kel'Thuzad on the official Mage forums. Read the article for full details, but it's basicly a 40/0/21 spec. His "explosion" damage comes when he hits Icy Veins and Arcane Power, and then spams Arcane Blast with 3 debuffs on it. He hits a mana gem/potion at 50% (not sure if he mant one or the other or both), and then hits evocation when there's about a second left on the IV. (The theory behind the last second evocation is that you get a fast cast for evocation.)

WOW! That's a lot of mana. And especially for an arcane mage that gets an increase in Intellect through talents... But according to Man Out of Time, in theory, it's something like 2,000 DPS. Fully raid buffed, it's closer to 2,600 DPS!

After that, you go through your normal rotation of AB x 3, Frost Bolt x 3. The Frost Bolts are used as the filler to get rid of the AB debuff because they're more mana efficient than Arcane Missiles, and with Ice Shards and a decent crit rate, they'll actually do more damage as well.

So, that's the theory. As for Leiandra, she still needs to get a replacement for her Spellfire Robe. (It's the only one I have left of the set; and, as you can see, it does Arcane and Fire damage only.) I was thinking of farming the Scalet Sin'dorei Robes instead of the 100 Badges (of which I now have 4) for the Tormented Demonsoul Robes. I'll still have enough + spell hit from my Belt of Blasting, Boots of Blasting and other gear to be able to hit bosses with the Frostbolts. Still... I'm still pretty high on Frost damage that I'll probably be okay without it... for now.

Remember: Tomorrow starts the 3-day holiday of Guild Leadership Appreciation Day. Spread the word. Get your kind words of appreciation ready.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Leotheras the Blind Down

I'd say we had some pretty solid play last night. Had a few different people in the instance from the previous night's attempts at Leo. Three attempts, and he was dead. Go Primogeniture. :)

I picked up up my T-5 gloves, Gloves of Tirisfal, so I now have the 2-piece bonus at my disposal. A couple nights back, I secretly went back to my mage trainer and respec'ed fire. I felt that I wasn't doing as much damage as I could/should, so I thought I'd do fire again. Well, with the 20% increase in damage and mana from Arcane Blast, I'll probably be respec'ing again. Sounds like I have a ton of +spell hit to ditch, unfortunately, most of it is in my gear, not my gems.

At any rate... only 2 days before the start of Guild Leadership Appreciation Day. How have you spread the word?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Guild Leadership Appreciation Day - April 20, 2008

I'm instituting a new holiday that will start this weekend. I realize this may be short notice, but I'm moving forward with it anyway. The first full moon in April shall henceforth be known as Guild Leadership Appreciation Day. This year, that day is April 20th. To accommodate the majority of raid schedules each year, the holiday will include the day before and after the full moon as well.

Think of this as the RL Boss's Day, but for Wow. I think a lot of times, people don't realize the work and effort that goes in to leading a guild. Guild leadership has to organize groups for raids, determine when to move on from instances, where to go next for bosses, study strategies, determine which strategies would work best for the group they have, establish and enforce guidelines or rules for the guild, deal with personnel issues, manage officers, motivate people/keep morale up... ... and perform their role in the raid as well. All of that, and I'm sure I could come up with a dozen more if I really wanted to spend time on it. So, with all they do, how often does the "typical" member say Thank You? There's some people that are quite good at doing that on a regular basis, but this holiday will give everyone the opportunity to do so.

Oh come on... full moon's always make people do crazy things, right? So, I thought it was fitting to have this fun holiday on a "crazy" day.

It's pretty simple really. You simply tell members of your guild leadership that you appreciate that they take the time to do everything that they do. You can do so in a whisper, mail, e-mail, phone, vent, showing up at their front door step (stalker much?), or on your guild forums. You can send gifts if you'd like, but it's not necessary.

Most guilds probably don't get together every single day. This 3-day span will mean that you're probably raiding or together with your Guild Leadership on at least one of those 3 days. Like I said, the official day this year is April 20th, but you can celebrate it on any of the days before and after the date as well. (If you want to celebrate all 3 days, you can do that as well.)

If your guild is completely inactive, I'll let you off the hook. But even the jerk GM's have a heart... somewhere. Let them know that they're appreciated. Who knows? It may actually soften them up a bit.

Oh no... you don't get to just bask in the glory and praise that your members will sure to pour all over you this weekend. You've got a responsibility for Guild Leadership Appreciation Day as well. First off, you have to be humble when receiving these praises. You can't respond by saying, "Yeah, I know I'm the best." If you can't think of anything humble to say, you can simply say, "Thank you for recognizing my efforts on Guild Leadership Appreciation Day." This first point going for all who will be receiving praise on this wonderful day(s). Next, as GM, you prepare a little speech. Let it be known on Vent, Guild Chat, Guild Forums... that you recognize that raiding is difficult, and that you couldn't get there without the entire guild. You're grateful that at least 24 other people are willing to work together to perform such amazing feats as say... taking down Hogger. (Insert Raid Boss Name Here.)

Get the word out. There's only 3 days left until the start of Guild Leadership Appreciation Day. Let everyone know. Let's make this a true Holiday!

Leo Update

We brought our "B" game. We killed Lurker with some issues. Got to Leo with some issues. And then had some attempts where it was clear that not everyone had studied or listened to the strategy that we explained. We also went about 20 minutes later than normal. So, given that... maybe it was more along the lines of a "B minus" game.

p.s. Stay tuned while I finish a second post for today.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bringing Your "A" Game

Ideally, I'm sure that each of us would love to have each and every raid this stellar performance by each of it's members. If you can down a boss at any given time, you shoud be able to repeat that performance and do things exactly the same for the next time, right? Yeah, right!

We're all human; we make mistakes. Furthermore, there's generally a randomness in each and every encounter that makes it so you couldn't simply create a macro (or bot) to take down the boss every time. Sometimes you get lucky and dodge an otherwise killing blow. Sometimes you get unlucky and the NPC resists your spell or taunt.

As a raid leader, I work my best to set up successful groups, and hope that there's enough "A" game going around that we'll be successful. Last night, was not one of those nights. And these were for fights that everyone should know. We took a few shots to get High King Maulgaar and his crew into the right positions... that was disappointing. I took a nasty cleave from one of the trash that 1-shotted me. (Not raid wiping, but I knew better.) Gruul was 1-shotted, so at least there was that.

Our transition time from Gruul to Mag was unusually slow. We didn't slow enough at 35% so we basically got the ceiling falling down and the Blast Wave at the same time. We thought that Blast Wave was first... he did the emote and we heard him, but he then went in to pullling the ceiling down. Well... our clickers had already clicked, and we didn't get new clickers over to the cubes fast enough and had to absorb a full Blast Wave. Needless to say, it wiped most of our raid.

Then to top it off... we had somebody that accidentaly pulled one of the Channelers to start the encounter when nobody was ready.

Everything died, so not the end of the world, but it wasn't our A game by any means. We're going to go back into SSC tonight. We'll take down Lurker and then hopefully over to Leo. If we bring our "C" game, I'm pretty sure we can take down Lurker. A "B" game will take down Lurker and give us a few tries on Leo. With our "A" game, we'll take down two bosses in SSC tonight.

I'm planning on the "A" game.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lurker Downed

So, it's been awhile since our guild has actually been in SSC. I had forgotten about the elevators. And furthermore, I was only about 90% sure where to go to get to Lurker. (And I was leading the raid.) I was fine once we were actually in there, but was just a small reality check that it had been so long.

The plan was to take on Lurker, and then if there was time, to go play with Leo. The trash took a little longer than I expected, and I'm sure it was mostly because we were so unfamiliar with it. It took us a few attempts to actually beat Lurker, but we did it. We had enough wipe prevention in the group (Soul Stones, DI, Shammy self-rez) that we never had to walk back either.

As for our strategy, here's what we did. Phase 1 is your basic tank and spank. Jump into the water when you need to. (Note to mages: The scalding water is actually fire damage, so you can use a Fire Ward before jumping in.) In Phase 2, we had the tanks and melee take on the Coilfang Guardian, and all of the ranged DPS would take out the Coilfang Ambusher on the islands and then focus on the Coilfang Guardian. This was actually like the 3rd attempt; we tried different strategies each time. This one worked best for our raid.

We didn't have time to head over to Leo after Lurker, so we called it a night. I also realized that, never having been to Leo, I didn't know how to get there either. Not really a huge issue when we had other people in the guild that have been there, but just kinda would have sounded funny having the Guild Leader ask people where it was. Luckily, I had a pretty good idea, so I at least would have had a educated guess. :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Daily Quest Record

Last night I spent some time with the wife, and then got online around 9:30 or so. Our guild had 3 full groups running Kara for badges, with a few other people questing or whatnot here and there. It was kind of neat to look in the guild tab and see "Karazhan" almost all up and down the board. So, I didn't run Kara (but I haven't for a few months now anyway) initially. One person had to leave, so I stepped in and helped down Netherspite, Prince, and the Chess Event. 7 Badges for minimal work... not bad.

But what I was doing before and after the few minutes in the raid was doing dailies. Doing a lot of dailies. I started with the Sunwell Island dailies. I did the one for the anvil and the 2 to open the next phase (I do those every day). Then, since I had time, I did the other 5 on the Island. Then I decided to do the ones in Hellfire Peninsula, and picked up the fishing one on the way. (Fishing one was H.P. one as well.) After the raid, finished up the quests out in H.P., then did the Blade's Edge Portal Opening one (even though we already opened the portal). I was going to finish the Nagrand one (along with the cooking one) and be done, but then decided to do the other Blade's Edge dailies as well... all 4 of them.

So, my now Personal Record of number of dailies in one day is 18. I could have ventured out to Shadowmoon Valley to pick up a few more, but I figured that was enough of a record for one day. Especially since my previous record was maybe 8 or so. As much as it was nice to get all that cash, I'm sure I'll go back to just the 3 dailies (to open the anvil and portal) tomorrow.

So, what's your record for number of daily quests in a day?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pay Day

Since about the beginning of the year, Primogeniture has been tackling some "hard" stuff. We've wanted to create a "better" guild, and so we did things like Magtheridon (pre 2.4) to help people learn that you don't always DPS; sometimes you just click. We've then focused on The Eye to take down Void Reaver (pretty easily) and Al'ar. We haven't set foot in SSC yet so that everyone could learn pulls and boss fights and not get confused by spreading out our time and attempts on too many bosses and instances. Overall, we've been forcing people to be aware of their surroundings and focus on surviability (not just a healer role anymore).

Over the past month or so as we've been attempting to down Al'ar, and everyone has learned a ton about raiding at higher levels. There's just so many things that are going on all at the same time with Al'ar. If you have that fight under control, it seems to make other encounters almost trivial.

Case and point: Last night was our first night at High Astromancer Solarian. On our third attempt, she was dead. It was so incredibly easy compared to Al'ar that we even forgot to take a screen shot. So, I made one myself. :) I don't recall what she dropped, but I know it wasn't the wand.

Now, I don't expect to just be able to steam roll over everything from this point forward, not at all. But we've developed some solid skills that should really help to minimize issues in the future. Next week we'll look to start on some stuff in SSC. I know there's a lot of gear checks, and we're still working to complete those sets (resistence gear mainly). But we've put in some solid work, seen some pay offs, and I expect to see a few more very soon.

And for the record... we're not planning on taking on Kael yet. Well... the MrT version, sure, but not The Eye version yet.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Snuffing the Flame

Warning: Kind of a long post.

One of Primogeniture's leadership's concerns about our attempts on Al'ar was that we really only got one night per week to try to down him. On Tuesdays, we would head straight to Void Reaver, and if there was time, we'd plan an attempt on Al'ar. Well... there was never time because there was enough people would always want to log after Void Reaver.

We knew we were very close on Al'ar. So, one of my raid leaders brought up the idea we'd had last week that we'd give try a couple solid attempts on Al'ar before heading down the corridor to Void Reaver. I told the raid we'd give two solid attempts.

Here's the basic strategy that we used: 4 tanks, 3 of them up tanking Al'ar, and a tankadin controlling the embers. 1 tank helped gather embers in phase 2, while 2 were on Al'ar. 7 healers, 1 was permanently on the tankadin with the embers. Our 4 mages were full time on the embers, both phases. (Controlled DPS so that we didn't accidently kill an ember when Al'ar was in the air.) We had 3 warlocks that took turns Soul Stoning the pally tank. Then we had a good mix of melee and ranged dps. If the mages needed help downing the embers, we'd individually call ranged dps members to help us. If it got unbearable, the warlocks would come over to Seed them for some Aoe damage.

First Attempt
On the first spot, the healers had a line of sight issue with the tank and he died before Al'ar left the platform. I told everyone to die, and said that that didn't count as a solid attempt.

Second Attempt
Corrected the los issue, and had only 3 of the mages on the embers. One of the tanks was learning the new rotation thing, and everyone was kind of settling in to this. The embers were a bit too much for the 3 mages, so I went over to complete the mage army. It helped, but by that point we were kind of too far behind. We still got him down to about 50% (somewhere around there) in phase 2, but the whole encounter just felt so much more controlled with this strategy. Relied on a couple of Battle Rez's to get tankadin back up this time.

While running back and buffing, we had a few members say that they wouldn't be able to stay for Void Reaver if we didn't go to him "right now". It was still quite early, so we kind of chewed them out for not letting us know they'd have to leave early (they deserved it). We were still on schedule to end by 10:30 (earliest we end) to 11:00 (generally the latest we end) even with another Al'ar attempt. The poor attitude (as that's what it appeared to be to me) was a little frustrating to say the least.

Third Attempt
Did everything as I initially described, and it was almost easy. So yes... we downed Al'ar. Loot drops were Talon of the Phoenix, Phoenix-Ring of Rebirth, and Fire Crest Breastplate.

After that, we went and 1-shotted Void Reaver. I got the Cowl of the Grand Engineer. And we ended well before 11. (I think it was actually much closer to 10:30.)

So... tonight, we get to go play with Solarian. Fun times.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Nerf Drops (and Spell Haste)

Interesting thing about our guild, Primogeniture, raiding post patch 2.4. We again had no problems downing High King Maulgar, Gruul, and Magtheridon all in one attempt. (We did have two tanks die in Gruul, but our druid tank picked it up nicely.) The issue that I found was that there was just too much loot. It took too long. In fact, it took longer to distribute loot than it did to actually kill the boss. (Okay, that's not true, it just seemed that way.) So, I say: NERF THE LOOT!!!

Yes... I'm kidding.

I did pick up one of the three epic gems we got off of Mag. It was a Pyrestone that I had turned into a Reckless Pyrestone. I'm still not 100% sure of the calculations on benefit of spell haste. It would basically be a percent increase in your total damage as opposed to the incremental increase a straight spell damage would have; so it's a little tricky. Haste is going to be much more beneficial if you have high spell damage. It's also different for each spell.

So, for example: It appears that the cut off for Frostbolt (untalented) is somewhere around 1066 spell damage. If you have more than that number, than spell haste is going to be more beneficial to you (as far as DPS is concerned). If you have less, then you should lean towards spell damage. With my spec, with 2 debuffs, Arcane Blast's cut off is around 820. So, see how it can get confusing?

Here's a more solid math example. Leiandra is currently sitting at about 1284 spell damage for arcane and fire (1112 for frost). An increase of 1 Spell Haste on Arcane Blast (no debuffs) should increase DPS by 0.441 where 1 Spell Damage would only be 0.361. Said another way, 1 Spell Haste would be equivolent to 1.22 Spell Damage. So, for me, Spell Haste is better.

Wow... didn't actually start this post thinking I would go in this direction, but I started researching it more and thought it was noteworthy. So, since I got my Vindicator's Pendant of Subjugation last night, that provides an additional 21 Spell Haste. Now I just need another Pyrestone to put there. Where's that Badge vendor? heh.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Orb of the Sin'dorei

I spent a lot of the weekend working on my honor so I can get an upgrade to my neck of the Vindicator's Pendant of Subjugation. I started with about 2,000 honor, and fell asleep on Saturday night without even playing. Woke up wide awake at about 3, and played for a couple hours before heading back to bed. So, I'm now sitting at about 13,000 honor, so hopefully I can get the rest (with daily and mark turn-ins) before our raid tonight. It's just Gruul and Mag, so not like it's going to make or break the raid, but still... just something I want to accomplish.

I did take a break to run Heroic MrT with guildies. I really enjoy that instance. It's still kind of challenging, but the fights are also kinda fun. Not sure why... but to me, it seems that you have to think in them a little bit more than some of the other instances. I don't think I'm really looking for upgrades in gear there, but I enjoy being there. And the Badges of Justice are nice as well.

At any rate, last night when I ran it, the Orb of the Sin'dorei dropped off of Vexallus, and I won. Now, I never picked up the Orb of Deception, but I think I was mistaken about the Deception one. My understanding of it was that you could stay in that form for as long as you like... which isn't the case. Come to find out, they're both pretty much the same thing. 30-minute cooldown. You stay in the form for 5 minutes. I like that the Sin'dorei is not a trinket... can cast it at any time.

Will it help me in PvP? Will I now be able to take down Illidan simply because I have it? Of course not. It's just one of the little, fun things that make the game enjoyable. Personally, I've gotten pretty sick of the non-combat pets (went through my bags and threw them all out), but this is kinda fun for me. I think the pet thing comes from seeing 10 of them in a 25-man raid. Just put them away, people. They're annoying.

Back on topic... it's kinda fun to be a Blood Elf. I get to jump funny. I get to tell different /sillys and /flirts. And I get a dance that isn't lame. Oh wait... not sure which is worse: Human female or Blood Elf female. The Macarena or Britney Spears. Wow... tough call.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Gearing up Recent 70's in 2.4

Any of us that have been playing since before the expansion hit will probably remember running instances like UBRS, LBRS, Strat and Scholo for your Dungeon 1 set of armor before heading in to the 40-man raids. These were the easy dungeons. You could pretty "easily" get your gear upgrades, and that was pretty much the way to do it. I had guild mates back in the day that ran Scholo upwards of 40 times in order to get their head piece.

The trend was slightly continued with the release of the expansion, in that there is the Dungeon 3 set. The bonuses probably tend to be the biggest thing about the set pieces. Some of them are quite helpful. Some of them, seem like Blizzard is just mocking us. (*cough* 2-piece set bonus *cough*)

These sets became less important if guildies can run you (or your alt) through Karazhan. And if you're a crafter, some sets are way more powerful than these sets. That doesn't mean that you should enter Karazhan in all greens though. Come on... let's at least be a contributing member to the raid. And you'll need to survive some hits along the way. So, what I'm saying is... you still need to gear up.

Enter 2.4.
In case you didn't realize it, there's a pretty easy way to gear up your recent 70's in 2.4. To make it better, the price of each item is generally low as well. (About 1 daily can get you the full set of blues). I'm talking about the Level 70 PvP Rare Set 2. Each item requires you to be Honored with a different faction. The factions are Lower City, Honor Hold (or Thrallmar for you Hordies), Cenarion Expedition, Sha'tar, and Keepers of Time.

In your questing, you probably hit honored with most, if not all of these factions. If you ran each of the instances associated with that group, I imagine you'd be honored with all of them. But the best thing about it... it's a sure thing. You don't have to hope that your piece of whichever armor will drop this time. You know you'll get the rep, then you just go buy the item.

There's also multiple sets for those hybrid classes. So, for example, a priest could take the Satin Battlegear or the Mooncloth Battlegear.

Yes, I realize these are PvP items and not PvE, but for the effort you put in, and how quickly you'll replace this gear if you are running Karazhan... it's really a great route to gear up quickly.

p.s. Keep in mind that this is my second post for today. Some people tend to miss items when I double-post.

Making Money in 2.4

I know I've mentioned it at least in passing before, but let me be very clear on this point. Probalby one of the easiest and most consistent ways to make money in the game once you hit level 70 is doing your daily quest. You get an average of about 10g per quest, and some of the quests are so rediculously easy that's it's almost as if Blizzard was giving money away.

As of patch 2.4, you can complete up to 25 daily quests per day. So, if you take the time to do all of them, that's 250g. Not to mention that you'd probably get a few greens to sell in there as well. Personally, I haven't done 25 dailies in one day. Nor do I really plan to do that. There's certainly enough daily quests out there. Some of them require some pre-requisites to open up, but with the Sunwell Plataeu, there's a bunch that are simple, fast, and unlocked to all 70's. (See complete list over at WowWiki.)

Bronzebeard server is currently on phase 2. That means that there are 5 daily quest just after taking the portal to the Shattered Sun Staging Area. Further Conversions and Arm the Wards! can be completed at almost the same time. The Wretched Fiends and Devourers seem to have about a 50% drop rate for the Mana Remnants, and you can kill them while you're hunting down
the Arcane Sentries. So, about 12 kills, and you've completed 2 quests. The Battle for the Sun's Reach Armory is another simple quest. Kill 6 demons, and then throw a flag onto a demon that's generally already lying there dead. Then.. now that they've nerfed the quest a bit, Distraction at the Dead Scar can be be completed in just one run. And finally, Know Your Ley Lines is a quick quest where you can pretty much just run around to three points, and collect your 10g.

So, in about 20 minutes or so... you can make 50g. Not too shabby.

Raid Update: Switched up Al'ar doing it with only 4 tanks... our tanks did it perfectly. But still haven't downed that flamer, Al'ar, yet. It seems that it's really coming together though. I'm really optimistic about next week's attempts.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Mag and H-MrT

I think I may now be fighting an uphill battle with the name of Magister's Terrace. When at least 1/2 of my own guild calls it MgT, I know I'm in trouble. But being the GM, I should have complete control over everything they say and do, right? Yeah... that ain't happening.

Monday night I missed the raid because I was out in the area of the new house I spoke of. We started going out there at about quarter to 1 in the afternoon, and didn't get home until about 9:30. Yeah... it was a long day. But we do have a deposit down on the last model of this phase. Woo hoo! Funny thing is, about 2 minutes after we put down our deposit, another couple wanted to buy the property. Wow... that was close. House won't be completed until end of August though... so gotta figure out which bridge to live under for the summer.

But the report from the guild is that, sure enough, Magtheridon is much easier. Only one group of clickers is needed, and it's extremely easy, especially if you're used to what it was pre-2.4. Furthermore, he's become a real loot pinata. Drops the 20-slot bag, Pit Lord's Satchel and a Black Sack of Gems that contains Epic Gems. And he drops a ton of gold, so yeah... why wouldn't we kill him every week?

The trip into Void Reaver last night was a bit tricky for us. We didn't have a hunter, and we didn't have a pally tank for that first coridor. It just made things more interesting. And not having the Misdirect during Void Reaver meant some DPS pulled aggro a couple of times. /sigh. But again... not a huge concern. Tonight, we're going to try 4 tanks for Al'ar. Hopefully that added DPS slot will be enough do DPS down the embers fast enough and take down Al'ar.

So... Heroic Magisters' Terrace. It's really a lot like Alcatraz in that the Heroic and non-Heroic versions aren't all that much different. Kael has a Pyroblast on Heroic version, that you have to dps down this shield before you can interrupt him. And that's about it. Honestly, everything seemed to be about the same. Mobs just hit harder, but you'd expect that. So, if you find normal Magisters' Terrace to be a breeze, then just set it on heroic... really... it's not that much more challenging.