Thursday, April 9, 2009

Speed Runs (Naxx and Others)

Okay, today's post is a bit more serious than yesterday's satirical one. And rightfully so since today is the first day of Guild Leadership Appreciation Day for 2009.

Suffice it to say that there are a few people that are no longer part of Primogeniture, so we've had to slightly rebuild our guild over the past few weeks. We've had some struggles, but overall we've pressed forward and we've succeeded.

This raid week, we've gotten back to the point that we can clear Naxx in 2 raid nights. That's probably about 4.5 hours of raiding for our guild. Sure it's not the 1 hour speed runs that some guilds are seeing, but it's better than 3-4 nights that it was taking us. And this was with 23 people on the second night. I don't recall how many we had on the first night.. but must have been less than 25 since we pulled one of those people in as soon as he hit 80 towards the end of the first night. (And he's a prot warrior, so was just along for the ride and gear we would have sharded anyway.)

Back to the point though, there's a number of very simple things that our guild (and probably most guilds) did to be able to speed up their runs. If you're old skool enough to remember the 45-minute Baron run back in the days before TBC. You had to run the Gauntlet in Stratholme and kill Baron Rivendare in 45 minutes. Our guild did it at the appropriate gear level; in other words, I don't think we had a single raid item between the 5 of us. Our group consisted of 2 mages, a holy priest, a prot warrior, and a versatile (but mostly feral) druid. And the pace was fast. We chain pulled. We created multiple mana gems. Looting was seen as a time sink (and mostly unnecessary to our relatively geared group). We pulled only necessary mobs. We had our druid that truly played the hybrid role; melee DPSing, tanking when we didn't want a patting mob to have to make another cycle, and healing to conserve the priest's mana. Honestly, it was crazy fun. And then taking those lessons and finally killing Lord Valthalak... Truly some epic times. We even got the kill posted on YouTube.

Basically, most all of these same things will work for your Naxx run, or any other run you want to step up the pace. Here's some of the points:
  • Chain Pull - Try to get through mobs as quick as possible. Healers don't need full mana. Heck, you probably don't even need 100% of your members there as well. Just know the pulls, and know what your group can handle.
  • Quick Looting - Whatever your method is (DKP, /roll, need or greed), try to handle it as fast as possible. (This ain't no Baron run where you're sharding everything.)
  • Fight While Looting - In a 25-man raid, there's generally about 4 items that drop per boss. Maybe 2 people are interested in each item on the average. That's 8 people that stick around for the loot while 17 people move on to kill trash. Or maybe you have to wait for a few items to be distributed (and the interested parties to be ready to kill trash), but you most likely can press on before loot is finished.
  • Quick Rebounds - Wipes happen. Even with wipe prevention, there's still downtime when people are dead. Quickly determine the fastest path to getting everyone back up. This isn't an excuse for 1/2 the raid to go surf the Internet. If everybody's running back, than everybody should be running back.
  • Short Explanations - If you know the fights and how your guild does it, this is probably a moot point, but do your best to pay attention to the person explaining it, and they should do their best to keep the explanations of each encounter condensed.
  • Proper Buffs - Everyone should be buffed. This also includes Flasks/Potions and Well Fed Buffs. Even if you vastly outgear a raid dungeon, it's not a bad idea to throw on a flask (or at least a cheapo Potion) to help speed everything up.
This is not necessarily a comprehensive list, but it does cover probably the major time killers. Feel free to add other suggestions if you have them.

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