Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Raid Project: Week 5

Wow, it has been a while since I last posted. I apologize for this. My grandfather had been hospitalized and between checking on him and taking care of the every day things it left little time for blogging. However, it is Tuesday and that means another edition of the Raid Project. We always begin our raiding on Tuesdays because this allows a lot of time to regroup and attempt to finish off the goals that we had set. For this particular week, I had decided that we would run for speed/momentum. We have waisted a lot of time in past weeks by having to stop after trash pulls and wait on members to do whatever. So this week I was determined to keep an uptempo. However, some personal stuff came up and I was unsure if I would be able to attend the run or not. I spoke with our tank who had been handling the main tanking duties for each of the previous four weeks and let him know that the run needed to occur and to maintain a moderate pace.

I was able to make the run though so I logged on in time for the raid and was completely aggrevated by the numbers that were on. We had an overabundance of guild members who registered for the run, yet for some reason over half of them had things come up or just did not show. I will say I appreciate the two members of the raid who signed up and then had to back out and was kind enough to notify me prior to the run. I went ahead and started forming the raid up. We were sitting for over an hour trying to wait for different members when finally I had enough and grabbed a couple PuGs and proceeded into the Spider Wing. I did not want to start in this wing as we have destroyed it and clearly could stand to move on somewhere else. I did have to go there though for the sake of the time of the night. I have to work days currently and did not want to remain awake all night raiding, especially due to a lack of commitment. We downed the wing in no time at all; however, I needed to leave and left it up to the raid whether they would like to continue on.

The raid decided to continue forward and I passed raid lead and master looter to our main tank. I was confident in the raids ability to go on and clear at least another wing. We had a guild member log on who was able to step in and provide some solid ranged DPS which allowed one of the ret Paladins to switch over and heal. The raid moved into the Military wing. They proceeded to encounter some difficulties on Instructor Razuvious, but managed to down him after a few wipes. They then proceeded to slam into a roadblock on Gothik. From what I gathered they were not split in a good method and it caused a pretty nasty wipe. It sounded as if it was a little tense and the raid decided to call it for the night. I will admit I was disappointed that they had some of the issues that I heard of after I left, but it was not entirely a surprise (we will get to that later on).

The week progressed on and it appeared as though the raid would not be picked back up. Well, Sunday arrived and there was a strong core group of our raid members on who wanted to continue the raid. I agreed to run (although in truth I did not want to run) and joined the forming raid. I was passed lead and proceeded to round out the raid with a couple extra PuG members and we brough back a Hunter from the Tuesday run. The raid decided they wanted to hit the Military wing again. When we got to Gothik I devided the group by putting our PuG Hunter on the dead side with our off tank and my wife's Paladin and our own Warlock. I brought the rest of the raid over to the dead side with myself. We destroyed Gothik in no time at all and proceeded on to the Four Horsemen. Here we were in a rough spot as we had a lot of people doing stuff they had never done before, but isn't that the point? I want to not only get people clearing Naxx, but I also want them to learn how to do different things in the raid so that they can always find a PuG if they need to.

I took our guild Hunter to the back with me. We put our PuG Shaman healing our main tank up in one corner and left my wife to handle healing the raid on her Paladin in the other corner. I am proud to say that we had no issues here and proceeded to down the Horsemen with out any major concerns. We then decided to head into the Construct wing. We hit Gluth and once again wiped. At this point we lost our PuG Shaman and one other member. I went and found another Shaman for healing and we added a friend of the PuG Hunter to the group and made some minor adjustments on strategies and managed to down Gluth on our third attempt. I was absolutely happy for the members of the raid and the guild especially as some of them were really feeling discouraged. We then downed the rest of the wing and set our sights on the Plague wing.

Now if you have followed the previous four weeks, then you know that we have wiped without fail on Heigen. We hit Heigen with a vengeance and proceeded to bring him down to around 30% but once again we went down. It was encouraging though since we had our off tank handling the fight to get experience and a few others managed to survive the first dance. We regrouped and made some adjustments and made a second attempt. Once more we wiped, but I really feel that one was more to random bad luck such as some members having lag. The mood of the raid was going down quickly. You could tell by the reaction to what we were trying to explain to the raid. Now as a side note when I first did this boss, the PuG raid I was in wiped fifteen times in a row and each wipe made me that much more angry because they kept talking about how easy it was, yet for some reason none of them were capable of staying up either. We downed it and a few more runs later I was able to see the path open up to me through the dance. I marked myself with a raid icon, not because I am great, but because I do tend to stay up through the dance. We hit Heigen this time determined and we took him down. It was the single greates relief I have felt since trying to organize these raids. We then proceeded to finish the wing off and prepared for our final two bosses.

It was getting late (extremely late) and our off tank needed to head out. We decided we would do Saph and KT with one tank. A lot of folks were not sure on this, but we felt compelled to try. Saph is easily a single tank fight and we showed this to be true by one shotting him. I believe we did not even lose anyone on this fight. Prior to the fight we brought in a friend of our main tank who had a shadow Priest. I was feeling very hopeful at this point that maybe just maybe the guild could get their first complete Naxx run. We headed into KT and proceeded to explain the fight. There was definitely some raid members who you knew did not quite get it, but we did not want to lose the momentum and we charged in. We picked up the banshees and burned them down. I left the healing for phase one up to my wife's holy Paladin and the Shaman we picked up and proceeded to use exorcism and holy shock to blast banshees from range. With 2100+ spell power, you can put a hurt on those particular mobs. When phase two began I focused back to healing and tried my hardest to monitor everything that was going on. Calling out for heals when we needed quick response from the Shaman. The good part about both my wife and I healing on raids is that we can communicate quickly by just speaking to each other. The raid leadership monitored the ten yard range very closely. We did lose one member who did not pay attention to the range and got too close to the healers. I chose to heal the healer rather than wipe the raid from one DPS who was careless. With only one tank, we tasked our hunters to misdirect the adds onto the tank and they did it perfectly.

In the end, everything came together and the core members of our raiding team in MAS accomplished the goal that I had set out for them. We downed KT. I personally feel a since of accomplishment since so many of the guild members expressed a desire to raid. Over these five weeks we have had a lot of challenges because of a lack of dedication; however, we have six to seven members who remained dedicated and through their commitment, we were able to establish MAS on achieving one goal. It really showed that our previous raid leaders simply failed in the roles. I do not want to sound mean or belittle them, but I am by no means a hard core raider. I was, however, willing to schedule weekly raids and simply show up and group us together. I put a little time in talking with the members who would be key in the progression and also studied some fellow bloggers and WoW Wiki. The end result? We cleared Naxx 10.

So what is next? That is a great question and deserves an answer. As the summer is nearing completion, my personal goal is to find a member of our raiding team and start to have them take over leading the raids. It is not that I do want to stop raiding, but as the year ends, tax season approaches and that is a nightmare of any professional in the financial or tax industries. I also do not want the raiding to end and so I am going to continue leading the raids until such a time arrives that I feel confident in a new raid leader. I think the goal for MAS as a whole in raiding is to put Naxx on farm. We have over 30 level 80's at last count. We have the number, but need the dedication so I shall continue to focus on the weekly runs and foster the attitude of expectency and hopefully increase the number of members who are on adn wanting to raid. So in the end, the Raid Project has not ended, but truly now has just begun!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Raid Project: Week 3 & 4

Alright, so it is Tuesday and there is a post up! That must mean it is time to take a look at the adventures in raiding that MAS is going through. So without any more cheap/bad jokes let's take a look at the events of the last couple weeks!

Week 3

Alright, so in week three we decided that we wanted to switch things up slightly and see how far the guild could go and also check our DPS. The first two weeks were really more focused on getting people use to running as a group and also to see how the healing and tanking would work out. Having established the fact that we are blessed with solid tanks and heals, it was now time to set our focus on our DPS, since they have not really been challenged. So with the goal in mind, I informed the folks that I discuss raiding with and we decided we were going straight into the Construct Quarter and using Patchwork!

Now there have been a lot of horrible stories of raid groups going down in a blaze of glory against the big bad boss and to be honest, the raid leadership was expecting to hit some rough spots on this boss. To our surprise we steamrolled over top of Patchwork like he was not anything more than a normal boss. Now to be honest, I was worried as we were running with a three healer set for the fight and our DPS had not been tested to that point. Needless to say it was all for not. As we were able to utilize duel healing from the Paladin healers to their respective tanks, it left little healing for our Shaman to worry about. So let me say publicly that I was proud of the guild as I did not foresee that fight going that easily, especially since we had several members who have never been in Naxx for that particular run.

We then proceeded to move on and unfortunately we did raid wipe on Grobulous, but we expected this and quickly recovered and downed him on the second attempt. Now the stumbling block for the first night of raiding was on Gluth. We just could not down this beast. We tried several different methods and decided that, rather than lose the momentum, we would switch and move into the Spider Wing which we then proceeded to destroy. We called it at the end of that quarter on a high note with several guild members getting some nice gear upgrades. We also had some PuG members with us and they too received some gear for their efforts.

We came back the next night and picked up the raid and went back after Gluth and proceeded to wipe a few more times. Deciding that we had some sort of issue with this boss, we decided to move on into the Military Quarter, which I am happy to say we handled quite easily. Someone who reads this from the guild can correct me, but I do not believe we had any wipes on any of the bosses. That is a great accomplishment for the guild as many folks have never seen those encounters and to one shot them, was a great thing. Even the Four Horsemen were handled with minimal issues.

As it was still somewhat early we decided to try our hand at the Plague Quarter where we quickly moved to Heigen and the dance. We still have some issues with the dance and unfortunately could not clear that boss. We called it there as it was getting pretty late and we could sense some tension building at the thought of wiping again. We did not get a chance to go back in and try to clear out Gluth or Heigen, but it was a major push by the guild members and they showed that they had the skills and ability necessary to handle some of the hardest fights in the instance. Now we just need to work on some minor dance steps and make a few adjustments on kiting methods and we will be clearing this place weekly.

Week 4

Alright, so I was riding high from the previous week and looking forward to running with the guild. However, I am guessing that the guild did not feel the same as we had many no-shows and non-commitals. So a half hour before the time to start I made the call to cancel the raid as one other member was not feeling well and had to withdraw. I was not feeling to well either so I was not upset at calling the run. However, I did feel aggrevation over the lack of participation.

Thoughts

I have mixed feelings on the progress that we have made into raiding. On one hand I am very proud of the guild for doing so well on some of the more difficult fights (Four Horsemen and Patchwork), but on the other hand I am very aggrevated by the unwillingness to commit to runs. They showed such great promise, yet it seems like that if we hit a roadblock they lose their edge and just want to go about doing dailies or leveling alts. Now do not get my wrong, there is nothing wrong with this, but we have to look at this honestly in that it is much like a little baby who is learning how to walk. First they have to master rolling over, then sitting up, then crawling, finally standing and eventually taking that first step.

Another thing that I am careful to do is not refer to something as easy or so simple because I remember that people progress at different levels and I also remember running those same bosses and wiping over and over and hearing someone eventually say something like, "this is so easy guys, c'mon you can do this!" I know that folks mean that as encouragement, but it becomes frustrating when you are doing everything you can and it just does not seem good enough. I remember the first time I encountered the Heigen dance in a PuG where I knew no one and they tried it 15 times before they could clear it. I died every time save the last one and the entire time was so mad because they kept referring to it being so easy. Is it easy though? It really depends, eventually you begin to see a path that opens up for you and it does not seem as difficult, but if you have any lag or are trying to follow someone, then it is extremely frustrating. So I have really been careful to try and keep that type of talk out of the raids and I think that can contribute to some of the success that we have experienced. I have found that people will listen to you much more closely if they are not mad at you for insulting them the entire time you are running.

Another thing that I have done in the raids that I think has helped us out is by placing the members of the raid that I think of as key to the success of the run in the same party. Typically I try to add our tanks, healers, and top DPS into one party so that we can communicate without the rest of the raid seeing the conversation. It is important that the raid feel 100% confident in the decisions that we make, so we just make those decisions and display our not so condifent moments in the party chat.

So why bring these last two topics into this particular post? Well, that is a great question and deserves to be answered. My main reason is that this series is not just about the progress of MAS, but also a resource for those who want to start a raiding guild. I also believe that what makes a raid successful is how you manage the raid. It is not only about getting the right balance of people, but also in how you manage those individuals. So I share the insight that I have gained here for those people who are just starting out to see what has worked or not worked for us. So that is why I mentioned keeping a positive attitude on things and not letting people refer to something as easy and also why I mentioned placing your raid leaders in a party together. These are things that have proven successful for us and unfortunately, I do not see many people who share those kind of ideas. I will however see people who love to brag about how easy content is or how great they are, but this is more about how did the content become easy and how they became so great.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Alternate Fridays: Cho'Gall

Alright, so for this installation of Alternate Fridays I want to introduce my very first Alliance toon that I plan on playing! However, before we do the introduction, let me tell you a little bit about the reasons behind my decision. I was looking through the World of Warcraft Forums on Sunday. July 12, and I noticed a forum under the Suggestions section from an Alliance charactr on the Cho'Gall server that basically stated that Blizzard needed to do something as there was a 7-1 ratio of Horde to Alliance. Now this is a PVP server (which I love) and something compelled me to take a look and see what was up on the server.

So I logged in to World of Warcraft, located the server and created Weylyn (which is a Celtic name meaning son of the wolf) who is a Dwarf Hunter currently at level 11 (although I am writing this post a little ahead of time so he may be higher by the time this post publishes). I quickly leveled him to 10 so I could pick up his first companion, a nice white wolf who I named Phelen (which is Celtic for Wolf, but also was a key character in lore from Battletech, which I use to play around in). Now my wife has since joined me on the server, but she is way off on the other side of the world working on leveling a Night Elf Hunter. For some reason she does not like the looks of the Dwarf race!



At any rate, the folks on the server were absolutely correct! This server is completely dead. There are scarcely any alliance players to be found in the major cities. The trade chat channel is dead. No one utters a word. I broke the silence and asked about how quiet it was and was greeted by friendly folks who stated that they badly needed help and that I should transfer on to the server. I have no intention of this (for one I love Daggerspine and two I am Horde, which would not help them); however, in my spare time I am going to attempt to level some characters in support of this poor realm. Their auction house had less than four thousand items up on it. It really is in dire need, so if anyone is out there that likes a challenge (7 - 1 odds against the Alliance), then this is server to go to.

Another reason for rolling this little Dwarf is to see the storyline from the Alliance side of things. All joking aside, I love playing Horde, but would love to see the other side of things. Also, if the game ever loses interest, I will have felt more complete by just playing through the content as an Alliance character as well. So there we go! Who knew I would ever roll an alt as an Alliance on a so badly outnumbered server?

Later!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

If It's Red, Then It's Dead - 7.12.09

Alright, so as I mentioned last week with the upcoming changes to the arena rewards system I am wanting to look at adding a third member to our team and trying to schedule a lot more matches on a weekly basis. However, before I start going on about all that let's take a look at the current state of our team and then figure out what will work best in a 3v3 team.

Currently I am running in a PVE holy talent build on Ruhtra, which leaves me open to all types of misery. The majority of the season I was still based in Holy but used a Holy/Prot build which mitigated a lot of damage and also provided a strong reduction in stuns and the likes of which I am constantly hit by. However, when Blizzard started announcing changes I switched my second talent build to protection for a couple of different reasons, none of them being for PVP. I did give a few matches a shot in PVP, but it was to clunky and bulky feeling. I missed my Holy Shock and did not feel like the performance was any better than my holy build. I now have switched over to a retribution build, but it is more for grinding and running in heroics when I do not need to heal. However, I do plan to mess with the retribution build and test it out in arena. While I like the potential to do burst damage, I find that I am not yet great with the controls of a retribution Paladin in PVP, so there is plenty of work to do for me.

My partner is a Death Knight and he knows his class and has a couple of builds that he has played around with in arena. I know one focuses on destroying casters. The other is some sort of blood talent build, which worked well with the protection build I tried out. I do not think though that he will continue to use the blood build no more than I intend to use anything other than holy. So we are pretty much going to build a team around a holy Paladin and an anti-caster Death Knight build (sorry I do not know the exact talent build he uses).

Last week we ran some matches with a guild member's Mage. We saw some huge improvements, but we ended up facing some extremely strong geared teams. Our Mage was not as geared and was quickly burned down. However, there has been strategy discussions and I am wanting to try again with the Mage and see if we can get him some gear and experience if he won't turn out to be a great partner for us. The other class I would love to give a go with our team is a survival built Hunter. They have a lot of nasty things they can do to casters, I should know after all as they love to pound on me. However, at this time we have not been able to nail one down to give a try out with. Our current main 3v3 partner is a Shaman who does well; however, is not the most reliable person in the world. He has worked on it, but real life beckons and he answers (and I do not blame him one bit for that).

As far as my plans go, I am going to more than likely take my duel spec and place it back into a holy PVP build. There is a huge difference in the amount of damage I take and the amount of time I spend unable to do anything when compared between the two holy builds. I am also spending my honor and arena points on finishing up a retribution gear set. I am unsure if I will actually utilize it, but it cannot hurt to have the gear set available.

In other PVP news I spent my Friday night in Warsong Gulch to get the last few tokens for my third PVP mount. This time I added the Swift Black Warstrider to the fold. Swift Bob now joins the Black War Wolf and the Black War Raptor. I also gained a couple of achievements from Warsong Gulch, but they escape my mind. Had a couple really good matches and gained some decent reputation with the faction, but I have a long way to go there. Well, keep on fighting folks!

Later!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Alternate Fridays: Introduction

Alright, in the continuation of doing weekly series, I am dedicating Fridays to all of my alts. Now this could just be a rant post if something bad were to happen on an alt or it could be a post talking about different strategies that I may have found to work well or it could just simply be a post about the joy of slipping into a different character and doing something different. I know there are some sites dedicated to alts and I suppose I could very well become one of those bloggers if I let myself. At current count I have 21 characters on one server alone and no clue how many characters scattered across the servers.

I can probably make the assumption that over the coming weeks I will be talking about playing my Shaman as I have been running him with my wife's hunter. Although I have also had the urge to mess with my Hunter and Rogue. There is always my Priest who I was having a lot of fun with as well. Only time will tell which one of them makes it first to 80, but you all will see it here on Alternate Fridays!

So let's talk a little bit about where my characters currently are at! Well of all my alts, Emprius is the highest at 73. I really wanted to level him to 80 first; however, I am also trying to level my alts in which is most useful for the guild in it's current state. So with that thinking in mind, I started working on Popebutch since we were in need of a more traditional raid healer. I took Pope all the way to level 67, but stalled out there. I was pulling a little ahead of my wife's hunter and was having difficulty wanting to play the Priest. Do not get me wrong, I love the guy, but I was just really tired of being the "healer". So that led me to moonlighting on my Hunter, who is at 71. Lrem is a lot of fun, but we have quite a few Hunters who are level 80 and adding another one to the mix would not be that big of a help. So I stepped back and started thinking of a way to meet the goal of adding some additional healing options to the guild, but also make it fun to level and not always have to be the healer. So in steps Walani!

A long time ago, the first toon I had to 70 was the ol' Shaman. However, he was not my first toon and while I loved playing him, Ruhtra would always be number one. So this time around I leveled Ruhtra first to 80 and have dedicated my time to gearing him as best as I can. Having gotten Ruhtra to a point now where he is now geared quite well and able to run Ulduar I was able to look at the alts. Of all the alts I had, Walani offers me the best option. He was fully geared in solid healing gear at the end of BC and has several different sets of PVP gear. He offered the luxary of duel speccing to resto and enhanced which would allow me to heal when needed, but not always have to be the healer. So my mind was made up and now Walani is at level 72. I have really enjoyed enhancement. When I first decided to start messing with him again, I paid to respec into each talent tree, with enhancement being the last. I truly hated it at first. I was so used to being away from the action that learning how to melee was almost foreign to me. I am happy to say that I feel much more comfortable with him now and running with Lovkinja has been a blast.

Later!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Through The Eyes Of The Leader: Direction

It is kind of funny that when I decided to write this series that I did not hear any complaints from anyone. I fully expected that out of all the different on-going series, that this one would draw the most concern from my fellow guild members, yet not one of them have said anything out of concern for it. So I guess that is a good thing, it did however get me thinking about the direction of this series which made me think about the direction that we must run our guilds in. A lot of direction talk, almost sounde political because I managed to say a whole lot of nothing right there. Which is exactly what I want to avoid.

Alright, all joking aside, I started this post off in this manner because I wanted to show how confusing it can be sometimes for us to relay our thoughts to other people. And what does that have to do with leading a guild Ru? Well, glad you asked. It has everything to do with leading a guild, a club, a community, or a basketball team. If we cannot communicate clearly to those who we are trying to lead, then we have failed before we have even begun. I think the hardest thing that we have to do in running a guild, is simply finding a means to communicate to all of our members. If you do not believe me then just look up all the leadership books and seminars that deal with communication. It is not an easy thing to master.

So how do we overcome this in our guilds? I honestly wish I could give you all a set answer that was guaranteed to work, but I cannot do this. What we can do though is attempt to put the information out there for all of the guild members to be able to get to. My recommendation is establishing a guild website and forum. Will every member use them? Unfortunately not; however, these are the same members who will typically complain about not knowing what is going on because they are too lazy to type in a web address. I use to get really upset over these individuals, but soon realized that if they did not care enough to know what was going on in the guild, then they probably would not remain with the guild for too long a time period. On that note I am working on not being so negative as I realize there may be other issues which prevent people from utilizing these resources all of the time.

However, Blizzard was kind enough to help us out by placing their own in-game calendar. In the past there were multiple add-ons that you could use, but they required everyone having the most recent version and more often than not just did not work very well. So when Blizzard dropped their own calendar in the game, that became a huge resource. It really has taken away the excuses of "I didn't know that ______ event was today!" Now there will still be those members of your guild who will say that they did not get an invite or something of that nature, but that is where we have the luxary of falling back and reminding them of the guild website and forums (so long as we update them).

The only other advice that I would give you is make sure that you are precise with what you say. If I accidently post a guild run/raid in EST rather than server time, I am guaranteed to hear about it and be told that it caused some sort of confusion. So we can save ourseleves by just taking a few extra minutes to make sure we are concise in our postings.The one thing to remember is that we can only control what we can personally do. So we just need to make sure that we get the information published correctly and promptly. What the members of the guild decide to do with it is their own business and we cannot let that bother us.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Paladin's Thoughts On All Things Holy: It's Geting HoT In Here!

I have been sitting here for quite some time trying to get my thoughts together on the patch notes, specifically in regards to holy Paladins. So let's take a look at what I think is the biggest change for us that has some positives to it.

> Sacred Shield: When a paladin casts Flash of Light on a target with this buff, they also now place a heal-over-time effect on the target, healing that target for 100% of the Flash of Light amount over 12 seconds.

> Beacon of Light: The healing amount on the Beacon of Light target is now based on the total healing done (including over-healing) instead of the effective healing done. Radius increased to 60 yards. Multiple Paladins can now have this active on the same target. Buff indicating a player is within range of the Beacon target is no longer displayed

My first concern was how does this effect the actual Flash of Light? Would it allow the Flash of Light to heal normal and then also place a HoT or would it consume the Flash of Light and only place the HoT? Well, the word from the PTR is that you get the heal from Flash of Light and it will also then place the HoT on your target as well. That right there was my biggest concern, until I got to thinking a little more about this. So this sent me looking through the internet trying to find some more information as far as the limitations. I came across this post on HolyPaladin.net which had some great information in there about who to apply Sacred Shield onto; however, the real meat of what I was interested in came in the comments sections:

"How it currently works on the PTR is that if multiple paladins cast Flash of Light on a tank with any paladin’s sacred shield on it, the tank will get a HoT for each paladin’s Flash of Light. So, you can stack multiple HoTs on the tank with multiple paladins. Also, you don’t have to cast FoL on the tank with “your” Sacred Shield. The HoT is applied to anyone with Sacred Shield, even other paladin’s Sacred Shield. So, you can have multiple HoTs of your own running on multiple people, one for each Sacred Shield that’s up. So, if you have 4 paladins in the raid, you could have 4 HoTs on 4 different people at the same time (a total of 16 HoTs).

If healers are slacking or healers die, then it is much more likely that the tank will die. I believe that is working as intended."

The entire paragraph is pretty amazing in my opinion. In MAS, we run typically with three to four Paladins per ten man raid. So just like the illistration at the end of the paragraph, we can feasibly keep sixteen HoTs up during the course of an encounter. Does anyone see that Blizzard may take a look at this and decide that this may be too much in the way of healing? So my concern went from not having a HoT, to losing the HoT or having it nerfed shortly after it is introduced. [We can all look back at Devine Plea and see that sometimes they give us a great tool and then decide it was too over powered for what they were intending to do.] However, as of right now, there has been no change and nothing being reported differently from the PTR that I can find on the forums or in the blogworld, so we must assume it will go live.

As a Paladin healer I have accepted that my best role is in healing our tanks. We were made for this. Now we can place Sacred Shield on our tank and cast Flash of Light and have a HoT active for those moments when we lose LoS or the tank moves/is moved out of range. It use to be that when the tank and I became seperated I would race to the tank and hit my macro'd instant crit Holy Shock and follow it up with the instant Flash of Light that became available due to the Holy Shock macro. Now, I do not see changing this method at all, but with the HoT being refreshed it makes it that much better for us. Also take into consideration that there can now be multiple HoTs on our tanks and it definitely provides a lot more utility for all Paladins not just the holy ones.

Now take into consideration the fact that they are increasing the range on Beacon of Light to 60 yards and the possibilities for healing become that much greater. Now one thing we do know is that a player who has Sacred Shield will not get the HoT from a Flash of Light delivered through Beacon of Light; however, with the range increase, Beacon of Light gains more raid utility. In my experience raids always want the main tank or off tank to have Beacon of Light on them, which makes good sense; however, often times this just creates more overhealing than actual healing. Instead what I am interested in testing is the viability of placing the Beacon of Light on one of my top performing ranged DPS, such as a Hunter or Mage. This will help to relieve our raid healers and allow us, as a healing team, to provide more solid heals to more members than usual. Now this is all relative to Blizzard not switching anything as it currently stands and the fact that we raid with multiple Paladins who can keep the HoTs up on the tanks.

At the end of the day, I am definitely excited to see what the end result is. If left as is, then we have a legitimate HoT that allows us to utilize other abilities in different ways, which I believe will help us to expand our role as healers beyond the spamming of one particular spell. However, we must remember that just because it works this way in the PTR does not guarantee it will make it into the game the same way. I definitely do not plan on getting rid of my Forethought Talisman anytime soon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Raid Project: Week 1 & 2

Alright, looks like it is Tuesday which means we can take a look at the what is going on with the Raid Project! One thing I would like to go over is a few concerns that were presented to me about doing a very open and public series on organizing a casual PVP guild into a PVE raiding guild. First let me put to rest your concerns. This is planned to be done in a very tactful way that will not make anyone feel negative or bad about theirselves or the guild as a whole. As I have stated in private conversations, I founded MAS with my friends, but I have put a lot of time and work into MAS and I would never do anything to make the guild or any member appear in a negative light. So now that we have addressed that, let us look at what has been accomplished!

Week 1

Well, for the first week (and because it was really short notice) I set my sights on the Spider wing. We organized and grouped up with a Paladin and Death Knight sharing tanking duties depending on the boss and what skills may be best utilized. Our healers were myself on Ruhtra (Holy Paladin), my wife on her Paladin, and one of our Shaman. The rest of the raid consisted of two Hunters, one retribution Paladin, a Mage, and a Rogue. I would love to say that we one shotted everything, but that would be a lie. What we did was take our time and teach the members of the raid how to work together and how to take each boss down. I am proud to say that we cleared the Spider wing with a little bit of effort. Was there any raid wipes? Yes, we did wipe, but it was expected since quite a few people had never been in Naxx yet. We were feeling pretty good and I had a little bit of time left and our tanks wanted to show the guild the first boss in the Military quarter. It was a bit of surprise that we actually took down Instructor Razuvious (parden the bad spelling) to under 10% on their first attempt. We did call the run after this and unfortunately we were unable to get everyone together later in the week for another shot in Naxx.

Week 2

So week two came and once more we had our two tanks on and ready to go. My wife had to work this week though, so myself and our Shaman decided to heal it with just the two of us. We had a couple different folks in the raid who had not yet been in Naxx, so we decided to hit the Spider wing again. We did encounter some wipes yet again, but as a lot of folks are still learning about raiding in general, we expected it and it was no big deal. (I just had to hit the dailies and put a little better selection of gear up on the auction house to pay my repairs.) I was very proud as once more we cleared the Spider wing. This time we decided to show them what the Plague Quarter had to offer. I will admit that the DPS stepped it up a notch and we one shotted the first boss and cleared through to Heigen (again please forgive the bad spelling) where we proceeded to wipe. I will give the guild credit as by the end of the Heigen encounter, several of them were beginning to get the dance down. It was getting late and the spirits were beginning to dip, so I decided it was a good point to call the raid for the night. Once more we suffered from lack of attendance for the remainer of the week and did not make it back in.

Thoughts

So, this is the part where I share my thoughts on the runs and where I see the biggest issues that face us (and I am sure others). My biggest concern at this point is that if the guild truly wishes to become a raiding guild, there will need to be a much higher level of commitment in regards to showing up for the raid. I have not harped on this to folks because I realize that they have chosen the casual guild atmosphere over a true raiding guild mentality that is sometimes more like a boot camp drill sergant than a raid leader. So my delimna then becomes, how do we get around this?

Well, the first step I see is finding out who the core members are who show up each week. I would say that for MAS, we are pretty strong because we have around five to seven members who are on and show a strong desire to raid. Now along with these members we also have some members who want to raid but are hampered by their everyday life. (Hampered is a bad choice of words here, but it the only thing that comes to mind....sorry.) Now we cannot plan a schedule around these individuals as they really are unable to commit, the trick is making sure that if they are on, that we try to rotate them into the raid at the first opportunity. I successfuly did this during our week two run, which brings us to another thing that any raid leader needs to be aware of, which is the alts of current raid members, as well as duel specs. In this case we had a tank log on who is a solid player. We were able to have our Death Knight switch his spec to a DPS build and bring in the tank.

Now the other thing I noticed that will be an issue that I can see arise in the near future is that of the newly turned 80's. We have a lot of members who just recently hit level 80 or are very close to hitting it. These individuals have expressed a lot of desire to run the raid content, but are not geared properly for this. The trick here is to not offend them, but to be honest with them about what they need to do and where their character should be at in order to raid. Now it is rough for any one person to know everything about every class, so rely on your officers or raid assistants for this. If possible, try to take one of the undergeared members with you. I know this sounds extremely wrong; however, what we need to remember is that with the right group you can clear Naxx with less than 10 individuals, so having one undergeared person will not sink the raid. However, make sure they understand that their priority level for gear is going to be much less than those who deserve to be there. It has shown, at least for us, that people are happy to go and often times gear will drop that they are able to pick up because no one else needs it.

The second thing this does beside giving a little raid experience and possible gear to someone, is create some excitement for the newly turned 80's that they will get a spot in the raid. This has led to some people working a lot harder on their characters in order to earn their raid spot. Sometimes, this may not be evident to everyone in the guild, but as the guild leader you tend to get a lot of whispers from people who want to tell you about their stats. Now sometimes this is for approval, but more often than not it is a way of saying, "hey, look at how well I am doing!", which is great. As a guild leader (and default raid leader for now), I love seeing members of the guild out there working on gear and trying to improve their own characters and play styles.

It is exciting to me to see people begin to experience the game content that they really want to see. It is even more exciting to be able to do it as a guild. I remember back when the guild made our first attempts at Kara. We did not have enough members on and ended up having to pick up some fill ins. This led to seom really bad experiences with people in the guild and some hurt feelings. Time heals all wounds though and so far we have been able to field full guild runs and that is great. In all reality when our active members hit 80 and so long as our current group of players stay with us, there is no reason that some day we will not be discussing organizing 25 man content. However, that is a dream of mine for the guild, so we will not put pressure on anyone for that. Instead we will just kick back and enjoy spending some time with friends online and downing some bosses that are still somewhat relevant.

Later all!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Weekly Update

I am a pretty lazy person on Mondays. In reality I pretty much just do not ever feel like doing anything related to WoW. I do not know why just the way it seems to work out. So on Mondays I am just going to use this as an update that covers topics not covered in any of the other weekly posts. Now sometimes it may bleed over, but that is the joy of making the rules, we can change them or modify them as we go.

So let's hit the update for this week as I have not been posting a lot of anything lately. Pretty much I recently switched focus from my Priest (Popebutch) to my Shaman (Walani). For some strange reason I got a desire to level him, but was having a rough time getting in groups. It pretty much went like:

Group Invite - Accepted
Me: So who is healing?
Group: You are
Me: I checked DPS
Group: Oh, well can't you heal?

For a while I went ahead and struggled trying to heal in my elemental gear. I finally became frustrated with this and dropped elemental and switched to enhancement thinking that this would take care of it. It did not and I still had those same conversations only it ended with me either being kicked from a group or leaving the group. Either of which was fine by me as I believe if you do not know who you ask into a group it does not bode well for the success of said group.

Now I was aggrevated with all of this, but my wife's hunter was getting closer to Northrend (which she made it there on Saturday evening) and I wanted to level the Shaman, so I dropped the gold for duel spec and problem solved. I have been running with her as enhanced and when I want to get in a group I can either do DPS or healing. This has made life much easier and there seems to be a lack of Shaman on the server for whatever reason, so gearing has been rather easy. I am interested to see how I do on staying focused with Walani.

Other than spending some time on the Shaman, I have been working on gearing Ruhtra up for tanking, and a big shout out to Honorshammer! I would know nothing without the great articles that he has on his site. That being said, I am raid capped and now just need to quit being lazy and finish out the Sons of Hodir reputation. Once that is done I can regem and finish leveling up my professions (Blacksmithing and Enchanting) and I will be solid with my holy and prot sets. My retribution set has been a pain to get together because there are so many damn Death Knights who want everything (even when they have better equipped). Oh well, next challenge will be actually tanking something. It is easy to sit around in the shiny plate, but actually putting it to use will be the challenge. I did a little tanking back at the beginning of BC so I am looking forward to jumping in and giving it a go. Time will tell on all of that.

Well, catch y'all later!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

If It's Red, Then It's Dead: Introduction

So, it has been a little while since I last posted anything up on the sites and blogs and I apologize for that. I had gotten an infection in my foot and then some other things have crept up as well. Worry not though as I have no intention of giving up blogging. If anything, I find that writing posts for the blogs helps keep me feeling somewhat sane in an insane world. At any rate, every Sunday we are going to focus on PVP!

PVP has always been where my heart is. I find it a lot of fun to get into little fights here and there, both organized and unorganized! There is nothing better than downing an oposing faction member who felt obliged to corpse camp an alt. At any rate, I am going to dedicate Sundays to all things PVP.

So for the first actual post I want to address Blizzard's plan to do away with the rankings of 2v2 teams counting towards obtaining gear. I find this very disapointing as me and my friend have seen moderate success on our twos team. I understand that there has been some questionable teams and there was the whole mess with the title that was removed, but it is really a good idea to remove the one bracket where the majority of people are able to compete on some levels? I suppose that Blizzard has the reasons, but it would just make more sense to completely remove the 2v2 bracket altogether. Then again who said Blizzard was that smart?

I suppose my biggest issue with the decision is the fact that my team has found it very difficult to find a third person who will be dedicated; however, I am confident that we will find our third member and be back on track to having our weekly fun. At any rate, I hope that the rest of you all out there who run arena are not going to be in the same boat with us. It takes a while to really learn what your partner(s) will do and to add a brand new person into the mix will definitely be a period of adjustment, but hopefully we will find that individual soon and be feeling comfortable with them come the start of the next season.

Later!