Standards

I’ve made a couple of posts this tier that haven’t gone over very well with progression oriented raiders. I’ve been told, and quite frankly, that I am damaging my team, that I’m encouraging other players to embrace horrible playstyles, that I am the anti-thesis of a responsible raider. I rarely let these comments bother me too much. I know the pressure I put on myself to be a contributing member to my raid team, and my raid team accepts my foibles and has found me to be an acceptable member. I’ve watched this team step up again and again, and I’m happy to have found a home.

There’s a reason I keep standing on that line making people uncomfortable. There’s a reason I’m willing to take a bit of flak, and even misrepresent my raiding environment to some extent in order to make my point. I absolutely nerd-rage over a number of the standards I’ve seen set over the years from guilds of every stripe and character about what is acceptable for raiding environments. As challenging as raiding can be, as important as basic activities like talenting, gearing, gemming, enchanting and having proper consumables can be to the success of your raiding environment, in the end, raiding is a learned skill. If raiding guilds are not to fizzle out from attrition in the next expansion, there has to be some flexibility in allowing new players/raiders into a raiding environment to learn what the hell is going on.

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Your First Cataclysm Heroic

You’ve run every dungeon on normal, and just gotten your iLvL up sufficiently to run a heroic–Congratulations and Good Luck! Cataclysm heroics are a class above what you have become used to in Lich King heroic encounters, with the tank grabbing everything, the dps AoE’ing the mobs into the ground, and the healer in the back casting a few hots to keep everyone up. In order to make your first Heroic a mite easier, make sure you’re prepared, and ready to take on the challenge!

Preparation

  • Bring food.
  • Bring bandages.
  • Wear your best possible gear.
  • If you have sockets, gem them. The cheapest option is the +30 cuts, which have been running about 30g on my server. This is a great investment for stats for gear you’re hoping to replace soon.
  • If you have enchanting mats lying around, enchant the pieces that you suspect you’ll be keeping the longest.
  • Reforge. It’s fairly cheap and easy to stack up your stats more to your liking.
  • Check out a gear list for your class so you can continue to upgrade pieces from quests and crafters. Just because it’s heroic, doesn’t mean it’s the best!

In the Dungeon

General Notes

  • If your healer is drinking, and you’re low on health, you should be too.
  • If your healer is low on mana during an encounter use a bandage.
  • If you have stat food or pots, now’s the time to use them, especially if you’re low on a cap, such as hit or expertise.
  • If you have a warlock, get a healthstone and soulstone.
  • Make sure you have all available buffs applied. See the buffs/debuff listto make sure everyone is contributing.
  • If you have a mage, make sure a table is put down. Don’t forget that moving while summoning puts the table on cooldown, so don’t be a goof.
  • Pets are awesome. Uncontrolled pets cause havoc. Better to have your pet on passive than to pull an extra add pack.
  • Do not chain pull.

On Trash

  • Mark targets. From a boomkin/resto druid perspective, tank threat feels solid, but not rock solid. You can lose threat juggling between dps on multiple adds. You’re also more likely to die the longer the fight goes on. Save everyone some work, and mark the kill order.
  • AoE is a situational ability. Plan to single-target dps most groups into fine dust.
  • Use crowd control. Seriously. If you’re not sure what your CC abilities are, or how to mark for the classes in your group, check out the Bossy Pally’s Compendiumon the subject. If you choose to ignore crowd control, in a win-win situation your healer will be OOM every trash pull. In most situations, you wipe.
  • Be prepared to move, even on trash. There’s a lot of fire and ick on the floor, even with trash, so everyone–healer, tank and dps–should be prepared to move out of damage attacks. If you’re not the tank, and you’re taking damage, you’re probablyin something bad and should move.
  • Healers cannot keep you at 100% all the time. Those massive mana pools = health for the tank. You see how big the tank’s health pool is? That means there is little room for error, and extraneous damage on ANY fight from trash to boss = death.

On Bosses

  • Know the boss abilities. If you’re like me, you go into things blind. Expect to wipe. If you don’t want to wipe, and don’t know the strategy, download Deadly Boss Mods–it’s got a 5-man feature that works great. If someone knows a strategy and wants to explain — let them. Sheesh.
  • Kill adds. You are not going to zerg the bosses down. When adds appear, they need to be killed 99.9% of the time. ALL dps will need to stop hitting the boss, trust me, no one cares about the meters when they’re dead.
  • Read the boss’ buffs and your debuffs. Boss encounters are often finangled to give the boss a short or long-term buff, or a party member a short or long-term debuff that can drastically change the scope of the encounter. I’ve found this is especially true for tanks — boss buffs and player debuffs are being used to create “kiting” phases.
  • Healer mana = soft enrage. Your healer can be out of mana for three reasons:
    1. They’re panicking and overhealing
    2. Someone stood in the bad, and was saved
    3. The fight went on too long.

    Generally, the second and third are the case. #2 can easily lead to #3, so it’s very important that all party members avoid “bad” mechanics as much as possible, including the healer!

  • Be prepared to move. Blizzard loves to make us run, and boy are we ever. The days of the stationary boss fight are pretty much over.
    • Tanks: If you don’t use your mouse, at a minimum, know how to strafe. You should never, ever turn your back on the boss.
    • DPS: Know which abilities you can use on the move to keep the DPS rolling as you re-position.
    • Healers: Know which spells you can cast on the move so you don’t lose someone on a rapid retreat. Prioritizing heals is paramount.
    • All: Don’t forget that you can run THROUGH the boss — he’s not solid after all!
  • Use your cooldowns! If you are not using every single cooldown on your bar every boss fight, ask yourself why not?! Some are pretty specific, and you just don’t need them, but anything that reduces damage (and you took it), increases dps (and you dps), or increases healing output (and you heal) should be used. What are you saving ’em for? The apocalypse?

Done correctly, a heroic will run less than an hour, done poorly, and you can be spending the better part of your evening banging your head against the wall, not to mention spending a small fortune repairing gear. While some death is to be expected as people learn new encounters, preparation and common sense can save your group a ton of headaches!

Being an Experimental Subject, Oh My!

I’ve debated writing on this topic for the last couple of weeks, but I figured since my entire WoW life is currently wrapped up in the process, I should probably come clean. I am being used, with my consent, as the test subject for the great Wrath / Cataclysm mantra:

Bring the player!

How It All Started

I’ve been ineffectively wringing my hands over here for the past month or two, bemoaning the fact that while I like my guild mates, its not the right home for me in terms of raiding. While I’ve tried to just sitting it out and waiting, I realized that I don’t ever log in when I’m not raiding — raid time is for mains, non-raid time is for achievements and leveling alts, which I tend to guild with my bank alt to make all that mat switching easy.

Friends and family members offered advice: make a guild, start applying, wait until Cataclysm and then guild shop, and even a few offers to check out specific guilds. I tentatively looked around, but I had two major obstacles: my availability, and my desire not to carry Windsoar into another cycle of raiding. For the right guild, I would consider it, but it’d have to be perfect in every way. The second causes a rather singular problem when applying, as guilds need something to look at, and for progression oriented guilds, things like parses are standard.

Into this conundrum, I received an e-mail from Gaia, a new blogger running Dedicated Insanity with Roksi, and I must say it peeked my interest. I was being recruited… sort of.

The Experiment

Gaia & Roski run a progression oriented 10-man raiding guild. Their guild is winding down for the end of the expansion after their heroic Lich King kill, and the guild is working on finishing up a few achievements that they missed along the way. From crawling through my thoughts on WoW and raiding that I’ve shared here on my blog, they think I’d make a good fit in personality for their guild, although my skill in a dungeon is questionable.

Still, despite that, they’ve issued an invitation to apply to their home. What they needed was either a dps/tank or healer/dps combo to fill out their ranks. Talking to Gaia, I learned that if they had their pick, a restoration/balance druid would fill their needs perfectly. The problem: I don’t have a druid. While I could have fit either Windsoar or Nightfall into the criteria of what they’re seeking, for a small 10-man team, meeting the exact need would be the best. Instead, I did the next best thing, and rolled an entirely new character in order to apply.

The Concerns

Of course, there are concerns on both sides about whether I will actually be a good fit once I am in a position to raid with my druid.

I have little to no proof of my ability to raid at the level in which this guild has performed throughout the expansion. Throughout my WoW career, I have had 4 different raiding mains. Listing out my guilds and progress was fairly depressing as I noted the littering of failed guilds that followed my name. My current characters that *could* potentially be considered raiding fit have not been touched since 4.0 came out. They’re missing glyphs, gems, and enchants, all of which doesn’t bespeak someone who takes good care of their character’s gear, a bad sign for a progression guild. They’ve expressed concern about my being an “alt-person” which apparently is synonymous with upsetting the roster on a semi-permanent basis.

My concerns are a bit different, but still there. While I have sat in on vent during a raid, it wasn’t progression–personalities seem to fit together rather seamlessly, however, which is a good sign. Where I will fit in is not exactly clear either. I may end up being in a second-string position, a fall-back for people who have longer ties and excellent records for showing up and doing things right. Since the guild is firmly established, it is not somewhere I can suggest that my friends apply on a whim, which can be good or bad–good because we rarely have the same schedules anyway, but bad, because for the first time in years I know that if accepted I will not be raiding with people who I know and know me and the way I twitch intimately. Even more embarrassing to think about is, what if I don’t measure up. I’ve never played a druid at end-game–although I feel confident that I can play anything well, that doesn’t mean it will be so. What would be worse than taking the effort to level up, feel all good about being a part of the team, and then getting a very polite rejection that I would then feel compelled to tell the rest of the community about. Yikes!

The Potential Gain

I can’t speak for what Production Company feels they’ve receive from the process, other than another applicant who may or may not work out. From my end, I am looking at a guild that matches exactly what I consider a raiding guild to be. The guild is a dedicated 10-man, I can meet all current raiding times, raid rules are set up to maximize time and limit distractions, such as /afk’s, needless buff asking and the like. Expectations for out of raid are what I’d expect: getting your stuff together and being prepped for raids. From my end, it’s very easy to see what I’d be getting–the raid experiences I’ve been lacking since the beginning of this expansion, and I must say, the idea of having a home again is appealing.

Despite the potential for a bruised ego, I’ve decided to talk about this application process. It’s interesting to be recruited from the pages of a blog, and even more so, to see what challenges arise from something a little out of the ordinary. If it doesn’t work out, I won’t bat an eye over the leveling process–leveling a druid with the new talent trees has been a blast so far, and deserves a post of it’s very own!

I’m also curious what others think about such a different take on the application process. Here I am, a virtual unknown to the people recruiting me, yet offering a chance to someone starting a brand-new character on a brand-new server to apply with them. Would it be something you’d ever consider, as an applicant or a guild leader?

Moving On

When I rerolled Wind, it was to stay with friends from our old guild and server.  We promptly signed a charter, and stuck to ourselves, ignoring entreaties for membership and offers to join forces with other guilds.  However, lately there has been an echoing silence whenever any of us logs on.  With less than 10 members, different timezones, and wacky school time schedules, it’s hard for any of us to be on at the same time.

It appears our Naxx run of not so long ago was our first and last endeavor together as a guild.  One of our members has been playing pretty regularly, and has turned out to be a good solid tank.  My husband, the lock of doom is not really a raider, but he really likes large sociable guilds.  After our last experiences with a raiding guild, I figured it was his turn to pick our home, and so he has landed on a very social, very casual guild that has some aspirations to try raiding for the first time.

For some reason, they seem to think we’re great, and after joining tonight, I think they’re just what the doctor ordered.  There were 12 people online when I made the switch — a huge number for a non-raiding guild after 10 p.m. in my experience.  Joking was allowed and encouraged, and general merrymaking was part of the scene.  I feel at home — I can be goofy, I can be snide, I can heckle my Naxx-10 group that totally failed at accomplishing a quarter and get a response from genuinely nice people.

It may not be my last stop — but it sure is a nice place to rest and recuperate!

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