Archive for March, 2009

Honest (s)Crap

Posted: 28 March, 2009 in misc

wowscrnshot_032809_123837Oh noes!  I’ve been rumbled!  That pesky gnome over at Armageddon’s Coming has tagged me with the Honest (s)Crap Award!  The rules are pretty simple…

Them’s The Rulez

1. When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.
2. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.
3. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

So what I’ve decided to do, since Gnomey loves my alts so much, is to get each of them to nominate a deserving blog themselves.  For mage blogs it’s a tough choice.  The Pink Pigtail Inn is always a nice place to rest and put your feet up, and Euripedes over at Critical QQ is always entertaining, but Calli’s choice is going to have to be Armageddon’s Coming, because Gnomey’s so goddamn prolific he puts me to shame.  And somehow he finds the time to be Hindu too!  Henriksen, over to you, shorty.

And Now Over To Our Panel Of Judges

wowscrnshot_032809_123842Cheers, lassie!  Well, there can really only be one choice when it comes tae Hunter blogs, Big Red Kitty stands head and shoulders above thae rest… well, as much as ye can stand head and shoulders above anything when yer as vertically challenged as we Dwarves.  Still, at least we’re not gnomes.

Anyhow, BRK gets mah vote because his video guides are thae best around!  And when he’s no on the sauce he’s usually pretty amusing too, check out this post as an example, because it’s true what they say, all loot IS hunter loot, dammit!

Shinano, wee lassie, over tae you!  Ah’m gonna get pished.

wowscrnshot_032809_123848Ishnu-alah, Henriksen!  Well I’m proud to say that the choice of top quality druid blogs is pretty staggering, and my first choice would always have been Phaelia over at Resto4Life.  Sadly for us, Phaelia has closed her doors, but happily for her it’s because she’s having her very own baby druidling.  Blizzard even honoured her by including an item in Ulduar named after both her and the occasion that forced her to close down her blog – Phaelia’s Vestments of the Sprouting Seed!

However, since Phaelia is now an ex-tree, my next top choice for Druid blogs must go to Leafshine over at Lust for Flower.  Check it out, and I challenge you not to leave with a smile on your face.

Ande’thoras-ethil, readers.  Fingers, over to you.

wowscrnshot_032809_123853Cheers, Shinano.  Nice dress by the way.  Anyway, Rogue blogs.  Just about the only Rogue blog I ever spend time reading is Parry!  Dodge! Spin! by Valenna.  Her stuff is well-presented, concise, informative and entertaining.  All the good stuff any noob stabby like me needs to know.  I have the good fortune of being a clueless rogue in a guild with some very good rogues who are always happy to share stabby tips, but anything I can’t glean from them I get from Valenna.  Sadly, she can’t give me the extra eye and pair of hands I need to get my head around the Mutilate/Hunger for Blood spec, but I’m sure she’s working on it.

If anyone needs me I’ll be opening lockboxes on the Auction House Bridge, and you didn’t see me, right?

Gorn old buddy, over to you.

wowscrnshot_032809_123901Yer, thanks, Fingers.  Well, I isn’t too good at der readin and Ratshag at Need More Rage in’t too good at spellin and stuff neither.  So I gets Aluriel to read his blog to me.  He’s an Orc, like, but one o’ dem honest ones and good inna fight so I fink he must be okay.  And he’s got sum reely cool axes and swords and stuff an almost as many scars as me so he’s pretty cool.  I reckon I could have im in a fight, tho.

I heard this joke in Ironforge the other day, about Dirge.  I didn’t get it at first, but Aluriel expla.. explayn… told me what it ment.  It was funny. I laffed.  Hur hur hur.

Wanna see my scars?

wowscrnshot_032809_123925Elune-adore, readers.  Gorn’s busy with his favourite book right now, don’t worry, he’ll be fine… “My Big Book Of Axes” has lots of pictures.  But, to business!   Choosing a worthy priest blog to be nominated is hard work, there really are a lot of top quality priest blogs out there.  At the end of the day however, I can only really choose one, and that’s The Egotistical Priest, simply because it covers absolutely everything, has a HUGE archive of material and always makes me laugh whenever Hannelore’s writing anything.  Check out her review of some PuG basics to see what I mean.  Sure, she may be a depraved, magic-addicted fruit elf but that doesn’t mean she can’t be funny.

Ande’thoras-ethil, readers!  Jingles, your shout.

wowscrnshot_032809_123914That’s The Mighty Jingles to you, you shameless, wanton, night elf hussy!  The.  MIGHTY.  Jingles!  And cover yourself, sheesh!  What’s an evil genius got to do to get some respect around here?

That reminds me.  I remember once I arrived in Telaar with my customary /yell of “Tremble in fear, mortals, for your doom is here!  It is I!  The Mighty Jingles!  I CANNOT BE DENIED!”  I waited for the customary cries of fear and awe but all was silent for several seconds, then someone /yelled back “LOL I THOUGHT YOU WAS A WORLD BOSS ROFL.”

The nerve!  I AM a world boss!!!

Ow!  Prod me again Calli and I’ll bite your finger off.  Ok, maybe just your ankle.  Ok, Ok, the point..  what was it?  Oh yes, Warlock blogs.  My vote goes to Yet Another Warlock Nerf.  If any of you peons are interested in perfecting your play, you could do a lot worse than check it out.  I don’t need to of course, being perfect already, but it pays to keep astride of what you mere mortals are up to.

Now, I must away!  World domination doesn’t organise itself you know, I’m a busy gnome!  Galadan, put the mirror down and nominate a paladin blog, you’re as pretty as you’re ever going to be.

Sheesh.  You just can’t get the staff anymore.

wowscrnshot_032809_123920So there I was in Darnassus at the Temple of the Moon and these three hot night elf priestesses were wanting to see my Hammer of Justice if you know what I mean.  Anyway, I have enough Blessings of Protection for three, so I …  Ok, Aluriel’s giving me some funny looks.  We’ll finish later.

Hey guys, Galadan here, too young to die, too pretty to live!  You all know me, right?  Ka-ching!  Right back at ya! Please form an orderly queue, ladies!  Plenty of Paladin for everyone!

So anyway, I’m cruisin’ the web and that’s not all I’m cruisin’ when “Hello there there sweety pie!”, who’s this?  Siha at Banana Shoulders can Judge me with Light any time of the day if you know what I’m saying, right?  So I drop by with a “Hey, how YOU doin’?” but she’s playing hard to get, you know?  So I start reading her blog and damn, but this chick’s a professor or something, one of those real smart types, you know the kind who act all prim and proper but when they let their hair down BOOM!  Judgement of Light, baby!  YEAH!

She’s still not answering my calls.  Must be something wrong with her mail.  Yeah, that’ll be it.

wowscrnshot_032809_1239292Chronokai kristos, readers!  Galadan’s found his mirror again so we’ll get nothing useful from him for hours.  Now it’s my job to nominate a deserving shaman blog, but I have a confession to make..  I..  er..  don’t actually read any.  I blame Calli, she neglects me!  I haven’t been played in months.  I’m still level 70!  My poor hooves are getting mildew!

/tar Calli

/Shakefist

So I resolved to see what was out there and was happily surprised to see the shaman blogging community is alive and well.  My choice for the award goes to Flameshock simply because he writes stuff that’s useful to a noob shaman like me.  He keeps it simple and is always informative with useful advice and posts that any shaman of any development level can relate to.

And finally, it’s over to Sithica for the Deathknight nomination.

wowscrnshot_032809_123934Hi!  I thirst for souls.  Just so you know.

There can only be one Deathknight blog nomination from me, and that’s Dwarf Death Knight from my very good friend Redux.  He’s easily the most prolific commenter on my blog, you’ll know him as “DW” for his previous main, Dreamweaver, a Dwarf priest with whom he raided right up to Sunwell Plateau.  Dreamweaver was infamous within the guild for getting tired of certain melee classes spamming chat with their massive crits.  So one day he responded in kind with “OMG MASSIVE HAELZ IN YOUR FACE!” and there was much lollage.

These days he’s caught the tanking bug on his Deathknight, Redux, and has completed Sartharion with three drakes in both 10 man and 25 man flavours, so it’s pretty sure that he knows what he’s doing except…  well… he just loves to tank so much that sometimes he can’t stop himself.  Tanking Blazes and Whelps isn’t enough for Mister Redux, oh no.  Sometimes he gets this irresistable urge to taunt Sartharion AT THE SAME TIME!

Redux, just so you know, I never at any time promised I wouldn’t tell everyone. :p

And now that the nominations are over, I have to post 10 honest things about myself.

The Awful Truth

1.  I..  erm…  this is hard for me.  My spells…  they’re not…  erm…  bound to keypresses.  There I said it!  Sheesh, stop looking at me like that.  At least I’m not a keyboard turner!

2.  I levelled Gorn to 60 as Protection, back when Protection really, really sucked.  I’d had some horrendous PuGs with warriors who thought that they kept dying while tanking with a two-hander because the healer was crap and resolved to do it “right” when I levelled my own warrior.  Feel free to /point and /laugh.

3.  I don’t really hate Warlocks.

4.  I wish Calli had been a Gnome.

5.  Our raid leader is a very, very accomplished Rogue, Warrior and now Deathknight.  He plays each class so well that I can’t bring myself to play Fingers in the same group with him due to performance anxiety.  It doesn’t help that I’m not actually that good at playing a rogue.

6.  I once faked a disconnect to get out of a raid that I was too tired and ill to bother with.

7.  My first level 60 toon was Henriksen, my hunter.  He’s now my least-played.

8.  I’m 39.

9.  As soon as 3.1 arrives I’m dropping Improved Scorch like a hot potato and swapping to some spec that isn’t going to be crippled by the crit nerf.

10.  Thinking of 10 honest things to say about yourself is harder than it looks!

honest_scrap1

I’m getting more excited than I probably have any right to be with the new Argent Tournament on the PTR.  I was always a sucker for faction reputation grinds.  There were far too many of them in Burning Crusade, even a rep junkie like me struggled to get them all (I only hit Exalted with Sporegarr last week and Kurenai two weeks before that!) but I think Blizzard got it just right in Wrath of the Lich King.  Slightly less factions, more focussed identities for them and far more logical means of grinding their reputation.

For those who aren’t familiar with the details, the Tournament is a lot like the Shattered Sun Offensive on the Isle of Quel’danas in Burning Crusade, except for where it’s completely different.

Ok, that probably wasn’t a lot of help.  I’ll try again.  The idea of the Tournament is that the Argent Crusade are looking for champions to lead the battle against the Lich King, so the various City factions are invited to send their best to compete for the honour of leading the charge.  I’ve dabbled in the process on the PTR on Calli, my mage, and it works kind of like this:

Oooh, shinies!
You head to the area in Icecrown where the Tournament Stadium is being built and sign up with your faction, for Calli, this was Stormwind.  You then get given a bunch of starter quests to learn the basics of mounted combat.  Yes, you heard that right, mounted combat.  Seeing a Mage riding around on a charger with a Lance and Shield strapped to her back is… well you’ll get over the intial “wtf” factor soon enough, and the combat mechanics themselves are fairly simple.  It’s another variation on the various vehicle combat quests we’re all familiar with from levelling in Northrend, but it’s sufficiently different to be quite cool and unique at first.  Complete these basic quests, and you successfully enrol on the list of Stormwind’s hopefuls, get some quest tokens and open up a bunch of daily quests.  The tokens are used to “buy” loot, like the new tabards, trinkets and so forth.  Every time you gain a new reputation level with the Tournament, you gain the right to challenge for a new rank of champion, which opens up more new daily quests.  Think of it like the Shattered Sun Offensive and Sons of Hodir’s bastard love child and you won’t be too wide of the mark.  There are a ton of new achievements, new tabards, mounts, loot, all the things you’d expect of a new faction, but more.  And they’ll keep adding more content to the Tournament in each patch so you’ll always have a reason to return.  It ticks all the right boxes, is as slick and well executed as you’d expect from Blizzard.  There’s just one teensy-weeny problem I have with it all.

None of it makes the slightest bit of sense whatsoever.

wtf

WTF?
Top tip, fellas.  Holding a Tournament to select the champions for your armies is fair enough, this is at least historically accurate and I can’t fault any of that.  But generally speaking, you’re going to find it’s the sort of thing that you do before assembling your army, sailing north, storming the beacheads, battling your way inland and spearheading an assault into the enemy’s heartland.  If you’re already at the point where you can see the enemy’s Headquarters from your command post, you probably don’t actually need to hold a tournament to find some good troops.  They’re already fighting for you.

While we’re on the subject, was there seriously a meeting at Blizzard where they were thinking about where to hold the Tournament and Crystalsong Forest didn’t even get a mention?  Let’s just imagine how this meeting went:

Ghostcrawler: So, where are we going to hold this tournament?
Dev 1: It needs to be someplace near the Argent Crusade headquarters, but with reasonably close access to Dalaran.  Somewhere with undeveloped real estate where we can add the infrastructure without messing up what’s already there.
Ghostcrawler: Are you thinking where I’m thinking?
Dev 2:  Sounds like there’s only one real candidate, Cryst…
Ghostcrawler: Yeah, Icecrown, baby!
Dev 1:  Yeah.  Wait.. what?
Dev 2:  Icecrown?  The heart of the Lich King’s territory.  His bastion of power?  That Icecrown?
Ghostcrawler: Just north of Crusader’s Rest should do.
Dev 1:  There’s no flat land there.
Ghostcrawler: Make some.
Dev 2: It’s deep behind enemy lines.
Ghostcrawler: Mere details!

So just in case this wasn’t completely clear, let’s just recap.  Tirion Fordrings’ conquering army, having battled their way to within visual range of the enemy’s headquarters, is going to suddenly stop all offensive operations and march a bunch of carpenters and stonemasons right past the biggest stretch of undeveloped real estate in the game with excellent communication links a stone’s throw from the Argent Crusade’s home base, to a spot miles behind enemy lines to start building… a sports stadium.  A sports stadium, which isn’t going to be complete for months, I hasten to add, which has the purpose of being built in order to select which champions from the various factions will have the honour of leading the war against the Lich King.   A war which would have been over by now if they’d not stopped it to hold a Tournament that they should have held before they even got on the boat to Northrend.

It’s madness, and it certainly isn’t Sparta.  But it’s probably going to be great fun anyway, even if the whole concept is barking mad.

There’s finally some actual Mage notes in the PTR patch notes, and the good news is, we’re not just getting some more icon changes.  The bad news is that in the short term, we’re getting a serious beating with the nerfbat.

The changes are two-fold.  First, the Improved Scorch crit buff/debuff is being slashed by 50%.  Instead of stacking to 10% crit with 5 applications, it will now only stack to 5%.  This hits Frostfire Mages pretty hard since they’re more reliant on crit for decent dps than any other spec.  This change isn’t restricted to mages alone, all similar crit buffs are getting the same beating, and of course the result affects everyone who gets a benefit from spell crit, not just mages.  But any way you dress it up, it’s 5% less crit, which means less Hot Streaks, less Master of Elements procs so less regen, and less Ignites.  This hits Frostfire Mages HARD.

And it gets worse.  Currently, glyphed Molten Armour gives us another 5% crit.  Regular readers may recall my constant whining about all of the Spirit on mage gear and the fact that Mages using Molten Armour (and we all do because we’re a dps class, remember) get exactly diddly squat use out of spirit.  Well Blizzard’s way of “making spirit a useful and interesting stat for all mages” is to remove the base crit % from Molten Armour completely and change the effect so that it provides crit as a percentage of our spirit.   You want numbers?  I got numbers.

  • Molten Armor now causes 170 Fire damage when hit for all ranks (Up from 75/130/170) and also increases your critical strike rating by 25% of your spirit.
  • Glyph of Molten Armor – Your Molten Armor grants an additional 15% (40% total) of your spirit as critical strike rating

So in other words, fully glyphed, you’ll get 40% of your spirit as crit rating.  No need to get out your calculators, the numbers are actually pretty simple.  If you currently have fully buffed, more than 574 spirit, this is a buff over the current 5% crit that you already get from Glyphed Molten Armour.  If, on the other hand, you’re in the 99% of non-retarded mages who have been doing the sensible thing and avoiding spirit on gear because to do otherwise was gimping your dps, then this is another massive nerf. 

Let’s look at Calli as an example.  With her 645 crit rating, a full Scorch debuff up on the target and glyphed Molten Armour, and assuming an intellect buff, she has 45% base fire crit.  Considerably higher than that with FFBolt in a full raid, but we’ll go with 45% for now.   She also has 465 spirit, despite trying to avoid it wherever possible, and this is in some of the best mage gear currently available in-game.  That’s a LOT of spirit for a Frostfire mage, but it’s all high end raid gear that the majority of mages probably aren’t going to have access to.  However, what it does illustrate is that when the patch goes live even mages with the best available current gear are going to go from 45% crit to 39% crit overnight.  5% lost from the nerf to Scorch and 1% lost from the Molten Armour change.

So it’s all pretty bleak, right?  Well, not really, no.

There are positive aspects to this.  You just have to look at it all in context.  The nerf to Scorch is a nerf no matter how you try to dress it up.  But it affects everyone, not just us.  Take into account the fact that 5% crit buff/debuff that it provides is being spread across other classes (and nerfed for them too) then it means that your Fire and Frostfire Mages no longer have to be the raid’s crit debuff bots.  Scrap Improved Scorch and spend those talent points elsewhere, perhaps invest in the Arcane tree and get some useful utility talents on the way to Student of the Mind?  Rip up your Glyph of Improved Scorch and get the new Glyph of Living Bomb so your LB ticks can crit, too.  Unless you want to you’ll never have to waste time casting Scorch again.

Let’s take a look at the Spirit on gear issue too.  What we’re seeing on patch-live day is a consequence of our avoiding spirit in the past, which was a sensible policy since it pretty obviously gimped us and offered nothing useful.  There were very limited gear choices available to us if we wanted to avoid spirit.  Post-patch every single cloth drop that doesn’t include mana per 5 will be an upgrade for us.  Look at the Ulduar loot tables, you can count on the fingers of one head all the cloth gear that doesn’t come loaded with spirit.  One way or another, we’re ALL getting more spirit on our gear.  At least now it’s not going to gimp us and we’ll actually get some offensive dps benefit from it.  Sure, pound for pound, raw crit rating is still better, but have you looked at all that “healer” gear with spirit, crit and haste?  That stuff’s for us now!  Gimme!

Even in current raid content, if you suddenly start rolling on all the cloth with spirit on it (and let’s face it, that’s almost all of it) you’re still going to be able to break even on patch day from spirit alone.  I know I have a couple of items of ilevel 213 gear that I’ve acquired along the way but never managed to work into a useful gear set.  Well it’s starting to look pretty useful now.

Of course, if you’re not raiding at the moment, you’re not going to be anywhere near these stat numbers and the change to Molten Armour is going to hit you proportionately harder.  There’s no real way to sweeten that.  But one thing that needs to be pointed out here is that the change to Molten Armour finally gives us something that scales with our gear.  Something we lacked ever since the original nerf to Improved Scorch that removed the 15% damage buff.  As your spirit gets higher, and it will because our gear is dripping with the stuff, your crit will continue to improve.  Not just into Naxx and Ulduar, but beyond.

Overall, while these two changes to Scorch and Molten Armour are very definitely nerfs over the immediate and short term, I think there’s a compelling reason to be optimistic about the future.  Spirit may never be remotely interesting, but it’s beginning to be moderately useful, and it’s only going to get more useful as time goes by.

Regular readers may have noticed that my blog posts err towards the..  shall we say, epic in nature?  I never write a sentence where a paragraph will do.  In fact, I’m already doing it again, all I needed to say was “I write long blog posts”.  So Krizzlybear, and everyone else who doesn’t have half a day to check their blogroll, this post is for you.

Shinano hit level 80 very recently (six level 80′s down, four to go!) and I’ve been doing instances as Feral while building up a pretty respectable Restoration set for raiding.  I raided the guildbank for 4 pieces of epic leather BoEs farmed from 10 and 25 man raids.  I got my Rogue, Fingers, to craft a few other pieces, tailored some others on Calli and blew some cash on the Auction House for the rest.  End result, 1400+ spellpower and 800 spirit unbuffed (while specced Feral), enough to start doing Naxx 10 man after a resto respec.

Anyway, last night we’re putting together a Sartharion and Malygos raid for alts and non-raiders.  We can only rustle 20 players up, so we decide to go ahead and get the “Less is More” achievements while we’re at it.  With 20 people we’re not going to try anything flashy with Sartharion, so go for a simple 0 drake kill.  In retrospect we could easily have handled 1 drake, but we wanted a quick kill, so that’s what we did.  I was only on Shinano to get the raid invited and sorted out, and was going to switch to a better geared dps character for the kill itself, but people were getting impatient and wanted to start, so off we went.

Sartharion dropped like a stone, and that’s not all that dropped.  The Staff of Restraint and Concealment Shoulderpads were on his loot table this week…  and no-one else wanted them!

Rrawr!

Now if only 3.1 and dual-spec would get here!

So, 3.1 and Ulduar are coming, and Ulduar will be available in both 10 and 25 man raid versions.  So far, so good.  3.1 also includes the much-vaunted arrival of dual character specs.  Other than the obvious, new content and more versatility for your favourite characters, there’s nothing here to get excited about before it all actually arrives, right?

Well… wrong.  Let’s just take a look at what this all actually implies.  First, dual specs.

The Man With Two Brains
I’ve been on the PTR and had a try with dual specialisation and it’s incredibly well implemented.  You set up your character the way you want, then visit your trainer and buy a second spec for 1000g.  Nothing happens immediately, other than your wallet becoming a lot lighter.  However, take a look at your talent page and you’ll notice a new, blank tab.  At the top of this tab is a button to make this talent spec your active one.  Press this button and five or so seconds later, you have an empty mana pool, a fresh talent screen and a bunch of empty Glyph slots.  Pick your new spec as usual, reglyph as appropriate and train new skills as required.  From that moment on, all it takes to switch between your two new talent trees is to press the “Make this my current spec” button.  It even saves the positions of your casting bars!  Since swapping specs drains your mana pool, if you’re a class with a blue bar you probably won’t be doing this in combat, but that’s the only real limitation.  So far so good.

So what are you going to actually use your second spec for?  As a pure dps class, the choices are fairly limited.  You can have your raiding spec and your pvp spec, for example.  Or a raiding spec and a grinding spec.  Whatever floats your boat, really.  The important thing is that the gear you equip between each spec isn’t really going to differ in most respects.  It’s all still going to be dps gear.  The choice isn’t nearly as clear cut for classes that can fill more than one role in a raid, with Shamans, Druids and Paladins being the most extreme examples.  For many, the choices will still be fairly straighforward, and simply having the ability to make these choices will be a major relief to raid selection officers.

The Replacement Killers
Right now, current raid content is a major pain in the arse from a selection point of view.  You have Naxxramas which you can comfortably handle with two Main Tanks, a couple of offtanks, five or six healers and the rest dps.  For Malygos, one Main Tank, five or six healers and the rest dps.  For Sartharion with three drakes up, four Tanks, one of whom better have a LOT of health or some seriously useful cooldowns, five or six healers, the rest dps.

What do you do if you’re doing Sartharion and Malygos on the same night?  One requires one tank, the other requires four.  You’ve already cleared all of Naxx the previous evening, there’s nothing left to kill.  Sartharion and Malygos are all that’s left.  How do you pick tanks for that without having to swap people out or send people to respec mid-raid?  There are solutions, but they depend on what tanking classes you have to play with.  The point is, with dual specs, there is no problem.  Three of your tanks switch spec to do dps on the way to Malygos and the problem is solved.

None of this affects us right now, however.  What is going to affect us right now is the potential loot drama when people realise that they actually need to gear up for their dps spec when they’re not tanking or their healing spec when they’re not dpsing, or whatever.  Handled properly, this won’t be an issue.  Ignore the problem and it’s going to bite you in the arse.

First, we need to recognise the fact that dual specs are here to stay and unless you take full advantage of them you are gimping your raid.  Fact.  End of discussion.  Secondly we need to recognise, and impress this fact upon our raid groups, that the people who are going to be expected to switch specs and perform different roles at will in Ulduar and beyond are entitled to a fair shot at the loot which they’re going to need to achieve this role.  This means no crying from the rogues and dps warriors when the Prot warriors and paladins start rolling on Fury and Retribution gear.  And no crying from the mages, boomkin and warlocks when the Holy Priests start rolling on +hit caster gear.

There Will Be Blood
Depending on how you manage your loot allocation systems, this is going to be a big problem, or a small problem.  We use a dkp system with no minimum bids.  We can bid whatever we want for whatever we want.  Sure, that Holy Priest can bid on all the dps caster gear, but when his healing turns to crap because he has no actual healing gear, he’ll get booted from the raid for not pulling his weight (and being an asshat).  The system balances itself, all that the dkp really determines is who gets the good loot first.  At this stage of the game, there are very few items left in current raid content that anyone actually needs.  Sure, there is plenty of stuff that people might actually want, but that’s an entirely different matter.  I may want The Turning Tide from Kel’thuzad, and the next time it drops I’ll probably get it, but I can live without it because I already have Life and Death and the very first drop in Ulduar will be better.

So while your Rogues may be screaming because the Holy Paladin just outbid them on the best in slot dps ring they’re been waiting months for, well…  tough luck.  The Holy Paladin now has just as legitimate a need for that ring as you do, and you blew all your dkp on half a dozen swords, daggers and maces that you didn’t actually need.  Unlucky, bub.  You snooze, you lose, etc…

Of course, this is now, when most people don’t really need that much gear from current content.  When you get into Ulduar itself and the very first drop is a spellpower +hit dagger which every mage, warlock, holy priest, discipline priest, shadow priest, restoration druid, balance druid, feral druid, elemental shaman, enhancement shaman and restoration shaman starts rolling on, THAT is the true test of how mature your raid is.

There will be drama.  How you handle it is up to you, but prepare for it now and handle it delicately.

Perfect 10
The other issue that really only struck me last night is to do with 10 man raids in Ulduar.  Now if you’re a member of a smaller guild that only raids 10 mans anyway, this really doesn’t concern you.  If on the other hand, you’re a 25 man raider, start paying attention. 

Not all 25 man raiding guilds practice this approach, but most do, and that’s to run 10 man raids alongside their 25 man raids.  You can have two or three 10 man raids running in the same raid schedule as your 25 man raid, it’s how most raids gear up alts and reserve players, for example.  It’s also a way of checking out the 25 man boss fights in a slightly more forgiving environment.  If you’re a current 25 man raider, dripping in ilevel 213 gear (and better), 10 man Ulduar is going to offer you nothing more than a change of scenery.

10 man Ulduar gear is almost all ilevel 213, same as current 25 man raid loot, with the exceptions being the gear that drops from the later bosses in the same way that Kel’thuzad drops better quality gear in both versions of Naxx.  The badge tokens that drop in there are the current 25 man Badges of Valor, and there isn’t a single item of Badge of Valor loot that I need, either.  To put this another way, there is no reason whatsoever for me to raid Ulduar 10 on my raiding toon, since the only gear upgrades for me are in Ulduar 25, and I’ll be getting all the change of scenery I want in Ulduar 25 anyway.  “But you can do new achievements!” some poor unfortunate replied to me on Teamspeak last night.  I’ll spare the blushes of my more delicate readers and not relate exactly where I told him he could stick his achievements.   Regular readers of my blog will already know how I feel about chasing the carrot on the end of the stick that is Blizzard’s raid achievement system.

The Wild Bunch
In short, if you’re currently running 10man raids alongside your 25 man raids, this particular penny is likely to drop amongst your own 10 man raid group sooner or later.  From our own bitter experience, you really need to announce now where your 10 man raids are going in 3.1.  and lead them accordingly.  If you’re going to blow through the content with 25 man raid characters and chase the achievements, make it known that this is what you intend to do and recruit your raid to suit.  If all you want is to gear up alts in Ulduar 10, announce this too and select accordingly.  Fail to prepare for this shift in perspective and expectations and you will stumble.  You can expect your current 10 man raids to lose and gain members prior to 3.1 as you make your intentions known and people gravitate to the raids that best suit their interests.  This is natural, and infinitely better than being on your third week of farming Ulduar 10 content with half the raid not signing up anymore because this wasn’t what they had in mind.  Speaking personally, I intend to continue raiding 25 man with my Mage, Calli, and find an Ulduar 10 raid group that doesn’t care about achievements and just wants to blow through the content and get it on farm as soon as possible for my Priest, Aluriel.  Gorn, my warrior has already got his Ulduar 10 content farming raid place booked, too.

It’s all about deciding what you want and preparing the best way to get it with a group of like-minded players.  The key word here is “preparing”.  3.1 isn’t that far way and it will change things on many different levels.  Don’t let yourselves be stuck in a place you don’t want to be doing things you don’t want to do.  That way lies frustration and burnout.

It’s supposed to be fun, after all.