Archive for the ‘Raiding’ Category

All Is Well In Calli-land.

Posted: 10 May, 2011 in misc, Raiding

On Sunday night, we finally killed Valiona and Theralion on 25 man heroic.  I really, really love that fight.  It’s one of those boss encounters that has two stages with relatively predictable events that repeat until either they’re dead or you are.  The problem is that it’s completely unforgiving of screwups.  There’s almost no tolerance for people standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.  You think you can handle one or two deaths but you really can’t.  A Rogue dies in the nether realm so you battle rez him and he pops down to kill bad things next chance he gets, but the lack of dps down below in the meantime meant increased raid damage up top which stretched the healers’ mana pools so that more people die the next time the fight rotates back to phase 1 again, which means there are less people to absorb Blackout damage, which means… oops, you wiped.  It really is that finely tuned.  And I love it.  They also gave me a nice shiny new knife so I love them even more.  Pink dragons are fabulous.  Official.

The fight’s a lot like Atramedes, whom we’ve also put on his ass since last I wrote.  Phase 1, phase 2, back to phase 1, phase 2 again, etc, until one of you is dead.  It’s a little more tolerant of Standing in Stupid than Valiona, but not much.  As mentioned in a previous post, I’m not the highest dps in our raid but if you absolutely, definitely need someone to be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing, I’m usually a pretty safe bet.  Which means that on heroic Atramedes I get to take glyphed and talented Blink out for a run and scamper away from dragonbreath while screaming like a cheerleader and clicking on Gongs.  Which is fun.

You probably had to be there.

He's a blind dragon, how hard can he be? Atramedes dead on 25 heroic at last.

And of course, we killed Maloriak a few weeks ago too, which now puts us at 6 of 12 25man Heroic bosses dead in current raid content.  Which is nice.  There was an unexpected bonus from being alive at the end of the Maloriak fight, too…

Best. Title. Ever.

Aside from raiding, the game still manages to amuse me on a daily basis.  Going back to the sub-60 levelling and questing zones is its own reward.  You get to see stuff like this…

The Gadgetzan Butcherbot. Mad as a box of frogs.

And this…

Teenytank. Designed by Gnomes, built by Dwarves, driven by idiots.

So, still having fun and still enjoying it!

There’s an interesting argument going on over at Tobolds’ in his latest post: Assymetric Challenge.  What the commenters are arguing over boils down to which is easiest, tanking, DPSing or healing.  Tobolds’ position, along with several of the commenters, is that tanking is by far the hardest job in dungeons and raids.  If a DPS screws up the worst that can happen is that they die.  Big deal, plenty more where they came from.  A tank bears the responsibility for the whole group, they screw up and there’s a very good chance that the entire raid or group is going to die.

All seems so obvious when you put it like that, doesn’t it.  Case closed.  DPS and healing is for facerollers, Tanks got it the hardest.

Or not.

Leaving aside the responsibility of the healers for a moment, the thing is, there’s a world of difference between difficulty and responsibility.  Just because something carries the burden of responsibility doesn’t mean it’s hard to do.  You may not like doing it, but that doesn’t make it technically difficult.  Tanking is not intrinsically hard to do.  Tanking for a group of idiots is hard.  Doing anything in a group of idiots is hard, tanks aren’t special.  You just tend to notice more when the tank’s an idiot because you all end up dead.  But again I must stress, you end up dead not because the tanks’ job was hard, but because he was an idiot and he was an idiot with a very responsible role.

But” you all cry, “marking targets for crowd control and setting kill orders and doing interrupts and controlling the pace is hard work!”  Well maybe.  It’s tedious, sure. Responsible, definitely.  Tanking?  No.  That’s not tanking, that’s leading.  Tanks complain that if they don’t do it, nobody will.  This argument can go any way you like.  I’ve seen plenty of tanks not leading too.  Unless you call charging into packs of unmarked mobs with a healer on 50% mana after rezzing a dead dps fifty yards away as leading.  I don’t.  I call it Natural Selection.  As for interrupts, any clown can do that, and when you’re doing Nefarian, Halfus Wyrmbreaker, Omnitron Defence System or Maloriak I can guarantee you it won’t be the tanks ahead on the Interrupt count.  Or if it is, you’re all going to be dead pretty soon, and not just because none of the tanks are hit capped.

But yes, tanks certainly have a responsible role.  But do tanks have the most responsible role?  Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce our special guest, the healers.

Healing is like playing whack-a-mole, except instead of one hammer, you have a choice of eight.  And you have to use exactly the right hammer for whichever mole pops up at any split second because if you use too many of the wrong hammers, your hammers start to get taken away from you.  And then you have no hammers, but the moles are still popping up.  And then you’re all dead. And sometimes, the moles like to dodge, or pop up out of the wrong hole, or run out of range of your hammers.  Sometimes, these dumbass moles even stay in the hole after you hit them with the right hammer, so you have to keep hitting them despite the fact that other moles are popping up all the time and you can only use one hammer at once and will that stupid bastard mole get the fuck out of that hole or do you have to hit him with this hammer all friggin’ day? But you still have to deal with it, even though you’re playing with a group of idiot moles it’s still your problem.  And if you can’t deal with it, moles are going to die.  Now that’s difficult and responsible, all in one package.  Is tanking harder than this?  Not sure I’m ever going to have the confidence to say “Yes”.  I’d be comfortable settling for a “perhaps”.

Now let’s look at the dps.  Is tanking harder than dpsing?  It certainly can be.  If your dps won’t follow the marked target, constantly breaks crowd control, pulls aggro, won’t silence the healers or casters or won’t even apply crowd control in the first place, then yes, unquestionably, tanking is bloody hard, thankless work.  But once again, that cuts both ways.  If your tank won’t follow the marked target, constantly breaks crowd control, loses aggro and won’t silence the healers or casters or won’t wait for crowd control to be applied in the first place, then doing dps is a job with a high mortality rate.  And whichever of the two holds true, it’s the healer, not the tank, who has to pick up the slack.  Careful placement of traps, intelligent use of Polymorph, Hex and Glyphed Fear, kiting loose adds, interrupting tank-killing or mob-healing abilities…  these are not tanking jobs.  But the thing about all of these activities is that they operate on a sliding scale.  If they’re being done correctly and intelligently, and if the tank’s sufficiently intelligent to not interfere with and take advantage of them, then the tanks’ job is a cakewalk.  In a park.  With flowers and shit.  The healer can even remember to breathe, too.  But the less these jobs are done the more difficult the tank and healers’ job becomes.  See how that works?  Tanks and healers jobs get easier the harder the dps works and the smarter the tank is.

So no.  The tank categorically does NOT have the hardest job in a group.  Not by default.  He may end up with a hard job if his dps are mouth-breathing window-lickers, but I wouldn’t call it the hardest unless he was prepared to strip to the waist and fight the healer for the title.

But you’re not convinced.  I’m sure there are many of you who are quite capable of pointing to a given boss and saying “But look at this fight, it’s an utter nightmare for a tank.”  And you’d be right.  But for every Ozruk and Foe Reaper 5000 there’s a Baron Ashbury.  Or Ascendant Lord Obsidius.  Or Drahga Shadowburner.  Come to think of it, Foe Reaper 5000’s no laughing matter for the DPS either.

I guess where I’m going with this is that saying tanking is the hardest job in a dungeon is nonsense.  Any part of the holy trinity can be a nightmare if one of the three corners is being an asshat, whether that be tank, dps or healer.  Tanking, in and of itself, is not hard.  DPS and Crowd Control are not hard.  Healing is not hard.  They’re harder than in Wrath, certainly, and all three are utter nightmares if your group isn’t being led effectively.  Leading IS hard.  Especially in PuGs, and herein lies the crux of the argument.  The role of leader has traditionally always fallen to the tank, because let’s face facts here, if the tank’s not ready for the pull, the pull ain’t happening (or at least it shouldn’t happen).  So since the tank’s in the lead, the tank may as well Lead, right?  This is nonsense.  Any clown can lead, it doesn’t have to be the tank, but the thing is, people are lazy.  People like to follow the path of least resistance, and that usually means following the tank since they’re the one in front anyway.  And if you’re being followed, you must be the Leader.  THIS is why tanking is hard, not because there’s anything hard about tanking, but because Tanks either accept the burden of leadership or all too often, no-one bothers to lead.  And then you have a fail pug, and everything becomes hard.

I’ll tell you what else is hard.  Very damn hard.  Trying to Lead when the tank’s not interested.  “Just mark whatever you want sheeped with an X and I’ll take care of…  oh you just charged in and we’re in combat.  Never mind”

“Okay, I marked X, I’ll sheep it then you grab the mobs when they aggro on me.  Casting…..  now.  Oh, your Death and Decay appears to have broken the sheep, and now it seems to be diseased.  Great.”

“Anyone not know this boss?  Three of you including the tank?  Okay, he’s actually pretty simple.  He has two abilities you watch for.  The first is Static Cling, when he’s casting this, you all need to be off the ground when it finishes casting or you get rooted, and this is bad news when he does his second ability, which is…  why are we in combat?”

All three genuine examples from a Heroic Vortex Pinnacle two days ago.  The tanks’ job was not hard.  It was piss easy.  All he had to do was listen.  My job was an utter nightmare, and not because I had to dps.  It was because I had to lead the unleadable.

That’s hard.

Wheeee!

Posted: 22 February, 2011 in Cataclysm, Raiding

I mentioned in my previous post how certain raid encounters and I aren’t on speaking terms.  Well we went back to Throne of the Four Winds last week and told Al’akir just exactly where he could stick his Wind Burst.  I’d like to say we spanked him good and proper, but the truth of the matter is we were as much the spankee as the spanker.  It really is an absolute twat of a fight but I’m definitely getting better at it, even if I’m nowhere near good enough yet.  However, despite my substandard performance overall I at least nuked what needed nuking, stood (mostly) where I needed to be stood and a result…

And since Calli is Exalted with her guild, that meant she was able to purchase…

Behold... THE SPARKLE PIGEON!

Which is nice.

 

It’s funny (funny peculiar not funny ha ha) how Blizz prioritise their raid bosses.  Perhaps “prioritise” isn’t the right word.  What I mean is, we killed Cho’gal on our second attempt the first night we saw him.  He’s actually pretty much a pushover.  Furthermore, I know why we’re killing Cho’gal.  He appears in numerous cutscenes as you level up to 85 while questing, and there was the whole pre-Cataclyms event thing that he caused.  He’s the bad guy, we have to kill him.  A bit like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, but yeah, Cho’gal must die.  I get that.  Al’akir on the other hand…

Al’akir?  Who is he exactly?
An elemental lord like Ragnaros.
Oh ok.  Why do we care?
Uh, because he drops phat lewtz?
No he doesn’t, they’re rubbish that hardly anyone wants.  And he’s hard.
He’s the only boss you’ve not killed.  If you kill him I’ll give you a pony.
Ok, that’s an incentive I can get behind!

So yeah, Al’akir eventually deaded, at the cost of many tears and nights of frustration.  Why?  Because he’s there.  I’m sure there’s some lore reason buried away somewhere that explains why he’s the massive threat he is and we….  Zzzzzz.  Sorry, nodded off.  Blizzard are usually pretty good at this, that’s the surprising thing.  I don’t get why we need to bother Al’akir, he never harmed me that I’m aware of, but I mostly don’t get why Blizzard failed to give me at least the semblance of a reason why I should care.  As I said, they’re usually pretty good at this sort of thing.

Just as an example, take a look at this quest text, something we usually skip over while reading the summary at the end, guilty of it myself.  On this, and I’m sure many other occasions, they’re usually worth reading.  This one in particular is hilarious.

See?  Hilarious.  Blizzard can come up with the goods, and they usually do.  But contrast that with the npc you need to escort out of Felson Keep for one of the Lol Barad dailies, you know… the one that’s really, really, really bugged.  He speaks like a robot on prozac.  When you contrast it with the love and imagination that’s gone into quests like the example above, or the amount of setup we got for going into the Bastion of Twilight and laying the smack down on Cho’gal, it just jars when you compare it to quests like Walk a Mile In Their Shoes or bosses like Al’akir.

Which is wierd, because as I’ve shown, Blizz can and usually do a spectacular job on this sort of thing.

Oh, what do I care?  I’ve got a Sparkle Pigeon!

Wheeee!

A Confession

Posted: 16 February, 2011 in Cataclysm, Mage, Raiding, Warrior

We spent the entirety of Monday night wiping on Al’akir in Throne of the Four Winds this week.  He’s the only boss we’ve not killed yet and the 25 man team should really be moving onto Heroic raid content, yet leaving one boss unkilled feels like failure, so off to the Throne we went.  Twice we got him down to less than 9%, and phase three of the fight is really the easiest part of the whole encounter, so by rights the guy should be dead.  However, Al’akir is the kind of boss who highlights my biggest problem in raiding – information overload.

It’s not just Cataclysm raiding, hard mode Hodir in Ulduar was another brick wall I ran into, and there have been others, but Al’akir’s the most recent example of the kind of problem I have on bosses where there’s just too much going on for me to remain effective.  The problem is, I’m 41 next month.  My reflexes aren’t what they used to be, there are youngsters in our raid who act like they have the reaction times of rattlesnakes on crack and they handle fights like this with ease.  Me, I need time to process things, time to let muscle memory take the slack that my reflexes can’t handle and my brain can’t process.  In this fight, you need to lay the smack down on the boss while ensuring you avoid three potentially lethal abilities.  The first is a pretty standard chain lightning effect, so…  spread out.  The second is a wall of cyclones that rotate around the boss.  There’s one gap in the wall and if you’re not in it, you get picked up and carried with the cyclones, throwing lightning bolts around your raid as you go.  It’ll probably kill you, but the major danger is the damage you do to the rest of your raid.  The final ability is a wind blast that the boss does to knock everyone back a certain distance.  Unless you’re hugging the boss it will probably knock you off the edge of his platform.  This won’t kill you, you get caught and eventually blown back up, but taken into consideration with the wall of cyclones it can be very nasty.  The thing is, they both happen at the same time throughout phase one.  So you get the warning that he’s about to do a Wind Blast and you naturally want to be close to the boss, except there’s a wall of cyclones approaching and the gap in the wall is away from the boss.  Decision time, folks.  Try to make the gap in time and get close to the boss so the wind blast doesn’t knock you off?  Or try to outrun the cyclone, but you then run the risk of getting caught in the chain lightning aimed at the group next to you and overloading your healers.  Or you can just jump off the edge and do zero dps for the next ten seconds, prolonging the length of time it takes to get into phase two where the wind blasts stop, and there’s no guarantee you won’t end up thrown into a cyclone anyway when you land back on the platform.

During all this, you’re contantly rotating your camera around, looking both ways for cyclones, keeping an eye on the timer bar for wind blasts, moving in, moving out, moving back to the group you’re supposed to stay with to avoid extra chain lightning damage, spinning the camera to ensure you are actually in the gap in the cyclone wall, watching the ground near you in both directions for the tell-tale graphic effect that warns you a cyclone is about to spawn and deciding where to move in advance if it does and somehow doing damage to the boss as well throughout all of it.  There are people who can handle this amount of information processing with ease the first night they see it.  I am not one of those people.  I can stay alive or I can do competitive dps, until I’ve done the fight enough for muscle memory to take over, I simply cannot do both.

My crappy dps probably cost us a kill on Monday.  We’d all be riding around on Dark Phoenixes right now if I’d sat the raid out.

Of course, sitting the raid out means I never get the experience to be any good at it.  So there’s the Catch 22.  On the bright side, I am good at the one thing that certain others amongst the raid are manifestly not – firing my frikkin’ lazerz at the correct target at the correct time.  Usually the targets that don’t have the damage debuffs on them from everyone else that makes you look good on damage meters but do in fact need to be killed quick or everyone dies.  Oh hi Snobolds on Northrend Beasts, yes I’m looking at you.  In phase two of the Al’akir fight, the boss summons some little friends, and every time you kill one the boss gets a damage debuff.  They need to be killed roughly one every 20 seconds in order to maximise the damage to the boss without running out of the little buggers.  Perhaps it’s my 21 years of military service, but when the raid leader says “You, you, you and you, kill these adds every 20 seconds”, that’s exactly what I do.  I don’t get overexcited because a shaman just popped heroism and forget that there are still adds up that need to be killed or we lose the damage debuff on the boss, I kill adds.

Similarly, whenever there’s an unglamorous job that needs to be done which is going to cost you dps, I’m usually the one who does it.  In Naxxramas at level 60, I was the guy who corpse camped adds watching for scarab spawns on Anub’rekhan.  I was damn good at it too, none of those little bastards ever got away from me.  I was also the guy who switched to Frost spec on Deathbringer Saurfang in Icecrown Citadel in order to get a ranged snare on the Bloodbeasts when they spawned, and this probably led to our first successful heroic 25 man kill of him.  But I wonder, now do I volunteer for this stuff because I know that my dps on new bosses isn’t going to be what it should, but hey, I can always point to the vital low dps job I was doing as an excuse?  Or do I get picked for these jobs because the raid leader knows a) I can be trusted to do it well or b) because the loss of my mediocre dps won’t be a raid wiper.  Or in fact is it a) and b)?  I think it used to be a), but as the years went by and my reflexes and ability to quickly process information deteriorated, I suspect there’s a large element of b) coming into play too.

And the thing is, I don’t want to be carried, but I suspect I am.  Don’t get me wrong here, on those occasions when I can power up the lasers and nuke away like I never nuked before, I’m still perfectly capable of keeping up with the big boys, and once I’ve learned a fight and committed it to muscle memory I produce pretty decent results.  The problem is that you rarely get to stand in one safe spot and blaze away like an 80’s action hero anymore, and progression fights on 25 man heroic content are not the place to be for people who can’t process 15 different things at once and still produce rockstar dps.

I’m not saying I’m the only person in our raid who underperforms.  Everyone has bad days, but their consciences are their own problem, not mine.  I don’t want to be raiding if I feel like I’m the reason we’re not getting bosses killed, but I do want to be raiding.  So…  a quandary.  It doesn’t help that there’s one mage in our raid who is an absolute god.  I’m never going to be, and never have been as good as he is.  There’s no bad feeling here, he’s an immensely likeable and knowledgable player, but holding myself up against him as a comparsion wouldn’t be fair on anybody, let alone just me.

Curiously, I seem to be doing consistently good dps on Gorn, my Fury warrior.  This is wierd, because Mister Melee DPS and I have rarely been on speaking terms with each other.  I suspect the reason is that as a Warrior I find myself waiting just that fraction of a second longer for abilities to come off cooldown, that it allows me a reaction time budget that you just don’t get on a Mage.  I’m beginning to wonder if the best course of action might not be to retire Calli and try to earn a raid spot on Gorn.  But…  well I’ve got a hell of a lot invested in the old girl.  It’s going to hurt, but it may be the honest thing to do.

I guess we’ll just see how it goes.  I need to do better, it’s just a question of working out what, and how.  Ideally I’d be doing better on Calli, but “doing better” may mean not raiding at all.  I just hope I’m honest enough with myself to recognise which is the correct option and act on it.

A while ago I was in an Icecrown 25 man PuG on Shinano, specced as Laser Chicken since they were full on healers.  It was a pretty good raid and when we downed The Gunship and the loot was linked.  Gunship Captain’s Mittens dropped.  Since Shinano was in need of more hit rating and she was having to use her Tier 10 Resto gloves for her Boomkin set, I rolled.  And I won the roll.  And then the Master Looter said:

You can’t have those, they’re cloth.

I’m pretty sure you’re going to find I can have those.  Cloth and Leather are the only two things I can wear.

Priests, Mages and Warlocks have priority on cloth gear, you’re a Druid.

Well that’s lovely but you do you think next time you could maybe say that before I agree to join your raid?

I’ve heard of this sort of thing before, but this is the first time I’ve actually seen it happen, let alone been on the receiving end of it.  Now doubtless some of you cloth wearers are sitting there reading this and thinking “Damn right, too!” It’s okay, I know where you’re coming from, I play a Mage, remember.  (And a priest and a warlock)  Dps casters have to compete a lot more for their gear than any other role.  A Mage, for example, has to compete not only against other Mages, but also against Warlocks and all three varieties of Priest for their armour.  Any weapons a Mage can use (Staves, Daggers and Swords) are going to be rolled on by Resto Druids, Balance Druids, Elemental Shamans, Resto Shamans, Warlocks, all three flavours of Priest and Holy Paladins.  Trinkets, rings and necklaces are the same.  By contrast a Warrior, Paladin or Deathknight tank is probably going to find two other people at the most rolling on gear they want for their role, more than that for weapons if you’re a Deathknight; and A Feral Druid tank has to compete against Rogues and other Druids for their armour and also against Hunters for some of their weapons.  And this is just assuming we stick to class armour limitations.  Open it up to whoever can equip what, and the three cloth classes suddenly find themselves competing not just against each other for gear but also against Resto Druids, Balance Druids, Resto Shamans, Elemental Shamans and Holy Paladins as well as the classes that are limited to cloth armour.  Grossly unfair right?

I used to think exactly the same way until an Elemental Shaman friend pointed something out to me.  We can all agree that every dps caster needs Hit Rating to be effective at their role.  Let’s just browse the list of caster mail armour in Icecrown that comes with +hit.

1.

And that’s it.  Now for the leather caster armour that comes with +hit.

1.

Yes, that’s right.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Elemental Shamans and Balance Druids, assuming they are forced to stick to their own armour class, have ZERO +hit rating available to them.  All that +hit needs to come from necklaces, trinkets, rings and weapons.  It’s possible to get yourself hit capped by wearing no armour that has any hit rating on it, but it’s possible for any class to do so.  That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the smart or fair way to do it.  If the Warlocks, Shadow Priests and Mages were suddenly told they weren’t allowed to roll on any armour that had Hit Rating on it there would be uproar, and quite right too because they need a certain amount of hit rating to do their jobs.  News flash, so do Balance Druids and Elemental Shamans, and it’s not their fault that Blizzard put zero hit rating on “their” armour.  Even the Elemental Tier 10 Armour set, a set that is specifically designed for Elemental Shamans, has only two pieces with any +hit on it.

This is not the fault of the Druids and the Shamans.  They would dearly love to be wearing “proper” mail and leather armour.  It’s not their fault that the caster gear that is “their” armour comes loaded with mana per 5, too much crit and not enough haste.  It’s not their fault that the best in slot belt for almost every class with a mana bar is the Crushing Coldwraith Belt, a piece of cloth armour.  If you want to blame somebody, blame Blizzard, because duh…  it’s Blizzards’ fault.  These guys are trying to improve their gear, and it’s not their fault that their gear is your armour class.  It’s shitty itemisation, it sucks for everyone and it causes all sorts of problems but it’s not their fault.

Of course there’s a flipside to all this.  I’m talking here about things like Holy Paladins or Resto Druids rolling against dps casters for weapons with Hit Rating because “it has more spellpower than what I’m using”.  And yes, I’ve seen this happen, and I’ve seen them get away with it.  Of course if no-one else who can actually use all the stats on the item wants it, then go for it.  But if a dps caster needs it and they still roll against them they are retarded and the players concerned need to be smacked in the face with tyre irons right nowWhispering Fanged Skull has more Crit Rating than Muradin’s SpyglassAlthor’s Abacus has a ton of lovely spellpower on it that would be quite useful, but I don’t roll on Althor’s Abacus because I’m not a healer and I don’t roll on Whispering Fanged Skull because I’m not a fucking retard.  Yet when a Resto Druid rolls against a Shadow Priest for Sister Svalna’s Aether Staff because they’re still using a Mace from Trial of the Crusader, that Resto Druid needs two things:

1.  Commiserations on being so unlucky that a proper healer weapon hasn’t dropped for them yet.
2. A good kick in the nuts for being so stupid and greedy that they’d roll on a weapon with a stat that’s 100% completely useless to them against someone for whom it’s 100% useful.

And if you let them get away with it you need a good kick in the nuts too.  Or in the tits if you’re female, whatever.  And if that person then suffers an outbreak of nerdrage and quits your group because you refused to allow them to be a moron, well you just lost a moron.  That’s never a bad thing.

Oh and Gorn got a new mount.

He had this to say on the subject:

Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!

Selfish dps.  That’s what I hate.  Prima donnas whos’ obsession at dominating the damage meters comes at the expense of everything else, including…  you know… killing the boss?  Yes, we know the boss is the one with all the dps-boosting debuffs on him, but if you don’t switch targets and kill those adds, you’re wiping the raid, fucknuts!

The Weekly Raid Quest this week on Hellscream was Lord Jarraxxus in Trial of the Crusader.  Since he’s the second boss, you have to defeat The Beasts of Northrend to get to him.  I’ve seen so much failboating in that instance this week it stopped being funny, oh, around Thursday last week.  I did the weekly first on Shinano, my Tree.  Everything was going hunky-dory, the ridiculously overgeared tanks were staying up just fine thanks to the ridiculously overgeared healers and Gormok the Impalers’ health was dropping fast thanks to the ridiculously overgeared dps.  Then the Two Jormungar appear at the gate, but something wierd’s going on – I’m still having to dodge Firebombs… what the hell?  Yes, there are still two Snobolds up, fact fans.  The reason Gormok dropped like an overweight jogger with a cardiac arrest wasn’t because the dps were so good, it was because the dps were so shit, most of them ignored the snobolds and just nuked the boss, which meant we went into phase 2 with firebombs all over the arena and a healer who couldn’t cast a heal thanks to being zerged by Gerald.

It wasn’t pretty.

Then tonight The Mighty Jingles is in a Vault of Archavon 25 man PuG and…  well a picture is needed at this point.


Fourth from the top, Midds the hunter.  6080 dps, not too shabby.  That’s The Mighty One at 10, doing 4.2k dps overall, which is about where the rest of the ranged dps are sitting, considering all the target switching you have to do on Toravon, it’s nothing special but it’s about right.  Cast your eyes further down to the tooltip and you will see, however, that of that 1.19 million damage he pushed out over the course of the fight, only 60k of it was on the Frozen Orbs.  By contrast, each and every one of the other ranged dps, including the newbie hunter in the raid who did far less dps overall, did at least 180k damage to Frozen Orbs.  Special mention to Twixxy the Shadow Priest at number 3 on damage done who not only did more damage than Midds but also did 230k damage to Frozen Orbs into the bargain.

And then the level 264 Hunter pants dropped, and of course, Midds won them over the newbie hunter who was actually doing his job, as opposed to showboating on damage meters at the expense of everyone else.

Midds, and all the other selfish turds like you, die in a fire please.  Or learn to play.  But preferably die in a fire.

How The Other Half Live

Posted: 13 June, 2010 in Mage, misc, Raiding

It seems I owe you, my readers, an apology.  After starting work at a new posting, one where I actually have to work for a living, I’ve come to approeciate just how much of my time at my previous post was spent wasting time on the internet.  Most of it, it turns out.  I’ve also been upgrading my various characters’ gear at a frantic pace, all of which leaves precious little time to update the blog.  It’s a shocking state of affairs, I’ve neglected you all for nearly a month!

So anyway, what’s new in Calli World?  Well quite a lot actually.

Calli’s been slogging her way through Icecrown 25 man Heroic modes.  So far only Professor Putricide, Sindragosa and Old Lich Face himself elude us, although we’re making solid progress on the Professor.  Lady Deathwhisper was a barrel of laughs.  Not.  What is quite shocking is the level of difference between people geared in Icecrown 25 man heroic gear and…  well..  everyone else.  It’s one of those things that you know to be true in an abstract kind of way but until someone with that gear level joins your group and proceeds to stomp your ego into a snotty heap with their dps output, you don’t begin to realise just how massive that gear divide is.

Take the raid weekly quest for example.  This week on Hellscream it’s Anub’rekhan in Naxxrammas.  Not particularly challenging, it’s one of the easier Tier 7 content bosses, and given that most new 80’s these days are going to be sporting mostly Tier 9 gear with the odd Frost badge reward, getting him down is something of a snoozefest.  I’d downed him 9 times this week on various alts until I decided I should drag Calli along too, I can always use the badges to buy Primordial Saronite or something.

So most PuGs for the raid weekly use one tank and one or two healers, not the two tank/two or three healer combo you used to need.  And he’s usually dead in under a minute.  Well under a minute, in fact.  From start of trash pull to portal home, Anub’rekhan takes five to ten minutes these days.  Enter Calli, who is not, I should remind you, the best geared or skilled dps in our 25 man raid group.  Not by far.  We pull the boss and Calli pops her cooldowns.  Mirror Image with the four-piece Tier 10 set bonus, trinket, Arcane Power and Icy Veins all go off, Calli does fifteen thousand dps, three times the dps of the next two highest dps in the raid and the boss drops flat on his face thirty seconds later.

Seriously, three times the next highest on the damage meter.  And these guys weren’t scrubs, just your average-geared players farming badges.  Of course, being an Arcane Mage on a fight that lasts exactly thirty seconds it’s easy to shine, but come on!  The difference in damage output between a player in 10 man Tier 9 gear and 25 man heroic Tier 10 is just ridiculous.  You can begin to appreciate how worried Blizzard were getting with the unexpected extra tiers of content they had to shoehorn into the game before Icecrown was released.  Makes me slightly concerned about just how tough the Ruby Sanctum is going to be, too.  Are we talking about Sunwell levels of difficulty here?  I hope not.

“Ah Sunwell…” you all reminisce, “What a great raid that was….”   Bollocks.  It was bastard hard and an absolute nightmare to build a raid around.  Most of the fights may as well have had a sign over them saying “You must have x number of class y to enter or don’t even bother”, yes Priests on Felmyst, I’m looking at you in particular.  And all of the fights were “No mages or Holy Paladins required, but leave your paladins at the entrance in case we need rebuffs.”  So go poke yourself, Sunwell, we don’t like your kind around here.

So yes, it’s ridiculously easy to impress as a dps class, not so easy to impress as a tank or healer with equivalent gear.  Most of the weekly raids can easily be solo healed, even some of the Ulduar ones.  And as for a 264+ geared tank…  well a tank is a tank.  You either hold aggro and don’t die or you don’t.  Having 60k health or 30k health is pretty much the only difference and a decent healer in just about any level of raid gear can keep a 30k health tank up for 30 seconds.  If you can’t do it with Rejuvenation alone and have to spam Greater Heal continously, no-one cares or even notices, but fifteen thousand dps on a single target, not aoe spam?  Yeah, people notice that.  The funny thing is, that much dps isn’t out of the ordinary in ICC.  Difficult to sustain, sure, but not impossible.  It’s just when one of these Icecrown Raider dps demigods deigns to mingle with the mortals that it becomes apparent just how out of control it really is.

Speaking of absurd dps.  Shinano recently specced Laser Chicken for her offspec and got into an ICC10 PuG over the weekend.  It was a really nice little PuG, two excellent tanks in particular and we got 7 bosses down.  Shinano’s boomkin gear is pretty much just her Resto gear with some bits of 10 man heroic +hit and crit gear thrown in, not really optimised for boomkin, but she’s hitcapped now and her crit is improving.  Anyway, there’s a trash pull at the entrance to the Plague Wing where you get a couple of Plague Scientists, a couple of big nasties and a whole mess of geists.  Ready for this?  Strap yourselves in, it’s a big number.  A REALLY big number.

68,000 damage per second.

Yes you read that right.  Sixy-eight thousandGlyphed Starfall and Hurricane really need a nerf.

Meanwhile, The Daddies finally got Old Lich Face deaded on Friday night.  I was overjoyed, truth be told, they’ve worked so long and so hard for it, they really deserved their Kingslayer titles.  Long-term readers will know who The Daddies are, but for the benefit of everyone else, they’re our third regular 10 man raid group, composed of decent folks who don’t have the time to put in to regular raiding or for whom our normal raid times aren’t convenient, with a scattering of the alts of other raiders to help fill gaps.  The Daddies are not about heroic modes or achievements, just killing bosses at a nice comfortable pace and collecting loot.  This weekend they finally got the Defile mastered and Arthas dropped like a rotten kebab.  Askara got her Kingslayer title into the bargain, which is nice.  Loot?  Oh Tainted Twig of Nordrassil and Warmace of Menthil, both of which went to very good homes.

And last but not least, Calli got one step closer to the 100 mount achievement and got her X-53 Nether Rocket, which means Tinuviel no longer has any excuse for being late to raids again!

Cya next time!