Posts Tagged ‘ raiding ’

Dig A Little Deeper, Come A Little Closer

Said the dragon to the knight from the depths of its lair.

Let’s talk dungeons.

You all know I’m a former World of Warcraft player, an active raider even (why do I feel like I’m saying I’m a recovering alcoholic?). I played WoW because it was fun and I got to hang with my friends. A couple years ago, however, I played WoW because it was INSANELY fun and I got to conquer gods with my friends. (If you’re wondering though, this was my proudest moment, I was raid leader for that and we were still 25-strong.)

Anyway! Guild Wars is great, and Guild Wars 2 looks even more great. Even in the midst of my excited anticipation, however, there was still a part of me that mourned the passing of Tigerfeet the Raider. There’s something about talking with other people, adrenaline running high as everyone concentrates on performing to the best of their ability, failing, failing, and finally the rush of SUCCESS when the Big Bad of the moment finally falls. It’s the euphoria of accomplishment shared with friends.

Guild Wars Classic has this to a point, but the majority of the boss fights do not leave me feeling like I have accomplished something epic, though Dhuum at the end of the Underworld certainly comes close. The activity I’m missing can best be described as a carefully orchestrated dance to stay alive. WoW’s heavily scripted battles are often maligned as predictable and compared to a guided theme park experience.  I at least found them exceedingly fun.

My explorer was satisfied by wondering “What’s he going to do next”. My competitive side was satisfied when we finally worked through the difficulties and conquered the boss. Since these encounters were scripted, once we gained a little experience (practical experience, I’m not talking about arbitrary numbers attached to your character) we would take that knowledge back with us and try again, eventually becoming proficient enough individually and as a group to overcome the challenge.

While reading Jeff Grubb’s article I started smiling. (Two dungeon modes? Yes Please!) As I kept reading my smile broadened, (dynamic changes within the dungeon? Absolutely!) and when I reached the end and read about the massive scripted bossfights my smile broke into an enthusiastic grin. (HELL YES!) This is the challenge, the experience I’m looking for. This is the manner in which I want to catch Tyria in a headlock and wrestle her to the ground.

The dungeons also remind me of a point I’ve made about Guild Wars 2 in the past. For every amazing and revolutionary step forward ArenaNet takes (dynamic dungeon content), they offer in the other hand a treat of the ‘familiar’ for players of older MMOs (scripted boss battles).

It’s so easy to get angry and feel betrayed when a tried mechanic is implemented in a game that’s touted as being original and revolutionary, but please, think about it.  A game can be new and fresh without all of its parts needing to be so.  I can build a beautiful new wooden floor out of salvaged barn lumber, for example.

If ArenaNet were to turn away every idea and mechanic that had been used in games previously I truly believe that Guild Wars 2 would be less for it. I respect a company that can get excited about the new and unique things its doing while still being happy to offer more familiar mainstays when they work. And that’s exactly what ArenaNet is doing with the dungeons. As we say here in the Midwest, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Of course, a bit of spit shine polish doesn’t hurt.

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Allright Everybody, Take Five

Unemployed is on hiatus this week. With flagging attendance and some recent burnout victims, we decided to call a halt to raiding for at least one week in order to give everyone a breather and some more vacationing time. Not that most weren’t vacationing already…

I’m personally relieved as I was feeling the burnout pretty bad. Most of my times spent raiding I was wishing I was doing something else, like drawing, or cooking. It’s a very welcome opportunity to step back and take some time for myself without knowing that there’s 20-something other people who can’t have fun because of me.

Faction Champions Can Go Jump In My Litter Box

My frustration with this fight can boil down to one sentence.

Get your PvP out of my PvE.

Last night was a beautiful one-shot of the first two coliseum bosses, even despite my ‘doh moment of taunting the magnataur too soon, amassing five stacks, and then letting the other tank die. (I’m so high-maintenance). The Jaraxxus kill was everything I could have asked for and more. No one died, no one stood in the fire, no one was screaming at me to “Get this Infernal out of my face aaaaan infernals in my face!”

PS – that’s a fight where your lesser-geared (or lesser-skilled) tank can get some time in the limelight as main tank. So long as everything is interrupted/dispelled/purged properly, Jaraxxus hits like a kitten (and not the ferocious face-ripping kind, more like the lolferal pre-BC kind)

But then came the faction champions.

/grind teeth

We spent most of the night cycling through every form of CC we could muster in order to keep one healer locked down while burning the other (we had resto druid, holy priest, enh shaman, mage, rogue, warlock-with fel puppy)

We wiped, and we wiped, and we wiped some more. Granted, I saw some of our raiders rise to multitasking like I’d never thought they could (it was beautiful, really) But we couldn’t kill them.

In fact, we didn’t make any measurable progress until we adopted a more chatoic, blitz style, with myself running interference. (I know nothing about football, so forgive me if my analogies limp)

Everyone was to burn down the priest as fast as possible (He’s the squishiest, he can be interrupted, so we only have to deal with his (and the druid’s) hots instead of dealing with hots from the druid and casts from the priest if we tried to kill the druid first)

So, we’d burn the priest, then we’d bloodlust and kill the druid. Next we’d kill the warlock (thinking this would also rid us of the fel-puppy, no such luck there) and then we’d take out the mage, rogue, and shaman in that order.

MY job, was totem-stomping, and ping-pong.

Wait, whut?

Swipe is very good at taking out totems. Bear swipe that is. When I’m not swiping at totems I’ve got my camera zoomed all the way out and I’m using every taunt I’ve got, as often as I’ve got it, to pull the melee off of our casters.

This worked pretty well. I think tonight, if we go in with two tanks (we had an enhancement shaman tanking on his warrior alt, then had him switch to his shaman for the pvp bit) I think we’ll get this pretty readily. We’re replacing a shadow priest with an elemental shaman so we won’t miss the bloodlust from the enhancements shaman. We’ve still got healing priests to mass-dispell heroism.

We’ll kill these guys tonight, I’ve no doubt of that.

That doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Fun New Boss Time?

I don’t think so.

Last night, like every Tuesday, Unemployed gathered up to go kick some bad-guy butt.

We went to the Crusader’s Colliseum. We had some lag issues and a couple of disconnects, but after we learned to compensate we took out the Northrend beasts pretty easily.

Then came the fun part, Lord Jarraxus. We had to learn an entirely new fight. The only information we could find was a video in german and a list of abilities. We were almost completely blind.

You know what? It was wonderful.

The entire group banded together to offer suggestions and ideas for how to handle what. Wipe after wipe, morale was high as we inched that much closer to victor until, at last, 15 minutes before the end of raid time, exhultant cheers of joy and excitement rang out over vent as the boss dropped. It was a difficult fight, won through hard work, and everyone was thrilled.

Except for one.

That one would be me.

I can’t tell you what the fight was like, I can’t tell you any stories from our attempts.

I wasn’t there.

Where was I? I was sitting in my chair staring at a login screen as I kept attempting to log back into the game. Without fail I was disconnected at the start of every fight.

It was maddening and frustrating enough to bring me close to tears even.

Last night I tried one last time and finally got back in just as the boss dropped, just enough to see that my guild had persevered and achieved its victory.

Without me.

WoW to me is my only form of entertainment. Living a life where sometimes I don’t even know what will be available for dinner, the paltry $15/month is my one escape.

When I spend an entire evening watching my favorite part of the game pass me by, I start to wonder if it’s worth it at all.

I Feel Dirty

I just sent a fellow guildmate a link to Nightcrowler’s Feral By Night addon. You know, the one I’ve so maligned in the past?

You see, I have a new kitten. (Feral Druid, not a real kitten) And he wants to raid with us. Now, I’ve got a pretty hefty pride for my own class, and for ferals in particular. The very LAST thing I want to see is a feral scraping the bottom on numbers and I’ve been warned this particular person has some… issues.

With pretty much everything.

But it seems he knows he’s bad, so that’s a plus. If you think you’re awesome there’s no room for learning new things. A willing mind is a wonderful thing to teach.

I still feel dirty for throwing crutches at him though. I’m a bit of an optimist when it comes to people. I try (consciously) to believe that, given enough effort, anybody can learn to be good at something. I tend to learn pretty quickly, but I’ve worked with those who don’t and all they require is a little more patience.

I’m giving him crutches because I suspect he’s one of the latter. A person who will take a while to learn things, and I’d rather get him up and running (and raiding) now, than wait 3-4 weeks while I sit behind him with a wooden yardstick and watch him at the target dummies.

That wouldn’t be fun, for either of us.

In other news, if you’re over the age of 18 and enjoy horror flicks, definitely check out a little game called Requiem: Bloodymare.

My husband picked it up a few weeks ago and I dabbled my toes in it too. I really like the graphics. Poly counts are good, textures are really nice, but the animation takes the cake. Really, this game has TOP NOTCH animation. It’s very, VERY good. Fluid, weighty, believeable, and oftentimes creepy as all get out.

There are a few problems. Quest destinations can be vague at best and outright wrong at worst, randomly characters will jump sideways when they should go forward, and there’s a complete lack of proper text formatting. (Word integrity is not preserved)

Observe:

I play a ‘human’ Templar. Well, she’s a
templar right now, I plan to level her i
nto a Radiant when she gets to the right
level. I can only heal myself right now
but I hope to have proper spells eventua
lly to heal other people.

That’s what text boxes are like. It’s a little maddening for the literary-minded (like myself) and completely irrelevant to the non-literary-minded (like my husband).

It’s free to play, and definitely worth a look. If you’re curious, you can find me on the PvP server (there’s only one). Just look for Alegra, Maelix, or Shmee.

I’m Such A Narcissist

Raiding update!

ZOMG I KNOW RITE?!

First off, we were going strong until the 4th, then summer came and crit us hard. We did our best to muster a full 25 last week but this week, again with flagging attendance, we decided to cut our losses and assembled an ‘elite’ team to kill Yogg-Saron on 10-man.

The result? Well, first take a look at this video of our Thorim fight last night, shot by a warlock (who has a rather spiffy UI setup I noticed)

Ok, the embed didn’t work SO HERE’S THE LINK LOOK ISN’T IT SPIFFY!?!

You’ll notice in comments towards the end of the fight that Thorim was our third keeper to kill, at only two hours into our raid time. We raid for three hours.

Before this video we had done Flame Leviathan easy-mode in order to get through faster. Then we’d turned around and did XT’s hard-mode (a guild first). We knocked out ‘With Open Arms’ on Kologarn and cringed our way through the Auriaya fight (does anybody like this fight? We don’t).

Then we took out Hodir and were pleasantly close to his Hard-Mode. We lost a ranged dps, who I then had to resurrect, depriving Hodir of both of our tender touches for a few crucial seconds. I’m pretty sure that the difference was enough to make up that DPS, or almost.

After Hodir we paid Freya a visit with her waves and waves of never-ending trash. In 25-man we like to keep the multi-specie groups (those big packs with trees and spirits and a dragon etc) under tight Crowd-Control. This time, however, we Naxx’d them (Gather up and AoE). Only special consideration was to make sure to point the dragon away from anybody important (squishies and the like). Our DK tank handled that and I did my best to pull what mobs I could off of him so he wasn’t getting overwhelmed (though I’m sure if he had to he could’ve single-tanked the lot of them).

After Freya (all bosses were 1-shots and our only wipe was to an unfortunate pull on Hodir trash) we continued to Thorim, above.

That video features our second Thorim attempt.

What happened the first time?

We got Siffed!

The ONLY reason it wasn’t a 1-shot was because of a small lapse in attention by two key players at the same time. A healer stood in the lightning, and I saw the 3-minute enrage warning pop up and taunted Thorim too early. With a healer down and an unexpected tank taking damage I went squish and things fell apart from there. You can hear my frustration with missing Sif on our second attempt too. (I’m the one calling right-left in the tunnel, and berating myself at the end for moving too quickly)

I think having ranged and healers cluster right behind the first boss in the tunnel so they’re that much closer to the adds in the hallway would be valuable. Oh yeah, we don’t tank the Acolytes, we just let them run about as they please. It works very well that way actually 🙂

*deep breath*

Ok, let’s continue.

After Thorim we went and whupped up on Mimiron. I believe he was a 1-shot as well and then… and then… with half an hour left on our raid time the way to Vezax was open to us.

He took four tries. One of the attempts ended in a 3% wipe which was, as one of our DK dpsers put it “Like a punch in the balls”. The feminine portion of the raid agreed that yes, if we had those organs we’d imagine that’s what it felt like.

But it was 10pm, time to call the raid.

We put it to a vote. /readycheck, yes for LET’S GET HIM! and no for ‘need sleep nao!’

The reply was an immediate and overwhelmingly enthusiatic LET’S GET HIM!

So we did 😀

Half an hour or so past raid time Vezax dropped, a Guild first, and the way is open for us to spend our second two raid nights on Yogg-Saron.

Now why can’t we roll up our sleeves and do this on 25-man hmm?

Side Note – I’m not leading raids anymore. That shiz is hard! What was I thinking?

OH OH OH!

(no I’m not quite done yet)

I also picked up Hoperender off of Vezax, replacing Journey’s End for my DPS set. I rolled offspec on it and so did our DK (raid leading) tank. For offspec gear we call for a /roll.

I desperately wanted this polearm and when I called for the roll (and rolled a 31, *groan*) Mr DK-face passed it to me.

What a peach!

I Don’t Need To L2P, I Need To L2Target Dummy

I was finally able to sink my teeth into some PTR goodness over the weekend!

I’d logged Tigerfeet over to Broxigar (the PvE server) and romped around for a while in cat and bear form. The Orgrimmar barber shop was teeming with druids and there was much fun to be had in /s while we gamboled about with new forms.

During this time I gallantly answered a plea for guildies and found myself in a decently-sized guild with decently competent people.

I say decently competent because our 10-man foray to the new Vault boss didn’t go too well. Grouping problems aside (I’m now immensely grateful for well-organized guilds) we tried to 9-man the guy with no luck.

Long story short, there’s fire everywhere and we didn’t have enough people sticking it out to actually start to LEARN the encounter to actually be able to… well… learn the encounter.

The vast majority of the people were, in fact, pre-made characters. Now, pre-made characters come equipped with the best of the best from Tier 8 content. Over by the Argent Tournament there’s tier 9 available for purchase for about 50g apice. It looks goofy as all get-out (go go placeholder graphics!) but the stats aren’t anything to sneeze at.

So, we get into vault and start whomping on things and I find myself in a curious position. Me, in my Tier7 BIS with the odd T8 upgrade, am sitting comfortably at the top of the DPS meter. The closest contender was a pre-made rogue who was only 2-300dps behind me. Barely keeping ahead of the tank were a mage, a hunter, a warlock, and an arms warrior.

They were all fighting to keep 3k dps.

I was rolling comfortably in the mid to low 5k range.

On live, for a 10-man encounter, I usually see numbers in the upper 5k range, so my damage was right where I expected it to be considering the feral nerfs.

Well, as can be expected, a hue and cry arose about my dps. What’s wrong! I was cheating! No way should a live-transferred character in Tier7 be out-dpsing pre-made characters wearing BiS Tier8 gear with Tier9 upgrades!

Hax Hax Hax!

So, I knew I wasn’t cheating, but is what they say true? Was there a bug that prevents premades from doing their proper damage, or was there a bug that kept the nerfs from affecting live-transfers?

To the Target Dummies I went!

I was able to steadily break 4k on live, but just barely. You know, just me and the target dummy, no mangle bot, no nuthin’.

On my live-transfer I was doing 3.5k. It’s a sad drop, but much more difficult to tell considering the amount of use the target dummies are getting. (on another note, I got the ‘track others’ debuffs’ to work with RPB!)

Then I tested it out on a pre-made druid. I kitted her out with all armor-pen gems (naturally her crit was about 53% in full tier 8), got her glyphs (I started testing without them and was wondering what was wrong) and set to work.

The result? 3.8k with spikes up to 4k.

I’d made a preliminary post on the PTR forums about the seeming discrepancy between live-transfer characters and pre-made characters. The general consensus was that people playing pre-mades are generally terribad and suggestions to me to check my buffs and make sure they’re consistent.

I think a little of both were responsible. Many people take the option of pre-made characters to test out the playstyles of a new class without the drudgery of leveling (I myself have a max-level shaman waiting to be transferred). The high-useage of the target dummies on the PTR goes a long way to making testing difficult.

The feral cat rotation is subtly different when a mangle-bot is present as opposed to when you have to apply your own D@mn mangle. When there’s randomly a mangle bot for maybe 20 seconds out of a 5-minute test period, it can just throw the rotation into complete chaos.

Needless to say, testing’s a little difficult, and I’m not very scientific about it at all. I’m sad to see my DPS down, but I know it had to happen.

On another note – I downloaded and installed Feral By Night. I spent some quality time on live with it and a target dummy.

The result? I did everything the addon said, pushed every button exactly how I should have, etc, etc.

I did on average 3.5k dps with spikes up to 3.8k.

Remember? I’d clocked myself on live as rolling in at a solid 4k dps.

So, with a program telling me what buttons to push I did LESS dps than I’m able to do when I’m driving!

Why don’t you stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it?

(PS – smoking’s bad, k?)