Archive for the ‘Raiding’ category

Guess who's back!

June 25, 2010

Ok so I’ve been quiet on the blogging front. Why? Because I’ve reactivated my account, taken over leadership of my guild and started raiding again. No matter how much I’ve tried to deny it, WoW just has that magnetic pull.
It’s not even the game as such, but more the people. Even during my 2 months of inactivity I’ve had constant contact with my guildmates, through IM and the forums. I’ve pretty much ran the guild via out-of-game contact with the GM I left in charge. Through him I learnt of the depression that sank over the guild, the planned coup of one of the high officers and the begging for my return.
And I miss the guys and girls. Thats what makes WoW such an astonishingly addictive game – the people in it. I’ve met people from Switzerland, Finland, Lebanon, Vietnam, Australia. I’ve met kids and parents, even a family of three generations playing together: grandparent, parent and child. As much as the game frustrates me, the people and the politics don’t.
So I’m back and ready to write content that actually involves current issues and my playtime. Oh, and my new domain is registered, should be transfering this weekend. Watch this space for the new site soon!


Hit me baby one more time (or Why be a tank?)

June 3, 2010

Tanks. They’re funny creatures, except of course for druids, who are funny creatures no matter the spec. In my experience most leadership positions were held by a tanking class, followed by a healer, followed by everything else… then a hunter. At the top of this pyramid through the classic ages (And occasionally when Blizzard feels kind enough not to nerf us or buff the bloody palas/DKs/druids/warlock pets) was the warrior.

To be honest, when I started playing WoW I had no idea what the role of the warrior was. I expected to go through life wielding huge axes and hitting stuff till they surrendered or bled to death. Imagine my surprise when I entered RFC for the first time and everyone huddled behind me, prodding me to go forward and keep everything busy while they cowered behind that boulder. In that moment, a new tank was born. I discarded my big 2handed axe, picked up a grey shield and a green sword and never looked back.

So what is it that makes a tank? I’ve seen many players try to tank after playing another class/role for a long time. Some succeed, some gain a level of mediocrity but most just fail. By fail I don’t mean running heroics or tanking a world spawn, I mean raid tanking.

Well, to me a tank has to have a few qualities.:

  • Confidence – A scared tank is a dead tank. A hesitant tank is a dead dps or healer. A tank must have an ego as big as his HP pool but the skills to back them up. No-one likes a cocky tank that can’t keep agro off the healer. This is also probably the reason why good tanks gravitate towards leadership positions in guilds.
  • Maths – Tanking theorycrafting is second only to mage theorycrafting imo. Firstly you have this magic number to attain before you can even start raiding (Defence Cap, soon to be gone but it’s still here so I mention it) and then you have to balance out stamina, armor, damage reduction, dodge rating, block rating, block value, parry, mitigation vs threat, etc etc etc. The permutations are limitless and every tank has his own way of doing things.
  • A Thick Skin – No I don’t mean Barkskin. When you start out you’re going to take flak. Think the healer gets blamed for everything? Wait till you mispull your first pack and cause a wipe.  Just persevere, preferably with a group of friends and a few beers, and hone the skills that will make raidleaders beg for your presence.  Oh, and you must enjoy being hit.. all the time… coz thats like… your job…
  • Gold – Getting the gear you need crafted, gemmed and enchanted, not to mention repaired, is gonna cost you a few small fortunes. Be prepared to having a money-making profession (that also benefits you) or rich guildies to help you out. And because every tiny stat helps so much when you’re a tank, you can’t afford to not get that +30 stam gem.
  • Gear – I hate it but it’s true. Tanks, especially warrior tanks, are gear dependent. You can fake your way into a VoA with some PvP gear and a bunch of blues hiding away as a DPS class, but as a tank it’s not your raidmates that judge your gear, but that big boss you’re trying to impress enough so he’ll keep hitting on you. Bosses care enough about things like whether you’re crit immune or if you have more hp than what he hits for or if you do enough threat to keep the hunter who doesn’t know how to FD alive. Of course Gear needs to be coupled with…
  • Skill – Tanking is like a dance. A complex dance, not a linedance. You can’t just bash two buttons every 3 seconds and expect to come out a winner like some DPS classes in the past. You have to be situationally aware, not just about your own position, but the boss and the spawning creep and your teammates. You have an ability for every situation and you need to know which one works the most effectively in what situation.

Ok, so why this post after my post just two days ago about quitting? Well as a social person, I have many of my WoW contacts on MSN and Facebook and somehow I got conned into tanking ICC again by a guildmate, which got me to thinking about some of the partners I’ve tanked with in the past, good and bad. Anyway, random post that’s stretched on way longer than usual. I’ll add some pretty pics soon. Oh and since I’ve only covered the basics and still have to get to the why, see part 2 soon.

Phoenix down

June 1, 2010

It’s finally happened. After 4 and a half years of being guildmaster I’ve relinquished my lead to one of my officers. I’m now marked as an inactive officer. I’ve tried playing a few times in the last few weeks and every time I just end up moping around on my main and then logging to my rogue for 1-2 dungeons. I do still immensely enjoy the game, the alting and the rogue’s totally overpowered playstyle. I don’t enjoy being guildmaster at the moment. I don’t want the responsibility of looking after 100 guildies. I’m not capable of leading or even attending a raid at this time.

Have I given up on WoW?

No, not by a long shot. I’m excited about Cataclysm and will be standing in that line to get my copy at midnight like I’ve done every expansion. I’m also enjoying my alts but I won’t be speedleveling him to get some raiding done before cata hits. Instead I’ll be taking my time and enjoying the scenery. I’ll divert my blogging attention back to the RP style I experimented with a few weeks ago and that was inspired by Piket.

So to my readers, I apologise for the absolutely crap content of the last few weeks and I’ll try to make up for it soon. I’ll also be opening a new section for my other writing (hint: loosely based on Azeroth’s past) that will hopefully end up in a book one day.

Molten Core

May 1, 2010

This still gives me goosebumps… nuff said

Character Developments

April 23, 2010

Hey there good lookin'

In TBC my guild was pretty hardcore for progression so we raided at every opportunity. Lately though I’m a 2-raid-per-week kinda guy. But not this week it seems. With our primary 10man team doing attempts at Arthas and our 25man finally being all-guild, things are escalating. Monday, usually an off day for me, turned into a 25man ICC in which we were slow to start with but managed to get to Saurfang eventually. Last night I got together a brave group of the off-raiders, alts and benchers and decided to lead for a change. Things went pretty well and we managed to down the first wing, Fester, Rot and the gauntlet in under 3 hours. Not bad for a noobish group, especially considering that I was healing…

Yeah, as stated in an earlier post, I’d been leveling a priest. He’s finally made it to 80 and is starting to gear up nicely. With my poor tank not finding space in our current groups I had to drag my very blue priest into the healing role in both 10 and 25mans. Turns out he didn’t fail too horribly and scored some gear out of the situation too. Now the problem is that the spec I had aint working too well. The only value I add is tons of renews and the occasional flash/greater saving heal. Oh and CoH’ing like mad.

Now I’ve heard about this disc healing and it doesn’t make much sense to me. Of course since all the bigger healy priests seem to rave about it, I’d better get in there and do it too. I’ve started reading up and I’m still clueless. Guess I’d better get some alcohol into my system, blindly copy some disc healer’s spec and get practising in heroic.

Speaking of which, any advice/specs/rotations etc I should try? Comments appreciated.

Change is not always good

March 25, 2010

My last post was about the cycle of guild, and how it takes a lot to go from establishing a guild to getting it going as a strong raiding team. My guild has done that many times over the last 4 years. As content gets exhausted, quite a few of the core players of a server tend to get bored and leave. Others use this opportunity to recruit those that are left behind and go for one more push at clearing new raids.
With Vanilla, this counted strongly in our favour: we built a huge following of experienced raiders and when The Burning Crusade struck some of our members were in the first kills in Karazhan. We lost a few members to slow leveling, leaving the top players frustrated, but soon enough we had a good 25man team (two at one point) doing Gruul, Magtheridon and Serpentshrine Cavern (One raid would be one of the best I’ve ever attended, with 4 new bosses dying in one night and us getting a first-pull kill on one). We did well in Mount Hyjal and got a kill on our first ever attempt to the Black Temple.
Then came another decline as people left for the annual summer migration. Come the day of the Burning Crusade release, a few of our more hard-core players were already waiting on the zeppelin towers. Within 5 days we had our first 80’s and within 10 we were taking a group into Naxxramas.
Obviously this got us noticed, and other level 80’s, tired of waiting for their guild to catch up to them, flocked to our gates. We built an elite team of raiders, getting a few first kills and finally getting the third Horde kill of Kel’Thuzad on our server.
Then disaster struck. For personal reasons just before the release of Ulduar, I had to take a 3 month sabbatical. I came back to find my once-proud guild in tatters. I saw one guildmate online in two days of playing. But slowly the whispers came in “Are you back? Are you reforming?”.
We got most of our core back, and with them friends and ex-guildies. We started raiding, badly at first but building up speed. We stuck to 10mans, not wanting the monster we had before. Then the fated migration started again. Guilds were disbanding or setting up camp for the summer. Applications started rolling in. We had a record of 17 apps in one day (Groups and singles).
Now here we are again. The monster is back and it’s woken up as grumpy as a lion with a festering tooth. It wants blood and it wants it now. The only problem is that this quiet village I call my guild is ill-prepared for it and I fear it may be overrun. Suddenly another sabbatical seems in order, to just let the wave pass and the dust settle…
But I can’t do that again. I can’t rebuild again, it would kill me. So here I am, stuck between cutting my illusions of grandeur and slaying the beast, making it a little friendly 10man guild again; Or letting it free letting it run and hanging on to the reins for dear life and see where it takes me once again.

Well, I best put on my best riding shoes.

The Vicious Cycle

March 17, 2010

If you’re an aspiring guildmaster then you’ve surely been in this situation before. You want to raid, be it hardcore or casual. But to raid, you need more numbers that are raid-ready. You try to recruit but the first question you invariably run in to is “What progress have you made?” Now of course, as a startup or reforming guild, you can’t get those kills because you don’t have the numbers, so the prospective applicant goes elsewhere. You can’t raid because you need members, and you can’t get members because you don’t raid.
My guild went through this not too long ago. We had the members, just not all of them online at the same time. We didn’t make much progress, missed a lot of raid dates and generally failed. Recruitment was slow, with the occasional blue DK or hunter but nothing else biting. Then for a few weeks running we got some kills in. Things went so well that people who didn’t log in before were logging in. We were oversigned so decided to make an extra group with some pugs. The pugs joined the guild and news spread.
In the last week, we’ve had 15 applications, more than in the last 6 months put together. Suddenly we’ve gone from barely a 10man to three dedicated 10mans and a 25man group running.
Our cycle has been broken, which only leaves a few hundred more problems to contend with. Leading a guild, even a semi-casual one, is not an easy task and one should be thankful for great officers.
Have any of you been stuck in the recruitment cycle? Leave a comment and let me know what happened.