My raiding round up

Last week, our 25 man raid group stormed through Naxxramas, killing all but two of the lower bosses. This week, things didn’t go quite so well.

On Wednesday’s raid, we set out to clear the Military wing. This did (eventually) result in a first kill on the four horsemen. I was puzzled that our tactic successfully involved burst dps on the first horseman to kill him within four marks (each horseman has an AE debuff which involves stacking damage but it only stacks with itself, not with the other horseman’s marks, so the standard strategy involves lots of running around and tank swapping). The reason I was surprised is because this is a brute force strategy, I get that brute force comes into play when raids are overgeared but were we really supposed to be able to do this on a first kill?

My gut feel is not that the Wrath raids are too easy, but that they’re a bit undertuned. It’s a subtle difference, and mostly means that I think the penalties for brute forcing encounters aren’t high enough. You should have to do the intricate strategy a few times at least.

After this we messed around in the Construct wing. After people had stopped pulling slimes, and then pulling more slimes, and then pulling a whole room of respawned slimes with a badly placed totem, we made a clean kill on Patchwerk. And then it was raid end.

I was absent Thursday, and the Thursday raid was a bit of a mess. These two facts aren’t really related, some of our top dps were away this week also. They started where we’d left off in the Construct wing and spent most of the evening wiping on Thaddius.

Needless to say, the mood on the alliance forums is more sombre today. Raid leaders are realising that we’re going to have to do something about people who turn up wearing unenchanted green gear and that some people may need to be more motivated about picking up their dps.

We get some drama also

I was chatting to my feral druid friend this morning and she mentioned casually that she was taking a break from 25 man raiding. She is a really awesome tank, has great gear, and I can’t think of anyone I would prefer to tank with on the 10 man runs. She also has good dps gear, and therein lies the problem.

She felt that the raid leaders kept slotting her into the raids as dps or as ‘third tank’, when some of the other tanks just weren’t as good or as well geared as she was. And she’s right (one of our tanks is the worst paladin tank I know, I didn’t even know it was possible for paladins to be as bad at AE tanking as he is). I know why they do it, it’s because she puts out better damage than the o thers when she isn’t tanking. But it’s miserable for her to see herself low on the damage meters because bear spec dps isn’t really competitive with proper dps specs.

Or in other words, she feels that she’s being punished because the other tanks can’t be arsed to get dps gear and she could. There’s no intentional punishment involved but in practice she’s being cut out of her favourite role so that less skilled/geared people can do it instead. In particular there’s another feral who gets to tank more often because his dps really isn’t very good.

It may make sense from the raid leaders’ point of view but they just lost a pretty good asset right there. I have found through bitter experience that if you really want to tank, NEVER TELL YOUR RAID LEADER THAT YOU HAVE GOOD DPS GEAR.

Why do I always miss the good raids?

We had another surprisingly good week in 25-man raids. On Wednesday after the reset the raid leaders scheduled us up for the one wing in Naxxramas that we hadn’t attempted yet….

You’re in the army now!

The military wing is notable for its execution fights and it probably says a lot about our raid and it’s general (lack of) coordination that the RLs left this one till last. When I say execution fights, I mean encounters that aren’t as gear dependent as they are ‘people knowing what to do’ dependent.

The first boss is a gimmick fight, and the gimmick is that no mere player can tank him. He has to be tanked by one of his adds, and this has to happen via players casting mind control which is a priest spell. He’s also notable for me personally in that I used to play an alliance priest back in the days of yore and I was one of the mind controllers on this fight and boy did I hate it. Every week I would say to my class leader afterwards, ‘I’m never doing this again.” And he’d say, “Same time next week then.” I think it was having 38 other people yelling at me on voicechat that did it, even when we were doing it relatively smoothly.

He’s a LOT easier now.

After a few wipes our priests got the hang of it and he hit the deck. I was on dps duties (fear my 1.4k protection dps, even despite having spent some badges to get a new dpsish trinket and necklace!) for this one, which at least gives everyone else some kind of benchmark. I look at it this way: someone has to be at the bottom of the damage meters. And I guess at least I have room to improve.

Then we moved on to Gothik the Harvester (otherwise known as ‘that git with the beard’), which is a fight I think I’m going to really enjoy once we’ve done it a few more times. The raid splits into two and moves into two different rooms, live side which is a boring room and dead side which is a boring room with piles of bones in it. When the encounter starts you get a few minutes of increasing numbers of adds pouring into the live side where we (attempt to) tank and kill them … and once dead they appear at the dead side where the other guys have to do the same.

It gets increasingly frenetic until you get to phase two where the boss appears and teleports around a bit and then finally the raid gets to join together again and he dies shortly afterwards. I was tanking the live side and the two paladin tanks on the dead side. We had another couple of wipes here and eventually stuck a feral on backup duty with me, and then we got him! I think next time I’ll ignore the little adds and just focus on the tougher ones, and try to get the rest of the guys to stand further back. Anyhow, I think I can do it better but hey, he died. I thought it was a pretty fun fight.

We then moved on to The Four Horsemen which was a fiendishly complicated and technical encounter back in the day. I know it’s supposed tobe a lot easier now. In essence there are 4 bosses which need to be tanked in 4 different corners, and there’s some dancing around and tanks have to swap bosses and so on. We wiped a few times trying to get the pull right — it’s not supposed to be that hard but the guys on the back bosses weren’t seeming to pick them up properly — and then hit end of raid time and called it.

Two new bosses and a bit of learning time on a third, not too bad. I also distinguished myself with an inane number of accidental trash pulls. I think the best was when I had lined a mob up to shoot and instead I hit the charge button (ie. so instead of shooting it, I charged into the pack). The fact that none of these mad pulls wiped the group shows that a) people are reasonably on their toes and b) Naxx trash is NOT what it used to be.

Another time, same as the first

Last night I was out and the guys went back in and … cleared all the bosses we’d killed last week. So that’s spider wing, plague wing, and first two bosses of the construct wing. There was one plate-wearing tank there so naturally loads of tanking gear dropped and he got almost totally outfitted without having to bid more than minimum DKP on any item.

I’m dead proud of them all, but I have to steel myself to log in now because he is that guy who will spend all of this week boasting about his stats and copy/pasting his new purples to guild chat. I wouldn’t mind but he also got geared up in a single Karazhan run in the last expansion!

There must be a downside to being ultra-lucky with drops and lack of competition but I can’t see what it is. And naturally if we’d scheduled the runs in the opposite order, I would be bitching about missing the first kills instead ;)

In which I lead a raid

Over last weekend, we also took out Sartharion. Because he’s a fairly easy fight, the RLs decided to use this as an opportunity to rotate a few people into the raid who aren’t really geared for Naxxramas yet but are keen to raid. We one shotted the dragon, but it was a drawn out messy kill and I personally cannot wait until paladins get a regular taunt next patch (hopefully next week) because one of ours kept taunting the boss off me, which is annoying.

After this, I organised a 10 man raid to the same boss. It is definitely weird having the encounters available on both 10 and 25 man mode, but was quite fun to go in with a few guildies and trash him with feeling for being such a pain earlier. Had compliments on my raid leading which amuses me because I thought I was being laconic to the point of comatoseness, plus its hard to really give useful instructions with a dragon in your face.

This week’s bitching in raid forums

The main discussion this week was about DKP. I can’t stand DKP, its only redeeming factor in my eyes is that it makes life easier for the raid leaders than the alternative. So this week we were discussing some new tweak someone thought up to our scheme where when you bid you have to also say if it’s a major or minor upgrade for you.

I personally think this is dumb. Clearly if it’s a major upgrade you’ll just bid more because it will be worth more to you? Unless you are that guy who lucks out and gets everything for min bid but I’m not bitter.