In which I ponder the lure of the world’s firsts

Gravity notes today that Premonition got a world first kill on Heroic Ruby Sanctum (this is a link to the tankspot strategy guide). This is the new raid instance which was patched into the US WoW servers yesterday and is being patched into ours today. I think my casual raid guild actually got a server or faction first on one of the ICC bosses purely due to the date/time on which we usually raid also.

In this case, the Ruby Sanctum raid isn’t intended to be as difficult as Icecrown, it’s not a progression instance. (My guess is that it’s intended to be challenging for PUG raids.) So it should surprise no one that hardcore raid guilds roll over it without a hiccough. But still they went to the effort of announcing a world kill with a screenshot.

Is it bad if I want to pat them all on the head?

Thought for the Day: On limited attempts

Latest raid news this week is that Blizzard has scrapped the notion of limited boss attempts in normal mode ICC. Previously, a raid was only allowed a certain number of tries on some bosses before the boss despawned for that week.

From now on, you can wipe as many times as you like and the boss will still be there laughing at you.

Why scrap that now in particular?

Guesswork says that it was failing to work as intended. The more hardcore guilds ran 10 man raids and/ or alt raids to spend more time learning the fights before going in with their main 25 man raid.  I’ve heard of one guild who all switched both server and faction in order to reset their number of attempts for the week. So rather than encouraging progression guilds to raid fewer hours but to raid smarter, it seems to have wound people up into running many more raids than usual.

Limited attempts might have seemed like a good idea in theory, but when they  are too limited and even an unlucky disconnect can screw up an attempt, it puts a lot of extra stress on a raid group.

However, the main issue with the limited attempts on this specific week  is that in order to unlock hard modes for next week, a raid must kill Arthas this week. So any raid who doesn’t do that will be a week behind on progression. For most of us, this is a /shrug issue. Why Blizzard would care about that I can’t imagine, it’s all more competition for the ultra hardcore which is presumably what they want, right?

But there’s always someone who takes it just a bit more seriously.

So imagine you are a raid guild who didn’t manage to kill Arthas within the limited attempts this week. So you are facing the prospect of being a week behind the other ultra hardcore guilds who did kill him. But what if there was a way to get the hard mode lock without actually killing the boss?

Premonition lured a mage from a successful Arthas kill to join them. So they can use his raid lock next week and go for those hard modes.

All these games merge into one

This is the sort of bizarre metagaming strategy that you expect to read about in EVE blogs. It isn’t an exploit – or at least, it may involve some severe rules lawyering about the raid locks but it isn’t technically a cheat. It does involve one player screwing over a raid guild slightly, although in EVE the mage would also have emptied the guild vault on his way out.

And is it bad if I’m thinking, ‘Oh, Premonition bought a higher ranking bridge officer?’ And now I am imagining raiding as a sport-style strategy game where players buy and sell raiders and then set up their weekly raid fights via tactics for each player.

Anub’Arak, a fight where blocking actually *gasp* helps

You know how it is, you wait all expansion for that shield block set that you had like a big clunking lump in your bags to actually be useful and then, for a shining moment, it actually happens. Well, maybe in my dreams.

Apparently warriors with top of the line block value sets are trivialising the heroic version of Anub’Arak, who is currently the end boss of the hardest version of the new raid instance.The trick is that they actually don’t hit very hard, it’s their debuff that magnifies the damage, so if you can reliably block all of the direct hit … you can take no damage at all.

If you want to try this at home, you will need enough block rating on your gear so that the total of your miss+parry+dodge+block as a percentage is at least 100%.  Because there isn’t a lot of gear in Wrath with block rating, that means an epic gear hunt.

Putting together a blocking set

If you would like to put a blocking set together, here’s a few key points to remember:

  1. Block value is not the same as block rating. But generally both are desirable in a blocking set, it may depend on your specific goals.
  2. You still need to hit the defence cap, the expertise cap, and the hit cap. You may need to switch gems, enchants, and trinkets around. This will inevitably mean that you will have much less stamina in a blocking set — you don’t get something for nothing.
  3. You can actually apply a filter to wowhead to search for gear with a specific stat. Here’s a list of level 78-80 gear with block value on it.
  4. IT’S NOT VERY USEFUL. A blocking set is a gimmick set — so do it for fun, do it to see what happens, do it because you’re bored, but don’t do it because you feel you must. Unless of course you’d like to play hardcore and copy Premonition‘s amazing shield tank who inspired the thread linked to above.