Category Archives: 5-Man & Raids

Throne of Tides: The Paladin

My current level is 83 and I have been within the Throne of Tides thrice. Each one yielding a new something…

Trip 1: I was under the impression that this may have been the shortest instance in existence given that we only fought the Shaman & the Neptulon event. It turned out that they had lost a couple people in the group and had already defeated the first two bosses. I was a noob.

Trip 2: Started the full instance but no quests were involved. I saw…for the first time in a VERY LONG TIME…crowd control! I also got to experience the cut scene and all the boss fights!

Trip 3: I just finished EVERY single quest in Vashj’ir (I would note that is the FIRST and ONLY zone I have ever done that in!) and comlpeted the Loremaster achivement for the zone as well as [20, 000 Leagues Under the Sea] and [Visions of Vashj’ir Past]…when I entered this instance this time, there were quests to be had and a superior level of understanding to what is actually going on in this instance and I found it absolutely amazing.

Also, every time I have been in this instance, I have seen something new drop. Something paladin that makes my heart swoon; but I also know the healing mechanics and so I thought I would write it all up and share it!

I won’t talk about spec, I am using the same spec that I have already covered recently in build analysis, but I have dumped my 81, 82, and 83 points into finishing off Crusade (in Ret) and maxing 2/2 in Eternal Glory (in Prot).

Healing things to note:

  • It is important to keep your beacon up on the tank at all times. Remember that with Protector of the Innocent, you know longer particularly benefit from putting it on yourself. Something to note about Beacon, with the latest hotfixes, you can no longer get HoPo from Tower of Radiance by using Holy Light on your Beacon, it will only benefit and grant charges from Divine Light of Flash of Light (I’m sure I will talk about that in depth at some point).
  • Deep Corruptors…the Faceless ones…they have an ability that will pick the group up and then let them fall. At that point they proceed to do a stomp-like AOE sending damage across the party. This is a good pull to make sure you have HoPo charges for Light of Dawn. You can escape further damage by exiting the area of melee and healing everyone back up. Remember as a holy paladin, you can benefit by saving yourself to heal last because of Protector of the Innocent.
  • Watch for people standing in the bad!
  • During the shaman fight, there is a period in transition between phase 1 and 2 where a party member will be taken over. They are expected to take damage as the party members must attack them but don’t fret, they will pop back up somewhere near full health after their stint as an octopus puppet is over.
  • The Neputlon event is very easy to heal, the damage isn’t massive that randomly throwing out Flash of Light across the party will keep everyone exactly where they need to be. There may be some line of sight issues, I’m not entirely sure but its a round room so be sure to place appropriately if you want to Light of Dawn, but that isn’t too necessary given the small increments of damage that occur. In the ending phase, there is a constant damage AOE but everyone has massive health pools and you will have massive through put!
  • On the way to the Neptulon event there is a small gauntlet of these little puple elemental voidwalker things. It is very easy to grab healing aggro and for a while I didn’t realize it was necessary to run through, but it can be a little difficult to heal if the tank isn’t doing a heads up job and noting where all the mobs are targeting. I lost a clothie here once. The damage can be minimal, moderate, or extreme. Be sure to note the level of expertise in your tank (not the stat…the smarts) and be prepared! Based on that Light of Dawn, Holy Shock, and Flash of Light are strong favorites for fast healing if the adds get out of control.

Holy Paladin Gear:

Prime/Optimal (Normal iLvl 308):

Suboptimal/General Upgrade:

Remember that there is a plate specialization that increases highest stat (Intellect) by 5% and the inclusion of the sub-optimal list in in no means promoting their use nor am I telling you to get it, just putting it out there for the sake of information!

Also, for those of you, like myself, who may be questing as Ret, there are some amazing drops that come from here. I have had the fortune of rolling need off-spec against other people who also want off-spec ((PS. Warrior and Paladin Tanks….you don’t NEED that two handed weapon…you has shield like I does!)).

Retribution Gear:

Overall, the instance is enjoyable and has some interesting mechanics as a whole. The quests are readily available and do not require you to have quested in the zone of Vashj’ir. At this moment, my character sheet reports that my iLvl (in either set?) is 299. Upon understanding the instance, I haven’t lost anyone since but my healing gloves are on and Holy Radiance is mine!

Be on the look-out for more healadin goodness and remember that you must discover all instance entrances before you can be put into them!

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The Dreaded Dungeon

Hi, it’s Angelya here, helping Tarinae out while she’s a busy bee.

The Halls of Stone loading screen is the sight that I dread seeing after I accept the random dungeon invitation. My druid, Leesah, seems to get Halls of Stone more than any other dungeon, and I really dislike the place. I’m not really sure why, it’s just… tedious.

I remembered recently that the armory now has these neat statistics of how many bosses we have killed.  It turns out that yes, I have been to HoS a lot more than other dungeons, but surprisingly the honour for the most frequent heroic goes to Drak’Tharon Keep. Now I don’t mind DtK -it’s quick, especially when you skip a few of the bosses, so I mustn’t have noticed doing it so many times.

But this is a post for Tarinae, so I had a nose through her armory today to see what dungeons she’s been up to.  Here’s the breakdown.

Perhaps the random dungeons aren’t so random after all!  Tarinae has DtK topping her list as well, followed closely by Violet Hold, another quick and easy one. Lucky!

It seems that Tarinae hasn’t been subjected to many Halls of Reflection runs, which can be hell on holy Paladins, I’m told.

Remember, these are the stats for final boss kills, so it only counts successful dungeon runs. I’m sure for most people there’s been a fair share of groups that have fallen apart during the run, especially on Pit of Saron and Halls of Reflection.

What is your Dungeon of Dread? Do you have one that seems to come up all the time, and do your stats agree?

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Progression

I had thought about throwing this in for this Tuesday post as an accomplishment section, but I just couldn’t wait that long to share the good news.

Last night, I was in one of the best PUGs I have been in a long time. There were a couple loot issues, that were my fault for not asking loot rules, but the group was spectacular. We One-shot the entire first quarter of ICC-10. I hadn’t seen such coordination in a PUG like that in…well I would say never! The ranged new what to do, the OT learned how to jump ship, and even I got to do something new!

Take a good look at the recount there...what do you see?

That’s right folks! This chick DPS’d Saurfang as a Ret Paladin! Furthermore, after having talked to Zal, check out the number 5K+. I was shocked and had a GREAT time just smacking that boss around like he was a broken toy. And speaking of broken toys…we progressed further than I have ever been. I got see the Upper Spire and that has never happened. The weekly was the blight strains and so after killing Precious & Stinky (STILL AWESOME!) we went to Rotface first.

Rotface

My very first look at Rotface...

We attempted it twice, but we were wiping with a lack of ooze control and the assigned cleanser was having some trouble. He was at ~50% though both times, so it was a good first attempt for many of us. There was a rogue though, first wipe OF THE NIGHT, and he “had to go”. Leaving in a progressive raid is rude without prior warning, just FYI mister. We replace him with an even better mage and…

Festergut...

Totally pwnd the face off of Festergut! My very first Festergut kill and I has a picture! We were doing so awesome that we have a continuation invite for 2:30 ST tonight, I haven’t been this excited to play in a long time! It is so awesome and the tank reminds me a lot of a great friend that I used to run with so I like it a lot.

Like I said, there were some loot issues (off-spec and too many MS) but I didn’t walk out of there empty handed:

Achievements:

Upgrades:

I would also like to send a thanks to Rades who informed me about the awesome sound byte of Rotface, I was sure to have my speakers up and laughed! It was genuinely entertaining!

I had a blast last night and can’t wait to get back in tonight but no, this does not change my casual persona! I like to raid when I am in the mood and have time and this happens to be my last free weekend for a while.

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Following the Leader (Part Deux)

I suppose it happens in the life of all great bloggers that you will have an amazing post, only to realize later, you forgot to write what you really wanted to say. Perhaps it happens to bloggers, or perhaps it happens to just me…I do it in conversations too. All the same, there are some addendums that I would like to make to the Raid Leader post that I wrote yesterday. There is nothing like finishing a raid to realize just how important these extra tidbits are!

Loot

Here we are again; back at the basic part of raiding success and goals. I mentioned before some basics on how to approach the looting rules. Jaedia mentioned in comments however, something I had failed to include but is an excellent point. When you decide on your loot rules for a given raid, you need to state them. If you want one win for a main spec, but main spec is the spec you came as, then say it. Don’t let it come up at rolling that “this is just my off-spec _(insert spec)_ is really my MAIN spec…” That causes a lot more drama then you need to handle. These situations can be controlled early on by stating the rules, sticking to them, and telling them to leave if they don’t like it.

Address ALL situations. If you are doing TOC-25 and mention loot (MS/OS), trophies, and orbs, think about patterns too. Will they need to link their profession book? If they have an alt that has that profession, will they be able to roll? I know this from experience by a leader who ninja’d a leatherworking pattern though there was a leatherworker int he group and most of us had alts that would have loved to learn it but he wanted the $$$. Not fun and a founding part why the group fell apart.

Also, when it is time to roll for loot, DO NOT link every item that dropped in raid chat. This causes a lot of confusion and premature rolling, which in turn leads to “Hey, I already rolled a 100!” when you didn’t even ask for rolls. If they are interested in seeing drops off bosses, they can access that; if you need to link from chests, announce that no one is to roll. Clarify what is going on so people know when to roll and what they are rolling on.

Goals

It is important to state early on in the raid or while you are pitching for members just how far you want to go. If you want to do ALL 4 bosses in VOA, make sure your raid wants to do that as well. If you are only going for one boss, don’t get the hopes of everyone else up when you are just going to ditch them. If you want to do ICC 4/12 but someone assumes you are going all the way, they may be resentful and feel you wasted their saves. This causes a reputation tarnish for your raid leading and recruiting.

There is no need to lie if you are not sure; if you want to play it by ear, simply say, “As far as we can get…” there is nothing wrong with playing it safe and getting a feel for your group.

Full on _(insert class)_

There is a new fad taking the raiding scene where raid leaders will say “LFM DPS, full on DK, hunter, and warlocks” or something similar to that. Shy has already discussed the phenomenon, but it is very important to get a grasp on what it means. There is the liklihood of always having competition for gear. I was in a VOA25 where the leader (a DK) was the only one of his class but he pitched we were full on Death Knights and refused to invite any others. When you have one of a class in a 25-man, you can afford a few more.

If this weren’t a VOA-25 situation, do you think he would be in competition for standard gear that the fury warrior or ret paladin wanted? Sure he would.

It makes sense to have 1 of each class in a VOA raid, less the gear be wasted, it doesn’t make sense to call it full at 1. Using a class cap for raids isn’t something to be taken lightly.

The End

Aesthetically, I feel the heading is needed to break up the small paragraphs and illustrate that my additions have come to an end. I hope that situations where I forget information cease to exist in the future, but it is me after all. I hope these, in addition to the main post, help you and make you a stronger raid leader. I apologize again that I failed in such a manner but that post was a little long anyways!

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Following the Leader

Getting to Level 80 has a lot of different meanings for a lot of different people. Some could care less about end-game and head straight back to Level 1 while some turn in to hardcore players while others, myself included, like casualness, relaxed playing of end-game content.

My guild is a pretty casual guild. I lead a strong band of friends and we were doing some light raiding where we wanted the attendance but we weren’t going to stone someone for family emergencies or even wiping the raid while we were working on things. We had FUN.

But now, as much of you know, a lot of them are taking their leaves before the expansion comes out so that they can come back full force. That is fine, I am happy for everyone who acknowledges they need the break and are smart enough to take it. Recently, I have gotten back into the swing of WOW; I genuinely want to play and experience the stuff I haven’t yet…I want to kill the Lich King!

Not that I plan on leading a raid through ICC, I am only 4/12 myself, but I have been able to get my raiding shoes on and it is no longer leaving blisters on my heels. I have even taken back up my want to lead…PUGs. I enjoy raid leading, I like being the Chief and putting Indians in their place (literally, that is what a raid leader does). There are some things that you can apply across raid leading in general but here are some tips to help you PUG! I am also providing this as a base for leading 10 man raids, I don’t have the patience for 25 man pugs unless its formed from a base of my guild.

Getting Started

The moment that you invite your first party member, take a moment to get yourself set up. If you’re running a 10-man raid, go to your Raid Tab -> Convert to Raid and ensure that it is set to the appropriate difficulty. This will stop anyone from repeatedly going “Will you change it to __-man plz” over and over. It will also properly register on add-ons like Grid for those that use them.

Sometimes, this step can be considered unnecessary for things like Naxx weeklies, but, this is a great time to set the looting system to Loot Master and you will be promoted to the Loot Master. You can appoint anyone else to be the LM if you want, but that is your choice. Also, when setting loot preferences, change the rarity to a minimum or RARE or EPIC. You don’t need to be bogged down with “Hey! There is a green over here!”

My least favorite thing, and most annoying thing, in a PUG is “Healers press 1” when I am thinking to myself, “I just joined as a healer” or “But I just pressed 1 a minute ago…no one joined…how did you forget?” This is more annoying in a 10 man because their aren’t that many options (and holy paladins are easy to spot imho). I can mildly understand in a 25 but it doesn’t change that it is annoying. Here is the technique that has NEVER failed me. Once they told me they were healing, I have never had to ask them again what their role is:

Raid Member Setup Sheet

I set this sheet up EVERY time I lead a raid in a notebook that is on my desk. It allows for a base of 3 healers, 2 tanks, and 5 DPS in a 10-man group. It is even adjustable! Fights like Malygos only need one tank, I can scratch out a T for a DPS. M/R for those not putting it together is Melee/Ranged. It is important for fights like Torovon that you have ranged DPS and less melee; Kel’Thuzad in Naxxramas is another example where melee should be minimal.

This method allows me to know WHO is in my raid and WHAT they are doing.

Recruiting

Based on what you are doing, recruit accordingly. If you need more ranged for Torovon, LFM Ranged for VOA. If you need a raid healer, LF Raid Heals for _(insert raid name)_. Don’t let your group get away from you and what you need and always let people know what raid you’re doing in your pitches!

Also, as a raid leader, don’t EVER assume anything about anyone else’s capability. I have been pushed into 2 healing with a fresh (and new to the class) restoration Shaman and that failed miserably because she wasn’t ready for that. The raid leader would have known had he asked. I have been insulted to the point where someone said healers suck SO bad, he wanted 6 healers for VOA25. Let the healers speak for themselves. Let the tanks speak up.

After all, we all know what assuming makes us.

Protip: Never give someone random the “Assistant” rank so they can invite their buddy. It gets way out of hand way too quickly. Ask them to have them whisper you or ask for their name. That was you can keep up with what (and who) is here.

Also, if you care about gear score, go for it, ask for it. GS&Skill >Skill > Gear. Even a healer with great skills may not make it in ICC10 wearing blues and green trinkets so-to-say.

Linking achievements is a waste of time. I may have it on my main but I’m on a freshly geared 80 that has no achievements…doesn’t mean I am a stranger to the fight!

Leading

It is highly recommended that you KNOW the fights if you want to lead them. Otherwise, there isn’t much of a chief for the Indians to stand behind. If you want to lead Naxxramas for the achievement, make sure you know the fights inside and can EXPLAIN them. The Safety Dance is pretty complicated, if you need help explaining take props like smoke flares. If you want to lead Malygos, even if you haven’t done it, you should know both healing and DPS dragon combos (1-1-2/3-3-4).

Remember, YOU’RE THE CHIEF!

This is your show and don’t let them or you believe otherwise!

Tips here include marking the tanks, putting out healing assignments, and verifying that everyone knows what they are supposed to do. Ranged kill blood beast but THIS is where they stand, heals don’t jump to the gunship, etc.

The key to being any kind of good leader is communication. You have to be vocal and you have to be in communication with your raid. Use macros if you need to, use a vent, whatever it takes to make sure they know what you need them to know. If this is something you are working on, it is important to know what you only raid warning (/rw) important things. I once raided with someone who chatted in /rw and it made my ears bleed, my respect for him dwindle, and my thoughts about his leadership go out the window. As in life, there is an appropriate and inappropriate way to approach and handle situations.

Loot

The best part, right? Sure it is; it is the reason we do what we do essentially. There is some debate on the best way to do loot in a PUG raid. Rolling is the only way to approach the winning of loot really, but there are rules you can attach to it. I won’t suggest you do one main-spec win, nor will I say that open rolls for every item is fair. The only thing I will say, and stand firmly behind is that off-spec rolls shouldn’t count against anyone, ever. When they are saving an item from being trashed or destroyed with the intent to use it, that is great and a better way to handle it…think of it as being green!

Conclusion

Everyone has their own ideas about how loot is to be done and how to perfect the strategies for certain fights, I can’t change that and I can’t change your mind about how to do them. That isn’t my goal either; I hope that this helps you better organize that run you are thinking of getting started. I hope it gives you the confidence, knowing that you are organized and that once you get the people, you will pwn!

I have lead a lot of PUG heavy raids for different things from weeklies to achievement runs, and I thought it was time to share the best organization tips and tricks I have come across being leader or being follower!

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Mark It Off

There has been something on my WOW Bucket List since its debut patch. Oh how I have tried many times and oh how many more times I watched my friends succeed, but never me.

But last week, it was the weekly and something extraordinary happened. Not only did we make it all the way, someone attributed it and complimented the healing team. We had 2 holy paladins and a holy priest in blues that had just hit 80. But I did it…we did it…

I can’t even begin to tell you just how EPIC that group was. They didn’t even bite my head off when I told them I didn’t know the last 2 fights! It was such an EPIC moment for me, falling through the floor to the icy water below and healing my butt off til that bug was dead!

It was an excellent pug that offered me something that I don’t usually find. Aside from skill and camaraderie (oh yes, very social), they offered appreciation.

I cannot begin to tell you how far telling your healers they’re doing a good job really goes. It provides them the confidence to work harder and better. It isn’t their fault when you DIAF and there is no need to blame them, thank them for keeping you alive the rest of the time.

We work hard, so I thank you Mr. Hunter-whose-name-I-forgot, you made my day!

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Interdependence is Key

There are points, I have noticed since joining the community out of game, that the conversations and discussions everyone has takes on a similar light.  Recently, the Beast Mastery hunter debate was raging through the community, demolishing things as it went. I did not take the time to comment excessively on it, though I did get in some dicussions, because I figured my “comment” would be a rant as my hunter has been and always will be Beast Mastery. Anyways, currently the theme is the idea of Pick-Up Groups (PuGs) and the use of the Dungeon Finder tool. People are sharing their most horrid experiences (like Thespius) or are recounting the best moments (like Anea).

I have tried to isolate why this surge in discussion could be happening and in my opinion (which I am sure is going to be contested), I believe it is due to a lack of interdependence in groups. Interdependence can be simply defined as being mutually dependent on one another. Thespius said it best:

  • If there’s no tank, the healer dies.
  • If there’s no healer, the tank dies.
  • If there’s no DPS, the mob never dies

That is the concept of interdependence in WoW in a nutshell; but somehow, that idea is getting lost in the PuGs today. Each person is vital to a group’s compoisition but each role tends to feel they are more important, they are the leader, they call the shots, etc. Tanks take the lead of the group 9/10 times, the pull constantly which can leave a healer feeling overwhelmed, falling behind, and out of mana. Tanks who do not constantly pull, find themselves being ushered in party chat by the impatient DPS. DPS who are overgeared feel they don’t need a tank and run ahead pulling which stresses out the tank AND the healer. People, regardless of their role, scream and demand heals, won’t pull without certain buffs and all the while they don’t seem to care that just as they sit there, someone is on the other side taking in the brunt of their carelessness.

Being the healer in most groups, I’m a peaceful person who only requests occasionally that the tank be the one to pull or I reassure the tank that my mana (while not infinite) is going to be okay. So is that to say healers are never egotisical d-bags in PuGs? No, I’ve ran with a few. I once saw a healer in H: Pit of Saron after its release that didn’t care that 2 of our dps had no idea what to do in the fight; the only thing that mattered was that he was in hurry. I’ve ran with healers that yell hysterically after a wipe…I have even seen a healer call my HUNTER an A**hole for not ressing him when he saw me res my pet. He was too sorry to run back with the rest of the group because the tank was a druid who could res (ps. I do feign death and don’t try to hide it).

But what has brought about this disastrous attitude? It is a multitude of things. Firstly, most people who run in prime-time hours are not raiders. You will find that raiders are silent and headstrong but understand the idea of interdependency. Casual or new players have experienced way to many stereotypes of what a given role is supposed to do (i.e Tanks who aren’t capable themselves chain pull like they think they are supposed to). Secondly, a lot of the eager-beavers out-gear a lot of the instances. I’ve seen a priest comment something along the lines of “I’m in T10.5, I don’t even need to be in here with you babies” and he was the healer. It is been a while since I ran with him and my vote-to-kick failed. I told him he didn’t have the right to be a douche because his gear was good and he said…”Yes, I do.”

What kind of defense is there to this display of primitive behavior? Blizzard has put in the Dungeon Guide position which is supposed to be the group leader. They are supposed to “guide” the party through the instance. Letting that person fulfill that role and listening to them would be a start, but that happening would be doubtful. If you feel your character (your personal character) is being attacked or that they simply have too much attitude you can vote-to-kick or leave. Sadly, when we leave for feeling ambushed and overwhelmed we are going to be punished by a 30-minute debuff now but that is 30 minutes of freedom versus 15 minutes of hell. Vote-to-Kick is a worthless feature as 1) you can’t do it until their dungeon timer is gone (some instances dont even last 15 minutes) 2) it has to be pass all 4 people and 3) you cannot do it in combat and with a chain pulling tank…is almost always.

Sadly, my defense is (and please don’t hate) that I try to show them their dependent on me. If a DPS refuses to stop taking aggro or pulling, they will die. If a tank begins to look like a d-bag, I will leave then they are stuck waiting while I mess around on another toon. I’m usually the healer, as mentioned, sooooo….well about that. The whole situation boils down to who can and who cannot handle conflict and work well within the confines of tension. Conflict resolution skills are an impressive skill to have in these situations.

At any point in a group, it is important to remember that you are no higher on the totem pole than your tank, healer, or dps. You are equal. Moving away from this will result in deaths (probably a lot). Thespius refers to this attitude shift as a sense of “Heroic Entitlement”, I think its an old-fashioned case of “I’m better than you and I don’t need you”.

Low and behold they will always be wrong.

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