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Pottering…

There’s a definite feeling of autumn in the air for WoLK – lots of people are levelling, making the final push to 80 – or getting in a few achievements that they would not have time for otherwise.

This weekend, Cress was lucky enough to get a group that could manage Lessrabi – which is pretty amazing, since Cress can either damage things or heal things, but not interrupt – as it happened, both the healer and the tank switched to max DPS – only one interrupt seemed to be used (but I could be wrong). All over in a few seconds. I now have a red drake.

And I’m working on killing ogres around Nagrand for the Kurenai reputation – I am working through Revered now, but it’s a long old slog.

Worse than that, apparently, is the collection of stuff (that looks like dust) to make Halaa tokens – one of my new guildies was kind enough to log onto his horde alt, and dance around in his birthday suit in the graveyard, whilst a group of alliance 80s raced to see whether they could kill him before he got out of range. Feel the pain – I think he died over 150 times… Actually, it was a race to kill him before the DK ghoul did…

Trying to overcome my phobia about PvP – cue “feel the fear and do it anyway” – Neuri had the most fantastic time in random Wrath dungeons – levelled a whole level like that- probably only about 5 in total, but all pretty painless, in company with new guildies. Who pointed out that AV was a good place to get XP this weekend – and who said that rogues were fantastic in PvP… now at level 77, I have not taken Neuri anywhere near a battleground – so cue PvP achievements popping up all over the place… I have to be the worst PvP rogue in history – but amazingly, staying with the pack helped – and I didn’t even die – which was unusual. I usually die and then can’t orient myself to the *right* place to be…

I have *still* not completed Dragonblight as a result of this dungeon fun – so I have decided to take a trip up to the Argent Tournament to see what’s happening up there – and to do a few IC quests.

Our Sunday raid with ItP did not come off – probably because a few of the core raiders were unavailable – post wedding party fallout meant that they were probably tired. And/or hungover. And because RL>wow, this is fine. And just goes to show how important the presence of committed raiders is – and how casual signups cannot be relied upon to make up a raid – and how we all depend on each other to get something done. It’s not the absence of one individual that breaks us, it’s 4 people.

Having said that – the absence of 2 people meant that we nearly could not get Jaraxxus down – I was really hoping to do this on Bieslook, as she needs frosties more than Cress does, and should be amply geared for that instance – but… we had two new 80s with us, who were a bit rusty, and so 8 manning the beasts was painful… Popping over to TS brought 2 people from ItP to help out – which sort of saved the day really, as they were top damage.

Oh – is saying “your DPS is *enormous*” in awestruck tones [1] a bad thing? Because I used to think that getting over 1K DPS as an average in a dungeon before level 80 was quite good. But I was put to shame by a frost mage who was pulling 3K… about the same level as me…

[1] not sure if it counted as acceptable banter. Hoping so. It’s kind of easy to get too casual though. I remember one time I talked to the wife of another guildy whose opening comment was “I hear you’ve been spending a lot of time with my husband”….

Progression Raiding

25/04/2010 2 comments

I’m not sure why people choose to join progression raiding guilds and then fail to sign up for the progression nights.

The thing is, I can’t see how any progress, in life or otherwise, is made without pain. Unless someone is holding your hand though it all – or carrying you.

The thing with Team Pirate is that at least two of the 10 are active progression raiders – not in a HC guild, but in a guild which is working on 25 LK – and which dealt with the TOGC and ICC in level appropriate gear. Two further members of the team have been in the same progression raid guild, but have now left for RL reasons which are totally reasonable and valid. Those that remain are not progression raiders, and prefer not to be. This is why Team Pirate works – we are in it for the fun – not to see new content, but to yomp our way round the place, seeing the sights, getting some shiny daggers and so on, seeing a bear with a rocket strap-on. Team Pirate is one where if it is not *fun* then it has failed. Effort is expected, attendance is expected if you said you could come, positive mental attitude is expected, up to the third wipe.

That’s different from EO – where we are doing progression raiding – by which I mean that no-one in the team has done the fights successfully before on 25man – we are all at the frontier of discovery together. Being at the frontier means failing continually until we win. And failing together in good spirit is what it is all about. Failing to the same thing again and again is a little bit full – failing a little less each time is more encouraging. Learning a new fight is painful. But so much better when you feel you have it down pat, and you have had the time to fail in company, rather than letting the side down because everyone knows the fight better than you.

Yesterday, our progression fight was called off, due to lack of attendance by sign-ups and unexpected unsigns. I am not surprised that people don’t sign up so eagerly for the wipe nights – because it is nothing but gold spent on repair bills. But wipe nights are needed – and I want to be there for the Lich King First Kill – and yesterday put me one step further away. And the thing is – this is a cooperative effort – we need all 25 people to not only sign, but to turn up when they have signed.

Why do people not want the hard stuff, if they join a progression guild? I can understand it if they want happy fun times, but this is not the time and place. Maybe it is pre-expansion bleurgh.

Min-max raiding

The fantastic tree healer from EO has decided to move on to pastures new – for which I am truly sad. And hope we can stay in touch. He has always been the quiet, humorous voice in healer chat, and has been truly encouraging.

But perhaps his new raiding life will involve no officer role – and therefore less stress – and he will not have to do all the officering duties of being supportive, nice, never saying in public that which should be kept private – and above all, moving to a guild where they are unashamedly progression raiders – where you are expected to know the tactics before you turn up, be flasked, have appropriate gems and enchants and other raid consumables, have gear with a minimum ilvl of 245 before making an application, and be prepared to work hard. I suspect that the top-end progression guild is rather less social, rather more cutting edge – all those words which can also mean rather less forgiving, rather less generous, rather more two-faced greasy-pole climbing. Rather like a litigation department – all wit and sharp edges, no heart. Been there. Done it.

Meanwhile, the guild that remains does consider itself to be a progression guild. Sort of. A friendly social progression guild. Some would say hard core – but then others not. We are now in mid April and have not completed Lich King on normal 25 man mode. We are a guild that finds it difficult to execute fights well – it takes a bit of practice for everyone to be facing the right direction, going to the right place. Mea culpa – I have got my ice tombs on Sindragosa in the wrong place. And it took me a while to work out how to dodge flubber, and acid spew, and the revelation that standing closer to Sindy before she does her icy breath cycle was a good one – I could not work out why I kept dying before (pro-tip – the closer to the stairs you are, the more time you spend in the air flying towards her. You can even end up the other side of her. You’ll never be able to get back to the stairs, because your feet hit the ground too late for you to get the running started). But this is still a guild where you are expected to bring your own consumables, be correctly gemmed and enchanted, and to know your class well enough that you can make informed choices on bidding for new kit. And that your heals or DPS or tanking skills are sufficiently accurate, large or well controlled.

In complete contrast, Team pirate is lol-raiding. Where we bring the people who can make it, playing their preferred class, rather than what might be optimal for a 10-man raid makeup. Where we move on to doing something more fun, rather than wiping countless times – where crying over your computer is not encouraged, and is a sign of things having Gone Wrong, rather than You Suck, Suck it up, Do It Again until you Learn.

It is rather surprising we have managed so well – I really have not the slightest idea how much further we *can* go. The ICC buff is now at 10% and we have managed Marrowgar, Deathwhisper and Gunship. Rocket Bear! But why not try a little bit more? And a little bit more?

Team Pirate is not about knowing the strats before you go in, and I do not think the strats guides I put on here are read by anyone in the team – but hey – writing up the strats means I think more about the fights. And after all, the things I notice from a healing point of view are necessarily different from the DPS view – and if I am DPSing, tactics may be more important to know than “stay out of the poo, huge raid damage/huge tank damage, heal it”.

The Frosty Train

05/04/2010 5 comments

Team Pirate has recently welcomed into its ranks two old friends – who raided until the opening of Ulduar, but who then retired.

And at the same time, the existing team has seen the arrival of two new level 80 toons – one DK and one mage.

If only the gearing of the toons was not such a grind – but at least we are in good company.

This begs the question, should I bring my old holy paladin and my old DK out of storage?  Both of them have hardly seen the light of day since about August 2009, and would require about as much effort to gear as a newly hatched 80, in terms of badger runs through heroics.

It’s a hope – but the rhino skin is lacking – for example I took out the DK into a pug, and it was Gundrak.  The ranged DPS pulled the purple-spewing mob all over the place, and I barely got a hit in.  There were a few sarcastic comments and then a stream of nub DK comments, and then I dropped party, embarrassed and feeling pretty humiliated.  All she’s done since then is to cut gems.

As for the holy paladin – well, apart from the healer needing to be on their toes with mad chainpulling tanks and crazy DPS, the main concern I have is that I would get confused with my key combinations, and thus make playing Cress a lot harder.  I mean, I have got to the stage where I do not have to think about my keybinds when the bars look like *that* and so I’d hate to lose any of that.

In other news, Team Pirate managed to 8man Marrogar!  Because we could!  And we one-shot him!  Not quite sure why we thought we couldn’t 8-man Onyxia after that, but we didn’t.  And most of the team have now got their friendly-rep rings with Ashen Verdict, which is nice.

And I have donated 4 primordial saronite to my favourite bear, so she can have some new boots made up

Rough Guide to ICC: Festergut

Festergut is an undead fleshbeast.  The gas in the room hurts you.  He inhales it, farts out spores that provide players with protective immunisation, and then exhales the blight.  You need 2 tanks, and a minimum of 2 healers.

Once engaged, the room floods with gas.  Festergut will inhale some gas, and will then break wind, releasing spores, which will attach to players (2 players on 10man, 3 on 25).

These spores will explode after a few seconds, causing damage to the spored player, but innoculating the player, and all players within the immediate vicinity.  This happens three times before all the gas in room has been inhaled and spores produced.  Festergut will then release inhaled gas (Pungent Blight) which will deal about 30K damage to every player – if players have had their inoculations, then they will survive this.  There is an achievement for killing Festergut having fewer than 3 shots (Flu Shot Shortage, I think).

This is a fight where you need to have a balance between ranged and melee, but the fight is melee-friendly.  There need to be at least 3 ranged players on 10man, however.  All ranged players must spread out, then contract to a single point to receive their flu shot, then expand out again. The raid must ensure that the ranged flu shot point receives a spored player, as well as the melee camp.

If players are not spread out (or if there are fewer than 3 ranged on 10man) , then Fester’s Vile Gas mechanic causes uncontrollable vomiting.  This incapacitates a player for a few seconds.  The vomit damages nearby players.

It is useful (if possible) to have healers in melee, because there is less chance of healers suffering from Vile Gas vomiting.  And because there is no requirement for the healers to move to be close to a spore (unless the spore attaches to 2 healers, in which case one will need to move to the ranged gamp.

On 10man, Festergut has a healthpool of 9,412,000 – and an enrage timer of 5 minutes.  The fight is therefore a DPS check, hampered only by the movement in towards the spores.  If you have 6 DPS, then the requirement is 4.7K DPS per player.  If 5, then 5.6K each.

From a healing point of view, this is a heavy AOE damage fight – as the gas in the room is inhaled by Festergut, the raid damage decreases, and the damage to the tank increases.  When the room is clear of gas, the tank receives the most punishing hits.  CDs like Guardian Spirit or Pain Suppression could be used here, to keep the tank up.

From a Tanking viewpoint, the main concern is the stacking effect of the debuff caused by Gastric Bloat.   It is usual for the OT to start the encounter, and for the MT to pick up the boss just before the 3 stacks of innoculate, on the 3rd inhale.  Th Gastric Bloat must not be allowed to reach 10 stacks, or the tank will explode.  This reaches 9 stacks at about this time.

Gastric Bloat causes nature damage, increasing in 10% stacks (cumulative).  It lasts for 100 seconds. It also causes the tank to deal 90% increased damage, making the tank switch difficult – tanks should consider changing stance and switching off all aggro-producing abilities after the switch (bear-> cat, frost presence->blood, RF off etc) – because failing to lose aggro will result in the fatal 10th Gastric Bloat application – Gastric Explosion.

TLDR:  spores are good, everyone needs injections – if you have one, make sure you are *either* in the melee group *or* in the ranged group.  Have a group hug.  Then back to where you were.  Burn that boss.  Heal that raid.  Blow healing oh sh*t buttons when the room is clear of gas.

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