Sunday, August 29, 2010

Yo dawg, I heard you like pugs...

Or maybe you don't, I don't know. Overall, i've had pretty good luck with pugs. Whether it be 5 man pugs, or raids, the number of good experiences i've had far outweigh the bad. Upon thinking about it more, I think the reason I feel that way is because that bad pugs tend to not last long, so it's less time wasted. Here lately though, i've come across a lot of... I hesitate to use the term "bad" pugs (and i'll explain why in a bit), but pugs that just tend to hit a wall that REALLY shouldn't be there.

The last couple of weeks, one of my guildies has taken it upon herself to run an ICC 25 pug run... The general idea is go in and knock out the first 6 bosses, and maybe hit a 7th (Blood Prince Council or Dreamwalker usually). She runs two of them for her two mains (shaman and priest) and they're after my guild's usual evening raid on wednesday and thursday nights. I have two toons as well that I raid with: a druid tank and hunter, so i've been able to make both nights both weeks. Now then, let me give you the breakdown of these 4 seperate raids.

Raid 1 8/18/10 - First 6 bosses down. Half the group bailed before Marrowgar even because we had a boomkin continue to pull... the entire room of trash and wiping us... 5 times in a row. After re-filling the raid, we had 2 people ninjalog after Saurfang... two people who won great gear pieces. (Fuck Starfall.. for real)
Raid 2 8/19/10 - No issues with trash. Destroyed first 4 bosses. 2 people ninjalogged after Saurfang (I don't recall whether they won loot or not). Wiped several times on Festergut, mostly due to enrage timer.
Raid 3 8/25/10 - No issues with trash. Destroyed first 4 bosses. Pug hunter ninjalogged after wining the Sanctified token on Saurfang. Wiped several times on Festergut, mostly due to enrage timer. Attempted Rotface once but failed for many reasons, not the least of which was because someone ninja-afk'ed and never returned.
Raid 4 8/26/10 - No issues with trash. Wiped on Gunship because one of the tanks had trouble attempting to bug out High Overlord Saurfang on the horde gunship. One person left after the wipe and was quickly replaced. Continued on to oneshot Saurfang. No ninjalogs this time. Tried Rotface to change it up.... wiped many times because our ooze kiter was horrible.

Seriously.. What is the deal with these groups, which seem to do SO well on the first four bosses, falling the fuck apart after Saurfang? In my opinion, Saurfang is the much harder fight all around than either Festergut OR Rotface. The ranged DPS have a lot more responsibility, and there's the risk of having Saurfang heal a significant amount of health if someone goes down to a mark. Now.. Festergut has a tight enrage timer, and significant raid-wide damage, but the mechanics of the fight itself are far easier. It's simple. Find a spore and sit on it when it comes out, stay away from the range if there's no spores out. The healers reading might disagree, because I *know* tanks take lots of damage on that fight as well as all the aoe damage, but the fight itself is pretty basic. Rotface isn't a DPS race so much as it is a mechanics check. Get out of the raid when you have an ooze. Don't get hit by slime spray or explosions. Not... that... hard... Why do pugs seem to have SO much trouble with these bosses?

Also.. Ninjaloggers.. Fuck you... hard... In each eyesocket. Seriously.. All it takes is a quick whisper to the raid leader. A simple: "Hey, it's getting late and I gotta bail." Even if it's a bullshit reason, it's MUCH more appreciated than just up and leaving like a tool. If you win a piece of loot and then ninjalog, you go on my guild's shit list. It's a shitty thing to do to the rest of your group and I will advise any pugs I come across that they do these things as well.. so yeah. Be warned.

To go along with my previous paragraph... if you fail to perform well with your class, then you also get "shit listed". That boomkin who starfalled the trash in front of Marrowgar 5 times pulling the whole room and wiping us each time? Yep, shitlisted. The full 251 mage, specced arcane that was pulling 3.5k dps with the 30% buff and casting pyroblasts, fireballs, and frostfire bolts? Shitlisted. The 5.3k gearscored elemental shaman in my Sarth25 3D pug that only pulled 2k dps and proceeded to blame it on the raid composition? You already know. If you don't know your classes spec well enough to perform in ICC with a 30% damage buff, you have no business even zoning into ICC... plain and simple. Saurfang and (especially) Festergut have tight enrage timers, especially in 25 man. It's not like it's hard to find information. Wowhead is amazing folks.

I'm a very easy going person and help run the raid for my guildie who sets it up. She is also a very easy going person (as well as a *wonderful* raid leader, and damn fine shaman/priest). But ICC is the big leagues. Like I already said, if you don't know your class, you have no business being in there. I know a lot of people think it's "lulzy" with the 30% buff now, and quite honestly the first 6 bosses SHOULD be pretty damn easy. Other than an occasional "whoops, I messed up" moment (which DOES happen, and is PERFECTLY forgivable provided you learn from your mistakes), there's almost no reason to wipe so much on these bosses in normal modes.

Gearscore garbage... I don't bring up gearscore often because I am often at odds with it. On one hand, if you don't have at least full t9 equivalent gear, you probably shouldn't be checking into ICC, and gearscore is a useful way of finding that out quickly. On the other hand, some people have some ludicrous requirements for pugs. Our 25's leader doesn't have a gearscore requirement per se, as long as your gear is "Good enough" to perform in there, then it's good enough for us... and as long as you're properly itemized. Now, i'll grant you... That mage I mentioned earlier... we probably could've put a stop to him if we had noticed that he was specced arcane with pyroblast, but other than that... don't be a DPS DK wearing the Glyph of Indomitability (it's a tanking trinket) and a few other tanking pieces of gear mish-mashed... it makes you look stupid and we'll assume you don't know how to play your class. If it's just a matter of a gearset getting mixed up, that's fine. We can find that out quickly enough and let you in when you've got the right gear on. But things like this would show the DK I mentioned as having a good 5.1-5.2k gearscore, but his DPS would have been shit because he was making dumb gear choices.

Now, why do I bring up gearscore? In our last ICC25 we let in a fury warrior... his name escapes me at the moment, but he was at a 4.8k gearscore. He was specced properly (as far as I know about warriors anyway), and itemized alright.. wearing gear a fury warrior should wear, but we were a wee bit concerned that he might not quite be up to scratch.. He promised the raid leader that he knew what he was doing and would perform well, so she gave him the shot. Well.. As it turns out, this guy was not lying. He was the lowest geared person in the group by a significant margin (at LEAST 2-300 gearscore points) and was 6-7th on the DPS meters in every boss fight... and on top of that, he didn't die to stupid shit. He moved out of slime sprays, he moved out of D&D. He helped on bone spikes... He did exactly what he said he could do, so if he wants to come with us again he's MORE than welcome to do so. I know the raid leader put him on our "Would raid with again" list.

Sorry for the long wall of griping, but seriously... does anyone else have this problem? I know it can't be just the group of people I come across from week to week right?

OH! As a sidenote, I did a guest blog of sorts for I Like Bubbles, which happens to be a blog run by my GM and one of our officers. Their blog is pretty funny so feel free to check it out. I might do an occasional flowchart over there when something I think is amusing crosses my mind... So... Read them... and stuff!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Today's blog lacks an "explicit" tag...

After my last two posts, i've come to the realization that not everyone likes having a bunch of obscenities streamed into their feedreader, so I will attempt to keep my cursing to a somewhat minimum for a few posts.

For the last week, I haven't been pvping as much as I was... I think my ADD has kicked in again, and while two pvp matches are never the same, doing too much of it can start to get a bit redundant like grinding heroics can. So... what I did yesterday was begin a shaman... I think this makes my 3rd one. Why did I create a shaman? Well... to be perfectly honest, i'm excited about some of the new talents and abilities they're getting in Cataclysm... Is it silly to start a class based on beta information that's highly subject to change? Ehhh.. maybe so, but I still like the basic concept of the class. Plus, i've never had a shaman above level 60, so maybe this will give me something interesting to do in my off time in between raiding. BoA gear makes the early levels so ridiculously easy and quick they might as well just give you the first 15 levels right off the bat.

As far as raiding goes, last week was another awesome week. I went on my hunter for the first time in ICC in quite a while... and he got his Kingslayer title! We also got a couple other people in the guild their titles... some of them have been exceedingly itchy over it. After a discussion over twitter, I realized that our raid has one of the most ridiculous compositions ever. Not sure what I mean? Let me show our kingslayer composition.

2 hunters (Survival and Beastmastery)
2 priests (Discipline and Holy)
2 warriors (Protection and Arms)
2 druids (Feral DPS and Restoration)
1 paladin (Protection)
1 shaman (elemental)

(BTW... Kotakh, if you're reading this.. we didn't have a mage with us. Math didn't sign on until after we downed Arthas)
Now then.. If any of you have done any amount of raiding then ICC was patched in, then there's probably a couple things that are making you scratch your head.
No rogue? Meh. Our two main-spec rogues are married to other groups as far as I know. No DKs? We've never had any main-dk's in our guild since it started lol. Now for the ones that really hurt your brain. A BM hunter?. Haha. We needed the extra stun given to BM via "Intimidation". An arms warrior? Heh. What can I say, he hates playing fury, and he's actually pretty decent at Arms.

The other hunter (the survival one) was me.. I only went survival because we needed the replenishment... I loathe the SV playstyle, and my dps is much worse in reflection of that. I didn't bring my druid this week because I wanted a break from tanking, and my friend Soltaris (the prot pally) transferred and joined this guild... and he wanted a slot this week to get into ICC for the first time. Now... his gear wasn't horrible, but if people were to check his gearscore they probably wouldn't have picked him up in a pug (he was, i think, 4.7k or 4.8k at the time). Now... let me give a bit of background info about my friend. He hadn't raided one time since I met him... He did, I think, a wing or two back in Naxx... some light raiding back in vanilla, and then one VoA a week or two prior to this... and he came in to offtank for ICC.

So... I was kind of co-raid leading with the MT Shermaan, and basically.... Solt got to do all the same fun stuff I had to do my first time in ICC. Off-tank for most fights. First tank for Festergut (pungent blight or w/e it's called made his threat more generation plenty after a couple stacks), abomination pilot for Putricide (where he wiped us the first time just like I did, but did perfectly well the 2nd)... and shadow-orb tank on blood princes... MAN that's a tough job. Combining that with some more computer issues through our main tank and sadly... I had to bring my fuzzbutt in to tank the other two princes. Not anyone's fault though, but that was a big stalling point for us. We wiped on the council more than any other boss. Sindragosa you say? Bah. We went in and two shot her. (Did I mention that our off-tank had never so much as STEPPED INSIDE ICC before?) Arthas, you ask? Well.. let's just say that the third time is a charm.

That's right kiddies. 5 people on toons that didn't have a kingslayer title.. 1 of them never once stepped inside the raid -period-, and a hunter who mysteriously forgot how to not tunnel vision on certain boss fights *cough*, and we went and friggin PWNSAUCED ARTHAS ON THE 3RD TRY.

Sounds like a great week to me.

Post edit: You may notice I changed the banner screenshot... and you may notice that there's a cat floating in said banner screenshot. Funny thing happened there. When we got Arthas to the magic 10%, he was in the process of doing a soul harvest on our kitty druid... So the cat died with the rest of us due to the RP event, but she also had a body floating in mid-air from a soul harvest.... Go figure that one eh?

Monday, August 16, 2010

PvP says what?

So, I don't know what's gotten into me lately... I've done more battlegrounds in the last few days than i've done in... shit, probably a year time. Why? Well, first I got my rogue to 80 (that makes number eight.. holy god i've got eight 80s) and I wanted to use him in pvp. And.... it was fun, but guh. Gearing up another toon from the ground up right now just doesn't seem all that appealing. So I turned to my hunter, who has more pvp gear than any of my other toons (and is pretty well geared otherwise). I quickly found out that I am TERRIBLE at hunter pvp... Right then. Well, how about some pvp on my druid, that sounds like fun. Wow. Now, let me start off by saying that my druid is a very well geared tank(For those who don't read older posts, i've tanked Arthas on him) so I figured, even without a lot of resilience, i'd have a good bit of survivability going in. This weekend, our call to arms was Strand of the Ancients... one of my favorite BGs to begin with. It's like a shorter version of Wintergrasp, only you get to be both sides in the same battle. You get to attack, and then you get to defend. (I won't give a full rundown on the bg, but if you like Wintergrasp, you'll have a -lot- of fun in SotA)

Now I farmed Strand for probably 3 hours on Saturday and ended up getting about 60,000 honor... as well as quite a few achievements on top of it. Holy shit, why didn't I start doing this sooner?. I knew they'd increased the honor gain or something like that but seriously... Why have I never done this sooner? This was the most fun i'd had outside of raiding in a long time.

So.. In spite of all that awesome and win i've come across in BGs.. i'm going to channel quite a bit of rage for a minute. If cursing offends you, you probably haven't even read this far to care, but warning.. I will curse a lot.

1st off.. Telling everyone in the battleground how much they "fucking fail" or how much they're "baddies" ISN'T GODDAMN HELPFUL. I hope a real life rogue mutilates you everytime you type with the worst kind of non-lethal poison they can find.. Piss off.

2nd. I'm all for strategizing in /bg chat. It's damn useful. It's how we can end up winning more. But saying things like "EVERYONE TO BLACKSMITH" is BAD ADVICE. Why? Because if everyone goes to the blacksmith to help your ass defend a node than the OTHER 4 are undefended. Sometimes you have to learn to give up one strategic point to win another, which brings me to my next point.

3rd. Know when to give up a fight. Now, don't misunderstand me. I'm not supporting the "Just let them 5cap so we can end this" people. You're just a step above the people who tell everone how bad they are. Granted, there may be no way to win a fight, but i'll be DAMNED if i'm just gonna roll over and die. Maybe it's a bit of my alliance pride but fuck that... I digress however. What I mean is that if you see 6-7 horde steamrolling towards the Fel Reaver Ruins while you have it capped... Chances are, that means there's another node with only one or two easily killed people guarding the other places. Regroup after you get (inevitably) owned and rush to another node.

I was going to have a 4th point, but it was more "Strand of the Ancients" tips than rage against /bg fucktards, so i'll put it as succinctly as I was told on twitter. "First to complain, least skilled.. ABSOLUTELY no exceptions"

In short... BGs are meant to be fun. Don't be an cocksmooch. Even if you get steamrolled by your opponents, there's just no need for it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Laid reading is a spoonerism...

If you don't understand the title, i'll explain at the end of the post. ;)

Anyway. So last week in my guild, "Stands in Bad", I did my first bit of what I would consider to be "real" raid leading. I put that in quotation marks because I was never officially assigned the raid leading spot, and there WAS an officer or two in the raid with me. I do, however, feel like I kind of took control of teaching the couple new people in the raid. We had a boomkin who had never one -any- of the fights (to my knowledge), and the off-tank was a Kingslayer... on his hunter and mage. He had to be taught how to tank the fights in ICC, which admittedly is MUCH easier to learn when you now the fights as a DPSer. So, I sort of took control of that raid... and, as far as i'm concerned, it was a lot of fun.

I have to admit though... The rest of the guild made that job easy on me. The boomkin who'd never been in there had watched the videos of the fights, so they had a basic concept of what they were doing. The guy who tanked with me was -very- quick on the pickup (which, to me, tanking ICC is easier than DPSing it). We one-shot all the bosses up to Sindragosa, which took several tries because.. man.. The learning curve on that fight is steep. We didn't get the Lich King down last week, but not for lack of trying. We made some solid progress on him, even making it to p3 once or twice. (for the people who haven't got their KS title yet... they'll get it this week!)

Now then.. Why am I writing this post? Well, it is a sort of rebuttal to a fellow blogger, and a man I respect very much. If you've ever listened to the Inside Azeroth podcast (which, unfortunately, is no more) you may know him as the wandering ranter. That's right.. Just yesterday, mister Zephon T'Sol posted a somewhat downtrodden look from a raid leader's perspective here. Now, while I can understand Zeph's point, I do feel the need to make a point here. If you're taking up the mantle of raid leader for recognition, thanks, and a pat on the back you're doing it wrong. You volunteer to be a raid leader because you know what you're doing, you can explain it to the others, and you are (generally) capable of getting people to focus for 10 minutes at a time. While I understand, and can completely sympathize with, wanting to feel like people appreciate what you've done... If it's going to ruin your day because a raid isn't going the way you want it to, then perhaps you need to step back for a minute an examine why you do it.

Now, Zeph, if you're reading this, don't misunderstand me. I know everyone has bad days and such, and blogging is the *perfect* way to get shit off your chest with relative anonymity... But at the same time, you really can't let your raid get you down so much. If you get frustrated with the raid, then they take those cues from you and will get frustrated in return. When the whole raid is frustrated, that's when people make mistakes that they normally wouldn't, in turn leading to more frustration.... it's a nasty little catch-22. Here's my advice... If you feel yourself, and the raid, getting overly irritable, just call for a 5-10 minute break so everyone can step back and gather themselves. If that doesn't work, then you may need to consider simply calling the raid for the night so everyone can back off. Tempers can run high sometimes, and that's not the sort of way you want a raid night to end.

By the way... in case you hadn't figured it out, a spoonerism is a term for getting the first letters or sounds of words mixed up.. Laid reading = raid leading... spoonerism. There's your random trivia fact for the day.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hey Jealousy!

Yep.. I stole the title of my blog from a song by the Gin Blossoms. Anyway. What am I jealous of? All you beta-testers out there! I realize there's lots of server problems and the new download client sounds.... weird at best. But you're there! You're in the beta, watching the game develop LIVE AS IT HAPPENS! Breaking news at 11, thousands of people are playing something that I don't get to! Yes, that makes me a bit jealous. If you listened to the podcast I guest-hosted on last week, then you already know this.

Speaking of the podcast, i'm curious of something. I've found myself listening to that particular recording multiple times. Why? Do I like the sound of my own voice that much? No...... well... maybe a bit. But mainly, I wanted to analyze myself. I can be very harsh on myself sometimes, and I wanted to see just how big of an idiot I made of myself. I am quite proud to say that I think I did *quite* well for my first live interaction. And on top of that, a lot of my comments were done by the seat of my pants, as it were. I don't want to say I didn't prepare for the show, because I did. I've been following the druidic changes very closely since the talent trees for Cataclysm were first officially released. I've groaned and grunted, cheered and questioned, scratched my head and stared blankly, just like everyone else has at some point in time over some of those silly changes. What I mean about "seat of my pants" though ,was that I really had very little scripted preparation. I knew some of the basics I wanted to say about the feral tree. I knew that we (Esh, Kat, myself and Lisanna) were going to talk about the druid changes, but I didn't know exactly what -kind- of things were going to be discussed. I didn't know that Esh and Lisanna were both in the Alpha, as well as the Beta. I have very limited experience with both boomkin and resto, so I didn't know how much helpful feedback I would have to give to those topics. And, i'll admit, My thoughts on resto/balance may have been a little silly and hackneyed maybe, but I literally pulled them out of myself on the spot.

It was a HELL of a lot of fun, and I look forward to doing it again. Who knows.. Maybe one day i'll get off my keister and get my own podcast going. Have a lot of things to learn about before that day comes, so who knows!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I blather!

So! For those of you enamored by my blog and what I have to say (all 2 of you)... I did my first guest-appearance on a podcast today! I want to thank Esh and Kat, hosts of "Gaming Worlds Collide" for giving me a chance to vent, laugh, rage (a wee bit), and rename myself on today's (broadcast on 8/2/10) episode. If any of you are interested in the podcast, click here to listen to this episode. Also, you may notice, that the other guest on the show was none other than Lisanna (aka Restokin, from the famed blog). That's a high caliber guest for me to debut along side, but I feel like I held my own, made some good points, and wasn't TOO goofy to be taken seriously on the cast. It was a lot of fun. Debates were had, ideas were bounced, silliness was made, laughs were plentiful, and serious was serious'd.

Now then, what did we discuss? Druids! (If you went to the show link I posted earlier, then you know that by now). We discussed the direction druids are taking in Cataclysm. Things we liked, things we didn't like, things we think will happen, things that need to be shifted around (Furor, i'm looking at you), and so on. I talked at length about feral. Resto got a good bit of discussion, and balance was touched on a bit... I kinda feel like you lazerchicken lovers may've gotten the short end of the podcast, but Lis is far more resto oriented, and I am far more feral oriented. Either way it goes, I think it was a great discussion by all.

Disagree with anything that was said in the podcast? Let me know! Leave me a comment and tell me what you disagree with and why, and i'll be more than happy to discuss why I feel the way I do about some things. (Are you getting the hint yet lovely readers? LEAVE ME COMMENTS! :D)