Weekday Waffles: Holidays!

It’s been awhile, hey!

The past couple months have been really busy for me personally – October had a lot of work/travel, November was NaNoWriMo! It’s my first win ever so I’m pretty dang chuffed 😀

Sadly things haven’t been going as well on the raiding front – the drama gods have decided to mess with us again. I’m starting to think it’s a once-per-patch occasion. Since the last update we’ve lost: one tank to real life, one healer who switched to replace said tank, one DPS to poor attendance and another DPS to ragequittery. (Side note: if you raqequit right when the first trash has been pulled because the raid leader had no choice but to pug in someone with the same loot spec as you, there really isn’t an excuse you can make for that sort of behaviour. Don’t say you can’t deal with ‘selfishness’ and expect people to sympathise with you.)

We’ve been trial-ing a whole bunch of different people every week, but none have really lasted. With two or three new folks in the group every time progression’s been slow – we only raid twice a week for a total of six hours, so it’s often difficult to have enough time to spare to work on new bosses. Twin Shamans, Nazgrim, Malkorok and Spoils all took a couple weeks each to beat. We’ve had to extend the lockouts to get those new kills, but half the group still wants gear from the first wing so extensions don’t get to happen very often. I’m one of the lucky few – the only upgrades I need now drop from Garrosh and maybe Paragons for the tier leg tokens (*shakes fist at Celestials*).

The good news is we finally got Thok down last week, yay! So far that’s been our biggest hurdle – we hardly ever had enough time to put in proper attempts on him. All in all, I think it took maybe a month between our Spoils kill and Thok’s. We decided to switch it up from our previous tries and one-tank it and that made a whole lot of difference. Pallytank was just ridiculously pleased to go Ret for once! He kept saying he hasn’t had the chance to DPS in a normal raid since the Spirit Kings in MSV. I think he just wants to show off the fact that his Ret spec’s almost as ridiculously geared as his Prot’s 😛

Holidays are kicking in now though, so Siegecrafter Blackfuse is going to have to wait ’til after Christmas. I’m a bit disappointed about that, but overall I know Pallytank and I are getting a bit frustrated with all the nonsense that happens every week so having a break is a good thing. Hopefully by then the silly problems with disappearing raiders will be over!

Here’s wishing everyone very merry holidays!

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December 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment

Through the Gates!

So last night as planned, our little Friends’n’Family group ran Flex Gates of Retribution for the first time.

It went pretty well! We had 17 people in total – all time high! Better yet, apparently during last week’s run a lot of people were on their alts, but seeing as we were attempting harder bosses this time around most of them decided to bring their mains. The difference was HUGE. And since we had four main-spec healers, I even got to stay feral for once! Hurray!

Galakras gave us the most trouble – we wiped a few times and had to reshuffle the tower/ground groups to try to keep them as balanced as possible. First, we underestimated the damage needed on the tower boss, so we didn’t send enough DPS up. Then we sent too many. Oops! I guess the scaling in terms of 10 vs 17 people is just a bit hard to estimate. We finally decided to send two of our top DPS up along with another DPS and healer, and that ended up being just right. Except then our healer forgot to follow us to the next tower because she’s too used to being in the ground team, and the tank went splat.

By then we’d probably met our quota of silly mistakes for Galakras, so on our next attempt everyone pretty much buckled down and focused. Towers went smoothly, except for when my poor aiming skills made me completely miss my first shot at the damn dragon. And my second shot. Also my third. But I got him on my fourth try (while also noting that I should probably not be the one in the cannon on future runs) and down went Galakras! Fireball kiting was messy and landing all over the place, but the good thing about having so many people in the group is that there were enough to soak no matter where it went. Only two dead when Galakras died, yay!

Iron Juggernaut was much, much easier. Galakras was my favourite fight to heal on my first Flex run through this wing, but Iron Juggernaut is my favourite as feral. I get to stay on the boss the entire time! Such a relief to have a fight like this after all the target-switching and running around before. True, Sha of Pride is pretty Patchwerk-y too, but c’mon – a giant metal scorpion > a purple blob of goo anyday. Plus, I’d read on the Fluid Druid forums that the Wild Charge talent is great for when we get flung backwards in Phase 2. I tried that out last night, and OH. MY. GOD. that was the MOST FUN I’d ever had. I literally charge back onto the boss while still in mid-air. I’m not kidding. It was AWESOME. I’m still having gigglefits just thinking about it.

Dark Shaman weren’t quite as fun. It’s just ridiculously hard as melee given the huge crapton of damage going everywhere. The tornadoes, the poison, the slimes, the stupid walls that oneshot you. I died an awful lot on our Normal mode attempts last weekend, and was determined to figure out how to survive last night. Apparently, the best way to live is… to run away. It’s not so bad with the tornadoes; those can be avoided quite easily. The poison stream too. But the slimes? Run. If I’m fast enough I dump an Ursol’s Vortex, if any aggro onto me (and A LOT do) I Typhoon them away. I tried to Wild Charge through the Ashen Wall as well, but my health still took a huge hit when I flew through the elementals. Maybe Displacer Beast will work better, I’ll test that next time.

We killed them on our second attempt with three-quarters of the group still alive. I’m crediting that to us being fortunately light on melee – there was only myself, a warrior, and the two tanks. The warrior was brave and died. I ran away a lot and survived. Yet another reason why I love feral: I can dump a bunch of bleeds on the Shamans right before they cast their Poison/Ashen Spell of Doom, then run away and let my dots do the work until the tanks kite the boss out of danger zone. It’s not a great solution and leaves me sitting idle more often than I’d like, but at least I stayed alive, and I still managed to top meters. It’s probably not going to be as easy in Normal, but it’s something. Next step: figure out best time to cast Heart of the Wild for 45 seconds of pretend-Boomkinness!

Sadly we started late, so we didn’t have enough time for Nazgrim. I still think that’s an easier fight compared to the Shamans, though. Hopefully we’ll find time to finish him off this weekend; if not, there’s always next week!

October 11, 2013 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Weekday Waffles: A Flexing Thing

I’m sticking the waffle tag on this post because I have a whole jumble of thoughts on flex raids that are demanding to be spewed out, and waffle tags mean I’m allowing myself to do just that.

(Also, I’m hungry, but a recent bout of food poisoning prevents me from indulging myself on random food lest my stomach revolts again.)

We had our second ever Friends’n’Family Flex (heh, alliteration) last night. Not everyone from last week showed up, but we had a few new takers, so we ended up with 14 up to Norushen, and 15 at Sha. Pretty good turnout! Our Normal group’s mage hopped on his DK since we were short a tank, and did really well for having never tanked any of the SoO bosses before.

They had me go Resto again too, and I think I did fairly well – our regular Resto druid was still beating me by miiiileees, though. I’m low on mana more often than I ever was back in ToT, which can’t be a good thing. I’ll have to work on that! I’m debating on whether I should buy the legendary cloak for healing, but 10K gold is a LOT for me especially when I hardly heal anymore! The Twisted Treasures of the Vale kindly gave me an extra 540 cloak last night, so for now I’ll use that instead.

Next week the plan is to hit up the second wing, Gates of Retribution. I’m excited because I think doing the fights on Flex will help us in Normal. Only a handful of us from the regular group usually make it for Flex – timezone differences on weekdays mean that half of them are still at work (or asleep, even) – but practice makes perfect! On the other hand though, I’m kinda worried, because I don’t know if our casual little Flex team will be able to handle it. In complete honesty, the few are kinda carrying the many, and there’s only so much they can do.

This isn’t meant as a rude/braggy/whiny comment, just as a statement of the team’s weaknesses. Last night we had 8 DPS (9 on Sha), but at least two were consistently below the tanks. We had to run with four healers because the fourth also did less healing than both the tanks. It’s not that big a deal on the first couple bosses, but Norushen was a bit of a struggle. People died to the death beam, died to standing in silly stuff in the Test realms. Sha was even harder. Pride levels were jumping too high too soon, people stood in Self-Reflection, didn’t stack/spread properly. The raid was getting multiple stacks of the debuff because those of us who knew to dispel weren’t getting the Gift; we had to dispel without it and eat the Pride to avoid people dying. We got it down eventually due to a combination of luck with the Gift allocation as well as our top DPS really outdoing themselves. But from what I experienced of the second wing on flex last week, I don’t know if luck and three strong DPS will get it done.

Really, I don’t mind that our team isn’t strong, numbers-wise. I know some of us have the benefit of better gear and greater familiarity with the encounters. I’ve never been one to focus on recount (except to evaluate my own performance), but I do think that certain minimum standards are important. Unless tanks are rocking some serious vengeance and have gear a TON better than you, they really shouldn’t be doing better DPS/healing. When the raid lead’s explaining the fight and pointing out important mechanics, it’s not just polite, it’s crucial to pay attention. Mistakes are fine, but not when they’re repeated over and over again without even an effort to avoid them. Casual or not, at least put in some attention to making your gear the best they can be – enchant, reforge, don’t leave gem slots empty. If you can’t afford the expensive stuff like Dancing Steel/Jade Spirit, even Windsong is better than nothing! I’ve been groups where my teammates were a lot better and more experienced, but I know I at least put in my best effort in those situations. If I can’t bring in the best numbers, I can at least make things easier by not dying or screwing mechanics up for them.

It’s weird that we’re so aware of these standards for Normal progression, moan about the lack of them in LFR, and yet make excuses when they’re not met in Flex. Raiding with friends and family is nice for sure, but there’s still degrees of separation there – not everyone knows each other. I wouldn’t want one of my friends thinking poorly of another! Obviously it’s always hard to tell a friend they’re doing something wrong. I feel guilty right now just writing this post. Sometimes though, it’s necessary. You don’t have to tell them in public, you don’t have to say it’s “wrong” at all! Everyone’s adult enough to be able to take gentle advice, right?

I guess my point (and I know it’s taken forever for me to make it) is that the same rules that work for Normal-mode raiding should still apply for Flex. I’m not saying kick from group, I’m saying point it out nicely. Killing bosses is a team effort; if you want progression, everyone needs to work towards it. If not, then it might be better to just stay on the first four bosses until the stronger members have enough gear to let us brute-force our way through the next encounters, because dying over and over fruitlessly might be the worst thing for a casual for-fun-only team. It’s important to figure out what people want and whether they’re willing to work for it, instead of pushing them into things.

Hopefully this all kinda made sense (and didn’t come across as self-important or bitchy, because that wasn’t the intention). I just feel that things like these need to be cleared up, because everyone really just wants to enjoy themselves. You can’t really do that if you expect one thing and end up doing something completely opposite! Fingers crossed for us to just have fun next week.

/endwaffle

October 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm 1 comment

WoW Screenshot a Day Challenge – September 30

Today’s prompt: Found

found

 

Went exploring around the blood elf starting zone and found this statue! Not sure why I don’t remember ever seeing it before; isn’t it lovely? I like to think it’s Sylvanas in her Ranger-General days. 😀

Aaaand that’s it for September! This has been tremendously fun (even though I fell behind a lot)! I know October’s prompts are already up, but as I’ll be away quite often through the entire month I’ll be taking a break and going back to stalking other people’s screenshots instead, hehe. Thanks for this, Tycertank! (:

September 30, 2013 at 11:55 pm Leave a comment

WoW Screenshot a Day Challenge – September 26-29

Day 26: Curve

Nothing but curves here!

Nothing but curves here!

Day 27: WTF?

How is it that I've never seen this broken glass in Ulduar before?!

How is it that I’ve never seen this broken glass in Ulduar before?!

Day 28: 10 o’clock

It's totally 10 o'clock! Darn clocktower needs a fixing...

It’s totally 10 o’clock! Darn clocktower needs a fixing…

Day 29: Gold

gold

Sometimes I think the Bronze Dragonflight is really more gold…

September 29, 2013 at 9:33 pm Leave a comment

Flexing Funtimes

So, I’ve just managed to clear the first two parts of Flex SoO!

And BOY, was it fun. 😀

I did the first bit last night with some folks from my current raid group, and a bunch of battletag friends. It was a pretty mixed group but Vent was lively, and we all went in knowing it was a casual sorta run but planning to kill bosses anyway. Immerseus and the Fallen Protectors went down fairly alright, but we spent quite a number of attempts on both Norushen and Sha of Pride. Because we’d invited mostly lesser-geared folk, DPS was a little on the low side, so we ended up hitting enrage a lot; people weren’t too quick on following the mechanics. Still, we got everything down in the end so yay! I went Resto for most of it too, because we didn’t have enough healers. DAAAAAMN, perma-Efflorescence is ridiculously powerful. I LOVE IT 😀

Then earlier this evening an ex-raid teammate whispered me asking if I could heal for their Flex raid. They were doing both first and second parts, so I figured why not? I dragged Teavee in for the first and proceeded to have her tiny green butt kicked by their Disc priest (it was seriously awe-inspiring, lemme tell you). We were done in half an hour, so I hopped back on Xerna for Gates of Retribution.

Honestly, I didn’t know much about the fights AT ALL. I hadn’t done LFR yet, and we haven’t gotten that far on Normal – so what I knew was basically from the SoO healing guides over at Healiocentric. (Thank goodness I had them, too.)

I think Galakras is my favourite fight, partly because Lor’themar and Sylvanas, holy cow! Iron Juggernaut and Dark Shaman had so. much. crap. flying around that it was hard to appreciate anything, and killing Nazgrim just makes me sad. I may or may not change my mind after doing them as feral in normal mode, we’ll see.

It’s great to have finished off the first eight bosses on Flex; the experience will help when we start working on the later bosses in Normal. And it was nice to heal again, even if the Disc priest was miiiiiles ahead of me! I think I did fairly well myself, and I adore seeing my green efflo-circle 😀 Not a single piece of loot dropped, sadly, but eh, c’est la vie.

Besides, achievements!
flexachieves
Yaaay!

September 27, 2013 at 11:51 pm 1 comment

WoW Screenshot a Day Challenge – September 25

Today’s prompt: H is for

hisfor

…hourglass! This quest is fun – especially with the “advice” Future Me dishes out. The only problem I have is… why would my future, more experienced magey-self be MELEE-ING THE ADDS?

September 25, 2013 at 11:10 pm Leave a comment

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