Posts tagged ‘Naxxramas’

The problem with Ulduar is Naxxramas.

I love Ulduar.

I love the scenery.  I love the lore — what I understand of it, anyway (I’ve never paid too much attention to that aspect of the game, which is ironic for someone who considers herself a compulsive role-player).  I love the boss fights with their fun, occasionally gimmicky mechanics; the trash pulls that require creativity and thought; the unexpected humor (XT-002’s voice, AoE mobs named Trash and V0-L7R-0N spring readily to mind); and especially the newness of it all.

I love that healing is hard again; that I have to utilize my rotations rather than simply spam Chain Heal on the melee.

What I don’t love — and what actually caused me to end last night’s raid in tears (something I don’t dare confess to the guild-at-large) — was the Naxx-inspired cockiness that we took into Ulduar with us the first time we zoned in, and the inevitable crash that followed it.

I don’t think Ulduar is “too hard.”  On the contrary, compared to SSC and TK — The Burning Crusade‘s sophomore tier — Ulduar’s easy modes are… well, easy.  Laugh if you like, but we didn’t down Void Reaver the first time we attempted him.  It took two days for us to master that particular fight, and we raced the enrage timer every week for a month before we could consider the “Loot Reaver” on farm.

I stopped counting after the first few dozen deaths (and I was playing a warlock at the time, so they were plentiful!), but I rather suspect that A’lar’s trash wiped us more times than Razorscale, Deconstructor and Ignis combined.

So, no, the problem isn’t Ulduar itself.

The problem is that Naxxramas was so easy by comparison to the raids that preceded it that we actually forgot what it was like to progress through new content.  Once upon a tier, we congratulated ourselves when it “only” took a week or two of raiding to defeat a new boss.  Now, we feel like we’ve failed if it takes more than two or three attempts, let alone nights.

Tensions are running high in my 25-man raid.  We’re making decent progress — nine bosses fell (or were redeemed) in our second full week of raiding — but we’re certainly not one- or two- shotting encounters like we were in Naxxramas when it was new.

To be fair, most of us don’t want to.  We complained bitterly that Naxx was “too easy”; by the time Ulduar was released, we were desperate for a challenge.  (Granted, Sartharion 3D was a challenge — but it was also a hard-mode, so we tended to view it as an encore performance rather than a legitimate step in our progression.)

Still, there’s a difference between wanting to wipe in Ulduar and actually wiping in Ulduar.  In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget that this is exactly what we’ve been crying for, and start to lose our patience and eventually our tempers.  This happened repeatedly in Saturday’s 25-man raid, as the same officers and veterans I count on to help me lead when Keaton isn’t around (and he wasn’t this weekend) tore into each other for perceived slights, mistakes, lapses in judgment and even disagreements over strategy.  As hard as I tried to run interference — reining in tempers, soothing ruffled feathers, mediating the inevitable disputes privately while remaining outwardly positive — I failed utterly to control the raid and ended the night thoroughly exhausted, demoralized and in tears.

Even Sunday’s Ulduar 10 was rough.  We cleared everything before General Vezax in just five hours, with a dozen wipes along the way — most of them on Mimiron.  Given that this was only our second week of raiding, I think this is outstanding; GuildOx agrees, and ranks us as #1 Horde-side and #6 on the server (which is pretty awesome, if you ask me).  Nonetheless, the bickering that was so prevalent in Saturday’s Ulduar 25 raid polluted our usually relaxed Ulduar 10, and far from enjoying the new content that I claim to love, I find myself dreading it.

Don’t get me wrong: I really enjoy the people I play with.  I’ve said over and over again that they absolutely make the game for me, and it’s true.  It’s the short-temperedness and the peevishness among my core raid — two very recent developments — that are slowly spoiling the endgame for me.  It may be a bit of a cop-out to name Naxxramas as the culprit, rather than the players themselves (or the guild leader who is accustomed to leading by example, and floundering now that she needs to take a more hands-on approach…), but I sincerely believe that the precedent that it set six months ago is hurting us now.

*  *  *

As I was writing this (in between SQL queries at work >.>), Matticus posted a theory about Ulduar frustrations that has since been picked up by WoW Insider:

Many guilds have forgotten what it’s like to hit a progression wall.  Raiders who felt good about themselves and their abilities started having doubts about themselves.

This is what we’re experiencing.  Exactly.

For us, the problem lies in the fact that these doubts have manifested as fits of temper — and, in some cases, depression — that are quickly snowballing through the raid.  I’m going to have to give some serious thought to combating them, because I refuse to let Naxxramas of all things break my guild six months after we trounced it.

April 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm 81 comments

The Undying still isn’t fun … but I never have to do it again!

As of last night, I am officially Liluye the Undying.  And believe me, the last five seconds of Kel’Thuzad’s (un)life were the most nerve-wracking of my entire WoW career! 

In that short span of time, a void fissure spawned beneath our MT’s paws and the second-squishiest member of the raid suffered from an untimely case of Iwishiwasamage-itis.  Fortunately, Keaton /danced out of the fissure like the amazing trained circus bear that he is, and we spammed heals on our iceblocked ‘lock … and because they are awesome, our deliberately-stacked-for-ranged-DPS DPS group managed to burst Kel’Thuzad down before P4 started. 

(In P4, Arthas takes pity on KT and sends a Feral Lag Monster to Naxxramas.  Affectionately known as Bob5, the Feral Lag Monster casts a stacking debuff on the entire raid, increasing the likelihood that afflicted raiders will freeze up, lag out or be randomly disconnected and ported to their hearthstone’s bind point.  Or Crossroads.)

I’ve suffered through my share of 1% wipes and been solely responsible for more 2%-99% wipes than I can count, but the Undying is a uniquely stressful experience in that there are absolutely no do-overs. 

Die in a doomfire and spoonfeed a soul-charge to Archimonde?  Apologize to the raid, toss a few gold in the guild vault to cover repairs … and try again.  

Flail around in a panic and loose constructs on the raid?  Run back, screw around with the simulator during the inevitable post-wipe /afk’s, resolve to never again be that guy … and try again.

But mistime a heal on the iceblocked fury warrior, lag out on Heigan, neglect to turn your spell detail back up before Grobbulus or forget to switch from Seal of Blood to Seal of Command before Gluth’s Decimate?  Congratulations!  You just wasted the week-long reset for nine other people.  Even if they’re really understanding about it (and my guildies are! <3), it’s still an awful feeling.  Trust me, I know.  (I was #1 and #3 on that list. >.>)

Don’t get me wrong: I’m thrilled to have the title and be one Naxx-8 and a Sarth 10-3D away from my Glory of the Raider meta-achievement (not to mention a swifter-than-very-swift ride).  But I stand by what I wrote last time.  This is a horrible achievement, based as much on luck as skill, and I couldn’t happier that it’s being re-worked for Ulduar.

March 30, 2009 at 3:25 pm 5 comments

To raid, or not to raid …

… is not actually the question, but “to farm Heroic Naxx, or to postpone the 25-man shardfest until the weekend and invest one of our peak raid nights in Sartharion-10 3D?” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. >.>

Our 10-man team spent a good eight hours wiping on Sarth 3D last week, and is so close to the kill we can taste it.  (Barbecue dragon, mmmm…)  But for various reasons, we won’t be able to try again until Sunday — unless we postpone our Wednesday night Naxx-25 until Saturday, which will leave Wednesday free for OS10?

Naturally, being a Libra (and attempting to juggle all of the conflicting needs in the guild-at-large…), I’m torn.

Pro’s

  • My 10-man team will have the opportunity to get back into OS10 early enough in the reset to (1) experiment with various group comps, because fewer of our fellow guildmembers are likely to be saved to other ID’s and can be rotated in (we’d really like an unholy death knight, a warlock or a critchicken for the +13% spell damage buff to our caster-heavy DPS); and (2) still have all of Sunday afternoon to fine-tune our strategy, if for some reason we aren’t able to down Sartharion on Wednesday.
  • Some of our more casual weekend raiders (who have gotten short shrift since we started clearing content in one and a half raid nights) will be able to raid again, something that they dearly miss — and have been remarkably patient about, all things considered.  Not coincidentally, these are also the players who could most benefit the most from the gear that our weekday raid typically shards or loots to off-specs.  Also, because Saturday is one of our official raid days, we’ll need these weekend warriors in the best gear available to them.  Come Ulduar, they will definitely be a part of the progression team, so it behooves the guild to rotate them into farm runs as much as possible.

Con’s

  • Because my 10-man team includes (by necessity) some of the guild’s strongest players — including both guild leaders, three officers and two of our three main tanks — it is already perceived as a “clique” by a handful of members.  If I start scheduling 25-man raids around a 10-man run, then drama is almost certain to ensue.  We already have a contingent of players who feel that 10-mans are largely irrelvant to the guild’s progression … or at least, less important than farming Naxx-25 for their last few upgrades.
  • The reason we can’t raid again until Sunday is that our main tank and raid leader has weekend plans, and he isn’t someone we’re willing or able to replace.  Since our protadin (who isn’t on the 10-man team) won’t be able to make Saturday, either, we’ll be down two and possibly even three tanks.  There are at least two alts (of players on the 10-man team) who are willing and able to tank Naxx-25, especially if it means freeing up Wednesday for OS10 progression … but I have a feeling that relying on alts to tank a 25-man will result in a rougher run than we’re accustomed to, and therefore drama (because some players still expect to be carried, and will fret that the guild’s best tanks are unavailable for the 25-man run because we prioritized our 10-man earlier in the week).

Through all of this, I also question my own ability to remain unbiased, and make decisions that are in the guild’s best interests.  I’m on the 10-man team.  I’m also the guild leader, and have a huge vested interest in seeing that little checkmark next to our name under OS10 3D on the realm’s progression thread before 3.1 hits.

Whatever I decide, there will be unhappy people, missed opportunities and the opportunity for drama.  I hate all three of these things!  Immensely!  But as Kyrilean pointed out in a post earlier today, the worst decision is often no decision at all.

It’s coming.  I just need a few more minutes to think about it …

/waffle

*   *   *

Update:  We didn’t have the best turn-out tonight, so we did a quick 25-man Malygos with fill-ins from our Friends & Family rank while we waited for a few more raiders to log-on.  Then it was off to Obsidian Sanctum for Sarth 3D.  We were still missing some key people, so DPS was a little low; it took us a few tries, and definitely wasn’t the smooth kill it’s been for the last two weeks.  (I spent most of the fight face-down in the dirt after clipping a void zone.  After all these weeks of raiding as a shaman, I /fail hard at ‘locking.)

We had an hour left on the clock but everyone was drained, so we called the raid there.  It looks like we’ll be doing Naxx on Saturday after all; the guild seemed receptive to it, as it would get our weekend raiders in, and the weekday core is a little burnt out now anyway. 

Sometimes I overthink things.  ;.;

March 24, 2009 at 1:36 pm 3 comments

To My Fellow Resto Shamans,

To my fellow resto shamans:

Gluth eats zombie chow.  Zombie chow eat resto shamans.  It’s some Circle of Life thing (or perhaps Unlife?  I’m not sure.  Ask a druid.)  If you’re cheerfully chain healing away and a chow-destined zombie decides that you look like a tasty kibble yourself, the appropriate response is not to scream at the top of your lungs. 

Announce it on Vent?  Sure. 

Spam your /w Tank HALP! HALP! It’s eating meeeee! macro?  … maybe.  But you probably want to save that one for the enraged fire elementals in Obsidian Sanctum.  (Otherwise, your pet tankadin may become desensitized to the general panickyness of your panic button, rendering it utterly un-useful.)

But shriek like a gnome mage with her pigtails on fire?  Never.

This—

Zombie Chow on me.
Zombie Chow on me!
Zombie Chow on me!
GET THIS F’ING ZOMBIE CHOW OFF OF ME NOW!

—is just embarrassing.  Not just to you, but to every shaman who has ever summoned the elements to her command, or even just invited them to a nice vegetarian picnic in Thunderbluff …

What?  I was, like, five.

No.  You, gentle Tauren (or not-so-gentle Troll, Orc or Spacegoat) are a shaman. 

You are, arguably, the second-best kiting class in the game.

And you heal with lasers

So if one of Gluth’s leftovers decide to eat your braaains, and the rest of your raid is too busy tanking, healing, kiting, whacking away at the heels of a giant zombified dog or sitting /afk in the tunnel of Bad Green Stuff® to come to your rescue … this is what you do:

1.  Target the offending zombie.  (Note: Due to some weird bug, it won’t show up on Grid, so you’ll actually have to Clique click on it.)

2.  Open your Spellbook.  Look through the three non-resto tabs (I’d be more specific, but my Spellbook doesn’t actually have non-resto tabs; my alter-ego’s felhunter must have eaten them…) until you find Frost Shock. 

3.  Click Frost Shock.

4.  Switch Recount to show Damage Done rather than Healing Done, scroll alllll the way to the bottom, and giggle with glee.  You DPS’d something!  Go you!

5.  Toggle back to Healing Done to make sure that new tree druid isn’t catching up to you.  (But if he is, don’t worry; he’s getting nerfed again next patch.)

6.  If steps 4 and 5 took a while, you might have to complete steps 2 and 3 again.  Like the ice stone, Frost Shock melts.

7.  Flee! Kite the zombie towards the back of the room.  Try to run him through a hunter’s freezing trap, if possible.

8.  Drop an Earthbind totem.

9.  Hopefully, one of the real kiters will have picked up aggro on the zombie chow by now.  Return to your spot in time for the decimate.  Save the day!

10.  Congratulate the holy paladin on her new tanking pants and the shadow priest on his healing ones, because Protector tokens are a myth.

I should probably mention that if you’re on main tank heals, or if your raid is running healer light, then none of this applies.  Feel free to scream like the aforementioned gnome.

But if you’re with running three resto shamans, two priests and a veritable forest of trees, then there is absolutely no excuse.

You know who you are.

Both of you.

❤ Liluye

 

P.S. This is an improvement over the emo bear tabard … how?

Liluye, eh?

March 6, 2009 at 2:42 pm 10 comments

My raid is naked!

naked

Have you ever gotten that weird bug where everyone in the raid appears naked?  Except — in this case — for the Undead rogue who zoned in after I did, thereby sparing me the sight of his rotting limbs, au natural.

It freaks me out every. single. time.  Especially playing Horde. 

Naked undead orcs are creepy.

February 16, 2009 at 11:42 pm 3 comments

The Thaddius jump revisited, and yet another reason boys are weird.

I have to admit, I’m a little surprised — not to mention relieved (it’s so nice not to be alone!) — by the number of visitors WordPress tells me have stumbled upon my little blog after Googling the key words “Thaddius jump.”  I suppose I shouldn’t be: after all, after that first disastrous night in Heroic Naxx, I Googled it too. 😉

I mentioned this briefly in an update at the bottom of my original post, but since there seems to be some interest from the spatially challenged among us (and I definitely fall into this category, so absolutely no judgments here!), I thought I’d take a minute to revisit a simple yet effective solution for those of us who won’t have access to Slowfall until Patch 3.0.8.  (/envy, btw.)

swiftness

Ta da!

It’s hard to believe, but a level 5 potion can be the difference between a clean one-shot and an agonizing night of near-misses on the Construct Quarter’s final menace.  The Swiftness Potion is craftable via alchemy, at all of skill level 60, but the formula appears to be a world drop off of low level mobs (according to WoWHead, the best drop rate is 0.9% off of Corrupted Surf Crawlers in Durotar) so not every alchemist will have it.  Fortunately for me, our priest officer does.

As you can see from the Auctioneer tooltip, the potion sells for about a gold and a half on my server.  Its mats include one Swiftthistle, one Briarthorn and a single Empty Vial.

The Swiftness Potion potion only has a 15 second duration, so you’ll want to wait until Fuegen and Stalagg go down before you take it.  After they do, it’s a simple matter of popping your potion and taking a running leap off the raised ledge to Thaddius’s platform.  Believe me: if I can do it, anyone can!

I’ve come to depend on these things so much that as soon as I realized I had entrusted my last stack to my shaman, I hearthed to Dalaran mid-raid, switched characters and mailed them to myself before catching a warlock summon back to Thaddius’s lair.  (Where I had no problems whatsoever with the jump, by the way.  /flex)

…  of course, my officers may or may not have teased me about my inability to do the fight without my drug of choice, and may or may not be threatening to stage an intervention. >.>

Keep in mind that the Swiftness Potion it shares a cooldown with every other potion in the game, so you won’t be able to use it and pop a runic health or mana pot later in the fight.  I’ve never needed either on Thaddius, though, so it’s a total no-brainer for me. (If you can’t l2jump, at least l2Lifetap!)

And in other news!

Once upon a time, a long time ago (i.e., high school), the boys used to stand around at lunch and during passing periods, doing nothing more than nodding occasionally and quoting movies and TV shows at each other.

Apparently, this is something they never quite outgrow …

tank_club

For the record, I was in Group 1 (the tank group) instead of in Group 4 with the other casters  because I was feeling nostalgic.  Before Blood Pact went raid-wide, I was often assigned to Group 1 as the ‘lock on imp duty.  Since 3.0 obliterated changed raid synergies, I haven’t had an excuse to hang out with the tanks, so I switched spots with a fury warrior for a few minutes at the beginning of the raid — just to say “hi.”

… I didn’t know there’d be rules …

January 15, 2009 at 12:19 am 1 comment

The Thaddius jump should drop badges.

elle_cryFor me, the hardest part of Naxxramas isn’t the Helgian dance. 

It isn’t managing Marks on the Four Horsemen, kiting Zombie Chow away from Gluth or remembering to “explode somewhere private” (to quote one of my boyfriend’s finer pieces of raid leading) when Grobbulus targets me for an injection of mutagen.

It isn’t even the dreaded slime room, which I learned to love and fear the day Canada won the World Junior Tournament  did something amazing and utterly inexplicable that I cannot for the life of me explain.  (Thank you, Karthis, for explaining to me the significance of the occasion!)

No …  It’s making the jump down from the two elevated platforms in Thaddius’s room to the ledge where he’s tanked.  I don’t know why, but I absolutely cannot make this jump consistently. 

The first time I encountered it was in Naxx 25, since my 10-man group hadn’t quite made it that far into the instance yet.  I spent our entire attempt on Thaddius jumping, falling, running, jumping and falling again.  I wasn’t the only one who fell, but I was the only one who fell every. single. time. 

Since then, I’ve learned to drop a summoning circle on the platform right before I make the jump, so if I fall, I can teleport to the top and try again.  I can usually manage to make it the second time, but /sigh … not always.

Last week, I replaced myself with a wait-listed Ret Pally after I once again failed to make the jump.  Not just once.  Not even two or three times.  But for the entire duration of the boss fight. 

That makes me, co-founder and guild leader, the first and only person ever benched from a Surreality raid for poor performance.  Even when we were learning Archimonde, and the same people wiped us again and again, we practiced together until every last raider mastered the movement of the fight.

I know I’m not alone.  Larísa posted similar frustrations about the Thaddius jump a while back, and I’ve pored over her readers’ comments several times since then in search of solace and inspiration. 

I’ve also asked in raid chat for help, and received a variety of tips from sympathetic guild members.  These tips range from swiveling my camera for an aerial view to popping a Swiftness Potion (the rogues and kitties tell me that an extra burst of speed helps) to asking a hunter to turn on Aspect of the Dazed Pack. 

Larísa actually inspired the solution that ended up working for me, although she doesn’t know it yet.  She mentioned in her post that she was eventually able to Slowfall through the jump.  Unfortunately, as a Warlock, I don’t have that ability — but I do have a decent enough reputation with the Steemwheedle Cartel to purchase the next best thing.

Can you see where I’m going with this? 

For the last few raids, I’ve managed to bluff my way through the fight by chain-chugging Noggenfogger Elixirs and praying for Slowfall to proc.  One of these days, I’ll have to take a screen shot of me as a mini-skeleton, slowfalling through the air behind the rest of the raid (since it’s taken four or five hits of Noggenfogger to get the desired effect).

Unfortunately, the last time we did Thaddius I forgot to stop in Gadgetzan on my way through Dragonblight, so I didn’t have any Noggenfogger to see me through the jump.  You would think that I would have learned to do without by now, but … no. 

Apparently, I’m just as much of a klutz in-game as in real life.

Anyway, we cleared the Spider, Plague and Military wings in Naxx 25 last night, which means the Abomination wing is next up on Saturday.  I’m really hoping to finish Naxx 10 before then so I can practice in a clear raid ID, because benching myself because I can’t handle a little jump, of all things, is just humiliating.

Solo five-man group quests in Sholazar Basin?  Piece of cake! 

Jump off a platform and land with both feet firmly on the ground?  … not so much.

Even my imp is laughing at me. 😦

 

Update:  SUCCESS!  I ran Naxx 10 on my shaman last night (after I wrote this post, but before its scheduled publication this morning), popped a Swiftness potion at the crucial moment, and had no problems soaring over the divide between the raised platform and Thaddius’s ledge.  Remind me to send a certain priest many, many +16 spirit gems in thanks for his brilliant suggestion! 

lil_flex

January 9, 2009 at 7:00 am 11 comments

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