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Posts with tag Death and Taxes

Ready Check: Death and Raid Guilds



Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and get mad purpz. Today, we take a look at why endgame guilds die.

This week, world-first guild Death and Taxes made an announcement which floored most of the raiding community: The End. Death and Taxes is no more. For a long time, raiders and non-raiders alike have been following the adventures of those guilds with the time and dedication to be competing for firsts. Seeing a household name disband, and not for April Fool's, is particularly poignant because it brings the message home that even the loftiest raid guilds are human too, subject to the same problems and drama as any other guild out there.

There have been multiple reasons given for the disbanding of D'n'T -- what's most interesting about these is that many people have commented on the same things happening in their guild, or in guilds they know about. Were the problems introduced by The Burning Crusade and other Blizzard-based changes, such as paid character transfer? Or are they fundamentally the result of high expectations, raiding downtime and the ensuing attrition over two years? Let's take a look at some of the problems facing endgame guilds' longevity, and perhaps an insight into how to avoid the same fate.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Features, Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

First US Illidan kill


US guild Death and Taxes has managed to snag the US-first Illidan kill and thus finish all available raid content in the game. Their US-first puts them world-sixth, behind European guilds Nihilum, Forte, Last Resort, Curse, and For the Horde. So I'm thinking the process has to go something like this....
  1. Kill Illidan
  2. Farm status
  3. ....
  4. Profit!
Regardless of what step three may be, I'd like to congratulation Death and Taxes on their accomplishment!

Filed under: Instances, Raiding, Bosses

Are Europeans better at gaming?


When a forum troll puts up a thread on the forums I usually ignore them. But this intrigued me enough to read on and pass on the thread to you. Essentially the troll started out by asking where Death and Taxes is lately in the world firsts list. Honestly it's been a while since we've seen them. However, one could make the argument that Nihilum's list of world firsts are essentially all in one run of the Black Temple, and if they happen to get there first then naturally every boss they down will again be a, err, first. However, Nihilum has definitely been making the headlines, as has Curse, leaving the American guild Death and Taxes no where to be seen. Perhaps they are spending their time pushing through the PvP ranks, who knows.

Where the thread began as a discussion on the top raiding guilds, it then turned into an interesting argument: are Europeans better at gaming? Of course, the original poster went so far as to say that since Europeans are better at WoW they must therefore be better at everything. In a small way I can see how WoW might be considered a microcosm of the outside world, but I don't really see how we can use the game as a benchmark for world superiority of one group of people over another.

But I am intrigued by the original thought. Are somehow European guilds better equipped culturally to excel at gaming? Is there something in the culture of the Europeans that makes them more able to excel at the end game than Americans?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Raiding

Selling arena titles for fun and profit

Death and Taxes has made WoW headlines for many things, mostly due to their raiding achievements. But today on the forums another aspect of the guild's performance made heads turn: their PvP arena teams. In the PvP arena 3v3 bracket Death and Taxes guild members have been using the current rule system to their benefit. What exactly does this entail? Well, to be specific, members of the top ranked teams are sharing their skill with lower ranked PvP players in order to raise their standings and get them the coveted Armored Netherdrake and an easy title. Seeing the success of one D&T arena team after another is frustrating their opponents, and therefore the vocal forum protest.

Members of D&T have naturally spoken up in their own defense, and fairly eloquently I might add. One of the accusations leveled at the guild was that they are using top crafted items to gain an edge in PvP, essentially using their power as a PvE guild to dominate the PvP domain.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, PvP, Raiding

Forum Post(s) of the Day: Patch 2.1 changes females?


There was some hullabaloo this week over various changes that some thought had been made to the female avatars in patch 2.1. These changes made me think about who makes decisions regarding what female avatars should look like, and if these decisions tell us anything about ourselves as gamers.

First of these alleged changes came to light when somehow some people got it in their minds that the... um... well... that uh... their... um... human and other Azerothian females wouldn't have to buy such large bras if they made a trip to the department store, because the two relevant glands had been reduced in size.

Well, this time it was Death and Taxes to the rescue! Xaviera took up the supposed change with dedication, comparing "old" and "new" screenshots with the utmost precision, and proved for all to see that in fact NO change had taken place! As Xaviera says at the end of her conclusive argument, "you can sleep safely, take it easy."

Stay tuned for more female avatar-change headline news and expert analysis after the jump.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Humor

Top guilds want Blizzard to take out the trash

There's been a low-level murmur for weeks in the Raids and Dungeons forum about the amount of trash in Serpentshrine Cavern. Words like "nightmare", "soul-destroying", and "worse than Twin Emps-C'thun trash" were bandied about. The problem wasn't just the amount of trash, but the respawn time -- with 45-minute respawns, guilds were literally watching trash respawn behind them as they cleared. And as more guilds check into early Tempest Keep, they're finding the same situation.

This week, the wave finally crested, with members of Death and Taxes, Curse, and other top guilds arguing that the trash situation has become unbearable. Selected comments from the threads follow:

  • Guass of Ret, Mal'Ganis: "I personally enjoy when trash respawns in the middle of a boss fight because it isn't linked to anything. It's things like this which make me feel like I wasn't meant to be raiding this zone yet ... nor was anyone else."
  • Marolla of Crimson, Greymane: "Since typically one dungeon is being started while another is released, I can only assume that the crew that did MC, AQ40 and SSC is a bunch of sadists and needs to be burned at the stake. Please let the crew that did BWL and Naxx be in charge of all hiring decisions from this point forward."
  • Mek, raid leader of Curse, Vek'linash-EU: "Trash should be killed once in a night of tries on a boss. Fine, it respawns on a soft reset or a 6 hour timer, but not this garbage we have now. If you do not fix this you are eventually going to kill off high-end raiding because we just do not want to do this anymore."
  • Cherrie of Death and Taxes, Korgath: "I personally love hours upon hours of trash. I especially enjoy having to kill it multiple times because the respawn is so quick. I enjoy it ALMOST as much as fighting untuned bosses. THE SARCASM, IT'S OVERWHELMING!"
  • Plastique of Death and Taxes, Korgath: "As much as I know you need us to play-test all of these new instances, we might not volunteer for it anymore since it's threatening our sanity ... please don't release Black Temple. It's too soon." (Italics added for emphasis.)
  • And finally, Clockwork of the reformed Overrated, Korgath, wins the thread and the entire internet with: "Wow, what a bunch of whiners. Stop crying and just clear the trash, OK?"

I haven't seen much of 25-man raiding in TBC beyond what a rogue, a mage, and a quick portal to Shattrath can show you, but the trash situation sounds like it's really wearing on the top guilds. When a member of Death and Taxes asks Blizzard NOT to release new content, something is not right. It also looks like there's near-universal hatred of the trash clears, inasmuch as every guild that's posted in these threads has decried them.

Have you seen the trash in SSC and Tempest Keep? Does it sound excessive to you, or is multiple trash clears the price you pay for being on the cutting edge?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Instances, Raiding

Know Your Lore: Lady Vashj

This is the first in a Know Your Lore twofer this week, since we missed it last week. We also have to get these two lore figures down quickly, before someone kills them and makes us all look like fools. FOOLS I TELL YOU! Anyway, first up is a slimy, wily maiden with a deep sense of loyalty and devotion to anyone who commands her.

Who: Lady Vashj.

What: Formerly a Night Elf, now a Naga.

History: Vashj was born over 10,000 years ago in the city of Zin-Ashari at the height of the Night Elves' power on Azeroth. She was of the Quel'Dorei, or the Highborne caste of Night Elves, who would eventually become the High Elves and then the Blood Elves ... I think. It's kind of confusing. As a Highborne, she quickly rose through the ranks of public service and became a handmaiden of Queen Azshara. Unfortunately for Vashj, Azshara liked the High Priestess of Elune -- Tyrande Whisperwind, future ruler of Darnassus and love object of Illidan and Malfurion Stormrage -- better than her, and offered to make Tyrande her majordomo. (No, not the guy with the adds in Molten Core. Read!)

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Filed under: Guilds, Features, Lore, Bosses, RP, Know your Lore

The raiding grind begins again ...

... as Death and Taxes clears Karazhan, and a couple of other guilds take some shots at the first 25-man raid boss, Gruul. Death and Taxes also killed the new Kazzak, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what he looks like from the screenshot.

I'm not even quite sure what else is in the game right now, raid-wise -- Lady Vashj, Kael'Thas, and Magtheridon were supposed to ship with the expansion, but is it even possible to get to them right now? And since those are mostly one-shot encounters, how long will it be before the top-tier guids begin clamoring for the head of Illidan Stormrage? (Black Temple is still under development.)

This also makes me wonder what instances will be patched in later. Blizzard has said they're trying to move away from raiding as the only means of gear progression, but if guilds blow through BC raids like they were nothing, they may find themselves once again forced to invest a lot of their resources in keeping the top raiders happy.

The only way to really slow guild progression is with bugged/unbeatable encounters (like C'thun at the beginning), gear checks (like Patchwerk) and long raid attunements (like Mount Hyjal.) No one likes bugged encounters, and you can only stretch raid attunements out for so long, so it seems that the only real option is to make a lot of encounters gear checks. But gear checks meant to slow down quick-progressing raiders can be fatal for less hardcore guilds -- how many guilds died on Razorgore and Vael or the Twin Emps?

I'm not hating on raiders, since I am one myself (although significantly more casual than hardcore), but how will Blizzard manage to balance the needs of large raid guilds, small guilds, PVPers, and soloers? Will raid guilds just have to get used to slower progression and less content, or will we be seeing Naxxramas v. 2.0 before we see more 10-man or 5-man instances?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, The Burning Crusade

Death and Taxes: They're Just That Good


Death and Taxes has been hard at work racking up those world first kills, but they've encountered a problem with Kel'Thuzad - namely, the event begins, ends, and there's no Kel'Thuzad to fight. Nnep describes the problem thusly:

...during our buff period we noticed he sort of, uh, dissapeared. Phase one still triggered as normal, although afterwards when kel'thuzad would normally become an entity, a la thaddius, he was still missing.

Not that you can blame poor Kel'Thuzad - several forum posters have speculated that if they were a raid boss and saw Death and Taxes running down the hallway, they'd disappear as well. Fortunately, however, Tigole claims this is not the way the encounter is intended - and perhaps we'll be seeing another world first soon.

Filed under: Bugs, Instances

Death & Taxes on the Raid Size Change


If you've visited the forums at all, you know many players are unhappy with change in raid size we'll be seeing in the expansion. Suddenly, guilds that are the appropriate size and composition to regularly field 40-player raids are being told that the next wave of end-game content will only need 25 players. So they're faced with a choice - either leave 15 players behind, and trim down for smaller raid content, or add to their ranks and be prepared to organize two raiding groups. Well-known raiding guild Death and Taxes has their own thoughts on the change (though be warned, it uses some harsh language, to say the least). So what's a hard-core guild to do when the raiding game is changed out from under them? Well, I imagine we'll

[Thanks Dave]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Expansions

Ahn'Qiraj Bosses Hotfixed

Two of the most difficult bosses in Ahn'Qiraj - C'thun and Ouro, neither of whom have yet been defeated - have both been hotfixed to make the encounters (presumably!) less difficult.  With major PVE raiding guilds on the verge of giving up on the buggy C'thun encounter (see Death and Taxes and Elitist Jerks for examples), CM Drysc posted regarding changes to both encounters.  If you approach either of these two bosses in the future expect the following:
  • Ouro's Quake effects deal significantly less damage
  • Lowered hit points for C'thun's Giant Claw Tentacles and Giant Eye Tentacles
  • Decreased damage from C'thun's Ground Rupture ability, which should also now be resistible
  • Significantly decreased melee damage from C'thun's Giant Eye Tentacles
  • The faction changing debuff applied to players in C'thun's stomach should no longer appear
  • Tentacles should no longer spawn in C'thun's stomach
  • A player in C'thun's stomach can no longer be the target of C'thun's Eye Beam
Will this be enough to encourage disheartened guilds who have been wiping for over a month on the C'thun encounter?  This seems the way of many of the game's major bosses thus far...  Ragnaros was impossible, until the encounter was tweaked by Blizzard.  Nefarian was impossible, until the encounter was tweaked by Blizzard.  Does it surprise anyone that C'thun is impossible in the same way?

[Thanks to Wreckless and Dave for contributing links]

Filed under: Patches, Guilds, News items, Instances

Guild Q&A: Death and Taxes


Established Alliance guild Death and Taxes, from Shattered Hand server, is one of the top PVE guilds in the game.  They have recently jumped into the new Guild Relations forum with an interview post, where they've been answering questions about guild management, raiding, and everything Warcraft.  It's interesting to see the World of Warcraft through the eyes of a serious raiding guild, and they've posted useful information and advice for guilds of all sizes.  Have your own guild-related questions?  Make a post and ask about it!

Filed under: Guilds

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