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Posts with tag Patchwerk

Random raid factors and the high cost of failure

Klepsakovic over at Troll Racials are Overpowered has a thought-provoking post asking how Blizzard's advancing raid model is affecting players and how they relate to each other. In particular, he zeroes in on a point that I think a lot of players sense but never really articulate: Not every player in a raid is going to be equally stressed by a fight, and when the stressed party or parties is randomly determined, things get ugly fast.

Compare this to encounters where the primary difficulty is role-specific or even player-specific. Good DPSers pushed their output to the limit on Patchwerk, healers learned to anticipate damage during Malygos' Vortex while one or two people got good at yanking sparks into the raid, and tanks grew experienced with fast pick-ups on Kael'thas. But the average raid group, even when experienced, probably tripped over and over again on encounters like Teron Gorefiend or Anub'arak. When you can't control who gets targeted by Shadow of Death or Anub'arak's spikes and when the randomness limits the experience that any one player can get ... Well, it's easy to see how certain fights acquire the nightmare moniker.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Observations from running a Naxx-25 PuG


I'm very "up" on PuGs. I started my career as a PuG tank and met a lot of great players that way, many of whom I still raid with today. I've always been a stout supporter of throwing caution to the wind and joining LFG for an afternoon to see where it'll take you; it's been my experience that random players on your realm can and often will surprise you.

Once you master the art of the 5-person PuG, the ultimate risk is a raid PuG. One-shot the instance, or spend the night wiping? You won't know until you try.

I used to run Hyjal PuG's in late Burning Crusade and got to be the person in charge of arranging healers on Anetheron, explaining where to die on Azgalor, and uttering a hollow laugh at suggestions on whether or not Archimonde was in the cards (answer: hell no). I wasn't around for my guild's Naxx run one of these past weeks, and a few guildies were interested in gearing up their alts, so we thought -- PuG a 25-man Naxx? Why not?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Features, Humor, Raiding, Bosses, Classes

Warlock tanks Patchwerk


Forget Grimkrast. He's fired. My ambitions of having my voidwalker tank Sartharion have been dashed to the ground, and frankly, I don't mind so much. Grimkrast was a slacker who refused to hit the gym, anyway. Voidwalker tanking is so last season. Readers Brad, Domien, and Lifedeathsoul sent us something new to aspire for -- Warlock tanking! I've always been a bit upset at the design of Metamorphosis, particularly with the Challenging Howl ability which never quite made sense to me. As a Warlock, it was counterintuitive to try and get hit by the boss when normally that means death.

Sure, Metamorphosis pumps up our armor, and we get that awesome AoE Immolation Aura and that off-the-GCD Shadow Cleave (bet a lot of you didn't know that!), but in general Metamorphosis wasn't meant to make Warlocks tanks. Well, leave it to some Gnomes to prove me wrong. Here's a video of some intrepid pint-sized folk tanking everything from Cyanigosa to... Patchwerk. Don't believe it? Check out the video and see those diminutive aberrations abuse get creative with Metamorphosis. I, too, want to join the Warlock tank club. I just have one question... do I have to be a Gnome?

Filed under: Warlock, Instances, Raiding

Raid Rx: On the fly healing

Raid Rx has returned from retirement! Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. This week we're going to cover assignment-less healing: When to get away with it and when you can't!

Assignment-less healing. It often has unpredictable results. Sometimes your raid group will be lucky and emerge unscathed. I'm a control freak. I like to have a plan A, a plan B and even a plan for when things go wrong.

I've joined my share of pickup groups in the past few months. I usually play on my alt Shaman. I'm more of the Shatner type that hurls bolts of lightning. I've experienced mixed success. On bosses like Archavon, Anub'Rekhan and Sartharion with no drakes active, I notice not a whole lot of organized healing is done. Either that or it was organized behind the scenes via whispers.

To be fair, those types encounters can be done with little organization before hand. I know the first time I went into Naxx and Obsidian Sanctum wearing half blues, a smattering of crafted epics and the odd green or two. Having the healing set up in advance helped out a lot and reassured people. Sometimes it helps the raid morale some when they know the confidence emanating from healers who know who they're healing is there.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

AFKing your way to greatness


One of the most irritating things about raiding would have to be ninja AFK's. You wait for the results of a ready check only to see that -- oh, crap -- someone hasn't returned a verdict. Now, AFK's can happen for good reasons (children, explosions, children with explosives), but just as often they don't. On farm content, it's an irritating wait. On progression content, you check your watch and realize you're inching that much closer to a respawn timer and a raid leader who'll need a prescription for that skyrocketing blood pressure of his. As time passes, the clamor to just pull the boss rises, but that's not really possible on an achievement-oriented run like The Undying or something like a 3-drake Sartharion.

There are still a few fights where you can AFK entirely and no one would be the wiser (here's looking at you, Patchwerk), but they're a dying breed. Too Many Annas, much to our surprise, managed a successful Heigan kill with an AFK player, and Heigan's notoriously unforgiving even to the inattentive. The tactic involves a Paladin and what I assume to be a supremely annoyed heal team, but apparently it worked -- and I am mightily tempted to suggest it for our next Naxx clear.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Raiding

Raid Rx: Help! How do I start organizing my healers?

Raid Rx has returned from retirement! Every Thursday (usually), Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. This week I explore a few questions that new healing leaders have.

This is a question that caught my attention on the Plusheal forums. Julanna just became their guild's de facto healing lead and had some important questions to ask.

So, I have become our de facto healing lead. We have very little structure. We need some. I am not sure how to get some coordination going between our healers.

How do you communicate with your healers? How much do they expect from you in terms of instructions or advice? Is it before the raid? During? How can you get the raid leader to understand that healing assignments other than "don't let people die" are important and make things go better (especially if it is a tank with a healer alt)?

I am not positive about assigning other classes of heals, and I am the only holy priest.

Any resources out there I should look at? That may inform me of other classes basic skills, spells, etc?
Or any advice you may have from a newb officer, newb healing lead, newb progression raider from a new guild?

I'll break up these questions individually and answer them based on my own experience.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Tips, Raiding, Guides, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

Breakfast Topic: Pranks

I love in-game pranks. One of the first things our Guild Master did when we downed Patchwerk was to tell the entire raid to run through the frogger slimes, telling them to hit the slime to "get their buff". Sure enough, all the players who had never been to Naxxramas or read much about it proceeded straight through the gauntlet. The next thing we knew, there were corpses strewn all over the place and our GM proclaimed himself The Noob Killer.

Back in the days of vanilla WoW, one of our favorite things to do to new raiders was initiate them by telling them to go up to the 'window' behind Golemagg the Incinerator to take a peek at Ragnaros. Hilarity ensued and repair bills skyrocketed. I certainly enjoyed the brewfest brew trick on Sapphiron, although that might warrant some serious -DKP.

One of our officers' favorite tricks is to tell guildies to meet him in some major city, telling them he was going to give them something. When they finally get there, he pops a macro that strips him naked and casts Mirror Image, yelling, 'SEXYTIME!' No repair bills here, but seeing four naked trolls is certainly not worth the trip. How about you? What silly pranks have you played on guildies or friends (or even enemies)? What pranks have been played on you?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Humor

Ready Check: Guide to Naxxramas (Construct Quarter, part 1)


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 down some bosses. This week, we unwisely decide to give the column to Allison "Oops, I forgot my frost resist" Robert. Not that you actually need frost resist gear for the Construct Quarter...but that's about the time she generally remembers she left hers in the bank.

Greetings, folks. Jennie's off for January, so I'll be writing Ready Check this month. Today's installment got a little long, mostly because Patchwerk tends to be a stumbling block to guilds still gearing up in Naxxramas, and Grobbulus is a little complicated to describe. So tonight I'll post on the first two bosses in the Construct Quarter, and tomorrow I'll finish with Gluth and Thaddius. Next week we'll take a look at Sapphiron and Kel'thuzad in order to finish off Naxx.

The Construct, or Abomination, Quarter of Naxxramas contains two of the raid's most storied fights in the form of Patchwerk and Thaddius. It additionally contains some of the raid's most storied trash in the form of the Frogger Hallway directly after Patchwerk. As Jennie says, if you want to experience the encounters unspoiled, don't read any further!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Features, Raiding, Bosses, Guides, Wrath of the Lich King, Ready Check (Raiding)

Why "easy raids" are a good thing (for now)


I really didn't expect to be writing this. Like others, I was left a bit nonplussed at the seeming ease of early raiding content in Wrath, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like an interesting intersection of prudence, circumstances, and quite possibly some residual discomfort on Blizzard's part over how awful early BC raiding was. I don't think that the current "ease" of first-tier raid content in Wrath is a bad thing -- and I also don't expect future content to stay that way.

My guild cleared all of the 25-man raid content in Wrath within two weeks of the expansion's release. Naxxramas was easily the biggest non-surprise. Doing Naxx-25 in the company of people who know the place inside and out is a pretty straightforward and -- dare I say it -- easy process. This is even more true with players who learned the original Naxx at 70, with a much greater margin for error than they would have had at 60. Honestly? Most of the fights haven't changed to the point where you'd have to toss out your previous strategy and start all over again. A raid that saw Naxx at any point between 60 and 70 is effectively an old dog that doesn't have to learn a new trick.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath 101: An introduction to raiding


For some of you, your eyes will be on the goals of end game. You're not going to need as many consumables now as you did before. This represents a change in Blizzard philosophy. Don't even think about using Mana Oils or Wizard Oils (or stones) as they will not work on items over level 70. Pro tip: Chances are, you'll be using your present weapons for a while. Might as well use any you have left over for those while you level until you come across a replacement weapon.

Naxxramas

It once hovered over the Eastern Plaguelands. Now you can find this entry level instance in Dragonblight to the east. Players that experienced the old version of Naxx will notice many similarities in this latest rendition. Many of the bosses have returned (with the exception of a particular Knight from the 4 Horsemen).

Obsidian Sanctum

This is the first entry level Onyxia style boss you'll encounter. Sartharion is surrounded by 3 mini-boss dragons. Think of it as a modified Zul'Aman instance challenge. You can set the difficulty of the encounter by sparing any number of dragons. Leaving all 3 up when you engage Sartharion results in more items (and better quality). The Sanctum is also located in Dragonblight below Wyrmrest Temple.

The Eye of Eternity

Malygos makes the Eye of Eternity his domain. This is the only raid instance you will find in The Nexus. Before you can summon Malygos, you need to have the Heroic Key to the Focusing Iris (or its 10 man counterpart, the Key to the Focusing Iris). It'll be the first instance where you get to engage the boss on flying mounts!

Check out our walkthrough of these three early Wrath raids in the gallery below!


Arthas awaits and so do your questions. Find the answers you've been looking for that will help you with your journey into Northrend and to level 80 with Wrath 101.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Screenshots, Raiding, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

Shadow Priests beaten to death in the Wrath beta

It has taken me a few tries to talk about Shadow Priests today, because I've had a difficult time even wrapping my mind around last night's Wrath Beta patch. It was one of those dreaded "balancing" patches, in which everything and everyone is brutally beaten with nerfs to bring their damage in line. The only problem with that is Shadow Priests were beaten just as hard, if not harder than many other classes, long before we ever had anything resembling competitive damage.

Edit: It looks like this is mostly being reverted, so the changes in this content patch were ultimately completely arbtirary and baseless. If you're still curious as to what those changes were, keep reading.

Let's look at what this patch had in store for us, shall we?
  • Fade now only has one rank, and it temporarily drops all of your threat.
Well, this is good. You can make as many arguments for the old Fade as you want, but it was just dumb. A tiny temporary threat drop that didn't scale was a pain to use, even if it was possible to use. Just because you can use something doesn't mean it's especially effective. I like this change. However...

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

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