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Posts with tag deathandtaxes

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)

Breakfast Topic: How does a raiding guild avoid the fate of Death and Taxes?

So it's been a day or so since we first heard that Death and Taxes was disbanding, and since then, DnT member Xi- has posted a somewhat lengthy explanation as to why. In the end, the biggest reason Xi- gave is pride. Many people, he says, just stopped thinking about the raid and the guild as a whole, and were more focused on their own advancement and their own needs, and became impatient when a boss did not fall easily. When it was time to progress, many of them, even officers, would disappear and stop supporting them.

He also does get in a few Risen style digs about how none of the BC content was half as good as Naxxramas up until Sunwell Plateau, but he did manage to sound a lot more classy than Risen did.

But the point about pride, about guild members who disappear for a while and expect to pick back up where they left off when they return, and about people who never show up for progress kills, or show up and complain if the boss doesn't fall after one or two tries, that rings true with me, as I am sure it rings true with a lot of current and former MMO raiders, whether from WoW or other games.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, News items, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Raiding

Breaking News: Death and Taxes guild disbands [Updated]

Something strange is afoot in the wee ours of the morning here, as Nihilum is reporting that the Death and Taxes guild on the Korgath US PvP server has disbanded. This guild has long been considered perhaps the premiere raiding guild of the US Servers. As of this writing, there is no further word on why they have disbanded, only that they have and that some of them will reroll Horde.

The front page of the official Death and Taxes site does not have any sort of news post on the issue, but does have a banner that reads "Rest In Peace Death and Taxes, Beta 2004-May 2008," and has a list of their world and US first kills. The forum's name has been changed to "Death and Taxes - Keep in Touch," though there does not appear to be a forum post accessible by a basic account that gives any insight or information as to the disbanding. Hopefully more information is revealed soon.

Death and Taxes has been hot on the raiding scene for some time, gaining US and world firsts starting in AQ40 and Naxxramas, and continuing into the Burning Crusade, including their most recent US first kill of Illidan Stormrage and a few key PTR kills in the Sunwell Plateau as well.

For now, we'll watch and see if more information comes forth. Perhaps they may be like Risen, believing the end-game progression is worthless but possibly reappearing in WoTLK. Either way, their achievements were many, and they will be missed.

Thanks to Liam for tipping us off on this.

Update: A poster called Flux (who is not a DnT member but claims he has talked to some), posting on Nihilum's forum thread on the disbanding, claims that they were having trouble retaining guild members due to the long stretch of time between Illidan's downing and any new content, and that the first week of Sunwell raiding was difficult. After attempts to mass-recruit to fill holes ended in a lower level of raiding ability than they were used to, DnT's leaders decided to disband. Apparently, many DnT members will be rerolling Horde on Blackrock.

You might want to take this information with a grain of salt, but it's the best we have for now.

Behind the cut is a list of Death and Taxes' world and US first kills.

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Filed under: Guilds, News items, Rumors

Four endgame guilds on WoW Radio today


Our friend Totalbiscuit of WoW Radio sends word to remind us that today at 2 pm EST (in just about an hour and a half from now), he'll be hosting a roundtable with members of Nihilum, Death and Taxes, Forte and Method-- in other words, pretty much every endgame guild that matters. I guess he could probably go for Curse as well, but "Four Horsemen" just sounds better.

On the menu is supposed to be "all aspects of the endgame," so it'll be interesting to see what gets talked about. Expect to hear about what they thought of the Black Temple and the attunements being lifted from the Eye and SSC, and TB would probably be remiss if he didn't ask what they think is coming next (even though no one but Blizzard has anything but speculation about that right now, probably until Blizzcon). But nevertheless, WoW Radio always does a good interview, and this should be a good listen for sure.

Filed under: Podcasting, Guilds, Odds and ends, Instances, Interviews

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

In Death and Taxes, pallies heal and priests DPS

This Forums thread poster points out (probably discovered via the Armory) that every single Paladin in Death and Taxes (our Guild of the Year last year) is specced for healing-- right down the line, they're all 41/20/0. And as if that wasn't interesting enough, later in the thread, paladin Nidhogg of D&T posts, and actually lays out just what every class' role is in their raids. There's some surprises:

Our warriors tank
Our paladins heal
Our druids heal
Our priests DPS
Our rogues DPS
Our hunters DPS
Our warlocks DPS
Our mages DPS
Our shamans heal


As Pally Sucks says, priests DPS? While all the paladins heal? Nidhogg says the "utility + DPS" of shadow priests is something they can't pass up, so their priests are in shadowform (with one holy for spirit). In addition, he says all the paladins are specced for healing not because they're forced to, just because they like it. And they put 20 points in Protection, Nid says, because he likes having them for PvP.

So what does it mean for class balance when you've got the hybrid healing instead of the main healing class in one of the most advanced guilds in the game? Sure, Paladins can do DPS, but when it comes down to it, a raid who knows what they're doing makes them healbots, and asks priests to all go in shadowform.

Filed under: Paladin, Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, Talents

Fun with the Armory

Now that the Armory is finally up and working (it was crushed by requests when it was first posted), I've had a chance to look at it, and I have to say, I think it's the coolest thing I've ever seen on an MMO's website ever. The Camelot Herald was cool (for those of you who know about that), but, privacy issues aside, the Armory is going to become a terrific tool for players, guilds, Alliance and Horde all over the world.

Already, it's showing us things about the game that we'd never known otherwise. There are apparently 22 pages of Legolas toons, although Leroyjenkins doesn't have the showing I'd have thought (50 entries, none of which are above 60 as of this writing). Maybe he wipes too much. While there are tons and tons of "alliance" guilds, there's only a few for "horde." Death and Taxes either has 20 chapters, or 19 wannabes-- Nihilum doesn't have any. And while arena teams are fairly new, lots of people didn't get too creative with them-- there's 165 teams with "arena" in the name. I tried to see if our friend Juffowup, the naked troll hunter, was still naked, but he hasn't been on a while. Antitweak, the naked druid, is only 20, but she is-- yup, still naked.

And there's lots of cool personal stuff in here, too. My shaman, Shamanic, shares a name with lots of people, but from what I can see, he's number one (the one from Thunderhorn) on the list-- confirming what I already knew, ahem. And I think it's particularly cool that on every character screen, they even show, in the right corner, the buffs you have on the character at the time. Now that's real-time! Unfortunately, they also show your professions, so everyone in the world can see that I've been slacking off. But overall, I love the Armory. You guys seen anything funny or cool in there yet?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, Fan stuff, Guilds, Blizzard

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 5-mans Loatheb


Our Guild of the Year for 2006, Death and Taxes, hasn't wasted any time in 2007, either. At a time when most guild are trying to keep their raiding numbers up, D&T doesn't bother-- they just go in with less people. And now, reports Curse, they've downed Loatheb with just five people-- three shadow priests, a warlock specced with Nether Protection (or maybe not, see comments), and a warrior.

The official announcement is over on their forums. They don't say specifics on attempts or how long it took them, but apparently they've got 15 gigs of video from FRAPS on the kill. That means, of course, that a video is coming soon, but as one of the guys says, we probably don't need to see a video to know what happened: "Just imagine a shadowbolt and 3 blue lines flying in the air for 40 minutes."

Filed under: Fan stuff, Guilds, Instances, Raiding

WoW Insider Best of 2006: Server, Class, and Guild

The year is almost over, and that means it's time for us to take a look back, and pick some of the best (and worst) of Azeroth in 2006. This year saw a lot of innovation, a lot of whining, plenty of killing (both PVE and PVP), and almost saw the new expansion (we have to save something for next year, right?).

Last week, we took your nominations for ten different categories. Over the weekend, the WoW Insider staff deliberated. I'd like to say there was a lot of arguing back and forth, and even some throwing of items around the room at each other, but truthfully things went pretty smoothly (everyone agreed I was right). And so, without further ado, today we present the Server, Class, and Guild of the Year for 2006. Click the link below to see the winners.

And come back every day this week, as we award all the other categories, including Player of the Year, Best (and Worst) Blizzard Move of the Year, and even NPC Friend and Enemy of the Year.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, Guilds, Blizzard, Features

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