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Ready Check: WoW Insider's Guide to Baleroc, the Gatekeeper

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

Greetings again, raiders! If you have been following along thus far, then you know that we've pushed rather deep into Ragnaros' territory. Already, we've defeated the great hunter Shannox, the queen of spiders Beth'tilac, the vicious Lord Rhyolith, and the treacherous Alysrazor. With the first four of Ragnaros' supporters dead, we now focus on making our way into the heart of the Sulfuron Spire itself. Only one obstacle stands in our way: the Gatekeeper Baleroc.

Wielding his twin devastating swords, Baleroc is no pushover. This encounter will test the resolve of both your healers and your DPS as you race against a tight enrage timer while combating insurmountable tank damage. No joke --your tanks will be taking this in the millions on this encounter, so you'd better prepare yourselves, heroes. This journey is just getting started.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: WoW Insider's Guide to Alysrazor

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

Greetings again, chaps. It is time once more to continue with our plans of invading the Firelands, snuffing out the vile Ragnaros, and securing everlasting peace upon Azeroth. At least until the next raiding tier comes out. This week, we'll be taking down the newest additional to Ragnaros' army, the green dragon turned fire hawk Alysrazor. Aided in battle by her newly spawned clutch of children and their druidic keepers, this bird is one hot mama. What, I'm not allowed to make corny jokes?

Whatever. If you think you have what it takes to face down a former green dragon, then read on, heroes. Epic loots await you! If you are interested in the prior bosses, look up WoW Insider's guides to Shannox, Beth'tilac, and Lord Rhyolith. Steel yourselves -- it's about to get hot.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: WoW Insider's guide to Beth'tilac

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

Thus far in our adventures, we have tackled the Firelord's finest hunter Shannox and toppled another member of the "royal" family, Lord Rhyolith. This week, we zip clear across to the other side of the map in order to fling ourselves against the mother of all Lava Spiders. As the matriarch or the Cinderweb Brood, Beth'tilac has created and cares for a massive web network that spans a large portion of the west sector of the Firelands. Here, she and her children capture and feed off of other fire elementals.

Seemingly, this is a bad thing, but despite being lavavores, the Cinderweb Brood seems to have at least a partial relationship with Ragnaros, often joining his forces in the field of battle. Perhaps the newly christened fire druids have something to do with this? Regardless, she's got loot, and we're here to take it from her! Let's get started.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: WoW Insider's Guide to Lord Rhyolith

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

WoW players are not unaccustomed to tackling giant creatures. We've slain dragons, gronn, elemental lords, and even ogres infused with the raw power of the Old Gods. In our time, there have been some big bads that were, well, literally big. Lord Rhyolith now falls into that criteria -- a massive molten lord covered in rocks so thick and so sharp that spells and blades couldn't even think to but dink away at his hide.

This royalty of the Firelands is one of the first four "fluid" bosses in Firelands. You can reach Lord Rhyolith by following the road to the right, over the bridge and up the gauntlet ramp. There he stands, out on a platform surrounded by lava, begging for players to come and test their mettle against him. This is going to be one tough nut to crack; are you up for the challenge?

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: WoW Insider's guide to Shannox

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

Shannox is the leader of the Flamewalker hunters and generally the first boss that players tangle with in Firelands. He comes complete with his two pets, Riplimb and Rageface, all of which have to be fought at the same time. Shannox is different than most bosses in that he isn't initially in the dungeon; you must first clear a fairly hefty amount of trash in order to force him to spawn.

Also unlike other boss encounters, he does not have a set location where you can fight him. Instead, he pads around the pathway that circles around the entire opening portion of the zone. He will always spawn at Baleroc's gate in the back center of the room and from there circle counterclockwise.

Think your raid is ready to take on the best hunter in the Firelands?

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: The quest for Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

There is one thing about WoW that is a constant. No matter what happens in the game, there is one truth that will never change. That is, people get color-crazy. Blue gear, purple gear, orange gear -- people care about the color of the items that you are wearing. When a new legendary is introduced into the game, that becomes the biggest thing on everyone's lips. It is the new hot item, the one thing that everyone wants.

Patch 4.2 introduced one such item. Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest is the big deal of this raiding tier, and it is the thing that people want. Last week, I did a little blurb about the staff, but that alone wasn't enough. There've been plenty of emails asking for more information on the specifics of the legendary, so here are your answers.

(For those wondering, next week will see the start of the Ready Check raiding guides, so make sure to tune in for those as we go an an adventure of killing all of this tier's big bads. For now, let's talk about a staff.)

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: Preparing your raid for 4.2

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

Greetings once again folks. Raiding at this point in Cataclysm is hitting a bit of a lag. While there still aren't tons and tons of guilds that have cleared all of the heroic content, guilds have been working on the initial raids for quite some time now. Completed or not, players are starting to get ready for something new. Lucky for all of us, Blizzard does provide.

Soon, and hopefully not in the Blizzard sense of the word, patch 4.2 will be hitting live servers. The patch will bring with it the epic Firelands raid where players will once again be able to face off against Ragnaros the Fire Lord. This time, however, it won't merely be a weakened version that was summoned too soon. No, now we'll be marching right into the plane of fire itself to confront the burning master on his own throne. The raid promises to be both challenging and entertaining.

Is your raid ready to take the heat?

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: Catacysm raid changes a tier later

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

When Cataclysm was being developed, Blizzard announced a lot of changes that they would be making to the raiding scene. Specifically, 10- and 25-man raids would now essentially be considered one and the same. They would share the same lockout, reward the same loot, and generally be considered as equal.

The community, in their grand resistance to change, called foul on many of these changes. Certainly, WotLK created an embitterment towards 10-man raiding as being "easier" or a "lower class" of raiding that simply wasn't on the same scope as 25-man raiding. In their defense, they had every right to think this because that is exactly how Blizzard had made raids at the time.

Now that we've been through a whole tier of raiding under these changes, and as we move onto the next tier, it is time to reflect back on all of the arguments that sprouted and see how realistic they really were.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: How to deal with multiple wipes

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

Are you willing to spend a night wiping on new content?

It's a fairly common question seen on applications to raiding guides these days and has been for the longest time now. Wiping is a part of learning content. Everyone wipes -- everyone. There's simply no way that you can hope to avoid it. Anyone who wants to join any raiding guide at any level of progression is going to have to accept the fact that they are going to spend a good deal of time tanking the floor.

Despite how common it is and despite how much we have all come to accept that it is going to happen, people really don't like wiping. It isn't fun, after all. Wiping means that you've failed, and people hate to fail. Still, this is a truth that we must all learn to accept and all learn to deal with.

Are you willing to spend a night wiping on new content? Can you really deal with it? How do you deal with it?

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Filed under: Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: Is your raid group socially compatible?

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

Those people who know me would probably say I'm a rather agreeable person. Perhaps not always entirely nice, but if you ask me to do something or for help, then chances are I'll say yes. However, should you demand that I do any task, then you're better off talking to the wall, and you'll be lucky if I so much as recognize you exist.

This makes being a part of a raiding team interesting. Raid leaders often do make demands of their raiders, and usually that's just considered to be how it is. On the other hand, there are raid leaders out there who do nothing but ask, and they do so ever so nicely. They're effective, yet these leaders can sometimes be viewed as soft, weak, unable to actually control the raid. Every raid is composed of several different personalities; every raid is led in a different way.

How, then, to know what to do as a raider? How do you know the best way to handle your team as a raid leader? It's all a big, jumbled mess.

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Filed under: Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: Who pays for raiding supplies?

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

Raiding is a lot of work, and it can actually end up being fairly costly. Players often underestimate the overall cost of raiding; between food, flasks, and repairs, it does add up. Beyond that, each new piece of gear that you gain from raiding adds in additional costs through enchants and gems. Further still, some players have to re-spec frequently despite the existence of dual spec, and switching glyphs multiple times every raid can rack up a nice price tag, too.

With such a high cost placed on raiding, who is ultimately responsible for all of it? Early in WoW, the answer was easy. Each player was individually responsible for having his or her own materials. Wrath created a new issue with the introduction of feasts, where a single item could provide for an entire raid group. Now, Cataclysm offers another raid-wide consumable via cauldrons. As these items become available, who is left footing the bill?

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Filed under: Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: On damage meters

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

The smell of fresh territory. I have to say, despite being the most hated writer on the WoW Insider staff, there's nothing like writing under a new heading, no matter whether it be temporary or more permanent. While I love my other projects on the site, there's something ... thrilling when you get to write about a new topic. It's like buying a new car or getting a new apartment. You just love the thrill of new.

In his goodbye but not farewell post, Mr. Gray listed five lessons that he had learned during his time writing Ready Check. For any who read my other works, you probably guess that I agree with his statements for the large part. There is one point that he made that struck a controversial chord with some of our readers: meters. People love their meters; people hate their meters. Many of us would love to play in a game where such things didn't exist, while the same number would probably make them required. What's a player to do?

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Filed under: Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: 5 lessons learned from our readers

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

It feels like time has flown by me. I suppose that's the way things go when you're having fun. I've been writing Ready Check for two years; I started when we were all staring in awe at the magnificent architecture of Ulduar. Since then, my time in this column has been fun, a struggle, elating, and depressing. It is now, however, simply time to move on.

I'm still raiding, and clearly I'm not leaving WoW Insider. But after two years, it's time to have someone else grab the steering wheel and help out the raids of Azeroth. Tyler Caraway will be laying down his DOT-laden wisdom in these hallowed halls, and I truly do believe he's going to do a great job.

If you do a half-decent job of writing, you'll find yourself learning from your readers. I think it's a requisite for this job ... Are you listening to what people are saying? In the time I've been at the helm of Ready Check, I've certainly learned from you folks. I will now share those lessons as my parting "thank you" to the people who've made it worthwhile.

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Filed under: Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: When you disagree with your raid leader

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

A good friend and colleague, Mr. Matt "The Matticus" Low, recently recieved the following question: "I consistently disagree with my [raid leader] on raid decisions and I know I can do a better job. What do I do?"

Matt's a man of few words. He's like a healing cowboy from the old (Canadian) West, riding into town on the horse of common sense. Hearts break at his passing, and bad guys (of poor logic) fall at his feet. His response was simple, borrowing the words of ancient wisdom from Lao-tzu:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

What he meant by that, of course, is that if you can't agree with your raid leader on anything and you think you can do a better job, then you should go do that job: Start your own raid. While Matt summed it up pretty easily, it's like I said -- he's a man of few words. I'm a tad more verbose.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: Dealing with a failing second raid group

We recently received this mail from a reader, who's struggling to keep his raid group afloat. Let's get right into it. We'll leave the reader anonymous.

I'm writing to you as an officer in a guild and a raid leader for one of two groups in said guild.

Originally, our group struggled for numbers, mostly filled by alts from the other group. Then, we entered a golden age of progress, gaining several members who regularly attended. Then, we lost several to another guild. Then several more ceased regularly attending. Alts became less reliable. Several new recruits joined, and never show up for raids. Yet every new recruit, we check availability, everyone's availability for 2/3 raid nights ... I'm flabbergasted, and frustrated, with a hodgepodge group every night of non-ideal compositions born of necessity, less than ideal members not properly geared and less than committed to raiding, because we have no choice. We're not picking and choosing between members, we're taking whoever is available, which is usually just barely 10.

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Filed under: Ready Check (Raiding)

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