Getting up to speed

March 4, 2010

Two months of neglect, but there’s finally something to talk about again.

Early January we started a raiding coalition with another guild from our server, and it went well for as long as it lasted. We made some great friends and did some great raids. Unfortunately, after about a month of raiding the other guild fell apart. There are a few… “aggressive” guilds on our server, one of which bluntly recruited people directly from other guilds. Some were taken in by the sweet talk and it just went downhill from there. At least all the good folk went to a good raiding guild together, a guild we have good ties with, so it could be much worse.

Surprisingly, our own recruiting has picked up quite well over the days. We’ve gained a few good members, and we’re doing heroics together almost every evening. It’s fun to have everyone on Vent and get to know each other, just having fun. It’s good preparation for when we get into raiding again. After all, it’s more fun to raid with friends than people you hardly know.

Tigue is leveling well, 72 at the moment. I took a break from leveling to get her professions (mining/jewelcrafting) up to par, so every node I come across now during leveling can actually be mined. It’s much more profitable that way! I have no doubt that she’ll be level 80 soon, and then it’s time to hit the heroics and get some tanking gear for her.

Cara and I have been running the show in Samsara for a while now, but we decided that we needed a third person on board to form a stable Triage. The logical choice for us was Sc, so therefor we promoted him to Officer. I’ve been thinking about it, and part of me wonders if it’ll be seen as a biased promotion, since Cara and Sc are a real-life couple, but I’m quite sure it won’t. We’ve got a good, understanding bunch in the guild and all the troublemakers left long ago. The three of us are online the most, and Sc has been in the middle of guild leading discussions before, so to me it’s a natural course of action.

It’s looking like good times ahead for Samsara, and I can finally smile again after finally coming out of the briar patch of problems we’ve had.


Tuesday Shorts: The transformation is complete!

January 5, 2010

Yep, I’m back. I enjoyed my vacation, and now it’s REALLY over. Time to stop fooling around and really get working. No more weeks away, fun trips or quick vacations. I promise.

Time to kick off with a new episode of the Tuesday Shorts.

  • I decided it was time to jump factions with that Warrior of mine, so I started a Faction Change. Oddly enough, it didn’t accept my credit card.
  • Even more odd, it somehow copied my character and displayed two Night Elf Warriors on the character screen! I didn’t dare to log in, but when I finally did it said I couldn’t log in to characters pending a change.
  • I managed to finish the payment though, and now I have Tigue, the Orc Warrior-ess at lvl 41. I can’t wait to get her leveled up.
  • The guild has been quiet during the holidays, or peaceful as I like to see it. Activity is picking up again, though, and we’re starting our raiding coalition as well. I’m all refreshed now, so I’m looking forward to what Twenty-Ten will bring us.
  • [Lord Marrowgar Must Die!] was the weekly raid last week, so when some DPS was needed in a pug, I decided to take the shot and join up. I knew the fight already, and we did a great job. One wipe, but at the second attempt we got him down. Oh yeah, I love my new Claymore, an automatic win since I was the only melee dps in the group. I’m WAY over the hit cap now, so I should start focusing on getting some gear without that stat on it.
  • On a non-WoW related note, I got the New Super Mario Bros. game for the Wii this Christmas, and it kicks ass. I’ve been playing both the singleplayer and multiplayer with my sister, and both are very enjoyable. Fitting both these games into my playing schedule while adding college and work to the mix (which I decided to spend more time on), maintaining an active social life and possibly even getting into the gym for once a week (which I’ve been saying for well over half a year now), only one question inhabits my mind: where are the 48-houred days?

Happy 2010 to you all, and see you in-game!


The return of the Broodmother

September 29, 2009

onyxia

As a person who didn’t start playing until mid-TBC, I’ve never had the pleasure of raiding the original Onyxia at a fair level. By the time I challenged the Broodmother I already had an unfair level and gear advantage.

The revamping of Onyxia’s Lair gives the post-Vanilla players a chance to experience the fury of the Broodmother just like the Vanilla players once did. Vanilla players get to see one of their old raid bosses again and be reminded of either their successes or their horror stories.

The loot is on par with Trial of the Crusader gear and even T9. Check out this comparison, for instance. The resistance stats are a bit useless, I agree, but they obviously kept that as a touch of flavor. Either way, it doesn’t seem to hinder the rest of the stats.

As for the encounter itself, it’s not a very hard fight. Out of the three phases, the first and third are basically straight DPS phases. Of course this was very different back in the “olden days”, when Onyxia reset aggro in phase three, so in that respect the fight has become easier.

Phase two, the “airborne phase”, is not hard in theory, but still a bit tricky when actually executing it. The deep breaths don’t actually kill people, but do split them up. Blast waves, cast by the elite dragonkin, can be forgotten sometimes, and in the heat of battle a clothie might get too close to one and suffer a one hit KO. And if these dragonkin don’t get killed quick enough, a second will spawn with the first still up, and there’s only so much a tank can handle.

Oh, and to nip any rumors in the bud: no, melee CAN’T target Onyxia in phase two. It has been tried, tested and found impossible.

All in all, you could say Onyxia’s Lair is a nice addition to the current raids available to us. However, it doesn’t make me all that excited. It’s a fun fight, but very straight-forward. Every raid instance we’ve had so far has given us ingenious fights. From Thaddius and Heigan in Naxxramas to Flame Leviathan and Mimiron in Ulduar, and many more of course, we’ve been spoiled with very fun fights. The straight-forwardness of Onyxia is perhaps a bit of a weak point.

Either way, she does drop that 310% flying mount, so Onyxia will be the talk of the town for quite a while.


It is good to be back…into the rhythm

September 27, 2009

God, it’s been a long time since I last had a decent raid. I don’t count the TotC 10 from two weeks ago, when I suddenly had to raid lead and we had several lineup changes. We didn’t down anything that night, so not exactly exciting.

We had Ulduar last night, and for the first time in well over a month I was part of the group again. Of course I had done Ulduar quite a few times already (although mainly the first few fights and much less so the Keepers, Vezax or Yogg), and it was no problem to get back into the rhythm. That wasn’t the main goal, though. I was mainly there to get back to raiding now that I finally have the free evenings for it again, to experience the funtimes again, and partially to see how our newly appointed raid leader was doing (and she did a smashing job, I must say).

Nothing even remotely Paladin-oriented dropped tonight, leaving me with some major upgrades still (gotta lose that T7.5 soon!), but that’s just the way it is. There’s always TotC and VoA for T9 and similar gear, and Emblems of Triumph can get you quite far if you diligently do your daily heroics.

Follow-up run on tuesday, with Thorim, General Vezax and Yogg-Saron left. We did quite well tonight, and I’m feeling pretty confident about tuesday. Fingers crossed.


DIY Progress Raids: Friend or Foe?

September 22, 2009

The constant strive for improvement and progression is a part of every raider. It’s what keeps us going, drives us to take one more shot at Yogg-Saron or pushes us to the heights of our performance. But what if, for some reason, there are no raids and you’re left idling in Dalaran? PUGs aren’t the best course of action, as we all know. Group composition and overall performance can be lacklustre at times. But what if you were allowed to make your own raid, exclusively for guildies, during the absence of these “official” raids?

Would they be a blessing or a curse? 

For a while, Samsara went through some serious changes. In order to make these changes as smooth as possible, official raiding was cancelled for a few weeks. During this time we allowed our members to organize these progress raids, Ulduar and TotC, for themselves (Naxx was already open at that point). The management was not involved in its planning in any way, we merely gave them the authority to plan the raids, put them on the in-game calendar and use the forum to post the teams. Signups would be handled by them, as well as team selection and raid leading, all the way up to loot distribution and troubleshooting.

The question of whether or not this course of action will be effective relies on many different factors. First of all, we’ll have to take a look at the pros and cons of both official and unofficial raids. In my view it comes down to this:

Officially Planned Raids

Pros:

  • Regular raiding schedule
  • Raid rotation allows for fair team selections
  • Unbiased loot distribution

Cons:

  • Raids are set in stone. If you can’t make a certain day, you’re out of luck.

Unofficially Planned Raids

Pros:

  • More guild interaction
  • Easier on the officially appointed raid leaders
  • Raiders stay sharp since they keep raiding

Cons:

  • Allows for biased team selection / loot distribution
  • Lack of overview by officers

The big plus of the official raids are, for me, the sense of stability, fairness, and from an officers point of view also control. Officers are aware of everything concerning the raids as long as they’re planned by our raid leaders, allowing us to take immediate action where necessary, instead of trying to figure out the facts first. The big (and to me only) con of official raids is the fact that if you’re always busy on the wednesday night that your guild runs Ulduar, you probably have very little chances of ever seeing the place.

The pros of unofficial raids were the reason why we decided in favor of them. The raid leaders were in need of a break, and we felt that having the members create their own raids wasn’t a bad idea. It’d keep the members happily raiding while we sorted out our stuff. At the time we saw the cons as well, but they didn’t weigh as heavily as the pros.

Several weeks later, and now we’re back to official raiding. And looking back at the past few weeks, would I personally do it again?

No.

I think at the time, it was a good idea. And even now, I will admit that it wasn’t completely wrong to do. Our raiders kept raiding, kept gearing up and allowing newer people to gear up as well. All in all, I’d say we gained a raider or two ready to pull his/her own weight in the “high stuff”. But as always, hindsight is clear sight, and knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t allow unofficial runs ever again. As I said, we predicted the cons, but weighed them a lot lighter than we actually had to. Lack of overview, questionable teams, discontent after (or during) a raid. Yes, they did occur.

We made it clear that we had no say in anything regarding the unofficial raids, and would not be held accountable for anything that happened during said raids. Any disputes between raiders would have to be handled privately. After all, in the words of Uncle Ben: with great power comes great responsibility. A bit more WoW-themed, don’t play with the fire if you don’t have the fire res gear.

But can you truly wash your hands clean of a situation as officer? It’s easy to say you’re not responsible and take a big step back, but the truth is that, as a guild officer, you are responsible. It’s just not possible to walk away from your job.

 Every guild is different. In some, the unofficial approach is more suited than in others. But no matter the guild, one truth remains: if you’re in charge, you’ll have to stay on top of it.


The run that didn’t happen.

September 19, 2009

Let’s say the following happens:

You log onto your freshly dinged level 80 Priest, and you find Culling of Stratholme as the daily heroic. “Great, let’s go there”, you think, and start inviting interested guildies to form a group. The group composition quickly reveals that you’re supposed to heal, even though you don’t feel strong enough for it yet. Oh well, you shrug it off and head in anyway.

Chromie gives you your “crate zapper” and you get to work. You quickly find 4 out of 5 crates, but the last one keeps eluding you and your party. After a good 5 minutes the last one is found, and the real fight can begin. Everyone buffs up and gets going. The trash mobs hit for an average amount of damage on the tank, and you’re doing your best to keep up. You know you’re low on Spell Power and MP5, but manage anyway. After two waves your mana is nearly depleted, and the fun begins. Somehow you manage to get through several more waves, and then completely run out of mana, with nothing left to do but watch the tank getting squished by an Abomination. The party wipes, and tries again. This time the mobs go down, and you face the first boss. Sufficiently prepared, you get through the boss without too much troubles, and he’s downed. Saved to instance. The trash mobs after that keep posing a problem, however, and after several more wipes and mana-less situations you give up and call in the cavalry.

You switch to your Paladin with Holy offspec, who is capable of healing every heroic in the game. Confident that it’ll go much better now, the party continues. You pull the first trash mob, everyone somehow gets massive damage, you can’t keep up and die. What the hell?! Second attempt, and everything goes smoothly now. After all the waves are done you wait at the “secret passage” for Arthas to show up, but the bastard is taking a LONG time. He eventually shows up, and you continue with no problems. Through the Gauntlet, all the way to the end, everyone rushes through, ’cause this has lasted long enough. The Infinite Corrupter is long-gone, but at least Mal’ganis hasn’t bored himself to death yet. And then the unforgettable words echo:

“Hey, where’s Arthas? Did anyone talk to him?”

Silence. You didn’t. By now the respawns have appeared, and you fight your way back to the start of the gauntlet, where you quickly speak to the soon-to-be-corrupted Prince. He runs off, nearly dies, but gets saved in the nick of time. You rush through the gauntlet for a second (or third?) time, start the Mal’ganis fight and quickly kill him. Badges are looted, as well as the daily quest item, no one cares about the gear anymore. Everyone teleports back to Dalaran, and you quickly log off to get some much needed therapy.

Hypothetically.