Archive for March, 2009

31
Mar
09

Guild Progress

Follow up from the last post…

Not only did we have a lot of people online for the raid, we were much more focused than I have seen in the past.  We finally got over our big obstacle – Thaddius.  That was a relief.  All it took was some real desire to succeed.  I was as proud of my guild as I had ever been.

But we weren’t done.  Our guild got to Frostwyrm Lair for the first time on Heroic (we’ve cleared the 10-man version a couple of times).  Most of our players had never seen Sapphiron.  We only had two players with any frost resist gear, so our five healers were really stressed.  On our second attempt, Sapphiron went down.

We took a couple of shots at Kel’thuzad to learn the fight, but it was late.  The next night we had an unscheduled raid.  So many people wanted to take another attempt at KT that we actually had 25 people log on on a non-raid night in  hopes that we would go back in.

And back in we went.  After a couple of wipes to teach the fight to the new people, we got into a groove.  We consistently got Kel’thuzad down to 20% or less before losing our off-tanks.  Finally, it seemed that we got the hang of avoiding the void zones, minimizing the frost blasts, interrupting his Frostbolts, and keeping dps alive.

And then I DC’ed.

Frantically typing to reconnect, I came back online and was surprised to find myself still alive.  I resumed dps and interrupts, but I had missed about two minutes of the fight.  Offtanks picked up adds.  And…

the dreaded 1% wipe.  Actually, it was closer to 0.5%. (note that I missed two minutes… 3k dps x 120 sec = dead KT)

And that was our best attempt.  Kel’thuzad lives for another week.

I desperately hope that the patch doesn’t come today.  We want one more weekend in Naxx to finish it off.

31
Mar
09

Guild Meetings.. We Haz Them

A lot casual guild leaders just let the guild “run itself.”  Everyone does their thing, they have raids, they level alts, they do group and solo content.  It seems like there is no need for active management.

Eventually, though, the guild can lose focus.  People might enjoy leveling alts, which reduces the number of heroics that are run.  Players might not make it a priority to show up for raids, especially if its the same content over and over.  If this continues, players will start slowly jumping to other guilds where more stuff is going on, and where the members are more active.

I saw this starting to happen in my guild.  Two months ago, we were in great shape – every night there were heroic runs, every Friday and Saturday we had full 25-man raids.  Guild chat was active and fun.

In the past several weeks, though, it has slowed up.  People were often “hiding” on their alts rather than run heroics.  We had attendance issues with raids… one week it was 22-23 online at raid time, then it was 18-20, then worse than that.

Time for… a meeting!  You’d be amazed how effective these are at re-energizing your guild.

I posted the meeting on the calendar about a week in advance.  I also sent invitations using in-game mail for people who don’t look at the calendar.  Thirty seven people accepted the invitation!  That’s a clear sign that they want to be involved, and they are waiting for the guild leadership to get things going.  We held the meeting on vent, and used guild chat for side conversations and Q&A during the meeting.

My agenda was about our plans once Ulduar is released, and how we are going to handle Dual Spec and loot distribution.  After that I talked about the difference between playing in a casual guild and raiding in a casual guild.  I talked about the commitment that hitting the “Accept” button represents when invited to a raid.  I put a huge emphasis on the importance of clearing Naxx 25 before Ulduar hits, for the pride of the guild.

And what do you know… we had too many people sign up for our Friday night raid.  We had to put people on standby.  Its been a while since that happened, so it felt good.

If your guild seems like its too quiet, or slowly losing activity, then maybe a guild meeting is in order.  Have an agenda, talk about things that people want to hear about, and try to inspire them.

25
Mar
09

Switch Weapons for Trash Pulls

recount_aoeOf course I have my best gear all equipped when I walk into a raid.  These are the pieces that give me the best damage numbers according to my tests on practice dummies and playing with the EJ spreadsheets.

But there is a difference between fighting a boss where you need sustained dps over a 3-8 minute span, versus dps on a trash pull with 3-10 mobs that will all die within 30-40 seconds.

Rogue damage tends to build up slowly.  Our first combo points go toward starting SnD… then our next combo points go to Rupture… then finally we can start using combo points for hard-hitting finishers like Eviscerate or Envenom.  That approach simply isn’t effective on trash.

On the trash pulls you want fast damage in bursts.  There are a couple of ways to do that – maximizing damage across multiple targets, or doing burst dps on one target.  Burst dps is about your special attacks.  That’s different than dps on a boss, which is usually dominated by white damage.

First – damaging multiple targets…  rogues have a couple of tools for damaging multiple targets.  All level 80 rogues have Fan of Knives.  Combat rogues have Blade Flurry (and Killing Spree, to some extent).  Lets see how we can take maximum advantage of those abilities.  (note: Subtlety rogues have Shadow Dance which allows for a bunch of Ambushes for good burst, but you would have to be behind the mobs which is hard on a lot of group trash pulls)

Fan of Knives

The tooltip for this reads “Instantly throw both weapons at all targets within 8 yards, causing 150% weapon damage with daggers, and 100% weapon damage with all other weapons.”  Note that this is based on the weapon damage, regardless of speed.  Using slower weapons does not in any way slow down your FoK attacks.  They are limited only by your energy pool.  Thus, the way to make your FoK hit harder is by having weapons with higher damage values.  That generally means slower weapons.

So while the prevailing wisdom is that faster weapons are better for raiding for poison procs, you can switch to slower, harder hitting weapons for your Fan of Knives.  Don’t forget to keep poison on that weapon, also. And make sure to use Tricks of the Trade to avoid pulling aggro on all the mobs you hit.

In addition, it is best for Assassination rogues if you are in stealth before using your FoK.  See my previous post on that.  Having points in Master of Subtlety makes starting in stealth even more important.

Remember that daggers do 150% weapon damage, while all other weapons do 100% damage.  A dagger with a top end damage of 300 will do more from FoK than a sword with a top end damage of 400.

The Recount screenshot at the top of this post is from a trash pull where I used FoK.  I have Webbed Death and Twilight Mist equipped for those fights.  If I start the fight in stealth, I can keep up with the mages on locks on AoE damage.  And since my threat goes to the tank with TotT, I never pull aggro the way that they do.

Blade Flurry

For Combat rogues, there is a clear way to maximize your dps on trash groups.  It is all about stacking cooldowns.  Blade Flurry says that it “Increases your attack speed by 20%.  In addition, attacks strike an additional nearby opponent.  Lasts 15 sec.”  Importantly, this stacks with SnD.

So you can make an opening attack to get a combo point, then start up SnD.  At that point hit your Blade Flurry.  For the next 15 seconds, every attack you make will hit two mobs instead of one.  So you have to make those attacks count, and try to make as many big attacks within those 15 seconds as possible.

There are two things that limit the number of specials we can throw around.  One is combo points, and the other is energy.  You’ll get combo points from your special attack.  For energy, you’ll want to hit your Adrenaline Rush, providing you with energy to hit all those special attacks while BF is running.   The SnD+AR+BF combo is awesome.  You can add Killing Spree in there too for more fun.

Killing Spree

This Combat talent has the same logic as Fan of Knives.  The tooltip says, “Step through the shadows from enemy to enemy within 10 yards, attacking an enemy every .5 secs with both weapons until 5 assaults are made.  Can hit the same target multiple times.  Cannot hit invisible or stealthed targets.”  Note that you are going to hit targets every 0.5 seconds no matter what your weapon speed is.  That means that you will do best with slower, harder hitting weapons.

In addition, you can proc your extra attacks on Sword Specialization while hitting with Killing Spree.  So slow swords are preferable here.

Summary:

We know that fast weapons are preferable for boss fights.  They proc poisons more, and give more energy through Combat Potency or Focused Attacks.  However, your specials (Mutilate, FoK, SS) will hit harder with slow weapons.  For sustained dps, the poison procs on fast weapons outperform the harder hits with slower weapons.  On trash fights, especially when using FoK or BF, you can do well with slower weapons.  You can manage this with a weapon-swapping macro (a topic for another post).  Note that swapping weapons invokes the GCD, so you want to do that before combat, not during.

24
Mar
09

Assorted Updates

I am actually having quite a bit of fun leveling my Disc Priest, who is now at 76.  I have an attack rotation pretty much down pat that I use while questing.  I don’t know if its ideal, but its working for me.  Between SW:Pain, Devouring Plague, Penance, and wanding I can do about 500 dps and be very mana efficient.  I throw in my Shadowfiend every now and then, and get some Spirit Tap procs, and I can chain-pull almost indefinitely without having to stop to drink.

Its also fun now because I’ve been working through Grizzly Hills, which I skipped when leveling Dinaer.  So the game has been completely new for me for the past couple of weeks, both in the class I am playing and the content I am doing.

I’ve been learning to heal, but every time we do a guild run we bring in a tank who is way over-geared or over-leveled and the run becomes too easy.  I’m looking forward to healing a run with an entire group that is at the appropriate level for the instance.

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Thaddius continues to be a thorn in my guild’s side.  Our core 10-15 players is awesome, but we can’t seem to get an entire raid of 25 to be coordinated.  Ah, the trials of a casual guild.  We really thought we had him this weekend, and then my ISP dropped our internet TWICE mid-fight.  Since four of the raiders were playing from my house, that spelled doom for the attempts.  Then he bugged, and by the time we got it worked out it was getting late and we had to call it.

I have had no luck on Naxx drops lately.  Despite the fact that I have been running Naxx 25 weekly, I still have a list of fourteen items that would be upgrades that I have never seen drop.  And that’s not even including drops from Sapphiron or Kel’thuzad – I’m talking about items in the first four wings.  I feel cursed.

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I got tagged for a meme by Aeltyr at And Two Rogues, asking how I got my name.

When I started my first WoW toon, I spent time in advance thinking about names.  My wife decided that we would roll Night Elves, so I found an elvish dictionary online, and chose the word that means “Silent One”.  That seemed appropriate for a rogue.  And so Dinaer was born.

My other characters took much less thought.  Metius was spat out of the name randomizer, and Derence was something I grabbed from nowhere on the spur of the moment because it sounded paladin-ish.

I don’t usually like to tag people for memes – it seems too much like passing along a chain letter.  If any of the readers here want to take up this meme – like zeroinitiate or Chronic or Saithir at The Angry Dwarfs, then that would be fine.  But no pressure.

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Spring break is coming, and I have some serious WoW goals to achieve during my free time.  One of the nice things about being a teacher is that I get time off just like the students do.

23
Mar
09

Will 3.1 Improve the Game?

From a blue post in the forums…

Ulduar has a ton of bosses. While I’m sure some players would love for us to deliver an instance with that level of content every month or so (and throw in a 5-player run to boot!), it’s not in the cards, at least not for the next couple of years.

Instead, what we tried to do with Ulduar is offer a lot of different ways to play the encounters. While the progress-oriented guilds may clear it quickly, we hope that some of the hard modes will offer them a lot to chew on. All of the players who are somewhere between barely being able to clear the instance and the “world first” crowd should be able to find a comfortable difficulty level as well.

There is quite a bit of anticipation for patch 3.1.  A lot of that hype is a result of boredom – many players are done with the current content and are looking forward to something new.  Wrath, as it turned out, was very short on content.

It didn’t seem that way at first.  At release, Wrath seemed to have a lot to do… a dozen instances, all with regular and heroic modes, plus three quick raids (VoA, OS, EoE) and one large raid (Naxx) all with both 10- and 25-man modes.

However, I think Blizz misplayed their hand.  With all of their efforts top make raiding more accessible, it made the instances all but irrelevant.  For a lot of players, instances are just a quick way to get XP on the way to 80, and are easily skipped or overlooked.  Heroics are important for reputation gains, but since Naxx is not too challenging there is no need to gear up through heroics before starting 10 and 25 man raiding.  A large amount of play time revolves around Naxx, Naxx, and more Naxx.

I know a number of casual players that spend 1-2 nights a week in heroic Naxx, and then 1-2 nights a week in regular Naxx.  Is that fun?

For raiders, both hardcore and casual, the upcoming patch promises Ulduar – another large raid with 10 and 25 man modes.  Is that enough?

Ulduar will reward players with new loot, but explorer-types are being left out.  I’m an ESAK on the Bartle Test, but its not just me.  Explorer is the most common result on the Bartle test, so there are a lot of other gamers like me, who enjoy finding new places, new bosses, new stuff.

Think back to pre-BC.  Raiding guilds had UBRS as a starting 10-man raid, followed by Molten Core and Onyxia’s Lair for 40 players.  Then ZG and BWL were added later for guilds that had completed MC and Ony.  Finally, Naxxramas was put into the game for top-tier guilds.

Burning Crusade gave us Karazhan, Gruul’s Lair, Magtheridon, SSC, and Tempest Keep all at release.  That’s three full raids and two short raids.  No one was clearing SSC within the first week after release, the way they did with Naxx 25.  Later, Black Temple, Zul’Aman, Mount Hyjal, and Sunwell were put in.  There were many levels of raiding depending on your guild’s skill, time commitment, and progression.

In both cases, there was a clear path of progression.  In vanilla WoW, you finished MC to get to BWL and if you cleared BWL you could do Naxx.  In BC, guilds finished Kara to move on to Gruul and Mag, leading them into TK and SSC and then on to BT and MH.  When you cleared one tier of raiding, the reward (for me, the explorer type) was getting to move on to new content.  Sure, loot is nice.  But the real prize was seeing new places with new atmosphere and new bosses that had new fight mechanics.

Unfortunately, with all of those tiers of raiding, the majority of guilds never made it to the high end raid instances.  Most people (myself included) agree that this was a problem.  Only the elitists want content to be restricted to just a few select people.

10 vs 25 man raids do count as progression but it does not have new content as reward. So doing Naxx 25 after finishing Naxx 10 doesn’t carry much excitement for me.  On top of that, you didn’t really need to finish Naxx 10 in order to do Naxx 25, so it barely counts as a real step up in raiding.

Hard modes, like Sarth 3D, are cool and provide real challenges for high-end raiding, but again do not reward explorer-types with new content.  I am not all that motivated to do Sarth+anything, myself, because I’ve already seen what the fight will look like and so there is nothing “new” to it except the chance for an achievement and a title.

Now Ulduar is coming, and it will have 10 and 25 man versions, and hard modes.  All of that will give a myriad of challenges to guilds of all types.  Everyone will be able to raid Ulduar, as there are almost no barriers to participation.  And that’s all good.

But what about us explorers?  For those of us who look forward to new stuff, we’re getting one new place.  All the hard modes and versions are fine, but its still the same content being retasked over and over.  After my first time finishing 10-man Ulduar, whenever that happens, all the other versions will be repetitive.

Also, since Ulduar wasn’t available on release, it isn’t going to seem like a reward for finishing Naxx.  They are too far separated in time.  And who knows how long it will be before we get more raids?

I would have liked to see more raid instances instead of the the same one with harder modes.  I like seeing all the effort that Blizz puts into their art and music, and running the same place over and over just doesn’t do it for me.  Since that isn’t happening, my hope is that Blizzard will surprise us with another raid instance not too long after Ulduar.  For me, the existence of more tiers of raiding give me long-term goals.  I’ll be more excited to clear Ulduar if I know that finishing it will propel me into another Zul-something raid, or another dragon in OS, or Icecrown Citadel.

But as it seems right now, finishing Ulduar will just open up… harder versions of Ulduar.  /yawn

19
Mar
09

A Rogue in Naxxramas – The Four Horsemen

This is part of a series describing rogue tactics for the bosses in Naxxramas. The focus is on the 10-man version of the fights, since that’s what most people will be running. If you have suggestions for alternate strategies, or if I say something that you disagree with, please put it in the comments.

These are not meant to be full raid strategy guides. They are written to describe the role of rogues (or other melee dps) during the encounters. For full strategy guides refer to Bosskillers or WoWWiki.

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fourhorsemen1This is a fight about raid coordination.  You need the raid split up into separate groups, and everyone has a job and has to be aware of their debuffs.  Its a fun fight.  Maybe a little easier on ranged dps than melee, but still an interesting mechanic.

When the fight starts, the Four Horsemen will go to four separate corners of the room.  Its not random – Korth’azz to front left, Rivendare to front right, Blaumeux to back left, Zeliek to back right.  Every boss needs to have someone in range of them at all times, or they auto-wipe the raid.

Here’s the catch to this fight – each boss periodically places a Mark on everyone within range of them.  The Mark is unique to each boss – there is a Mark of Rivendare, a Mark of Korth’azz, etc…  The Mark stacks infinitely.  Each application does damage, and the higher the stack, the more damage it does.  If it stacks too high, the damage becomes unhealable.  It cannot be dispelled, Cloaked, or otherwise removed.  The only way to get rid of it is to move out of range of the boss and let it fall off with time.

Simplified, that means that a character can only stay near a particular Horseman for a brief time before having to move somewhere else.  This mechanic requires a fair amount of position juggling to make sure that no one lets any mark stack too high.

The two in the front (Korth’azz and Rivendare) need to be tanked and dpsed.  Rogues and other melee dps will be up here on one side or the other.

The two in the back don’t actually need to be tanked, so you just need people to go stand in range of them.  Since those players will take consistent damage, it should be someone who can do some ranged dps, has high health and/or someone who can heal himself.  At least one of them should be a healer.  Almost anyone can do this, but it usually is not melee dps since they are more effective on the bosses in front.  In the past, we have used resto and balance druids, mages, paladins, warriors, and shamans successfully.  They need to switch positions back and forth between the two bosses to keep their Marks from stacking.

Front of the room

There are a number of strategies for doing this, so listen to your raid leader.  In my guild, we have done it two different ways.

Method 1:  In our first few runs, when our dps was a little on the low side, we would have a tank and healer at Rivendare and a tank and several dps at Korth’azz (and the players in the back on Blaumeux and Zeliek, of course).  Fight begins, everyone does their thing, dps focuses on Korth’azz.  When the Marks stack to two or three, the Rivendare and Korth’azz tanks run to the middle, taunt each other’s targets, and then run back to their starting spots.  Everyone else holds their position.  This means that everyone will start getting a NEW stacking mark, and the old mark will fall off.

Once one target dies (typically Korth’azz) dps goes and cleans up the other one, then goes to the back of the room.

Method 2:  Now that our dps is higher (in the 25 man version, at least), we can stack all of the dps on Korth’azz and put minimal players everywhere else.  When the fight begins, we pop a Heroism and we can take down Korth’azz before there is any need for the tanks to switch.  Then that group goes and cleans up Rivendare, while the ones who have built up a stack of Marks of Rivendare can go hang out while the buff wears off.  Tricks of the Trade is very useful here, because the dps needs to go all-out right at the get-go, and the tanks will appreciate the extra threat.

When fighting the two up front there is one thing to pay attention for – Korth’azz’s Meteor Strike.  Korth’azz drops a Meteor every 15 seconds or so.  Its damage is divided among everyone it hits.  If the tank eats the whole Meteor it will one-shot him.  So when fighting Korth’azz, everyone stacks up on the tank to split the Meteor damage.  Yes, that means you’ll be in front of your target.  Sorry, rogues.  Fortunately, none of the other bosses have anything like this, so you can safely stand behind them and avoid those pesky parries.

Back of the room

Now that the two Horsemen up front are dead, the raid runs to the back of the room.  Blaumeux and Zeliek don’t need to be tanked, and they will stand in position.  So everyone is free to move around and dps on either boss.  You’ll want to switch back and forth.  If you are on Blaumeux, and you see the Mark stack to two, run over to Zeliek.

Blaumeux fires off shadow bolts.  If you are at half health or lower, they can take you out.  Bandage whenever available.  She also drops void zones.  They can cluster pretty thick around her.  When you’re on her, run in and get your shots quickly, do as much burst as you can, then put a Rupture on her and run out before the mark stacks to three.

Zeliek is an annoyance for rogues.  He casts a holy bolt that can knock off more than half your health from range.  More deadly for us is his Holy Wrath, which hits one player then jumps to the next, increasing damage by 50% each jump.    Because of this, when you are on Zeliek you need to keep at least 10 yards away from anyone else.  So only one player should be in melee range at a time.  You might have to stand back and shoot/throw at him if someone else is meleeing him.  You’ll still gain marks, and be ineffective on dps  :(

At this time, the raid is running back and forth between Zeliek and Blaumeux, managing their own Marks.  There is no enrage timer, so they will die eventually if the healers can keep everyone alive and most people keep their Marks from stacking.

It sounds complicated.  It is definitely a fight you have to experience to get a feel for it.  The most important thing is, as always, that a dead rogue does zero dps.  When you see a Mark stack to two or three, start looking to get away.

The 10-man Four Horsemen do not drop much rogue stuff.  They drop the tier 7 chest piece (T7.5 on heroic).  On 10-man, that’s all for rogues.  In heroic, they also have Final Voyage, but presumably you’ll let hunters have that crossbow.

Back to main Rogue in Naxxramas page —–>

18
Mar
09

A Rogue in Naxxramas – Gothik the Harvester

This is part of a series describing rogue tactics for the bosses in Naxxramas. The focus is on the 10-man version of the fights, since that’s what most people will be running. If you have suggestions for alternate strategies, or if I say something that you disagree with, please put it in the comments.

These are not meant to be full raid strategy guides. They are written to describe the role of rogues (or other melee dps) during the encounters. For full strategy guides refer to Bosskillers or WoWWiki.

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Gothik is a very trash heavy fight, emphasizing AoE damage and healing.  This is not the strong suit for rogues.  We can do some burst AoE, but cannot sustain it.  Single targets die pretty quickly in this fight, requiring a lot of target changing.

gothikThe raid needs to be divided up into two halves, separated by a wall with a gate.  The side where the entrance is is the “live” side and the other half is the “undead” side.  The gate will close for most of the fight.  Each side needs a tank or two, healers, and dps.  The dps should be closely balanced, with perhaps a little more on the undead side.  Rogues typically go on the live side, because the dead side might need more AoE dps.  However, either side is fine for any dps class.

When the fight starts, Gothink is on a balcony and is unreachable.  Waves of adds begin to spawn on the live side.  As the adds or killed, their spirits fly over to the other side of the gate and spawn skeletons on the undead side.  The basic premise of the fight is this – the live side has too kill the adds fast enough to keep from being overwhelmed.  However, if they kill the live adds TOO fast, then the undead side can get overrun with skeleton spawns.  So it is a balancing and pacing act.

At the beginning of the fight, its probably wise to stand the whole group in a corner of the room so the mobs all have to come to you from the same direction.  That way the tanks can intercept all of the mobs before they reach the healers.  Your tanks need to multi-task, picking up new adds while tanking existing ones.

Rogues can perform equally well on either side.  Initially, the adds come out slowly, are non-elite and die in a few hits.  When killed, they become non-elite skeletons on the undead side.  Whichever side you are on, don’t even bother with stealth or Fan of Knives.  Just single-target them down. Or just stay in stealth and ignore them and let an AoE classes burn them down.  That lets you save your opener for the harder mobs.

Shortly after that there will be elite Death Knight mobs.  When killed they become elite Spectral Death Knights on the undead side.  They are tougher, so you don’t want to pull aggro on them.  Keep Tricks of the Trade up.  They have a whirlwind attack, but its not devastating so your healers should be able to keep you up through it.  If you see the Shadow Mark debuff that means you’ll take additional Shadow damage later, so you’ll want to Cloak that away.  Wait until an Unrelenting Rider spawns to Cloak it, though, or the Death Knight will just reapply it.

Things really start to ramp up when the Unrelenting Riders come out.  These are mounted elite mobs.  They are even tougher to kill.  The catch here is that when they die, they become two mobs on the undead side – a rider and horse separately.  They do AoE shadow damage, and the live-side ones fire shadowbolts at anyone who has the Shadow Mark debuff.  The undead versions have additional AoE damage.  That’s why its nice to Cloak that debuff off.

This can get rough on the healers, as damage is thrown around to everyone.  Also, the tanks have to get and hold aggro on all of these mobs at once.  Be nice to the tanks – wait until they have aggro before using FoK or doing major damage.

Ideally, you have some good AoE classes in the raid – mages, warlocks, fury warriors etc.., making short work of these mobs.  A rogue’s best bet is to single-target dps the elite mobs, keeping TotT up to avoid getting aggro.  Priority is on killing the Riders.  Combat rogues should use Blade Flurry/Adrenaline Rush/Killing Spree whenever they are up.  If it seems like you’re being swarmed, you can also Vanish, wait for a little energy to pool, and then fire off three or four Fan of Knives to help AoE.  But remember – if you burst down a whole bunch of mobs at once on the live side, its going to rush the undead side – especially the riders.

If you survive that (four minutes and 34 seconds total) then it gets much easier.  Adds stop spawning and Gothik comes down.  He starts on the live side and gets tanked and dpsed.  After 10-15 seconds he teleports over to the undead side where he gets tanked and dpsed.  Then he teleports back. to the live side  Repeat.  Every 15 seconds he puts a Harvest Soul debuff on everyone that reduces all stats by 10%, and it stacks.  As the stacks build up, dps and the tanks health will gradually get lower and lower.  When Gothik gets to 30%, the central gate opens and everyone can join together to finish him off.

Aggro is not an issue during this phase, so go to town.  There’s nothing funny or tricky in this phase, its just tank n spank.  Bandage when he is not on your side of the gate.  You won’t be happy with your dps numbers due to the Harvest Soul stat reduction, but go as all-out as you can.  If you can get to phase two with most of the raid alive, you’re home free.

Gothik doesn’t drop a lot of rogue gear.  The Tunic of Dislocation (10-man drop) is very nice, but not the best chest piece in Naxx.  The heroic version has one gem – the Hood of the Exodus.  This is one of the top two or three head items in the game for rogues.  Also, the Leggings of Fleeting Moments are very nice.  He also has a bunch of shared loot table drops, like the Aged Winter Cloak and Grim Toll.

Back to main Rogue in Naxxramas page —–>

17
Mar
09

A Rogue in Naxxramas – Instructor Razuvious

This is part of a series describing rogue tactics for the bosses in Naxxramas. The focus is on the 10-man version of the fights, since that’s what most people will be running. If you have suggestions for alternate strategies, or if I say something that you disagree with, please put it in the comments.

These are not meant to be full raid strategy guides. They are written to describe the role of rogues (or other melee dps) during the encounters. For full strategy guides refer to Bosskillers or WoWWiki.

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razuviousThere are a few fights in Naxx that have nothing rogue-specific to them.  A rogue just does what any other dps class does – kill the boss as soon as possible.  This is one of those fights.

Razuvious hits too hard to be tanked by any of the players in your raid.  So the basic mechanism of this fight is that his Understudies must be mind controlled, and Razuvious is tanked by them.  In the 10-man version, you are provided with two Controlling Orbs to use to MC the Understudies.  (what the heck are those orbs doing there, anyway?)  In the 25-man version you need to have priests do the MC themselves.  [aside: so much for bringing the player, not the class... we couldn't do this fight at first due to the low number of priests in the guild]

I’m not going to go into the particulars of the MC techniques, because that’s not likely to be a rogue’s job in the 10-man fight, and it has to be the priests in the 25-man.

For rogues, all you need to know is that your job is to dps Razuvious while he is being tanked by an Understudy.  Don’t kill the Understudies, because they are needed to tank the boss.  Just focus on Razuvious and go crazy.  Aggro will not be an issue – the Understudies have almost limitless threat generation.

Here are a few rogue-specific pieces of advice…

  • Keep your Evasion handy.  If one of the people responsible for MCing an understudy messes up, then Razuvious will be untanked and start running through the raid one-shotting people.  If you can Evasion-tank him for a few seconds, it can buy valuable time for someone to re-MC an Understudy and pick the boss up.  For this reason, it is good to keep yourself near the top of the threat meter (after the Understudies, of course) so an untanked Razuvious will attack you rather than clothies.
  • Since the Understudies have vast threat generation, you won’t need to use Tricks of the Trade on them.  Use it on another dps to improve their damage output.
  • One of Razuvious’s abilities is Jagged Knife, where he hits a random target for 5k damage and applies a Bleed.  Assassination rogues can use Hunger for Blood to get rid of the Bleed (until they remove that feature in patch 3.1)

This fight takes a while to learn… not for the dps, but for the players doing the Mind Control.  Your job aas dps is pretty easy.  Just don’t attack the Understudies and dps the boss.

When he dies, he has some great drops.  The 10-man version has the Cloak of Darkening (due for a nice buff if/when Armor Penetration s improved in the upcoming patch).  You really want the Rapid-Attack Gloves, though.

The heroic Razuvious has the awesome Chestpiece of Suspicion (almost as good as the T7.5 chest) and Spaulders of Egotism (great item, and BoE!)  along with a lot 0f the shared-loot table drops like Fool’s Trial and the Strong-Handed Ring.

Back to main Rogue in Naxxramas page —–>

16
Mar
09

My Alt is now a Disc Priest

I’m usually focused on just my main character, but I do have a couple of alts.  I leveled a paladin to 70 when my guild was short of tanks.  By the time I got him to 70, though, we had picked up more tanks and he wasn’t needed anymore.  So I haven’t played him since.

I also leveled a priest to 70, most of the way as holy and some of the way as shadow.  I’ve recently picked him up again and went full Discipline.  He’s at level 73 now and has healed Utgarde Keep and Nexus runs.

I’m finding him quite fun to play.  I hear priests complain that its no fun to grind and quest when they are any spec other than shadow.  I don’t find that to be the case at all.  In my experience, the damage I am doing is quite sufficient for my needs (this coming from a player with a pure-dps background).  Of course, its a big difference in play style from a rogue.

With the rogue, I certainly killed mobs quickly, but I also took a fair bit of damage in the process and often had to stop and eat or bandage.  On the Disc priest I finish almost every fight at full health, and I just need to watch my mana.  Between the Shadowfiend and other mana-return mechanisms, I have not needed to pause much at all between fights.

Healing has been a brand new experience for me.  I installed Grid and Clique, and have gotten completely into the whack-a-mole game.  I have been a little hesitant to overuse PW:S on my tanks because it slows their rage generation.  It will be nice when that is changed in the patch, because this is the defining ability of Disc priests.

The only fights I had trouble healing were Skarvald & Dalronn in UK and Keristrasza in the Nexus.  The difficulty with Skarvald & Dalronn was with the group damage.  Disc priests don’t have a strong group heal.  I found myself going to Holy Nova quite a bit which sucked my mana rapidly.  I don’t have Holy Nova glyphed, but if I’m going to be using it a lot I’ll get that glyph.

Keristraza’s challenge had nothing to do with my spec, but just the mechanics of healing themselves.  Using Grid and Clique, my left hand is on my Shift, Alt, and Ctrl keys while my right is on my mouse clicking little boxes to throw heals.  As a habitual keyboard-turner, I found myself standing still too much, leading to the Intense Cold debuff stacking.  When I tried to move, it made it hard to cast spells other than instants.

This is part of the process of learning a role.  I just picked up healing at 70, so I have a steep learning curve.  I’m not going to do PuGs because I know my inexperience will cause wipes, and I don’t want to be responsible for everyone’s repair bills.

I have no intention of raiding on this character.  I will get him to 80 and see what come after that.  For now, he is fun to play and pass the time.  Unfortunately, as a rarely-played alt, I never got him the epic flying skill.  That means that when he gets to level 77 he’ll need about a 6k investment in gold.  Hmmm… maybe I’ll stop at 76.

09
Mar
09

Just One of Those Nights

We had “just one of those nights” this weekend.

We were in Naxx 25 with Spider Wing cleared and we decide to do Military next.

For whatever reason, we were off our game.  The dps was relatively low compared to past weeks, the priests had some trouble with the MC, tanks were accidentally taunting the wrong mobs – no one was really at their best.  We wiped a half dozen times on content we have already cleared.

We did finally get by Razuvious, and went on to Gothik, along with cheers of “Yay, free epics!” for the upcoming easier fight.

And then we proceeded to wipe on Gothik multiple times for a multitude of reasons, mostly related to our dps being low and falling behind on the waves of adds.  Eventually, we called the raid for the night.

This is not a post complaining or calling out my guild’s raiders.  Far from it.  This post is about how we as a guild bounce back from adversity, and how that reflects the strong core that we have.

One of the ways I have always evaluated who was a good “fit” for our guild was the way they handled wipes.  After a bad night, players who are very progression-minded will immediately start looking for another guild that wipes less in raids.  Self-centered players will start complaining about their repair bills.  Rabble-rousers and wannabe-generals will start pointing fingers (at everyone but themselves).  These kind of players have a short life span in my casual guild.  We don’t usually kick them out.  But they always find that they are the last to be asked into runs and raids, and eventually they realize that they aren’t fitting in.

Sure, we wiped a whole bunch on stuff that should have been easier.  But each time we got up, rezzed, wiped off the dust and charged back in.  The next night, we re-formed the raid with no complaints and went back in, cleared Plague and Military Wings, killed Gothik for good measure, and felt a lot better about it.

How does your guild react to setbacks and off-nights?  Arguments?  Blame game?  Discontent?  Gquits?




Armory

Dinaer - 90 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Derence - 90 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 90 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 90 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 90 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
March 2009
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