Monday, April 20, 2009

3.1 Priest Changes and Being All You Can Be

I don't know why people assume the top end of the game should be easy. No game I have ever played and enjoyed was too easy at the end...overcoming the challenge is half the enjoyment! And this must be a recent phenomenon since I hear BC raiding was not easy pre-3.0.2 and everything post-Karazhan is actually pretty tough post-nerf. Did everyone forget in the first 5 months of WOTLK that Naxx was basically a placeholder? I mean not only did everyone know the fight strategies, but it was deliberately made easy.

It's like Jedoga in H-OK. I came to the conclusion that the most important thing was getting the add down before the sacrifice or else I couldn't keep up with healing w/o blowing my only CD. So instead of my normal strategy in such times where I would gain some mana for the duration, I made the decision to offer my weak DPS during that few seconds, which put us over the top. We learned and adapted to beat the boss.

Additional examples: this morning we cleared the first boss event on AN on the fourth try because I died during the third set of mobs, put up some big heals and a couple HoT's on the tank during my spirit phase, then busted my ass back into the instance, where I got there just in time to put Guardian Spirit on the tank and recover to beat the boss. Clapp was whispering me after the fight and was clearly impressed with my "recovery" on that fight. Knowledge from previous encounters with that awful boss event led me to the knowledge I used to be a good player in that situation this morning.

Also in H-OK, I had to make a split decision on whether to use one of my last 2 mana pots on our attempt at Herald Volasj when we lost Caz and the other 2 DPS (one of which was a Shammy) at around 40% and before the second Insanity. I had about 3 minutes left on the CD for Shadowfiend and we were going to wipe without the mana pot as I was OOM. I knew from previous experience that we could elongate the Insanity phase by simply not killing the healer in one of the other person's insanity, and thankfully the tank knew this as well and was just doing enough damage to insane Ekat to break even. So we recovered about half our mana bars and made it within 15 seconds of Shadowfiend coming active again before we finished the insanity phase and proceeded to down the boss easily (I think the Shammy battle rezzed themselves going into the final phase as well, but not 100% sure on that mechanic). We overcame losing all 3 DPS which is amazing, but I had to make a split decision on the mana pot and I made the correct decision that we could recover from that position rather than conceding defeat.

So maybe I'm an above-average player (I don't like to think so), but I learn from my experiences in game and adapt my play to be better off. I make informed rational decisions when I can. Perhaps this is why I'm a Holy Priest healer, because you really have to think about when you will use the tools given to you.

Like the new Holy Hymn which is on a 10 minute CD but gives you 12 medium sized heals on the party over 9 seconds. I still am figuring out when I should use that new ability, and will be better off once I do figure out the best time to use it. Right now, I have no clue.

Friday, April 10, 2009

PUG Naxxramas teaches the virtue of focus

So I'm wrapping up my post-Naxx business last night at around 1:45 AM, when I see...

Triveri has gone offline

Really? A second later Caz comes on, and I realize the most unlikely pairing of two guildies up at 2 AM has occurred. Of course my eyes were probably mighty bloodshot so I just said hello and logged off shortly thereafter. But anyways, another great night of Warcraft if not relatively unexpected. I was in a Naxx or raiding mood all day yesterday for whatever reason, so after getting home and taking car eof the trash and such, I logged on and looked in LFG. Well there happened to be a group of 8 looking for a healer and an offtank. Small guild of about 60 members had about 5 slots and was running it, the rest were puggers. What intrigued me is that the people in the guild were pretty well geared, a little better than myself. They grab me right away without checking armory, which raised a warning flag since I logged out in solo +hit gear, but I hoped for the best. We get people summoned and first pull was around 7:15 PM.

We proceed to annihilate the place for three hours. I got the Arachnophobia achievement (kill all bosses of Arachnid within 20 minutes), we looted emblems and moved on to trash immediately except for the loot master, things were very smooth. We had 6 DPS and 2 Holy Priest healers, so that helped our speed since the healing was more than enough. We killed Arachnid and Plague quarters without losinga single member on any boss fight except Heigan, on which we lost 1 person (sad! another achievement lost). They then go to Construct Quarter, which our guild always saves for last. We got to Gluth and wiped for the first time all night because the kiter did not do a good enough job keeping zombie chows in the back and the kiter healer (not me) ran OOM too fast. We re-grouped and knocked the mangy mutt out on try two, then cleared Thaddius, and the first two bosses in Military with dispatch.

At this point it is literally 10:20. Three hours in the place, and 12 bosses down. In a semi-PUG. Then shit hit the fan. We had a bad pull on the way to Four Horsemen which involved 2-3 sets of death knights and at least one shade. We almost downed them, but it was too much for 2 healers. Then one of our mages D/C's without warning. We proceed to Four Horsemen and try a strategy I'm unfamiliar with since we only have 2 healers, and that is to pull the front horsemen back to the rear and have the tanks tank 2 horsemen at once and everyone switch sides in the back constantly. More efficient, yes. Harder to pull off, yes. We wiped doing that twice, set our 2 druids in the back and tried the normal way twice, all fails. They were about to call it since they had a "hard stop" time of midnight, but right then I finally got a guildie to join us after begging in gchat for an hour off and on. Our remaining mage swapped to his Healadin and we cleared Four Horsemen.

Had 2 wipes on Sapphy, and after the second one our guidlie disappears and D/C's. Devastating, no? Well apparently not as we give it one more go and down Sapphy and Kel'Thuzad easily with 9. We really only needed help surviving Four Horsemen I guess. The only hiccup was losing the kiter tank at about 35% to a frost block, but the main tank just pulled up his britches, taunted the adds, and had 3 healers keeping him up the rest of the way. So while the last 3 bosses took 3 hours or so, I am absolutely confident had it not been for douche bag mage dropping group (Belmardy for your ignore/black lists), we would've been done in under 4 hours. These people were not decked out in Naxx-25 gear either...just Naxx-10 gear for the guildies. We literally sharded 13 epics on the run, and I picked up two epic rings, tier shoulders to give me the 2 piece set I want (the other 3 pieces are slight downgrades for me), and enough emblems to go buy an epic offhand since I'm going with the best mace in the game now. So I'm all epic'd out except for a wand, but I know right where to get once if I can get lucky. I'd literally be rolling offspec stuff now in Naxx, so perfect timing for Ulduar as far as Ekat is concerned.

So that's it. Perhaps my last legitimate Naxx run, and a full clear. It really makes me wonder about the guild we're in though, as a few things stood out. (1) We downed Sapphy and K'T with 9 and not anywhere close to full frost resist gear for most, which means we should be able to do it easily with 10. (2) We ran basically the whole place with 2 healers, which made things quicker...with geared healers such as Ruach, Ronei, Clapp, and myself...we should be able to do this and make more room for DPS. Perhaps quicker runs for the guild. (3) We lost the offtank against K'T early in the kiting phase, a.k.a. the worst thing that can happen, and we still beat K'T with 8 left. (4) Things go infinitely faster with a loot master who stays to conduct rolls, or in our new system bids, while everyone else keeps going. You can take a 5-10 minute break after 2 quarters, but we should be more serious about efficiency. (5) It is obviously possible to get "The Undying" and I had not seen the possibilities until I stepped out from our guild runs.

OK enough of that. But things to think about, and things that make me a little frustrated with our much bigger guild. Yes we are casual because people like me cannot commit to a raid schedule, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be bringing our A-game when we do raid.