Raiding


“So I was talking with Eda on twitter tonight and she mentioned that she’s had 4 raids in the last 2 weeks get canceled. And that got me wondering, what do people do when their raid is canceled?” — This Blog Azeroth Shared Topic was suggested by Deynor of Swift Retribution.

Everyone has canceled raid nights from time to time. Sometimes, it just can’t be helped.

Of course, I have things I like to do when a raid is canceled. But in thinking about this topic, what interested me more was the infrequency with which my current team actually cancels raids. We’ve been raiding together for a little more than six months, and I can count the canceled nights on one hand.

I think the last one may have been a couple of months ago, on a patch night, due to server instability. Even then, as I recall, we still hung together long enough to get the weekly raid quest done (a big priority for us on Tuesdays). We also had a canceled raid on Christmas Day, but of course, that was more of a planned night off than a last-minute cancellation. I think there may have been another time, too, when circumstances  had about half the raid unable to show up, so I just called the whole thing a few days ahead of time. If it’s not last-minute, does it still count?

Why doesn’t my team cancel raids? We’re a casual team, but contrary to what some folks seem to think, “casual” doesn’t mean sloppy, unreliable, or uncommitted. Actually, I think our casual nature may be part of why our raids don’t get canceled. Everyone is there only because they really want to be there. We’re there to have a good time and to hang out with each other. It’s low pressure and fun, so people show up.

Of course, sometimes people have other things come up. Their internet connection goes down. Something in their real life comes up. These things happen. But my team marches gaily forward! We pick up substitute players if we’re missing some of our usual core.  Sometimes, we just change plans our plans a bit.

One night when something went wonky with the raid we were working on — I don’t remember what exactly happened — we broke into two five-man teams and did the new ICC heroics. We all stayed on Vent together and chatted as we went along, but our raid night wasn’t canceled, per se. Another time, we were missing a couple of players on a night we were scheduled to work on downing Yogg-Saron. Reluctant to drag an outsider into our wipefest, we picked up a player and farmed ICC rep instead. Some raids might be canceled when the leader can’t be there, but  I have capable, trustworthy co-leads who take over on those rare occasions I have to miss a night.

As for those rare occasions that we do have to cancel, I may work on leveling any alts I’m working on at the time, or I may tend to some dailies on my main. I might sign into a bank alt and take care of auction house business. I might work on this blog, or maybe sign into the Starcraft II Beta and get my ass handed to me yet again. Most likely, though, I’ll head back to the living room, to sit and knit — I’m currently working on a pair of socks — and watch a little TV with my husband.

When last we left our heroes, Sindei had helped to conquer Yogg-Saron, and Ginnger was level 70 and had gone back in Azeroth to level mining and jewelcrafting.

Our raid team is progressing nicely through ICC. We had a little trouble with Saurfang at the end of the Lower Spire, maybe  because we were three-healing the encounter to be safe. As soon as we tried two-healing it, we won the dps race and got Saurfang down. On Friday night we spent some time in the Plague Wing. Festergut didn’t give us too much trouble, but just to be a jerk, he dropped druid healing gear on a night when our druid healer was uncharacteristically absent. Rotface, on the other hand, proved a little more of a problem. I look forward to three-healing that encounter next week, because I think a third healer would help us out on it.There’s an awful lot of damage flying around in there!

In the meantime, to break things up, our team likes to do an off-night activity every other week. I took a poll of our team, and despite my efforts to institute bi-weekly Celestial Steed Parades through Dalaran, it seems everyone else wants to work on Trial of the Grand Champion instead. So we’ll take a swing at that on Tuesday.

After a lot of mining and a lot of spending gold at the Auction House, Ginnger’s mining and jewelcrafting are both leveled up to a reasonable skill for her level. Mining is at 440-ish and jewelcrafting at 430 or so. So at least she can mine where she’s leveling and get the JC daily done every day. I try to get her daily random dungeon done every day, though if push comes to shove, Sindei’s takes precedence. I got Ginnger to 74 last night, so she’ll be questing in Zul’Drak for a little while.

And I don’t want to forget about Children’s Week! Sindei wasn’t my main at this time last year, so she hadn’t done any of this achievement. I grabbed her a couple of orphans from Orgrimmar and Shattrath — sadly, the Dalaran quest seems to be bugged for anyone who did it when it was first released. Everything in the For the Children achievement is pretty easy, with the glaring exception of The School of Hard Knocks. Lucky for me, Day 1 of Children’s Week seems to be an unofficial interfaction cooperation day. Of the four battleground achievements needed, I was able to get three in battlegrounds where Alliance and Horde players worked together to get each other the needed achievements. I’m always glad to see people work together for a common goal. My one “real” achievement was capping the flag in Eye of the Storm, just moments before we were soundly defeated.

After wrapping up Hail to the King, Baby tonight, Sindei is proudly wearing her Matron title and is one step closer to her Violet Proto-Drake. I’m not sure how much of Children’s Week I’ll do with Ginnger, though I did pick up the Children’s Week quest in Dalaran for her. I generally side with the Oracles, but just to try something different this year, Ginnger has a little Wolvar companion in tow.

OK, it’s not really breaking… we heard about this yesterday. I’m not the first on my block to blog about this. Still, the blogoverse is all abuzz with the latest Cataclysm announcements regarding raid lockout changes.

I’m sure you’ve read the details elsewhere, but to recap:

  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will share the same lockout.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids difficulty will be as close as possible to each other.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will drop the exact same loot, but 25-man will drop a higher quantity of items.
  • Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel
  • For the first few raid tiers, our plan is to provide multiple smaller raids. Instead of one raid with eleven bosses, you might have a five-boss raid as well as a six-boss raid.

10-Man and 25-Man raids will drop the exact same loot, but 25-man will drop a higher quantity of items. HOORAY! Does this mean my raiders don’t have to feel like second-class citizens anymore? Because I think that sounds awesome. I’ve done 25-man raiding and 10-man raiding. While I agree that 25s are more difficult to organize, I don’t think the fights themselves are necessarily more difficult. True, there’s often more going on, and more people means more opportunity for mistakes. But it also has more room for mistakes than a 10-man. When I was raiding 25s on my rogue, if I wound up tanking the floor, it wasn’t the end of the world. In our 10 -man team, the fights are less forgiving and each member is crucial. A lost dps or two can mean a wipe. So it’s been frustrating that if my raid team wants the really good gear, we have to pug 25s.

As for the higher quantity of items dropping for 25s, I’m OK with that. They have more people to organize, so give each of them a somewhat better chance at the loot that drops. Extra badges points (see below), extra gold, extra loot? Fine. I’m just pleased that I’ll finally have a chance at the same quality of gear that 25-man raiders enjoy.

10-Man and 25-Man raids will share the same lockout. I’m less sure exactly how I feel about this. Mostly, it won’t affect me personally, since I run 10-man raids. I’m geared well enough to run 25s, so I could pick one up from time to time, but I just don’t. I’m too spoiled, I think, by my own raid team. We’ve built a close-knit team that’s friendly and relaxed, and while we naturally can become frustrated when we’re learning something new and wiping a lot, it’s never the kind of stress and infighting I’ve seen happen in 25-man teams.

On the other hand, we have used 25-man raids to do weekly raid quests when we were saving our 10-man ID to work on a tough boss (Yogg-Saron, I’m looking at you!). That’s a special circumstance, though, and not too important. And while it was nice to know that I could pick up a 25 if I wanted to, if the loot’s the same, the motivation for doing two versions of the same raid is certainly diminished. At any rate, the more I think about this change, the more OK I am with it. I know a lot of 25-man raiders are screaming about it, and I know some people are predicting that it means the end of 25-man raiding. I think people who want to raid 25s will still do so, but even if it does mean the death of the 25, honestly, I’m just not sure I care.

Goblin LFW!

As for the rest of the news — the similarity in difficulty, the Normal vs. Heroic, and smaller raids — that all sounds good to me. So does the other bit of news released last night: Emblems will be replaced with Valor points and Hero Points. So we get points instead of emblems, and they will be downgraded (Valor >> Hero) as new tiers are released. Much simpler, and I’m totally fine with it.They’ll be capped, and I wonder what the cap will be like, but since I spend my highest tier emblems as soon as I can afford something, I’m not very concerned. I do wonder about the future of that money changer in the Underbelly, but she’s a goblin, after all. I’m sure she’ll find some way to turn a copper.

Woot!

My raid team finally got Yogg-Saron down. This had been a bit of a sticking point for us. The initial plan had been to clear Ulduar completely before moving on to Icecrown Citadel. But power outages, screwed up raid lockouts, and scheduling issues frustrated our efforts, and when we could get in to fight Yogg, we found the fight coordination a little troublesome. Last night, we worked it all out and got Yogg down for the first time. Woot!

Of course, we didn’t wait to get Yogg down before we entered ICC, because at some point, it just seemed silly to let this one clusterfluffle of a fight stall out all our progession. Still, it’s nice to have it cleared and feel like there’s no unfinished business. We can really focus on ICC “with a clear conscience,” as our main tank said.

As for Ginnger, she’s now at level 70 and living at Vengeance Landing. I’m running her daily random to save up emblems for when she gets to 80, and doing some questing, of course. But her leveling has been slowed down by my decision to change her profession.

I’d been leveling skinning and leatherworking, because skinning is leveled so naturally while you’re questing, and I could make some decent mail gear with leatherworking while she leveled. On further reflection, however, I decided mining and jewelcrafting would be a much better way to go. It’s something that will benefit all my toons, unlike leatherworking. My rogue is an herbalist/alchemist, so I’ve got that synergy working for me. So now Ginnger has gone back to Azeroth to level mining in between random instance runs. I hate having to go back and do that, but better now than at level 80.

Last week, my raid team dipped its toes into ICC. Sure, we’re a little behind the curve in content, but we’re a close-knit, casual team, and we have a great time. We regularly clear ToC, and we’ve cleared most of Ulduar. We’d hoped to get Yogg-Saron down before going into ICC, but that’s taking a little longer than we expected. Yogg is a tough fight, coordination-wise. Several of our team members are relatively new to raiding, so there’s a learning curve. And the fight is complicated!

Of  course, I’m sure we’ll have him down soon, saving the minds of all Azeroth, but in the meantime, we’ve decided it’s time to head into ICC. We’ve done a bit of rep farming in there already, but after a little glitch with the Ulduar 10 raid ID we’d been saving, we took our first swing at the Icecrown bosses last week. We one-shot Marrowgar, who dropped loot for just one raid member (our pally tank/healer). How rude!  Since we didn’t expect to be in ICC that night, we hadn’t really researched the fights, so we wiped on Lady Deathwhisper’s trash before time ran out for the evening. Still, we had a good time, and I’ve no doubt it will be much smoother next go.

I’m resisting the urge to buy Sindei’s T10 gloves. She has 70 frost emblems now, but I’m holding off for a new hat. Currently, she’s wearing four Tier 9 pieces: the shoulders, the gloves, the robe, and the pants. The helm is an offset piece, the Hood of Clouded Sight. (How clouded sight makes me a better healer, I’m not sure, but that’s a question for another time.)

She has the T10 shoulders already, but then I decided not to break the Tier 9 4-piece bonus until Sin had two pieces of Tier 10. I mean, the T9 4-piece bonus isn’t all that, but a bonus is a bonus, I figure. So… if I bought the T10 gloves, she’d have a 2-piece T10 bonus right away, but no T9 bonus at all. So the plan is to go T10 shoulders and helm for the 2-piece T10 bonus, while keeping the pants and gloves for the 2-piece T9 bonus. I plan to buy an offset robe — Meteor Chaser Raiment is better overall for the Disc spec, while Ermine Coronation Robes would be more balanced for both Disc and Holy — and upgrade the T9 pants and gloves last.

Meanwhile, Ginnger continues to suffer the ill effects of my recently curtailed playtime, though I managed to sneak in enough time this morning to get her up to 54.

Soup's on, little guy!

Gin is still living in Tanaris. I wanted to do some leveling in Felwood, but there’s no place for her to live! There’s no inn in Un’Goro Crater either, but I can live in Gadgetzan and fly or run to Un’Goro easily.  Besides, I’m working on that Venomhide mount quest, so it’s convenient to have my hearthstone set there. My to-do list also includes lots of leather farming, so I can get leatherworking up to 300 by the time I hit Hellfire Peninsula. Cooking is way behind, though, and my fishing’s even worse.

I’m eager to get some real grinding time in on Gin so that I can get her moved to Outland soon, but I don’t know when that might be happening. I don’t foresee much extra playtime anytime soon, and next week will be even worse, since I’ll be focused on getting Sindei’s Noblegarden meta.

I co-lead a cozy little 10-man raid team. Our guild is one of the largest WoW guilds, so there are plenty of raid teams. None fit my schedule and needs, however, so I threw caution to the winds and started my own team.

It’s a great group: friendly and relaxed, but generally good at what we do. We’re a bit behind the curve, but that’s OK with us. We’re there to have fun and see the content.  We clear ToC regularly and have cleared Ulduar through Mimiron. At this point, everyone is geared for ICC, but we want to finish Ulduar first.

Tuesday night was a perfect example of why I love raiding. The group was really on the ball. We had a couple of folks who were new to the team, but they listened to instructions and worked together. We one-shot everything in ToC (even Faction Champs!), with plenty of time left to head over to Ulduar to take down Mimiron on our saved raid ID. It was a pleasure to have such a smooth night of raiding.

Tomorrow night, we’ll have our first go against General Vezax. Wish us luck!