HHM: Lord Moralegar – Turning Raiding Momentum In Your Favor

15 April, 2010

Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.–Vince Lombardi

Hidden Hard Modes (HHM) is a series dedicated to those bosses you see outside of the game. The bosses you need to kill just to make it into an instance and before you even kill one boss. This feature will be archived in its own page for easy access after it runs its course. Previous entries: Attendancegut, Recruitmentface

It’s been some time since my last entry on this topic due to a lot of progress, other interesting topics to write on, and the one first of two events this year that make this post actually possible to carve out. Also, this post is likely going to cover much of what I intended for Stratagosa, so we’ll count this as a “council boss” for Hidden Hard Modes ;).

Morale and confidence within a raid are strange animals. In one moment you can effortlessly defeat anything placed in front of you, and with one wipe at a low percent you’re struggling wipe after wipe, for seemingly no reason. There’s a reason that I’m constantly comparing what we do in game to those that skate and hoop in front of thousands: the mentality is similar

Seasons

In PvP there are defined arena seasons, but those are relatively abstract compared to an actual sports season. Raiding actually follows a more stringent schedule and time frame when compared to the typical NHL or NBA season. In a typical week, they’ll play 3 to 4 games. For Raiders, we’re getting up and heading into an instance the same amount.

Now, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. The mental and physical toughness that it takes to be a professional athlete is so far above what a raider in WoW exerts it might as well be on Jupiter. That being said, in a typical raiding cycle (approximately 7 months) you’re suiting up to play 112 times with probably 70 of those nights being actual progression.

Handling that kind of grind is not easy. There will be off nights and weeks, times when you don’t really get anything done. Is the sky falling every time you wipe 10 times on a boss you’ve killed a half dozen times? Is it time to kick people or disband the guild if a bad raid night turns into a streak of bad nights? Of course not.

Bouncing Back

In hockey this phenomenon is referred to as “tilting the ice.” During a game or a season it might seem like one team is completely outmatched. No matter what they do or how many penalties the other team gets, they just can’t get anything going. It actually looks like someone picked up one end of the rink so that one team is playing downhill. When a game is in the balance, the tilt can go either way at any time. A quick streak of goals can send a team into a downward spiral, bleeding momentum.

Momentum when fighting through a raid instance is just as important. An easy one shot on a boss carries over to the next boss (and so far). Wipes happen just like goals agsinst happen. Expecting to go an entire season without being scored on is ridiculous. Especially on harder content, you need to expect that some bad things will happen or someone will make a mistake and you won’t be able to recover. That’s fine. You just recover, re-buff and pull again.

The wipes that really throw you off kilter are the “back breakers.” You just had a couple solid attempts where a tank DC’d or some dice rolls lined up the wrong way. Everyone is still pretty confident, but this time a melee loses his head and gets his group killed early in the fight. Ugh, killer. We played perfectly and wiped, we played poorly and wiped, how the hell are we going to beat this?

It’s time to bounce back.

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ICC25 Hard Mode: Riders on the Storm

2 April, 2010

Come on, baby, light my fire–The Doors

The hard mode difficulty curve is a funny thing in Icecrown Citadel. The easiest layout for a raid leader would be the bosses starting out easy and then getting a little harder one step at a time, allowing for a natural progression path through the instance. ICC does not follow this pattern directly. In your path up the Heroic Mode Mountain is Lady Deathwhisper.

Tackling Deathwhisper right after Marrowgar is akin to following Captain Sobel up Currahee, taking a train down the other side, and then climbing Mt. Rainier. For a raid leader, going for progression on Deathwhisper is a tough call since it gates hard modes that are much easier to complete.

For me, the increase of Strength of Wrynn to 10% made this decision easy. We needed to drop Deathwhisper and we needed to do it right now. Our strategy was solid, and our strategies for the other hard modes in our crosshairs were solid. Getting Deathwhisper down didn’t mean one new kill, it meant 3.

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Shotgun Friday: Random thoughts on healing and WoW news

26 March, 2010

It’s true that every time you hear a bell, an angel gets its wings. But what they don’t tell you is that every time you hear a mouse trap snap, an Angel gets set on fire.–Jack Handy

It’s Friday, it’s time for a nice long weekend of hockey, 10 mans, and bar-b-que. So I thought I would do just a random run down of various things jingling around in my head this week. Some thoughts on DPSing as a Healer, why you should go for the Tier 10 Gloves and Crafted Legs for your healing kit (Shamans), and why Festergut Hard Mode is a gas, gas gas.

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Holding Out For A Hero

19 March, 2010

A hero is one who knows how to hang on one minute longer.–Novalis

Heroism/Bloodlust is an essential raid buff on nearly every encounter. On some it’s just a way to get it over with a little faster. Other fights require it to meet a benchmark or cover all of the healing required.

This is a simple post that simply lists in a simple fashion when I hit (or call for) Heroism:

  • Lord Marrowgar (Normal/Heroic): Start of the fight.*
  • Lady Deathwhisper (Normal): Start of the fight.*
  • Gunship Battle: By the time you’ve read this far into the guide, you already have won
  • Deathbringer Saurfang (Normal): When Saurfang frenzies at 30%
  • Deathbringer Saurfang (Heroic): When you think you can win in the next 40 seconds.
  • Rotface (Normal/Heroic): Start of the fight.*
  • Festergut (Normal/Heroic): As the first gas expunge is casting.
  • Professor Putricide (Normal): After one complete tank rotation (All tanks have 2 debuffs). This generally lines up with ~20% and will aid the raid healing quite a bit.
  • Blood Prince Council (Normal/Heroic): First time the Darkfallen Orb passes to Taldaram. The melee doesn’t have to move.
  • Blood Queen Lana’thel (Normal/Heroic): After all 16 vampires are active.
  • Valithria Dreamwalker (Normal/Heroic): After portal #3 or #4, depends on how fast you are moving. Make sure GS is ready to go up on her when you exit the Dream/Nightmare.
  • Sindragosa (Normal): Final ground phase (generally ~40%), this will allow you to push back the enrage and also not put your DPS in jeopardy if you use it later (Mystic Buffets!)
  • The Lich King (Normal): During the second Remorseless Winter when the first Raging Spirit spawns.

As a bonus, I’ll throw in To(G)C:

  • Northrend Beasts: After the first Jormungar burrow, when Acidmaw is mobile for the first time.
  • Lord Jaraxxus: Start of the fight*
  • Faction Champions: Start of the fight, when the melee are actually on their target (wait for them to run in).
  • Twin Val’kyr: After the second vortex, or when you see a good number of dps empowered. On Heroic Mode we tended to use this as late as possible regardless of empowered just to guarantee we had the healing to power through the last 20ish%
  • Anub’Arak: Start of Phase 3 (Leeching Swarm, phase). This is the best way to counter the massive amount of healing done as he transitions over.

*Make sure the boss is fully debuffed before activating Lust/Heroism (Sunders, Ebon Plaguebringer, etc.)

UPDATE: The above are from a 25 man point of view, but also all work for the 10 man versions of these encounters.

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Approaching Hard Mode ICC25, A Road Map

15 March, 2010

To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some may say that non-linearity is the true way to create interesting content. It provides choices and perhaps a different way of doing things. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Maybe you get to choose a different path through the instance when farming the content, but that is quite inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

What Raid Leaders want, and look for, is the best path through an instance. If they don’t know what to choose, the choice will quickly be made for them. Let’s take a look at the “First Four” bosses of the original Naxx:

  1. Anub’rekhan
  2. Noth the Plaguebringer
  3. Instructor Razuvious
  4. Patchwerk

One of these things is not like the other.

Even if an ambitious raid leader wanted to tackle Patchwerk first, he simply could not. What he will fall back on is either experimentation (if he’s one of the first in), or the experiences of guilds that came before him. In the case of Icecrown Citadel Hard Modes, the latter is where most of us fall.  Plotting out a course of action based on the science of guilds that have already tried (and failed, in some cases) is the best way to create an effective map of hard mode progression.

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ICC25 Hard Mode: Power Overwhelming

13 March, 2010

We burn…We need focus…Thorasoh’cahp! — Archon, StarCraft

Our third and final night of hard modes included two bosses that supercharge the raid to ridiculous levels: Blood Queen and Valithria Dreamwalker. Killing off both would allow us to meet and exceed our goal of at least 5 hard modes this first reset. It turns out we were more prepared for both than I originally thought.

“Eradicate”

Leaving a raid with a boss at 4.7% HP, knowing you needed just 12k more raid DPS, tends to leave a good amount of trepidation at the start of next night. You worry of falling into a loop of wiping since your momentum from the last evening’s attempts is all but gone. The best thing to do before starting right in on a boss is get the blood flowing. A warm-up if you will.

For us it was the trash prior to Dreamwalker. We cleared to collect our free single Emblem of Frost and then back-tracked to the Crimson Halls. The message? Once we drop Blood Queen, Dreamwalker could be saved shortly after.

Once again we prepped for Blood Queen. Potions at the ready, food and flasks, a quick double check to make sure all the raid buffs were covered.

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Now With 5% More Fiber

3 March, 2010

No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country. — Gen. George S. Patton

The buzz this week, other than the Lil’ XT, is the activation of Strength of Wrynn/Hellscream’s Warsong.  As everyone knows by now, this is (initially) an extra 5% damage, healing, and health.  This buff by the end of the expansion will reach 30%.

It should be noted that talking to your faction leader and removing the buff will take it away for the entire reset. So be warned, there is no turning back (for a week at least) if you choose to go in without your King.

Blizzard’s continuation of using the “lore” of the Ashen Verdict to enhance and expand ICC is very solid.  Giving players a small boost is a better direction than their former model of cutting off whole limbs of bosses to allow raid groups entry into the later portions of raid zones with little more than a foam sword rack.

Five percent isn’t going to let trade chat PUGs kill The Lich King (or even Festergut, most likely).  What it will do is push guilds stuck at a particular point in the instance over the hump.  Very small execution mistakes aren’t nearly as magnified.  A little bit later in this post I’ll do a quick comparison between this week’s clear to last week’s Tuesday’s clear.

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