Archive for March, 2009

Naxxramas…cleared!

Posted in Raiding with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Yes folks, that’s right.  The Dinner Goat crew along with three awesome members of the Order of Ancients downed Kel’Thuzad and cleared Naxxramas last night.

In the screenshot below, you can see us hanging out in the Naxxramas throne room after running rampant through Naxx, destroying everything in our path.  You can spot me standing next to Beatris the Explorer (my wife).  I’m one good lookin’ Dwarf eh?  I lucked into catching Remmy, our Raid Leader, doing some sort of disco casting move.  Pretty sure that makes the shot.

throne

It was a hectic fight.  We lost both tanks and a healer before it was over, but we stood triumphant over Kel’s….shadowy ball, in the end.

As far as our tactics for this triumphant week, we pretty much steamrolled Spider, Plague & Military, as we usually do.  For tactics on those, check out my past Raiding posts.

As for the Abomination wing, we finally managed to jump some hurdles.  Patchwerk was a piece of cake.  In fact, we had an undergeared tank main tanking patchwerk as our healers 2-healed it.  The only tips I can think of for Patch are make sure your lesser tank is main tanking and your better tank is second in threat.  Make sure your melee dps is BEHIND him and blow cooldowns cause he has an enrage timer.

We finally got by Grobbulus by not having idiots in the raid.  I’m sorry puggers, but the fact that we had quality players we could trust from OoA filling our empty slots completely changed our raid.  I’ve spoken about Grob tactics before, but the short version is; kite him around the outside of the room, everyone stay behind him, kill the Fallout Slime as soon as it spawns, stay out of green circle farts and don’t drop the circle farts you will make when you get injected in the middle of the raid.  In fact, drop them along the wall between Grob’s farts.

Gluth kept us busy for a while.  At first we were trying to 9-man him.  Our raid comp at this point was 2 healers, 2 tanks, 2 melee dps, 3 ranged dps, one of which was a hunter.

The tanks have to taunt Gluth back and forth when they get 3 stacks of his debuff on him.  The hard part is keeping the zombie adds in check until the decimate when you aoe the zombies.  Gluth does a decimate which drops everyone in the raid plus all his zombie adds to 5% health.  At this point the zombies run to gluth so he can eat them and regain his health.  You have to aoe them down before they get there.  Even that part went fine.  When they aren’t decimated, however, they run around trying to kill people.  Which they did.

Only when we switched to a 3-healer setup were we successful.  (we also picked up a 10th)  A holy pally was kiting zombies while a hunter was laying down frost traps and a priest healed the prot pally.  Our other priest was up front healing the tanks.  It really worked out rather well at this point.  The extra healer healing the holy pally was the big difference.  He was trying to heal himself at first and it just wasn’t happening.

Thaddius was a joke.  We wiped once cause we’d never been there then owned his house.  Thaddius has two adds that have to die within seconds of each other.  That’s easy enough, the fun part is they shoot the tank to each other so the tank has to keep switching adds and the healers have to keep switching tanks to heal.

As soon as his adds drop you have to jump accross to the platform Thaddius is on.  Making the jump is important, cause if you don’t you have to go all the way out and try again.  I’m happy to say all of our raiders made the jump.

Thaddius also “charges” raiders.  Basically you will either have a positive + charge or a negative – charge.  Positive charges need to be on one side of him and negative charges need to be on the other side.  It’s really not a difficult concept and it was really easy once we saw what we needed to do.

Next we went after Sapphiron.  Unfortunately, I was gemming a frost resist belt during the explanation and caused our wipe.  Go me.  However, after seeing what it was I needed to do, I did it, the raid did it and she dropped.

First things first, Sapphiron has a Frost Aura that ticks for about 1200 damage per second on everyone.  This is just gonna happen so deal.  She also has a tail sweep and a pretty huge cleave, so don’t get behind him or in front of him unless you are the tank.  There is a blizzard attack that everyone except the Main Tank needs to get out of.  Main tank is just gonna eat it.  That was me for this fight.  I ate it up, nom nom nom.

She also has a life drain that needs to be dispelled, as it damages raiders and heals Sapph…that’s bad.

Periodically Sapph will lift off the ground and hit people with an icebolt that turns them into a block of ice and does damage to them and everyone around them, so try to spread out a little bit.  Of course, you don’t want to spread out TOO far, because after she turns them into ice she will breath a frost breath that will kill anyone it hits.  To not get hit, you have to hide BEHIND the people that are ice blocks.  Pretty clever.  After the frost breath he lands and you commence repetition.

Finally we get to Kel’Thuzad.  You start the fight with everyone in the raid running into the green circle in the middle of the room.  I’m not sure why, but the Raid Leader said it was important.  After that, adds start coming from different rooms randomly, you will see them.  Abominations are tanked by the tanks.  These are dps focus targets.  Little skeletons also run toward you.  These need to be killed by ranged before they get to the group, lest they blow you up.  Lastly, banshees come VERY slow, but they have a lot of hp and if they get to you, they knock you around the room…which is bad.  So ranged need to take them out as well.

We had tanks & melee on Abominations, a Hunter on skeletons, & a shadow priest and mage on the banshees.  It worked out rather well.

Finally KT jumps into the fray.  It’s important to stay spread out.  He has a fun little ability that turns people into a block of ice and causes 105% damage to them over 3 seconds.  As soon as they get frozen they need to be healed.  If they were at full health one heal will keep them from dying, but if they aren’t at full health they are gonna need more.  This ice block will also chain to anyone within 5 yards of you, thus the need to stay spread out.

KT also does a frostbolt volley that didn’t seem to do much and something called Mana Bomb.  It apparently deals damage based on maximum mana.

Oh, I can’t forget…he opens shadow fissures.  These are the “fire” you aren’t supposed to stand in.  They don’t do periodic damage though, it’s all at once after about 3 seconds.  So get out of them before that point, or you will die.

Lastly, at 40% KT summons a couple adds.  They are basically just melee adds that your Offtank needs to pick up.  The only hard part of this is if your offtank gets frost blocked while the adds are on him.  If he isn’t healed HARD, he will die…as I did.

All in all, it’s a fun fight.  I hope to live through the entirety of it sometime.

That’s the final leg of the DG Naxxramas tour folks.  Next stop, Malygos!

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Now What?

Posted in General with tags , , on March 20, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

I have no idea, that’s what.  I’m at a slightly awkward phase my WOW career right now.  I’m not sure whether I should push forward with more established characters, start working on my benchwarmers or start an entirely new alt.

I have a raiding Prot Warrior who is very nearly finished as far as 10-man raiding goes.  I need 15 more badges to get his tier 7 chest and I need a belt.  His downside is that I don’t typically solo him.  I have things I could do with him, such as work on his Sons of Hodir rep, but the wife hasn’t felt like questing lately and I have to quest to get through that chain.

I have a level 80 Unholy DPS Death Knight who isn’t geared very well, but he’s also not my primary raider.  He’s got a level 75 blue, a level 76 blue and two level 78 blues, and yet he does what I consider respectable dps.  I could definitely work on him some to get him a little more raid-ready, but usually when I’m instancing I’m needed to tank.  Which brings me to another option for him, switching him to a tank spec and tanking.  He’s at 540 Defense, his HP, Armor & Avoidance leave a little to be desired though.

I have a level 70 Rogue, but I haven’t been excited about him lately.  Before my DK, he was a character I liked very much, but now he’s just another melee class.  I don’t really cherish the idea of having three level 80 melee classes.

I have a level 67 Hunter.  He’s on my old server so I would have to transfer him, but this guy has got me slightly interested.  Before the DK, I was really concentrating on the warrior and the rogue, but now the hunter gives me something I think I need right now…variety.  He gives me the ability to shoot from afar, some utility and crowd control (which we never use).

My last couple options are way down the leveling ladder.  I have a level 31 Shaman, who I would have to transfer to my current server, and a level 6 Mage who I just made the other day.

In all honesty, the Shaman interests me the most.  I have no characters with the ability to heal, and having that option would be really nice.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of desire to level to 80 from level 31.

If I can at least get Beatris through the opening quest chain on Sons of Hodir, I am definitely going to work on Randul’s rep with them, but what else?  Should I work on Kered’s (the DK) gear?  I can only imagine what his dps would be if I got rid of those mid-70’s blues and got him some epics.  Should I start leveling the hunter for a change of pace?  Level the Shaman?  Start from scratch on the Mage?

What do you think?

Grobulus Sucks

Posted in Raiding with tags , , , , , , , on March 16, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

For a better look at Grobbulus’ strategy, go here.

As any of you who have been keeping up with my blog will know, my guild has been working on Naxxramas-10 lately.  We added another quality dpser to our raid, (Welcome Fandark!) so I’m pretty happy about that.  He was already raiding with us, but he’s officially a member of Dinner Goat now, and I couldn’t be happier.

Last week, I posted about how we had finally cleared three quarters of Nax.  First was Spider, then Military, then Plague.  Funny side note: we only had 7 guildies to do Nax this weekend, so we had to pug 3 dps spots.  On the Safety Dance, all three pugs died pretty quickly in the fight, but all 7 members of Dinner Goat will standing tall at the end.  Grats Dinner Goat.  You all rock!

So this week we started in the Abomination wing.  Our raid composition was (bear with me, it changed throughout the weekend) Prot Paladin, Prot Warrior (me), Holy Priest, Holy Paladin, Rogue, Shadow Priest, Death Knight x2, Ret Paladin & Mage .  Patchwerk went down like a girl, in spite of the sub-par DPS from the DK & Ret Pally.  Our Priest and Holy Pally healed through it like pros.  They rock.

Our guilded DK dps switched to his Holy Priest for some additional healing at this point.  So we get through frogger to Grobbulus.  I hate to say it, but this guy was a total rooster block for us the entire weekend.

I should start by giving strategy.  Grobbulus has a few abilities.  First thing he does is drop fart rings on the floor.  These are AOE damage, and one should not stand in the fart.  Hey drops these every 15 seconds I believe.  So the main tank needs to backwards walk Grob around the outside of the room.

The next thing Grobbulus does is spray slime across the room.  If things are going the way they should, the only person getting hit by the slime should be the main tank.  The slime only goes forward and as long as the main tank is the only person in front of Grob, he’ll be the only one getting hit.  You only want the main tank getting hit, because for each person damaged by the slime a Fallout Slime spawns.  These fellas do aoe damage to anyone around them and are just nuisances.  The OT needs to pick them up and they need to be burned down asap.  More than one of these is a problem, so, and I can’t stress this enough, dps should stay BEHIND Grobbulus.

The last thing Grobbulus does, and the most difficult to deal witht is inject random raid members with a Mutating Injection.  This puts a disease on the person.  Basically they have 10 seconds to go AWAY from the raid and after that 10 seconds expires, their disease will explode causing nearly 10k damage to them and anyone around them.  It also drops another lovely fart ring on the floor.

We had our MT moving Grobbulus enough so that people with the mutating injection could run in between his fart rings to drop their own fart rings.  Check out Tankspot.com for a video on how do Grobblulus.

On our first attempt, I disconnected and, while I wasn’t there for it, I think everything went south pretty soon after, since they had wiped when I got back.  Apparently losing one of your tanks and one of your three healers is a bad thing.

When I got back, we tried again.  This time I got to see all the chaos.  Puggers dpsing in front of the boss, people dropping farts willy nilly throughout the raid.  It was ugly.  Granted, most of us had never seen this fight, but it was still ugly.  On our third attempt someone pinned in one of our healers and she blew up in a bad way, which lead to some wipage.

Instead of continuing on, we decided to go battle things we knew we could beat, and we did.

Sunday we decide to try Grob again.  This time we’ve got a Holy Pally, a Holy Priest, Prot Pally, Prot Warrior, Mage, Shadow Priest, Rogue, Warlock x2, & the Ret Pally again.

The Ret Pally did 880 dps.  That’s not a typo.  Basically, if our puggers had matched the dps of our lowest guilded dps, we’d have dropped him.  I did the math.  The additional dps would have been enough in the time we fought him.  Unfortunately, one of our top dpsers (DK) was out of town at this point, so we lost a lot with him out.

This brings up a dilemna for me.  I am a good tank.  Our MT & I are pretty much neck and neck as far as gear goes, and we both do our jobs quite well.  However, there are times when extra dps would go a long way.  As you probably know, I have a DK alt sitting out there in decent but not great gear that does  2500+ dps.  At what point would it benefit the guild to pug an adequate, but probably not as good as me tank to get my dps in there?  All the off tank has to do on Grobbulus is know not to drop farts in the raid and tank the fallout slimes.  It’s not a particularly stressful job for an OT.  No more than the dps really.  If we could find a pug tank, I think my dps would have helped a lot.

So anyway, Grobbulus is taunting the DG crew.  Some lack of execution with a large lack of DPS is keeping us from getting past him.  According to my raid leader, he’s the last speedbump in our road to clearing Naxx, and I’m excited.  Hopefully this weekend we’ll have an 8-man DG crew and only have to pick up a couple pugs.

This time next week, I’ll be saying “Abomination Wing, cleared!”

Then, onto Saph & KT.

The Pug from Hell

Posted in Rant with tags , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Before this weekend, I have never tanked a PUG that ended in total failure.  I have DPS’d said PUGs, but never tanked one.  I like to think I am a good tank and it takes a lot for my groups to fall apart.  Notice how I prefaced this paragraph with “Before this weekend”?  Yeah.  I did that on purpose.

Go check out Darraxus the Warrior’s blog.  He has a guide to pugging.  I’m sad to say I broke 5 of his 6 commandments.  His six commandments are; thou shalt not be afraid to leave unnanounced, thou shalt inspect each member before commencing PUG, thou shalt run a damage meter, thou shalt make your own PUG, thou shalt let they community be aware, and thou shalt be helpful.

Unfortunately, the only one of these I DID do was run a damage meter, and the damage meter confused the crap out of me to be honest.

As I stated before, I consider myself a good tank.  In Guild runs and most PUGs I’m in I keep aggro off of 2500 dps players.  I do it when they are focus firing, I do it when they aoe, I do it when I’m marking and I do it when I’m not marking.

How then, on God’s green earth can I lose aggro to people doing 1400-1500 dps?

We were running Heroic Azjol-Nerub.  We got past the first pull no problem.  I never lost aggro and I was feeling pretty good about the run in general.  The second pull, the one before the boss sequence, was when I started to get nervous.  It’s a three pull, something I should have no problem with, but I was still losing aggro to these guys.

After the second pull we started the boss sequence.  For those that don’t know, Krik’thir the Gatewatcher has 3 groups standing in front of him.  Pulling the first group begins a timed sequence which sends the second group, the third group and then the boss at certain intervals.  If you don’t kill them fast enough, you’ll get the next group and so on until you get the boss.

I have never had a problem with this fight.  Be it aggro or DPS speed, this fight is a piece of cake.  Last night, this was not the case.  I could not pry aggro off of my party members, including the healer!  After three wipes (notice me breaking the first commandment here), I said one more try.  This time I was finally keeping aggro because they weren’t going balls to the wall right out of the gate.  I’m feeling good about it, then I notice the rogue died.  Again.  How he managed to pull aggro off of me with his rockin’ 1400 dps is a mystery to me, but he managed to do it.

The rogue managed run back in time for the third group of adds just in time for the boss to run up while we still have the adds up.  How???  How can these guys be throwing down enough dps to pull off of me, but not be throwing down enough dps to get these mobs down before the boss enters the fray?

At this point, I decided to follow the first commandment and get out of dodge.  From now on, the commandments will be followed by Randul the Dwarf.  I can guarantee that.

Stacking or Chaining the “OH CRAPS”

Posted in Tanking with tags , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

This is a little debate for my fellow tanks out there, and possibly healers too.

I have an “OH CRAP” macro on my warrior tank that uses Shield Wall and both trinket slots at the same time for those close call moments.

Which would be a better use of these items/ability?

Stacking them together for a few seconds of “get out of dodge” time or chaining them one after the other for less survivability but a lengthier amount of it.

What got me thinking about this particular debate was the Maexxna fight in Naxxramas. At 30% Maexxna enrages.  My “Oh Crap” macro would offer a ton of survivabiltiy for a short burst of time, but not nearly the entire enrage.  However, chaining the abilities would give less survivability over a longer period of time.

It would be up to the tank to determine if one trinket, the next trinket and shield wall one after another would be enough survivability to get through the situation.

What do you think?  What particular situations do you think would warrant chaining over stacking?  What particular situations do you think would warrant stacking over chaining?

Three down, 1.5 to go and other raid musings

Posted in Raiding with tags , , , , , , on March 9, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

This weekend Dinner Goat rolled into raiding a little differently.  We only did VoA on Friday, because 3 of our raiders went to see Watchmen.  We entered the raid with 15 minutes left on the timer and we 8-manned it.  I’m not trying to say we are awesome, but we are.

Saturday we did OS with no trouble, as usual and meandered on over to Nax.  We only had 8 people at this point as well, but we decided to go ahead with it as we were going to work on Heigan today and didn’t want any whiny puggers bringing us down.

We actually had a little trouble 8-manning the stone gargoyle 2-pulls that heal if your dps doesn’t burn them down after a certain point.  We were using 2 healers, 2 tanks and 4 dps, so our dps was one entire person short on this pull.  We wiped once, but after that we came back and owned them like nobody’s business.  I think we weren’t taking it seriously the first try.

We got to Noth and while the adds were cumbersome, we were able to beat him without wiping.  Up the gauntlet we go, with no issue and we get to Heigan.  Heigan has been a block for us at least twice, maybe three times.  All those times we had puggers that were getting whiny so we called after a couple wipes.

As it turns out, the DG crew was tired of Heigan laughing at us, cause we freaking OWNED the Safety Dance and all was right with the world.  It’s hard to describe Heigan, so if you want to see it done check out one of the many Heigan video kills on Youtube.

After Heigan we called it before going onto Loatheb.  We had just enough time to do Loatheb, but we didn’t want to bring a pug in for one boss so we decided to start on Loatheb on Sunday Afternoon.

Enter Sunday afternoon.

Once again we started out with 8 people.  Two of those 8 were puggers, as one of our normal crew was on Malygos on her other character and the other normal guy was playing in a Lacrosse game.

On our first attempt at 8-manning Loatheb we wiped.  Our Raid composition was 2 healers, 2 tanks & 4 dps.  After the first Loatheb wipe our Malygos runner got on her lock and one of our dps (Ret Pally) switched to his Resto Shaman.  We owned Loatheb this time around.  Apparently having 3 healers makes Loatheb a pansy.

The trick to Loatheb is he has a debuff that lasts 17 out of every 20 seconds.  While that debuff is up, no one in the raid can be healed.  This means all healing has to be done in a 3 second window every 20 seconds.  Having never done this before, I was nervous, but our healers were up to the task.  Loatheb also spawns little dancing spores.  When you are near a spore that dies, you get a huge crit buff.  I think it gives 100% to crit or something disgusting like that and it also gives you no threat.  So really, if the healers are on the ball during that 3 seconds and everyone (except the tank at first, he can get it later down the line) gets the crit buff, Loatheb is easy loot.

Speaking of easy loot, I got my Tier 7 Shoulders off of Loatheb.

After Loatheb we went over to the Spider Wing because we got that crap on farm right?

Eh, I spazzed out on Anub’Rekhan.    He shot me up into the air right as his Locust Swarm started, so I was already a little off my game.  I ran into the wall trying to get away from him, which slowed me down a little as well.  So he was already hitting me in the back before I was halfway around the slime.  In my effort to turn (to avoid taking back-hits) I fell in the slime.  We wiped at this point.

After that, however, I was back into my normal groove and he fell like a ton of bricks.  At this point, our Lacrosse guy finally showed up so we finally got our tenth for the raid.  He is our main tank, so I went back to being the OT and our PUG OT went to dps as he was a death knight tank and they can put out some decent DPS.

We owned Grand Widow Faerlina, as we usually do, and got to Maexxna.  I mean, we’ve got Maexxna on farm, right?  RIGHT?!  /sigh  Not so much.  Our DPS was just too low.  At this point our raid composition had turned to 3 healers, 2 tanks, 1 tank dpsing and 4 dps.  So not only was our DPS too low, but I was having trouble picking up Maex’s adds.  Rage starvation sucks in this fight.

So what do we do?  We call super-Kered, that’s who.  I decided to go ahead and let the DK go back to off tanking and I went and got my DPS Death Knight.  With my added dps (I put out around 2500 for the fight) we dropped her and much loot was had by all.  Well…not much loot, but some loot.

Our last fight of the day was Razuvious.  Since the Death Knight tank had never done this fight before, I went ahead and took one of the MC roles on Kered.  We lost some DPS, but I know how it’s done and it’s just easier if people know how to do it.  It went smoothly and we beat him.

My Achievements!

Yeah, it’s an armory pic, but it’s what I’ve got.  If you look closely you’ll see I’ve highlighted the name Randul in the address bar.  So, for those keeping score, Dinner Goat has now cleared 3 wings of Naxxramas.  The Plague Wing, the Spider Wing and the Military Wing.  All that’s left is the Abomination wing.  I can’t wait until we get our next run at Patchwerk.

If nothing else, we will have Abomination down next weekend.  We’ll have cleared all the wings, just not necessarily in the same week.

The Devil on My Right Shoulder Won

Posted in Rant with tags , , , on March 6, 2009 by Randul the Dwarf

Actually, there was no debate.  The angel on my left shoulder was screaming for me to do it louder than the devil.  What did I do, you say?  Good question.

I, and a guildmate were just sitting around in Dalaran waiting for something to happen when we notice a PUG 25-man Vault of Archavon forming.

I’m on Kered, so I whisper the guy and say, “I’ll come, Unholy DK 2k+ DPS.”  The fellow, by the name of Jrivlol adds me to the raid group and I see that he and I are the only folks in the group.  I’m cool with that.  I’m not doing anything else so waiting around doesn’t bother me.

I sit here and wait while this guy SLOWLY adds people to the raid group.  My guildmate gets added as well, as per my request.

After entirely too much time waiting for this guy to get the raid moving, we finally get everyone there and start clearing trash.  I’m keeping an eye on Recount, because it’s important for me to be able to pull my weight.  After all the trash is cleared and we are standing around looking at the boss I’m at 3rd on Damage Done and around 8th on DPS.

Honestly, that’s not bad at all for a guy in fairly crappy gear.  I’m rocking a few blacksmithed epics, the epic belt from Heroic Nexus & the epic leatherworking cloak.  The rest of my gear consists of 75-80 blues.   I think my DPS was 2500.

So we are just about to start when I hear that wonderful little sound that tells you someone whispered you.  “Sorry, guildie coming.”  At first I think to myself, he’s holding us up because a guildie is coming, but why is he whispering me.  Then I notice I’m no longer in the raid!

That’s when the devil & the angel on my shoulders start talking.  The devil says, “Dude, the boss is RIGHT there…pull him.  They aren’t ready.”  At this point, most people would expect the angel to say something along the lines of, “Don’t do it, be the bigger man.”

Nope.  That angel was screaming, “WIPE THOSE JERKS!”  So I pulled, and they did wipe.

Was it the right thing to do?  Probably not.  Did it make me feel better?  Yeah, a little bit actually.  Here’s the thing.  It’s lame to kick anyone in the middle of a raid.  However, if you are going to kick someone…why are you kicking the awesome people?!?!

There was a hunter doing 1400 dps.  Why didn’t he get kicked?  /sigh

Jrivlol, this is for you.

YOU SUCK!

YOU SUCK!