SoO LFR Raid part one was ok

Sunday daytime a few weeks ago I had an unexpected few hours to waste online and I finally got the queue to pop for SoO part one, after a 1 hour 10 minute wait.

I am so very late to be just doing LFR Siege of Orgrimar, that it is sort of scary to think about how “behind” I am. It was Jan 19th when the Part One achievement ping’ed on my main character.

It gets me thinking that the concept of behind is funny in MMO terms. The folk who are setting or breaking records were done with this patch in Hard mode content months and months ago. The guild (Insidous Nagrand-US) has been doing hard modes for ages, and with two darn healthy 10-man raiding teams they are kicking Garrosh and his cronies in the groin on a regular basis.

As a section it is OK. I didn’t have my socks blown off by the strats or by the difficulty. I saw a heap of people die to the HUGE BLACK SWIRLY BEAM in whats-his-name-in-the-middle. I guess it was too tricky that it can go in one of two directions VERY VERY SLOWLY. I kept my well-fed buff through the entire run, which means that I’ve kind of let the noob-DK team down.

Anyway, I don’t mind being behind. I’d like some magic wand to make the queue times less than one hour, but I also feel like an absolute troll for even saying that. A player who logs in during the odd blue moon doesn’t like waiting one hour for an LFR? Cry a river rookie-boy. As a wise-crack, but altogether wise guildie suggested – or roll a Tank and man up!

I think the last thing the “LFR community” needs is my DK strafe tanking a Boss as a noob. I’m almost certain that after my Tanking an LFR run for the Lei-Shen fight a few players left WoW  in disgust. I could almost taste their tears and hear the breaking keyboards.

I love tanking, it’s not that it’s not fun at all, it’s that others don’t seem to love watching me learn. Grin.

Happy raiding, you dedicated folks. Very jealous. I’ll see it all eventually.

WoW p5.3 this week, highlights include

Patch 5.3 notes are out, for the Prod drop on May 21st. Ref: MMO-Champion – Patch 5.3 Live This Week for a full summary. I expect downtime to be bigish, with the downloader churning away. This means the cycle is less than three months between patches, and if the next patch comes quickly we might see a staggeringly fast end to the Pandaria story-lines. Blizzard’s website also has a nice prep summary.

garrosh Hellscream image from Blizzard's website

I’m pondering the amount of ilevel 500+ gear which is being made available in one time rewards, and perhaps it is time to consider the offset as a priority.

A few highlights for me are:

  • the return of the Item Upgrades, via that vendor. Yes, we can again decide if an existing upgrade is better than buying off-loot (” items upgraded with Valor will now cost 250 Valor Points to upgrade per 4 Item Levels, for a total of 500 Valor for 8 Item Levels per item “). Cool. Mr Robot and others will have their systems ready too if what I read is true.
  • the ilevel 600 cloaks from the Wrathion quest chain. ilevel 600 is huge, and worth it for everyone. I want it, and want three of them.
  • the Heroic Scenarios is a boon I’m looking forward to, not because I want to see that older content again, but because of the chance for the ilevel 516 gear. Including a quest that has a reward of a 516 built in. Wowhead has a comment which lists the rewards by armour type. Why on earth are these using the Pandarian models for blue and green loot? Lazy. A re-colour at least might have been nice – all emeralds and ruby.
  • the Heroic scenarios need item level 480 to enter, and use a pre-made team of three. Still hopefully should be not too hard at ilevel 510.
  • the new scenarios for the lead up lore/story to the Siege of Orgrimmar. Assuming that is the big deal in patch 5.4, this should get all the players happy with killing Orcs and agreeing that the War Chief is a bad guy, not a good-bad guy.
  • a quest has been added that reveals the final Sha and some ilevel 502 boots. Nice upgrade for the slow and unlucky guys like me. Shamefully I’m planning on getting better than this, so I might just take the Tanking option instead of the Dps option.
  • I know I should try the brawlers guild soon.
  • the Darkspear Rebellion Quartermaster will sell re-colour of popular old Tier gear, upgrades to ilevel 489 which is nice for the alts and new main toons. I don’t mind at all they the stuff is available in a different way. They’ve chosen some nice sets, and as a DK I had access to my set anyway.
  • we can now transmog from the Bank and Void Storage directly. Good. Nice change.
  • the Heirloom Shields are in. Great news for alts. I’ve been saving the odd Justice Point for this.
  • Lastly – I’d love a Hearthstone Beta. I’ve ripped on it recently as a distraction, but I am curious. HINT. Too strong? Nah. HINT HINT.

King Wyrnn and a Panda, they all look alike

Overall I’m looking forward to the 5.3 patch. It is not a huge patch for content, rather is a prep patch. It is a great patch for gearing your toons. The folk who don’t get much are those who are already geared up beyond 522 or higher. Sorry guys, only the cloak for you.

I did not finish collecting the Wrathion tokens from boss kills in patch 5.2, but will get there soon. I also don’t run the downloader often, so I’m going to kick that off before bed tonight.

Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew

Heroic Guardians in MSV defeated

The raid team are not resting after finally killing the Sha of Fear (getting the Guild to 16/16 Normal), and last night we were successful in killing the Stone Guardians of Mogu’shan Vaults on Heroic.

It is a tough fight for the healers, especially if the team are not coordinated. That said, a few of the raiders really knew what they were doing, as it looked to be a wipe, but the living players continued to fight, killing the dogs just as it enraged. If one of the 4 dead folks had lived a little longer (myself included) then we’d have probably not even hit the enrage. Any kill is a good kill when its the first.

The shorthand description of T14 H1/16 never looked so good. Screenies will go up later.

Loading screen for the Mogu'shan vaults

We tried Heroic Guardians, ahem.

A little while back we tried doing the Heroic Guardians fight in Mogu’shun Vaults. I died. In celebration of the holiday season here are some screenshot of Mortigen fighting from the floor.

I really like the mechanic of lighting up the floor, it reminds me of an 80s pop song, and it really highlights the grey pallor of Mortigen’s dead body.

Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew.

Stats on Heroic Raiders

Aside

Any time I see stats for Raiding numbers I am interested and start comparing realms, guilds, factions, etc. Typically this ends in me confirming something which I felt was already half true in my mind, or gaining a deeper level of information about a known real impact. That said, anytime I see stats I also assume that somebody is lying about something. Human nature.

Today I saw a page for the PvE Raiding stats across all servers for characters which had killed at least 2/16 heroic bosses on 11 Dec. This means our server Nagrand-US ranks 189th on the list, with only 38 characters killing 2/16. That is across the 394,805 guilds and 25,581,509 characters in their database.

snip from Magtheradon raid intro screen

By comparison the high values were in the 500s and 600s characters on some realms having killed 2+ bosses, 147 realms with less than 10 characters, and 87 realms that have not killed any at all. The “high” servers have also got many guilds which have 14+ of 16 bosses in hard modes for Tier 14 raid content. These guys are awesome, and I’m jealous.

There are also 60 realms where there are greater than zero but less than 10 characters who have killed 2+ bosses. Considering the minimum raid size is 10 that means that transfers must be occurring with some regularity. How else do you get 5 characters on a realm who have killed 2+ bosses on heroic?

Some of my old servers (Feathermoon-US) is 0, Eonar-US has 30, and Sumamar and Earthen Ring have only 15. The average is roughly 47 characters per realm who have killed 2/16, but then the median is only 25 telling us that there is a skew in the distribution where the leader realms drop off drastically from the top, very quickly into the average, and a very long tail which has not.

Now our guild has not killed any Heroic modes as yet (soon), and while there are only 28k characters who have, I don’t feel too bad as we are gaining ground. Would I like to be? Of course.

(update) What does it mean?

Well not much in the broader sense, just that it was interesting in terms of a gauge for where raiders are in the content. Seeing 10,000+ players have run through heroics, but many realms have very little heroics implies to me that the “end” of T14 is a significant way off yet. I’ve read rumour of the next raid in 5.2 being an Ulduar style raid, and that is exciting. Timing wise I hope that it is a long way away so we get the opportunity to strike through the current stuff.

Happy killing.

In the nick of time

The raiders in Insidious were fighting bosses down to the wire before MoP and a space appeared so I nabbed it. It meant that I got to see the Heroic Ragnaros kill and Heroic Deathwing kills while the content was current – just in the nick of time.

I thought some pictures might be good too. Thank you to Insidious.

I should have screenshotted his legs

Finally heard the Voice of the Deep

I had the absolute please to raid a Heroic Dragon Soul run with the guild, where they were up to the Madness of Deathwing. Initially I’d said to the Lootmaster that I’d not take any loot from a regular raider, as they’re present every week, and we only have a handful of days before MoP anyway – so gear is somewhat of a moot issue.

I was very pleased when not one but two of the two-handed greatsword named Gurthalak, Voice of the Deep dropped. A Best in Slot weapon is very welcome, especially when nobody else in the raid had to miss out on anything.

a darn fine looking weapon fro a death knight

Are the 5 mans fixed?

The original basis for this post on 5 man difficulty was drafted well before 4.2 was released, in fact it was just after launch of Cataclysm. In that first draft I was very angry and frustrated with the encounters, and could not name a single boss fight which I found challenging and entertaining at the same time.

As the content was tweaked in the early days of patch 4.0 it did not get much better, but when 4.1 was released (ZA/ZG 5 mans) there was a substantial change in the staging of the older 5 mans to make a progressive path through the gearing process. I re-edited the draft with less anger, adjusted for some of the changes, and then added back in the frustration and disappointment when I pondered ZA and ZG as experiences themselves.

ZA and ZA felt like mini-raids, which were designed to push players and punish them hard when execution was not perfect. Even if the actual encounter mechanics were partially random, the players were still punished. Poor design in my opinion, and something that I hope more than just a few in the Warcraft community have experienced and would agree with.

Now that 4.2 is live we have a range of small changes to some aspects of the 5 mans, and also easier access to gear, which in turn helps mitigate the poor encounter design. As you might be lucky enough to have a team that partially over gears the encounters, you can somewhat reduce the impact a mistake has, and potentially not outright wipe. This is no replacement for good encounters, it is just a happy side effect of players getting better gear.

Today I’ve decided to post this reflection on 5 man runs, as the feeling has been consistent throughout the Cataclysm expansion in a way I have not experienced before. TBC and Wrath did not feel like this. It is a personal taste on how you view the content, and also how well you feel the”curve” is being handled.

The main angst I feel toward the 5 man content is that to continue my goal of gearing up I must do these, yes they are frustrating at times. My goal of gear is conflicting with my sense of entertaining play. So once again we have two factors: Gear & fun as key parts of the discussion.

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