When to cancel a raid?

Its the slow summer time of Warcraft, and many players are taking extended breaks, fooling around with partners, and generally not logging in. Some folks might have had lives in the first place. Lucky sods. So it falls to the folks who are still raiding to try to recruit, pug, or beg for characters to fill the ranks.

In these troubling times the Friends list gets a workout, and good players or even average players who are online, but only known in passing get a whisper.

(As an aside I’d like to think that the Trade Chat putrific swill had dropped off, but it looks about the same. Go figure that all the people who are taking breaks are not those in Trade presenting their lack of social skills…yup.)

This got me thinking that there must be somesort of threshold of pain, time, or frustration which causes the leadership (or which in my Guild I just recently because a participant officer) to just say, “screw this, lets raid hogger instead. Good night guys”.

But when and based on what type of scenarios? I dont have answers, I’m asking the question. When do you call it, and go fishing in Darkshire?

My suss is:

  • I think missing more than 2 is a total non-start, and having 2 missing at any point after is just frustrating and the beginnning of the end. At best tell the ones you have to look around, give them all assist to invite, and say that you’ll look again at a kick-off in 15 minutes.
  • Having low gear is as bad as no player at all, especially so when you get deeper into ICC.
  • Having screen-lickers (see below) is a non-start too. ICC cannot carry any.

Could be cused by some of these factors:

Low toon numbers – make for bad runs, especially if you have no players with alt toons. So low toon numbers really means a lack of players. recruitment might help, but you need to keep the old ones, while the new ones get broken in. And adding any number of new players into a group is a mess.

Like adding a new cock in the hen house. Bloody, messy, and sometimes not worth the effort.

Poorly geared players – basically make a run with slightly less fail, but still fail when the challenge can’t be beaten by skill alone.

Which assumes you can get skill…

Screen-lickers instead of raiders – will make the GM and officers scxream murder, but hope they learm. This is probably worse than no numbers at all. Either way I think recruitment might help.

Lend me your thoughts on what measure you folks use.

Windows x64 WoW issue is real

If you are a user of 64 bit Windows and have found that after the last patch that World of Warcraft is freezing and crashing – the problem is acknowledged and real.

The “Out-of-Storage” problem relates to memory usage in the view distance, and apparently a number of short term adjustments can be made to make the game more stable; until an actual fix is deployed (read the Blizzard thread via teh link below if you just want to get straight to the fixes). No timeframe for a propper solution as yet from Blizzard.

I had a grumble about the patch a few days ago, and this fits the behaviour that I’ve experienced since the patch. Such a shame that I jumped to Windows x64 for WoW, thinking that the stability of the x64 OS would make Warcraft a little more stable. Doh!

WoW.com has posted a short summary, and a full thread full of concerned (and probably happy now it is real) customers are watching the official thread on the forums.

Which sigil when in ICC for DKs?

The folks at EJ have a table that it took me 15 minutes to find, and was dreading trying to compile myself. So in the interests of finding it within 1 minute the next time; I’m re-posting their wisdom, and drooling like a madman at the prospect of having all the god-slaying gear listed in the thread.

My real question was which Sigil is better for which bosses, given that the SotHM is only wonderful when you can keep the buff active, which means it is good for fights where you are constantly swinging. Movement makes it less that optimal, which is when the SoV becomes better.

LTDR = SotJM on static fights, SoV on movement fights.

From the ElitistJerks-Unholy-for3.3.5 thread. There is so much goodness in this post for DKs, and especially Unholy Death Knights, that it almost makes my brain hurt.

Boss   Sigil   Notes  
Lord Marrowgar [Sigil of the Hanged Man] [Sigil of Virulence] if standing out on Bladestorms.
Lady Deathwhisper [Sigil of Virulence] [Sigil of the Hanged Man] if assigned to the boss full time.
Gunship [Sigil of Virulence] None.
Deathbringer Saurfang [Sigil of the Hanged Man] [Sigil of Virulence] if on add duty.
Festergut [Sigil of the Hanged Man] None.
Rotface [Sigil of the Hanged Man] None.
Professor Putricide [Sigil of Virulence] [Sigil of the Hanged Man] for the hard mode.
Blood Princes [Sigil of Virulence] None.
Blood Queen Lana’thel [Sigil of the Hanged Man] None.
Valithria Dreamwalker [Sigil of Virulence] None.
Sindragosa [Sigil of Virulence] None.
The Lich King [Sigil of Virulence] None.

Grumbling on the Midsummer Festival of Pugs and Lag

I’m not sure if there is a correlation between the start of the Midsummer Festival and the terrible increase in lag; but it feels like it. Last evening it was bad enough in instances that I jumped offline instead of waiting 2-3 seconds for each button press to be recognised.

Dalaran was a total ghost-town of empty mounts, or so overloaded that it was impossible to move.

Grumble: Much later in the evening I came back online and the lag was better, but still far worse than the game was 2 nights before.

A few guildies agreed that everything was slower, and a few others said that they were not having an issue at all, which means it could easily be related to the ISP or to the routing in use between Australia and the USA; or even something odd in my house. In support of my suspicion I can say that the Dungeon Tool was heavily populated with players, and the Ahune queue was very short.

Draw your own conclusions.

Speaking of Ahune, and his wonderfully random selection of cloaks, the implementation of this boss is good, but has really exposed us to the worst of the player base.

It is wonderful as it gives any character the opportunity to run the boss until you get each of the cloaks for all of your specs, and as these are ilevel 232 items, and very well specialised for their roles, they have real appeal for PvE. Consider it mandatory to get all your roles covered in the days where the festival is on.

The negative side affect is that as these are cloaks anyone can need on these, and the experience from 11:30pm to 1am for me was a rinse-repeat of people rolling need when they have absolutely no need for the item. I’d say most need for sale or DE; which is just terribly bad form. This is the worst kind of behaviour, and exactly the circumstance that the armour type need vs greed modification was made to loot rolls, and such a pity that there is not a way to preselect classes for gear.

Initially it might be argued that needing on these items is no such a big deal, as it can be re-run over and over, so the selfish player will always need. To paraphrase a comment from last night – “you can always run it again buddy”. But what it does not take into consideration is that the actual drop is random, and by needing you are taking an item from the toon that may actually need it.

Then add to the case that some cloaks seem to be rare. Of my 12+ runs last night I saw the tanking cloak once, and was lucky enough to win. On almost all those runs I saw somebody needing on an item that was either totally incompatible for their class, or rolling need when they came using an off-spec.

Larger grumble: Needy bastards should be spiked on the SW gates.

My advice is to run this boss with known people, so they don’t Need/Quit the group after Ahune is killed. Get guild mates to keep you company. The fight is easy enough for most classes.

Largest Grumble: Tanking as Frost DK on Ahune is frankly frustrating.

As a Death Knight Frost tank, my primary range affect to grab single mobs, and 50% of primary source of damage is useless on the boss and on the mobs. Imagine what that does to the fight when mobs spawn in random locations, attack random targets, and the player base has no idea on good tactics.

Its a total mess. So in the spirit of getting folks on the same page, here are some tips for how to make the Ahune fight very easy.

  1. Manage the ads well. If you have fast reaction time and can avoid the circles then stack up on the Tank. But if you’re expecting randomness from the players, then spread out 10-15 yards apart. The mobs will spawn and attack random folks, probably the healer. To avoid the Tank running between all the players, staying close and using AoE is the best way to handle the wave of initial monsters. The mobs will eventually even get sick of standing and firing frostbolts, and run in toward their target, so if everyone is standing close, the odds are that everyone can kill them faster, and the tank can grab them faster.
  2. Remember to hurt the boss during the first phase. It is critical that targets switch, or even dedicate a single range dps to just focus on Ahune. Kill him fast and the fight finishes faster – simple.
  3. Save cooldowns for the stage where the small ads are gone, then go bananas. No threat, no boss, just a big rock to destroy. It is a dps wet dream and you should prep and focus for it.
  4. Expect the healer to get targeted, and try to look after him before the dps. A simple thing, but easily forgotten that many healer types are very squishy, and will need some help.
  5. Consider using different auras, as the amount of Frost damage in the fight is strong (so I suspect), so getting a pally to Frost up will help a lot.

Anyway, that is all for the grumble-post. Happy pug’ing Ahune, and I hope your cloaks drop and your rolls are appropriate and high!

Thoughts on Instance 190 to 192

A range of thoughts from The Instance shows 190 to 192. Kind of a catch-up bucket post, as I’m listening to them as a batch. I’ll say up front that I really like these guys; and the personal edge and plain language version of the game the present is really valuable. If you don’t listen regularly show #192 is a good one.

Toon Models

From show #192 the Randy and Scott chatted about an improved model creator for Warcraft. The idea being to introduce a toon adjustment option similar to other games where we can customise more of the appearance of our characters. I think most players would like the option to alter more of their appearance; especially over time as they realise what they like.

Damn guys, I would love this  but I can see why it is difficult. C models, with R variations, wearing A gear, with P options adjustable via the barber; well than gets you: CRAP! = a lot of variations to load in real time in Dalaran (Lag-a-ran).

Perhaps the game code could be altered in a future version to only adjust the subtle display of toon models during low traffic areas, or it could be a UI preference – giving the tollerance level for models to be adjustable. eg. In town I don’t care, but in Instances with my mates it would be nice.

Perhaps only useful in the DeepRun Tram?

Continue reading

ICC update and finally Putricide

A quick toon update, with great news everyone… Mortigen finally got a Putricide kill, which completed the Plague-works achievement for him. As my best geared toon (especially in dps set), it was odd to have it done as an undergeared tank (5kgs). I have only respect and awe for the healers keeping me alive through all that, and for the way everyone finally got our roles right. We took a set of characters which were not perfectly geared or experienced, and still managed to kill him. While I think some folks might have been frustrated by that, I was darn pleased that it worked. Any of a few folks would have preferred different roles, but the team got it done.

Huzzah Insidious-Nagrand!

At the very end the fight felt very epic, with us running out of health, mana, B-res, and floor space. In the final seconds I was inching backwards into a corner of free floor space, trying to survive long enough to ping my tank cooldowns again. Every second counted.

The fight is interesting, in that the degree of randomisation in the placement of goo pools and thrown goo, really makes or breaks the fight. I am still unsure why we use a strategy that has the tank walk the boss between two points, rather than in an ellipse, which seems more logical to me. Keeping two paths were the tank can run the boss feel better.

The Abom/Tank can assist by trying to keep some walking paths through the muck clear, but sometimes there is literally nothing than can be done, as I saw on many attempts. It is a great mechanic and somewhat frustrating to see a goo-ball fly out and strike somebody, especially when that is where you’re walking backward towards. With Aussie lag, I’m never sure if the boss is moving when being kited or not till a little later than I’d like, and often folks are calling for a move after I’ve started to go, but before the boss has any idea.

Can a Tank turn side-on and angle-strafe move him, rather than backward walking? Seems that if he is still in the forward 180 degrees it should be ok.

Continue reading

Let them burn

Blog Azeroth shared topic: When should Healer let folks die in the fire?

Ha! All the time. First mistake is free, the next one the dps should burn. Let’em use bandages.

The context I’m imagining is a random PUG five man normal or heroic at any level, but feel free to answer in any way that moves you

I think the content of a 5 man should be so well known, and so over geared by most folks that standing in the fire is not an issue. That is to say, the content can be done even with the idiot standing there, so no real issue; not at all that the person should stand there without feeling like a fool though.

Applying a rule that everyone gets one chance to be a moron; the first mistake is ok and totally forgiven. But the second time they should at the very least apologise for the mistake, and not keep doing it.

Third time I’d be happy for a Hunter or Rogue to MD to them constantly so they quit the group.

An example – In AN “pound” by the last boss is something that used to kill Tanks. Now a tank can pretty much be healed through it, but it still kills dps. This is ok and the way it should be.

If the Tank didn’t move because they were doing something else, then that is ok too, but generally the Tank should know better and should have moved. The Damn dps who do that deserve all they get, and should not be a priority in healing. Period.

Have a great raid, and I’ll leave you with some inspiring words: Give a man fire and he’s warm for a day, set a man on fire and he’s warm for the rest of his life.

Weekly Hate: Pally who dont Buff

Quick one today, my new pet hate is Pallys who won’t buff, won’t respond to psts, and generally act like they bring nothing to the raid. Even when I play my undergeared pally – I frigg’n buff!

Case in point was the weekly raid this week: Sarth. I know its a cake walk, but not giving a shit about fellow players is just poor form. Thank you to the raiders who understood that not all Paladins who pug runs are selfish mongrels; just most of them.


Onyxia Dead (again)

Due to some nudging and lucky timing, and odd outcomes from rolls – I was able to complete the Onyxia head quest, and gain not only that quest, but a handy upgrade in gear.

The Onyxia lore is something that I have a deep respect for, and can not wait for a revival when the next expansion hits. It would make sense if she was undead though, as she’s been killed twice now.

Quendalon in front of Stormwind and Onyxia head

Onyxia never looked better, deep breath be damned.

AFK, Real World Crit my Gamming

Its been a long time since I posted regularly, and by golly gee its been busy – both in game and out.

I’ve been planning a huge life event (because you can’t say wedding without somebody charging you a 200% bullshit surcharge), changing to a new and exciting job, and also burning time on trying to find a house to buy. By comparison a Sarth 3D kill will a tank and healer AFK, and 3 screen-lickers is easy.

But you don’t read a wow blog to ponder my real life ramblings, so straight to the wow goodies:

A new Guild

After much nashing of teeth and requests, I’ve moved 3 toons into Insidious of Nagrand. The members are almost all people I knew before joining, and it is great to have a few of the wow circles I know combine into a guild. Darn good people really help the game stay fun.

I am a very happy player at the moment with the guild.

General Instance Grind is dull

I am sick of running heroics. Period. Five level 80 characters means a heroic is dull and old content. That goes double for OCC due to the suckage of players and stupid fight mechanics, and triple for HOL and and HOS which just take too damn long.

That said, I’d do any of them with a good set of players and enjoy it; just wish that the Pug system could allow some team matching based upon likes as well as dislikes.

Warlock love

I dusted off my Warlock recently and in the free time I had between jobs, I now have a Level 80 toon who is hopelessly under-geared. It is frustrating to be a solid level 79 who can top the damage and scream flaming death at everything one day, but at 80 then be reduced to a total scrub again.

Thus begins the gear grind on my 5th level 80 character. He has over 100 recent achievements, but the good ones are:

  • Level 80 (duh!)
  • 1500 quests (when did that happen?)
  • The regular Dungeon Master (all the LK normals complete)
  • Heroic UP: Girl Skadi and Lodi Dodo at once – which is easy now with 264 epic toons to run with.
  • First item of the T9 badge set – and the dread that all the others will take months to get.
  • Looking for Many award.
  • A stack of H runs, gear updates, and wasted money on ilevel 200 gear.

Death Knight, still darn fun

  • DPS gearset is looking OK. T10 in four places now, with three items the “Santified” upgraded T10. Just need to replace my Helm, Neck, and Ring – and I’m golden.
  • Tank set is a little more work, but still ok. I have a T10 Glove from VoA that is altogether pointless unless I also grab another T10 item – which will be soon. T10 Shoulders for Tanking look average, but will at the very least get me the first set bonus.
  • Took the time to actually get the Weekly Raid, Daily quests, and the VoA all done in one week – which for me is a twice a year thing given the time that takes and the amount I play.

Druid, Bear is for Tank, but Boomkin is feathery fun.

  • Also got VoA and weeklies done, and slowly bumped my Boomkin set to mid 4.5ks, which is ok.
  • Then got into my guild’s ICC 10 man run, and replaced 4 items in one night. Now the Boomkin set is in the health 5250 range, and the Tank set ios around the same level. So in one or two runs my Druid has comparable gear to my DK (dk = 5.45/5.1 vs Druid = 5.25/5.2).
  • Boomkin is fun, and the form is so cool that it makes me behave like a stupid kid. Silly jokes in raid chat, bouncing while dps’ing, and altogether strange behaviour is what the CritChicken does to me.
  • I love the Starfall change.
  • I can’t wait for a UI element that will make detecting the procs faster. I know it won’t help my dps (as I have been known to faceroll when tired), but will certainly make me feel guilty about it.
  • I think getting runs will be easy now should I choose, as 5.2 seems to be the sweet spot for getting invites at the moment.

Next update will either be really soon. or another month away. No idea – we’ll see.

Hope the bosses drop all the good stuff for you, and you find a game ticket on the train.

GS facepalm thoughts

I don’t like the way GS has altered the Trade channel, but then I like even less that LFG channel is not used, and the scrubs that troll through Trade.

Pugnacious Priest has a really nice write up on GS, and I basically like his perspective and think it is sound. If you are still on the fence about GS his post will help you decide one way or the other.

My rant now continues, with why I think the tool is ok, but used badly. Like a hammer being used for every tool in a tradesman bag, rather than just being used as a hammer.

The issue I have (which is not new) is that the itemisation determines the iLevel, which in turn generates a GS value. Now itemisation is meant to be based on a balanced approach for the race/level/class/gear set that you have. But folks are making itemisation choices based on GS.

Upgrades of gear is seen to be like adding bricks into a pile with GS. Higher the brick is seen as better. No way folks – the materials and the pattern have more affect than the bricks themselves.

Thus I can have a craftable caster Cloak of ilevel 200, and know that the next best item for me is a drop from a few places, each around ilevel 245+. Why? Because the itemisation on the cloaks in the game between the two points is of no benefit to me, due to the other stats I have.

eg. Hit Rating is something you need to a point, then its a waste. After the cap it has no value at all. The GS mods score an item overall, and when you re-score that item without hit (in affect you consider the itemisation gains, rather than the raw stats), then it is far less useful.

So lets all agree to keep the GS use to the initial selection of players, and keep our ePeen around GS flaccid, to better no stand out in the crowd as a louder member of the otherwise unwashed mob.