Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Whaaat?? Being a GM and raid leader can land you a RL job in business?

Kyjenn linked me this article in Forbes titled "7 Ways World of Warcraft Builds Better Leaders".  It was an interesting read, but you have to remember that it's not just talking about any old WoW player, but those who are raid leaders and GMs.  The article is articulate, and the 7 points were also well tied in to real life situations, but I thought I'd add my thoughts to the mix.
  1. Virtual teams and Seamless Collaboration
    Think of a board meeting with members all over the world/country.  Sounds like your typical raid team.  And they're all working together to achieve the same goal.
  2. Digital Communication Channels
    Conference calls are so last decade.  Skype/Ventrilo'Mumble - every company should use them IMO.  And if you can talk and type whilst dishing out orders, aren't you just the little Gen Y genius!
  3. Creating a successful team
    A great team has specialists in it, all with a specific task.  Healers. Tanks. DPS with specific jobs (though that pretty much seems to hunters for EVERYTHING lately). A raid leader/GM needs to fill the team with appropriate members for the task and juggle the abilities of those available to be able to fill those roles.  So... I guess that means since I tend to fill a raid with melee and have 3 druid healers, my team building could use some improvement...
  4. Motivating volunteers
    I think one of the biggest motivations of raid members is that everyone wants the same goals and that we will all share in the spoils and the glory.  Volunteers seems like an odd word to use here.  Every raid member is a recruit!
  5. Taking risks and continuous improvement
    Trying new strats for a raid boss is one way to look at how people tackle a problem. Trying different things and seeing what works and what doesn't is a great learning experience for all members in a team.  Not sure how many times you can wipe and reset an encounter if you stuff up a major business deal though...
  6. Poise under Pressure
    If you can be a good raid leader and not go screaming -50DKP at your raid members then I think that's always a plus. People love those who can keep their heads cool under pressure. However I am unsure how this translates into RL though - how would anyone know that you are a calm and collected leader just because you say so on your job application?
  7. Visibility and Accountability
    This is important in all team things that have rewards and the rewards are distributed. As long as when you're leading you let everyone know beforehand how loot is going to be handled and everyone understands how it works, then it should be better.  Those raid teams that have secret officer/raid leader business that ends up with them taking all the loots tend to do poorly and that translates the same over into RL situations as well.
I think that it's all very well and good, and I can see the advantages that being a successful guild and raid leader would infer upon you, but how does one establish that in a job interview? I think that it would be more useful to say that the skills you acquire from raiding may actually be able to help you in the future if your job requires a lot of teamwork and you are going to be in a leadership role.  But to actually put that on your CV?  Well, to be honest, if you note that in your hobbies/interests that you are a computer game player then I will notice your CV and probably ask you about it, but it doesn't mean that I think that you're a great leader because you say you are a raid leader or GM.  I suppose if I ask about how to deal with certain situations and analogies are drawn between their in game experiences and translated to the real world (with ideas that WORK of course), then I can see how game playing enhanced their abilities to perform in a RL job.

John Seely Brown, said that he'd hire an expert player in WoW over an MBA from Harvard.  Sounds outrageous?  Well it certainly does to me.
When we look in to the social structures and the knowledge capability, refining and generation capabilities of these guild structures, there is something going on here. These are not just self-organizing groups. Basically every high-end guild has a constitution. The leaders of these guilds also have to do dispute adjudication all the time. They also have to be willing to say, “Let’s measure ourselves.” These guilds are truly meritocracy-based. And so even if you are the leader of this particular high-end raid, at the end you do an after-action review, and the after-action review each person is open to total criticism by everybody else. You can replay the whole thing because basically its all computer-meditated so it can be captured.
Trying new ideas, reworking it until it works, then measuring your performance against others by looking at meters that are open for everyone to peruse and critique - sounds great on paper and hihg end WoW playing does help you but I hope that people don't get the wrong idea and think that just because you play WoW you will be good at teamwork, or that you need to play WoW to get ahead in a business job.

The more practical thing I would be interested in is HOW to use your leadership skills in a game like WoW and turn it to your advantage in an interview.  Merely stating it is not enough - the context for the discussion is not going to arise (unless it's a long interview).  But here is a small tip where you could bring it up.

When your get asked about your strengths and weaknesses then you could mention that you have a penchant for competitive computer game playing.  The strengths of that is that you are good at virtual team building and coordinating large groups to function in individual roles to secure a known outcome.

In the medical field, computer game playing probably doesn't help you much in terms of securing a job, but if people in business think it does?  Well, you will just have to play your cards right to use it to your advantage.

Guildleader chores minipost - And here we are on the Guild bank Gold rollercoaster AGAIN

Last tier was good.  We made money from BoEs.  Guild bank was the healthiest it has ever been.

I am not sure why they decided to go down this rubbishy path again of no income.

Personal loot, which I have decided to put on for 2 weeks to see if we can get as many loots as possible, means that BoEs will be looted by individuals and they can keep them unless I specifically ask for them.

It feels really awkward to take the BoEs from people.  I don't like it, but how else do you make money for the bank?

Everyone said tonight that there was no need to worry about guild money because the bank is sitting on 500k at the moment, which is from selling BoEs during this last tier.  But if you look at progress nights where repair bills start coming out at about 700g and over, with 20 people in the raid, that's 14k bled out on just one night.  If that was three raid nights that's 32k.  A WEEK. I suppose that the guild bank could cope for 4 months without topups, because money still comes in from doing dungeons, raid and challenge modes.

Lissanna of Restokin was quick to write about it, and I agree for a big raiding guild that's a lot of dough to lose.  I brought it up in raid tonight and there were a number of suggestions including donating gold for EPGP (which would work for some people and probably not for others), or doing our own repairs (since we do make a lot of money now in WoD).  However, I like the guild paying for repairs, and I would like to keep it going.

Of course, the other thing is that with master loot I could DE the stuff and sell the shards.  Can't do that with personal loot.

I think with these things in consideration, we will go back to ML sooner rather than later. I had initially been thinking about doing 2 weeks of personal loot, but I have to save for the future! :D

Friday, June 26, 2015

Raiding - Success! How we dealt with Heroic Hellfire Assault

Back we went to Hellfire Citadel on Thursday ready to try Hellfire Assault again on heroic.  I admit that after reading a lot of the negative comments on MMO Champion's forums, I wondered if we would be able to do it. However, my friend Fanglore told me that he was doing it in a PuG in heroic and they got to 50%. Ok, so it's just how WE are doing it that's the problem, I thought.  If a PuG can do it then we can too.  Aimei also said that the more people we had, the harder it was to do.

So at the start of the raid we discussed again the kill order priority. The Felcasters convert to Terrors after a period of time (according to Icy Veins) but they could stay up for a while before they turned into terrors.  We weren't sure if they turned into Terrors after a certain % health but we treated them as if that was how they worked.  When those Terrors were up they did massive amounts of raid damage that needed a healer cooldown to get through and if we had two morphed into Terrors well that was pretty much a wipe.

The Berserkers were an issue for tanks on Wednesday, but now we had the melee dealing with them and ranged were on them also until the Siege tank came out.  We still had adds all over the place and then we finally decided to nominate a main assist who could call out also (Punchynok) and the target switching was better.  Tanks were living longer and for the first time we managed to get to 50% in the encounter.

Then we noticed we had little adds heading up to the cannons and damaging them, because we had a few insta wipes and it was from the cannons dying.  We managed to a really good attempt in but there were SO many adds around.  We had stopped cleaving and gone to single target (as suggested by multiple sites) because we were worried about 2 terrors metamorphing and wiping the raid, but there were so many adds up by the end, it was crazy.  Aza and Owl had been AoEing the whole time and after more then an hour of wiping (but making minor progress mind you), they said that the adds were not going down fast enough because the raid DPS was too low with the single target.

A lot of the mythic guilds had just cleaved the adds down, and now that we had a kill order, we decided to give that a go. Voe had been running the munitions up to the cannons (and needed a couple of heals as he headed up the further the fight went on) and Kelthal had been keeping an eye for stray adds on the cannons - if you just shot them they would come away from the cannons and peel onto whoever aggroed them.

So, on our kill attempt, we killed all Berserkers first, with one focussed but still cleaving.  As soon as a terror transformed that was immediately killed, and it made a huge difference on healing.  Tanks were easier to heal.  All range were pretty good with switching to the siege engines - we tried to have the ranged standing behind the boss (so that the boss was between the ranged and the cannons) so they could spend longer DPSing the siege engines, but I'm not sure if that worked out as people had to move constantly because of bombs on the ground and fire being belched out. Interrupting the engineers doing their repair took us a while to get done well, but once we were onto that it was a good, as people were actually now watching for and interrupting it.

Siege engines are not all made equal!  Crushers were a huge priority for being killed FAST and everyone had to make sure they stayed out of its way as it would kill you if you ran headfirst into it. At least they had no ranged abilities so there was time to get them.  The Flamebelchers and Demolishers tended to wander around the raid a bit (unlike the Crushers who made a beeline for the cannons) and their damage was easy to avoid - mostly fire and bombs on the ground.  As long as it wasn't done around a cannon it wasn't too bad and they went down when there were no priority targets (like Crushers, Terrors or Beserkers) to kill.

Healers concentrated on the tanks when there were 2 or more Berserkers up and the tanks also managed their stacks better, cycling their cooldowns so that one tank held both Berserkers for a period and the other let their Slam stacks drop off and then taunting the Beserkers to them.  The Berserkers were killed faster too, so the stacks and swapping went a lot smoother.

The AoE method worked, adds were better controlled with the cleaves as well as the focussed cleaves that occurred on those adds that were priority target.  I hate to say that Aza was right, but he was, and we managed to get the first boss down.

Personal loot yielded 5 loots for 21 people, with Koda not only looting Gorebound Wristguards but also rolling Flickering Felspark (totally DROOLWORTHY).  Kelthal and Ultrapwnd got Forward Observer's Camouflage cloak, Punchynok also got Gorebound Wristguards, and Fallnapart got Blastproof Legguards.  Owl got Sparkburnt Welder's Cloak, Sevrus got Powder-Singed Bracers, and Kyjenn got Flamebelcher's Insulated Mitts.  It was pretty cool to see people getting loot!

Yuuda came late (but in time for the kill) and we also had Teknoman make an appearance, and I was hoping he would have transferred his mage over by now, but so far he hadn't done it yet.  I am wondering if he is going to, and I hope that he does. It's nice to have a mage.

Hwired and Madcow missed the raid, but Kaillynn was here this time on her priest and she did quite a good job with healing.  My healing was appalling (but Koda was amazing! Rag too, he's always bloody amazing) but who cares, we got it down!!! Yay Frostwolves!

We had a little look at Iron Reaver and we managed to make a dent in it - it seems quite doable if we just move out of the bad stuff and use our healer cooldowns at the right time.  I'm looking forward to more heroic raid on Monday!  And with our recent success, I think we will do normal HFC on Sunday since it's so easy!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Raiding - Heroic Hellfire Assault is REALLY HARD!

I pugged a normal Hellfire Assault yesterday and after Balinar said it was very easy, I wanted to see what it was like. I only did Iron Reaver but that on normal with a bunch of pugs not knowing what they were doing was quite easy.  So I thought that heroic was a good option.  Crooked did normal as well and he says it was very easy just lots of trash, really.  Didn't have to think much.


The Heroic Hellfire Assault was totally NOT easy.  We couldn't get past 70% and the tanks would just go splat because those Beserkers were killing them.  The adds seemed to go down ok before that point when a few Beserkers were out and the stacking debuffs were just nasty.  The siege would make it to the cannon before it was killed because we had everyone killing the Beserkers so that the tanks could live.

And of course in the first night after patch there was a mini maintenance right in the middle of raid which cut our raid time in half at 1 hour.  So that wasn't helpful.

I wondered what we were doing wrong and I didn't want to go do normal.  Normal was just too easy for what we were doing and the challenge for us SHOULD be at heroic, where we would struggle a bit but learn, but the time pressure didn't feel like we were learning anything.

There was a lot of complaining on MMO-Champion.  Guilds similar to ours, with 10/10H BRF on farm were unable to get past the first boss of heroic.  Mythic guilds of course were getting through, and there was a lot of criticism from them saying that you can hardly expect to do heroic BRF and think you can just walk into heroic HFC. I don't think any of the people in there are "expecting" that they deserve to kill the first boss of HFC if they are 690+ ilvl but I think they expected to make a bigger dent in it. I understand that, and I expect it to be difficult but I didn't expect it to feel this difficult.  I am sure there is something we are missing.  It does feel like the difficulty jump between normal and heroic is VERY large.

Icy Veins and Fatboss all say that the adds need to be single target focussed down, but everyone was cleaving because there are so many adds (except for the siege of course). We also had some laggy issues so people were lagging and that probably didn't help things much especially with all the AoE that was going on.  I had whispers from officers in Athanasy saying normal was a joke but they could not do heroic at all, with their tanks being destroyed at a similar time to ours. They were very sad about it.

My healing was abyssmal but I admit I was spending a lot of time focussing on tanks instead of the raid, trying to time my cooldowns right.  And we were all a little bit everywhere with our healing cds as well.

Anyway, I think I will have to dump germ and go back to moment of clarity whilst we work this out. And I wonder what that one hour maintenance was for.  Perhaps we have to do normal of the whole raid before we are ready for the first boss of heroic.  I was hoping just to do from Kilrogg on normal, but it may look like we have to get rid of the whole lot on normal and go to Kilrogg if there is nothing that we can do to improve things on the first boss tonight.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Guildleader chores - Looting and which difficulty for raiding in Hellfire citadel?

In a previous post I touched upon whether we should be doing normal or heroic Hellfire citadel, and there were a few things supporting both sides of the argument.

Learning the fight on normal may make it easier to do the fight and be prepared for heroic.  However, the drawback is that none of the loot that drops is we already have an ilvl higher than what is dropping.  It may however be good for gearing up some of the lower ilvl of some raid members who are transitioning to new mains or just starting heroic raiding.

Yuuda also said that he thought it would be best if we started on normal also.  He said that our guild rarely reads up strats so we might as well wing it on normal and have fun doing it that way. But he will be happy with whatever way we go.

Crooked's opinion on normal was also evident on a previous comment and Aimei also thought that normal would be a better idea for learning.

I do however like being challenged at a level that I think my gear sets me at, and that level would be the heroic level.  The problem is that I have to be prepared for more wipes, and though I don't mind, the others may have an issue with that. After all, we are a guild that raids for FUN not for progression.  However, fun for me is a bit of challenge, so surely I can't be expected to sacrifice ALL my fun right? I do however realise that if it is too hard for us then we shall just go to normal, and that's ok.  At least we tried.

I asked the guild to send me a text or message about what difficulty we should be doing.  I only got two replies - one said normal, one said heroic.  Which means to me that they don't mind what we are doing as long as we are doing something. Kyjenn said that people would like to be led rather than given a choice because too many cooks spoil a broth.  I agree to some extent, but the raid team is a team and I would like to hear opinions if there are any.

EPGP is the next thing that I need to consider.  There are a number of changes to personal loot and I think that doing personal loot for the first week or two may not be a bad idea.  EPGP can build up appropriately with attendance and dedication for the first week or so and donations too. Doing normal however... nobody is going to spend EPGP on that loot.  I think if we do any normal we will have to make it rolls only so at least stuff is taken, and I suppose the shards will sell on the AH as everyone gets all their new gear that needs enchanting.  That's the other reason why I don't want to do normal - half the fun is seeing people getting shiny new loot.  There will be nobody taking loot in normal, I don't think, as we are all wearing Cache mythic stuff and nobody will want to replace their 700 mythics for 690 normals, even though we never did mythic ourselves.

I spoke to Balinar who was doing it on normal and he said the adds die very quickly and easily.  He was up to Kilrogg and said that was a bit difficult so I think we will switch to normal for that - which means I need to get a pug lockout for Normal Kilrogg.  I'm sure I can find something on group finder. I am looking forward to tonight... I can't wait!  I hope we've got our shipyards done!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Guildleader chores - Time to upgrade my Ask Mr Robot

A few of my guildies have upgraded their AMR to the premium account - it's not much to upgrade but I am the LAZIEST add-on person ever. Aimei has premium and often tells me about my gear and what I should be doing, and I have looked at the AMR logs that Aimei puts up and they are quite good.  It seems like AMR has come a long way since it first came out.

Recently he linked me the Team Optimizer that they were working on.  I had a giggle watching it because Zoopercat (I am assuming that's whose voice that is in the video) was funny to listen to.

According to their website, Mr. Robot’s Team Optimizer helps you:

  • See how optimized the entire team is, on one screen
  • See how close everyone is to their BiS
  • Check the entire team’s iLevel
  • Rank items for each player, showing the % upgrade
  • When ranking loot, see what item is currently equipped for each player

This might be good when gear is being distributed - it might make people think a little bit before they just put their hands up for upgrades when they can see that there is someone who would benefit more from the upgrade. That is one of the drawbacks of our EPGP system really - a few people have said they like the idea of master looting, but really the only people who like that are those who are going to get the loot. It can sometimes seem unfair if an item is given to some special DPS over another one because of a role they play and it takes the predictability out of looting.  And it's stressful enough as it is with loot without people whinging to me about how unfair it is that someone already had a heroic item and they're replacing it with a heroic item when I'm still wearing a normal item.

I am not as fussed about loot as others, and I will pass on an item if it will benefit another person more - but that person had better attend as many raids as me or I will be cross that item doesn't get to see raid time!

I remember Nok whinging about paying the $12 and it doesn't sound like much - but everyone has to make the decision about how much money they want to spend on a game.  As an officer I think it's good that we have it, since we have to help run things.  I wouldn't expect any of the normal raiders to have it unless they wanted to pay fo rit.

At the bottom of the AMR blog page it says that bloggers, theorycrafters and podcasters get premium AMR for free. I couldn't figure how to contact them - the email link doesn't quite work properly for me and I felt kinda bad emailing them to say "Hey, I'm a blogger, can I have premium for free?" especially since I am a rather small time blogger.

Anyway, now that I have got the premium I should get the addon in game so I can do this team optimizer thing and see how it works and see if it's beneficial to our raid.  6.2 is just around the corner!  Can't wait to wipe EPGP and use a new addon and make life even more confusing for every Frostwolf raider LOL!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Raiding - Disappointing, but not unexpected

It is the last raid we will do before expansion and I was really keen to try to get Blackhand for some of our guildies. There were a number who hadn't come to Blackhand because it is a tough fight, and though we've done it on normal with them, heroic is a different story.  It looks great when it's perfectly co-ordinated, when groups are moving correctly and dodging the Marks and hiding behind the same piles and moving away from the big red demo - and in second phase when the balcony goes down easily it makes it heaps easier for healers to get everyone topped up before the drop to phase 3.

But with a whole bunch of people who hadn't done it on heroic before, it wasn't going to be pretty. And it wasn't.

Voe had a shocker to start, dying in phase 1 constantly by getting hit by the mark.  He figured it out after about 40 minutes but it was still ugh.  Bombs went off in melee a little bit too often for my liking, and in Phase 2 there were so many people not getting behind the siege that it didn't feel very progressive.  We at least got to phase 3 a few times and though there weren't as many mistakes there as when we first started doing it, the healing for it and survivability was terrible and most people were dead so we lacked the DPS to be able to get it down.

Lily/Shoe died constantly in Phase 1 during the end of the night.  Owl wasn't as experienced as Yuuda as getting to balcony and one time got targetted so he couldn't get up anyway because he had to run behind the siege but ended up getting shot anyway - it is very confusing when that happens, I know I hate it.  I was on balcony duty but I could hardly get up there because I was panic healing all the people who got shot or bombed but at least I took germination so that they were hotted up before they went up, so it didn't feel as necessary to go up as it used to.  Nok had to leave because he had been having a bad week, but with 2 boomkins on the balcony you'd think it would be great.  But there was lots of fire, lots of sieges not going down, Ultra was getting frustrated because he suddenly stopped talking halfway through the raid so people didn't know if they had to switch to the siege or not.

I had a ridiculous stuff up when I was marked and ran towards a pile of bombs instead of the rubble pile and got Kaillynn shot because of my stuff up.  Whoops.

Crooked disconnected and after that we put a vote to the raid to stop or continue and we ended it there.  We actually had 19 people turn up to raid, including Duck, Tacky, Voe and Lilynette (Shoushiro) and Kaillynn on her priest (which she will be using in the next tier anyway).

I didn't end up asking any Athanasy people to come because I was unsure of how this run would go. It wouldn't have been a good run to have them on anyway, there was enough confusion already.

Duck had just finished his exams and wanting to get back into raiding, so it would have been so brilliant to get it down for him as he had been with us almost all of the way through BRF.  But, next tier is here, so it's time to look forward, not backward and think about new raid fights, new mechanics and NEW LOOT!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

More Navi-doodles by Coolidge

Coolidge made me a lovely gift the other day which I forgot to put here so people could see - more artwork always makes me happy!

If you want one done of your toon, go check him out, he does do commissions for a very reasonable price :D

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chatting with other GMs about raiding

The game may be winding down but I've found this downtime has given me the opportunity to make new friends.

Noctem's current GM has been my friend for a while - we were chatting in Pandaria because he used to PvP and I was looking for someone to play with - and their guild has been unable to kill heroic Blackhand.  I went along to give them a hand the other day and watched as they wiped on the same things that we did.  People being shot by the Marked for Death, either being in the way of someone who was running to hide behind piles or the siege tank, or just not moving fast enough; balcony damage being overwhelmingly painful; people dying in phase 1 to who knows what.  I saw some bad habits that we have bred out of our raiders - they still had people running next to melee during demolition phase which is bad news if a demo is right next to them - and we stand on the sides

Brings back such bad memories!

One thing I did notice was that it was nice to have a disc priest.  Everyone went and hid under the bubble prior to the collapsing of the floor and that made a difference to healing.

After that though, I couldn't see much of a difference.

Depth was feeling a little glum about how raiding this expansion had been going, and had passed some of the raiding organisation over to some of the other officers.  Their guild is a bit like ours - lots of players, probably enough to make mythic if they wanted, but not all the players are mythic raiders. He asked me if I had room in our guild for a few people - but I told him not to make any hasty decisions. End of patch blues are a real deal, but things will be better when 6.2 hits. I admit if I had a rough trot of raiding like Noctem did - they went through 6 tanks this tier - then I would be sick of recruiting too.

Athanasy's GM, Tubs, chatted to me about how he thought he had made a mistake with this tier's raiding.  I questioned him about this mistake, and he said that it was jumping straight into heroic and not doing normal first to learn the fights. We did that as well, and even Grumpy Elf said he did also. Why did he think that slowed their progression, I asked Tubs.  He said that they could have learned the fights better instead of being stuck on them for ages, like they were with one of the bosses (which boss it was, though eludes me at the moment.  I know I had those moments when we were doing Kromog and Iron Maidens). I thought back to when we were struggling and how I think that though it was hard and frustrating, I enjoyed the challenge it provided because it WAS doable, just needed some work to get there.

However, I can tell you that THIS would be the commentary I would get if we did something on normal.

"Wow that was so easy, we should have just done it on heroic."
"It was a waste of time to do it on normal, nobody wants any of this loot, it's been a wasted day."
"There were mechanics?  I just ignored them all because we could DPS it fast enough and heals could heal me through it."
"Next time we do normal, I might sit out, because I'm not really going to get any loot from it."

So tell, me what would we learn doing it on normal?  If our DPS was high enough, that's true they would just ignore all mechanics and kill the boss - what would anyone learn about mechanics then?  I think that it is better to learn it on heroic so that people learn it, and it provides that much of a challenge for them.  I said that to Tubs and he thought that might be true.  I admitted to him that I hadn't even done Iron Maidens on normal yet, and hilariously, he admitted that neither had he.  Both of us have, however, done everything else on normal.  Just not Iron Maidens.  I wonder why that is?

Athanasy had also asked me to help them out with their mythic raid and it was a good learning experience for me.  When I play with my own guild I know where I sit on performance, but playing with a different guild gives me the opportunity to measure myself against them. Darmac is a good fight for druids anyway, and though they didn't get it down (they had many sub 4% wipes, and the first one I did with them was a 2% wipe) it was just interesting to see how the dynamics of other healers work.  I was the only druid, and they had a paladin, shaman and a priest and it was mana intensive for me.  I switched a few things up and tried to make sure I didn't stuff up. I don't get pinned on it normally, so I wasn't going to start doing it now! However, I kept up with the other healers, which was good, and I was happy with how it all went. Mythic has an extra mount that does these red circles on the ground that slow you and you have to move out of them, so healing is intense for that period.  I'm glad that I got my Blackhand trinket, it makes a big difference for mana.

But, it's the end of this tier, and apathy is amok. Tonight will be our last raid before 6.2 I think - I am almost certain it will be patch next Tuesday - and I am considering whether to bring some casuals along to Blackhand.  However, the problem with that is we still struggle with Blackhand even with our best players, and I am uncertain who is going to come tonight.  We may have to pug a few people to get the numbers, but I will look at who is on and make the decision then.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Meta achieves in BRF and Highmaul - Gruul, Oregorger, Kargath, Butcher and Tectus

A fun night was planned - ACHIEVEMENTS!  Who doesn't love achievements?  Well Kyjenn and Madcow may not like achievements but I certainly do and everyone who felt like I did came along for achievements on Sunday night.

The Iron Price - Gruul, Blackrock Foundry

Aimei and I had been trying to figure out how to do the Gruul achievement The Iron Price.  I'm not sure if you can see it here but above Gruul in these pictures there are some Pristine Iron Ore stuck to the ceiling. There are 3 in total and the idea is to be knocked up into the air and click on them.  Get all 3 and kill Gruul and voila, achievement!

Here's a better pic of them from Wowhead.

The only way to get smashed up into the air is to be hit by Gruul's Overhead smash ability, which targets one raid member and then he does a cone like frontal attack which hurts a lot.  We discovered that the further you are away from Gruul when he does the smash, the higher you will go.  So, when you tank Gruul in the middle of the room like you normally do, and you stand directly underneath one of the ores, the distance from you to Gruul is not far enough to get you up that high.  So, you have to tank Gruul against a wall.

So you can see in this Boss Blueprint pic that I made, how we did it.  The tanks had to put Gruul against the wall, and we would put a marker underneath the ore we wanted to get. Before Gruul does his smash, everyone had to line up in a line towards that marker and then hopefully Gruul would face that way and do his smash.  It took us a few goes to figure that out, but once we did, it was easy. Anyone can get smashed up to the ceiling and click the ore, and it doesn't have to be the same person for all three.  I don't know if the person had to be alive at the end or not, but we had Aimei and Crooked clicking the ores, and we got the achievement after we killed Gruul.

He Shoots, He Ores - Oregorger, Blackrock Foundry

There is a little pipe hole near where you walk into Oregorger's room, which I've marked with a little arrow.  The Ore spawns behind where Oregorger starts (pink diamond).  In this achievement you have to get the ore and pass it from person to person to reach the pipe hole without dropping it.

Once you have the ore you can't move, and you get an action button to throw it onto the ground in a small circular area.  If someone is standing in that circle they will catch it, but you can only throw it 15 yards.  If Oregorger rolls over you, then you will drop it.

We had Arelion and Kyjenn tanking, and Aimei, Crooked, Arelion (and Kyjenn if needed) to pass the ore along the predetermined path we had laid out for them to move the ore.  It was mostly luck to keep Oregorger on that right side of the room, but occasionally he came to the areas that the ore-passers were in, and we had the ore drop a few times.  It was good to be in the intersections when passing so that if Oregorger did come your way you can pass it down the corridor away from where he was going and have enough time to pass it back the way Oregorger came from.  People had to also NOT dps the crates so that Oregorger would keep rolling around.  We had markers on our ore-passers and also tried to keep everyone out of that corridor so there was no confusion who to pass it to with people milling around the area.  When you reach the pipe, a cogwheel comes up so you just click it to deposit the ore.  We didn't know that and Aimei threw it on top of the hole the first time.  Once you kill Oregorger, the achievement dings!

Flame On! - Kargath, Highmaul

All you have to do for this achievement is make sure Kargath doesn't run into any flame poles. Which means, he will chase someone with his chop-chop slash until the time runs out.  It actually does hurt a little when he catches up to you, so it was fortunate that we had 3 paladins for this fight.

Crooked was super special, being targetted twice, I think, and Voe on his hunter was the other target, which is good because of deterrence.  A nice easy one to do!

I'm sure this is a Pop culture reference to the Fantastic Four's Human Torch.  He yells this when he goes all flamey.

Hurry Up, Maggot! - The Butcher, Highmaul

Tiny maggots spawn in the water around the Butcher, in the far corners.  To get the Butcher to kill them you need to tank him next to the maggot and get the DPS to stand on the maggot and he will cleave the DPS and the maggot will die.  There are 6 maggots and they spawn as soon as someone dies.  If you get someone to put target the maggot and put a skull on it, it helps figure out where to go.  It can get hectic as you run from end to end with the Butcher because someone will get cleaved and if they're alone it will hurt or at least the stacks build up fast!

More Like Wrecked-us - Tectus, Highmaul

We weren't going to do this achievement but just do the boss, but a ring-in friend of mine from Athanasy said it was really easy - just kill the 2 big ones together and then cleave all the adds down together. The achievement is to kill all 8 motes of Tectus within 10 seconds - so as soon as the first one dies you have 10 seconds to get them all down.  I thought we weren't going to get it as we had one go down early and another that was still quite high health, but we got the achievement in the end. Healing can be ugly if melee stand in dumb spots but otherwise it was also a relatively easy achievement to do if you just exercise a bit of control and can heal through the damage.

Looking forward to next week's achievement run.  I wonder if everyone will be able to avoid be stamped for Hans and Franz's achievement?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Where's all my WoW posts? Oh right, I'm in HoTS...

I can't blame Heroes of the Storm for my blogging laziness - Netflix has gotten me hooked on things again, this time I binge watched Sense8 (and just before that I was watching Vikings - trying to imagine the main character, Ragnar Lothbrok who is played by Travis Fimmel, as Anduin Lothar is a bit of stretch to my brain, but I'm sure there will be some CGI there).  I enjoyed the Sense8 series 1, but it is strange - like Heroes (the series) strange - but I found the characters and their diversity intriguing and endearing.  And there were some uncomfortable sex scenes - uncomfortable because somehow the kids always seemed to look at the screen during a homosexual sex scene or an orgy - which made me feel like I had to hide and watch the series or only watch at night.  Actually that sounds even worse, like some sort of closet porn watcher or something.  Anyway, I don't think it's for everyone, but I enjoyed it.

Hmm, I am trying to imagine this...
Back to games.

When I first started playing Heroes of the Storm I was pretty crappy at it.  Not saying I'm any good now, but at least I've got the hang of it.  And it's funny, but I am just as sucky as playing melee characters as I am playing them on WoW.

I'm still playing LiLi but I'm getting used to playing Nova.  I haven't played that many games yet, but I'm slowly getting there. I've been horrifying everyone riding the rainbow unicorn around but I can't help it, it's just SO NAVI.

Shab said to me that HoTS has replaced his PvP night, and I can see why.  I was doing Ashran on Friday to get my PvP fix and everyone was nagging me to go to HoTS and I said but it's PvP night!

"This is PvP!" said Kyjenn.  And I bailed on Ashran because I wasn't getting any pandas anyway, and went to play with my friends in HoTS and had a fun time.

My favourite map is Blackheart's Bay.  It must be just the whole treasure and pirates thing. Collecting coins and handing them in is kinda fun.  And it's easy to collect coins, I much prefer it to going into the mines to collect skulls like you have to do on Haunted mines.

I thought that I would only play until level 20 when I got my Graves pet, but I think that I would probably play more - depends on how 6.2 goes.

It is fun playing with guildies in another game.  Who knew I had time to play another game??

Thursday, June 11, 2015

We can fly in Draenor soon-ish!

People say Blizz don't listen but they obviously did.
...we will be introducing a new meta-achievement called Draenor Pathfinder. You’ll earn this achievement in Patch 6.2 by mastering the outdoor environment of Draenor—exploring Draenor’s zones, collecting 100 treasures in Draenor, completing the Draenor Loremaster and Securing Draenor achievements, and raising the three new Tanaan Jungle reputations to Revered. Initially, this achievement will award a rylak mount: the Soaring Skyterror, one of the native beasts that roam Draenor’s skies. Players will remain ground-bound on Draenor until a small follow-up patch (6.2.x), when all players who have earned Draenor Pathfinder on at least one character will unlock the ability to fly in Draenor on all their level 90+ characters.
- Ion Hazzikostas 10/6/2015 
I know I will be happy with this as will a lot of other long term players.  I might get to do pet battles around the world again!  I think it's the right move, and there are many people who would have done all those achievements already.  Rep to grind!  That's something I look forward to... (/cough I haven't even finished my Laughing Skull or Arakkoa yet, but I'm ALMOST there!)

Ah well, I guess I'll start having more deaths from flying out to sea and being fatigued because I've gone AFK...

Come on 6.2!

Now I can have 200 names on my Battlenet friends list!

Sars told me yesterday that I could now have 200 friends on my battlenet friends list.  I couldn't wait to see if it was true!

I found it confirmed on Blizzard watch.

So I readded all the people I had removed (most of whom were guildies - because I could see them in guild I figured I could just re-add them anytime I wanted), and was very excited to see that I really could get my friends number over 100.

Favourites + friends = the total number (for some reason I don't know why favourites takes people out of friends, but it does that for mounts and pets I suppose).  So yay, I'm happy that I will not have to remove anyone from battle tag for a long time!

And just to answer your question, do I really have 100 friends?  There are at least 100 people that I like talking to, and it's nice to be able to chat to them when I'm not in game.  Some are guildies and I can figure out where they are and tell them to logon if I need them. Some are people I've met in the world and had a nice time with. Others are bloggers and people I've navispammed.  Either way, I find it difficult every time I delete someone, because I wish I could talk to that person again, but now I won't have to worry about that since I don't think I'll be hitting 200 any time soon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Random thoughts because I'm running out of things to talk about

This patch wind down is almost like end of expansion wind down.  I know we go through cycles of it EVERY single expansion but there seem to be so many other things luring people away right now.

Heroes of the Storm has obviously got its attractions (PET) and I've been playing that with guildies to level up and I'm not very good at it but it is kinda fun. I have been playing with Lili and she kinda reminds me of ... well, ME.  She's small, asian, a healer, and her voice is REALLY annoying.  Sound like anyone you know?

She does do this really creepy pose when you hit READY
Last night turn ups to raid were a bit pathetic, and so I asked two friends from Athanasy to come along - Tubs and Ananu.  They filled out the healer and tank role and we couldn't get Blast Furnace down, but we were lacking some of our better DPS, so it was a tight fight and we were unable to do it - adds overwhelmed us I think. I did warn them that it was a rather casual run. They were impressed with some things - someone stunned the totems so there was no fire on Maidens trash. There were no tunnel spikes on Blast Furnace Trash. I wasn't sure if they were joking or not, but I was just glad to have numbers to raid.  I am thinking if turnouts continue to be bad then I might as well not do it because I certainly don't need it. and neither does Kyjenn, Aimei, Sev or Madcow.  Besides, there are other things to play!

Oh, and I saw this on MMO-Champion as a reward for the meta-achievements in Hellfire Citadel.

If that mount is not screaming Sevrus, I will eat my hat.  Sev loves wolves and that is a very warlocky wolf.

Hurry up patch.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

But wait... there's going to be MORE to do in Ashran?

I'm in the painfully long pathway trying to get all my achievements for the Gladiator's Sanctum which I thought I would be unlikely to achieve with changes coming in 6.2.  I spend so much time in there lately that I don't even do arenas anymore because Conquest is capped from running around doing all those events, and I don't even want the conquest, all I want is race kills!

Luxy finished hers ages ago and had encouraged us to spend more time in there but it's only now when it's almost too late that I heeded her advice.  Crooked has also been doing his and is almost done, but I am far from done. I am doing Gnomes at the moment and still have Worgen, Pandas and Humans to go.

Ashran has at least come back to some semblance of fun as I join the prelisted groups in the Group finder. You see a few people regularly and learn quickly who is a good leader and who is not.  Crooked has been playing on his hunter and has had a lot of recognition as a good leader and a good ancient artifact carrier which I always feel chuffed about (coz I KNOW that guy! Woo!).

When I was doing Dwarves I noticed that some days there would be NONE at all, and other days there were heaps.  Mctacky wondered if there was a pattern so I decided to look at gnomes.

And do you know what - GNOMES DON'T COME OUT AT NIGHT.

Crooked told me that he got a lot of gnomes during the daytime.  I tend to play late at night and there are very few gnomes around.  The one time I did see plenty of gnomes was in the afternoon between 5 and 8pm.  Since then I have been doing an hour or two at night and found that gnomes are few and far between.

6.2 is bringing a lot of changes to Ashran.  One of the supposed changes to Ashran was that there will no longer be the ability to create a premade raid in Ashran - you will automatically be placed into a raid when you enter.  I like this idea, because it bugged me when nobody would invite you to a raid group. However, I was hoping that some of these people I've been playing with cross server would be in these raids.

Thanks Godmother for the image
There is going to be some new underground stuff in Ashran in 6.2.  And there are GHOSTS and things down there.  There are events down there like there are above ground and you have to kill bird ghosts to get some tokens. Apparently you turn your tokens in to this ghostly Arakkoa and first to 50 wins.

Conquest awards are also changing.  The events won't give you conquest anymore, but they will give you boxes and honour.  To get conquest now, you have to do weekly quests as well as repeatable ones based on honour kills and events and faction leader kills.  Someone on the forums suggested giving a reward for defending your base - I think that's a cool idea, but not sure if Blizz would like it.

What do I think of the changes?

Well, I think that the conquest changes encourage people to hang around longer and also try to kill Tremblade.  That can only be a good thing.  Of course, if they make the "kill faction leader and win 5 events" repeatable that is good for continuing to receive conquest points.

It has a little bit of the Tol Barad feel to it, with the weeklies and repeatable quests. I do miss daily quests so at least I can get them here I suppose.  You know what else it needs - there needs to be more mounts or pets so people will be encouraged to do more Ashran.  Though they might want to steer clear of the flying mounts for a while...

I wish I could buy things with broken bones.  Surely that would be cool.  They're like Garrison resources at the moment, overflowing in my bags and capped at an amount (5k for bones, unlike the 10k for resources) and I dearly wish I could buy some PvP items, maybe like Sinister Spores or some of the drops from Ashran like the books from rares. I sit at the bone cap and I'm still killing more people and I wonder, if only I had something to spend all these bones on! How I wish I could get more Flight Form books!

However, there's still a lot of hate for Ashran - Trashran, Assran, I see so many bad things said about it but still I see TONS of people in there in the evenings, farming honour kills and conquest.  Mostly on PvP servers, but I guess they're enjoying the world PvP.  One of the problems is that it seems to be so skewed!  I like it when the battles are close, but most of the time it's US getting a thrashing, or alliance getting a thrashing.

I guess the good thing is with the changes in 6.2 is that the killing will continue. It means I might still have a chance to get all those Gladiator Sanctum achievement kills after all!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Guildleader chores - Fixing some of my bad decisions

Last night I was late to raid because of work and it was brought to my attention that something which I had initially made to try to be fair wasn't really very fair and working out very poorly.  I honestly feel like everytime I am not in a raid there is some drama I have to deal with afterwards!

I don't play alts, and I don't care about loot.  I just like to raid and I am happy to go along to anybody's run just to help out and even if I was an essential part of the raid and they couldn't raid without me, I think just the opportunity to roll on loot with a coin is enough to keep me happy (even if my repair bill is 300g and I'm cross-realm so I can't access guild repairs).

But that doesn't mean everyone thinks like that.  And nor should they. People should be rewarded for the efforts they make to help the raid out. I expect differently of the officers, but the other raiders are another kettle of fish.

I had made this mains > alts loot rule, but though I could see that eventually alts would get the loot if they just waited till mains got their loot, some people are not that patient.  Week after week if a rare thing dropped and they didn't get the opportunity to roll on it until every other main raider (casual, not heroic) got it, meant that they were better off trying their chances in a PuG.

So the uncomfortable situation arises now that someone who was going to get the loot now because of the loot rules I set up, will feel bad that they upset the other person because of a loot and not want to turn up to raid.  The person who was upset about not being able to get the loot will not want to raid anymore on their alt because there is no point turning up to help if they can't get any loot. Damage output drops and then we can't get a boss down.  And then nobody gets any loot.  And that's not fun for anyone.

A big officer discussion ensued after the incident and it was decided that it would change next tier. It's too late to change it now - we have already beein doing the same loot system and it would be unfair to others who had already followed the system.  Hwired hated trying to figure out who was a main and an alt and how many loots people had already had and thought everyone should just be the same - mains pay EPGP for it, otherwise we roll.  Aimei said that we had always had a main>alts rule for as long as we have been a guild. Madcow said that he had missed out on loot on his alt every week because of the rule but he never said anything because those were the rules but when we made this alts raid it was supposed to be fun and not getting loot ever is not fun.  Kyjenn said that without the alts of main raiders we struggle to make this run work.

Every single bloody point was valid. I could see everyone was pushing for rolls, but it was really unfair for everyone who had already been on the receiving end of no loot because of being an alt, so to suddenly change it now would be crap. And they were right. We did struggle afterwards when people left the raid because of loot, and I could feel that this could be a problem for the rest of 6.1, but I wasn't going to change anything now. I agreed that I had made an error with that decision and that for 6.2 we would not do this again this way. We would make it free roll with a 1 or 2 loot max before you had to pass to others.  And main raiders can EPGP the item they need.

I really should've taken Athanasy up on their offer to pug into our alts raids.  None of them want to take any loot. Make my job a hell of a lot easier, that's for sure.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Why I miss Saturday Flex Fun raids

This expansion we have been very closed shop, and have only done raids within our guild with very little (ie zero) outsider input and influence in our raids.

One of the reasons was because of the huge influx we had at the beginning of the expansion.  That created a LOT of friction.  Nobody knew who anyone was and they weren't really mixing.  People complained that the guild felt like it had lots of little cliques in it.  It probably did, but that's normal when you have groups of people that know each other. I made a huge effort to bridge those gaps - I knew everyone in the guild personally, I spoke to all of them and made efforts to meet and greet every time I logged on, especially to those quieter ones.  However, when I wasn't online back in those days, there would be periods where people didn't speak to each other in guild chat and it made people uncomfortable.  I still remember a long term guild member commenting this to me, and saying that their other guild on alliance on their alt was a more enjoyable atmosphere than Frostwolves.  It made me sad.  I did like meeting lots of new people.

In Mists of Pandaria I felt like it the Saurfang WoW community was a little more friendly. I used to chat to GMs of other guilds who were similar level to us, and it was fun comparing strats, or complaining about GM type things, bemoaning the lack of recruitment or swapping stories of hilarious raid members and our own failings at raids. Three of those guilds did not make it to Draenor.  Two of the other GMs I have been a little slack with keeping up with, but they are busy on their own servers doing their own things - I haven't pugged with them for a looooong time.

In the current environment there are only 2 guilds with whom I chat to the GMs. I was eager to pug into their raid on one of our non raid nights, but because I didn't let them pug into ours, they said I couldn't pug into theirs - it was only a joking thing as they had already pulled Blackhand, but I realised that I missed being able to have friends raid in your guild raids.  I missed having Exray's friends, Zuli and Mari, coming to our raids.  Taxar, who was Luxy's friend, ended up joining us anyway was one of those "friends" who ended up joining us. And it was fun for me having the Blackrock guys around too. Having some of the officers from another guild come play with my guild might have been fun - except I would have to do the "Frostwolves rules" thing that I used to do at the start of a raid just to make sure those guys were in line.  All boys guilds can be rather unruly.

Why would I need social interaction outside my guild anyway?  It's probably because WoW is winding down.  Heroes of the storm is out, and a lot of people are moving off to that to play rather than play WoW. People are playing alts.  Bleh.  Witcher 3 has also enticed a few people to log off right after raids.

I guess the alternate solution is to just pug into other raids on our off nights. That way I don't to worry about unruly outside influence on our guildies, or introduce elements of elitism into it that people may not find very fun.  Also, I don't have to police behaviour - what other people do in their guilds I happily ignore/tolerate (to an extent) but I have rules about what people do in my own guild. Am I being too stifling?  I don't think so, I think that public places should be comfortable and I never stop people from mouthing off in private with whatever inappropriate jokes or comments - it's a free country and we are entitled to our private thoughts and be able to share with like minded people.  I look forward to 6.2 and the return of some of our players.  More people to play with and talk to - that's what I want from my MMO.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Raiding - Alts and Casual raiders having some fun

Now that we just do heroic Blackhand on Wednesdays and alts/casuals doing heroic on Thursday and Monday, it's actually been going OK and people can have breaks if they want to, or raid a little it if they feel like it.  Tanking is always an issue, because trying to find alternative tanks is stressful, and it's always ended up with Kyjenn doing it anyway so Aimei can play his druid Lushnek.

Last week we managed to do Iron Maidens with alts and casuals and had to drop people for Blast Furnace.  This week we managed to do Blast furnace with a few of the alts switching to mains.  It was really good, actually and I was pleased.  Only one wipe on Maidens and one wipe on Blast Furnace.  I think the casual players got the hang of it.

I did notice some lazy heroic raiders not getting into the line for penetrating shot.  Too busy tunnelling DPS instead of doing mechanics.  Tsk tsk. I think movement for penetrating shot was a bit lazy in general, with people not moving there unless told to.

We had heaps of time on Monday after doing Blast Furnace so we decided to do Blackhand normal, and we managed to get that down as well! I was super pleased that the casual players got to do Blackhand normal. We had a fair few people vacate for that part, but we still managed to do it with what we had and a one shot as well!  I had forgotten how much easier it is on normal.  And healing was pretty easy too.  I wonder if we could have 2 healed it with 15 people. Maybe that's a bit ambitious.

I had some members of Athanasy asking me if they could come to our raid because their raid was cancelled and they would love to come play for fun, but we haven't played with outsiders since SoO when we did our Saturday flex fun run things.  I wonder if we should relax those rules again, maybe get outsiders to see how relaxed it is or trial people, and get to meet a few new people. Sometimes we would meet people who ended up being great additions to the guild, even if only for a short while. But that's the catch isn't it - none of the people who joined us from doing open invite raiding have stayed long enough to remain part of the clan.  So really, maybe there isn't much benefit to it after all. I must say, I did like meeting new people and it was always a nice opportunity to be able to play with my friends outside the guild. I guess I'll just have to pug into their runs.

Actually I did that on Friday! I had the day off and I saw Fanglore online and asked him if he was about to raid, and if he was short a healer I would be happy to come along. I had already done most of BRF on heroic so I wasn't going to loot anything, so I reassured him that I was not taking loot, in case people worried about that.  So I went along and did a few bosses with them, and they had to do a bit of pugging through premade group finder to get some people.  I was just cruising along healing my own way, and the priest asked me when they were doing Kromog "Why are you not doing more than 40k hps?" Well that was embarrassing.  I wasn't particularly trying very hard to boost healing - I was just healing tanks because they were taking a bit of a beating - and I said offhandedly "I only did one tranq" and the other guy seemed rather disapproving saying "You shouldn't be relying on your major cooldowns to increase your HPS".  I felt a bit embarrassed - I could improve my HPS by blanketing rejuv with germination but that's a dreadfully mana intensive thing to do and didn't really help tank heals much - and I replied "I guess I'm not a very good healer". I hoped he would stop, but that was probably an invitation for more advice and he of course suggested I take germination and glyph of rejuv so I could cast faster HT and dump the glyph of regrowth.  I thanked him for his advice and then we pulled so unfortunately didn't change my talents - which as you know I wasn't going to anyway - but hopefully he was mollified and I did my best to blanket the raid with rejuv but of course that oom'd me which was a pain in the butt.  I much prefer task oriented healing where I focus melee or ranged or tanks - heaps more mana efficient and gets the job done!  But whatever we did, Kromog was defeated and Fanglore's guildies got some loots.

I thanked Fang at the end for letting me tag along - it was fun hanging out with a friend, as well as given the opportunity to roll on a caster trinket off Oregorger (which of course I rolled gold). I forgot to take a screenie with his guildies, that would have been awesome :P

So a new week this week, more Blackhand and more alts stuff.  When are we going to get some meta achieves done, I wonder!!