Monday, June 22, 2009

No more 25 mans for me

It came as a bit of a surprise for me today that my 25 man silently snuck me off the roster and DKP listing early last week. Coincidentally I signed out last night for the first time since I joined the active roster (second if you count our very first raid event into Naxx that didn't get any bosses down, I was traveling).

I would of felt kind of odd if I had shown up and shown the door, or even worse allowed to participate happily in ignorance. I think the latter would of been more likely. Our raid management seems quite into using people as they see fit.

But it wasn't always that way, I once sung my raid groups praises and told everyone I knew how pleased I was with them. What changed? I am not quite sure myself, but I'll tell the story.

It all started a little under a year ago. A guildie turned me onto a 25 man raid which was looking for reservists. A rather unique program where people are asked to stay available throughout the raid and fill in when needed, earning DKP in the process for when they do get to raid. I had only ran 10 man Karazhan at that point and was in way over my head at first. I learned quickly and my largest obstacle was my computer not quite up to snuff to render a 25 man at higher than 2-5 FPS during a fight. I spent a lot of time looking at the floor and tab targeting focusing solely on my rotations. Still I was above the raid average for damage/dps (not counting healers or tanks :P). I was a bit of a liability on moving out of stuff quickly though.

That went on for 6 months near the end of which I got a new computer together and was able to look around and see the sights. At this point the expansion was on the horizon and the pre expansion patch had nerfed existing PVE content to the ground. We breezed through the SSC and TK content we had been working at and dabbled with Hyjal.

So out comes the expansion and I along with many others in the raid switch their active raiding toons. I flipped from my hunter to my druid remaining in a DPS role. I started raiding 10-man Naxx with a guild run and when my 25 man started running Naxx I had a good head start in knowing how the fights worked, even more time to look around and think about things.

At some point I began voicing my concerns about how things were run and how I think they should work. This was probably not such a good time for this seeing as many others had concerns too. The raid hit a rough spot when half the roster was not geared for Naxx and we spent the first few weeks running heroics and old BC content. While a few were chafing at the bit to get into Naxx. The raid group has still not recovered, but is getting better. We got our first KT kill a couple weeks ago.

So I am a naughty one, my guild knows this and for the most part accepts it. Not so much in my 25 man raid. Probably the first event that really set things off was in a guild run for 25-man vault. There were not enough guild members interested so many people from my 25 man raid group were filling the gaps. So here we are sitting in front of Archavon and the raid leaders wife who is was leading this event is coordinating with tank and healers and discussing strategy and what the bosses likes and dislikes are. Were a good 15 minutes into a speech when the question is asked, "who is tanking?" over vent. I answer, "the bear running in." or something to that effect while charging at the boss.

I knew full well the group could do it, most had done it before and the rest had heard more about it that they ever wanted too. We got him down easily and during/afterward I got a talking to over vent. Afterwards I also got many a positive comment on speeding things along. Still I knew it was wrong, just as going overboard on a pre boss speech is wrong, and like always two wrongs didn't make a right.

So I know that went over well as further evidenced by a miss pull in Naxx soon after. We had just kill Faerlina and I was making my way to the next pull not paying as much attention as I should have been (pretty rare occurrence). So I forgot I wasn't stealthed and body pulled, then quickly shadowmelded after being hit and they started to go back. Boom get healed and all hell breaks loose. Couple people die, the DKP bidding process is disrupted and I get a whisper, "do that again and I will remove you from the raid :)". Yes there was a smiley, and no I don't think he knows what smilies mean. I quickly explained that it was accidental, but I am not sure anyone believed me after my ninja Archavon pull.

So in the meantime I am very vocal on the forums. About DKP policies, raid tactics, why we wipe when we do. Some issues bigger than others, but I remain objective and level headed. I ruffled a few more feathers, but did nothing terribly wrong. Was just voicing and opinion outside of raid time no less.

I also had a couple other small incidents during raids where I went against orders to do what I thought to be the better course of action for myself. On a Gluth wipe I shadowmelded rather than wipe as requested. I also once tried to switch sides on phase 1 of Thaddius prior to the pull to better balance the DPS after on a 3rd attempt. I was asked to go back to my own side and did reluctantly. Other than that I was a model citizen during raid time. Aside from a few joking comments in raid chat once in a while, nothing terrible, just things like answering questions like, "why can't we pull now" with "I already did that once, it's someone elses turn".

On the brighter side I was often top for damage and DPS as well as saving the raid from many a wipe and countless deaths by being able to flip to bear form and tank quite proficiently. Perhaps another point of contention. I was on the roster for DPS yet to this day have kept a tanking spec hybridized a bit to allow for decent DPS. Since my damage was quite good I never saw it as a problem, it merely added extra utility to the raid. No one ever questioned me about it or commented so far as I know.

What did come up on more than one occasion was my interest in healing or tanking rather than always DPSing. DPSing every week was kind of boring, but I knew that tanking or healing every week would be just as boring. So I often offered to tank and heal whenever the situation would allow for it. We often had lesser geared tanks do the job for the reason that I did more damage. I did get the chance to tank and heal at some point and did both jobs wonderfully and was even told that by the raid leader himself. Whether or not he was ever sincere is another question in my mind.

In the end it wasn't so much me, it was the people I was raiding with. If it were me I'd have issues in my other raids and groups. I don't. Oh, yes I do cause so guild drama every now and again, but they are quite supportive of me despite my flaws.

Oh got sidetracked a little there. So in the past few weeks if I every questioned anything in the raid my answer was, "If you don't like it, leave." Point blank, no sugar coating. My response was always that is wasn't a big enough deal to pick up and leave over and I let it go. Still that is pretty rude of someone. I may come off as rude at times, but I don't do so intentionally. Leaving over something petty like a DKP issue would be petty anyway, so I'm not even sure why someone would suggest such a thing.

So I kept raiding doing what I was supposed to be doing and doing well. Next thing I know I am poking around the administrative section of the raid forums and find myself removed. No warning, no nothing. I suppose I shouldn't expect more, even when I had an question or concerns it was never addressed on any sort of personal level. The raid leader spews paragraphs of raid policy and adheres to them. Perhaps a good quality in a leader and I even admired him once for his attention to detail. He always came across really nasty on the forums so I asked to chat with him on vent a couple times, just to avoid any miscommunication. He came across as a really nice guy with my best interests at heart. I guess that was all a guise.

I am left feeling a bit betrayed, but I am still trying to be objective. I think many in my shoes would be taking this much worse and less gracefully.

Well in any case that frees up my schedule a bit to spend more time with the guild and perhaps even participate in the guilds second 10 man run which I had been in conflict with for so many months for the time slot.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Too Much?

I feel I may have over extended myself in terms of scheduled play time. I recently signed up for a two night raid on my shaman in addition to three nights of raiding on my druid. Five nights of raiding!

Now I am always looking to run something since I find solo play pretty blah for the most part so it is in a way a good thing that I don't have to look for that something if it is a weekly event. On the other hand there are all those spur of the moment guild things that can't be planned for which are really fun. Had to ignore three of those yesterday although in reality I'd only been able to do one of them anyway if I was free.

My plan, once upon a time, was to level my three favorite classes: druid, shaman, hunter and have each participate in a weekly raid. My druid being my main would work on 25 man content (1 or 2 nights a week) and my shaman and hunter would work on 10 man content (one day a week each).

I was a little slow in the alt leveling, my druid wound up in a 25 man two nights a week as intended and an additional 10 man guild run. My hunter was next on the scene and got a 10 man gig which has since gone on hiatus. My shaman dinged 80 shortly after and recently had the opportunity to join a new 10 man which is running twice a week.

So there are a couple deviations from my original plan. Perhaps time will fix it. If I have learned one thing about raiding though, you take the opportunity when you can get it. That kinda works for everything actually.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Top Searches

Bear rotations and debuff trackers. Not cat rotations, I guess everyone has learned that there is no "rotation" for cats anymore and that would also explain the interest in tracking debuffs.

I don't quite understand the interest in bear rotations though. Perhaps there just isn't a good resource on it. I wrote up an article on it previously, bear "rotation", but I'll revisit it quickly and perhaps more simply.

There isn't really a rotation anymore (not sure there ever was a rotation for bears) it is all a priority thing like most every other class/spec is now. Bears also generate so much threat it really isn't all that important to agonize over the perfect order to use your abilities. There are certainly more important things to focus on while tanking.

That said there is certainly a priority of abilities to maximize threat on a single target. Use mangle every time it is up. Use feral faerie fire every time it is up. Keep up 5 stacks of lacerate and just keep spamming that if mangle and faerie fire are on cooldown. Spam maul every swing you can so long as you have the rage to do so.

Not sure if swipe still scales better than lacerate since the whole bleeds critting thing. I doubt it. Even if it does I prefer lacerate since if I get stunned or for some reason am unable to attack my lacerate can still proc savage defense. Even if I am able to attack the extra chance of landing a crit is nice.

For multiple targets add swipe into the mix and flip targets around to keep aggro. Toss a roar in there too for some extra threat and to take less damage assuming you don't have a warrior in there with you. If your DPS is all focusing on the same target then swipe should be enough to hold the rest leaving you to focus on the current target and get a head start on threat for the next target.

The only thing I sometimes save is my feral faerie fire. It is useful as a second taunt of sorts. If a new add comes in with no threat on it a faerie fire does fine to pull it over and/or keep it off a healer.

Really Weird Dream

I had a strange dream this morning and seemed to remember every detail when I woke up. I thought I'd share.

I start out watching a van drive straight off a cliff 3rd person. My parents, sister and I are riding in it, but they aren't really my family. It is a sawtooth winding road up the cliff side and the van hits a couple of the landing further down, but comes away unscathed. There is a building at the bottom and a great big body of water which the van plunges into at the end of the fall.

When I come to I am in the building and my parents task my sister and I with recovering our luggage from the crash. We swim out and dive down immediately finding some of the bags. There are a lot of sharks swimming around, but they don't seem interested in us and are easily avoided.

We get back with the bags and open them up to see what we had. I grabbed a pair of goggles and a snorkel and we were off again to get the rest. We never found it.

However we did manage in our search to find the underwater ruins of a city. Sharks were everywhere still, but remain disinterested in us. There were also undead both corporal and ghostly types. They again took no interest in us and we continued to search.

Air pockets were here and there inside buildings where we caught a breath now and then, but eventually the distinction between air and water faded. This happened sometime after meeting my grandmother in one of the buildings.

Our grandmother was instantly recognizable like my parents and sister were to me, yet they were not really them. Thinking about it now I feel more as if I was acting a role, but at the time I felt they were who they appeared to be.

In any case we find our grandmother in one of the building we searched, she was one of the ghostly types. We asked if there was a message of some sort she'd like to return with us to our parents. She gave us a small pair of shoes and reluctantly gave up a notebook as well.

We swim/walk off again. The distinction between air and water has diminished to the point where swimming back up to the surface is more or less impossible. We return to my grandmother and beckon her to come with us to live with her family and watch her grandchildren grow up rather than live down here alone.

She refuses to come but does offer to help us back. She instructs us to wrap metal rods around our waists which seems to allow her to push us upward. We are still climbing up and over crates and decaying buildings to get up all the while rubble is falling down toward her as she stand at the bottom willing us upward. We got far enough up to see the brightness of the day above; the world below was in a constant state of twilight.

We decide the risk of falling debris is too great and return to the bottom rather than risking hurting our grandmother. We head back to her house and regroup. At this point we explore the rouse further. We had been meeting in the kitchen up till now, but there was also a bedroom and a dining room among others that were not used.

In the bedroom on the second floor the windows had broken out and there was an organic membrane enclosing parts of the room from the outside as well as trapping a pocket of air which we used to catch a breath now and again. At one point I broke the membrane and poked my head through into an air pocket for a breath when the membrane tightened around me. I struggled to get free and eventually did after a short struggle peel it off.

After getting free I went to look out the window to notice a man, one of the fleshy types demanding something from my grandmother. It was a dish of some sort and he came in and searched the dining room for it. We looked at a bunch of inverted dishes with different patterns painted on top, but never found it and he left shortly after.

At this point our grandmother has agreed to come back with us to the surface and begins to pack up her things and give us each a bundle to carry. She is rather protective of the bundle she packs for herself.

At some point I notice my snorkel has broken off from my goggles, but I am relived to find it in my pocket. I put it back on. We also notice that of all the buildings down here my grandmothers is the only one with electricity and working lights.

So we make our way up through some really cramped passages used to route wires and pipe through a building. We passed one fleshy type guy with some tools working in a side passage, but continue on. Eventually crawling into a car on the surface. My parents were once again driving and the three of us at in the back.

We had the feeling that we were still not back to where we were, it was still twilight. We drove along a tree lined road and were trying to close the windows which were all open a couple inches at the top but would not work.

We eventually got back to the house by the water together and went inside. My grandmother was talking to my parents and everything seemed ok until my grandmother began to blacken and decay around the mouth first, then spreading from there. She eventually rotted away before our eyes leaving only a few scraps of tattered clothing. All the while muttering about how this should not be happening while I was thinking how the presence of more oxygen here somehow accelerated this. Then I woke up 15 minutes or so before my alarm.

Very few elements of the dream made much sense to me when I thought about them more. Usually I am able to identify with something I did the previous day. It was also odd in the sense that it didn't have any of the usual themes I usually dream about. Afterward I get the sense that everyone died in that initial crash, but at the time I was certain to be alive. You'd also think it would be a nightmare, but I never felt myself in danger. It wasn't a lucid dream either where I know I am dreaming and have nothing to fear, I was unaware of the dream and still felt at peace.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Feral Models

I'm a little late to the show, but I'll give my two cents now that all four forms have been unveiled.

I like the new forms all in all and have my favorites already picked out; it's going to be a matter of compromising my hair color to get what I want. Taurens have it a little easier because they can change everything but their faces at the barbershop once this goes live. We night elves will have a tougher time trying to match a new hair color to our existing skin color.

What excited me most was the fact that bear will close their mouths. How many times have I tanked Naxx and said to myself, "Who you calling a slack jawed... oh yeah".

The only thing that I don't like right now is the cat feet, they look like amputated stubs with claws sticking out. It works for the bears, not so much for the cats. Cats should have some differentiation between their toes even if it ends up just a modification to the skin.