13/13 Guilds Skipping Bosses

In most dungeons there was a natural progression of bosses.  In order to get to the next hardest boss you would have to kill the hard boss in front of you.

The late Wrath model changed this.  However in Wrath people still did everything on heroic.  It was often seen as a sign of weakness if you didn’t parse your logs or if you didn’t do everything on heroic.

Something is changing in this expansion though.  Guilds are killing 10-man bosses once and then never again, specifically Omnitron Defense System, Chimaeron, Nefarian, Twilight Ascendant Council and Al’akir.  For whatever reason people are just happy killing each of these once and just doing them every now and then.

It’s kind of a shocking development and largely a failure in design.  Generally speaking boss encounters should become easier as you gear up.  The incentive of gearing up is that gear will make things easier.  If getting gear just increases an unimportant number (DPS/HPS).

Certain encounters may just be too hard or have too many randomness factors to be worth farming consistently.  For example heroic Omnitron adds random hard mode combination efforts IE: mass death grip into ooze with lightning conductor.  Or on Nefarian getting a tail whip and a crackle together.  Given how many times these will occur during progression it kinda makes sense why people don’t farm these.

All the while everyone farms Bastion of Twilight heroic so that they can get their shots in at Sinestra.

It may ultimately be necessary to have more boss encounters like Bastion of Twilight in which you are required to kill them instead of these optional wing dings like Blackwing Descent in future content.

When Blizzard made the first Kael’thas nerf it was because the two guilds that killed it could not/did not want to repeat their kill.  It was deemed that farming Kael’thas was simply, not worth it’s time.  How is the current Blackwing Descent any different?

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Main Swapping

I was having trouble figuring out what exactly I wanted to write about today.  I worked on some drafts for some future articles, but that started going nowhere.  So today, I decided to write about main swapping.

Main swapping is something I have a lot of experience with.  I started raiding on my hunter, then moved to my prot warrior, then warlock, then back to prot warrior, then resto shaman, then holy paladin, then back to warlock.  There was never a skill bridge to pass when I moved from one character to the other because I had always maintained the next as my alt.  Today I sit on my warlock main and nine level 85 alts fully understanding all aspects and specifications of every specialization presented by them.

In this article I want to discuss three things: Why Main Swap, When to Main Swap and How to Main Swap

Point #1: Why Main Swap

It’s never an easy thing to ‘main swap.’  Your old character has a defining character for you.  After a main swap you go from one role which everyone in the guild knew you for to one where your talents are going to be in doubt.  This makes main swapping very unappealing and something that will want to be avoided at all costs.

There are a number of good reasons to main swap and any of them should be considered legitimate when you are doing.  The worst reason to main swap is specifically because your guild wants you to.  Main swapping for “progression” can at first seem like a valiant act, but in the end it can be one that will hurt you and eventually the guild.

If the guild needs you to come on your tank instead of your DPS for one or two fights, that’s one thing.  But if your guild wants your tank over your DPS because they’re not even trying to recruit, well that’s something.  Using an alt in a main raid to fulfill what would normally be a mains role.

I always say that I will do anything for my guild in the name of progression, but honestly it has it’s limits.  If my guild wants me to switch to my hunter or my rogue for progression, I won’t do it.  These are the only two classes in the game I cannot stand to play because they honestly feel (and have always felt) very faceroll to me.  There is simply nothing to these classes that will appeal to me.  However if I was asked to play any of the other eight classes, of course I would do it.

Simply put, progression is not a good enough reason for a full main swap.  If you are doing a full main swap (for progression) you have to be doing it for every single boss and this means in the end you are just filling a gap in the guild that can be recruited.  If you just want to progress you can bring your alt in to kill some bosses until they can find a suitable replacement for whatever you are doing.

Another poor reason for main swapping is because your main is fully geared.  I’ve had a lot of guild masters who will relentlessly try to bring their alts into the raid.  Even ones who have main swapped “for the guild” always have this feeling that they want to bring their old mains into the raid in order to keep it as geared as everyone else in the guild.  Once your main is fully geared, great.  Now help all your guild mates out to get fully geared.  If everyone is fully geared well, then it’s time for alt runs isn’t it?  Everyone in the guild helped you gear up your old main and now you’re bringing in a new character specifically for gear.  Can you see how that might be taken poorly?

A good reason to main swap is because you find your current role/class in the raid boring and want something more challenging or far more interesting.  I can fully understand why someone might want to switch from a healer/tank to DPS or even from a hunter/rogue to anything else.  Although a lot of the time it may seem like healer/tank are hard they end up being insanely easy and very boring.  The only thing they have is high responsibility…. but not really a high skill cap that keeps you interested.

Another good reason to main swap is because you want more responsibility in the raid.  Sometimes it can be pretty underwhelming to sit there and just DPS almost the same for each boss as if your efforts didn’t matter so much to each kill.  Healers are assigned specific tasks and if they succeed in their task they know immediately that they did their part in the kill.  Tanks often have  to time cooldowns, interrupts bosses, kite, and do things.  Like I said before, the skill cap on either of these is quite low… however the reward and respect for doing either of them is unfathomably high.

In the end you will main swap successfully if you are doing it for something that is long term.  If you’re a great mage but you’re struggling on your disc priest, why would you even consider making that switch?  A main trade that is good for the guild and good for you will always work out.  One that is selfish or has no motivation behind it will always fail.

2. When and How to Switch

And on that note it is important to note that timing is an important aspect of the failure of your main switch.

Think of it from the perspective of your guild master.  Your guild master will almost always never want you to switch mains.  If your guild master is asking you to play a specific character it means either he/she will feel you play that character better than any other option or… he/she is in severe desperate need of someone to fulfill that role.

Maybe you don’t want to main swap.  So maybe he’ll bring in your alt for the fights where it’s needed until they can find a replacement, that’s fine.  You just have to be clear that this isn’t a permanent situation.

On the other hand he might want this new toon as your main.  Problem is your main is needed for all this other stuff.  Main swapping immediately is probably not a viable option.  You will probably need to slowly start giving your duties on fights to other people.

When I was switching from warlock to warrior the full on change was actually impossible.our main problem was that other people could not do the drakes on Kil’jaeden.  So every week I’d clear to M’uru and then when we got to Kil’jaeden I’d get on my lock.  The actual switch didn’t take place until 3.0 came live.

Your situation won’t be as extreme as mine (moving from guild’s top DPS to guild’s main tank).  Obviously these days buffs/debuffs and abilities are brought by lot more classes so as long as people can actually do the job you will be free.

If anything you can get from this it is always best to main swap at the beginning or at the end of content pushes.  At the beginning of content your guild has not felt the impact of you being in the raid so they cannot assign you a role or a duty on fights.  They also will not have geared you up yet for later content.

On the flip side at the end of a content push all the work has been done.  If you want to switch then you are free to do so.

However there’s a pretty major difference in switching before and after a content push.  Before a content push you should be as geared as everyone else in the raid.  However your performance will have to be of the highest caliber.  Basically they should not be able to blame wipes on you.

When you main swap later on of course you’re going to cause wipes, it’s going to be expected, it’ll be an adjustment.  However you will want to be decently geared so that you are as little of an inconvenience as possible. Bringing in a blued geared player will not suffice for heroic dungeons.

Main swapping is not free gear.  It is an investment in work in hopes that after the fact you will enjoy it more.

Heroic Theralion and Valiona 10-man

So while waiting for someone to log on we decided to pull this boss on heroic and see what happens.  What happened was we almost one-shot it.  Of course we made some plans for this boss, as should you.

There are two main differences between this boss on Normal and Heroic. Before I get down to how to deal with them I’ll describe them.

(1) Tank Phasing: The boss applies a stacking debuff on the tank.  Once this debuff hits 5 it will dump your tank and anyone within 15 yards of him into the twilight realm.

(2) Twilight Captains: In the twilight realm there are these dragonkin twilight captains.  Outside of the twilight realm they will appear as unattackable beams of light that shoot random beams of light at raid members.  Over time these twilight captains will stack up so someone will have to kill them in the twilight realm.

Alright so let’s do some low responsibility DPS training!

People With Nothing To Do Training!

In different fights different people will have important roles that if they do not perform them well and specifically, it’s a wipe.  This section is for all those interchangeable people who do not matter on this fight, your surplus DPS.

When each drake is in the air they will cast something on the raid.  The first drake in the air is Theralion.  Theralion will cast Twilight Blast on your raid.  From your strats you’ll know you spread for this because it is an AoE attack that targets one player.  What they don’t tell you is… it is dodgeable.

I wouldn’t suggest this for less mobile DPS classes like moonkins and warlocks.  But for classes like mages, hunters and melee who are insanely mobile dodging it will be worth while.  It’s definitely worth while trying to dodge it later in the fight as things get more insane and your healers are griping for mana.

The position for the attack is decided as he finishes casting.  So you let the dragon cast and move very quickly shortly after.  If you are a DPS in this fight I’d use some of your initial learning wipes to master this as it will most indefinitely come in handy later.

Another important note for DPS is that you can DPS either (or both simultaneously) drakes.  This means even if you are too far away from one drake to DPS it you should try and look for the other while you make your way to the main target.

Now that, that is covered.

2. Shadow Realm!

Your tank will phase into the shadow realm, that sucks.  You will take advantage of this by sending some DPS down with him to deal with the captains.  You want DPS that can tank magic damage and do a lot of nice bursty damage.  Melee with good mobility work fine.

What did we use?

I don’t want to say that it’s an exploit but it’s most definitely not something blizzard would have thought of when designing this encounter.  Basically instead of taking a group of people down to deal with this you take down a single Sub Rogue,

Sub rogues have insane numbers of survival tools, including feint reducing damage even more, recuperate granting DPS, killing mobs giving more recuperate and slice and dice, and most importantly shadowstep granting burst damage and mobility.  A sub rogue will need no healers and can stay in the twilight realm permanently working down ads.

The alternative is sending two DPS and a healer down to deal with this.  It’s a poor solution but if you have no rogue it is the route you will have to take.  The main difference here is once all the ads are dead your two DPS and healer will come back up.  They will only go down when the tank hits five stacks to clean up ads and then come back up.  With two DPS down there they will die insanely fast.

These ads have rouglhy 80,000 health so it doesn’t take much to destroy them.

3. Did Someone Say Tank Swap?

Tank swap on this fight is based on your composition and how confident you are in your DPS.  We used a single DPS in the twilight realm permanently so we felt we could afford to lose an extra DPS to bring in that extra tank.  However if your DPS is weak you really will not be able to afford it.

If you can afford the extra tank your off tank taunts the boss as soon as your main tank is transported to the shadow realm and goes back to doing his thing (which ends up being nothing).

An alternative approach is to have DPS either tank it or kite it.  Hunters and plate DPS can handle this fine.  The boss should be kept relatively centered so that the tank can pick it up when he comes from the twilight realm, try your best.

4. Meteor Positions

While Theralion is on the ground you may remember that Valiona is up top shooting Meteors at people.  In normal mode you would handle this by stacking a melee and a ranged group and then moving your ranged group around to dodge big piles of void badness.  In heroic this will not work because two targets will be selected for the AoE debuff that pulses based on your damage or healing.  With two of those in your raid you’d just blow up your raid.

So instead you will have  your regular melee stacked group on top of the tank and your range spreading around the boss.

It should be noted that you only need to split meteor damage with one person.  I was awfully far from the boss and unable to get into melee in time so I just followed one of our healers around until it hit.  On one instance I netherwarded and soaked a full meteor myself (not suggested at all).  Instead what you want is a constant weaving of ranged running into melee and running back out after meteor lands.

It’s honestly not even a huge DPS loss.  I still pulled 22k DPS on our first kill while constantly being meteored.

You will find black stuff spreading all over the place so make sure that people are spread out in the first place.  Much like in normal you want to be as close to the black stuff you dodged so that the next time he targets it on you he will cover less surface area with black stuff.

You will end up finding  yourself adopting this approach into your Normal strategy (if you do it on alts) as it ends up being easier anyway.  It’s a healing and DPS upgrade by doing it this way.

Best of luck on this kill, if you’re following a rational progression path this one should fall over easily for you.

10-Man Heroic Conclave of Wind

I believe more fight than any this will represent the biggest progression cock block to any guild.  This is specifically because the fight can be broken down into three platforms in which each platform is insanely important.  Remember when you are planning your raid you have to make sure that all platforms are taken care of.  When we first tried this out we brought our standard group and found out very quickly that we would need to bring a specialized group in order to kill this.

In this little guide I will be going down what you need on each platform and what people need to be doing on each platform.

Nature Platform – Anshal

On normal this platform spawns ads that need to be killed.  As well he spawns these circles that heal him and the ads up so he needs to be kited out of those.  The basic strategy in Normal is to group them up and kill them.  Simple enough.

However in heroic mode these ads have quite a bit of health so you will need some bad ass AoEers to take care of this.  However unlike in Normal you can only have THREE DPS TOTAL on this platform.  So you will most definitely need some badass AoE on this platform. You will also want a misdirect be it a hunter or a rogue.  That threat needs  to snap on to the tank immediately so that you can AoE like mad.

The tank will be kiting these ads while maintaining threat using some large radius AoE mechanic (blood boil, thunderclap, consecrate, swipe).  So you want AoE that are going to be able to dump threat.  This means moonkins and elemental shamans are going to be pretty undesireable (unfortunately).  However hunters and fire mages will be amazing.  I’m not saying it’s impossible for hasn’t been done, merely saying it is suboptimal to have certain classes here.

As well you will have to worry about Toxic Spores.  This is a spell that will deal AoE damage so before the ads are even touched they will need to be stunned or frozen until the cast time on Toxic Spores has gone.  Additionally you can just have all ranged on this platform and have the tank kite and get healed through what he has splashed.  Just make sure you have some sort of AoE snare for your tank otherwise he will not be able to kite.

All the DPS on this platform will have to jump across when The Djinn are nearly at full strength.  If you are not using a prot paladin on the frost platform your tank will have to jump as well.  The healer will want to be away from the bridge as the boss will B-line it for him until the replacement tank shows up.

Yes, the healer will always stay on this platform at all times.

Frost Platform – Nezir

This platform is roughly the same as on regular.  On Normal you place a single tank with a single healer here.  You prefer the holy paladin/prot paladin combination so that they can both bubble off their stacks.  Your tank is almost constantly kiting so he’s not in the blue stuff on the ground and is eating frontal cones which he is pointing away from his healer.  There is a stacking and pulsing frost debuff that increases frost damage by 10% so the old strat was to just double bubble it off.

In Heroic you will need two healers assigned to the Frost Platform.  The two healers will alternate between Frost and Wind.  The healer will be responsible for three people on the frost platform, himself, the tank, and a DPS who will be on the frost platform 50% of the time.

Obviously this DPS is going to need to be someone who has high survivability so it needs to be someone who can burn cooldowns to survive or take less damage.  So this cannot be a hunter, if you have a hunter for this I guarantee you that you will wipe (unless you have some bad ass heroic geared healers).

The first jump should take place at about 5 stacks. The healers switch spots and both healers are losing their stacks of a debuff.  When it comes time for the ultimate both healers need to be on the frost platform.  The healer who jumps over is the one without the nature debuff.  If neither have a nature debuff then it is the one with the higher stacks of frost.

Your tanks should switch places (if they need to) as soon as all of the ads are dead on the Nature platform.  This should be near to the time of the ultimate so it usually works out.

You can see why a prot paladin is going to be pretty preferred.  You have a tank swap going on from West to East and a healer swap going on from North to South.

Wind Platform – Rohash

In Normal you have a healer or DPS chill out on this platform and dodge storms and wind blast.  It represents the highest skill base for this fight on Normal.  The change on this platform is actually the ones that makes this fight so impossibly difficult for so many guilds.

Rohash now applies a debuff that will increase damage by 5%.  Basically all those weak sauce spells that did no damage will now hit like a truck as this debuff stacks.  So your healers will be switching back and forth between frost in order to clear this and the frost debuff.

You will need two DPS on this platform.  One of them has to be specifically a rogue.  The other can be whatever you have left over.  If you have to CHOOSE someone from your guild to do this pick up someone with a lot of survivability cooldowns or mitigation.  This person will after all be ping ponging between frost and wind damage.

So your rotating DPS is there for his DPS at a specific time.  This person needs to break down a shield off of the Wind Djinn.  While this shield is active everyone on this platform will be taking increasing AoE damage until this shield is DPSed off.  As soon as this shield is DPSed off the spare DPS jumps over to the frost platform and does some damage to it.  Keep in mind if you are this person, healing is pretty bleak on this fight so do whatever you can to survive while you’re not DPSing down a shield.

Healer will be doing the standard thing.  Jump over once the frost healer is at 5 stacks and return to nature after the ultimate.

The rogue however has a very class specific role that only a rogue can do.  The rogue has to stay on the wind platform and keep recuperating himself every time he takes any damage at all.  Obviously when the shield comes up he should be DPSing but after that, back to recup spamming.  This rogue has to be aware of the tornados as they are very unfriendly to melee and will knock you off the platform.

On to the juicy bits.  The rogue must pop cloak of shadows when his debuff hits stack 12.  A little after this the ultimate will hit.  While in the ultimate the rogue must feint once every 6 seconds and spam recuperate while in the cyclone.  What this will do is remove the debuff (no extra 30% damage in the cyclone), extra 50% dmg mitigation from feint in the cyclone, and he will be healing himself.

After you come down, rinse and repeat.

Alternatives to a Rogue?

The most challenging part of this fight for 10-man guilds that don’t have a rogue is going to be dealing with that wind platform.  Off the top of my head there are two ways of dealing with this fight without the rogue:

  1. Frost Mage/Ret Paladins: Frost mages can remove the debuff using ice block and ret paladins can remove it using bubble.  Obviously you would need a frost mage and a ret paladin together (or two frost mages).  So when the mage goes up he will use his frost barrier then to soak up some of that damage.  Additionally he will slow fall to reduce fall damage.  When the ret paladin goes up he will drop pretty darn low and will use word of glory once Sacred Shield procs.  This will grant enough health to survive falling. The ret paladin should also consider using Divine Protection while up there to mitigate damage before sacred shield procs.  When the ret paladin lands he should pop Zealotry and spam himself with Word of Glories until the shield appears on the boss.
  2. Have your DPS alternate similar to how your healers do.  The only exception is that the person who has cleared off his debuff on the frost platform first must jump over just before the ultimate as everyone else.  You want two classes that will have some magic way to keep themselves up during the ultimate.  Moonkins (can heal themselves), destro locks (30% dmg mitigation to magic), enhancement shaman… you get the idea, people who can take care of themselves.

A reader was gracious enough to post us this video:

It’s a little bit hard to tell what’s going on but basically the mage is iceblocking the first and third ultimates and is clearing off his stacks for the second ultimate just before it hits.  To clarify further he is clearing his stacks by jumping over to the frost platform and jumping back just before the ultimate hits.

Anyway that’s my little take on the Conclave of Wind on Heroic.  Best of luck to you.

How to Survive an Alts Raid (And Live to Have Another)

So you’re doing really good but you need a break.  Someone suggests alts raid and that gets everyone excited.  95% of alt raids fail (madeupstatistics.com).  They fail for a number of reasons in this article I will out line a few.

1. Have a Standard

Chances are you (and your guild) have been spending all of your time gearing your mains and learning raids on your mains.  People rarely want to put work int two toons (not to mention that first).  People like to be carried.  It’s no surprise then that you will find your guild mates are putting pretty minimal work into their alts.  So you need to maintain some semblance of a standard.  It’s better in an alt run to feel over geared than under geared.  Imagine how geared you were on your first kill for your guild.  You probably were in all or mostly blues.  I know I was.  Why should your alts be any different?

I would start with a greens check, make sure nothing green.  After that I’d look for relevance.  Healers wearing hit gear and DPS wearing spirit gear can be scary.

2. Be Prepared

People should flask and bring food, you did your first time.  On top of that people will need that competitive edge.  When I’m preparing for a fight on my main I will watch a video from the point of view of my class (warlock), look at WorldofLog/WoWMeterOnline break downs for top DPS of my class and I look for any gimmicks I can exploit.  Lord knows I didn’t figure out that you can bane Magmaw’s head on my own.  You are probably not going to go to this much effort on your alt.

You will need to know what your alt does on that fight (basic idea).  For example in my raiding situation I switch from warlock (a dps) to pally (a healer).  This is a pretty big switch.  Sure I need to know my new spell priority but I also need to know boss timings.  For example on Magmaw your ‘tell’ for doing high DPS is when people are initially jumping on his head to chain him down.  However as a healer you know this is a sign for insane amounts of healing on a tank.

You have to be able to get used to this switch and all of your team members will have to.  As a healer you usually stand in stuff a lot more often to get heals off to save the raid.  As a DPS they just don’t have that luxury and so you may quickly find your top healer is your most incompetent DPS.

3. Don’t Pretend You’re on Your Mains

Too often people think to themselves that they do not need to CC on their alts because they don’t on their mains anymore.  If you were to do a pull without CC you might get through it… but at the end of it your healers are going to be stark OOM and realistically killing them didn’t go any faster since it’s all single target DPS.  You need to know what’s an appropriate level of content for your alts to handle.  During Burning Crusade we did a third 25-man Hyjal every week which was exclusively alts.  We would be doing so well until we got to Gargoyle packs.  Gargoyle packs need to be tanked by a ranged an interrupted until they hit the ground.  Of course our alt ranged were all meter hogs looking to just AoE down the ghouls up front.  After several wipes to this I just got stern with my fellow raiders and told them what they have to do for each wave.  After that things seemed to go well.

When we got to Archimonde we wiped relentlessly.  It was not a gear thing or a DPS thing, it was a consumables thing.  On our mains everyone has so much MP5 and spirit that we didn’t need pots for almost anything.  On our alts however regen was so poor that it was necessary.  The next time we tried this again (as in us having enough time from our two main 25 runs to actually do this) everyone’s alts were far better geared.  The boss died pretty easily.

Consider this for a second, you were recruited to your guild to fulfill a specific need that they had.  Do you think that 10 random alts are going to be optimized to fulfill the same type of raiding requirements?  Probably not.  Honestly you will be lucky to find two alt tanks and three alt healers, not to mention five alt DPS who aren’t all hunters or all rogues.

4. Don’t Change Loot Rules for Alts

A lot of times people want to bring casual level mains into alt raids and suddenly the loot rules are changing.  It’s /roll they might say, unless it’s your main then they are given loot.  Unless this is one of your main raiders who shows up weekly don’t make any special stipulations.  People bring their mains  to raid because they want to kill bosses and they want to progress.  People bring their alts to raids because they want to gear up their alts.  If you start denying alts gear then suddenly you will have less people willing to go on alt runs.  It’s nice to think that people will just do content for Valor Points but realistically they will want more out of it.

Another important note is that gearing alts over mains won’t necessarily hurt you.  People who are in alt runs on their mains probably either weren’t good enough for the mains run or cannot make regular raid times so depriving them of gear won’t be such a big deal.  An alt can quickly become a main if the need arises.  My first switch came in the Burning Crusade when I was playing a warrior main tank and moved to a demosac destro lock.  Our guild was running three Karazhan groups a week, one Gruul’s Lair, one Magtheridon’s Lair, one Serpentshrine Cavern a week, and one Tempest Keep a week.  If you are aware at all of how this progression model worked out you needed 0-2 tanks for all of the encounters in Karazhan, 2-3 tanks for Gruul’s Lair, 4 tanks for Magtheridon’s Lair, Serpentphrine Cavern requires 2-4 tanks,  2-4 tanks for Tempest Keep.  So with such varying tanking needs it happened that tanks were constantly taking turns sitting out.  With three Karazhan groups we had six tanks.  This meant that during progression pushes tanks would be sitting out more often than not.

So what I ended up doing was switching to my warlock when we went down to two karazhan groups and picking up loot on it.  One tier later I’m one of the top DPSing warlocks in the world.  Next tier I’m back to tanking.  Alts can easily become mains when you are in tight progression spots and need people who know the fight.  On my holy paladin alt I have healed Heroic Maloriak, Heroic Atramedes, and Heroic Chimaeron because healers weren’t available for our 6-day raid schedule.

5. And Finally Don’t Give up On It

Look your first guild run wasn’t a blooming success.  As a raid leader in an alt run you have to emphasize that these are undergeared alts and that things will get better over time.  You can’t expect to kill Nef on an alt in greens.  It takes time to slowly altgres your way to the top.  Remember the main reason for an alt run is to gear your alts, not progression.  Who cares if your alt can’t kill Cho’gall?  A successful alt run is one in which bosses die and people get loot.  You don’t need to get the same stuff as you do on your mains, nor should you expect to.  In the end the success of an alt run will be decided based on it’s continuation throughout the upcoming weeks.

Raiding: A Compendium of Good Guild Leadership

I got into a little argument today with a fellow raider.  I come from a background of a top 100 guild and he comes from a background of a top 10 guild.  He had just topped off of his two professions Jewelcrafting and Engineering the min/max professions for a raiding DPS.  This is because JC gives an extra stat when all three prismatic gems are used and engineering provides a burst of stats for other timed cooldowns.  These are of course the same professions I’ve had for the last two months of raiding.  A guild member who is ranked as “casual” brings up the fact that he wouldn’t level his professions to 525 max.  He is of course remarking on the fact that you gain the raid benefit of these professions at around 505-510 of the skill.   A person in fact does not have to ever bring it to max and they only really bring it to maximum if they are looking to make some gold.

His suggestion was that in a top guild you have the top players and that the skill difference between a top 10 guild like he was in and a top 100 guild that I was in is astro-metric.  Of course, that is indeed false.  Surely they cannot stand in AoE and they have to have some sort of output but their role in a raid is pretty minimal.  Take for example the NHL which has 30 teams.  If you win the Stanley Cup it does not mean you have the best players in the league.  In fact there have been so many upsets where brand new inexperienced players have won the cup.  In coming years those players went on to do nothing and become nothing.  If the players actually were the big swing on whether teams won then you’d see more dynasty franchises (as there was in the NBA where all the good players literally were on one team).  No in fact the best players in the NHL are not on the Stanley Cup winning team.

The real winner of Stanley Cups is coaches and hockey fans know this.  This is why when a team loses horribly many years in a row their provocation is against coaches and not players.

This article is for you the leader, you can be one of two people (and may be one in the same) the raid leader and the guild master.  In my humble opinion these two roles should be separate as personalities and roles are  somewhat incompatible.  You would have to be a  scizhofranic for it to work with any degree of success.  I will probably be doing this in two posts.  So for now this is a compendium of guild manage/guild leader knowledge.

Section 1: Guild Manager/Leader

The roles and responsibilities of the guild manager/leader involves:

  1. Setting Social Policy
  2. Setting Raid Times
  3. Designing/Organizing Loot Scheme/System (DKP, EPGP, /roll)
  4. Recruitment: What you need and how to get it
  5. Guild Bank

1. Setting Social Policy

Different guilds have different ways of acting and communicating amongst each other.  As a guild leader it is your job to facilitate an atmosphere conductive to your guild’s main activity.  As a guild leader you will have to decide what that is exactly.  If someone enters your guild and is immediately trashed for the low caliber of their gear then how welcome is that person going to feel?  Said person is either going to quit or maintain a low self esteem.  On the other hand if you’re running a progression guild and everyone is acting soft you probably won’t maintain members.

Setting a social policy means establishing to your members what is and is not considered to be acceptable behavior.  This may mean keeping your raid leader in line or making some hard decisions on who to kick from the guild.  Your guild will have an atmosphere and you need to maintain that.  If you want to shift your guild towards more progression than you should change the attitude in your guild to fit with that.

You should also note that there is a need for ego control.  When people start doing insanely well and become important parts of your guild they will want t0 be treated better than everyone else or believe themselves to be above the raid.  This can lead to mistakes in encounters themselves.  Truthfully some people just need to be put in their place.  On the other hand people need their egos massaged.  Suggesting that someone is doing something to improve their ego doesn’t help you.  It just makes them angry at you.  Putting someone in their place is as simple as telling them what you expect from the conduct of raiders.  Massaging an ego is simply a public expression of them doing well.

2. Setting Raid Times

Setting a raid time can effect everything.  You have to raid at the time where the maximum of your core can, but also must be at a time that others you will want to recruit can raid.  My third guild ever had raid times between 2:30AM-6:30AM my local time.  The guild was composed of a unique niche of English speaking Pacific gamers, insomniacs (like myself) and people with odd work schedules.  The niche worked out as the guild was always filling up on apps and was just constantly over capacity.  As other guilds opened up to fill in this niche suddenly the realization set on guild management that their ability to recruit for this time slot was diminishing.  The decision was made in Wrath to transform into a 10-man guild instead of changing a time slot.  They knew if they wanted to raid 25s again they would have to change their raid time.

Raid time has to be good for you as well.  Remember you are going to be putting in extra time into the start up of the guild so if the raid time is stressful it just will not work.

3. Designing The Loot Scheme

A loot scheme is important for the function of your guild.  Getting loot itself is not important.  It is a signal received from blizzard.  However what you do with it might be important.  There are two main concerns with loot the first is the needs of the guild and the second is honoring those who have put the time in.  You need to find a personal balance between these two and because of this you will always need some sort of loot council.  More often than not people will cry for gearing tanks and healers first but in all reality most encounters require high DPS as well.  So keep in mind when you are loot councilling loot you’re not doing it based on expectations but instead off of current needs.  Who gets loot should of course be based around an expected raiding team.  I mean you really don’t want some casual who raids once a month to take amazing loot over someone who shows up all the time do you?

3.1: /Roll

This is the most basic system and is most often the one used in pugs.  It is also the worst one for progression.  It can only really work out in a fairly balanced 10-man raid.  You need people who are using different armor types (hit cloth vs spirit cloth) and on top of that… you have to be successful.  If you clear a lot of content everyone will get gear.  If you do not clear content.  I have used /roll in one guild I ran and it worked out pretty well.  It worked out simply because we were all friends and we made sure to have one of every class in the raid.

3.2: Dragon Kill Points (DKP)

This system was first developed in Everquest  in order to distribute loot off of the various world dragons that would drop loot.  The concept was simple, you would gain dragon kill points for killing the dragon and you would spend them on the loot that dropped.  A simple electronic bartering system for simple times.  Over the years important aspects have been added in.  Bidding systems have been added so that higher demand items are guaranteed to cost more.  People have implemented decays so that people’s total DKP does not go out of control.

One of the major disadvantages of DKP systems is just that its systems plural.  There’s no set of instructions on how to build one and because of that you are going to have to do trial and error.  How much should DKP hours be worth?  How much should a boss kill be worth?  Should DKP count if loot is distributed to that person?  Should people get DKP for shards?  What’s your decay rate?  Will DKP cap?  Can DKP go negative?

You are going to have to figure this out on your own and what some do might not work out for your particular raiding situation.  When I was GM of my second guild I used a DKP system that had no cap.  This caused problems as peoples DKP went out of control as people started raiding preparing their DKP for the next tier of content.  Of course my solution to this was to tier off DKP and make it so you can only transfer so much DKP from one to the other.  It wasn’t a popular decision by any means but it was a compromise that people appreciated.

If you’re looking for something I did it went something like this:

DKP per hour: 2
DKP per boss kill: 1
Weekly decay rate: 10%
Bid: Open bid in raid chat

The biggest disadvantage to a DKP system is that it is a legacy system.  If you have been with the guild for a long time you will be the first person to get every single piece of loot.  This means that you will probably be receiving every single piece of loot second in this kind of guild.  In a guild that is farming this system works fine.  However when you are progressing it always sucks knowing that the next eight pieces of gear are going to the guy ahead of you no matter what.  This means that newer members in the guild may be waiting multiple months before they see a single piece of loot.

As a second disadvantage people like to “hoard” DKP.  This is why a decay ratio is necessary.  People will see that they need one piece of loot more than another and so instead of getting upgrades they will trade out on getting upgrades in favor of waiting on that one magical piece of loot.  Just overall discourages people from getting any loot at all since the threat of never seeing another piece of loot again after that is so high.

3.3: Effort Points – Gear Points (EPGP)

This system first showed up in Burning Crusade but really did not see any popular application until Wrath of the Lich King.  The biggest complaint about this system was that it was doing what DKP was meant for, except less effectively.  That is the rigid values of GP were not allowing for loot counciling control.  Usually when you get loot counciled something you’re going to receive a pretty minor penalty for it.  When you are loot councilled you are not choosing to spend your resource.  With EPGP initially there was no difference between receiving something from high GP, roll or loot council, it recorded everything as the same.

The addon for it can be found here at Curse.com.  The concept is pretty simple.  You can reward effort points for time in the raid and bonus effort points for first boss kills or mass farming contribution projects.  Gear points are rewarded for obtaining gear.  Note this is NOT A CURRENCY SYSTEM.  You are not gaining something then spending it.  In the instance of both effort and gear points they will always steadily go up.  The merit for loot distribution is on who has the higher ratio of effort points to gear points.  These addons have designated value points for gear so that stuff does not have to be tampered with.  The main thing with this system is consistency.

That is, if you are rewarding 1 effort per hour of raiding and 2 for a new boss kill then make sure it stays the same all the time.  Do not get into the habit of increasing these values because it will just throw off ratios.  If you want to make any changes you have to do a full reset of all people’s values or consequently go back to each individual person and change what they were gaining to match with what they are getting now.

The advantage to this system is pretty clear.  In the long run you are going to have a healthier guild.    In a DKP system if a person was to take a week off from raiding they could easily fall behind everyone in the guild within the week.  This is because these people would be picking up loot for cheap (cheap now that you’re not there keeping them honest) and they’re accumulating DKP as well.  So in a DKP system you are always feeling like you should make every single raid instead of taking some necessary time off for a vacation.  When you leave with a ratio you ratio stays the same.  If guild members are picking up gear they go behind on their ratio.  They may accumulate more EP and if they don’t pickup loot by the time you come back then obviously they deserve said loot, but you won’t find any of these weird DKP situations where someone is just picking up tones of loot while you’re off.

If you’re understanding this vacation scenario then you’ll understand it makes sense in a guild that is overburdened with members.  If you have people sitting out they are going to feel cheated if a piece of loot gets won for a bid of 1.  An EPGP system will make it so that people sitting out will get rewarded properly without any sort of sitting punishment which is present in DKP systems.

The biggest disadvantages to this system are of course for starters it’s reliance on an addon to do loot.  If the addon ever bugs out or needs to be updated than you really are unable to do loot for the week.

Another major concern with this loot system is how insanely favorable it is to new people in the guild.  After a night a new guild member will gain EP but still have little GP.  This means that if you have been picking up every single upgrade your brand new member can hypothetically snake one of those major upgrades.

3.4: The Loot Council

This is probably the slowest system you will ever see specifically because it relies on a republican council.  A proper loot council will be devised of proportional representation from your guild.  In the days of a 40-man guilds (which usually had between 200-300 members)  you would have an officer for each class, an officer in charge of recruitment, a raid leader, the loot master and the raid leader in a council.  So that is 13 people on the council.  12 people would give a vote and if there was ever a tie the guild leader’s role would be to break the tie.  A piece of loot would be presented in guild chat and if the piece of loot was an upgrade you would display in a tell to the loot master if it was an upgrade.  The loot master would take all names to officer chat and each council member would vote on who they felt should get it.

In today’s setting you’re not going to have 13 officers in a guild.  You might have 5.  This makes loot counciling a little more elitist and more open to favoritism.

In a 10-man guild loot councils can be composed of the entire guild.  The key part to a loot council is that you have to actively discuss the piece of loot and why you feel said person deserves it.  This means this system is going to be intellectual driven and loot decisions can cover both merit and need.  As an obvious downside it is open to corruption and favoritism.

In the end whatever loot system you go with has to be appropriate to your guild’s situation.  Your loot system has to be approved by the majority members of your guild or else they will just not want to do it.  If you cannot present a reason why you do things then they’ll be upset about it.

4. Recruitment

Recruitment is possibly the most important aspect of being a guild master.  You can think of recruitment in three ways: resource, standard, and trialing.

4.1: Resource

Your resource is the number of possibly applicants you can draw from.  As a first tip never try and make a guild or really play on a Low Pop server.  Low Pop servers are death for any guild.  On a low pop server you better help there are very few guilds or else you won’t be able to raid.  Low Pop servers are insanely political meaning that you are going to have to steal members from other guilds in order to survive.  Honestly aim for medium to high pop realms or else you just will not find members.

A lot of people like to do the trade channel advertisement.  This is effective in letting people know your recruitment needs or advertising that your guild exists.  It’s not actually a particularly effective way of attracting people to your guild however.  People like to be approached.  The best members you will recruit are going to be pugs or friends of friends.  The key part in attacking your recruiting is that you need to have contact with this individual somehow.  You cannot just randomly invite people into your guild and hope for success.

Reputation is an insanely important concept when you are recruiting from your own realm.  People that are joining your guild with any semblance of gear should be known on your server in some such way.  You do not have to 100% consider their opinion but their opinion should carry some weight.  I mean if the opinion if a recruited raider is “constantly AFKs” and the first thing he does is AFK, that opinion has been verified.  A person’s reputation is going to determine how you will monitor them.  If a person has a particularly poor reputation you will probably emphasize on that aspect of him.

Beyond that you are going to have to blindly invite people to guild with limited information on them.  This will mean you will need a standard, covered in the next section.

As another resource to mention for recruitment considering checking out blizzard’s Guild Recruitment Forums.  There are literally hundreds of server transfers every day.  People are transferring for a reason.  Some are transferring to look for a new start on a new server.  Some are looking to get off a high population server.  Some have found guilds through the guild recruitment forums.  Either way there is a vast untapped potential here.  A few things about these forums:

  1. Top rated guilds all come and maintain threads on this forum.  Even top rated guilds are needing people.  Do not be intimidated by this.  Although a lot of people are going to app to top rated guilds it does not mean they will not look at yours.
  2. The forum moves insanely fast.  I mean insanely fast.  If the first page held 30 threads there will be 120 active threads being bumped every 5 minutes.  This means that in order for you to get noticed you are looking at bumping this thing every 2-3 minutes for some serious front page exposure.
  3. People post individually on this forum so if you sift through 8-9 pages of forum posts and try and contact these people you may get lucky if you are what they are looking for.
  4. Make sure your post is informative and states your needs.  You should give a history of your guild including any major achievements from any of the expansions, your current status and your current recruitment needs.  Too many guilds get caught away in 10-page ballads about their guilds… just not necessary at all.
  5. Title should catch an eye.  It doesn’t need to be shock an awe but if you need a hunter, a hunter should go and want to click on it.

If you are going to tap into this resource you will need to LOOK PROFESSIONAL.  No one wants to join a guild that looks like it was put together by a 5-year old.  A guild web site is essentially if you are going to be recruiting cross realm.  People on other realms will not be aware of your progression and will not want to put the effort into finding it.  Linking your WoWProgress profile will help if it is accurate.  But that isn’t all that professional.  Think of your web site as a way of them leaving you a message.  What kind of message do you want from someone?  I bet you want it to be clear, concise and direct.  So setup your web site in that regard.

Most people use their application forms on a forum.  Make sure your recruitment section is accessible by everyone and make sure that it is as easy for them to post as possible.  Think of this, if you have to apply for a guild and you have to register for their forums first are you really going to want to do it?  The guild would have to be amazing for that.  Some guilds even require you to verify yourself via email which is just annoying and unnecessary.  Big guilds get harassed and need this spam protection, you probably do not.

You are also going to want to start taking screen shots of boss kills.  If you are just starting a web site after many boss kills I would suggest taking screen shots of all your boss kills from here on out and just make up headlines and post each screen shot as if you had this web site for a long time.  You can edit dates to coincide with your kill dates.  You just need to give the impression that this web site has been around for a while as has your guild.

If you can give the presence of a professional run guild you will attract way more people.  Your forums don’t have to be active.  Hell your forums can just be recruitment forums.  They don’t need to know there’s nothing else there until  they join.  Your web site may also indicate the standard of quality in your guild to people joining which is of course, very important.  In one of my guilds the title of every single kill post involved calling hard modes easy and making it look like we didn’t even have to try to kill these bosses.  Even something like a boss that took three weeks might be titled “20 days for everyone to log on, 1 day to kill the boss.”  Case in point be careful with indicating that you struggled on a boss unless its pretty well known that its a hard encounter.  No one wants to go down as the person who called Patchwerks hard.

4.2: Standard

Standard is a 2-fold approach, the standard for your guild and the standard for your recruit.  Each represents one in the same as each member of your guild must meet the standard of the guild and the guild must meet the standard of the members.

When you are looking for a recruit you need some sort of scale as to know whether this person is good enough for your guild.  Remember you are not taking some random nobodies in your guild.  If you do that you will have to fail with them in raid to figure out whether or not they are worth anything.  Your standards can be rigid or they can be flexible.  For example in the last guild I was in I required recent WorldofLog/WoWMeterOnline information to indicate how they are doing on DPS/HPS.  This also told me how much avoidable damage they are taking, a nice way to see a players skill.

Remember that your standards are evaluations.  Not everyone is going to immediately meet your standards, people have to be molded into it.  When you accept someone into your guild you need to let them know where they need to improve.  A typical standard for me is:

  1. Knows his/her class entirely
  2. All gear enchanted/gemmed
  3. Max level professions (within reason must have access to personal stat buffs)
  4. Positive raiding attitude
  5. Willing to take time to research fights
  6. Must have microphone, head phones, and ventrillo
  7. Must download and use all required raid addons
  8. Must attend 80% of raids over a one month cycle
  9. Maximize performance in raids

These are pretty simple standards but they are those that I can keep track of in a scientific manner and if the person does not comply I can deal with it.  Some people may have a modified version of this list.  Some people feel that a person should only know their spec instead of their class.  Some people feel that fights should only be explained by the raid leader.  Some do not require you to be audible in vent.  Whatever it is your guild needs some organized standard for the recruitment process.  When the time comes you should be able to tell a person how they need to improve with a criteria you have already set.

Your guild will also be looking towards you to maintain a standard.  It might be a little simpler.  Something along the lines of a pleasant atmosphere, killing bosses, raid at raid times, and/or high quality members.

If you stop looking for a standard in your members and your members stop looking for a standard in you, you will quickly find your raiding experience will end fast.

4.3: Trialing

Your guild needs to have some sort of apprenticeship type program.  The goal of an apprenticeship is to groom someone who is newer to what you’re doing to standards set by the industry (in this case by the raiding community) and to your own company (or in this case your guild).  There are variable designs for trialing.  The ones that top guilds in the world use are most often the worst kind.  Their trialing goal is to get the best one player out of a large group of trials.  They are simply monitoring their standard and the person who is performing best will stay in the guild.  It works pretty well for them because larger guilds post their videos on YouTube and so a person can actually research how the guild does things.  A person’s work ethic is taken heavily into account.

But if you’re not receiving ten applications a day then you are probably going to want a more realistic trialing process.  The most important part of trialing is monitoring.  It does not make sense that one person (you) monitor every single person in great detail.  It’s too much work and you have more important things to do with your time.  You will want to assign someone to monitor the performance of an individual.  The person should be looking for positive and negative qualities of that player.

They should also help that player in any way improve their performance.  After all if a person is messing up on something it is in your interest to have them fail as little as possible.  This person should make this person aware of boss mechanics and how the boss works, specifically in regards to their class type.  So a proper monitor for your guild will be someone who has a similar role to that one, ideally the same class if possible.  However having a prot paladin evaluating a holy paladin is not optimal.  You want melee evaluating melee, rogues and hunters looking at each other, casters looking at each other, healers looking at each other and tanks evaluating each other.  You should have a good idea of how all the specs work but you shouldn’t make yourself responsible for looking after everyone.

With this you are going to be limiting the amount of time you are spending on giving boss explanations.  This will help you in overall progression and raid management.

Trialing is also important for protecting your long standing members.  Your members are not going to like the fact that they are being replaced and geared over someone who is new to the guild.

Upon entering my most recent guild I was promoted entirely based on my reputation as an amazing DPS.  As it stands I’m currently the highest DPSing warlock on the server.  For them this was enough to give me full guild benefits including flasks, food buff, pots, and guild repairs.  I started receiving loot immediately.  How do you think this made my fellow raiders feel?

5. Guild Bank

The guild bank is not new to raiding but it is new to being a raiding guild requirement.  In the olden days you would use alts as banks and just store a few essential things like Hearts of Darkness or Core Leathers.  It was presumed at some point that they would be distributed.  There was a sense of trust.  When Blizzard implemented the guild banking system all of that went away.  If something that was “banked” did not show up in the guild bank it could be brought up into question.  If the amount of gold from selling epics did not look right then.  The guild bank has also created the habit of the random donation.  When people had needs before they would tell their guild members specifically what they needed to farm out and then make a guild effort to farm it.  Sometimes it could be an EPGP or DKP event.  However with the new guild bank people just end up throwing anything they do not need in the guild bank for the off chance that someone else will find it useful.

When I run a guild bank I leave one completely open called the “community tab.”  This is the only tab that can be used for donating or withdrawing from the guild.  You set something around 4-5 withdrawals a day and let people dump their stuff in there.  If something has been sitting in there for a long time I’ll either vendor it or put it on the auction house.  If there’s actually important stuff put in I’ll put it to another guild tab.  The important part is control, don’t let your guild members just randomly throw all their crap in there.

Your guild bank should function as a resource center for what you will be providing in all or some raids.  For example my bank setup is as follows:

Tab 1: Fish/Meat
Tab 2: Herbs
Tab 3: Consumables/BoEs
Tab 4: Mining and Gems
Tab 5: Community

That’s it, 5 tabs.  8 are available but I only need 5.  The first tab is for making food.  However we got both the Seafood Magnifique Feast recipe by fishing 10000 fish from pools and the Broiled Dragon Feast from cooking 5,000 Cata foods.  Since these recipes are BoE we want to keep our food stocked in case the regular person who drops feasts cannot make it that night.

Our second tab herbs works in the same way.  Because we crafted so many flasks we have access to the Cauldron of Battle.  You get this from making 1,000 flasks.    We have flasks in this tab at the moment because we made 1,000 flasks and we use those to make the cauldron.  Before I left the guild we were planning to use up those flasks and then use this tab specifically for herbs.  At the time of me leaving this tab actually only had the herbs to make pots we might use in raids.

Our third tab was for finished goods and BoE epics we would get from the raid.  The BoEs get stuck in the guild vault for a set period of time where people can see them.  If no one requests it after a week we will sell it on the auction house.

Finished goods are any sort of crafted item that is used for itself.  That is we consume it or wear it.  There are no herbs in this tab.  There are massive numbers of pots and flasks.  We get carried away and we make sure it is full but realistically you only need a months worth of raiding materials in your guild bank.

Our fourth tab is for mining and gems.  We do gem our guild members so we had a guild JC just prospect a bunch of elementium we bought for cheaps and drop the gems in there.  Green gems transform into blue gems or get sold on the auction house (they sell extremely well for whatever reason).

BUT TROUBLMAKER WHERE DOES ALL THIS STUFF COME FROM!?!?!

Glad you asked.  Raiding makes a tonne of gold.  You would be surprised by how much gold established guilds have.  There is now a guild perk that earns you 5%/10% gold from looting mobs.  So the larger your guild is literally the more gold you will be making.  I often found myself inviting people of all levels into the guild just so they’d feed us guild XP and gold.  You are also eventually going to find BoE epics that people do not want anymore.  Eventually you will have so much gold you will not know what to do with it (unless you of course have been properly spending it).

Gold is going to build up slowly and so you need to pace your spending.  What you need to do is set priorities, that is what will you offer as a guild.  Obviously the more you offer as a guild the more attractive your guild will be for recruitment.  If you’re looking to attract a player of my caliber I will want to spend nothing at all on raiding.  My priority for raiding was to make sure that everyone was flasking, so we provided flasks.  We felt repairs were something that could come later because everyone was going to repair regardless… but not everyone feels the same way about flasking… especially when an hour of flasking costs 150 gold.

So if each flask costs us on average 150 gold to make and we raid three hours we will need 30 flasks.  That means for each night of content we would need 4500 gold.  That would mean a 5 day raid week is 22500 gold  respectively.  Obviously you won’t be flasking for all fights so you can cut some costs there.  But with this you will need to average one BoE epic a week in order to sustain it.  Guild repairs end up being far cheaper (hence why so many guilds offer them) sitting at roughly 200 gold per person (10,000 gold per week).

You need to be able to get a good idea of how much gold you’re making per week before you can figure out what you can spend.  If you have inconsistency in services you provide it will be bad.  Think of a raid encounter that requires food buff and flask to do.  Every week but this one you have provided it.  Suddenly everyone is forced to get it on their own.  You’re wasting raid time and you are demoralizing the troops.  Remember that services your guild provide are going to keep people in your guild.  I mean who wants to leave a guild that provides three square meals a day for one that doesn’t?  Blizzard added in guild perks to emphasize this simple fundamental that you as a guild master should be enforcing every single time.

Concluding Thoughts

Not everyone is meant to be a manager of something.  The guild leader is likely to be one of the most unpopular people in the guild because he does all the work and gets none of the credit.  At the end of the day you are making all of the big decisions in the guild.  You are the one who gets the final say in things.  If you cannot handle that responsibility you probably shouldn’t be doing it.  What I’ve out lined here are your bare minimum standards of what you need to do to have a successful guild.  You may need to provide more to be the best.

Edit: February 26, 2011:
– Added in  Guild Bank section
– Updated link for EPGP mod

Well, Game Over I guess

We finally got around to killing the Lich King in our 10-man team.  One of the disadvantages of not doing 25-man dungeons and not recruiting beyond your 10 people is that people don’t show for some raids and eventually gear is going to catch up to you on things.  We would have had it a month ago but our second highest DPS had to go away on a business trip for two weeks and then I had to go to a wedding for two weeks in a different province.

Lich King Down, Now What

Before I left on vacation the buff was at 20% and our raid was below a 5,000 gear score level.  After the 5% buff our average gear score rose to 5,200 gear score.  We had 2 hours of attempts on Lich King behind us to perfect phase 1 and get to see what phase 2 is like.  The key to phase 2 is positioning.  You want your defiles to be placed along the edges (preferably north and south edges) of the map and you want everyone positioned slightly closer to where no defiles are in the path that the Valkrie would drop you.  Once we got down phase 2, phase 3 was easy.  I was happy I got to be Soul Harvested and got to do that part of the fight, he only harvested three people so only those three really get the kind of instant action you need to take on downing the ad killing the king.

All in all it took us a total of four attempts to kill him, one attempt was a wipe in phase 1 to a certain demo lock (oh hi) pulling aggro on the Lich King and getting everyone cleaved.  The kill was kind of unsatisfying.  I come from a background of hardcore Sunwell raiding where a kill comes from endless hours of dying to stupid random elements and single player fails.  In our kill four people failed hard and we had to use two battle rezes and an ankh to get the kill.  It’s as if all the stars aligned.

I’m happy that we’re still a little bit ahead of the curve.  The average casual guild still does not have Lich King down on 10-man but I suspect that’ll change very soon.  The buff was designed so skilled players could beat Lich King.  The end of this buff is a 50% increase.  Almost all the bosses were pretty fun and the dungeon was well designed.  The only fight that really wasn’t that fun was Rotface.  It didn’t have any dynamic elements in it that made it feel like you were doing elite stuff, nor did you have the opportunity to perform high on meters.

Yep, hard modes for us, then I guess we’re done until Cata.