Wednesday, November 25, 2015

#FriendshipMoose and Free Moose runs - An example of a great WoW community? Or an administrative nightmare?

A popular topic on the forums right now is Free moose runs. What is that, I hear you ask?

And there was also FriendshipMoose as well. #FriendshipMoose is a Twitter-community driven initiative to get people the Grove Warden mount from killing Archimonde on Heroic.

Now, both the ideas are great in theory and in sentiment, but there are a lot of things that can disrupt the whole charitable idea.

Firstly, I wanted to sign up to help as a healer. The sign up process is more like a movie sitting - once it's full you have to get the next session, except the next session isn't up yet for me to put my name on. And you don't know when the next session is.

If I donated my time as a healer who has experience on Heroic Archimonde, I think a sign up sheet with:
- Toon Name/Realm
- Battletag
- Class and Role (Tank, Heal, RDPS, MDPS)
- Available times to assist

And leave it at that. Potentially, if there were people who were planning a run and looking for people who can help (because you probably can only "carry" 4 people in a 20 man if everyone else is geared enough) they could go through the list of available people and ask them if they'd like to help.

Secondly, you'd hope that there would be some way to ensure that everyone - the person that is getting into the group as well as those who are doing the run - has a good time. You would hate to be the one carrying someone who was ungrateful and unpleasant, or be on the one being carried and being harrassed and belittled. Perhaps a rating system?

Open raid is a good way to organise all this stuff. The infrastructure is already there to set up runs and give ratings. I'm surprised they don't use Open raid as the raid organiser and just use the websites, Facebook and Twitter to promote the Free Moose runs.

Also, I'd hope that those trying to get in on their free moose will be patient. There will be a lot more people wanting to get their mount than those who want to help. I'd hate to see people angry and frustrated because they got their hopes up and were dashed.

I think that a paid run puts less stress on - because in a paid run there is little expectation that you would be able to do anything (ie a full carry/dead weight) and you don't feel as bad being a bad player because you did pay for it in gold.

Runs on our server are going for 50k gold. I think it's similar on other servers.

I hope everyone who wants a moose can get one. I wish that such a great mount wasn't put as a drop from heroic Archimonde - this would have been better kept at the store, or even attached to some world achievements. A better Archimonde mount would probably be something like the Fel wolf that the reward for the HFC meta-achievement - or a mechanical mount, like a rideable Fel Cannon or something. But, it is what it is!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Raiding - Glory of the Hellfire Raider (First 11 bosses)

I am quite pleased that we are doing achievements on our Thursday runs. It's a different mentality, with people happy to wipe if we're not succeeding at an achievement. Also, people are so enthusiastic when we get the achievement, it's like getting a boss kill all over again.

So far we have done the first 11 boss achievements. Some of them we had from our heroic runs already, but here's a quick run down on how we have done the first 11.

Nearly Indestructible
Complete the Hellfire Assault encounter in Hellfire Citadel while keeping the Hellfire Cannons above 90% health on Normal difficulty or higher.
Don't let me die and don't forget to keep my ammo topped up!
The key to this is making sure the machines like Felfire crushers and Artillery don't get the cannons. Occasionally mobs can run away and escape up and start melee wailing on the cannons so just have someone keep an eye on them to make sure stray mobs don't get up there. Those melee mobs are easy to get off the cannons - one hit and they will agro onto you. We had used lust for the crushers or the Artillery when they came out but since our damage is a lot higher we don't really need it on normal. Also, be quick on getting the munitions up to the cannons (which drop of all the killed machinery) so that the fight gets over and done with quicker.

Turning the Tide
Kill 10 Hellfire Guardians, then defeat the Iron Reaver in Hellfire Citadel on Normal difficulty or higher.
Hellfire guardians are mobs up on the battlements that cannot be targetted during the fight. They are marked here on this map that some kind person made on Boss Blueprint. To kill them, you need Iron Reaver to do her barrage onto them - one hit with barrage is enough to kill them.

Iron Reaver targets player for Barrage, so it's important that everyone has to stand between the boss and the Hellfire guardians so the Barrage goes in the right direction. There is also a range on the barrage, so the skulls in the Boss Blueprint are a good indication of where to get the boss placed so you Barrage can reach the mobs.

There is an enrage timer on this fight, so you would hopefully be able to get one side down before the air phase, and then the other side done when she lands. There is still time after the second air phase to get another barrage in, but it's pretty tight by then.

Waves Came Crashing Down All Around
Defeat Kormrok in Hellfire Citadel without taking damage from any of the waves on Normal difficulty or higher.
This is a personal achievement. The waves it is referring to are the waves of blobs that emerge from each pool with Kormrok's Fel Outpouring ability. When Kormrok jumps to the shadowy pool it becomes Empowered Fel Outpouring and blobs come out of all 3 pools.

ZOMG too many blobs!

They blobs move rather slowly, so you can easily dodge them if you're looking for them. It's obviously much harder to dodge 3 lots of blob waves though, so try to avoid having Kormrok jump into the Shadowy pool.

Don't Fear the Reaper
Defeat all 3 members of the Hellfire High Council in Hellfire Citadel within 10 seconds of each other on Normal difficulty or higher.
The difficult part about this encounter is that when a boss reaches 30% health, they gain a "Final Hour" new ability that persists even after their death. Persisting after their death isn't a problem, it's just that these abilities are pretty horrible to heal through.

At 30% health:
Dia Darkwhisper reaps immediately then puts Mark of the Necromancer on half the raid. You want to dispel it when the debuff turns red, but then it jumps to two new targets and eventually the whole raid is getting ticking damage from it.
Blademaster Jubei'thos in his final hour gains Wicked Strike, where he puts an image of himself behind the raid and dealing moderate fire damage. It occurs every 8 seconds, and increases damage by 5% each time it's done.
Gurtogg Bloodboil debuffs the raid with Tainted Blood, a stacking debuff which lowers a player's health by 10% each stack. This is cast once every 15 seconds.

So you can see once they start getting below 30% it's going to be a nightmare healing.

We tried to get them as close to 30% health as possible then we were going to do Jubei, Dia then Gurtogg. That didn't quite go to plan and we had them all drop below 30% and then everyone just started concentrating on the target with the highest health. We cycled our healer cooldowns and we made it! You do need quite high DPS for that last part to get through all that damage.

(Pop culture reference alert! Don't Fear the Reaper is a song by Blue Oyster Cult. I am assuming that the title refers to the reap that is cast because it's bloody scary especially towards the end where our health is dropping off so rapidly)

A Race Against Slime
Defeat Kilrogg Deadeye in Hellfire Citadel with Ariok surviving the encounter on Normal difficulty or higher.

Ariok is Eltrigg's son, who empowered himself with the blood magic of the Bleeding Hollow to distract Kilrogg and allow us to escape from the Assault on the Dark Portal. Kilrogg has him chained in Hellfire Citadel and he is there during the entire fight.

Ariok takes damage from Fel Corruption which applies a dot, and every 3 seconds is reapplied. It keeps ticking away at his life until he dies. You can't heal Ariok and you have to kill Kilrogg before 5 minutes and 15 seconds has passed because that is when Ariok will die. Make sure nobody misses their Vision of Death so you can maximise DPS and healing.

You get Ariok as a follower when you get this achievement, so it's one that's worth doing and does not require a strategy different from normal - just kill it fast!

"Blood and honour, Commander."

Get in my Belly!
Defeat Gorefiend after killing the Soul of the Crone in Hellfire Citadel on Normal difficulty or higher.

One of the trash mobs before Gorefiend is Gorebound Crone, and she has a lot of health, and throws out Soul Fissures that you have to stand in otherwise they do heavy shadow damage to the whole raid. This achievement, we get to fight her again!

Inside Gorefiend's Belly whilst he's channeling Feast of Souls are 3 Fragments of the Crone. You have to die to get inside his belly, and then you can kill all 3 Fragments to make the Soul of the Crone spawn. The Soul of the Crone has the same amount of health and abilities as the Gorebound Crone so everyone has to kill the Crone and stand in those Soul Fissures.

So how do you get into the belly? You have to kill yourself. And you can't already have gone into the belly so it has to be 3 DPS who haven't gone in already. And to kill yourself you have to jump into the pool behind Gorefiend. I had a bit of a mind blank and when Sev jumped in to kill himself I kept healing him up LOL.

It's only one Feast of Souls you have to sacrifice your DPS, so as long as you have the damage and heals to get through another one and kill Gorefiend before you run out of room, you're laughing.

(BTW - this achievement is a pop culture reference to the Fat Bastard in Austin Powers, who yells "Get in My Belly" and is hideously obese like Gorefiend!)

Pro Toss
Defeat Shadow-Lord Iskar in Hellfire Citadel without anyone holding the Eye of Anzu for more that 5 seconds in a row, on Normal difficulty or higher.

You'd think this would be an easy achievement. Just chuck the ball back and forth, easy right? Well, there's just that little problem of interrupting the Fel Conduit from the Shadowfel Warden and dispelling the Fel bomb that the Corrupted Talonpriest casts on people. HK and I decided that we would just throw the bomb between ourselves but we were also trying to make sure we did our interrupts and dispels, and we'd accidentally hold the ball just that little bit too long!

It would be nice if you had an extra tank and extra healers so you could just ignore or the mechanics of interrupting and dispelling and just heal through them! I think that it probably is possible to do it that way. It took me and HK many goes, and we also got Kyxyn to tank and I got Tacky and Deidrea to heal so I could concentrate on throwing the ball and dispelling and HK could concentrate on throwing the ball and interrupting.

Boy were were glad that achievement was over!

I laughed at this achievement because I'm pretty sure they are making a pun on Starcraft's Protoss.

I'm a Soul Man
Defeat Socrethar the Eternal in Hellfire Citadel after killing 20 Haunting Souls within 10 seconds on Normal difficulty or higher.

In phase 2, 6 haunting souls come out from the blue portal and continue coming out every 30 seconds. You just need to keep them all trapped for as long as you can until you get 20 of them (which will be after 1.5 minutes). Then let your DPS kill all the ghosts. Hunters with traps, druids with entangling roots will all be helpful. It's probably best that you don't lay the fire like you normally do to get rid of the ghosts because they might die. Maybe perpendicular to them so it slows them down a little bit. The prisons from the boss will help hold them in place.

We actually got this achievement from stuffing up in heroic, and not from actually trying to get it. I am not sure how we fluked it, but we'll have to try it again and see how difficult it is to do. I think you would need a lot of ranged on to get it.

(This achievement gets its name from the song Soul Man written by Sam and Dave, and also had a cover performed by the Blues Brothers)

This Land was Green and Good Until...
Defeat Fel Lord Zakuun in Hellfire Citadel without absorbing any Rumbling Fissures on Normal difficulty or higher.
This achievement is funny. Normally you soak rumbling fissures so that the one that isn't absorbed, is where the big crystal comes out of the ground and then you have to protect that crystal from being hit. If you don't stand in the fissures, a fel crystal will pop out of the fissure. Each time one of the purple waves comes out and hits a crystal it causes heaps of damage. So for this achievement, you have to be a bad player and not absorb any of the fissures so they pop up everywhere and then kill Fel Lord. It's not dreadful on normal. The other good thing is that nobody has latent energy so there will be no massive explosions from being hit by dark energy. This was quite an easy achievement to do as long as you can heal through the damage - which isn't too bad on normal.

(This achievement is a reference to The Dark Crystal. "A thousand years ago, this land was green and good - until the Crystal cracked.")

You Gotta Keep 'Em Separated
Defeat Xhul'horac in Hellfire Citadel without triggering any Shadowfel Annihilations on Normal difficulty or higher.

When Xhul is green, he casts Fel Surge and there is green fire. When Xhul is purple, he casts Void Surge and there's purple fire. There are also some confounders like Unstable Voidfiends casting Volatile Voidstep (which if you stand in, make purple fire). Even on our best efforts on a usual kill we have green and purple fire popping up all over the place and causing explosions. And of course, if we didn't purposely cause explosions we would soon run out of space and die a horrible fiery death.

There was some quick tanking swapping that we don't normally do when we kill Xhul. The tanks have to be very fast and taunt swap in the phase after Omnus is killed when he changes colours to prevent the wrong strike attack from being done on them as the most likely cause of a Shadowfel Annihilation in this phase using the strategy for positioning comes from slow tank swaps.

The main problem with this achievement is that you usually stuff it up towards the end. All I can say is be vigilant with your fel/void surges and don't go into the black hole if you have have the fel surge debuff on you.

Good luck with this one! We actually got it in less goes than it took us to get Iskar. But Iskar is funny like that.

(Another song pop culture reference! "You Gotta Keep 'Em Separated" is a song by The Offspring)

Non-Lethal Enforcer
Defeat Tyrant Velhari in Hellfire Citadel without killing the Ancient Enforcer on Normal difficulty or higher.
The Ancient Enforcer is the one that comes out FIRST in the Tyrant fight (at 90% health) and all you need is a third tank to tank it away from the raid (a good spot is the wall as far away from the raid as you can and still be in range of healers) and dodge the fireballs that it shoots out (make the Ancient Enforcer face the wall so that the fireball doesn't hit the raid), whilst the rest of the raid deals with the fight as normal. The funny thing was, Aimei and Kyxyn said how easy it was not having to worry about that stupid add throwing the fireball around - made it a little easier for them tanking! This achievement is not difficult, and is one of the easier ones to do.

Good luck with your meta achievements and hope you get your mount soon! Stay tuned for the last two achievements in Hellfire Citadel - they are probably doozies! Will let you know how we got it down.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Guildleader Chores - Why I'm looking forward to Legion as a GM

I've been a bit distracted the last few days - every spare moment I was spending glued to the iPad binge watching Jessica Jones on Netflix. But now that binge is over, I can get back to normal blog writing.

Of all the things that were announced about Legion that would make my life easier as a GM, one of them stood out like a pimple on a supermodel's flawless face.

Tradeable personal loot.

"Duplicate items will now be tradeable."

Thank. The. Bloody. Earthmother. This makes me a VERY HAPPY KITTEN!

It means a lot of things to me. Firstly, that was one of the reasons that people are so against personal loot in the first place. Getting items that you don't want/need because you have them already. This at least, takes the problem of duplicates out of their hands.

That's probably ok for cloaks, rings, necks, trinkets. Probably not that great for Tier unless you have someone of that class in the raid with you. So the poor single mage in the raid has no buddy to pass their tier onto them. Not so bad however for the 4 monks that we have in our raid team.

The other thing, was whether they have the item STILL. So say you get a cloth item that's not exactly what you want, so you DE it. The next time you do that boss, it drops again. But, technically you don't have that item anymore, so you still can't trade it to someone, say the warlock, who thinks that item is great.

Now here is the second big thing. NO MORE EPGP!

In terms of administration, that's a huge relief. I still get lots of complaints about EPGP. People still think it's unfair in terms of who gets loot. People don't want to take loot, because they worry about not getting the trinket later. People don't like others donating to the guild bank "to get ahead". The criticisms for EPGP is that it doesn't take into account things like how good a player you are, or how well you play in a team. I think the whole thing is quite fair and open, but it makes looting after a boss kill SO SLOW. Personal loot makes that a whole lot faster.

Thirdly, there will be no more loot drama. Someone with more EPGP decides to take a shoulder item when they already have an item of the same ilvl, compared to someone who has a shoulder item which is 15 ilvls lower but is lower on EPGP. OR, someone with high EPGP bids on an item, that's BIS for someone else, but the item is still an upgrade for them. That kind of crappy drama drives me nuts, and though we rarely have that sort of issue, it's usually only a problem early in a new tier. Now, that problem is gone, if I go to personal looting.

So, it all points towards personal looting. I had already considered doing it for Legion, but with the knowledge of that change coming, I am REALLY going to go ahead with it in the next tier.

But of course, I have 8 months or so before I have to worry about that. But there's nothing wrong with a little ray of sunshine.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Raiding - I haz a Moose

I admit, I had my concerns about tonight.

I logged on and Xyn said that not many people were on in Onineko. Even CTwin wasn't online. I saw a few online and we also had a big turnout for raid tonight (no doubt because everyone was excited about a moose) and people wondered why are we raiding with another guild when we have this many people?

But, the Oni guys were just lazing around because raid was half an hour after what they were normally used to. When we rounded them all up, we had more than 30, and we sat out some of ours and some of theirs and did what we thought we would have to do - we did a second Archi run straight after.

Then we had issues about what voice program to use - they had started using Discord whereas we were still on Vent. Of course, I had forgotten that I only had a certain number of slots for Vent so that was bummy because some people couldn't get on. Oh and the LAG was terrible! I ended up sitting on both chats which was noisy as hell trying to tell people what to do (especially for chains because I would call one one side but forget to call let the other side know) but after a few false starts (Darkness somehow did a DK/hunter thing and pulled early, and on the next attempt 3 people got hit with fel burst resulting in many deaths) we got Archi down quite easily.  When we went again the second time, it wasn't as easy but it was still done in a timely fashion.  And everyone who went got their moose.

Loot was done as rolls and it was all quite civil, I thought.

There was no huge drama (though we weren't all on the same voice chat so it was difficult to determine) and though people were surprised with the large turnout, I can pretty much guarantee that many of those will not be raiding mythics and go back to playing Fallout, Starcraft or other games.

I think almost all the loot was taken! Which was great! I even rolled my trinket, so I was chuffed as. The officers of both guilds had a quick chat and thought that the night went well enough to go ahead with mythic runs and we shall see who is interested in coming. I'm quite excited now thinking that we have something new to do starting next week - if only I could drum up as much enthusiasm for getting my valour points!