Category: Lowered Expectations


My Tauren Priest!

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been pretty focused on leveling alts already during Cataclysm. My priest, shown here, has actually been involved in a few raids. I’ve also PUG’d Baradin Hold a couple of times on my hunter (shown below, but he’s a Tauren too).

I actually have been loving my characters, and luckily, there is a good reason to actually have multiple alts ready for raiding (and with the achievement Ready for Raiding, too): because we are a 10-man raiding guild, and having that sort of flexibility is pretty great.

The problem is, whether a player (and not just me) can fit in multiple roles and succeed in them! I think that some people level alts and expect to raid, but then can get crushed when they realize they may not play as well as they think they do as them. This is happened to me before, too, but I suppose I am fortunate in that I don’t really suck too much as any of my current alts.

I think that people should find ways to make a class, or group of classes, similar. One way that I’ve been able to do this is through my hunter and my warrior. At first, the comparisons are extremely slim— one class uses the Rage mechanic, based on hitting and getting hit. The other relies on a slowly building resource that can be filled up through crits or using a different type of castable shot.

The one way that these classes end up being similar is through the use of a dump mechanic. For Hunters, Arcane Shot seems to be the big focus dump right now (with Marksmanship possibly using Kill Command with a talent called “Resistance is Futile”, requires a mob to be running for a KC to be used for free). You use it at a certain threshold, usually when you have an excess of Focus outside of being able to use your major abilities.

The same idea can be found with Warrior DPS: Heroic Strike is a rage dump, for those times when you may have too much rage from actually hitting the boss (see: Fury Warriors), or when you use “Deadly Calm” as an Arms warrior, an ability that makes all attacks cost nothing for rage. Heroic Strike is also great when you have “Battle Trance” up as any DPS warrior, which allows you to make a special attack at no cost (as long the cost is greater than 5 rage).

Other than those two, hard to find any other ways to relate the two DPS classes. I believe every class has a way to manage a DoT of some sort… though, some are easier than others to maintain (Arms warriors have to keep up Rend, while Hunters in general can keep up Serpent Sting through Cobra Shot or Chimera Shot for Marksmanship; Shadow Priests can Mind Flay a Shadow Word: Pain up forever, but still need to re-apply Devouring Plague and Vampiric Touch… just some examples).

I would suggest the following to those who are looking to play multiple characters that may raid at any time:

  1. You still need to prioritize one character. If not for your sake, for your raid leader’s and guild master’s. It’s hard to build a raid group around two separate characters. Pick one and be done. If you are asked to play your alt for a specific role, make sure you can do it, but don’t ask to use an alt over a main. I end up DPSing on my warrior to ensure the success of the group sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I will DPS and force someone who DPSes as a main role to tank.
  2. Don’t be *that* guy. If you’re going to play multiple characters, as stated earlier, make sure you are beyond just competent. You can’t be doing so poorly in DPS or healing that you force others to have to push their expected limits. Be able to keep up with the rest of the pack.
  3. Think about the buffs and debuffs you may need for the raid. If you level an alt, see what things your guild may need when it comes to raid composition. If you bring a necessary one on your main, but not on your alt, see what you can do to compensate.
  4. Professions! It’s great to level an alt for professions. I’m always okay with this. For example, my priest is an alchemist and herbalist while my warrior is a blacksmith and miner… and my hunter, a leatherworker and skinner. Many other people in Lowered Expectations have similar ideas with their alts. Not only does leveling a profession give you more things to farm for and save gold for raids… but you can also get some fancy guild achievements!
  5. Have fun and learn! I think the best thing for me, especially as a raid leader, is that I can understand how to correct certain things with the raiders in our guild. I know how to make things better and people can ask me questions on the classes I have some knowledge on. It makes my job, their job, and the raid’s job a lot easier— bossing bosses for fun.

And below, here’s my hunter! Thanks for reading.

Hunter!

This is what happens when Maloriak dies... you get to take a SS of your guild!

Maloriak is a crazy chemist who occasionally feels like making his rejected experiments make quick work of your off tank (or you can use a kite, but we did not… screw that). Here are some observations that might make your group kill him easier.

***We did this in the 10-man version with the following group composition… remember, your mileage may vary.***

  • Protection Warrior on Maloriak
  • Protection Paladin on Aberrations
  • 2 x Restoration Shaman
  • Restoration Druid
  • Unholy Death Knight
  • Assassination Rogue
  • Feral (Cat) Druid
  • Shadow Priest
  • Destruction Warlock

So I heard there are adds involved in this fight…

  • There are two types of adds to worry about. Prior to hitting his second phase at roughly 25-28%, there are creatures called “Aberrations”. However, when you enter that second phase (where his abilities change), he summons two more big adds called “Prime Subjects”.
  • Maloriak only has the capacity to summon 18 Aberrations and 2 Prime Subjects!!!
  • During this fight, your off-tank or kiter will be dealing with things called “Aberrations”. These rejects are nasty, as not only do they gather in groups of 3, but they give a stacking debuff to others (and the boss) if they are nearby. The debuff is called “Growth Catalyst”, and will reduce their damage taken by 20% and increase their damage dealt by 20%. This means that if anything, you do not want to have anymore than 9 out at a time— unless you’re doing the achievement! It’s also crucial to not have any small adds enter the fight during the “Prime Subject”/second phase… they will make the fight much, MUCH harder.
  • The “Prime Subjects” also have this buff, but also have Fixate— meaning, they will target a player and cannot be taunted off. You can handle this by kiting them around, or hoping your off-tank picks them up first. If you don’t use the off-tank method, then you certainly do need to kite… and not near the boss, as the “Growth Catalyst” can be an issue if you increase its damage by 20%!

So, I heard this guy likes to throw things into cauldrons?!

  • First and foremost, watch out for the ability called “Remedy”. He’ll cast it and it’ll heal him up very fast. Don’t let him do that. Dispel, Shield Slam, Spellsteal, Purge…
  • RED vial enables Maloriak to breath fire on the raid (“Scorching Blast”), which can be mitigated through the raid stacking up in front of the boss. Maloriak will also drop the debuff “Consuming Flames” on a random raider. This person needs to book it from the fire breath, as any magical damage taken will be more effective, and most likely one-shot that raider! Red means cluster!
  • BLUE vial allows Maloriak to freeze a random raider with “Flash Freeze”. The person inside will take damage over time, and when broken out, will do AoE damage around the block. Ranged should be taking care of this to avoid melee damage. The chemist will also use “Biting Chill” which summons a ring of frost around the target that will deal damage to those around him. Blue means spread out!
  • GREEN vial means Maloriak will knock everyone back and douse everyone in something called “Debilitating Slime”. The slime is crucial to downing the adds, as they have a buff that reduces their damage taken and increases their damage done! At this time, he restarts his “Release Aberrations” casting… so take care to have interrupters still on the boss to take care of the “Arcane Storm” then “Release Aberrations”. Green means you have 10 seconds to kill adds without having to muscle through a bunch of damage reduction debuffs!

Your major mechanic for this fight is add control via interruption. We had many people who could interrupt, but it came down to two people who specifically went after the two casts!

  • Make sure you have a casting speed debuff on the boss! Curse of Tongues, Slow, Mind Numbing Poison… a hunter’s pet… anything. This is a huge requirement, it makes the cast interrupting much easier.
  • “Arcane Storm” is an ability Maloriak will channel that hits all people in the room. This can be interrupted and should be done immediately. Note that during the RED phase, the person that has “Consuming Flames” may take extra damage. During BLUE phase, note that depending on your role, you want to make sure you keep this on interrupt to prevent healer strain.
  • “Release Aberrations” is the key ability that controls the number of adds you have during the fight. Because he has a limited amount of adds to summon, it is very important to control how many your off-tank carries. They hit relatively hard, and when near each other, have a buff that increases the damage they do and reduces the damage they take. Our guild decided, because we have extremely skilled DPS, that we have our ranged kill the first group of adds before joining up with the rest of the raid! This allows the tank to only need to hold onto 6, which is very helpful for your healers!
  • The interruption order that we did was let the first Release go, then interrupt the next two, then let the last two go. Maloriak will usually have 5 “Release Aberrations” cast before going using the GREEN flask. During the GREEN flask phase, he’ll cast his “Arcane Storm” and his “Release Aberrations”… so either keep an interrupt up, or let the first Aberration go.
  • Of course, we can’t simply have nice things without a bit of RNG. Sometimes at the beginning of the fight, the boss will interrupt his own “Release Aberrations”, making it so you will only get 4 of those casts during the first vial phase. This means that you want to still let at least one cast get interrupted.

This boss has two phases!

  • During the second phase, Maloriak’s skills change. First, he will release all aberrations still alive… which means, as stated earlier, you need to kill all 18 during 2 GREEN vial throws (meaning, 9 per 1 GREEN vial throw). Recognize “Prime Subjects” will be let loose too, so either your off-tank picks them up before the Fixate, or make sure people kite.
  • Maloriak will use three abilities, one avoidable. His “Magma Jets” leave fire and deal damage in a line from where he faces (or who he faces). He’ll also drop “Absolute Zero” ice orbs in the room… if the sphere comes 6 yards close to anyone, it’ll explode and knock people back. Finally, he does an “Acid Nova” that deals damage over time to all raiders.
  • The “Absolute Zero” orbs are annoying, much more than the fire. Try to keep those controlled.
  • Neither ability will kill you outright, sans standing in fire.
  • The main tank on Maloriak may experience being knocked straight up into the air during this phase, meaning fall damage. Unless I’m an idiot. That is a possibility.
  • This is when you hit Bloodlust/Time Warp/Ancient Hysteria to kill the boss. Please do it fast. Your tank will love you more.

How did Lowered Expectations handle this fight?

  • First things first: we set the interrupts. Our DK took care of any “Release Aberrations”, and I took care of any “Arcane Storms”. Other raiders knew not to interrupt anything unless we called out specifically that we couldn’t. We kept Curse of Tongues on the boss rather than have our rogue use Mind Numbing Poison.
  • We let the first one go, to let our ranged DPS kill the “Aberrations”. We interrupted the next 2, then let the last 2 go through. This changed due to our RNG issues, though. The boss kept interrupting his own cast, so we ended up still letting the first one go through.
  • We assigned a healer to our off-tank while he tanked the “Aberrations”. In our case, it was one of our shaman.
  • For the RED vial phase, I turned the boss so he was facing south. That way, our off-tank and whoever had to run from the debuff didn’t catch on fire. If the RED vial was second to the BLUE vial, we recognized the off-tank would need a bit more healing due to the “Scorching Blast” that happened to the entire raid.
  • The BLUE vial phase was pretty simple. Ranged took care of the ice blocks to avoid the melee from taking too much damage. However, our off-tank really liked getting picked for “Flash Freeze”.
  • Finally, GREEN vial phase was also pretty simple. Letting the first Aberration cast go was smart, as it enabled our DPS to still eliminate that group.
  • Things got a bit iffy as we got into the second grouping of vial throws. Because our DPS was so high, we had to slow our DPS down so we could get to the second GREEN vial. We stopped at around 30%. As soon as we hit that GREEN vial phase again, the DPS nuked the adds and got the boss to where it needed to be.
  • From that point on, we hit Bloodlust and dropped the boss. Yeah, it was really that simple.

Where can the breakdown be?

  • Simple enough, dead off-tank. Those adds hurt. They hurt more when there is raid damage involved. Just remember to keep your OT alive.
  • Or even better, bad interrupting. It took us a few times to really work out what we wanted to do on interruptions. It’s the simplest when you have only a few people taking care of it.
  • Pushing into the last phase too quick is bad too… if you haven’t gotten to a second GREEN vial, then you might be in trouble, as the remaining adds will spawn on you and will probably wreck your raid.

Whew, this was a doozy! If there are any problems or questions, lemme know. Thanks!

We have recently began raiding 10-mans with our guild. The first evening, a Thursday, we had 12 sign-ups. Naturally, because we only have 3 healers right now on roster, it meant we had to sit 2 people. Given 3 tank sign-ups, it also made sense to sit one of the tanks as well.

Immediately, as I sent a message to the tank, he told me that he was going out of the country and wanted to be given a chance to tank before then. I also let him know that his gear was slightly under mine and the other tank’s, and we wanted to have the best possible chance to down bosses. He said “fine, whatever” and logged off onto his mage, and didn’t speak in guild chat for almost 3 days.

The other person ended up quitting, not because of raiding, but because he didn’t feel like putting his time into 2-3 nights a week at 2 hours a night. Also, because he was a hardcore raider and he didn’t want to get back into it.

Right, because that whole 6 hours a week thing playing WoW is very difficult, you know.

Of course, this post is supposed to be about sitting people for raids. And there are really just two rules about sitting people:

  1. It will only be a big deal if they or you make it a big deal.
  2. No one enjoys being sat, or sitting people.

There are no better ways to explain those two rules. If the person you are asking to sit gets extremely defensive, you know you’re in for it rough. There is probably no good way to avoid it, and you will just have to take it. Of course, depending on who you are, this could probably make you upset a bit (or in my case, wondering if you really want to keep this person on board). It happens.

Also (and I really wish people understood this), no one likes being the bad guy. Especially me, in this case. I’m not here to tell you that you suck. I am telling you that we want progression; we may only raid for 6 hours a week, but we have to be efficient.

This is where, I think, leadership burnout starts to happen. And that is bad. I don’t think a lot of folks understand this, but the small emotional wearing and tearing of a person who nags and nags about not having nice things can really affect the officership (or in my case, me). I’m already trying my best to make everything work out and when you get complained to for trying your best, it never seems like you’re being appreciated enough.

Consequently, I would say that if I had any more reasons to give to the tank, it would be due to lackluster performance as a DPS in the past when we gave him every opportunity to DPS given his odd schedule during WotLK. It is not my fault your schedule does not adhere to mine or to the other 10 people who signed up for the raid. I made it clear at the beginning that we were going to be a 10-man guild for fun and progression… not for personal stress about who having to sit every night. If this becomes something I panic about, why should I keep playing when all I’m given is grief?

Yes, leadership sucks. It’s tough. I really enjoy it though. But when people get in the way of my fun… well, let’s just say that I do have the option of gkicking.