Proud GM Ramblings

All right, this is the part of the blog where I transform from a source of holy paladin information into a proud GM and proceed to spend the next 1700 words talking about my guild and being a GM.

We got Cho’gall 25 on Tuesday night.

Let me say that again: WE GOT CHO’GALL 25 ON TUESDAY NIGHT. And then promptly went 5/6 in BWD. Oh, and we did Baradin Hold before Cho’gall. Seven bosses in a single night. Our best raid night ever.

Two years ago, we were struggling to recruit and were literally two weeks away from ultimately calling it. At the time, we thought it was forever. I resigned myself to never leading these people again, maybe never even playing with some people ever again. I transferred toons every which way — Kurn to Proudmoore, Madrana to Bronzebeard. The guild was done, but we didn’t disband. I checked in now and again (very rarely, but occasionally!) and saw familiar faces and old friends and always felt so damn sad. I had let these people down. I’d let my own cockiness and arrogance get in the way of being able to field a strong 25-man group, night in and night out. Not that I was deliberately an ass to people, but I didn’t recruit to replace people I’d lost between BC and WotLK and I let some nasty people be overly vocal and that led to more people leaving. People that we just couldn’t replace because we hadn’t progressed enough to get noticed, basically. I’ve felt that my arrogance and overconfidence was the ultimate reason for our downfall. I probably take too much on myself, but it’s how I felt.

We killed Sartharion — +0. (Although we were 5% away from a +1 kill!) We never killed Thaddius, so we never got to look at Sapphiron or Kel’Thuzad. We never got the key to 25-man Eye of Eternity, so we didn’t get to try Malygos.

Wrath of the Lich King was unkind, to understate it, to Apotheosis and I have basically held my breath since restarting this funny old guild of ours. Until Tuesday night.

I overrecruited, determined not to cancel raids, determined to have a solid group of people to be raiders.

We have had 19 25-man raids and have not cancelled a single one. We rescheduled due to the Superbowl, true, but never cancelled. This meant that when one of our warlocks who typically works graveyard ended up oversleeping, we fielded a 24-man raid until he woke up and joined us. We got through it.

We’ve dealt with the loss of two of our four original tanks on the roster, we’ve lost some cherished old-time members and some newer members to that pesky thing called “real life” and honestly, some people just didn’t end up making the cut. Ultimately, we haven’t had the smoothest six resets ever. Our raiding roster has gone from 39 to 27 and back up to 33.

What we have done, however, is improve. Each week, we keep killing things we killed the previous week and it keeps getting cleaner. I’ve started dropping healers on a couple of fights now that I trust people not to stand in the bad and, last Thursday, we shaved a full minute off our fastest Valiona & Theralion kill.

We had a ninja pull on Tuesday on Magmaw (I think it was a hunter who pulled by mistake, but that’s fine) and you know what? We did just fine. Clean kill, one-shot. Not a problem. Granted, not something I desperately want to relive, but it was fine.

This is in contrast to some of our raids back in Burning Crusade. We could go in and clear 5/6 SSC, getting everyone but Vashj down in one raid night, but the next week, we’d spend half the night wiping to Leotheras the Blind or Karathress. Occasionally, Tidewalker or Lurker.

We eventually got better at consistently clearing content, but the progress we’ve made in our six resets is far beyond what we experienced in Burning Crusade’s Apotheosis.

It’s sort of expected and standard and such, at least for me, to always repeat kills with a lot less effort than the original kill. After spending months in ICC working on regular modes, then heroic modes, I’m very used to wiping a lot and then mastering the fight and it’s on farm.

I’ve never really had that in Apotheosis until now.

Also, while not everyone adores each other, we’re not total dicks! There’s none of that idle chatter full of profanity and perjorative slurs that tend to accompany progressed raid guilds. We do swear (I do a lot!), but there’s no talk of “raping” that boss, or how “gay” something is. There is a lot of mocking of me (and Majik!) but the chatter is fun, harmless stuff. It’s not full of barely-concealed self-loathing or veiled (or not-so-veiled!) references to violence against women.

Of course, none of that is permitted as per our guild policies, but it’s really a striking difference to me. Most raid guilds I was in during Wrath had no such policies (Choice of Skywall is the exception — and they’re recruiting holy paladins! Go apply now!) and it was tiring to log on and hear 20-something year olds talk continually about how “gayly” they were just “raped” by someone. :P

The members are quality people. Good players. Some are still struggling a bit and adjusting, but they’re getting there and everyone on the roster is there for a reason.

And what’s amazing is that we really are turning into a team, where it doesn’t matter that people weren’t there two years ago. We only had ten “old-timers” in on our Cho’gall kill. I’m no longer thinking of people as groups of people I know from other guilds or other servers, but really, truly thinking of them as my guildies. There’s a contingent of four people with whom I raided on Bronzebeard and they brought another shadow priest and another DK along. And for a bit, I thought of them as “the Bronzebeard people”. All six of them were there on Tuesday for the kill and not once did I think of them as anything apart from “my guildies”.

So Tuesday night, I could breathe again. The guild that I had painstakingly reassembled had finally really come into itself. We killed our first end boss of the expansion. Together. On 25-man.

The tension and stress mostly melted away as soon as we got the kill. The guild has momentum. Doesn’t mean I can slack off, but it means that the guild has achieved stuff and I am no longer holding the guild together through sheer willpower. ;) It means that people are invested now. We sweated through Twilight Ascendant Council. We worked on Cho’gall. We nearly cried on Atramedes, I swear. We have in-jokes. We have shared experiences that bind us together.

Five years from now, even if I’m not playing anymore, I will always remember that we always wanted to kill Majik with the Atramedes trash. I’ll always remember priests levitating off the elevator… into Nefarian’s lava. I’ll always remember how Shadowcry fell off the edge of Halfus’ platform or how Dayden and Fog got thrown into the same lava when blown back by adds on V&T trash. I’ll always remember how I was laughing so hard, I could hardly breathe, much less heal through trash, while my guildies mocked my fail computer and likened it to an abacus. I’ll remember how one of our shadow priests was mangled by Magmaw, that one time.

I’ll remember the perseverence the guild showed when we had an abysmal time on Council the week before we killed them, on that rescheduled raid night. We came roaring back the next night and went 5/6 in BWD and then killed Halfus for fun.

I’ll remember the strength of character the raiders continually show me when I swap them out and they step out without a complaint.

We sat eight people on the Cho’gall kill. Tia, Raisa, Andy, Hestiah, Onemanshort, Hulrok, Fidjet and Traellus. It wasn’t easy to sit most of them — although in some cases, lack of gear was the determining factor, which made it a little easier. But I won’t forget that not a one of them raged about it. Not a one of them said anything more than “man, wish I were there with you guys!” and even then, just once, if that. They all recognized that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. They congratulated us.

All 33 people who signed up and showed up tonight are team players.

And if it weren’t for that attitude that is apparently shared by us all, we wouldn’t be sitting at 9/12, with Conclave on the schedule for Thursday, ready to pop us up to 10/12.

If it weren’t for people being there for us, willing to push through things, willing to wipe and learn and get better and willing to sit or swap in or whatever the raid needs, we’d still be failing to Valiona & Theralion or Atramedes.

But we aren’t still failing to those fights… because our people are awesome.

I know the ranks really aren’t that accurate, but WoWprogress says that we’re US 979 for Cho’gall 25, which is something like 2000 ranks better than we ever saw in BC. We’re technically realm third in 25s, but one of the 25-man guilds has split into two teams of 10s, so we’re really the #2 25-man guild on the server. Our rank may say 10th, or 3rd, or whatever, depending what you look at, but we’re keeping up. (Hell, GuildOx says we’re #1 in 25-man progress… go figure!) And even if we weren’t, what matters is that we keep pushing. We pushed progression on Tuesday by not resetting Bastion. We’ll push progression on Thursday when we take on Conclave and play with Al’Akir.

We’re pushing, we’re progressing.

We got Cho’gall 25 down on Tuesday night. I know it’s one of three end-bosses in entry-level raid content and that, a year from now, most no one will care.

But I care now. And I’ll care then.

Because this is my guild, made up of people I’ve known for years, raided with during Wrath or gotten to know because of this blog. This is the guild that I have painstakingly assembled, piece by piece, bit by bit, all in the hopes that things wouldn’t backfire hideously on me.

The first test has been passed: Cho’gall 25 down, Bastion of Twilight 25 cleared.

This might actually end up working after all.

In which I remember I have a blog…

Right! I have a blog! ;)

Hi folks.

It’s a busy time to be a guild master, especially one that’s heading up what is essentially a new guild. Lots of new personalities lead to a new guild atmosphere. Not everyone adores each other, but I like to think everyone respects one another. Still, being on top of things to help diffuse misunderstandings is something I’m having to do now and again. Everyone responds to things differently and some jokes do not go over well.

Plus, there’s Blessing of Frost (new episode, #9, is out — iTunes stuff still pending due to the move, but you can download it right from the website) to deal with and, well, that whole “raiding” thing.

We took 13 whacks at the Twilight Ascendant Council on Monday night. Monday isn’t a normal raid night for us, but Sunday was the Superbowl, so we went on Monday. Wasn’t an optimal group comp, but it was okay. We had 25 people! ;)

Of course, the disconnection monster ruined us. Our tank officer kept getting knocked offline, then half the Canadians (myself and my brother Fog included) got thrown off… We had several people with super-high latency and so we called it an hour early, rather than reclear trash for 40 minutes of potentially sub-par attempts at Council.

Honestly, it was demoralizing and probably not just for me. You could just tell people’s hearts weren’t in it and that they were frustrated.

So we called it and I told people to be ready for this week, to be ready to focus, to take on these new encounters, because we were going to spend a lot of time on them. Meaning Council and Cho’gall.

Our plan was to go into Blackwing Descent on Tuesday and go 4 of 6 or thereabouts and hope for 5/6 and then start fresh in Bastion on Thursday. By 11pm, we were 5/6 in BWD.


I think my precise words in officer chat were:

“Uhhhhh. So… now what? haha!”

We’d talked about extending our Bastion lockout so that we could spend even more time on Council and hopefully Cho’gall, but we elected not to do so and went in to go splat Halfus.

By 11:55pm, we were done with Halfus and done with our first-ever six-boss raid night.

We one-shotted Magmaw, had a quirk with Omnotron, then three-shotted Chimaeron (disconnects are BAD!), then one-shotted Atramedes for the very first time. We’d killed him in two attempts a couple of times, but it felt good to get Atramedes down that quickly. Then a quick one-shot on Maloriak and we were off to Bastion.

We one-shotted Halfus, too, despite a bad wipe on his trash.

If we can always bounce back from a sub-par raid night with a superb effort like we saw tonight, I will never be concerned about a sub-par raid night again.

And it WAS sub-par. Frustrating, some mistakes, some misunderstanding of various mechanics on everyone’s part… Hell, I even had a tank die on me. Totally my fault, too.

But we pulled it together tonight and blew through BWD. I even had the opportunity to sit myself out of Magmaw and Omnotron. To date, I’ve sat out of one, maybe two Baradin Holds, so I’m glad I got to sit out some actual fights. No one is exempt from being sat.

Hilariously, this means I missed one of my SHADOW PRIESTS getting mangled by Magmaw. I sat there, staring at my raid frames in disbelief, clearly seeing the mangle debuff on him. Go, go Dispersion. I have NO idea what the hell happened there, but it was a fairly clean kill anyways.

Also tonight, much mocking of me by the raid. They’re all fired and I imagine the Twilight Realm (where I tend to order my healers to go if they displease me in some way) is getting pretty darn crowded right about now. >.> It was pretty hilarious at points, though. Have you ever tried to do healing assignments while being mocked or teased AND laughing? No? Try it, sometime. ;)

In other raiding news, holy cow, did I get gear.

Over the last week or so:

Wyrmbreaker’s Amulet
Burden of Mortality
Relic of Norgannon
Darkmoon Card: Tsunami
Vibrant Alchemist Stone
Maldo’s Sword Cane
Flash Freeze Gauntlets

Pretty nuts. I’ve updated my chardev profile and the only thing that’s not right is that my JC trinket (Dream Owl) is now replaced by the Vibrant Alchemist Stone.

By the way, it’s pretty awesome. I took a mana potion tonight on Maloriak: 14487 mana back. With 351 intellect (301 + 40 int gem + 10 int socket bonus) and mad amounts of haste AND the 40% extra from mana or health potions… Very pretty.

So Tuesday was an amazing start to our raid week. Valiona & Theralion on Thursday, followed by Council work and hopefully Cho’gall.

Oh, and our tank lead uploaded a bunch of videos of Apotheosis vs. various fights. Sadly, his voice doesn’t come through on fraps for these, so just imagine a dwarven pally tank calling out things. ;) You do get to hear a bit of raid chatter, though, which I always think is fun.

Apotheosis vs. Maloriak (25)
Apotheosis vs. Atramedes (25)
Apotheosis vs. Halfus (25)
Apotheosis vs. Valiona & Theralion (25)

And here’s our channel link:

More fights to come, more recruitment videos, more fun stuff.

On that note, definitely bedtime for moi.

I do hope to be able to post paladin-related stuff soon. I didn’t feel particularly nerfed on Tuesday, though, if that even means anything, but it’s probably because of all the gear I’ve gotten in the last week.

Blessing of Frost and Recruitment!

So we just launched, which is our new website for the Blessing of Frost podcast, strangely enough! A weekly (well, most weeks) podcast featuring me and my buddy Majik along with a special guest. Guests so far have included my brother (and one of our tanks) Fog, our tank lead Dayden, Oestrus/Obscene, Darista, Fugara (my former GM from when I was in Choice – holy pallies, do me a solid if you’re looking for a guild and go app there!) and our latest guest is Dahrla, a shadow priest in Apotheosis. So head over there and listen to Episode 8!

In other news, Apotheosis is definitely still seeking a restoration shaman, a restoration druid and a moonkin! Would also consider an elemental shaman. Basically, caster DPS that don’t wear cloth. So check out our guild site and apply now. You can always ask me questions on twitter (@kurnmogh) or via email: kurn [at] apotheosis-now [dot] com.

Paladin stuff forthcoming, eventually, I’m sure. :)

Atramedes Dead – What a Relief!

Last night, on our Infamous Last Attempt, which is a tradition that has persisted for us since the old Fated Heroes days, if I’m not mistaken, we got Atramedes down on 25.

What a relief. I cannot express to you all how absolutely relieved and gratified I felt and how proud I felt of my raid group. I slept like a freaking baby after this kill, for the first time in a couple of weeks, it feels like.

It’s funny, because I looked at the logs and there were only 26 wipes on this guy over the course of three nights. 26 wipes? That’s nothing. My first XT kill in Ulduar was the result of 8 hours of wiping, my first Mimiron kill was easily 80+ wipes. Heroic Sindragosa only died three times for me and I wiped on her probably in excess of 200 times total, with two separate guilds.

So 26 wipes? Why do I feel SO relieved? SO gratified? SO proud?

Because this is my crew and we didn’t give up. We went in expecting to flatten Atramedes, pretty much. At least I did. I didn’t think he would give us as much trouble as he did. I soon grew to loathe the encounter, not understanding what the hell was going on and sifting through the logs, which is something I normally love to do, was painfully slow.

So thanks to everyone’s comments on my last post, I refined our strat. Those videos linked by Neara and Palaria were very helpful, and everyone’s information really helped solidify and confirm a lot of what I was understanding.

Ultimately, I have to credit Beruthiel (again!) for her sharing that they use 1 gong during Ground (Searing Flames), 1 gong at the start of the air phase to reset everyone’s sound and 1 gong during air phase to re-target.

That was basically the key. It prevented us from losing people (most of the time) once they were targetted during the early parts of the air phase, because everyone had 0 sound at the start. Beautiful.

We ran out of gongs once and took that as “hitting enrage”, which was great. Just needed for more people to stay alive and kick some ass. And, despite the early use of our last gong (meaning the whole raid at Searing Flames at the end, but some of us LIVED!!!), we actually managed to finish him off.

Being part of a team is a very different feeling from leading the team. 26 wipes? I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash at that back in Ulduar, back in ICC heroics. But it’s a very different feeling when you see the group you’ve assembled battle back against the mechanics and improve in the fights and come out victorious.

I’m so pleased. :)

And thank you, all of you who commented to share your Atramedes strats and tips. You definitely count as part of the team for this one. :)

Here’s my addition to the communal knowledge on this fight:

– To see how many discs people are eating, go to your World of Logs dashboard for the attempt (or all the attempts) and scroll all the way down to the Spells List. Find “Sonar Pulse”. There should be two listed, one with a brown S and spell ID “92417” and one with a purple S. Click on the brown S with the 92417 spell ID. Damage done is useless. Click on the Power Gain tab. There you have all the people who got hit with discs, thereby gaining 5 sound on each hit.

– You can see how much sound people gained individually throughout the encounter by going to their specific character and going to “Buffs Gained”.  You can then click through to the abilities, and see people’s overall damage take and, through Power Gain, see how much sound people generally took from these abilities.

Hope my two cents is useful to people out there struggling with this fight!

(PS: Still recruiting a resto shaman, a resto druid and a moonkin!)

Updates, Kills, Nerfs and Stress!

What I like about blogging is that your blog is always there when you want to write. I’ve actually wanted to write a lot in the last week, but I rarely have the time these days. Being a GM means a LOT of your free time (and some of your non-free time!) goes to guild stuff.

It’s not even in-game stuff, it’s out of game stuff. Planning. Reading parses. Dropping notes to people. Figuring out promotions. Oh, and then what to do about Cauldrons? And how can we incent the raiders to give us Lavascale Catfish?!

I have a break in my day today that allows me to post here because a lot of the stuff that’s been consuming me over the last week has been dealt with. Our first batch of promotions went out this morning to those with whom we’re happy concerning performance and if they’ve been to all 9 of our raids thus far. Welcome to Raider rank, kids. :)

Aside from that, I’m pretty pleased with our raids thus far. Every week, we’ve killed everything we killed the week before AND a new one.

Week 1: Argaloth, Magmaw, Omnotron, Halfus, V&T
Week 2: The above plus Maloriak
Week 3: The above plus Chimaeron

And we also got Atramedes to 28% on Sunday. But I’m getting ahead of myself.


We did it with the following group of healers:

2 holy paladins, 2 disc priests, 1 holy priest, 1 resto shaman and 1 resto druid

The individual assignments:
Group 1 – minus the two tanks: resto shaman
Group 2 – melee: holy paladin (not me)
Group 3 – casters on left side of the room: holy paladin (me)
Group 4 – most of the healers: holy priest
Group 5 – mostly ranged on the right side of the room: disc priest
MT – resto druid
OT (double-attack tank) – disc priest

First of all, let me just state for the record that prior to Chimaeron, the last time I healed a GROUP in a 25-man raid was almost certainly on Naj’entus in Black Temple. You know. Back in 2008.

Second of all, huge props to one of our discs for digging up this little nugget of awesomeness from the PlusHeal Chimaeron 10m thread:

Way we did this was to add Low Health debuff to Center Icon on Grid and the other debuff (Caustic Slime) to Border indicator (set the aura to a yellow colour).

That made things SO much easier, at least for me.

So the groups were more or less taken care of. The tanks were more or less taken care of.

How to deal with Feud and the multiple Caustic Slimes the entire raid had to absorb?

Well, I looked at our lineup and I coordinated everyone’s cooldowns/abilities. Like, every single one. I assumed the following:

– Feuds would happen an average of 1m apart with the occasional one 30s after the last and the occasional one 90s after the last
– We would have no more than 5 Feuds

This was sparked by Beruthiel and Vixsin‘s comments on this post of mine (so many awesome suggestions there!!! Thank you, everyone!):

Vixsin: Surviving Feud is all about coordinating raid CDs and having all your non-healers use their group healing spells. Ret and Prot pallies should be hitting HR. Elemental and Enhance Shaman should be dropping Healing Rain. Feral druids should use Tranq. Personal CDs also make a huge difference, along with a raid leader who screams “click the lightwell!!”

Beru: during feuds have them work out a Tranq/ToL cycle. They should not utilize both CDs for the same feud. For example: Feud 1: Druid 1 Tranq, Druid 2 ToL, Beru ToL; Feud 2: Beru Tranq, Druid 1 ToL, Druid 2 heal; Feud 3: Druid 3 Tranq – the other two ToL when it’s up and if it’s needed.

I also seriously considered making two healers be a “Slime Team”, as per Vixsin’s suggestion:

For quick and easy topping, handle “Low Health” like you did Penetrating Cold–assign healers to specific groups. (Priests on ranged, R-Sham on melee).

It was definitely still in my mind as a possibility if what I came up with just flat-out didn’t work. But… it did. And here’s how we did it.

First off:

1) ALL Paladins should hit Holy Radiance when we’re clumped up.
2) ALL Shaman should get Healing Rain down on the clump spot ASAP.
3) ALL Resto Druids should get an Efflorescence up on the clump spot ASAP.
4) ALL Holy Priests should get a Sanctuary on the clump spot ASAP.

Then we did this:

Feud 1:

– 1x Power Word: Barrier
– 1x Lightwell
– 1x ToL and LB/WG spam, using Regrowth w/ OOC procs and keeping Swiftmend on CD for Efflorescence
– 1x Mana Tide Totem (and again on cooldown anytime we’re clumped up)

Feud 2:

– 1x Divine Guardian
– 1x Barkskin/Tranquility (resto druid)

Feud 3:

– 1x Power Word: Barrier (other disc)
– 1x Divine Hymn (shadow priest with PI and Lifeblood for maximum ticks)

Feud 4:

– 1x Divine Guardian (other pally tank)
– 1x Barkskin/Tranquility (feral DPS druid)
– 1x Lightwell (should be back up)

Feud 5:

– 1x Power Word: Barrier (first disc)
– 1x ToL and LB/WG spam, using Regrowth w/ OOC procs and keeping Swiftmend on CD for Efflorescence (same resto)
– All kinds of personal cooldowns, including Healthstones

I know what you’re all thinking. “Wow, Kurn, that’s some serious overkill and overplanning!”

On our kill, we had 13.3% overhealing. So not a lot of overkill. And while it was a lot of planning, I think it was just the right amount of planning. So far as I can tell, everyone did what they were supposed to do when they were supposed to do it on all 8 of our attempts. We never had more than 5 feuds.

What is something that really surprised me is this:

182823 raid DPS
85376 raid HPS (effective, not raw)
98423 raid HPS (raw)

The average DPS and HPS on a kill, according to World of Logs:
228673 DPS
88908 HPS

I’m pretty sure the average HPS is raw, because otherwise I don’t know how we won, basically. I’m chalking it up to our outstanding healing, which allowed us to overcome the issue of having substantially lower DPS than the average.

That’s the sort of thing that makes a healing lead proud of her team. :)

For reference, here’s what my Grid looked like throughout the vast majority of the fight.

Chimaeron is not for the faint of heart! You can clearly see that five people have the Low Health debuff and that they also have Caustic Slime on them (yellow border). My groups go from 1 on top to 5 at the bottom so there I am in the second position in Group 3 benefitting from Protector of the Innocent. Lord, I hate that talent. Having said that, it was usuallyNOT enough to keep me alive. I had to watch my health carefully, lest I die. And for that fight, I was definitely specced 3/3 PotI. (I’m normally 2/3.)

And speaking of talents. And being a paladin. And such.

There are nerfs a-plenty in the new PTR patch, including a likely live hotfix to our passive Walk in the Light, which now supposedly only adds 10% to our healing spells instead of 15%. I am so tied up in my paladin that I don’t think I have any choice but to continue as my paladin, even if I’m unhappy about a variety of changes. I’m hoping 4.1 will show us more love than 4.0.6 is, thus far.

With regards to stress, I find myself remembering why being the GM sucks. It’s not just the work, although there is that. It’s not just the constant stream of whispers and PMs, although sometimes that does get tiresome. It’s the loneliness. I’m surrounded by great officers and we do a lot of things by vote/committee/etc. I’m not a dictator, I’m not a monarch. I’m the representative of the officers that takes what’s said behind closed doors and announces it. I’m the one who pushes the officers to discuss things. Basically, I’m a facilitator.

But I’m still the guild master. And even though it doesn’t mean a whole lot as compared to my brother or Majik or any of our other officers, I’m still “the face” of the guild.

People act differently around me. I have to wonder how to act around various people. Can I shoot the breeze with a guildie about stuff that’s going on or is that best left within /o? Am I allowed to make mistakes like a moron or is that going to reflect horribly on my ability to lead? It’s as though I’m always putting on a public face that’s there “for the betterment of the guild and the raid group” and I don’t get to relax in-game at all. As such, I haven’t been in-game a lot over the last few days. I’ve been working hard to get all these promotions and attendance things taken care of and help plan out our progression route (right now, Atramedes, Council, Cho’gall, Nefarian and Throne somewhere in there), so it’s not like I’m sitting here doing nothing. Oh, and I’m recruiting, too. (Resto shaman, resto druid, balance druid! Apply now!)

But it’s still lonely.

Toga, one of our officers, was the original GM of Apotheosis when we formed. We signed the charter that Majik bought, decided upon officers and the officers basically voted unanimously (there were like, 10 of us at the time) to make Toga the GM.

I’m pretty sure Toga has never forgiven us for that. ;) I thought that as the primary raid leader back in BC, I got a lot of whispers and messages. I thought wrong. When I became the GM when Toga stepped down midway through SSC due to RL stuff, I was flooded, inundated. And I realized that I was the go-to person people would come to about stuff that would impact their raiding.

“Kurn, I can’t go to the raid on Tuesday, I’m sorry.”
“That’s okay, thanks for letting me–”
“My mom’s… well, this is hard to say, but…”

And the person would launch into an extremely personal story that I didn’t need to hear. I mean, you can’t make the raid. Okay. Thanks for the heads up. I don’t need to know more.

But I knew the people coming to me with these things needed to tell me. There’s something about telling someone you kind of know over the Internet some personal things, so you can vent about how you’re feeling without any RL repercussions.

This is when I realized that I needed to start sharing my WoW stuff with my RL friends. One of them is extremely kind to listen to me babble. She knows the names of many of my guildies, past and present. She doesn’t play at all and has no interest, but when I told her I got the Kingslayer title, back in the day, she was thrilled for me!

I also talk to my RL Friend the Resto Druid, because it’s always nice to have an objective opinion from someone who knows the game and how guilds work, first-hand.

So it’s lonely in-game sometimes, but, thanks to some of my awesome friends, I get to vent to them about the in-game frustrations I have and no one in Apotheosis needs to be witness to that. Which is probably a good thing.

Anyways, invites in less than 6 hours. I need to comb through the Atramedes log from Sunday and figure out why it looks like I failed so badly the parse doesn’t seem to be picking up various things and counting others as double damage and the like. I’ve been very pleased with WoL in T11 content, but DAMN, Atramedes is messy as hell.

Sorry for the long-winded update, but not writing for a week totally meant this was going to happen sooner or later. ;)

Exit Maloriak, Enter Chimaeron

Tuesday’s raid ended with us wiping at 1% on Maloriak, mostly due to two disconnects (one by a healer, one by a DPS) and a lack of Remedy dispels.

On our second attempt on Thursday, we kicked that guy’s ass.

And then, it was time to face Chimaeron.

It’s sort of like the worst parts of heroic Anub’arak, plus the insanity of healing the ENTIRE raid to full like with Gluth, in Naxx.

I tend to sort of “adopt” a fight, each instance or tier, that I just *KNOW*. I mean, I know all the fights, but there’s usually one that sticks out for me that I know every single detail about. It was Sindragosa in ICC, it was Anub’arak in TOGC (that damn tank who insisted on solo-tanking those adds… MAN, that still pisses me off!), it was probably Hodir in Ulduar, it was… maybe Heigan? Or Loatheb in T7.

I have a feeling that Chimaeron will be That Fight for me in T11, or at least in Blackwing Descent.

After the first wipe, I asked my healers how they felt.

Me: Okay, how’s it feeling for everyone? hahaha
Disc priest: FML
Me: Apart from panic inducing?
Resto druid: I need a pancake
Disc priest: All I use is GHeal
Disc priest: And I’m sad

15 attempts, we got from “oh god FML” to getting the boss to 40%. Not easy. The worst part is when he casts Massacre and there goes the Bile-o-Tron. I just don’t know if we have the healing, to be honest. Not a knock against my healers, but maybe we need more time before worrying about him? I don’t know. Maybe we’re getting to the point where the class really is making a difference. Maybe resto druids just aren’t cut out for this fight, maybe I should stack priests. I’m not even sure. It’s going to be fun to do research on that fight over the next few days.

Sunday, it’s back to Bastion to knock out Halfus and Valiona & Theralion again, with any luck. And maybe even pull Council, if we’re lucky? I should probably put up info on that fight before Sunday. (read: I should actually look at the fight myself before Sunday.)

I’m seriously proud of the Maloriak improvement between Tuesday and Thursday. There was some outstanding work by everyone on that fight. And some kick-ass healing on Chimaeron, don’t get me wrong. Just not quite enough.

In other news, we’re definitely looking for a resto shaman — one who will drop their Mana Tide when assigned, unlike the one we currently have. ;D — so please do app if you’re around 338 ilvl equipped in your resto gear, have a desire to push content and be challenged and don’t mind a holy paladin as your healing lead. Oh, and can make our raids! We’re swapping people around and are pretty good at it, so you might not be in for every single fight ever, but you should be in fairly often, depending on your level of play, of course.

Apply today, shammies!

(Fad, Fug, I miss you both desperately!)

Dead Double Dragons

Sunday, we walked into Bastion of Twilight, spent a good 30 minutes on trash from Halfus’ room down to Valiona and Theralion and then spend about two hours working on these two.

Honestly? Not that hard of an encounter. A lot of little things to coordinate, though — stacking, collapsing, cleansing, then moving around as a group at ranged… Not casting was causing some issues, though. I wonder if it’s a bug that you’re popping Engulfing Magic based on hots and dots that are up and ticking?

Anyways, success was ours and we called the raid at 11:30 after downing them.

This week, we’ll probably go do BH if we have it, then Magmaw, Omnotron and work on Maloriak for a bit, possibly Atramedes/Chimaeron and then spend Sunday in Bastion. Not sure, but we’ll see how the week goes.

Note to self: Do the stupid intro quests for Twilight Highlands on the paladin so you can take the port, dumbass.

In other news, we are down to 8 healers, at most, due to the fact that two healers who were going to be potentially raiding with us decided to remove their names from the raiding roster. That’s fine, we’re doing okay with 6-8 on any given raid night, but I would feel more comfortable with a 9th healer around. So we’re opening up recruitment for one healer, preferably a restoration shaman. EXCELLENT resto druids or holy paladins will be considered, but we’re really looking for another shaman, since we only have one. No priests as we already have three. :)

Bear in mind that we do a lot of swapping around and everyone (even me, on occasion) will sit now and again, so you have to be okay with being on standby.

Apotheosis recruitment stuff can be found at our guild website:

Tonight: finishing healer evaluations, if World of Logs stops throwing my 503 too busy errors and recording Episode Six of Blessing of Frost.

Four Bosses, Two Nights, Raid Roster stuff

I know that my blog has become a bastion of information for holy paladins, but I’m not just a holy paladin. I’m a guild master, a raid leader, a healing lead and a raider. (WTB a hat with four labels on it so I can be appropriately labelled regardless of what I’m dealing with at the moment.)

I’d like to write about my guild’s first two 25-man raids today, but as a warning, if you’re PART of my guild, please don’t prod me for details about various things and don’t fret if I’ve already sent you a note about something. I consider the issue closed, but I do want to relate various things and I don’t want people getting freaked out because they think I’m still annoyed.



I had a TON of last-minute people to check on before I let them in the raid. Most had been ready for over a day, at least, but there were a lot of last-minute enchants missing, so we got all that sorted and then I dealt with invites (a topic for another day!) and we got started.

The plan was Baradin Hold, if we had Tol Barad, then Magmaw, Omnotron and Halfus, if we did very well. This was very ambitious and basically it was what we planned as a best-case scenario, given that we had little experience with Omnotron and Halfus even on 10-man.

As it turns out, we didn’t have TB, so it was off to Magmaw. One of the best comments throughout the encounter was from a shadow priest who had, not five hours previously, been bitching about my requiring a runspeed boost (unless you rely entirely on Inner Will), either via meta gem, boot enchant or talent.

After about the third or fourth attempt, the shadow priest says, in raid: “Okay, I now see what you meant about the runspeed enchant.” Yes! Justification! haha! I was very amused.

On another note, I find it really hilarious to watch people who have obviously become very attached to their boss mods. They just stood there in the Pillar of Flame. Not to say I didn’t get hit now and again, but it really took a few attempts for everyone to really watch for the swirling orange crap on the ground and to move away from it. Gotta love “old school” raiding, with no mods that are really working the way they did in ICC.

It really didn’t take us too long and we got him down. Then we swapped some people out and headed to Omnotron, which solidly kicked our asses for 9 of our 10 attempts. SO many issues with shields, interrupts, poison bombs… We got them down to 37% as an evening’s best, though.

After the raid, we fixed an EPGP issue which should allow mains to not be in the raid group if they’re on standby for EP awards. I have to say that Dar and Toga are totally kicking ass at being the Lootmasters for the guild. Not only do I NOT have to deal with loot, but they’re doing a great job at fixing things if they need fixing. I really don’t have to worry about it at all, which is a HUGE relief.

Anyways, we had some great discussion on the forums on Wednesday and Thursday to try to identify some of the issues. I LOVE that my guild enjoys discussing stuff on the forums!

So Thursday, the plan was:

Baradin Hold, if we had it, Omnotron, then Halfus and maybe Valiona & Theralion? Again, a best-case scenario.

So I populated the forums with info on V&T before the raid. I had set up a basic raid lineup during the day, complete with swapouts…

… and we had two no-shows.

One was our feral druid tank who, I later discovered, merely overslept. I totally did that myself back in my RL Friend the Resto Druid’s guild, so I was understanding when she let me know what the issue was. One was a resto druid who just didn’t show and I have no news yet as to where she was.

Neither HORRIBLY impacted the raid makeups, but it threw a wrench in my plans for healing setups. I’m a conservative healer and raid leader — I’ll go with more healers and then drop one if we’re having trouble with enrages. So I planned for seven but only took six — since that’s how many were online.

Tol Barad was ours, so we headed out to Baradin Hold and handily one-shotted Argaloth in plenty of time for the enrage. To Blackwing Descent!

My tank lead is pretty awesome. He had planned for the feral druid and the warrior tank to do BH, then he’d swap one out for himself for Omnotron, and then we’d go with three tanks on Halfus, if we got there. As it was, he and the warrior ended up doing both BH and working on Omnotron and it was him and the warrior who had been working on Omnotron on Tuesday, so I really liked the consistency we saw there.

Five attempts in, Omnotron Defense System goes down! Granted, it all went to hell at the end due to Arcane Annihilator since interrupters were dead, but we did it. A kill is a kill!

So we did loot, did a kill shot and then it was off to Bastion of Twilight to take a peek at Halfus.

The trash RUINED us, haha. Hilarity ensued. But we got through it and got Chelley’s Staff of Dark Mending, which went to Num, who you may know as “that guy who does the Blessing of Frost intro”.

Finally, we were at Halfus. The combination we had was the Slate Dragon, the Nether Scion and the Time Warden.

After a few wipes, including a VERY late break (11:26pm, instead of 10:30), where Dar and Toga did some EPGP stuff (the settings had reset or something), we decided on this strategy:

1) Release Time Warden and Nether Scion.

2) Kill Time Warden.

3) Kill Nether Scrion.

4) Pop Slate Dragon, kill it.

5) Kill Halfus.

We were using 3 tanks and having them tank the mobs basically on top of Halfus for splash damage, since with two drakes up, he was taking 100% more damage, and that seemed to work well. We got him to something like under 15% and hit enrage. The stun from the Slate Dragon meant that we got free DPS time, though, so we lived more than two minutes past enrage!

This was on our very first try of that strategy, which our tank officer suggested. So we tried to do the same thing again, with five minutes or so left in the raid. It was our last attempt of the night, which we always dub the “INFAMOUS LAST ATTEMPT”. That’s something that dates back to Burning Crusade raids where we always seemed to down things just in the nick of time, right before the end of the raid. I love that it’s still in use.

So we pull. We blow hero. Cooldowns are being used, we’re doing everything just fine. And then, disaster. The tank tanking the Nether Scion basically just DROPPED.


[23:59:48.623] Nether Scion hits Warrior Tank 34188  (A: 13897)
[23:59:50.110] Nether Scion hits Warrior Tank 63193
[23:59:51.620] Nether Scion hits Warrior Tank 68529
[23:59:53.040] Nether Scion hits Warrior Tank 36629 (O: 14474)

That is more than 220k damage in four and a half seconds.

So the warrior tank goes down. Our tank officer taunts the Nether Scion and is dual-tanking both drakes.

We get the feral DPS druid to pop up the warrior tank (yay for Glyph of Rebirth!), who taunts his target back and… I die because I’m watching all this other crap and not watching out for the fireball barrage.

Just before I died, one of the DPS said, over Mumble, “don’t stand in the fire!”

To which one of the healers replied “we can’t dodge it”. That’s about when I died and right about the time when the DPS was starting to argue that because we’d freed the Time Warden, yes, we could dodge it. I could not believe my ears. Were these two people actually debating the behaviour of a mechanic IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ENCOUNTER?

Yes. Yes, they were.

“Guys!” I shouted, “Focus!” That appeared to shut them up.

Oh, look. The in-game interface is prompting me to use soulstone. Why yes, that sounds like an AWESOME idea, so I do believe I will. So I pop up and proceed to spend the next 5 minutes totally freaking out about mana.

At about this point, our fury warrior steals aggro off the Time Warden and drops. I’m thinking he caught up to our tank officer when he was busy with the Nether Scion.

So I’m up, the warrior tank is up and we have a dead fury warrior and no more battle rezzes.

Then, a rogue dies to the fireball barrage.

But you know what? It went beautifully after that. The next death was my brother, one of the tanks, once Halfus hit his berserk.

But due to the stuns from the Slate Dragon, we were able to last another minute and a half, almost, and we got him down!

Once again, the Infamous Last Attempt brings with it success!

We did the screenshot, then handed out loot and thus ended our second 25-man raid night.

I spent the next hour or so doing administrative crap — writing to those who had not shown up, writing to the healer and DPS who had started their discussion as to the fight mechanics IN MID-BATTLE… and then I also did a quick check on a healer of mine who wasn’t ready for January 4th, but assured me she’d be ready for the 11th.

Well, after looking at her gear and rep and professions, I knew she wasn’t going to be ready for the 11th, so I gave her ’till the 18th (as I’m doing with a couple of other people) and let her know to let me know if she’d changed her mind about raiding.

She came back to me and let me know she was sorry, but various circumstances, mostly to do with work and such, were going to make it very difficult for her to get ready for raiding. So she stepped down from our starting roster and may (or may not) re-apply as a raider down the line.

So that leaves me with 8 current healers and another with a deadline of January 18th. The 8 current healers includes the healer who just didn’t show on Thursday. So if the 9th healer isn’t ready by the 18th and the healer who didn’t show ends up not being able to raid, I’m down to 7. By contrast, if they both turn out to raid regularly, I’m at 9. I’m fairly certain I’m going to open up recruitment for another healer (probably a resto shaman), but we’re not at that point yet.

Anyways. This is where my brain goes at 6:30am, when I should have been asleep ages ago.

So far, a good raid week. We have another raid tonight (Sunday) and are probably going to poke at Valiona and Theralion and then either Maloriak, Chimaeron or Atramedes in Blackwing Descent. It’s been a hell of a busy week to be sure, but ultimately, it’s been a very successful and fun week as well. Here’s to many, many more awesome raid nights with these people.

Sunday afternoon, I have my first office hours since early Wrath. Should be interesting to see if anyone drops in…

Busy! Productive!

Monday morning, I woke up and promptly recorded Episode Five of Blessing of Frost with Majik, which I need to edit after I do this post.

Then, I went out to meet Ophelie from The Bossy Pally and the Giant Spoon for coffee. She was in the area visiting friends and was kind enough to ask me if I wanted to hang out, so we settled on Monday afternoon. 48 minutes after I finished the podcast with Majik, I arrived at the coffee shop and just a couple of minutes later, Ophelie arrived.

We had a great chat — from Canada and Quebec and Newfoundland to TV shows, from holy paladin mechanics to guild stuff, from Matticus and Conquest to Oestrus and Apotheosis. ;) It was a good time!

FOUR hours later, I realized I needed to get going, so I hauled ass and got home in time for my officer meeting which lasted over two and a half hours. It’s our first of the expansion and we got ALL the EPGP crap ironed out by virtue of doing a random regular, which ended up being Stonecore. And we played with the loot mods through the instance.

I’m shocked that it took Daey almost two hours to make the “Why don’t we just frigging /roll for loot?” suggestion that he’s basically famous for. (He suggests it multiple times EVERY expansion and gets shot down… every single time.) I bust out laughing at it, though. It felt like I was home.

So we finished up with EPGP – decided what loot mods to use, precisely, worked out the figures for EP awards and then, the most miraculous thing happened.

Dar actually said she’d update the EPGP post on the forums (which basically had how we do loot organized, but very out of date and not complete — lacking details that we had JUST hammered out tonight).

I nearly fell over in shock. One of my officers. Volunteered. To write an official post on the guild forums. Why I didn’t make Dar an officer during Wrath, I don’t know, but I’m sure as hell glad she threw her name in the hat for Cataclysm!

So she updated and edited my original post, created a new thread, which I just added a couple of things to, then replied to and gave a couple of additional details on standby and such… and that was it for all the EPGP stuff! Ecstasy!

I’ve gone another check of the people who weren’t QUITE up to snuff on my weekend check and written to them, reminding them of what they’re missing. Mostly it’s just enchants that are lacking. I think almost everyone is at the appropriate ilvl of gear we’re requiring (338+) and the ones who are lacking enchants, I put on standby as a temporary measure to remind myself to check their missing enchants before I invite them to the raid tomorrow.


The plan:

If we have Tol Barad, Baradin Hold to start with.

Then, Magmaw in Blackwing Descent. If the big worm dies, we go to Omnotron. If Omnotron goes down as well, it’s off to play with Halfus in Bastion of Twilight!

Why those bosses? We have experience, albeit limited, with all of those bosses, so the learning curve won’t be terribly steep. Hopefully.

Anyways, it’s 4:14am and I need to edit Blessing of Frost before I try to get some sleep and then write more stuff on the guild forums. Busy day on Tuesday!

The First Apotheosis Cataclysm Raid (10)

I am a firm believer in 25-man raids. I love the group makeup, I love the smaller teams-within-the-team and I just outright adore healing in a 25-man with 5-6 other healers.

However, I was definitely starting to get twitchy and so I threw up a post on our guild forums basically saying that I was going to lead a 10-man exploratory, unofficial raid to Baradin Hold (if we had it) and then move on to Blackwing Descent and probably play with Magmaw.

I had a bunch of pre-requisites:

1) People had to have an average item level of 340, which would indicate mostly heroic dungeon gear and a few 333 items. (I am moderately confused as to why I’m sitting at 338 AFTER picking up an epic breastplate, but I was at 340 before the raid started, according to the armory and my in-game character sheet.)

2) People had to have their appropriate helm and shoulder rep enchants. Period. If you didn’t have those (and I’m talking Honored for Therazane, I wasn’t even requiring exalted!), you couldn’t come.

3) People had to be enchanted and gemmed. I wasn’t asking for blue-quality gems, just the greens and no Wrath-era gems. I wasn’t asking for people to enchant anything below 333, but 333+ had to be enchanted. The only Wrath-era enchant that was acceptable was Tuskarr’s. I also didn’t require a belt buckle.

4) Speaking of Tuskarr’s, I required a speed boost enchant or talent. If you didn’t have that, you couldn’t come. (Priests who used Inner Will were exempt.)

5) Had to be as close to hit-capped for special attacks as possible. Melee had it easy, but casters were a little more difficult, so as long as they made a significant, visible effort to get hit-capped, we were cool.

6) Had to be familiar with the fights. I did up a couple of posts combining a bunch of information and linked some videos, so hopefully that was helpful.

I locked the thread on Monday evening after I got home from a Christmas party and edited/adjusted the signups based on people’s new availability.

And then I set about armorying everyone who had signed up.

I think there were a total of two people who had no issues with enchants or gear or whatever. Two. I had both my tanks logged out in ret gear, a healer with a fishing pole equipped (although yay for fishing us towards the Seafood feast!) and then a laundry list of people without enchants, gems and the like.

So I wrote to them all and was like “here’s what’s wrong. Here’s what this means you need to do” and I let them know if I was going to probably have them on standby due to those issues.

In the end, I had 11 people who were raid-ready, who had said they’d be there and they were.

But then I had four others who whispered me or otherwise let me know that they were available. Two of them hadn’t posted on the forums, one of them had plans change after the forum thread was locked and another won’t be raiding with us in January, so I couldn’t prioritize them at all. Not to mention the fact that I hadn’t examined three of them on the armory *at all*…

15 people. 10 raid spots.

I basically discounted bringing any of the four unless I had someone drop, thanking them for letting me know of their availability and that I would call upon them if needed. As it was, I was going to have to play swap-around with the healers, which I didn’t particularly want to do.

So I invited 9 people to the raid and left out a fourth healer, a paladin, with the intention of swapping him in midway through the raid or so. The question was, which healer would I swap out? The disc priest or the resto shaman? Well, there’d be time for that later.

Off we went to Tol Barad! And spent a good 10 minutes looking for the instance entrance. PRO TIP: It’s on the WEST side of Baradin Hold on the southern island! There’s a meeting stone and everything.

Our group at the time was two prot pallies, one holy paladin (myself), one disc priest, one resto shaman, one fire mage, one shadow priest, one frost death knight, one kitty druid and one assassination rogue.

I was quite pleased to see that, according to the RaidComp tool at MMO-Champion, we were only missing one major raid buff; a +% damage buff, since we had no BM hunter, no arcane mage and no ret paladin.

So we went in and I described the fight and made mention of the 5m hard enrage. And then we gave it a shot.

One-shot, yay! And he dropped two pieces of PVP loot.

On to Blackwing Descent!

There was very little trash. Three mobs, two pulls. We still managed to wipe on the double pull, though, but fixed up our strat and then we were staring at this great, giant worm.

I explained that we had to kill the Lava Parasite adds left by Pillar of Flame. And also, not to get hit by Pillar of Flame.

We had a hell of a time controlling the adds with our group makeup and we had some trouble seeing the Pillar of Flame animation.

Our frost DK respecced a bit to help out with the adds and our mage went frost to help control them. Later, he even redid his frost spec to gain better control of the adds.

Meanwhile, it was about 10:30 and we’d had 8 attempts plus the Argaloth fight, so I called for a break and I swapped in the fourth healer (paladin) for the disc priest. I really wanted to make sure that all 11 people who had confirmed before signups closed and who were raid-ready were able to swap in. I had a fifth healer available, but I was a little reluctant to swap out the resto shammy for the holy priest. Apart from anything else, the resto shammy’s mana regen in the burn phase was HUGE, thanks to Telluric Currents, and the shammy also brought Mana Tide Totem.

Truth be told, though, I was on the verge of bringing in the priest when, out of nowhere, we hit the enrage on Magmaw (which happens at about 10m30s, FYI) on attempt 11. So I decided to keep the group intact. Attempt 12 went south after about five minutes, but attempt 13 was our lucky one. No deaths, only one person hit by Pillar of Flame and Magmaw was down after 9m08s.

Guild first (obviously), realm fourth, for an overall Realm 5th ranking. (Granted, that’s currently out of five, but still.)

Our resto shaman got offspec mail pants due to being the only mail-wearer and the other pally and I rolled for the sweet plate breastplate, which I won.

So then we played for about 20 minutes (3 attempts) with Omnotron Defense System. Got that council-style fight down to about 50%, which made me question my initial decision to go after Magmaw first, to be honest, but I’m glad we got a fight that seems more difficult out of the way, first. And that we did it with a group without an ele shammy or a moonkin or a hunter means that we’ll just have a much easier time of it when we do have any of those classes included.

So it was a really good night. Three hours gave us plenty of time to kill Argaloth, work on and kill Magmaw and play with another encounter. We’ve dipped our toes into Cataclysm raiding and had a really good experience.

Here’s to doing some more fun, unofficial stuff next week before the real raids start on January 4th!

(PS: No Blessing of Frost this week due to the holidays and such. We’ll return on December 28th or January 4th!)

(PPS: Yes, I know I have something like 50 outstanding comments to respond to. Soon!)