No Resilience? No Problem!

Last night I discovered something.

Enhancement PvP.




I've never been much of a PvPer. I don't keybind enough stuff, and I use WASD to move - although I'm getting better at using my mouse to turn. I might go cold turkey and bind A and D to strafe and force myself to use my mouse to turn, but we'll see. That would open up Q and E for cooldowns. But anyway.

My shaman has one piece of PvP gear. It's Vicious resto gloves I won out of BH because I was the only shaman there. I don't even have a trinket. Pretty much all the PvP I've done has been on my druid as resto, and I'm not particularly great. I tend to live for a long time if I get focused, but I'm chalking that up to resto druids are ridiculously OP. Seriously. PvPing as melee has never worked for me because I had problems getting close enough to people.

But last night, my boyfriend wanted to do 2's on his warlock (who is decently PvP geared with over 3k resilience) and he doesn't like doing healer/dps 2's teams, as they're slow and don't have much burst (he's affliction). So I went on my shaman - full PvE gear/spec.

The first few games were about 50/50 win/loss, as I can be really easily blown up. I decided to respec my resto spec to PvP enhancement, switch out a couple glyphs, and put on my stamina Alchemist stone.

As it turns out...

I blow bitches up. I do have really decent PvE gear, which definitely helps, but I've never had so much fun PvPing. I still die really fast if I get focused, and I really need to build a PvP set, but holy crap. PvP Enhancement is SO MUCH FUN. I've been running battlegrounds today to build up enough honor to buy a trinket.

Fun Fact: I always ride my Celestial Steed in battlegrounds. Why? Well, how often do you see that mount and think "noob"? Then if said noob runs up and kills you, wearing 0 PvP gear...

Yes, I am trolling battlegrounds with my sparkle pony.


7 Embarrassing Raiding Blunders - Solved!

We all have that night. Whether it's your trial run with a new guild, or you're a veteran raider, there's that night where you're just making mistakes. And it's really embarrassing. Here's some common and mortifying mistakes and how you can fix them.

Standing in Fire
(or void zone, or other thing you shouldn't be standing in): This can be really embarrassing - I mean, Blizzard even made it a loading screen tip! But everyone does it once in awhile. The big question is WHY did you stand in the fire?
Did you tunnel vision? Make sure your not just focusing on your own rotation and dps - a dead dps does 0 dps.
Can you not see it? You might need to turn up your settings a bit, or turn on projected textures. Maybe you have an addon blocking your character's feet. Play around with it.
Are you lagging? Try clearing an addon's cache, or turning them off entirely. I know things like Cellular, Recount, and Gatherer will dramatically decrease your performance if you haven't cleared them recently, or have them on for raiding. If it's not your addons, check to make sure your computer isn't running a virus scan or update. You can also try rebooting your router. And make sure your roommate isn't downloading porn during raidtime.

Not running out when you get a debuff on you: This can lead to more than your death, depending on the debuff. Think things like "Swarming Shadows" from the Blood Queen Lana'thel fight, or "Lightning Conductor" from Electron on the Onmotron Defense System. Standing near others while you have these debuffs causes extra raid damage to go out, putting more stress on your healers and potentially killing more raid members. So what happened?
Did you not see the debuff? Make sure your debuff bar isn't covered. Enlarge it or move it so you can pay better attention to it. Make sure your boss mods are announcing when you get a certain debuff.
Did you tunnel vision? See above.

Dpsing the wrong target: This can really hurt your raid's chances if your doing it on a fight like Omnotron Defense System or the Ascendant Council.
Do you not realize that you're on the wrong one until it's too late? Make sure you can see your target frame very well and it lists the name of your target. You can try enlarging it or moving it.
Did you not hear the call to switch? If you're playing music or have a TV on, turn them off. You raid leader low? Turn him up or ask him to talk a bit louder. If you're getting distracted easily, try clearing everything off your desk and removing other distractions from the room.
Did you tunnel vision again? See above.

Missing interrupts and killing the tank/etc: Arcanotron packs a nasty punch with his arcane blasts, and Halfus with his shadow nova. Why did you miss the interrupt?
Did you not even cast it until it was too late? Check your latency. If you're a bit laggy, ask to have someone else take over interrupts. Make sure your target's cast bar is big enough to see and not covered by anything. If the target is casting too fast to interrupt, make sure they don't have a buff that's causing it. Have a mage spellsteal or a shaman purge if this is the case.
Was your interrupt on cooldown? Coordinate with other interrupters so you don't all blow your interrupt on the same spell.
Did you cast at the right time but your interrupt missed? Get hit capped! I know shamans need to be spell hit-capped (17%) for theirs to hit 100% of the time. Depending on your class, yours maybe different.
Tunnel visioning? See above.

Starting to dps before the tank has proper threat, pulling aggro and killing yourself/others: This is especially bad if the boss has a cleave or cone breath attack. You always want to make sure the tank has the mob in position and a decent threat lead before you go all out.
Did you blow all your cooldowns right away and pull aggro? Jumping to the top of the dps meters right at the beginning of the fight doesn't matter. Don't pop your cooldowns right away, give the tank a good 10-15 seconds.
Did you pull threat on a trash mob and die? Ask the tank or raid leader to continually mark or call out kill targets. Consistently marking a skull will help make the trash go down smoother since everyone will be focusing on the same target.

Your dps just really sucks: Nobody likes coming in on the bottom of the damage meters. If your dps is especially lackluster, try to figure out why.
Are you using the wrong rotation? If you have a raid mate that's the same class and spec as you, ask them about their rotation. You might be doing it completely wrong. Try out different combinations on the test dummies until you find something that works for you.
Are you reforging/gemming/enchanting wrong? Look up guides on sites like ElitistJerks.com Make sure you're getting hit capped (and expertise capped for melee).
Is the fight really not optimal for you? Some fights just aren't good for certain classes. Movement fights suck for melee. Stand-there-and-hit-it fights are awesome for melee! If you only really suck on one or two fights, this is more likely the problem than bad gear or poor skill.

Not knowing the fight at all: If you don't know the fight, you're much more likely to die to something silly, or make a mistake that causes a wipe.
Have you never seen the fight before? We've all been here and it's okay. Prepare as much as you can by asking your raid leader which fights they plan on doing. Watch videos and read strategies about the fights.
Did you not listen to the explanations? Get rid of unnecessary distractions, turn off music or TV, turn up your raid leader.

Sometimes you just end up having an off-night where you're making a lot of silly mistakes. If this happens. suck it up and ask to get replaced. Your raid leader will respect you for that. Take a bit of a break, watch a good movie or read a good book. Have a relaxing bath or shower and a bowl of ice cream. You'll feel a lot better and be ready to tackle the next raiding night.


A Slap in the Face

My guild's website is generally my responsibility. I post the most, I start the most threads. You'll see my name everywhere. I'm basically the main moderator. Before I ever was promoted to officer, my GM came to me and said "think you can keep the website interesting so people use it?" I was up for the challenge and have been ravenously posting things, pictures, starting new threads, etc, ever since.

As such, when my guild started recruiting recently, I did my part. I made a front page post about it, including classes/specs we were looking for and a bit of our background. I also spruced up the recruitment section of our forums. I re-did the guild application, made sure there were links to the post about our loot system, guild rules, etc. I completely overhauled the guild rules so they weren't so tedious to read, shortened them up, trimmed a lot of the extra fluff, and updated them to our current rules and raiding systems. They're also more of a pleasure to read as I tried to make them lighthearted and funny. I'm a writer at heart, so this kind of thing is actually fun for me.

So it's really really frustrating when out of the (so far) three applications posted, it's obvious to me that not one of these people actually read the guild rules. (I included a line in the rules that says they must include a reference to it so I would know if they actually looked at them or not.) They didn't skim the tips I provided on how to make your application look better, or at least didn't follow them. It's all there to help them look better to us, and really takes about 5 minutes tops to read it all.

It's even more frustrating when I pointed this out to another officer in my guild, and she just said that asking well geared people to read over things like guild rules/etc might be offensive to them because they're already geared. That was like a slap in the face. It's just guild rules! It's mostly stuff about our raiding team, how we do loot and stuff. You'd think that would be pretty important. In my personal opinion, it just shows laziness and inability or unwillingness to follow really simple instructions.

Since then, I've trimmed the rules a bit more and did some highlighting and bolding for those that just skim them.

But it's still extremely frustrating. It's like all my hard work trying to make these things really easy and fun to read just get overlooked, and it makes me feel totally unappreciated, even within my fellow officers. It's like pulling teeth to get feedback on anything I write. Nobody even uses our forums half the time, no matter how hard I try to keep it interesting, not even the other officers. Sometimes I feel like I've been given this responsibility because I'll do the least damage there or something.




Melee on Atramedes - Turning Down the Suck

Atramedes is a blind dragon in the Blackwing Lair raid instance. I've noticed that a lot of melee seem to have some difficulty with him - there's a lot of things he does that you need to avoid. You also will have what is called a sound bar during this fight. It, obviously, tracks how much sound you're acquiring. If you get 100 sound, Atramedes will know exactly where you are and brutally eat your face off, resulting in your death. This is not the desired outcome.

For most people, anyway.

The way my guild does this fight is we have all melee stack up on the left side of the room (as you walk in), and all ranged on the right. Usually we put 1-2 healers with the melee and the rest in the ranged group. Atramedes is tanked in the middle, head facing the door you walk in from. We have a hunter mid-direct pull onto our tank, then run back into the ranged group.

The most important part of this fight is tracking your sound bar.

It looks like that. The blue center will grow or shrink depending on how much sound you have. You MUST make sure that your sound bar is visible! If certain elements of your UI are blocking it, you need to move them.

The second most important part is avoiding anything you can that give extra sound. Some things are unavoidable, such as Modulation. Modulation looks like large rings, a bit like a sonar, and fills the entire room. As for things you CAN avoid:

Sonic Breath: "Cast at the highest sound player. Does 15,000 damage per second and adds 20 sound per second. Follows the player faster the higher their sound is." This happens on the ground phase. Depending on what boss mods you're using, you'll probably get a skull or x above you're head. At this point, you need to run away from your group - my guild has them run counter-clockwise, while everyone else takes a step or two in the opposite direction.

Anyone in either the melee or ranged groups can get this, so be ready to run.

Sonar Pulse: "Sends discs of sonic energy flying around the room. If touched inflicts 5850 to 6150 Arcane damage and adds seven sound."

(Yes, I'm dead here.) These are REALLY easily avoided. The easiest way to do it is to stand at maximum range then strafe to the left or right to avoid them. And his hit box is MASSIVE.

That far away I can still hit him with all my abilities and have fair warning when discs are going to come at me.

Air Phase: This phase only lasts 40 seconds, and for that full 40 seconds you want to be constantly moving around the outer parts of the room. Atramedes will be dropping fire on the ground, and more sound discs. The difference here is these sound discs don't move but they do have a sonar bomb that falls into them, and if you're standing in it you gain a whopping 30 sound. He'll also cast Roaring Flame Breath, which is a lot like Sonic Breath. It will target a player and follow them, leaving fire on the ground and speeding up. If you get targeted, you'll want to save any speed boosting abilities for when it really closes in. This breath will target the person with the highest sound going into the air phase, but once someone hits a gong it will then target that person. You shouldn't be hitting gongs unless assigned to it.

If you want to check out the entire boss fight, take a look at this video from Tankspot:


Guild Events - What do you do when your guild is ridiculously boring?

We've all probably run across this before (and if you haven't, consider yourself blessed). Your guild doesn't really do much. Maybe they have a raid team that raids a few nights a week, or a rated battleground team. But what about the nights where there's nothing scheduled, or the people who are in the guild for more social and/or casual reasons? Nobody likes to be left out, and planning fun activities for your guild can keep people in the guild and keep them interested!

Here's a few fun ideas for you GMs or officers out there:

Guild Heroics: Nobody really enjoys pugging, right? Especially not dps! So have a night devoted to guild heroics. Low on tanks and healers? Rotate the dps in the groups so as many people as possible can get at least their daily done. It helps gearing your guild and raises morale.

Crafting/Fishing Parties: This is especially useful if you're going for some of the guild achievements, such as "That's a Lot of Bait". Post times on your calender or guild website. Set a goal for how many fish you'd like caught or things crafted (such as flasks). Now get some prizes together - everyone likes prizes! Recently my guild did a fishing party and we gave away some of the rarer non-combat pets. The easiest way to do this is have your party do a /roll. You can have the prizes go to the highest or lowest roller, or give the prizes away in another way. We ended up fishing up about 3,000 fish in an hour and a half with just 7 people. We also had someone fish up the Turtle Mount after about half an hour!

Raffles: Easy! Just have someone in charge of raffle 'tickets', and keep a list of who bought how many and what their numbers are. We used to do this to promote attendance to our 25 man raids in WotLK. Wednesdays and Thursdays we would sell tickets for half an hour before the raid for 20g a piece. Raiders could buy 5 tickets on Wednesday and 3 tickets on Thursday, for a total of 8 tickets. The raffle was held Thurdays after the raid, and we usually gave away 3 main prizes, and sometimes a few bonus or joke prizes. Good prizes include gems, flasks, buff food, enchants, and gold :)

Casual PvP Events: This I'm going to break down into 3 groups.

Duel Off: Bracketed, single elimination combat. Arena rules apply unless otherwise noted. Pairings are randomly generated. Possible prizes for longest duel, top 3 or 4 people, most exciting duel. Flasks, elixirs, potions, and food buffs are not allowed. Only self buffs. Alchemy “Flask of Enhancement” is acceptable.

Last Man Standing: Takes place at the Gurubashi Arena. 10-20 players enter, one player leaves. Once killed players may not release until the winner is decided. Prizes for the “last man standing” and the two runner ups. Arena rules do not apply unless otherwise noted. Flasks, elixirs, potions, and food buffs are not allowed. Only self buffs. Alchemy “Flask of Enhancement” is acceptable.
Here's a video of a sort of "Last Man Standing" we hosted awhile ago in WotLK. We didn't have very many rules at the time :)

Guild Arena: Teams of 2, 3, 5, and 10 face off in the Gurubashi Arena. Players may not release when killed. However, they may be resurrected if a player can cast a full length rez spell. Arena rules apply. Flasks, elixirs, potions and food buffs are not allowed. Buffs from teammates and alchemy “Flask of Enhancement” is acceptable. A guild officer “referee” must be in both groups to determine nobody releases and runs back. These referees may not be attacked and/or killed. The two teams may be in vent, but must be in seperate channels along with their assigned referee. Can count as practice for arena teams/rated BG teams.

Obviously, you can take any of these ideas and tweak them to better fit your guild.

Have fun!