A Tale of Magery

Last time I wrote something, we were 3/10 Mythic in Nighthold. Now we’re 3/9 Mythic in Tomb of Sargeras. Sisters is giving us a hard time but the worst boss is often seasonal. In fact, I’d wager most guilds have had to deal with it at some point or other.

I call it the summer raiding boss.

We’ve experienced some roster turnover the last few weeks with players going on a hiatus due to burnout or just getting bored of the game. For the first time in forever, we actually have slots open for melee. Usually those spots were hard to get into. Alas, we don’t have a guild front end so if you’re interested, drop me a line on Twitter or go through our profile on WoW Progress.


Most players my age (oh my god, I’m almost 30) have read Harry Potter at some point. I maintain the belief that just about every guild has that one “Defense Against the Dark Arts” class. For whatever reason, that guild has a hard time retaining anyone playing that class (or spec) longer than a few weeks. In our case, it happens to be Mages. We just can’t get Mages to stick at all regardless of their class.

Allow me regale you with a tale of one of our recent Mages.

Let’s call him HelmsDeeps. He came in and trialed with us on Tuesday, which was our standard Heroic clear night. Nothing outstanding there. Wednesday is an optional night that was mostly just to knock out normals and try and complete anyone’s missing 4 piece sets or get lucky on the titanforging. We usually loot master these to maximize and direct pieces to anyone still missing their bonuses. Mind you, most of the raid group is already sporting Heroic quality tier (915s) and a few with Mythics (930).

After many spike eruptions from the floor, bowling ball launches, and that sort, Goroth is cleared. As we’re distributing loot (and by distributing, I mean mostly disenchanting), HelmsDeeps pipes up wondering why everything is being master looted and if that continues to be the case, he wants to drop out for a chance at the tier helm from Demonic Inquisition and joining a pickup group with personal loot enabled. Our officers gently explain that master looting is how we’ve always handled these nights to allow for targeted loot. Guess that wasn’t acceptable to HelmsDeeps and he subsequently dropped raid and then dropped guild. He lasted about a day.

The rest of us shrugged and moved on. Clearly he had a different loot and guild philosophy or that he didn’t comprehend the group that he was raiding with had players who literally did not need a 900 tier helm on the Vanquisher token.

Then again, he might’ve been on to something. After killing Demonic Inquisition, we ended up with two Protector tokens and a Conqueror token. Technically, he made the correct play. But if one of those had been a Vanq, it would’ve gone to him.

Part of me is glad that this was addressed early on. No telling what sort of loot issues might’ve arisen later had he stayed. For a player to part ways with a guild like that early on in a trial period is actually good for both the player and the guild with neither wasting the other’s time. As much as I’m bewildered by the move, at the same time, I can respect how swiftly the player realized that the environment wasn’t a good fit for their ideals.

Anyway, we still have a Mage. Hoping he lasts. The odds don’t look good right now, sadly.

We Have Arrived at the Wall: 3/10 Mythic

65+ attempts later, we neutralized the Anomaly. After that, we engaged and Trilliax for a few attempts. Just as we were preparing to buckle down for a long night of pulls, he… uh, fell over. He went down after 6 attempts.

The difficulty discrepancy between the second and third bosses is (to quote Khadgar in Hearthstone) astonishing!

Next question now is do we pursue Krosus or focus on Spellblade. We did try a few pulls on Krosus and managed to get him down to an average of 60-70% on our better attempts. This one might end up being a defensive cooldown race and I’m not sure if we have enough just yet. I was trying to map out all the slams. So far, the one that hurts the most is the fifth Slam which happens to coincide with an Orb (and fire elementals, I think).

The Mythic Chronomatic Anomaly Wall

What a crazy encounter on Mythic. So much burst healing is needed just to get through it. Most guilds seem to be clearing it within 5 minutes. My guild has managed to breach the enraged timer. It does seem like we have the healing chops to keep the group together that long but we’re still losing out on some DPS. We’re short maybe 15% somewhere. Thankfully, it looks like the problem’s been identified.

When we initially started it, we split the raid equally to neutralize the 4 ads on both sides of the boss. What we did not do well was bring the boss in to one side and cleave it. It wasn’t until the end of the night after the raid when someone watched a few kill videos and noticed they had a much larger DPS group on one cleaving into the boss and a skeleton crew on the other to kill the remaining ads at their own pace. We opened with 5 healing but I’m almost certain we can get to a point where we can do it with 4.

This was a thought that occurred to me early on and I wanted to bring it up, but unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a clear line of communication to address this in. Anyway, all indications point that Anomaly’s well within reach for Thursday. The groups will be readjusted with a small interrupt team for one side and the rest of the heavy hitters on the other to maximise as much damage as possible.

At least, I hope.

Talent setup

Normally, I run Piety instead of Surge of Light, but the Time Release debuff needs to be healed off players or else it’ll detonate and those Surge procs happen often enough. I needed something fast and responsive particularly if I’m running from boss to ad.


Politics in Your Guild?

Let’s get one thing straight. I’m Canadian and our current government in charge is literally called the Liberal Party of Canada. Our biggest “scandal” is the fact that our Prime Minister has decided to not revisit the electoral process (which was one of the platforms he ran on).

I don’t have a problem with political discourse in Warcraft. It happened during the Bush and Obama administrations and it’s only going to continue going forward. I’ve witnessed the odd (yet civil) back and forth about the Iraq War and it never devolved into name calling. But for whatever reason, it’s just more agonizing now when you’re bustling through Dalaran from your class hall to the flight master. It’s all non-stop memes and just seems to be highly magnified. It seems every WoW server is a Trump server based on General and Trade Chat metrics (and I’ve had to disable those channels because it’s just overwhelming).

What gets annoying is when discussion on the guild Discord starts leaning towards the news of the day about how something amazing Trump did or what liberals are pissed off about. I’ve often thought about interjecting and going “Actually…” but I’m still new in the guild, I have no desire to rock the boat, and I’m almost certain any attempt at a reasonable discussion is going to immediately be met with “LOL LIBRUL TEARS”. Now, I don’t for a second believe the entire guild is like that and I think the WoW population is large enough to the point where it can sort of reflect the real national demographic. To me, the game is an escape from reality. It’s a shame though because they’re fun players to be around when focused on Mythic Dungeons and the sort. It’s hard enough finding a guild with the right times, mentality, and progression. Last thing that needs to happen is for guilds to undergo some kind of philosophical or political test.

So for the time being, I stay focused on what I need to do. Raiding shouldn’t be partisan but it does feel demoralizing that I would be thought of as a lesser individual even though I’m healing what I need to (and can) without compromising myself and dying all the time. I’ll just have to treat the more outspoken individuals as the crazy uncles around Thanksgiving.

Anyway, if you’re out there reading this and you’re experiencing something similar, I’m right there with you. I sympathize with you and I’m just a northern neighbour.

Into the Nighthold

Hey team, it’s certainly been a while. I’m back into the grind again. Actually, I managed to sign with a guild shortly after New Year’s. I found the guild on Facebook in one of the Warcraft recruiting groups which just happened to be on my server and their progression was close enough to where I left off. Personally, the name doesn’t do much to inspire me and it reminds me of some vanilla names, but the group seems friendly and focused enough.

It’s called… *whispers* <Ninja Pirate Monkeys>.

Like, how can a monkey be simultaneously a Ninja and a Pirate? It defies all guild naming conventions.

Let’s talk about the guild for a moment because this is the first time in maybe 10 years where I can be just a player. After about a solid month of retooling, we’re currently 1/10 Mythic in Nighthold! That’s not bad for a two-night, six hour guild (with optional raid nights during the week or weekend depending on who’s around). Then again, Mythic Skorpyron feels a tad easier than Heroic Gul’dan. The loot system’s handled using EP/GP which is new for me. Only loot system’s I’ve experienced before was loot council and DKP (way back in Burning Crusade) so this was an interesting change of pace for me. The nature of World Quest drops, Mythic Dungeons, and Titanforged puts less of an emphasis on raid gear because of the multiple avenues of gear sources. This has the added effect of allowing me to be much more selective on rewards that drop because I might not need an item if I have something close to it from a Mythic Dungeon, for example. Obviously, we can’t forget the lucky tactical usage of seals for extra rolls.

The healing corps at present consists of two Resto Druids, a Holy Priest (me), and a Paladin. I’m tempted to reinvest into Discipline because there’s times where I don’t seem to make a dent compared to the throughput capability of Resto Druids (but my AP’s only at 46 right now).

Every guild seems to have that one kryptonite class. You know, the one class where they can’t seem to recruit anyone for it or if that class does join, they leave within a week or two? In this case, that class seems to be Mages. I haven’t had anyone make food in ages. So yes, we’re recruiting.

One thing I’d like to see of is more structure. I do wish Angry Assignments were used more often for different bosses. Hell, I’d use it just for myself to write down notes for my own use but I can’t seem to edit it because I’m not a rank that has the permissions.

Nighthold Thoughts

How about some thoughts on Nighthold now that it’s been out for about 4 weeks? It’s nice to be in a non-dark, well-lit instance especially one that takes place in a part of a city. As for the overall difficulty of the instance, it seems to be just right. I haven’t progressed too far into Mythic yet so it’s difficult to say for certain how the rest of it is.

Skorpyron: Not that memorable. Your basic introductory boss. The mythic version is much more engaging with the coloured spikes and varied consequences of hiding behind different ones. A little dull for me to heal.

Chromatic Anomaly: Interesting change of pace especially with the slow time and fast time built in. Throws off my timing especially during slow time. Otherwise, straight forward and tolerable healing-wise.

Trilliax: It’s the beam phase. Go too fast one way and Trilliax can change directions and before you know it, a quarter of the rate is lightsaber’d in half with no chance of recovery. Thankfully, encounter itself seems to be forgiving. I like jumping on the Roombas before they detonate. Fun!

Aluriel: Fun to heal! Frost phase is the most tense for me just due to the number of things that can go wrong. Sometimes a person who just got a bomb collides with someone who had the bomb for much longer so the timing’s off. Ideally, I wish players with equal timings would run into each other instead.

Krosus: Also fun to heal. Nice sense of urgency applied with the gradual reduction in raid platform. Aside from the occasional player getting sniped from his beams, there’s a nice amount of damage that just gets thrown around with the slams.

Tichondrius: Challenging encounter. This isn’t one I look forward to at all. Always worried about missing the purple pool buffs because it seems to spawn on the green fire. Collisions can be scary especially if players just run in to detonate them before the raid is at a sustainable health level.

High Botanist Tel’arn: Fun to heal! Multi-phase fight means you need to keep track of different abilities that are occurring at different times. Slow buildup that crescendos into a chaos filled final phase.

Star Augur Etraeus: Actually, I really like the special effects and the background of the encounter with the different backdrops and skies. Visually stunning. I appreciate it more during moments where I can safely take a moment to look up. Though, those moments aren’t often

Grand Magistrix Elisande: More dependant on your DPS nailing the blue and red elementals at the right time to ensure that you have the necessary slows and buffs for the rings.

Gul’dan: One of the better end bosses I’ve experienced. Lots of awareness needed with the eyes. Placement matters so you don’t get thrown off the ledge. Reminds me of the ol’ Lich King encounter. The final phase and the dealing with the souls is one of the more tense parts of a fight I had to heal through. First phase is a little annoying though.

During one of the Elisande kills, I found myself with the Ephemeral Paradox trinket.  It seems to only work on the following healing spells:

  • Holy Priest: Heal
  • Discipline Priest: Shadow Mend
  • Holy Paladin: Holy Light
  • Resto Druid: Healing Touch
  • Resto Shaman: Healing Wave
  • Mistweaver Monk: Effuse

Yeah, casting Heal for that mana return takes just way too much time. You have to make a calculated risk on whether that extra second on Heal is worth it. In a raid group with Resto Druids, by the time the heal lands, the Rejuvs will already have done their jobs. Any player with lower health (like 25% health) generally needs healing right now and Heal isn’t fast enough nor strong enough to get that wounded player back to a healthy level. In my opinion, for a regen trinket, it seems pretty weak. I just need to get lucky on a high Titanforged Amalgam’s Seventh Spine drop.

Feels off to be writing again. But, it’s like riding a bike.