Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Surviving The Summer

The story I’m about to tell you is neither new nor very unique. It’s happening across the World of Warcraft and now it’s come to my little guild.

It’s called the Summer Slump. Raid attendance goes down, new people are brought and fights have to be relearned.

Unusual Suspects is what I would call an OTA guild. OTA means Over Traditional Age. Most, if not all of our members, are adults with jobs, families, and other responsibilities. We are all over the age of the 'traditional' WoW player.
Now at first, you might think that would make us less susceptible to the Summer Slump because we aren’t on the ‘school schedule’, but stuff still comes up in the ‘real world’. Keep in mind that Summer is the prime time for adults with school age children to take vacations. While I might be fighting through the struggle now, I could just as easily be the cause of it next time. Our Tanking core isn’t very deep, so I can imagine the team might have some struggles when I go on vacation next month.

Despite the Summer Slump, we made some good progress learning Flame Leviathan with 4 towers. Our best attempt had him down to about 35%. Our biggest problem seems to be keeping both Demolishers alive so we can keep the full Pyrite stack up on Flame Leviathan. There are so many things going on in that fight. You can easily be killed without Flame Leviathan every touching you.

We went ahead and just killed him with just 2 towers up.

It appears more and more likely I’ll be wearing my Binders of Hapless Prey from Naxx25 into Coliseum. I’d almost buy the badge bracers just to have something different in that slot. It's just not enough of an upgrade to justify spending 60 Emblems of Valor. I can trade those down to Heroism for 4 Epic Gems.
Of course, if there’s one slot I couldn’t upgrade in Tier 8, bracers aren’t a horrible choice. They tend to provide less stats than other armor and are generally one of the easier pieces to replace next tier. Since I can’t control what loot the Bosses drop, there’s really not much point in worrying about it.

Throughout the night, my Raid Leader did a great job. He remained calm, explained the fights, and directed our team. Even when we struggled on what you would call ‘farm’ Bosses, he never became rattled. He was the same guy, a steady hand, whether we killed or wiped.

I’ve put a little more emphasis on survivability to help out our new healers. In doing so, I’ve felt a little bit of the tension I felt one my Warrior. The Threat/Survivability tension of Demo Shout/Thunderclap is simply replaced with a Divine Plea/Sacred Shield tension. Of course, Divine Plea auto refreshes, and the Sacred Shield issue wouldn’t exist if I wasn’t the only Paladin in our group.

I believe that because we are an OTA guild, and because many of us have been together for a while, that we will be able to weather the Summer Slump fairly well. I don’t think the members of our team are the kind to bolt at the first sign of trouble. Sure, I may not get some gear I wanted, but there’s no guarantee it would drop even if we killed the necessary bosses.

Worst case scenario is that we don’t make it to Algalon before 3.2 hits. While that would sure be disappointing, it’s not like he’s being removed from the game when 3.2 hits. We can also go back and get him.
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