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.


Fred said...

I think we'll survive the slump. Unfortunately you guys had no other options left for a 2nd healer but me. And I'm not quite geared or "seasoned" enough for the hardmodes.

While I hate healing meters, I did noticed that I was carrying 39% while our resto shaman was at 50%. It's more of a gear issue than anything and if there's one thing that's hardly been dropping in Ulduar, is casting leather items or weapons.

Hopefully, my gear curve will pick up or Black will be back and you all can continue on the hard mode ventures.

Adlib said...

Happens to all of us, like you said. My guild just canceled a week of raids just because sign ups were so low. We were also wiping on "farm" bosses (25m), and it got frustrating so it's probably good for us to take a breather. I know that there will be a ton of people back once the fall comes around and things settle down.

Nuff said...

Flame Lev + 4 is both easy and hard. Here's how we do it:

1 bike, you don't need any more.
2 siege engines
2 siege gunners
2 demo drivers
3 demo gunners

You have one demo designated the launch machine and you start off with one ranged dps loaded into catapult and the second in the gunner chair. As soon as the fight starts launch, when he's ejected the bike picks him up, heals and returns to the demo and as soon as overload ends your gunner loads into catapult and is launched and the bikes passenger is the new gunner.

One siege engine gunner is designated pyrite shooter, the entire fight he just shoots down pyrite. The other kills all the lashers, paying special attention to the demolishers.

This fight is entirely about the demolishers dps from pyrite. Both need to keep the 10 stack up 100% of the time, even when being chased. Boost very liberally to new spots...down to 30/50 pyrite? Boost to a new spot to get more. Being chased? Boost, turn, refresh stack, and turn and run more.

The demo driver who launches the ranged dps has the hardest job in the encounter.

Honors Code said...


I don't know if you'll see this, so I'll be sure to tell you in game as well but I'd rather see you and all the new people geared up and get experience on these hard modes and fights so we can take anybody and everybody.

Ragar said...

Summer slump hit my guild fairly hard, but I think most of us were expecting it since something like 2/3rd of them are college students. We've been on break from scheduled runs for about a month now.

It's disappointing to not be making progress in Ulduar, but there's always something else to work on. I looked at it as an opportunity to get some practice and gear on my other tanks for when everyone gets back.