I’ve been recently asked, and routinely asked, can I help recruit members to the guild?

The short answer is: Yes.

Every one of Ministry of Defense’s members in good standing can recruit a new member by issuing a new member invite in the guild communities window. However, please do not spam out unwanted, or unrequested, guild invites to people. We prefer for potential new members to seek us out, rather than the reverse.

Also, in your recruiting travels, please do not make promises that we might not be able to keep. For example, telling a potential new member that they would be guaranteed a position on a raid team… that decision is always up to the warlords for each team.

If you are so inclined, and want to help recruit new people into the guild, feel free to utilize the following recruitment message… or make your own!

<Ministry of Defense> is looking for casual players, raiders, and pvpers! We offer an adult friendly, non-toxic guild atmosphere. Currently celebrating 9 years of being awesome! Website: ministryofdefense.net. Currently 1/9M, 7/9H, 9/9N BoD.

Have any questions, please use our Discord #general channels for comments!

Lately, I have noticed a couple of things about the guild.

  1. There are almost no feral mains, if any at all.
  2. A lot of people have said that they plan on maining a Zandalari feral.

I’m not here to discourage anyone, burst any bubbles, or ruin the fun of being your very own dinosaur cat. I’m also not here to make it seem like the best class ever. I will also be the first one to tell you this: despite it being the most fun and unique class, in my opinion, it can and will suck.

This article is strictly based on my own individual experience, and it’s mostly just for fun and to have a chuckle!

Image result for feral druid memes

In this little write-up, I will go over some of the biggest selling (and  ruining) points of being a kitty cat.

Leveling

Image result for low level feral druid meme

So you’ve started your druid, you’ve decided on feral over balance, now what? Well, luckily I have just the steps for you!

  1. Open up your talents window.
  2. Select “Balance”
  3. Hit “Choose Specialization”

There you go! You’re on your way to successfully leveling as feral!

In all seriousness, leveling as feral is one of the worst experiences in game. Because feral is so reliant on having the right stat spread, it’s almost impossible to have a decent spread when you’re constantly outleveling your gear. You feel weak, you never have energy, everyone is yelling at you in your dungeon because you’re doing a third of the second lowest damage.. It’s not fun for anyone involved. Just… go balance and wait until you start gearing at 120 to change your loot spec to feral, then build a good feral set. There will be a bit of a learning curve when you start feralling, but it isn’t bad. Unless you don’t mind being the weakest link, then by all means, go ahead!

Pro:

You can easily blame you sucking on bad gear and being below max level.

Con:

You’re going to want to eat your own eyes out.

Snapshotting, Bleeds, and Talents

Image result for feral druid bleed meme

 

This is where the magic happens! Let’s start with talents, then get into the good stuff.

If you don’t know me, I have mained feral from the end of Tomb of Sageras to the beginning of BfA. Before that, I mained a frost mage and beastmaster hunter. During Uldir, I mained a Discipline priest. I am now back to playing feral. The point of listing my class experiences is this: no other class that I have played has had their entire rotation been at the mercy of one or two talents quite like feral. What I mean by this is if you change one talent, you’re probably going to have to change all of them to maximize your rotation. You’re also probably going to have to change your rotation.

Because of this, you’re going to have to probably also learn about 3-4 different rotations, which is just insane to me. But alas, that’s the price you pay for your sparkly new dino-cat hybrid thing. Let me break it down using my own talent builds for different things.

These are my normal talents that you’ll almost always see me running. One thing you should note before you scrawl them down for your Zando cat: These are by no means optimal in almost any scenario. That’s right, I said it. My talents are bad, and I know they’re bad. And I’m not sorry. This is just how I enjoy playing. I can even break it down to exactly why they aren’t good.

Short answer: Snapshotting.

Snapshotting is what sets feral apart from the other melee classes. In layman’s terms, it’s when the game takes a “snapshot” of any buffs, debuffs, flasks, cooldowns, ect that is on you when you put on a bleed. Your bleed stays at whatever power your buffs give it when you put it on until it is reapplied or refreshed.

Long answer: Bloodtalons

Bloodtalons give your next melee ability 25% increased damage for the full duration after you cast entangling roots or regrowth. Because of this, it’s important to only use it on your major bleeds and refresher (rip, rake, ferocious bite). With this build, you don’t have a ranged ability to build up combo points before your bloodtalon buff falls off. How I personally combat that is to ONLY use regrowth right before stealthing and getting ready for the pull and before I need to use rip or ferocious bite. But, it can be a bit tricky to manage 90% of the time, unless you’re paying attention to your combo points constantly.

    So how do you make it more optimal?

    Change your talents. And your rotation.

Lunar Inspiration! 

Lunar Inspiration allows you to use Moonfire while in cat form. It also gives you a combo point! This makes a good safeguard if you end up having to use your regrowth early and don’t want to waste the buff. You can just spam moonfire until you have the combo points you need! Sounds great, right? Well, it can be. I personally don’t like it because it’s not THAT much more damage. And it’s wasting a few GCDs that could be used on something else. It seems like there’s no winning. That’s where Savage Roar comes into play. For the full description of it, you’ll have to look at the link. I don’t use savage roar, and I don’t like using savage roar, and I refuse to use ravage roar. It’s an extra button, extra combo point spender, and extra pain in the ass. But, it is a great talent to use and, if youre less easily frustrated than me, go for it!

I prepared 2 more talent builds for this, but I think you get the point. Changing talents=completely changing your rotation to maximize each talent’s usefulness.

No matter what talent build you choose, your bleeds are your real damage-dealers. Keeping them as strong as they can be is your #1 priority as a feral.

Let’s revisit snapshotting. I gave you a quick little rundown of what it does, but how do you track it? Luckily, the loveliest Quetzie has an article about it! Since this isn’t a “how to git gud at kat” article, I’ll leave the link to it here. It is full of addons and weakauras that are essential to your scaley new cat toon.

There isn’t much to say about snapshotting, but let me tell you now. It is what makes feral so fun for me. It is ALSO why I want to beat my computer against an 18 wheeler. It’s FRUSTRATING and messing up your snapshots do way more harm than you would expect.

More personal experience story: before I got these weakauras, i did NO damage. At all. I didn’t even know snapshotting was a thing. When I learned what it was, how to track them, and when I needed to cast what, it improved UNBELIEVABLY.

Pro:

It’s unique! No other class or spec has snapshotting. It takes what would be a very bland and stagnant rotation and turns it into something that will constantly keep you on your toes.

Con:

So. Much. Freaking. Micromanaging. You have to constantly be on your toes and aware of everything you’re doing, while also maintaining constant awareness of your surroundings and fights. If you have trouble not running through fire or taking debuffs out, this isn’t the class for you.

Rotations

Related image

 

As I’ve mentioned before, there is no one set rotation for feral. It depends on your talents, the encounter, whether you’re PvE or PvP, multi or single target, what color the person to your left’s transmog is, the phase of the moon, how many boomies are in your group, ect.

Because of this, the only way to really and truly improve your rotations and git gud at doin’ a dameg is to compare yourself to other ferals at the same iLvL. Sounds doable, right?

If only.

Because of all the aforementioned micromanaging, drawbacks, and annoyances that come along with this gig, there aren’t many people that play feral. To make matters worse, there aren’t many who KNOW how to play feral, and there are even less that know how to play it WELL. There is a big list of resources in The Dreamgrove‘s feral channel, but there is a lot of digging through mush to find it.

The only set advice that I have for this is that your best bet is to hop in that channel, chat with some cool cats, find out what will be the best general rotation for you, and hit a training dummy. For a while. Until your fingers get numb and muscle memory starts happening.

Pro:

You have next to no one to compete to the top.

Con:

You have next to no one outside of the Dreamgrove channel to compare your numbers, rotations, and talents to.

Raids

Image result for feral druid raid memes memes

So, you’ve gotten past all the bad parts of being a kitty cat. You’re geared. Your stats are as good as they’re gonna get, you guess. You’ve gotten your rotation down. Now, you’ve joined one of Ministry’s esteemed raid teams. Now what?

Well, a lot. First of all, outside of a couple CCs, feral has like, no utility. At all. No stones that give you 30% health or super awesome offheals or anything like that. But, ’tis the life when you decide to get away from the comfort of your Frost Mage and roll Feral Druid because you think the new forms are super awesome sauce!

Another important thing is that you’re VERY squishy with no defensives. As in, something that would normally only drop someone to half health could easily one shot you. Why is this? I don’t know. It could just be the fact that I’m bad, but other ferals seem to have the same difficulties.

With that said, if you play your cards right and REALLY know what you’re doing, you can easily top meters.

Because of how high the skill cap is, it’s VERY hard to get into non-guild groups as a feral. There’s no way to really tell how someone plays their class that has such a steep cap, outside of looking at Raider.io or other sites. And honestly, who has the time for that? Just remember, next time you try to PUG anything, my heart and prayers are with you.

Pro:

Very high skill cap. You are as good as you push yourself to be! I recommend buying a couple of Reflecting Prisms for break times.

Con:

/pet

PvP

Image result for feral druid pvp memes memes

Whoo! This is my favorite part!

So here’s the thing with PvP and being a kitty cat. Much like raiding, you’re either really good or really bad. There isn’t much in between.

Again, there isn’t a whole lot of utility. You have a couple of good stuns (aside from your opener), one which requires combo points, so you aren’t a whole lot of use aside from a healer griefer. You’re also extremely squishy and can EASILY be killed 1v1. Why would anyone want a feral when boomies do more damage and rogues do the same things, but better?

Here’s why.

Because you’re freaking awesome.

You’re a 200lb cat that shreds flesh as a hobby. You’re any toon’s worst nightmare. The same as raiding, if you learn your talents and rotations, you’re unstoppable. The only issue is finding someone willing to take that risk and let you in their group.

Or, you can always do what I do, and start your own groups!

Image result for feral druid memes

Pro:

You look and feel like a badass every second of the way.

Con:

If you do manage to get into a group, you better hope someone on the other team doesn’t have a spray bottle ready when you pounce.

The Transmog Dilemma

Image result for feral druid transmog meme

If you know me, you know I spend absurd amounts of gold on transmogging my druid to look perfect. Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter. At all. No one ever sees it. Ever. Your cat form is your transmog.

If you’re like most people, the only way to change your cat form is to change your hair color.

Image result for troll hair color cat form

Until now!

Most people know this by now, but in Legion, our artifact appearances changed our cat forms!

Image result for feral druid artifact forms

This is my personal favorite set. You can catch me rocking the purple one 99% of the time!

But who am I kidding? If you’re reading this, you’re most likely considering rolling feral for the Zando appearances.  But keep in mind that no one is going to see your transmog either way, so don’t waste your gold!

Unless you’re like me and have to look your best on every occasion.

Pro:

SPARKLE KITTY

Con:

So much wasted transmog gold.

 

Conclusion

Image result for feral druid memes

Yes, feral is very grueling to learn and play. Yes, it’s one of the most frustrating specs in the game. Yes, it’s unnecessarily hard. Yes, you’re probably better off going boomie. No, you shouldn’t let that get in your way.

Remember that this game is about having fun. If you try it and enjoy the extra nonsense that comes along with it, I’ll gladly welcome you into the pack with open paws! You’re a part of a very low minority in WoW, and you’re also a part of one of the most fun and interactive specs. Ferals love other ferals, because there aren’t many of us.

Image result for feral druid memes

Remember to go to your local shelter and adopt your own Feral today!

 

Again, this is just to poke fun at my own class. If you want any SERIOUS advice on being a kitkatdrood, find me in game or in Discord, and I will more than happily point you in the right direction. Remember, we all have to start somewhere!

Opening Night:

Earlier bosses are cleaning up nicely in both groups. Opulence is now mostly cake for each group, though we are monitoring performance on basic mechanics and trimming down where necessary.

Depending on the class stacking, we have been getting creative with CC. For example, Opulence with 4 monks makes for a square of Ring of Peaces in order to trap adds:

Conclave

Conclave continues to be a tricky one for both groups. Gronk is not falling when he needs to (before the first Paku wind), so we’re struggling a bit to make up for that. Gronk is our first major DPS check of the tier – and a major mechanics one at the same time.

Too many people in both groups were continuing to get hit by Krag’wa’s wrath. There are also a surprising number of buffed raptors making it around.

Masters of Mayhem

Black team got their first look at Rastakhan. He has several new mechanics that make for a steep learning curve, right up through phase 3 of the fight. Too many people are being hit by frogs, and there is too much tank damage being taken from avoidable mechanics

Masters of Mayhem Friday Logs
Freaks and Geeks Saturday Logs

Closing Night

Conclave

I missed the first hour of Red Team’s attempts on Conclave, so I cannot comment on those pulls. However, I gathered that many people were still not bringing Kimbul’s Wrath out of the group, and others were not paying attention to the Krag’wa circle in time to move. When I did join, we got the kill, and it was an incredibly clean job well done – no noticeable overlaps of Kimbul, very few people hit by Krag’wa, and nobody died to raptors. All in all, massive improvements from everyone involved.

Freaks and Geeks

Rastakhan

Rastakhan adds several new mechanics to Heroic. For one, there’s a brand new add in both Phase 1 and Phase 3. Two, there’s a soaking mechanic in Phase 1. Three, there are flame totems in Phase 1. Oh, and that plague of toads? They leave puddles behind.

Nothin’ to it.

Black Team spent two nights working strategy for this. In between breaks and wipes, tanks opted to move Rastakhan at specific markers so the flame tongue totems would not be within range to strike after being placed. The tank holding Rastakhan would call out when toads were coming. This would allow plenty of time for the DPS and the other tank to move / follow the adds out of the way of the toads and their deadly puddles. The second soak has a nasty overlap with a tank mechanic for damage, so it’s good for healers to pop a cooldown here (one of ironbark, barrier, spirit link, etc) to help offset.

Moving into phase 2, the tank swap mechanic is much the same as on normal. Fire spreads faster, so it’s more important to stay as spread as possible. Be careful not to AoE the totems controlling players – it may be beneficial for priests here to MC a melee character away from the totem so they don’t die.

Red Team made slight but strong strategic changes to aid in dropping death gates in useful locations in Phase 2. They tanked Rastakhan slightly closer to the throne, allowing ranged DPS to spread more in the direction of the door where we enter the room. This allows ranged DPS to more effectively drop the death doors where the Phase 3 death realm participants can reach them.

Black Team tried to have CC on adds the first night, focusing down one at a time. On night 2 and on Red team, both teams said “to hell with that” and focused on interrupting when possible, cleaving adds as best they could.

Both teams struggled with the Death Realm successfully making it out, but it seems that proper Death Door placement affects this significantly. There may need to be changes to add some stronger DPS to the death realm, much like moving stronger DPS to the left side of the Opulence fight.

There is a lot of mess involved in Part 4 a Rastakhan kill. We’re assured this is normal…

…and both teams are proud to say they downed Rastakhan this week.

Masters of Mayhem
Freaks and Geeks

Mekkatorque

Masters of Mayhem spent several hours working on Mekkatorque. There is 1 new mechanic: Wormhole Generator (teleports everyone in the raid to a random player’s location), and a big adjustment to a familiar mechanic: only those within the robots can see colors.

To be covered in a later section, but this requires a lot more radio silence than other bosses. It also requires knowing how the fight plays out. For example, the second wormhole generator happens 3 seconds after people get the gigavolt bomb planted on them. This means WAITING to cast movement abilities until AFTER the wormhole goes off.

There is ONE Wormhole Generator in the last phase. This will include shrunk people AND big people. If you are shrunk, you move first. I cannot stress this enough: If you are large and there are shrunk people, DO NOT MOVE. Even if you think it’s safe, triple-check that there are no little people under your feet before moving.

It’s imperative to dodge the blaster cannon. For the most part this is easily avoidable. Ranged DPS and heals have NO excuse to be hit by it.

Callouts for robots will happen as follows. For example:

Lillith, Coldryder, and Urostek get into robots. Coldryder calls out “Cold is lead. Lillith red, Uro green. Uro, what am I?” This will repeat until everyone has their colors listed.

If there is a tank that needs to get into a robot, they take priority. For example:

Telann, Bellatori, and Corignis are in robots. Corignis calls out “Corig is lead. Telann, red. Telann, blue. Telann, red. Telann, out.” Then, he will call “Bella, red. What am I?” to which Bellatori will respond “Corig, Blue”.

If there is a person with no / crappy /muted mic and a tank, call out the tank but the tank WILL NOT LEAVE UNTIL TOLD. The rotation will be as follows:

Quetzie, Atesies, and Avarkus are in robots. Quetzie calls out “Quetzie has lead. Atesies, red. Atesies, green. Atesies, red. What am I?” Atesies will call out “Quetzie, blue. Quetzie, yellow. Quetzie, green.” Quetzie says “Atesies, out” and proceeds to call Avarkus’s colors while Atesies leaves her robot. Once all of Avarkus’s colors are called, they can exit.

Masters of Mayhem Friday logs
Freaks and Geeks Monday logs

Raid Callouts

For our sanity and yours, we’re cutting back significantly on raid-wide callouts. I may adjust this list over the next few days.

Champion:

  • Only calling out add / boss DPS swap. We will not be calling out blind unless the add is right in the middle of everyone.

Grong:

  • Calling out add spawn / swap.
  • May reactive call-out when people need to move if they are being thrown at if they do not move immediately.
  • Individuals will call out when they are using the Apetagonizer Core.
  • We will not be calling out the rocket fire spawn

Jadefire:

  • Call out which bomb to swap to
  • Call out add
  • Individuals will call out when they are clearing magma traps
  • We will not be calling out magma trap spawn

Opulence:

There should be very little need for callouts in the gauntlet. Learn to pay attention.

  • Topaz individuals will discuss stack count with one another
  • If a person is going to be BoP / Immunitied OR if they are going to self-sacrifice and die so the raid takes less damage
  • Individuals will discuss CC order on the adds

Conclave:

There is no need for anyone to call out if they are silenced by Akunda unless you have been silenced for over fifteen seconds (half the duration). Generally, the healers will get to you. Just sit tight.

  • Individuals may call out if there are adds remaining. If there is an add on a tank, it’s imperative to kill that first. Tanks, please call.
  • We will not call out hex, leap, etc, unless…
  • We may reactive call-out if a person is not bringing Akunda, Kimbul, etc to the back of the Paku circle

Rastakhan:

  • The tank taking Rastakhan in P1 will call out when Toads are coming
  • We will not be calling out fire circle
  • We will not be calling out death’s doors
  • We will continue to call out when the groups need to move to get to either death or living realm

Mekkatorque:

  • We will not call out when people get the Gigavolt charge
  • We will not call out every time Buster Cannon goes off. Only if it’s pointed at a place where a player is hiding with charge or if it’s right down the middle.
  • We may reactive call-out when we need big people to stand still so shrunk people can move.
  • Individuals should never call out when they are shrunk. (We don’t care. Also we can see that you’re shrunk.) Only call out when you are in a robot and taking lead or answering back (as above).
  • Individuals do not need to call out what rock they are going to with Gigavolt. If you see someone else with the debuff nearby, quickly comment “Quetzie will take red, Lillithh you take yellow”
  • Reread the comments about about robot callouts in the Mekkatorque fight discussion above.
  • Avoid calling out if you need external heals unless you are at <50% health and have none of your own.

Respect your fellow Raiders

You are not in a vacuum when you raid. Your actions or inaction have effects on others and their ability to enjoy the game. Please do not intend to waste 6 hours of people’s time a week because you do not intend to behave like an adult.

Those who are absent, or those who are absent minded, make it hard for us to recruit for what is missing in either group. A person who shows up “sometimes maybe” with no warning, or who shows up but then takes long breaks, or who doesn’t pay attention, will find themselves replaced and put on the sub list. We’ve done it before already this tier, and we will do it again.

Distractions

We’ve noticed a number of people recently that haven’t been giving their raid their full attention. Real life comes first, but if you’re here physically, then you should be here mentally, too. Long breaks, phone texts, typing in chat during fights, drunkenness, etc all take away from 20 other people’s enjoyment of the game. We certainly understand if something comes up unexpectedly (hurt kiddos, surprises at the door), but try to plan around having these 3 hours of the night committed to the group. If you can’t commit to the full 3 hours then we will work with you as best we can.

Absences and Tardiness

Tagging missing people in Discord every week gets irritating. If you know you won’t be here or will be late, you need to tell us ASAP so we can find a replacement for your role. Accidents happen and problems arise unexpectedly, but if you know you have work, school, or family commitments, you need to tell us (though you don’t need to tell us details). We’re not going to be tagging people as much, if at all, on Discord anymore to remind them to get on.

New Warlords

As you’ve likely heard by now, Harmesi and Lineda have been promoted to Warlords. As the remaining Black Team Warlords phase out, Harmesi and Lineda will be taking over the responsibilities for Red Team (there is potentially room for advancement for others as well). Harmesi and Lineda will be taking full responsibility of the team’s decision making from hereon out, with the rest of us providing support and advice where we can. Please cut them some slack in this transitional period.

This is the first step to bringing back alt nights for the teams. The more you support everyone involved, the sooner those will return.

Raid Comp, Trades, and Recruitment

We’ve taken steps this week to adjust raid composition to fill in missing roles, trade people whose time slots will work out better, and put out feelers to fill in gaps where teams are missing roles. We will continue to do so. As a general rule, if you think there’s a gap on either team, we probably noticed it weeks ago and have been working on it this whole time, shut up about it, we know, we’re fixing it. These things take time. We cannot magic heroic-level raiders out of thin air. If you know anyone who can fill in missing roles from either team, or who wants a spot on the raid team, we will work with them to see what can be done.

Arianrhod ran a number of people through a fun, casual night of PvP on Sunday. She writes:

Thank you all for joining PvP for Fun today! We all had so much fun and did amazing! Many people got achievements (like The Grim Reaper, Damage Control, Know Thy Enemy, Honorable Kill counts, That Takes Class, and various map Victory ones) and everyone got a brawl win!

I’m so happy you all joined and I’m hoping to see you all soon again, maybe on Wednesday latest on Sunday!

She’s looking to organize something for this week – Tuesday or Wednesday – so pop into Discord and join the discussion in the PvP channel!

Sorry I’m a bit late – wasn’t sure about some information to include this week or next. Will include it in the next!

Opening Night

Both groups had easy clears up through Opulence. There are a few mishaps on Grong with tank throws and the people with the orbs dying, but otherwise both groups are getting very comfortable with the first three bosses.

Opulence

Opulence took 6 tries per group to get down. For Red Team, the solution was to put the heaviest-hitting characters on the left side (reducing the number of awful overlap mechanics they needed to face). Going forward this should lead to much faster kills. Black Team had a few missteps but should be able to apply what Red Team learned to the boss to down him faster in the future. Red Team went from an entire night spent on Opulence last monday, to downing him in 6 tries not even a week later.

Freaks and Geeks

Masters of Mayhem Thursday logs
Freaks and Geeks Saturday Logs

Closing Night

Conclave of the Chosen

Conclave is a tough fight for both groups. Black Team pulled in a third tank to help reset the stacks on Paku and Kimbul. This allowed the bosses to not cross/overlap and made tank swaps faster and more reliable. Red Team followed suit.

If a melee non-tank taunts off of Paku or Kimbul, the boss continues to gain stacks. This means that taunting at 12, a melee person will get hit with a 13 stack Paku. Then a 14…etc. Taunt-offs with melee DPS need to be exact or the dps will simply be 1- or 2-shot. It’s much safer for us right now to have a tank taunt off, resetting stacks to zero.

Both groups are having a ton of problems with the Krag’wa and Paku overlap. Both groups should have the tanks off to the sides and the majority of DPS way on the edge of the circle. This will hopefully draw Krag’wa to the DPS, who will then run back and forth between the front of the circle and the middle repeatedly, drawing them out. There should be a couple dps towards the back to ensure it’s never a tank that gets jumped on.

This is a good theory, of course, but it doesn’t always work out in reality. We’re still fine-tuning as best we can, so people have to be ready to move. The Krag’wa circle IS bigger than Darkness, and DPSing during Paku isn’t important. So simply yank your camera over your head and look for the white swirly, then run out of it. It’s very easy – even as a DPS who sits on the outside of Conclave as froggy bait, I can count the number of times I’ve been hit by him on one hand.

Killing Gonk before the first Paku winds seems to be the key to success. Groups may have to trim down excessively just to ensure that Gonk loses health fast enough. That said, Red Team was missing a few key DPS players from their run – hopefully they’ll be back in action this week and make for a smooth kill.

Masters of Mayhem

King Rastakhan

Rastakhan seems to have only one difficult phase on heroic – phase 3, where we split into 2 realms. Keeping adds CCd is going to be vital. Otherwise, the other mechanics aren’t too bad. People need to pay attention to the frog path – if you have the absorb debuff on you, move out of the way of the frog! Tanks and healers run the risk of taking damage from from the fire snake totems in phase 1. However, they’re easy to dodge once you get into the rhythm. Practice will make perfect here.

We may change up who we put into the death realm in the future. The faster we get Bwonsamdi down, the better. The living realm is all about soaking and priority killing adds until the death realm people show up again.

Masters of Mayhem Friday logs
Freaks and Geeks Monday logs

Normal

In the spirit of getting off-tanks used to mechanics and teaching some new people how we run the raid, we ran through normal on Saturday morning up through blockade, and finished Blockade and Jaina monday night. Blockade and Jaina were incredibly small groups – 16 people on Blockade and 19 people on Jaina. Small groups with good execution of mechanics are vital for both fights. Every boss was 1-shot except for conclave, blockade, and Jaina, which were all 2-shot.

We’ll likely run this again in the future before we officially bring back alt nights (which we’re in the process of – very soon!)

Champion – Rastakhan (logs gave out at one point)
Blockade and Jaina

Black Temple Timewalking

For those interested in Black Temple Timewalking this week, Tiraffe is setting up a run for people. Check out the pinned post in Raiding Discussion on discord:

Hey guys, Tiraffe here. I’m planning on hosting a Late Night Timewalking Black Temple shortly after red team finishes this Saturday, starting at 8:15pm est. Planning on going until 11:30pm est. Demonhunters come and get your Warglaive of Azzinoth tmog.

If you’re interested, react with something so I can get some kind count of who’s thinking of coming. The more folks we have, the easier the bosses will be. I’ll be posting a quick guide later on how to optimize gear for Timewalking stuff too.

Make sure to find and react to his post so he’ll know you’re interested!

This week, both teams headed into heroic for the first time!

Opening Night

Champion of the Light

Black team had a very good first pull on Champion, but still has problems with “add wrangling”. Too many people are getting hit by Wave of Light,  and Blinding Faith is a continual problem for some people on both teams (though it’s made harder when adds are improperly placed).

Both teams are generally awful at interrupts. It only takes a second to tab to one of the healer minions and interrupt them, but most people aren’t doing it.

Both teams had similar, clean kills; only 3 deaths. 2 of them were tanks and the remainder was someone else dying at the end from boss damage.

Freaks and Geeks

Grong

We had a few discoveries this week – for example, adds dying too close to the boss gave him bonus energy, which made tantrum more deadly. We tried a variety of different styles of stacking for large ranged groups – from 1 group to 2 groups, moving when able. That strategy was quickly abandoned as being too complex.

When the tank gets thrown at a player, it’s important to stand still and wait. The tank will be stunned for 1-2 seconds and unable to move, meaning if you abandon them, they’ll get feared. It’s important to stay with the tank during this phase. As soon as a tank gets picked up, a melee DPS needs to stand on the other tank. When the thrown tank lands, they need to walk back together. A potentially helpful weakaura is located here.

In the end, the boss kill is mostly about team comp. We had 4 healers for fewer people on Black team, but we needed an extra healer on Red to make up for the larger team size. As soon as we added an extra healer to Red, they 1-shot the boss, after having 14 previous wipes. Black only took 4 pulls on him to adjust to the heroic changes.

Masters of Mayhem
Freaks and Geeks

Jadefire Masters

The important thing for this fight seems to be clearing moving away from magma traps and clearing them efficiently. There’s a pretty long windup on the cast, so there’s not much excuse for being hit by them as they spawn. Certain classes can clear them without incident – rogues, hunters, and paladins can all remove multiple traps at once. Other classes can negate fall damage with blinks, jumps, teleports, slow falls, or even a good priest-yank back to safety.

Healers need to be on top of dispells (we had a few pop off for tons of raid-wide damage) but for the most part, we haven’t had issues.

The Xuen tiger add is annoying and we learned to adjust as time went on. During explosive, every DPS would get inside an explosive orb and kill the add while cleaving the orb for maximum efficiency.

The pattern for the monk puzzle will always be Blue, Green, Orange, Green, Blue. This week they’ve made it easier to see, so if we do miss the DPS push threshold, hopefully it won’t be an issue.

Masters of Mayhem
Freaks and Geeks

Masters of Mayhem Thursday logs
Freaks and Geeks Saturday logs

Closing Night

Face, meet wall. Repeatedly.

Opulence

Both teams suffered the gauntlet here. There are no new mechanics compared to normal, but both teams still struggled with then regardless, which was perplexing to raid leads.

Right-side add always turns clockwise, and you should always be stacked on his butt unless there’s a potential fire-laser mechanic. Even then, the fire-laser mechanic doesn’t do a ton of damage. I’ve said it a number of times and I will say it again: getting fire-laser out of the group is less important than staying alive. There is too much complaining about “fire being under the boss!”. That’s just going to happen because of the fire-spin mechanic coinciding with lasers.

In the future, we may simply ask those with fire laser to make as small a circle – wherever they are – as possible. The tank can then move the add away from this when it’s happening. Or, if it’s happening during a fire-laser-spin, move the miniboss after. The real issue with the fire-laser comes from getting more than 2 instances of it. We’re losing DPS to 1-shot mechanics when we need them alive to kill the miniboss before we get 3 instances of fire-laser on the ground.

Left-side…I’ve never been on. However, both groups had issues with people running the static ability out and dropping it out of the group.

This fight is very important to be fast-reacting with mechanics. If you try to finish a cast, chances are you or someone nearby you will die, much like Blockade.

In the future, Warlords are going to be comping down significantly sooner than we have been. People dying to avoidable 1-shots, especially without using any defensives, are not doing anything but adding HP to the boss and minibosses.

Once in the last room, however, the fight is very simple.

Conclave

Black team managed to reach Conclave, and we’re in for a trick here. Multiple ranged DPS – especially those with the Incandescent Sliver trinket – spread out from the group around the center of the room. This allowed the new Krag’wa mechanic to aim for only one person and thus only make one person have to move at a time.

It is much more imperative that the DPS and Tanks are properly situation in a Paku wind blast. Otherwise, mechanics like Krag’wa or Kimbul will wipe the raid, as they combo into massive damage.

Raptors do significantly more damage and also gain buffs. It’s imperative for mages to spellsteal both these buffs and the haste buff from Paku’s aspect.

Masters of Mayhem Friday logs
Freaks and Geeks Monday logs

Mythic Champion

Jibbles through a quick guild group together on Sunday to down Mythic Champion of the Light before LFR started. The boss went down in <10 pulls and much loot was enjoyed. He intends to run it again so hopefully that gives both groups a leg up on goodies for their runs!

(We also peeked at Grong and had many regrets.)

Mythic Champion combat logs

Thoughts

Warlords are going to trim down groups much earlier than they have been. We’ve been trying to give people chances to make up for mistakes, but some people do not seem to be showing improvement on certain bosses or mechanics. We’ll work with you when we can, but it won’t be able to be done mid-raid. If we’re able we will reach out and provide assistance – maybe helpful WAs or addons, practice runs on normal, etc.

Please don’t whisper warlords graphs and stats during a raid, or if you must, only do so once. We all have the combatlogs, we all have details or recount or skada, and we do pay a lot more attention to those around us than the average raider does. We’re aware of what you’re showing us. If we’re not addressing it, it’s either because we can’t address it at the time, or we’re not sure of the best fix and will need to think about it.

As an effort to make availability as open to as many guildies as possible, I’d like everyone to take a quick second to answer a poll on what times would be BEST for you. Keep your raid times in mind. Choose “If Needed” if a time falls on the time your team raids. https://doodle.com/poll/5xfsubfvycnnbvza

Opening Night

Both teams started with very solid reclears, 1-shotting bosses that made us struggle and squirm last week. Nothing to cover here – we simply refined strategy and honed in on what works and what doesn’t. Black had 1 extra pull on Conclave due to tank damage using battle-res’s.

Mekkatorque

Surprisingly, both teams had to have additional pulls on Mekkatorque. We have people who are not moving the raid-wide damage close enough to the wall, and others who are not helping themselves with the robot mechanics. We wanted only those inside robots to be calling out colors (as that’s what’s going to happen in Heroic), but people either couldn’t find another robot, or they completely forgot. We only had 1-2 times that was successful in each group.

We’re asking that people start by using https://wago.io/wT9PCFmVW to help callouts. Hopefully as time goes on there will be other auras that will help callouts. In the meantime, if you do not have a microphone when we get to Heroic Mekkatorque, you either: a) need to get one b) need to be fast with typing c) need to sit.

Stormwall Blockade

Both teams reached Stormwall Blockade with only a few pulls left in them. Black had more practice on the pier, and thus downed the boss in 3 pulls. We wound up completely ignoring adds eventually and just burning the boss down while the timer ticked (if anyone remembers our first MOTHER kill, it was a lot like that).

Red reached the pier every time, but only had enough time for 2 pulls. Much like Black’s previous week, Red had a practice day on Sunday to work on the mechanics of the stormwall fight. It was a relaxed atmosphere and we spent a good amount of time discussing what worked, what didn’t, what each buff/debuff did, and expectations of individuals within the fight re: soaking, slows, etc. We were missing some key players (all of our hunters, for example) but had some very solid pulls. We also had a new strategy of having a side-soak group to pick up any Ires on the far side of the dock.

Masters of Mayhem Thursday logs
Freaks and Geeks Saturday logs part 1, Freaks and Geeks Saturday logs part 2

Closing Night

Masters of Mayhem

Black Team spent the night progressing on Jaina. We were missing a few key players here, but we worked around their absence. We learned before the start of the fight that the adds in the boat phase can be Mind Controlled and walked off the boat, so we had our priests hop to. This left the DPS with more damage on the boss. We organized specific ranged DPS to have specific cannons to fire (for example, I was always the front-right cannon).

When we got to the second phase with barrels, we marked specific barrels and moved clockwise from barrel to barrel. We also assigned specific people to get to Jaina first and interrupt her, while the rest of us sat back and just dodged mechanics (speedy rogues and shamans worked well here).

We opted to lust when we got the first or second mirror image add, depending on who was up and how we were progressing.

RLs made some mistakes with jaina’s health percentage (she needs to get to 30% and we kept thinking 40%) but recovered well.

In order to down her, we had to comp down significantly – we simply had too many bodies on the field, causing a number of problems that wouldn’t arise otherwise. We went with 3 healers and 8 DPS, which dropped Jaina’s health a significant amount.

Our kill was our cleanest pull – only lost 2 people right at the end, and had incredibly few people be frozen solid.

Masters of Mayhem Friday logs

Freaks and Geeks

Red Team spent most of their night progressing on Blockade. We were missing some key players again, so we had to make due with some fills. There were a number of really well-done pulls on the pier. Cleaning up the sea swells is becoming easier as people group and re-orient themselves back to where they need to be more often. More people are remembering to use CC to slow the adds. All in all it came down to a question of when to lust, and when to hold off. We wound up with a cleaner Blockade kill than black team because of persistence and practice.

Jaina

Because we downed Blockade with time to spare, we also wound up getting to look at Jaina. We again assigned ranged DPS to specific cannons, and had groups rotate around the room barrels to clear stacks. Our reaching Jaina went about as expected- too many people got frozen. We need to find some specific people who can reach her fast. However, we reached her phases pretty quickly, so I suspect it won’t take long to get a kill on her.

Freaks and Geeks Monday logs

This Week: Heroic

Both teams will begin progressing Heroic this week. If anyone who missed a Jaina kill from Black, or those from Red want to give her a shot, we will consider doing that on the second night (or when we hit a wall on heroic, whichever comes first). But it hasn’t yet been decided. Feel free to PUG normal regardless. We’re heroic progressing full-time now!

Because Heroic is more tough than normal (duh) we’re going to start being less lax about benching people for repeated mechanic failure. If you mess up because you’ve never seen a mechanic before, that’s fine! Don’t worry. Nobody expect perfection. But if you mess up after seeing the mechanic a 5th time…well…that’s a problem. Raid-wipe mechanics are more prevalent in Heroic and if the same people are causing them we’ll sit you temporarily until something can be figured out to help you improve.

Attendance and Breaks

No-call no-shows are starting to hurt the groups. If you cannot attend regularly, please consider bowing out and moving to our backup roster. There are going to be people that we are going to start doing that to this week because we are simply not receiving communications from them. If you know that you will be absent, let us know ahead of time so we can plan for it. We will never penalize someone for known absences, or if something extraneous comes up (illness etc).

Stop taking breaks at unassigned times. We’re losing valuable time to people getting up to pee, getting drinks, etc during non-break times. Some nights it seems like every pull that someone has to leave “for just a minute” (could be upwards of five). Pee during trash, get drinks when you’re dead (and unlikely to be resed). The more this happens the more likely you will find yourself losing your spot. We understand, again, if something extraneous happens (internet goes out, kid fell), but we’re noticing a trend that’s causing us to take too much time between pulls.

At the moment, both teams are lacking reliable attendees of some classes or specs. We’re going to start looking into recruiting reliable people to come to raids and benching the no-call no-shows. This will be a bit of a transition. If you know hard-hitting, mechanically-oriented players who would do well on either team, have them reach out to us. We’re not looking for all specs, but we’ll take names down anyway.

Complaints and Concerns

I’ll start by saying that your complaints aren’t falling on deaf ears and your voices aren’t unheard…provided we get a chance to hear them. If all you do is complain in private or make snippy comments in discord text channels, we won’t be able to properly address your concerns (many of which are likely valid). If you’re afraid to reach out to a Warlord, you are always welcome to reach out to Urostek. He’s a pretty chill bro.

Moving to two teams has been rough. It’s been stressful for you and it’s been stressful for the raid leads. I haven’t had a night off in over 2 weeks, between raiding 5 nights a week (including pickups) and bowling for 2 nights a week. 6 hours per group + pickups = 15 hours a week raiding. And that is not even counting the pre-planning, review, followups, and more than the raid leads do for each group, separately. That’s a lot of hours – basically a part-time job. Chances are I’ve been unduly unkind as a result, and I know the other raid leads have snapped as well. We apologize if we’ve been rude to anyone. We’re trying to make this work the best we can, but we’re only human. That said we’ve all taken some time to step back and breathe and be less intense about our feedback mid-raid. Hopefully it smooths out over time.

At the moment we’re somewhat resistant to change because we want everyone to give this time to work, and we want people to be patient as we work through the kinks. If it seems like we’re being stubborn, it’s because we want you to give us a little slack right now. We’re doing this for fun, and for you guys to have fun.

That said, we’re open to suggestions and are happy to work with you on what you think we can do to improve. Resulting from discussions, we’ve halted the search for an extra healer for Black team; we added a pickup day for Blockade for red; we posted a poll about the Saturday times (a time that is inconvenient for the Warlords won and we stuck with it); we’ve spoken to people comparing the teams unfavorably or too competitively;  we’re bringing back alt nights (soonTM).

We’re getting a lot of negative, hurtful comments about our character as a result of how we’ve chosen to run things. It really stings to be called names when I and the other Warlords doubled up our time and energy to provide a fun environment for the largest group of people we could. If you have any feedback on the way things are run or how things are going, please take a breath and try to come up with a viable solution before reaching out to us. If you can’t come up with one, at least be patient when you talk to us, because we may not have a way to address your concern immediately, either. But I can promise we’ll try.

We know that not everyone is happy we moved to two teams. Unfortunately the alternative was to bench 30+ people, including some of our longtime friends. We’re not changing this decision. Everything else is open for discussion.

For those who haven’t see the calendar, today marks the return of Guild LFR, and the first LFR of the season.

Harmesi took over LFR from me at the end of Uldir and has been doing an excellent job.

This is a good opportunity to get in gear for alts or hope for titanforged trinkets and weapons for mains. Any loot you don’t need, save until after the run is over – we will be doing loot rolls as a group at the conclusion of the LFR wing. Harm runs a tight ship and rolls fly by fast, so pay attention if you think you may need something!

For those who haven’t raided with us before, it’s a great opportunity to get your feet wet. While both main raid teams are pretty full right now, we’ve always got an eye out for those who can fill roles in case of absences or join the team when someone quits raiding.

Harm will be running LFR on a weekly basis. Wing 1 is the only one out right now, but when wings 2 and 3 release, they’ll be on the list as well.

This week’s LFR starts in about half an hour, 3pm EST. We hope to see you there!