Posts Tagged ‘Management


Epiphany and Dilemma

A Digression from the plan

I know that I said that I was going to go over each of the options for our tier pieces and the off set gear so that we can better understand how we want to spend our emblems of frost, but I came to the realization this morning that I have indirectly had a hand in something that I am not happy about. I will have to admit somethings that you may or may not care to hear in order to tell this story, so I apologize in advance if you get any bad images in your head.

Morning Reading…

As I said yesterday, I have had quite a few emails and blogs to read over the past few days, since my return home, and I just finished catching up this morning. I was spending some leisure time at work in the john reading everyones blogs over the past week, when I came across one by Tengen. He was outlining the proper etiquette one should hold themselves to when leaving their guild for “greener pastures.” It initially got me to thinking about my guild and the times that I have wanted to move on so that I would not have to deal with the poor attendance.

To be honest, I am pretty sure that I would quit the game before I would leave my guild, however there are always unforeseen forces in the future which can change things. However, I digress. When I was reading Tengen’s blog, he mentioned another fellow blogger, which was the source of inspiration for his blog topic. Dämmerung of The Children of Wrath had a post on the subject that I must of originally skipped over in my reader, because if I would have read it, this would have been my topic of discussion yesterday. Tengen was talking about the methods and stories of different people as the leave their guilds.

After I finished reading Tengen’s blog, I had to get back to work and I didn’t give it another thought for a few hours. Then, out of no where, I realized that the blog was about people defecting and going to another guild. I also realized that Dämmerung is the GM of a guild called Legacy. Like dominoes, all the pieces started falling together, and I stopped working on what ever it was that I was working on and opened up Children of Wrath to find this topic that Tengen spoke of, and found what I was hoping was not the story.

From the epiphany comes a dilemma

As I read the opening line of the blog, I already knew the story, with out needing to see my guilds name half way down the page.

We recently lost a group of five players to faction transfer.

As you may remember, I was talking about some attendance issues that our guild was having. Really in the long run, we were doing fine, we cleared all available content save Anub 25 man Hard mode in one and a half raid nights, but the progression fights were hurting. Well, while I was on vacation over the past week and a half, my guild picked up five faction transfers from a guild called…Legacy.

I normally don’t give a second thought to the previous places that our new recruits came from, and I only focus on the future of working them into a raid, understanding their needs and their motivations, and over all seeing if they are a good fit for our guild. However, today I am faced with both sides of the story. I feel as though our blogging community is a small guild of its own. We share similar interests and we talk amongst ourselves regularly. Knowing that I am the result of some unwanted stress and pain is not how I wanted to end my day. Even more so, the question has crept into my mind, do I really want people like that in my guild?

Apologies and Considerations…

Mr. Renaissance Man, I feel for the first time, regret and empathy for the guild and the leader which some of our applicants left to join us. It is an interesting coincidence that the source of your frustration and my own guild and raiding team are one and the same tangled web. With that being said, I have to figure out what I should do about these new recruits. Originally, I was going to treat them as I do any other member of our guild, but I feel that I should be wary of their actions prior to leaving their previous guild.

I guess with every end, there is a new beginning…


Quality over Quantity, a theory on Raid Management

…and another one bites the dust

I am going to purposely neglect reading the previous posts that I have had on this subject ahead of time to see if my point of view has changed over the past few months on this subject. Over the course of the weekend, in addition to getting a nasty virus that kept me in bed for a few days (but not away from raiding, psh lets be honest, you can raid when you are sick), another guild bit the dust, and then another one (and another one). Well not the third one, but it seemed to fit the song title well. When I logged back into wow a few days ago, one of our main raiders whispered me and asked if we could talk in vent. After the pleasantries were exchanged, he got down to what he wanted to talk about.


One of his friends was looking for a new guild, as his was on the rocks and in the process of imploding. When we first started to talk about this, I was unaware that the guild that was imploding was one of our main competitors on the horde side for progression firsts. Shortly after that, another one of my guildies approached me with a similar request. This time it was a bit more devastating to the previously not to be mentioned guild. He was in contact with some of their officers, and a large portion of the guilds officer corps was looking for a new home with our guild. This would vacate not only the vast majority of the guilds leadership, but one of their main tanks, main healers, and their best dps.

While some guild politics prohibited the immediate acquisition of any of these players, It got me to thinking about stability, our server, and why so many guilds are failing. While some guilds were set up to fail, based on leadership inadequacies, player base, mass recruitment, or the end all of some high end progression guilds, the Attempts Remaining counter, Crypt Friends has endured. Now I ask myself, as we are running into raiding attendance problems of our own (take three), what do we do differently, and how do we set ourselves up for success over failure.

Two guilds, one result

In addition to our main competition guild having attendance issues to the point where they are looking elsewhere to get their shiny purples, the best alliance guild on the server imploded due to a handful of officers server transferring. While I don’t understand the logistics of why they would do such a thing, both from the perspective that they just got 25 man Mad Skill, an the fact that it was the officers that left, I have to ask myself what we do differently. With two more guilds down, we have unofficially moved into the ranks of number one guild on the server for 25 man progression, a few days after our guilds fourth birthday.

Since I was not a member of either of these guilds, I am left to speculate some of the reasons behind their demise. For the horde guild, I have run pugs with their members, and from the perspective of a main tank, their strategies, execution, and abilities are not up to the caliber of the progression they have achieved. This tells me that they are a brute force guild. What I mean by brute force is the fact that in Ulduar, they raided 5 nights a week to achieve the same level of progression as our guild achieves in two nights. I believe that the Attempts Remaining counter has devastated a lot of top tier guilds who were all about quantity over quality of time spent in an instance.

I can understand that their people who have seen nothing but 5 day raiding schedules would have a hard time with the paradigm shift of quality over quantity. It is just the way that things are. If you want to progress fast and hard, you have to put a LOT of time in. I am confident in my opinion that this is a complete fallacy. While I am not a member of a top 100 guild, we are pretty close, and we are doing it on a little over 1 night of raiding progression a week. We have been a guild that has always had something on farm once it was killed the first time. From my early days of raiding in SSC/TK, to the difficult encounters of Sunwell, up through the Hard Modes in ToTGC, once something is dead, It dies with out more than 1 wipe every week after. We are consistently getting to Anub’arak with 48-50 attempts remaining and have been since the week after we killed Twins. Once again, Quality over Quantity is the paradigm shift in top end guilds right now.

Should we change our Raid Management

I called a guild meeting last night to discuss with our raiders the possibility of open recruitment and stricter competition between our members to earn their raid spots. Even though we are a quality over quantity guild, we are still having attendance issues on our second and third raid nights. Tuesday is always bright with possibilities, and we kill everything in ToTC and ToTGC save anub’arak hard mode. We are basically done with raiding for the week. Our second raid night brings promise of a great night of learning and progress on Anub’arak, for which we have made a lot of in the past few weeks, however we do not have the numbers to do such an encounter.

How is it that a guild with such a relaxed raiding schedule and such success in killing bosses cannot get 25 people together two nights in a row? We are plagued with the casual hardcore raiders, and as a result, the brick wall progression fights are very difficult to fill. Our dilemma as officers and leaders of our guild is as follows:

Do we alter our dkp and attendance policies to better reflect the issues that we are having, rewarding our “SUP sunday raiders” as one of our warlocks loves to say to the 15 of us that show up 100% of the time, or do we recruit to fill those spots and alienate the people that have built this guild into the quality over quantity powerhouse that it has been for as long as I have been privileged to be a member.

As an individual in the guild, and a main tank with 100% attendance, I would love to invite 10 new top end raiders and make our current raiders fight for their raid spots once again, as we did in sunwell. I want to see bosses drop dead, and I want to know that when I log on during the week, that I will have the opportunity to push progression. However, as a leader and an officer, I feel that it is my duty to preserve what we have created in our guild; tolerance for sub par attendance, settling for less raiding days because we get to keep the quality and caliber of raider that we have built over the years, and ensure that our guild makes it to it’s fifth birthday.

Solutions are not black and white

I believe that in the end, the solution to our problem will be a mixture of both options. We will have to recruit if we want to continue to progress. We are going to lose people to real life, or the next spawn of top end raiding guild that appears out of the ashes of the two guilds that are dissolving before our eyes. However, we are, as officers, obligated to keep the environment and tolerance that we have built and which our raiders enjoy so much. To maintain the balance is the true challenge that our officers are faced with on a daily basis. There are some people in our raid that should be replaced, and if we can entice some newly guildless players with the talent to join our guild, then we will be better off than we were. However, we must balance new recruitment with tradition and a mindful understanding of the core of our guild, the players that define us and ensure that we do not go the way of the last four guilds which died.


Repetition and “Repetitive Stress” in Raiding

Repetitive stress…

I was looking at my gear, and quietly fuming beneath the surface at the abysmal luck our guild has had with certain drops, (namely, the neck, cloak, belt, and until this past week the trinket) and it got me to thinking about why we raid the way we do. I find it interesting that we will go to extreme lengths of repetitive actions in order to min/max our gear. Take for instance the precious Lavanthor’s Talisman. I have now run Violet Hold 27 times. Now in the grand scheme of things and the time that Wrath of the Lich King has been out, that is nothing. I have run Ulduar 24 times and that is a much, much longer instance. But in the end, I have ventured into the unknown that is the Violet Hold in hopes of one measly rare item level 200 trinket.

So once again, i pose the question, why do we do this? Simply put, there are certain people out there who want nothing but the best. It is the competitive nature in each and every one of us. Whether it is the fact that we want to have as much gear as possible to help our guild get through that next progression encounter, preparing for icecrown, or just because you love it when people inspect you in the major city banks, the reason for farming instances is for gear. Now I have to ask myself, what is the opportunity cost of burning yourself out on instances, for that next shiny purple (or even worse in my case a blue!).

Competition and the innate desire to win…

Maybe it was because I was a competitive athlete for most of my life, or maybe it is just pure hubris, but I think that my desire to be better than the person next to me is what drives me to do these things. For 18 years, I spent a good chunk of my life staring at a black line at the bottom of a pool (swimming for those of you who were lost), just for the shear satisfaction of that moment in a race when I took a breath to see the other guy falling behind my pace. It is that primal need to be the alpha male if you will. I feel that this has translated over into my time in WoW.

This means that not only do I have to come to raids prepared and ready to go with strats, gear sets, and consumables, but I have to spend all that time out side of the raid getting those items ready for battle. I believe this is where the truly “hard core” live. For me, hard core guilds and casual guilds don’t necessarily mean the amount of days a week you raid, but more the effort you put in when you are there. How many people on your server have an Anub’arak tanking set? My server: 1 maybe 2. How many people in your guild dropped their professions to get jewel crafting in WoTLK? These are the people that really push the envelope, and these are the true hard core gamers. They are the ones who watch the meters at every point of the fight, not because they want their “epeens” to grow, but because they can not stand losing a race or a fight.

How do you battle this issue so you don’t get a “repetitive stress injury” aka burn out?

I really think for those of us that need to be at the top of their game, it only comes with success. You have to position your self and your raid to be able to meet your goals in a very aggressive time line. If you can combine the pressure of competition with marketable and tangible success, you will be able to keep on trucking. In the end, it is up to the individual on what they want to pursue and how they go about it, but for me, It is all or nothing. If you start faltering and you do not see those tangible results, that is when the burn out starts to creep into your mind. In the end, this is just a game, and you should be playing it because you enjoy it, but some of the time, you just want to be that king of the mountain and you are willing to do anything in your power to get there.


Lack of Bag Space and DPS…

The value of Bag Real Estate is Increasing

Over the past few days I have picked up a few more upgrades / side grades for my tanking sets and I have begun to notice that the value of my empty bag slots is increasing dramatically as they become less and less prevalent. Currently, most of my bag slots are taken up by a plethora of gear, which I use to create different gear sets, however as you progress through the instances, you should technically replace gear in each of these sets, meaning that you shouldn’t really be losing any space. The hard part comes when you have to add a new set to the mix. Currently I have all 8 equipment manager slots taken up, each by a specific gear set, but some of those gear sets are sitting in the bank collecting dust (such as my healing set).

Screen shot 2009-10-15 at 10.50.06 PM

The sets that I carry on my at all times are as follows: My overall set, my threat set, my effective health set, my avoidance set, my Anub’arak set, and my ret set. In addition to these pre determined sets, I carry about 4 extra trinkets, a few extra weapons, and a few extra rings just in case the need arises to swap some gear around. What this does for me is give me the flexibility to gear specifically for any given fight that we see, as well as limit the number of things I can loot at any given time. When it comes to farming and making gold, its not really an issue as I do that on my hunter and deathknight.

What else do I carry around with me?

I always have each of the following on me at all times, and when i drop below my comfortable minimum, I restock them. I have 40 indestructible potions, 400 symbols of kings, 20 flasks of stoneblood, 20 flasks of endless rage, 20 elixirs of defense, 20 elixirs of mighty agility, 40 blackened dragonfin, 20 haste, mana, and health pots, a simple grinder, a Jeweler’s Kit, an alchemists stone, my chefs hat, and my argent crusader’s tabard. Honestly, I may be missing somethings, but that is what I remember having in there. When I get home tonight, I will post a picture of my bags.

When all is said and done, i usually have about 12 open bag slots using 20 or 22 slot bags. Compound this by the fact that you immediately pick up four stacks of biscuits and a healthstone and you don’t have much room for anything else. I am just really glad that we don’t have to carry any resist sets. Really this mini rant about bag space came from the realization I had last night when I looked at my bags. I am back to being a “real” tank. Back at level 60 when I was the main tank of my guild, I usually had around 6 open bag slots, with all 18 slot bags, and in those days you really didnt have the luxury of having gear sets, because you got your tier gear, and that was it. I had my tank set, my pve dps set, my pvp set (as I was an avid pvper, and made it to rank 12), my fire resist set, my nature resist set, and some novelty weapons that looked cool from BWL.

In the end, most tanks have a lot less bag space than others because of the gear that they have and the gear sets that the use on a daily basis. I find that for non progression instances (e.g. anything but Trial of the Grand Crusade) I swap gear sets on almost every pull, especially in a place like ulduar. From trash to bosses that hit “hard” to bosses that are dps checks, I am altering my gear sets to the encounters. Luckily in ToTGC, I have two gear sets, effective health for the first four bosses, and my unhittable set for Anub.

Tribute to Insanity…

Speaking of Anub’arak, my guild did two 10 man ToTGCs last night and I had my first opportunity to try out the set that I have been talking so much about for the past few weeks. Our first group got Tribute to Insanity, and the tanking cloak, which was good news because our other tank who will be on Anub for 25 man HM this week got the cloak. And although it is not perfectly itemized for that fight, as the armor is severely lacking, the stamina is there to completely compensate and it looks to be BiS. Our group was not so lucky. We got to Anub with 50 attempts as usual, and as usual, one of the interrupts was off and my holy wrath resisted that mob, the dumb luck was on our side. We were down to 9, but we got the battle rez off in phase 2. Everything was going smoothly, we pushed the boss to sub 30, I had both the adds off the ice, I got the shadowstep and they burrowed. Then something happened.

Our hunter died, which was our only source of MS. At this point we were hovering at about 5% hp on anub. If we had our best 10 in the raid, I wouldn’t have been the least worried, but we didnt. We had an off night for attendance and our group had a few people that were, shall we say, dps challenged. In the end we wiped because the dps was just not there, and the healers ran out of mana at about 3% hp on anub. It was really frustrating at first because I would have loved to see a double Tribute to Insanity, but then I checked the dps meters and really got pissed.

To clarify it was already a tense night because we had a bit of a quarrel in the officer forums as we were setting up groups, because (or i assume this is the case) of a misunderstanding from one officer to another. We got everyone back on the same page and calmed down, but the disruption and damage had been done. What was initially suppose to be a lovely 1 hour raid night, turned into a less that enjoyable night. I find it really weird that I am very frustrated with my guild at the current time, because we are easily and efficiently clearing all major content in a day and a half now. Tuesday rolls around and we one shot vault, ony, ToTC and all four bosses of ToTGC. All that was left were 10 mans and Anub in Hard Mode on tuesday at 10 pm. That is actually pretty incredible, and pays testament to the type of raiding core we have. In our guild, as it has been since SSC/TK, once a boss dies the first time, it is on FARM and usually gets one shot.

How can your dps be that low?

Back to the dps meters. When you looked at the meters, almost everything was in order, and looked as it should. Then I saw it. Our last place dps was below 3.5k dps, while everyone else was above 5k. Now I can understand if your dps is gear constrained, or if we are on alts, but there is no, I repeat NO NO NO NO NO excuse for pulling that kind of crappy dps if you are in 245 loot and alive the entire time. He had no other assignments, just dps the boss and do your best. Now in all honesty I think that is his best, he has a rogue and a shadow priest, and neither of his toons have probably ever broken 5k dps on a single target. This is just unacceptable for a guild of our level, and I for one really never want to raid with someone that plays that poorly. Needless to say, I had a little chat with this guy, and he pulled 1200 more dps the next fight and anub dropped like a sac of potatoes. All I can say is that I truly hate people who don’t give it their all every attempt.


Loot RNG and Attendance RNG

RNG is well random, weird…

As I sit back and think about what my goals for the next few weeks are in WoW, it has brought to my realization that there are certain things about this game that are both frustrating and difficult when it comes to trying to be the best that you can be. The RNG associated with gear is a difficult pill to swallow, just because there are certain pieces of gear that will just make you that much better when it comes to a certain stat. And while you farm instances for the gear that will give you that little edge, some times that instance doesn’t reward you ever. The most drastic example of this that I have at the current time is the Unbreakable Chestguard. My guild has killed cat lady every single week that since the Ulduar patch day, and I have yet to see that piece of gear.

Normally I would not even care that a piece of block value / block rating gear drops or not, however, in building my passively unhittable set, it is a requirement (not even something that will help, but something that is really needed to get to passive). So, since mid April (I think), we have killed Auriaya every week, and yet we have never seen it. In contrast to that, every player that is covered by the vanquisher token has every off set piece of gear possible. We have had double vanq drop off every boss in the instance before in a single raid lockout. Also speaking of Ulduar, we went back a few weeks ago, and cleared the instance to get the last of our shards for our next mace, and we had the worst RNG possible, one shard off Yogg and nothing else. Now granted, the shards are not guaranteed to drop, but to get that small percentage off all the hard modes we did, plus all the other bosses, it is pretty incredible.

Ulduar is not where my story of bad loot luck ends either. In Trial, both normal and hard mode, I have yet to see a neck, a cloak, a trinket, or a belt. While my fellow tank has both the belt and the neck from a PUG the one week he missed, our guild has never seen any of those drop yet. It gets so frustrating to see tanks that can PUG the instance, that are not part of any guild on our server that has the ability to do a hard mode, wearing the gear that we have never seen drop. I am happy for them, that they have the chance to show off their 40k unbuffed full stam gemmed, double stam trinketed selves, but for our guild, we have just been unlucky.

Raid attendance and repercussions

A few of the officers in my guild had a nice lengthy chat this past weekend about our attendance issues. We are a guild that prides ourselves on raiding progression two nights a week and keeping up with guilds that raid 5 nights a week, yet we have issues with getting people to show up for the SECOND night of raiding. Tuesdays are easy, we have 35 people in the raid and we get to pick and chose the best comp with the best players, but Wednesday rolls around and people mysteriously disappear, and Sunday which is our Ulduar farming day is even worse. When it comes down to it, a lot of our members think that because we don’t raid as much, that they don’t have to show up.

Well what can you do, you can not force people to show up, but you can replace them. We have recently talked about retooling our ranking system in game to reflect raiding attendance more. And, in combination, we will be instituting new priorities on loot based on those new ranks. When we were a Sunwell guild, and a damn fine one at that, we never really had these problems, but then again we were in a different age of raiding, where it took a higher level of skill to even step foot in the instance. Now, we have to revisit loot rules and attendance policies every new instance, and stress to our core that we are constantly doing what we can to fill the raids.

In the end, we always progress, and we always kill bosses, but it is quite a bit more stressful on the officers than the normal raider will ever see. The things that we deal with selflessly in the name of the guild are quite the sacrifice on our sanity, and as a result every now and then you have to vent (as I am doing now). But in the end, it is always very rewarding to see your guild turn around after issues like this, and plow through content, have the attendance, and have everyone happy with their shiny new epics.


Finding a new tank

Its been a busy day, and I really have not had time to sit down and write until now. I wanted to step away from the myriad of posts regarding min / maxing and the push between maximizing stamina and maximizing balance to talk about managing your guild. Specifically, what do you do when you have to replace a tank. For our guild, we have lost two tanks in the past few months to graduate school and a changing work schedule. As a result we were down to two tanks that were there the entire time, and a the other two that we would lean on from time to time to get things done. In the end, you will always survive, as we have continued to progress through the Trial of the Grand Crusade, but you have to deal with turn over on a regular basis, and there are a few things that I have learned over the years that help me with this.

Performance speaks for itself

Gear is replaceable, and is easily obtained when you are farming an instance. Specifically with the current difficulty, any one can obtain some T9 and badge loot. Performance however is not something that can be faked. In general, we make any applicant to our guild run in our alt 25 man ToTC so that the officers can monitor the play style, gear selection, and overall performance of any person that is interested in joining our raiding core. However with tanks you need even more scrutiny. For us, this is because tanks get gear for free. We prioritize all gear to our main tanks and they don’t need to worry about dkp at all. This is the way of a progression guild. From my perspective, in order to fall into this lofty category of loot sponge, you have to earn the right to bypass long standing guildies.

When we try out a new tank, we put them right into the furnace and we see what they are made of. Every new tank that has applied to our guild has been forced to main tank a progression style instance. And right behind that main tank are the officers alts, and our former main tanks turned casuals. By making someone MT an alt run, they are forced to show you their abilities, play style and demeanor when it comes to leading, all while knowing that they have no less than 7 sets of eyes fixed to the back of their heads. Now it helps us that a few of our officers alts are in the top 30 best geared on the server for their class, but none the less, we place pressure when it comes to threat, movement, marking, and overall cooldown management, to see how someone reacts in a dynamic situation.

For the last two tanks our guild has recruited, I was very impressed in their abilities to react quickly to the changing situations, and perform their jobs with relative ease. However, what happens once they have been let into your inner circle, and how do you incorporate them into a team of players that must act both selflessly and in unison to get a job done.

Creating an Environment of Inclusion

When dealing with our tanks, I always try to keep an open mind about where they are coming from and why they are here. There is no reason that we can not all have a great time, and be able to feel like we truly contributed to the raids success. When it comes to boss fights, unless it is a progression fight, we rotate who is on what in order to spice things up and ensure that every tank knows what each other is doing during the fight. If you only let a tank be the off tank that is on X mob, they will never have the confidence to step up the day that your “main tank” is not there, and after all tanking is all about confidence. By rotating the tanks around to different spots and different responsibilities, they all feel like they are equally essential to the raids success.

I think one of the true tests of a tanking core is gear selection and the method in which gear is handed out. For our guild, there is a “loose” loot council when it comes to tanking gear. What I mean by that is that the three of us decide who can benefit most by picking up a piece of gear. In the end if there are any disagreements, there is DKP and officer opinion, however we have yet to run into an issue where one tank will pull the dkp card. We all understand the loot, the gearing philosophies, and the needs of the individual character, and we put our best foot forward when it comes to upgrades. The fact that we distribute loot to the person who can benefit from it the most, and not necessarily the person who has the most dkp or is the most greedy to get that gear score up separates us from most wow players. When you feel like you have the power to get any piece of gear that you need, you are more willing to work with your fellow tanks.

Leading the tanking ranks

I find that one of the things that I enjoy the most about being an officer and a tank is that I get to lead the tanking core. This really forces me to learn the mechanics of fights better than the person next to me. Understanding the ins and outs of the fight means that you are prepared for what is to come. Assigning taunt rotations, placement, and movement is something that I really enjoy. This role becomes a bit more difficult when you bring a new tank into an existing core on farmed content. You have be sure that you communicate their specific role to the best of your ability so that there is no confusion when the encounter starts. The success of the raid is dependent on the consistency of the tanks and their ability to eliminate the guess work from the encounter.

I experienced this first hand last night on Anub’arak 10 man Hard Mode. In explaining the fight and how we do it to our new tank, I neglected to truly explain how to position him to help the add tank with pick ups. Essentially, the positioning was making the pickups and the interrupts difficult. This is something that I originally overlooked, and as a result cost us a few wipes. In the end, you have to ensure that you approach your tanks differently than the rest of your raid, as they are truly different. This is not to say that we are special, or we are more important, but we serve different roles, and become the focal point of a raid. There is more pressure on the tank than there is on the dps, and what we do effects everyone.


Farming the Previous Instance Tier

Clearing an instance for one piece of gear

I wanted to take some time today to discuss something that is quite frustrating to me, and possibly the greater tanking community from a dedication stand point. At the same time I am sure that the dps community is just as frustrated with blizzards poor stat allocation on certain pieces of gear in each new instance. To clarify, I am talking about best in slot items that come from previous instance tiers. I spent most of my night last night in Ulduar 10 for two trinkets which may or may not drop, the Mjolnir Runestone and the Royal Seal of King Llane. Now while these trinkets are very powerful, the question that I have been asking is as such:

Is it worth 10 peoples time to farm an instance for a slight chance at the hard mode boss dropping a trinket that will increase the raids dps or a tanks survival by a fraction of a percent?

To the individual, these trinkets are very large upgrades. To any melee or marksman hunter, the runestone is a massive upgrade, and will help them reach the armor pen cap quite a bit easier, however, how much dps does the raid gain? The same holds true for the Royal Seal. Although it is a great effective health trinket with a powerful on use, is the opportunity cost of trying to get that trinket worth wasting 9 other people’s time (8 if someone wants the runestone), to full clear an instance that has nothing to offer the rest of the raid. The runestone has a bit more of an argument, as there is not an upgrade in ToTC or ToTGC that compares when it comes to reaching the armor pen cap. The Royal Seal can be replaced easily by the Brewfest trinket (neglecting the on use disparity between the two).

Aside: With Thorim Bugged, I spent all night in Ulduar 10 and we did not get a chance to kill either boss we went in there to kill…ouch

Unfortunately, this debate can be extended beyond trinkets, and beyond ten mans. What about Val”anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings? You could argue that sending not 10 but 25 people back to an instance to clear it at a chance to get a few shards a week, until you have 30, is similar. I personally think that when looking at these instances, you have to understand what the cost and benefit of the item are. With the trinkets, its a few hundred personal dps for one person, or a great stamina trinket that truly only offers an on use over its alternative. With the mace, its a raid wide massive decrease in damage taken. This is a no brainer, and for most guilds, I would assume as long as you have the ability to do three light, you should be striving to complete your next mace.

The great glaives debate

This was an issue that cropped up in a more grander sense in burning crusade. The addition of a set of glaives to a rogue or warrior were a powerful advantage when you were banging your heads up against the Brutallus enrage timer. So, as a result, you took your full raid into black temple, and cleared it every week for that very, very low chance that you were going to get a glaive. This type of raid philosophy leads to burn out at a much quicker pace. I appreciated when Ulduar came out that there was no need to go back to Naxx. Similarly, as a tank, there is really nothing in Ulduar that can not be replaced by something in ToTC (maybe the Heart of Iron, but even then you can use normal and heroic Juggernaut trinkets). We have the luxury of not having to farm something to min/max our gear.

However, there are many upgrades for healers and dps that come from Naxx or Ulduar, as they were progressing to the next level of instances. This means that if they want to min/max, they will be running instances that are boring, monotonous, and the number one cause of burn out. Why go back to ulduar when you went there for four months straight? I believe that the mace is an exception to the rule, but only to a point. If you do not have Val’anyr yet, is it worth it to keep farming? If you have one mace, do you want a second? etc, etc. To me, If you have more than half the shards, you should complete your mace, but after that, you should acknowledge that its not going to happen and move on. The burn out that you will cause as a result of trying to get that next mace is not worth it.

In the end, the current tier of instances does not take that long to clear, and if you are a hard core guild used to raiding 5-6 days a week, you may go back and full clear it one night just to fill the time. However, in my guilds case, we only have two days of mandatory progression raiding a week, some times three if we are close to a kill. In those two days we clear ToTC and all killable bosses in the heroic version on the first night, while wiping all of the second. If you add Ulduar in there, you have increased your raiding by 33%. 10 mans are optional (although with the caliber of guild members that we have, we run 4 normals and 2 heroics a week). After all is said and done, you have four nights of raiding, for the 100% attendance folks, in which you work to gear out your raid as best as possible to help with progression. After all of this is done, who really wants to go back and do it again just to get one person one chance at one upgrade?


  • What is this nonsense? HoPo and a total overhaul. It's going to be a long weekend of playing around.. 8 years ago