Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Adventures in PUG'ing & Amending the To-Do

Last night started off hopeful. I set my bank alt on the auction house, selling off any materials of value he held - Frostweave, spare Heartseeker Scopes, Saronite, Frozen Orbs, Eternals, rare quality gems. Sitting at just over 5k gold between my main and my bank alt, I could taste my Dalaran ring. After throwing half my wares to the auctioneers, I logged over to Cathmor.

I had posted on my guild's forums the night before trying to generate interest in a Naxx-10 run. I got a very lukewarm response - no tanks, only 1 healer, and about half the DPS needed. Since most of the other raid guilds I know and trust have scheduled guild runs on Tuesday nights, I had no luck pulling trusted individuals into my rag-tag crew. After nearly two hours of searching for additional bodies, I gave up.

While I was desperately digging for dastardly dudes to dabble in deeds unsavory, I went and changed out my Glyph of Seal of Command for a Glyph of Consecration, as I promised myself I'd do.

When I had given up trying to form my own Naxx run, I started looking for a suitable PUG for any raid instance. I joined a heroic Obsidian Sanctum run that was forming, thinking that a few Valor tokens and a chance at Valorous gloves and Fury of the Five Flights isn't a bad thing. When I joined, there were many people in raid asking what the boss did, and others asking whether we were leaving drakes up. I explained in raid for those who needed about Sartharion's flame wall. The raid was very poorly run, though - half the raid members were killed on the first pull, the healers let a tank die, there was no target coordination, and the tanks did not keep anything under control while they were alive. Rather than get myself saved to a raid instance that might end in utter failure, I bailed. I hate leaving a group, but if
a) Half the raid doesn't know the fight at all,
b) They can't handle the first trash pull cleanly,
c) The raid is physical DPS-heavy, and
d) A good deal of the raid is in greens,
I wasn't going to enjoy myself anyway.

Going back to Dalaran, I checked on Wintergrasp - 1 hour until the battle, Horde currently in control. Phooey, no Archavon right then.

I turned my attention back to Naxx. Joining LFG, I found 3 10-man raid groups looking for 1 more. One was a pure PUG of names I didn't know, one was group from one of the other raid guilds on the server that was seeking a tank, and the last was a group from a guild I did not know seeking a DPS. Despite thoroughly borking my optimal tanking rotation with my new Glyph of Consecration, I offered myself up as a tank to the second group - the leader informed me that they had just filled from within the guild. Phooey. The first group's leader then approached me, asking "r u holy?" "No," I respond. "prot?" "Why do you want to know," I retort, becoming a bit miffed at the lack of common courtesy, like saying "hello" and using complete sentences devoid of 1337-speak. I end the conversation with him, saying I'm not interested in tanking this evening.

Then the third raid's leader approaches me, asking if I'd been to Naxx before. He must not have looked at my armory or read my guild tag (my guild has downed Sarth-25 +3D, it's a safe bet that anyone in the guild can handle Naxx-10). When I reply in the affirmative, he asks if I have about 3-4 hours and Ventrilo. "Of course," I tell him. This guy sounds like he's got his shiznit together. What follows is an account of the raid, with the first wing in death-defying detail.

We start pulling the construct quarter, slowly but surely, and make our way to Patchwerk. There's a prot paladin and a frost death knight tanking - the death knight keeps disconnecting and has terrible latency. My failure-sense starts tingling. As we wait for the DK to reconnect for Patchwerk, I start inspecting people. The prot paladin doesn't have Improved Judgement. The holy paladin (yes, with me there were 3 paladins in this 10-man raid - not good times for token drops, we'll get to that) is gemmed and enchanted for spirit. The rogue raid lead doesn't have Relentless Strikes. The frost DK is invested 66 or so in frost and dual-wields. I didn't bother checking the rest, because I was starting to get a little dizzy from the sheer lack of good sense.

The first pull of Patchwerk ends in complete failure - the frost DK disconnected, I got hateful'ed, and I didn't notice that the raid leader had elected to leave a trash pack up, so they came barreling down the slime highway and finished everyone off.

The second pull ended with a kill, but I was pushing real close on threat and took a few hatefuls. If we had wiped, I would have left - but that saved me to their instance, so I was committed now.

The fight gave me a chance to compare my mana usage with and without Glyph of Consecration. This glyph is mandatory. Last week, I was running dry on mana at the end of a 3.5 minute Patchwerk, using Divine Plea on cooldown and gulping down a mana potion. This week, even though I had to ease up a little at the beginning of the fight due to bad threat from the tanks, I didn't need a mana potion at all. If you're a ret paladin in PvE content, Glyphs of Judgement and Consecration should be equipped. Period. End of story. I didn't have any mana concerns for the entire night.

Grobbulus took a while, but he died just fine. Then came Gluth. At first the raid leader asked if I wanted to kite the zombies. I hesitated. Then he asked if I could tank Gluth. I said that I would do either if he wanted, but I'd rather straight-up DPS. I didn't check the DPS meter, but I suspected I was top DPS in the group and didn't want Gluth to take an eternity. He ended up having the prot paladin kite the zombies and his fury warrior hop into tank gear to double tank Gluth with the DK. Everything went off without a hitch until about 15%. The fury warrior died. I threw on my sword/shield and stepped in front, tanking in my ret gear with the DK. Kids, don't try this at home. I taunted off the DK when his debuff stack got high, bubble-walled and prayed. Thankfully I didn't get crit to oblivion. The DK took Gluth back in short order and the doggie died.

No leg token from Gluth. Oh well.

Thaddius was an adventure. For the two mobs before Thaddius, myself and a PUG'ed Frostfire mage (#'s 1 and 2 on the DPS meter, respectively, according to the raid lead) were on one mob with the DK tank, and the rest of the DPS were on the other. The DK's threat is terrible, so I had to stop attacking several times in the first 20 seconds. The other mob gets a good 15% ahead. So, the mage and I turn it up and get our mob down first, despite spotting the other 3 DPS a good margin.

/pat myself on the back

No one missed the jump to Thaddius, but one or two people did get fried by the polarity shift. I was pushing the prot paladin on threat the entire way.

Now comes the fun part - Conqueror legs dropped. With 3 paladins and a priest in the raid. Mind you, this piece will get me the 4-set bonus and is one of two or three things I'm after in Naxx-10.

I rolled a 2.


Makes me wish I was in a raid that rewards based on performance, like a Loot Council or something...

The plague wing yielded no Loatheb's Shadow, and the spider wing went off without a hitch. Despite my apprehension about the group's questionable members, they did get 3 wings done in 3 hours. Granted, I didn't get anything I wanted and I didn't finish the instance (which I usually do with guildmates, 3 hours is enough to go from zone-in to Kel'Thuzad down for them), but at least I didn't get saved without getting shots at the loot I wanted from Gluth/Thaddius/Loatheb.

After we were finished, I checked in on my bank alt. He had sold quite a bit! With the cash I raised, I was able to purchase my Dalaran ring. For those that are interested, the teleport use does not share a cooldown with your hearthstone. Now the Circle of Death from Sapphiron would be nice to replace my Hemorrhaging Circle, but it's not a necessity. T7 legs and a trinket are what I need, and then I'll be heroic/10-manned out.

I started an in-game to-do list yesterday. Let's see how I did:

  • Replace my Glyph of Seal of Command with Glyph of Consecration. Glyph replaced, with excellent results!
  • Start liquidating some of my materials to raise cash to buy a Ring of the Kirin Tor -it's better than my PvP ring and has strength, crit, and expertise. Plus I can use it as a hearth to Dalaran. These are a few of my favorite things. Ring purchased, much to my surprise!
  • Research how much it would cost me to get a Darkmoon Card: Greatness. If I can't stomach the price, I'll resume praying to every deity I know for a Loatheb's Shadow.
    Loatheb killed, no trinket.
  • Get some Dragonfin Filet. I'm all out of leftover Clefthoof from Burning Crusade, so I find myself lacking in the food department.
  • Start advertising my Engineering services in trade again to raise money for all the purchases I've detailed above.
    Whoops, forgot to do that...
  • Use my surplus Badges of Heroism to buy rare quality gems and Frozen Orbs to sell for profit.
    That's my next task so I can start saving for the Darkmoon Card.

Progress is tangible. There were many disappointments last night, but I did get a few things done. Raiding task for tonight, should I have time: Vault of Archavon and/or Obsidian Sanctum.

Apologies for the long and winding "this is what I'm doing" sort of posts lately. I know it's not my norm. Hopefully I can get back to tips, tricks, and guides soon - I know I never did make that post on pre-raid gearing...


Anonymous said...

I actually really enjoy reading about what other players are doing, so great post imho!

I'm a little confused though - if your guild has downed Sarth 3D, why are you always talking about PUGs? I would think that being in a guild like that = life filled with OP guild runs.

Grats on scratching some things off your to-do list!


Anonymous said...

Btw sorry to double-post here, but I just re-read your 10 Ret Commandments for the first time since respeccing Ret.

Good stuff - one that took me a couple bosses to figure out last week was the Avenging Wrath one. With the advent of bubble shield wall, I had stopped using AW altogether when tanking. Threat was fine without it, and I didn't want to be locked out of shield wall for 5 minutes (before they changed it). Back in BC, I used AW before every boss pull.

So in Naxx25 the other day, in a performance-oriented raid, I was looking for ways to up my DPS and realized that I was still ignoring AW. I then further realized that I can get multiple uses in on a long boss fight, so as you say, early and often.

When exactly do you pop it? Ideally, one would pop it when your cooldowns are all coming up, but I haven't really been doing that.

If I pop it at the beginning, I'll likely pull threat off of some of the non-pally tanks out there. If I pop it on Judgment's first CD, I won't get the most bang for my buck because some things won't be off cooldown for a bit. If I wait until a later, more optimal CD to pop it, I reduce the chances of using it multiple times on one boss.

I guess the thing to do is to use it on the 2nd Judgment CD (meaning, after using Judgment twice, popping AW right as Judgment is becoming available) on short boss fights to maximize it's effectiveness, and as early as is safe on longer fights. Or do you try to make it overlap Hammer of Wrath?

Meter chasing Retadins want to know! =)


Josh said...

My guild raids Sunday, Monday, Wednesday. They just downed Sarth 3D last week. The guild is lean so that there aren't a ton of people sitting on the bench each night.

However, a lot of the guild members don't log in on off-nights, or don't like to run 10-mans on off-nights. Those that do run 10-mans on off-nights have a semi-closed set group that usually runs on Saturday night - I'm not part of the group, and I don't roll on Shabbas (not really, I just like to have a social life). As such, I end up having to PUG it. Hence the headaches.

Josh said...

I usually pop AW as soon as threat is established and Vengeance is stacked, which usually ends up sometime in the first 10-20 seconds, and then every 2 minutes to the second. I generally don't try to line it up with Judgement - you can get 3 Judgements maximum in the span of your wings as long as you Judge within the first 4 seconds of your wings. So, I guess if you want to do it "the right way," make sure you're 3 seconds or less away from Judging before you pop your wings.

Stoico aka Impadin said...

Now we are on AW talk. I myself as you seems to be doing popping em as fast as possible. To be able to pop em in the end as well. There is very few fights, there is long enough to AWx3. So I normally try to make number 2 AW come togheter with my Hammer of Wrath. With AW talented and the hammer glyph. You can go balls out on all you got, still have mana. And not least get great use of the AW.
I normally as well, try to get the shamans to pop Blood in the start. So I can use my first AW togheter with it for a good use there as well.
Alwasy remeber to try to time as many cool downs you can togheter. AW + Hammer/trinket + weapon prog. if you have beserking. It all stacks up for top dmg.

Lance said...

Interesting read, sounds exactly like some of my days :p