Tag Archives: raiding

What do you pack for a raid?

I apologise for the lack of tasty content over the last few days; I’ve been extremely tired, and doing the bare minimum.

This is something I’d been talking about with a friend lately anyway, so when I saw Anna of Too Many Annas blogging about what she packs for a raid, I thought I’d join in!

Here’s what I take for a raid – for reference, I’m a holy paladin with a main healer/off tank spec. (As you doubtless already know, if you’re reading this!)



  • Healing set 1: focused on spell crit & +heal
  • Healing set 2: balanced between +heal and mp5
  • A metric bajillion extra trinkets and librams, for situational use
  • Offtanking/AoE tanking set
  • Spelldamage set – not that I usually need it for raiding, but there’s no way I have room for it in my bank!

And this is why I have full 20-slot bags, both in my bank and equipped, and I still only ever have 6-10 empty bag slots.

Entitlement Mentality

I wrote this as a reply to a thread on the PTR forums where the original poster was complaining that you could buy T6 loot with BoJ. I felt it’d fit here as a general statement of my opinion, too.

The only real problem with having high-level loot accessible via badges of justice was that it was going to be more appealing for guilds to farm Karazhan than to progress through Tier 5 content, which is obviously a bad thing. Now that 25-man bosses will drop badges of justice as well, some of that issue goes away (although Kara’s still the best rate of return timewise); that solves most of the issue.

Honestly, anyone QQing over the fact that pre-T6 raiders can buy 5-6 pieces of T6 loot (out of 17 gear slots) by spending 485 badges (ie 22 full Kara clears, or 7-heroics-a-week for 22 weeks)… needs a sense of perspective.

Everyone knows who the good progression guilds on their server are. If you’re in a casual raiding guild that’s in the middle of T5 content right now – like mine is – no-one’s going to ooh and aah over you when you get your phat T6 loot or when your guild uses the leg-up in gearing to finally hit MH and BT… because everyone who cares about that kind of content will have the same opportunities to do it. It ain’t going to be a status thing by then, and that’s fine. The ‘top’ guilds on the server will still get the respect they’re due for the dedication and ability they’ve displayed for their server firsts and their pre-nerf clears (minus any respect they loseWeight Exercise for being arrogant jerks about it)… and that’s not going to change either.

Making better loot available to those of us in the mid-levels of raiding does not mean that BT is suddenly going to be full of scrubs in greens with a handful T6-level badge epics — or if it is, they’re going to have an expensive and wipetacular night, and more power to them if they want to waste their gold like that.

It just means that those of us who started late, or who have reasons to stay in less-progressed guilds, still have a chance to see some of this pretty awesome endgame content before WotLK hits… and none of that is going to threaten the status of the serious achievers in PvE.

There’s a popular quote that says “the right to swing your fist ends where your neighbor’s nose begins”. Stop trying to ruin our fun – it’s not going to be impinging on yours.

For God’s Sake, Get Me Out Of Karazhan

As you’ve probably seen eleswhere, much is being made of Drysc’s little comment that Patch 2.4 would include “BT-quality badge loot”.

I’m… torn.

On the one hand, yay. It’s always nice to have more avenues to gear up – and this makes it easier for endgame-clearing guilds to gear up rerolls and new recruits. Not that I’m in an endgame-clearing guild, but I can see it’d be an issue.

On the other hand, there’s a couple of negatives, and the biggest for me is: Now it’s going to be even harder to ignore Karazhan and Zul’Aman. I am sick to death of Karazhan. I would be quite happy never to set foot in there again. But it’s the single best source of badges; four hours in Karazhan nets over a dozen badges – more if you’re clearing fast, with a well-geared team. There aren’t many other places where you can get more than three badges an hour – Heroic SH (if you have a tankadin handy) is the standout there.

If badge loot is going to be so very alluring, there really needs to be a 25-man route to get badges, because right now there’s a big conflict between the time demands of raiding (to see and beat the content) and the time demands of badge farming (to gear up). Feeling the pressure to cancel, say, Gruul or Void Reaver so we can send two or three Kara teams off to farm badges instead… well, that’s not a step forward.

In defense of Protection Paladins…

Just a quick post tonight, because I’m very tired and have been extremely busy for the last week:

Although I play a holy paladin by choice, I was really happy when 2.0 (and then TBC more so) made Protection a truly viable paladin spec, and I still get rather frustrated on behalf of my tanky brethren when people dismiss the utility and usability of paladin tanks.

Zen, a protection pally from my guild, has a very informative and well-written tankadin blog, and he recently made a post dispelling some of the old myths about tankadins. No, pallies don’t take too much damage; yes, they have enough health.

Go read! It’s good stuff – and next time someone’s trotting about the tired old line about warriors being the only real tanks, you’ll have ammunition to dismiss them. The raiding community has already accepted that feral druids can do the job – now they just have to broaden their minds and accept paladins too. (I shudder to think of the drama once Death Knights hit the scene…)

Recruitment! (I’m nothing if not an opportunist.)

Since the new Blog Azeroth community is likely to bring a few readers from other servers around this way: my guild is currently recruiting!

We’re an Oceanic timezone guild on a medium-to-high-population US server – Proudmoore, one of the original launch servers – and we’re currently looking for a hunter, a warlock and a feral druid tank. We raid during Australian prime time (raids start between 1:00-1:30 a.m. Pacific time) and we do have a few American nightowls amongst our raiding crew.

Applicants welcome! Hit up the link above for more information, or drop me a line if you’re interested.

Okay, shameless ad over. On with the regular content!

Zul’Aman: Jan’Alai the Dragonhawk Avatar

My guild is coming to the end of our Christmas break period — wherein we restricted ourselves to more relaxed 10-mans, rather than full 25-man raids — and we’ve finished up with a bit of progression in Zul’Aman. Halazzi’s now solidly on farm, and we spent Monday night working on Jan’Alai, the Dragonhawk Avatar.

IMO the boss is substantially easier than the trash preceding him — which is a gauntlet with frankly annoying mechanics — and one of the most fun fights I’ve seen in a while.

The WoWwiki page on Jan’Alai covers most of his abilities and strat points, but I thought I’d elaborate a bit. There are two key things to consider when you’re working on Jan’Alai:

  1. He throws firebombs on a random timer, all around him. These explode for a lot of fire damage, but they have a very small AoE and you can fairly easily find a gap in between them all before they blow up. The video below shows this in action.
  2. His area has a platform either side, each with about 20 dragonhawk eggs. Every 90 seconds during the fight, two Amani Hatchers (trolls) spawn on the entry stairs and run to the egg platforms, one to the right and one to the left. They will break eggs and release the dragonhawks therein until they’re killed, and are fairly easy to kill. This affects the fight thusly:
    • At 35% of Jan’Alai’s health, all remaining eggs break and the dragonhawks swarm you.
    • Therefore, to avoid dying at this point (which is what you see in the video below), you need to allow the Hatchers to break a certain number of eggs each time they spawn.
    • The best way to do this is kill one Hatcher as soon as it spawns, and allow the other Hatcher to break the desired number of eggs, then stun and kill it.
    • You need to strike a balance between getting enough of the dragonhawks down before 35% that you don’t get mobbed and die when they all pop, and keeping the dragonhawk spawns under control so you don’t get mobbed and die before 35%.
    • Unless you have massive AoE to kill lots of dragonhawks at once, this means you need to slow the fight down, so that there’s a chance to have plenty of Hatcher spawns, letting a few dragonhawks out each time.

See the video below for Jan’alai in action, complete with some notes about what’s happening during the fight. (Apologies for the first bit being a little jerky; I had too many apps running in the background.)

(Or check the video out at imeem: Southern Wardens take on Jan’Alai)

2.3: Healers Get Some Loving

With 2.3 scheduled to roll in a couple of days, one of the changes I’m eagerly anticipating is the revision of healer gear. Almost all healing gear is being modified to add spell damage as well, approximately equal to one-third of the item’s +heal value. As an example, Breastplate of the Lightbinder (a plate healing chestpiece with +88 healing) is being updated to add 30 spell damage in addition to the +heal.

This is a welcome change for almost every healer in the game; healers have long bemoaned their itemisation, and the frustration of one’s complete inability to quest and farm has led to a lot of healer burnout (which is bad for pretty much everyone, as high healer turnover harms raid groups and guilds alike).

This change, however, is going to make raiding life a lot more interesting, from two perspectives:

Holy paladins can generate a pretty solid amount of DPS (stop laughing, I promise it’s true) with what’s known as the shockadin playstyle, relying on Holy Shock and Seal/Judgement of Righteousness to deliver a decent amount of holy spell damage (which has the advantage that Holy resistances are very rare, too). As an example, with about +750 spell damage on my DPS set, I can pull around 350 sustained DPS – which is far from great, but I’m specced for healing/offtanking. If I ditched the OT part of my spec and sacrificed a little bit of healing efficiency, I’d be looking at more like 450 DPS – considerably more against demons and undead. (In fact, I’m going to go test this on the PTR after I’ve written this post.) In comparison, in healing gear one’s DPS looks more like the 80-100 range.

However, raiding shockadins are so rare as to be all but non-existent; holy paladins on raids are pretty much always healers. At the moment, despite the fact that we wear plate and a goodly portion of our raid synergy (the seal/judgement mechanic) comes from melee, there’s zero incentive to get into close combat – the bonus of a judgement on the target is generally not worth the added healing load of an extra body in melee. So healadins sit back, the seals and judgement on their actionbars going virtually unused.

This may change in 2.3 – obviously, a healer paladin is still going to need to spend most of their time healing. However, the potential to actually deal some worthwhile damage while still in healing gear really suits the paladin’s nature as a hybrid; assigned to spot-healing (or a pull with lower healing needs)? Join in melee, put up judgement of light on the target, and half your healing work is done – you can whale away with seal/judgement of righteousness while your melee swings keep judgement of light active, and just throw some flashes of light to top people up. Obviously, this isn’t going to happen on every fight – or even most fights – but the fact that it’s at least a worthwhile option adds some much-needed versatility to a spec whose contribution to a raid consists of mashing two buttons.

Speaking as a healadin, thumbs up.

Many raids have one or more off-healers – people who can heal if needed, but are far better suited to pewpewing away. Shadow priests, elemental shammies and boomkin are the classic examples (since holy shockadins just don’t tend to raid, and ret pallies/feral druids/enhancement shammies have totally different gear needs for their roles). Using these people to best advantage tends to be a dilemma for heal leads and raid leaders: what happens when you have a target who needs a bit of healing, but not much? Why, you put an off-healer on the job. But what do they do in between, or after the healing? They pewpew half-heartedly while stuck in heal gear.

The High King Maulgar fight is a perfect example, for those of you familiar with Gruul’s Lair. The offtank for Blindeye needs some healing, but not that much, and not for long; Blindeye is the first kill target, and doesn’t do much damage even while he’s up. An off-healer would be perfect for healing the Blindeye offtank, but what gear should they wear? If they wear healing gear, they’ve got all the DPS ability of a bag of wet feathers and they may as well AFK for a coffee once their heal target’s done tanking Blindeye. If they wear DPS gear, they’ve got sod-all in the way of mana efficiency and conservation for healing (since healing and DPS mana regen/conservation mechanics tend to be different for most classes), so by the time they’re done healing they’re low on mana, and there’s nothing sadder than seeing a shadowpriest resorting to wanding.

2.3 fixes this kind of dilemma. You put your offhealers in healing gear, and they’ve got the mana longevity and efficiency to finish their healing duties with a goodly amount of mana left – and then they can turn to pewpewing and still do 60-75% of the damage they’d do in full DPS gear. (Of course, this assumes that your offhealer is nearly as well-geared for healing as they are for DPS, but in my experience that’s generally true.) Suddenly, your hybrids really are hybrids, able to do more than one job reasonably effectively, rather than people who can do more than one job – but only one at a time.

Speaking as a healer lead, thumbs up.


Coming up in patch 2.3, as most people would be aware, is a new 10-man raid instance to follow on from Karazhan: Zul’Aman. It’s another troll instance, in the fine tradition of Zul’Farrak and Zul’Gurub, populated by animal god bosses (the loas) and their worshippers. It’s meant to be a fast, fun instance for reasonably advanced casual guilds: it can be cleared in a few hours, there’s extra quest rewards for clearing it within a set timespan (think of the old 45-minute Strat Dead runs; same sort of deal) and it resets every three days.

To get a bit of an idea of what’s required, my guild went and gave it a bash on the Public Test Realm last weekend. It was certainly… educational. And bloody.

Very bloody.

This charming chap is Nalorakk the Bear God, the first boss of Zul’Aman. He alternates between his troll form (seen here) and a giant bear form, switching multiple times throughout the fight.

He’s a pretty tough boss, and needs two tanks to fight him. The tanks taunt him betwen them – one for troll phase, one for bear phase – and while he’s busy tearing new holes in them, the DPS kill him. He does some nasty DoT bleeds during bear form, and a silence, and a charge, and a two-target cleave, but he’s fairly simple. From a raid coordination perspective, he’s probably closest to Attumen in complexity; he’s certainly easier, strategy-wise, than Netherspite or Aran or the like. Gear-wise is a different story; he’s got about 1.7 million health and does high DPS, especially to the tank for the bear form phase. Our raid team was pretty much fully Kara-geared, but I suspect you wouldn’t need to be quite that well-geared; a cohesive team that can reliably do Illhoof-level bosses can probably do him, provided one tank is very well geared. A team with undergeared tanks is going to be in serious trouble, simply because Nalorakk puts out so much damage, particularly in the bear phase*.

(You can find more details about the strategy for fighting Nalorakk here at WoWwiki.)

And here you can see his inevitable death scene: we killed him on our second night, when we had a more suitable raid composition. It’s a fun and relatively easy boss fight, and certainly a good introduction to the zone; we didn’t have time to try the next boss, but word has it that the difficulty level on boss fights ramps up very quickly.

* Also, on a specific strategy note, Nalorakk does a 2-second silence during his bear phase, which can often lead to tank deaths, so having your healers maximise their HoTs during this period is a good idea.