Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Archive for November, 2011

The Well-Dressed Paladin, Revisited

This is a guest post by Kamalia of Kamalia et Alia. Thank you, Kamalia, I appreciate it so much and it’s great to see more paladin fashion! – Vid

With Patch 4.3 and what Ratshag is calling the TRANSMOGALYPSE just around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to re-visit the idea of “The Well-Dressed Paladin” with the intention of making Transmogrification-friendly outfits inspired by each of the Paladin races.

I’ve omitted bracers except in one case where they are actually visible, and left choice of cloaks up to the person using the outfit. The lists compiled by Rades were very helpful for choosing weapons to go with these outfits.

The Crusader

modeled by Ophelie
Helm of Purified Thoughts, Chilled Shoulderplates, Cerulean Filigreed Doublet, Breastplate of the Righteous, Studded Girdle of Virtue, Legplates of the Righteous, Earthmender’s Plated Boots, Spiritualist’s Gauntlets, Aledar’s Battlestar, Commander’s Crest

I built this set around the matching boots and gloves. Originally I tried it for a Dwarf, but soon decided that it would work better for a Human. The Highlord’s Favor/Hyperion Shield/Khan’s Buckler would also be an appropriate choice of shield for this ensemble.

The Knight of the Silver Hand

modeled by Lisan
Khan’aish Helmet, Khan’aish Epaulets, Red Linen Shirt, Leonine Breastplate, Khan’aish Girdle, Shattered Hand Vambraces, Shattered Hand Gauntlets, Starcaller’s Plated Legguards, Explorer’s Boots, Ironfoe, Royal Treasury Courier’s Shield

This set started with the chestpiece and leggings. I tried it with the gloves and boots that I used in the previous set, but the silver trim on those items just didn’t work. The green on the pants doesn’t quite go with the Ironforge Red I used elsewhere in the outfit, but I couldn’t find any pants that I liked better.

The Vindicator

modeled by Vidyala
High Chief’s Crown, Justice Bearer’s Pauldrons, Rich Purple Silk Shirt, Fire Scarred Breastplate, Vindicator’s Cinch, Skyfire Greaves, Boots of the Watchful Heart, Life Bearer’s Gauntlets, Vindicator’s Brand, Aldori Legacy Defender

The chestpiece of this set, a quest reward from HFP, is sort of like a less-ornate version of the T4 Justicar chestpiece.

The Blood Knight

modeled by Antigen
Helm of Infinite Visions, Boulderfist Epaulets, Sawbones Shirt, Blackened Chestplate, Goblin Girdle, Runed Sketh’lon Legplates, Bloodforged Gauntlets, Bloodforged Sabatons, Summoner’s Blade, Bloodforged Guard, Blood Knight Tabard

This is a pretty standard Blood Knight ensemble, spiced up a bit with pure red boots and gloves.

The Sunwalker

modeled by Haloma
Glorious Headdress, Runic Plate Shoulders, Thunder Bluff Doublet, Plate of the Shaman King, Commander’s Girdle, Imperial Plate Leggings, Warbringer’s Sabatons, Warbringer’s Gauntlets, Serenity, Saltstone Shield

The Sunwalker outfit gave me a bit of trouble because most Sunwalker NPCs wear the Grunt’s Plate set, which is white-quality. Only the chestpiece is available in a green- or better quality version. It took me a few iterations of clicking through item lists in WMV to find a harmonious all-plate ensemble.

Bonus Set: The Redeemed Blood Knight

Lightforge Spaulders, Golden Filigreed Doublet, Ursa’s Embrace, Commander’s Girdle, Leggings of the Ursa, Hyperion Greaves, Hyperion Gauntlets, The Willbreaker, Outland Shield

I first started putting this outfit together for the Sunwalker, but once it was finished, it didn’t feel very “Tauren” to me. Rather, it seemed more like something that would be appropriate for a Blood Knight who had embraced a more Human/Dwarf/Draenei-like relationship with the Light following the rebirth of the Sunwell. This shield is a smaller model of the shields hanging around the walls of Sunfury Spire in Silvermoon City. I think this set would look particularly awesome when the Paladin is riding the Thalassian Warhorse or Thalassian Charger.
With the Ironforge shield shown above, it would also be appropriate for a Dwarf.

Paladins have a lot of great Tier sets, to be sure, but I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into how you might create a unique look that still has “Paladin” written all over it.

Business Time Recruitment and AFK

Hey guys, I don’t usually say this but I apologize for the blog silence this week. I had plans to write a post this weekend but a multitude of things prevented me, and last night my very elderly grandpa fell and hurt himself. He isn’t looking likely to make it so I’ll be AFK for an indeterminate period, at least a few days. In the meantime, I wanted to mention that we are recruiting and repost our recruitment ad to reach a wider audience. I’d really love to find players who are a great fit for the guild and type of raiding we do.

Meantime, From Draenor with Love has a few comics lined up without me doing any more, but I don’t have anything planned for the blog. If you have an itch to write a guest post, I’d gladly take a post or two to put up here while I’m away. You can e-mail one to me at puggingpally AT gmail DOT com if you’re so inclined. Other than that, if you’re looking for a guild, maybe we are the right guild for you! Thanks for your understanding as I let Manalicious take a brief pause.

p.s. – I was on Blessing of Frost this week with Kurn, Majik, Beru and Stoneybaby. There are a few sidesplitting moments (I think, at least my side was split). It’s well worth checking out for Beru’s moment of glory alone!

Business Time is a hard-mode focused ten man guild. We raid 9 hours per week and are 6/7 HM in Firelands. Raids are on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 6-9 PM PST.

We are currently seeking two exceptional players to join our team of dedicated raiders. This is a unique opportunity to join a small roster of adults committed to performance but with a friendly, tight-knit atmosphere.

What we’re looking for:

You are an exceptional player of any role. We’re able to accommodate either a tank, a healer, or a DPS. Regardless of which role you’re filling, above all what we need from our new members is flexibility. If you are a tank, willingness and ability to fill a DPS role if needed is an asset. Similarly, you earn major points for being a healer who can also DPS on the odd night, or a DPS with a competent healing off-spec.

Paladin, priest and/or warlock applications may be given special consideration because of token distribution but above all we’re seeking the best personality and skill fit for our group.

Apart from your spec and class, we expect the following of all members:

- You are a player dedicated to excelling at your class and follow the latest theorycraft.
– You’ll always research strats (and will discuss or at least read strats on our forums in-between raids).
– A raid never catches you unprepared – flasks, food, fully gemmed and enchanted – you treat your gear with care because you want to do the best you can, not because you’ve been told that you have to.
– You’re interested in finding a like-minded group of people who are serious about tens.
– But you don’t take yourself too seriously, because even though we are all ready for business, occasionally that only lasts two minutes (but “two minutes in heaven is better than one minute in heaven…”)

What we have to offer you:
-Flasks, feasts, and repairs are all provided by the guild bank for each raiding member
-We also maintain a supply of enchanting mats and raw gems to help raiders keep their gear at its best
-The ability to experience hard-mode content in a relaxed atmosphere. We believe in accountability for our raiders, but we’re adults and treat each other as such.
-Progression raiding with good friends. Whether we’re hitting the BGs together or going to visit old content, we’re happiest when we’re doing it with our guildies.

About us
Business Time is a progression-focused tens only guild based on Moonrunner US (PvE, PST). We’ve been a guild for 2.5 years and we’ve raided strictly tens for all of that time. We chose to raid exclusively tens because we enjoy the challenges of additional responsibility being on every member, and we like to know the people we raid with.

We are a group of adults (ages 22 to nearly 40) that don’t have an infinite amount of time to devote to raiding, so when we raid – we aren’t there to mess around. At the end of Wrath we finished out the expansion with Bane of the Fallen King after acquiring Frostbrood drakes back in June. We were in the top ten “strict” rated guilds in the US at that time! Presently we’ve completed 6/7 heroic mode encounters in Firelands, finished up Glory of the Firelands raider, and we’re ready for Dragon Soul!

We raid Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 6-9 PM PST.

We are a no-drama, low-turnover guild that has stayed strong for two and a half years now. We’re looking for long-term members who will stick around and continue to make our guild a great place to be.

If you like what you’ve read here and are thinking of applying or you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask here in this thread. You can also roll an alt on Moonrunner to chat with us – look for Millya, Vosskah, Yahwen or Shaen, or ask any member of Business Time for an officer.

If you’d like to check us out some more, you can do so at:

http://businesstimeguild.com

Tuesday Art Day: Bonus!

First of all, here is a doodle I did yesterday, not expressly for the purposes of Tuesday Art Day, but it works! Some people have asked me how doodley is a doodle (i.e. how long do I spend on something like this?) I’d say this is about a half hour doodle. So, above the ranks of an in-the-margin of a notebook type doodle, but not hours and hours either.

Secondly, I’d like to share with you a piece of art that is not MY art, but rather something I commissioned from the talented Aly Flock.

This was a surprise gift for Voss of the two of our characters; I just gave Aly some reference images and character info and this is what she came up with. It is perfect and I’m thrilled with it. Also, cupcakes?! How could she have known? Well, Millya’s love of baking was in her character description, but STILL.

Incidentally:

These were the cupcakes I brought to Fannon’s barbecue. I’m just saying. Remarkable likeness, don’t you think? If you’re interested in the recipe, it’s here: Pink Champagne Cupcakes, and yes they were as awesome as they sound. They had a sort of…fizzy taste to them? I made mini versions too, but something odd about the champagne was causing the tiny wrappers to peel away from the cakes. They still tasted good.

(p.s. Yes, that is a cupcake caddy. What else do mages without access to magic carry their cupcakes in?!)

Twisted Nether Blogcast

I don’t have much to say today, I just wanted to mention that I was invited to be a guest on the Twisted Nether Blogcast tomorrow at 8 Pacific (or 11 Eastern, depending on which one applies to you). The show is live so you can ask questions if you have any, or just hang out with Fimlys, Hydra and myself for a bit. I’d love to see you there!

Also, thank you to everyone who has been to check out From Draenor With Love this week. Our second comic went up and I am excited to post a third. (Waiting an entire week is killing me every time).

Mage Gear List – 4.3

With 4.3 nearly upon us, it’s time for discerning mages to ask themselves the eternal question: How do my robes look? (In my case, the answer is purple. Very bright purple).

Soon we’ll be swapping our gear out for the Dr. Who-inspired Time Lord’s Regalia (you can’t convince me it’s not Dr. Who inspired, sorry), but it won’t matter because you’ll be able to transmog your sets to whatever you like! Still, you want your underlying stats to be good, and that’s where this gear list comes in.

I’ve combed the PTR info from Wowhead to try to find all of the new gear. This list also includes all of the relevant VP gear that will be purchase with Justice Points after the patch. These items are listed at the end of each list and are the lowest ilevel I’ve taken the time to list (378). If you haven’t been able to obtain better via Firelands, there’s no reason not to get some of these pieces to fill any odd slots, as you want your gear to be as close to average ilevel 378 as possible. I’ve kept price conversion the same, I don’t know if it will be but it’s a fairly safe assumption at this point.

I’ve included gear from the three new 5-man instances (Well of Eternity, End Time, and Hour of Twilight). There may be gear missing that is in these instances, but I tried to be as comprehensive as I could. A few items are quest rewards well worth getting from those 5-mans, so take note of those!

It’s also worth noting that tier gear, unlike previous tiers, will not be purchasable from vendors. Consequently, it’s listed under the “drop” category, and I hope that RNG is good to you in that regard. If it isn’t, it seems that there are usually off-set options.

Disclaimer: As I said above, I’ve endeavored to be as comprehensive as possible with this list but inevitably there may be items I’ve missed or that were added after the fact. I don’t yet have a list of which boss in Dragon Soul drops items that are raid drop items, but I will add it once the patch goes live and information is a bit more comprehensive. This information is compiled for my personal use, and I share it with you so that you have an easy reference, but it’s not my fault if you buy pants when you should’ve bought a helm.

Head

Purchased/Crafted
Hood of Hidden Flesh – 2,200 VP (Hit/Crit)

Drop
Time Lord’s Hood
(Crit/Haste)

Neck

Purchased/Crafted
Opal of the Secret Order – 1,250 VP (Hit/Haste)
Amulet of Burning Brilliance
–  1,250 JP (Hit/Crit)

Shoulder

Purchased/Crafted
Mosswrought Shoulderguards (Crit/Haste)

Drop
Time Lord’s Mantle
(Crit/Mastery)
Mantle of False Virtue – Archbishop Benedictus, Hour of Twilight (Hit/Mastery)

Back

Purchased/Crafted
Nanoprecise Cape – 1,250 VP (Hit/Mastery)

Chest

Purchased/Crafted
Robes of Searing Shadow – 2,200 VP (Hit/Crit)
Firehawk Robes – 2,200 JP (Hit/Haste)

Drop
Time Lord’s Robes – (Hit/Haste)
Robes of Fate – End Time, Murozond’s Temporal Cache (Hit/Crit)

Wrist

Purchased/Crafted
Chronoboost Bracers – 1,250 VP (Hit/Mastery)
Bracers of Unconquered Power – Tailoring (Haste/Mastery)
Emberflame Bracers – 1,250 JP (BoE, Hit/Mastery)

Drop
Bracers of the Banished (Haste/Mastery)

Hands

Purchased/Crafted
Clockwinder’s Immaculate Gloves - 1,650 VP (Hit/Crit)
Firehawk Gloves – 1,650 JP (Hit/Haste)

Drop
Time Lord’s Gloves (Hit/Mastery)
Gloves of Liquid Smoke (Crit/Haste)

Quest
Archivist’s Gloves – Reward from Archival Purposes (Hit/Mastery)

Waist

Purchased/Crafted
Tentacular Belt – 1,650 VP (Crit/Mastery)

Drop
Sash of Relentless Truth – (Haste/Mastery)
Cord of the Slain Champion – (Crit/Haste)
Chillbane Belt – Arcurion, Hour of Twilight (Hit/Mastery)

Legs

Purchased/Crafted
Lavaquake Legwraps – Tailoring (Hit/Haste)
Firehawk Leggings – 2,200 JP (Crit/Mastery)

Drop
Time Lord’s Leggings – (Haste/Mastery)
Time Traveler’s Leggings – End Time, Echo of Baine/Jaina/Tyrande (Crit/Haste)

Feet

Purchased/Crafted
Kavan’s Forsaken Treads – 1,650 VP (BoE, Hit/Haste)

Drop
Janglespur Jackboots (Crit/Haste)

Fingers

Purchased/Crafted
Seal of the Grand Architect – 1,250 VP (Hit/Haste)
Crystalline Brimstone Ring – 1,250 JP (Hit/Mastery)

Drop
Ring of the Riven – (Haste/Mastery)
Infinite Loop – (Hit/Crit)
Horned Band – Peroth’arn, Well of Eternity (Crit/Haste)

Quest
Ring of the Loyal Companion – Reward from To Wyrmrest! (Hit/Haste)

Trinkets

Purchased/Crafted
Bottled Wishes- 1,650 VP (Haste + Spellpower proc)

Drop
Insignia of the Corrupted Mind (Int + Haste proc)
Cunning of the Cruel (Int + Shadowbolt volley proc)
Will of Unbinding (Increasing Int bonus)

Wand

Purchased/Crafted
Hungermouth Wand – 600 VP (Hit/Mastery)
Trail of Embers – 700 JP (Hit/Haste)

Drop
Finger of Zon’ozz – Dragon Soul (Haste/Mastery)

Two-Hand Weapon

Drop
Lightning Rod – Dragon Soul (Hit/Haste)
Ti’tahk, The Steps of Time – Dragon Soul (Haste + Haste Proc for self and allies)
Stalk of Corruption – Archbishop Benedictus, Hour of Twilight (Haste/Mastery)

One-Hand Weapon

Drop
Rathrak, the Poisonous Mind – Dragon Soul (Proc AoE poison on target of spell)
Fanged Tentacle – Archbishop Benedictus, Hour of Twilight (Hit/Crit)

Off-Hand

Drop
Dragonfire Orb – Dragon Soul (Haste/Mastery)
Orb of the First Satyrs – Peroth’arn, Well of Eternity (Hit/Haste)

Conclusion

I’m going to be identifying my weak slots and aiming to update those with VP gear first (probably a helm, because I’m still using a 359 helm). Because tier gear is not purchasable from vendors, in a way you have more freedom with your VP gear. Usually, if set bonuses are worth it (and I believe T13’s are) you would want to chase the obtainable pieces of tier from vendors as quickly as possible, eschewing slots like rings and necklaces until later. Because of this change, you can find your weakest slot and upgrade it, rather than tying up your VP for weeks while you seek to snag some tier gear.

If, like me, you were a bit late in this tier and still had “regular” VP upgrades, make sure to have a supply of Justice Points laid in to pick those up quickly and easily. Although it’s not the focus of this guide, it should be relatively simple for a new 85 mage to pick up a mix of T12 tier gear, off-set VP pieces, and items from the three new instances.

If you have questions or reference to a specific item you’ve found that I may have missed, feel free to leave it in the comments!

Mages, Don’t Let Your Brethren Grow Up To Be Sheep

This isn’t a problem specific to mages. As new patches hit, abilities, damage and specs are tweaked. Gear scales, and different encounters favour different classes or types of damage or roles. Shadow priest DPS is the new hotness. Shadowpriest DPS is too low. Mages are too low, buff mages (yes, always!) And it’s true – the game isn’t always perfectly balanced. We have so many tools to track this in-game and out-of-game. Damage meters let us know where we are. Things like Spec Score analyze all available World of Logs parses, and they can paint a grim picture. But there’s also a story they aren’t telling.

Imagine this.

1. Joe plays a mage! He enjoys playing his mage. He hits 85 and runs dungeons as a frost mage to get some gear from heroics and have fun. Joe’s friends tell him that Frost is “no good,” and he should spec Fire or Arcane instead. Joe takes his friends’ advice and becomes an Arcane mage. He begins to raid with his friends and does well! Everyone tells him, “See, we told you, frost mages are no good.”(He had really poor gear when he first started out anyway, so who is to say how he would have done as a frost mage in 5-mans?)

2. Joe plays a mage! He leveled up as Frost and he really enjoys it, but when he wants to get into raiding he starts reading some different sources. Elitist Jerks and all mage sources he can find say that Arcane is the top spec, so reluctantly he gives up on Frost. After all, Frost mages don’t even appear on the list of ranked DPS specs! Joe wants to do well.

The problem with both of these scenarios is that they keep Frost mages out of the pool of Mage specs being considered for evaluation at all. It’s not even a question of “Is Frost good relative to the other specs,” or “Is Frost viable?” because all of the info is peer pressure, hearsay, or purely anecdotal. Fewer (or no) raiding frost mages lowers the sample size. Let’s say in a fictional world, there are one hundred mages. 90 of the mages play Arcane, 9 play Fire, and only one plays Frost. The “highest ranked” DPS spec is always going to be the Arcane mages, simply because there’s a greater chance that more skilled players will be playing Arcane. The lone Frost mage could be an average player, or he could be awesome, but his representation is so low that nobody even considers him. (I’m ignoring the fire mages for the moment).

This isn’t to say that some specs don’t do better than others. Simcraft and other tools are able to math out these things to ‘prove’ superiority of one spec over another (in an ideal situation with the best buffs, gear, and choosing to ignore movement or player error). I haven’t done theorycraft for mages in awhile, so take this with a grain of salt. In those ideal conditions, given equally skilled players, Arcane is probably ahead. It scales so incredibly well with gear. But by how much of a percentage is it ahead of an equally geared Frost mage? Basically, you have a playerbase that looks and says, “Well, arcane is whatever percentage ahead, so I guess Fire and Frost are bad.” No! Blizzard has said themselves that PvE Frost is much more viable than we give it credit for. The real struggle here is against player stigma and popularity.

The fact is, Arcane is an easier spec to play than Frost. It is. It has a much higher margin for error. I’m going to avoid the “two-button” joke because that’s not what I’m saying. The nuances of Arcane aren’t necessarily easy, mana and Mastery management takes forethought, planning and understanding, but by and large – an average Arcane mage can still do pretty well for him or herself without knowing all the nuances of the spec. Not so the Frost mage, who needs to carefully manage a series of procs and buffs to maximize damage. Is one “easier” or “harder?” It’s not really my place to say, but they require different things. More importantly, playing Frost requires a willingness to overcome a massive and pervasive prejudice that I’ve been hearing pretty much since I started playing this game.

Frost mages are for PvP and are bad for PvE. 

The problem with this statement is that it’s completely false. Yes, at one time it was true. Deep Freeze didn’t used to be usable on immune targets (read: bosses). Many Frost changes have been rolled out over the years with intent to make them completely PvE viable. Blizzard themselves has said that through their own internal testing, they are absolutely viable in PvE.

I didn’t need Blizzard’s internal testing, because I raid with an amazing Frost mage. He could frost any mage up one side and down the other, any time, any day. I am confident in saying that he is the best mage I have ever played with, and he plays Frost. Back in Wrath, he raided for the last part of Wrath entirely as Arcane because it was clearly superior at the time. (He also hated it, which is neither here nor there). He relegated his love for Frost to a secondary mage alt that would come on ICC runs with us (and I’m pretty sure he still did top DPS in those alt runs). With the changes to Frost that came with Cataclysm, he went Frost full-time. As I’ve said, he is consistently our highest DPS. Some might say, “lol get better DPS noobs if ur Frost mage is highest you are all BADS!”

Well, he’s too polite to say it, so I’m going to say it for him: Everyone who knocks on someone for playing a spec that they are too myopic to recognize is a strong spec can go to hell. This includes all the “hurr hurr” types that you meet in 5-mans who start ribbing on you before they’ve even seen you play, just because you have a water elemental by your side. It especially includes the mages who happened to be in an ICC 25 run the other week along with our mage.

It’s actually a pretty ludicrous scenario, when you think about it. Five mages were there – four of whom were Arcane, naturally – and the mage ‘in charge’ starts handing out Focus Magic assignments, which I imagine is something like a self-congratulatory circle. “You FM her, she’ll FM you, I’ll FM him and he’ll FM me,” he said, “And Fsob, you need to learn how to spec your mage.”

I wasn’t here for this personally, which is probably good because my head would’ve exploded on the spot. Again, because he’s classy, he didn’t say anything beyond a simple sad faced emoticon. I would’ve had a lot more to say to this guy, especially after Fsob beat ALL of their DPS on the heroic Lich King fight. This is what I wish I could have said.

Just because someone chooses to play an “unpopular” spec doesn’t make them wrong. It doesn’t make them bad. It’s bad enough that other people like to shit on individuals playing an uncommon spec without mages jumping on board to do it too. You’re not in Vodka. The day that we wipe because Fsob’s DPS is too low is a day I will eat my hat, and he could out DPS you any day of the week.

And he did! (Colour me unsurprised). Being someone who thinks for yourself isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Being someone who refuses to bow to the spec of the month, or play something because that’s what everyone says they should do is someone you should admire, not give a hard time. If Frost were truly not viable in PvE content, I’m confident that Fsob wouldn’t play it. He, too, wants what is best for the team as well as himself. But I’m happy that he does, because I know it’s his favourite spec.

You can take this and apply it to any of the “unpopular” DPS specs, or any class or spec at all that people say “isn’t worth playing.” Right now, for me that’s Fire. I went to the Fire EJ page and it basically says “Nobody is interested in this spec right now.” Fire is receiving massive buffs on the PTR so I know that Blizzard is aware that Fire mages are behind. They don’t usually leave something unbalanced for too long, and I have faith in them. I have the good fortune to be playing a class that usually has three viable PvE specs, which is not something every class can say. It makes me happy. I’m playing Arcane right now because we don’t need two Frost mages, Fire is a bit hurting, and I don’t actually mind Arcane. I am not knocking on Arcane mages, either. If you love playing Arcane, more power to you! Keep on keeping on. Just please don’t be the kind of Arcane mage who is going to put on some kind of superiority dance because you happen to run into someone who has their Squirtle by their side and is freezing things in place. Worry about your own game. More importantly, play what you want to play unless it truly matters. I said Fire is “a bit behind,” which for my purposes (heroic raiding) is a bit too far. That doesn’t mean you “can’t” be a Fire mage either. It’s up to you to judge the requirements of your group. Buffs for Fire are coming soon. Meantime, remember: we turn people into sheep, we don’t seek to emulate them. Millions of Arcane mages CAN be wrong, if they take their spec’s numerical superiority as an excuse to try and bring other people down. The “best” spec is all relative, and I think the best spec for a mage to be is whatever he or she wants.

p.s. There are resources out there for those of you who’d like to take a walk on the Frosty side. You can also always ask a question here; if I don’t know the answer I have access to a Frost mage who definitely will, for either PvE or PvP.

How To Get Into That Heroic Raiding Guild You’ve Always Wanted

This was the first time I ever saw Algalon's room. I have taken so many screenshots of it, it may be my favourite place in the game, period.

On Friday night, I joined a few guildies in a pug 25M run that was meant to be an ICC 25 run but turned into an Ulduar 25 run. (It’s a long story that’s boring, trust me, and not really essential to the rest of this post). So we’re in Ulduar 25, ripping it up, despite tremendous amounts of general confusion. I don’t usually join these kinds of runs simply because my tolerance for pug shenanigans on a grand scale is fairly low and I’m wont to rage, but I’ve been feeling the achivement bug lately. For reasons that will become clear in a few lines, when I DO join these types of runs I don’t usually talk in Vent/Mumble. I just join, do my thing, and type in raid chat.

Because our raid leader was getting progressively distressed about the fact that someone had opened Algalon’s door, I felt compelled to speak up briefly in Mumble just to say, “The timer doesn’t start until you actually engage him for the first time, so we’re fine.” No problem, right? Well, I was reminded about why I don’t usually talk when immediately one of the rogues said in /say:

“OMG! WAS THAT A GIRL? :O :O”

Those of us in BT had fun mocking him in guild chat (“I hear those do exist in the wild,”) but of course I couldn’t resist and so I replied in say, “OMG WHERE!?”

So he whispers to me (because I’m the only one who deigned to reply to him) and says, “Was that you???”

I sit for thirty seconds or so, pondering possible answers. I could lie (just to get rid of him) and say that it wasn’t. I could say that it was and potentially risk whatever that will unleash. The important thing to me is – I honestly don’t care what he says or does, and I don’t want to pretend to be something I’m not. I don’t make a big deal of “being a woman” playing video games. I know so many bloggers, folks on the Twitter community, etc. that are amazing female gamers and it’s not even an issue to me. There are tons of us, aren’t there? But I suppose in some scenarios we’re still a bit rare, yet I won’t go out of my way to emphasize my womanliness, because just as it doesn’t matter whether the person at the other keyboard is a man or a woman, why would they care that I am?

Except sometimes they do. I reply to the rogue with a simple, “Yep.”

He came back with something I didn’t expect.

“I don’t mean to imply that girls can’t raid,” he says, “But how did you get into a heroic raiding guild?”

Whew. It’s a good thing he didn’t mean to imply that girls can’t raid or anything, because the way those two statements were linked I might have gotten the wrong idea there! Anyway, the implication to me, is pretty clear. How did you (a woman) get into such a guild (when everyone knows women can’t raid) when I (possessed of appropriate chromosomes and sex organs) have been unable to find and join such a guild?

Any number of snarky answers went through my head, but I decided to just keep it simple (and blow his mind at the same time).

“How did I get in?” I wrote back. “It’s my guild.”

“:O :O” (that’s the visual representation of someone’s mind being blown, swiftly followed by mine exploding in return as he wrote…) “Do you have any room?!”

Go ahead and guess my answer! (A polite “No,” actually. I try to keep it polite. Most of the time).

You might think I started this entry so I could write about sexism, stereotyping, and ill-mannered pugs, but truthfully I didn’t. I’m not upset about what the guy said, it’s just eyerolling (and I thought you’d find it funny). I’d actually like to write about what he said in a completely serious way. How did I get into a heroic raiding guild? Or on a related manner, how can anyone get into a heroic raiding guild if that’s their goal?

Voss and I actually started out on the Moon Guard server, because when we first started playing I was especially interested in the roleplaying aspect of the game. I’d taken part in text-based roleplaying previously, and the two of us had actually met on a roleplaying, private-run Shard of Ultima Online. I was interested. We played on MG for about a year and a half, and I still have really fond memories of that time. Our experience is in no way meant to illustrate RP servers in general, but towards the end of our time there we were having trouble with raiding. (That is to say, I’m not saying that folks on RP servers can’t or don’t raid, because obviously they do). But for us, we were stymied by schedules and timezones. Many of the raiders in the group we’d organized were in the UK, and could only raid on Saturday afternoons/evenings. One day a week was not a lot of raiding, and it was hard to always commit our Saturday to this. I’m sure it was tough for them too.

To make a long story short, we decided to move on and find a guild that could give us the kind of raiding we longed to see. We wanted to clear entire instances (at the time, we’d killed Hodir in Ulduar but couldn’t get any further without extending our lockout). We wanted to see what heroic modes were all about. We’d been raiding through Kara, ZA, and had cleared all of the Wrath content up until that point but not through Ulduar. ToC had been out for some time and we hadn’t set foot in it. I started browsing through the recruitment forums and I saw an ad for the guild Business Time. It was a ten-person guild (a requirement) that focused on strict ten, hard-mode progression. They were working on hardmode Ulduar (Firefighter!) They needed a mage. I should preface this by saying that I was raiding Ulduar as a resto druid and was fed up of healing. There wasn’t anyone in our raid group who was really interested in healing full-time, so every week we’d find a pug healer, with mixed results. Two-healing Ulduar was a challenge. Two-healing Ulduar with an unknown pug quantity was even more stressful. Without an actual healing “team” I felt very adrift and found raiding to be stressful. I was starting to have more migraines and regular headaches, and realized I’d gone through the better part of a bottle of Advil in a really short amount of time. This was the impetus that pushed us to consider finding another guild and transferring away from all we’d known up until that point. The schedule fit. The approach fit. The name was a Flight of the Conchords joke that cracked me up.

And Business Time needed a mage. I wanted to be a mage. I’d mostly raided in Wrath as a priest and then a druid because healers were always needed. So I applied to BT with my mage, and Voss applied as a fury warrior (because they didn’t need tanks).

I think, at present time, our app would have been a hard sell. Business Time was just getting into hard-modes, so they weren’t yet as stringent in their requirements. (The preceding link is actually an Officers’ Quarters column with a letter written by the former GL. I had read the letter at the time, and secretly wished I could be in a guild like that). I was under geared, and inexperienced with many of the fights they were working on. I was also really freaking out about leaving the server I had known for one and a half years, and moving to a completely unknown server type. But I really really wanted to be a mage again, and I really liked what I had seen of the guild. Heck, I’d read about the guild back in June and then completely forgot!

Business Time talks strategy before Anub'arak. I am too busy making faces and taking pictures in the smoke bombs.

Take full advantage of the point/emblem system to ensure that even if you aren’t raiding, your gear is the best it can possibly be.

Even though Millya hadn’t been my “main” raider, her gear was by no means bad. She had quite a bit of T9 stuff, if I remember correctly (it was purchasable with points from the vendor!) She also had such BoEs as I could find like a Darkmoon card, etc. I was definitely still undergeared compared to the majority of BT raiders, but that meant that once I started raiding it was easy to get gear because nobody needed it. The point wasn’t that you need the best gear to raid, it was that my character showed dedication. Before I applied, I went through my gear with a fine-tooth comb to put all the best gems and enchants on it that I possibly could. No stone was left unturned to ensure I was putting my best face forward. Your gear is the most immediate indicator of your commitment to your character and attention to detail. Don’t miss any enchants or enhancements! Go over and above what you think is “necessary,” because in most guilds the best is an expectation.

Don’t be afraid to leverage your personality.

Business Time took a chance when they recruited Voss and I. We were inexperienced, a bit undergeared, and had no logs to prove our chops. What we DID have was an application that I took great care in writing (and it was long). We each wrote separate portions of the application so they could get a sense of our personalities. And we really clicked in the interview. Despite some misgivings about class balance, only our grumbly shaman voted no to let us in (I like to bug him about this, the truth is I can’t blame him at all, though I’m glad nobody else agreed). They voted to let us in because they liked us. We promised we would research the fights and prove that we had what it took to succeed with a guild like theirs. They took a chance, but really it was fairly win/win on their side. If we hadn’t worked out, it’s our money on the line, and they could’ve just found some other folks. Personality and attitude is something that is magnified in such a small group – if you have exceptional players that are jerks, they’re never going to fit – unless your guild is predominantly a jerk atmosphere. Saying thank you, being friendly and engaged and being fun to talk to are huge points. I think this should go without saying, but don’t be late, either! We’ve had interviewees not even show up, which is pretty much an automatic disqualification unless you have a great, emergency-level reason like being attacked by a bear or a car breakdown.

Do the research to show you’re ready, especially if you’re facing fights you’ve never seen.

Voss likes to remind me that when we first joined BT, I had pages and pages of notes about every boss we were going to be facing. I watched the videos, I jotted quick notes on every salient point to make sure I’d know the mechanics. So it was that on our first night in BT, when I was pulled in to replace a DPS for hardmode Mimiron, I was ready. Sure, I was nervous, but like I said to Voss (cue Rocky music) “These bosses have no ‘normal’ mode. I am going to treat them as if this is just what they do.” And so I did, and it worked for me. Later when we went through and killed Mimiron on normal I was astonished at all the things he didn’t do. I was so used to his soul crushing hardmode version because I refused to even acknowledge that anything else existed.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, as long as you’re still seeking answers on your own.

People always say “know your class” as if it’s that easy. What about players that genuinely want to do well but are pretty new? My best advice would be to read everything you can get your hands on. Read Elitist Jerks, read blogs written by people of your class, read threads on the official forums or MMO Champions. Read the class columns at WoW Insider. Talk to people who also play your class if things are unclear or you have further questions. You can’t help but improve in the face of that much information, and as you play more you will fine-tune what you need to know and do. There’s a wealth of available information and support out there for the taking. Take it! Be prepared to answer class specific questions such as “What would you do at xyz” time or “Why did you choose the spec you did?” (Hint: Don’t just say “It’s what EJ said to spec.”) Know why you are doing something and not just what to do. Players who can think on their own and contribute to strat in unorthodox ways are invaluable, and if you are a creative thinker that can really impress a prospective guild.

As proof of this, BT’s other mage was someone I met on Moonrunner who found OUR guild forums and registered there to talk about mages with me. He was in a more social guild at the time and struggling to make his guild care about hard modes. When that guild folded, it was a natural choice for me to talk to the theorycrafting mage who I knew would be a fabulous fit and had thus far only lacked the opportunity to do many hard modes, not the aptitude or the drive.

Be prepared for rejection.

If you’re trying to get into a heroic guild without ever having done heroic raiding before, you’re starting from a disadvantage. It’s not an insurmountable one, and the way recruitment is these days, it could possibly be no obstacle, but you may still be turned down. Don’t let it get you down. Guilds need the best fit for them just like you need the best guild, and if it’s not a good “match” it wouldn’t end well in any case. If you are really impressed with a guild but your application is rejected, you could also see about joining as a social member with intent to raid. Participation in alt runs and 5-mans with the members of the guild could make you an easy choice the next time they have a spot on the roster. Alternatively, seek out another guild. Maybe you were overreaching. I know I used to shake my head regularly over ads that said, “Must be 8/13 heroic or better,” when the player themselves hadn’t done any hard modes at all! Don’t set your expectations of a guild too high. There are many reasons why progression in a tier could be slower (and needing to recruit heavily is definitely one of them). If you join a guild that’s seeking to progress, you could find a great home in that 2/7 heroic guild rather than the 6/7. The distinction is pretty fine, and having you on the team could mean that next tier things progress even better!

I don't wear this title any more, but when we earned it ranks among my top three best WoW moments ever. It was such a struggle to get there, and yes, we did it in tens gear!

It should go without saying that my final advice to anyone seeking to get into heroic raiding is: Don’t whisper the GL and act astonished that she’s able to use her keyboard to kill heroic dragons, because if you do that, you can do all of the other things above and they won’t get you anywhere. Alternately, as a sub-tip to the above, you COULD also marry a mage and then join a guild that really needs a mage and will take you even though they didn’t want a warrior at all. Just ask Voss! We actually just passed our two year anniversary of being in Business Time (October 12th!) and it’s been awesome. I hope it goes without saying that the subtext of this article is tips to help you if you WANT to be in a heroic raiding guild. If you don’t, these tips could be applied to any guild, or applied to “getting into raiding” in general. I don’t think there’s anything in there that won’t serve you well no matter what your aspirations might be!

Feel free to add your own tips, experiences or questions in the comments! After all, this is just based on my story, yours may be completely different.

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