Check out: The Tier 11 Phase, and The Zul Phase, if you dare.
The T12 release came at a bad time for my guild really. I am sure of many guilds they had no issues but for mine it was summer and as a mostly casual family oriented guild that means a lot of family vacations at the time of year it was released, during summer.
It was not such a bad thing really, after our outing in T11 and our amazingly late start, which caused us to finish T11 the 48th ranked guild, which was a lot higher than I would have expected but is a testament to the difficulty of the tier, on the server we were not exactly expecting to be world beaters and ready to destroy the new raid as soon as it was released.
We waited for everyone to finish their vacations before we pressed forward with T12 raiding but T12 offered us two things to keep up busy. It had reputation in firelands and enough trash to make it worth doing trash runs. Not to mention the chance of some really nice drops from that trash too made it worth doing. Add that to the release of the molten front dailies and we had enough on our plates too, at the very least, keep us busy while we waited.
As always I jumped on the dailies instantly. I eat that type of stuff up. A new area to unlock and new achievements to get and a meta achievement too. This stuff is right in my wheel house and playing a hunter that means I can do it well because we all know when it comes to questing no class can hold a candle to a hunter.
I went into the front that first (third) day and knocked out a bunch of achievements. Was a little upset by the fact that it took me three days to step into it and then on the third day they changed it so people could get in on day one. Why make a change that quickly? It never made sense to me. I felt bad for the person that started the second day, it made it as if they wasted two days. They could not done nothing for those two day and been the same place as if they had started on time to begin with. Making it easier to get in makes sense once the content has been out a while or is old, but it was three days old and there was no reason for the change. It was just another one of those changes that I can't help but question when blizzard implements them.
I had made my attack plan for how I would go after the achievements when looking at them. Opening the druids first made more sense. Get more shots at the death from above achievement and the other faction you only needed to do once, that first day you opened them, to do the achievements on that side. So that is exactly how I did it.
Flawless victory was the easiest of all the achievements for a hunter. No need to be near the stomps and if you can't move from a giant ball of fire that leaves a black target on the ground you really need to go find another game to play. Seriously. Any hunter that does not have this achievement should not even be allowed to step into a dungeon or raid.
Master of the molten flow was the second one I went after that first day and I had to use a little hunter skill again to manage that one. See, you needed to open the druids to do those but I had not opened the druids yet. How could I, I just got in and you needed a crap ton of marks to get in there. Either way, it is proof why hunters are truly the masters of stuff like this. The shaman was simple, the sentinel was easy too if only I could get him to pick someone up. This was a breeze for a hunter because he would pick up your pet and you just unload on him. For my warrior it took a long time to get that one. He would pick me up and I would beat at him from under his arm. I am sure that had to look funny to an outsider.
Thing was, on my hunter, there were no outsiders. I was there basically alone. There was another hunter there and a rogue, not sure how the rogue got there, must have had some skills too. Over the course of my time there I saw a hunter or two pass by but that was it. Now, speaking of hunters, the damn hunter part of the achievement took me hours. Yes, hours, I am not kidding. I could not get one to do his special ability and when I finally got him to do it, it took me by surprise and I screwed it up. Damn. Second time, no problem and I finished that achievement too on that first day in and I am glad I did.
Going through there later with other characters I can see the nightmare it would have been trying to get it then with 30 or 40 people all trying to do it as well. The shaman and sentinel were not bad, but the hunter, oh my god the hunter, there were too few of them, and they rarely used their ability. With that many people there was never a hunter up because everyone was camping them.
The one achievement where you needed to get a group to kill four elites, the fiery lords of sethria's roost was an adventure and a half that first day. But it was an adventure I made for myself. I noticed the bird one flying by and thought to myself, self, I am a hunter I don't need no stinking group and fired a shot off at the overgrown tweety bird. He destroyed me, but now I knew the mechanics and went right back at him and whooped his butt. Then I did the rock guy but not before watching my turtle get knocked back and go sky diving. Thank god for feign death. I got my flying turtle back, positioned him better, and beat him like a red headed stepchild.
The fire looking guy looked like he would be a bit harder and he was. I needed to clear the entire area of all those elites. One good thing is, being the quest for the area was not out yet, no one was in the area but me. Hence the reason no one bothered me while soloing the other two. So I cleared the entire area and they started respawning. Darn, new approach. Being they respawn fast I would need to only clear some, and that is what I did.
I went at the guy attempting to kite him in circles in a much smaller area than I wanted to. He was owning my pet so I would be using a selection of distracting shot, so I could heal pet up while he was working his way to me, and feign death, so the pet would get aggro back. I ping ponged him for quite a bit and finally ended up dying when two adds respawned right on top of me. Oops.
Second try when much smoother. I had my distracting, healing and feign death all lined up as I knew I would need to do it now and I concentrated on DPS because right now this was a DPS race, kill him before the other mobs respawn. Guess what, the other mobs respawned as I killed him. I mean at the same exact second. So he died, and I died seconds later, but at least I killed him.
Next up, the 4th of the 4 I needed. The dog. The strategy was a combo of the bird and fire guy. The bird I killed on the top of the hill and the fire guy I killed adds. I killed the adds around dog as well because I knew I would not be able to keep him on the hill, unlike the bird, I needed to move a bit more with him even if I would use the hill as my focal point on where I wanted him mostly being it was the least populated area in that part of the map. But after a dozen tries and a dozen repair bills and thanking the heavens for the mammoth with a repair bot I finally gave up.
Looked like three of four were all I could do solo. Better than any other class could do that first day. Have to love hunters. The next day we got the quest to go there with helpers and I beat the crap out of him easily and it occurred to me, I was not supposed to do this solo or make a group, I was supposed to do it with the NPC mobs. Ever have a huge duh moment? I did right there.
I ended up doing all the achievements in quick order as I gained access to doing them. All but one was kind to me. Death from above would just not spawn one of the mobs I needed. I would do it every two days, because it was a rotating quest and you could not do it more than once every other day, and he was never there. Then one day they patched it so three would spawn at the same time and I went home that day and he was there and I got my meta achievement. Server first I believe, not like it matters, as I've said before first only matters until there is a second. It wasn't until the next day that I saw anyone else get it or heard of anyone else getting it. Not sure if it was that first day of me choosing druids before wardens, but I think that is why I beat everyone too it. That quest was every 2 days while doing druids. I only did wardens once, everyone else must have done it twice, putting me one day ahead of everyone else
I had enjoyed the molten front and thought it was a great addition to the game but that was only until I tried to do it on my other characters so I could get patterns and the such. My shaman healer, with the mix and match enhancement gear had a hard time in there. If it were not for maelstorm proc heals I would have died on nearly every pull. My warrior had less problems, but sure as hell needed to have some bandages with him. Guess that was my own fault too being I love to pull 10 and 12 mobs at a time. That is why I always quest as a tank, I love that stuff. My rogue felt squishy, very squishy. I mean like one shot and I was dead squishy. So I never did it on any other characters at the get go. After doing it on one, I did not want to do it on alts. It was a been there and done that sort of thing. It was fun once but not something I would ever want to repeat. The molten front was excellent content, just not repeatable content.
I had a few guild mates that did it all on two or three characters and I am amazed at their dedication because I wouldn't, even now that I could one or two shot many things in there with any class, even my lock which I suck at. It was just not very compelling content, something you wanted to do more than once.
While I was working on my meta the guild was doing reputation runs. We got a few people some nice BoE stuff and were even able to include a great deal of people that were not raiders into the mix just for fun. I think blizzard hit the nail on the head going back to the trash concept. It gave us something to do as a group even if we were not raiding yet and more importantly it allowed us to include a great deal of players we might never have included at all if we were raiding bosses and not trash.
Admittedly we did not find any diamonds in the rough during that point but we were able to get to know some of the players we did not often play with a little better and that is always good for group morale. Don't think that just because we are casual that being a team means any less to us, it doesn't, that team feeling extends a lot further with a casual guild. Because those people that are not raiding now but are with the guild just for the occasional dungeon run or world PvP call out, those could be the future, or the fill ins, and they need to feel as if they are a part of the team even if all they ever did was join a few trash runs.
So I really liked the trash runs. It was fun and something to do even if we were not killing bosses.
What we would do, no matter who was in the group, was clear trash a couple of times and then near the end of the run give shannox one shot. Most times we never downed him because most times people were on alts they were not as good on or they were the other players I mentioned that were not exactly raiders, like the PvP geared hunter doing 11K or PvP geared DK doing 10. Or the 318 item level mage that just hit 85 10 minutes earlier.
Not saying we never killed shannox before we actually started raiding again. We actually did a couple of times. I was even on my hunter for the first one and got the helm. Woohoo. I was wearing a Zul one so it felt awesome to get it. By the time we started raiding I think we had downed him at least half a dozen times. I had been on my hunter, my shaman, my warrior, my druid, and my priest for them. I think the warrior did it two times. As you can tell, even if I did get the helm on my main the first time we downed him, I was still not playing on my main all that often.
I ended up tanking often during that tier and healing a fair deal too. Mostly on my warrior and shaman at the start. By the time we had what I could call our A team, for lack of a better term, ready to roll it was september and now it was time to start making some progression. Again, we started late it seems. At least now I was on my hunter almost full time so I was happy for that. It was one of those rare times this expansion were I knew I would be able to play my main every week. We had only downed two bosses before that while playing around with rep runs and half runs with the lesser players I mentioned earlier. We downed shannon and lord ry.
So on that first day in with the A team, and happy I was on my hunter, we did horrible. The group chemistry took a bit to come back. We wiped on shannon 5 times, can you believe that, 5 times on a boss we had occasionally downed with lesser skilled and geared players. Admittedly it was a lot nicer doing it when your lowest DPS is 17K than when your highest was 13K but the wipes were just stupid little things from people that were out of practice. Nothing more and no big deal.
We tried lord ry that first night back as a team and the RNG gods hated us. We had no luck. Second week back together was better. We downed shannox in one shot, lord ry in three and even got the achievement on him. The next two, on our second night as a team again amazed even me, even with knowing what my group is capable of. No one had even tried any of the other bosses before but we downed alys in one shot and the gate keeper in one shot. Two one shot bosses on our first time trying them. Holy crap, it amazed me. I knew our people had the ability to do well, but to do that well, it was insane. I was expecting two or three learning wipes and than a kill maybe but not two one shots.
I was worried about gatekeeper because of the shard thing and the healing thing and how I explained it but I guess I explained it well. Alys I knew we could do easy, it is an easy fight. Unless you are the person going up there is only one thing to know, avoid crap. That is it. Nice and easy. I like nice and easy sometimes. And for anyone on the ground in that fight it is nice and easy.
Over the next few weeks we wiped a bunch on beth and finally got it down. We had gotten to the point were in our two hour raid night we could do at least four and sometimes get a few shots in on the fifth. We keep moving forward until we could do five in 2 hours and then we made it to number 6, staghelm, and it was another fight I had some worries about. We wiped on the trash which is never a good sign is it?
We wiped on him twice, that was it and those are the only two times we ever wiped on him that I can remember. Holy crap that was a much easier fight than we were expecting. Third time was a charm and every time there after I do not remember one wipe from the main team. Our alt teams might have had a wipe here and there but for a second to last boss he was a hell of a lot easier than I would have expected. Firelands had been nerfed by now a bit but not that much. Not so much that it should have been that easy for a group that never did it before.
By the time we were downing the first six fast enough to at least get an attempt at rag in we knew that dragon soul would be coming in about six weeks, so it was time to start thinking about extending lockouts. With the exception of the last two bosses everyone had most of the gear they could possible have off the others. I even had a four piece set which was about rare as rare comes because of my history of luck in this game.
It was that four piece set of mine and the fact I wanted to extend lock outs that brought our first bit of guild drama this expansion. It actually started a few weeks earlier when our mage had a family issue and had to run when we were on staghelm. We looked to guild and there was a hunter on that might be able to fill in so I whispered him and asked him if he wanted to join in. I also explained to him that if the staff drops it goes to the druid, he can not roll on it. He agreed and joined the group. Staff did not drop so it was really a non-issue.
While it might have been a non-issue for me and everyone else in the raid it apparently was not for him. I came on the next day to hear from all the officers that he was complain about it. Saying I was denying him the right to roll on loot that was good for him and was an upgrade. Saying I had no right to do things like that. Of course all the officers understood my reasoning and explained it to him. I even explained it to him when he came on.
I gave him various reasons why the druid should get it. I even explained that it would have been an upgrade for me too but it had a special effect for feral druids which clearly means it should be a druid first thing. I also mentioned the obvious, which was obvious to me but apparently not him. He was on an alt, an undergeared alt as is. Mains get rolls over alts, it has always been our way. Even when I was main tanking on my warrior I always passed on gear to the other tank until he got it all. That is just how we work. Another point that went over his head was that I said he could not roll on it before he came in. He agreed to those terms, he could have said no. Third point is I said he could roll on the trinket or tier piece if it dropped even though he was on an alt. Yet he still had a bug up his ass over it.
He said he let it go but he never did and that is where a slew of drama that would lead into dragon soul and cause the guild to lose five members all started. All because he did not like that he did not get an item that didn't even drop to begin with.
Two weeks later when we downed it and the warrior/hunter/shaman token dropped I won the roll for it and he went bat shit crazy. He was not even in the raid. He still flipped out that I won it and said it was another case of me giving loot to whoever I wanted to. The fact I rolled the highest number apparently means nothing to him, to him it was me stealing the gear for myself. The person that lost the roll told him that I won the roll and it is no big deal, to drop it. Yet he would not let it go. To him, this was another case of me deciding who gets loot.
Yes, I did decide who got that. I decided the person with the highest roll got it. I'm a horrible person aren't I?
The fact that I pass on gear with my alts, even if they are the main one I am playing with at the time meant nothing. In his eyes I take everything for myself. Like giving the staff to a druid, even if it would have been a nice upgrade for my main too, was keeping it for myself. Winning a roll was giving it to myself. Passing on stuff while tanking, was keeping it to myself. Passing on stuff while healing, was keeping it to myself. Yeap, I have such a long track record of keeping things for myself.
It really got to me. It bothered me a lot being called a selfish player like that. You can probably call me a hundred different things and ninety nine of them be true in some way but selfish is not one of them. Far from it, very far from it. If anything, and I am sure anyone that has played with me would agree, I am one of the most selfless players in the game when it comes to group content.
Either way, his actions here would continue to build up and lead to him and four others leaving shortly after the start of dragon soul so I will continue this story when I write that one but there is another part of it that does fit in here.
Two of his friends were part of our main team. One a healer and one a rogue, the rogue we had decided would build our legendaries, as he was our only main rogue in guild. The healer is the reason we did not get to down rag before DS came out. I can not be sure, but I guess he could have put some sort of bug in the healers ear which started his issues.
I've said it before that we normally do not extend lock outs. We try to do things in one clear. As we get better we move faster. We were to the point that in our 2 hour raid night we were getting to rag with half an hour left. Usually this meant two attempts at best. So with a month to DS I wanted to extend the lock out and just kill rag. Easy enough of a decision right? Nope. The holy paladin went all ballistic when I suggested it. He said he would rather quit the guild than to extend lock outs. He still needed a few pieces from the earlier bosses and did not want to do rag until he got them. Of course the rogue was on his side in the matter and we did not extend, for two weeks, before I brought it up again.
I tried to explain to him that in two weeks the new heroics would drop 378 gear, the new looking for raid would drop 384 gear and DS would drop 397 gear. The few pieces he might need does not matter. We all could use a few pieces but in two weeks we would all be replacing whatever we get with something better. Lets just down rag already. But nope, he wanted those pieces before moving forward.
More and more as I raid lead it makes me think that I have to start becoming the dick raid leader like I hear others be. I have to start being, it is my way or the highway. I am the leader so it is my decision. If you don't like it, leave. I never wanted to play the role of raid lead, that is well noted, but these series of incidents in T12 is when I moved from not wanting to do it to actually hating doing it, all thanks to a few jerks and their egos.
If anything, the late start to T11 and late start to T12 has taught me one thing. Who cares if someone leaves? Let them leave, we will always find a replacement. It might take time but we will. We are not pushing for server firsts so we do not need to coddle these people and stroke their egos. Screw them, if you have an ego you have no place in my group. Simple as that. In the end, when that healer and rogue left it made our main group so much better. The subtraction of their egos was a huge plus for the team as a whole.
The end of T12 raiding started to make me a little bitter as a raid leader. My first bout with guild drama aside. I was spoiled, I had a good group of mature people for the most part, both young and old, that knew it is more fun to progress as a team than on a personal level and I've been spoiled by it. This is what made me start to dislike doing it, because I was spoiled for so long.
Honestly, if you see our guild run you would wonder what the hell we are doing sometimes. We roll for gear sure, but most of the time it never ends up with who won it. Everyone in the group looks out for everyone else. When we we first stepped into DS, if someone was still in 378 and you had the 384 tier piece everyone passed it to the person that did not even have a tier piece because it would be better for the group. These are the type of people I like playing with. For a person as anti-social as I am, I put a hell of a lot of stock in how people act with relation to me and the others around them.
T12 had the guild drama from someone that was not even part of the group he was creating drama in. Had someone that kept threatening to rage quit if we extended a lock out, so we never managed to get rag down on doing only 2 attempts a night. Did get him to the last phase once however, how? Don't ask me. Just got lucky. Had another person that got so settled in the fact he was our only rogue that he seemed to stop trying even knowing a legendary was on the horizon and would not listen to me when I told him to just stick to his rotation and stop trying to "help" with everything else. Don't know about you, but he ended T12 with mostly all 378 gear and was pulling 12K, I call that doing badly. Not sure how the hell he managed it but he was doing 15K in T11 gear just some months earlier, like he forgot how to play.
People too concerned with themselves and that did not fit well with me. We had another player that was getting increasingly annoyed that he was not even invited to our second group and when we explained that he was not doing well enough yet in a polite way and we would run dungeons with him so he could get better he took it as an insult but what else do you say, as nicely as you can, to a mage that can not break 8K in T12 valor gear? Just so happened he was a friend of the one person that started all this trouble, so I am sure he had something to do with starting that up as well.
All in all T12 was not so bad. We had some decent stuff to do on a personal level in the molten front dailies even if I did not like the idea of doing it again for other characters, it was nice. The reputation made for reputation runs which like it or not is an excellent form of content and gave us something for people to do. Some people that were not even raiders would do reputation runs just for the chance to gear up with BoEs or to get BoEs to sell, that type of stuff is great content for filler and T12 had a fair amount of it. Looking at it after wards T12 had more to do in it than T11 did and that was supposed to be the new expansion tier filled with things to do. It took me longer to get the molten front done and reputation up than it did to do anything in T11 with a fresh expansion. With the fresh expansion I was done with everything within days. At least we could not say the same with T12 and T12 was made even better by the fact that it was not 4.1 and that nightmare was partly over.
The 378 gear from firelands and valor did make the Zuls a lot better when you started doing them again, there is no arguing there. Sure they would still be hell many times but with more gear a few decent players could easily compensate for those lesser players who, for some reason, deemed themselves capable of a zul when they sure as hell were not.
While I liked the raiding in T11 better I can not find much to complain about with tier T12. From an actual raiding standpoint, for my group at least, there were three easy bosses in staghlem, alys and bal, one RNG hell boss in lord ry, one medium boss in shannox because he loved to bug on us for some reason which always made him harder than he should have been and one challenging boss, beth. We could have easily downed rag if we had started sooner or extended a lock out and got a full night learning on him but he was just too hard of a fight to learn one attempt at a time once a week. We needed to actually spend a day on him. I am sure if we spent a day on him we could have downed him easily because by the time we got to him he was nerfed.
Still, if anything, that would have been another small complaint. The bosses leading up to rag were a nice climb in difficulty a little here and there but not too much and then rag was leaps and bounds harder than anything that lead up to him. They should have either made him easier on normal or made the bosses leading up to him harder on normal. Again, just my opinion as it seems.
T12 was also the first time I attempted PvP this expansion on any character. I geared up my shaman, who could have almost taken the place as my main for a while being I spent more time on her each week than I did my hunter, and I geared up my hunter. After enough kills to be allowed to buy myself gear on my hunter I sort of gave up on it.
I could not get into the swing of foucs in PvP. I was used to being the burst class and not the control class. I watched a lot of videos of hunters doing amazing things in PvP, three on one and winning, even when there was a healer as part of the three. All by using their new approach of control instead of burst. I tried, I really did, but I could not get into the feel of it. Rogues are a control PvP class. If I wanted to play a control class I would have been playing on my rogue. I am sure if I put more effort into it I could have been better at it, but I could not find the desire to take the time to relearn it all and that is where my life as a hunter in PvP died.
The only time I PvPed this expansion otherwise was as a healer. I like being a healer in PvP, as long as I have a team that knows how to protect me. Keep the healer alive and you live forever, let the healer die and you will soon join them. Every PvPer should have that tattooed to their forehead. I would say at least 80% of the random battleground groups do not understand that concept.
Oddly enough, the healer I leveled through PvP, the priest, I only did two battlegrounds on this whole expansion, and again, it was during T12. Not sure why it is, even if I did suffer a little burnout in T12 as well, T12 was the only time this expansion I ever actually wanted to play. I think that was mostly because there was something to do, even if I decided not to do it, like the molten front dailies.
Even if I never finished them on any characters other than my main I had many characters at various levels of the quest line in there. I did at least part of it on my druid, warrior, shaman, mage, and rogue. Only my death knight, priest and warlock have never stepped in there and I think if this expansion dragged on any longer they might have eventually made their way in there. Just for something to do.
Another little plus to artificial content was that you needed to do a fair deal of hyjal before you could even get to those dailies and as lame as it sounds that is sort of like gated progress and I am all for that. It gave me extra content because if I wanted to do it on a character I needed to get far enough into hyjal to do it. See, gating is not a bad thing, gating is a way to make content last longer. Gated does not mean hard, it just means extra required content. It is also part of the reason I think T12 was the best patch this expansion, miles ahead of 4.1 and well ahead of 4.3 as well.
While I was not very happy with most of this expansion as a whole the 4.2 patch was the best we got and seemingly the only one they put any thought into. Not saying it was great and I wanted a lot more like it but how can you do one patch so well and do two others so poorly? It is almost as if the three patches were not made by the same company.
What really put 4.2 over the top however was its relation to 4.1 and 4.3. Being surrounded by bad (4.3) and worse (4.1) made 4.2 seem a lot better than it really was. It was close enough after 4.1 to help get the patch that could have killed the game out of our heads and it did not last all that long at a quite decent 5 months. Still longer than a patch should last but not nearly as long as it takes for something to get incredibly stale.
Over all the T12 phase of cataclysm was the best phase. Raiding was decent, PvP was worth trying again, there were quest lines to keep you busy, reputations that would take a while and a little more over all to keep you busy. If it was 4 months long instead of five it might even have been able to be called a great patch but sorry, anything over 4 months long is too long in my opinion unless there is more to do. This, in part, is one of the reasons ulduar can be considered one of the best raids ever. It actually lasted less than 4 months as current content. Probably the only patch that could have easily went 6 months and still be considered a great patch because it was such a huge raid with so much to do there as well with all the various achievements and hard modes. Outside of that, 4 months is the sign of a good patch and T12 at 5 months was pretty darn close.
Once blizzard learns that four months is a nice time frame and gives us new content, that isn't two zuls, every four months I think the game will take a step in the right direction into a quality game again. The world of gaming has changed and the games need to change with it. Being content is becoming easier that means it needs to be released faster than ever before. If we, the players, keep consuming the content like we have been they will surely need to step it up. More on this theory when talking about T13, because that is the patch that could have started to put the second nail in warcrafts coffin, the zuls put the first in, because of the content consumption thing I just mentioned was stepped up for T13.
Coming soon... The History of My Cataclysm - The T13 Phase