Thursday, September 12, 2013

Decisions Decisions

With a new patch there are always decisions that pop up immediately.  This patch however is leaving me with more of them than ever before.  First off, and maybe one of the biggest with full guild implications is what to do with flex raiding.  Another is what to do with those burdens of eternity. Then there is my compulsion to want to complete everything that leaves me with another one.

Flex raiding, and where does it fit?

As I mentioned here before the 25 man raid team is not quite normal ready.  It only managed to get 5 down in ToT, which was not bad considering the late start it had, but it is not all that solid and a decision will need to be made on when to move from flex to normal.

There are added implications as well.  When we started to get the early bosses down, as in the first three, the main 10 team started to bring their mains to help the 25 man because there was no way they would have made it past the 4th and 5th without them.  Too many under geared or under performing players so having the extra punch of geared mains helped even things out some.

If the patch lasted longer those mains could have even powered the 25 further, but I still do not think the 25 was strong enough as was to get past 8 or 9 max maybe.  What the main 10 did those last couple of weeks was we would just continue the 10 man from where we left off with on the 25.  Now with flex, and the 25s starting in flex, we do not have that option to bring our mains and continue as our mains will be doing normals.  That means basically running the same raid on the same character twice a week.

Because of that, many of the people do not want to bring their mains on the flex run.  I can surely understand that.  They do not want to suffer the burn out of running the same thing over and over because we all know at the absolute best case we will be raiding SoO for 6 months and more likely a year, unless blizzard can really step up the next expansion.  If the next expansion was going to be in 6 months we would already know what it was and it would already be in beta.  But being neither of those are true, we have to believe that we will be raiding SoO like every other last of the expansion raid, 10 months or more.

Doing the flex with the raid mains made for some really easy kills but last night on alts with just 3 mains there doing another flex, we just did not have the DPS to put down the third boss.  If we even had 2 more of the mains in there for DPS we would have had it, but we didn't.  This makes me adjust my theory on flex a bit. 

It is not the beer league that it was intended to be.  The people that were there mostly, ones trying out for the 25, where not exactly bad players but they were not exactly good players either.  Those are the people that should be doing flex and they couldn't.  Even completely ignoring tanks and healers and just letting all the damage dealers purify themselves, we hit the enrage timer every attempt.  Usually sub 10%.  Oh well, they will get better, I hope.

But looking at the two nights we ran and who we have there to run it with we most definitely do not have enough decent players to move to 25 man normal any time soon, unless they really get better in a week.  That means the mains will not be running with flex, so they do not burn out, and we will not be able to kill a couple in 25 and continue with 10s later on, which actually had become a decent way to get the 25s some gear and experience and to get the 10 actually running another night so we made more progress. 

It worked for both the 10 and the 25 as a whole but it only works if they are both running normals.  If the mains are in normal and the 25 is in flex the 25 will get no where.  Just like when the mains started heroics and were no longer helping the 25s, the 25s stopped doing 5 a night and were back to 3 a night.

As I have seen already, without the mains, the actual raiders, that group might not even be capable of downing flex.  So not beer league at all.  But I might be able to train them.

Training them does add another level of problems.  I do not want to have to micromange everyone.  I do not mind helping people here and there but I should not need to have to take nearly an entire raid full of people one at a time aside and train them how to do things that they should have watched a video of ahead of time and already known how to do. I lay out plans, I organize groups, assignments, make rez decisions, call for cooldowns, the least even the most casual of casual of raiders should do is watch a video so they have some clue what I am talking about.

I think I've been spoiled by not really having to explain much to the 10 man because they all look things up on their own, they are all learning on their own, they all come ready to raid.  They are all, what we call, raid ready.  Should the beer league flex really require that too?  Seems so.

So where does flex fit in?  Do I keep everyone there until they can learn?  Do I just say screw flex and do it as a weekend thing or a one day a week thing for the alts of the mains?  Do I just move to 25s and try banging our heads against the wall there until they learn?  Do I recruit like a mad man and try to get better people for the 25 man instead of trying to recruit from within by teaching?  Do I try to beg the mains that do not want to run the same thing multiple times a week to come help even if it might cause burnout?

Flex is an awesome addition, but I already feel a great deal of problems with it.  At least for me, I have not found a place where it actually fits.  After just two days and two flex runs, I am already looking for ways to drop it from our raiding schedule completely.  Decisions decisions.

What should I upgrade, if anything?

I've got two burden of eternity items already.  One from a random mob drop and one from a chest.  I can make those 496 things that drop like candy into 535s.  But which ones should I do?  It would be a minor upgrade for anything I make and I would then need to waste 500 valor to upgrade them.  With us doing normals soon, I could end up replacing anything I made.  Do I really want to make the chest piece for example and waste 500 valor upgrading it and then go into the raid tonight and win the tier chest piece?  It would really be a complete waste of valor.

But then there is looking at it the other way, maybe if I used both and upgraded two items and then used my valor to upgrade those items, it would make me better which would make it easier to get to the boss that would drop the thing that would replace it.

But do I really need them and will they give that much of a boost?  Me and a guild mate joined in on an ordos kill where the top 2 guilds on the server joined together to do it.  Needless to say, myself and my guild mate destroyed every one there damage dealt wise.  There was only one person even close to us and every piece he had on was ToT heroic.  So all five of our damage dealers are usually fighting for top, as we are all pretty close to each other, and we could beat the best of the best on our server, I don't really think I am in a desperate need to upgrade that 522 (530) to a 535 (543).

Now if you read here you know me, I take every chance I can get to get better gear, but this time it seems different.  Not sure why it does, but it does.  I guess it feels different because I look at it as "wasting" valor by upgrading it whereas I never considered it "wasting" valor to buy a piece.  I look at a 535 piece as less than flex and less than normal.  It will be replaced, hopefully, soon.  Spending valor on something you are soon to replace is a waste of valor.  Plain and simple.

I think I am going to try to upgrade and see what happens, the question at hand might very well end up being harder to answer when I do.  What if I get a piece with only one secondary stat, or none?  It happens, most people I spoke to ended up with stuff with one secondary stat.  One ended up with something with none, and another ended up with something with two.  So I guess I just need to pick a piece and use it and then decide.

Then it becomes the debate of which is better, a 522 with 2 stats or a 535 with 1?  While I might be wrong, I would take the 522s with 2 stats over the 535s with 1 stat any day.  Unless of course the 522 had hit and my worst secondary stat and I am over on hit already, and the 535 had my best secondary stat.  Then it might be worth it.

See what I mean about decisions?  I also need to look at which ones I can upgrade, which bosses drop what, what bosses I think we are going to get down and I might get a 553 from.  There is a lot to consider.  It is not a case of "woohoo I got a 535".  Nothing is ever that simple for me.  There is a lot of thought and decision making needed to be done before I go woohoo about anything.  Decisions, decisions.

When do I bring the alts in?

I am most likely going to push it until the weekend before I do the alts on the island.  Most really don't need 496 gear, but 535 gear would be nice on any of them.  So if I go there it would be with one intention in mind, get to that chest to get the 535 and be done with it.

None of my alts are even close to getting the legendary so I do not need to do all the world bosses.  I will for the weekly chance at a drop, but do not need to hang around for all 4.  I worry about if and when the time comes if I will ever be able to get a group for all 4.  As of yesterday no one was killing them already as is.  Imagine how hard it is going to be to get all 4 in a month or two or three if on day 2 you can not get anyone to kill them.

So all the island has to offer for my alts is the one 535 piece a week.  If you know where the chests are you can just head to it and loot it.  The other items are all BoA so I can grab it on my hunter and send it over.  Really no need for alts to be farting around the island at all otherwise.  It has nothing to offer past that 535 items and world bosses.

The rares should drop valor, absolutely.  It would give me a lot more reason to pop around the island on alts.  I will still head my alts to the isle of thunder to do my rare killing rounds.  The key you can get each week gets you a nice bit of gold, the stones that drop sell well, the rares drop valor.  Just so much more reason to wonder around killing rares on the isle of thunder than there is on the timeless island.

But I have to consider my main, and the achievements there.  As long as there are achievements to get on the island I won't feel comfortable wasting time on alts there.  Even if it was just to get the 535 piece.  There is something I want to do on my main, and as such I want to get that done first.

Maybe if they made achievements fully account bound I would feel free to explore on other characters.  But as it is, say for the rare kill one, if I kill something on my hunter it does not count for my druid.  So while the achievement is shared, progress toward the achievement is not.  As such, my main is still my main and will remain on the island until all achievements are done, even if I end up missing a week of getting a 535 for an alt.

With as much reputation as I need to grind on my main I doubt my alts will ever see time there any time soon.  But I guess that is a good thing really because like I said, with the exception of picking up that one 535 piece each week, there really isn't anything on the island worth doing for alts.

I might have to kick myself in the ass and remind myself to at least get all my alts there once a week to grab a chest.  It would be a shame to waste a week not getting a 535 when it would be an extremely solid upgrade for my alts.  But I guess it all depends on how important said alt is.

Now to research on which chest is the easiest to get so that way I can do the march of the alts to the island, grab their chest, and get back to my main and his achievement hunting.  At least that is how I might do it.  Decisions decisions.


  1. If there's one non-truth truth in WoW that I stand sort of fully behind it's that if you want to force an upgrade in a slot, buy an intermediate upgrade right before the raid that can't be refunded. Use that to your advantage.

    So, if you want the tier chest, right before raid, create the i535 chest, upgrade it with VP, enchant it up and reforge... almost guaranteed the tier chest will drop. Consider the i535 an investment in your toon's future (and making for one less upgrade token to figure out what to do with).

    Plus, worst case, you've upped your iLvl a bit if the tier chest doesn't drop.

    Regarding 1 secondary stat vs 2, it's not like 1 stat will give you the same amount as 1 of the 2... you'll get more combined with 2 but it's much less than twice a much. Also, upgrading an i535 by 8 will get you a bigger incremental upgrade than upgrading an i522 by 8. So, I'd definitely make the 522->535 swap in almost any situation. 528TF->535 would be a tougher call but I'd still probably do that as a general plan.

    I think people did so much on the Island on day 1 that day 2 was a rest day for most... next week, I'd expect to see a bit MORE of things like celestial kills on Wed and Thu than this week. However long your server did Nalak kills for, I'd expect celestials to last at least that long. If they stopped on day 2, though, you're SOL, unless CR helps with that.

    I'd prefer that you could buy VP with coins... maybe 1000 coins per 100VP. The time investment to get 10K coins should be roughly the same (if not more) than farming VP by other methods so that would seem to be a fair valuation.

    My suggestion for your raid, use Flex as your 25-man progression model until you've cleared it. Ignore 25-man normal until you're completely finished with Flex. Yes, you might get a boss or two down on normal earlier than later but that'll just complicate things. Stick to Flex.

    Let your 10-man group worry about its own run. It'll be a while before the early bosses no longer have upgrades for you so it'll be a while before you'll want to be skipping bosses so that's an issue to worry about in a couple of months. For now, I'd keep the runs separate unless someone wants to bring their main to the 25Flex run, either for experience or gear or VP or whatever reason. If they want to run (competent) alts instead, that works too.

    And as a general note, nothing you can do for yourself gear-wise will get you to a boss any faster. One person simply doesn't have that much impact on 25-man (or even 10-man, really). I'm all for upgrades but don't expect them to result in any sort of progression benefit.

    As for the difficulty, I'm going to disagree with you on that, I thought the Flex tuning was pretty much perfect. A raid that was achieving success in ToT normal (say, got to the second half of the raid) should have a chance of clearing the first 4 Flex bosses on the first night. Might not, but has a chance. I suspect your issue with boss #3 was a strategic one more than an execution one, if you weren't clearing enough dps quickly enough you simply won't have enough dps to hit the timer unless they're all above average. Mind you, if half the dps were under 50K, execution could be a factor. :)

    1. Oh, and I don't recall seeing this in the patch notes, Disengage can now be used OUT OF COMBAT. REJOICE!!

      (I totally didn't discover that after walking off a cliff for absolutely no reason and saving my ass at the last second with an unexpected "holy crap, IT WORKED!" disengage after having failed with that exact same move every single time before in the history of EVER... as much as I died out there, THAT TIME I DIDN'T)

    2. Isn't that the best news of the patch? Our dps is below average, so they gave us fun toys to play with. I've been having fun running off cliffs (especially right past the entrance to SoO) with my raid group, and then DEing back on. :)


    3. You are so right. When I finally broke down and brought the shado-pan legs because nalak was not dropping my pants and in in raid tokens for hunters either guess what dropped the next day. The nalak ones. And guess what else? One dropped in the raid that very night as well and no one needed it so it went to an offspec. All because I bought the darn things the day before. You are so right.

      Regualar easy to find nalak kills lasted exactly 1 week. By week 2 the only groups were tuesday groups. Maybe, just maybe, if you got lucky you might find a group that was doing one otherwise, but the zone and trade spam for them was non-existent after tuesday by week 2 of him being out.

      If it were not for cross realm I don't think I would have ever done him outside of that first week and out guild kills before we walked into the 25 man.

      Thanks for the raid and gear advice. That sounds like solid advice. I am just worried that if all the mains raid 10s we will not have a team that could even finish flex. Unless some come of course. That would effectively kill the 25 man team all together.

      It was DPS and execution factor I believe.

    4. Yeah, I remember the disengage out of combat thing on the PTR, I think it was a bug, but I am happy it went live. I do not believe it was intended and I hope they do not remove it. No more fall deaths ever if you time it right.

      @ Delirium

      I've noticed a "minor" increase in my DPS with the patch. But I am in all normal, only one heroic, piece so that might be the difference as we scale rather badly.

      I think they just need to do some scaling of secondary stats to balance hunters at higher gear levels and that would fix the issue some.

    5. The disengage change was in the patch notes, so it's an official change.

    6. Cool. I did not notice they decided to keep it. I remember when it first appeared on the PTR it was not in the notes. They must have added it.

    7. @ Grumpy

      They changed the tooltip, I'm pretty sure it used to say "in combat" somehow. Now it doesn'.t


      You sure? I re-checked the patch notes before posting that and only saw mention of the charge system, not about it being useable out of combat. Might just have missed it, though. Still, it definitely seems to be intended. And very welcome.

      DPS-wise, from just normal playing, my hunter's dps seems to be up quite a bit. As a non-fan of Readiness I greatly approve of the current hunter status. I'll agree to disagree with anyone who thinks otherwise.

    8. Someone else made a comment on another post that they changed it to be in the patch notes, so I am sure it is intended now. That is nice. Nothing huge, but nice.

      I like the even flow of the DPS a little more now. Instead of bursting at 400K and leveling off at 200K I burst at 300K and level off at 220K.

      So I saw a small buff, and a more even flow of ability. It always sucked seeing those huge numbers only to know that the entire fight they were going to drop like a rock.

  2. Hey, I can't remember what post's comment section this came up, but I have good news, possibly. I was running some alts on the timeless isle, and my druid died on one of the rares, instead of respawning at the graveyard, I ran back to my body. The rare was long dead by the time I got back, I even had a 30 sec rez timer, so once I was back I couldn't rez for a little bit. But I could loot.

    Any chance when you were unable to loot, you were doing the quick rez at the graveyard?


    1. Quite possible. I usually try to run out of the graveyard but sometimes you pop up with 1 second and you are stuck there.

      That could be the reason. I'll always try to run back now. Thanks for the tip.

    2. The one time I had a looting issue after death I ran back to my body first so the instant rez isn't the only cause of that issue.

      One other loot-related issue, I killed the big, extra-rare rock dude early last night but was unable to loot it (as were a bunch of folks in General, apparently). Some were able to loot and were basically calling the rest of us noobs, some of us couldn't loot (various issues... nothing happening when we clicked, we'd crouch down but nothing after that, or get "can't loot that" or "no permission" or whatever that error was, etc). Some players had the loot automatically show up in their chat/inventory without even having to click (which I've had happen once or twice now, too, but definitely not consistently and didn't happen that time). I eventually gave up on looting him, put in a brief bug report and moved on to other things. A while later (maybe 20 minutes) I was circling back through that area again and noticed he was still there, and still sparkling. Tried looting him again, this time it worked. No clue why.

      So, there seem to be various looting issues happening and it seems that Blizzard may be trying to improve the looting experience when 75 players kill 1 mob to get around the "object is busy" errors and people spam-clicking, which can't be good for server performance. Loot automatically showing up in chat/inventory would be a welcome change for me. Hopefully they'll come up with something that works and everything will be better in a few days.

    3. I think one of the bugs has to do with a raid. I was in a flex run wednesday and after the run we all dropped group. Then reassembled 3 people, in party, not raid, and we could not loot coins or the rare we killed. As if it still considered us as in a group.

      Not sure if that was an isolated bug or not but we all logged out and back in and it was fine.

      So if you have that problem, it might, just might, be because you were in a raid group. Or if anything else, logging out and back in can help.

      Even one mobs that was not sparkling to me was sparkling to me once I logged out and back in.

      I would not be surprised if the bugs like this have something to do with the connected realms.

  3. There's one chest that has a guaranteed drop of the thingie that makes an item into 535. It's in a courtyard off to the side from the big courtyard that Ordos lives in. You have to have a cloak to get into the Ordos courtyard BUT you don't need one to get to that chest.

    We have a warlock with the legendary cloak. We plan to have a chest-opening party - 4 or 5 of us battle our way to the chest, put up a portal, and spend an evening summoning people's alts to the chest to grab their single guaranteed 535 upgrade. I've got 5 90s so this will give me 5 good pieces for the alt I want to upgrade.

    We haven't figured out if you can cross-realm this yet. If you can, we expect to have lots and lots of fun.

    1. Yeah, that is where I farm rep, those are easy to kill, give a lot of rep and respawn fast. Not to mention not a soul is ever there. People must love that I hang out there and keep it clear all the time because they can all just walk in and loot their chest and come back out.

      I love that summon idea, I have to do that for people in my guild, thanks for the idea.

      Yes, you can cross realm the island. But if they already got the chest on their realm it should not (might but should not) allow them to loot it on yours.