Nightmare Dragons World Boss Strat: Lethon

Lethon is one of the 4 Dragons of Nightmare available in WoW Classic in phase 4 which went live on April 15th 2020.

As with other world bosses in WoW Classic, this boss will spawn at a random time between 2 to 4 days since it was last killed. World bosses spawn out in the world, so they can only be killed and looted once per spawn. The loot will go to the first person or raid that hits the boss. You can tell if you have the tag, and will get the loot, if the boss’s health bar is red. If the health bar is grey it will not be your loot.

Where is Lethon Located in WoW Classic

There are four portals out in the world where Lethon can randomly spawn. All of the Dragons of Nightmare will spawn at the same time and one at each portal, although the window that they will spawn is over at 48 hour period of time. The spawn locations are Duskwood in the Twilight Grove, Hinterlands in Seradane, Feralas in the Dream Bough and Ashenvale in the Bough Shadow.

How to Fight Lethon in WoW Classic

Lethon is a raid boss which will need between 15 and 40 players to defeat, depending on the skill and gear of those participating. Similar to Onyxia and other dragons, you will position the tank away from the rest of the raid. The healers and damage dealing players will be grouped on one side of the boss avoiding the tail and the head. 

Fighting Lethon as a Tank

  • 2-3 Tanks are needed or 1 Tank with +200 Nature resistance.
  • Tank the boss facing away from the raid.  All players that are not currently tanking should stand on one side of the boss to avoid the Noxious Breath and the Tail Sweep.
  • Tanks will switch at 3 stacks of Noxious Breath. If using a NR geared tank, the debuff should be resisted and not tank swap is necessary.
  • Be sure to front load high threat abilities early in your tank swap.  As you get additional stacks of the Noxious Breath debuff, you ability to generate threat will suffer.
  • You will want to keep track of the number of times Shadow Bolt Whirl has been cast and after 4 casts you will want to run through the boss to flip him around so the bolts do not hit your raid.
  • DON’T DIE! If you die you get a debuff that prevents you from making further lasting contributions to the fight.
  • BONUS: You can attempt to use the Dragon’s tail to knock those that are asleep out of the Dream Fog.

Fighting Lethon as Damage

  • Avoid the front and back of the Dragon and stand in the safer position to the boss’s side.
  • Avoid Dream Fog which looks like clouds of gas moving slowly around the area. 
  • When Lethon’s health reaches 75%, 50% and 25% everyone in the raid will be effected by Draw Spirit. As the bosses health approaches each of these thresholds you will want to make sure that you are as far away as possible. Once the stun wears off, use your quick and instant abilities to kill as many shades as possible.
  • DON’T DIE! If you die you get a debuff that prevents you from making further lasting contributions to the fight.

Fighting Lethon as a Healer

  • When Lethon’s health reaches 75%, 50% and 25% everyone in the raid will be effected by Draw Spirit. As the bosses health approaches each of these thresholds you will want to make sure that you are as far away as possible. Once the stun wears off, use your quick and instant abilities to help kill the shades.  
  • Avoid the front and back of the Dragon and stand in the safer position to the boss’s side.
  • Avoid Dream Fog which looks like clouds of gas moving slowly around the area. 
  • If you run out of mana you can run out of range of the boss and drink to full.
  • DON’T DIE! If you die you get a debuff that prevents you from making further lasting contributions to the fight.

List of Lethon Abilities in WoW Classic

Noxious Breath – Frontal cone breath that applies a stacking debuff to those that are hit. Ideally, only your tanks should be getting hit by this. For each stack of the debuff, the cooldowns on all abilities are increased by 10 seconds..

Dream Fog – Two clouds will be up at a time and will move around the boss for the duration of the fight. You will have 10 seconds from the time the cloud spawns to get out of it, after that it will put anyone caught in the cloud to sleep.  

Tail Sweep – Inflicts 600 to 1000 damage on enemies in a 30 radius cone behind the dragon, knocking them back. Avoiding the tail is even more important on these 

Mark of Nature – Players kill by nightmare dragons gain a 15-minute debuff which essentially takes the player out of the fight for the duration of this debuff due to Aura of Nature

Aura of Nature – If a player with Mark of Nature comes within 100 yards of the boss, this will cause the player to enter into an undispellable sleep for 2 minutes.

Shadow Bolt Whirl – This is a set of shadow bolts that will only be cast on one side of him at a time. He will cast this spell 4 times and then switch to the casting from the other side of his body.

Draw Spirit – Each player within 100 yards of Lethon will be stunned for 5 seconds and a Spirit Shade will spawn from their location and start walking towards Lethon. If a Spirit Shade reaches Lethon it will heal him for 1% of his life. The shades can not be hit with AOE abilities but only have around 500 health. They also walk at a fast pace toward the boss once they are spawned.

Want to know more about Lethon’s story? Head over to the WoWWiki to learn the lore

Nightmare Dragons World Boss Strat: Emeriss

Emeriss is one of the 4 Dragons of Nightmare available in WoW Classic in phase 4 which went live on April 15th 2020.  

As with other world bosses in WoW Classic, this boss will spawn at a random time between 2 to 4 days since it was last killed. World bosses spawn out in the world, so they can only be killed and looted once per spawn. The loot will go to the first person or raid that hits the boss. You can tell if you have the tag, and will get the loot, if the boss’s health bar is red. If the health bar is grey it will not be your loot.

Where is Emeriss Located in WoW Classic

There are four portals out in the world where Emeriss can randomly spawn. All of the Dragons of Nightmare will spawn at the same time and one at each portal, although the window that they will spawn is over at 48 hour period of time.

Duskwood in the Twilight Grove, Hinterlands in Seradane, Feralas in the Dream Bough and Ashenvale in the Bough Shadow

How to Fight Emeriss in WoW Classic

Emeriss is a raid boss which will need between 25 and 40 players to defeat, depending on the skill and gear of those participating. Similar to Onyxia and other dragons, you will position the tank away from the rest of the raid. The healers and damage dealing players will be on either side of the boss avoiding the tail and the head.

This fight is extremely susceptible to griefing from both the opposite faction and your own. For each death that occurs on this fight a mushroom will spawn causing damage to be dealt to those around the mushroom. I’ve seen players try to disrupt a groups fight by diving head first into the melee group or on the tanks.

Fighting Emeriss as a Tank

  • 2-3 Tanks are needed or 1 Tank with +200 Nature resistance.
  • Tank the boss facing away from the raid.  All players that are not currently tanking should stand on either side of the boss to avoid the Noxious Breath and the Tail Sweep.
  • Tanks will switch at 3 stacks of Noxious Breath. If using a NR geared tank, the debuff should be resisted and not tank swap is necessary.
  • Be sure to front load high threat abilities early in your tank swap.  As you get additional stacks of the Noxious Breath debuff, your ability to generate threat will suffer. Each rank of your abilities will be on a different extended cooldown so once you get high stacks you can go through all the different ranks of your abilities.
  • Be mindful of where the Dream Fog is at all times and also if there are a large number of Putrid Mushrooms in the area. If avoiding the Putrid Mushrooms is becoming unmanageable for your raid you should move to a more clear area.
  • DON’T DIE! If you die, not only do you spawn as a mushroom and cause issues for your raid, but you get a debuff that prevents you from making further lasting contributions to the fight.
  • BONUS: You can attempt to use the Dragon’s tail to knock those that are asleep out of the Dream Fog.

Fighting Emeriss as Damage

  • Avoid the front and back of the Dragon and stand in the safer position to the boss’s side.
  • Avoid Dream Fog which looks like clouds of gas moving slowly around the area. 
  • When Emeriss’s health reaches 75%, 50% and 25% he puts the non dispellable damage over time (DOT), Corruption of the Earth on everyone in 100 yards. Save your health potions, shadow protection potions, immunity cooldowns and bandages.  If you are able to heal, just a little bit it could save you on this fight.
  • Watch out for Putrid Mushrooms near you, they do damage to nearby players.
  • DON’T DIE! If you die, not only do you spawn as a mushroom and cause issues for your raid, but you get a debuff that prevents you from making further lasting contributions to the fight.

Fighting Emeriss as a Healer

  • Assign healers to each group in your raid for Corruption of the Earth which goes out  when Emeriss’s health reaches 75%, 50% and 25%.  Make sure your healers are assigned in such a way where each person in the raid receives at least one heal within 10 seconds.
  • Paladins and Priests – dispel/purge Volatile Infection from players as they get it
  • Avoid the front and back of the Dragon and stand in the safer position to the boss’s side.
  • Avoid Dream Fog which looks like clouds of gas moving slowly around the area. 
  • Watch out for Putrid Mushrooms near you, they do damage to nearby players
  • DON’T DIE! If you die, not only do you spawn as a mushroom and cause issues for your raid, but you get a debuff that prevents you from making further lasting contributions to the fight.
  • If you run out of mana you can run out of range of the boss and drink to full. Just be aware of each of the 25% health thresholds as you will want to be able to help.

List of Emeriss Abilities in WoW Classic

Noxious Breath – Frontal cone breath that applies a stacking debuff to those that are hit. Ideally, only your tanks should be getting hit by this. For each stack of the debuff, the cooldowns on all abilities are increased by 10 seconds..

Dream Fog – Two clouds will be up at a time and will move around the boss for the duration of the fight. You will have 10 seconds from the time the cloud spawns to get out of it, after that it will put anyone caught in the cloud to sleep.  

Tail Sweep – Inflicts 600 to 1000 damage on enemies in a 30 radius cone behind the dragon, knocking them back. Avoiding the tail is even more important on these 

Mark of Nature – Players kill by nightmare dragons gain a 15-minute debuff which essentially takes the player out of the fight for the duration of this debuff due to Aura of Nature

Aura of Nature – If a player with Mark of Nature comes within 100 yards of the boss, this will cause the player to enter into an undispellable sleep for 2 minutes.

Volatile Infection – A dispellable disease that is cast on a random player within 100 yards of the boss.  This lasts for 2 minutes and causes 875 to 1125 nature damage to the player and nearby allies every 5 seconds. 

Corruption of the Earth – Affects all players within 100 yards. 10 second Shadow DoT that deals 20% of the player’s max health every 2 seconds. It cannot be dispelled and has a 100 yard range.

Putrid Mushroom – When a player dies, a Putrid Mushroom spawns at their corpse. This deals 600 Nature damage per second to any surrounding player.

Want to know more about Emeriss’s story? Head over to the WoWWiki to learn the lore

Project TBC (part 2): WoW Level Locking at 70 to play TBC

Project TBC is a community driven challenge in World of Warcraft where participants will level up to 70 and then lock their XP.  You can read more about Project TBC in one of  my recent posts here

What Have I Been Doing in Game?

I got my Paladin to level 70 and locked my XP and then began to work on this character’s “modified endgame”. In our group, we choose to not adhere to the typical hardcore restrictions that usually goes along with these types of projects. The goal was not to try to recreate an authentic experience. We just wanted to run around and do the raids!

The main self-imposed restrictions were that we were to level authentically, not using high level alts to assist with leveling, and we were restricted to the classes that were available during TBC time.  We had a couple people who didn’t really listen and rolled up with monks in our first raid, but I don’t think anyone was mad about it. 

Getting Geared up

Since we are not the first group of people to do this type of level locking challenge, there were a lot of good resources out on the web where people had already done the theorycrafting to determine what you should be doing.  Keep in mind the current version of World of Warcraft may still look like your typical Burning Crusade experience, but the character design and gearing is completely different. 

It was determined that heroic blue gear was superior to some of the earlier raid epics. I was able to find a very thorough list of best in slot gear if our goal is to over power our characters and smash some dragons.

Level 70 BIS Gear List – https://xpoff.com/threads/level-70-pve-bis-gear-compendium.72217/

How to twink at level 70 – https://xpoff.com/threads/70-pve-guide.71696/

Farming for Ourselves

One of the more challenging parts of playing in old content is how little of the older trade materials are available.  If you want the raw materials to craft anything you will likely need to farm them yourself. I spent several hours on Sunday farming enough herbs to make a 100 haste potions and I don’t even know how long I should expect those to last.

Even if there is the odd item that you can use on the auction house, it is typically way overpriced due to low supply and sporadic need.

At least professions are structured in a way that I am able to pick up herbalism and mining and immediately start collecting what I need. I can just as easily drop one of these professions once I have a good stockpile of items and pick up enchanting to turn all my unneeded gear into enchanting materials for gear enhancements.

Getting Raid Ready

The first hurdle is getting enough people interested in playing through this content.  Next you need to do the legwork to have an acceptable level of gear and other preparations done.  My very first raid with my Paladin was done just hours after I had hit level 70. I barely knew what I was doing and ended up having some performance issues due to not researching my class prior to our raid.

Goals For This Week

  • Continue to farm the remaining blue items I need from dungeons
  • Gem and enchant my gear
  • Get a proper transmog – my outfit is scary

Project TBC: WoW Level Locking at 70 to play SSC/TK/BT/SW

A few nights a guildmate of mine announced that he was starting a new adventure and invited everyone in our guild to come along. We were going to take advantage of this small lull in content to do something out of the ordinary. 

A few of us met while playing on a WoW private server based on the Burning Crusade expansions.  So it seemed only fitting with all of the buzz around Blizzard’s possible plans for a Classic TBC, that we would go revisit some of that old content.

What is Project TBC

My guild all rolled ALLIANCE on SISTER OF ELUNE RP realm. We will level to 70 and lock our xp and we’ll be doing heroics and TBC raids. 

What are the Rules?

Any race including allied races, no DKs and no Monks. We are only allowed to use enchants/profession perks/gems/gear of TBC era. We are allowed to use Heirlooms/xp pots to level fast. We are not using mains to boost gear at 70 since this defeats the purpose of the project but we might change this rule in case we need a lot more gear to clear the 25 mans.

How do I lock my level once I reach level 70?

To keep your character from leveling higher, follow these steps:

For the Horde faction:

  1. Go to the Hall of the Brave, Valley of Honor in Orgrimmar.
  2. Look for and talk to Slahtz.
  3. For 10g he will put a hold on all experience points earned.
  4. You can enable your experience again by seeing Slahtz and paying another 10g.

For the Alliance faction:

  1. Go to the War Room, Stormwind Keep in Stormwind City.
  2. Look for and talk to Alliance Behsten.
  3. For 10g he will put a hold on all experience points earned.
  4. You can enable your experience again by seeing Behsten and paying another 10g .

Are there people that actually play like this?

There are a whole lot of people that choose to level lock at certain expansions.  Here is a list of some character profiles that are locked at 70. Here is a huge list of characters locked at level 70.  There are a lot of communities that hold level specific events for this type of play.

Current Goals

I’ve decided to play a Paladin and I am currently level 48 and hope to be 70 later today. We have about 15 people at level 70 in my guild and 35 total.  My guild was scheduled to do Kara and Gruul last night. To all that are participating: Happy leveling!

A Month of Writing EVERY Day

The Birth of Diary of a Guild Leader

Two and a half years ago I started this blog in conjunction with a writing challenge called Blaugust. This wasn’t my first blog and definitely won’t be my last. I enjoy engaging with a number of hobbies beyond just gaming and love writing about them.

I did well in that very first challenge, wracking up a total post count of 24 for the month. This writing streak continued through the end of the year at a rate of roughly one post per week. Eventually I was down to about 1 or 2 posts per month which was me writing only when I REALLY wanted too.

Reinvigorated to Write and Taking a New Path

At the start of 2020 I started a new blog around my neurotic organizing habits and wrote like crazy for 2 months. When March came, work and life got crazy and I all but stopped writing.

We spent almost 4 years saving aggressively for down-payment on our next home. The beginning of March we closed on our new house and moved. Two weeks later my employer announced some pretty steep pay cuts at the same time I took on a new freelance writing job. Everything seemed to be pushing me in this new direction and I decided to walk away from the full time job in order to pursue my passion projects.

Blapril Happened Just at the Right Time

Although I really wanted to participate in Blaugust in 2019, I simply did not have the time. Writing 30 posts in a month is a huge commitment. I saw that the Blaugust community was doing an impromptu April version of the challenge.

This seemed like Blapril was meant for me and came at the right moment.

So far, I managed to get a few posts out. I did need to wrap up some work related items before I was able to completely pack up that phase of my life.

What is Blapril/Blaugust

Blaugust is a blogging event that challenges us to write and post every day during the month. We have an active community on discord where we share our experiences, ask for help from the more experienced writers and commiserate when pumping out content gets tough.

You can read more about Blaugust over at Tales of the Aggronaut.

Here is a list of Blapril 2020 participants

Full disclosure, I totally stole this list from Syp, thanks for putting this together!

I know I’m a little late to the party, but I want to wish everyone good luck and happy blogging!

MMOs: Making Friends, Losing Friends

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to tell the story, but it came to me as I was getting this morning. I have made a lot of friends over the years playing MMOs.  I even met my husband during a Serpent Shrine Cavern raid and that seems like a lifetime ago.  

Today I’m going to tell you the story of a long time friend that I made in game, who would eventually turn on me. 

Fast Friends and how we came to be guild-mates

We were about halfway through the Burning Crusade expansion in World of Warcraft and my guild had just dealt with a little bit of drama and that falling apart due to our leadership being poached away. WoW was a huge part of my life at the time, the way that my guild was decimated made me so angry. I wasn’t ready to stop raiding the high level content, so it was time to find a new guild.

I had a friend who was in the best guild on my server and although we never played together we had chatted quite a bit. So when my friend left for a new server I noticed his absence and reached out. He had decided that he wanted to play a different specialization that his guild did not approve of so he had left to join one of the top guilds in the US.

We kept in touch for a long time and when my guild had collapsed into a fiery heap of ash, he was one of the first people I told.

“Join my guild” he said to me, “we are losing our holy priests soon.”  At the time, joining one of the best guilds in the world was a little bit intimidating. My friend had confidence in my abilities, but looking back maybe what he wanted more, was a friendly face in his guild.  

A New Server and a Fresh Start

It was a big step switching servers, I would be leaving my friends behind, and starting fresh. My first week playing with the new guild was a bit shakey, but I somehow lived up to expectations.  I was able to perform and more importantly, I was able to show up consistently on our 30 hour week schedule. Yes, we raided a lot. 

Things in game we’re going great, which is what I needed at the time because in my real life they weren’t going so hot.  I made a lot of good friends in that guild but ended up losing my friend who had pulled me in.

How Our Friendship Went from Flourishing to Failure

I remember the events clearly that led up to our falling out he had wanted to show me how a priest could solo run through Auchenai Crypts.  I’ve never tried to solo dungeons before and skipping packs while using mind soothe as a priest was something that was new to me so naturally, I sucked at it and killed us both. We were both hanging out on a voice chat and after I had to run back maybe the third time he left the voice channel without saying a word and left the dungeon and put me on ignore in game. This is the World of Warcraft equivalent to being ditched.

Over the next couple of weeks, it became clear that this wasn’t just a momentary fight. Not only did he mute me on voice chat, ignore me and game but he also started bad mouthing me to the other players in our guild.  

When that wasn’t enough, he started using a macro on all of his abilities in order to remove my heals from his character. At first I didn’t understand what was going on until I talked it through with some of the other players in my guild.  He had been asking around if there was a way to remove renews from his character.

Our Fight Went from Personal to Guild Drama

At this point more people knew about are falling out and our guild leader started giving my friend, or at this point my ex-friend hard time for being so petty.  It wasn’t long until my ex-friend left the guild, chasing after bigger and better glory. Or maybe it was just to get away from all the drama that our failed friendship was causing.

In Game Friends ARE Real Friends

This falling out had left me devastated and it was hard to admit or even talk about. At the time having online friends was considered taboo or weird because every parent taught their kid was going to be the victim of a sexual predator. Most people couldn’t understand but a bunch of 20-year-olds could get together and kill dragons and make real friendships.

In MMOs I’ve made real, deep, lasting friendships that are really important to me.  Losing that friend hurt a lot, but at the same time, I came to realize that it wasn’t always my fault if things didn’t work out.  It takes two people to make a friendship work.

WoW Classic Loot Seeds, Thunderfury Farming and wearing that Tinfoil Hat

It’s just another night clearing Molten Bore for the zillionth time. While a lot of fresh toons are getting some much needed upgrades, those of us MC veterans are barely staying awake. Another week without that [Binding] we need? Yea, that’s what it looks like.

Tinfoil Hat

Last night as we were clearing through Molten Core for the 20-something time. Most of use have started to dabble in good luck rituals. We want to influence the game and what kind of loot we will get.

As of right now we have 3 separate 40-man teams clearing raids and have yet to build our first Thunderfury. So, like any well meaning, superstitious, loot hungry gamers, we keep trying different things until we find some sort of action that gives us the items we need. In gaming this is commonly refereed to as wearing a “tin foil hat.”

We have been extremely unlucky with certain items but seem to get a lot of the same ones every week. Why is this?

Raiding and Loot Seeds

It is a commonly held belief that all of the loot drops for a raid or dungeon are generated as soon as the first person in your group zones in. This is referred to “loot seeding.”

The first time I heard about loot seeds was back in Black Temple times when we were hoping for the legendary weapons the Warglaives of Azzinoth. My guild even went as far as creating a new guild with a similar name to a guild on our server that had seen a lot of warglaive drops.

For the past couple of months we have been paying attention to who “seeds” our raids. I will say that we have occasionally seen loot that we haven’t seen in a while but as of today, still no Thunderfury in our guild.

So what do we do now?

The loot we want is not dropping so we set off to do the only logical thing that we could think of, and that was to experiment. Each of us began to develop complex rituals that would surely be repeated each time we saw that much sought after item drop.

  1. Wearing my same “raider underwear” – done
  2. Completed my rituals in game – done
  3. Told a terrible Dad joke over discord – done

We say our prayers to the RNG loot gods and off we go!

Does it work?

It is WAY to soon to tell. Unlike cheering on your favorite sports team to a W or L, getting that loot to drop is elusive. That 1 in 10 chance to get the [thing] you need can seem out of reach when you haven’t seen it once in the 20 times that you’ve cleared the raid.

Of course, that is all besides the point and we will keep dreaming and hoping for that little orange binding to drop and look forward to our happy day of legendary weapon creation.

WoW Classic raiding front loading efforts and burnout

Welcome to 15 years ago! You were a little bit younger and had a lot going on. You played the original version of World of Warcraft, or this is your very first time trying out the game with the launch of WoW Classic.

A lot of MMO concepts that we were first introduced to back then are now common place. Purple gear is better than blue, which is better than green.

I have fond memories of leveling up in Azeroth with my friends/co-workers at Best Buy. As we were exploring the world we stood outside of Orgrimmar, waiting for the zeppelin.

We all chattered away on Ventrilo when one of my friends excitedly pointed out a Troll Mage standing next to us. “Look at his purples!” he said.

At this point in the game I had no idea what purple gear meant and how much time and effort was involved in obtaining it.

How WoW Classic is different from later iterations

Raiding in World of Warcraft was originally the hardest form of content to complete. Getting 40 people to work together and perform the steps necessary to kill a raid boss was a huge challenge 15 years ago.

Going back to WoW Classic today is much different. Players that have played MMOs know what is expected of them. You have less people deviating from the plan because they know in general that if they follow instructions, the boss will die and loot will drop.

Addons were not the norm back then

For those that don’t know what an addon is: many MMOs such as World of Warcraft allow their game to be modified by player built programs that run inside the game. These are commonly referred to as addons or mods.

I lead my first guild 8 years ago and the player mentality has shifted so much since then. I used to argue with the players that were anti-addon because they felt that the game was more challenging that way. Fast forward to today where raiding times and announcements of key abilities is built into the base game.

Players now are much more comfortable and more likely to use raiding addons. I also thing the average player has been trained to NOT stand in fire which is a good thing for my healer’s mana bar.

Mechanics are much easier

The raiding scene in many games has changed to one of increased challenge. We have more visual ques to tell us that something is going to happen. We have different tasks for different roles beyond just the normal – tank/dps/heal and don’t stand in fire.

In WoW Classic we are taken back to a time when the challenge was more straight forward. There were 1 or 2 main mechanics in a fight and if you stood where you needed to, or ran out when you were the bomb, everything was great!

Why we feel like we need to clear everything, EVERY WEEK

Obtaining power in WoW Classic is much different from current day MMOs. Its slower, there are fewer catch up opportunities, and upgrades can sometimes be rare.

For the hardcore theory crafters, there are many blue dungeon items that are considered to be better than many of the raiding purple items. Of course this is only a small amount of items.

The purple items that drop in the raids are leaps and bounds ahead of blue items that you will get out of dungeons. Not only are the main stats like stamina, intellect, strength and agility far greater, but you also start to see an increase in powerful secondary stats like hit rating, +healing and +damage modifiers.

For this reason guilds will continue to run past raids even after there is new content to run. Currently we clear Blackwing Lair and then go back and do Molten Core. There are a few large upgrades in Molten Core for a lot of our players and its an easy way to quickly gear up our new players.

Front loading vs. Early Burnout

My guild has been discussing ways to keep our players engaged.

Always raiding

As more and more raid content comes out we have the urge to do it all. This is going to be less realistic as time goes on. Once the gates of Ahn’Qiraj are openned we will have a total of 6 different raids to do, 3 of which will reset more often than once a week.

When I first started raiding 15 years ago, it was very common in the guilds that I played in to do the raid content 4 or 5 nights a week. Now, most players do not have the time or desire to play so much. There is a lot of other fun things to do in the game and playing the same raid fights over and over, week after week can get a bit soul sucking.

Also if we are always raiding when are we supposed to prepare for our raids with the recommended consumables?

Preparing for upcoming patches

Earlier this month, my guild decided to launch a campaign to begin gathering the materials needed for opening the gates of Ahn’Qiraj. Ahn’Qiraj is the next big raid patch and requires the entire server to participate in a War Effort which involves gathering materials such as different kinds of bandages and various other trade goods.

If we are able to stock pile at least some of the materials, this will put us in a good position when it comes time for the war effort. Ideally by spending our time now working towards this goal we will save some of our players from getting sick of playing so much, or at least that’s the hope.

Raiding on multiple characters

Since my guild runs 3 different raid teams, we have our schedule set up so that these groups do not overlap. This way if a player has more than one character at max level, they are able to participate in multiple raid teams.

This is an easy way to jump from a 2 night a week raid schedule to 4 nights. There have been the rare player that even attempted to play on all 3 raid teams, which means raiding almost every single night of the week without a break.

I think it’s fun to play a different character occasionally but I also know how easy it is to get tired of playing and want to quit. Once I commit to a team I do my very best to never miss a night of raiding. I don’t want to over extend myself since I am definitely an all or nothing type of player.

For me I want to make sure I’m playing and keeping the long term goals in mind. WoW Classic is a game and should be fun to play, once it starts getting so stressful that you can’t see a way to get back to having fun, this is when you lose players.

How I play MMOs: My cyclical pattern

I’ve been obsessed with MMOs for almost as long as they have been a genre. Over the years I have recognized a pattern in myself.

Short periods of playing LOT – normally 30 to 60 days

The No-life-wish-i-had-a-minifridge-and-also-a-poop-bucket-for-my-computer-desk phase. I play a LOT when a new game is launched or a new expansion is released. I love how active the game is during times of launch and how helpful other players can be when you’re new.

When WoW Classic was released I played about 30 hours per week and that is in addition to my 50 hours spent at work. I can handle these sprints every once in a while and they’re fun!

Normal periods – normally several months at a time

This is the time when I settle into my general routine of playing the raid content and doing 1 or 2 nights a week of play in the game. On non-raid nights I’ll level alts or run dungeons with my guild mates. I would say this type of gaming is normal in my life and kind of my baseline.

IRL Busy, come back later – normally a week or two at a time

I will really scale back my play when I have a lot of things going on in my real life. Sometimes I need to be an adult and take care of things outside of my virtual world.

Most recently, we bought a house and we had to move. I’ve also had to scale back my gaming time when starting a new job or if I get deep into a hobby.

WTF I quit – Once every few years

I completely quit playing the MMO I was into a handful of times. I normally play the first two raid tiers in World of Warcraft and then all my friends stop playing and I quit.

I also quit playing other games, once recruitment dried up – if I was guild leading.

Dealing with Burnout

It is so easy to burn out when you have a strict schedule to adhere to in game. I try my best to allow both myself and the people I play with breaks. This means trying to keep the number of people on our team at a good level so that every once in a while someone can sit out and not lose progress (dkp in our guild).

Taking Breaks

Its ok if every once in a while you take some time away from the game. A best practice is to let your guild know. This is common courtesy and no one wants to be ghosted.

Playing Other Games

A change of virtual scenery can often improve my mood and reignite why I love the genre. I try to play some of the new free games in the Epic store. Or I will start digging into my backlog of games that I bought on steam sales.

Learning to say no

If your guild is requiring an activity that you find unpleasant, don’t just suck it up for the good of the team. You need to put your own enjoyment first. If your goals in game don’t align with those of your guild, maybe it’s time to find a new guild anyway.

How to prepare for WoW Classic Zul’Gurub patch 1.7 (phase 4)

UPDATE: ZUL’GURUB OPENS APRIL 15 AT 3PM PDT you can read more info in this blue post here.

Zul’Gurub will always have a place in my heart. It was were I experienced raiding for the first time and where I got my first purple item. It is my most anticipated patch of WoW Classic and I can’t wait!

I felt a little bit under prepared when BWL was released a couple months ago. So for this patch I’m getting my research down on paper to help those who are interested prepare for an exciting time of killing trolls in the jungle.

Zul’Gurub is scheduled to release sometime in April 2020. So the time to prepare is NOW.

In this post I’ll go over a few things from a planning perspective and a little bit of a guild leadership perspective. I will be covering:

  1. What materials do I need before the patch goes live?
  2. How a guild leader should handle those first bijous and coins
  3. Zandalar Tribe Reputation Grind Calculations
  4. Where is Zul’Gurub the related quests NPCs

Unlike Blackwing Lair, there will be a lot more crafted items introduced in this patch as well as a new reputation with a complex turn in system. I get a little bit deep into the numbers here so feel free to skip ahead if you don’t care about my super fancy napkin math.

1. What materials do I need before the patch goes live?

First you will need to prepare IRL for the upcoming patch. Get plenty of rest the days leading up to the new raid content and be sure to keep your drink fridge well stocked and your poop socks ready.

But seriously folks! We need to talk about getting prepared IN GAME!

If you are a damage focused caster the Bloodvine Garb will be a huge progressive increase for your character. These three pieces give you a total of 35 intellect, 83 spell power, 4% chance to hit with spells and 2% critical strike chance.

This set is an easy way to gear up a caster that is currently under-geared and serves as a good catch up set for moving on to the harder raids. It is arguably many casters best in slot pieces for some time.

Be aware that while anyone can wear this set, you must be a level 300 tailor to get the set bonus. Make sure you level your tailor profession before you get these pieces made to take advantage of the set bonus.

Bloodvine Garb Total Materials

ItemTotalBloodvine BootsBloodvine LeggingsBloodvine Vest
Mooncloth10343
Ironweb Spider Silk8422
Bolt of Runecloth12444
Powerful Mojo844
Bloodvine12345
Enchanted Leather44
Total materials needed for your full Bloodvine Garb set

Herbs to stock pile before ZG comes out

Anytime there are new alchemy items introduced in a patch those first few that can craft the items make a killing in the Auction House. Here are the new recipes set to release. I would recommend grabbing these herbs when you can.

  • Living Action Potion: 2 Icecap, 2 Mountain Silversage, 2 Heart of the Wild
  • Mageblood Potion: 1 Dreamfoil, 2 Plaguebloom
  • Greater Dreamless Sleep: 2 Dreamfoil, 1 Golden Sansam
  • Major Troll’s Blood: 1 Gromsblood, 2 Plaguebloom

2. How a guild leader should handle those first bijous and coins

You will want to focus your efforts for Zandalar Tribe reputation so that you can quickly get some of the new crafted items. Be sure to prioritize these reputation items to your guild officers or other loyal guild members.

Zandalar Tribe Reputation Priorities:

  1. Tailor – Revered
    • Bloodvine Vest – Revered
    • Bloodvine Leggings – Honored
    • Bloodvine Boots – Friendly
  2. Alchemist – Exalted
    • Living Action Potion – Exalted
    • Mageblood Potion – Revered
    • Major Troll’s Blood Potion – Honored
    • Greater Dreamless Sleep – Friendly

Why wouldn’t I prioritize those first few weeks of reputation turn in to the other crafters?

  • Blacksmith – The darksoul set offers some +hit heavy items if you need a crafted set as a melee dps you would be better off using the Devilsaur armor
  • Engineer – While the helm they can make would be a good upgrade for some, this is only one item slot and only engineers can use it.
  • Leatherworker – The Primal Batskin set is a promising set. The reason this profession didn’t get priority is how the materials are obtained. Primal Bat Leather has a 54% drop rate from the bat boss. Each crafted item takes between 8 and 14 leather to make. So there is no need to rush to make this set because you’ll be farming the bat boss for a while.
  • Enchanter – If you thought that weapon oil recipes would go live with ZG because they’re part of the ZG rep vendor, you would be wrong. I know I was. Enchanters get nothing of substance in this patch.

Keep in mind that if you run Zul’Gurub on a regular basis you will eventually get your exalted reputation. If you have the gamer fortitude you can also run additional runs outside your normal raid schedule since the raid resets every 3 days. This will increase your reputation gains even faster.

3. Zandalar Tribe Repuation Grind Calculations

Reputation with the Zandalar Tribe is needed for several items including crafting patterns. Here is some basic napkin math on how to get to your desired reputation level.

First lets look at how many points are needed for each reputation level. All players will start at 0/3000 Neutral.

Neutral to Friendly: 3,000 points 
Friendly to Honored: 6,000 points 
Honored to Revered: 12,000 points 
Revered to Exalted: 21,000 points

A Collection of Heads +200 to +500 reputation

The amount of rep for this quest is not confirmed since there is conflicting information between player submitted comments and wowhead published numbers.

This is the first step on your way to building reputation with the Zandalar Tribe. The quest requires 5 heads off any of the High Priests. The item is not specific to each high priest so you can kill a high priest multiple times over a number of raid resets and complete this quest.

Killing Trash and bosses reputation +2400 to +3000 reputation

Participating in the Zul’Gurub raid will be the primary way for players to gain reputation with the Zandalar Tribe. It will take 7 or 8 completions of the raid to get to Revered reputation which will allow the crafters to pick up all their patterns. All except alchemists who must grind up to exalted for their Living Action Potion recipe.

Luckily (or unluckily for those of us with too much to do and not enough time) Zul’Gurub is on a 3 day reset. This means that you can complete this raid every 3 days. Those 7 or 8 raids could be done in as little as 3 weeks.

You could also get a group together to kill trash and no bosses in order to reset the instance and collect more bijous and coins. Make sure that the leader does not have a saved ID to ZG before attempting this.

Coin and Bijou quests +75 to +125 reputation which is repeatable

If you have the resources to do so, you can turn in coins and Bijou for additional reputation.

What’s a reasonable expectation for grinding this reputation?

It takes a total of 42,000 reputation to get to exalted with any reputation, which is needed for the shoulder enchants. Keep in mind that you will need 15 Zandalar Honor Tokens to get a shoulder enchant so you would end up turning in coins or bijous to get those.

To add to your reputation grind calculation you will need to do a minimum of 375 rep worth of the coin quest turn ins to get your 15 tokens.

Grinding reputation slow and steady or the cheap way

Lets say you plan on doing ZG once a week and were able to clear the raid reliably. If you were able to gain 3,000 reputation per run this means it would take you 14 weeks or a little over 3 months to get to exalted.

Grinding reputation as fast as you can!

If you were to complete ZG every possible time that your lockout is available you could take your 14 runs and get them done in 6 weeks or 1.5 months.

Getting reputation with the full force of a guild or if you are really stinking rich

A general rule for comparing bijou and coin prices: a coin is worth 20% of the value of a bijou. So if a coin cost 10g you should expect a bijou to cost 50g. Of course the prices will fluctuate but keep this math in mind when amassing large number of rep turn in items.

Some quick numbers if you want to get someone to exalted within the first week that ZG is open. Running ZG twice will get you to roughly 3300/6000 friendly reputation, which means you would need to turn in 176 Bijous and 180 coin quest completions (540 coins total).

If you want to get to revered within the first week that ZG is open. Running ZG twice will get you to roughly 3300/6000 friendly reputation, which means you would need to turn in 64 Bijous and 90 coin quest completions (270 coins total).

Here is a google sheet that I created to help you calculate how many rep items to buy. Open this up and create a copy, you will need to have a google or gmail account to save this.

Of course a lot of this speculation depends on the supply of your realm. If you have very few groups running ZG you may have a hard time getting all of these items, even if you have unlimited gold.

Check out these other guides for some more information on the Zandalari Tribe reputation

4. Where is Zul’Gurub and where do I do all of these quests you’ve been talking about?

Before you raid, go get the quest A Collection of Heads. This is also the island that you will do all of the subsequent quests related to ZG

Here is where the entrance to Zul’Gurub is located.

This raid is scheduled to open up for WoW Classic sometime in April 2020.

If you’ve made it this far I want to say thanks! This is what I wanted to do with this Saturday instead of farm Black Lotus XD If there is anything else you want to know more about, please let me know in the comments.

How to decide who gets the raid gear? A look at DKP

Character progression is often central to the reward system for MMORPGs and one of the big reasons that we choose to trudge through the 40-man raids each week in WoW Classic. In most games we see a simplified random roll system where you either indicate that you would like an item or it can be randomly assigned to you. In this 15 year old game that has its hooks in me once again, we have opted to create a more complex system that takes into consideration a players level of dedication to the overall group. This system is complicated further by the fact that we are tracking this all for three separate raid groups all at different phases in progression.

My guild uses a system of DKP which stands for Dragon Kill Points. As a participant in our guild you will earn points which can be used as a currency to buy gear and upgrades for your character. While DKP isn’t the only method that guilds use to distribute gear upgrades, it is a popular method.

Benefits to using a DKP system:

  • Autonomy – the players get to pick their items
  • Transparency – the players know where they stand in relation to those also competing for gear upgrades
  • No Favoritism – since players decide when and how to spend their points they won’t be forced into

Negatives to using a DKP system:

  • Collusion – players can work together to manipulate the system in order to gain more favorable outcomes for themselves
  • Punishing New Players – in some systems the veteran members can get so far ahead in points that they will always get every item before the new players can. Making it so that a new player can go many months without receiving any rewards.

Any loot system should allow for new players to come in and feel like their time is being rewarded. This is why catch up mechanics in loot distribution are so important. There are a couple ways that you can allow newer players to catch up to older players.

Decay

Adding in a percentage based decay to a players total balance of points is one way to allow newer members to catch up. This means that new players will get those items that are not highly sought after. Veteran players will keep their standing in relation to the others provided that they do not spend any of their points. Eventually this allows the veteran player to have first pick of one very impressive item.

DKP Reset or Wipe

When new content is released it is common to take the historical points and bring everyone back down to zero. This is another option to help newer players gain some of the more competitive gear. Some guilds opt for periodic resets of points which encourages players to return at the start of new content, which historically can be when you tend to lose people.

Is it the right system?

There is never a right or wrong system for distributing gear to your players. There will always be the potential for conflict or drama around how loot is being awarded. What works for some guilds may not work for others. It largely depends on the leadership that is in place and how everything functions as a whole.

If DKP is not the system for your guild you can explore other methods of loot distribution:

  • Zerosum DKP – points awarded based on how much is spent
  • Loot Council – Small group decides where items go
  • Suicide Kings – Players are in a priority list, once receiving a piece of gear they go to the bottom of the list
  • Need before greed – often used in pug groups, who ever can use the item and rolls the highest, wins the loot.

There are many systems out there for loot distribution. Keep in mind that you can never please everyone in a large group of players. In any of these systems: Keep it simple and easy to understand, keep it transparent, and spread the wealth.

I know a lot of you out there have experience raiding in large groups. What loot distribution method did your guild use?