My one-night raid guild kills Blood Princes

The guild I’m in, Axis, killed Blood Princes 10 last night. Last week, we got Putricide (I missed that one, had real-life stuff intercept me). We only raid once a week from 8pm til midnight. There’s a second raid night for alts.

We don’t have a competitive stance in progression, which would be pretty silly for a raid guild of one night, yet are the most progressed in Icecrown amongst 10-man only Horde guilds on our little server. We’re nowhere near the progression of 25-man guilds on the server or even the USA, and don’t have hard-modes from ToC to give ratings points. For 10-man guilds, we’re ranked #5 on the realm in guildox points or 707th on the USA-servers. Not stellar.

So you’d think, killing Blood Princes isn’t much of a success for a 10-man guild… until you look at the world statistics. It sobering really. Today, only 1.58% of strict 10 guilds have got the Orb Whisperer and only 1.63% of them have killed Putricide and his ugly friends.  Only 50% of world 25-man guilds have got that far in their 10-mans and just 20.9% have done its 25-man equivalent.

So we have the the 5% ICC buff now, which will scale up to 30% eventually (monthly perhaps?). It’s not come in too early, it’s not making everything ‘easy-mode’; consider that 98% of guilds haven’t got as far as my one-night raid guild.

If you say that only one-third of all those 10-man guilds are even trying, it’s still 5% of that cohort who have killed Putricide or Blood Princes.

Is it any wonder Blizzard need to make it easier for people to experience this fantastic, lore-rich, climactic content?

I know of many guilds who are happily in ToC 10 or 25 for upgrades.

It’s very easy for an avid WoW reader to get a distorted sense of reality by reading forums and news sites, by reading about kills on the Lich King or watching how-to videos of hard-modes, and to incorrectly think there are a lot of raiders who are beating the top content.

How we killed them

Two weeks ago, we had a solid wipe-night on Princes and learned a lot. Axis is comprised of raiders with a hardcore style, and are lucky to have some great raid leadership and strategy analysts (that’s not me in this case, I’m just chipping in with snippets of useful data). The forums have a thread of several pages on Princes, including some breakdown of root-cause failure from that series of wipes, consideration on whether we two or three-tank, how we handle Ventrilo commands, and so on.

Last night, we clear straight to Princes, then begin our progress fight. They died on the 16th attempt. There was not a single complaint about wiping. When the trash respawned at about 1130pm the GM (Ordia) and RL (Dakas) had to decide what to do, I had asked whether we should keep trying or not, and GM called to continue which I’m pretty sure everyone agreed with.

So prior to zoning in, there was a well-formed strategy the RL had put together in our forums (he’s awesome), with input from many people. We all knew it was a survival fight, not a dps race, which is a crucial mindset when assigning responsibilities.

Here are some examples:

Kinetic bombs: Our ranged-tank hunter (Muntstick) had respec’d for stamina and impressed everyone with nearly 36K buffed on the night, and had researched some targeting macros that were reliable. The second hunter (Misscha) used them to handle Kinetic Bombs and both hunters used pets to keep them off the ground. Misscha would find a bomb, target it, called on Vent for Munt to take his target, he’d hit a macro and sick his pet on it, then return to chasing Nucleii.

We found that most wipes on the night were to bombs, so Misscha knew his top priority were bombs, even if he did zero dps on the bosses. The dps requirements are low, with a long enrage timer.

Tanking: I was on Prince Fireball whilst Garant warrior-tanked Prince Vortex. We’d gone with two tanks so the positioning control was easier and risk of tank death much lower since a single Prince doesn’t kill you very fast.

Positioning: Dakas specified a semi-circle, with healers to the west so all three of them could keep Muntstick alive. Garant had his Prince at the bottom of the stairs, in the middle, I was to his west. We all had assigned specific positions, which he’d call for us to return to when Prince Vortex was empowered. This made empowered shock vortex easier to handle when we needed spread out to /range 12. We went to consistent positions to be away from one another. This was very important.

Ventrilo: I was supposed to call when my Prince was doing his big fireball, so people could run underneath whilst it chased the target (I stuffed up that a few times but Dakas did it instead). Dakas called out when the target switch was about to come (DBM warns you), so the healers could get Muntstick to 100% so the possible transition to empowered shadow lance would not kill him, plus when empowered vortex was up and ask for people to get to their positions. All of that was also important. He or I also mentioned if a white standalone vortex was spinning somewhere shitty like in the middle of the whole semicircle.

Those white vortexes caused some wipes too, when people inadvertently ran into them when escaping fireball or moving into specified positions.

Live log analysis: with some fortune, Kendrel was out of the raid that night (IRL responsibilities) but asked for live logging. I turned it on so he listened into Vent and checked out the logs as we went. He helped us realise a hunter pet had been killed by glittering sparks (we couldn’t work out how he’d died and thus the bomb hit the ground) and that Lich’s beacon had fallen off Muntstick which in turn cascaded into a wipe due to lack of heals. This also allowed us to adjust the healer positioning at one stage, to all being on the west near Munt. It was surprisingly handy.

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