After last week’s success (earning a Tribute to Insanity – 0 wipes in Trial of the Grand Crusader) our 10 man group decided to push the envelope even further. Last night we ditched our shiniest new epicz to see if our previous achievements in ToGC was a testament to gear… or skill.
What you can and can’t wear definitely confused a few of our raid members. Even though we had each been given a week to sort out our own gear we spent at least 15 minutes standing around inspecting each other while Tirion Fordring looked on, double checking that we each were following the rules. Could there be anything worse than completing a wipe-less run only to discover 1 item, equipped by just 1 person, meant the entire raid did not qualify for the achievement?
Some of us weren’t really impacted at all by the gear limitations, others (I’m looking at you Ultraviolet!) ended up equipping, at the last minute, some less-than-optimal blues. Blizzard gave very specific guidelines about what was acceptable, and what wasn’t and for reference I’ve listed this information directly from Daelo, Lead Designer Encounter:
You can use:
- Any item below item level 245.
- The item level 245 set pieces that drop from 25-player Trial of the Crusader but also appear in the 10-player Tribute Chest.
- Any gear that drops in 10-player Trial of the Crusader or Trial of the Grand Crusader, including item level 245 Trial of the Grand Crusader drops and item level 258 cloaks from the 10-player Tribute Chest
- Any item level 245 items purchased with Badges of Triumph.
- Any item level 245 Bind on Equip item, including crafted pieces.
You cannot use:
- Any item level 245 item not included above (primarily Bind on Pickup drops from 25-player Trial of the Crusader, but also notably Val’anyr).
- Any item over item level 245 except for the 10-player Tribute cloak.
- Any higher item level loot introduced in future patches (25 player Onyxia 245s, Icecrown loot in the future, etc.)
We quickly completed normal TOC first to “warm up” and to see if we could score a few more eligible drops that might be suitable when scaling down for our Tribute to Dedicated Insanity run.
Lathere Strips Down
I’ve been pretty lucky and have actually scored a lot of my favourite pieces from the three clears of ToGC 10 that I’ve completed in the last few weeks. So that all qualifies.
The gear I had for the run would still be considered by many fantastic and, frankly, it had to be. In our 10 man group I am the only main spec healer, our Paladin and Shaman both normally raid as DPS. While they are both amazing players I do definitely feel responsible for the performance of the healing team.
Although I do often keep a lot of old gear floating around in my bank (I’m just too sentimental about some pieces to disenchant them immediately) I still had a few gear issues getting ready for this.
I have had several cloak upgrades in the last month or so and had therefore disenchanted my old faithful Ulduar cloak and my old Naxx 25 Moonkin cloak convinced I would never need to use them again. I ended up wearing with the entry-level Cloak of Kea Feathers epic for the run. I didn’t even bother to embroider it properly *wink*.
I had to drop one of my trinkets and this was enough to persuade me to purchase the Talisman of Resurgence with Emblems of Triumph. You can never have enough trinkets, I figure.
Even though I had inspected myself a dozen times I had completed overlooked my ineligible 25 man ilvl245 Chest. Fortunately another raid member spotted my mistake before the first pull. I can’t believe how close I came to disqualifying the entire run and screwing this achievement up for the entire group. The only readily available alternative I had was my Tier 8 Moonkin chestpiece. Certainly not ideal, I know.
- Malfurion’s Headpiece of Triumph
- Amulet of Binding Elements
- Malfurion’s Spaulders of Triumph
- Cloak of Kea Feathers
- Conqueror’s Nightsong Vestments
- Bracers of the Broodmother
- Malfurion’s Handguards of Triumph
- Belt of the Winter Solstice
- Malfurion’s Leggings of Conquest
- Boots of Hasty Revival
- Band of the Invoker
- Sanity’s Bond
- Binding Light
- Talisman of Resurgence
- Argent Resolve
- Idol of Flaring Growth
This set was approximate a loss of 300 spellpower, 1% crit and 1% haste compared to what I usually raid in.
Healing Under Pressure
Healing a wipeless run is not quite the same as a normal clear. First of all, it’s a ton more pressure. Losing 1 person can be enough to wipe the group or not make an enrage timer.
I find it difficult to recall exactly what spells I use when while healing. But I’ve given it my best shot here. This is not a guide, just some quick thoughts on how I handled the fights. Hopefully someone out there will find this useful too. It’s not about being particular mana efficient. It’s about not risking even 1 player death.
Our healing group in 10 man consists of myself (Restoration Druid), a Holy Paladin and a Restoration Shaman.
Acidmaw and Dreadscale: I swear a group of melee who are all stabbing away close enough to be hugging one another (they’re a loveable bunch) always get hit by the Paralytic Toxin or Burning Bile, and by constantly keeping HoTs on these guys you’ve given yourself room to breath when this occurs. For Icehowl, use Tuskarr’s Vitality enchant on your boots. Ok, so this isn’t really a healing tip, but it will mean less healing for you if no one in your raid gets trampled causing Icehowl to go into a Frothing Rage.
I find this is the easiest of the 5 fights to heal.
The method I find that works best for me on 10 man is to keep a Regrowth up on all the clothies. I find our Warlock seems to always be the number 1 target (possibly because his CC is just so damn effective) and generally the first to die so I also place 3 x Lifebloom and a Rejuvenation on him. For this fight Nourish is my friend and aside from the Regrowths, I pretty much use Wild Growth whenever it is off cool down and then spam Nourish on any raid members that are losing health.
Aside from Phase 3 of Anub’arak, this fight is definitely what I consider the toughest to heal. We have 3 raid members, myself included with the Light Essence while the remainder of the raid uses the Dark Essence. I generally start the fight out placing a Rejuvenation on each raider plus a Regrowth on the tank and I run around soaking up the white balls.
Both last week and this week I found that around half way through the fight I pretty much forget about all the balls and I stand still in the middle of the room with the tank and start spamming Nourish (yes sometimes I’m casting this even on members who don’t have a Rejuvenation or Wild Growth tick going!) people are continually taking a ton of damage and I keep spamming until the damn encounter is finished. This probably isn’t the most mana effective or delicate way to handle the fight but it definitely does the job keeping the raid alive.
We drop down to 2 healers for this and just use a Holy Paladin and Resto Druid because we treat this encounter as a DPS race while Anub’arak is above ground – allowing him to burrow only the once. In phase 3 the Holy Paladin focuses on the 2 tanks using Beacon of Light and the remainder of the raid is in my care. About 10 seconds before Phase 3 starts, I place a Rejuvenation on every raid member and also put Regrowth on each tank. After that I use Wild Growth every time if is off cool down and then top the raid up with Nourish. The amount of damage taken in this phase is huge so in my experience Rejuvenation and Wild Growth alone just isn’t enough to keep the raid alive. It’s not uncommon to lose 1 or 2 DPS clothies just as Anub’arak hits the last few percent.
I still can’t get over how much gear you get for completing this. After a similar amount of goodies dropped in ToGC10 last week I’m convinced that you earn more 245 gear per person running this than 25 man! Shared among 10 players you’re near guaranteed to win 1 piece of Tier 9.5 or some other 245 epic. We scored:
4 x Trophy of the Crusade
1 x Crusader Orb
1 x Swift Alliance Steed
1 x Bulwark of the Royal Guard
1 x Cold Convergence
1 x Drape of Bitter Incantation (I won YAY!)
1 x Lothar’s Edge
1 x Helm of the Crypt Lord
We’re a splinter group of our 25 man raiding guild. Yes, that’s true. We’re 25 man raiders. We wear 25 man raiding gear.
Except we didn’t. We didn’t really wear super exclusive 245 gear last week either. Sure a couple of our players – our tanks and one or two of our DPS – have geared up quite quickly from 25 mans but most of us haven’t yet. Cass for example (even though she didn’t make it last night) completed A Tribute to Insanity with only 1 ilvl245 item – her offhand.
Perhaps this is why dropping back from our 25 man Trial of the Crusader gear didn’t really impact us much at all. I certainly didn’t notice a difference in healing last week compared to this week. More than anything, that convinces me that gear doesn’t contribute much to the success of your raid at all.
When Keeva complained that her 10 man raiding guild were being unfairly disqualified from 10 man progression rankings because her team mates liked to PuG 25 man raids and equip that gear I didn’t agree. After all, equipping gear from 25 mans is clearly gaining an advantage for your raid that other 10 man groups don’t have.
But after earning this achievement, scrubby cloak and some Balance gear equipped, I’ve had a change of heart. Gear really isn’t that important in the end. Its the skill and flexibility of your players that truly counts.
I’m sure when Icecrown Citadel is released and players are walking around wearing Tier 10 a group of 10 players could still zone into Trial of the Grand Crusader and wipe non-stop. Group composition, team work and communication count for so much more than we give credit for in our quest for betterment and gear upgrades.
We earnt our place in the top 100 guilds in the World (well depending on how you look at the ranking criteria) and a realm first with this achievement. I may not donate cloth, enchanting mats or gold into our Guild Bank. But I can help my guild achieve a place in the history books of Barthilas. It feels pretty good.