Monday, April 25, 2011

Raid Building 101: Looking at Patch 4.1

Raid Building 101 is a weekly article detailing the finer (and sometimes the not so finer) points of building and leading a successful raid group. Be it a world first or super casual, Raid Building 101 has something for you. 

I know this won’t be as snarky and funny as my usual posts, but with 4.1 set to come out within the next couple of weeks there are certain things you can do to get your raid upgraded extremely fast once the patch hits.  All your raiders should know what is happening with their class and with new dungeons and your guild should know exactly what to farm to get everyone the best they can get right away.  Oh and there is this little thing called Guild Challenges to add a little fun on days with no raiding.

First things first:
There are tons of new abilities and changes for every single class. These classes need to know what they can do for your raid now!  I’ve taken the one or two most important changes for each class for raid leaders to read.

All classes:
  • Non-damaging interrupts no longer miss.  Hooray!
  • A dead player can now be resurrected by targeting them using the Party or Raid Frame even if they have released. No more hunting for corpses
Death Knight
  • Raise ally now is a battle resurrection, instant cast 50 runic power just in case you have no druids or locks.
  • Druids now innately have 100% pushback protection from damage while channeling tranquility, about damn time.
  • Multishot damage increased by 250%, with the removal of volley it’s about time they got hunters a decent AoE attack back.
  • Blizzard damage increased by 70%, now if it didn’t cost 75% of base mana it might be useful again.  I see a trend with AoE here.
  • Divine Guardian now has a 3-minute cooldown instead of 2-minutes because of other raid cooldowns added to the game.  See those classes with a * next to their name.
  • Priests now innately have a 100% pushback protection from damage while channeling Divine Hymn and Hymn of Hope.  Again, about damn time.
  • Mind Sear Damage has been doubled.  This is important because it was the biggest weakness of shadow priests.
  • No movement penalty from being in Stealth? YAY! Unless you are a cloth wearer in arenas because they can now sprint at full sprint speed in stealth to get to you faster.
  • Tricks of the trade now has a 100-yard range.  Finally rogues who use this on each other can be across the room.
  • Earthquake is no longer a channeled spell.  Two second cast time and lasts for 10 seconds.  Has a 10 second cooldown and damage reduced by 40%.  Oh look more AoE changes.
  • Sprit Link Totem: Reduces damage taken by all party and raid members within 10 yards by 10%.  Lasts 6 seconds, and every second it is active the health of all affected players is redistributed among them, such that each player ends up with the same percentage of their maximum health.  Counts as an air totem 3-minute cooldown.  (this is why all the other AoE cooldowns like Power word Barrier and Divine Guardian are now three minutes as well)
  • Rain of Fire and Seed of Corruption now do more damage.  I sense an AoE theme coming in the next raid tier.
  • Soulstone can now be used on a dead raider as a battle resurrect.
  • Rallying Cry – Temporarily grants the warrior and all party or raid members within 30 yards 20% of maximum health for 10 seconds.  No cost, no stance requirements, and not on the global cooldown.  Three minute cooldown, but shares the cooldown with Last stand.  Oh look more three minute full raid cooldowns, so much for paladins being unique.
*new raid wide cooldowns.

Getting the Gear FAST!
With every new patch these days something comes along that helps people gear up.  Remember back to  ToC and the higher end Icecrown 5-mans from WotLK. Plan on running the heck out of these 5-mans when the patch hits and always remember to send an enchanter with every group to stock up quickly on Maelstrom Crystals for those hard to get enchants.  If farmed correctly you can get all your main players enchanted with the best enchant within the first week.
Zul’aman is now a level-85 heroic dungeon with epic loot!
Zul-gurub is now a level-85 heroic dungeon with epic loot!
The loot for these two is 353 EPIC items so make sure everyone who needs to fill in a couple of blue 346 slots starts running these. It's also a great way to obtain some nice offspec gear.

More Valor for running the new heroics!
Now you get 140 Valor per random new heroic dungeon! Thank god, getting valor through heroics was such a grind. Note: This change only affects Zul’Aman and Zul-gurub.

Running multiple heroics in one day!
You will now be able to do all seven of your daily random heroics in a single day.  So you are limited to seven of them for the week, but you can do them all in one day or in a couple of days instead of trying to find the time to run a heroic every single day.  This will also help you ramp up your raiders faster because they can get  all of them done on patch night to figure out all class changes and rack up all your valor points in one night to purchase gear up to 980 points total if all 7 of them are the two new dungeons.

New Raids?
NOPE! There is supposedly a new Firelands raid coming in 4.2 so keep working on hard-modes for the time being. Blizzard has stated they don't want to have a new raid in every content patch and this seems to be in line with their philosophy.

Help for your Guild Rep!
Bind on Account Guild tabbards are now available so you can get rep faster for your alts.

Guild Challenges
Basically these are like weekly quests for your guild which reward guild experience and gold directly into your guild bank.  If you are a level 25 guild you just get more gold.

Guild experience is important because all the abilities you get from more potions in cauldrons to less repair bills to summoning the entire raid to the entrance of a raid help your raid perform faster.  Not to mention any class can cast mass resurrect with no cooldown, that sure helps when that one mage or rogue always seems to avoid dying to the boss on a wipe.
  • There are three categories
    • Guild Dungeon Run
    • Guild Raid
    • Guild Rated Battleground.
  • Each challenge can only be completed a set number of times per week.
  • Every time it’s completed a popup or “toast” will be displayed to confirm the Guild Challenge has been completed.
  • Guild experience earned this way will be awarded above the daily cap.
  • Guilds already at the level cap will be awarded substantially more gold in place of guild experience.
  • More ways to earn guild experience in battlegrounds and arenas. We have a lot of arena junkies in our guild they will be happy.

Other notes to help your raiders out
Along with the two new 5-mans to get your raid geared up fast there are new ways to spend those justice points they have lying around.
  • Trade goods available for purchase with honor or justice points will have prices reduced by 50%
  • Maelstrom Crystals are now available for purchase with honor or justice points from vendors.
UI updates that can help a lot.
  • Targets and focus targets now display on the mini-map.
    • Good way to know where to stack up, have everyone focus the person they are supposed to follow so they show up on the map.

I know this was a pretty straight forward post, but with the new patch coming up you have to make sure you raiders know what you expect of them.  There should be no more excuses for not having certain enchants  when people should have time to get some Maelstrom Crystals. They should all know their new Raid affecting spells. Start thinking now about which fights you can use which ability in. For example when Chimaeron hits everyone in the room a warrior increases everyone’s health or a shaman averages out everyone’s health for 6 seconds. Start thinking about how will you use some new AoE abilities. Will different classes be used on the slimes for Cho’gall? How about the fact that Frost mages now have diminishing returns between Shattered Barrier and Improved cone of cold? Suddenly kiting Nefarian’s adds got a little more difficult. As a raid leader you should ALWAYS know what is going on in the PTR. Read the notes, join the PTR, or have someone let you know any big changes before the patch hits.

Gordrin is the current Raid Leader of Guild Malice - Early Raid. He recently decided to become one with the borg. Gordrin can be reached at

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