Ethic: Let’s start off with getting a feel for where you are in WoW right now. Tell us a little bit about the guild you’re in and what they are trying to do at the moment.
Grim: I’ve been with Juggernaut since July of 2006 (Immortalis on Hellscream/Dalvengyr prior to that). There is only one challenge left for us in the current tier of content, and that is known as Yogg+0. Yogg-Saron is the final boss in Ulduar, and you have the option of utilizing up to four NPC’s to aid you in the fight against him, each one providing a special set of buffs to make you stronger, faster, more resilient, etc. Needless to say, using all four NPC’s makes you quite strong, and the fight is quite easy. Most guilds at our level of raiding have successfully defeated Yogg-Saron with only one NPC’s aid (Yogg+1). Yogg-Saron without the aid of any NPC’s, however, makes the encounter extremely difficult. Currently, only five guilds in the world have accomplished this feat. Sadly, the strategy we’re employing involves two tanks (warrior + deathknight), so I get to cheer them on from the sidelines until patch 3.2 rolls around.
Ethic: Where are they ranked in the United States? World?
Grim: According to http://www.wowprogress.com, we are currently #5 in the US, and #15 in the world.
Ethic: What accomplishments has the guild done that you would consider pretty amazing or special?
Grim: First, understand that Mal’Ganis is the top rated server in the world. It is home to several other very competitive, very good horde raiding guilds such as Aurora (now Vigil), Aftermath, and Elitist Jerks. Secondly, the “Algalon the Observer” encounter in Ulduar is only available after you’ve defeated the hard-mode version of Hodir, Thorim, Freya, and Mimiron (the four watchers that can later assist you with Yogg-Saron). More importantly, Algalon only sticks around for 1 hour per reset (week). We played well enough to have defeated Algalon on our 2nd reset (hour) of attempts on him, claiming the server-first achievement along with the title “the Celestial Defender”.
Ethic: What is your main character?
Ethic: How long have you been playing WoW?
Grim: I’ve been playing since closed beta, in July 2004.
Ethic: How long, on average, do you play in a day?
Grim: During the week, about 6-6.5 hours per day, 14 on weekend days.
Ethic: Do you have any idea how many /played hours you have into WoW at this time?
Grim: 450+ days total across all 10 characters and a couple that I have deleted.
Ethic: How many characters do you currently have and what are their
Grim: Mal’Ganis Horde characters
Grim, 80 Blood Elf Paladin, 66 days
Grimx, 80 Undead Rogue, 240 days
Wrathscarab, 80 Tauren Druid, 12 days
Vormock, 80 Orc Warlock, 9 days
Lithanicus, 80 Blood Elf Priest, 20 days
Doomhammer Horde characters (they get transferred to Mal’Ganis when I decide I want to level them up)
Thaurn, 70 Tauren Warrior, 22 days
Dannoc, 70 Undead Mage, 32 days
Nazurogg, 70 Orc Hunter, 22 days
Leowon, 70 Blood Elf Paladin, 14 days
Javin, 65 Troll Shaman, 6 days
Ethic: Can you rank the classes in order of how much fun you have with them?
Grim: For the longest time, I have entirely avoided playing healers. A few months ago, I started healing on my druid and it turned out to be more fun than I thought it would be. I really enjoyed the raid healing game, and figured it’d be even more fun as a holy priest. I just recently finished levelling that and am having a lot of fun with it.
Prot/Ret Pally > Holy Priest > Resto Druid > Affliction Warlock > Combat Rogue.
Ethic: Of the characters you play regularly, list the main improvement you feel the class needs to be more fun.
Grim: One of the things that originally drew me to playing a protection paladin was how they were the masters of blocking. I felt that it set them apart from the other tank classes in a fun way. In WotLK, wearing any decent amount of block gear beyond heroics and early 10 man content puts you at a disadvantage. Bosses hit too hard and you don’t block enough damage to justify wearing block gear. If I gear for avoidance, I’m like a warrior without sunder armor, demoralizing shout, thunderclap, shockwave, or shortened taunt cooldowns through Vigilence. I also dont have as many “oh crap” cooldowns as Warrior/Druids/Deathknights. Why am I in the raid, again?
Blizzard is buffing block in 3.2 (doubling block value on items, and doubling the durations of on-use block abilities), but it isn’t their final solution. I look forward to both.
Ethic: If you could improve one thing about WoW, what would it be?
Grim: Right now? I’d really like for spec slots be purchasable like bank slots.
Ethic: Do any PvP? How do you feel about it?
Grim: I do not PvP. For a long time now, I’ve felt that PVP brings out the worst in people. Friends I hang out with in PvE content turn into completely different people in Arenas and BG’s, and it’s not fun to be around.
Ethic: What is your favorite part of WoW? Least favorite? Why?
Grim: It is and has always been the feeling of character progression (typically through gear and achievements). My least favorite part of WoW is when good friends quit playing it. I’d rather be in a bad Naxx25 PUG.
Ethic: What is your proudest accomplishment while playing WoW?
Grim: Individually, being the first to hit level 80 on Mal’Ganis. As a group, the server first Algalon. Most recently, I was able to acquire my original name, Grim.
Ethic: If you could add one thing to WoW, what would it be?
Grim: I’d love for there to be some way for people in a raid (but not in the instance) to be able to view the actions of your teammates in the instance.
Ethic: Do you repeat a lot of content? If so, how do you keep from getting bored?
Grim: I usually do Ulduar10/25 on Grim, and Naxx25/Ulduar10/Ulduar25 on an alt (or alts), depending on availability of groups. What keeps it interesting is doing it as a different role or a different character altogether. Tanking vs DPSing vs Healing all play drastically different from one another.
Ethic: What does the future hold for WoW? Any ideas where they are going, expansion-wise?
Grim: Blizzard hasn’t announced anything yet, and probably won’t until Blizzcon at the very earliest. However, we do have reason to believe that the next expansion will have to do with the Maelstrom between Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. Raising the level cap to 90 is a safe assumption, and potentially Worgen and Goblins as playable races. As for which would be aligned with Horde/Alliance? I think each will have a questline that results in the player being able to choose.
Ethic: Blizzard seems to keep making it easier and easier to accomplish goals that you guys probably fought hard to get through. Add to that the fact that much of the unique gear you may have gotten in the past keeps becoming easier to get. Does any of this bother you?
Grim: No, nothing blizzard does to make the game better and more accessible for casual players bothers me at all. My alts benefit a great deal from said changes. Also, the majority of gear I acquire on Grim typically don’t get easier to obtain until I have access to a newer tier of gear.
Ethic: Tell me about your raiding activities.
Grim: Our raid schedule is 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM CST, Sunday-Thursday. Around 7:15 or so is when invites go out, and the raid forms as people make their way to the instance.
For content on farm status, our GM/RL, Sebudai, spends a ridiculous amount of time figuring out who would most likely “win” items should they drop, per boss. Between bosses, he’ll swap out people who don’t need loot, or who probably wouldn’t win loot, while still making sure all buffs/debuffs/roles are accounted for. When an item drops, an officer will announce it in raid chat and those interested send a tell with what they are upgrading from, along with whether or not the new item is considered “best in slot” (very important factor). That particular officer will consolidate the tells and discuss it with other officers, and come to an agreement/vote on who should get it.
During progression content, we carefully examine logs and fraps (video) and discover what a given bosses abilities/gimicks are, and decide the best way to handle each one. After each wipe, we carefully look at some/all of the deaths of players, and determine what needs to be done in order to avoid/compensate/alleviate. This information is typically discussed verbally and also consolidated into posts on our forums.
As time goes on, the WoW community injects this type of information into raid addons such as BigWigs and DeadlyBossMods. These addons provide warnings, announcements, and timer bars for the various aspects of fights. A lot of casual guilds depend on videos and addons such as these to learn fights. More and more often, encounters are thoroughly tested on the Public Test Realm and added to the addons prior to even going live.
At the end of the raid night, people will often discuss what worked well or what went wrong with one or more boss fights. A lot of strategic improvements stem from these conversations. People will also discuss/compare recent recruits (applicants) and see what they are doing right or wrong. This feedback is also placed in the forum thread for each applicant, which is ultimately used to determine if that applicant should or should not become a full member.