In just a few days, the Undergeared guild will be five months old. Since lately we’re doing quite well, clearing Trial of the Crusader and Onyxia, here’s a bit of background info.
It all started in December as Gevlon posted an idea on his blog to prove that you don’t have to farm gear endlessly in order to clear all the raiding content in Wrath of the Lich King. To add a level of challenge (and to make sure we don’t have to farm content we’ve already done), we’re doing it all in blue gear that everyone can get from the level 80 heroic dungeons and crafting recipes. No epics are allowed, unless they’re a bonus from your profession of choice (like the engineering helmets), and same goes for enchants and gems.
It’s also a project that aims to prove the stupidity of “LFM ToC-10 link achiv and have 5k gs” and similar idiotic announcements that are so popular in the Trade channels of pretty much every server. Unfortunately, that goal is hard to achieve without letting the word spread out a bit – hence this post, which with small changes will be probably copied by me at least onto official Blizzard forums.
Why do it now, after whole five months, and not earlier? Because now we are actually doing the content that matters. As much as I like Ulduar and Eye of Eternity, nobody will be convinced by us completing that, blues or not. ToC on the other hand, is still a very popular dungeon and I see people run it all the time. Next Saturday we’re doing our first ICC-10 raid.
Who am I anyway?
I’m Saithir, a gamer and a raider from Poland. On my current main, Vrethir, I’ve tanked the whole expansion up to Sindragosa in 10-man Icecrown Citadel – and then stopped a while ago, with the unfortunate event that is the disbandment of my guild. In I play as Misaka, the Restoration shaman, and I’ve been a healer in almost all the raids we’ve done.
It’s my first shaman character above level 10, and I’ve leveled her from scratch on Arathor-EU purely as Elemental. It was actually one of the requirements of the Undergeared project – to raid with classes you don’t raid on other servers. I chose to make Misaka, because I wanted to learn how to heal on a shaman.
At first I wasn’t very good at it, for example I’ve totally forgot to apply Earthliving Weapon on our first evening in Ulduar, so I’ve healed it all without it and never noticed – until some commenter on Gevlon’s blog pointed it out after looking into our combat logs. I’m also that shaman healer that had to portal out of Thorim’s room to get a shield instead of an offhand frill, so that the adds won’t kill me as easily – and got a green shield from the AH with strength and defense on it (and a +25 Int enchant). :) It worked, and even though I now use the more proper one from Horde Expedition, I still keep that greenie in my bank as a souvenir.
I’m still sometimes late with the totems or forget to use Bloodlust at all, but I think I’m getting better at it. ;) And I made a big blinking icon in Power Auras that tells me I don’t have my weapon enchanted with anything. :)
Why <Undergeared> and who are they exactly?
In the beginning, I thought of the project just as a tool to distract myself from my Alliance guild, and to finally level a Horde character to 80 and see the other half of the game I’ve been playing for so long. The raiding was just an excuse to do so and actually get to the endgame. ;)
However, I can’t say I didn’t like the idea of blue raiding – it adds a nice challenge because of the static (and pretty low by today’s standards) gear levels, at the same time reducing the need for doing the endless badge grind to keep up. Sure, I had to spend some time with Rawr to figure out the best gear and run some heroics to obtain it, but after I’ve finished that, I’m done – I can log onto Misaka once per week for a raid, or pop on when I’m bored and want to do some heroics, or just quickly do the daily jewelcrafting quest in 10 minutes and then log out.
As for the other players, well they’d have to speak for themselves really. We have different kind of players, more and less hardcore raiders – from ones like me that mostly do the normal modes in 10-mans, and ones that raid more hardcore and are on some heroic modes in Icecrown. It’s hard to say really, because we’re not a social guild by any means. I can’t really say I like them, because I don’t really know any of them… But I sure do like raiding with them, and that is exactly why I’m still there.
We’re not a social guild, because we don’t have to. We have a set goal, our goblinish GM routinely kicks people that aren’t online for a month, and we have to prove we can get the needed gear and put out a decent performance in a heroic or a raid before we gain the rank of Raider.
You could probably say we’re the hardcore-casual types. Hardcore enough to know the tactics, learn our classes’ abilities, get the BiS gear (even though it’s blue) and gem/enchant it properly, and replace people in the middle of the raid if the situation needs it (and the guild roster permits it). Casual enough that we only raid one evening (Saturday from 19:00 till 22:00) per week, with no vent (or ingame voice comms) and minimal attendance requirements.
What have we done so far?
We started raiding on 20th of February, two months after the guild was formed. It took that long because enough people had to level from 1 to 80, and most of them without boosts from the heirloom items. We also had some people transferring their characters, both level 80s and below.
In February we cleared almost all Tier 7 10-man content – Naxxramas, Eye of Eternity, and Sartharion with one additional drake up. Why almost? Because our rogue was for some reason saved to the weekly raid – which also happened to be Naxxramas that week, so we couldn’t kill Noth the Plaguebringer. We also couldn’t replace the culprit, due to nobody else being online. But as we all know, Noth is a pussy anyway and doesn’t really count. ;) Some of our raiders also did the new ICC heroic dungeons, but as I wasn’t part of that, I can’t say much about it.
In March we had to make a break, as there were repeatedly weeks of not enough people signed to the Saturday raid. Unfortunately as we don’t want to appear too hardcore (and “raid 6 times a month or get out” would be surely viewed as such), we couldn’t do much about it. The current requirement of being online at least once a month comes from that though, and that’s as far as it really gets.
April was a month of doing Ulduar. It took a long time, because some of the raiders didn’t have that much experience in there, but we made it through up to Yogg-Saron. We left the mad Old God alone for now, though – it’s a though and complicated fight, with lots of things to do for everyone (which makes it so good btw), so we decided to skip it for now. We plan to get back to him later, probably as a change of scenery from Icecrown.
The rest of Ulduar wasn’t very hard. Flame Leviathan which we were afraid of (it’s the one fight that punishes us for our iLevel 200 gear with the vehicle scaling) was one-shotted instead of giving us any problems. Mimiron required only a few tries, and before the kill we wiped on sub 5% HP twice (on different evenings). Most time was spent on Auriaya (due to new tanks and pulling issues) and Thorim, due to the arena team dying horribly.
Now we have May and we’re already done with Tier 9 content. The Northrend Beasts were one-shotted pretty easily with the tank never being in any danger at all. Lord Jarraxus tested our healing abilities, as we lost our Tree Druid late in the fight, and had to two-heal the last 25 or so percent of the fight. We still somehow made it, but I have to say I was completely out of mana at the end, and if it went even a little bit longer, it would be another sub 5% wipe. We continued to clear the instance with a few wipes until Anub’Arak, which we promptly one-shotted again, with only one player dying at the very end of the third phase, as I was a split second too late with my heal.
After that victory we paid a visit to our old friend, Lady Prestor, in her cave in Dustwallow Marsh, and killed her as well. The fight with Onyxia wasn’t a problem as well. We actually wiped on the first trash, as the tank pulled one of them through the raid on accident, cleaving us all – but the boss fight itself went almost perfectly. We didn’t made any additional achievements though – a bit of a shame, but well, can’t have everything.
So why this long post?
I have to admit that I’d like to see the end of the endless spam of “LFM 5k gs” in Trade, but I’m also pretty much aware that’s really a hard thing to do – and especially not if people don’t know at all that 5k gs is not a requirement to successfully clear instances.
Will our Undergeared project be the last straw that puts an end to it? I really doubt it, but at the same time it couldn’t possibly hurt if I spark some discussion or response here. Maybe someone will “see the light”, stop asking for gearscore and instead will ask for tactics? Who knows. :)
We’re just a solid proof that you don’t need awesome gear (or to be hardcore) to successfully raid and enjoy it, that’s all.
So here we are now – almost all of the previous content cleared, in gear that wasn’t really designed to use that far. On Saturday we’ll be going into the Icecrown Citadel, so wish us luck!
Any comments, discussions or questions are of course welcome, and I’ll be lurking around here and trying to answer them as best as I can.
With yesterday’s kills of Sartharion (with Tenebron up so it won’t be totally easy) and Malygos (we used the key we got last week), Misaka is now a Champion of the Frozen Wastes.
We started the evening with Sartharion, but one drake is nothing especially interesting and still perfectly in range of our gear, so it was more or less a formality to kill him. The only thing worth noting was the start of my absolute bad luck that evening – I’ve got healing aggro from whelps before the tank could grab them, and later that same tank managed to somehow position Tenebron in such a way that his last fire breath killed me again.
Next was Malygos, and it went even better, as we one-shotted him. Few people managed to die in third phase, so we ended the fight with only 4 dps drakes, but it was enough, and we still had over a minute to the enrage timer. After finishing with the tier 7 content, we went to Ulduar. There things began to be much more interesting.
Flame Leviathan wasn’t as hard as we expected (remember that the vehicles scale with gear, so with blues of iLevel 200 you can’t really afford to make mistakes there), but my bad luck that was silent on Malygos woke up again. I was driving a demolisher, as I’m pretty good at it – but I was Flame Leviathan’s target for what seemed half of the fight. Obviously, if your vehicle won’t survive long when he gets to you, you have to turn and run away as fast as you can, rolling pyrite stacks or not. I survived though, and thanks to a good gunner I’ve always had enough pyrite to continue dpsing right away.
Ignis took two tries, as our MT wasn’t totally familiar with the way he should kite the boss around the middle. On second try he did much better (after a very short explanation of the best path) and we killed him without much effort.
Razorscale went down in a similar way – one try to see how it goes, fixing the tactics, second attempt and a kill. That’s okay with me, since we do look at what was the problem and figure out a way around it, but it might be a bit better if the explanation and role assignment was done better before the first try. It hurts my raid leader feelings a little, but as I’m only a raider there, so I guess I should just deal with it – and it’s not like we blindly throw ourselves at the encounters again and again.
XT was just like Razorscale – at the first time we went with only two healers, but the resto druid got an unlucky chain of debuffs (Searing Light – Gravity Bomb – Searing Light in a row) and ran a bit too far, and I simply couldn’t outheal the Tantrum all by myself. Second time we went back to running with 3 healers, and it went much better.
So then, next week we’re going to extend our Ulduar raid ID (we don’t need new gear, so we don’t have to farm what we’ve killed once) and we’ll see how far we can go. This part will get a little more interesting, as the bosses start to hit like trucks there – especially Auriaya from what I remember from doing it on Vrethir back when it got released.
From my personal healing point of view – I was still a bit afraid that my limited mana pool won’t be enough, but I only ran out of mana on the less coordinated first tries, especially on Ignis. If we follow the tactics better and don’t take unnecessary damage, it’s fine. I go through a lot of mana potions during the raid though, so I have to remember to log in and make a few stacks of them this week.
Oh, and if anyone looks at the armory and wonders why I’ve looted some epics – we run the need before greed system in the raids, so if we want something for some reason – be it gear for leveling to 85, pvp, LFG or whatever, we can need it. So far I only collect them, haven’t equipped anything apart from the badge DPS totem yet, so I won’t get the Epic achievement too fast. But there’s nothing bad in having some gear prepared for when I want to use it.
Misaka and the group of raiders finally went somewhere tonight. We were planning the Naxx run for more than two weeks already, but weren’t able to get enough people online to actually do it. Now we did, so I’ve seen more action than just logging onto Misaka and her bank alt to do a few dailies, maybe run a random heroic if I feel like doing it, and then log out.
The result is below (and please forgive my crappy graphics settings).
The whole run was pretty good, apart from one wipe on Faerlina with adds not being close enough to the boss. Doing everything took us about 3 hours and we haven’t really had any problems anywhere. Of course, it’s only Naxxramas and just a bit harder than a heroic dungeon, so it wasn’t a question IF we can do it in blues, but rather how good can we be at it.
We weren’t also able to do Noth, because one player did the weekly raid this week for some reason. Ah well, we have an achievement for killing Kel’Thuzad and all the rest, so it’s not like it’s a big problem. We can always go and poke Noth or do the weekly raid some next time.
From my point of view, it was a decent run. I’m still not totally accustomed to heals with cast times, which was probably most visible on Loatheb, but on the bits where we went with only two healers, I was pretty close in healing done to our resto druid, Triev (pretty close being 45-55% for each one of us). I can blame it on lag though, since the latency on Arathor is a bit higher than what I’m used to on Deathwing – and also I’ve had some times when my screen froze for a few seconds. Before the raid, I was worried that I will have mana problems with the pretty low mana pools in blues, but only on KT I’ve ended the fight with about 5% left.
I could probably still improve things – one thing I’ve noticed is I should somehow make a Power Auras setting to remind me that I’ve ran out of totem range and have to reset them. I should also bind Tidal Force and Blood Fury to something, so I actually use them at all. Fortunately my gear is mostly done – I only need a new cloth chestpiece and gloves, but as it requires them to a) drop at all, b) not be sharded while I have to greed for them, this might take a while.
Next week we’re planning to do Sarthartion +1 or more, and maybe we could also do Malygos since Gevlon got the key item. We’ll see.