Baby’s First Raid Continuation

So I’m a bit late putting this up, but Thursday night Apotheosis dove back into ICC25 to beat up some more baddies (and heal a pretty dragon).

We one-shot Blood Prince Council, which was a nice start (after the terror that was Heroic Marrowgar kicking off Tuesday’s raid), and then proceeded to spend the next… I’d guess about 2 hours bashing our heads against Lana’Thel. It was kind of frustrating, especially since there’d been talk of Heroic before, and if we were doing this horribly on regular… It was probably a bunch of little things, as well as some problems in passing off bites that may be a bug or may’ve just been bad luck. So it was decided that we’d leave off Lana’Thel for the night and give Dreamwalker another shot.

I’m not sure what the tactics of other guilds or groups are, but the way we were doing it was that when there was about 5mil health left to heal up, we stopped taking portals. I think. That SEEMED to be the way it worked, anyway. XD Last portal came, and… we kind of wiped. I’m honestly not sure how, but I know the tanks and DPS did, so that’s what mattered, I think. So we run in again…

And we down her. Up her? Er. WE BEAT THE ENCOUNTER, there. :D I wasn’t the best at getting those damned orbs, still having trouble with z-space, but it was better than the attempt on Tuesday.

On the whole, I actually had a lot of fun, despite the wiping. I even managed 3-4 fps! Shock, awe, etc. That plus the lack of UTTER PANIC that I had on Tuesday (hey, when the chest piece you know you want to drop does so your first time in, and you win the roll, that seems like a good omen. Mmmm, Rot-Resistant Breastplate…) meant that I could really try to maximise my healing as much as I could, and get more into the swing of what I was doing.

The problem I’m having now is trying to find a way to consistently get at least 6-7 fps in a 25m raid. Anyone who’s known me for a while knows I play on a MacBook, with… oh, I’m too lazy to look up the card, a crap graphics card, and only 2GB of RAM. Even with the graphics turned all the way down and all my addons turned off, my idea of OMG REALLY HIGH FRAMERATE WTF IS GOING ON is 18-20fps. My average tends to fall around anywhere from 8-12fps, depending on… I don’t even know, stuff around me in the game. My addons don’t noticeably slow my framerate or latency for the most part(which is part of why I use the ones I do and not others that are perhaps shinier and fancier /longing look at Titan Panel and the pretty swirlies on SexyMap, which DO screw my fps to hell). So now I’m working to maximise my fps and get the least memory-hogging/fps-screwing addons I can for the things I need (TidyPlates, alas, you will be gone for raids, and DXE is my next try for a boss mod, as I am told it’s a little lighter than DBM). Just need to squeeze out those 4-5 fps from what I was getting Tuesday. If I can’t…

Well, I just won’t be able to raid come Cata. Not as a healer, anyway, I’m not sure what the situation will be like for DPS (no way am I tanking ever, kthx), but probably not there either. It’s not even like a “guild policy” thing, it’s just that there is no way I’d be able to deal with things in even a Cata HEROIC with 2fps. I’ve tried a few things that have slightly increased my fps Dalaran (I was getting eight. It was insane. But then, it was also only 9 in the morning EST, so that was probably why, sigh), and I’ll be trying a few more things for the raid on Tuesday. But if I can’t

Well, I’m already doing research on what would be the least expensive Windows-running laptop with 4GB of RAM and a relatively good graphics card – I don’t need 200fps in Dalaran – I just would like to have at least 15-20 in a 25m raid. :( And if I can’t shake any of THAT… /shrug I guess I won’t be raiding in Cata. Which’ll be a WRENCH, let me tell you. I had so much fun Tuesday and Thursday, I want to keep doing it FOREVER. But if I can’t perform up to minimums, at least, I’m a drag on the guild’s progression, and like hell if I’ll do that. I will resign myself to Heroics and possibly 10m raids with alts or whatever. It won’t be what I desperately want, but… I dunno. I want and need Apotheosis to succeed more than I want and need to be OMG PERSONALLY INVOLVED IN IT EVERY STEP OF THE WAY, though, of course, I DO.

It would give me time to level my damn professions, anyway. And level alts, which is fun. Silver linings, sliver linings. Hopefully it won’t come to that.

(BTW, if anyone has any tips regarding getting better performance out of one’s crappy MacBook, or where one would look for a middle-of-the-line gaming laptop for a reasonable price, or what one should look for in such a laptop, please drop a comment? I’m afraid most of the stuff I’ve looked up so far on graphics cards goes COMPLETELY over my head.)


23 thoughts on “Baby’s First Raid Continuation

  1. First tip: Don’t game on a laptop. Gaming laptops are absolutely never worth it. Now, if you can use a desktop, I can put together a great one for about $400 (not counting the cost of an OS).

    1. Ugh, the problem being that we really don’t have anywhere to PUT a desktop that I could sit at and actually have room for a keyboard/mouse. We only have one desk chair (it’s AJ’s), and the desk is covered in books because we have literally NOWHERE ELSE to put them. I’ll look into figuring out where the hell I could put it, though.

      …not that there are many options in the tiny hole we live in…

      I’d have to deal with OSX, since I actually HAVE it, until I could get the money together to buy Windows 7. Though I SHOULD be getting a bonus around Christmas, and on top of my Christmas money from my uncle, I MIGHT be able to scrape together $400… OR I could ask my dad for $400ish for Christmas and use my Christmas money from my uncle to buy Windows 7. But then I’d also need the monitor and the keyboard and a new mouse. Meh. Honestly probably can’t afford it for a good long while. :/

      1. Sounds like a processing issue rather than a ram one – look for addons that do less stuff. Things to avoid would be things like grid and it’s debuffs, custom unit frames, addons like gatherer or altoholic which monitor large amounts of stats, even the wowhead addon. Timers are fairly intensive in this area regardless of how you set them up, so I would take the time to rmove any not directly related to the task you are performing. Also ensure you have minimal background processing, and you’re running in fullscreen mode, not fullscreen windowed – they’re actually opposite ends of the scale in terms of performance.

        I’m not up on mac’s, but it may be possible to do this another way. You might be able to set up a remote desktop type deal, not unlike two-way streaming, and have the desktop running in a corner somewhere with the game on it, but remotely controlled by the laptop. Would need some space, but less.

        As for the windows thing… if you aren’t objectionable to less than legal methods, look up Tiny7 – it’s like windows, only the useless, bloaty stuff stripped out, and the remained optimized. Works really well, and shouldn’t be too hard to find.

        It can never be said enough, “gaming laptop” is a myth – for the performance required by gaming, a laptop isn’t suitable at a physical level – they can’t handle the heat distribution, so its parts have to be lesser.. and as much as they like to say it, wow is quite intensive, and old hardware doesn’t cut it outside of leveling and the odd 5 mans, not now. Sure you can fit the hardware in the case, but it’ll be limited and you won’t get the full potential out of it.

  2. You’re hooked! I love it. :D It’s fun hearing the raiding stories, it’s so exciting and thrilling, isn’t it? Good job downing/upping DW! My only healer is a tree so I am always on raid duty, I’ve never had to deal with collecting orbs, of which I am very glad.

    1. FUCKING ORBS. I have no depth perception in WoW, apparently, ’cause I cannot for the LIFE of me figure out where those damn orbs are in relation to myself. Every time I popped one, it was completely by accident and like “Oh, well, cool then!’

      1. Ahh I hate those orbs too :( You’re in no way alone with regards to the depth perceptions – if they were on the ground it’d be easy, because you have shadows and the ground texture to help gauge distance, but in the air it’s really hard to tell how far away you are (or even if you’ve gone past them).

        One thing that might help a bit is when you go through the portal, zoom your view all the way in to first-person, so then at least you know when you’ve flown past an orb. It’s a bit of a pain because you then need to zoom back out again once the orb phase is over (it’s really hard to see what’s going on when you’re in first-person view – you feel so small and “in the thick of it”). This while manoeuvring around and spam-healing the dragon xD

        ALSO :)
        I’d tend to agree with xmolder regarding the desktop issue: desktop PCs are usually cheaper than laptops of equivalent power, and you have the ability to upgrade them easily too. That said, it sounds like the bottleneck in your MacBook is the graphics card – my PC and my girlfriend’s are fairly similar in spec, except I get nearly 3 times the framerate as she does just because I have a … well, it’s not even that good any more, and cost £65 new, whereas she only has the onboard graphics that came with the computer.

      2. The orbs are definitely difficult!

        What I found worked for me was to swim toward them, and when I got close, I’d pull my camera up so that it was pointed down at the floor for a second. Doing that would usually give me enough perspective that I could get on top of the orb. (Around to the side works too; whatever you can do easily without interrupting your swim :)

        Also, especially on Heroic difficulty, the orbs take a second to pop, even if you are right on top of them.

  3. Sadly, 25m raids are about the worst possible place for fps issues. :( Probably second only to Dal during some sort of special effects heavy holiday. It’s all those other players running around and the sparklies they’re throwing about.

    IMO gaming on laptops is perfectly legitimate… mine gets me about 60 fps normally and about 30ish while raiding, which is MORE than good enough. It’s significantly better than my desktop, which is also designed for gaming but is six months older component wise. Who knew what a difference six months made. /facepalm You are not, however, going to find an awesome laptop cheap. You might find a better-than-you-have-now laptop though.

    The cheapest (and best) computer I ever bought actually came second hand from a friend of mine who was a technophile. He always had to have the newest and best thing, so he very frequently had the last-year’s-model gathering dust somewhere. Sometimes he cannibalized them for parts, but he did sell me a nice pc and my first flat panel monitor (I had been using a boxy monitor from 1995 before, and it had screenblocking squiggles developing on it). Do you know anyone like that?

  4. I play on a MacBook, with… oh, I’m too lazy to look up the card, a crap graphics card, and only 2GB of RAM.

    Gotta know what card it is to be any use at all, lady.

    As to the depth perception, that fight just takes practice. That’s also why I like to have a buddy system, so you BOTH can try to pop orbs and BOTH end up benefitting.

    FWIW, I still panic every time I zone in and don’t immediately burst an orb. :P

    I did see improvement from you on Thursday’s rescue vs. Tuesday’s rescue, btw!

    1. Also, I think DXE is slightly heavier than DBM. Drop BW like I said, though, and either go with DBM *or* DXE at that point. (Like I said, I go with both and then stutter around at 7fps, but that’s also the point where it becomes less like various screenshots you’re watching and you can interact with your environment.)

    2. Hey, don’t knock me for being sleepy and on the way to bed and too lazy to click things! :P My graphics card, I have checked, is an Intel GMA X3100, Which from all accounts is… not a good card for gaming.

      I’ve had people tell me that DBM is lighter and that DXE is lighter, so I figure trying both (not together, mind) is the best bet for figuring out which my computer likes better.

      1. Hilarious. No joke, that is my exact graphics card. So I feel your pain. That said, I don’t know why I can pull out 8-12 or so fps in a 25-man situation and you can’t.

        I’m using the driver version from 02/26/09. I’ll see if there’s another update out there somewhere and keep you posted. But yeah, it’s a pretty lame-ass card.

  5. I’m going to strongly disagree with xmolder. I have been raiding on a laptop for all of Wrath (10 and 25 mans) and I NEVER get less than 30fps in raids (as I said yesterday, Marrowgar and spore guy lower it, but only slightly). This is mine: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Asus-X55SV.8510.0.html The price listed there seems excessive, I paid about $1000 on it 2 years ago. I don’t know if that’s out of your budget or not.

    One thing to note is that I don’t know how well it will work in Cataclysm. I played a bit of beta and it seemed fine, but it might change on live.

    I’d suggest saving up money for now and start looking around for smth to buy once beta launches… that way you’ll be able to find people who already tried it on their laptops (and of course I can report back once I play on mine).

    Notebookcheck.com has some very useful lists of components so I just took the top 50 or 100 laptop gaming cards and started browsing, then looked at my local computer store’s offer and picked a mid-range laptop with the best video card I could get. What I was told by the laptop service guys when I got it cleaned is that I picked a very good one since it has its own cooling system (on the GFX card), otherwise they tend to die. NEVER get an Acer, I haven’t seen one that lasted (a friend’s GFX card MELTED).

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Computer-Games-on-Laptop-Graphic-Cards.13849.0.html (it has WoW at the end somewhere)
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html (to give you an idea, my card GeForce 9500 GS is no. 109 on that list)

    Hope this helps!

    (And the portals on Valithria are the single most annoying thing Blizzard threw at healers this expansion except Anub phase 3. I never ever go inside if I can avoid it.)

  6. If you’re set on gaming with a laptop, sell your MacBook and use the money to get a real computer. MacBooks are for making pretty pictures and browsing the internet, not gaming.

    I have trouble understanding why anyone would buy a MacBook in the first place- those things are so ridiculously overpriced. For the same price as a MacBook that can barely run WoW, you can buy a state-of-the-art, super fancy smancy gaming laptop by any other company.

    Like Jen and Rhii, I also play on a laptop. My laptops age a bit faster than desktops (but that might be because I drag my laptop with me everywhere I go and I’m not exactly gentle), but I still get very acceptable framerates, better than many of my guildies who play on desktops.

    When I shop for a laptop, my trick is to go to all the local stores that sell computers and flat out say: “I want a computer so I can play WoW and it has to be solid because I live out of a backpack for months at a time.” Most of the computer salesmen also play WoW and give great advice about what to look for in a laptop.

    As for Valithria, my trick is to zoom in as much as possible when in the dream world. It’s a lot easier to see where the orbs are that way. And if you find other people stealing your orbs (this happens to me a lot!) make sure you agree on zones beforehand (healer one gets leftish, healer 2 gets rightish, healer 3 gets backish).

    1. Unfortunately, selling Donna (my MacBook) is out of the question unless I suddenly have the burning need for the money. Namely because… well, I actually LOVE macs. My MacBook was going to be only $200 more than the laptop I kept trying to order from Dell (for some reason, they kept cancelling the order for no apparent reason – I gave up after three attempts, because the laptop I was using was literally on its last gasping breaths), with comparable (as far as I could tell) specs. I didn’t care much about having large amounts of RAM because… well, what I was going to be doing was making pretty pictures and pretty words and browsing the internet. I was adamantly not a gamer, and I just didn’t give a crap about being able to game on my computer.

      I have since learned better, obviously.

      But the point is that my laptop is my writing computer. I have more than one program that I enjoy that doesn’t have a Windows version (Scrivener being the main one – I know they’re out in a windows beta, but I really despise the feel of it compared to the mac version) that I wouldn’t want to lose, and I personally just like the setup and the look of the Mac OS much better than Windows. But I can deal with Windows – I’d probably keep Donna as a writing computer for when I need to step away from the games and the internet, or my travelling laptop, as she’s pretty slim and light compared to, say, my girlfriend’s laptop.

      Considering the only way I’d be able to afford a new computer (other than possibly selling Donna, but she has enough problems – ie a non-functional disc drive, and buttons that stick/don’t register – that I probably couldn’t get over a few hundred dollars for her) is if my dad gets it for me. As long as I can keep the price relatively reasonable, I MAY be able to swing it. We’ll see, though. :/

      1. I became jaded against Mac the last time I was shopping for computers. I looked at everything available, and a Mac with similar specs to a 300$ other company laptop was going for over 1200$. I was all “WTF”. I know Macs are pretty and their operating system is nicer than Windows, but I can’t see any justification in spending that kind of money. Sounds like you got a decent deal, though, and you use programs I’ve never heard of ;D

        A gaming laptop is always expensive. My Toshiba was about 1500$, including taxes and warranty and it wasn’t top of the line. I think laptops might be cheaper if you order them online, but I don’t like doing that. I scrap hardware like nothing else, so I depend heavily on in-store warranties. And everyone I know who’s ordered mainly online brands like Dell and Alienware have had bad experiences (I know Alienware is supposed to be the god of gaming machines, but the few people I know who’ve went with Alienware had way more problems than I ever had with my Gateway or Toshibas.)

  7. Hmmm….cheap laptops that can get you a decent framerate….

    I have no idea how much you can afford to spend, so I decided to look up some laptops that could most likely play WoW.

    Look on Tiger Direct and Newegg.com This computer http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=6728909&CatId=4965 would do the job. The graphics is decent. It’s aimed at professionals, but I did a great job with WoW on my “professional” laptop for a long time.

    Decide how much you can spend and get the best computer you possibly can.

    But grats on saving the dragon!!!!

  8. I don’t much about computers, so I can’t help you there, but I have a tip for the orbs. Be a disco priest! YES! You will never have to heal that bloody dragon again. You can stand outside and heal the raid LIKE A PROPER HEALER, and none of that faffing about floating in the air trying to pick up balls. Ta-daaaa.

    Okay … that’s not really a good tip either!

  9. I don’t want to hear anything remotely close to you saying you will not be raiding with us in Cataclysm! You have been an absolute joy to have around and you really have some amazing potential stored in you and I would love to see some of that come out and grow even more. I know I’m not alone in feeling that way.

    There’s still plenty of time to brainstorm some solutions for you and I have very high hopes of seeing your plated backside outside of that first raid instance portal with the rest of us.


    1. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have every intention of doing everything within my power to get my frames up to at least the bare minimum, and I have NO intention of going anywhere else – You guys are pretty much the win, and who else would I slather in duck sauce?

      Unfortunately, the fact is that “everything within my power” is not… all that much. :/ I can cut back on addons, make sure I’ve got nothing but WoW and Mumble running, and tweak settings, but I have no money to spare on something like a new computer. HOWEVER, while there’s a better-than-I’d-like chance that I won’t be there at that first raid instance portal, I will FIND A WAY to be there eventually. If I’m not there at least on STANDBY when we down Deathwing, I just won’t know what I’d do. :(

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