Friday, April 24, 2009

Now they've gone and pissed me off

Been quiet over here for a bit.

Its due to an extended case of the Monday's.

On the raid front, things are pretty cool. On the first night of the second Ulduar Raid ID we killed off Flame Leviathan, Razorscale, XT, and Kologarn, and took a few very cool learning shots at Iron Council. Hunter loot was flowing like beer, with all three Hunters getting sweet upgrades. Yay us!

Other than a general "Ulduar is pretty cool", I'll just say that having to carefully plan and execute on TRASH is a refreshing experience. Here's looking at you, buzz saws before XT.

But, Blizzard has gone and pissed me right off.

For no damn good reason.

And I want BLOOD!!!!

1) No more Pack - The f'ing Aspect of the Pack no longer buffs my Traveler's Tundra Mammoth, so I have to run at normal speed like all the other elephants. Phooey!

2) No more Elevator - Standard pre-3.1 procedure for exiting Wintergrasp. Step (1) - Approach edge of zone. Step (2) - Mount up on Mammoth. Step (3) - Leap off 1,000 meter cliff. Step (4) - Walk away unscathed with mammoth taking 10% damage. Step (5) - Bitch and moan and QQ once patch 3.1 rewrites step 4 to read "Eat Rez Sickness and 25% durability loss because your corpse is stuck on some unreachable cliff location." I should have suspected this would happen once I noticed that Aspect of the Pack wasn't working. But I guess you gotta burn your hand once to learn not to touch a hot stove. Phooey!

We'll see if I can shake my awful case of the Monday's and return to some more regular posting.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ulduar First 12 hours Quickies

Its been about 12 hours since the servers came back on line after the ridiculous 3.1 installation maintenance window.

Lets reflect....

1) I.T. Slop - In my professional life, I'm involved with massive global software projects, so I understand all too well how complex the actual Go Time of installation is. I really do, and if you've never been exposed to it, its an experience worthy of a couple dozen red bulls, a whole box of Tums, and a pillow in your cubicle.

However, knowing how hard it is, but also knowing how important it is, I'm somewhat intolerant of slop. Most of Blizzard's big installations are full of slop. In my line of business, if we insisted on taking 7 extra hours, nearly doubling the originally advertised down time, we'd have serious problems. Sure, if it happens once, customers are forgiving, but if it is a routine occurrence for major upgrades, we'd have customers voting with their feet (and wallets).

Get it right!

2) Too Early - The patch came too early, damn it! I need 2 more cooking awards for my chef's hat :-( And the servers are still down this morning for a 2-hour follow-up maintenance, so I can't post the screen shot that I wanted to post first :-( :-(

3) Nuff QQ - No more complaints (wrong, there's more), because I'm actually a fan of the patch.

4) Got my Dual On - Through pure coincidence, I was logged out in Stormwind. Convenient to trot on over to the trainer and pick up dual-spec. One will be cookie cutter max DPS raid spec, the other will either be Mana Battery raid spec, or Indestructible Tank Pet spec for soloing stuff.

5) Black Arrow - If I understand it correctly, instead of trap dancing to trigger Lock n Load (which I never did in the first place), we just fire BA whenever the cooldown is up? Ok, another DoT and cooldown to juggle. No biggie.

6) Flame Leviathan - This one rocks! Very cool fight. Yes its a vehicle event, so it was chock full of UI issues, bugs, cludgey aiming mechanisms, and general slop (see #1). All that aside, the fight is friggin cool! I was sitting on the back of a Siege Engine, operating a gun turret. Just mowing stuff down and blasting stuff out of the sky. Lots of fun, and it'll only get better as bugs get fixed and addon authors tweak their code.

7) Its not a race - BUT, and its a big but, if it were a race, we got the server second kill of FL by a scant 5 minutes. Pretty cool stuff, especially because if you didn't kill him very quickly, the lag of all the other raids starting up destroyed your chances.

8) More with the slop - Ignis. A pretty standard choice for guilds to go after as the second boss. He randomly selects a raid member and puts them in a fire cauldron. If you survive, the raid moves on and you get an achievement with a great name, Heroic Hot Pocket. However, if the boss bugs out and does a melee attack on the cauldron'ed player for between 43k-73k damage, its pretty much undoable. Lots of other guilds reported the same problem. Get the damn early fights bug-free, Blazzard! If the final boss is buggy, it'll be weeks before we find out, but the early ones? That's the stuff that gets visited on the first night, so get it right.

9) So we change plans - So we switched to Razor-something. Very cool boss split between "nuke the adds" phase and "massive drake-thingie on the ground" phase. Sweet visuals of the drake or dorgon or whatever the hell the lore experts are calling this guy being hauled down to the ground.

10) And the lag bit us - A few attempts on Razor-something and we had to leave Ulduar, the lag was unbearable and made it pretty tough to interrupt the nasty raid-wiping chain lightnings.

11) Vault of [New Guy] - Alliance held Wintergrasp, so we fly on over to try out the new guy. Pretty neat fight, took 3 or 4 tries. Basic idea is that its one main boss with 4 adds. Periodically he'll select one of the adds and charge it up. When he charges it, you have a very short time span to focus fire and kill that add before it blows up the raid. Nice for a quick and easy pickup of some T8 gear.

12) Fishing daily - There were 24 other fishermen in that tiny lake in Sholazar when I was out there doing the quest. Silly, I tell you.

13) I can haz bag space - Hunter ammo goes in your regular bag now, no quivers needed. With my normal load of stuff that I carry around all the time, I can haz 47 empty bag slots now. Dual Gathering FTW!

Ok, time to check the servers to see if they're back up so I can get my Chef's Hat, and maybe try out the Argent Jousting thingie.

Druid Tanking Quickies

First things first, some awards to hand out. As promised, the best comments to my Haiku post a little while ago will receive special mention on this here blog. The main criteria for "best comment" is actually having picked my own personal favorite as their own favorite. My blog, my rules :-) so the awards for Top Commenter go to:

1) Kestrel - Sure, he covered all the bases by including a few of his favorites, but he nailed it! Good job by you, Kestrel!

2) Kat - flattery will get you everywhere!

3) Fimlys - You'd think that since he started off the current round of WoW-ku poems, he'd come higher in the standings, but alas, he opted to not commit to a favorite one which limited his potential with the judges. Bronze medal is pretty spiffy though!

Thank you all for playing!

On to the tanking quickies

Well, this one is definitely old news. I mean, what with patch 3.1 landing a few hours ago, does anybody really even remember life before dual-spec? I didn't think so.

This past saturday we went on an alt run through naxx 25, during which I was part time bear serving as the third tank, and part time kitty serving as horrid DPS.

The event was a mix of pretty cool and a pain in my ass. More after the fold....

-- fold --

Pretty Cool

1) The difference between playing DPS and Tank - Mr. No-I-couldnt-possibly-eat-any-more-beans Grobbulus. I'm in bear form, assigned to pickup slimes. Some how or other, the main tank dies while kiting El Farto around the room. Boss running loose. Raid Leader calls for wipe. Moody says "Not on my watch", taunts the bitch, and begins kiting. Although we ended up making 2.5 complete laps around the room due to low dps and a tank who has no clue what is the right kiting speed, we finished off the kill, no wipe needed. Try that lil move on your Hunter.

2) Eating Hateful Strikes - Or is it Hurtful? Who the hell cares, I was eating them. Patchwerk with a bunch of entry-level geared 80's. Not quite the 2.5 minute snoozefest we experience on our mains.

3) Damage Meters be damned - It was such a refreshing change to not care about the Damage Meters even a bit. If I'm alive and the boss is dead, we won. Works for me.

4) Raiding with the uber gf - Her first real raid ever. And she rocked it! Lol at #3 above, Damage Meters are the only thing that even matters in the game. Is there other stuff to do in WoW besides try to make your bar the biggest? I didn't think so. After Amava's first week of the Performance Improvement Plan early on during WotLK raiding, she reached a nice healthy 3.4K dps on our favorite benchmark, Patchwerk, and that was as a totally OP un-nerfed BM Hunter. The uber gf nearly did that on her first raid ever. And only died in the fire once all night. And didnt cross up the polarities on Thaddius. And avoided all the various and sundry nasty stuff on KT. A good time had by all.

Pain in my ass

1) Three tanks is like three thumbs - On boss fights where we needed all the tanks, it was awesome. The rest of the time, I was a kitty wearing dodge and stamina gear. Meh.

2) OT with better geared MT - Our MT was not quite entry-level 80, he's got some good equipment. Even his damn consecrate was tough to pull mobs off of, damn threat machine. And a rage-starved bear really doesn't stand a chance against a fully mana-loaded Pally.

3) Way too fast - We nearly went at the speed of our main raid. Not quite, but pretty damn fast. Makes it kinda tough to explain upcoming boss fights to the gf in between pulls. But we cleared the place in one long night, so I guess we have that going for us.

4) Pugs, just don't go there - Ok, so none of the puggers were THAT bad, but when you're used to a pretty disciplined, pro team, the random calls for "somebody list the damage meter" or whatever just add up over the night. But luckily I was distracted by how fast we were moving.

So there you go

This post will likely disappear amongst the full blown 3.1 hype that's running rampant through the community, but I wanted to share some of the thoughts that were going on, finding a new way to enjoy stale content just hours before it became obsolete(ish).

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Potential Twist to Immortal / Undying

I won't really bother with a full-blown post about last nights Immortal attempt, or the associated emotions.

But I will sum it up: I went in not really even thinking about it. The butterflies are definitely gone. Two and a half wings later with no deaths, my interest was piqued. The first false-start on Gothic in four months of raiding, causing one player to be locked on the dead side and the rest of the raid on the live side showed me just how easy it is to piss this one away. Butterflies swatted, dead, kaput. They shall not be allowed to return.

Moving beyond last night, the experience over the past few weeks had me thinking about the overall concept of the Immortal.

(A) I've read a bunch of posts and comments to posts on other blogs that people want the achievement to be for them personally and not for the team. As long as you personally survive each boss fight during one raid lockout, you ding the achieve.

(B) I've read a bunch of posts and comments to posts on other blogs that people want the achievement to count for each boss individually, similar to the 20-man achievement. This week you do a clean kill of Anubrikan and ding that one part of the overall goal. Next week you do a clean kill of Heigan and ding that part of the goal, and so on with each boss being a discrete unit, until you eventually complete them all.


The people voting for (A) are not team players. They should go play Legend of Zelda or something where your game only depends upon your own play. Raiding is a team sport, whether you choose to believe it or not.

The people voting for (B) probably don't deserve a "double bah", but I don't subscribe to that one either.

Don't Stop Believin'

Although the Butterflies are dead, I still believe in the spirit of the achievement.

As the raid progressed last night, and we killed boss after boss with no deaths, my excitement level was definitely increasing.

That's a good thing, I'm here for excitement, so even if the disappointment of that first death is a nuisance, I still value the experience of the night.

An achievement like Immortal / Undying is trying to encourage us to do what we're here to do anyway, but only do it better. Nobody enters a fight thinking "ok, i'd like to die on this one." Well, maybe there is a strat for a Warlock to commit suicide at the beginning of Malygos P3 so he can cast some curse or debuff or something before he plummets to his death, but that's a bit counter-intuitive and an exception to the rule.

Consider the RP Aspect

I'm not a role player, per se, although I do suffer from mood swings that make my Druid Moodyswinger's name an extension of my own personality.

But I can empathize with the RP aspect of a toon dying.

Picture yourself and a band of 24 comrades-in-arms venture off into a dungeon in search of treasure or thwarting evil or rescuing a princess or whatever.

One of you dies in combat. Hell, maybe one of you dies in his sleep. Doesn't really matter, does it?

You're dead.

Makes it pretty hard to enjoy the treasure that the dragon was hoarding or a passionate night with the princess who just fell in love with her heroic rescuer, yes?

Consider the Performance Aspect

Tobold recently wrote about some of his joys and griefs with raiding. One aspect I'll focus on here is the concept of exploring fights blind with no pre-knowledge of boss abilities, contrasted with the execution part of a fight where you have full knowledge of the boss abilities and also techniques used in the past to successfully defeat the boss.

Execution and performance is what I'm all about.

I recognize that not all players share that view, but for me, its all about planning our fight and then performing under the pressure of combat. Mix in just enough random effects to require some improvisation on the fly, and tune it to be very demanding on each player to deliver flawless execution.

Our strategy and approach should be robust enough to mitigate the risks of all the little things that can go wrong.

Sometimes you randomly D/C. Call verizon and have them check your line, maybe that's busted. Stop downloading nudie flicks while playing.

Sometimes the boss does random things that can get ugly. KT iceblock is one such example, the target is random. However, your strategy should plan for this by informing raiders to space out and then during the execution it is up to each player to be aware of their surroundings and find a safe spot amongst the rest of the team.

Sometimes your cat steps on the keyboard. Give him cement boots and throw him in the harbor. Dogs, FTW!

Having a reward for flawless execution is a Good Thing.

Where's the beef?

I'm fine with the fact that my Immortal achievement is dependent upon 24 other people. Success as part of my team is what keeps me logging in and not playing a single-player RTS or RP game.

I'm fine with the fact that my Immortal achievement requires intense focus and attention to detail across an extended period of time and is bound to a single raid ID.

But, here's my beef with the current way Immortal works.

Once you fail, that's it.

There is no longer any benefit for flawless performance during that raid ID. No reason to keep trying. And in fact, the de-motivation that comes with failing Immortal encourages sloppier behavior since people don't care about the run as much once Immortal is disqualified.

Sure, people who die suffer a slightly larger repair bill. Also, people who die on a boss slow us down a bit because they have to rez/run back and rebuff (but we're looting during this time anyways, so this is minor).

Recommendation to Blizzard

Immortal should remain unchanged. You got this one right, but...

Blizzard needs to add a separate, parallel, persistent reward for each flawless boss kill. "Separate" means it has nothing to do with Immortal, the two are totally independent. "Parallel" means that both achievements/rewards can be pursued at the same time. "Persistent" means that this reward is present each time you kill a boss, and not just the first time you ding the achievement.

The reward should be tied to team performance, and not individual performance. Remember, we're not out solo'ing, we all signed up for a team sport when we accepted the raid invite.

Proposal 1: Emblems - Somebody died? No Emblems off of this boss for anyone in the raid.

All bosses, all the time, not just your first clean kill.

And make the Emblem gear f'ing fantastic. Make us WANT this.

Encourage continuous drive towards flawless victory.

Proposal 2: All Loot - A harsher example would be all loot from the current boss. No loot drops if anybody dies. Perhaps too harsh, especially since your first few kills are the sloppiest and hardest, and the loot from those helps subsequent runs be flawless.

I dunno, as I re-read this one, a part of me is liking Proposal 2. No loot until the team figures it out and nails it. Once you prove that, then the loot flows, making it easier each time you come back.

Hmmm, I wonder? Probably too harsh.

Proposal 3: Selective Loot - Make a separate loot table that only drops when the kill is flawless.

In my ideal situation, it'd be the Best-in-slot gear that drops in this mode.

For each "difficulty setting" (id, 0 drakes, 1 drake, 2 drakes, or whatever the equivalent hard-mode indicator is for each boss), include some exclusive items for a clean kill.

The better the reward, the larger the motivation for teams to help eachother improve and help eachother survive. Even after a silly death due to unavoidable D/C on a boss early in the night, there is still a reason for the team to maintain focused.

Potential Pitfalls

One issue I could see with this is that people who die will be kicked out rather than coached on how to improve survival.

Sure, that's always a fear. If they nerf our class, change our utility, homogenize our spells, always fear that leaders will just kick you.

However, this fear would be mitigated by the fact that the Raid Leader would need to replace you with....a person who reliably survives. This is much harder to PuG, since you really never know what you're going to get from an unknown player. I think the challenge to replace you is greater than the effort to try to coach you for improved performance.

Another issue might be that players focus too much on survival and not enough on their responsibilities in the raid. I know I probably DPS a little bit lighter on Immortal attempts, just to be that much more certain to not pull aggro. But you know what? I'm damn well attentive to web wrapped people and I bust them out immediately instead of hesitating to get just one more shot in on the boss while my DPS trinket is up so I can boost my epeen (not that DPS players do that kind of stuff anyway, amiright?).

I doubt my proposals would cause people to stop looking at the meters as the be-all-end-all of raiding, but a boy can dream, can't he?

What do you think?

Is flawless execution worth striving for? Is it something that should just sorta make you smile when it happens but shouldn't expect it as a normal occurrence?

What other ways can Blizzard encourage the team to survive?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My first raid tanking Heigan

Last night was my first attempt at main tanking Heigan in a Naxx-10 alt and PuG run. In case you're new here, I've got next to zero tanking experience, with only a handful of normal-mode northrend dungeons and a single heroic under my Eternal Belt Buckle.

I can't even describe the state of mind as we're standing there in Heigan's room getting ready to pull.

I mean, I know the basic idea. The tank is supposed to keep him moving through the safe zones, trying to keep him as centrally located as possible to allow Melee to stand behind-ish and not get fried.

Yes, I've seen it done dozens of times while I was standing on the platform pew-pew'ing and cursing the tanks for threat-capping the Mages.

But now you want ME to do it? Yeah, right.

I was mentally prepared for a wipe-fest here.

I was wrong, and we one shot it, just barely, through the miraculous efforts of our one surviving healer and the few DPS players who knew how to dance. Some hilights:

1) Walk Backwards - I considered strafing to allow for more movement speed. I decided against it and wanted to just work on the basics. Slow and steady motion from safe spot to safe spot.

2) Spatial Awareness - This was nearly as disorienting as Malygos P3 for me. At one point I lost all track of where I was in the room. Is there one more safe zone towards the door? Or is it time to reverse direction and move back that way? So I flipped a coin in my head, chose to reverse and head back in towards the middle. You chose wisely.

3) Two healers enter, One healer leaves - Our PuG holy priest ate it on the first dance phase, leaving our Holy Paladin the full load to carry, with perhaps some help from the Elemental Shammy. Outstanding work keeping us alive.

4) Battle Rez, FTW - Our PuG Boomkin died on the second dance phase, dead center in the middle of the room. I'll only get a single chance to brez him, as we cruise on by during a dance phase, for the very brief moment we'll be standing stationary in the mid safe zone. Wait for it.....wait for it....first safe zone...wait for it...mid safe zone....NOW...transform out of cat form (yes, I was dancing in cat form for added speed)....find where the hell your brez spell is located (my first raid ever as a druid. say it with me....n.o.o.b.)....begin casting.....holy sht its time to move....finish casting....sccoot your ass out of the fire and keep dancing. What? If f'ing worked? And I'm still f'ing alive? And the owl listened to the Raid Leader and didn't accept the rez until appropriate time so he'd survive and in turn, brez another failed dancer? Elune be praised!

5) Mobile Threat - Generating threat while moving. Backwards. Fun. Not. The hardest part was that I use my keyboard S button to move backwards. Sure, I use mouse movement for forwards and snap turns, but not for backwards. Tied my fingers in a knot trying to keep hitting Lacerate (2), Mangle (3), Maul (4), with the occasional Swipe (5), while also hitting S. I think I was using my middle finger on the S and my index and ring fingers hitting the numbers. Its hard to recall, the whole event is a bit of a blur. Will probably need to map backwards to something else. My mind jumps to mapping the scroll wheel to reverse as a pretty intuitive control, but I'm hesitant to do that because I've been using it for camera zoom out since level 1 nearly two years ago.

6) Feedback on the fly - One of the nice things about working with other alts of mains that I raid with is that we have an established pattern of giving eachother feedback during combat. While focusing on navigating through the safe zones and simultaneously generating threat, I lost track of how close I was to the platform. Too close and he silences your casters, which is pretty much a bad thing what with the silenced heals and whatnot. So one of the guild Officers, using a calm tone with no hint of alarm or judgement, told me I was getting too close. The feedback was soon enough to allow me to correct the problem before it caused a wipe, which was nice, to say the least.

You'd be hard pressed to find this calm, clear, constructive, timely feedback in a PuG. In most one-time-only groups, you'll get either pure silence leading to failure and threats of being kicked out of the group -or- one or two grumbly folks who just tell people they suck and need to L2P. Best results come from healthy communication, and this was perfect.

7) A good scare - I can only imagine the slack-jawed look of astonishment on the faces of my team when I keyed my mic and told them I was lost during #2 above. Lets just say, I'm happy I chose wisely.

So, after 10 minutes, which is what? 4 dance phases? 5? Whatever, it was an eternity. Not too many of us were standing at the end, but a few of us were up, and the boss was down which is victory in my book.

I was trembling. Such a strange mix of adrenaline rush and disbelief that we actually did it.

Sure, we continued on through those stupid mind-flaying eye-stalks and maggots, and beat up loatheb afterwards, but it just sort of blurred together and paled in comparison to that Dance of Dances.

Heigan found a new place in my heart last night, as did the tanks of our guild who make it look effortless week after week.

For those about to dance.....We! Salute!. You!

And I'm still trembling

Short Version: Holy f'ing Dog Sht! I f'ing main tanked f'ing Heigan, having no f'ing idea what the f i was doing. And I f'ing did it! 12 hours later and my hands haven't stopped trembling yet. Major kudos go out to our friendly Ret Paladin disguised as Holy who kept us alive after her co-healer illustrated his lack of dancing prowess rather early in the fight.

Medium Version: Fresh off of tanking my first heroic, me and my alt-guildies were pumped up with confidence and ready to take on the world. So we filled in a PuG raid for Naxx-10 with full intentions of having the PuG DK main tank and me fill in the holes.

Upon discovering that the DK was...shall we say...challenged at following directions? Yeah, lets sum it all up and call it that. Upon said discovery, our little baby bear suddenly became the Go To Girl.

And Holy Sht, what a rush!

Long Version:

You've got a raid scheduled for tonight, but your team managed to clear out all the content in four or five hours earlier in the week leaving nothing for tonight's raid.

Ahhh, so that's what alts are for.

On to the heroics.

Tanking her first Heroic

Violet Hold. Sure, I know, not the toughest instance in the world, but we're new here, so bear (get it?) with us as we learn to tank.

Not a whole lot of fuss here, other than that I was totally undergeared and underskilled tank and our healer is undergeared but overskilled, while the DPS is made up of a collection of hardcore pro tank doing DPS to allow me to learn to tank, and a few alts of varying gear level.

And wouldn't you know it, we kicked its ass!

Noob mistakes galore, but we squeaked through and had a blast. Its always fun to learn new things along side with other people who laugh with you through the inevitable sloppy execution, ignorance of class abilities, fat fingers, untrained reflexes, and general lack of refinement.

Reflections on Tanking Ability

1) Was able to put out respectable single-target threat. Will benefit by tightening up the timing on refreshing lacerate and that other DoT (mangle?), I was likely wasting rage renewing them too soon out of fear of letting my 5-stack of lacerates drop off.

2) When a pack of mobs was under control, I was able to hold aggro on all of them via positioning my fat bear ass so that my swipes and glyphed mauls would hit all the mobs.

3) Total crap picking up a pack of incoming mobs. I tried FFF one, charge another, and then start swiping, and different variants of that cycle. Definitely need work here, and luckily will be saved by the bell that is 360 degree non-targeted swipe that's coming in a week or two. But still need work.

4) Health and survivability was reasonable. I can only really measure this via feedback from my healer, and he said there was no issue, and he's the type of person who'd tell you if you fail, so that's all that needs to be said about that.

Personally, I blame the DPS for #3, because its always more fun to point the finger elsewhere, and we all hate huntards :-) Focus fire. If you pull aggro, run TOWARDS the tank. But I digress, this is about my tanking, the DPS did just fine, so I should segue into a #4 about improving my communication skills to inform the team that I need their help in bringing mobs to me because I'm a noob.

And why not go for the Big Show

Fast forward through two more heroics during which I was DPS'ing as a kitty.

And a guildie asks if anybody wants to try out an alt/pug naxx-10.

Well, no time like the present, I suppose.

PuG a Death Knight who is supposed to be serving as main tank.

Begin the first pull, I'm nervous as balls. All these other people counting on me to keep the damn mobs off of them. And me having the whopping experience of about 7 or 8 dungeon runs tanked, with a single heroic thrown in there.

Trash is fine, even had to whip out a few improvisational moves to correct some sloppy multi-pulls. In my DPS world of Hunting, I have new respect for when a tank says "we're pulling these guys back".

Yadda yadda yadda, we're up to Anubrikan.

DK is on Anub, I'm on adds.

When its time to kite Anub, the DK didn't respond to the continuous, endless pleas from the Raid Leader to kite him. So he just stood there. So the fight was...interesting. But I did my job, took care of the adds, not knowing what to do, I dragged the adds away from the boss into the middle of the room. And threw a litle DPS on Anub when no adds were present.

All in all, a kill is a kill is a kill.

Is when I become Main Tank

RL wants the MT to be a bit more responsive to instructions, so we change assignments a bit.

Ahh, the bear is up front now! Time for some fun.

Lady Farina or whatever the hell her name is. To be honest, every single one of us forgot the "proper" way to kill her, we've been OP and just AoE'ing her down on our mains for so long. I'll admit that I was lying face down in the dirt at the end, died around 4%. Mr. DK did great job picking her up and the team finished her off. I cried for a little while.

Maexxena. A little uglier, however we did one-shot her. I died nearly immediately upon her enrage or whatever it is that she does at 30%. Me thinks I need to use more of the barkskin / survival instincts / frenzied regen stuff at this point. I was mentally ready to , but I was insta-gibbed so fast I didn't have a chance to trigger all of them.

Noth. Suck it! No fuss here. Easy because he doesnt blink/aggro wipe in 10-man, but still interesting to try to pick up all the adds during the teleport phase.

Heigan. TL;DR. Separate post. For the sake of this post, lets just say it was pretty f'ing cool.

Loatheb. Loatheb was fun because you just stand there and pour out the single-target threat. Didn't have survivability issues, no threat issues, pure win.

Mongoose is my new best friend

Got some new staff from the run.

Got my third mongoose enchant in three days.

Loot karma theory remains true, if you want to upgrade it, polish it and the loot will drop.

Confidence Boost

After clearing those two wings, it was bed time, so we called it quits.

I had no idea what to expect coming in to tank my first raid.

I could care less whether our success was because Blizz made raiding too easy or whatever. This was one of the most memorable raid nights I've ever had.

There's tons of room for improvement on both trash and bosses. There's tons of gear I should seek out to make life a little easier.

But the night showed that with the help of my team, I can hang in there and get the job done in a role that's so unlike ranged dps that its practically a different game.

And on the lighter side, hopefully the confidence boost to my tanking ego will ease the pressure to collect a backup set of healing gear, because all the multiple pieces is starting to make my head spin. I'm sure all you veteran hybrids are lmyao to hear that.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Alt Ding Quickies

For the first time in my illustrious WoW career, I now have two max level toons.

Yay, me!

A Druid, planning on being a tank in alt-PvE runs and an occasional healer in Battlegrounds.

On to the quickies...

) Crafting and Enchanting: With aspirations of tanking comes the responsibility of gearing. So I did a little homework, bought up a king's ransom of leatherworking materials, gems, and enchanting materials, found my crafters, and have a nice shiny toon who might just be able to squeak through a heroic or two to begin the gearing process.

) Inscription FTW: This girl gets to skip over the Hodir's grind for shoulder enchant. Although from what I can tell, now that the initial surge is long gone, Dundernifflem is way more tolerable than when Amava ground through.

) Bring forth the Dual-Specs: I've got no problem forking over the cash to swap between tanking and healing, but I do have a problem re-assigning my talent points, changing my action bars, glyphs, and whatever. I'm slightly looking forward to dual-spec for my Hunter to switch between glass-cannon-dps-pet mode and full-blown-tank-pet mode. But for the druid, dual-spec will be a many splendored thing.

) Her First Heroic: Of course, being in a guild with some outstanding tanks, my little girl had to DPS her way through her first heroic, which was pretty pathetic given that (A) she's spec'ed and geared for dodge, stamina, and threat, and (B) I suck royal sausage at melee DPS. You want me to stand where?

) Her First Loot: And also of course, the first three sweet sweet leather drops are....healer items. So she's got a headstart on her healing set, which'll come in handy at some point, I'm sure.

) The best way to replace an item is to enchant it: Perhaps the shortest lived Mongoose enchant ever. That first heroic run also yielded a decent tanking pole, which Bears learned how to equip with patch 3.0.8. Now if I can only find the weapons trainer who does polearms.

) Swift Flight Form FT-mutha-f'ing-W: Its not even funny how imba swift flight form is. Instant cast? Loot quest items or herbs from the ground without breaking form? And most importantly at this here home of the frivolous entertainment, able to click instance summoning portals with a glowing beak? Just fantastic, I highly recommend it.

) And finally: Pretty interesting to have a max-level toon who technically has very little aspiration. No particular achievements (especially since she already has Jenkins from a fun-run following Amava and friends through Something-RBS back while leveling), no stress to max out cooking or fishing, no real gearing up pressure beyond the basics to tank or heal heroics. Nice to have a toon that's here pretty much to fart around and have fun with, while leaving the srrs biznis to Amava.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Immortal Aggro

Immortal Failure
Achievement far out of reach
Death on second boss

A week or so ago, I wrote about the anticipation and excitement of our first deliberate attempt at Immortal achievement, clearing Naxx-25 without any deaths on boss fights.

Had two players D/C on the second boss, and one player run into the fire (invisible on her video settings), thus disqualifying the achievement about 20 minutes into the raid. Ok, put your feet up for the next 2.5 hours, the pressure is off.

Fast forward a week, and we're back at it, fresh raid ID, fresh expectations of becoming Highlanders. So how'd it go?

Death on second boss

Mind you, a different second boss than last week. This time we had somebody on the dead side of Gothick bite the bullet. Supposedly the DPS on that side were getting too close to whirlwinding mobs being tanked in the corner, leading the healer to need to blast away with larger than normal heals, leading to the healer generating lots of threat, leading to dead healer. I dunno, dude.

So, again, 20 minutes into the night, disqualified from the win.

From there on, it was all slop, all the time.

The highlight being a Gluth wipe that involved a continuous stream of zombie chow just running a train straight to the boss. Kiting was at the biggest all time level of failure. My favorite moment was when I "magically" had wings appear over my toon and I was unable to fire at any mobs for a little while. Did the f'ing pally cast f'ing BoP or f'ing whatever on me? Really? Are you f'ing kidding me? Makes it kinda hard to pull the f'ing chow chows off of the f'ing healers and f'ing boss.


I was able to control the nerd rage a little bit, and had enough composure to only throw soft non-breakable things around the room.

I'd be lying if I said it the experience wasn't upsetting, but then again, us drama queens thrive on getting upset, so in the end, a good evening of entertainment. There's no person to blame, there's no one single specific thing to change, its just that so many variables have to align perfectly, and I fear that we started too late to have enough chances before the upcoming patch that will make the whole point moot.

It Just Doesn't Matter

Like Bill Murray in Meatballs, I'm chanting "it just doesn't matter."

In a week or two, the hopes will pass and I won't be thinking about the fast flying mount that's out of reach.

And a week or two after that, Ulduar will release and we'll all be happily distracted for a while.

It just doesn't matter.

The Silver Lining

All was not sour for the evening.

A big feather in our cap on the Four Horsemen. We took a very slow, calculated approach to the fight to ensure no chain lightning nailed the team. We had good communication from the officers ensuring everybody knew their job, and the team showed good discipline during the execution. That was reassuring to see, although we did lose a player to god knows what in a phase of the fight that really should not have any death.

We also Safety Danced again, which is nice to know we can do that little beauty semi-reliably.

Kick me in the jimmy!

And the real kick in the nuts was when one of the players keyed his mic and we all hear a brief moment of cheering in the background.

Seems that his roommate or friend or neighbor at the LAN center or something just dinged Immortal.

In the immortal words (f'ing pun f'ing intended) of Buzzcut of Beavis and Butthead fame...

Kick me in the jimmy!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Fimlys at Asleep at the WoW put the call out for the wow-ku poems. He tagged some specific people (not me, which is good, because i'd likely not do it out of spite if he had singled me out. sorry, that's just how we roll). As of this writing, I also saw a post up at Kestrel's Aerie with some good poems also. Its a chain letter thing, so there will likely be more of them out by the time this gets published, but there you go.

I don't know what happened. I came back from a chinese buffet lunch, so clearly I cannot do any work for a good 30 minutes. Its like swimming after you eat. I read the Asleep at the WoW and Kestrel posts, and spent the next little while with the inspiration just pouring out.

Fimlys wanted to impose a constraint of keeping the poems limited to a single class. I went where the inspiration took me, so I bent the rules.

Vote for your favorite of mine in the comments. Creative comments judged to be the best comments of the bunch (ie, the ones that vote for my own personal favs) will be rewarded with the fabulous prize of special mention on this here blog. Does it get better than that? I've numbered them for easy reference in the many dozens of comments I expect on this thread.

Vote early, vote often...

Departing from our ordinary jobs

Number 1
Kiting Zombie Chow
Special job for the Hunters
No fun, want pew pew

We all like to be special

Number 2
Specialists beware
Hybrid class can dual spec
Where's my raid invite?

Number 3
Bring me, not my class
They homogenized our spells
I'm still a snowflake

Some more special than others

Number 4
His wife cracked the whip
Our mentor will write a book
Hobbes is in the pound

Number 5
TJ just posted
Perhaps he's not really gone
Send top secret mail

WotLK released almost 5 months ago

Number 6
No teamwork for trash
Don't wait, just A.o.E.
Skill not neces'sry

Number 7
Northrend in a funk
Farming naxx, maly, and sarth
Not enough content

Number 8
Achievements are cool
So long as we get rewards
Some folks disagree

Number 9
Some hard modes are hard
Others will be harder still
I can hardly wait

And an assortment to finish things off

Number 10
Factions waging war
Battling for Wintergrasp
Game completely lagged

Number 11
What's that on the ground?
Fire burning hot, health bar drops
L2P U Noob

Who knew fire had only one syllable?

Number 12
Rogue went AFK
The loot policy just changed
That's why I don't PUG

Go Vote!

Remember, there's an awesome prize for the most bestest comment. Really can't put a dollar value on it, its just that hot.

Disclaimer: The prize is special mention on my blog. If you're able to parley that into something of dollar value, good job by you. If you're a dick, I'll just delete your comment and give you no reward.

ZO-Mutha-f'ing-G, Breaking, HOT HOT HOT, Breaking News - MUST READ - GOGOGOGO!!!

I just read this beauty.

Forget Ulduar.

Forget Dual Spec.

Forget One Hour Flasks.

Forget sweet awesome really hard hard modes that'll feed on my tears.

Forget whatever the hell they're going to do the Hunter class.

Forget influential entertaining informative bloggers who may or may not be leaving wow, and may or may not be using said departure as a publicity stunt for a top secret project.

Forget all that stuff. The important breaking news is in....

I can haz chef's hat.

And to think I was debating just yesterday to redeem all my accrued Dalarans and make some phat cash.

If the announcement ends up being April Fool's Joke, I'm going to enrage like the Incredible Hulk, lift my computer over my head, fling it through the window, jump through the jagged glassy broken window following it, lift the broken computer case over my head again, fling it through the nearest car windshield, reach through the broken windshield and open the door, use the smashed computer case to bust open the dash board, hotwire the car, and drive it and the broken computer off the bridge down the street and into the lake. Oh, and before all this, I'll make sure my WotLK install disks are in the drive so they get destroyed also. redeem the dalarans and sell the spices.