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.

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