Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spine of Deathwing

This past week Darkfall divided up into two 10mans for our raids. I tried to evenly split up the groups so everyone had heals and ranged/melee dps and a tank and so that people were in the same group as their friends. It's pretty easy to divide groups up, we've actually got a good core crew, but it can be tricky to get everyone with their friends. I could wish that more people would show up, but we're trying to work on recruiting, so hopefully that will fix itself soon.

My group pugged in a dps DK who also had a tank spec, so we made it through the first 5 bosses on Tuesday. Thursday we killed Blackhorn with a pug pally tank. Sunday we were missing people so we compressed down to one 10man and tried our hand at Spine of Deathwing.

Spine is an interesting fight. It's deceptively simple to talk about. Explode adds to blast off Deathwing's armor. Once you remove three armor plates you win. But the execution is tricky to coordinate. We're trying it with one tank, and 3 heals. I'm not sure that's the best way, in particular I could see using two tanks. That would certainly help with the swarms of blood near the end. But I think we can work around that by taking time to kill a bunch of blood before we pull another Hideous Amalgamation.

It's also hard to make sure that everyone gets gripped down for the roll. Well it's easy to get gripped down, it's hard to know when to get ungripped. But we had some good learning attempts Sunday night.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dragon Soul Progress


Sunday night two weeks ago Darkfall killed Blackhorn on 10man.

We'd been following a strategy where we tried to burn the drakes as fast as possible. But we kept losing people to all sorts of bad stuff: melee adds charging, purple swirlies big and small, or sapper not dying in time. We'd only gotten to phase 2 twice and while one of those was close to a kill it wasn't really repeatable.

So we changed up the kill priority. Three dps were assigned to the melee adds, and a fourth was to swap and help kill them if we called for them to be burned. Of course everyone was still supposed to swap to the sapper as soon as it appeared. We made sure that there were never more than 2 melee adds up at a time. It drastically cut down on the random amount of death due to charge. Only having two melee adds up at a time also reduced the tank damage a lot. And as a final relief for the healers we told everyone to only hop into a small purple swirly when they were at full health and it was close to them. That increased ship damage a fair amount, but as long as we got every single sapper the boat got low but didn't explode.

Somehow this worked. I can't tell if we were super lucky and happened to be able to kill the last 2 drakes before they could drop off a 4th pair of adds, or if the mechanics were fixed so that we'd only ever get 3 pairs of melee adds. Either way, after the 3rd pair of adds were killed the last drake or two was killed and we pushed through to phase two. We had a couple of snafus with the shockwave and devastating roar. But once people remembered to get out of shockwave while the casters stayed more than 10 yards away from the boss to avoid the silence of the roar the kill went reasonably smoothly.


Two weeks ago Tuesday night Darkfall had enough people to do DS25. The first two bosses are pretty easy. We had a wipe on Yor'sahj because people didn't listen and stacked when the boss had the green buff. There were a few people not on vent and that made it pretty hard. Honestly the only thing that saved us was the Yor'sahj addon that DraNgNon found for me a couple of weeks ago. The auto announce for slime kill target and stack/no stack and add kill order of that addon is just fabulous. And I really need to add a vent requirement to my raid advertisement macro.

However, Zon'ozz continues to be a thorn in our side. I do not understand how to control the direction of the ping pong ball. And that consistently fucks us. We've got the damage to kill him. We've got the heals to survive his tank damage and his aoe phase damage. But when the ball goes sideways everything gets screwed. We got him to 4% last night. 4%! But we didn't manage to kill him.

I think that I need to step up and tank him so that he is facing directly away from the ranged camp. I have been reluctant to do that, due to healing considerations. But on 25man both of the tank healers are standing in the melee group anyway so they are close enough regardless of how the boss is pointed. However, if we do that the ranged group can't be too far back, both for healing/dispelling reasons, and so that I have time to get the boss in position if the ball goes sideways.

Either way Zon'ozz makes me want to tear my hair out. We've been so close so often and a seemingly random ball bounce will screw it all up.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mr. Stomp

Running around the base of Wyrmrest temple in the Dragon Soul raid are two NPCs, Mr Stomp and Gor'in "Punchy" LIttlebottom. Punchy is chasing Mr. Stomp around.

Mr. Stomp yells: Stomp now.
Gor'in "Punchy" Littlebottom yells: Aaaaaaahhh! We're all doomed!

Gor'in "Punchy" Littlebottom yells: No! Right! Go Right!
Mr. Stomp yells: Buuurrrnnn!

There is more, I think Punchy tries to get Mr Stomp to go left at some point.

This dialogue coming from a molten fire construct/elemental should be rather familiar. It's definitely a reference to Rhyolith. It made me smile when I first noticed it, though our usual foot steerer on Rhyolith has never actually said "Aaaaaahhhh! we're all doomed!" he's come close a couple of times.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


We all play WoW. (If you don't why are you reading this?) It's an MMORPG. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. People forget this simple fact all the time.

It's annoying when people forget about the RPG part of WoW. Depending on how much they forget it can pull me out of the game myself.

But far more annoying is when someone forgets about the MMO part of the game. It is extremely important to remember that the other characters on the screen are played by people. People who may have had a bad day. People who may have just had the most awesome day ever. People who are snatching an hour or two of fun or de-stressing before they go to sleep or do yard work or whatever.

I've said it before but it makes me froth at the mouth with anger when someone treats me or others like we're not people too. Like we're just NPCs in their game. The people I play with are real. Some of them I've met. Some I haven't. All of them are still people, and deserve to be treated with basic respect.

So next time you talk to your guild or run a random, remember that everyone else is a person, too. They deserve the same respect that you want.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Kael'Thas Take 2

Just before the New Year Tylara and Khyrie went to the Magister's Terrace. It was pretty fun to run through there. And it was a good change for us to practice tanking and healing in an actual instance.

Of course while I was there I had to screen shot Kael's ridiculous dialogue.

Kea'thas Sunstrider yells: Vengeance burns!
Kea'thas Sunstrider yells: Felomin Ashal!

Kea'thas Sunstrider yells: I'll turn your world... upside... down.
Kea'thas Sunstrider yells: Master, grant me strength.
Kea'thas Sunstrider yells: Do not get... too comfortable.
Kea'thas Sunstrider yells: My demise accomplishes nothing! The master will have you! You will drown in your own blood! The world shall burn! Aaagh!

The last line is the most hilarious. Kael is dead but has a ridiculously long line before he actually falls over.

Friday, January 13, 2012


This year's special Winter Veil gift was a Gaudy Winter Veil Sweater. It's main use, aside from looking truly horrible, was to allow you to carol. The on-use for the sweater was to "sing a festive song".

The new holiday achieve was A-Caroling We Will Go. Carol, with your sweater, in the enemy capital cities. If you were observant and slightly careful you could, with a flying mount, get to all of the Alliance cities without being attacked by guards. And thus get your achieve for caroling.

It was only the two of us, but I think that if you had about five or six people the different caroling sounds would combine to form an actual song.

Monday, January 9, 2012

General Update

I've been a bit silent on the blog lately. It's been a combo of Holiday busyness and guild stress. But with the Holidays over and the guild calming down I think I have the mental focus and time to post about WoW without it being a complete rant. I have been having fun in WoW. The new raid and dungeons are fun and I think (hope) I'm doing a good job with the guild. I'm trying to push some of the work onto the other officers, but it's hard with a few of them still out for the Holidays.

This weekend Kuan and Morn went did a bunch of PvP. It was our usual Saturday night arena and hard cider. The arena's were their usual level of fun/pain, but the battlegrounds were especially bad. I swear sometimes the Horde has an awesome ability to pluck defeat from the jaws of victory. But we did eventually stomp an Arathi Basin. The arena's were helped by my checking Arena Junkies and swapping a few talent points and a glyph out for Mornara's pvp spec. Of course now it's even less suited to doing PvE damage, but I massively prefer tanking in PvE anyway.

Darkfall in general is making steady progress with Dragon Soul. We're very close to getting Blackhorn down. We almost had him last night, and I think next time we'll get him for sure. Probably I should take a peek at what I need to know for Spine of Deathwing. I look forward to falling off when he rolls us.

DraNgNon and I have also been doing our best to keep up with alts as well. Eeyan and Viljo are both just barely geared enough to get into LFR. Khyrie and Tylara are 80 and 81 respectively. I think it's time for them to head to Vashj'ir. I'm loving playing cat for the outdoors, and resto for instances. I do need to remember to make an obnoxious macro for her Tree of Life form. I'm thinking something along the lines of "SUPER BROCCOLI to the Rescue!" or "Form of Broccoli!!" or "SUPER BROCCOLI is here to Save the Day!!!1!!!one!!!" I'm really torn on how to make it both informative and annoying.

Monday, January 2, 2012

LFR thoughts: counterpoint

What I'm seeing is that LFR seems to be suited for a certain type of player, the raid PUG-player. The attitude and expertise of these people is very precise, they are very aggressive and bossy, intolerant of wipes, quick to blame, and those that know the fights are clearly pleased with themselves when they know. In fact, they are exactly the people who made raiding Vault of Archavon in WotLK a painful experience. This person is not someone who can deal with progression raiding; the only challenge they are interested in is outperforming the rest of the raid, and when PUG'd in, usually drop group after more than 1 wipe on a boss. With LFR, Blizzard has given them their own playground, exactly suited to them. It's a face roll for any geared character played by someone who knows how to raid. LFR even has a loot system which is not merit based, giving the raid PUG person a perfect target for their displeasure.

I do agree that 25man raids are suffering, but not from LFR, just from the combined lockouts. We can't just go into a 10man to see the fights, then try it on 25. And 10s are easier by far, even if the odds of useful loot decrease significantly. I'm sure Blizzard is seeing this and will deal with it appropriately in Mists of Pandaria. There are quite a few remedies they could apply without significant recoding.

While the various tiers of TOC and ICC was crazy bullshit, I think MoP raids should go back to how Ulduar was done, specifically Hodir and XT, with 10 and 25 on separate lockouts, and "heroic mode" triggered by demonstrating in the fight via a gear check mechanic that the raid could handle it. Well, "heroic mode" isn't the subject of this post. They do not have to distinguish between 10- and 25-man gear. There's really not going to be any harm in letting people go after a boss twice a week.

But if they really want to avoid some people feeling they have to run both, I'd rather see 10 and 25s be separate raids, like in BC; but that would not work well with guild structure as coded in the game and would be the source of "left out" drama. Maybe 10 and 20, instead of 25.

LFR Thoughts

I'm not sure how I feel about the new LFR tool.

On one hand it's very handy. I don't really get fights until I've seen them. So what I used to do was look up strats and then have them make no sense until after the first few wipes. And then I'd have to look them all up again now that I have a bit of a mental model of what is going on. But with LFR I can go into there and then look at a strat, and it's not usually too bad to add a new mechanic or two. It's also nice to actually see all the fights and cut scenes. I've taken so many screenshots of the dialogue it's hard to sort through for posting.

On the other hand, I truly think it's the final death knell for 25man raiding guilds. Having seen how things went between Wrath and Cata I think that the only reason Wrath had so many 25s is because that is where the better gear was. And now that the gear is equalized very few people are willing to do 25s rather than 10s. 10s require a finer tuned balance of classes, but its a lot easier to find 10 non-idiots than it is to find 25 non-idiots. It also seems that many of the newer fights in FL and DS have a tendency for a mistake by anyone in the raid to wipe the whole thing. With 25 people it's a lot harder to get a mistake free pull that leads to a boss kill.

I do like that the LFR is such a handy way of gearing up any missing items and your offspec. It's been a few weeks and I'm still hoping that I can win a hat token to replace Mornara's Daybreaker Helm. Yes, she is still wearing a helm from Bastion, but nothing else has dropped! Hopefully she'll win the token from LFR or we'll kill Blackhorn soon. But aside from that she's gotten a whole lot of pieces for her dps set.

One bad thing about LFR is that it's such a low bar people can basically face roll through it. When I bring Mornara in there with her initially crappy dps gear and a PVP unholy build I expect to be hovering above the tanks on the dps meters. I don't expect to be 6th or 7th on damage every fight. And it's really quite sad when people spew abuse at the dps or heals after a wipe where mechanics were misunderstood. I have not yet seen a wipe in LFR that was caused by lack of dps or healing. I have however seen many wipes caused by confusion about how the fight needs to be done.

I think that in general LFR is going to get more people into raiding LFR but it won't increase the number of people doing normal raids. It will, however, kill the last few 25man guilds out there. I am not going to be the least bit surprised if in Mists of Pandaria the only options for raiding are 25man LFR and 10man normal and heroic.