Monday, February 27, 2012

Deathwing Death

Tuesday this week we had 13 people ready for the raid at raid time. I was tired of excluding people, so I decided that we'd do two 10mans. It left us with groups of 6 and 7, so there was a lot of pugging. But I tried to divide the groups as best as I could so each team had a reliable tank, backup tank, a good main healer and at least one backup heal.

I was worried that both groups would fail terribly. Since it was my decision to pug I took the team of 6 guildies, so that it would be less work for Earthen and Smokey. My group picked up a couple of really great dps, an excellent healer, and a 3rd healer/dps who was ok. We killed the first 6 bosses on Tuesday, but didn't have time to try Spine due to some wipes on Zon'ozz, with the ball bouncing wierd, that made me want to tear my hair out.

Thursday we stayed in two raids. Earthen suggested combining to one raid, but we had just as many online as on Tuesday and my raid had 3 of our 4 pugs come back for more. My raid pretty handily killed Spine, but had some trouble with Madness. It really seemed that every time we were having a clean attempt someone would randomly not get the jump buff on the way to the 4th platform. And to add to the pressure Earthen's group killed Madness. I was super happy to see their achieves pop up in guild chat, but I wanted my own achieve there too!

By Sunday two of our dps pugs had applied to and joined Darkfall. So out of our pugging we got a new warlock and death knight dps. Really, the best way to recruit is to pug and have the competent people join the guild.

Anyway, Sunday, my raid is now mostly guild. We pug a fabulously geared resto druid. And after a few random wipes to tank fail and jump buff fail we slaughter Deathwing. We did it with a one tank 2 heals set up. It was a bit hairy when I was holding both of the the first set of elementium terrors in the second phase. However our dps was so fabulous there was no second set of elementium terrors! Deathwing just keeled over dead before they spawned.

Next week we'll try out a heroic mode or two and start working on the per boss achieves.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lunar Festival Super Spy

The Lunar festival is going on right now. Most of my toons already have all the coins they need. However, Khyrie does not. She's missing just about everything. Well she was two weeks ago anyway. Now, she's got half the dungeon coins, most of Kalimdor, all the Horde capital cities, and all of the outside Northrend coins. She's also leveled up to 81, mostly through exploration and coin xp.

Before next Saturday she's got to get to level 82 so that she can get the Deepholm coins, but all the other Cata coins are reachable via flying. Hopefully doing the Northrend dungeon coins will help with the xp for leveling.

The other hard part will be getting the Alliance capital cites coins. Khyrie is currently missing Ironforge and Stormwind. The Darnassus coin was amusing to get.


A guard's arrow whizzed through the air where Khyrie had been as she banked sharply left. The quick direction change was lucky but not entirely planned. Khyrie needed to land somewhere to remove the arrow and heal the wound in her left wing/arm. Fortunately the trees and branches of Teldrassil gave her many options that were both large enough for her troll form and far enough away from any guards on the ground.

Once healed, Khyrie shifted back into bat form and headed towards Darnassus. She soared above the road, the wind whispering in her claws. Once to the Darnassus gate she dove sharply and skimmed above the hill to the side of the main entrance. From there she glided swiftly just above the ground through the Craftsman's Terrace and toward the Cenarion Enclave. She was just fast enough as a bat to out race attacks from the Sentinels at the main gate, and yet not high enough to be noticed by the flying city guards.

With quick and almost silent flaps of her wings Khyrie reached the Cenarion Enclave and the elder standing in a moonbeam there. Swiftly she shifted back to troll form and bowed to the elder. In return the elder's ghostly hands passed her a glowing lunar festival coin and a thick red envelope. She tucked both items into her pack. The envelope was intriguing but it would be better to open that later.

A quick shift later and she was back in bat form and ready to make her escape from Darnassus. She started to look around for the closest exit, but, in her haste, flew a little too high. Suddenly a searing pain pierced her wing membranes. A hippogryph had swooped down from the tree limbs above and savaged her wings. Using what height she had Khyrie dove for the nearby lake. As she plunged into it she shifted into manatee form and swam to the bottom of the lake. Fortunately the hippogryph didn't follow her into the water.

At the bottom of the lake Khyrie alternated between holding her breath as a troll so she could heal herself and shifting back to manatee so she didn't drown. Once fully healed she explored the lake bottom a little bit. It wasn't large, but there were several streams feeding and draining it. Khyrie tried to remember the map of Darnassus she had looked at before this expedition. If she remembered correctly, the stream that drained the lake wasn't actually a stream but a waterfall over the edge of Teldrassil.

Khyrie swam towards the waterfall. She washed over the edge and shifted to bat in midair. A little fancy flying and she was safely out of the waterfall and out of Darnassus and on her way back to Darkshore for the next coin.


Alright so the above story isn't *exactly* correct. There was one death and corpse run while I was grabbing the coin. DraNgNon also gets all the credit for remembering that there is a waterfall out of Darnassus. Other than that it was a pretty speedy and painless coin grab. Far less painful than I'm sure either Stormwind or Ironforge will be.

Monday, February 6, 2012

First, Finest, Last for Mornara

Ikoli the troll priestess had been her first friend. Her shields had kept Mornara safe from harm while Mornara slaughtered all who faced them in Outland. Ikoli was one of the first members of the horde not to flinch when the newly freed Death Knight approached. And that had won her Mornara's lasting friendship. But that memory didn't seem to be the oldest one... there was a hazy memory of a red haired blood elf paladin? Only Mornara was wearing cloth and ordering a demon around? No, that wasn't right, couldn't be right. Mornara killed demons, she didn't control them. And cloth? How laughable, she'd worn plate armor since the first time the Lich King ordered some ghouls to help her get armored and then sent her to Razuvious for instruction in how to runeforge her own weapon.

The male Night Elf had failed the tests to become a Death Knight. He was chained in the center pit of Acherus awaiting his fate. Razuvious gave Mornara the key to his bindings and sent her to kill him to cement the runes on her blade. The Night Elf had a longer reach, but Mornara was fiercer. She pressed him and stayed close so his longer reach was useless. When her sword opened him from collarbone to groin he fell to his knees with a strangled cry and tried to hold his guts in. It wasn't mercy that caused her to kill him swiftly after that. It felt good when she cut his throat.

Arthas was the first leader Mornara followed. That wasn't quite right; Arthas was Mornara's master. She did as he commanded, because he commanded it. Followed implies some sort of choice, but the only choice other than instant and complete obedience was death and torture for her.

Kuanchichi, the elemental troll shaman, had been and still was her finest friend. Shaman and Death Knight plowed through all enemies in their path no matter if it was geists and abominations in Icecrown Citadel, fire elementals on Mt Hyjal, or the twisted spawn of the old gods attacking Wyrmrest temple. Mornara made sure that all their foes focused on her while Kuan dealt immense amounts of damage to them.

It took months of fighting to break the siege on Icecrown Citadel. And once inside it took more months to fight through the hordes of undead minions and the various lieutenants of the Lich King. There were many impressive battles fought and won in those foul halls. But the most important one, was the death of Arthas Menethil, the Lich King. It was a grueling fight, and before it was over they were all almost defeated. But, with help from friends, companions, and Tirion Fordring, Arthas was defeated.

Thrall was the finest leader that Mornara had ever followed. His skill at calling the elements was demonstrated during the retaking of Undercity and again when he helped quiet Azeroth before Deathwing could destroy it. He was wise and calm and thought things through before moving forward with them. And he wanted what was best for the whole Horde individually and as a group.

Eeyan the undead rogue had been her latest companion. They, and a few others, had fought their way through the misguided Zandalari trolls and corrupted Loas of Zul'Gurub. The Gurubashi refugees wisely ignored their party as they rode past in their mechano-hogs. When they did find enemies worth fighting Mornara stood in the front of the group and kept the Zandalari trolls from noticing Eeyan until his weapons were buried to their hilts in troll backs.

An angry earth elemental had been her last kill. The Jewelcrafter in Orgrimmar wanted some help gathering elemental goo. And the druids in Hyjal could always use some help fighting off the waves of summoned elementals the Twilight's Hammer Cult sent at their base in the roots of Nordrassil. So Mornara stepped through the portal and out under the spreading leaves of Nordrassil to cut down earth elementals. At least when they fell she only had to brush gravel off her armor.

The last leader that Mornara had followed... was herself. She had led the guild of Darkfall on their raids since the Shattering. Hellshot, the former leader, had stayed in command of the guild until the end of the campaign in the Firelands, but Mornara had been doing most of the organizational work before than, and she officially took control at that time. It was an odd change for a former member of the Scourge to be not only part of the Horde again, but in command of the group she was with.

Some references.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Blackhorn, Spine, and 5% nerfs

Darkfall killed Spine of Deathwing for the first time on normal mode last night. And, like an idiot, I forgot to take a screen shot. Then again there isn't a whole lot to take a screen shot of, sadly. You get some pretty machinanima, but there is no body for the quite obvious reason that you didn't actually kill Deathwing. All you did was pop a few armor plates off his back so that Thrall could peg him with the Dragon Soul. (How does Thrall do that without frying those of us who just popped the armor off?)

It's a interesting fight. Everyone has to keep on their toes with positioning and damage target. And you had better be ready to get tied down when he rolls. We did it with a single tank and 3 heals. I don't think that one tank would work for 25man, too much damage from corrupted blood, but it did for 10man. I'm not usually a fan of heavy add fights, the adds can be a pain to pickup as the tank. However, since this was *only* adds it wasn't too bad. Though there are a couple of times I wanted to beat the hunters for not warning me that an extra tentacle was about to go down, because my camera was no where near where I could see the Hideous Amalgamation until after it had eaten a healer.

But once you get the hang of things Spine is not a hard fight. It was a whole lot easier then Blackhorn, which we had a lot of trouble with last night. The vast majority of the trouble was due to only having 2 ranged dps in the group. That made it quite difficult to get the drakes down before the boat exploded. But we made a few changes and got the melee to help with the first drake, and it eventually came together.

I'm a little sad that the nerfs are out this early. Because of the holidays I don't feel like we got enough time to work on the raid before it started getting nerfed. We were still making forward progress and I truly think that we could have gotten Spine down with no nerfs. We'd made some great progress the other weekend, and I am pretty sure that even without the nerfs we'd have gotten him this week. But at least the Dragon Soul nerfs are being rolled out a bit at a time. The nerfs to Firelands were horribly discouraging happening in one fell swoop as they did.

It's clear that the DS nerfs are supposed to be comparable to the ICC nerfs of two years ago. (Wow, that was already two years ago...) But I much prefer the way the DS nerfs are being done. It has roughly the same effect, but it's psychologically different to have the bosses nerfed rather than yourself buffed. And oddly I think it might be more of a buff to actually killing the bosses the way the DS buff is going. And for sure it'll keep players from being (as) lazy. You've still got to work at it to put out the damage you expect from yourself, no ICC crazy buff to boost you when you may or may not actually be geared for the instance.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Death Knight Origins

I was chatting with Clariana/Volo the other day and in the course of conversation we got to talking about character origins and endings. Specifically about how our characters became Death Knights and what happened to Volo's characters after the WoW subscription lapsed.

Volo the player has several characters, all with different ends. Clariana lives out her days as a tailor. A shaman stayed in Dalaran for intellectual pursuits. The rogue retires and lives out her life in Orgrimar. Ildiavolo himself put out the rumour that he died in the Firelands so that he could spend the rest of his days meditating on a rock in Orgrimmar. Because he was really messed up in the head after being undead and a death knight servant to Arthas.

This led to discussion about how our DKs became DKs.

Me: So what is the story in your head for how Ildiavolo turned into a death knight?
Volo: He was a rogue that died fighting Illidan. One of his glaives sliced Ildiavolo's jaw off. And when Arthas was gathering bodies he was revived. He was human to start, he died when Illidan and Arthas fought in Warcraft 3.
Volo: How did Mornara become a death knight?
Me: She started out as a warlock. In my head she never actually died, she was just tortured until her mind broke and Arthas used his sword to suck her soul just enough to bind her to his control.
Volo: That's brutal
Me: She'd been a warlock questing around with a certain pally of Kuan's and they split up. Morn went off to the plaguelands to fight the scourge, but it didn't work out so well.
Me: Well she didn't lose her jaw or anything like that!
Volo: I had to explain it somehow!
Me: ;D Wounds from Illidan are cool
Volo: I saw Ildiavolo as being a casualty of war.
Me: I thought of Morn along the same lines, but more along the Roman lines, where the defeated were sold into slavery

But this got me to thinking. I'd never really considered Mornara's origin all that brutal. I mean, yes, she was tortured and then enslaved, so it wasn't a picnic. But she didn't *die*. Her head was majorly fucked with, but she's still alive. She can recover from that. With many scars yes, but still not out of the fight.

Then again, death isn't that great a barrier in Warcraft anyway. There are all sorts of mechanisms for ressurrection. And if that fails there are a bunch of different ways to get zombie-fied. And regardless of zombiefication or torture you're still going to be messed up in the head after it is done.