Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fangs of the Father

Tuesday night the 15% debuff to Dragon Soul went into effect. It's a very massive buff. So massive that even though we had to pug to fill out our 25man we killed all eight bosses that night. There was one wipe on Spine because we had a few people not get locked down and a few other people die to not getting out of the blast radius of the first Amalgamation. But we went on to one-shot Madness. And seven different people got achieves for killing Deathwing.

Admittedly the raid ended at 12:30 instead of midnight, but that was due to me running late and the time it took to pull in the pugs. I did make Saruke, our ranged officer, give out loot so that Earthen and I could keep pulling what little trash there was. And that helped make up a bit of the lost time.

I was pretty excited the whole night. Dragon Soul is a relatively fun instance and I was very proud of everyone that we killed all of it in one night. However, my excitement was entirely due to our rogue getting his last Elementium Gem Cluster. He has had some very nice luck with very often getting 2 gems when we run 25man.

After he got is last gem the only item that Swifty was missing for the legendary was a Fragment of Deathwing's Jaw. This of course drops from Madness, which was why the raid went 30 minutes over the usual time. We all wanted him to get the legendaries.

And get them he did! The Fangs of the Father, Tiriosh, Nightmare of Ages and Golad, Twilight of Aspects, are now one more guild achieve that we've completed. I'm so pleased and proud of everyone in Darkfall for helping make this happen.

Friday, March 30, 2012


I just received a Mists of Pandaria Beta Test Invitation. I'm not surprised, I did sign up for the year long pass, after all. However, I will not be taking advantage of this invitation.

First of all, I'm not interested in spoiling the story for myself. I am paying a certain amount of attention the new features, like looting and talents. But I really want the first time I see the story to be when Mornara and Kuan head off to Pandaria.

Secondly, I am a software engineer, and have been a software tester in the past. I can write a fine bug, but I do expect to be handsomely compensated when I do so. I'm uninterested in providing free QA.

I know that some people signed up for the year long pass solely to get a beta invite. However I am more interested in the free Diablo 3. That, I'm looking forward to.


The zeppelin airships and port in Orgrimmar is an equal opportunity employer.

Though their health care does leave a little bit to be desired...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Infinite Foreshadowing

I've been going through the massive number of screenshots on my desktop, which means that soon(tm) I'll have a bunch of Hour of Twilight and Dragon Soul dialogue posts up. But in the mean time I found this pic from our Mt Hyjal Past raid the other day.

Indormi says: Do you think the rumors about the Infinite Dragonflight are true? I've sensed it... the familiarity.
Tydormu says: That is a dangerous train of thought. If something was truly amiss, Soridormi would be the first to know.

I vaguely remember the above chat from when I was originally running Mt Hyjal Past in BC, but I didn't spend a lot of time in the pre-raid area. This forshadowing is pretty great. After all, who, while running Black Morass over and over, was able to believe that the Infinite Dragonflight wasn't some sort of twisted Bronze flight? Our theories at the time ranged from some legion turned type of dragon, to it just being a different faction of the Bronze flight but with the black negative coloring for a disguise.

I do distinctly remember doing the quests for Chromie in Dragonblight that sent you to the Bronze Dragonshrine. There you were supposed to investigate the fighting between the Infinte and Bronze Dragonflights and try to discover their leader. Funny how Chromie was confused when the dragon that appeared after the hourglass was defended was Nozdormu. She tried to logic it away by saying that he was fighting the Infinites and wasn't it great that the rest of the flight now had some idea where he was... I think all the time travel Chromie has done has scrambled her brain, because even then, well before the End Time dungeon it was obvious to me that Nozdormu was leading the Infinites.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Valorous Scourgeborne Transmog

When Transmogrification first came out with the 4.3 patch I wasn't really sure how I wanted Mornara to look. I actually like how the the DK tier gear from Firelands looks. So aside from a shoulder upgrade to make her gear look a little more "Dragon Soul-ish" I kept her gear transmogged to the Elementium Deathplate set.

I'd been considering the Scourge lord's gear, but am still missing a belt and boots for the set. I've not had much of a chance to run ICC10 and when I do I get no RNG love. When I get a chance for ICC I'd rather go for 25 anyway, Morn still needs to work on Shadow's Edge.

One of the Monday fun runs that Darkfall did at the beginning of March was Naxx25. We actually did it two weeks in a row in a futile attempt to get Shocking. The name is all too apt, because if I ever actually get that achieve I'm going to have a heart attack from shock. Anyway, in one of those runs I managed to snag the chest token for the Valorous Scourgeborne Set. After a small side trip to Griselda Hunderland for shoulders, legs, belt, and boots, and another detour to my bank for the gloves, and I'm ready to transmog!

After a little bit of thought I grabbed the Reforged Trollbane from my bank as well. I like how the black handle looks with the Valorous Scourgeborne black and red.

But then just a few days ago I was looking at my tabard as I teleported to Northrend for a JC quest. And as I once again thought that the Argent Crusader's Tabard just didn't look right for a Death Knight, I realized that I had a tabard that would look absolutely superb.

During the Burning Crusade the leader of Darkfall was Drognin. I still keep in sporadic touch with him, but the point of this is that one day during BC DraNgNon and I browbeat him into changing the guild tabard. It had been some ridiculous thing with eyes or paws. I forget exactly what it was, but on female characters it looked quite horrible, and it didn't look all that great on male trolls either. Anyway, after he was done changing the tabard to our satisfaction, it was the above lovely shield and sword motif.

No one has changed that tabard since then, and I kind of like that.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

alt #4 is max level and must look pretty

Yesterday, with horrible weather outside, Clara and I decided we were tired of leveling Tylara and Khyrie, and we were going to play them until they were 85, which they now are. Huzzah!

We determined to run through the entirety of Deepholm, which we did for the sake of shoulder enchants; and then went to Uldum, and traded off Ramkahen quests with normal randoms. Unfortunately Blizzard's idea of normal randoms for level 84 characters is to swap back and forth between Vortex Pinnacle and Stonecore; I feel I am spoiled, playing a tank in there, as those are so easy. They also don't drop much in the way of qualifying gear for heroic 5 mans.

Perhaps in a later post I will talk about how Stonecore behind Priestess Azil appears to be where the opening cinematic for Cataclysm tool place. Yes, we were in there enough times to compare the area with the cinematic.

Today, of course, we had to go about the business of taking some motley character that was leveling via facerolling and making it not be an embarrassment to the guild tag hanging over its head. I decided for Tylara this fell on Eeyan, who had nothing left to buy with Justice Points. She bought a [Deflecting Brimstone Band] herself, with all the JP from the randoms. Then Eeyan crafted an [Elementium Earthguard] for her, then bought her [Bracers of Regal Force] and [Rock Furrow Boots] with JP. Then after alt hopping for the mats, he also crafted [Hardened Elementium Hauberk] and [Hardened Elementium Girdle].

Tylara bedecked all this gear, hit ilvl 335, and looked like she was preparing to go into a weightlifting competition in the mud. Really?

Really! in the fog too, with her knees all lit up.

So, once I got that all taken care of, and enchant & gem requests to Clara, who has the useful professions on her alts, I went and dug out the [Tempered Saronite] gear I'd saved, crafted a pair of shoulders too, and after a couple of comparisons, dug out some of the midlevel Cataclysm gear she hadn't vendored. And marched her to the transmogrifier. Becuase for a Blood Knight, even more important than respec'ing and reforging and being a tank who facerolls through instances without disheveling one's hair, is to look put together.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hair Stylin'

When I first rolled Khyrie I had some idea that she would tank. And I did actually have her do a few runs as tank at level 45-ish or so. But since she got big enough to play with Tylara she's been resto for any dungeons, which is actually kinda nice.

Anyway, because she's not going into bear form at all, ever, I decided to fix Khyrie's hair. She needs a better more tigery cat form, and that means red hair!

All these trips to the hairdresser to keep this hair pink and trimmed in this style is just too much. Khyrie is a druid, and really, who doesn't just LOVE a giant mohawk crest!

Ah! much better! Cat form with red hair!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Experimental Specimen Slicer

Mornara likes her axes. I'm sure I've mentioned this before. Not only is she an orc with that lovely orc racial bonus for using an axe, but a nice axe cleaving through her enemies just appeals in a very visceral way. Heart Strike seems more plausible when I'm using an axe.

For most of the Firelands raiding Mornara carried the Skullstealer Greataxe from Shannox. It wasn't a bad axe. In fact it was quite a nice axe and lasted her a good long while. It didn't quite match the rest of her Firelands tier gear, but it wasn't so far off as to be butt ugly.

However the item I replaced it with, the Experimental Specimen Slicer from regular Yor'sahj, aka skittles boss, was actually kind of creepy.

It's hard to see since that is just a picture, but there are small tendrils or perhaps tentacles coming out from the axe. The spiky bits along the back and top of the axe also waved gently back and forth on their own yellow-ish tentacles.

Yes, yes, I know: Dragon Soul is all about stopping Deathwing and the old gods behind him from destroying the world. It stands to reason that there will be tentacles. In fact, this axe isn't nearly as bad as several swords that drop from Madness and from Archbishop Benedictus. But that axe is the item that is strapped to Mornara's back. Those tentacles are the ones nuzzling against (or between /shudder) her armor.

So when we ran Karazhan I rolled need on Gorehowl. Gorehowl is a lovely axe. It's got a nice curve to it and a subdued red sheen to the metal. But best of all the spikes on the back of it don't move! No more tentacles! So, of course, Mornara promptly visited the Ethereal transmog shop and fixed her axe to look not-creepy.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Volcanic Stone Drake!

The week after the 10% buffs to Dragon Soul rolled out my 10man raid was finished with Deathwing for the week on Thursday night. It seems that I managed to pick up the good pugs on Thursday night. Earthen's group had some pug trouble and ,unfortunately, still had bosses to kill on Sunday. So a few of my group swapped to alts and helped out with that raid. I considered trying to set up a Bastion or BWD achieve run with the rest, but there weren't enough people, and pugging for heroic raids just sounds like pain, especially on a Sunday night when most interested people will already be saved.

However, there were five of us who were looking for something to do. And Kuanchichi, Mornara, and Xildyne were each only missing a few achieves for their Glory of the Cataclysm Hero Volcanic Stone Drake. The other two people in the group, Swiftysarge and Phii were both missing many achieves from the meta. We decided to do a few randoms for some missing valor points, and then to do the runs that Kuanchichi, Mornara, and Xildyne needed.

Our first random was Deadmines. Honestly, it shouldn't be a random dungeon when DraNgNon and I ALWAYS get it on our characters. But it did have two of the achieves we needed: It's Frost Damage and Vigorous VanCleef Vindicator. The frost damage one wasn't too bad to get, though we did get an unexpected explosion that punted a couple of people far away. However, 3 vapors did their thing and achievery was had. One quick boss reset later and then a handy demon flasher to summon our puntees back to us and all was well. Vanessa and her gauntlet was also pretty handily done. All five of us were totally on the ball, not one of us died to either fire or the Mario section in front of Foe Reaper. There were some exclamations on Vent when all 5 of us managed to successfully navigate the Mario gauntlet. Of course, then DraNgNon and I had a horrible lag spike as we were running to the last bit of the Ripsnarl section. We both started swearing as we lagged out, but the rest of the group managed to engage Vanessa with time to spare. They started the fight while we unlagged and realized we were off somewhere in the water... We both calmed down when the achieve flashed across the screen.

Next we did random Stonecore and Throne of the Tides. Phii and Swiftysarge both got achieves in those dungeons.

After that it was starting to get a little late. I wanted to make sure that Kuanchichi, Mornara, and Xildyne all got their drakes so we queued specifically for Lost City of Tolvir. We did Acrocalypse Now, and Kill it With Fire, but the latter bugged out for Swifty so we'll have to get it for him later. Then we must have called for wipes four or five times trying to get Headed South from Siamat. Kuan had spectacular heals but the timing on the add death was tricky to get right. Finally we got it! Glory of the Cataclysm Hero popped up for both Kuanchichi and Mornara! There was much rejoicing! And much chair dancing!

After that we headed to Halls of Origination. I Hate that Song, Straw that Broke the Camel's Back, Faster than the Speed of Light, and Son of A... were all knocked out in short order. My trick for doing I Hate that Song worked fabulously. And all the other achieves were actually really easy to get for Phii and Swifty, especially with DragonSoul gear.

I don't remember the LFD tank who showed me the I Hate that Song trick, but I thank him every time I run HOO. Temple Guardian Anhuur will shield himself and start casting Reverberating Hymn. To get the achieve you've got to not let him sing for more than fifteen seconds total. Before pulling the boss, the tank needs to jump into the pit, grab aggro on all the Pit Vipers down there, and then pull them up to be tanked with the boss. The trick to the achieve is dps who will only single target the boss. If done correctly, all the vipers stay with the tank and two dps can jump down and each hit a lever, letting the remaining dps, tank, and healer stay with Anhuur and interrupt his song almost immediately. If done incorrectly, some idiot dps will cleave or aoe the vipers and when the lever people go down to hit the levers the respawned vipers eat their faces and stop them from pulling levers.

The last instance on the list was Black Rock Caverns. Phii and Swiftysarge both needed a bunch of achieves, and Xildyne needed Ascendant Descending. It was starting to get a little late, and we were all getting a bit sleepy. I accidentally let Steelbender Karsh get eighteen stacks of his debuff instead of just the fifteen needed for the achieve... We also had a bunch of trouble with the Ascendant Descending Achieve, the kiting was actually really hard to get right. But after a couple of calls for wipes we assigned a secondary kiter to make sure that one of the adds didn't fixate on me and it all worked out smashingly well.

By the end of the night we'd run six instances and racked up many achieves. Phii and Swiftysarge were only two or three achieves short of the meta. Fortunately the ones they are missing are relatively easy to get. Xildyne, Kuanchichi, and Mornara were proudly riding awesome Volcanic Stone Drakes around.

And even better, that drake is sent to us by Thrall, because we are just that awesome:

This is totally my new favorite mount.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

On Tanking

I like tanking. It's my favorite role to play, and it's a lot of fun.

I'm not sure how much of my love for it comes from the actual role or from playing Mornara. She's the first character I've fleshed out so fully with backstory, and I really like the Death Knight mechanics and play style. Death Knights have such a great range of cooldowns to save the day. I also really like the rune and runic power system.

Everyone looks to the tank to lead things, and I'm not going to deny that there is a certain rush that comes from being in charge. Even if you're not the official leader of the group, as the tank you are in charge of pulling and marking and generally setting the pace of the run. You're also the one best able to save things if anything isn't going well. Of course, you're also the one most likely to be at fault if things do end up going wrong. But as a tank you've got a higher chance that if there is day saving to be done it'll be in your hands to do.