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  • Archive for June, 2010

    *pant* *wheeze* *disconnect*


    2010 - 06.29

    Phew. Sindragosa is tough.

    Yesterday we took down the disco boys and their queen, and gave the good professor a quick shoeing for good measure. Tonight we wiped on Sindragosa, a lot. Phase one (after a little warm up) was no problem — we were running and hiding and icebreaking like champions. Then phase two kicked in, and we died. Lots.

    It must be said, before a tank DC effectively ended our night half an hour or so early we had at least come up with something which looked like a possible plan, and made it as far as 20%. But that fight is hard. Pleasingly (for me at least), even after an entire night being killed by the same raidboss, I’m still enthused, and still confident we’ll get her.

    —-

    On the subject of disconnects, tonight is apparently patch 3.3.5 release night in Europe, so servers were shut down at 12pm Paris time. I’ve been fiddling with Prat and hadn’t re-enabled chatlogging so I can’t post a snippet, but the hysteria and general craziness in /2 and /1 were a sight to behold in the final few moments. Downtime is like a full moon, evidently, in that it brings out the crazies.

    *wheeze*

    Please Blizzard, let me rename my guild


    2010 - 06.27

    What a terrible guild name

    No, not the raiding guild. Not the “top guild on the server” (hehe), of course not that.

    When I moved my level 80s to a new server I left behind a small collection of low level alts (max level 30, excluding the DK) including Gwyd, the character I’m levelling with Bryn. I was toodling around in Stormwind on one of them when I spotted someone “selling a guild” in trade, and thought: “Aha! Somewhere to keep all of these characters, without having to hang out in SW bugging random unguilded people to ‘please sign my guild charter’.” I had a quick chat with the seller, arranged to meet him in Darnassus and suddenly Stora, my baby priest cloth warehouse, was a guild leader.

    Of a guild called killers.

    No problem, says I. I’ll just have a look in the guild interface and it’ll be no … problem … er … hmm. Ok, there’s no “rename this guild” option here. I’ll probably have to go somewhere and buy a “scroll of guild renaming” for a few gold or something. I’ll do some googling.

    [Alt-tabbage]

    Shit.

    So, it seems that unless my guildname is against the terms of service and I report myself, there’s no way to change the name of a guild once it’s been established. And, unless I missed it, “stupid” is unfortunately not something the terms of service covers. So we’re stuck with it, I think. Aren’t we?

    *shamed*

    Two-part harmony


    2010 - 06.25

    When I read Zal’s post over at Blessing of Fish in which he talks a little about questing with a partner (in his case, Elsen), and about the idea of “two-person instances”, something in my head went *yeah*. To most of the points in fact: the “wouldn’t it be nice to have content tuned for pairs”, and the “but hunters/paladins/<insert class here> would be soloing it for loot and bragging rights within the first week” too. I immediately set about writing a “quick” post but got a couple of sentences in before running out of steam. A conversation I had last night reminded me of the draft, stranded in WordPress doldrums, so I thought I’d see about finishing it.

    I’ve seen a few levelling/playing partnerships “in the flesh” as it were, and read about many more. The pocket tanks, the pocket healers, they’re all there. It’s always seemed like a good thing to me. A couple of weeks ago, I spent a few hours with a guildie two-manning some Outland instances, and it was great fun — still a bit of a challenge, even with both of us at 80. For me, it was a chance to use a few of the Mysterious Buttons that lurk at the edges of my buttonbars, unused, a chance to run some older content I’d yet to see without *totally* steamrollering it and above all, a chance to chatter away on Vent with a like-minded soul. Circumstances have prevented a repeat performance as yet, but with a bit of luck there’ll be more older instance adventuring in the future.

    Bryn and Gwyd take a romantic boat ride

    I’m also having a blast playing a baby bear to Bryn’s petite priest. I recently installed WoW on an old laptop which (provided I turn the graphics down a bit) runs the game well enough, in the old world at least. This has meant Bryn and I are finally able to play together in the same room, which we did for the first time last weekend. I loved it, and I think Bryn did too. She’s almost comfortable with mouse’n'keys navigation of the gameworld now, and surprised me a couple of times while we were playing. An example: we were questing in Auberdine and I was trying to practice proper tanking behaviour — turning mobs away from the group (i.e. Bryn). Unfortunately, I’ve still a little work to do on my tanking spacial awareness, as we discovered when I plonked my furry backside in the path of a couple of patrolling mobs whilst positioning our existing target. Panic!

    …or not. Shield, Renew, pew-pew-pew, and the three mobs were comfortably dead,  Bryn already targeting the next likely-looking victim. From this point, the biggest problem we had (other having to kill a bazillion different creatures all mysteriously missing important parts of their anatomy which we just happened to need) was with Bryn aggromonkeying! Well ok, the Wailing Highborne and Writhing Highborne have an irritating hit debuff which meant I kept losing aggro to Bryn’s Mind Blast. But we managed just fine, no bears or nelves were harmed and we trundled back to town for a nap with a health collection of experience and random crap.

    Bryn in full aggromonkey mode. Note the presence of her cat, Timmy.

    I’ve never really levelled with a partner in this way before, but I think I’ll struggle to level another character without some kind of company — spending time in instances and raids has made me more-or-less dependent on the company of others to have the most fun in-game.

    Hey. Maybe there’s something to this “Massively Multiplayer” thing after all!

    Dreamwalking


    2010 - 06.23

    Having cleared the way on Monday evening, last night our merry band of adventurers went to play with a poor, sickly dragon in need of help. And it was … weird.

    Even more so than usual, I was mostly running about like a headless chicken. “Blazing Skeleton on the left”, run run run thump. “Suppressors, right”, trundle trundle thwack. As a pure adds fight for DPS, the only time I looked at Valithria was in the odd gap where I threw a Holy Light or used Lay on Hands on her, and on reflection I’m not sure that was a great idea. For future encounters, I think ignoring Valithria and using any gaps in the adds to top up members of the “outside” team would be a better plan. Primarily, it was very strange not to be glance at my target frame periodically for a quick check on our progress. It seems I pay more attention to that than I’d thought, normally, and it felt most peculiar when I couldn’t do that.

    Anyway, after a couple of attempts our awesome healers managed to fix her ailments but it came as something of a surprise, to me at least. Not long before the finale, one of the two healers assigned to dragonbandaging keeled over and given that there didn’t seem to be a combat rez in the offing, I assumed we were headed for another wipe, although a “better” wipe as we’d made it past her “nearly there, loves” emote. Then we were done, the dragon was up (and then gone before I could even get my head around the idea of taking a screenshot) and the fallen were back on their feet. I wouldn’t say it was anticlimactic, but there didn’t seem to be the same instantaneous collective roar that we had for the Putricide kill, possibly because we weren’t all able to see her health inching closer and closer to full.  Anyway, another success in ICC! \o/

    ASIDE: For those focused on healing the dragon, it must make for a pleasant change to do some flying about, then nuke heal like crazy on a single target — to be able to look about a bit (I presume) instead of spending so much time focused on Vudho.

    Things need to remember/do next time:

    1. Find a way to put Val’s health up on screen somewhere so I can see what’s going on — purely for selfish reasons. Focus target? DBM?
    2. Don’t bother trying to heal Val in the downtime moments — either heal members of the DPS team or reposition.
    3. Check to see if repentance works on any of the adds. It probably doesn’t, but check anyway
    4. Fix my UI so I can make better use of not-hitting-stuff abilities when useful. I was trying to use Cleanse and Divine…er…thingy as appropriate but I don’t think I was terribly effective with it.

    This isn't my UI, but it's nearly as bad.

    Point 4 is the big one. I’ve resisted the urge to customise my UI thus far, beyond sticking a few addons on it, but I might have to bite the bullet plus replace Healbot with Vudho while I’m on, as it’s most definitely the raidframe weapon of choice among the enthusiasts. I’ve seen many appealing UIs here and there, but the one time I made a start I installed Bartender (I think), freaked out when I logged in to find buttons scattered everywhere and promptly uninstalled it. Since then I’ve preferred spending time playing WoW to playing with WoW.

    More on UIs after I’ve made a start on making mine.

    http://www.wowwiki.com/Valithria_Dreamwalker

    This time, it’s *not* personal


    2010 - 06.22

    I’ve realised, or perhaps just internalised, the awful truth that in a raid no performance is truly personal. Particularly in 10s, one person having a great night (or a terrible night) can be the difference between jubilation and frustration for the whole group.

    Last Tuesday (a week ago today), we faced Professor Putricide. Or “that bastard”, as he may have been called a few times. The previous day, we’d cleared up to Putricide with a minimum of fuss (a couple of attempts on Saurfang before we found a way to apply enough CC but otherwise smooth sailing) and taken a quick look at the Prof, purely so new folks like me could get a feel for the fight. Tuesday was to be the serious attempts — for a given value of “serious”. I suspect even the most stern-faced progression raider would have to stifle a snigger when the offtank is transformed into a monstrosity and spends half his time eating goo scraped off the ground. We’re not a stern-faced progression guild, so we had a healthy number of hilarity outbreaks. Because “goo” and “poo” are pretty much the same word, right?

    It took us until our stated “last go before we break for the shutdown” before everything came together — no adds up during the phase transitions, the Prof dosed with Imodium and the “poo hoover” on maximum suction – but he went down with all ten of us on our feet, baying in Vent like savages. My first experience of really working hard to complete an encounter and succeeding. It was incredibly rewarding. \o/

    Before that noisy climax, there were 10 unsuccessful attempts. We wiped a couple of times because the prof appeared to spring a leak and covered the room in poo goo in spite of our valiant vacuum’s constant efforts. We wiped from bad luck – goo puddles dropped onto a freshly-frozen green ooze target, players stacked on ooze targets who were thrown into goo puddles by the knockback. We wiped because of unfortunate timing – unexpected add spawns during the phase transition when we weren’t positioned well.

    I think he sprung a leak on this attempt

    During the better of these unsuccessful attempts (and during the successful run, I think) one of the distinguishing factors seemed to be our management of the adds, and how quickly we were able to kill them. The faster the oozes die, the quicker the goo-slurping can continue, keeping the deadly floor clear. In the case of the green ooze, failing to kill it before it reaches its target means a chunk of raidwide damage and a no-fun-at-all knockback too. In that situation, every bit of extra DPS is useful.

    Nothing you didn’t know, right? But here’s what it means for me.

    To the pughouse, to the pughouse
    I need to be to joining (or at least trying to join) PuG raids on VoA, the weekly and possibly even ICC-25: primarily for practice and to boost my collection of frosty badgers but also to potentially snag some gear upgrades. Preferably BEFORE I buy the selfsame items from badger vendors.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’ve not been summoned to a quiet room by an officer and told to gear up, buck up or get out [yet ;)]. If there are “Oh sweetie, look what he’s WEARING! Those boots are *so* last patch. And will someone show that man how to accessorise…” conversations happening, then they’re happening where I can’t see them. But I’ve looked at the logs for the fight, and I placed dead last in the meaningful metrics for damage dealers. And not “dead last, but doing 9k so who cares” either. Just … last.

    Given that I have no useful abilities to bring other than my ability to hit stuff, this is something that needs to change. So. I guess it’s time to get to grips with the LFR browser and to start watching the LFG (and trade, sigh) channels in the desperate hope of finding a raid which doesn’t require a Kingslayer title, 5800GS, or achievements I don’t have yet. I also need to plug my gear numbers into one of the various retadin spreadsheets, as according to Rawr I’d be far better off swapping my ICC belt for the Bent Gold Belt which Ick drops. And I’m struggling with that notion, even if crit and haste are more valuable to a paladin.

    Wait…

    The last time I poured out a woe-is-me post, nice things happened. Perhaps the same thing will happen here! Or perhaps I’ll provide some we-pugged-this-noob-last-night stories for other bloggers. Who knows. But it won’t be too long before I find out, I guess.


    FOOTNOTE: WoW.com had a column called Pimp My Profile which invited players to send an armoury link and the relevant folks on staff would offer gear, gem, enchant and rotation advice. This would be lots more fun if it was done in a bitchy, camp style – sort of Trinny & Suzannah* crossed with Gok Wan (or whoever the current make-someone-feel-like-shit-before-telling-them-what-to-do presenters of makeover shows are), with a bit of Gordon Ramsey swearing thrown in for good measure.