New old encounters

Lich King 22%. Five raiders and friends leave. Don’t want to write about that :(

I’ve never done a complete run of Naxxramas. By the time I was levelled and had joined a raiding guild, some people were already complaining there wasn’t anything to do in ICC. Excepting the odd weekly quest to kill Patchwerk or Noth, I’ve not seen the sights.

With further work on Mr. Arthas suspended for a bit, I got home late-ish last night to find that, after doing the weekly (Patchwerk), a few folks were carrying on with Naxx, taking a guildie who hadn’t raided before on an exploratory mission. I joined in.

It’s a funny place, Naxxramas. Visually, it really shows its age, particularly when you look at the special effects in Icecrown, or the lushness of Ulduar. It’s also seems to be rather oddly sized – some rooms feel wildly oversized with 10 people (well, 8 or 9 actually) and others feel like they’d be cramped with 25. Perhaps that’s a result of it being ported from vanilla WoW, I’m not sure. It’s odd though — I don’t remember Molten Core feeling oddly sized when I ran through it a few months back, and my recollection is that it was a bit more grand. Perhaps I’m just remembering the corehound room and the big guy at the end, and forgetting everything else.

Not too long ago, in a casual conversation in Vent, the notion of running 25man Naxx with 12-15 people came up as something to do, perhaps on our next “progression break” or fun night. I almost wish I’d waited to do just that – even though last night was fun, and new content for two of us, and even dropped some pieces of useful loot for some fairly fresh alts in the group (including Loatheb’s Shadow, a trinket more-or-less identical to the Mirror of Truth that I’m *still* using in partnership with the HWT, thanks to the capricious ways of the ladies Deathwhisper and RNG). Unfortunately, having a few current-tier raid-geared folks in the group bypasses so many mechanics.

Take Noth, for example. Poor old Noth. As he shows up as a weekly raid quest boss, I’ve now killed him 3 times. Apparently he has a curse which was bad news (can’t say I’ve noticed), and a whole second phase. I’ve never seen the second phase. He’s died well inside the 110 second timer. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good zerging. In fact, I’d like to *do* a good zerging, and get the Sarth 3d achievement I still don’t have. But still. You have to feel for these poor old bosses, once so powerful.

Oh well. I’m not about to run raid content pantsless just to put a (temporary) smile on the face of a fallen mage – that sounds like the sort of thing an uncouth warrior might do. Those guided by the light should be able to see well enough to find their trousers in the morning.

The blessed character

Update: Not worth a separate post by any means, but today, Cent finally found a space in  a good ICC group with a very friendly guild who needed a couple of people for what I  think might have been an alt run. Not only did she pick up a haul of frosty badgers for the weekly raid quest and the weekly ICC raid quest, but she won the Frost Needle, Muradin’s Spyglass, and the Sister’s Handshrouds (which no-one wanted but Cent may use if she gets the T10 hat). Even Abracadaver dropped, but by this time I was feeling so guilty I passed on it so it could go to a healer who was going to use it for both dps AND healing. The only thing she didn’t win was the Soulcleave Pendant. Cent rolled 2. The winner rolled 3.

Does one of your characters have unnatural loot-luck, good or bad?

Centrella does. It’s very strange. With Ano-the-paladin in good shape, the pressure is off slightly when it comes to badge gear for him. Of course, there are still upgrades available from Frost emblems (oh how I wish I’d done more reading before buying the strength cloak, for example) and little items like BRACERS that continue to elude me, but for the most part they’re relatively minor. I could, of course, try to get tier gear for my holy spec, but the unwanted spellpower plate I scrape up from ICC runs, plus the occasional bit of mail or cloth (Ano is happy if his extremities are covered — squabbling over the material seems petty) has left him pretty capable. Seemingly capable enough of dealing with the ICC 5mans, anyway, which is enough for me I think. Of course, I’m still running daily HCs and doing the weekly when I can, but I’ve been a little more focused on gearing up Cent.

Cent, as I say, has phenomenal loot-luck. I mentioned in a previous post how (in her first ever VoA run) she snagged the T10 mage gloves and was quickly able to buy the chest, then picked up an offhand and some nice boots in her first-ever ICC run. Initially I had planned to continue with the staff she was using, but having re-examined the stats in the light of simple calculator-based evidence, Cent is happily using Seethe and the baton as her MH/OH combo. I hate it when he’s right ;).

Anyway, after that she got me very drunk. At least, I think she got me drunk. It’s the only explanation I can think of for waking up with a hangover one morning and discovering that Ano had inexplicably bought the exceedingly nice i245 crafted cloth bracers for 2,000 gold. Ano who is *still* wearing the i232 Malykriss Vambraces *grumble* and waiting for Valithria to cough up a tiger. He passed them on to Cent, naturally — what a gent.

Last week, in her third-ever VoA run, the T10 legs dropped and she was once again the only mage in the group. Then she did the weekly (Sartharion) and won both the Dragon Hide Bag and the old i200 mage gloves. A complicated series of events which involved joining a raid-in-progress and a just-after-the-daily-reset HC run and she was able to pick up the T10 shoulders too, completing her tier 10 set. If I could send her out for lottery tickets, I would.

Oh, and as wonderful as the set bonuses are, and the increased stats, the finest thing about Cent’s tier 10 set? It means she’s not wearing the $%&@-ing tier 9 shoulders anymore.

She’s got a neck again.

Things I’m learning: Raid in progress

Cent wanted a new photo; I'm not sure this is what she had in mind. Also, hee hee.

So last week, Centrella (who has been begging me to take another photo in case I whip out her Cher impression again) found herself needing three more Frost badges to complete the 4-piece tier 10 set. And had already done her daily heroic. All I needed was to join a group and do two ICC bosses and I could go shopping! Two bosses. “Shouldn’t be *too* hard”, I thought, “even this late in the evening! To the trade channel!”1 /sigh

Once I discounted the “whisp GS and achiv, not lower spire”2 groups because a) Cent doesn’t have any higher achievements in ICC and b) I object on general principles, there really wasn’t much happening. So I waited. Nothing. Time ticked on. I even attempted to gather a few of the various “<class> LFG ICC10” people into a group but it didn’t quite come together. And then I spotted it: a group who were looking for one ranged. Who were already past Saurfang. Doesn’t matter, think of the badges.

I joined. And discovered one of the people from the attempted traderaid already in the group, and who was memorable because the first thing he’d said to me was “lol I have 200GS more than you”. Which, as it turned out, generally wasn’t enough get him within 1000dps of Cent :P

“Hmmm”, I thought. “The past few times I’ve done Fester and Rotty, we’ve pretty much waltzed through. We should be able to manage it.” /doh #1

The group then loses a healer while I’m still flying over to ICC so I stand outside for a bit until one is scavenged up. She’s a bit reluctant, apparently undergeared, but agrees to join. With a second healer, we’re good to go. I zone in.

Yes, I said second healer, for a scrabbly late-night pug run. /doh #2

The group assembles at the teleporter point by the comedy steamwalls, and clears trash up to Precious & Stinky. We have a little fun with both, finishing both fights with about half of the group face down, but rezzes are forthcoming and we take the left turn up to Festergut. Some discussion over strategy ensues, as there are lots of ranged. We start. First spores are up, including one on the ranged collapse point (a healer) – great. I die whilst running over. Wipe.

On the run back in, there’s some discussion of whether minimum safe distance between ranged is 8 yards, or 10, or 12. We buff up and try again. Exactly the same thing happens. I take a look at the log, and see that I (and I suspect we all) died to the ticking damage. For extra fun on the run back in, this time one of the ranged turns right towards Rotface instead of left. I was still standing just by the entrance shouting “WRONG WAY! COME BACK” in /ra when she set off the geist alarm. More rezzing. We have one more abbreviated attempt at Festergut (same as before) then conclude we don’t have enough healing output (/doh #3) and deciding to at least try for a single frost emblem from the miniboss on the way to the blood wing.

At this point *I* screw up, persisting for too long in attacking the add that spawns from the back rather than nuking the Vrykul miniboss (/doh #4), and we wipe again. A couple of DPSers head to bed and the remainder decide for one last try (I’m determined, at this point, not to have wasted my lock for NOTHING). We have a last, but ultimately successful go with the remaining 7 or 8 people, claim our single frost and zone out.

A glance at the clock shows 2.45. 15 minutes to lockout reset. So Cent trundles around Dalaran repairing, selling crap and doing chores for 15 minutes, hits LFG at 3am on the dot, has a  quick blast through a random HC, collects her badges, shops, adds gems, enchants and JOY OF JOYS no more tier 9 shoulders (oh, and now she’s totally OP).

Lessons learned:

  1. There’s quite a jump in difficulty between the first four bosses of ICC and the next three. Within the safe haven of a guild of capable folks, communicating and co-ordinating on Vent, the difference in difficulty is obscured a little – they’re obviously harder, but not terrifyingly so. Running it in a PuG group with no voicecomms, even with a core from one particular guild, makes it apparent just how much more is required of the raid. I now realise why so many PuGs seem to give up at 4 bosses in.
  2. Don’t join a run in progress (especially if it’s past the first four bosses) unless you already know the group. Or you could end up saved to a stalled and finished raid from which you get nothing, or perhaps a single measly frosty.
  3. Especially don’t join a run in progress late at night. You’re probably taking the place of someone who had to go to bed. Chances are, unless it’s explicitly a late-hours group, more people will bow out for the same reason the moment something goes wrong. And it’s going to go wrong, because they’re tired already.
  4. Remember that “add friend” button in the “social” window that you don’t use any more? It still has a purpose. Whilst some of the randoms in this particular group were genuinely “random”, the core of people from the same guild who had organised the run were distinctly not-asshats. They were, instead, friendly and fun, which became more and more evident as people began to drop. I’ve not (yet) spoken to them since, but I’ll be keeping a keen eye open for them if they’re ever looking for ranged DPS.

More on Cent and her phenomenal capacity for loot shortly.

  1. Before you ask, I did (and do) always use /lfr to mark myself available but I’ve never had anyone contact me, even when I’ve joined a traderaid for something I’m flagged for. []
  2. Why do so many of these people spend the *whole* night in trade searching for 6100gs  and “achivs”? Surely after the first thirty minutes or so, you’d think they’d switch to “Never mind, I’ll take what I can get.” Surely a slower raid, or one which falters a boss or too earlier than planned is better than sitting by the fountain spamming trade? []

It could end here

…and that would be enough.

Well no, not really. But I’m really quite absurdly pleased about these pics. Just don’t ask anyone what I was doing during the fight. Please.

EDIT: My ever-supportive GL suggested I should have titled this post “Ano goes down”. Frankly, I wish I’d thought of that. Even if it does rank alongside “Hot elf-on-elf action” as a title simply trolling for pageviews. I’m not proud (you probably noticed).

The Pinnacle, part one: ultimate mysterious button
The Pinnacle, part two: ultimate mysterious button

Dancing with the King

Last night was another good night in the icecream shop.

It would be fair to say we powered through the earlier bosses — one-shot kills for everyone from Saurfang (where we started) up to Sindragosa. And, with the possible exception of the Blood Princes (where I definitely managed to amble into a few vortexes like a total idiot) we generally seemed on top of things throughout.

Sindy, of course, is not quite such a generous soul, and so it took an extravagant four attempts to pacify her. Four! All of this clearing meant that, for the first time, we were able to say to ol’ Lichy. This made us quite excited!

He's just so cuddly

So, we had a couple of “seasoning” prods at him. By “seasoning” I mean that although most people had casually read a strategy at some point, none of us had done so recently as we weren’t expecting to have a serious go. So, we did lots wrong. We tanked him in the middle of the circular area. We dpsed the big scary things. We didn’t move the disease-y thing onto said big scary things(?). We had piles of ghouls everywhere. Somehow, we still hit the first phase transition in pretty good shape. Of course, we all failed to move to the edge and got instagibbed by remorseless winter. You live and learn (and maybe read up on the strat for next time).

Because all life is balance, there couldn’t be so much good without a little bad. We had two kinds of bad.

Bad number one was that we downed eight bosses, and probably got 5 pieces of useful loot. Tons of mail dropped, most of it +int, +ap. Even with not-one-but-two shamules (wth is the plural of “shaman”?) in the raid, none of it was useful. Personally, I snagged a new ring and a cloth belt no-one wanted to replace the crappy 219 belt in my healing set, but still.

Bad number two (the big bad) is that one of our primary tanks is now unavailable on one of our primary raid nights for … the foreseeable future. Noooooo. *sobs*


Anyway. To finish on a smile: as mentioned before, the previous time we killed Sindy (/flex), we went on to clear the plague quarter and finished by downing the Blood Princes. I have a horrible feeling *I* suggested what followed. Well, there are lights, and glitterballs and — c’mon, it’s a disco.

Boogie knights

So we danced.