Thanks, Murloc Mom

We weren’t able to take the Murloc Mom’s advice on Tuesday as (seemingly) *all* of the European servers were largely unavailable. I’m still not exactly sure why — apparently TeliaSonera had some general connectivity problems in northern Europe, but we experienced the most drawn-out disconnect process I think I’ve ever encountered, resulting in 7 multi-hour DCs but leaving three of us left alive on an almost empty server. Weird.

We regrouped last night to have another go at the Omnotron Defense Council and, after a few warm up attempts and one unfortunate reset (if you accidentally leave the “room” when dodging abilities or slimes, the bosses despawn) we managed a pleasingly controlled first kill — no standing in the bad for us! As the only melee DPS in last night’s group, I had a lot of fun zooming from boss to boss, particularly when sprinting to interrupt Arcanotron. After that, we went killed Magmaw again1, 1-shot the elevator boss with no casualties and had a couple of exploratory attempts on Maloriak, dying in a welter of adds and fire shortly after the 25% phase transition.

You know, it’s odd, but I think Rebuke might well be my favourite thing about retribution in WoW42. And now that I’ve moved my enemy castbar out of the corner of the screen (wtf was I thinking?) to somewhere prominent, I can provide group utility beyond an emergency Lay on Hands every so often.

Ret actually has even more utility, but everyone seems to forget about it. Now that we’re three months in, there aren’t so many “CC is awesome — here’s a list of who does what” threads/blog entries being posted but back when they were a more frequent occurrence, very few of them ever seemed to include Repentance. Now ok, it does have the significant drawback of a cooldown which matches it’s duration, so if it’s broken, it’s broken, but think of the upsides!

1) It’s instant cast —  it can be used while running into range, or precisely when the mob’s in a good spot if it needs to be repositioned first.
2) It’s instant cast — so it’s very easy to co-ordinate with cast-time CC abilities like fear, hex and poly.
3) It lasts for 60 seconds, provided there are no tab-targeting errors or misplaced AoEs.
4) The CC’d target doesn’t move, so you don’t have to worry about suicidal sheep sauntering into cleaves.
5) The CC’d target doesn’t regenerate (unlike polymorph). If you’re feeling particularly clever post-4.0.6, you can drop a stack of censure on your target first, and it will actually take damage from the DOT without breaking the CC.
6) It’s flexible — it affects humanoids, dragonkin, undead, giants and demons. Handy!

Deeply unfashionable it may have been, but when we were running ICC we’d make quite a bit of use of repentance on trash pulls to reduce the craziness. It made deaths to random skellies significantly less common, at least compared to my PuG ICC experiences3. In the new Cataclysm dungeons, it does the same thing. Sure, if everyone in the group is 346-geared+, you *can* just wrathstyle a large number of trash encounters, but all it takes is an unfortunate lagspike, misclick or missed interrupt and you’re ghostrunning back to repair the damage your epics took in a failed heroic dungeon trash pull. Embarrassing.

Still, this attitude to CC does leave me with an easy dungeon finder group assessment method, particularly when I’m playing on Centrella. I’ll usually ask at the start “want to mark targets for polymorph?” and if I hear “nah, it’s just a heroic” from anyone in the group, I worry less about my DPS and keep fingers poised over iceblock, mirror images and invisibility instead. Chances are I’m going to need all three if I want to avoid expensive repair bills4.

Words of advice for *cough* young people (It’s Burroughs — NSFW)5

Woe is me for I have been reading forums again. I have been looking at raid strategy videos. Reading random guildblogs for hints about encounters. I’d like to take a moment to clear something up:

Cue: This is either a prompt (that’s your cue to move , ‘Cue the music!’) or a long stick you use to play pool.
Queue: Typically called a “line” in the US, I believe. It’s what you wait in if you’re trying to log in to a busy server at peak times, or what you do when boarding a train6
Que: In spanish, this means ‘what’, I think. In English it’s a synonym for “spelling mistake”.

  1. using the ‘offtank’ method — it works much better for us than kiting []
  2. Well no. My *favourite* thing is the whinging from Omen and the occasional growl from our tanks when the Lady blesses me with a particular good string of ability procs []
  3. I know that isn’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, but still… []
  4. I’ve recently discovered, and then confirmed,  that even without a runspeed boot enchant, a holy paladin can kite the mechanical trash around the Foe Reaper all the way back to the entrance safely. All you need is a tiny headstart and to use of Holy Radiance on cooldown (for the runspeed boost). *That* was a fun run, as I’m sure you can imagine. []
  5. I have the album this comes from, Spare Ass Annie and other tales. The music was put together my Michael Franti, then of the Disposable Heroes of Hiphopracy. It was a popular late-night play when I was a student… []
  6. if you’re not one of the ignorant swine I regularly encounter on the tube, attempting to shove their way onboard before I and the other 20 people behind me get off. Oh I’m sorry, was that your nose? I must do something about these elbows. []

Nostalgia? Recidivism? You decide.

Sorry, can’t resist this.

It’s officially a year since my first post here on Mysterious Buttons1 so I’m pretending that’s a good excuse for incoherent ramblings.

A post from the end of May 2010 was a slightly cryptic acknowledgement that I’d moved servers, joined a new guild and taken part in my first raid. About a month later I’d been been positively promiscuous in my sampling of different raid dungeons, experienced the “current” content firsthand and *finally* given Marrowgar the beating he so richly deserved. I’d also stolen a spare sword he’d had rattling around in there somewhere2.

It’s pleasing for me, one year on from that first post, to have just taken part in my first raid since the Cataclysm launch and, after a less-than-auspicious start where we were repeatedly flattened by trash, to have to spent the evening with friends, thumping a skull-level boss. It took a handful of goes, and some massaging of the strategy, but by 10.30 the big fiery worm was dead. Huzzah!

A brief Public Service Announcement: when moving between Magmaw and the Omnotron Defense Council, you can run down either side of the staircase from Magmaw’s platform. One side is relatively free of obstructions; the other a little messier.

1. Should you choose to take the “messy” side, be prepared to jump the gap at the right moment.

2. If you fail to jump the gap, try not to laugh hysterically in vent. It lets everyone know you’ve done something stupid.

3. If you fail to jump the gap and end up at the bottom of the fissure, know that there’s an invisible wall that prevents you from jumping over the side into the lava below, for a merciful death and an opportunity to guilt-trip your healing team. Better to discover this now, from me, than in-game having told everyone that you’re stuck and you’re going to kill yourself.

4. If you fail to jump the gap and end up in the fissure, ALSO know that you can, with some manoeuvring, jump out of the fissure at the narrow end to land more-or-less where you were originally intending. It’s best not to have begged a friendly party warlock for a summon at this point “‘cos I’m stuck”, as that really makes you feel silly.

Finally, the Omnotron Defense System. Interesting fight, loads of great-looking visual effects, dorf golems. What’s not to like? We had a couple of end-of-raid prods as a warm-up and will revisit Toxitron and pals again tonight. It did occur to me that the Murloc’s Mom might have some advice for this fight too…

The Murloc's Mom is wise. Heed her words.
The Murloc's Mom is wise. Heed her words.
  1. yes, yes, I know there’s a post dates 21 Feb, but I added that retroactively as a copypasta from the SAN forum, and backdated it as it made sense for an “origins” post to come first []
  2. we discovered later that he had millions of the things — I swear one dropped every week []

Screenshot: Yeah, baby

[Insert classic porn wah-wah guitar or equivalent]

When a guy’s finished tanking for the day, he likes to dress up fine and kick back with some company. Ohhhhh yeah. Hey, who let that photographer in here? You get one shot fella, then you’d best be leaving. You see my security? He’s no fan of you eyeballing the lady…

(with thanks to Alq, Rem, Mirren and the lovely merchant)


Deja vu and stuff

Writing this is giving me a strange sense of deja vu.

Not quite a year ago, I was writing about how I really wanted do some raiding. About how I’d geared my main about as well as as possible from heroics. I’d built a healing set out of spare triumph badges which I was terrified to use. I had a newish 80 (Centrella the mage) who was proving to be fun and picking up gear.

Fast forward to today. Ano’s ret set is entirely i346, with the exception of a trinket (bloody trinkets! Not again!). His healing set (built out of unwanted spellplate and quest rewards) isn’t far behind. This time round I’m not so terrified of healing; having just about enough awareness to determine whether something is my fault or not helps a great deal in the event of an LFG wipe. Instead, I’m nerviously collecting gear and taking tentative steps into the tanking world (again) with Tremble, who had just accidentally tanked his first heroic in Wrath when Cataclysm was released. At 85, and having quested through all of Uldum and TwiHigh, he’s in the unfortunate position of being overgeared for normal dungeons but insufficiently well-controlled to be particularly useful in heroics. Still, that’s my learning project and there are at least many lovely guildies who are happy to pootle through normal dungeons while I figure out pulls and build the last bits of muscle memory, or suffer through a wipe or two when I get things wrong in a heroic.

Lastly … I really want to do some raiding (in Cataclysm)!

We’re ready. Heck, as a guild we’ve already killed our first Cataclysm raidboss (Magmaw) but Bryn & I were celebrating 10 years together on that particular day1 and after some buff food in Suze and several flasks in Inkroom we extended the weekend lock to Friday and … yeah ok, that metaphor has been tortured enough. Suffice to say I wasn’t present for that raid.

On the next scheduled raid day our raidlead/tank had a job interview, and as we’re currently a little short on spare tanks, there was no raid. The day after that, a guildie wasn’t feeling well and had to drop out, so again no raid. The time after that (last night) we were already looking a little sketchy when I discovered *I’d* have to drop out to work late and, again, no raid2.

So, I’m still waiting for that elusive first bossfight, desperately hoping to raid. Trying hard not to be too jealous of all of your effing killshots. So much things change…

Random thoughts

* I’ve completed all of the Uldum quest lines on three different characters now, and I have a special plea for patch 4.1 or whatever the next client version is: please, PLEASE let me skip  the cutscenes. All of them. Make me click “OK” twice if you have to, but … Grammy, the level 70 Werther-lock3. is waiting for me to finish the *must gear up my 85s with heroic loot* stage so she can get some playtime. And I can just about stomach the idea of schlepping about through Northrend again — with all her heirlooms and guild perks it shouldn’t take too long — but the idea of watching all those unskippable cutscenes for a fourth time is not thrilling.

* Tradeskills are weird. Jewelcrafting would appear to (once again) extremely profitable. My JCer is level 26, so I fail. Crafted plate items are still pricey, because of the truegold. Here’s hoping I can make some cash out of Cent’s tailoring before everyone dumps their 359 gear, and otherwise I’m going to be broke until the end of time.

* speaking of tailoring, a WHOLE WEEK cooldown for dreamcloth? *gnash*

* Hurrah for the dungeon finder. It’s not perfect and I have encountered the odd obnoxious or otherwise unhelpful player, but most people have been friendly and *gasp* talkative.

* Ret is scary-spiky after 4.0.6. Our guild tanks have mentioned that they can monitor my procs just by watching me bounce to the top of Omen (or that mob turning to face in the wrong direction). I still haven’t had the forethought to line up Zealotry, the Guardian of Stupid Pets and Heroism yet but when I do, I expect pleasingly large numbers for a brief moment before pulling aggro and going splat.

* Fire maging is still hard. Well, not hard, but I find it easy to make stupid mistakes. Perhaps I should say “I’m still not good at fire maging”. It *is* a lot of fun though, so I’m sticking with it.

* Unholy DKs are the new-old Ret Paladins. I seem to be able to put our respectable DPS by (more or less) mashing whatever is off cooldown. And with a 1s GCD? *snicker*

Just one more thing…
A little late, but worth offering a tip’o’the hat to Chastity and Tamarind over at Righteous Orbs, who have decided to close up shop. I can’t exactly remember how or when I first came across RO. I may have even followed a link to I, Deathtard or In My Sissy Robe after they’d already moved (the “late to the party” theme was one I could relate to!) but I *do* remember laughing delightedly and then clicking on the bottommost month in the archive list, so I could read from the beginning. Funny, insightful and incisive — sometimes painfully so — I’ll miss seeing their walls of text crop up in Google Reader and the all-but-guaranteed pleasure I got from reading them. Good luck to you both!

  1. Clearly no enrage timer for us. Well, for me, anyway. She can be a bit tetchy sometimes. Shhh! []
  2. Yes, we do have more than 10 people in the guild :) We just have a few people who are not quite raid-ready yet []
  3. Gosh I’m so witty. Werther’s Original. Warlock. Wertherlock. I should be on TV or something. Probably as a sofa []