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The shifting quest chain

Finally done! I’ve been working on the Scepter of the Shifting Sands chain for a long time, longer than I should have been. Procrastination, my eternal foe, made sure of that, which lead to some sweat-inducing down-to-the-wire scrambling to finish off everything.

I’m surprised I haven’t blogged more about this quest, I could have sworn I had. In any case, this is honestly some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing WoW. There’s something that I’ve always found fun about trotting the in-game globe, from one far flung zone to another. It’s somewhat masochistic. Obviously, doing the chain now is very, very different from doing it back at 60 when it first debuted. Nowadays, the chain isn’t hard, just time consuming. It’s also worth some laughs, with some of the better writing I’ve seen in any quests I’ve done to date.

If you somehow can bang out the chain in the next 12 hours, I strongly recommend it. It’s a damn shame this quest chain is disappearing.

Anyway, when BWL was bugged in the 4.0.3 last week, my heart sunk, because I thought I was completely screwed. Unable to get past Razorgore, I’d have no real way to farm more elementium ingots and I didn’t really want to shell out an ungodly amount of gold for six of them from the AH. I resigned myself to what seemed to be my fate.

Thankfully though, Blizzard uncharacteristically fixed the BWL bug by Thursday night and I was able to head in there Friday and farm up two more elementium ingots (giving me 6 in total). I kicked myself for my poor luck, but the fire was reignited. I was going to get this Feat of Strength. I bought four more ingots from the AH for a princely sum of around 7k gold in total, which is a ton of gold, but (as I self-rationalized) if I’m not going to spend my gold on such luxuries as FoS-immortality, what should I be spending it on?

My inner Scrooge screamed bloody murder in protest, but by then it was too late.

By that point the red shard was done, and for blue I only needed the Onyxia chapter and the elite mob farming chapters (the mats for the subsequent steps in that chain were all lined up), and the green chain still needed to be done in its entirety. So, we then went to Onyxia’s Lair and nabbed her chapter, and I called it a night content that there wasn’t much between me and the Scepter, earlier heart attacks aside.

Saturday morning, Ildara and others helped me jump through the remaining hoops. We cleared out the green shard chain, redeeming the dragon Eranikus in the process.

And then I dodged off to go farm off the last two Draconic for Dummies chapters I needed. One in Winterspring, the other in the Blasted Lands. I first went to Winterspring, only to find some warrior also farming the same mobs. Rather than be slowed down, I just went over to the Blasted Lands to try my luck there. Thankfully no farmers there, but it still took me a chunk of time to get lucky with the low drop rate. About 50 mobs later, I had my chapter.

A quick /who search showed that warrior had evacuated Winterspring so I sprung over and hit the jackpot with grabbing my last needed chapter from the first Hederine mob I took out. Score.

Back to Tanaris and turned in both The Only Prescription and The Good News and the Bad News in one go. With my Arcanite Buoy ready, I then dragged Ildara (ok, she volunteered) with me to Azshara so we could summon Maws and roll a gas tank into his mouth.

In short order I had the third and final shard I needed, the blue shard.

A hop, skip, and a jump later and I was back in Tanaris and handing over the final shard to Anachronos and receiving in return the Scepter of the Shifting Sands.

It was done, nearly six months later. Shouldn’t have taken me this long, and shouldn’t have been nearly as much of a photo finish, but I’m grateful it’s complete and I will soon have another one of my precious Feats of Strength.

Good luck to anyone still scrambling to wrap this up!

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November 22, 2010
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Making Neck Deep in Vile less of a pain in the neck

Wednesday night was declared “the last night we were doing this achievements BS ever again” by yours truly. 22 or so of the raid core has their drakes and four were on deck to wrap up their metas that night. We have another two that need to wrap up some earlier achievements like Boned and I’m On a Boat, but those won’t delay our starting our “victory lap” attempts on the Lich King’s hardmode like All You Can Eat or Neck Deep will.

Anyway, we’ve been trouble with that achievement for a few weeks now, because our raids tend to run really melee heavy. Most guilds might have two or three warlocks or shadow priests. We have one warlock and one shadow priest (with one healer that can offspec as a spriest) to cover those two. Combine this with the AOE nerf that hit a lot of classes and we were going to have to scrape our way to victory. Finally we pulled it off last week, scoring the achievement and the drakes for a good swath of the core.

Sidenote that will be pertinent in a moment: Towards the end of the night, Zilga (the healer with the shadow offspec) came on, and I asked a melee to volunteer to step out so we could bring another ranged dps in. As soon as I finished talking, Antigen whispered me to offer up his spot.

In preparation for round two against the Vile Spirits this week I followed up on some tips given to me via comment and twitter that suggested it’s much easier to do the achievement by having your ranged stay on the LK during the second transition. Pop bloodlust and let them go to town while at max distance. Then, when you hit phase 3 you’ll have that much less time you need to deal with the Vile Spirits.

In our case, we entered P3 with two Raging Spirits up (though one was near death) and the Lich King at 22%. We finished off the Raging Spirits, then when Vile Spirits spawned, melee followed the Lich King and I to the opposite edge for some quality time while the ranged went through the motions of downing the spirits.

Another helpful tip I picked up in my belated research was that a DK’s Army of the Dead is godly for the Vile Spirits. Once the LK is far enough away, one of the DKs would pop armies . Ghouls would taunt the spirits and assist with dps and (best of all!) the Vile Spirits would not explode upon contact with them. As a result you have the whole lot of them basically rooted for the ranged to pick off without too much trouble.

We only had one spawn of Vile Spirits. When the LK threw up the second batch on the edge I dragged him to he was at 12% health and we burnt him down to Fury of Frostmourne before the spirits could descend. All told we finished the fight with a new record of just under 4 minutes.

Of course, when Fury of the Frostmourne hit, Antigen was disconnected. Not a big deal, I thought, we’d wait for him to log back in before we actually killed the Lich King. We did the same on our first LK kill months ago when Falowin disconnected during Fury, this wouldn’t be a big deal.

Unfortunately, when Antigen logged back in his corpse was at the entrance of the dungeon. And despite my hopes, when we finished off Arthas, he didn’t get credit for the achievement.

Considering he stepped out last week so the raid could wrap up the achievement, this injustice was not going to stand.

I don’t want to steal too much thunder from the eventual post Antigen will do detailing the nonsense that followed, but suffice it to say, Antigen got credit for the achievement. And then later credit for the meta as well since Glory of the Icecrown Raider didn’t recognize that everything was then done.

25 support tickets and about two hours later, everything went better than expected.

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November 5, 2010
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I’ve had it up to HERE with this achievement

Neck Deep in Vile, how I loathe thee. Thankfully, the first batch of it is done. Six more folks to go and everyone in the raid core will have their drakes.

There’s really not much to say about the achievement other than what a huge pain it’s been for us. We typically have very melee-heavy raids, and last night was just about the most ranged/casters we’ve ever had going. And this is including the two healers I made go dps offspec.

We had a few close calls, at one point getting LK to 11% when the achievement was failed, forcing all to quickly cascade of the edge in hopes that dots wouldn’t push him over. Thankfully, we died to fight another day.

Last night was also the first time since the patch we’ve downed Heroic Sindragosa, thanks to various difficulties in the previous weeks (for example: half the raid not being able to see the swirl of a Frost Bomb in the distance).  The biggest issue was Frost Breath continues to not fall off once the timer elapses (instead, just ticking off a stack), unlike prior to 4.0.1.

In the past, I’d tank Sindy from start of the fight to the first tank swap in the sub-35% phase. Last night, Ana and I had to switch off every air phase so that going into P3 I wasted burdened by 6 stacks of the speed debuff. Not a huge deal, but an annoyance nonetheless.

Anyway, unpleasantness aside–drakes! Woo.

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October 28, 2010
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A brave new world

Tuesday night was a clusterfark, as most patch days are. Despite making a checklist for the guild to help them get ready and everybody waiting in Mumble and chomping at the bit for the servers to come back up, yours truly was frantically still attempting to patch because I forgot to start the updater when I left for work that morning. Complete and utter fail. I finally got in about an hour after everyone else.

The plan originally was to maybe raid if timing was good and everyone was settled, but between addons and confusion and terrible guild leaders, there was just no way it was happening. People spent most of the night trying to hammer together a working UI and then running heroics to get an idea of the new mechanics.

When I finally got in, the first thing I did was dodge off to Silvermoon and train everything and then reforge my gear. Just like on the beta, I block capped and without having to use Heroic CTC to do so. I then built both specs–single target and AOE–and glyphed both. Lastly, I regemmed all my gear so that any agi/stam gems were swapped out for strength/stam gems. My thinking was to grab the extra threat and the free parry from strength, but I have absolutely no clue how optimal that is. I suspect it’s not really a good idea, so I’m going to have to revisit that.

I also took a lot of joy in applying the mind control tinker on my helm for the free stamina, a parachute on my cloak, and getting tuskarr’s vitality enchanted on my boots. It’s not the same as Pursuit of Justice, but it’ll do.

Once the dust was settled a bit, I ran Heroic Gundrak with a few friends to find my legs. Switched to my AOE spec and went to town. Unfortunately, one of the dps was a mage, and I basically spent the heroic alternating Hammer of the Righteous and whichever taunt was off cooldown. I don’t think I had a good grasp on the mechanics at the time, but we were so overgeared that everything just blew right over without protest, so it was just about impossible to gauge much.

Before I logged that night I took a quick flight on my Argent Hippogryph, now benefitting from the same 310% speed that my less attractive mounts were blessed with. Perhaps one of my favorite quality of life changes this patch. I hated flying around on some godawful proto-drake just for the convenience of speed.

Another gorgeous change is the new water system. Yesterday I was taking a taxi down to Grom’gol for some ZG farming, and flying over the water with the sun reflecting was… wow. The world seems so much more vibrant now. I can’t wait to see that match up with the new terrain/textures coming in the actual Cataclysm.

Speaking of Zandalar–one of my biggest pre-Cataclysm goals was to hit exalted with that rep before the Zul’Gurub raid disappears. (I’m a sucker for Feats of Strength.)

I was pretty close when I started yesterday, measuring my progress in how mana Bijous it would take to hit exalted (assuming 125 rep from destroying the Bijou and then using up the honor token) and I started with something close to 60 Bijous between me and the finish line. When I landed in Stranglethorn I headed over to the Zandalar’s island and cashed in the mountains of coins I had accumulated. At the end I was something like 40ish Bijous away.

After that I finally went into ZG itself, donned the AOE spec, and started moving from one trash pack to the next. Seal of Insight is amazing for low-level grinding, to the point where I barely miss the old block–ok, that’s a lie–and Hammer of the Righteous is just godly for AOE. Round up a huge pack and whittle it down in no time at all. The only real trouble I got was on the tiger boss where constant silences made it nigh-impossible interrupt those heals. After a long war o attrition I managed to get all three guys down and push into the last phase of the fight.

A few more bosses and a score of Bijous later, and I had enough in my bags to push to exalted. Over at the island I cashed everything in and scratched another item off my Cata bucket list.


ICC at the end of the night was something else. That’s about the best way I can describe it. I’m sure you’ve heard that AOE threat is rough in a raid environment and I can surely attest to that. Unless you tie down the dps and force them to wait a few seconds for you to establish aggro, which is the exact opposite instinct that’s been instilled in them since the beginning of Wrath, there’s just no way you can control a pack without constant tab-taunting.

I was posting something like 6th damage overall on the pre-Marrowgar trash thanks to HotR, but in light of some casters (like the damn boomkin!) there was just no way to hold back the tide. Good practice for Cataclysm, I suppose.

One the bright side, nothing has warmed the icy cockles of my heart like the ShoR crits I was getting last night. With a full stack of Vengeance I could reach out and touch the face of 30k. Indeed, if there’s one thing every tankadin that reads this blog needs to do before Cataclysm comes out, it’s do Festergut and see the highest ShoR crit you can pull with Vengeance and the stacking debuff from that fight. When I first saw that giant 50k crit I started cackling like a maniac, and the 54k that followed almost put me in a diabetic coma it was so sweet.

Doxa tweeted me last night that he hoped I was using WoG, considering the massive threat lead I had on that fight (you can see it in the screenshot) and I’m tank enough to admit I was too busy chasing my next hit with ShoR to even think of that. Hence the sweet justice that I died around 3% and Ana had to pick up Fester, bubble off her stacks, and guide the fight to completion.

Single target threat as a whole was not that bad. The trick is to get that first ShoR off ASAP, and you’ll have an okay lead from there on out. I’m still getting used to the muscle memory of 939 and internalizing what buttons to push when, but for the whole I’m in a good place.

There were a slew of annoyances last night. Some minor, like having to constantly switch specs before/after fights. Some were major, like Blood Princes bugging and refusing to actually stand up and engage. The 30% buff also decided to drop off for half the raid some time before Sindragosa, and then after a wipe it dropped for the rest of us. At first I thought it was a display error, but I definitely had a lot less health than I would with the buff.

I felt that missing 30% hp acutely on Professor Putricide, who once he hit phase 3, ran me over like a mack truck. In the space of three seconds I took 80k damage. No crit, just pure pain. Healers were not ready for that kind of punishment and I was so shocked I didn’t even get my Ardent Defender off in time. I know we’ve taken a huge loss in damage reduction from the talents pruning and all the armor we lost, but fer crissakes. Not to mention the damage done by just about everything was increased. All told, that adds up to a floor stain in the form of yours truly.

Over the course of the night, everyone seemed to run the gamut of emotions from diabolically giddy (Zilga the disc priest) to power mad (Ichi to boomkin) to despondent (the holy pally) to consistently knocked offline (Falowin the rogue). I’m hoping that the raid didn’t make anyone lose hope or experience some kind of crisis of faith. It was a rough night, truly, and would be a huge step back if this was still pre-4.0.1. But obviously a lot changed and we’re still adjusting to it.

The theme of the night was the long-running guild joke of “doooomed”, per the following Futurama clip:


I know we’ll be fine, but it’s a bit painful at the moment.

Oh, some final recommendations for gearing. One is to avoid the 4pc bonus if it’s onerous to gear for it. In the past, it was worth it because our cooldown toolbox was much more limited and that extra dodge was handy. However, in this brave new world of 1 minute Divine Protections and clicky-Ardent Defenders, the 4pc is subpar at best. And this is coming from one of its most vocal supporters. Not to mention, Divine Plea is now on a 2-minute cooldown, which means you get to use the bonus half as often as you used to. So yeah.

Lastly, I’d recommend ditching the Greater Inscription of the Gladiator and grabbing the new Greater Inscription of the Pinnacle. Before, the latter enchant was a huge pile of avoidance, which was kind of meh, but now that the dodge it gives it definitely worth the tradeoff of 8 stamina. Likewise, Resilience provides zero crit immunity now, so the Glad enchant is overall not worth it anymore.

Anyway, everything aside, 4.0.1 has been interesting… to say the least. Now to pick up the pieces!

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October 14, 2010
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Winding down

I can’t take this ennui anymore. Last night’s raid was eerie, in the same way that you might feel walking through a house you’re preparing to move out of. But that’s not really true is it? The house is still going to be there next week, just the furniture might be swapped around or something. We’re not really moving, we’re still going to be plugging away in that frozen hell hole, but we’ll be doing it with somewhat different abilities.

I’m hoping that the patch next week (assuming it is next week) will make ICC a little more “fresh”. We’ve been in there for 10 months now, which is an obscene length of time. Not to mention we never took a break from raiding over the summer. I’m shocked (and humbled) by the utter lack of mass burnout in the raid even after all this time. We definitely have some pretty dedicated folks in guild.

Anyway, last night was a pretty good raid night. Whereas last week was spotty and a bit rough, we rounded out the edges yesterday and didn’t really stumble at all. We knocked out Halion pretty quickly then started working through ICC, only to wipe twice on Heroic LDW, and then continue the march through H Lootship and H Saurfang.

I picked up the Heroic Corpse Tongue Coin off of Gunship because it feasibly will be worth having in the interim period between 4.0.1 and Cataclysm when we have Mastery but are stuck at level 80. My goal is to reforge the dodge to mastery, which–if my numbers are right–should give me 3% block. (172 dodge rating x .40 = 68.8 mastery rating / 45.8 mastery rating per skill at 80 = 1.50 mastery skill = 2% per skill x 1.5 = 3% block from Divine Bulwark.)

Correct me if I did that wrong please, basic arithmetic is not my strong suit.

In any case, combining a new respect for dodge in the 4.0 ruleset with my fetish for the new block, and the preciousness that is the armor proc… H CTC could have its uses. Of course, straight stam will likely be the best choice, especially with Vengeance, but I love playing with new toys. Hence the pickup.

Another side note: I hit 50053 armor (with an armor pot) on Saurfang. Not too shabby! And the best part was we killed him in under 4 minutes, so I was able to roll the extra armor throughout the entire fight. I love it.

Anyway, once inside the Upper Spire we went about banging out another raft of achievements and hopefully finishing Blood Wing and Plague Wing achievements for the guild, once and for all. If I read the spreadsheet of achievements correctly, all we have left for some folks is Portal Jockey and LK achievements. Tonight when we do Neck Deep in Vile we’ll be scoring a huge swath of drakes for the raid, which is very exciting. I personally could care less about the Frostbrood mounts, but everyone else is pumped and I’m glad we could get them the ride and the free 310% flying come next expansion.

Speaking of achievements, tonight I finally got bit on the 25man and screwed it up fantastically. Having none of your buttons showing when you are working through your rotation is fine, but when you need to hit a specific one it really doesn’t help. I, of course, got mind controlled but thankfully didn’t wipe the raid.

They should have left me on the floor, along with my credibility.

Like I said, tonight should be pretty straightforward. Going to do H Dreamwalker, H Sindy, then Neck Deep. Probably will be a short night.

ES Olympics, Round 3

On entirely different note, on Monday night we did the third ES games designed to dole out the Sealed Chest items from crafting our second Shadowmourne. This time around we did a scavenger hunt. The rules were pretty simple–I’d stand at Tirion’s hut in Eastern Plaguelands and give everyone an item to fetch at the start. As each person came back to give me the item, I’d whisper them the next in the series, until we hit the end and there was a winner.

Obviously people couldn’t use mage or engineering ports, or any other item that would jump them a significant distance. Hearthstones were allowed, and thankfully no shamans so I didn’t have to deal with Astral Recall. Crusader Aura was also deemed illegal by majority opinion.

It went pretty smoothly overall, with only one major hiccup because I didn’t anticipate an item being available off of a vendor as well as farmed. In case you’re wondering, some of the items requested were: a Scum Covered Bag, Giant Clam Meat, a Colossal Parachute (especially proud of this one), Black Coffee and a Dalaran Donut, a Twilight Cultist Robe, a Runn Tum Tuber, and some other things I can’t recall.

After about three hours the winner finally emerged, Ichioso the Boomkin and his pal, Starfall. Rounding out second and third place were Antigen and Pallybella the holydin. Congrats to them for a great showing, especially Antigen who jumped a few places ahead on the last item to snatch up second place. That was pretty impressive.

I still have two Sealed Chest items left, and I’m not sure what to do with them. If anyone has an idea for another game, I’d love to hear it.

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Icing the Frost Queen

I’m still in shock we pulled this off. I mean, not completely, I did know it was going to happen. Mathematics demanded a kill, and we gladly complied. Still, it’s a pretty big deal for the guild that all our hard work paid off. I could not be more proud of our raiders, this was a kill we all needed to keep the faith.

We started the week with a rough patch, to say the least. Tuesday was… brutal… and we’ll leave it at that. So Wednesday we had something of a chip on our shoulders that demanded satisfaction. We buckled down and righted all the wrongs that held us back on Tuesday and still managed to get to Sindragosa with the usual 2 hours left in raid. Our game faces on, we got to work.

The first attempt was ok. We had a flawless first air phase, then a disastrous second. The second attempt we did immaculately until the third air phase, then the attempt collapsed. Shaking the rust off, as we say.

Subsequent attempts were so-so, generally requiring battle rezzes to be used in air phases, which was killing me. At least at this point we were hitting phase 3.

Finally after another attempt where the same mage (who I don’t often bring, but was dragging along as an Unchained Magic human shield) died for the umpteenth time to a Frost Bomb, I removed him from raid–something I should had done attempts ago–and brought in a newly recruited shadow priest.

Around this point we also imposed some pretty severe discipline onto vent. Basically, the rule became in phase 3: no talking unless it’s a healer announcement, a tank swap, or something life threatening. Everyone else just focus and lock it down. I think this was a huge key to our success.

The next attempt we got the fight to 7%. It was going fantastically, but Ana was cut off from heals momentarily and died, and then I went to pick it up but was eventually rocking way too much buffet stacks. Still, everyone was filled with hope. There was not a single air phase death that attempt. There was even a great raid awareness moment where a block got dropped the opposite way from where we were taking them, and everyone got out of the way, and then we kept the correct direction going afterwards. All in all, the mojo seemed to be back.

So we lined up again, and after a quick stupid wipe, we did what was destined to be the money shot. Air phases were nearly perfect, we had one death because someone was DC’d, but we kept going. Phase 3 starts and I get to work. Ana and I swap like clockwork, blocks go down with expert precision, healers are calling out roles and switches through vent without interruption. Finally we hit the single digits and it’s just gogogo time.

The enrage timer was ticking down, leaving us about a minute at that point. Everyone just pushed it as hard at they could and as I watched Sindy’s health slowly tick away from 3%, to numbers I never dreamed could lie beyond that. The “holy bleep” moment of “this is going to die” hit me in a euphoric wave, and then the Frost Queen crashed over dead and coughed up her purples.

I scored the 277 token from her for a hefty, hefty amount. Worth it nonetheless. Everyone was elated, and for some reason we rode that high over to heroic Putricide just to throw in some faux-attempts and get some idea of the mechanics of the fight.

Obviously we didn’t get very far. This is indeed our next dragon to slay, so to speak. I look forward to our coming weeks together, Putricide.

Oh, and as a humorous sidenote: remember how I said I was going to start rolling for Abom Duty? Well, prior to the first pull Ana, Nordic, and I rolled off for the right of riding the Abom. Nordic always wins, and I thought I finally had him when he rolled an 11. I then rolled a 6. Ok, well, Ana could be our last hope, right? Wrong. She also rolled a 6!

Curse you Nordicslayer.

Nonetheless, with five minutes left in raid we swapped it over to normal mode and quickly did the achievement in preparation for our eventual drakes scramble.

Great raid night overall, and a fantastic end to an ignominiously beginning week.

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TIL: The Putricide Abom is a lot of fun

Why wasn’t I told?!

10man last night and I was tanking with Morvain, the Death Knight with the cat problem, and when we got to Putricide there was a moment of pause. Usually Nordic just takes the Abom, or him and Ana roll off for it in the 25man. And yet last night, on a whim, I decided to take it for a spin.

I knew the long and short of it: mash 1 when standing on a puddle, 2 to slow (though we were doing the achievement, so no slows), and apply sunders with 3. I spent the fight running around, gulping puddles, and applying sunders as needed. And I had a blast. It was a nice change of pace over just ducking around with the good Professor in tow.

I need to start ninjaing that job in the 25man.

The rest of the night we wrapped up some outstanding achieves that various people needed, like a Heroic Blood Princes kill for Gulliveig, and Portal Jockey for myself.

We then moved on to Sindragosa to finally put away the heroic kill. It took us three shots but we finally got the old girl down (in 10man at least). One of my main goals last night was to use the spinning strategy and to prove to myself that it can be done, and that it doesn’t hamper the raid. It seemed overall to be a huge help, if only to keep blocks uniform, so I’ll remain firmly in the “pro-spinning” column.

We had issues with the enrage timer because we’d lose a dps here or there in phase 3 to what appeared to be self-inflicted wounds. Namely, Chilled to the Bone being stacked too high. I’m sympathetic to the idea that if the healers can get you, you’re golden, but crunch times happen, Unchained can be unkind, and healing might be stretched. And then suddenly having so many stacks of that debuff is going to kill you.

In any case, good practice for Wednesday I hope.

With the heroic Sindy kill, a bunch of us got our drakes. (This is the part where Ana comments “MONTHS BEHIND!”) It’s a nice achieve to have, but I don’t particular care for a boney dragon. I’ll probably still to my Rusted Proto for now, I like the cut of his gib far more. Is that weird?

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Been waiting a long time for all you can eat

Another step closer to getting my ICC drake, as we wrapped two of the harder achievements in the 10man meta last night. One was the terrifying All You Can Eat, the other the endurance-testing Been Waiting a Long Time for This. With these two under my belt I need only Portal Jockey and a heroic Sindragosa kill, and I’m golden. Or… boned… in this case.

And yes, I know Ana’s team has had their drakes for a few weeks now. But Team Alpha is all about catch up! It’s how we roll.

Anyway, I digress. Let’s talk about how we did each achievement.

All You Can Eat

The first attempt we did for this achievement was using a zerg strategy that Anafielle had touted in the past. I’m always very wary of zergs, and this was no exception. Having one healer get consistently Unchained was not fun, and having two mainspec healers go to offspec roles that they don’t typically raid with didn’t help either. We quickly wiped.

So we started doing it the non-cheese way. For the next two hours (and I know it was two hours because we had trash respawn), we kept breezing through phases 1 and 2 and then crashing hard in phase 3. People would stack a debuff too high and die, or blocks would go in the wrong place (since we were trying to keep them close to the head)… in short, it was a series of clusterfarks.

A lot of us were tired, some were hungover, and basically the general raid wasn’t operating at peak efficiency. I was questioning whether this was going to happen.

After the trash respawned, I had a brain storm: positioning blocks and getting them in the ideal spot seem to be our biggest issue, so why not change how we drop blocks? We’ll drop that first block in that ideal spot, and then every time we need to put down a new block, the tank rotates Sindragosa slightly so that a new ideal block spot opens up to the left of the existing block. Then there’s a close, pristine block to hide behind for the tank swap, and dps can instantly identify which block to nuke down.

Here’s a terrible diagram (nothing to scale) to demonstrate my crazy talk:

Sindragosa starts with her face at position A. First block goes down just to the right of her face where that white dot is. Next time someone gets frost beaconed, the current tank rotates Sindragosa to a point halfway between A and B, and the block goes to the next white dot. Old block is burnt down, raid has a close block to hide behind, and dps still have access to Sindragosa’s stomach.

Just crazy enough to work, I thought. And anything else was preferable to the same old that we were doing and wiping with for so long.

So we tried this new strat, and got the achievement on the first try with it.

I’m so going to try this strategy with our 25 heroic run on Wed.

Anyway, some other helpful tips–and apparently I’m the last one to know this–but if you’re LOS’d at the 2 second mark on your Buffet debuff, it’ll fall off. So you can start running at the 1 second mark, which gives you a whole ‘nother two seconds to beat feet and relieve the other tank so they can drop their debuff. Moreover, the RaidAchievement addon is amazing for this. Will instantly tell you if someone screws it up so you don’t kill Sindragosa and miss the achievement because some dope wasn’t watching their debuffs.

Been Waiting a Long Time for This

We went into this achievement with an equal mix of tiredness (it was 30 minutes before raid end), confusion, and ignorance about the mechanics of the achievement. After talking with Ana about the rules (you need to get >30 stacks and hold that til transition) it became obviously that no one did their homework. Thankfully, Ana is an achievements expert.

So anyway, first attempt we did the first phase like normal, stacking diseases and just holding off transition, and by the time the disease got to about 20 it started murdering ghouls instantly. The disease fell off and we had to wipe.

Again, didn’t do our homework! We consulted Ana and she explained with great patience that we should RTFA and actually do the strategy: basically, cleanse the first disease far away so it doesn’t pass to the group or the mobs, then dispel the second disease onto the mobs, then after that dispel the rest of the diseases far away so no one gets it.

You skip the first disease so you can gather up the first wave of ghouls, giving you time to build up a solid base of fodder for the plague. I know this now because on our next attempt the first person to get the plague forgot and ran to the mobs. Diseased passed onto the mobs, and we just shrugged and kept going. But the plague hit >20 stacks, it was quickly murdering mobs left and right. We had the LK at 72%, and held him there, and I frequently had to run back to him and get the disease passed either to a freshly spawned ghoul or to a teammate to keep it alive.

Utter chaos.

Finally, we had it up to 32, and pushed LK hard. We finally pushed him over with the disease on someone at 31 stacks, it got cleansed, passed to ghoul that somehow survived, I pulled them aside on the edge as we worked through the transitions. Each ghoul dropped dead in short order, then I self-cleansed the plague off of me, removing it from the fight.

We then went back to autopilot through LK10, eventually downing the fight with the only moment of difficulty being when Gandy the Rogue accidentally overshot the ledge while his rocket boots we active and plummeted to his death. We almost wiped because people started laughing, but Frank whipped everyone back into line.

Towards the end, I was eyeing the enrage timer nervously. We were down one rocket man dps and had about 3 minutes left at the 30% mark. My fears abated, we hit 10% with 1:30 to go. …I so did not want to have to play plague-juggling again.

This achievement is definitely easier than the Sindragosa one, but the tradeoff is it’s a much bigger pain.

And now that both of those are done, time to start worrying about Sindragosa 10H for next week…

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More smooth sailing, &c.

I love Tuesday nights right now. Thanks to the Icecrown buff we are sailing right through 11 of the 12 bosses (which even a month ago seemed an impossible task for a single night), racking up huge chunks of loot, and everyone is in a fantastic mood, joking and having fun.

Apparently our server isn’t doing too well as we head into the summer, one of the major raiding guilds on the server has been completely stalled due to attendance, another from their Shadowmourne guy going on hiatus immediately after getting his legendary (ouch), leading to further hiatuses, followed up by one of the officers emptying out the bank and server transferring.

We’re oddly one of the more active Horde guilds in ICC25 man, which has lead to us getting a few pretty good apps from said disaffected guilds. I will gladly pick those bones, tyvm.


Two new guild in-jokes started up fairly recently. One of them, playing on my quickness to stressing out over the roster and other guild management issues, involves my imaginary ulcer being given the name Frank. So now whenever someone does something death-defying or otherwise gives me a quick jolt of stress I let them know that “Frank says hi.”

The other, actually funny one, deals with Zilga (one of the priests) and her jingle about poor dragon positioning and cleaves–Zilga’s gonna eat a cleave, doo da, doo da. On Spinestalker, the last drake before Sindragosa, I’ll drag it up the steps and chase Zilga around attempting to get it to cleave her. She then proceeds to taunt me with “I’ve been cleaved by better tanks than you!” So that’s our little game now.

Last night I also had the opportunity to bring three new raiders into ICC to try them out and get them some gear (again, I love that buff). One of them, a Rogue, did some ridiculous dps on many fights, placing in the top 5 despite being in 245-251 gear. He then over the course of the night picked up seven upgrades. I expect him to be a beast tonight on our LK attempts.

Also tried out a Demo Lock for the first time, something the casters have been lobbying for forever. Unfortunately our top two caster dps weren’t on last night, so I won’t be able to ask how they thought of having some extra SP.

Speaking of sailing

After raid, Morvain and I dragged a group to Uld-10 so we could finish the last achievement for our Rusted Protos. After one full go across Razorscale’s 10 minute enrage timer and then a minute into the next attempt we finally managed to roast the 25th Iron Dwarf we needed for the achievement.

Done and done.

I finished up the night by dragging a few more people into MC for my weekly dose of disappointment re: Thunderfury. And, of course, alas, no binding. Nordic taunted me with the fact he ran the place this weekend (he needs the opposite binding from me) and the one I am seeking dropped. I died a little on the inside. Ok, understatement–I died a lot on the inside

And speaking of slow deaths, more LK-25 attempts tonight! If I post about the kill tomorrow you’ll know it went well (obviously), if silence … er, send flowers.

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May 26, 2010
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Azeroth was screwed

At Azeroth’s darkest moment, it depended on a motley crew of about 20 heroes (and that is questionable) to defeat Archimonde and keep him from destroying the world tree. I pity the world if they really were saved by the group of people I joined in Hyjal on saturday night. The pug consisted of about seven people from my guild, six from a 70-capped raiding guild called Glory Days, and a smattering of other random 80s.

It must have been a full moon or something, because there were some colorful personalities in that pug. The leader spent the entire raid falling behind and taking forever to dispense loot. There was a ret pally who was constantly screaming in all caps for a SUMMON to Hyjal, or for some friend of his to be SUMMONED, or for him to be SUMMONED because he fell off a cliff. I use all caps because that’s how communicated, petulantly and in a demanding, infantile manner. I wanted to reach through the Internet and slap him.

He must have been some 12 year old kid spending a saturday night being babysat by the Internet, because I can’t imagine a high-functioning adult could ever behave in the way he did. It’s just not possible.

When we were meeting in the Night Elf village to head down to Archimonde, the warlock ran off the cliff, somehow aggro’d Archimonde, was one shot, and then caused the boss to immediately kill everyone in the zone. I was standing up next to Tyrande, saw everyone suddenly drop dead and a golden sheath of light burst from me. “Oh, hey, AD procced.”

Once we pulled it became obvious that, of course, many of the assembled dopes didn’t get their tears and eventually fell to their deaths. It was fun watching the squares on grid of each mouth-breather one by one turn grey to reflect their easily prevented-demise.

And let’s talk for a second about the stupidity of this strict-70 raiding guild that organized the run. How are you a strict TBC raiding guild when you depend on 80s to carry you through lvl 70 content? Like the old robot adage goes, “does not compute.” Basically they organized the run (and I use that word as loosely as possible), took all the loot they wanted since they could make the loot rules, barely contributed (if at all–most of the mouth-breathers were wearing Glory Days tags), and then when we finished were like “ok, let’s go to Sunwell!” I could not drop group faster.


After we fled that clusterfark, those of us that went to Hyjal continued our bored old-school raiding antics and went to BWL at someone’s suggestion. I am always game for BWL because I’m trying to compile a full Judgement set. After scoring the Judgement Spaulders off of Chromaggus that night, I’m now at 5/8. Just the chest, boots, and belt to go. I think my ultimate goal is to assemble the full judgement gear, my Thunderfury (still waiting on your binding, Garr, you jerk), and some equally awesome shield, and then (if this is possible with the new system) queue up for a random Stratholme and run some levelers through the place. It will be bewilderingly awesome, especially since as an 80 nothing will be able to hit me for much, regardless of what gear I’m wearing.

Three more Kingslayers

Last night finally saw the end to the latest 10man lockout I’ve been running. I do a 10man once a week in ICC and we usually just extend the lockout until we finish it up, then shake the roster up a bit. My big goal for this lockout was to get the LK kill for some people that run in other groups, so we could have a second 10man doing hardmodes and getting some 264 loot. Now that that’s done, the next lockout I run will be more focused on hard mode progression and less on another LK kill.

Our second LK kill wasn’t anymore difficult than the last one, I think we got him on the fifth attempt or so. Defiles are pretty much cake once you get everyone focused and hyper aware (though, I say this in 10man, where I can weed out those incapable of paying attention) and Valks are a non-issue with a 15% buff. We had some initial trouble with Infest, but that’s only because we were so used to having our pro disc healer neutralizing them before they ever became an issue. How complacent we were.

I’m mostly looking forward to taking my guild into the 25man version of this fight, but also terrified at the thought of it. We’ll see how it goes when the time comes for the greater group of us to face down Arthas.

Three years in the making

Happy birthday Gulliveig!

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t wish a very happy birthday to my pal, Gulliveig.

Check out the cake my girlfriend (she of the Rhidach Cake) made for his birthday party Friday:

A pug shaman surrounded by troll totems. Celebrating his two loves–pugs and shamanism. That pug face is kind of haunting, though.

Many happy returns, buddy.

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