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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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Better news, everyone

Back in March… or April, whenever it was… when we were working on Putricide for the first time and wiping endlessly on him, I would drive home from work at the end of the day and say to myself “this night can only end two ways–one is with Putricide dead, the other is with him alive for another week.” It was initially a mental exercise meant to brace myself for the inevitable disappointment that characterized those interregnum days.

Then, of course, one day I posed that question to myself and the former outcome was the one fate handed to us. Putricide was dead, and the renaissance of ES began.

I revived the exercise for our weeks of learning the Lich King. It was hard fought, but after about 4 nights of solid attempts spread out over a month (so it goes with a 2 day raid schedule) we finally nailed the guy to the way. The exercise metastasized a bit from devouring my attention on that long car ride home up 95 to on a bike ride I would take after work in the local cemetery.

I know that sounds creepy, but paved roads and no cars. Win-win my friends. And it’s quiet. (Ba-dum-bum.)

But I digress. I dwelled a lot on the fight and the viability of victory, and eventually inevitability won out. Like it usually does. And as we started working through hardmodes I didn’t really need to spend a lot of time agonizing on possibilities, because we usually downed new hardmode fights the first week we tried them.

Things changed of course with Heroic Sindragosa, which took us about four weeks to eventually down. A pretty epic ride, and you can bet that old saw came back in full force. And then after Sindragosa, I revived it for Putricide, but prematurely. It took us 57 attempts to kill Heroic Sindragosa. It took us only 16 to kill Putricide. And that’s with 11 of them being done with a suboptimal strategy.

An amazing turn around between the two fights, I think.

When we stood there in front of Putricide last night, I articulated a new strategy and some tweaks I wanted everyone to operate under. This is in addition to a commandment to download and install an addon called Plagued that tracks through /yells about someone’s head if they have the plague and counts down until they need it taken away from them. Last week, we were making people with the plague go to a safe spot.

This week, I told everyone to spread out, stay put, and put on their raid awareness hats. People were to call out in vent when they were taking it from the plagued person. Everyone needed to be cognizant of where those massive red yell bubbles were.

Other tweaks: pets had to be on green slime whenever up, and the DKs were taking turns popping armies onto the green slimes during transitions, for extra damage soaking.

The first attempt with this new strategy, we got Putricide to 50% before wiping, beating our previous record of 51% by inches.

Our second attempt we got him 12%.

Suddenly everyone was energized. We hadn’t even seen phase 3 before on heroic, and suddenly we just coasted right in to it. The raid was infused with equal doses of terror and excitement.

We proceeded to do a few more attempts, each time hitting phase 3 with ease and wiping due to the soft enrage. Something had to change. On the last attempt, I made a risky decision: when the orange slime comes down in the second transition, rather than hanging back and waiting for it to pick a target, melee go in and start wailing on it. In the attempts thus far, orange was up with at least 20% when Put activated, and we needed that dps time on the big guy.

Luck shined her golden countenance upon us, the first target orange picked was at range. My gambit succeeded. Orange died right as Put activated. Everyone was alive. It was go time.

We started rounding the outside of the room, and Put’s health was steadily dropping. We lost a few people here and there, but everyone was focused. We were going to make this happen. Suddenly I heard that a healer had died, and I popped a cooldown, and then my assigned raidwall.

We held it together as the numbers. Tank swaps continued until I believe Nordic drew the last tanking turn with 3 stacks at around the 2% mark. We held it together–along with our breath–and finally push the fight over the finish line. Putricide keeled over and coughed up his purples.

No Last Word, unfortunately.

After the exhilaration wore off, we trucked over and up to Arthas and did the Been Waiting a Long Time for This achievement to begin the long march for getting everyone their 25man drakes. A necessary, if not annoying, first step.

Oh, and duty and tankadin camaraderie compels me to congratulate Ana on ranking #57 on the Festergut 25H dps ranks for prot pallies. She’s been working really hard, and I’m sure in the next few weeks she can place even higher!

Ultimately, I think my favorite part of the night was right before LK when one of the dps said “I totally called this last week when I said Rhidach was going to come up with an amazing strat and we’d kill him easily.” That was a much needed confidence boost after the stomping my RLing ego took the other night.

Apparently some of them have faith in me, haha.

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Highs, lows, and creamy middles

Well, despite my initial fears that the RNG gods had smitten me for my hubris, I was rewarded with another drop of the heroic Icecrown Glacial Wall. It’s exciting to have the BiS shield in the game, though for some reason it doesn’t carry the same level of excitement that the first one did for me.

Perhaps this is because I’ve seen upgrades to this shield at level 82 on beta. Ah well, dust in the wind, my friends!

On the plus side, the new shield gives me a huge chunk of armor to add to my pile, which makes hitting the raid boss cap all but inevitable. And speaking of, during Saurfang last night somehow I failed to beat my previous record…

I had a Mongoose proc when screenshotting last week, so I think that number was abnormally high. Maybe I’m fine, but I have this lingering doubt that I had the 251 version of the Unidentifiable Organ equipped still after having scored the heroic one on Sunday night (I apologize for not bombarding you with six links for this item, heh). In any case, I’ll need to double check that when I get home.

Tonight I’ll finally re-enchant my Ardent Guard for Major Agility, make sure my armor set is correctly set up, and then prepare for glory.

As for the raid as a whole last night, it was another pretty great night. We knocked out Halion, then everything in ICC as heroic for the first wing, plus Blood Wing, and Dreamwalker. Sindragosa we had to do on normal to get our third Shadowmourner-in-waiting his frost infusion, so he can start accumulating shards as early as next week. The second Shadowmourner, Morvain, is already at 42 shards after five weeks.

We have Heroic Put on deck for this evening. I’m hoping for some major progress to be made, so cross those fingers!

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September 15, 2010
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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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So very, heart-breakingly close

We’ve been working on Heroic Sindragosa since at least the beginning of August and it’s be steady progress ever since. While it sucks to only realistically have a max of three hours a week to work on the old girl, it’s been pretty obvious we’ll soon have the kill. The first week we were wiping at 60%. Then we were kissing phase 3 the next. Then wiping at the 26% mark the next. Then 13% last week. Last night we got her to 3.9% before giving up the ghost, on our best attempt.

3.9%

Mathematically it’s impossible not to drop her next week. I like our odds.

One thing I did to shake things up was to force the raid to adopt the AYCE strategy I came up with the other night. Our third phases were hectic, blocks were going in crazy places, or too far away. I figured my strategy would tighten that up a bit, make for a cleaner close to the fight. And of course I got push back.

I don’t mean reasonable pushback, with intelligent, well reasoned concerns, but just snark. Determinations that “this couldn’t work” and “why are we changing the strategy after getting it to 20% last week?” And then this person went on to rage to an audience in a separate channel that I am not party to. It was infuriating, to say the least. Give me some credit, I’m not a complete goddamn moron.

After the third try with the new strategy, we got her to 8%, our best attempt up to that point. Before that, the naysayer whispered me and said something to the effect of “You know you can’t adopt a new strategy and expect it to take off in a few attempts, right?” After that 8% try, the naysayer whispered me again and said “You’re allowed to say I told you so, you know.” I just smiled and replied, “Not my style.”

As for the 3.9% attempt, what kills me was that could have very well have been a kill attempt. It was the last attempt of the night, so it had that mythical Last Attempt Aura that we’ve benefitted from in the past. Air phases were golden, with I think only one death across all three (which was quickly remedied with a brez).

And then finally, we were at the 8% mark with just about everyone alive, and I had this heavy hope that we were going to come out victorious. I don’t think I was breathing much at that point. We’re about 40% around the rotation, at least four blocks have successful gone down, and the next person gets marked.

They don’t move. I call out the name, and “I DC’d!” is the response in vent. My heart sinks.

I see the symbol over his head, and the dps standing next to him. “Move away from X!” The dpser doesn’t listen, tunnel visions. Gets chain blocked. Some scramble to start breaking them out, but the death blow was just dealt. We’re at 5% now. The next person to be marked for a block ran way far away to drop Unchained Magic, and was caught with their pants down. No way they can make it to the proper spot in time, and the block is too far away. So we resolve to start rotating the other way and catch up to the last block to go down.

I’m almost there, and the next person marked decides to drop the new block counter clockwise, rather than to the right of Sindy’s face and thus resuming the proper rotation like I intended. At this point it’s around 4.5% and people are dropping like flies because blocks have been garbage and no one could drop their Buffet stacks.

I bite it around 4.2%, Ana tries to pick up the slack, but she’s quickly overwhelmed. We soon wiped ingloriously at 3.9%.

So close. So goddamn close.

Things we need to work on: control is getting better, but people really need to watch their debuff and do what they can to reduce damage taken. This especially includes healers not tunnel-visioning and neglecting to run out when they have Unchained Magic.

Next week.

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The good kind of wiping

Last night we spent a good 2 hours on Heroic Sindragosa 25, and while we didn’t down her, we got closer than ever before with 13% as our best attempt.

The whole night was generally moving in the same direction, upward. I remember when we first started working on this fight three weeks ago we were losing five people to the frost bombs every air phase, with a further number being cut down by asphyxiation. Last night, not so much. We had many air phases where no one got nuked. It got to the point where I didn’t have to obsessively watch grid to look for the little boxes to grey out and inform me of deaths, people were taking care of themselves.

Progress!

Unchained Magic was a lot better too, with fewer instances like three weeks ago when a mage blew us all up with some massive stack of Instability immediately following a Blistering Cold. He did more than 1 million friendly fire damage and set a new record I suspect the casters are secretly aspiring to topple. I’m watching them.

But in any case, in the flight to the steps at the beginning of the air phase, people were really good about standing aside and minimizing damage.

Likewise people were amazing about getting on the proper spots when Frost Beaconed. In the 36 air phases we did last night I can only think of two times when someone was in the wrong spot. And we only got an extra block once.

More progress!

Stuff to work on, though: people panicking in phase 3 and forgetting to not blow up the raid, to pay attention to their debuffs, the works. I always shout “Marathon, not a sprint!” when the third phase starts. Not that that helps much, but it carries the philosophy of the fight–phase three is the main show, and it’s about endurance, not zerging down the boss.

We’re getting there. We are totally getting there and I fully expect a kill on this fight, one of the hardest in the game, in the next two weeks. If not next week. It’s just a matter of time.

Despite the fact that we didn’t get a kill last night, I think morale still remains pretty high. We didn’t spend the attempts raging at people who got Frost Bombed to death, or hit some people with Instability. Frank didn’t ever poke up his bilious head at any point. We’re really not that kind of guild ultimately. And besides, that’s what the knee-cappings are for.

Instead people were joking and having fun and trying to keep people positively motivated. We had some good laughs at points like right after a fourth Bomb hit, Falowin was watching his block’s health diminish (but not his DBM apparently) and started shouting “NOT MY BLOCK, DON’T BREAK MY BLOCK” in a blind panic. Once he was broken out he realized air phase was over. We all got a good laugh and I’m sure that will come back to haunt him.

And speaking of events that will come back to haunt people, poor Morvain. The guy last night was hopped up to the gills on vicodin due to a horrible tooth-ache. Ever a trooper (and with a Gollum-like devotion to his Shadowmourne shards) he still raided, without much of any performance lost. Except for one moment last night when we switched it back to normal at the last 30 minutes of the raid to wrap up the LK and were kind of blowing off steam on the far less deadly Sindy Normal.

We’re deep into phase 3, with myself and a swath of people hiding behind a block dropping our Buffet. Morvain is there and gets targeted by Frost Beacon. “Morvain,” someone mechanically notes, reading off DBM. Nothing happens. “Morvain move.” … “MORVAIN!”

Then a woosh and about 10 of us are encased in ice blocks. “Sorry guys,” Morvain meekly pipes up, snapping out of his haze. “I was looking at my cat.”

Everyone is caught up in the sheer absurdity of it all, and in the haze of laughter and tears the other half of the raid gets iceblocked. We lose it, and–of course–the fight. Wipe.

It was kind of worth it. Like Antigen said, definitely the birth of an in-joke. That damn cat.

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A night of frost and glory

Interestingly enough, I haven’t done a raid recap post in a long while. Nothing much to report lately–we’ve been plugging along on Heroic Sindragosa, having our first real night on her last night. Our showing wasn’t very impressive, we’re having some trouble with the whole buffet of what the fight demands: block positioning, Unchained Magic people not blowing others up, etc. Survival issues.

So, I’m thinking next week we’ll do what we did when we were learning normal Sindragosa: max survivability. DPS wears extra frost resist gear, add a seventh healer, then the goal is to live til the enrage timer. Once we make it that far we’ll dial back survivability until we can find the sweet spot that gets us in under the clock.

This is a strong contrast to last night with our second kill of Heroic LDW where we were mastering the hardest parts of the fight, people were failing at the easiest, most fundamental part of the fight: the ghosts. A ghost would pop up next to someone–melee, ranged, heals, whatever–and they wouldn’t notice til it exploded, or notice late and not be able to get away. We did about four attempts of differing degrees of success, each splashed with the delightful stench of ghost ‘splosions, and each time I got a little closer to completely Franking out. (Yes, it’s a verb now.)

Finally, before the last attempt I snapped and let Frank take over. I told everyone that we were not going to spend two hours on the fight. I don’t care if we wipe, but it was not going to be to ghosts. Everyone was on notice, one more ghost-induced wipe and we would switching it to normal and move on. I felt like crap after declaring that, cause I don’t want to be that raid leader, the Troxxed-style douchebag that issues ultimatums and leads by making people feel bad.

Frank was vindicated when we then went on to perfectly kill H LDW, with no deaths by ghosts. It was… shocking. I don’t know if I should feel good that we pulled it off, or worse that it could so easily be done. I guess we’ll see next week!

Anyway, back to last night. As I tweeted yesterday we were starting the night with our Shadowmourne guy, Nordicslayer, having 48 shards. He’s been collecting them slowly, but surely, since May 11th and we’ve had the extra drop chance of heroic modes since the beginning of June. His poor luck aside, the raid was pumped for him to finally finish the damn axe that night. Or to listen to him cry when he only got one shard from the five bosses we were doing. Either way.

Much to my surprise, a shard dropped off of heroic Festergut, first boss of the night. And then the last one he needed dropped off of heroic Rotface. Finally, some luck!

A parade of us then ran downstairs to watch him turn in the quest and the shards and finally collect his damn axe. Nevertheless, this was months in the making–congratulations Nordicslayer!

I tried to get a nice screenshot of him for the guild site, but he must have moved at the last second, only leaving behind the swirling soul that apparently used to inhabit Antigen’s mortal shell.

We reached Sindragosa at around 7:45 server time, giving us a good 2 hours or so to work on the fight. But you know the rest.

To give us a break, I switched it to normal and we dropped her easily and then moved on to the Lich King to collect the Sealed Chest. The Lich King was another clean kill, excellent for the second wave of dpsers getting dropped off the side of the map. Oops. Personally, I was most excited that that was the first time in a long time I didn’t have to go into a rambling 10 minute explanation of the fight for some new person. I’m sure everyone else was pretty stoked about that too.

Nordic looted the Sealed Chest, and per our agreement he kept one of the vanity items for himself and gave the other four up for the guild. He chose the mount, I took three items to hold to give as prizes in a series of off-night guild events/games, and then per my constant nagging requests over the last four months, took the tabard for myself.

It’s weird. Achieving Shadowmourne feels like we’re turning the page on one of the last chapters in ICC. I know we still have Heroic Sindragosa to kill, then Putricide–and then by some miracle a choir of angels is going to come down and push Arthas off the side of the Frozen Throne for us–but it feels like we’re running out of time in there. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to get some major ennui about ICC. Not bad ennui (if there’s such a thing), just… 9 months is a long time to do an instance, you know? It’s time to move on to bigger Internet dragons.

But then again, we have a much more literal Internet dragon to work on right now.

Sidenote on the latest beta build: I’m not going to do too much prodding with the changes, because we know things will be majorly changing again soon. I will however check out how hard ShoR is hitting for tonight. I’m hoping to have a post titled “IT’S OVER 9000″ tomorrow.

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Ten of one, half-score of the other

I had forgotten how much fun 10man is. And no, that isn’t sarcasm, last night’s ICC-10 was the most fun I’ve had in WoW in a while.

25s is all business for me (I can’t help it, I’m too focused on the success of the raid to really ever enjoy myself), but 10s is where I let down my hair. So to speak.

Last night was the first time in a long time I’d managed to get “Team Alpha” together for an ICC run. We initially were going to go and bang out some more hardmodes, and hopefully catch up to the much-more progressed Bravo Team. Unfortunately, the OT didn’t show, so Cendra got on his 232-geared Druid tank and we still went through the first three hardmodes. We opted to skip Saurfang’s hardmode, because the general consensus was both Cen’s Druid and the healers weren’t equipped to handle a frenzied Saurfang mashing up some bear paste.

As we were headed towards Princes to maybe get the guild first heroic kill for that (our 10s are woefully unprogressed, as you can see) the OT logged on. We did a quick roster shuffle with Gulliveig dropping out, since he was having router issues. Cendra got back on his hunter, and Nordic came in to OT.

We then proceeded to one-shot heroic Princes.

It was a little hairy, with Princes being one of those fights that is markedly harder on 10man than 25. The room stays the same size, and you have to cover orbs that spawn throughout the width and breadth of it with fewer people. Rather than having one pet class watching each corner of the room, I had one on each half. A little too close for comfort!

Having two melee for the attempt made it a lot easier. Rather than a pack of floor-huggers-to-be scattering like cockroaches when the kitchen light is turned on, I had to worry about two Rogues breaking in opposite directions every time Valanar went to do an empowered vortex. Indeed, tanking Valanar is a pretty boring affair. I mostly spent the encounter just watching other people and agonizing over perceived eventual demises that would be visited upon them. And judging when possible to get the Heart of the Crusader debuff up.

We then plowed through heroic BQL, Festergut, and Rotface until we reached Putricide. The goal was to put away an actually meaningful hardmode kill, and match Bravo Team in the tennis game we call competitive progression. It was about an hour before end time so we’d have to move fast.

It’s a pretty hectic fight, to say the least. But a lot of fun. There’s so much crap going on you’ll find your head spinning.

We did about six attempts, getting it to 27% our last try. The biggest thing we need to work on execution (obviously) considering this fight is like an execution ballet.

What usually did this in was diseases being passed to the wrong person, or hitting one person in melee, then another immediately, throwing off the order. We got six solid attempts in, making progress each time. Despite having to call it, we’re all pretty pumped for future attempts and will probably end up downing the sucker on Sunday.

And then the 264 Unidentifiable Organ will be mine. Oh yes.

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ICC25HM: Rotface

So, what’s different?

  • Vile Gas–so keep people at ranged
  • Raid damage is higher, especially the ooze rockets
  • Big Ooze can one-shot your tank
  • Ooze spills reduce movement speed a lot more

For positioning the raid in this fight, I have two ranged park in front of each of the three skull/barrel spots in the cardinal points of the room, as well as in front of the door. When spills come down they can just side step out of them. Melee stacks on one of Rotface’s legs, then when a Big Ooze ruptures and the rockets hit the air, they immediately shift to the other leg and hopefully avoid any splash damage.

Now, let’s practice maintanking this fight. Stand up from your computer. Face whatever door you used to enter the room you’re in. Now stand there. Now, hold that position. This’ll get tough, but I recommend practicing for about two hours a day for the next week to perfect the technique.

While MTing, since your job is cake, you have the spare time to make your healer’s lives easier. Use a mouseover Cleanse macro and take it upon yourself to immediately Cleanse people as they get diseased. It’ll save the healers some GCDs, and it’s not like you have anything better to do other than maintain a high threat ceiling.

While, it’s stupid easy to maintank this fight, thankfully, offtanking is another matter. The poor OT will be circling the room, doing their best to zip through ooze spills with minimum contact and minimal slowdown. Having Hand of Freedom is a must, as you do not want the Big Ooze catching up with you while dashing through a spill. Same rules for Ooze Kiting apply in heroic mode. Ultimately, don’t let it catch you, and try to keep a wide berth of the ranged and melee to prevent a Vile Gas from splashing onto you.

If you do get pinched by the Gas, have your bubble/cancel macro ready to go to quickly knock it off. You do not want the Ooze catching you, or your kiting career will be cut to an abrupt end. Likewise, if an emergency occurs and for some reason you need to change directions while kiting, pop a cooldown to pass by the Big Ooze.

As a whole, this probably one of the easiest hardmodes. The first time we did it, we almost downed it after losing most of the raid around the 30% mark. Just keep the raid from standing in an ooze rocket, or from screwing up delivery of their little oozes and you’re golden. Autopilot to victory!

The lewt!

  • Bile-Encrusted Medallion (BiS neck!)
  • Blightborne Warplate
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Not a fluke

Like I said on Thursday, I was concerned the make-up raid scheduled on Sunday wasn’t going to happen. Thankfully it did, everyone showed along with some standbys and on-time we assembled inside the instance.

The menu that night was Heroic Dreamwalker, then normal Sindragosa and Lich King. Assuming we made it to Arthas, this would be the first time we’ve faced him since our first kill a few weeks ago. We’ve been bogged down progressing through hardmodes, and with our two raids a week schedule, didn’t really have the time to get to him on the second night. However, after our amazing showing on Wednesday, he was definitely within reach.

Anyway, Heroic Dreamwalker first. If you’ll recall on Wednesday (last callback to an earlier post for now, I swear!) we had some wipes. In hindsight this was clearly because one of our best portal jockeys was having connection issues and DCing, based on the success we had when he could actually stay on and heal. Last night, we were going through the paces, as I frantically tried to manage adds on my side and keep healers from getting eaten (I think a zombie got through).

I honestly thought we were going to wipe that attempt, we hit the 75% mark–”Press on heroes!”–and then a blazing skeleton got three ticks of Lay Waste off. Miraculously, no one died. Probably thanks to the warbling solo provided by Garrosh. In any case, we pressed on, and before I knew it the dragon stood up and blew the Scourge all to bits.

At the moment we succeeded I felt like I was drowning in a rotting sea of zombie parts, all hope lost. It was kind of amazing seeing the dragon suddenly lift up and end the encounter. Like Gandalf cresting the ridge, but less dramatic, and I don’t remember any white light.

Dorkiest simile ever; I apologize. Either way, it was pretty sweet to one shot the fight after the initial trouble we had Wedne–DAMMIT.

After Dreamwalker came Sindragosa and this was going to be the first time we did her since AVR was broken. As I’ve always maintained, I loved AVR for its ability to put marks on the ground, which removed a lot of the thinking from Frost Beacon placement. … Ok–ALL the thinking. Nonetheless, I read off the beacon placements and everyone wrote it down on a piece of paper in front of them (how… antique) and we got to work.

We didn’t have much of any issue with the beacons and easily dropped her. There was a short hiccup at the end where I disconnected but thankfully I’m not that critical. It was at like 3% and everyone autopiloted the encounter to its conclusion.

Two one shots and we were only like 45 minutes into raid time. That gave us a solid (almost) three hours to go tussle with the Lich King. And, dontcha know it, we one shot him too. Scored achievements for a swath of folks that couldn’t make our first kill, along with the 2H sword and the caster staff. Of course, by the time that was done we still had about two and a half hours left in the raid.

There was some discussion what to do with the rest of the night and we eventually we decided to go to Ulduar and bang out some hardmodes and hopefully grab some more shards for Ildara’s Val’anyr (heh, now that’s a work in progress to say the least).

We ended up getting Orbituary, additional Ignis and XT achieves for those who needed them, and then spent about 30 minutes working on the Iron Council. A lot of people left between ICC and Uld and unfortunately we didn’t have enough folks to push that last 20 seconds of the fight. On the bright side, we did get a shard for Val’anyr, so that expedition wasn’t a complete wash.

One day we’ll finish that stupid mace. I’d like to do it now, but it’s impossible with our two-night schedule to dedicate any time to a raid two tiers back, so the pieces that Ildara has now will continue to rot except for occasional half-hearted attempt to augment their numbers. Even if the mace still BiS, from the looks of it.

At least we’ll be making a Shadowmourne pretty soon! That’s a bright spot on my otherwise abyssal Legendary record.

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