1 0 Tag Archives: mage
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Double whammy!, &c.

Taking a nice dip in Primordius' soup.

It’s been nearly two weeks since my last post (woops, vacation last week!) and there have been a few excellent developments in BT’s raiding dance card. We’ve managed to keep our excellent farm night pace, easily clearing the first 6 bosses in 2 hours. Not to get too far ahead of myself, but last week on farm night we almost did 7 bosses before end of raid, pulling Durumu once about a minute before the 11:30 end time.

Didn’t work out, but it was definitely worth the shot!

And speaking of Durumu, last Monday we had an amazing progression night, knocking off both Durumu and Primordius in the same two hour period. Durumu wasn’t too bad at all; we started the night with some excellent pulls, and despite a few flubs with the maze and our color-blind, contrast-impaired raid leader, it was immediately apparent we had a solid shot at a quick kill.

A few more attempts later and Durumu was taking his little nap in the center of the room. (He is napping… right?)

It couldn’t have taken more than an hour to kill Durumu, because I distinctly remember feeling really excited that we had a good amount of time to attempt to get Primordius as well. As we worked through the trash, Chronis (who also raids with Apotheosis as their brewmaster tank) was giving us a run down on how he dislikes the zerg/Patchwerk strategy for the fight, which I immediately began chanting for. Sure, it’s cheap, but that boss has a shield on its loot table, so all bets were off.

I can see why Chronis hated it though, the zerg strategy really is boring to execute for just about everyone except the healers. You just stand there and whittle away at the boss and try not to do anything interesting. Perfectly okay for squeaking out a first kill (well one may argue convincingly that it’s especially not ok in that case) but I hope we get to do the fight as intended in the future. If only for the haste buffs.

The next few weeks raiding will be pretty low-key, I think. I’m traveling for work all next week, depriving the guild of a second tank. So there’s the crushing Catholic guilt, of course. Hopefully I won’t kneecap our momentum.

Three’s a crowd

Also last week I managed to finally get my mage to ding 90, after letting him stew at halfway through 89 for far too long. I’d been leveling him with Dan as a social thing, so neither of us wanted to level without the other and our non-raiding WoW time just wasn’t syncing up. Finally he ended up deciding that he hated the warrior he was leveling and instead picked up an old Warlock that was sitting at 80 (if I’m remembering that detail right).

So I finally just bit the bullet and did the hour of questing that would push the mage over the edge and to the level cap.


This is a huge new frontier for me. I’ve never had a third level capped character before. Though, to be fair, I don’t even log into the druid anymore even just to do Halfhill farming. At first I thought my general malaise with the druid meant I just didn’t like alting, but the mage proved that quite wrong.

I am loving the new gear grind for this character and all the possibilities that are laid out before him. I’m also enjoying learning to play the character correctly. It’s been a real blast thus far.

Now that Dan is on his warlock, we’ve been half-heartedly reenacting the famous warlock-mage rivalry, mostly with him taunting me over his high ilevel and amazing loot luck, and me teleporting away without offering him a portal. Because he can go make out with a Beholder.

I’m also (and this is slightly embarrassing to admit) super excited about getting some transmog gear for my mage. It’s pretty much digital dress-up, but regardless, I can’t wait to rip holes in space and time while looking like a Kirin Tor Archmage.

Is that weird? I don’t care if so. It’s too much fun to care.

I’m also so, so thankful that Blizzard made all the changes that they did between the launch of Mists and patch 5.3 to make alting easier. I was able to cap valor first on Rhidach and then Eronac with little-to-no fuss. Having the Barrens weekly to score a free epic once a week is wonderful as well. And the reputations are hardly a burden, considering I was 4000 away from exalted with Klaxxi when I dinged 90. (August Celestials is another matter, but not everything can be a gimme, I suppose.)

I’m sure I’d be singing a much different tune if I got the mage to 90 two months ago, but whatever.

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June 3, 2013
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BEARS, &c.


Having seen and suffered through working on Horridon twice this week, I am obligated to kvetch on this, the most addsiest of adds fights I have seen in a long while. And not only is it an adds fight, it’s a multi-phase adds phase! Quelle horreur!

That said, I really like the fight. In the heat of the moment I absolutely hate it — or at least my blood pressure does — but after the fact, when I’m logged off and curled up in the fetal position, a new appreciation for Horridon blossoms within me. It’s a great challenge for a tank, to have so much thrown at you. It’s going to feel so good when we topple it, which we will soon.

The way Voss and I have been handling the fight is that I tank the dino on the first door and he the adds, and then for the remaining three doors, we reverse. He takes Horridon the whole way through, me using Hand of Protection to drop his stacks every time the big guy charges a door, and I handle adds on the doors.

The first time we hit Horridon, when Throne first came out, our primary obstacles was mathematics. We met the boss after having clawed our way to clearing the previous tier by the skin of our teeth, and as a result we had little gear to show for it from the latter half of the tier. The adds had too much health, or tanks had just not enough, and our dps couldn’t keep up. It wasn’t pretty.

We spent the last two weeks in a “rebuilding season”, getting that average raid iLevel up, and dealing with some vacations that affected raid attendance. Then we came back this week for our first crack at him, not knowing what to expect. At the end of raid Monday night I felt a lot better about the fight. We were tearing through adds and making good progress.

There were hurdles, of course. For example, door three was a huge cluster-you-know-what. As the dinomancer was coming out we were swimming in diseases like … no, no, let’s not do that.

Anyway, we came away from our beat-down on Monday with some strategy changes in mind, mostly involving positioning of Horridon. And likewise not standing so close to door three, to give us more time before the disease-ridden trolls get within melee range of people. We also decided to switch to two-healing, which paradoxically (or not) would make the healing easier by killing those trolls before they could splash their viral slurry on us. (Or however it is they are transmitting disease through punches.)

Thursday we hit Horridon again and in the 90 minutes, give or take, we had on it there was some great progression. Door three is officially old hat and we’re on our way to similarly dominating door four. My biggest hurdle, personally, is BEARS. (The joke here being that, after our very first wipe on door four, I was asked in mumble what killed me, and I responded in a panicked voice: BEARS. That one-word explanation more than sufficed.)

Those bastards just about spend most of door four herding me around their quadrant of the arena. Because of the cleave, I’m constantly on guard about accidentally clipping a healer, and then a totem goes down, so I retreat and they try to shift to my side and I have to reposition, and so on. And, of course, being goddamn bears, they hit like trucks.

We only got, I think, three attempts involving door four and I’m really itching to get back there. I think we are very close to closing out this fight. It’s a really intense encounter, but it’s going to be so satisfying to finally down, so we can continue moving through the instance.

On the mage front

If you asked me to describe the exact moment I fell in love with my mage — deep, unconditional, let’s-run-away-together-and-leave-this-all-behind love — it was the moment I dinged level 58 while running Lower Blackrock Spire with Dan’s warrior. Suddenly I gained Arcane Brilliance (5% crit!) and, I’m pretty sure, all my heirlooms upgraded to TBC stat scaling — or at least it felt that way as my fireballs seemingly doubled in damage in the space of 5 seconds.

The extra crit has been fantastic. Hot Streaks were few and far between, and now it feels like one out of every three fireballs is lining up a cascade of burning death. It’s fantastic. I was really doubting the wisdom of leveling as fire, with such low crit, but now all my concerns are assuaged by the gentle warmth of crispy, fiery death.

I’m at the point where I can pretty much kill a mob by myself before Dan charges in and explodes it into paste with a 10k Shield Slam crit.

We’re in Outland now, of course, and it’s jarring going from shared skull/boss mobs and fast respawns to the mad race to be the first to kill any every-alt-for-itself quest mob. And not to mention, suddenly, DEATH KNIGHTS.

Goddamn night elves in that awesome dark blue plate have popped up like how people used to belief that leaving a bag of flour opened overnight would cause mice to spontaneous generate out of thin air. The DKs swarm across Outland, death gripping everything in their path.

Dan and I have agreed to avoid most of the Outland dungeons for the time being — our thought is that it’ll just be hugely frustrating for him to tank, as every one of those DKs is still in their god-mode phase, and will likely just run through aggroing anything they can get their disease-ridden hands (oh wait, those trolls are starting to make sense now) on, and they won’t even have the good decency to die once in a while. Who needs that?

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April 5, 2013
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A burning love for my new alt

Reach out and touch somebody with a fireball to the face. (Screenshot from wowhead.)

The first pull of the first raid I ever had with Business Time — as Vosskah will proudly recount for you while choking back tears and croissant — I was welcomed by a pyroblast streaking past my head, reaching Sinestra before my glacial, pre-Speed of Light ass could. Thus making me flub that very first pull. That ball of flame was a warning shot across my bow that BT was a different kind of guild than what I was used to. It also seated within me a deep distrust of mages.

Let’s go further back. When I was in elementary school, in the mornings after breakfast but before I needed to get dressed, I’d sit on the floor next to my parents’ old oven and watch the morning news with my dad while soaking in the radiant heat. It was a very shanty-Irish sort of morning ritual on those cold mornings (well, aside from the presence of the idiot box, but you get my point).

Over the weeks after I began that ritual, my mom noticed that the hair on the back of my head had begun to thin. A little after that, my dad had begun to notice a really unappetizing burning smell coming from the oven’s direction in the morning. Considering my mom usually wasn’t up that early, it clearly wasn’t her cooking (just kidding, ma). Anyway, I think you can see where this is going.

Thankfully, before I had slow-motion singed every hair off the back of my head, my parents finally realized what was going on. No long-term damage was done, otherwise I’d probably be playing a hairless draenei right now.

I wish there was some deeper point to that, the secret to great short writing these days seemingly being laying little crumbs of meaning as one goes, and then at the conclusion of your piece squishing them together with two sweaty paws into a muffin of revelation. I have no muffins for you, alas; I just thought those would make for two amusing and slightly tangential anecdotes.

So, yes. Having wasted enough of your time (I do get paid by the hour here), I will get to the point. As I alluded to in my last post, on a whim I rolled a mage alt, which I’ve been leveling with my buddy Dan. After much agonizing at level 10, I finally chose fire spec, having not really been enticed by the other two. I’ve tried frost in the page on a different mage alt in a different life, but it wasn’t for me this time around. In any case, you’d think this decision would provoke some hesitation within me considering past experiences, but I was actually feeling pretty gung-ho about it.

And I must say, 22 levels later, I made a fantastic decision. Fire is a lot of fun, thanks to the Heating Up mechanic. As Dan soon learned, I basically live for the momentary and exhilarating high of a crit. One goes off and those two parallel columns of flame appear on my screen and suddenly the heart is pumping and all the eyes can see are shades of red and yellow and finally my index finger trembles as it presses down on the E key to fire off an Inferno Blast.

With a FWOOM the two columns burst forth into two mighty torrents of crimson flame and I cannot help but bellow I AM A GOD OF HELLFIRE (ok, maybe ‘hellfire’ is a poor choice of words, that’s awfully warlock-y) AND NOW I WILL CHOKE YOU WITH THE SMELL OF YOUR EYEBROWS BEING SINGED OFF YOUR FACE (seriously, buring hair is a gross smell) AND ALSO YOUR FACE BEING SINGED OFF YOUR FACE.

You think I’m joking, but as Dan can attest, that is pretty much the monologue I deliver in mumble every time as I fire off that massive, instant-cast Pyroblast.

From a design perspective, I can’t help but appreciate the simple genius of that system. The closest tankadins come with that is Grand Crusader, I guess, but it doesn’t have anywhere near the same oompf.

So that’s fun. I wish I could say I get hits of the good stuff often, but with Antigen rolling around as a prot warrior, be pretty much shield slams everything to death before I get the chance to do much. Those heirlooms won’t last forever, though, so I suspect I’ll have the last laugh — which will take the form of periodic maniacal cackling at the computer screen and scaring the dog.

This alt also marks a few profession firsts for me. The first time I’ve ever leveled enchanting in tandem with the character being leveled, which makes the process remarkably easier thanks to all the quest rewards I can just melt down. Likewise, the mage is my first tailor, which incidentally is another free source of enchanting materials. The synergy is delightful.

I’m still aghast at how proactive I’m being at not making my life harder down the road and staying on top of professions, rather than dallying and suffering for it later when the professions leveling will be so much harder. I can almost taste the Royal Satchels now.

Leveling has been a blast, thus far, and I can’t wait to see what the new toys I’ll be getting down the road are like. This is the first time I’ve been so enraptured with an alt for as long as I can remember. And I think I’m finally able to make peace with that horrible pyroblast that robbed me of my innocence in Sinestra’s pit so many months ago.

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March 27, 2013