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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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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.


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.


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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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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Beyond my wildest dreams

Last night was the easiest, smoothest, fastest, and all around best night we have ever had in Icecrown Citadel. I don’t know if something was in the water, or if everyone took their vitamins that morning, or if Anafielle and Valja brought over some powerful mojo with them from their last guild. Either way, something clicked and it was amazing.

First pull was at 6:36 server time, six minutes late, but we made up for it by chain pulling to Marrowgar and keeping a good pace going. After that we basically just steamrolled our way through and up to Saurfang, eventually reaching the first designated break at 7:21 server time.

When everyone was back, the pain train started up again and we burnt through Dreamwalker (where I scored the Grinning Skull Greatboots, finally) and then on to the Blood Wing. The weekly raid quest was for BQL, which had since eluded us. And, by eluded I mean we’ve gotten the quest a few times, just never completed it. The raid always insisted on a few “shaking off the rust wipes” to keep my blood pressure at a healthy level.

Once everyone was there we were off to the races. Minimal marks on the pre-Council trash, just enough to focus down the tacticians one by one. Council was dropped with no trouble, and then we shot up the steps to pull the Blood Queen. The first go was a last second wipe, thanks to losing a dps to a mind control (who, thanks to lag, somehow still managed to get his bite off, though) and a mis-timed Blood Lust. No matter, we quickly regrouped and then downed her with complete ease the second go, managing to snag the weekly quest in the process.

It was now 8:21, a full hour after Saurfang was down, and we were making fantastic time. Off to Plague Wing.

For Festergut, Anafielle and I had an arrangement where I’d get to kite the Rotface ooze if she got to tank Festergut first. I acquiesced and was helpless to stop her relentless march to shaming the dps on that boss. When we switched my devious plan was to call for blust at my 9-stack portion and post a higher spike than her. Unfortunately, hubris got the best of me, and like some trashy Bond villain I taunted her in vent, “and once I get to nine stacks I’ll have blood lust! And then–Wait! No! I didn’t call for–” BLAARGGLAARGAARRGGHH “Nyoooo!!”

She ended up posting some ridiculous dps and apparently scored the 32nd place on the prot pally Festergut rankings. Not too shabby!

Nonetheless, the rest of Plague Wing was fairly uneventful. We steamrolled Rotface, then Putricide as well, posting our cleanest kill yet. When Herr Doktor bit the dust, it was 9 server time, an hour left to go in the raid. Good god, I suddenly realized, we had time to do Sindragosa that night.

So, as we headed over to the Frostwing Halls again we did our best to dash any optimism Ana/Valja might have been feeling after our two and half hour 10/12 marathon. Sindragosa was no where near on farm, we’d probably be coming back tomorrow to finish the job after some aforementioned rust-shaking wipes.

Imagine my surprise when at 10:42 I found myself staring at the corpse of Sindragosa. We two-shot her, after spending an entire raid night on her the week before.

And to top it all off, we have an entire night to spend on Arthas now. Three and half hours of Lich King. Glorious.

Last night was definitely one our best raid nights ever, and succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I hope those successes are foreshadowing of a Lich King kill tonight.

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Clipping Sindragosa’s wings

Wednesday night my guild took down Sindragosa on about the seventh attempt of the night. I made several tweaks to the strategy (as I detailed in a previous post) which I think made the difference. That is, in addition to the experience we had built up the last two times we faced down this frosty dame. Here’s how we did it:


I used AVR to around a scene of seven meshes. I’ll go into further detail on how to do this in a future post, though it’s pretty simple. Put five raid symbols on the stairs–skull, cross, triangle, square, and circle–and arrange them with three in the front and two in the back. Put 10 yards between each symbol. You can test distance by drawing one and having someone stand in it, moving 10 yards away (checking a proximity detector to confirm distance) and then dropping a new symbol.

We also put two green circles out on the main floor. This is where people would be dropping frost beacons in phase 3. More on that in a bit, of course.

Sidenote: When people are positioning themselves on AVR-drawn objects, make sure they pan their cameras straight down. Because the stairs are on an angle the AVR meshes don’t sit well on them, kind of float, and can look like they’re in a different spot if viewed at a weird angle. Just pan the camera down and they’ll be in the right place for everyone.

Phase 1

When picking up Sindragosa you want her sitting on top of the west-east line that crosses the area horizontally. When she’s coming down stand in the southwest corner of the circle and swing around to hopefully position her in the proper place.

You melee want to stand at max melee range (to prevent getting Tail Swiped) and your ranged want to park themselves directly behind your melee. The reason ranged need to be so close is because when everyone gets sucked in for Blistering Cold, those that are farthest away are going to land after everyone else does, and thus have less time to run away from the aftershock. The closer the ranged are the bigger their headstart is.

Likewise, if you find your raid is having trouble running out of Blistering Cold there are two tricks you can use to give them some breathing room. Have a warlock put Curse of Tongues on Sindra, and the cast time for Blistering Cold will go from 5 seconds to 6.5. Also, when everyone lands, have a hunter turn on Aspect of the Pack, and then quickly turn it off right before the spell hits everyone. We had issues with some slower people and coupling those two changes made a world of difference keeping everyone alive after a Blistering Cold.

Also, I noticed that when Curse of Tongues is up, Sindra won’t lunge forward after casting Blistering Cold like she usually would.

Phase 2

After a period of time, Sindra will go up in the air and mark five people to be turned into ice blocks. We had DBM enabled on a raid assist and that threw up marks on each of those five players. They then ran to their respective spots as delineated by AVR.

Everyone else who was no marked was instructed to run to the wall of the stairs and hug that spot until the blocks went up. As soon as blocks formed we jumped in, knocking down the back two blocks, then the front three. You’ll find the farther apart the blocks are, the harder it will be to get them down in time. Splash damage goes a long way in this phase.

As the tank I was watching the timer while dpsing my own private block. Sindra casts four frost bombs and as soon as that fourth one hits you want to run out into the wider area and prepare to pick Sindra up and position her like you did when first aggroing her. Remember: on top of the east-west line is ideal.

Rinse and Repeat

Phases 1 and 2 will cycle until you hit 35%. For this reason you probably want to use Bloodlust/Heroism right off the bat, to get the best and most use of it, and hopefully restrict the fight to no more than three air phases. More than that and you’ll have Enrage timer issues.

Phase 3

This is where the fight gets interesting. Sindra will stay permanently grounded, but you’ll still get a frost beacon regularly. For this purpose we have those dots on the floor past the stairs. That’s where you want beaconed people to run and drop their block. Everyone else should be parked on the north-south line to avoid being caught in a chain block.

Have two to three dual wielding melee (we used two rogues and a frost DK) to be on permanent block duty. They’re going to have issues dpsing Sindra thanks to Chilled to the Bone, so we maximized raid dps by having the blocks demolition crew occupy themselves with that task while the rest of the raid only used the blocks to drop their Mystic Buffet stacks.

Train your dps and heals to watch the timer of Mystic Buffet, which has an 8 second duration, so that they can just park themselves next to a block and continue to dps or heal, and only break LOS when they have 2-3 seconds left on their timer. Once the timer expires, if LOS’d, they’ll drop their Buffet stacks. They might as well continue to dps/heal because just hiding behind the block and twiddling their thumbs won’t make Mystic Buffet fall off, the debuff has to tick to 0 first.

Phase 3 is not a dps race, it’s an endurance test. If your raid panics and starts blowing cooldowns you’re going to get chain blocks and wipe. Just reassure them to pay attention, exercise situational awareness, and always stand in the middle if they’re not dropping a block or their stacks. Slow and steady wins the race.

As for Frost Resist

I made everyone in raid wear two pieces so we could work on surviving to the end of the fight. On the sixth attempt we reached my big goal: wiping to the enrage timer. The seventh attempt we killed Sindra with a few seconds left on the timer (although, funnily enough we were 24 manning it because one guy had to go pick up his daughter–I never expected that to be the attempt).

Now I think next week, since everyone has seen a kill, we can dial that back to one piece of FR and probably none in a few cases. I’ll let the healers make that call.

Personally, I wore Belt and Boots again for little more than 300 FR. I’m happy with damage intake with that number.


Killing Sindragosa was a huge morale boost for the guild. We’d been kinda stuck on her for the last two weeks and now that she’s down I’m sure the next kill will be a lot easier.

After dropping her I was so happy to be able to lead the raid up to the Lich King. At that point we were mostly farting around, without much effect (although Phase 1 is kinda down now, haha) but I was just happy to let everyone see the fight and the area. There was much “ooing and ahing” from those that aren’t party to my 10man runs.

Somehow I need to figure out how to finagle the schedule so we can get some meaningful attempts on Arthas every week. I suppose if we start three shotting Sindra every week that’ll be about two hours every Wednesday to learn him. That could work.

Moreover, the guild’s designated Shadowmourne person completed the last of the Unholy/Blood/Frost quests and will start collecting shards next week. Very exciting!

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May 7, 2010
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Lock, stock, and …

Ok, back to Sindragosa tonight. It didn’t go too well last week, but I’ve made some roster switches and some strategy tweaks and I think we’ll have a better shot at her tonight.

Last night was a huge pain, with the game seemingly intent on neutering my goal of killing all farm bosses (10/12) and having a clean slate for Sindra tonight. We had a few roster switches on the way to Saurfang, thanks to various emergencies popping up. That delayed us a bit. Then, when we finally downed Saurfang the door to the Upper Spire wouldn’t open. Awesome.

I herded everyone out and we jumped to Naxx to kill Razuvious for the weekly while I ran a 20-minute timer awaiting a soft reset. After 20 minutes we went back and (thankfully) the door was now open. But that was 20 minutes behind on the clock we then were.

Everything went swimmingly, including BQL, which we three shot. And the two wipes before were enrage wipes with 1-2% of her health to go. We probably could have killed her the first time if I didn’t get DI’d. I was planning to just bubble and taunt and hope the dps killed her during fixate. No dice though, my DI (while well-meant) just made me drop aggro and let BQL blow everyone up. Of course, I blame myself but the true fault was with people who died in the second air phase or whenever and made us miss the enrage. I know mistakes happen, but gah.

Anyway, I’ll digress for now. Let’s focus on the positive: not one mind control in any of the three attempts. /bask

We dropped BQL with about thirty minutes left in raid, if we were going to 10 server time. So 30 minutes for Rotface/Festergut/Putricide. Eek. I chain pulled more or less to Rotface, we quickly one-shot him, then dodged over and dropped Festergut post haste. That was done at around 10 server though, so I more of less begged people to not drop so we could hopefully kill Putri rather than forgo his loot.

Amazingly, we one-shot the good doctor as well. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.

Raid redundancy is key

We’re a casual guild, we don’t enforce mandatory attendance percents, people are generally free to come and go as they please, though the more consistent people are favored for invites. One of the huge issues we’ve had in the past though was, with the old system, we protected the spots of about 30 people and didn’t invite or gear beyond that. And, after time some burnt out or stopped showing up and we brought in new faces but we were totally screwed a few months ago when we were getting 7-8 no shows a night from the core.

To prevent this from happening in the future and killing raids, I started recruiting a lot more folks, to the point where we have about 40 raiders now that can come in and keep me confident I’m not hurting the raid. And we still have about 8 people or so night to night who can’t make it, and thanks to the redundancy in the system we haven’t missed a raid night since I started bringing in those new recruits.

Last night we had three different people drop because of various emergencies–one crippling lag, one a friend in a car accident, and one not explained but it sounded urgent. I had plenty of folks on standby though and the only delay was in summoning a standby person to come in. The system worked.

But, part and parcel to this, people need to go on standby sometimes. And sometimes, the standbyers need to be the vets or officers. The system can’t work if it isn’t fair, you know? One officer I had on standby last night bitched to me for no end since he saw on Sunday night he was on standby for Tuesday, and this was the first time in… well, since the new system was instituted that he was benched. And this was for one night.

Last night when the raid started the bitching did not cease. He sat in vent and sarcastically shot little snarks across my bow about his position. The kicker? This guy’s a frigging officer, and he was conducting himself like this. I had half a mind to at least demote, at most gkick, and wash my hands of this. If you’re an officer you are supposed to set a frakking example for the members. How will they react when they see an officer bitching in vent over being benched for one goddamn night? Ugh.

Like a nail in the head, I need that.

Let’s dance, Sindy

I alluded to some strategy changes earlier in this post. They are basically minor tweaks to ameliorate issues we had with people getting hit by Blistering Cold more than I would like. For example, if people don’t have a run speed enchant or talent, they need to get Tuskarr’s Vitality. And a hearty facepalm if they didn’t already have some kind of speed boost. Especially, the dps. Likewise I’m making sure ranged dps/healers stand behind the melee rather than at max range.

Also, I’m asking everyone to bring two pieces of Frost Resist gear. That might be overkill, but my main goal is to make it to the enrage with everyone alive then dial back survivability until we find the right balance between that and dps.

I think we have a better shot of Sindragosa tonight. We know the fight a bit more, I’ve cut anyone from the raid tonight who was a constant disaster last week, and the increased focus on survival should bear fruit. I hope.

Alright, let’s do this.

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I just don’t get it

I raid with an incredible group of people. People that can learn from mistakes and build upon progress to score some amazing kills. And yet, we have nights like we did last night on Sindragosa. And I just don’t get why. I see attempts where no on dies to Blistering Cold, where no extra blocks happen in air phase, where everyone is alive at the Phase 3 start, and yet we then follow it up with multiple attempts of Blistering Cold deaths, extra blocks, and multiple deaths before 35%. Maybe I expect too much.

Sindragosa, from my perspective at the business end of the dragon, seems to be such an easy fight. And, god knows, I’ve made the fight even easier. Removed so much guess work.

Using AVR I put symbols on the stairs (I’ll detail how in a future post) for each raid icon and two green dots further ahead. In air phase, people get icons from DBM and need to run to park on their symbol. Usually, this goes smoothly, but then there were so many attempts where people run up the middle of the stairs to get to safety in the back and were hit by multiple frost beacons, immediately killing them. How many times did I have to shout “if not beaconed, run up the sides!” during the course of the night? Who knows.

As for the two green dots, I explained in phase 3 I want to see frost beaconed people run to either dot and everyone else, to stay 10 yards away from those dots if they are not beaconed and not using that block to drop Mystic Buffet. And what happened? Multiple people over the course

Tunnel-visioning, that’s the problem. No situational awareness. We hit phase 3 and people panic and lose sight of the most important thing: endurance. They stand in the red circles AVR puts under people to indicate that person was beaconed, they run up too many stacks of Chilled to the Bone, they don’t drop their Mystic Buffet stacks. They die in the first phase 3 Blistering Cold because they weren’t expecting it.

For kicks, here’s the dead simple way of doing Sindragosa:

  1. When sucked in for Blistering Cold immediately turn around and run out. (Mouse turn, not keyboard turn). Don’t die.
  2. In air phase stand on the symbol corresponding to your mark. If not marked run up the sides of the stairs until you reach the safe spot in the back.
  3. LOS the Frost Bombs. Put a block between you and the swirl out ahead.
  4. During phase 3 do not stand within 10 yards of those two green dots. If beaconed drop your block on the closest one. If it’s your turn to drop Mystic Buffet, do so once the block is made. If beaconed while behind the block immediately run to the next green dot.

And yet.

I don’t write this post to cast aspersions at my raid crew. They’re a fantastic group of people. I just need to find some way to make everything click. It frustrates me to no end that I am powerless to make these stupid little mistakes go away. I know we’ll kill Sindragosa eventually, once everything clicks. I’d just prefer that was sooner rather than later.

Frost Resist Sidenote: Now that I remembered to run a log, I can affirmatively say that with ~300 FR I took about 20k damage per Frost Breath and resisted on average 14k damage per. This seemed pretty healable (especially with 60k hp), so I think more than 300 FR will be unnecessary.

Moreover, my OT and I were switching regularly during Phase 3 so I never ate a Frost Breath more than around 30k, unless the OT was dead and my stacks were out of control.

I wore Belt and Boots this time. I think my buffed FR number was 301, but I know for a fact it was more than 300.

Fun fact: I cast Hand of Freedom on myself 52 times last night. I thought it’d be more than that.

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April 29, 2010