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I broke it

We also killed Dark Animus for the first time on Monday, but that's old news. On to Iron Qon!

I just had to open my big stupid mouth.

Last night was the first raid for our new holy/ret pally, and as we all began the ascent towards Jin’Rokh’s plaza, I mentioned offhand that my last guild had this curse that whenever it was some new meat’s first raid horrible things would happen. The curse of the new guy, so to speak.

Someone accused me of leveling a jinx, which I immediately brushed off, because that’s just superstitious nonsense. (Ha… ha… yeah?)

We actually wiped on Jin’Rokh — which was utterly bizarre, because the last time he killed us was probably the first night we were in Throne of Thunder. It was at this point I got nervous.

Then, on the way through the windy trash, Voss’ internet gave out. Same thing for our other raider in that area of Canada, so it seemed to be a provider issue. That left us with one tank and only 9 people on in guild, all of whom were currently in the raid. Eep.

So we cleared the trash up to Horridon, hoping that maybe a miracle would strike and Voss would triumphantly return. No such luck. He logged back into mumble via a phone app and told Alaron to swap to tank and we would have to 9-man it. So it went, and the fight actually went down with very little trouble.

We continued on towards Council which threatened to present the first real hurdle. We managed to 9-man the fight, though it was messy, and slow, and being down that one dps made pushing the empowered troll really tight until Sul was dead. When all was said and done, if you told me the fight took 10 minutes to kill, I would not have been surprised.

On to Tortos and we managed to pick up a 10th person, after he was able to log in using a tethered phone connection. Despite having Alaron available to tank, the absence of Voss’ turtle-like ego demanded that I grab the opportunity to single-tank the fight. I’d always wanted to do it, but it seemed pretty selfish when you’re sitting there with two tanks.

I don’t think Alaron minded switching back to his main spec in the slightest, and so I did my best to handle all the tanking of that fight. Battle Healer wrangled bats for me, and I threw out all the AOE I could. Unfortunately, as a result, I totally dropped the ball with lining up ShoR and the bites. Thankfully though my health never seemed to be in any serious danger. I’m hasty enough that I was probably catching half of the Snapping Bites between internal rhythm and quantity alone.

Also, I must admit that I got a little giddy at all the Vengeance I had. It was a dirty feeling.

When Tortos was toppled, we headed further into the depths to poke Megaera and hopefully finish the night (it was 20ish minutes before raid end that this point) only one boss behind our usual. We tore through trash and got set up to hopefully knock over Meg. Alaron was back to tank, and we pulled. The fight was uneventful, as it’s always been since our first kill, and we had no problems salvaging what we could from the evening.

In the end, the night could have gone a lot worse, so we really got off easy with only 5/12 at raid end. And of course — lesson learned — never speak of the Curse of the New Guy again.

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June 20, 2013
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Winning at the waiting game

I may have already had the meta equipped before he got the chance to say that.

I am not a patient man (this is an understatement). For the first few weeks in Throne of Thunder, I was very lucky with my Secrets of the Empire drops. Four one week, five and so on, until I had reached lucky thirteen. Then the torrent slowed to a trickle: one a week, two if I was lucky. Finally the week before last, I had four to go and (of course) I scored three, putting me one away from finally completing the quest. This week it took until Megaera on the Saturday LFR to nab that last Secret, but that was all she wrote, at last.

Once the LFR was out, I turned in the quest and proceeded to head over to the Isle of Thunder to do the solo scenario with Wrathion. I had heard that it was considered difficult, so I cajoled Antigen into walking me through it on mumble, him having done it just the week before. (It’s what he gets for starting the quest two or three weeks before me and finishing one week before.)

In hindsight, I can’t help but feel the scenario was pretty doable as prot. I did it as DPS, per Antigen’s recommendations, but the Sha Amalgamation seemed pretty killable even with much lower DPS. I think I would have appreciated the extra health/survivability as well for the second half.

No way this chain of events will ever bite me in the ass.

Either way, after a lot of panicked DPSing I came out the other side with the Lightning-Tempered Spear. The next challenge, how the hell was I going to find a Nalak group to bum off of on a Saturday? I went over to where ol’ Sparky hangs out, but he was just chilling, with not another soul in sight. Combine my EST play hours on a PST server with the “medium” pop we are afflicted with, and you have a very deserted Isle.

In desperation, I tried pulling it by myself and just running for it. I could make it for about 10 seconds, with Divine Shield’s help, but eventually Nalak would zap me to death with his “someone better be in goddamn melee” mechanic.

So then I asked Antigen to throw on his under-construction prot set and spec and try to buy me some time. We did one try that didn’t go very well. Though, that was not his fault, imagine if he needed me to burn down a mob as ret within 30 seconds. I’d probably end up accidentally killing him instead.

Anyway, then Voss was super kind enough to hop online and give me a hand. The groveling I offered didn’t hurt, either. He and Antigen both distracted Nalak for just enough time that I was able to kite the spark and steal Nalak’s essence, or whatever it is we were doing there.

I then excitedly bounded off back to Wrathion to present him with an Artifact of Untold Power which will not possibly even come back to bite me or the rest of the world in the ass. Nope, not at all.

How appropriate that everything is so orange.

And in exchange he deigned to grant me a trinket as payment for a job well done. Thanks, bud.

I have no idea how much longer we have until 5.3, but I doubt it’s enough time to get all the Titan Runestones before the patch drops. I am perpetually behind!

Regardless, I’m just excited to have my legendary meta and to be finally done with that phase of the questline. It felt like an eternity ago I began collecting those damn secrets, and it was getting pretty frustrating to kill twelve bosses over the course of a week and see only one or two. My luck with any kind of drop has been abysmal for the past month or two, and I was getting awfully tired of feeling like I was being knee-capped by my terrible RNG.

Jin’rokh still hasn’t dropped his axe, and I still can’t get any epic shield to drop for me this expansion (seriously, if I didn’t buy Sultiru’s I’d still be using a blue) — but at least I finally have my legendary meta. That feels good.

Empty cavern, down!

On a different front, raids this week started pretty slow, but we made up for our bad start in a very strong way. On Wednesday, we had some issues on Council, taking forever to drop what was a one-shot for us the week before. I’m not sure what exactly the issue was, but it felt like everyone was just taking way more damage than usual. Something was off.

We managed to knock that down and then get two cracks at Tortos before the night ended (the downside of two-hour raid nights). That left us last night with the task of killing Tortos quickly so we could get more progression in on Megaera.

It took us about two attempts, but we killed Tortos and moved on through the endless gauntlet of trash to have just over an hour to get some work done on Megaera. I swapped around my talents and glyphs (unglyph Divine Protection, spec into Hand of Purity) and steeled myself for another dance with Meg.

Last week’s work on Megaera was a painful exercise. I was making full use of every tool at my disposal, and even that didn’t feel like enough. Over the course of the night, I made an effort to get a good rhythm to my cooldowns, what to use when, to smooth out the most dangerous parts. Like tanking a blue head with four stacks of its “Stop Ignoring Me” buff, or just tanking the red head in general.

Our best attempt of the night was a wipe at 4% on the very last head, which was very trying, thanks to us ignorantly deciding to do the red head last. Woops.

So last night, it was determined that red would be second to last to die, then green or blue, to prevent stacking the deck against ourselves so much once again. We then pulled, and I fully expected a hectic wipe, but instead we killed it on the first try.

I know I said I thought we were on a good roll, but that was ridiculous. Everything clicked, tank damage felt much more manageable (I hardly used any cooldowns until tanking red as the second-to-last head), and as a whole everyone executed near flawlessly. I love this feeling of momentum. Hopefully we can keep it going and get Ji-Kun down in short order. The sooner we get to Primordius, the better.

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May 14, 2013
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And then there were none

I enjoyed this cutscene immensely, for reasons I'm sure of.

I don’t need to tell you what a shitty day yesterday was, and how much I needed a little escapism after all the events that transpired. Thankfully, WoW was kind to me and was more than happy to oblige with an excellent night.

After the last raid last week, we had knocked down Horridon for a second time and were once again looking at the Council of Elders assembled before us in all their tusky glory. We ended up putting in six attempts on them, which went okay. Not bad at all, but also not amazing enough to produce a kill. Pain points were easy to identify and we talked a little bit about them on the boards, including the red herring of using a Grounding Totem to mitigate the damage from Kaz’s Overload.

It turned out though that that tactic was hotfixed about a month ago — so, thankfully, our shamans had no reason to get delusions of grandeur.  As it turns out, we didn’t even really need a workaround for Overload, as it didn’t seem to pose any sort of problem with our attempts last night.

I can barely use the plural there because we two-shot the fight. The first attempt we tried a balanced approach, being extra cautious about definitely burning the empowerment out of each troll, and then during Sul’s turn (which was third, too soon!) he caused a wipe. He was at 47% health.

Our kill attempt we decided to shake things up and absolutely focus Sul, but be very responsible about getting empowerment knocked out before it caused an issue. So right off the bat, all the dps cooldowns went flying and we got Sul to about 50% before we needed to pull off. Not bad.

We continued on, with me and Alaron (feral druid) plinking away at Sul’s health bar, as the fight continued. Eventually we got it to just under 25% before Sul had even empowered, and then when it was finally his turn, he was down to 10%. It was a breeze to knock him off with only one Sandstorm cast.

Once Sul was down, obviously, the dynamics of the fight changed immensely. The difficulty curve on this fight is steep right off the bat and slopes straight down as each troll gets knocked off.

I’m sure a significant part of our success is thanks to the recent hotfix nerfs. As we were winding down the fight with only two trolls left, I know that Marli managed to sneak a few blessed beasts over to a much-too-close Kaz, and I think she got one on Malakk right before we knocked him off. Yet even with those flubs, it wasn’t a huge set back, and the fight never again felt as dangerous as it did while Sul was still alive.

After the last boss (Horridon) where the difficulty ramps up a lot as the fight continues across multiple phases and then levels out at the end, it was refreshing to work an encounter with nearly the exact opposite dynamic. Rather than tension and adrenaline and neck pain building up to a critical mass across almost 10 minutes and leaving you exhausted at the very end, you have a brutal sprint which turns into a leisurely jog with a tailwind zephyr guiding you along. One could even call it refreshing.

So after that refreshing kill, we got knocked down a hole to face Tortos. This is another fight where paladin tanks are in a very excellent position to cover the massive, angry beast portion of the fight thanks to Shield of the Righteous. I look forward to once again trivializing one of the main damage sources the boss has to throw out.

We put in 10 attempts, but they all felt really good in terms of progressing through the fight. Now unlike the previous two encounters, on Tortos it’s the same exact fight and mechanics the whole way through, you just need to execute and not succumb to fatigue from the repetition. Which I am totally okay with.

Much like after our Council attempts last week, I have a good feeling about Tortos. I don’t think it will take too long to topple.

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