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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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Wrathion’s war against my sanity

THIS WAY to heartache.

My pace with completing Wrathion’s quest chain steps has been nothing short of anemic over the entire course of the expansion. I want to say it was mostly for factors out of my control (Symbols of Wisdom just did not want to drop) but I was also the schlub that took 8 or 9 weeks to amass 6,000 valor points. So I can’t plead complete innocence here.

Nonetheless, it was a month into 5.1 that I moved on to the 5.1 quests, and only two weeks ago on the 20th of February that I turned in A Test of Valor. Having done so I found myself tasked with the follow-up of killing Warlord Bloodfist and then scoring a win in each of the new battlegrounds.

The former wasn’t an issue, just finding the right time to beg enough guildmates to go stomp Bloodfist with me.

The latter though… let’s just say PvP is not my strong suit. The feeling is mutual I’m sure; I doubt I was a welcome presence — an off-specced retribution paladin in hand-me-downs and only the base amount of PvP stats. If I contributed at all to either of the wins I eventually was party to, then it was probably mostly by doing the least harm possible!

I should note here that I am not bitching that I had to do the battlegrounds, as incongruous as it was asking folks on a primarily PvE-focused chain to PvP; I understood it was a thematic enterprise. It’s a legendary quest, it’s not supposed to be easy — that makes perfect sense.

Still, it was an exercise in frustration. Kotmogu went fairly smoothly, having lucked into my first attempt being a victory. A fairly decisive one too. So that was great! And yet, terrible. Because it really mucked with my expectations for how the other battleground would go.

Stop dying you cowards!

Oh, Silvershard Mines. If I never set foot in you again, it will be too soon.

Each time I went in, the battleground seemingly followed the same short script. Alliance would scatter and jump from cart to cart. If one was taken, two people would stay behind with it, no matter how long the cart had to travel. Then, right before it reached the deposit point, a horde of Horde would jump those two unfortunate souls and then claim the cart right before it was to hit the score.

I’m not sure if I just had the same bad luck of only playing matches where there was a communicating quarter or so on the Horde side — and none on my own — but it sure felt like it. There was definitely an aura of organization going on on the other side of the faction divide, while the only real communication among my comrades was typically exultations of how much we sucked.

So there was that. And that’s pretty much how I spent my Tuesday night, the air thick with frustration like an aerosolized eruption at the local Jello factory on a humid summer day. After I had racked up enough loses, I hit the hay, deciding that it was smarter to try again in the morning when, hopefully, all the competent Horde players would be in bed resting up for their night-shift stocking shelves at the Jerk Store.

On my second attempt Wednesday morning I was greeted with a whisper from one of my 9 commiserants asking to be passed lead so he could mark for his buddies. My eyebrows arched — could it be? A group? Deliverance seemed to be at hand.

Thus, like the Army of the Dead rolling over the army of the dead orcs at the Battle of Pelennor fields, that brave group managed to push back any Horde advance and actually — get this — were exceedingly tactical in how they handled minecarts. For once, I was seeing carts being sniped to blue at the last moment, rather than red. I could have cried. I might have cried. (I admit nothing.)

And so I learned the valuable lesson that Wrathion intended with his quest, whatever the hell that may be. Nonetheless, at least I finally have another (currently unusable) bauble. So there’s that, too.

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March 7, 2013