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The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It’s a good non-specific symptom; I’m a big believer in it. A lot of people will tell you that a good phony fever is a dead lock, but, uh… you get a nervous mother, you could wind up in a doctor’s office. That’s worse than school. You fake a stomach cramp, and when you’re bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It’s a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school.  — Ferris Bueller

General Vezax and his Aura of Despair seem to induce just that:  an aura of despair among some of the healers.  They panic.  They mysteriously DC.  They announce, “Oh damn!  Mother-in-law just showed up, gotta go.  Bye!”  “Oh snap, look at my latency.  Friggin’ Comcast.  You should replace me.”  While these are all good excuses, they’re only useable once, maybe twice.  To avoid the Vezax fight permanently one needs to display more than just mediocrity, one needs to display sheer incompetence.

Top Ten Tips:

1.  Insist that Hymn of Hope works.  Repeat this incessantly.

2.  Use your Shadowfiend.

3.  If you have Mark of the Faceless,

run towards the tank

OR

run towards the person responsible for killing Saronite Clouds.

4.  Stand in a Shadow Crash zone to wand.  (Bonus points if you do this with Mark of the Faceless.)

5.  Use Divine Hymn.  Yes, it’s 63% of your base mana.  But the sooner you’re out of mana, the better.

6.  Suggest the healers downrank to save mana.

7.  Stand in the Saronite Vapors for 8 ticks.  When you die, complain you “got no healz.”

8.  Use Guardian Spirit on the Ret Paladin on the pull.

9.  Ask if anyone has mana pots or a MP5 flask to spare.  Admonish the paladins for not buffing Wisdom.

10.  Be a Holy Priest.

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How I Spent My Weekend

 

My first trek into Ulduar-10

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Designer 1:  OK, so let’s talk about the design of the encounter for the last keeper, Mimiron.  So far we’ve done the following themes:  Hodir/Ice, Thorim/Lightning, Freya/Angry Plants.  What should we do for this one?

Designer 2:  Fire.  Duh.

Designer 3:  Hey did you hear they fired Terrence Howard from Iron Man 2?

Designer 4:  Meh.  He sucked.  But hmm, Iron Man.  Let’s do a robot encounter.

Designer 1:  We already have a robot encounter.

Designer 4:  Let’s do another robot encounter.  Everyone loves robots, man.  Like Mimiron is Tony Stark and he can put on a suit and be indestructible and fly around the room and shoot lasers out of his hands and one-shot people.  

Designer 2:  That’s awesome.

Designer 3:  That’s lame.  Batman pwned Iron Man.

Designer 4:  Iron Man pwned your mom.

Designer 2:  Voltron pwned Iron Man then pwned your mom.

Designer 1:  Oh Voltron!  Now that’s a great idea.

Designer 4:  Totally, like all the bosses in Ulduar combine to make one boss who is indestructible and flies around the room and shoots lasers out of his hands and one-shots people.

Designer 3:   How about instead of all the bosses combining we just take, like, all the abilities from all the bosses and put them into one boss.

Designer 4:  …Who is indestructible and flies around the room and shoots lasers out of his hands and one-shots people.

Designer 3:  So we give him an ability that can one-shot tanks, for sure.

Designer 2:  Plus lightning nova!

Designer 3:  Oh you know what would be funny?  If while the melee are running out of lightning nova, we put bombs all over the ground in front of them.

Designer 4:  OMG, that’s hilarious.

Designer 1:  Can we design this so we need someone other than the tank to tank the fight?

Designer 2:  Can we make the priests have to mind control something too?

Designer 3:  Nah, too many QQers about needing priests for Naxx and now everyone brings priests.  If we have to have another non-tank tank, let’s choose a class that’s likely to be in the raid.

Designer 1:  Fuck that.  Let’s have it be something obscure, like only a PVP-specced warlock or Marksman hunter or something.

Designer 2:  Plus lasers!  We gotta have lasers!

Designer 3:  Lulz.  I can smell the fear already.

Designer 2:  I love the smell of fear.

Designer 3:  I love the smell of napalm in the morn… OMG, we have to have napalm in this fight.

Designer 2:  Plus rockets!  We gotta have rockets!

Designer 3:  Yes!  Rockets that do like 40K damage or something insane.

Designer 2:  No!  They should do [Dr. Evil voice] ONE MILLION DAMAGE!

Designer 4:  This is a lot of single target damage.  Should we throw in some AOE too?

Designer 3:  Yes, and adds.  Gotta spawn adds.

Designer 4:  Wow this fight is gonna be pretty healing intensive. All the healers are gonna need to spam raid heals like crazy.  We should make the next fight a bit easy on them, don’t you think?

Designer 1:  Oh hell no.  Screw healers.  My ex-wife plays a healer.  Next fight should just insta-gib all the healers or have no mana regeneration or something like that.

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I had one of those nights last night where I died a lot.  Died in the slag pot.  Stood in a hurricane and died and was b-rezzed and died again.  WTFpwned by flower adds on Freya.  

Dying always pisses me off, as I pride myself on a Disc Priest’s longevity and survivability.  I pride myself on not standing in the fire.  But even if I want to say “OMG, it wasn’t my fault,” I can’t simply pretend like deaths are okay, or blame the OT, or point the finger at other healers, or get upset that someone with a debuff didn’t GTFO, or whine about the injustices of RNG.  Well, I can… but it’s probably not the best method to improve one’s gameplay.

Using Combat Logs to Assess What Happened

While tools like WWS, WoW Meter Online, and Recount are seen primarily as ways to assess damage output, these actually give a lot more information about other aspects of a raid, in this case, damage input.  These reports allow you to drill down into the specifics of an encounter to see what/when/why/how you ended up a corpse.

  • Damage In / Damage Taken

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  • Replay Death

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  • Death Count

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  • Who Died Early 

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Studying these reports will help you ascertain what killed you and hopefully will help you avoid future deaths.  Pro Tip:  Icicles fucking hurt.  

And now you know

And knowing is half the battle

And knowing is half the battle

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An aside:  I work in the educational technology field, and there is a bit of a war at my job right now between those with a traditional notion of marketing (the organization has the expertise and will disseminate it “top-down”) and those who wish to embrace new social media (people have the knowledge and we should help them share it among themselves).  I fall squarely in the latter camp — anti-authoritarian, blogger and twitterer that I am.  I appreciate the shift that our culture is making in knowledge creation and distribution.  The experts aren’t merely those whose voices are sanctioned by powerful institutions, but rather lots of folks have things — good, smart things — to say.

This is one of the reasons why I love the WoW blogging community:  there are lots of folks with good, smart things to say.  And by following the links from one site to another, I keep finding new blogs that are great resources and great reads.

My latest discovery:  The Munch Land

My main point:  Munchies has a post that links to a post (omg! see what I mean?!) on PlusHeal about Ulduar debuffs.  This information completes a post I made a while back about updating Grid for the new raid zone.

I’ll be adding the following to Grid when I get home from work tonight:

ironrootsIron Roots:  Immobilizes and inflicts 7863 to 9137 Nature damage every 2 sec. until freed.  (Freya/Elder Ironbranch)

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There’s nothing quite like running back from a wipe on a raid mob to find that things have been hotfixed.  Respawns on the trash to back to General Vezax’s room stopped spawning multiple Void Beasts, and there were only four, rather than three encounters in his room.

There’s also nothing quite like defeating a mob with the the main tank down and calls for the warlock to “kite it!” and the rogue to “evasion tank!”

And there’s nothing quite like a painful reminder that Blizzard wants healers to be conscientious of our mana with the mechanics of the General Vezax encounter.

auraofdespairAura of Despair, as the tooltip reads, blocks nearly all mana regeneration for the duration of the fight.  And as such, every spell that a healer casts should be weighed pretty carefully.

Mana Regen in a Mana Regen-less Fight

Periodically during the encounter, saronite clouds will form.  When killed, these leave a green pool on the ground.  Standing in a pool regenerates mana, but at the expense of health. One can only stand in the pool for about 7 ticks — returning about 6500 mana but taking about 13000 damage.  Only eight of these clouds can be spawned over the course of the fight and so it is important that they’re killed and that healers get in (but don’t stand too long in!) the pools.

I had bad luck with my positioning last night for pools, and I wasn’t near many that dropped.  Looking through the combat logs of our successful attempt, I only gained ~6000 mana, while another healer gained upwards of 50,000.  Left side of the room FTL. 

While mana potions, replendishment, Shadowfiends, Innervate, Hymn of Hope and the like do not restore mana, other mechanisms seemed to.  (I am not sure if this is a bug or not.)  Our resto shaman gained mana from Water Shield.  I gained mana from Rapture (not via the 2.5% regained when PW:S is absorbed, but via the chance for a shield to restore 2% mana on the target.)  One of the resto druids gained substantial mana from Lifebloom blooms.

Healing Efficiently 101

The only person who really needs healing in the fight is the main tank.  While there is some periodic damage to others, this can be avoided and/or healed with bandages and/or healthstones.  In other words, this isn’t really a fight for AOE healing.

Yesterday I posted a link to a great blog post about the efficiency of priest spells, and as such I entered battle last night reassured in the knowledge that Penance is absolutely-the-most-kick-ass-heal-ever-rah-rah-rah-Disc-Priest-4-Life.  But where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, I found that its awesomeness actually resulted in a lot of overhealing.  

I would definitely like to see us healers coordinate this fight a little better as “oh hey, let’s all spam heal the tank” just meant “oh hey, let’s all run out of mana and push and shove everyone out of the way to get to the green pool of goodness.”  Followed closely by “oh shit, the tank just died because we were all hovering around the green pool of goodness like the addicts waiting for the methadone clinic to open.”

After a couple of attempts on Vezax, I opted to return Penance once again to its status as the premiere “oh shit” heal, and instead relied primarily on PW:S, using it every time the Weakened Soul debuff dissipated.  I did cast PoM in the hopes it’d proc Divine Aegis.  But that was it.  And as such, I was able to sustain my mana pool for a good long while in the fight.

Now on to Yogg-Saron… oh wait, it’s Tuesday.  Now back to Flame Leviathan! 

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News at 11

Vezax dead.

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