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Faster Pussycat Kill Kill

Despite a slow start to the raid last night, we’re moving through Ulduar-25 substantially faster each week.  We took down Flame Leviathan, XT, Kologarn, Auriaya, Hodir, Thorim, Freya and Razorscale, with a quick trip over to Emalon before calling it a night.  I feel a Yogg kill is in the works this week.

KC & the Sunshine Band

Each time we return to Ulduar, we notice more and more nerfs.  There was less trash on the way to Freya, and she didn’t seem to spawn the green-seeds-of-Doom during her final phase.  I see from MMO-Champion that the mobs leading to Ignis will no longer cast Unquenchable Flames and that the Ice Turrets en route to Mimiron will do less damage.  And the void zones spawned when one of Auriaya’s cats dies no longer insta-gib you.  Not remotely.  I discovered this last night as I was feared through one, briefly had some weird camera-spin-mouse issue, ran back through the void zone — and barely took any damage.

Dead Milkmen

Despite the nerfs, there are people who die consistently.  I’m going to start keep score, because going back through my WWS reports, I swear there’s at least one person who’s never lived through Hodir.  Not once.  

Arrested Development

When I was nearing the level-80 mark on my druid, I knew it was important to have her raid-ready (or at the very least heroics-ready) as soon as possible.  I set my sights on gathering the necessary gear from the AH and from crafters so that “Ding 80!” could mean “Level 80 Resto Druid LF Raid.”

Now that my DK is almost 80, I’m approaching the level cap quite differently.  Khiiya won’t raid.  (Not that Khrii has really, either.  The release of Ulduar has made alt runs through Naxx non-existent.  Not that I’m in any rush to go back there.)  Unlike the gold I was willing to spend on getting the druid geared, I don’t want to invest one copper on the DK.  Instead, she will make due with gear from quests, from factions, and from the odd heroics.  She will just be my farm toon, assigned to do dailies and gather herbs.

When K- encouraged me to roll a DK, we purposefully chose the spec that is (/faceroll) least gear dependent.  Upon 80, I won’t bother to spec out of On a Pale Horse.  I won’t enchant my gear, unless it’s via enchants that help K-‘s priest level the profession.  *Gasp* I won’t min-max.  I won’t care; I won’t have to.  As an Unholy DK, I’ll still be able to (/faceroll) do just fine.

Right Said Fred

Mid-raid, my little brother whispered me.  “So…” he said.  “I need to run through Dire Maul, Scholomance, and Stratholme for my paladin mount.  Can you and K- help me?” he asked.  He’s been pestering me about a run through Scholomance and Stratholme for a few days.  And I want to be helpful and supportive, really I do.  But ewww.  Ewww.  I’d rather send him the gold to just buy the damn thing, to be honest, but he loves lore and loves questing and even though I keep saying “Go to the Outlands,” he’s determined to finish up his questing in the old world.  So in evil-big-sister mode, rather than responding, I enabled my auto-response with DBM, and figured if he asked again he’d get the “Khaeli is fighting Freya.  Leave her the hell alone” message — and he’d just pester K- instead.

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I am fortunate to raid under the direction of a great main tank and raid leader (and as of last night, guild leader — congrats Gat.)  He understands the game mechanics, and he explains the encounters before he pulls.  Although I’ve heard him re-explain things through gritted teeth, he usually remains calm, even when things go to hell; I think I’ve only heard him cuss once, maybe twice.

I’ve raided with a lot of screamers and cursers.  I’ve raided with people who I picture are sitting in front of their computers, red in the face, frothing at the mouth with rabid fury over a wipe.  In general, I think it’s unwise (and unsportsmanlike and probably unhealthy, but mostly just unwise) to respond this way.  Screaming tends to make folks tune out, take off their headset, put their guildmates on mute, pull the plug, give up, guild quit.  Screaming might make someone a WoW legend but I don’t think it makes someone a good leader, and it tends not to make those around you better raiders.

Exception:  Naggash.

nagsMuch like the voice in the infamous Onyxia meltdown, Naggash had a thick Geordie accent.  Not a posh British one with which the Queen reads her New Years greetings, but a rough and “common” one, the kind with which soccer hooligans scream insults at the Spanish.  Not the accent of the Surrey gentry, but an accent from the streets of the north.  He was a mean bastard.  Lots of people hated him, but I have fond memories of Nags.  And truth be told, I think his screaming made me a better healer.  

Nags was a main tank and a raid leader.  He had “the gift” — not all tanks do — of knowing all the pathing and all the timing of the mobs (in Everquest, this took more skill and perception than in WoW as there aren’t things like DBM or Omen to warn you when shit’s about to go south).  But I wasn’t in Nag’s guild.  He raided during the day with some of the other Euros on our server.  But as he never slept, he also raided some evenings with my raid alliance.  He’d come on his brigand, and even though he wasn’t tanking or leading would typically end up explaining all the fights and assigning roles and telling people what to do and where to stand… and oftentimes, where to go, if you know what I mean.

One of the things I quickly learned as a raid healer — thanks in part to Nags — was the importance of cures.  When there’s a DoT on someone, you can, of course, just heal through the pain.  Or — and this is usually the far better decision — you can cure.  

The classic vent exchange:

Nags: [shouting] CURE!

Me: [already casting it] Got it.

Nags:  [shouting] CURE FASTER BITCHES!

K- and I joke with this phrase all the time.  I’ll tell him to “DPS FASTER BITCHES!”  He’ll tell me to “FOLD LAUNDRY FASTER BITCHES!”  I’ll respond with “GET ME THE ENGAGEMENT RING FASTER BITCHES.”   Which elicits “RAGE QUIT!!”… but that’s a different EQ2 reference.

But in all seriousness, “cure faster bitches” is the motto with which I approach healing.  Any debuff I see pop up, I try to be on it the minute it occurs.  I confess I don’t always distinguish between the holy-shit-get-Fusion-Punch-off-Yurand-now debuffs and the ho-hum-blah-blah-blah-slowed-by-Frostbolt ones.  And I confess, I’ve removed Arcane Power from mages before.  Oops?  But I pride myself on responding quickly to cures.  (Last on the healing meters, sure, but I fucking pwn face on the dispell count.)

So I’m curing as fast as I possibly can.  

Bitches.

Raiding:  This weekend was my first foray into 10-man Ulduar, and I am absolutely thrilled we were able to clear the zone — our guild’s first Yogg Saron kill.  Friday night, we did Flame Leviathan (one tower up), Ignis, Razorscale, Deconstructor, Kologarn, Iron Council (medium mode), and Auriya.  Saturday afternoon, we did the rest of the zone up to Yogg Saron (including what I believe was the server-first hard-mode kill on Thorim), and regrouped Sunday morning for the clear.  Achievements aside, I was really thankful for the opportunity to experience all the encounters on 10-man, if only to give me more practice for the 25-man raids (We still haven’t killed Yogg on 25-man).  I had some new and different roles on 10-man — launched onto Flame Leviathan, healing those folks inside Yogg’s vision — and I feel like I have better insight now into the zone’s various encounters.  I don’t think any paladin / priest / warlock tokens dropped the entire weekend, and so I’m still just sitting with one piece of tier-gear, purchased with badges.  I did win a ring for Khaeli, and I accumulated enough badges of valor to buy my druid her epic wrists.

To Do: Clear Ulduar 25 on Khaeli. Run Naxx 25 on the druid so she’s in better stead if ever needed for Ulduar. Run 10-man Malygos on the druid so she can complete the quest for the neckpiece.

Leveling: The hours spent inside Ulduar meant no time for other endeavors.  The shaman did hit 60 a couple of nights ago, and thanks to my little brother via the Recruit-a-Friend program, no longer suffers from what K- calls “elephant butt.”  Go go zhevra mount.  The DK is still 78, as most of the time when I play her it’s to power-level K-‘s alt.  K- and I did manage to run Halls of Lightning with me on the DK and him on the hunter.  But it involved much dying, sadly.  And each time I released to the graveyard, I went on autopilot back towards Ulduar, rather than into HoL.

To Do:   Powerlevel K-‘s priest.  Make him spec holy.

Argent Tournament: I haven’t had any time for the Argent Tournament either.   Khaeli and Kaleyen became Champions of Darnassus last weekend, but we haven’t done the dailies since then.   My druid and my DK should really do these quests too: Khrii for the “of Darnassus title” and the Tendrassil Seedling pet, the DK for the epic weapon (the titansteel weapon is so damn ugly; I must avoid it at all costs).  I really suck at jousting, however, and if I have half an hour to quickly do dailies on alts, the last thing I’m going to opt to do is struggle to defeat those punkass valiants.

To Do:  Dailies.

Professions/Farming:  The time spent raiding has limited my time for farming.  Herbs are harvested from the auction house, for example, making those folks who are engaged in frost lotus extortion quite happy, I’m sure.  Thankfully, the druid is an alchemist and a cook and a fisherman, and so she’s able to keep Khaeli and Kaleyen fed and flasked.

To Do: Profit… or at least break even.

 

My first trek into Ulduar-10

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.

Yesterday Dueg gave you the Guide to Bad Healing.  To refresh:

  • Show up in good gear, so those who inspect you are fooled.
  • Heal priority:  DPS > tanks.
  • Create a no-heal list and follow it religiously.
  • Use one spell early and often… hell, use it exclusively .
  • When the going gets tough, the tough pull out the cord on their router.
  • Misdirect isn’t just a hunter skill:  blame everyone else when something goes wrong .

These are all incredibly valuable tactics that bad healers should embrace. But if you’ve mastered these skills, consider adding these to your repertoire:

  • Stand in the fire.  Just heal through it!
  • Someone else will cure and dispell.  Bad healers know this is the reason why you bring ret paladins and mages to raids.
  • Don’t join vent.  Instructions from the Raid Leader might drown out Ryan Seacrest’s voice.
  • Don’t join the healer channel.  [1] General is the only channel you really need to watch.
  • Ignore healing assignments.  Healing assignments are for followers, and you sir, are a leader.  The healing meters say so.
  • “I got no healz” — Did you die?  Healers’ fault!  (Other healers, naturally)
  • Use your “oh shit” spells at random times — Guardian Spirit, Nature’s Swiftness, Battle Rez, and the like.  Sure, you didn’t actually save anyone, but when the Raid Leader says, “Use your [insert powerful spell name here],” you can say “On cooldown,” and people will think you’re already one or two steps ahead.
  • Die first.  In the words of the great Billy Joel, “Only the good die young.”

 

58 Badges Later...

58 Badges Later... The Bandit Priest