Friday, 26 February 2010

I'm tellin' ya, wipin' ain't easy.

I marched fearlessly into ICC10 the other day on my mage. I was with my Alliance side guild so I was pretty confident on everyone's ability - They're not hardcore raiders but they've got Blood council down before and we regularly do Festergut before our somewhat very little time is over (they only raid for around 3 hours. 7pm-10pm GMT!)

Everything was nice and smooth, Marrowgar - One shot. Deathwhisper - One shot. Gunship - One shot.

Now it's time for my little confession. We wiped on Saurfang because of me. It was all on me, I noobed out.

We were running melee heavy, only myself and a warlock were ranged. So we took one side each, not too hard, especially with the awesome burst that Arcane has. Everything was going amazingly well, he was at around 40% and hadn't popped his mark on anyone yet. Beasts spawn and BOOM. I die. Beast kills healer, other healer, warlock. Tanks die, melee die, lots more death, Saurfang laughs a little and it's a wipe.

"What happened there, Krinkal?" I was asked.
"Sorry guys! Lag spike" I lied.

It wasn't a lag spike...

On my action bars, Frost Nova is Number 4. Number 4 is directly over R, which is a reply to a tell. In my haste to stop getting hit by a blood beast, I had stabbed wildly in the direction of the number 4 but instead hit R. The tell I sent to my friend who'd recently transfered his hunter to the alliance side was epic.


I actually laughed to myself. My friend laughed at me but I couldn't admit it to the guild, no matter how epic my whisper had been.

After doing this, I immediatly remembered some of my best wipes Horde side. My favourite has to be wiping a group in Pit of Saron while on my healer because I was too busy fanboying all over guild chat.

Someone had mentioned Firefly and I couldn't help myself. I dove in and was waist deep in a discussion about why Jayne Cobb is the best character in the show when people started to die. That 8-10g repair bill was worth every penny although my group didn't agree and when it happened a second time when I telling another guildie that I only started watching Chuck because Adam Baldwin was in it, I was swiftly kicked. Once again, worth it.

Some wipes in guild have become famous - A healer too busy eating toast to heal? Check. Hunter leaving aspect of the taxi on? Check. Tank too busy saving his curry he'd dropped on the floor? Check. Someone hitting numlock instead of push to talk and hearing them squeel as they hopeleslly run to their doom? Yep, that's there too.

But hands down, my favourite wipe has to be a story that I was told by a fellow guildy (I cant actually remember who it was...shame, really). Apparently, they wiped because their healer had to go afk, to get to cover due to incoming mortar strikes. That's right, the guy was playing Warcraft in an actual Warzone. Dedication, you sir/madam, have it.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The Ballad of the Failing Elitists in which Blizzard mocks me, using axes.

Sitting in Dalaran, talking crap in /g and checking Trade and Looking for Group every now and then while on my hunter and I see this...

"Looking for more for ICC10 - Aiming for Plagueworks bosses, good group so far. Gear check required aswell as Achievement. Need a hunter, mage and Elemental Shaman."

Awesome! I thought, whispered the advertiser, got invited after a quick gear check and greeted with a "Hi there!" - "Welcome!" - "Yay a hunter! :)" I had a good feeling about this PuG, I had a better feeling after inspecting the other members in Dalaran - 44k unbuffed tank, nice little paladin and druid healers.

We get the other members pretty fast and off we went. Me with my good feeling, a bag full of arrows and some buff food.

Trash went down without a single death, reassuring my good feeling. I could definintly see us cruising to Festergut. We set up infront of Marrowgaw, buffed up and off we went.

40 seconds in, we wipe. I couldn't believe it. I mean, how?! This group had promise, the gear, the achievements! What was going wrong?! I looked through Skada, damage was good, people doing 5k+ so we definitly had the dps, plus it hadn't been a lack of dps that had killed us. A tank died first. Did he mess up? I looked at the healing done, everything was good, paladin healer with a tonne of healing and a tonne of overheal. I put it down to fluke, ran back in and got buffed. Ready for round two.

Another wipe. What?!

"lol, sorry guys. Forgot my rings..." goes the tank.

Double You. Tea. Eff?

That's right, our tank hadn't been defence capped for the first two attempts. We hadn't noticed on trash because he'd been afk for a lot of it, picking someone up from somewhere in some kind of car.

We tried again and downed him. An axe I've wanted on my rogue for as long as ICC has been out dropped and I get it on my hunter...god damn you Blizzard. We move on and head to Deathwhisper (who was also the weekly, yay!).

We wiped 5 times on Deathwhisper, 3 of those came from people killing Darnavan, which caused the raid leader to tell us to wipe or loose a chance at 5 badges. The other two, were blatently through lack of healing.

"Sorry [Paladin], but you're not healing enough for this fight, you've got a low gearscore and I dont think you've got the skills to do this." says out leader, after which he/she swiftly kicks our poor paladin who'd been doing a bang up job, in my opinion.

Paladins are fantastic tank healers, if they dont have to move much. Our raid leader had the paladin running from the front of the room to the back to heal the tank who was keeping Darnavan busy and to heal the tank who was tanking the adds. And they wondered why the paladin was struggling...

In comes another paladin, who wouldn't come unless his "imba warlock dps" friend could to. Our leader then KICKS our lowest dps, who wasn't doing too badly - sitting at around 4k total and was last on Marrowgar by a matter of 25dps...

I knew I'd judged this book by it's cover and really, it was a terrible, terrible, group. We wiped twice more on Marrowgar because our trigger happy warlock killed Darnavan and our "awesome pala healer" disconnected. Wonderful.

After getting the weekly done, in a pretty smooth kill (even if it pains me to admit it) we moved on Gunship. Around this time, it became apparent that the "imba warlock dps" was actually shit. Utterly shit. He was in good gear, some ICC10/25 stuff, 2T10 and was doing around 3k...imba dps my arse.

We wiped on Gunship, because the paladin healer was too busy telling a dps in the group that "blue gems in ICC gear is fail." "you fail." "omfg, fail rogue..." and numerous other ways of saying the world "fail."

I gritted my teeth and bared it, vowing the do Saurfang and leave when the "imba warlock dps" started. He was like the little kid, standing at the side of the massive kid who was currently bullying the nerdy kid. Repeating everything he said "omfg, failrogue." I lost it.

"Shut up. I have blue gems in my gear and I'm wiping the floor with you, [imba warlock dps]. Stop repeating everything your retarded paladin friend is saying, you annoying little child."

The reply?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Anyways, I noticed that what they were both saying looked a lot like some of the stuff you see at Elitist Jerks. People (sometimes quite harshly) critising others because of gem, spec and gear choices. Except, these guys were all talk and no action. Failing Elitist wankers. This became apparent when they started critising another warlocks gem choice and specc, even though he was doing the second most dps.

I left after 2 attempts on Saurfang, in which the paladin swore he could solo heal and failed every single time. So, like any respecting person would do. I started HS'ing, dropped group and just before I went "FWOOOOSH." Used /s to put "fail paladin."

I then logged off, to see my hunter using the two axes I have so desperatly wanted to use on my rogue for weeks...Blizzard you pricks.

Anyways, I guess the old saying of "Doing judge a pug by the gear, initial welcome you get when invited or composition, because they could all be drooling failing elitist wankers." Heh.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Twilight Vanquisher my arse.

Over at The Barrens Chat Wulfy blogged on the old Halls of Reflection bug where you could just let the Lich King walk past you and fight his undead minions without worrying about him walking up to you and pwning your little face. I recently got the Twilight Vanquisher title on my 2 foot cannon and I've got to say, I definitly think that this is more of an exploit now than it used to be...

Isn't he just adorable? Anyways, we did it the Zerging method. Which is basically you go in with 2 tanks (1 on 10 man) 2-3 healers (1 on 10 man) and a bucket load of 6,000+ dps. Now, Blizzard had said in the past that they didn't class this as an exploit and actually liked the fact people were trying new things to down bosses but come on Blizzard, with everyone and their bloody grandma's rocking 232-251 iLvl gear, this is beyond a joke.

On the attempt at which we downed him, I topped out at 14.8k dps. I'll admit right now, there was no skill involved in that number. I basically just spammed Arcane Blast for 60 seconds, popped a mana gem and spammed a bit more. One of my friends that has never played Warcraft could have done that easily. It's one button, I didn't even have to move!

I remember back when Sarth3D was the hardest content in the game. It was so damned hard, that people with the Twlight Vanquisher (and of the Nightfall) titles were looked at going "Wow, you're in an organised, well geared guild." The Nightfall title was considered harder to get, as with 10 people the fight is a lot harder.

When Ulduar was released and people started to get to higher levels of dps, some clever bugger found out that you can Zerg poor Sarthy and basically get the title (and the mount) for not much work. Hell, we went and did it with my Rogue and he's been Jakkru of the Nightfall for a while now.

Now that people are rocking higher iLvl gear and pwning the Lich King in his frozen face, I definitly think that they (Blizzard) should stop the Zerg method, get it fixed and back to the way it should have been. I'd love the challenge that it would give and it wouldn't be as hard as it used to be due to gear being easier to obtain. It'd actually mean those people with the Mounts would have worked for them, instead of just slapping the poor dragon round the face for 90 seconds or less. Maybe even give Sarthy an upgrade in drops for people that down him with three drakes up?

Anyways, speaking of Dragons, I cannot wait for this. It's going to be amazing and hopefully, if Blizzard are doing what they did with the release of the Lich King, stuff like this will make that little period where no one can be arsed doing anything because the expansion is a few weeks away a little less boring and a whole lot more fun.

I still remember the Scourge events fondly. Running around trying to start a little zombie army outside Silvermoon City only to be foiled at the last minute by a paladin in uber-RP mode, smiting the minions of the Lich King before they could infect the population. I also got into the RP "spirit," quoting Aliens to my hunter friend everytime I got infected. ("") but if the battle for Gnomeregan does happen, I might actually loregasm while Arcane Blasting things in the face on my 2 foot cannon!

Friday, 19 February 2010

I could insert an Oasis lyric but I wont because I hate them...

Ever heard someone complaining about how WoW was so much better back in Vanilla?

"Contents too easy!" is the first cry, followed usually by sometime to do with how easy it is to get loot, and/or how classes are becoming too similar.

This is true but after reading a book (1. Yeah, I can read. 2. The book was actually on environmentalism but still...) that gave me the idea of looking back at how things used to be, comparing them with how they are and you can usually find that we're a lot better off now than we were, I thought I'd give it a crack using Warcraft.

Firstly, I cannot comment personally on end game content in Vanilla, so I asked in guild and two people answered. Ercles and an officer, who'd raided on another server.

A little bit of background first; Ercles raided as a paladin and a hunter, saw most of the content and even had a crack at Naxxramas-that-was. The other officer raided as a hunter and as a healer priest and some ZG, AQ20, MC and Onyxia. Both raided around 3-4 times a week and the raids were quite lengthy, 4-6 hours. Both of them said that 40 man raids were a huge pain in the arse organisationally but Ercles pointed out that it meant people could go afk and it wouldn't hold a raid up as their dps/healing wouldn't be missed due to sheer numbers.

Looking at it, a lot of trust was placed into a lot of people and seems like there was an awful amount of effort required by only a few to get these raids off the group. Also, as Erc nicely put it - "buffing was hell."

The officer I asked raided in a community, then as part of a guild which was lucky enough to see most end-raid bosses. However, a lot of people that raided, didn't get to fully experience everything Blizzard had given us. Only the "hardcore" got to down Kelly in Naxx-that-was, most people were happy getting a few peices of T0 from easier bosses and calling it quits. Kind of negates the fact people buy games to see and do all that's to be seen and done, with only the elite downing and experiencing everything it's no surprise that Blizzard changed to 10 man raids in TBC they definitly realised that 40 people is a hell of a number to gather, organise, buff and keep focused for more than 20 minutes.

Moving onto TBC, which I can comment about and I've got to say, I enjoyed raiding Karazhan thoroughly back when it was the only 10 man content in TBC. It was great, you could have a laugh but at the same time, you had to get serious when it counted because the place was still lethal. More and more guilds started popping up, raiding in-guild only, not having to rely on people they didn't know from PuG's or communities, it created a more friendly raiding atmosphere. Which was fantastic and something that Blizzard had got spot on. Raids were still long, Karazhan took around 3 days to clear back when it was at its hardest. Guilds that could get through it in 2 were see as being amazing and to get to Curator in one night was something people dreamed of. The ease of accessibility that was introduced by Blizzard started to get them more monthly subscribers and as a business, it's something they wanted to keep a hold of.

25 man raids were then introduced, for the guild seeking a harder challenge. Some steam-rolled their way through them, gearing up to go hit the emo-elf himself. They were well designed, with interesting mechanics, graphics and cool looking loot. The people that saw the content loved it, those that didn't, moaned. Once sunwell came out and Muru so fucking hard his nightmares were scared of him, the guilds that were seeing current content started to moan. Blizzard had to listen, they wanted to keep their subscribers and therefore money rolling in and made everything a little bit easier and yet, everyone moaned about that.

I didn't mind the changes. It meant that the guild I'm in could see more stuff, I loved raided and it actually gave others interest in it. By the end of TBC, after being a 10 man Karazhan farming/Zul'Aman pooning guild, we'd started fielding regular trips into 25 mans, such as Tempest Keep, Serpentshrine Cavern and even Black Temple. Yeah, we hadn't downed the end bosses but still, we'd had a great time and couldn't wait to get started in Lich King.

Naxx-that-is was at first, a little bit hard - fresh faced 80's in their heroic epics/blues against massive spiders and pissed off women. But soon, the loot came in thick and fast and Naxxramas wasn't a challenge anymore. The gamers demanded more content but we were impatient, with only a few raids to keep us entertained we wanted something new and Blizzard were under pressure to deliver. Ulduar came out and it was awesome...once all the glitches were fixed.

People pissed and moaned about the Ulduar glitches but what can you expect? It's like moaning to a waiter in a restaurant that your food isn't there yet - you'll get it faster but you cant guarentee that he wont have spat in the soup just to piss you off.

Now-a-days, Blizzard have started to introduce faster raids, splitting things into wings and making heroics and the like more and more accessible, people the people playing the game are growing more and more impatient of waiting and Blizzard has to develop to keep it's MMORPG crown. Loot is easier than ever to get and it's pissing a few people off - hell, it annoys me that some folk that clearly dont deserve the gear get it and make fools out of themselves thinking their gearscore automatically means they have skills.

When I was asking Ercles questions, he ended with "I like stuff better now but I'm not happy." Blizzard definitly aren't doing bad but they could do so much better. Heroic modes were made for the more adventurous but have become unused, as they're not needed to progress - why carry a sledgehammer up a hill to hit in a peg when you can put a hammer in your pocket and do the same job?

Blizzard wont change things drastically in cataclysm, they wont make having intelligence to raid a requirement (although, I wish they would...). Let's just hope that our own impatience wont be Blizzards downfall.

Edit: 10 points who can tell me what god-awful Oasis lyric would be the title! :)

Monday, 15 February 2010

Do you wanna be in my gang, my gang, my gang?

My last post was pretty much three mini posts in one about events that have happened over the past few days on my numerous alts and one of the things mentioned was that of "Tardraid." Which is made of awesome. Now, over at Righteous Orbs, Tamarind raised an issue about Cliques in their post about Tardraid and how awesome it is.

Cliques pop up everywhere, just looking at the lecture I was just in about Fieldwork in Geography - You've got the "Blarckberry" crew, at the back, in their body warmers and messy hair. You've got the locals, who know each other from school down at the front, all in their "09 Leavers" hoodies. You've got the girls who make far too much of an effort just for a lecture and then those that make no effort what so ever. You've got the lonely people, sitting on their own and then you've got "the lads" sitting in the middle, messing around and not really listening (I'm one of those...).

So, it's just natural that they'd appear in Warcraft. It's not a bad thing, I remember back when we first started doing Naxx-25, when the roles of melee/tank/ranged/healer's where governed by the leaders. We all had our seperate channels. Absotanko, Absowhackit, Absohealo and I dont know the ranged one because back then I couldn't of cared. There was competition, banter of sorts in these channels - "Haha, I pwnd you on Patchwerk!" - "Yeah! I forgot to add poisons!" - "Nooob, least you did better than most of the ranged!" - "Yeah, the wankers." (Dramatised...just a little...)

There was also a channel, which a few of us, who knew the tactics pretty well and liked to have a chit-chat while they were explained - Absoalphawolves. We'd have a giggle in the channel, while the raid leader was explaining what people should be doing. It kept /ra clear of useless shit like; "I wish I was like Optimus Prime, that'd be awesome!" or "I wanna be known as Blackhawk" or just typing lyrics to songs we were listening to. It was a little clique, sort of and this became apparent when there was a little bit of loot drama.

An old rogue in the guild (who has since left) won an item over me. For myself, it was a massive upgrade, a 213 weapon going from a 200, crafted dagger. Back then, biggest upgrade you could get. I was, of course, annoyed. The melee had all congratulated me in our little channel, aswell as those in the Absoalphawolves. I was chuffed but no, I lost it. So, I was venting to my little "clique." I got over it and moved onto Kel'thuzad, where the whirling fist of death dropped. I was mutilate back then and the rogue that had won the dagger was combat, the only combat rogue in the guild. In absoalphawolves, I was told to roll on it - "Go combat, you might aswell, it's an awesome weapon." - "Yeah, and you'll really piss [X] off!" So I did and I won it.

That's a case of where cliques are bad, it was even commented on by the other rogue but I didn't feel bad at the time (I had a fucking chainsaw, how can you feel bad when you have a chainsaw!) but looking back on it, I feel guilty.

However, there are good cliques in WoW and Tardraid is definitly one of them. It's like greenpeace or Oxfam in clique-terms. A clique that helps people develop their raiding skills so maybe one day they can see the current content? [sarcasm] Oh my god, it's terrible! [/sarcasm]

I mean, the raid to Ulduar usually consists of a similar set up, I try to grab a spot whenever I can, our tanks usually swap around but 9/10 times there's Ercles, our fearless leader, Tam there providing bubbles and after-raid blogs, our hunting cows, a bubbly Austrailian and our overgeared enhancement shaman but the great thing is, it's open to anyone and we get a nice mix. New members, old members, members who are bored, peoples alts looking for a way to practice their new class in a raid and maybe get some gear, it's pretty good the variety we get.

A guild is bound to have its Cliques and I know ours do. For example, the officers and guild leader that's a clique right there (granted, we're actually pretty cool). There's also the old timers, people who have been there for so long they actually know what the sentence "I blame Eli" means after we wipe. People who bring more than one real life friend into the guild start a sort of mini-clique right then and their, they know each other and chat like they do if they were down the pub (sometimes it gets a little offensive but mainly it's just harmless).

I'd noticed this back when I joined my new guild alliance side and was planning to slap a post together about it at some point, just so happens someone else had some views on it and gave me a little bit of inspiration.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

A pretty eventful past two days...

Seeing as it's Valentines Day, I'll start with my favourite poem this year:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
This is a knife,
now get in the fucking van.

Aaaah, so sweet.

The week, I mostly be being busy

So anyways, over the past two days I've been doing a lot of alt playing. I've tanked a few heroics on my warrior, done a few heroics and Ulduar (which was AWESOME - more on that later tho!) on the shaman and have done a few raids (not so awesome - more on that later too) on the rogue. I've also been messing around on some lower level alts, taking in the sights, dressing them up in end game gear to see how cool they'd look if I actually had to motivation to level yet another character...y'know, the usual stuff.

So my trips into heroics on my warrior have been largely un-eventful, mainly because they were with guildies. Which was cool, although I'm kinda worried about where Wulfy learnt to heal using only one hand...

My weekly trip to the land of free loot, often called VoA was a little eventful, some people really dont understand the simplist of loot systems. I shall explain.

I almost lost my T10 resto shaman gloves to someone who's main specc was elemental - why? Because "he needed them for offspecc." I was a little pissed off at the raid leader for not setting it to master looter, but it's not hard for people to understand how it works - If it's for your class and there's no one else there of the same class as you, hit "Need," if it's for your class and there's someone there also of the same class as you, see what specc they are, if the peice of loot is for your specc, hit "need" if it isn't, and it is for their specc, pass. If it's for neither of your speccs, (after asking before doing so) hit "need." It's pretty much common sense, although I am well aware the way I just explained it then doesn't really make it sound it. This shaman didn't do that, and followed the "If the hat isn't red, it belongs on your head" rule.

The other members of the raid started to kick off - I actually remained calm. The other shaman wasn't very good with english and for me to start insulting him in my broad, northern tones would only confuse him and with confusion comes anger and with anger comes raid quits and that doesn't solve anything. So, after everyone else whined, I just told him nicely, he traded me the item and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Hardmodes are still hard

The almost weekly trip into Ulduar was fantastic. I'm getting the hang of this healing lark now and was quite confident to say that myself and the other healer could take on the challenge, and boy did we! Flame Leviathon went off without a hitch and we confidently strolled onwards to XT. I wasn't exactly aware we were going to do hardmode, so as per usual, I validated my raid spot by making everyone massive and roar and proceeded to heal. I only became aware of this hardmode plan when I saw the "heart has severed from his body." I have to admit, I paniced, just a little. It was a wonderful challenge. The tanks were at the same level of gear as the guilds main tanks were back when we attempted Hardmodes for the first time - they were squishy, but not TOO squishy. The dps were a little over-geared and my disco-dancin' priest partner in healin' crime is vastly more geared than my little noob-aman but we managed, and what a feeling it was! The Ulduar raids that get run have been christaned "Tardraid" but everytime I go in there, we do better, go further and die a lot less, it's great to see people who hadn't raided before improve, in both dps and spacial awareness and it's wonderful to see the raid leader improve as a leader and try harder things, pushing the members of the raid. We cleared up to Mimiron last night and had a few solid attempts, each time getting him well into Phase 4.

The only downside to these raids is that I cant join people on Vent, due to the stupid universities internet. Makes me feel like a prick whenever I suggest things after a wipe as I sound like I'm nit-picking and probably repeating whatever's been said over vent.

Where have all the axes gone?

So since Vorla made me a red lumberjack t-shirt, I've been after an axe.

My rogueout is getting less and less, which is wicked, I'm enjoying raiding again but I cant bring myself to do heroics until I've got combat as my dual specc and before that can happen, I need to get myself a nice, slow, main hand weapon. Preferably an axe, so I can wear my lovely red flanal t-shirt.

So yesterday, I had a poke around in ICC10 to get the last 7 emblems for my new shoulders (which are AWESOME) and we did quite well, no axe dropped from the Gunship event but I didn't hold out for much, I mean, it'll never drop when I'm on my rogue but will (and has) dropped everytime I've set foot in there on my 3ft cannon. We had an attempt on Festergut, where our best attempt was a 2% wipe. Which we'd prolly had done if our hunter hadn't pulled aggro (seriously, how do you do that as a hunter, they have this special button and everything...). We carried on but realised, after a stupid wipe that our non-guilded tank was a complete tool, who didn't think it was good enough to have the Taunt glyph when main tanking in ICC10. Y'know, the glyph that stops you needing 11-million-trillion-gazillion hit to make your hits not miss and something manageable, like 150 something or other. She also used annoying smilies. Bitch.

Then today, I tried ToC10, where I had to kick a shaman because they were so annoying I had people spamming some pretty imaginiative macro's to tell him just how annoying he was. So, in the end, I asked him if he knew what Karate was, to which he replied "What?" - Thanks a fucking lot for spoiling my amazing way of kicking you - I asked him again and got the same answer...
"Kung fu?" I say
"YEAH" says he, with added caps lock to show he actually knew.
"Dodge this kick then" I reply, a smirk spreading over my behind-keyboard face
BAM one less annoyance.

I grabbed me another dps and we "smoothly" cleared ToC10. No axe from Anub. QQ.

However, having my new found love from shamans, I took a look at the shaman healer we had in the raid, I said "smoothly" above because the two healers struggled and after looking at this shamans healing, I could definitly see why...75% of his healing was from Chain heal. It doesn't work that way, you've got more than one ability...He'd use Earth Shield about 4 times, it was terrible. The poor priest had effectivly solo healed up until the last boss. Poor bugger...

I definitly think that having a tank, healer and many a dps in this game has opened up more doors. I can help out a lot more, especially since people are usually short a tank or healer, organise more stuff and understand the game a lot better having looked at it from all three view-points. Even if it's made me a right synical bastard when people are completely crap :D

Monday, 8 February 2010

Silence! I wipe you!

After playing a mage and now a healer, I have come to hate something more than a knockback and the dreaded whirlwind. Silence affects, getting spell locked or locked out of a certain set of spells. I hate them.

I mean, it's not that bad when I'm on my mage - I get spell locked on the big skeleton guys in ICC if I'm not paying attention to when they're casting their annoying Shout, so I use Frostfire bolt, and it's become a noticeable thing, usually followed by "Krinkal, did you get locked out again?" in /ra.

But on my shaman, being a healer... it's like a mini-panic attack.

For example, on Ignis, I completely forgot I wasn't a rogue and kept casting even after the big fuck off warning I get across my screen to tell me to stop casting. I got locked out and actually had a mild heart-attack.

I mean, it's something you've got to be on your toes about. Not only do you have to keep people alive, react to the amount of damage they're currently taking and at the same time, worry about yourself you've also got to pay attention to your surroundings. I'm telling you, when I was raiding as DPS the healers made this shit look easy but actually doing it is a whole different story...

So, after my mild panic attack and my abilities had come back to me, I blew my Oh shits and topped the add tank, the melee and myself up. Panic attack over, lesson learnt you'd think...

No. I wasn't. I didn't learn until the third Flame Jets. It's a bloody good job the other healer was on their game or we'd have wiped.

Fast forward to today. ICC25 failboat of a PuG. I wasn't expecting much but the reputation was good and I got some practice in on healing a 25 man raid, which is pretty damned fun as a shaman. We get those big annoying skellys out and the tanks do well, grab them, turn them away from the melee etc. I've learnt from my mistakes, I'd unconsiouslly decided I was going to look after this particular warrior tank during this fight and was healing away, when I noticed my warning, I immediatly got a Riptide and a Lesser Healing Wave off and stopped. Let him cast and continued. The other healers, however, didn't. So while they were having a mild panic attack while I was shitting myself trying to keep the tanks up.

It's definitly getting some used to and at times it can be damned hard but I'm loving every second of this healing lark!

Friday, 5 February 2010

H for Heroic

I'm not necessarily afraid to PuG a raid. Infact, being at University the only time I really get to raid now-a-days is via a PuG, or if a raid is up on a night when it's a little bit more expensive for a lot of vodka and a little bit of coke. However, I was a little apprehensive saying "Yes" when asked if I'd like to PuG Trial of the Grand Crusader.

For those of you that dont know, Trial of the Grand Crusader is what Blizzard would have probably made TotC, if they weren't making everything so god damn easy. Let's face it, TotC is a joke, a really unfunny one, told by that prick who knows one of your friends somehow and always insists on coming round when they're not exactly welcome.

Anyways, I was currently bored, sat in Dalaran watching Guild chat so I thought "what the hell, if they wipe on beasts I'll use my "Sorry, booty call" excuse (which by the way, is an awesome excuse) and went for my gear check. I passed and hopped on my Dragon and flew to the Tournament grounds.

After the usual round of buffs, a quick run over the Beasts fight and how it differs (only slightly, mind you) from the normal version we talked to Tirion Boringlongspeechesring. What was surprising, was the level of dps we had - these people weren't the customary heroic farmers in T9 I've come to expect from PuGs, they actually knew what the hell they were doing. I was mutilating away while the Snowbolds got raped in a matter of seconds. So, we one Shot the beasts. It got a little messy on the Worms, someone had to be Combat Rezzed but a kill is a kill. I even got some nice Leatherworking patterns out of it, which was great.

So we moved on, to Lord J. Who was pretty much the same execpt the portals had to be killed or they'd keep spawning those damned-whorish-women that spin people around. We had a few wipes, mainly because everything hits so damned hard but after around 2 tries we killed him, smoothly. Another Leatherworking pattern for me, some loot for a very greatful hunter and we moved on the Faction Champs.


Faction Champs is a raid breaker. People can wipe on them if they dont know what they're doing. I've seen it happen, it's not fun either. So what happened next was a bit of a shock. We one shot them, I was surprised. The fight is a lot different - the Champs aren't tauntable, which means the tanks actually have to do some work, chase them around, stun them. Because stuns have cooldowns it means DPS have to be on their toes, if you see the warrior running at you with that "I'm gonna make you wear a dress and hurt you" look in his eyes, you get the fuck outta Dodge, real fast. The healers, I've got to admit where absolutley fantastic. They hadn't messed up so far, the deaths on Lord J were entirely the DPS's fault for not obeying Raiding Rule number 1 and it showed how good they were on Faction Champs. It restored a tiny bit of faith in humanity to myself and my friend.

Next was Twins, which proved a little bit more difficult. The fight is exactly the same but the Orbs are deadly and they occasionally cast a dot which really stings if you dont change to the correct Essence to cancel it out. We had about 5 wipes, which usually would make a group fall apart. But no, instead, this PuG was, wait for it, infact...I want a fucking drumroll for this...

We discussed where we'd gone wrong and how to improve/avoid doing it again on the next attempt.

There were no cries of "FFS HEALERS." or "Omg, l2p." Only constructive critism, which every member of the raid took onboard and with a good attitude. After a few more attempts, we smoothly killed them, resulting in another Leatherworking pattern for me!

Now, Anub'arak was the next guy on our list. He'd get us the achievement and some bonus loot because we'd only died around 11 times, I'd liked the difficulty so far, it was interesting and was definitly helping with my rogue-out as I actually had to pay attention and not mindlessly bash my face against the keyboard.

After being the laughable last boss in TotC, I wasn't holding much hope out for poor Anub, I dont know why I was being Naive, I mean he's the last boss in Trial of the Grand Crusader (which so far had been getting increasingly more and more difficult) for fucks sake! So when our PuG raid leader started to explain the tactics, I was more than taken a back by how damned complex it was.

We all know normal mode is easy, get ice on floor, tank adds on ice, kill adds, faceroll boss. Repeat after avoiding spikes when he submerges etc etc. Well, Heroic is a whole different story, infact, a whole different genre.

You have 6 Orbs, which dont respawn (that's right, you did read it correctly. 6 Orbs). You get 4 adds instead of two and in addition, someones been putting a little something extra in Mr. 'Arak's morning protein shake because he hits so fucking hard the tank almost shit himself on the first pull.

Needless to say, we ran into a bit of an obstacle. It was difficult to co-ordinate where the Ice was going to drop after our hunter killed it and where the adds were going to be tanked. Sometimes it was next to the boss, others it was on the other side of his little burrow. Meaning melee having to run all around the place and loosing valuable dps on the boss.

The hardest part was not dying on his Submereged phase. It was terribly, terribly hard. 6 orbs and you can only use 2 per phase (3 in total, as one goes down at the start for the adds to be tanked on). He's deceptivley fast, starting out like a fat man running to his car in the rain and suddenly becomes Usain-fucking-Bolt. You've got to kite him for long enough that he'll only choose 2-3 people to chase. Which is difficult for people who cant speed up. At the same time, you've got to be killing the adds, which actually hurt on Heroic.

After about 8 tries, we called it a day. We'd been in there for coming on 4 hours and people were getting tired but those 8 tries were some of the most fun I've had in a raid in a long time, content wise. It was a proper challenge and I actually would love to go back again with the guild if they ever decide to come out of ICC.

I was a fan of the Hard modes in Ulduar, it kept the game a challenge for those looking for one. Blizzards way of "balancing" between accessible raiding and the more "hardcore" side.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Bar go down, Bar go up!

Earlier is evening I did the weekly on my shaman and popped my head a little further into Ulduar for a few more badges and a chance at some loot, as he's only been level 80 for about a day now. It was great fun, doing the Unbroken and Shutout achievements all in one when taking on the now laughable excuse for a first boss, Flame Leviathon.

Now, due to lack of interest, I was healing, mainly in my currently collected Elemental gear, which felt a little bit weird but still, I'd done a few heroics before hand and got some stuff for mp5 on and was feeling quite safe in my ability to heal the raid, especially with our usual priest and a vastly overgeared Resto shaman to carry me every step of the way.

So after getting a few tips from the lovely Tam. I plopped my Earth Shield on a tank and got ready for healing!

Now, the tips were quite simple.
1. Bar go up, Bar go down
2. Priorities - If two people are getting twatted, make sure the one who benefits the raid more lives
3. Have fun

I felt a little bit like I was playing god. Especially with the whole deciding who lives and who dies but lets face it, it's kinda true. I'd healed some 5 man dungeons while levelling and I'd been doing it then, letting the weaker dps die if it was a toss up between him and someone else.

So we went ahead and took on Ignis, who was the weekly raid boss, everything was going smoothly. I was healing the adds tank, not too hard, even found the time to toss a few heals round the raid and take a dip in the Crotch Pot for the achievement. So I'm there there, nicely spamming Chain Heal into a group of casters that had taken some damage from the Flame Jets when BAM - Tam dies. "Ahhh, shit." I think, I fucked something up! BAM - Overgeared Resto shaman dies. Now, two things popped into my head at that moment in time.

1. Oh fuck, I've messed up healing the raid. Two folks are dead an-

So, I panic. I wet my pants, shit the bed and have a heart attack at the same time. I frantically run into range of the main tank after sticking a Riptide and Earth Shield on add-tank. I hit my "Oh shit" macro and get a decent crit on an instant healing wave. Tank goes from 8% to a good 16-18%, I spam a few more heals before realising - add tank is slowly dieing! Back over there, Riptide, Lesser Healing Wave, BOLLOCKS! Main tank is getting fisted again...oh and look there's someone in the crotch pot.

I smelt a wipe, I tried my hardest, I ran around, I hit Chain Heal and suddenly - Main tank is back at full health. Thankfully, Blizzard had seen fit to create Soulstones to stop new healers shitting themselves completely when the "main healers" have bought it.

But through my little panic, I'd had a TONNE of fun. I was reacting to things happening, having to balance cooldowns and intensity of heals, all the while thinking about my rather crappy mana pool. I may have solo-healed Ignis for around 15 seconds but still, it was a fantastic feeling. Better than topping a Recount meter as a rogue and different to successfully main tanking a boss on a warrior.

So we trudged on to XT, which was chain heal heaven. Much fun was had during the tantrums, I actually felt like I was pulling my weight on that fight. Like I'd actually contributed to keeping people alive and making the other two healers life a whole bunch easier.

After an attempt on Iron Council, which had me healing a pant wettingly high amount of damage, the Disconnection demon got us and claimed the first victim of the night, our mage. We decided to down Kologarn with 9 - with me Riptiding and chain healing my little heart out, while trying to dodge them bloody annoying eye beams. After that, more disconnects forced the raid to come to an abrupt end, which was a shame but couldn't really be avoided.

I've been dps'ing in raids for a while now and I just take it as a given that if I take damage, some kind-soul will heal my sorry arse when/if I decide to stand in the fire but fter the raid, Tam said something quite interesting to me, pointing out that healers dont brag about it, dont broadcast it to the party/raid but often or not, they will bring someone back from the brink of character-death. Often saving the raid. It's a very humble job, the majority of the time. You can still get those who are determined to tell you everytime they save your pitiful character-life.

I recently blogged about having a tough time choosing a spec for my shaman but I think that after healing a raid (and having a tonne of fun while doing so) the end of my (brief) time as an Elemental shaman could very well be over.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Choices, so many Choices!

So my shaman finally dinged 80 yesterday, after the Basin -> Icecrown -> Storm Peaks two level grind which only took me a day and a bit to do. Not bad. So I learnt my new skills, smelted the 100+ Saronite Ore I'd collected from the days exploration and sat down to decide what spec. 20 minutes, three discussions, one "Who are you and what have you done with Jakkru?" later I still couldn't decide.

Hybrids are hard. I mean, there's SO much choice.

I love melee but having raided as melee and suffering (although a little bit less than when I blogged about it) from Rogue-out I was a little warey of that. Plus I'd levelled as enhancement, which was alright but I couldn't imagine it getting anymore exciting.

My mage is fun as hell, so I was looking towards elemental. The rotation is pretty easy which was attractive but also put me off, as it could get quite boring, quite fast.

I've never raided as a healer, so I decided whatever I was going to do, I'd take Resto as an offspecc. I wouldn't main specc into it as my gear is terrible and I'd be that healer in the pug that other people blog about because he was so shit.

So, in the end and after another three discussions, two pints of beer, a pub quiz and a packet of crisps I decided to do two trial heroics to see what Enhancement and Elemental were like at 80.

First off was enhancement, so I didn't have to respecc straight away. It was pretty similar to when I was doing random dungeons, I hit a little bit harder and could turn things into a frog, which I was doing a lot because it was a new skill and seeing a mob jumping round in frog-form makes me laugh but other than that, not much difference.

So then I tried elemental, which was AWESOME. I love seeing big numbers, lots of crits and generally casting MASSIVE BOULDERS OF LAVA. So it was right up my street. My dps was terrible as I only had 12 hit rating but I'd made my mind up. For the next week, I would testing my sanity in the LFG system as an elemental shaman and who knows, maybe a resto one when I'm geared for Elemental and have some badges floating around.