Archive for the ‘ Instancing ’ Category

3 Hours, 2 Bosses, 1 Ecstatic Tiger

Three Two One licketty split!

They told me so, they told me and told me. We won’t get anything done if we’re splitting up our (already meager) 3-day raid week into 10 and 25-man attempts. It just won’t happen. When you’re trying to learn fights and expect to spend whole nights on one or two bosses it’s unreasonable to expect any kind of progress over the course of one or two nights.

That’s why last night, despite having the roster for 25, we once again split into tens.

Ya know what? It actually felt really nice!

First we went to Freya, because two or three of the raiders had seen the fight and would be able to help along the rest of us.

I’m pleased to say we only wiped twice. Once was on Freya herself, but the first time was on one of the guardians. I don’t remember his name but he’s the first one you’re likely to encounter, and he stands to the right when you enter the Conservatory of Life.

We didn’t know what he’d do, but as we fought we noticed two abilities, a ground smash, and something to the effect of crushing stone. He also applied a broken bones debuff to the tanks.

We quickly noticed that the ground smash was a general AoE. We had people just stand there and take it, but in 25-man I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that this will be much more deadly.

The ability that wiped us was the Crushing Stone. It pops up a raid warning and tosses the tank back. It doesn’t look like much, but if the tank gets hit after they are tossed back, well, you’ll have a dead tank. So our second attempt on him saw us with itchy taunt fingers and as soon as we saw that raid warning we would taunt off each other. Worked like a charm and in no time flat we had a dead guardian.

The second little surprise of the night was Thorim’s trash. One applies a stacking lightning debuff and the other a stacking physical damage debuff.

The first pack we killed by each tank just standing there and eating it. The second we played ‘catch’ with the mobs. About five stacks in and we’d taunt off each other. Apart from some aggro issues (which can easily be remedied by making sure the DPS knows we’ll be doing this) the pulls went MUCH more smoothly.

While Freya went down relatively easily, Thorim gave us a good deal more trouble. For ten-man, on our successful run, we took myself (Bear tank), a rogue, a hunter, and a resto druid into the tunnel. We’d meant to have one more in there but he had gotten confused the previous two attempts and we noticed we weren’t having any trouble getting through, so for what ended up being our kill shot we left him outside.

Going through the tunnel:

Kill the acolytes first. ABSOLUTE TOP PRIORITY! Then focus down one of the other adds, then focus down the third. When the third was at about 25% or so I would start moving forward towards the next pack.

For the first boss -> Have someone call out to go Left or Right. This is similar to Skadi in Utgarde Pinnacle. When you get into the round room stay towards the centers. The walls are not safe.

When the Acolyte and one extra are dead, and the third is getting close, rush in to engage. As soon as he’s engaged he’ll stop casting his rushing-AoE. Tank him in a corner. Every so often he might rush. He didn’t do this often, and it felt like a glitch, but be aware of the possibility.

For the second boss -> This is a gauntlet in the spirit of Zul Aman. The goal is to make it through quickly enough that you don’t get more than one set of adds.

Pull the first group and kill them in the doorway. DO NOT run in to aggro the group. If you do, you’ll aggro the second group and if you have two acolytes it will be next to impossible to kill them both. ONLY ONE ACOLYTE AT A TIME!

Same rules apply to this trash as the last one. You need to be quick and agressive. Once the Acolyte is down and the extra add is close move forward and pull the second group. The DPS should be able to kill the extra add before you get within melee range of the Acolyte, at that point kill the Acolyte then start backing up.

As you back up the DPS will finish off the extra add. By the time you’re 1/2 – 3/4 the way up the ramp you’ll notice more adds coming in from behind you. There will be 1-2 regular mobs and an Acolyte. The Acolyte always comes last but you ABSOLUTELY MUST kill it first. You’ll be tanking the boss at this point too (to prevent further adds from spawning) and you’ll want to finish off the extra adds before working on the boss.

This one casts bombs

If you’re the bomb you won’t be able to move, so call it out in voice chat or pay close attention to your raid warnings because whoever is NOT the bomb needs to boogie to get away from whoever IS.

Picking Fights with Thorim:

After the second boss is dead now it’s time to really rock. Run forward WAIT! DON’T STEP ON THE CIRCLES! Yeah, they may look like innocent architectural details, the likes of which are peppered all throughout Ulduar, but don’t be fooled. They will own your face. If you step in them it will spawn a purple barrier (a-la Malygos) and you’ll be frozen in place for a time.

I don’t know how long you’ll be frozen or if you take any damage while frozen, but you’re loosing precious time. Time during which the rest of your raid is fighting for their lives. The one time we did get frozen it wasn’t very long before the rest of the raid in the arena was dead and Thorim had turned around to finish us off.

So, stick to the edges, and have a druid or rogue spring, or a mage blink, either way, get to thorim as quickly (and safely!) as you possibly can. Once you get to him he’ll do an emote and then jump down into the arena. You should probably follow him.

Now He’s Really Pissed:

Here’s the real fight. He does a debuff to the tanks that reduces their armor by a crazy amount. There’s a raid warning and tanks should keep an eye out for it. Again, itchy taunt fingers are a MUST. You CANNOT tank with this debuff on, trust me, you’ll pancake otherwise.

Ranged and healers need to spread out (within reason, see below). He casts a chain lightning that multiplies in damage every time it chains. Ten yards is fine, range-finders are your friend.

Electric Ant Trails. This is what we dubbed them after a few attempts, and it’s really exactly what they look like. When you see the ant trails (they’re electric and close to the ground) make sure you’re on the opposite side of the boss from them. He’ll send out a shock that covers approximately 1/4 of the room in the direction the ant trails had been headed.

This will one-shot most people, especially if they’re not topped off.

The entire raid needs to stay on their toes. This is a pretty mobile fight but exciting and a LOT of fun when you finally get it right.

At the end of this kill I was breathing heavy, my heartrate was up and I was grinning from ear-to-ear. We spent the majority of the night (close to two hours) working on this boss and when he finally dropped we all felt that sweet sweet exultant taste of rising to and overcoming a challenge that had been so lacking in the Naxxramas raids.

To add the icing on the cake…

THORIM DROPS TIER SHOULDERS! (on normal)

I won them.

Maer might call bullpucky, as I’m on the loot council, and have a thing for shoulder armor, but I can promise that protocol was followed and I was most definitely not abusing the system.

And now, I’ll go take a stroll around Dalaran and allow my new shoulders to have fun mooning people.

Layzur Aye Beamz!

Kologarn, he haz them.

He’s also not quite as large as I thought he’d be, nor does his staging area have quite as much room as I thought it would. Yes, my standards are high.

Oh, and shame shame SHAME on him for knocking down the protective railing on that ledge. A bear could get hurt falling off that thing.

Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything…

*ahem*

First order of business, I promised Liore I’d talk about it, is our crazy plan for the ZOMG trash leading to 25-man XT-002 Deconstructor. This plan, once laid out, was dubbed “So Crazy It Just Might Work.™”

What this involves is stationing your entire raid minus hunters and one healer (we drafted two, just in case, but one is only really needed) inside Razorscale’s room. I love that handy circle on the floor. When I say “get in the circle” and someone is standing outside the circle it’s easy to say “Hey you, Raider X, GET IN THE CIRLCE!”

Except I don’t yell.

So, we’ve positioned our raiders in the circle (get back in the circle), hunters are stationed in the hallway, healer has been glued to our side and we’re ready to rock. Send one sacraficial lamb hunter after the trash and make sure he misdirects it to you (the tank). Ideally he’ll shoot at one of the bots that shoots FREAKING SAWBLADES because you want to kill them first.

You might want to mark a kill order before you do this.

So, sawblade-bot has been misdirected to the tank, the trash is now thoroughly pissed off and comin’ for you. If you’ve got other hunters have them drop freezey traps. You want to kite the mobs into Razorscale’s room where your stationed raiders (Get back in the circle! No, back back I say!) will start to pick them off, hopefully in your designated kill order.

Now, if you’ve gotten this far, and haven’t attacked the Technicians (those little clockwork gnome guys that like to kick you in the shins and make those obnoxious defense matricies) DID NOT FOLLOW. As long as you don’t attack them as they’re pulled they’ll get hung up on the door and stand there patiently awwaiting annihilation while you run amok on all their friends down the hall.

It’s fast, simple, sometimes messey, and leaves me feeling curiously dirty. But I’ll be damned if it doesn’t get the job done.

Second order of business, I got to help kill Razorscale and XT-002 Deconstructor last night. We took a few stabs at Kologarn, and kamikazee’d in to see the Assembly of Iron. (bad runes are bad)

The OTHER half of the raid killed Razorscale, XT-002, Kologarn, Auriaya, and Freya.

/jealousyfit

I’ll get over it.

Trial By Fire

First of all, a message to Blizzard:

Thank you. I don’t know if it was just the rolling restarts you performed yesterday morning or if you did more tinkering behind the scenes. Whatever it was, the Ulduar situation on Hydraxis is fixed and we had a wonderful time playing around in there last night. So, with great appreciation, thank you.

Finally, we got to go to Ulduar!

And I acted as raid lead…. sorta. Man though, this shiz is hard! I mean, I knew raid leading was going to be difficult, but I didn’t quite expect the amount of stress I experienced… And we haven’t even hit the brick wall yet!

No, this point has NOT been reached.

No, this point has NOT been reached.

The raid did FANTASTICALLY last night. Everyone took direction well, everyone was eager and willing to help, the other officers were behind me 100% of the way. I think I’m just nervous.

PS – Motorbikes are fun. I don’t want to drive anything else.

I Pity The Fools

Just in time for 3.1, <Unemployed> has chosen its new Whipping boy raid leader! I’ll say first that it wasn’t the person I had put my money on (I don’t even know if he applied).

Who was the poor sap who got roped into this gruelling and likely thankless position?

Why… ’twas moi!

I’m not exactly sure what to write about, actually. I remember when I started this blog last summer. I remember talking about my first trials in tanking, the first time I was asked to lead Karazhan.

I remember being terrified.

Since then I’ve seen what raids can feel like both when the leader is pushing forward, making decicive decisions and also when there is little or no leadership and the group is floundering for direction, and everywhere in-between.

I’ve learned that the guiding hand doesn’t necessarily have to have all the answers, but someone DOES need to be in the driver’s seat to keep things moving. The moments before a boss pull are not the time to discuss the merits of various boss strategies and exercise democracy. In the middle of a fight there’s no room for indecision.

If a raid leader makes a bad call that ends in death, then there is time post-mortem to assess the damage and work towards not repeating the mistake. I believe the hallmark of a good raid leader is the ability to admit fault.

I was in a raid once back in BC. We were raiding Karazhan and attempting to take down the Curator. We got to the last 15% and the raid lead called out all in, and told us to ignore the few sparks still left up and wandering around.

Can you guess what happened?

Of course, we wiped, but it wasn’t the wipe that made him a bad raid leader. When we all got back he began screaming over ventrilo at the DPS. “Lowest DPS leaves!” is what he said. Never once did he admit he made a bad call, never once did he acknowledge that if we’d taken the extra few seconds to kill those sparks we would have had a dead curator instead of a dead raid.

It’s no coincidence that I found myself <Unemployed> soon after this happened.

What I found there was a leading style that, while firm, was also fair. Honest mistakes were allowed and it was understood that everyone needed a chance to learn.

Now, the grand adventure is upon us. Together we are about to venture into Ulduar. The instance is new and unknown. Yes, there are already boss strategy guides up online, but none of us have actually seen the encounters, and this week at least we will be mostly hands-off, eschewing micro-management in celebration of the thrill of discovery and the joys that come with being able to solve problems on the fly.

As a raid lead I will read the strategies, but I don’t think I will attempt to micro-manage (well, maybe a little with vehicle assignments). But we’ll be doing these bosses first on normal mode.

Normal mode is very forgiving of mistakes. We will have the luxury of learning on the fly and correcting things as we go. This is leadership I think I can do, a kind of easing into the role.

I love this guild, and I love the people in it, and I applied to be an officer because I knew that (with the support of the other officers when it came time to trouble-shooting) I was capable of being the pace car, of making the calls and keeping things moving and that, fundamentally, is the base value of a raid leader.

I lack an exhaustive knowledge of lots of classes, and I didn’t know how well an arms warrior would synergise with a feral until just a couple of weeks ago. I’m not the kind of leader that has all the answers.

However, I know where to get them, and I won’t lead you in circles if I don’t have the answer to the question you’re asking. That’s the best I can do right now, but I actually do think it will be enough :)

On another note:

It’s a curious thing about failure. Sarth 3D remaining unkilled taunts me. I feel defeated, angry, and frustrated. I wait to rail at Blizard for dropping the patch today. I’m convinced that with one more week we would have had it.

But this failure has done a curious thing. I feel galvanized. I’m more determined than every to not let these achievements slip away and I’m sure there are more in the guild who are minded like me.

As we head into Ulduar we are going to push Achievements much more agressively than we did with Naxxramas. Bosses will only be on ‘farm’ when we are consistently downing them with the appropriate achievements.

It’s a brave new world out there and I have every confidence that <Unemployed> has the willpower, fortitude, and general chutzpah required to give these new challenges what for!

Leatherworking & Fire-Retardant Fur

So, this weekend I finally took the plunge. With our fearless leader (and dedicated Sarth tank) suffering a massive case of burn-out, someone has to step up to the plate and stare that dragon right in the eye.

Those eyes that are just beyond the long spikey snout filled with sharp jaggey teeth from which spews a VERY painful gout of flame.

Ya know what?

Fur is flammable.

But thanks to Kalon, bears have a resource to consult to help make flaming fur nothing more than a bad dream.

I finally took the time to get my feral goodies in order and construct an actual Stamina/Fire Resist set. It looks very goofy, but I’ll be damned if I’m not rocking 39.7k health unbuffed.

The majority of my weekend was actually spent knocking out quests in Icecrown. See, I needed the Pattern: Fur Lining – Fire Resist, and my drug dealer potion person needed the Recipe: Mighty Fire-Protection Potion. (That I would use in conjucntion with a Nightmare Seed to stay alive) I found that, conveniently, they both dropped from the same mob.

So, priest-man and I grouped up to go out together and farm for this shiz. I was dismayed by the miniscule drop rate listed on WoWHead and had prepared myself to withstand gruelling hours killing mobs over and over, spamming swipe until my face fell off.

We got to the same place and can you guess what we found? Phasing had come and whapped us upside the head. He had completed all of Icecrown. I had barely touched it. That’s right, we couldn’t farm together. So, he bid me adieu and I set out to grinding through (almost) all of Icecrown’s quests. I’m pretty sure that I did over 50 this weekend (and netted myself at least 2k gold in the process)

Now that THAT was out of the way, by this time it was getting late on Sunday and we hunkered down to start farming. Click through and read some of the comments about those Skeletal Runesmiths. The vendor trash was removed, they were only dropping money. What about my pattern? What about the recipe? Were they also removed? None of the comments indicated this, nothing I could find anywhere could tell me one way or another.

So we farmed without knowing if our efforts would ever bear fruit.

Then, about thirty minutes after we’d started a blip of blue popped up in a roll box. It was my fur lining pattern! Hooray hooray oh happy day! I eagerly slammed down a NEED roll and then trained that sucker straight away.

We farmed for maybe 20 minutes more when priest-man called a halt. He’d dug through his alchemy tab and discovered that, whoops, he already had the Mighty Fire Protection Potion. Well, no harm no foul. I had everything I needed!

As of this week, I am ready to tackle that dragon!

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