Archive for January, 2009

The Kittens of Prophecy

Although <Unemployed> hasn’t quite gotten superstitious enough to depend on good-luck charms while raiding, I’m fairly certain that our Raid leader and I are convinced that our kittens are posessed of magical powers.

What are these magical powers?

Why, they sit on our laps (or in my drawer), purring contentedly. Their contented purrs cause disruptions in the nether that reaches out into the interwebz, granting our raids fantastical (and officially undocumented) buffs, allowing us to complete feats of strength, granting us amazing prowess!

Oh yeah, you heard me correct.

Last night, first we killed Sartharion… PLUS ONE! (with no thanks to me and my inexplicable lag/disconnecting)

Then… THEN we went to go whup up on Kel’Thuzad. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it’d be.

Due to his antics on Tuesday we only had 3 tanks. He cannot be killed with less than three. I mean, I’m sure that, in a pinch, one tank could manage all 4 adds if KT were DPSd down crazy-go-fast and none of the healers got ice-blocked or mind-controlled and everybody stayed alive and and and…

Yeah, you need 3 tanks.

Problem was, my connection couldn’t be trusted. SOMETHING was going on. Atrides and I were getting horrendous lag spikes and disconnects, but our status on ventrilo was just fine. I re-booted my computer, turned off all my addons (I think I’m addicted to IceHud… srsly going through withdrawls here), he re-set the router, then he re-set the modem and I rebooted AGAIN and all of this helped

But it wasn’t until Nibbles came and sat in my drawer, and Silverlake curled up in Mel’s lap and together, with their magical nether-vibrating purring, that I was able to stay connected and stable enough to allow us to kill Kel’Thuzad.

Ok, now, I know I’m being very ego-centric here, painting everything as my doing. This really really was a guild effort. We learned that you absolutely CANNOT cast any AOE (or hunter pets!) at the banshees or you’ll aggro the abominations and skeletons behind them. The first time the tanking team picked them up and we were able to kill them, the second time they killed three people before they were brought under control, and the third time was similar to the first, except all three times it happened it set us back far enough that we never really managed to recover.

The fight, each time, I finally got the feeling that everybody was bringing their A game. This was an actual battle. Every attempt battle-rezzes were tossed out, healers struggled, DPS got frost-nova’d and mind-controlled.

During phase 2, I spent my time staying AWAY from everybody else, tossing Faerie Fires on the boss every now and then, Cycloning my mind-controlled teammates, and generally making sure that I survived (and stayed connected!) so that I could do my job in phase three.

My job in phase three btw was to soak up massive amounts of physical damage and not get myself 1-shotted be the evil red circle of doom. THAT is something that I, as a bear, am very, very good at.

Ohyeah, you wanna beat on my face? BEAT ON MY FREAKIN’ FACE! I ain’t goin’ NOWHERE BOY!

/flex

*ahem*

Yea, we killed Kel’Thuzad….

/more /flexing

Dear Mr. Kel’Thuzad

That was a dirty trick you pulled last night.

What am I talking about? Oh, how does mind-controlling a Healer-Tank Combo, formenting drama about one measly piece of loot, and leading them to /gquit right before we pulled Thaddius sound?

No? Doesn’t ring any bells?

Well, your tactics didn’t save Thaddius, and they sure as hell didn’t save Sapphiron, and tonight? Oh yeah, that’s right buddy, come tonight it DEFINITELY won’t save you. If you thought facing us after we’ve been battling Patchwerk, Grobbulous, Gluth, Thaddius, and Sapphiron would be bad, just wait until you face us down when we’re fresh!

Oh yea KT, buddy, I’m givin’ you a number, and takin’ away your loot.

——————————

A’la LotP, BBB, and many others…. Well…

See, every now and then, whenever I speak over Vent there can be heard some soft, contented purring.

About the purring…. (click to see full image)

Photobucket

You’ll notice that my play-space is crazy-messy. You’ll also notice my clever placement of text over the most offensive bits of mess that I wasn’t able to crop out.

Here’s the specifics:

Left of the computer and partly off-screen are a printer/scanner combo that was a Christmas present in my college days. It’s being stylishly fronted by a steadily growing horde of empty A&W Root Beer Float bottles. The greenish glass actually has water and NOT gin (though I’m sure my guild doesn’t believe me). The glass behind it had milk in it 2-3 days ago. Behind that is a bottle-opener because I’m a wenie and sometimes can’t open the aformentioned root beer bottles (crazy metal screw-caps)

Moving onto the right you have my beast of a laptop, Alienware, clad in stylish green (my favorite color) upon which I promptly spilled milk, rendering the built-in keyboard useless, hence the parasite-like addition on top. The casing of the laptop sports trendy stickers, supporting mass-hysteria and awesome webcomics.

Tucked behind and to the right of the laptop is a 40G firelite portable hard drive that’s been with me since my third quarter in college, once again a Christmas present, this time begged for after I discovered the disturbing ease with which Zip drives will corrupt (and I was sick of swimming in CDs).

To the right of THAT we have my second monitor. It came with my second computer (a birthday present to replace the computer I got as a Christmas present that promptly broke). You’ll notice the casing is having issues along the top. I dropped it as I was setting up for my senior portfolio show.

The mousepad is one of those awesome gaming ones that’s backed with steel and a snazzy no-skid surface on the bottom. The mouse is a cheapie little wireless Logitech I picked up at Wal-Mart for a song. The remnants of dinner and more dirty dishes are on the right.

To the right of THAT (and offscreen) is a VHS/DVD rack-turned-bookcase that also has some games and DVDs on it. The furniture is older than me, it was my childhood furniture and before that it was my mother’s childhood furniture and…

oh yeah, front and center, being disgruntled because I nad the nerve to stand up, is our Lucky Boss-Killing Kitten who frequently graces all of Vent with Victory-Purrs.

Atrides’ sister brought him to us this past fall. He was nothing but skin and bones, still had that newborn-kitten look to him, his eyes were crusted shut and someone had chopped his whiskers off. Poor guy. He’s very grateful though, and he’s not happy unless he’s right THERE with one of us (usually me). That is now the dedicated kitty drawer for when he just has to be in my lap when I’m raiding.

Oh, PS ~ his name is Nibbles, isn’t he just adorable? (Yes, I also have 2 other cats, but they aren’t nearly as needy)

Night and Day

So, last night was Tuesday. Do we know what that means?

Raid Night!

So, here it is, coming to you direct from the Bearcatlol’s mouth, the state of raiding post 3.0.8a….

Drumroll please….

…….

……

…..

..

.

wowscrnshot_012709_202517-copy

Baby, <Unemployed> can DANCE!

All told, by the time we called it a night we’d taken down Spider, Plague, and Military wings. One-shots all around except for Noth and 4-Horsemen.

Our de-cursers got a good idea of what happens if Noth’s curse ever gets a chance to turn into a disease, and our healers were reminded of the importance of sticking to their tanks like glue during Kor’Thazz switches. Our MT died not once, but TWICE on our first attempt of the 4-horsemen and even with that we were so close to getting the first pair down it was sick. Second shot at him was one death shy of flawless.

The very most important thing that happened last night though, was everybody had FUN! No crushing lag, no frustrating disconnects that would leave you staring at a loading screen just long enough to come back dead…. no, nothing like that, just pure, sweet, unadulterated, FUN playtime.

Thank you blizzard, for finally getting this fixed.

I do want to mention that we did have some disconnections, but I think those were due to issues on the players’ side of things as opposed to massive server instability.

Last night, I had so much fun, when were done I was unusually jazzed up. We call our raids at 10pm and that’s definitely my bed-time. Not last night though. I was puttering around buying gems and upgrades, getting my new armor pieces into tip-top shape, when some of my guildies were trying to get to the ancestor within Gundrak.

That particular elder has to be found on Heroic difficulty because he’s down in Eck’s chamber. Well, they didn’t have a tank. So, I volunteered to go in there and help them take out the Mammoth boss and then I hopped out so everybody could have a turn.

After that one of the members said goodbye to go on an Ironforge raid.

Wait… raiding IF? I want IN on this!

So, I /w the leader asking if he had room for another tank and recieved an excited “Yes!” Invites passed around and we started fleshing out the raid. Leadership this time around was MUCH better than the War Bear raid I was in over the weekend. We smuggled some Warlocks into the tram and hid out at the first ‘stop’ area from IF.  Soon enough, summons were being passed around and when we got in there we even managed to get fuly raid buffed!

I don’t know if the other tanks were upset, but as soon as they saw my 42k health guess who was asked to Main Tank?

Oh yeah… /flex… give me a moment while I savor this (again)

Anyway, the King of Ironforge is no Varian Wrynn (did I spell that right? I didn’t see much of him, he was just a red splatter on the floor *shifty eyes*)

Nope, IF-man is a bit trickier to fight. He does a knock-back to everyone in a 5-10 meter radius that also shatters his aggro table. This was mostly no problem for me. I’d get knocked back, charge and then growl and I’d be back in business.

Once, however, at around 30%, he resisted my growl. Now, that wouldn’t normally be too much of a problem, except he had aggroed onto Kou, a hunter. Said hunter had been knocked up onto the ledge running along the inside of his chamber.

What came next?

evade

evade

evade

evade

100% health…

SHIT!

By this time Allies were getting wise to what we were up to. They were pouring through in droves, half the raid was dead. Our raid leader was quick on his feet though. He’d instructed people to stay dead, not release, well not anymore.

RUN BACK TO YOUR BODIES! REZ, GET IN HERE!

And so we killed him again!

Damn was that fun 😀 Now I’ve only got Darnassus and the Exodar left for my [For the Horde!] achievement. Those places aren’t nearly as well-defended as Ironforge, although I’m not really sure where the leaders are… this will require some covert operations…

Pantherfeet go!

BTW, I’m Freaking Crazy

This is the kind of thing I think about when I’m not pondering WoW.

chickens

Maybe I’ll be able to teach them how to DPS?

Moroccan Lamb

SAC’s guide to a grumpy Tiger:

  1. Flood her with tells as soon as she logs on, 30 minutes before invite-time and 1 hour before raid-start time asking what the status of the raid is.
  2. Do not post begged-for Moroccan Lamb recipe.
  3. Make her loot master.
  4. Make her put together the raid.
  5. When raid finally is getting put together tell her to LEAVE because you want a fresh Naxx instance.
  6. Do not post begged-for Moroccan Lamb recipe.
  7. Tell the rest of the raid who was in Naxx on Friday to leave because you want a fresh Naxx instance.
  8. Whine about wanting a fresh Naxx instance on a Monday.
  9. Still do not post begged-for Moroccan Lamb recipe.
  10. Buy all the ground lamb from the local grocer so she can’t even have awesome-tacos.

Seriously though, who clears Naxx in 3 hours? I mean come on, of course we’re going to use Monday to clean up what we didn’t get to on Friday.

/grumpy mode off

I finally got a helm with a meta socket though!

It’s also guaranteed that I will never pronounce Sapphiron correctly. I keep wanting to say saffron, and while raiding the sexual organs of a flower rendered into spice-form would be cool, I don’t think we’re going to do it in Naxxramas.

From now on, whenever I have to be loot master I will ask all interested parties to post their current piece of gear to the raid. If more than one person is interested then they’ll all do a /roll to see who gets it. Unless someone has a blue and another has a purple, in that case… I mean come on, the poor guy’s lugging around a BLUE. I’m sure I could go as far as looking at item level, but I honestly don’t want to get that diddly with it. I HATE being loot master, the RNG will set me free.

<Unemployed> raids Las Vegas this weekend. I’m ignoring that fact though to stave off expected debilitating bouts of jealousy.

Even if it is on my birthday.

But I’m still waiting on that Moroccan Lamb recipe.

O Hai, I R Tank 2!

As the only Feral Druid in a guild on the small side of 25-man content, I often find myself in interesting and and sometimes /sigh-inducing situations. <Unemployed> has a team of tanks, and we are four members strong. We have myself, a Feral Druid, an Icey Death Knight, and two Protection Warriors. (We have a lot of paladins but they’re all healing-flavored)

As far as raw tanking goes I’m fairly certain that we’re all equally skilled and similarly geared. The playing field is not equal, however, when it comes to DPS.

There’s no contest, I’ve been told multiple times and seen too many charts to be able to say differently. Even as bear-spec, I can rip some face. Next up is our Death Knight. He’s no face-ripping kitty, but when he’s not tanking he can pull his weight as well. Our two warriors, predictably, are neck and neck as far as DPS goes. They’re also solidly at the bottom of the meters. That’s ok though, we’re tanks, we’re not paid to deal out massive amounts of large and sexy numbers. We’re paid to get hit in the face and not fall over, a job which all four of us complete quite adequately.

This interesting and /sigh-inducing situation I mentioned comes from the fact that we do field four tanks, that not all boss fights require four tanks, and of the four, I do the best at pumping out DPS.

My problem, is I’m finding myself falling into the trap of thinking that because I mostly tank Trash that, by proxy, it means I’m a trashy tank. The very adaptability that I love so much about being a druid has forced me into the role of the ultimate off-tank. If needed I can tank with the ‘big boys’ and stare down my snarling muzzle at a boss, but I often don’t because, if I did, it would mean one of our warriors is forced to DPS and the raid as a whole looses about 1,000 dps.

The name of the game is playing as a team, and a Feral’s role in the team is to be adaptable and take on whatever job needs done. We are support classes, always have been. When Blizzard told us that we would be viable main tanks there was outcry from the pure tanking classes. Since I can tank, and dps, and innervate, and battle rez why would you ever need to bring a Warrior?

Well, it’s because I can tank, and dps, and innervate, and battle rez. We can be main tanks, but we are uniquely qualified to fill in those holes that are left when you come to a boss fight that only needs 2-3 tanks in an instance where trash commonly requires 4. A feral allows a raid to bring along 4 tanks without loosing a dps slot.

Granted, I’ve never broken the 3k dps mark, but I do commonly break 2k, even as a bear. It’s not outstanding, but it’s servicable and I do my part.

What brought on this bout of introspection? I did some tanking this weekend. Actually, I did quite a bit of tanking this weekend.

I tanked:

Anub’Rekhan
Grand Widow Faerlina
Maexxna
Noth the Plaguebringer
Heigan the Unclean
Loatheb
Patchwerk (soak)
Omen
Stormwind Leader
Iron Forge Leader
And Lots of Heroics

On Friday we hit up Naxx-10 (an offnight raid). They needed another tank so I volunteered, then our previous main tank (one of our warriors) had some sort of catastrophic internet connectivity issues and couldn’t make it. We successfully twisted the arm of a Retribution Paladin, and soon had a prot pally to run along with us.

Here’s when something interesting happened. I flat out refused to be loot master. I hate the job and I hate making others unhappy, so I refused. Our mage (and raid group leader for the night) volunteered (I made him put the group together too, aren’t I lazy?). As things wore on though I noticed people were looking to me for leadership. Now, I knew these fights pretty well, and so did most everybody else, but I was the tank, and as tanking was my main spec, I was the most experienced tank.

And so, I found myself in a de-facto leadership position as well as Main Tank! Rest assured, that emo bear was not so emo and my tanking ego has been stroked.

I hung out around the spawn point for Omen, found a PuG pretty easily for him and guess who was voted main tank? Moi. Same deal when we got a 40-man raid going to get the War Bear achievement. One of our warriors was in there and he was going to be main tank, but he stepped aside and let me take the role instead. (and by we I mean a bunch of random Horde on Hydraxis)

It was great, felt great, and helped assure me that yes, I can play with the ‘big boys’, I just don’t because, as a Druid, I’m more valuable to my guild when I work in an offtank/DPS role. So this is me waving ‘bye-bye’ to the Off-Tank Blues.

What the HELL?

UPDATE

My esteemed guild leader just linked THIS to us in our shoutbox. It’s a spreadsheet detailing the worst (and least) affected realms. We are all the way at the bottom, under SEA (for seattle). I play on Hydraxis, which is on the Emberstorm battlegroup. It sucks, but it’s nice to see we’re not as alone as we feared.

UPDATE

I do read other blogs. I’m not living in a bubble here (any more so than necessary). However, a post over on Kestrel’s Aerie this morning just makes me want to scream.

Why?

Well, his guild cleared the Plague Wing and OS in one night. Now, that’s not breaking any speed records. I’m proud to say that <Unemployed> is quite capable of coing 2.5 wings in a night.

So, what’s got me all riled up? This sounds like a perfectly reasonable post about guild progression, and it is, except for one thing.

Kestrel only mentioned one disconnect.

One.

You know what we did last night?

We went to go take down the 4 horsemen. We had some trouble on trash early on because our DK tank forgot that due to a normilization to his Icebound Fortitude he was no longer invincible. Then we went to take out the big boys. We’ve done this before on 10 and 25-man. We KNOW this fight, we know it so well we’ve chomped it down, moved in, met its parents, had its babies and taken all kinds of advantage of it in divorce court.

4 Horsemen? We own you.

Can you guess why then, after only two attempts last night (We’ve been known to attempt bosses upwards of 13 times) we moved on to OS for some easy epix?

We tried twice, and BOTH times

without fail

within ten seconds of engaging the boss someone would disconnect, then one more, then another, and another

and another

until half the raid was gone

and everyone was dead.

Within the first ten seconds of pulling the bosses.

That’s pretty much how it’s been for us all week by the way, and I’ve kept my cool and kept my cheer all through it. But I had a rough day yesterday, I don’t know, maybe just troublesome girl hormones but I wasn’t at my best. Hell, even Mel tried cheering me up with virtual offerings of gin and wasabi-soy-coated almonds.

I am so freaking sick of this. We’re a GOOD guild with GOOD players and GOOD strats. Now, however, we’re stuck on Naxx missing 3 bosses. We’re stuck on OS with no drakes, attempting to do it with one drake and, while making progress, still getting owned by lag and disconnects.

Oh, did you know that even if your fps drops below 2 blizzard will still say you’re getting at least 2 fps? Yeah. OS last night? I had 4 spf. That’s not sunblock. That’s 4 SECONDS per FRAME.

I counted.

In closing I do want to say that I’m not mad at Kestrel, I’m just frustrated with our ‘luck’ in raiding. I don’t see anybody else really talking about this and it doesn’t sound like anybody’s got the extreme problems we do.

I feel frustrated, and alone, and picked on, and I HATE it.

PS : my feed tracker is still messed up, and that pisses me off too 😦