Thursday, June 24, 2010

The (Heroic) Lower Spire

Last night we made our way in for a couple of hour of work in the Heroic mode bosses of the lower spire. We were running one person short and a friend graciously stepped in to save our skins.

3-shot. Mostly because I was trying to work out a 3-point ping-pong strategy till someone mentioned that he only targets the farthest character so we started to have our OT run out to range with 10 seconds to go on Bone Storm and then I split out to the opposite end of the room just as he cast, so he spent the whole time ping-ponging between us. 1-shot with that positioning. Easy mode.

Lady Deathwhisper
2-shot. Once we figured out that the adds needed a LOT more attention in phase 1 and to stay away from Dark Martyrdom, phase 1 cleaned up and phase 2 was just a matter of DPS switching off to kill adds while tanks tried desperately to build threat with stacks of Touch. Not too hard, and we were miles away from the enrage timer with three healers. Not as easy as Marrowgar but easy enough.

What is this I don't even.

Deathbringer Sourfang
This is actually the first challenging fight. Our first two attempts were really sloppy and he built Blood Power way too fast. After we cleaned tank taunts and adds up, we started running into deaths right about the 3rd mark popping up. We would have the boss around 15% when the third mark went out and that'd be too much for two healers to handle, we'd loose a mark and it was essentially a wipe. The best we got him down to was around 12 - 11%.

How to fix this? Well, I have a couple of ideas. For some raeson we had melee running out to blood boil to avoid extra ticks on the AoE splash. "But wait," you say, "Blood Boil doesn't splash, only Blood Nova, and that's not a DoT!"

To you I say, "Where were you last night?!"

I don't know what I was thinking. And no one corrected me. Anyway, we'll clear that up. Also, I think we'll just have to hope RNG plays well, and we get at least one mark off on a healer so we can start chain-HoPing them (we havea a couple of paladins) sub 30% to minimize the amount of BP he gains. We had a minute and a few seconds on the enrage when we got him to 12% so I think maybe we can afford to do it with three healers?

We have some options and when I suggested a normal mode kill last night just to get on to a few easier bosses, the raid revolted.

I love my little turtles.

In other news, can ICC PLEASE stop dropping mail shit that goes to OS? PLEASE?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Hardest Raid Boss Of All

Last night we were all ready to go and girded our loins and sniffed like Rocky just before a fight, I had even spent a little bit of time in the cold box with a side of beef, myself, and I know our Philadelphia folks had run up the stairs of that building and posed beneath the statue of the Italian Stallion.

But all our preparation was for naught, and we were felled, defeated, unable to progress. Our nemesis was invulnerable to our taunts, his damage unhealable, his resistance too high for our casters to pierce, his armor too tough for our melee to pierce.

It was the Patch Day Boss.

Our server didn't come up till 9:40 EST which is an hour and forty minutes in to our three hour raid slot. Alas, alas, by then, most folks had logged off of vent, and a few were still having trouble even connecting to the game.

So, another night fell by the wayside, to a beast that has managed to hold back raids for years and, is as of yet, unconquered.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

After the Lich King

This is the hard part, isn't it?

Right after the end boss is dead, right before a new keep-'em-busy raid is released, trying to motivate and encourage people to come for raid progression into hard modes. Tonight is the first night of our steps into Hard Modes so we'll see how it goes.

My expectations are modest so we'll see what we can accomplish, but tonight will also be a test of our perseverance and tenacity. Can we continue to run face first into walls on fights that we've cleared with our eyes closed on heroic and succeed or will someone just whine for us to "switch to normal mode already."

Thankfully, Blizzard has added the Vanquisher mounts as motivation to keep doing hard modes, not to mention the fact that some of the 10-man heroic loot is BIS outside of 25-man Hard Modes. But really, loot is a weak excuse right now.

We're expecting some sort of loot reset at the start of Cata so who knows how quickly we'll be dropping out 264/277 level gear? Will we be seeing so much stamina and strenght on gear that no longer has to pay points out of its budget to the old stats, that the old gear just evaporates? Or will they upgrade our ICC gear to be so awesome that we can walk into Cata Heroics with it?

I'm hoping to be successful tonight and use that momentum to push my guys to get to 9/12 in a couple of weeks. If we can get there without too much nonsense, then I think we can knuckle down and focus on Putricide and Sindragosa on heroic and once we get through that nonsense, I'll just have to push push push the raid towards H:LK.

Hopefully the progression will keep up and we'll see raid attendance regularly fill up until the eve of 4.0. I don't want to stop raiding - for one, I'm enjoying the game a lot at this level, and am looking forward to old bosses with new twists, but also, if we loose focus I think we'll spend a lot of time getting it back in Cata. I know we'll miss a month of raiding as people level and gear up so I don't want to add any more to that missed time than absolutely necessary.

But all of that is months away.

Wish us luck tonight as we face down Heroic Marrowar. :-)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Le Roi Est Mort

It's good to be the King(slayer). Here's how we got there (not the actual strat, our phase 3 was still pretty messy and I want to clean it up before I post a strategy.)

With our second extension, we walked up to the Frozen Throne.

For the first time, we had a full guild run, on a fresh night with our three best healers, two tanks who knew the fight well, three ranged DPS pushing 9k on stand'n'cast fights and two melee DPS, only one of whom was here for the first time.

I was feeling good about it.

We spent 15 minutes talking about the whole fight, and then pulled. Phase 1: easy. Phase 2: just about perfect. We have a valk spawn just at transition and pick up a healer, the healer drops due to being in the AoE as the Valk slowly flew out and we started loosing people in the transition as tanks failed to pick up the adds fast enough and we hit Phase 3 down three or four folks and then exploded.

At that point, my feeling good went up to, "The cat's in the bag."

Every attempt there after was cleaner, and cleaner and we got to Phase 3 every single time. An hour in, on our fourth or fifth attempt, we wiped in Phase 2 for the first time due to a messy Defile and I called a 10 minute bio/walk/afk break, took a much needed stretch, walked about the apartment, and then when I sat down again, I broke down how to go from Phase 2 into transition - we stop at 43%, wait for the next Valk, kill it, move to the edge, and transition.

Bang. Phase 2 transition with no deaths, very clean. We pop hero, tanks grab the adds, DPS burns like crazy the phase transition goes perfectly and we hit phase 3 with only one spirit up and no deaths.

Lichy starts casting Soul Siphon on our ranged over and over which gibs us a bit on Vile Spirits but we manage. Defile dodging in Phase 3 is a piece of cake. His health plummets pretty fast - 40% gets to 30% and then sinks to 20% and suddenly Hammer of Wrath lights up before I realize it... and then inexplicably healers start to OOM.

We start loosing people in Frostmourn. Tanks start chaining CDs as he starts to soft-enrage and suddenly we loose our OT and I realize it's down to me, two healers and one DPS.

Behind LK I see our Holy Priest blossom into an angel and LK starts to cast Vile Spirits. 11%. With DP on CD, I pop wings, pop trinkets, and call for everyone to start DPSing, healers too. 11% dissolves to 10%, then painfully crawls down, 10.8%, 10.7%, 10.6%. The spirits are starting to come down and I'm out of CDs. 10.5%

Raid chat is going nuts. Vent starts going crazy.

I move him away from the spirits. 10.5%. 10.4%. My brain tells me to watch for any CDs, my finger hovers over Holy Wrath to hold off the Vile Spirits for another second when BANG. I'm dead.

0.4% to go? Really? What? How? We had ages to go on Enrage, I had AD up still, what happened? My heart sinks.

But then I realize he hasn't despawned and someone on Vent is screaming "We did it!"

I look up from a frantic scan of combat log and see him start his monologue - " No question remains unanswered. No doubts linger..."

Vent. Explodes.

After much squealing, /hi5ing and so forth, we collect loot, and with an hour and change left on our raid timer, we go do the weekly, try to pull the entire first room in Military Quarter and... because I forgot to rebuff RF after the rez, we then wipe on Naxx trash.

It's good to be brought back down to earth sometimes.

To make up for it, two days later, we decided to go in on our second raid night of the week and delivered what I had been promising the guild once we cleared through Lich King - an Algalon kill.

Half the raid had never seen him. First attempt was great but our Starkiller DC'd. Second attempt, he DC's again, I ask our lovely Elemental Shaman to switch to kill stars, but we still wipe to enrage at 5%. We swap out our DCing Boomkin from Australia for another healer, switch a healer out to shadow to kill stars, and then bang, down goes Algalon with a good 40+ seconds on the enrage.

After Lich King, the Algalon fight seems ridiculously easy.

We preened around Dalaran for a while with our second set of shiny new titles (Starcaller) and then went back in to Ulda and cleared all the way down to Yogg, doing a handful of hard modes along the way, and as it was an hour over raid time at that point, we called it after a messy swipe at Yogg with Freya down as our Keeper to guard our Sanity.

A bunch of us are one achievement away the Rusted Protdrake (One Light, wouldn't you know it)so maybe we'll knock that out one of these nights.

I'm very pleased with the way things are with the guild right now. I'd love to continue this sort of progression for the next few weeks in ICC Hard Modes and hopefully we'll see 3.3.5 on live servers in a couple weeks, and that will carry us through to Cataclysm.

My goal for the day Cataclysm drops?

Hover over the gates of Stormwind on a Bloodbathed Vanquisher with a Bane of the Fallen King title.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Not much more to say tonight, but I will write up my impressions and aftermath later.

Suffice it to say, I sleep the sleep of the just tonight. :)