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Archive for the ‘Raid’ Category

I figured I was about as ready as anyone, coming up on 4.0.1. I’d read Lissana’s guide, Keeva’s guide, and about a thousand other sources. I knew what gear changes I’d need, what spells to re-map, and of course, what mastery was going to do for me.

What I didn’t know was how things were going to feel. Would I feel like the competent protector-of-health-bars that I did pre-patch? When I went into ICC, would I be contributing or a drag on the other healers?

After the patch I logged in, got my interface working (and was once again thankful for Vuhdo; the patch day update worked flawlessly) and assessed things. Three pieces of cloth gear that needed to go. The belt was easy, the bracers more of a challenge – I’ve had terrible bracer luck – and the hat?  My precious ilvl 277 cloth hat that I’d gotten from a Heroic Gunship on 25? What was I supposed to do there? Well, I’d leave it for later.

The first time I tried to heal anything, I got Reversion to queue up with me. We got Oculus – and I crashed, restarted, crashed again, restarted, crashed  – finally gave up and went away. (Interestingly, Reversion and Karius went on to three man Oculus with some random DPSer. Apparently the healer was not necessary after all. And more interesting, when I logged in the next day, I was awarded Justice points for completing that place. Hmm).

Finally Saturday I got into some heroics. They went fine. I could keep people alive. Then, a guildie was getting a Ruby Sanctum attempt together. Well, I’d never been, so…

Wow, that place hits hard. We wiped a lot, but finally downed the three small bosses, and then died to Halion over and over again. Finally we called it. Right about then I was getting whispers from our raid leader, asking what I was doing that night. Well, nothing, but…

So he was in a regularly-run cross-group 25 man ICC that needed a tree healer. And since our Sunday group had a lockout where we’d cleared to LK, I could go 11/12 with the other group and not worry… probably. Did I want to come?

Well, sure. Let’s give it a try.

So there I was, and there we were. Two trees, two shaman, and a priest. A third resto druid who didn’t read the patch notes was locked out until Rotface. “We’ll five heal this” the raid leader decided. Then “And we’ll take Marrowgar on heroic”.

Gulp. I whisper my guildie, who promises to send me strats for any heroics, and we’re off. For the first trash fights, I’m trying hard to use what I think my “new” rotation should be: LB one tank, WG off cooldown, Swiftmend someone in melee to proc Efflorescence, and spot heal with Regrowth. Problem is, nobody’s staying damaged long enough for Regrowth to actually hit! By the time I’m done casting, someone else has healed. So I start dropping Rejuvs. The instant small heal is usually enough to get them fully up.

I sneak a glance at the meters. Holy cow! The Other Druid is doing 30% of the healing, I’m doing 20. Yeah, so the priest is a disc priest and Recount is bad at seeing shields… and we’re topping the overhealing meters too… but seriously, I’m feeling overpowered. The Other Druid’s rotation is almost entirely Rejuv and WG. I think I’m using Swiftmend more. Recount isn’t giving me any feel for my Efflorescence – it’s just not showing up at all.

So on Marrowgar, I go to the old strategy, Rejuvs everywhere, WG, and this time I use Swiftmend on myself because I’m good at standing in the knot of people, and Efflorescence can do its best.

Well, first time, we wipe.  I stupidly ran into a flame and didn’t get out in time, everyone was sloppy… yeah. We come back and try it again. I pop tree on the second bonestorm and run around, feeling immensely powerful and amazing. Marrowgar dies. Wow.

We proceed to steamroll the place. Well, there are some wipes on some of the heroic modes (We set Lootship, Rotface, BQL and I think Festergut to heroic. This group was not playing around). I’m going to ignore the specificc fights and focus on the details:

Your Old Rotation Still Works

With caveats: Lifebloom on only one person at a time, Regrowth is fast and Nourish is slow. Don’t bother using Nourish, or Healing Touch. Use Swiftmend, but try to use it on tanks/melee. Rejuv-spam is both possible and profitable. Note that this is in ICC, at level 80, with mana pools that don’t twitch. Once we have mana problems, it’s something else

Your New Shinies are New and Shiny

Efflorescence, I love you. You’re tied to my beloved Swiftmend, you are pretty and green and leafy. I just hope the DPS knows the difference between you and Deathwhisper’s DND.

Fast Regrowth, you sure pack a punch. I might miss my old buddy, Slow Keep The Tank Happy Regrowth, but your makeover was pretty nice and I welcome you to a more prominent mouse button.

Tranquility – I’ve always sort of loved you but previously we had to keep our friendship secret so my friends didn’t mock you. Sorry I specced away from the faster cooldown when I started raiding, but you just weren’t what I needed for cutting-edge content. Now that you’ll heal the people who actually need it? I think we’re going to spend a lot more time together.

Tree Form… I miss seeing you all the time. I think what we had was good. I hate this new long-distance relationship, but man, when you do visit, you make up for lost time! I’m sad and frantic and people are about to die and then suddenly it’s – “Oh, hi Tree! Missed you! Ok, while I’m running around like crazy, let’s Wild Growth like, the whole raid, and throw some instant cast Regrowths at the same time. K? K!”  I promise to get the glyph as soon as it’s available – sure, some druids are excited about switching for your bigger and more colorful cousin but my heart belongs to Wilted Broccoli.

I Still Feel Like A Druid

It’s still about the HOTs. I still need Vuhdo to show me all my little hot timers, I still use the same triage system.  “Druids take care of the ranged” is still an instruction I can handle. I love it. I was so worried about my beloved class – and at 85, who knows? But today at least, I still feel right.

 

This has gotten long enough, so I’ll save my “when will Tree Form save your butt” post for another time. Oh, and remember that epic cloth hat I was griping about having to replace at the start of this post? The 25 man I ran with did Rotface on heroic and I got the leather equivalent of that hat – ilvl 277 and just right for a resto druid. So then I grabbed the frost badge belt and a pair of nice pvp bracers, since I have lots of honor lying around, and by Sunday’s Lich King downing I was all leather all the time. 5% extra intellect is nothing to sneeze at.

And the spec I’m rocking is a little weird – I skip Nature’s Swiftness, actually, because I just wasn’t using that at all. When I start leveling I’ll probably go back and do something different again , but right now I wanted as many of the direct increases to healing talents as I could. Still, loving it!


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So last week we were invited to a ten man serious ICC raid by our new guild. A couple of their regulars kindly stepped out to give us a shot at the Lich King. We spent most of Monday evening dying to Defiles.

Last night we got back together and went back. With one major change: Reversion had brought his hunter the week before, but last night, a tank was missing, so he brought in the bear. I’d had a chance to heal the first 11/12 fights the night before on 25 man (the new lockout system is weird but hasn’t screwed me up… yet…) and so I was feeling confident in my druid-y healing power. Incidentally I have a post in the works about that too, but right now…

We got set up and started. First attempt, my face got eaten by a ghost of some sort. Raging Spirit, I guess. I didn’t even see it; my nameplates were buggy. I got Tidy Plates turned back on and that helped a lot.

We started getting cleanly into the second phase, and having bad Defile placement, or a stun not going off on a Valkyr, or just random bad luck. But I could see we were getting better. I was feeling more competent, even if I wasn’t entirely sure what my best healing strategy was.

Then, suddenly, we were transitioning to third phase and I realized I had no idea what to do. We died, I got clarification, we came, we tried again, we failed in second phase, we came again, we got into third phase  – but the raid was torn in two by a defile and we wiped.

Back again. First phase, perfect. Transition, good. Second phase – good! We were careful with defiles. Second transition – clean this time. Nobody died. (I asked us to switch to using Resist aura instead of Ret and it seemed to give a nice edge)

Then suddenly, Reversion gives an exclamation behind me. He just got pulled into the sword. I’m too busy healing to look, but  I hear him say “Oh crap, I pulled off the guy”. I guess you shouldn’t taunt the mob in there! [Correction: Reversion pulled off with straight threat, not a taunt. Sorry, I was healing and heard things wrong!] But he got the thing killed and was back outside. I was in a groove of healing at that point, coldn’t have told you what the Lich King’s health was at – and then suddenly I was dead. But everyone on Vent was screaming – wait, we were ALL dead! We’d done it! I hadn’t even realized it, but we’d done it!

Teranas rezzed us, and I moonfired-spammed the Lich King. Now that was fun.

And then, he was dead.

A big thanks to the guildies. We’re so glad we transferred! Kalyon was the other tank, and the whole team was great.

So where do we go from here? Mostly depends on the guild’s needs. We loved raiding with this particular group, and the schedule worked great for us, and we’d love to stick with them but we know that their needs might not include us. We’ll see. In Cataclysm, we want to raid, and personally I like 10 man size better. There are just fewer headaches.

But at least this expansion, I feel like we “won”. We got Arthas down before Deathwing replaced him as the Big Bad. Months behind, yes, but….

We did it together!

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Start the weekend with a 25 man raid on ICC on Friday night with the guild. End it 48 hours later in a ten man. In between?

I had one weekend goal: to get my various collection of badges and stone keeper’s shards turned into heirlooms before the patch hit and the cost was prohibitive. Problem 1: I don’t know what my worgen is going to be. Goblin will be a shaman, but worgen? No idea.

Problem 2: turning in my stone keeper shards (over 500 on each of my two characters) requires us to win Wintergrasp. Which isn’t something you can count on….

Saturday morning Reversion wakes me up to tell me we own WG for the next 12 minutes so I should get it done now. I hop out of bed, grab the mage, buy some shoulders, grab the tree, buy the rest of the shoulders and the caster staff. I’m pretty sure whatever I roll will be  a caster, so I decide to get the cloth, leather, and mail caster gear. Ok, so if I roll a hunter I’ll be sorry, but maybe I’ll keep that for later in the expansion.

That done, I decide to stick around and help defend WG. I guess the Horde were sleeping in, because we knocked down the southern towers, defended against both pushes the made, and kept the keep. Ok! So let’s grind enough badges to get the chest pieces to go with the shoulders. I needed about 40….

Reversion tanked, we grabbed some guildies, and were off on a whirlwind grinding session. Wheee! I  got most of the way to my goal before time to go get our traditional Saturday burrito lunch. Came back, joined with the guild to run the weekly raid – XT needed to die, and we were just the ones to do it.

Those raids are so fun with a vent full of cheerful people. I drove a demolisher (working toward the win-in-all-three-vehicles achievement) and we skipped from FL to XT. On the way to XT, I made too enthusiastic a gesture and my mouse flew off my desk and hit the floor. Hard. I picked it up. The cursor moved… but the buttons weren’t clicking any more.

I scrounged around and with Reversion’s help, got an old wired mouse plugged in before the pull. Ugh! Good thing I was healing easy content, because with no side buttons I was having to target and use keys to throw anything besides Rejuv. I’ve gotten so used to click casting….

So after XT died, I told Reversion we were going to Best Buy and we piled in the van for the trip. It’s a good half hour’s drive – along the coast, with the ocean  on one side and the bright blue sky overhead and the windows down. Worth the trip just for the driving.

And there we were at Best Buy, staring at gaming input devices. Mice, keyboards, keypads, weird combo items… I’m drooling over the Naga and the WoW gaming mouse, but I know they’re useless to me. You see, they’re right handed. So am I – but I mouse exclusively left handed. (Don’t ask). I need an ambidextrous mouse.

Turns out there is such a thing. I pull the SteelSeries Xai out of the box (don’t tell! I felt guilty doing it) and fell in love  almost at once. A little large for my hand but not unworkable. Two buttons on each side. The best feeling mouse I’ve ever set hands on…. mmm.

Reversion meanwhile was looking over mice too. He decided to try the WoW branded gaming mouse (he ended up taking it back and going with a different one for reasons I’ll let him explain himself). And then we stared at the keyboards…

They had a handful of “gaming” keyboards. One was just a normal keyboard but with glowing lights and a funky shape. But the Logitech one actually looked…. cool. There’s a bank of 18 keys (three groups of two rows of three keys) on the left, and you switch them between three modes to toggle different modes. We could see some immediate applications… and the little led screen at the top looked cool…

Long story short, we walked out of Best Buy with a new keyboard and mouse for each of us. We spent the trip back discussing how we’d set things up. Then we were really really good and did our yardwork :) while our new toys sat inside for us.

And then it was playtime! We’re planning a real in-depth post on it later, but basically we used Bartender to make the keybindings work. Now I can have my healing and utility spells in one bank; press the mode key and grab the buff/out of combat stuff spells.

I had to do a screwy work-around to get two of the buttons on my mouse to work right. I love this mouse, but unlike most smart mice it doesn’t have enough key-click options. Two of the mouse buttons are mapped to “tilt right” and “tilt left” which didn’t seem to do anything that I could read. So I mapped those buttons to F11 and F12 and then had those keys trigger mouseover macros for the spells I wanted. Result, the clicks work the way I want to and I can just hang my mouse over the Vuhdo frame and do anything I want.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon. Church over, it’s time for some laziness before the evening 10 man. Only I signed on and immediately got asked to a TOC25. What the heck, sure. Pop in,  beasts are dead, so we start on Jaraxxus. Get him done, get Faction Champs. Time for times. The raid leader is explaining the fight for those who don’t know or can’t remember, and there’s a few of those. Doing a good job of explaining to – and then a hunter pulls. Argh. We pick it up, we fight, a few people die, we get it under control and they drop. Loot gets handed out. The hunter who started the pull dc’s. Apparently he wanted the trinket, didn’t get it, and so was done. We make a try at Anub, bleeding puggers, and break up. It happens.

6 o’clock and time for the ten man. I’m excited. Analogue and Approximate (Reversion’s hunter) have been invited to an excellent ten man group that the guild runs. We’ve got an hour to get as far as we can before most of the raid goes to a 25 man continuation of a different guild’s run. We’ll do more Monday night. We get in, get pulling, and clear the first wing in 45 minutes. We thank them for the invite and go to make dinner. Reversion is playing Final Fantasy with the baby while I cook, when I hear voices in Vent in the next room. “Looks like they’re afk,” says the raid leader. I run back and there’s an invite on our screens. I accept and ask what’s going on. The 25 man didn’t happen so we’re getting back together.

8 o’clock, baby in bed and food eaten, we start again. We do Rotface on heroic – my first one that wasn’t lootship! We wiped once but it was fun. Other than making my fingers hurt from all the healing, it wasn’t too bad at all. We do Festergut normal since the weekly quest was Fester/Rot, and then try Putricide  on heroic twice before swapping back to normal and downing him.

Oh yeah- so we started Saurfang before we switched the difficulty back to normal, accidentally, and while we did switch the difficulty, he started with 100% blood power. So we did that whole fight with one mark out. Don’t try this at home, kiddies.

Anyhow. We were at quitting time but we decided to continue and knock out the blood wing. I hate the Princes fight. It’s just so much running around, trying to heal, trying to find the people who need heals… but they died. And so did the Queen, although we wiped on her the first time.

Tonight we’re going in, killing some dragons, and taking a long, hard look at Arthas. This group has all mostly killed him before and we’re thrilled to get the chance to try, alongside them. We transferred servers and guilds hoping for a chance to down Arthas before the expansion is over. It would make me really happy to do it tonight, the last time I can be a tree for the whole fight…

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Wait, I have a mage?

My mage, Invariant, was my first main. She’s been somewhat neglected in the last year, doing the holidays and grinding pets and other “fun” stuff but not getting much real playtime. I like healing too much, and raiding on two characters just wasn’t for me. So she’s mostly in TOC25 gear she bought on a GDKP (lucky run where all cloth dropped and nobody wanted it so I got it cheap)

We moved both our sets of 80s over to Winterhoof and into Crits and Giggles last weekend and since then I’ve raided three times – twice on my mage. Monday and Tuesday nights I took her to an ICC 10 man. The Monday night raid was awesome though we only downed  3 bosses – Reputation Grind wrote about that here. And last night we got 6 bosses down and some good tries on Putricide. It was late though and I had to quit. Morning comes too early these days…

Anyway it was neat. Arcane mage rotation is… nice and simple. I’ve macroed most of my cooldowns into one giant macro that I just pop every few minutes, otherwise it’s stack Arcane Blast to 4, wait for Arcane Missiles to proc, fire. Shoot a little on the run. Profit. My gear is weak but I was putting out a respectable amount of damage, which pleased me.

Being a healer has made me a better mage, no question. My situational awareness is way higher than it ever used to be. Get out of the fire? No problem. Stack for spores? No problem. Switch to bonespikes? Got it! I was really thrilled. It’s always nice when skills in one role translate into skills in another role.

And the fights – wow! You really see so much more of them when you’re not staring at healing frames. I’ve been running ICC for nearly a year now and there are things I’ve only just learned. Lady Deathwhisper’s adds, for instance, which ones a mage is supposed to hit. And how you can kill yourself if you shoot the wrong one (fully stacked Arcane Missiles spell reflected back = dead mage. Ow. True story). That the axe throwers on the ship get stronger if they’re not taken down. And just how pretty some of these fights are.

It’s not going to make me switch my preferred roles, but perhaps with the new tighter lockouts, Invariant will get more playtime. At the very least I feel like she’s got a new lease on life. Something beyond “pet collector” and “achievement monkey”.

So that said… where’s all the mage blogs at? Other than Frost is the New Black I just don’t know any….

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The PUG Wall?

Sorry, not much content this week. Reversion is out of town on business and I’m preparing to go out when he gets back, so not much blogging around here. Or WoW playing either: I logged on Monday but haven’t felt in the mood to play. When you always play with someone, it’s really quite boring when they’re not around.

Anyway. Last Friday night Rev and I joined a GDKP run with our pally and spare druid pair, both as healers. We didn’t have that much money but enough to make their time worthwhile. If you’ve got undergeared alts you can get some really good deals these days in GDKPs; chances are there are a lot of drops that very few people need, and we bought about seven things (mostly for Rev’s druid) at the minimum 1000 gold bid. When the party was over, we got almost all our money back; well geared, gold rich raiders along for that one trinket or token drop paid 7 or 8k for things and the pot got large.

I saw Blood Princes and the Queen for the second time and got to watch people doing things wrong on the Queen; we wiped twice and I learned some strategies. Funny how sometimes you only see how things are supposed to work when people don’t do them, or do them wrong, because then people explain WHY you were supposed to do it that way (ie, “first bite has to wait til almost the end of the time so that you don’t have to worry about the second bite going out during an air phase”)

And then on to Sindragosa, who I had not seen before. The spider trash was fun, I like waves of mobs coming at me. A lot of people in the raid hadn’t seen the fight so we got a detailed explanation, got started, and wiped. We came back, got all the way to phase two, and wiped. Came back, did better, wiped. Wiped and wiped and wiped. We were getting solidly into phase 3 and people were having trouble with frost tomb placement. Finally, we got to the last 14% – and someone dropped their ice tomb in the raid, froze us, and we wiped.

That person got kicked. I’m pretty sure he’d left a slime in melee during Putricide, and they had someone else begging to come for a chance at Sindragosa, so one more attempt – and this time everything went perfectly and she was down. It felt epic.

But that fight was hard, and really hard to communicate to a pug. I’ve never seen the LK fight but by reputation, it’s an order of magnitude harder to coordinate. Even with now a 30% buff, will a random pug be able to do it?

I don’t know, but I also still don’t think I can commit to a raid guild schedule. So I guess we’ll keep trying pugs. A ten man pug seems more doable.

And I suppose we can always come back at 85 and laugh in Arthas’s face.

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Monday night Rev and I log onto Argent Dawn to see what SAN is up to. There’s a few folk around, so we decide to re-attempt Blackwing Lair. Hairy and Daruma join, as do Missholloway, Rogerstring, our soulstone-slave Invariant (my RAF alt, on follow and not doing anything) and Norinka, a SAN druid who hadn’t joined us before.

First, we got attuned. We found the guy who drops the letter that starts the quest (that Jack built? wait…) outside of Blackrock Spire, cleared UBRS fast, and touched the orb behind the dragon boss there. Then we could use the orb outside the instance to get in BWL.

First boss was still dead from our weekend attempt so we went and faced down the corrupted red dragon, the one that dots you with a dot that kills you at the end. We had it carefully planned; Consolidate was Soulstoned and would Brez me, Norinka would Brez if she could, and we’d just burn him down.

We started. Daruma threw Heroism, I popped my wings, tanked, got dotted, died, got rezzed, re-taunted – and he dropped before too many more of us did.

Hilariously, Hairygiblets and Rogerstring still had the dot at the end. Five seconds later as we’re examining loot, they drop dead…

We continue upstairs and find a room full of pillars, whelps, and a slowing field. None of us knew what to do; a guildie who wasn’t there mentioned that a stealthed rogue could disable the field. Great! Except… we didn’t have a rogue. Oh well. We started wading through the room in slow motion, me trying to grab aggro, wishing paladins had a charge… Hand of Freedom wasn’t really helping (it didn’t remove the slow effect but would prevent one re-application sometimes)

Invariant, being low level, died from aoe or something. So did Rogerstring. I decided we should press on to the end, hope that killing the boss at the end would stop the field and let us get out of combat (the whelps just kept respawning) so we could rez. This is important.

The supressor whelp room is actually two floors. Invariant was dead on the first floor. The rest of us pressed slowly onward, like something from a bad horror movie. The kind with endlessly spawning whelps.

We found a boss, killed him. The field didn’t drop, but the room just past didn’t have it. I decided to start clearing trash while Consolidate slowly made his way down to get Invariant. At this point Consolidate was the only one healing. This is important too.

I pulled a few trash mobs, planning to kill them before they could kill me. It was working – until out of nowhere there’s a DRAGON in my FACE eating my SPLEEN. Through my face. Yeah. And he knocked me back into 9000 adds, who instantly start whacking me. I tried healing myself but kept getting interrupted. Most of us died right then. I sighed.

Consolidate was downstairs, and not dead, and I’m thinking he can rez me when I hear a “whoa!” behind me and turn to look at his screen. The dragon had just summoned him! We hadn’t known it would do that.

Long story short – we all ran back.

We again started clearing trash in the room and again the dragon appears, but this time we’re ready and take him down! Not that bad as long as there’s heals in the room.

More trash dies. Some of it was nasty, with lots of shadow bolts. Some of it resisted magical damage, ie Holy damage, ie there I was futilely throwing my abilities around and keeping aggro mostly by force of will. Fortunately we had a hunter, and when Norinka shifted to cat, things really died.

We moved into a big room – the whole place was very cool, lots of draconic experimental remains lying around – and see a dragon, some big dudes, and a dragon in the room that followed. Wise to their tricks, we killed the trash behind us, then pulled the dragon. Sure enough he knocked us around like crazy, but we prevailed!

By this time it was late, so we called it for the night, agreed to extend our lockout and finish up Tuesday.

Tuesday rolls around and so does patch 3.3.5. And the servers are DOWN! Sigh. Reversion and I are forced to spend quality time together, play with our daughter, go for ice cream… then, just at Nomster’s bedtime, the servers were up. Sort of. Once we got through, there was a number of SAN folk around so we re-grouped up, asked if anyone else wanted to finish the place, and started summoning.

Well, other people did want to come. They kept coming as we progressed, so here’s the final list:

Divergent – me – paladin
Consolidate – Reversion – druid
Hairygiblets – hunter
Daruma – shaman
Tasteless – druid
Shiftless- druid
Norinka – druid
Dropout – paladin
Edamaxim – dk
Enyss – druid
Vet – hunter
Missholloway – paladin
Rogerstring – shaman
Invariant – useless

(no order here, this is how they appeared in one screenshot I have)

So some subset of us kill that dragon we’d left alive the night before, then Chromagnus the penultimate boss, a two headed dragon-corehoundy-looking-thing. And there we were, on Nefarion’s balcony.

He didn’t look that impressive sitting on the throne, even if his head was on fire, but he was a real raid boss. Vet had lot of experience killing him and gave us a rundown – kill adds coming through the doors on phase one, take him by the balcony on phase 2, beware of “class calls” – incidentally, I was really impressed that they added a class call for DKs. That’s a nice touch. Most of us seriously overgeared the place and the class calls ended up not being an issue for anyone but the hunters who had to un-equip their bows or they’d get broken.

So we fought him. During part of it, Invariant died, and Nefarion called out the line I have as the title for the post, heh.

And then – he died.

SAN is hoping to go to Molten Core tonight. After that… who knows but we’re loving the old school raids as we wait to get enough 80s to do Ulduar and ICC. If you’re on an American server and this sounds fun, join us! Roll an alt or transfer and come play!

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Reversion and I spent most of the weekend raiding on our SAN alts (see previous post) and Sunday late afternoon logged into our somewhat neglected, well geared mains – the eponymous Analogue and Reversion. I was in the mood to run ICC 10 so I asked Reversion to scavenge us a raid while I played with the Nomster. She is better behaved for raiding if you wear her out first :)

Well he started asking in guild and lo and behold, a number of raiders had tertiary alts they wanted to get some badges on. Before we knew it, we had 9 of 10 slots filled. All we were missing was a second healer. Nobody in guild volunteered so we decided to pug it.

Reversion started asking, and got two nibbles; a druid who said he had experience healing tanks in raids, and a holy priest who was lightly geared. He asked me to decide, and I picked the holy priest. I like healing with a different class than I am. Plus we already had three druids in the raid…

We get in, start clearing trash. The guild clears trash faster and more aggressively than any pug I’ve been in, so it keeps you on your toes healing and today seemed especially bad. I thought it was just because the other tank wasn’t turning the Servants of the Throne around. I keep an eye on the priest’s mana bar; with only 4800 gearscore, his mana regen might be weak and I’d need to toss him an innervate. It didn’t get very low though, and I kept having a hard time healing. When a pair of frost giants appeared, we wiped – more or less; I managed to escape but almost everyone was dead.

I started looking at the healing meter. And something was very, very wrong. I was at the top, as I expected – with 70% of healing done. After that the pugged priest was at 15%. The shadow priest was at almost 12% just from Vampiric Embrace! This didn’t seem right.

Well, maybe he was using a lot of bubbles and it wasn’t showing up right on the meters. He was holy, not disc, but who knows. I told Vuhdo to display for me the Power Word: Shield and Weakened Soul debuff on raid members. Oh, there was – one shield, briefly, on one tank. And thirty seconds later, another – on himself.

No, I was starting to suspect our problem lay with the healer.

I started giving him specific instructions via whisper, fight to fight – “Ok, you keep [off tank] alive”, knowing Reversion and I could coordinate his cooldowns and my Oh Crap moves and be fine. It worked, more or less, but the numbers on the meters were staying where they had been and I was working harder than ever to keep everyone alive.

We got to Saurfang, killed him. Fortunately the Mark went onto one of the tanks, something I find is a lifesaver when the healing is underpowered. Better to have all the heals going to one person than split among three.

Saurfang dropped the healing staff, Mag’hari Chieftain’s Staff. I’ve got that; I use it sometimes. The pug healer and a couple dps rolled on it. Reversion asks in the raid whether it’s main spec for the healer – who had lost the roll. No reply. So he gave it to the winner of the roll.

We go into the Upper Spire. Pug healer dies in the mist, releases. I charge merrily along healing as we pull trash. All of a sudden we notice something is very, very wrong. Well first, it’s been a good five minutes and there’s no sign of Pug Healer. Second, the tanks now have only 50k health.

It sinks in as we look at our buffs. The Strength of Wrynn – our 20% boost – is gone.

Suspicion immediately falls to the pugged healer. “Did you talk to the king?” we ask him. No response. The raid decides we’ll leave the instance, wait half an hour, and hope the buff comes back. We remove the pug healer and troop outside.

There were two schools of thought on this; some thought he was just so stupid he managed to remove the buff from us while trying to get upstairs. I thought he might have done it on purpose because we didn’t give him the staff. Either way, we weren’t playing with him again.

Half an hour later, the buff is back. Slowly we re-form the raid. This time, a guildie volunteers to heal – a holy paladin! Huzzah! We end up pugging in a rogue for some dps since one of the earlier group had to call it a night, and we set off to kill some abominations.

Boom boom boom – and a surprise for me, the Plague Wing achievement. Apparently Analogue had only downed the Professor on 25 man. Turns out it was my paladin who had done it on ten man. Heh! It’s always funny when you get an achievement for a fight you know pretty well.

We were getting tired, and sloppy, but we went to the Blood wing and I got another first, this time a real first: Blood Princes and the Queen. I’d seen the Princes but only to wipe; Reversion had finished Blood Wing previously, so now I’m caught up. My personal progression in ICC is 10/12!

The evening ended on a lower note when we wiped twice to Dreamwalker; I was tired and just couldn’t keep the raid alive while the paladin was inside. But the second two wings were way easier than the first, because I had an actual healing partner and not a parasite.

So all in all a very good raiding weekend. Stay tuned tomorrow; SAN is going to finish up BWL and I can’t wait.

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SAN Weekend Raiding Update

We were hoping to raid with SAN Saturday afternoon, but we had issues getting people to fill slots, a narrow time window- basically, it wasn’t going to work so we agreed to try again Sunday. Later that evening, Reversion and I signed back on to try to recruit guildies to go visit UBRS and BWL for some classic WoW fun times. We got a great turnout!

Me – Divergent – as the paladin tank
Rev – on Consolidate with leet druid heals
HairyGiblets – the hunter
Daruma and Rogerstring – our shamans
Missholloway – an almost-level-appropriate paladin
Delwyn the Rogue – level 72 at the time I think
Invariant – my 58 warlock on the RAF account, along to give soulstones and that’s about it.

We wandered into Blackrock Spire and headed for the Upper part, slaying all who stood in our way. First notable accomplishment: the whelp room! We turned off Retribution Aura, made the shamans wait to throw totems, I ran around clicking eggs like crazy then we AOE’d and boom, filled Guild chat with achievement spam. Lots of Jenkins titles that night!

We finished tearing along through UBRS and found the BWL entrance. I zoned in, then back out since I wanted us to get the UBRS achievement and we hadn’t yet. Tip: zoning out of BWL and back in sets you at the entrance to BRS and you have to run all the way back…

Anyway, we killed the end boss for UBRS and proceeded into Blackwing Lair. None of us had been here before and we weren’t sure what to expect. We figured out we needed to mind control and have the big dragon kill eggs, but wiped twice trying to get the hang of it. Finally we realized that you really just need to ignore the adds because if you kill them they keep spawning. So I worked my butt off to aggro all the adds, Consolidate healed me, the boss, the raid, whoever, and the guildies took turns mind controlling the boss. They did great, I avoided killing the boss when he wasn’t mind controlled (I think I did that one of our wipes) and with a great sense of accomplishment, he went down.

You don’t have to take my word for it either! Hairygiblets videoed our fight and linked it on his blog: here

Oh, another tip: Our first wipe, we didn’t have to run back because Daruma Reincarnated. Our second wipe, we all died, and Consolidate volunteered to run back. Unfortunately, ALL the trash in UBRS had respawned and he and Hairygiblets had to fight their way back in. It seems like there’s a really short respawn timer. Actually the bosses and stuff were back too. I’m not sure what was going on there.

Having passed the first test, we were ready to see more. So we poked our heads into the next room and found a corrupted red dragon who needed to be put out of his misery. He has an annoying mechanic though; he puts a dot on someone, and after a couple seconds, they die from it. No ifs, ands, or buts. Every third dot goes to a tank… so we had a really limited window to get him down, and we didn’t. Got him about halfway. Unfortunately it was quite late so we called it. Next time we’ll bring more bodies as dot-soaking-targets.

A very fun little evening, though!

Sunday afternoon as promised, guild members signed on. We ended up with only five of us; Divergent, Consolidate, Hairygiblets, Datq the resto shaman and Daruma, so we picked up puggers and went to ICC, with me healing and Consolidate tanking this time.

Hairy got some video from this too.

To summarize, we made trash die, we one-shotted the first three bosses, we went to Saurfang, has blood beast issues like you’d expect with multiple first time people (some of the puggers were new too I think) and then a top dps’er ragequit, and some of us were running out of time so we called it.

Again, this raiding with SAN is a lot of fun and anyone who has a spare 80 or is looking for somewhere to role an alt could do worse than joining a blogger guild. Guild chat is never dull!

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Raiding with SAN

SAN was supposed to go to Ulduar Saturday afternoon, but we couldn’t find another tank or some dps (only seven SAN folks were able to attend) so we decided to do the weekly, Marrowgar. From SAN, we had:

Me, Divergent, as a holy paladin
Reversion as Consolidate, a feral druid
Harrygiblets the hunter
Enyss the Resto druid
Shifthappens the Resto druid
Edamaxim the DK
and (I think) Norinka the Boomkin

We pugged in another tank, a shaman, and a mage and set off to ICC to clear trash. Whee! Some folks had never been in there, but the SAN folks were all on vent and we had a good time clearing – until Enyss dc’d. We still had trash to clear so we kept going. Then she came back in Vent and told us her internet was dead (she was using dialup for Vent) with no sign of coming back, so we sadly decided to replace her. We decided to go with two healers and the pug tank brought in a hunter friend of hers.

We had some fun with giants and traps and wiped once – heh – but got all ready at Marrowgar. Gave the briefing and went ahead.

Well the bonespikes just didn’t get attacked, people didn’t stack back up after bonestorms, and we wiped. We had at least three people who were new to the fight so I wasn’t surprised. I told people to stack on the tree – Shifthappens was doing a really good job getting back into position and it’s very easy to spot the tree and stand on him. (Note to Blizzard: please let us keep trees around in Cataclysm…)

I glanced at Recount so I could remind people to switch to Bonespikes and I got a surprise: neither pugged DPS had attacked the bonespikes at all. A mage and an elemental shaman, I couldn’t think of any excuse for that since they’d agreed that they understood what they needed to do. Even the new SAN people who hadn’t seen this fight had some damage to the spikes! I called them out specifically and reminded them to switch to spikes and to avoid fire; they agreed.

We went again. THIS time, the spikes died. (Harry had been trying a /tar bonespike macro that hadn’t worked before; this time he switched manually. I don’t know if anyone else had the same problem but the change was obvious). People stacked back up after fires. It wasn’t a fast kill, but slowly Marrowgar’s hit points dropped until at last he was dead.

We were victorious! Loot got handed out and while the SAN folks were eager to continue, the puggers dropped and we couldn’t progress.

I checked combat logs after the fight and guess what? All the SAN folks, even the new ones, had killed Bonespikes like they were supposed to. That mage and shaman? Nope. The mage not at all, the shaman had a little damage against the spikes but not much. Yes they were high on overall dps but they hadn’t bothered doing what they needed to do. Sigh.

So anyway SAN raid group needs more people! We’ve got a really good spread of healers; what we need is another good tank and some solid dps. Ranged or melee. We’d like to do more. Daruma the shaman is about to ding 80 and be ready to raid with us; with just a few more folks we can start working in ICC. If a blogger guild raid sounds like fun, it is! So if you’ve got a spare character lying around, transfer it over to Argent Dawn US Alliance side… or level one up. Plenty of folks around to help you gear up and get ready.

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I transferred my prot/holy pally to Argent Dawn to play in SAN Sunday afternoon. I’ve recently gotten her Holy gear at least viable. It was a weird mishmash of ilvl 200 blues and 251 purples for a while but oh well. Anyway SAN went to Naxx and I decided to to raid heal. I’ve done a few heroics but this was my first raid.

I set Vuhdo up (or so I thought) to show Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield and set my mouse click bindings and we were ready to go. Or not; as we started clearing trash I realized that Vuhdo wasn’t showing me what I needed to know. I like having my raid frames set to show class colors and have the bars correspond to health. So as the person takes damage his health bar gets less full, very intuitive. Well it wasn’t doing that; the bars were just sitting there, a dull dirty color. I knew why things were screwy – Vuhdo recently released version 2.0 and I haven’t figured out all the tricks, and since I’d just transferred servers all my settings were off. It took two bosses to figure out what was going on since you can’t change Vuhdo settings while you’re in combat (argh). Anyway I need to find resources for the new version of Vuhdo and link them because some of the changes were not intuitive. (If anyone had the same problem I did, it turned out I needed to select the “Health bar/class color” option on the Panels > Bars page, in one of the dropdowns there.)

That angst over, I settled into healing. I Beaconed the lesser geared tank and spammed heals on the other tank (Reversion’s second druid Consolidate was one of the tanks and a guildy Warrior, Craghammer, the other), just like my paladin research told me to do.

For a while I just spammed Holy Light but I started running out of mana so I had to remember to go Judge Wisdom and take some swings at whoever we were fighting whenever I could. That helped a lot. Then I tried using Flash of Light, since the tanks weren’t taking that much damage, and that worked pretty well too. I kept forgetting about that instant cast heal spell thing. Somehow paladin healing feels like it should just be spamming heals. Instant casts were throwing me off.

It was a lot of fun running old content with the SAN folks. We chatted on Vent and had a good time (and this being a blogging guild, Vent chatter included discussion of Wow demographics, whether women played healers more, as well as just strategy)

I failed at Heigan dancing – I’ll justify myself and say I *thought* I was a step forward of where I was when I stopped to cast a heal. I’m not used to not being able to heal on the run. Then I missed the jump from the platform at Thaddius – twice. Oops. Good thing the raid overgeared the place!

And we wiped spectacularly on the Horsemen, once, as we tried figuring out a strategy. We’d been nine manning it up to then because one of our pugged folks went afk after the first boss and got kicked. After that wipe one of our other puggers disappeared without a word, so we grabbed two more random people and finished the Horsemen off. No problem. Not even an interesting fight.

One of the new folks wanted to tank, so Reversion went heals and Enyss, who had been healing, went boomkin. We went upstairs, killed a dragon, and then took down Kel’Thuzad. Boom! Achievement completed! Actually that was my first Naxx full clear in one session. I didn’t really get into raiding until ToC came out. Even massively overgearing the content, it was an accomplishment. Still, I found the first few fights while I was getting used to paladin healing most interesting than later on. There’s just no sense of danger in Naxx these days, not unless you take off gear and nobody is willing to do that. It’s fun seeing the old fights but – they’re dated, and that’s sort of sad.

Monday night we took Consolidate and Divergent to a TOC pug. The pug took a while to form and they had trouble deciding what they wanted me to do. I ended up healing, along with Consolidate and another paladin, this one far better geared than me, if snotty. This was a full pug, nobody else from SAN along, and on the worms literally half the raid dies, including Consolidate.

Well both tanks are up and so are the paladin healers so I check that I’ve got one tank beaconed and the other pally has the other tank and I start spamming Flash of Light on the rest. The one dps’er and the two tanks. Yeah. We down the worms without too much trouble and in comes Icehowl.

It turns out that as long as the healers don’t run out of mana, Icehowl is kind of easier with only five people because there’s less chance of someone getting trampled. It took us ten minutes to down him but nobody got trampled even once, nobody else died, and I didn’t even run low on mana. I’d used pretty much nothing but Flash of Light and the other paladin commented something about how he was doing most of the healing. I said nothing, but by the end of the run, yes, Other Pally had almost 50% of the heals (versus Consolidate and myself) but was also beating Consolidate on overhealing. Beating a druid at overhealing doesn’t say much. AND he was keeping people way too high on phase 3 Anub… but that didn’t matter. We steamrolled TOC, I picked up some upgrades for Divergent’s healing set, getting her to almost that psychologically important 5k gearscore. She’s definitely ICC viable in both specs now.

Anyway I love the versatility of the paladin. Paladin tanking is a lot of fun in 5 mans, although I find raid tanking boring. You get to set the pace, be the leader, in 5 mans, but in raids you just get hit in the face. I’d rather heal, where it feels like you’re helping out everyone else on the team to get their job done. Kind of like being a cheerleader. Only, you know, useful. And with better outfits.

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