Sunday, January 25, 2009

Across the Multiverse

Blizzard recently opened Death Knight creation on all realms, even the ones you don't have a lvl 55 character on. Since I never really got into my Troll Death Knight, I figured I'd go to the PvP server a friend of mine was playing on and roll Alliance for a change. I made it two steps out of Honor Hold, managed to get maybe two quests done before I was completely done with the whole PvP server thing. I must have spent more time corpse running than actually playing, and thus called it quits. I expected to get a sudden attack every now and then from a hostile player, but not so often. And apparently that friend of mine doesn't really play that much anymore, so there wasn't really any reason for me to stay.

So now I'm playing on an RP server, non-PvP of course, and I'm liking it much better. I can actually do quests, and the roleplaying theme appeals to me. I landed on the Steamwheedle Cartel server, as a Human Death Knight. Firelight, whose blog I have been following for quite some time now with great interest, also has his home here, so who knows we might run into each other someday.

Firelight, in case you might be reading this: if you ever see a Human Death Knight called Rhyl running around aimlessly, don't be afraid to /wave and say hello or something. There's a nice guy behind the glowy blue eyes, I assure you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

That's the way!

Another Naxxramas run last weekend, and all in all a very good run.

As usual we started in the Arachnid Quarter, where we got into the groove of things and easily put down Anub'Rekahn and followers. I got some offspec healing gloves from Faerlina, and after a bad start at Maexxna (half the raid was locked out of the fight when Maexxna was pulled) we downed her nice and quick. No Wraith Spear unfortunately, as I really need the upgrade, but better luck next time.

Plague Quarter next as usual, providing some interesting situations. Noth was easy, but Heigan still proves to be a challenge. Personally, I've got the "Heigan Dance" covered now, and I'm sure I'll be able to stay alive from now on. Not everyone was quite there yet though, so we ended up doing the corner cheat in order to defeat him. At the first "dance", however, everyone except me, a tank and two healers died, and one of the remaining healers soon after. With just three people left and Heigan still at 80%, we started the long road to victory. Slowly but surely Heigan's health was going down, and 18 minutes, 7 wings and 3 close calls later he bit the dust. Needless to say, we didn't get the Heigan Dance achievement, but I considered this an off-the-record achievement anyway. After Heigan, Loatheb looked like a sissy, and he went down in likewise fashion.

The follow up run on sunday got us deep into the Military Quarter. After a quick warmup on Patchwerk we said hello to the Death Knights, where it became apparent that Samsara reigned supreme there as well. Instructor Razuvious proved to be quite annoying, mostly because of the bug in the fight. The crystals used to mind control the Insctructors underlings are not as reliable as you'd hope, giving the fight an interesting twist when it takes a few tries to gain back control of the underlings. I had the questionable honor of recieving aggro from one of the underlings at a bad time, reducing me to a floor decoration for the rest of the fight. We got him down anyway though, and moved on to Gothik. Now Gothik is just a fun fight. With the playing field divided in a "living side" and "undead side", waves of mobs appear on the living side, and a small group of the raid has to kill those, after which they appear as ghostly versions on the undead side to be killed again by the second group. We plowed through the waves, and needless to say I was happy at the undead side. Gothik came down before we knew it, and he went face down after recieving a heavy beating from the raid group. As this was a guild first (our first venture into the Military Quarter), we screened it, and hopefully it'll decorate the front page of our website soon. Here's the screen I took:














And then off to the Four Horsemen! A very interesting fight, to say the least. The true difficulty here lies in the tactics, not the strength of the Horsemen themselves. We assigned a ranged DPS and a healer to the stationary Riders, and split the remaining group up for the other two. Several seconds into the first fight we all started getting his with massive AOE, the ability that triggers when the ranged isn't close enough to the Riders. On the second attempt the healer fell and AOE knocked us down again. Luckily we had two ranged DPS in our ranks, so we assigned the second DPS to the ranged Rider, and along with the healer they managed to keep the attention of the Riders. Meanwhile, on the melee side, we were getting stacking debuffs that tick for damage, increasing with each tick. At every three stacks the two teams had to switch Horsemen to allow these "marks" to wear off. It's an interesting dance, but we executed it very well, knocking down close to 25% each switch on both Riders. With the two Horsemen down, the combined force headed for the ranged Riders and knocked both down before the marks were even able to stack. With everyone alive and kicking, the Four Horsemen bit the dust, and Samsara was victorious once again! We called it a night after that, tired but proud to have cleared the Military Quarter on our first serious attempt.

The entire run wasn't too bad for me gear-wise. Apart from the offspec gloves, I also managed to get some nice onspec gear. I could claim the Cloak of Darkening as my own, and since there were no other pallys, priests or warlocks present, I got the T7 shoulders from Loatheb by default, giving me the Heroes' Redemption Shoulderplates to run around with.

Oh, and I also changed my hair color. I wanted to give Vaadren the look as if he's grown and aged during his travels, so his hair color has changed from brown to silvery white. He instantly feels as a different character, which is quite strange in a way, but also quite cool. I guess I am a bit of a sucker for RPing every now and then.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Biting the....ehh....poison.

After a good Naxx run on saturday, the follow-up was disappointing to say the least. With high spirits we headed for the Abomination Quarter and started clearing the trash. The rivers of poison hit quite hard, but nothing out of the ordinary, and after some connection issues with one of our tanks we were ready to engage Patchwerk. He is indeed as straightforward as I've heard, just a basic tank and spank for us DPS. I had a lot of fun unleashing my full arsenal of spells on him, utilizing every global cooldown and pushing my damage output to the max. Eventually Patchwerk fell, signifying a good start of the raid night.

So we thought. Everything went downhill from there. The "frogger slimes" were being really annoying, frequently killing people for no apparent reason other than latency (the known lag issue with Wintergrasp probably). Grobbulus didn't go much better. After a try or two I got the hang of the fight (experience is still better than reading up on tactics), but to no avail. It's hard to say what went wrong, as I've been in the midst of the fight all the time, being melee. However, it could very well be only a matter of practice and coordination, which will get better over time. We called it eventually, sick and tired of the multiple failures.

The downside for me that night was my mediocre DPS on Grobbulus, a lousy 1750 where I normally do a minimum of 2000 these days. I guess I can shove it off on the fact that I was killing slime adds half the time, but I'll have to look into some improvements soon. I'm not interested in topping charts, but I do want to function properly in a raid.

On another note, a small guild group went into Obsidian Sanctum yesterday, and they killed Sartharion in there. Gratz to all those involved! I didn't really feel like going yet, there will be plenty of opportunities to come and I prefer the quiet evenings a bit more these days.

I did get stuck in heroic Oculus for a few hours yesterday, eventually calling it quits after several failed attempts to down Ley-Guardian Eregos. Is he that hard, or is it just me? I still desperately want the gloves he drops, but he's quite tough. It could be lag, but sometimes he kills my dragon with one blast when I should still have enough health to survive. And always just before I want to activate my Evasive Actions (being the Ruby Drake).

To end with a positive note, I'm doing a solid level a day with Myczil these days, and he's up to 50 now. Only a few more levels to go till Outland, and then Northrend is almost in sight already! Apparently the guild is in need of a Priest (not sure what spec yet, I think Holy), so I'm doing my best to get him up and geared fast enough to contribute a bit more. I'd still prefer doing the content with Vaadren, but I'd rather help out the raid by switching and going back with Vaadren another time.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Spark

The holiday season changed something for me. Somehow I didn't really feel like playing anymore, I kept wondering why I was logging on. There's nothing much to do anyway, I kept thinking to myself. But luckily I was wrong. I found that spark again, the spark that keeps me going. And I found it in Naxxramas.

Yesterday was my first night in Naxxramas ever. Being a Burning Crusade raider, I've hardly ever set foot in any of the Old World raid environments, so this was my first taste of the necropolis of Kel'Thuzad. And I have to say, it was the most fun I've had in a while.

We started in the Arachnid Quarter, working our way through the hordes of spiders to the bosses. The trash was cleared easily, and the bosses went quite smoothly as well. Anub'Rekahn went down easily, as did Maexxna. We wiped once on Faerlina, but the second try was already much more controlled, and she went down hard second time around.

After a quick break we headed for the Plague Quarter, ravaging that place as well. The Noth fight was very controlled, and it felt really good. Heigan was a tricky fellow, it took us a few times to get the dancing under control. It's not that hard, but it takes a few times to get a feel for it. I'm sure I'll do much better next time I'm in Naxx, it's all practice. Loatheb went down quite easily, although I had to watch myself. The 3 second healing window is doable, but not when you're pumping out Seal of Blood crits like crazy. After a few close calls I switched to Seal of Command and did much better. It might be a tad less DPS, but I won't do any DPS when I've killed myself with backfire damage anyway.

After those two quarters we called it a night and headed out again. Follow up is on monday, so we'll see how the rest of Naxx goes. As a paladin, it's really fun. Almost everything is undead, so I get to use my full arsenal of spells. At certain bosses I even have a spell to cast after every clobal cooldown, and that's usually not the case.

Yes, I've certainly enjoyed myself in there. It reminded me of the good times while raiding Karazhan, Gruul's Lair and more. The teamwork, the fun in Vent, the overall good times had by everyone. It's what I've truly missed. Leveling was fun, by all means. It was great to discover a new continent, level up to 80, do heroics and everything. But only for a while. And now I've rediscovered the spark I lost, making it all fun once again.

I've been leveling Myczil again lately, and he's happily at 47 now. Questing is going nicely, although his gear could use an upgrade (come on, still using Odo's Ley Staff from Shadowfang Keep?). Nevertheless, I'm really enjoying myself and I can't wait until he's ready to go to Outlands. I'm hoping to have him ready for Northrend raiding one day, but who knows how long that'll take. I'm taking it slow and steady, enjoying myself along the way. Like I should.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Back (In Black)

The holiday season is over with, and while my last two weeks were hectic, they were fantastic as well. I want to wish everyone a great 2009, that it may be the year that make all your dreams come true. My 2009 has been great so far, and we're only at day 4....

The good old routine has set in again, putting some regularity back into my life and enabling me to play and progress again. I did manage to play a little bit during the holidays, do a heroic or two. I got my Mirror of Truth from badges, and got revered with the Sons of Hodir, so the Spaulders of the Giant Lords is also mine. Apart from that, I've loafed around mostly. Or just haven't played at all.

Meanwhile, the guild has done Naxxramas 10-man for the second time last night. They managed to clear the Spider Wing and Plague Wing, so congratulations to all those involved. I wasn't able to join them, but I'll be sure to sign up for the next run.

I hope everyone has enjoyed their holidays, and see you in-game!