Friday, May 29, 2009

Meme: Blast from the Past

Lance tagged me with an interesting meme. A blast from the past, so to speak. The question is: “What do you remember about being a newbie?” Quite a lot, so let’s get the show on the road…

  • I started playing WoW from a 10-day free trial disc I had in my Warcraft 3 box. It was European, but I was in the US at the time. Therefore, for the first few months of my WoW career it was always nighttime when I was on.
  • I used to buy every piece of equipment from vendors. If it had more armor, I’d equip it. I was oblivious to stats, so greens were usually sold.
  • At some point I wanted to equip a weapon I didn’t have the skill for. I had to go from Darnassus to Stormwind, so I went to Menethil Harbor. However, instead of running through the Wetlands and Loch Modan to take the Deeprun Tram in Ironforge, I decided it was safer to swim along the coast. I swam all the way to Westfall, hugging the high cliffs to prevent getting fatigued.
  • I already felt noobish by doing that, but to my surprise, I was caught up by a Druid in aquatic form! Apparently there was someone as crazy as me...
  • My Night Elf newbie (my first char ever) was only level 20 when I got the expansion. As soon as I got it, I started playing Blood Elf and Vaadren was born. Burning Crusade has been a big part of my playing.
  • Vaadren has always been my main, and always Retribution. I only respecced once for the first year, and only to optimize my DPS spec.
  • Sword & Board has never interested me. I tried it out for the first few levels, but as soon as I got a badass claymore from one of the early on Blood Elf quests, the sword and shield were discarded.
  • My first ever instance was Shadowfang Keep. I was asked to tank it, even though I was Ret. I had no idea what a tank was at the time, but did so anyway, and did well. Later on I’d realize it was only because I was a lvl 33 Paladin in a lvl 20-ish instance.
  • My first guild was called Guardians of Kalimdor, a social guild that just invited everyone who wanted in. I met a lot of good people there, and a fair bit of those people are current guildies even. We really stuck together…
  • Back then, Paladins still had the old Seal System. 30 second seals that were transferred to the enemy upon judging. A lot more buttons to press.
  • My primary goal back then was to reach level 40 and get a mount. I never expected to get any further than that. Then, all of a sudden, I was standing in front of the Dark Portal, ready to pass through it. Go figure.
  • I used to hear my old GoK guildies talk about Karazhan and its attunement. “I’ll never get there.” I thought. A few months later I cleared Karazhan on a weekly basis with Samsara, and we’re up to Ulduar now.
  • My epic mount took ages. I insisted on getting the Charger, and didn’t want to waste gold on the riding skill if I’d get it along with the Charger anyway. It cost me all my gold and a trip to Stratholme, but I got it in the end. I still see the Charger quest as a “Rite of Passage” for Paladins.
  • The level cap never changed anything about my noobish actions. Using Seal of Blood on Prince Malchezaar, trying to tank Arcatraz in Ret spec (I thought he meant Auchenai Crypts, but still…), pulling an entire army of ghosts from the Opera stage in Karazhan, the list goes on…

My WoW life has been a long, strange trip on its own. Where’s my Violet Proto Drake?

I won’t tag anyone, it’s up to all of you if you want to pick this up or not. Either post them in a reply, or post the link to your blogpost in a reply. If you do, I’ll be sure to read them.

I can’t wait!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Still Here

Three weeks without updates, incredible. I do apologize, but what can I say? It’s been slow.

Everything’s still going great on the raiding front. I’ve been into Ulduar twice again, and both times we did quite well. I still haven’t seen Ignus fall, unfortunately, but I’ve seen a few other neat bosses. Flame Leviathan is going smoothly now, to the point where I can navigate through the trash mobs without taking much more than a scratch. Too bad the no repair achievement counts for the entire raid. I might go for a motorcycle next, or perhaps be a passenger. So far I’ve only driven a demolisher, but I like it. Razorscale and XT are going fine, and last week we made our way into the Antechamber.

The Antechamber was a very good experience in my opinion. As I said before, the trash mobs are not to be taken lightly, and I enjoy that. I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but during our fight with one of the giants (before the stairs leading up to Kologarn), we lost a few raid members, including healers. The versatility and raiding experience of Samsara really showed there, as the remaining people instantly adjusted their roles to the current situation, taking over healing or adjusting positions. I was impressed and proud of the way we handled it. This was raiding at its best.

With a nice momentum building up, we went for Kologarn. A boss rising up from the depths, who you only get to see him from the waist up. His two arms can be targeted separately, and at least one has to be killed in order to keep him under control. He reminded me of the bosses in those classic Snes RPG’s, and I loved it. The fight itself required a bit of practice, but as soon as we got the right setup and a few practice runs in, he went down nice and clean. We were done for the night at that point, tired but satisfied. We might not have the speed yet to clear Ulduar in one or two nights (as some guilds do), but we’ll get there. And in the meantime, we’ll be having a lot of fun.

A group went into Ulduar again last night, but without me this week. I completely missed the sign-ups, but I would have declined anyway. I’ve had my fun, others can have theirs as well.

My priest is doing fine as well. He’s up to lvl 71, and has enough quests to do. I’m thinking of respeccing to Holy around lvl 75 and start healing instances. It’s ultimately my goal to heal raids with him, so I need to get some practice in. Paladin healing isn’t too hard, as you only have a few healing spells, and it’s quite clear which spell you have to use in what situation. On Myczil I have around 6 healing spells already, and I have no clue when to use what. Good thing we have a Priest class leader. Time to ask him some questions!

By the way Lance, I caught your tag, it'll be up in a day or two.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Moralizing

Last post was a bit negative. A baby post created in the spur of the moment. And wrong.

I was genuinely worried that the Ulduar Team I was drafted in wouldn’t go beyond Flame Leviathan. I was annoyed at the fact that I would finally be in Ulduar, and then had turn back as soon as we kicked down its front doors. But I should have known better, and (as always) I realize that in hindsight.

Because Ulduar was just amazing, and however far we would have gotten, it wouldn't have mattered anyway.

After a few cancellations, we got some replacements for the raid group, including another healer. We started a bit later than planned, but that couldn’t spoil the fun. I chose to drive a Demolisher, and with a fellow Paladin in the catapult seat, the raid set out for carnage.

Can it even be explained? The fun we had while plowing through the legion of Dark Iron Dwarves, demolishing towers and destroying buildings. It’s hard, but I can tell you that everyone was having the time of their lives.

And then we arrived at Flame Leviathan. Being a Demolisher, I steered clear of the boss and hurled boulders at him from a safe distance. The random pursuit of Leviathan is something I still have to get used to. The first time I got caught off guard, but still managed to stay in front of him. The second time I was very close to him, and got shoved once. I hadn’t gotten my Projectile Pally back yet after hurling him onto Leviathan, so I was without a speed boost. It didn’t matter though, as he went down amazingly fast. It was a great piece of teamwork, and we were proud of ourselves.

With two healers in the group now, we decided to see how far we could go. It would be a shame to stop now! We headed off to XT-002 Deconstructor, the “Yoga Boss”. We set out to clear the trash first, and we were smacked hard on the floor the first time. There’s no underestimating this trash, that’s for sure! After countless Naxx raids, you could say everyone’s become a bit complacent, so it was refreshing to have such a wake-up call. It’s Ulduar saying “get up and pay attention, this ain’t a walk in the park.” We defended our honor the second time around, and got ready for XT.

Upon first aggroing, it quickly became clear why this boss had wiped many a raid group by laughter. Its high-pitched children’s voice is both hilarious and annoying, but XT is nothing like a child. Scrapbots, Boombots, Gravity Bombs, it can become quite a hectic fight if you don’t pay attention. During a ground pound we lost one of our healers, and were forced to wipe at 50%. We adapted, however, and on our second go we paid a bit more attention to the health bars, and we got him down in style. It was an unexpected turn of events for the evening, and we celebrated with loud cheers all over Vent. This was not planned for tonight, but very welcome nonetheless!

With a slight momentum building up, we tried to reach Ignis, but his two Flame Colossi proved a bit tricky. In the end we had to leave them, and we called it a night.

There was a peculiar taste in my mouth afterwards. It made me hungry. Hungry for more.

A good taste.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Demoralizing

The teams heading into Ulduar on Monday have only just been posted, and already it's demoralizing.

Team One has a well-balanced group setup, and is clearly the progression team. Goal: go in there and get as far as possible, while gaining valuable experience.

Team Two has two tanks, one healer and the rest DPS. Goal: get Flame Leviathan down. No further goals to be achieved, and quite hard anyway with only one healer.

Yes, I'm in Team Two. But taking that out of the equation, having a group with only one boss as a goal is utterly devastating. The message it carries is either "it'll take you all night to down Leviathan" or "you're not supposed to do more at this point". And even if both are false (which it most likely is), it can't be denied that it sucks heavily if you have to leave after just one boss, with the taste for more still fresh in your mouth.

At this rate, I'm starting to hope Ulduar tastes bad.