Kurn's Q&A #27

Wow, folks, it’s been a long, long time since I last had enough search terms to pull off one of these posts!

Looking over the last month, I have, oh, 2,927 search terms that brought people to my site. Hi, 4.0.1, thanks for the bump in traffic! ;)

1) Let’s consolidate all the “holy pally 4.0.1” stuff, shall we?

Go read my What Holy Paladins Need to Know for 4.0.1 post.

2) madranah + server

Interesting. Someone from one of my old guilds is looking for me? Sorry, people, I’m kind of doing this “GM of a guild for Cataclysm” thing, so I’m not going to join your reformed guild, even if one of my RL friends is in it. ;)

3) base mana paladin 85 kurn

I believe that would be 24,732 mana.

4) divine favor 4.0.1

Divine Favor has definitely changed. Once upon a time, hitting it gave us a guaranteed crit on Holy Light, Flash of Light and Holy Shock. Now, it’s a buff that lasts 20 or 30 seconds (depending on whether or not you’re glyphed for it) and increases your spell haste AND your spell crit chance by 20%. Not only that, but because Divine Illumination is gone (15 second buff that used to halve the cost of all spells for the duration), our 2pc T10 bonus has changed. Whenever Divine Favor is active, your healing spells are 35% stronger. So not only do you have 20-30 seconds of increased haste and crit chance (both of which strongly increase your throughput) but if you pop it while wearing two pieces of Tier 10 gear, you’ll have a bonus 35% healing going on as well.

While I still like to use this to offset Divine Plea, this is a fantastic utility spell for us. Either you use it to cover Divine Plea usage or you pop it when your targets are about to eat dirt. Or as often as possible on Dreamwalker. ;) Beautiful!

5) do improved judgements and enlightened judgements stack

Yes, Improved Judgement and Enlightened Judgements stack and so, with the base Judgement range of 10yd, you can get a maximum of 40yds as the range  on your Judgement spell.

You should not concern yourself with Improved Judgement yet, though. Enlightened Judgements is handy for the hit and a bit of extra range, but we have very few points to place at 80, so don’t waste two of them on Improved Judgement until you’re at 84, looking for a talent to spend a point on. I recommend 3 in Divinity and 2 in Crusade, then I’d fill out Crusade (3/3) and Eternal Glory (2/2) at 82 and 83, then Improved Judgement at 84 and 85.

6) does sacred shield use gcd

It certainly used to. That said, it’s gone. They got rid of it in 4.0.1. Rest in peace, Sacred Shield. You will be missed.

7) divine intervention gone in patch 4.0?

Also gone, yes. Don’t ask me why. Shaman still have Reincarnation (30m cooldown), druids still have Rebirth (although one druid popping it will put everyone’s on the 30m cooldown!) and warlocks still have Soulstones on a 15m cooldown. And yet, paladins lose their wipe-prevention ability entirely. Way to go, Blizzard.

8) lifeblood 4.0.1

It’s godly. I wish I still had Herbalism on my paladin. Lifeblood now grants 240 haste rating at 450 Herbalism, as well as producing a small heal. Sick! :)

9) addon for speed of light procs paladin holy

You don’t need an addon for this. At 3/3 Speed of Light, every time you cast Holy Shock, you get 4 seconds of 30% spell haste on Flash of Light, Holy Light and Divine Light. You also don’t need an addon for this because it will be changing to a flat spell-haste percentage (1% per talent point). So, for the time being, count to four after using Holy Shock. There’s your addon. ;)

10) 4.0.1 judgement 4% mana

I believe it was Walks who pointed this out to me, but right now, Judgements will not proc Seal of Insight. I tested this out myself today and got absolutely 0 procs while judging. That’s okay, though. Soon enough, we’ll be getting 15% of base mana back when judging with Seal of Insight up. Mana is, by and large, not a problem for us right now anyways.

And a bonus one!

11) holy paladin eternal glory vs paragon of virtue

Because mana isn’t a huge problem right now, I would advise against Eternal Glory for the moment. You basically have to take at least one point in Paragon of Virtue when building a PVE holy spec, so PoV wins over EG at this point in time. When we hit 85, especially considering that PoV will also reduce the cooldown of Hand of Sacrifice, I’ll seriously consider 1/2 Enlightened Judgements and 2/2 PoV when building my holy tree.

And just to pimp out a rockin’ resource, don’t forget to take a look at Oestrus’ Guide to the Chakra Sutra! Oestrus will be healing in Apotheosis in Cataclysm, on her little d0rf priest. :)

Finally, Apotheosis is recruiting for Cataclysm! Sadly, we are not in need of any holy paladins at this time. However, if you want a great raid group who DOES need a holy paladin, definitely check out Choice of Skywall, the guild I spent the last four months in. I can’t say enough good stuff about these people!

Weekend Update

(still without Tina Fey)

What a weekend it’s been, both for Apotheosis and myself! We’ve got new people coming over to Eldre’Thalas every week! And then there are the people who are in touch about their plans to transfer as soon as their obligations for this expansion are done.

Even though recruitment isn’t technically open (soon!) we snagged a commitment from a new shadow priest this week and, in what might be the best news in ages, someone I used to heal with at one point in Wrath is thinking about coming over here for Cataclysm! Ahem. No pressure. ;)

Recruitment will almost certainly open on Monday or Tuesday. I just need to get a couple of web-based things sorted out. Best foot forward, you know?

As for why this was a great weekend for me…

That’s right, I won the Kalu’ak fishing tournament! I did it in Howling Fjord. I hit four spawned pools around Fort Wildevar and then went south down that river and the first spawn there had it on, I think, my second or third cast. I hit Cheetah, then my hearth, then ran up to the dude in Dal and wasted about five precious seconds in trying to just complete the quest without picking a reward. >< I finally selected the Dread Pirate Ring and hit complete. BAM!

Euphie, one of my priests (he was a kick-ass healer in BC and Wrath, who is going shadow for Cataclysm), and I have been fighting over the Kalu’ak fishing tournament for a little while now. I’d been working on it on Kurn over on my last realm, but to no avail. So when I actually got the Blacktip Shark earlier this month, Euphie and I started getting a little competitive. ;) His reaction to my achievement was priceless.

:D Good times. The contest is the last thing Euphie needs for his Salty title and, after winning the content on Saturday, the last thing I needed was One That Didn’t Get Away. I’d long-ago decided (thanks to Euphie, actually) to go for the Dark Herring. Why? Well, it’s got a chance of being in any Fangtooth Herring pool in Howling Fjord, so it’s in Northrend. And any pool in Northrend has a chance at getting the Sea Turtle mount for the Turtles All the Way Down achievement.

So anyways, I did the contest and spent half the day randomly grinning about it. This left me going fishing in Howling Fjord for either the Sea Turtle or the Dark Herring.

This evening, out of nowhere:

Woot! So I got my Dark Herring and I got my Salty title. It’s not even that I particularly WANT to be “Salty Kurnmogh”, but that I like titles. I have all the world event ones required for the meta on Kurn, plus:

Knight-Captain, Jenkins, the Patient, Salty, Chef, of the Nightfall, of Stormwind, of Ironforge, of Darnassus, the Argent Champion, Champion of the Frozen Wastes… and that might be it. I don’t like duplicating titles much between Madrana (who generally gets raid titles) and Kurn, so Kurn does all the world stuff and Madrana does all the raid stuff. Mostly. :)

Anyways, I also completed a project for recruitment that will go live tomorrow or Tuesday, both here and at the Apotheosis website.

It’s definitely been a great weekend both for me and the guild. Just over six weeks until Cataclysm’s launch. So much still to do!

Cataclysm Beta Build 13202 & Live Hotfix

Let’s chat a bit about the reported changes affecting holy paladins from Cataclysm Beta Build 13202. Thanks to MMO-Champion, as always, for detailing the changes so quickly.

Holy

* Seal of Insight – Unleashing this Seal’s energy now also restores 15% of the Paladin’s base mana.
* Mastery: Illuminated Healing now only affects your direct healing spells, instead of all healing spells.

Both a buff and a nerf, really.

The Seal of Insight buff is pretty huge. Every time we judge, we will regain 15% of base mana which, at 85, is in the realm of 3500 mana back. That’s instead of a CHANCE of 4% base mana (936ish mana) back when we judge. However, I believe we still maintain the chance to regain 4% of base mana back with this active, but we are guaranteed to get 15% of base mana back when we judge.

This means judgements — and not missing them — just became way more important. Judgement is an 8-second cooldown. Ideally, we are busy doing other things and are busy enough (though not overwhelmed) to not cast this on cooldown, but rather 2-3 times a minute, the way we did in most of Wrath. Remember that this seems like a lot of mana back right now, but with something like Flash of Light costing over 6000 mana at 85, this isn’t a ton of mana. It has the potential to be a lot of mana regen, however, when used wisely.

As to the mastery nerf, this is likely a direct result of the beta-realm raids where holy paladins apparently were using the hell out of Holy Radiance. It only makes sense. We’re not “the shielding spec”. We’re direct healers, primarily. There’s no way they want us to put tiny shields on 25 people with one GCD from Holy Radiance or Light of Dawn when it would take a disc priest a lot more time to do similar absorption (barring Power Word: Barrier).

I’m okay with these changes.

Let’s talk about the live server hotfix for paladins.

Source, Ghostcrawler, via MMO-Champion’s Blue Tracker:

Holy Paladin Hotfix
Yes, we buffed the 5 paladin direct heals (FoL, HL, DL, HS, WoG). This is a change for both level 80 and 85. We are going to tone down Holy Radiance as I described in the other thread. It can be powerful without being 75% of paladin healing.

I know it’s customary for players to classify everything as either overpowered or garbage, but we believe there are actual numbers in between say 1 and 100, so give the changes a chance before you dismiss them.

It is possible we will nerf Word of Glory for Prot and Ret at 85 to compensate for this buff since they probably don’t need stronger Words.

This went live late on Monday/early on Tuesday and pre-empted my rant about what a horrible time I had on Monday’s unofficial ICC 25 raid.

Just as an example, we had a resto druid, a resto shammy and Walks and myself go into portals on regular Dreamwalker, collecting orbs. We were also doing portal jockey. We wiped a few times. Obviously, the holy paladin method has changed here — Glyph of Holy Light is dead, so there’s no reason to beacon the dragon and heal a target near the dragon (be it yourself, a Tenacity pet for bigger splashes, etc). You just heal the dragon directly. (Oddly, Flash of Light worked better than Divine Light spam here, but that was pre-hotfix.)

I had 34 stacks of Emerald Vigor, more than anyone else. I came in fourth out of the four of us in the portals. And that includes a 600k+ crit Lay on Hands. Pathetic. Walks was just above me and then MILES ahead of us was the resto shammy and the resto druid at the top. Now I know that we’ve been supremely overpowered on this fight, but good Lord, that was embarassing. The entire night was an exercise in frustration. I couldn’t do what I was previously able to do, but not only the whole “handling two tanks alone” thing. I mean that I was unable to do my job with even half the effectiveness as before.

However, after the hotfix, I now feel better. NOW I feel as though I’m adjusting to the class changes. NOW I feel as though I’m fighting myself and my old habits to learn new tricks and tips, like #1 over at this bubblespec post, instead of fighting the new mechanics.

Is it a buff? Yes. Is it too much of a buff? Maybe. But it allows me to worry less about whether or not I CAN keep a target up, which lets me acclimate to the new ways of keeping my target up. Right now, that’s the priority for us — learn how to heal with expensive short heals and long heals, but a mana free heal and oh wow, need to generate holy power and all that jazz, too!

I feel that, since the hotfix, I’m playing smarter on the paladin. True, I haven’t raided on her, but I have recovered confidence in my spells and abilities just by virtue of playing with the heals alone and in heroic dungeons.

Is this the answer for all that ails holy paladins? No. But it’s about as good as it’s going to get at 80 before Cataclysm, probably. They’ve fixed us so that we can continue in our niche for the rest of 4.0.1 and still acclimate to working outside our niche with new mechanics.

Does this still terrify me for 85? Yes. But I do feel more hopeful and I think that while we’ll have to share single-target healing with others (and others will have to share some of the raid healing responsibilities with us!) it no longer feels as though an extra shadow priest can make up for our healing.

I do not think that paladins have gotten even remotely enough cool stuff. Still no Evangelism, Archangel, Atonement, Chakra, Holy Word: Chastise. We get Holy Radiance (at 83) and Light of Dawn and Word of Glory and then they screwed with each of our pre-patch heals, but nothing full of synergy, nothing really cool, although I definitely do like Holy Radiance. It has an unfortunately huge mana cost and 30 second cooldown, if you’re specced “properly”, so we can’t just slam on that button every time it’s up. I imagine it’s for those moments in Cataclysm that can be best related to XT-002. Quake? Holy Radiance. In other words, occasional heavy raid damage, but not an “on cooldown” ability, due to the prohibitive mana cost.

Still, there’s time yet and there will be patches in the future that will change talents and abilities. I hope to see more from Blizzard in terms of holy paladin attention, at least, if not new and exciting spells. This hotfix is a great step for us maintaining our raid spots and not screwing our raids over, at least until Cataclysm’s launch.

That was a great adventure.

Madrana went “home” today, back to the server she’d started on, back to the guild she’d helped form.

My original intention had been to stay with my Skywall guild until they got their meta achievements for the drakes or raiding had completely stopped for the expansion or Cataclysm launched.

I did not anticipate the amount of time I really feel I need to put into Apotheosis. I’ve barely touched Madrana since the patch and that’s not good for me as a player. I need to get use to new mechanics and I want to write about this stuff, too. But every time I logged in to WoW, I felt like I should have been on ET, doing something guild-related. I’ve done more on Kurn since the patch than on Madrana.

Due to Blizzcon and the patch and everything, my Skywall guild has essentially stopped raiding. Not completely — we had a normal ICC25 run on Monday, which was a hideous experience for me because it was before the holy pally hotfix — but enough that raiding isn’t required any longer by anyone and we weren’t going to raid until something like next Wednesday. Which made me sad; I thought we were going to try to raid this reset, but I totally forgot that half the guild is going to Blizzcon and would make that really difficult to pull off.

Add to that the feeling that I couldn’t just ignore Madrana for another week, which is what I would have done, since we weren’t raiding, and it just made sense to say goodbye now. So after some back and forth with my GM and with Walks and with my brother, I decided to bring Madrana home.

It was so much harder to leave my Skywall guild than I had ever thought it might be. I figured that I’d spend a couple of months there and then hop back to ET at 4.0 and not even blink.

It was hard to leave Apotheosis when we stopped raiding in March of 2009. Leaving this guild to go back to Apotheosis was almost as hard. No kidding, for real, I actually cried while writing my epic-length goodbye post. There are replies there, several of them, which I can barely even read because I’m all emotional about it.

I’m not normally someone who cries easily, especially about something like this. But the guild was just such a haven for me after the outright abuse I experienced in my previous guild. Compassionate, kind, happy voices filtered through my headset every raid. Laughter, gentle ribbing and the like? It was amazing after “healers you fucking suck”.

Senses of humour abounded. In-jokes were developed. I BOPped a tank on Festergut on my second night in and wiped the raid and everyone joked about it.

I was a big part of getting heroic Saurfang for them for their second kill, and the subsequent ones. I was a big part of helping them rescue Dreamwalker — both on my second-ever raid with them.

I helped out with Lady Deathwhisper strat stuff. I was there for Putricide’s two heroic deaths and an epic Sindragosa kill. I was there for lots of achievements, from a couple of Portal Jockeys to Been Waiting a Long Time For This.

So I did what I set out to do. I finished up Wrath with a great raiding group where I made a difference. I had fun. My raid leader would “butt-pull” now and again. One tank would turtle pull (as in mount up on his turtle mount and run in for the pull). I zerged Sarth 3D on 25 a couple of times. I even managed not to get bounced around on Blood Prince Council once.

The last four months have been a great time in WoW for me. I’ve seen my friends and compatriots trickling back to Eldre’Thalas while I’ve had a blast in 25-man raids with a great group of people who kept on pushing and pushing and finally got two of the three hardest encounters in ICC — heroic Putricide and heroic Sindragosa.

It was time to go. The day that I knew would inevitably come had finally arrived.

And even though I cried while writing goodbyes to some of the best personalities I’ve ever encountered in this game (a certain mage is definitely going to be written into a story at some point in time…!), I know that the guild will be okay. They can get Neck-Deep in Vile and All You Can Eat without me. They can get those drakes.

I went to the store this evening to pick up some milk. It was after the transfer, after I’d been re-guilded in Apotheosis, after I’d even run a heroic or something on Madrana. I was walking to the store and thinking about WoW and about how Madrana was home.

And it was just a huge relief, all of a sudden. Uncertainty stresses the crap out of me and not knowing when I’d be transferring was weighing on me more heavily than I realized. I just felt the weight be lifted off me as I took a deep breath of cool October air and knew that I’d made the right decision.

Now I can be more focused on the guild, more focused on my own toons. I don’t have raids to worry about. I can open recruitment and know that if I’m on WoW, chances are, I’m on ET and able to answer questions.

So tonight had me online on ET, hopping around my alts. I ran some stuff on Kurn and I ran some stuff on Madrana. I didn’t rely on my brother’s JC to cut gems to sell. I had some hilarious Vent conversations and gave Apple some advice about running heroics. I chatted with my friends and guildies and I was just generally present for most of the evening.

It was a good day. A sad day, though. I’ll never, ever forget my time in Choice of Skywall. They’re recruiting for Cataclysm, you know. And they definitely have an opening for a holy paladin.

They’re some of the best people it’s ever been my pleasure to run with. If you’re looking for a Cataclysm guild, I have to recommend them. (Apotheosis recruitment is not yet open, but we’re looking for a rogue, a mage, a feral druid, maybe a resto shaman when recruitment opens. No holy paladin spots right now.) 9pm-12am (Eastern) on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Mondays, although you’d have to check with them for when they plan to raid in Cataclysm.

Excellent group of people. Give them a shot if you’re looking. But be aware; I might be the one asked to look over your application. ;)

Thanks, Choice, for four of the best months I’ve spent in this game. I’ll miss you guys. <3

Tales of a GM (1)

I inherited the position of guild master of Apotheosis back in January of 2008, when our then-GM, Toga, stepped down due to work and RL conflicts. Majik and I had decided to both throw our hats in and so I posted that I’d consider it and then that jackass said “Grats!”. So I became the guild master.

It wasn’t a position I ever really wanted. I’m not even sure I want it now, but I know what I need to do as the GM and I know I can do it well. Add my dedication to this game and, particularly, this group of people, and I know I’ll do my best at this job.

That doesn’t mean it’s not a giant pain in the ass now and again.

Even apart from all the in-game obligations (I’d forgotten about the DELUGE of whispers one gets when logging in as the GM!) which include answering basic questions and checking things like who’s joined, quit and the like, there are all the other little things.

Tuesday, for example, I discovered that one of the guildies had created a pretty bad-ass new logo for the guild. Incorporating the logo into the website and the forum will require reformatting, resizing and I might put my own touches on it as well. It’ll also mean new skins/themes for the website and the forum.

I also had a few questions on the forum from a guildie about our plans for progression and the like, before she commits to raiding with us. (Ultimately, she really liked my open and honest answers and has decided to stick with us!)

Then there was a note from another guildie that had to be dealt with quickly because it was important to me.

In the meantime, I found fixes for the cog wheel bug (when you click something in an instance/BG and get disconnected) and the missing projected textures, as well as two awesome posts regarding raid buffs and debuffs in Cataclysm, so I posted all that information to my guild’s website — and also to my current guild’s website, because I’m a nice person like that.

Then, Majik tells me he’s set up a Vent server on his home network that has a sweet connection (they’re running a TF2 server and such at his place), so we organize the server, start making usernames and passwords and the like…

… whereupon I get pulled into a guild Naxx 10 Undying run, where everyone died on Heigan, thanks to the tank who forgot about the spell casting speed debuff and tanked him on the platform. ;) We cleared the rest of the instance without much else issue and, thank you very much, I can kite zombies on Gluth like a champ as a hunter. (I miss Volley and its lack of a minimum range, but moving while Multishotting is kind of awesome.) It dawned on me that it’s about 100 times easier to kite zombies than it is to heal a bad kiter, by the way. :P

Anyways, after the run, I decided to poke around on the new Vent server Majik had set up and discovered that it has a limit of 8 people for the free server version and that to get more slots, you have to ask to be licensed and you’re given 1000 slots. Which means that you’re basically a hosting provider AND Ventrilo can decide not to give you a license, too. So, that clearly isn’t going to work for us.

So I ponied up and expanded my Vent server from 15 slots to 35 and retooled it a bit to give people more channels to talk in and passworded a few channels. Then I added people’s usernames and passwords to the Vent and then sent everyone private messages with the info. (Edit: This was the easiest and fastest solution by far, but thank you for the Mumble recommendations. It’s on the backburner, but I’ll probably be chatting with Majik about Mumble in the not-too-distant future.)

At some point during Tuesday, I also bumped my brother’s main raiding toon and the designated bank alt to a specific rank that allows him to withdraw basically anything. He’s our guild bank administrator, yay! I also made that rank and the regular Officer rank require an authenticator and then asked the officers to log in on their unused alts to get the 72h timer going on those toons. The authenticator requirement doesn’t actually interact with the account database, but rather checks the flag of the individual toon, meaning all new toons will need 72 hours before they can be promoted to ranks requiring an authenticator. Which sucks. But anyways.

I helped a guildie with her blog (which is not ready for the public yet) by helping her add the WoW Recent Achievements widget to her blog.

I also did a couple of things to do with my toons — transmutes, Icy Prism, some Headless Horseman runs and a heroic on my shaman. Bloody hell, it sucks to not be able to cleanse poisons on the shaman! What, it’s not bad enough that they removed Cleansing Totem altogether, but I can’t even TOUCH poisons now?

Anyways, that’s what I did today. Big day of guild stuff, really, but how much got accomplished? Well, everyone can get on Vent, now. We’ve added another person to our starting roster. Players will have the ability to work around the cog wheel and projected textures issues. Oh, and Kurn got the Headless Horseman’s mount, so there’s that. ;)

What remains: beginning recruitment, working on redoing the website and forum themes to better mesh with one of the new logos, responding to some more PMs from members and making sure people know to check the forums regularly!

And it would be nice to get some RL stuff done and also to post here about: raiding in ICC as a holy pally after the patch (it sucks!), raiding in ICC as a holy pally after the patch AND the buff (we’ll see tomorrow?) , the new beta build and the Holy Radiance change, the Seal of Insight change and the Mastery change.

Plus I still have comments to get to.

6:47am. Bedtime. It was a productive guild day, but boy, it felt like it was never going to end.

Hug your guild master today. Chances are, they deserve it.

A Requiem for Zul'Gurub

On October 9th, 2005, I started my subscription to World of Warcraft. That’s when I created Kurnmogh, my night elf hunter.

What many people don’t know is why I started playing. I was never a fan of the Warcraft real-time strategy games. I’d played some Diablo and Diablo II, but never really spent a lot of time with either of those games. I was not one of those target people who already knew about Arthas and Jaina and Illidan and Tyrande and Malfurion. Everything was completely new to me.

So why did I start?

Zul’Gurub is why I started playing this game nearly five years ago.

Actually, it was the “Corrupted Blood” incident that happened in September of 2005 that got me started playing.

You see, I read this article about it and, being someone who’s always liked the fantasy genre along with being a sociology student, I thought this was absolutely fascinating. People deliberately diseasing each other? Killing each other? Even though the behaviour was all within a game setting, I was completely fascinated at the idea of people deliberately infecting others with this plague-like thing. (As an aside, I was THRILLED at the launch of 3.0 because of the zombie plague. It was the ZG plague all over again, but deliberately built into the game and I got to experience it firsthand! My inner sociology nerd had a blast.)

So I first started playing this game due to Zul’Gurub and a buggy game mechanic.

It was only on April 1st, 2006, that I first set foot in Zul’Gurub. Imagine my panic when I read the following words:

Your callous disregard for the sovereign might of the Gurubashi Empire has been noted. The inhabitants of Zul’Gurub has been alerted to your presence.

I could regale you readers with tales of defeat and victory against all the beasts in Zul’Gurub. I could tell you how Axe Throwers were chain-sheeped to deal with them at the time or how falling off the bridges were actual issues. I could tell you how, once, some of us ran the hell out of ZG from Jek’lik’s area when we called a wipe. Turns out that she resets, but bat riders don’t.

But I won’t.

Quite simply, what I want to tell you is that Zul’Gurub was my first real raid instance. My little guild actually cleared the instance fully, including Jin’do. We totally took the Jin’do kill in stride, too. Only a handful of guilds on the server had killed him and here were the lowly Fated Heroes, completely clearing ZG.

It took us a long time to get to that point. We went from three-hour nights on Venoxis (April 1, 2006) to 20-minute “Venoxis runs” on the reset we didn’t plan to fully use. (“Venoxis runs” were led by Majik, primarily so he could get his hands on the Fang of Venoxis so he could replace his Hypnotic Blade while still using his snazzy Tome of the Ice Lord.)

We went from 8/20 people being guildies to doing all-guild runs, with people on standby.

We were once robbed of our first-ever Jek’lik kill by virtue of PTR lag. Back in the days before battlegroups, Eldre’Thalas was on the same server as the PTR realms and this meant that, occasionally, while the PTRs were up, we would experience intense lag spikes. One such lag spike happened on our best-ever Jek’lik attempt, causing her not only to heal without being interrupted, but also causing her to then go forth and kill 80% of the raid. (Similarly, years later, we discovered that Vashj also does not lag.)

We killed Mar’li for the first time while I was on vacation in Italy. I had brought my laptop and nothing was going to stop me from raiding with my crew when we were making progress through ZG. (The raid lasted from about 2am Italy time until about 5am. And then I went and did touristy things after 3 hours of sleep. But Mar’li had died, so it was TOTALLY worth it!)

Arlokk never dropped Will of Arlokk for my brother, Fog, but did give it up to Crypt, our priest officer and healing lead. She also dropped Arlokk’s Hoodoo Stick, snagged by Egop, one of our healing paladins (and later, I snagged this on Madrana). It’s great because it looks like we can dual wield. :D

Thekal’s timing was initially tricky, but we mastered burning the three of them down together, thanks to awesome interrupts by people like Kut (who usually ended up dead on the floor somewhere, but that’s his gift to us!) or Football (who is, and let’s face it, awesomesauce). With the heals not a worry, it was like burning down Core Hound packs in MC, at which we were becoming quite adept.

Mandokir was my favourite fight for a while, if only because we once saw him gain so many levels from all the deaths of the players that not only did Mandokir start yelling “DING!” whenever one of us died, but at one point, Jin’do yelled out “Grats!”.

Obviously, he’d gained too many levels for us to finish him off and we called for a wipe, amid a collection of giggles and laughter.

Gahz’ranka, also known as the fish boss, was entirely dependent on Toga, the only one crazy enough at the time to have levelled fishing. He was also a night elf hunter so one night he and I went to scout out Pagle’s Pointe with some creative feigning and shadowmelding. We even crept up to Jin’do’s area using these methods and took great pleasure in sneaking around Zul’Gurub. We saw a couple of Tome of Polymorph: Turtles. I remember some drama around that — mains vs. alts and the like — but all that really matters is that Majik got his and has shunned every other form of Polymorph since. In fact, I would imagine that he will instruct all mages to acquire this tome so that they will all turtle things in Cataclysm, rather than “sheep” things.

When we finally faced Hakkar, I was more excited about it just because he was considered the “end boss” of Zul’Gurub and my little guild was on the brink of killing him. It only dawned on me later that the Corrupted Blood we all had to acquire in order to kill Hakkar was the same thing that had made me decide to pick up the game. When we got him down, I felt accomplished and felt a bit of a thrill, knowing that I had experienced the mechanic that had brought me to the game in the first place.

Zul’Gurub was the site of many, many, MANY wipes and quite a few victories. It was the place with the bugged out fish. It was a place with two mounts that we never, ever saw. It was even the spot where my brother, who had left the guild shortly after I joined, came back to us and the place where he showed off his new tree form as Fated Heroes’ very first Tree of Life.

When I learned that Zul’Gurub was being removed for Cataclysm, I went back there on my hunter. I got exalted with the Zandalar, from about midway through revered. I fished up a new Tome of Polymorph: Turtle. I farmed Mandokir and Thekal for mounts a few times (still no luck!), finally tamed a tiger cub like I’d been meaning to do for years and then, together, four years after we had first done it by each other’s side, my brother and I killed Hakkar and got the achievement for Zul’Gurub.

Being exalted and having the achievement for ZG doesn’t make it any less sad that this raid instance is being removed. It doesn’t even really make me feel all that much better about it. What it did do, however, was let me say goodbye to an instance that, even all these years later, is still as familiar to me as Stratholme is, or Dire Maul, or Blackrock Depths.

Without ZG, I might never have picked up this game and met some truly amazing people. I certainly wouldn’t have had all the experiences I’ve had over the last five years if not for that instance and its buggy Corrupted Blood. So here’s to you, Zul’Gurub, and your inhabitants. I will miss callously disregarding your sovereign might.