All the News that's Fit to Print

Status of Kurn:

– Level 85

– 525 Skinning/ 525 Leatherworking

– Hasn’t even done all the dungeons yet

– Spent a lot of time skinning and farming volatiles

Status of Madrana:

– Level 83 (God bless you, Holy Radiance!) and 21%

– Only healed Blackrock Caverns, Stonecore and Vortex Pinnacle thus far (haven’t discovered TotT) and even pugged some of that, with halfway decent results

– Already well through revered with the Guardians of Hyjal

– Hyjal is completely, COMPLETELY done. Doing it all over the course of about a day and a half is very, very different from doing it on Beta, where I did that over the span of about three weeks. It was nice to be able to basically already know what to do for the quests, though. I nearly cried at Save the Wee Animals, though. Still hate that quest!

– I’ve replaced six pieces so far: helm, neck, both rings and both trinkets. RIP 2pc T10. You will be missed.

– Mana issues when fights drag on too long or too many people are taking damage at once. Most of the time, I’m okay, especially if I remember to judge, but sometimes it just isn’t possible.

– Using lots of CDs — HoSac, Divine Protection, BOP, Divine Shield, Lay on Hands have all seen use this weekend, and a lot of it.

– JC to 481, Alchemy to 508. Enough to have both trinkets, although I’m not using my alchemy trinket for my holy set, not yet anyways.

Apotheosis:

– 22 level 85s — 3 tanks and 3 healers in the mix.

– Guild Level 3 early this morning!

– Guild Deadmines/Heroic Deadmines/Heroic Stonecore achievements all gotten this morning/last night.

– Officers have maxed out Herbalism, Alchemy, Inscription, Enchanting, Engineering, Mining, Skinning and Leatherworking. This leaves: Tailoring (OMG, where is all the Embersilk?!), Jewelcrafting (waiting on meta transmutes) & Blacksmithing (waiting on JC to finish with the ore, basically).

I’m still unhappy with the structure of guild achievements and guild levelling and the like. I’m still unhappy with the majority of the instances I’ve seen, thus far. I’m still unhappy that since 3am on Tuesday morning, which is 5 days and 4.5 hours, I have dinged Kurn and am more than halfway through the levelling process with the paladin — it’s just too short. And we’re basically stuck with the 5-levels-per-expansion for at least two expansions, lest we ding 95 for the next one. I’m really not a fan. I couldn’t queue for Blackrock Caverns or TotT with someone who was 85 and someone who was 81 couldn’t join my queue for Stonecore, I think it was. (Maybe Vortex Pinnacle.) The levels and their requirements are really not right and everything feels compressed.

That said, I’m enjoying spending time with my guildies. I’m enjoying saying grats all the time, even if it seems like it’s every two minutes. I’m enjoying NOT recruiting right now, because we are, honest to God, all full up.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have to check up on people who are getting to 85 more slowly, or that I don’t have to check up on people’s heroic-level gear… but it means I can do stuff in-game and on the armory as opposed to on the realm forums, the WoW forums, Wowhead’s forums and MMO-Champion’s forums.

On the agenda for the next couple of days:

– Ding Madrana 85, work on her professions

– Get a BiS pre-raid gear for holy pallies post up (just as soon as I’ve had a good look at the loot tables and such)

– Record the next Blessing of Frost episode on Monday for Tuesday morning release

Oh, and somewhere in there, I should probably sleep for a bit. ;)

How’s your Cataclysm treating you so far?

Whew.

Kurnmogh is now 85.

It wasn’t hard. I took my time — fishing, farming and the like. My LW is 509 (still…) but my fishing and cooking have actually MOVED. I even did some archaeology. I’ve done some instances.

I’ve only finished two zones entirely; Deepholm and Uldum. Love them both.

I was asked on Thursday why I level my hunter first. There are SO many reasons for my levelling my hunter first.

1) I like playing the hunter solo better than playing the paladin solo. Questing, farming, etc, it’s all about Kurn.

2) Tradition. I level Kurn first. That’s what happened at 60 (I was 60 for a couple of months before I did anything with Madrana) and 70 (levelled her so that I could actually get into a guild) and 80 (Kurn will always be my “fun” toon).

3) Leatherworking. I distributed the professions among the officers as fairly as I could, taking alts into account as well, and we’re power-levelling (as best we can) everyone’s professions. It’s working really well — 525 Alchemy and Inscription! With JC and LW and enchanting getting there, with tailoring and BS coming up. Kurn is the only officer toon who would get a substantial amount of playtime who’s a leatherworker and it helps that I skin, too.

4) Comfort. Knowing the quests and dungeons as a DPS lets me focus on healing when I’m on the paladin. Or at least what to expect as I quest or dungeon. Even with my beta experience, some things were new this go-through. It was great to finish off Deepholm and awesome to actually kill the colossus in Uldum and all those quests, too.

5) Rested experience. With the rested I’ve been accumulating on the paladin, combined with the 5% extra experience from Fast Track (Level 1) that comes from being a Level 2 guild, Madrana’s levelling experience will be quicker than Kurn’s.

6) Bottlenecks. Not levelling my healer ASAP means that I won’t have many other healers to compete with for the entry-level dungeon guild runs. The problem with being a GM who has a blog that’s mostly healing-related is that I have a LOT of healers and they’re all awesomesauce and all chomping at the bit to get in there and HEAL.

7) Okay, yes, part of levelling Kurn first is to satisfy people who mock me for insisting that Kurn is my main and Madrana is my alt. As I explained to a few of my officers a while back, Kurn is who I am and Madrana is what I can do, sort of like how Clark is who Clark Kent is and Superman is what Clark can do. :P

Not a perfect analogy, because I’m not really a 7ft-tall blue-skinned male night elf, but you get the point.

Getting Kurn to level cap first is my way of acknowledging to myself (and to others who care) that Kurn is still my main and Madrana is just who I take with me to work every day. It’s never been more true than in this last expansion where Madrana is who I applied to raid as to no less than four guilds. I never would have dreamt about raiding on Kurn in 25-man heroic ICC, but as Madrana? HELL YEAH.

I may or may not have a slight case of multiple personality disorder when it comes to my in-game identities and toons…

Anyways. Kurn to 85. Next up, Madrana levelling and some more farming of ore and herbs! Oh, and leather. Stupid leather!

Initial Impressions of the Irked

Before I start, I want to be clear that I’ve been around the WoW block a few times. I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for over five years. I have lived through Burning Crusade and Wrath and a good deal of Vanilla. I have been a beta tester for both Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm. I’ve been “that scrub” in T0 gear and, on the flip side, I’ve gotten my ICC 25m drake.

With the exception of Real ID and the proposed use of real names on the forums and such, I have really never been so disappointed with the state of the game. And Real ID has very little to do with the game; that’s an aspect of the WoW community.

This time, I am disappointed with the game content and the game mechanics. I’m not talking about the kinds of mechanics like how Aspect of the Fox lets hunters use Cobra Shot or Steady Shot while moving. I’m talking about how some parts of the game actually work.

1) The Level Cap

On Kurn, I am currently, as I write this, level 84 and 34%. Or, about 7 bars in to level 84, judging by the standard UI. I have played quite a bit in the last couple of days, although I have slept and ate and done a variety of other things normal human beings do.

Am I pushing myself to level? Yes.

I’m on pace with how I normally do in an expansion. The first day or so after launch, I’m 2 or 3 levels into the new cap. The same thing happened this time around. Only this time, I was more than halfway through the available levels. Never mind that 84-85 consists of more than 9 million experience (it does!) – numerically, I felt like I was more than halfway there. That means that the last couple of levels — most of 83 and ALL of 84 — are going to drag. And 84 is definitely dragging. 9.1 million experience is daunting after what, 5 or 6 million? Not like 77-80 didn’t drag, not like 67-70 didn’t drag and not like 57-60 didn’t drag. But it’s going to feel even worse because the drag is compacted into two levels instead of three, and 84 is going to be hell.

Not only that, but I’m replacing gear at an alarming rate on Kurn. Not just the 251-264 mix I had going in, but the new gear. I’ve been through three bows in the last two days.  Three chest pieces. Two helms. Three pairs of bracers.

What on earth is this? I know that the gear has to scale higher and faster than it ever has before, but it feels like I get one item and I’m proud and pleased and then two hours later, it’s replaced. I’d kind of like the chance to hold on to a piece of gear for a week or so before I upgrade it, you know?

2) Guild Achievements/Experience/Reputation

Guild Achievements do not add to Guild Experience. Guild Experience has a cap per day (which supposedly increases the higher level your guild is?). Guild Reputation has a WEEKLY cap.

Let us discuss this.

a) Guild Achievements do not add to Guild Experience, which means that Guild Achievements (like most personal achievements) are basically useless. Have you looked at some of these achievements? If we’re not going to get something out of it, why do it? That’s not really my own perspective; I’m happy to do crazy things for no reward but the thrill. But let’s be serious.

You Don’t Have an Eternity – Guild Edition – 6-minute Malygos. The Eye of the Eternity is, hands-down, the T7 raid instance people hated. Naxx was long, but had a ton of bosses. Obsidian Sanctum was short, but could be easy or challenging.  Malygos? Boring and a vehicle fight, in part. Who in their right mind would go back with some guildies to get this achievement as a guild? (Okay, yes, some people liked it, but my experience says most did not.) It isn’t even your own achievement, so if the guild disbands, you have nothing but your memories.

Where is the motivation if it doesn’t help you get to the next guild level? If I can’t sell these things as something that actively benefits the guild an helps the guild level, what’s the point?

These were shown to us on beta as being part of the guild levelling experience. I know, I know. It was beta. Things change. If I’d known they’d remove guild achievement experience, I would had given feedback for XP to be returned.

b) Guild Experience is capped at a ridiculous amount. Well, ridiculous for me and my guild. Your mileage may vary. I think it was two hours into the launch day when we capped out for the day. It was 3 hours into Day 2 when we were capped out for that day. I understand that they don’t want to discriminate against smaller, less active guilds, but these are guild levels and guild rewards. Shouldn’t the bigger ones and more active ones at least have an advantage there because it IS very difficult to herd a lot of people? I can see the argument both ways, but MAN, it’s ridiculous to spend more than 20 hours a day doing things that ought to count towards guild experience and be limited by a cap.

c) Guild Reputation is currently capped at a weekly limit. Now I admit, I see the point here. If you can grind to exalted with your guild in no time, then there’s no real disincentive to leave your guild. All these guild rewards are supposed to prevent you from guild hopping. I get that.

But, for the love of pete, could they PLEASE give us a standard amount? Some people in my guild are capped for the week at 896 into Friendly. I’m at 2656. Someone else is 4000+ into Friendly. What are these random numbers? Help us understand, Blizzard. We don’t get it and it’s not overly obvious.

Further, many achievements don’t count until people are at a certain rep with the guild. So Tia and her eleventy-one exalted reps won’t count for United Nations until she reaches that cap. My 525 Skinning won’t count for Working as a Team until I’m honored with my own guild. (That said, I think the GM should automatically be exalted. :P Okay, not really, but that’s irksome.)

So having a weekly cap — not just a daily cap, but a weekly cap — on guild rep is just obnoxious. I’d rather not have guild rep at all, to be honest.

3) Swing, Batter, Batter, Batter, Suh-wing!

The nerf bat has been swung and it has completely trivialized things like normal Blackrock Caverns and Throne of the Tides. Stonecore is super easy compared to the various iterations I’ve seen and while the stars and final boss in Vortex Pinnacle were tricky (we ended up zerging the first set of stars, it was hilarious), these mechanics were overcome pretty quickly.

Seriously, no need for CC in BRC or TotT. You can still charge in, pull everything and AOE it all down. Ridiculous. Ludicrous. I am SO unimpressed. I’ve only used CC so far in Vortex Pinnacle on 5-pulls where there are a couple of healers and that’s … boring, really. I’m actually fairly unhappy with the dungeon situation. This leads me to believe that one of two things will happen.

a) These facerollingly easy dungeons lead to facerollingly easy heroics, leading to more disappointment from me. I believe this is where we’re going to end up. Some of my guildies who are 85 are LFGing heroic dungeons and are having moderate success.

b) These facerollingly easy dungeons lead to brutal heroics, leading to everyone in the world sobbing about how Blizzard sucks, at which point they will almost certainly be nerfed.

I’m of the mind that not every dungeon has to be like heroic Shadow Labyrinth or heroic Shattered Halls or heroic Arcatraz or heroic Halls of Reflection. Similarly, I’m of the mind that dungeons don’t need to be as easy as regular Violet Hold.

What I’d like:

– Normal dungeons about the same level of difficulty as heroic Forge of Souls. Basically straight-forward, a couple of tricky pulls, but something you can whip through when you know the fights.

– Heroic dungeons at about a level of difficult just a notch above of heroic Halls of Reflection — without any of the exploits. No standing around the corner in the alcoves, no running BEHIND the Lich King on the path. You know — how it was intended to be run.

Honestly, I thought we were going to get this. I spent enough time on Beta to know that instances were no longer trivial.

And yet now, they are.

What gives? What is up with that?

These are all reasons I am disappointed. These are all reasons I’m not thrilled.

I do like some stuff. I still love Uldum. I still love professions, even if I was only at 475 when someone on our realm got realm first 525 skinning.

I love that my guild officers are banding together and farming our asses off to help the guild by maxing our professions. This isn’t something we’re requiring of the guild, although they should feel free to help out, but the officers are doing everything they can for each other’s professions so that the guildies don’t get ruined at the AH. We’re dropping in all our greens (crafted or looted) for our guild enchanter. Blues are being sold for right now while they’re going for insane amounts of cash. All ore any officer mines goes to the bank — Fog, our JC, is through Obsidium and on to Elementium. Our BS is just about done with Obsidium and will move on to Elementium and we’ll move Fog back to Obsidium. All cloth is being dropped into the bank for Majik, our tailor. Toga maxed out Alchemy with a bit of help, but mostly on his own and then farmed a crapton of herbs for Maj and Inscription. I’m using guild-acquired Volatiles for my LW (509!) and basically, things are going swimmingly!

We also have some people helping us out with dropping in greens and stuff and trading gems and the like. I’m really, REALLY pleased with the level of cooperation and lack of selfishness displayed by the officers and the guild in general.

So I’m disappointed with a few things. I won’t quit or anything, but I’m not thrilled with a few aspects. We’ll see how things change. That’s really the beauty of a game like WoW — nothing is forever. And in this case, I hope that’s applicable.

Lowbie Holy Paladin Guidance

After a discussion I had with Majik and Oestrus on the latest episode of Blessing of Frost, I thought I’d throw some thoughts out here with regards to lower-level paladins who are new rerolls and such. We’ll break this down into 5 sections: 1-25, 26-50, 51-75, 76-80 and 81-85. You can also refer to my 4.0.1/4.0.3 posts for advice at 80 to 85.

In each section, I’ll look at the talents available and the glyphs available. This advice is based on healing in a PVE environment, so levelling through the Dungeon Finder, primarily. You should ideally fill out the talents in the order I discuss them as I’m selecting talents that will help your overall healing output the most.

1-25

Here’s the Wowhead link: 9/0/0

Why those talents:

Tier 1:

– 3/3 Judgements of the Pure because Judgements of the Pure is awesome. Always pick talents that will increase your haste.

– 2/3 Protector of the Innocent because we need to get to Tier 2.

Tier 2:

– 3/3 Clarity of Purpose: Talent that reduces your cast time on two spells, even though you only have one of them at the moment. 3 seconds to 2.5 seconds on Holy Light? Yes, please.

– 1/2 Last Word: Useful talent. We’ll want to fill this out with our next talent point, as well.

Glyphs:

We get one Prime, Major and Minor glyph slot at 25, 50 and 75. Here we’ll go with Holy Shock, Lay on Hands and Blessing of Kings. Holy Shock because you’re using it all the time, Lay on Hands because it’s never a bad thing to reduce that cooldown and Blessing of Kings because our minor glyphs suck and that’s one of the ones that sucks least.

Tips:

– Always have a Seal up so that you can judge so you can get your Judgements of the Pure up! At level 30, use Seal of Insight and feel free to swap to the Glyph of Seal of Insight, or you can wait until level 50 for that, too.

26-50

Here’s the Wowhead link: 21/0/0

Why those talents:

Tier 2:

2/2 Last Word: Fill this out so you can get down to Tier 3.

Tier 3:

1/1 Divine Favor: A real cooldown to use that will increase haste and crit chance. Pop this when you’re in trouble.

2/2 Infusion of Light: Crit Holy Shocks lead to a much shorter cast time on Holy Light and, later, Divine Light. And this talent also gives us 10% extra crit to Holy Shock. Even if this didn’t lead to Speed of Light, this is beautiful.

2/2 Daybreak: A chance to get two Holy Shocks in a row? Yes, please!

Tier 4:

1/1 Beacon of Light: Beacon, also known as Bacon, lets you heal the tank (or another beaconed target, but typically the tank) while healing someone else. This is only 50% of the healing your target gets, mind you.

1/1 Sacred Cleansing: The ability to cleanse magic debuffs. Ecstasy!

3/3 Speed of Light: At this level, it’s just spell haste, yet again reducing the amount of time it takes to cast your heals.

Tier 5:

1/3 Conviction: This is a buff to healing based on your crits, so up to 3% extra healing based on your crits. You’ll want to fill this out with your next two talents.

Glyphs:

Prime: Seal of Insight (or put Holy Shock back in if you swapped it out at 30)

Major: Divinity (why not gain mana when you do use Lay on Hands?)

Minor: Blessing of Might (again, our minors suck.)

Tips:

– Have Seal of Insight up with the Glyph so that your healing is increased by 5%.

– Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse! You are one of two healers who can cleanse three kinds of debuffs, the other being druids. You can magic, diseases and poisons and resto druids can do magic, curses and poisons. So use your cleanse button!

– Typically beacon the tank and do not be afraid to directly heal your beaconed target.

51-75

Here’s the Wowhead link: 31/3/0

Tier 5:

3/3 Conviction: Fill out Conviction to bump up your healing done.

1/1 Aura Mastery: Ultimately, probably not the most useful talent in lower-levels, but play around with 100% extra resistance (with Resistance Aura up) or immunity to silence (with Concentration Aura up) for six seconds. Think of AOE Shadow, Frost or Fire damage. Or if a boss has an enrage and is doing physical damage, use it with Devotion Aura.

1/2 Paragon of Virtue: Divine Protection is a great button to prevent damage to yourself, Hand of Sacrifice is a great button to prevent damage to others and when you get Avenging Wrath, that’s a great button to help your output. This talent reduces the cooldowns on all these things. Pick this up at 1/2, we will definitely come back here.

Tier 6:

3/3 Tower of Radiance: Hooray, another way to generate Holy Power! This is why you shouldn’t be afraid to heal your beaconed target.

Back to Tier 5:

2/2 Paragon of Virtue: Here we go, pick up this remaining talent because it’s awesome and it can help us get down to our 31-point talent.

Back to Tier 4:

1/2 Enlightened Judgements: Now you can step back another 5 yards when keeping your judgement up. This is useful to get you the heck out of melee range.

Tier 7:

1/1 Light of Dawn: Hello, Light of Dawn! Our very own Circle of Wild Dawn! ;) This is our version of the holy priest’s Circle of Healing and the resto druid’s Wild Growth and even the shammy’s Chain Heal. Aim yourself at people. Hit the button (preferably with 3 holy power). Witness awesome group heals.

To the Protection Tree we go!

Tier 1:

3/3 Divinity: 6% increased healing. Bam, done. Eternal Glory is also an option, but mana should not be such an issue that you need the EG procs for more Word of Glory heals.

Glyphs:

Prime: Word of Glory (+healing)

Major: Light of Dawn (extra target, so up to 6)

Minor: Seal of Insight (see what I mean about our minors sucking?)

Tips:

– Get used to using Aura Mastery in various instances because it starts to get useful in BC dungeons and Wrath dungeons.

– Make sure you’re keeping Judgements of the Pure up. The extra haste is really going to come in handy in BC/Wrath dungeons.

– Make sure you’re keeping your Holy Power up and using it appropriately with Light of Dawn or Word of Glory as needed. Remember that 50% of each Light of Dawn heal will go to your beaconed target!

76-80

Here’s the Wowhead link: 31/3/2

To the Retribution Tree we go!

Tier 1:

2/3 Crusade: You’re using Holy Shock basically on cooldown. Increase its healing!

81-85

First, the Retribution tree:

3/3 Crusade: Fill this out for some awesomeness.

Back to the Protection tree:

2/2 Eternal Glory: This is where you end up learning how to use Word of Glory back-to-back when you get procs of EG.

And back to the Retribution tree:

2/2 Improved Judgement: Extra range! You now have a 35y range on your judgements, which is excellent.

So a level 85 spec looks like this:

31/5/5

Additional reading: 4.0.1 post /4.0.3 post

Hope that was useful for anyone who’s embarked upon the challenge of starting a new holy paladin!

An Annoyance

Those of you who are long-term readers may recall a post I made over a year ago. On November 9th, 2009, I posted about missing Apotheosis. That followed a post from June 4th, 2009 where I informed everyone to prevent me from doing the whole GM thing again. (And no one did. Typical! ;D)

Basically, I have been working to get Apotheosis back together for over a year.

A year.

While raiding from 11pm-2am with my RL friend the Resto Druid or 9pm-12am with Choice (in need of holy pallies for Cata!), I was also getting back in touch with people. Making plans. Setting up forums. Organizing people. Inviting people back to Apotheosis from my level 4 toon.

When Cataclysm launches on December 7th, that will be the real start of a new era in Apotheosis history. But all the work that went into ensuring there WOULD be a new era in Apotheosis history is crazy. It’s been a long, long road. Assembling officers. Checking in with people. Making sure people are still around and interested. More recently, interviews, loot rules, forums, recruitment videos, 10 and 25-man raids…

I’ve put a lot of effort into this over the last year and certainly a lot since 4.0 hit and I moved Madrana home to Eldre’Thalas.

None of this annoys me.

What annoys me is the people who clearly haven’t put a moment’s thought into expansion plans.

I’m talking about a mage app who applied with a bad spec, bad gems, bad gear and bad grammar who said they’d decided to make the mage their main. Really? Did you decide to make your mage your main five minutes ago? Looks that way from the effort you’ve put into the toon. Nice spirit gems, by the way, and that green trinket is just to die for.

I’m talking about guilds out there who haven’t started retooling their rosters and recruiting. Seriously? How have you not started to prepare, yet? I’ve been preparing for a YEAR and you, yes you, with your raid group that’s 11/12 ICC 25HM while working on HLK attempts, how are YOU less prepared than I am?

It’s true that when you’re running a guild, you have a lot less time to prepare for the future than someone who’s “just” a raider. I’m deluged in emails and private messages this week. I get it. But good leaders don’t assume anything. A good GM and officer team checks in with their members and keeps checking in. Just because I have… 39 people on my Google Docs spreadsheet does NOT mean that come the first planned raid date, we’ll have 39 people ready to raid.

I’ll have to make sure that everyone listed HAS the expansion and is over on Eldre’Thalas. I’ll have to make sure that everyone’s levelling at a reasonable rate or maybe drop them from consideration for that first raid. And depending on how hard it is to finish dungeons and heroics and gear up, we might even have to push our first raid date back a week or two.

This is what annoys me — I’m already working 3-4 weeks down the road and looking at problems that may arise. And so many people aren’t making plans, aren’t trying to work around potential problems, aren’t even bothering to discuss stuff.

I realize that plans aren’t that important in terms of RL priorities, especially during the holiday season, but if you play this game as a raider — or you want to play the game as a raider — how have you not been thinking this stuff through already when I’ve been doing this for a year, now? Raiders and guilds alike, I see so many people completely unprepared and it’s like, well what have you been DOING since Cataclysm was announced?!

The people who haven’t done 4.0 research for their classes just make me sad.

The guilds who haven’t got planned raid dates and deadlines make me facepalm.

These are going to be the people complaining out the wazoo when Cata hits and they can’t immediately queue for a dungeon because they don’t know where the entrance is yet. These are the people who will be mystified that half their guild has left for another guild because they weren’t ready to raid, yet.

I see so much disorganization that is going to lead to a huge wakeup call, which will lead to so much complaining, which, God willing, will not lead to demanded nerfs or buffs.

As a result of this general state of unpreparedness that I’m witnessing, plus my experience in going through the BC and Wrath expansion transitions, here are three predictions:

Fearless prediction #1: Random dungeons will suck for a minimum of 3-4 months, probably closer to 6. Random heroics will possibly suck until people really outgear them, meaning the first raid tier (T11) being available to the general public, so this is looking at when the second raid tier comes out (T12).

Fearless prediction #2: Guilds who have been recruiting and plotting out dates, deadlines and plans will be much better at dealing with issues that crop up mid-January than those who haven’t even started to plan things out.

Fearless prediction #3: I’m not going to feel prepared enough because there’s ALWAYS curve balls thrown at guilds during expansion transitions, but, by golly, Apotheosis will prosper because my officers and I actually care about the people and the guild and we will do what we need to in order to hit those curve balls out of the park.

I feel a bit better for having ranted.

Coming soon: pre-raid gear suggestions!

Stood in the Fire

I’ve always loved dragons. The idea of slaying them, the idea of fighting them, the idea of befriending them and riding them… all amazing things. Onyxia was the classic raid I wanted to do most because HEY! It’s killing a big freaking dragon!!

Granted, I could probably do without Malygos for the rest of my days, but I genuinely like most dragon encounters in World of Warcraft.

So the idea of Deathwing flying around Azeroth roasting things and people is amazing to me. I LOVE this idea. I also decided I wanted the achievement.

First, I found this thread on the WoW forums.

Second, I found this video that shows you where in the Wetlands the guy is standing.

At about 7:30pm on Saturday, I started hanging out at the hills by the Gnoll camp to the southwest of the windmill. (Northeast of the area in the video.) I was joined by a number of guildies. I took some breaks, slept, logged back in aaaaaaaand nothing. A variety of guildies amused me on Mumble and such or even chilled out with me.

I took time out to fill in an ICC10 heroic raid with the guild on my hunter (my paladin is saving last week’s lockout for next week, since we did 11/12 and want to down LK as a guild this last week pre-Cata), which got me the 49 rep I needed in order to get Exalted with the Ashen Verdict. After the run ended, I cut myself a couple of gems and sent them to my hunter and as I was doing so, BAM, one of my newest guildies got roasted in Andorhal in the Western Plaguelands!

I did a quick MC run with some of the guild, on my shaman, then returned to the Wetlands by about 12:45am ET (server time).

And I waited.

Tia waited with me too and I told her to park Tia there and hop on to another toon, if she wanted, and I would tell her if the sky went red.

So Tia, Darista and myself were chatting amiably in Mumble when… the sky goes red.

I had been in the process of taking a sip of Coke, which I nearly spewed in my excitement.

“TIA!” I managed to choke out.

“OH MY GOD!” she said, realizing my tone could only mean one thing.

I slammed on my Fraps record button (which, sadly, did not record my own voice!). Elapsed time from the sky going red to recording is about five seconds.

Here’s the video. You can watch it in HD on YouTube.

So, let’s see. Exalted with Ashen Verdict. Roasted by Deathwing. It’s been a productive night. :D Thanks to all the members of Apotheosis who kept me company!

Oh, and my achievement shot, which I think is hilariously appropriate…

The New Adventures of Old Azeroth

I don’t know how he does it, but my brother is responsible for the fact that I have so many alts. And on Thursday, I rolled another.

My mage is hanging out on Skywall with Choice because they’re awesome. Similarly, my druid is over on another server with my RL Friend the Resto Druid. My hunter, paladin, shaman and priest are all on Eldre’Thalas, guilded in Apotheosis.

My brother, Majik and our friend Tia were all in their early 20s on some alts earlier this week. Fog’s levelling a warrior, Tia’s levelling a pally and Majik is also levelling a pally tank, as he mentioned on the first episode of Blessing of Frost, our brand-new WoW podcast.

They were all at about the same level and were encouraging me to roll something and “GTF” to my 20s so we could all instance together.

I thought about it. A lot. I didn’t want to be a rogue. A death knight moved me out of their level range, obviously. I also didn’t want to be a DK. ;) I didn’t want to be a warlock, either. I then thought about my mage. I really like my mage. I haven’t gotten to play her much at all during Wrath, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like her.

So I decided I’d level another mage on ET.

But what race? There’s human, the old standby. And gnome, but, uh, no thanks. Then there’s the new combinations of dwarf and night elf. Dwarf was very tempting, since I love the male dwarf casting animations and I love their emotes… but I just race changed my shaman to a male dwarf. Which left night elf? Ugh. I HATE the night elf casting animations. Like, so much. I hate when I have to rez my pet or hearth on Kurn. Makes me cringe.

So I stuck with human. I know. I’m boring. But I’ve found that when in doubt, 10% extra rep is never a bad thing. I’d also get to go through the human quests again (probably the quests I’m most familiar with) and really get a good idea of how things have changed.

So my new mage was born and was promptly given the Tattered Dreadmist Mantle, the Tattered Dreadmist Robe, the Discerning Eye of the Beast and, best of all, the Dread Pirate Ring. Hello, 25% extra experience. How are you this fine day?

Well, I rolled her on Thursday and when I went to bed on Friday, she was 28.

I’ve done:

– the vast majority of Elwynn (LOVE the Hogger change! ADORE flight points everywhere!)

– just about all of Westfall (OMG, Hope! Loved the return of Gryan!)

– all of Redridge (and while it was a little long, it was FAR less tedious than the old quests. And yay for the bridge!!)

– 1 Stocks run, 1 Deadmines run, 2 Blackfathom Deeps runs, 1 SFK run and a few minutes of a Gnomer run — I really dig most of the changes (BFD seems mostly unchanged to me, but I never did run that place much) and the Deadmines was fun because I’ve done the heroic version on beta and it was nice to see it at level. SFK seemed okay. A little faster than previously.

So the mage is having fun.

On Tuesday night, I was exploring the new world a bit on Kurn and went to Strat Undead.

So different! I mean, most things are the same — I recognized a lot of my same, old pulls and even Stonespine is there! — but the chapel’s being rebuilt and Aurius, our friend the paladin to whom you give the Medallion of Faith, is no longer there.

You also no longer need a key.

The bosses are the same, for the most part. Just lower level. And while they don’t seem to drop T0 gear any longer, there are some familiar drops, such as the Chitinous Plate Legguards. There’s also no more 45m run/debuff given to you when you open the gate to the gauntlet. RIP, 45m Baron run.

I also think there are fewer aboms to kill outside of the Slaughterhouse.

Anyways, I hadn’t spoiled myself or done any research about Strat. Spoilers ahead!

The Baron’s gone. In his place is Lord Aurius Rivendare. Without a doubt, this is that same paladin who would come to our aid after giving him the Medallion of Faith. I didn’t even realize it until after I killed him. I suspect I’ll have to quest around EPL to find out what happened to the Baron and why Aurius is now the Lord of Stratholme.

The good news in all this is that I got Rivendare’s Charger.

The funny thing is that I haven’t even tried for it. Sure, I’ve probably killed Baron about 150 times, all told. Probably more, really, when you count Madrana’s kills. I’ve never even seen it drop. I’m certainly not someone who went farming for it daily or even weekly and probably not even monthly. I just lucked out. :)

Thus far: Baron Rivendare – 200+, Kurn – 0. But Aurius Rivendare – 0, Kurn – 1. Heh. I like that record. :)

Cataclysm Meta Gems (and the Holy Paladin)

(Edit: 12/14/10, math is hard!)

One of my very first posts here at Kurn’s Corner was about jewelcrafting. It’s woefully outdated, obviously, but demystifying the jewelcrafting profession has always been something I like to do.

I was on the beta the other day, before it shut down, and I had copied over a fresh character copy in 359 epic level gear. As I was trying to gem her up, I realized two things:

a) … what the hell do I stack?

b) Oh my God, the Insightful meta cut doesn’t have a level 85 version!!

I’ll worry about how to gem as a holy paladin later on, but let’s talk a bit about the meta gems.

My Insightful Earthstorm/Earthsiege Diamond cut has been my go-to cut for Madrana since Burning Crusade. That’s, you know, four years. And now there is no Insightful Shadowspirit Diamond cut. This freaks me out.

Here’s a list of all the meta gems at 85.

Right off the bat, we can eliminate a lot of them. Austere (tank), Chaotic (caster), Destructive (PVP), Enigmatic (PVP), Eternal (tank), Forlorn (PVP), Impassive (PVP) and Powerful (PVP) are not on-par with the remaining options for a PVE-based holy paladin.

So here are the gems that I think could be useful to a holy paladin.

Bracing Shadowspirit Diamond – 54 intellect and 2% reduced threat. Typically, one would scoff at this, but were you aware that holy paladins no longer have an innate 50% less threat on their heals? Yeah, that changed at 4.0. So we’re causing a lot more threat than we did. Of course, in a raid situation, this should never be an issue, so this isn’t amazing, but if you’re honestly pugging all of the time and don’t have a solid tank with you, you may want to investigate this as a possibility.

Ember Shadowspirit Diamond – 54 intellect and 2% maximum mana. This is the big brother of the current Ember cut and it definitely looks beefy! In lieu of Insightful (proccing mana returns), Ember certainly looks like a useful meta gem. Remember that Replenishment is still based off of maximum mana, as is Divine Plea, so this is not a bad balanced meta, since it affects our regen and also increases our output (54 int is equal to 54 spellpower).

Fleet Shadowspirit Diamond – 54 mastery rating and minor run speed. The instant I moved to my RL friend’s guild, I was instructed to enchant Tuskarr’s Vitality for the speed boost. I have been a convert ever since. I am going to be asking every member of my guild to have some kind of run speed bonus, whether in their spec or their meta or their boots. Normally, the run speed metas are very PVP-related, but Fleet gives us mastery rating. While we’ll have mastery rating gems (Fractured. They’re yellow.) and mastery rating enchants, meaning mastery rating won’t only be available via reforging the way it is right now, this is still a potentially useful meta gem. Not only do you get the run speed and the mastery rating, but it frees up your boots for a potentially better enchant. More on this in a bit.

Revitalizing Shadowspirit Diamond – 54 spirit and 3% critical healing effect. Another balanced meta for us, since the spirit is pure regen and the 3% increased effect on crits is pure throughput. Given the new world of “no one is ever fully topped off” style healing in Cataclysm, this will almost certainly not translate into more overhealing. Further, for a holy paladin, our mastery rating will benefit from the larger crit heals, creating a larger Illuminated Healing shield.

So which one to pick?

Bracing and Revitalizing can both be activated with a single green gem, as they require 1 blue and 1 yellow. The Zen Dream Emerald, which is +20 mastery and +20 spirit, would probably be the best cut for a holy paladin out of the various green gems available. This would leave the rest of our sockets open to stacking intellect or whatever it is we will try to be stacking. Ember and Fleet require two yellow gems, which needs to be done in two separate slots. Granted, we’d probably use an orange gem to get 20 intellect and 20 of another stat. My favourite orange gem is the Reckless Ember Topaz for the haste, but we could also use Artful Ember Topaz or Potent Ember Topaz as an orange gem of choice.

So with the Ember or Fleet choice, we have to use two gem sockets for our meta versus the one with Bracing or Revitalizing.

Ember/Fleet = 2 orange = 40 intellect + 40 haste rating/40 mastery rating/40 crit rating

Bracing/Revitalizing = 1 green = 20 spirit + 20 mastery rating + 1 socket to do with as we please (probably 40 intellect from a Brilliant Inferno Ruby) = 40 intellect + 20 spirit + 20 mastery rating

Kind of on par with Ember and Fleet, no?

But then we look at Ember’s effect – 54 intellect + 2% maximum mana.

So Ember really looks like this: 2 orange + 54 intellect + 2% max mana = 94 intellect + 40 haste rating/40 mastery rating/40 crit rating + 2% max mana

Fleet’s stats need to be combined with whatever boot enchant you’d like that doesn’t increase run speed. So: 2 orange + 54 mastery rating + 50 mastery rating/50 haste = 40 intellect + 40 haste rating/40 mastery rating/40 crit rating + 50 mastery rating/50 haste

So Fleet is pretty much out of the running, if you’ll excuse the pun. ;) It does offer the most versatility, though. If you want 90 mastery or 90 haste, it would be easy to acquire those with a Fleet.

Bracing’s equation, with stats, looks like this: 1 green +54 intellect = 20 spirit + 20 mastery rating + 1 socket to do with as we please (probably 40 intellect from a Brilliant Inferno Ruby) + 54 intellect = 94 intellect + 20 spirit + 20 mastery rating

And Revitalizing looks like this: 1 green + 54 spirit + 3% increased critical heal effect = 20 spirit + 20 mastery rating + 1 socket to do with as we please (probably 40 intellect from a Brilliant Inferno Ruby) + 54 spirit + 3% increased critical heal effect = 40 intellect + 20 mastery rating + 74 spirit + 3% increased critical heal effect

It looks to me that Bracing and Ember are both sitting pretty in terms of intellect, with Revitalizing being more of an option if you need the extra regen. However, it should be noted that you aren’t getting intellect from Ember’s effect of +2% mana. You’re just gaining mana. So your mana pool grows (which is great) but you don’t gain spellpower or spell crit from its effect. So its effect isn’t really equal to the extra mana 20 intellect gives you.

Since I plan to heal primarily with tanks that I know and trust, I’m throwing Bracing out the window. Fleet has been eliminated. That leaves me with Ember and Revitalizing as choices.

As of right now, and bear in mind that this is before Cataclysm has even launched, I’m thinking of going with Revitalizing to try out the 3% increased critical heal effect and the fact that it’s easily activated with a single green gem. I’ll be sure to write another post if I decide to go with Ember or another choice!

What Holy Paladins Need to Know for 4.0.3a

*** All content copyright © Kurn’s Corner, 2010. Reproduction of this guide in full or in part without express permission from the author (“Kurn”), represents copyright infringment and violation of copyright law. Please, if you like this guide, link to it, do not copy it. ***

4.0.3a is about to be dropped, according to Boubouille at MMO-Champion, who has done a great job of compiling the changes. With the release of 4.0.3a, among other things, paladins are getting their talents reset due to changes to the class talents. What follows is a fairly complete compilation of the various changes holy paladins can expect when 4.0.3a launches and will be updated over the first few days of 4.0.3a if anything was missed. Special thanks to my buddy Walks for proofreading and adding some suggestions, including reminding me about Infusion of Light’s change!

Edits to the post after testing on live are marked with an asterix (*).

As with my 4.0.1 post, I’ll be breaking this down into different sections: TALENTS/SPELLS, GEAR/STATS and GLYPHS. Bear in mind that there are fewer changes for 4.0.3a than there were for 4.0.1 and I’ll only be talking about ones that have changed between 4.0.1 and 4.0.3a. That means that my 4.0.1 post is still useful! All changes have been compiled at MMO-Champion.com or Wowhead.com.

TALENTS/SPELLS

1) Beacon of Light now lasts 5 minutes. I remember when I first glyphed for Beacon of Light. I did so in order to get the extra 30 second duration on it so I could stagger refreshing Sacred Shield and Beacon of Light and also save 1500 mana or so. A five-minute duration on Beacon of Light means a lot of mana savings and a lot of GCDs saved. What this tells us, though, is that our beacons are  meant to be used on one person and not meant to be switched up mid-combat. This is a “quality of life” change that basically just makes it that much easier to “set it and forget it”. Good stuff.

2) Blessed Life: the effects of this talent cannot occur more than once every 8 seconds, up from every 2 seconds. This is a clear nerf to the utility of this talent. However, it is largely a PVP talent and this change really negates any use in PVE content, particularly if it still doesn’t proc from AOE-wide raid damage. Incidentally, this no longer stacks with Pursuit of Justice, according to my buddy Walks.

3) Illuminated Healing absorb shield now absorbs 10% of the total amount healed, up from 8%. Each point of Mastery increases the effect by an additional 1.25%, up from 1%. *Additionally, the shield now lasts 8 seconds, up from 6. It’s a buff! Oh sweet Lord, it’s a buff to our mastery! The jury is still out over the usefulness of our mastery because World of Logs, for example, does not properly attribute our absorbs from our mastery. Either it’s being attributed to Power Word: Shield/Divine Aegis or it’s not being counted at all. (As an aside, please take a second to politely lobby the WoL people to get that fixed!) I reforged a lot of my crit to mastery to see if I could notice a difference and the Recount I ran last night showed Illuminated Healing to be 26.4% of my healing done in Ruby Sanctum. While Recount (and probably Skada?) are up to date, World of Logs is almost certainly attributing Illuminated Healing to priest absorbs.

So just because you don’t see your mastery in action through the parse doesn’t mean it’s not doing something. As such, this is a good thing for us.

*Note that the increase in duration was not listed in the most recent compilation of patch notes, but I’ve confirmed this on live servers. The duration is 8s, up from 6s.

4) Light of Dawn has been redesigned. It no longer has an enforced cooldown, now costs Holy Power instead of mana, and scale in direct proportion to the amount of Holy Power used. In addition it now heals the 5 most injured group targets (including self) in a 30-yard frontal cone. Goodbye, Infest healing. Hello, Circle of Wild Dawn. ;) This works very similarly to a priest’s Circle of Healing or a druid’s Wild Growth, except you don’t have to select a target. You aim yourself at them and let ‘er rip. I kind of like this. It’s a way for us to use our 31-point talent without it being completely overpowered and it’s a way for us to have a smart heal, at long last. But since it’s not something you cast on a person, it’s distinguishing itself from Circle of Healing or Wild Growth. I haven’t had much chance to use it on the Beta (and Beta testing is now done!) since this change went in, so I’m anxious to see how it works.

It should also be noted that, as of right now, Light of Dawn’s healing (and overhealing) does get transferred to the beacon, with its 50% healing reduction, of course. But that can still be a lot of healing all at once on your beacon.

*After testing this on live, you MUST be in a party in order to use Light of Dawn! If you aren’t in a party and have 1, 2 or 3 stacks of Holy Power, you get an Invalid Target error if you try to use it. I tried targetting myself and using it, no dice. Then I thought “oh, don’t tell me it IS a targetted heal now!” but I tested this out with a guildie (thanks Num!) and it remains unaffected by any target. It’s definitely still a directional, conal heal. But you need to be in a party to use it.

5) Protector of the Innocent no longer triggers from self-heals. Well, this just makes sense. If we just healed ourselves, we generally don’t need to immediately heal ourselves again, do we? At least not in PVE content. This heal also transfers to the Beacon, with the 50% reduction.

6) Crusade now also has a proc on kill to increase the healing done by the paladin’s next Holy Light by 100/200/300% for 15 seconds, in addition to its current effects. This is mostly a PVE change, but it’s more for World PVE, like questing. This addition to a key talent will be great for all specs of paladin while questing so we can save our Holy Power for something like Inquisition instead of using Word of Glory on ourselves after killing a mob or two.

7) Lay on Hands no longer gives anyone any mana at all. However, go check out the Glyphs section for an exception to this.

8) Seal of Insight still does what it normally did, but will now also return 15% of the paladin’s base mana when judging. This is fantastic. Judging to get mana back again! With an 8 second cooldown, I’m pretty sure this will get nerfed at some point, but enjoy it while it lasts! I should also mention that Seal of Insight’s 4% base health/mana gain never procced at all on judgements, unlike Seal of Wisdom which procced from judgements. That could explain why they’re making sure we get mana returns from judging.

9) Holy Radiance will suffer diminishing returns further than 8 yards from the target or when healing more than 6 players. We haven’t had the chance to enjoy Holy Radiance yet, since we get it at 83, so this is just something of which to be aware when we do get it.

10) Clarity of Purpose, rank 2, now reduces Holy Light and Divine Light cast time by .3 seconds instead of .35 seconds. This is obviously a move to ensure that people get all three ranks of Clarity of Purpose instead of just dropping two points in here. Probably a PVP-based decision, or one to help balance rets/prots since any decent holy was probably going to drop all three points in here anyways.

11) Paragon of Virtue: Reduces the cooldown of Divine Protection by 10/20 sec, Hand of Sacrifice by 15/30 sec and Avenging Wrath by 30/60 sec. The big change here is that Hand of Sacrifice has been added to this talent. I do believe I’m going to go for 1/2 Enlightened Judgements and pick up that second point in Paragon of Virtue.

12) Infusion of Light now applies to Divine Light’s cast time as well as Holy Light’s. So 1/2 points in this talent will grant you .75/1.5s off the cast time of both Divine Light and Holy Light after critting on Holy Shock. While this means we can’t do a Holy Shock (IoL proc) -> Divine Light -> Holy Light combo for 2 hasted spells, we wouldn’t have been able to do that anyways with the change to Speed of Light. And speaking of Speed of Light…

13) Speed of Light: Grants 1/2/3% spell haste and reduces the cooldown of Holy Radiance by 10/20/30 sec. Casting Holy Radiance increases your movement speed by 20/40/60% for 4 sec. This is the big holy change. Instead of gaining 30% spell haste to Flash of Light, Holy Light and Divine Light after a Holy Shock, you just now get 3% more spell haste. The other stuff stays the same. Yay for more spell haste! As mentioned in my 4.0.1 post, we still want to hold on to a 1s GCD and 3% passive spell haste just made that easier. See the Gear/Stats section to see what this means for all the haste we require.

*14) As previously noted, Holy Shock has been nerfed by about 30%. I’ve just confirmed this on live. Holy Shock was hitting for about the same as Holy Light. It’s now down from about 7k unbuffed to 5k unbuffed when I cast it.

Recommended Talent Spec: I still recommend 31/3/2 for current Wrath content, although you’ll note I recommend 1/2 Enlightened Judgements and 2/2 Paragon of Virtue, now. Also, 31/5/0 and 31/2/3 are viable, although the 31/3/2 build I first linked will probably give you the most amount of healing due to Divinity and the buff to Holy Shock from Crusade.

GEAR/STATS

1) With the addition of 3% spell haste from 3/3 Speed of Light, our haste softcap just changed again. Given 3/3 Speed of Light, plus 3/3 Judgements of the Pure and a Wrath of Air totem (or equivalent), you now only need 894 haste to reach the 1s GCD. You can check out this awesome spell haste calculator and see for yourself. It doesn’t have Speed of Light listed, but select Darkness/Netherwind Presence to add that 3% for Speed of Light and you’ll get the same result. Of course, this will change as we level once Cataclysm launches.

GLYPHS

1) Glyph of Beacon of Light (Major) now makes Beacon of Light free, instead of increasing the duration by 30 seconds. This is no longer a very useful Glyph, considering we’re really only expending 1500ish mana every five minutes. I suppose it might have its uses in PVP, but barring any kind of gimmicky fight in PVE, this is pretty sad.

2) Glyph of Lay on Hands (was Minor, now Major) now reduces the cooldown of Lay on Hands by 3 minutes, up from 2 minutes. *** This wasn’t in the patch notes, but was how the Glyph was changed on Beta. This may not be included in the 4.0.3a patch.

3) Glyph of Divinity (Major) has been redesigned. It now grants the paladin 10% of maximum mana upon use. FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC. A 7 (or 8) minute cooldown on 10% of your mana, regardless upon whom you use it, is just awesome. Rather than waste this raid-saving cooldown on yourself for extra mana, you just use it at ALL and you get mana back. This is a fantastic change. I was never a fan of glyphing this and using LoH on myself, preferring to use it on the tanks or whoever was about to die.

4) Glyph of Light of Dawn (Major) now increases the total number of most injured targets healed by 1. Yep, our version of Circle of Healing and Wild Growth. This glyph makes six targets healed by LoD.

My go-to Major Glyphs would be LoH, Divinity and LoD, although Divine Plea and even Cleansing may snag the LoH spot in the event that I find I need to Plea a lot or there’s a lot of cleansing to do. There’s also the Glyph of Divine Protection that could you may want to swap in as it may come in very handy on any fight where you take a lot of magical damage. Remember, Divine Protection no longer causes Forbearance and is only on a 1 minute cooldown, or 40 seconds if you’re specced for 2/2 Paragon of Virtue. That could be a lot of damage mitigated.


Hopefully that helps demystify the 4.0.3a changes we’re about to see. See you on the flip side of the Shattering!

*** All content copyright © Kurn’s Corner, 2010. Reproduction of this guide in full or in part without express permission from the author (“Kurn”), represents copyright infringment and violation of copyright law. Please, if you like this guide, link to it, do not copy it. ***

Progression & Finishing Raid Content

It dawned on me a little while ago that, although I’ve had a very successful run in Wrath of the Lich King on a personal level, something was missing. Something other than the awesome feeling of progressing with Apotheosis, that is.

Back in the day, pre-Burning Crusade, I wanted to finish raid instances. It always pissed me off that we got through Golemagg, and no further, in Molten Core as the guild Fated Heroes. It always pissed me off that we never did get Onyxia down as a guild. I didn’t care much for AQ20, mind you, but I was SUPER happy we cleared Zul Gurub several times — including Jin’do.

In Burning Crusade, as Apotheosis, we finished every instance we focused on raiding, from Karazhan (including Nightbane) through Black Temple. True, we didn’t even get Kalecgos down in Sunwell Plateau, but we’d spent precisely one raid night there actually trying to kill a boss, so I’ll forgive us that. When you realized that we only killed Maulgar and Gruul eight months after the expansion launched, I think we caught up pretty well by the end of Burning Crusade.

The beginning of Wrath was tumultuous for the guild and we stopped raiding officially in early March of 2009. We didn’t get Thaddius down. Nor did we have any adds on Sarth. And we didn’t even have a key for Malygos.

It was the plan to clear Naxx and get Sarth with 3 drakes. It was definitely the plan.

When I went to Bronzebeard to continue raiding, I was joining a guild that had cleared Naxx and done 3 drakes (like, once?) and killed Malygos. The guild was clearing content at the appropriate level, while content was still current. I had never been in a guild that was doing exactly that. I mean, Apotheosis was finishing up Hyjal and Black Temple when other guilds were farming Kil’jaeden. Fated Heroes was wayyyyy behind the curve when you looked at Eternal Force and Epic Again who were chilling out in Naxx.

So it was exciting for me to be part of a guild that was clearing the content. I got T7 cleared, in T7 gear, including Sarth 3D, pre-Ulduar. That was awesome.

And then came Ulduar. Ulduar launched on April 14th.

That night, my Bronzebeard guild got server-first Shutout (world 26th! I know, not a big deal, but still!). The next night, server-first A Quick Shave (world 905. Much less impressive.) and then, after a solid four hour night of wiping on XT, we got him the next night after that, getting server-second Nerf Engineering.

Server-fourth Antechamber of Ulduar achievement, server-first I Choose You Runemaster Molgeim (world 296) wrapped up April for us.

Things were looking good.

Over time, we did the following hard modes:

4-minute Ignis, Knock on Wood, 4 tower FL, Heartbreaker… and that’s about it, really. Never got Hodir’s hard mode, nor Thorim’s. Never even tried Mimiron and Firefighter. Never saw the Saronite Animus. Didn’t do Steelbreaker last. And I wasn’t in the raid when they did 3 Lights for the fail!priest’s forging of Val’anyr.

TOC came out and Ulduar felt half-finished. No way of trying Algalon and half the hard modes weren’t something we were capable of doing.

I changed guilds in September, to my RL Friend the Resto Druid’s guild.

The guild I joined was ranked 190th in the world, server-second, for One Light. A bit of a difference, no? I didn’t join for progression, but I knew I’d get more of it there than on Bronzebeard, since the guild was barely even raiding due to the emo /gquit of the raid leader.

I showed up and we cleared regular TOC 25 on the Sunday raid and spent some hours on the Monday raid killing heroic Beasts. One night. That’s all it took. My Bronzebeard guild had tried 36? 37? times over two resets to do heroic Beasts. The new guild had been finishing up stuff in Ulduar before focusing on hard mode 25-man stuff in TOC.

So heroic Beasts die Monday, then on Tuesday, they die again and we get heroic Jaraxxus. Heroic Faction Champs on the next reset. Then a MONTH before Twin Valks die, on October 26th.

ICC came out on December 8th.

We spent six weeks working on heroic Anub’arak. And in that time, we also took down Algalon on 25-man. It felt good, having killed every boss in Ulduar, even if not all on heroic. With my new guild, I’d also gotten Steelbreaker Last and 3 Lights, but Algalon was dead and that was awesome. It felt like this guild had finished Ulduar and I was a part of that.

Six weeks of work on heroic Anub’arak with a warrior add tank who insisted on tanking all the adds himself and not wearing the proper block/avoidance gear. This was the abusive RL/MT who just wouldn’t cut anyone slack, but it was FINE if he showed up in his stam gear. Seriously.

And then ICC opened. Until the Plagueworks were opened up on January 5th, we were still raiding TOGC, still trying to get Anub’arak down. It was painful. It was brutal. And we never did it.

We did go 12/12 ICC 25 regular. We went 11/12 ICC 25 hard modes. I even went 11/12 ICC 25 hard modes with a second guild.

But no 12/12. No “The Light of Dawn” title. (Still want to see a video of someone with the Light of Dawn title CASTING Light of Dawn!)

So it dawned on me… I basically did not finish the last three tiers of content in this expansion.

That’s unacceptable.

When did 11/12 hard modes become an acceptable stopping point? That’s like spawning Ragnaros and never killing him. That’s like getting right up there to Illidan and just staring at his face. Seriously. I didn’t get all the hard modes in Ulduar. I got to 4/5 TOGC. I got to 11/12 ICC25 HM.

Why on earth is this acceptable? Why are 4/5 and 11/12 considered “progressed”?

US 202 for Glory of the Icecrown Raider (25) was great. But why did we stop there? Why did I leave when they were doing heroic Lich King?

I couldn’t handle the toxic environment anymore. Every day that I stayed in that guild, I fervently wished I were back on Eldre’Thalas with Apotheosis. But Apotheosis wasn’t raiding. So it was off to Skywall I went, where I was welcomed with open arms and people weren’t total assholes. People were skilled players, good people and they were driven. Why did they stop at 11/12 HM? Time ran out. The patch hit. Official raids stopped.

And so it was time for me to come home.

It’s not an easy thing in this game to find a group of people who are skilled AND friendly, who do things at a reasonable pace, who aren’t a full tier behind.

This expansion, Apotheosis will be that. For me, for my officers, for my guildies. We all deserve a place to be where we can chuckle over accidentally BOPping a tank or mocking someone who failed at an elevator boss. We all deserve a guild where we can buckle down and get something done, even if it is on the infamous last attempt of the night. We all deserve the stability and strength from a solid group of officers who know their classes, who know their roles, who work well together as a team.

We deserve it and Cataclysm will be our time to claim success and joy such as we’ve never seen before. It’ll be the exuberance of a guild-first Vashj kill with the efficiency of Hyjal wave kills. It’ll be the laughter from DIing a tank combined with the skill that allows a group of 10 to conquer the Lich King without really having talked about Phase 3.

Four weeks to go.

Bring it on.