Ulduar: Reset 2, Night 3

(or, “And I thought I hated his Sons…”)

Remember all my optimism with regards to Hodir? Throw it out the window.

First, we went to Emalon in the Vault of Archavon. Can I just say… how dumb is it that a Tier 7 boss and a Tier 8 boss are in the same instance that you can get saved to? What if you go to Vault of Archavon to kill Archavon? Then you’re saved to an instance where Emalon is up, but still can’t go to any other raids apart from your own. This hasn’t happened to me — I elected to stay the hell out of the Vault of Archavon unless it was going to be with my guild, because I didn’t want to get saved.

So we did Emalon. Sadly, it took three attempts.

Emalon down.
Emalon down.

Two PVP pieces and two pieces of T8 dropped, I believe. Shadow priest gloves and hunter gloves. The shadow priest gloves may have been disenchanted (? Or vendored if you can’t DE them.).

Then, we headed to Ulduar, whereapon we fought Hodir for close to four hours. And did not down the bastard.

Most of my guild did, however, get Heroic: Staying Buffed All Winter.

heroic-stayingbuffed

I was the first person to get it, though, completely by chance. And it lagged my casting and the MT died. Whoops. :)

The first major issue was that people were being dumb about the falling snow. There are these blue circles that show up. You don’t stand in them because icicles/snow fall there and you take, oh, 14,000 frost damage if you don’t resist any of it.

The second major issue is that we had four pallies healing, one druid, two priests and a resto shammy. We actually swapped out our backup tank for another paladin healer. This is one of the most difficult fights I’ve encountered as a paladin so far in 3.0.  Well, that’s not entirely accurate. It is a difficult fight to heal well as a holy paladin.

Why?

There are several reasons.

1) In order to avoid the Biting Cold debuff (think Keristrasza at the end of The Nexus, only worse — you have to keep moving/jumping to get rid of one debuff at a time, and this one deals damage), you have to move. Pretty darn constantly. Cast twice, move, cast twice, move. Cast on the move with Holy Shock and Infusion of Light procs as often as possible.

2) Stay the hell out of the circles. The icicle circles of doom are constantly appearing all around the room. You MUST avoid them. Not that my guild really did, but that’s why we didn’t kill Hodir tonight. :P

3) Flash Freeze. When the BIG circles appear during Hodir’s Flash Freeze cast, wait for the snow to drop, then go stand on top of the snow, lest you get frozen. And while frozen, you take increasing stacks of Biting Cold damage! Hooray! So you’re constantly watching for those circles and then booking it to their edges so you can get on the snowdrift for safety.

4) Haste buffs. There are these circles of light that come down that boost your haste to AWESOME amounts. Like, perpetual heroism speed, as long as you stand in them. They look like the Lunar Festival spotlight things. So obviously, while you’re chasing your tank, you want to stop in these every so often. Run, move, run, move. Ideally, from one circle of light to another. But that’s rarely possible.

5) Toasty Fires. The best thing since Divine Plea. These fires, created by the mage NPCs, allow you to just STAND next to them without letting Biting Cold touch you. They’ll be extinguished if icicles fall on them or a Flash Freeze happens, but will protect you from the damage of all three of those effects until extinguished and you’re in range. Beautiful for a healer or any other casters who can’t effectively cast while running all the damn time. So when you see one, you try to run to it while praying your tank doesn’t die because you can’t cast while running!

That said, I had a blast healing it tonight. I didn’t top healing, nor should I ever do so, really, but I did cast Blessing dammit Hand of Sacrifice on the tank 1-2 times an attempt. I’d bubble the first and beacon myself for the second and heal the tank/myself for that whole time. I felt useful! I was dodging icicles, only got caught in Flash Freeze twice, both times because I was like, five meters yards too far away to get to the snowdrifts in time. (Well, I also got caught in it on attempts where the RL had already called for a wipe, but those don’t count.)

It wasn’t just spamming the tank with Holy Light. It was keeping beacon on me, sacred shield on the tank, using Holy Shock and any Infusion Procs on the run for either myself or the raid members. It was looking for a smart place to stand to cast Holy Light. It was judging on the run. It was wondering when a good time to use Divine Plea was.

A very challenging fight to heal *well*, to be honest, and I really did enjoy that challenge.

Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like for him to be dead, mind you, but I’m sure that once my guildies get the hang of NOT standing under icicles, we’ll be fine. It took a while for most people to check off “Show Projected Textures” in their video settings to be able to see the blue circles of death on the ground, and I’m not entirely convinced that everyone even DID. But experience is a good teacher and we’ll go back in there on Saturday and kick some ass.

Hopefully.

In other news, they seem to have fixed the Blessing of Wisdom/Improved Mana Spring totem stacking bug. When Improved Mana Spring is down, I can’t buff BoW or GBoW. Time to train the shammies out of dropping it. You would think that they’d make Improved BoW be 92 mp5 instead of 91, like how Improved BoMight is one AP more than a warrior’s Battle Shout, because they kept overwriting each other, wasting rage and reagents. Well now, they’re wasting mana and reagents. Not a lot better.

Oh, and the armory is seriously messed up. It’s currently displaying your stats JUST from gear. No talent-based stats (increased crit, spellpower, etc) are showing up. I panicked when I saw my own pally’s armory profile earlier today and saw 1905 spellpower and 22.9% crit across the board. I was like “OMG I HAVE BEEN HACKED”, even though I have an authenticator and all my gear was present and accounted for. So were my talents, though. But then I thought there’d been a server reset and talents were being reset again, because that was the only explanation for me dropping over 200 spellpower and 11% Holy crit in the same gear.

And no. It’s just the Armory being dumb.

Anyways, I’ve rambled enough for now.

Deconstructor, Iron Council down.

It’s been a really, really, really long time since I spent more than a couple raid nights in total on a boss before the boss died. The last time it happened was probably either the Illidari Council or Archimonde, back with Apotheosis.

Wiping on Deconstructor the first night of attempts, after Razorscale went down, wasn’t a shock. What WAS a shock to me was wiping on him for the next 7+ raid hours after that. It was definitely all night Thursday (4 hours) and then just over three hours on Saturday. I know I went through at least one flask BEFORE we killed him, and I’m an alchemist.

At the kill, though, it was achievement-central!

deconachieve

Thank the good Lord. We really needed the moral victory. And hey, people stopped being dumb about the scrapbots and gravity bombs, although not the light bombs, apparently. Seriously, the collective unconscious of a group of 25 people is so WEIRD. I’m sure that my entire raid was comprised of reasonably intelligent people, but people act so oddly in groups that it calls their competency into question.

Anyways, we played with Ignis trash (horrible!) and Ignis himself (horrible!) for maybe an hour or so and then said screw it and went off to the Iron Council. Finally, a boss encounter (aside from Flame Leviathan) that we’d had experience with on the PTR!

They started me out healing the tank on the Stormcaller, but after three attempts, they switched me to the tank who was on the big dude who packs a serious punch, named Steelbreaker. He hits for a LOT, plus has this stupid ability called Fusion Punch:

Inflicts 35,000 Nature damage to his target, and deals additional 20,000 Nature damage every 1 second, for 4 seconds.

Are you kidding me? 20,000 per TICK? Every SECOND? It wasn’t getting dispelled quickly enough. So we had 4 healers on that tank and every time I got the raid warning for Fusion Punch and saw that he was casting it (go go /focus), I stopped my cast and just started spamming my cleanse button. I only messed up on that once because I’d forgotten to /focus Stormcaller. Whoops. In my defense, it was after midnight, I’d been raiding since 7:30pm and had had 6 hours of sleep in the last 30 or so hours. :P

Anyways, the first attempt in which we managed to down Steelbreaker was our kill for the encounter.

councilachieve

That reads Stormcaller Brundir.

It went remarkably well after Steelbreaker died, except, oh yeah, WE HIT ENRAGE. 10 minute enrage, if anyone’s curious. But that’s because half the raid was dead from various Overloads and lightning… thingies or whatever. Should be much cleaner next week, now that a lot more people know how the fight works. I have to admit, it was a lot easier for me to heal the encounter, having wiped on it about 20 times on the PTR. Server lag when cleansing Fusion Punch FTL. We had our prot pally tanking Steelbreaker on the PTR and made her use Cleanse on herself AS WELL as one of our priests doing it. And still, we would wipe. Freakin’ PTR POS… Anyways. Council down.

Monday, I guess it’s Kologarn, another boss we tried on the PTRs. Didn’t do too badly, as I recall. I ALSO recall that the frigging eyebeams suck a LOT. Stupid movement fights drive me crazy. I can toss out Holy Shock, hope for an Infusion of Light proc and then instant Flash of Light… and there’s always Lay on Hands if needed. I really do miss my reduced cast-time on Holy Light, though. I honestly don’t ever notice if I crit extra after Infusion of Light procs.

I hope we get to Hodir on Monday – it’d be nice to get him down. I’m fairly sure we’ll be able to do it, because he’s the last boss we had experience with on the PTR. We all got pretty good at standing on snowdrifts. I do occasionally feel like I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off when I heal that fight, mind you, but hey, as long as we’re staying alive, it should be fine.

Ulduar is proving to be challenging, but not so challenging that I think it’s ridiculous. I would put these early bosses at about… maybe about the same difficulty/coordination level as Karathress, when you’re not quite geared for him and your healers are running OOM and praying that the tank remembered to hit shield block or whatever. So far, the mechanics are pretty simple. Don’t stand in bad shit. Don’t group up too much.

Nothing good is dropping in terms of loot, either, so I’m sitting pretty at the top of the DKP list for basically anything I want. Plate bracers dropped off Deconstructor, but to be brutally honest, my MAIL Bands of Mutual Respect off Razuvious were pretty much better than the ones that dropped. With a gem, the mail ones were just about equivalent in spellpower and better in crit than the Horologist’s Wristguards. Plus the Wristguards have mp5 whereas the Bands have haste. Now, admittedly, I’m getting seriously close to the 1-second GCD cap and drop way under that when Heroism is up, so I’m getting very close to being haste-capped, but honestly? Those Wristguards are TOTALLY a sidegrade compared to my current bracers.

Some preliminary research on loot from MMO-Champion showed me the other day that most of my real upgrades are off hard-mode loot tables. Does that mean I’m going to have to sit on my DKP until we get those hard-mode fights down? Or does that mean I’m actually going to have to settle for MP5-heavy sidegrades for the next couple of months? Stupid Ulduar itemization…

A moment of relief, and sadness.

So I’m reading up on the Razorscale fight in Ulduar.

And I’m like: “Crap, crap, crap, I should have read about this sooner. I don’t know who to assign to what and … and.. wait… wait just a second here. I don’t have to assign anyone to anything. I’m not an officer. I’m not a guild master. I’m not a raid leader.”

Relief actually flooded my body. I get to stand there and be told who to heal. I haven’t done that in new content since the first few bosses in Karazhan, in March or April of 2007.

And then, I realized, with a bit of sadness, that I won’t be leading the charge through new content. I was usually a raid leader who’d done research on upcoming bosses. I’d sat there for hours, pouring over our roster and figuring out positions and jobs for Vashj. I told the healers where to go to begin for Karathress and who to switch off to once their tank was done tanking. I organized Bloodboil and eliminated cross-healing from that fight pretty much on my own, especially when I realized at least one of my officers was cross-healing.

I won’t need to worry about healers spreading out, the way I did for Azgalor and Anetheron. I won’t need to pick a warlock tank, if such a thing is necessary. I won’t need to do any number of a dozen things within a raid that I’ve always done when faced with new content. I haven’t had to do anything behind the scenes, either. I haven’t worried about policies or DKP resets or anything like that. The only thing I’ve had to say about the legendary mace drop is that I’m likely going to be interested in it, and that ultimately, so long as it betters the guild, it’s fine if I don’t get it.

It’s kind of sad, to be honest. I’m going to miss organizing people the way I did in T4, T5 and T6 content. I’m going to miss being the one to sit there and analyze the mistakes we made as leaders and the mistakes raiders made as cogs in the greater machine.

So Ulduar starts tonight. New content starts tonight. The Wrath equivalent of SSC/TK starts tonight. And while I’m totally ready for something new, I’m not sure I’m ready to not be someone to lead people through this. Which is funny, because I’m not ready to lead anyone through Ulduar yet.

What’s also new is that my current guild has the possibility of getting server-first kills. We’ve done Flame Leviathan on 10-man on the PTR. We one-shot him, once the PTR was stable. This is entirely new and foreign to me. My first guild started raiding ZG two months before Naxxramas came out. Apotheosis started raiding Karazhan well after SSC and TK had received nerfs. We’d only been raiding as a guild for 19 days before they removed attunement to SSC and TK.

I’ve ALWAYS been way behind in the progression game. We usually made up for it with some burst progression at the end, but we were almost always months behind top guilds. We were even a month behind in Wrath content.

Tonight, if the servers ever come up… I might be part of a server-first kill.

I kinda like that possibility. But I’m still kind of sad that I’m not leading the charge. I’m sure I’ll feel less sad about that and happier about being a cog in the machine after our first 15 Ulduar wipes.

Weird runs…

I was online tonight because I couldn’t sleep due to a headache. So I decided to get on WoW and play with my holy pally’s UI.

After futzing with it for a bit, I wanted to try it out in a raid scenario or something and there in Trade, someone was looking for a healer for Normal Vault of Archavon. So I said I’d go.

I get into the group and I look at the classes. There’s a druid… who is in moonkin form. There’s another paladin, who only has 6k mana. There’s a warlock. Three hunters. A rogue. A death knight. And then they bring in another druid, so I figure, hey, it’s a resto druid. Sweet.

Uh, no. The druid is feral and is MTing.

… so I’m the only healer?

Apparently, I am.

Piece of cake, didn’t lose anyone.

Anonymous WWS here, to protect the stupid:

http://wowwebstats.com/23rhuez5aagak

I’m “Gemini”. The moonkin (“Dew”) tossed out a few heals, and didn’t DPS hardly at all, but really, I healed the living crap out of that place.

/flex