A Sigh of Resignation

When the expansion was announced at BlizzCon, I wasn’t thrilled. My reaction was something along the lines of: Mists of Pandaria? We’re going to have PANDAS running around? SERIOUSLY?

I decided I could probably deal with that, despite not being thrilled with pandas, to the point where I now no longer say “sad panda”, but rather “sad moose”. However, that, combined with the changing talent trees and abilities and such left me doubtful that I would really enjoy very much at all in Mists of Pandaria.

Still, I said, I would wait to see if things were as bad as I thought they would be, by checking out the Beta. I signed up for the annual pass so I’d get guaranteed Mists of Pandaria Beta access and a free digital copy of Diablo III. People who have noted my overall unhappiness with the announced details of the expansion have asked me if I plan to continue playing.

To them, I have said “right now, the plan is to keep playing and keep raiding, unless something significant changes or Beta is terrible.”

So I have basically told people that my viewpoint was that everything would continue barring huge changes/proof that said changes are terrible in Beta.

And then, on Wednesday evening, Blizzard announced incoming nerfs to Dragon Soul, both normal and heroic.

I sighed. And then I resigned myself to the fact that, unless the Mists of Pandaria Beta absolutely blows my mind in terms of PVE play (especially raiding), this is my last expansion of World of Warcraft where I will be anything more than a casual player.

Let me be very clear — I am dedicated to my guild and our raid group. I will continue to raid, continue to lead the guild, up to when Mists of Pandaria is released. But after that? I’m really not so sure what’s going to happen. Until release, I’ll stick around and continue to be a source of holy paladin knowledge, will still do a podcast with Majik, will still lead Apotheosis and will still raid with Choice on my off-nights. Beyond that, well, I’m not thinking I want to be a part of the upcoming expansion, which is a shift from just twelve hours ago. Earlier today, my thinking was optimistic: “Hey, unless things in Beta really suck, I’ll probably keep playing.” Now, it’s more pessimistic: “Hey, unless things in Beta are really AWESOME, I’m probably going to quit.”

The reason is the ongoing nerfing of current content.

For those of you who are brave, the complete rant is below, but that’s the short answer.

Continue reading “A Sigh of Resignation”

I'll take it.

Apotheosis went in to ICC 25 for the first time as a guild. Here’s what we did.

– 1 attempt at Marrowgar heroic, before we did a one-shot of Marrowgar regular

– One-shots of LDW, Gunship, Saurfang, Rotface and Festergut (all on normal, even Gunship, sadly due to some buggy interface issues)

– One wipe on Putricide, followed by a clean kill

– One wipe on Dreamwalker, closing out the night

I was emphatically not prepared for a few things (Putricide phase changes are at 80% and 35%. Remember this!) and we definitely need to iron out some issues, but it went okay.

Tomorrow, I begin going through the logs and wearing the Healing Lead hat, which will involve talking to the healers. We had a ton of overhealing, which is fine, but I suspect there are some other issues as well that will need to be touched upon.

It was pretty disappointing to see that a healer and a tank just flat-out didn’t show. The tank had some last-minute recording to do with the band he’s in. I’m going to have to give him my cell number I guess, so he can text me in the future or something. Very bad to have a tank who just doesn’t show.

The healer? No idea. Would have been great to have a resto druid. But alas.

At least we had a feral druid who knew the fights and was able to be a kitty and a bear as needed. And we had E, the wonderous priest, pinch-heal for us.

So despite a slow start (looking for fillers) and some DC issues, it went pretty well. I hadn’t thought we’d get Putricide so easily, but we did. :)

My officers kicked ass and did a great job together. At one point, it was almost like we were in BT again. Good times. :)

All in all, it went well and we’re going to try to go back on Thursday. I think we’ll start out in Blood and then move to Frost. That gives me some time to sit there and write up a coherent Sindragosa strategy…

Next week, assuming we do this again… Heroic Marrowgar is gonna be our bitch. :)

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.


* 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.

Busy, busy!

What with all this patch nonsense and various RL issues, which include me staying at my parents’ house to dogsit and such, I have had remarkably little time to play or respond to comments or anything like that. By “remarkably little time to play”, I mean that I’ve run three heroics on the hunter and one on the paladin.

However, I’d like to ask you all, those of you who have raided since the patch:

How is raiding? Many of the blogs I’ve read indicated that people wiped repeatedly to heroic Lord Marrowgar. I’m curious to know how people feel, how strategies have or haven’t changed. How’s raid healing on heroic BQL or Sindragosa? How’s tank healing on Blood Prince Council or Festergut?

The End of the World as We Know It

Extended maintenance is well underway on US servers and patch 4.0.1 will be implemented on live servers by the time they come back up.

While alternately exciting and depressing, depending on with whom you’re speaking, the one thing the everyone can agree on is that the pre-Cataclysm patch can be described as game-changing.

I both love and hate expansions. I love them because of the new challenges to face and I hate them because I go from knowing basically everything pertinent about my classes to knowing zip. Nada. Zilch. Niente. Rien. Nothin’.

Or, at least, very little. I feel fairly prepared with regards to my paladin, although I’m still feeling “not ready” to let go of my big Holy Lights or my 100% beacons or my 25% mana/1m Divine Plea… But I’m unprepared for all my other classes.

That, however, is a whole other post.

Expansions also mean changes in terms of guilds. Changing toons, specs, even changing guilds. Rosters go through insane amounts of changes between expansions.

Last night, I may have had my last raid with the guild I’ve been in since June. We’ve had a hell of a few months, let me tell you. I joined when they were 7/12 HM in ICC25 and now we’re 11/12 ICC25 HM.

This last reset, Thursday, we finally got heroic Sindragosa. It was the messiest kill ever that involved a bubble taunt by the sole remaining tank and only four people were alive at the end. She had enraged. And yet, she died. Finally. That got most of the raiders their heroic Frostwing Halls achievement, towards their Glory of the Icecrown Raider (25) achievement, which is excellent. That’s been their goal for several months and so most of them are one step closer to that drake. Most were just missing Been Waiting a Long Time for This, All You Can Eat and Neck Deep in Vile.

The guild may or may not continue raiding into 4.0.1. I’m personally of the mind that we will not be able to do half the stuff we do now if all healers are as screwed changed as I think we are. Combine that with parry’s nerf (50% mitigation instead of 100% avoidance), (apparently, I still don’t know how to keep up to date on that “tanking thing”…) changes to block (30% mitigation)… I don’t think that getting rid of Chill of the Throne is really going to do enough to compensate. Anyways, it’s possible that I’m wrong and things are not completely borked and we’ll be able to continue raiding. So things are kind of uncertain.

Man, I hate uncertainty…

Anyways, I walked in to the raid last night knowing we had Putricide, LK and Halion up. I walked in there knowing that this could be my last raid with this guild. I have had a LOT of fun with these people. And before 4.0.1 hits, we got to 11/12 ICC 25 HM. It’s not my first time doing these things, but let me tell you something — when we killed Putricide on heroic 25-man for the second time for this guild, it felt fantastic. It was a beautiful kill. 24 people alive (the 25th had the plague and sacrificed himself for us) and some flawless transitions.

It also ensured five more people in the raid got their heroic Plagueworks achievement, including our primary raid leader, who has always been kind and has always listened to my suggestions, even if my suggestions weren’t always implemented. I was so psyched to get this for her that I even did a silly little fist pump when Putricide died tonight and those five people spammed us with their achievements. Even though that was… probably my 7th heroic Putricide kill, it was definitely in my personal top 3 kills. The top was my own first kill, the second was this guild’s first kill and tonight’s kill is just behind those two.

So faced with an ICC instance where we had killed Saurfang, BQL, Putricide and Sindragosa, all on heroic… we had to look at heroic Lich King.

When one of the officers started detailing the strat for P1 and dealing with Shadow Traps, I paused for a moment.

“The person marked will run out and drop it outside of the raid.”

I blinked.

I have spent, oh, about 30ish attempts on heroic Lich King. That’s not a lot of time or energy. It also happened back in May.

But that still didn’t sound right to me. And then I remembered how my last guild did it, how we split up into one melee group and two ranged. Like this (click for a larger version):

So I let the RL and the GM know that I was pretty sure the strat we were about to try wasn’t going to work and why, but told them I wasn’t 100% sure.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, Shadow Trap gets cast and most of the raid goes flying. Hilarious! I wish I’d frapsed it! We lasted 43 seconds. That is less time than the opening speech portion takes. I laughed.

We tried one more attempt on heroic, just for fun, which went a little bit better, before switching it to regular and trying Been Waiting a Long Time For This.

I warned the healers that it was mana-intensive. I even called for an Innervate, which I nearly didn’t get because our bear druid was busy tea-bagging someone who had died. :P (The same thing actually happened to me in my last guild.)

Also a messy kill, but a kill and achievement nonetheless.

On to Ruby Sanctum!

We cleared through fairly easily. And no. The boots did not drop. Which means that Walks and I are stuck with our 245 or 258 Boots of the Courageous or stuck crafting the plate 264 healing boots. Ah, well. Would have been nice to have an upgrade instead of downgrading or staying at the same item level. Killed that dragon 11ish times and still, no 271 plate boots.

Overall, though, a productive night. Got lots of people at least one achievement, got a few people two. Played with heroic Lich King. Cleared Ruby Sanctum.

And through it all, I knew it was a good chance this was the last time I’d ever raid with these people. I knew that soon, it’ll be time for me to lead, to raid with the newly-reformed Apotheosis of Eldre’Thalas.

I’m not going to lie — I’ve enjoyed being a member. No leadership responsibilities, no healing assignments. (Okay, so I took over organizing judgements, but when no one’s judging light and you have five pallies in the raid, someone has to!) (Okay, I also organize who beacons who and who shields who with Walks, but that’s just common courtesy so we don’t always overwrite each other, although Walks consistently does overwrite my damn shield on Sindragosa. ;D)

But I’ve also had to rein in my leadership skills a few times and my poor raid leaders and GM have probably heard enough from me to last them forever! ;) It’s a difficult thing to do, keeping your mouth shut and giving another strategy a chance when you’ve seen another one work flawlessly.

Like I said, though, I’m awfully glad that I got to finish out Wrath with such a great group of people. I’m moving my paladin back to Eldre’Thalas as soon as the guild’s leadership calls it an expansion, basically. That could be as soon as this week or next week or the week before Cataclysm launches.

I may have raided for the last time with these people and honestly, while I won’t miss a couple of them, I’ve had a great time. I feel like I accomplished something by helping them get to 11/12 and a stone’s throw from their drakes. So if this is where we part ways and this is where Madrana goes home… I’m satisfied. Last night was a great way to end raiding, if that is, indeed, the end. Some hilarity on LK, some success with HPP and Been Waiting and a Halion one-shot.

And now, it’s the end of the world as we know it and, though I’ll roll with the punches, I don’t quite feel altogether fine.

Strange mix of new and old

Apologies for not being around much this weekend. Apart from anything else, it’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, so there’s been that to deal with.

I took some Apotheosis guildies to ICC10 on Friday to work on the Lich King. We had fun, but we had some issues with various mechanics, including Valks and Defiles, the few times we dealt with them.

Stupidly, I scheduled a continuation for Sunday night, unaware, at the time, that my parents were inviting guests (ie: people who weren’t family members) to Thanksgiving dinner, which extended dinner from an average 2.5 hour affair to one that lasted 4.5 hours. So my brother and I were very, very, very late for our raid. We scrounged some people up, we waited around for a bit, but, in the end, we got 8 attempts in on him and got him to 59%.

True, we didn’t actually kill a Val’kyr, but we came close! And we did learn to dodge defiles and the tanks SEEMED to be doing well with taunting for Soul Reaper. We even went into transition without a Shambling a few times and had this one BEAUTIFUL attempt where we had nothing but one Raging Spirit half-dead when we ran back in for P2. Gorgeous!

What I learned about organizing and leading this fight:

– Drudge Ghouls help out immensely with the Necrotic Plague bounces and stacks and can help get that high enough to 2-shot a Shambling Horror.

– You can lose a Raging Spirit if you leave them on the collapsing part of the ledge, which can make your life a TON easier. ;)

– Warlocks can actually be out of range of their teleporters. Or, you know, their teleporters can be covered by Defile. I guess the solution here is to stand at range, on top of your teleporter and then you won’t be OOR?

– That bloody enrage on the Shamblings sucks, but I don’t think we lost my brother to a single one. He was stunning them whenever he could, so that was pretty sweet.

– Why the Valks ALWAYS seemed to choose our freaking disc priest to carry away, I do not know. Hilarious, though.

– It feels good to say “Let’s get Football back up, please” again. Battle-rezzing our resident fury warrior was kind of a staple of our BC raids, while we would leave the resident enhancement shaman dead on the floor. ;D

– I’m still super rusty at this thing called “raid leading”. Totally forgot to actually assign healing until after the first wipe, I think it was. I’m looking forward to Cata raiding where I’ll do healing and a brief (stop laughing, it’s possible!) overview and other role leads will deal with other crap!

– Leading a raid that is comprised primarily of friends can still be considered “work”, but it’s fun work.

– Going through the logs of a raid that is comprised primarily of friends, most of whom you know for a fact are great players, can still result in /facepalms. ;)

I need to do a variety of things, including respond to comments here, making sure I have the glyphs I want for tomorrow, given the great chance that 4.0.1 drops, and then maybe I can actually play the game a bit today.

Weekend Update

(Sadly, I am not as cool as Tina Fey.)

– I’m one Manalicious quest away from Chef.

– On Saturday, I actually HAD the Blacktip Shark IN MY BAGS and used Aspect of the Cheetah to run to the NPC and while clicking on him, heard the sound when he got the Master Angler of Azeroth achievement precisely two seconds before I would have. SAD PANDA.

– ICC10 on Friday went okay, cleared Lower Spire, did Blood Wing (one-shotted Council with me on orbs, if you can imagine!) and went through some hiccups on BQL, but got her down. Tried Dreamwalker, but it didn’t go very well because we were 9 manning it and I was on my shammy for that part.

– I had an absolutely lovely Vent conversation with a blogger I’ve only known about for a couple of months, Oestrus, from The Stories of O. Previously a RL friend of Codi’s, they reconnected with each other in the WoW blogosphere. How awesome is that? It’s pretty awesome. Even more awesome? Oestrus has stuck her priest in Apotheosis to get a feel for us to see if we’re where she wants to be for Cataclysm. She came to ICC10 Part 2 on Sunday night, too.

– Seriously, I HAD THE BLACKTIP SHARK. <flails>

– Beta guilds were wiped, so if you were in my beta version of Apotheosis on Lost Isles, you may want to hit me up on Twitter at some point to get a re-invite.

– ICC10 Part 2. Went better than expected. O joined us on her priest and we promptly wiped on Plague trash. /facepalm. Nice first impression. ;) I think we made up for it, though, when we one-shot Rot, Fester and the good Professor. Dreamwalker was cake and, for the first time ever, I did that fight without healing in the portals. I kited zombies! It was kind of awesome, although I have never wanted to be able to cleanse my own magical debuffs more than right then. Stupid frostbolt volleys. Anyways, then it was on to Sindragosa. Despite some lapses in attention and despite some miscommunication, the Apotheosis INFAMOUS LAST ATTEMPT rule kicked in and we got her down for the first time. (Well, first time on these toons for many of us, anyways.)

– O will fit in beautifully if she decides to stick with us. She’s already on the “I tease Kurn, therefore I am” bandwagon. Things like “Eh on Hands” instead of “Lay on Hands” and “Hey, I need my I’m on a Boot achievement!”… Naturally, the guildies cracked up. :P

– After the raid, Football and X and I went to MC. Football’s after Sulfuron Ingots and the Eye of Sulfuras for Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros. I was hoping I’d get my Eye of Divinity for my priest off Domo, and X was along on his warlock until we got to Domo, at which point he got his 72 hunter, in case the Ancient Petrified Leaf dropped. The Eye of Divinity dropped and, after a couple of embarassing wipes on Ragnaros, off I went to the Eastern Plaguelands!

– And finally, as you were perhaps able to tell from the video above, I’ve managed to find a decent video setting for videos! This has some huge implications, particularly when I get a decent rig either later this month or in November.

ICC 25 heroic Putricide and Sindragosa tonight. Fingers crossed for the swift deaths of these two pains in my ass, if only for the hopes of my current guild’s Glory of the Icecrown Raider (25) drakes.

Live Realms Updates

Just a few thoughts flitting about my brain.

1) I got the ZG achievement today with my brother. The funny thing is that we’d both cleared ZG, many moons ago, back probably during the summer of 2006. I’d even cleared it on my hunter, the toon I’d gone with today. Hell, back in the day, I was one of the kiters of the windserpents you kill to poison you, which poisons Hakkar, blah, blah, etc.

Today, my brother and I went in and killed all the aspects plus Gahz’ranka and Mandokir (no Jin’do, though), then did Hakkar. Remarkably easy, sad to say.

I got the Heart of Hakkar and turned it in — had I done this pre-BC, when I was actively running ZG with Fated Heroes, I would have had the achievement on Kurn already. Anyways, it was nice to go in and kill Hakkar again. I can’t remember the last time I did it.

All that rep plus 18 Zandalar Honor Tokens (from bijou and coin turn-ins) and I am 2130 rep from exalted with the Zandalar tribe. I’ve been running ZG for a couple of weeks, farming the Tome of Polymorph Turtle and for mounts and such, but mostly because Kurn deserves to be exalted. Zul’Gurub was my first raid instance (outside of raid groups for dungeons, back in the day) and it was such an amazing sense of accomplishment to have seen my guild progress from taking 3 hours to kill Venoxis to 20-minute Venoxis runs, from wiping on Jek’lik to clearing the instance, including Jin’do.

I’m going to have a proper post about this, soon, but Zul’Gurub deserves better treatment. Zul’Gurub is the reason I started playing this game (that’s a long story, but I’ll explain it in my other post) and it’s being removed for Cataclysm.

ZG is my favourite raid instance, bar none, and is filled with memories of each and every pull and each and every boss. I can take you there and show you where this one warlock always seemed to fall off the bridge on his way to Venoxis. I can take you there and show you how half the raid always seemed to hug the bat riders. I can show you the first bugged fish we ever saw, who actually followed people up on to land and evade bugged while killing us.

So Kurn’s going to finish repping up with those Zandalarian trolls. And I’m glad I finally got the official achievement for an instance I’ve spent so much time in.

2) Somehow, I keep getting roped into doing ICC10 with my brother on the weekends. This whole “DPS” thing is so very strange. I find myself clicking raid frames to try to cleanse people. Actually having to pay attention to what’s happening on the game field, you know, like adds and stuff? Boss health? hahaha, so very, very foreign.

I’ve gotten darn good at dropping snake traps on Putricide, though, and using Disengage in a variety of situations. Juggling disco balls on BPC, well, I’m getting there. ;)

3) New raid lockout system. I like it. I hate 10s and the only reason I’m doing 10s with my brother is because hey, it’s my brother. So I won’t be bitching and moaning about it. We are stuck with the new system in old content for like, a maximum of two months. I understand it means some 10s or 25s are adversely affected and that’s too bad. But I love the new system’s idea. I wouldn’t have implemented it now, were I in charge, but I think it’s fine. <shrug>

4) In terms of live raiding, we nearly 24-manned heroic Putricide until, at 17%, our third tank got DCed. The wheels kind of fell off the bus after that, even after he reconnected a few minutes later. I know I spent most of the rest of the raid laughing my ass off, which is entirely the fault of my GM and my RL. Hope to get heroic Putricide down on Monday and then work on Sindragosa, really. That would be sweet.

Speaking of my current guild, my GM and RL want me to go to the guild meetup in Vegas next year, which would mean my saying to Apotheosis: “Sorry guys, can’t raid for the next few days, I’m going to VEGAS with my OTHER guild!” This still amuses me greatly, but it’s not why they were cracking me up. Seriously, I’m going to miss casting Hammer of Justice on my GM while one of us is MCed on Lady Deathwhisper. I’m going to miss my RL calling the triangle “panties”. I’m going to miss the vast majority of the raiders in this guild, particularly this one gnome mage, who is definitely my second-favourite active mage and in my top five of all-time mages. (Majik, Tandrace, Dar, then probably this mage and then Kylon, I think.)

5) Apotheosis will be opening recruitment soooooon. We’ve already snagged a few people with whom I was at least vaguely acquainted, but keep your eyes peeled for an announcement at our website:


Okay, time to grab a drink and go lead ICC10.

The Weekend of the Slacker

I spent my weekend not doing much in terms of Beta and doing very little in terms of reforming my guild.

I think I logged on to Beta twice. The first time, I got into a Stonecore (regular) run wherein the first boss absolutely ruined us. Well, no, the trash ruined us and THEN the first boss ruined us. Five deaths and I was done. Either I was doing something horribly wrong or the group’s DPS wasn’t capable of downing the boss. Even using Mr. Grumpy Man (my guardian), Holy Radiance, Light of Dawn, keeping beacon up, keeping Judgements of the Pure up, none of it did anything. Yes, I used Lay on Hands, I made great use of WoG and Holy Shock and even sp0t-healed with Flash of Light and made use of Divine Light. And we all still died. I don’t get it. Every time I lose a person, I feel like that was my bad, although it probably wasn’t. I’ve done the Stonecore before. That boss was more annoying, not HARD. Now I’d have to say that, with the group I was with (82-84, then me at 85), that boss was hard. The group broke up. And I didn’t get a chance to heal the other time I was on beta, so… that was beta for you. (Yes, I have 13066 post coming.)

In terms of guild stuff, I was more productive. I snagged us a healing priest who’s relatively new to the game, but is very experienced in Wrath and seems like just the kind of player we’re looking for. The transfer will, I’m sure, be closer to Cataclysm, but it’s nice to know I have a commitment from at least one person to be a healing priest. That gives us, uh, one priest! ;)

On Friday, my brother pestered me to go to ICC10. And basically to lead it. Because he doesn’t know the instance well enough.

So I did. On my hunter.

We started out with 10 guildies, then lost one who wasn’t feeling well after Marrowgar, replacing her with a holy paladin. (Oh God, oh God, so much fail!) We also lost a guildie after Marrowgar due to GF aggro and pulled in someone who was in LFR who actually turned out to be the GM of another guild, a guild some of my old peeps had spent time in during Wrath. Hah. I really need to research the politics of Eldre’Thalas before I do that again.

We did 7 bosses (clearing Plague) without issue. All were one-shots. Everyone got at least one upgrade, which was sweet. The failadin even got Lockjaw. At least they were smart enough to know Lockjaw is good!

It was pretty awesome to one-shot Putricide. I actually got disconnected at the start of P3, but it worked out okay anyways and we got him down. Once again, the key is to have a clean transition to P3 with no adds up. My calls to stop DPS, burn the add and then burn the boss were basically right-on (I probably could have stopped DPS on the boss a little bit later, but anyways) and we trigged the tear gas just before the Gas Cloud would have dropped. Beauty.

We couldn’t do Blood Prince Council, though. Why is this?

The first two attempts were due to my brother dying to Empowered Shadow Lance (he was the Keleseth tank and had been last week, too). It just looks like the Dark Nuclei kept falling off him.

The third attempt, the bear who was tanking Valanar and Taldaram just up and died. Why? Well, it appears that the failadin wasn’t listening to my instructions.

There is one thing that pisses me off beyond all measure when I’m leading a raid or when I’m healing lead. That is people not listening to my instructions. If I tell you to beacon the paladin tank and heal the druid, that is what I expect you to do. I do not want you to beacon the druid and heal the paladin. I do not want you to beacon yourself and heal the raid. I want you to beacon the flippin’ paladin and heal the druid.

The failadin in question beaconed the druid and healed the paladin tank (and themselves). They let beacon fall off. They barely touched the druid for the remainder of the fight, it appears. Their most-used spell was Flash of Light. They did not judge a single time. This is also the paladin who didn’t have pally power AND DID NOT BUFF. I mean, we had to plead with them to buff kings. PLEAD. I basically just said “fuck it” and hit my drums now and again. It’s a team activity. Be an active member of the team or GTFO of my raid.

So we called it after 4 wipes on Blood Prince Council. We tried having the warlock (hi, X!) be the Keleseth tank on the last try, and Empowered Shadow Lance got him since 3 of his 5 Nuclei had fallen off or died.

… okay, I just looked more in-depth at the logs.

The holy paladin pug did not judge even ONCE. NOT ONCE in all my log data. That’s Deathwhisper, Saurfang, Festergut, Rotface, Putricide and 4 attempts at Council.

They used Sacred Shield… twice.

THIS is what is wrong with the players of today. I don’t care if there’s a 30% buff. I don’t care if it’s 10-man normal. If you’re not doing the very basics your class allows you to do (proper buffs, from kings on people in your raid to keeping JotP up and Sacred Shield)… then you have no business being in a raid instance. None whatsoever.


I also did Blackwing Lair a couple of times this weekend. Our very own Football is going for Thunderfury. He has both bindings and we’re now farming him up Elementium Ore, which his pally, my shaman and my brother’s hunter can now all smelt. We cleared the room with the technicians twice and the second time we went all through the instance. Can I just say three things about Blackwing Lair?

1) No way, no how, no chance in hell could Fated Heroes have done Razorgore. Ever. Even if we could have, there is absolutely no way we could have gotten Vael. EVER EVER EVER.

2) The Suppression Room sucks beyond anything else I could have possibly imagined in this game and I cannot express how happy I am that I never had to herd 40 people through that craptastic place.

3) Nefarian is quite large. And I forgot to bring a second bow. Melee huntard ftw!

Having done that, I did manage to turn in my Broodlord’s head quest to the Cenarian Circle over in Silithus. Once Football was like “I need to do BWL” I was like “THERE IS A BWL QUEST. I MUST GRAB IT!” So I did. And I turned it in. And now I can rep grind with the Brood of Nozdormu.

Percent chance of me actually repping up with the Brood: 0.17%.

Honestly, I really do miss the epic quests and epic feel of classic World of Warcraft and getting the Agent of Nozdormu is a part of those huge quest chains. Did you know that in order to get the gates of Ahn’Qiraj open, you had to do a STUPIDLY long quest chain? I knew it was a really long chain, but had no idea how involved it was until a couple of years ago, well after BC had launched. The chain included grinding to exalted with the Brood of Nozdormu — without AQ actually being open. The next time you see your friendly, neighbourhood Scarab Lord, congratulate them on the grind. I still can’t even fathom how long that quest chain was, and I’ve helped a friend of mine on parts of it.

Percent chance of me seriously considering trying to do the Scepter quest chain: 43.2%.

Percent chance of me actually trying to do the Scepter quest chain: 0.17%. (see: grinding rep with Brood)

Percent chance of me considering farming some Silithid Carapace Fragments for money: 62.8%.

Percent chance of me actually farming some Silithid Carapace Fragments for money: 7.3333%.

Anyways. That’s just me being silly. I have too much stuff to do in-game ALREADY. There’s still a retrospective screenshot project I want to do, some old dungeon runs I want to record and narrate, not to mention a requiem for Zul’Gurub. Plus I should probably do another Holy How-To at some point, and then there’s beta stuff.

And on that note, I have a lot to do today, so I leave you all with an admittedly random, yet handy-dandy, “Which Edge of Madness Boss Is It?” calendar:


Solutions to Common Problems on Heroic Sindragosa (25)

I have now learned Heroic Sindragosa 25 with two separate guilds. I have killed her twice, both times with my previous guild. I have wiped to her a significant amount of times. Probably more times than I dare to consider. Definitely more times than I have wiped to heroic Putricide or heroic Deathwhisper, most with my previous guild.

When I left my previous guild and joined my current guild, I was aware that I would have to relearn how to do some encounters and would have to learn along with the guild how the guild was going to do the heroic versions of Dreamwalker, Lady Deathwhisper, Professor Putricide, Sindragosa and, perhaps, the Lich King as well.

Dreamwalker was rescued in the first reset I had with the new guild. Deathwhisper was two weeks later. It took much longer for Putricide to go down, but he finally did. So now our attention turns to Sindragosa.

I have noticed several issues in our attempts on her and what’s interesting to me, at least, is that the issues are the same, exact ones my previous guild dealt with. I’m not just talking about screwing up some of the mechanics, either, although that’s part of it and part of learning.

Sindragosa is a challenging encounter because of the amount of coordination it requires. Putricide on heroic is hard because everything is random — Unbound Plague targets, ooze targets, gas targets, who gets which buff in transitions. Sindragosa is not challenging for that reason. Most of the things that happen on Sindragosa are constants. There will always be three healers and three casters with Unchained Magic. Ice Tomb targets are random, but you can plan where each person goes. P3 Ice Tombs are placed with regularity on one side or the other.

The issue is coordination — you need to stop, start, move, run, start again, stop again, watch the ground, watch your debuffs, and you need to be able to rely on your fellow raiders to be doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing as well.

So today… Solutions to Common Problems on Heroic Sindragosa (25).

1) Parries. Sindragosa parry hastes. What does this mean?

From WoWWiki:

Swing timer

After a successful parry, the defender’s “swing timer” is reduced by 40% of your weapon speed (or even reset), unless this would result in a reduction to less than 20% of your swing time remaining. This results in an average of .24 extra swings per parry; thus parry favors slower, higher damage weapons.[1] Note that with a slow weapon and fast incoming attacks, it is possible to gain multiple speed reductions. While tanks like to profit from this effect, melee damage dealers should attack from behind whenever possible, both to increase their own damage and to avoid causing unneeded damage to the tank through the enemy’s parries.

Your swing timer is always running any time you are able to parry (you can’t parry during spellcasting, stun, etc.), and since it resets on a predictable basis, there are several addons that can display it. Using such a timer and monitoring incoming events, you will note that parry affects only your current swing, and only the time remaining when the parry occurs. In order to display parry events accurately, you must know the correct swing speed (including haste effects) and the elapsed swing time.

Note: When a mob parries an attack, its swing timer also advances in the same manner. This does not apply to certain raid bosses for which parry-haste functionality has been explicitly turned off by the game designers, e.g. Brutallus.

The vast majority of ICC bosses have parry haste turned off, like Brutallus in Sunwell Plateau. The following bosses are those in T10+ content in Wrath of the Lich King who have parry haste turned ON:

Lady Deathwhisper, Sindragosa, Halion.

So three things here:

a) Tanks need to make sure they have a fair bit of expertise, even if they’re wearing frost resist gear. Maybe some Rhinolicious Wyrmsteak? For tanks, you’re almost certainly not going to be able to eliminate the parries, so your goal is to minimize them.

b) Melee need to eliminate parries, period. This is achieved by making sure you’re at the expertise soft-cap of 6.5% AND making sure you’re standing in the right place! Do not stand near the dragon’s front shoulders. Stand right near the back legs, just a bit towards her midsection. You obviously don’t want to stand in the back o f the dragon because of her tail swipe, but standing near the hindquarters should allow the game to believe you’re hitting her from an angle where you’re technically behind her.

c) If you’re a caster or a healer, don’t stand next to the dragon and auto-attack. We have pretty much no expertise and can easily cause a parry. This can happen particularly when a paladin judges from afar and then runs in close without turning off the auto-attack. While this doesn’t matter much on a Blistering Cold cast, since she’s not actively hitting the tank, be careful that you’re not beating on her with your dagger or staff or mace or even your sword.

Pro-tip: If you parse your attempts with World of Logs, you can tell who’s being parried by selecting the attempts you’d like and then going to the Expression Editor. Use this string:

(fulltype=SWING_MISSED) and targetname=”Sindragosa” and missType=MISS_PARRY

To see if this causing an issue, look at individual fights and examine your tank’s deaths. If it was due to melee attacks around 0.9-1.2 seconds apart, this is likely a parry haste.

2) Icy Grip & Blistering Cold. So many people die to Blistering Cold and it just plain isn’t necessary!

When you see by your boss mod timer that there is 5 seconds left on the Icy Grip cooldown, prepare yourself. Move very close to the dragon (making sure your auto-attack is off!) and continue casting/hitting, etc.

When she casts Icy Grip, she’ll pull you to her. Since you’re so close to her, you’re barely moving. Just turn (using your mouse) and run or strafe out 25 yards from her. The single biggest issue I see with Blistering Cold is people being way the hell away from her when she casts Icy Grip, so they spend a couple of seconds being pulled TO her and don’t have enough time to run out.

Pro tip: Tuskarr’s Vitality (or Cat’s Swiftness) is seriously the best boot enchant you can get if you don’t have a talent that increases your speed, like Pursuit of Justice. You would be shocked at how often it saves you on this fight and so many others throughout this expansion.

3) Frost Bombs. On regular, they weren’t too much of a problem. You ducked behind an Ice Tomb and if you got hit, so what? No big deal. On heroic, they one-shot you, unless you’re a bear and you pop Barkskin and Survival Instincts. ;)

The proper way to deal with the Frost Bombs is thusly:

a) Hide behind an Ice Tomb.

b) Look at the platform for the projected texture that shows you where the Frost Bomb will land. It’s a small, blue circle. This is a terrible quality screenshot, but here:

If you cannot see that little rune thing, check to make sure you have Projected Textures turned ON. If you do and you still have trouble seeing it, turn down your Particle Density. The above screenshot is with Projected Textures on and Particle Density at the lowest setting.

c) Move to make sure the Ice Tomb is blocking you ENTIRELY from the frost bomb. As my brother said the other night on regular Sindragosa 10m (his first time there), “man, you really gotta tuck in there, don’t you?” The answer to that is yes. Cling to the tomb.

d) Make sure you move to properly line up the Ice Tombs between you and the bombs for ALL FOUR BOMBS.

e) Make sure that no tombs are broken until after the last bomb drops. You then have several seconds for the tank and healers to run out to meet Sindragosa during which you can finish off the Ice Tombs. It is ideal for all Ice Tombs to be below 15% or so health by the time the last Frost Bomb hits and then finished off before anyone is asphyxiated.

4) Frost Damage. There are three main ways to help combat the persistent frost aura (which only gets worse with stacks of Mystic Buffet up). I like to use all of them.

a) bring extra healers. Like, 8.

b) Wear 1-2 pieces of frost resistance gear. I personally wear the belt. Tanks should probably wear 2 pieces (belt/boots) and should pop either version of Sindragosa’s Flawless Fang on Blistering Cold (and ONLY on Blistering Cold!) if they’re planning on eating them in order to keep Sindragosa standing still.

c) Have BOTH Frost Resistance Totem and Frost Resistance Aura up. Drop the totem near the tank, in melee range, so that when the raid runs away from the tank during Blistering Cold, the tank still has 130 Frost Resistance added, thanks to the totem.

5) Unchained Magic, Instability & Backlash. Run away from the raid. Let Instability drop when you’re 20 yards away from others. Don’t get gripped into Sindragosa with any stacks — if you do, keep casting instants every 3 seconds so that you don’t blow up the whole raid. More on dealing with Unchained Magic on heroic here. I strongly recommend not casting at ALL in P3 with Unchained Magic.

As well, the whole of the ranged contingent of the raid (casters, hunters, healers) should be clumped up together very tightly.

6) Unchained Magic, Instability, Backlash and Iceblock, Divine Shield & Dispersion. Mages, paladins and shadow priests can avoid dealing with Unchained Magic once or twice or so per attempt on Sindragosa by using their immunity effects (Iceblock and Divine Shield) or by using Dispersion. However, for mages and paladins, if you’re going to IB or bubble it off, you MUST NOT have any stacks of Instability on you when you do! If you do, this will cause your Instability to fall off immediately and hit all people within 20 yards of you. IF you have a stack or more, run out, cast to your heart’s desire, THEN bubble/IB. Otherwise, bubble or iceblock FIRST, then continue casting as normal.

Shadow Priests can stack Instability to truly ludicrous amounts if Dispersion is up, but again, just because you’re taking almost no damage doesn’t mean you should blow up the raid around you. Run. Out. Of. The. Raid.

7) Ice Tombs. Ice Tombs cause damage AND they can chain to other people. Ice Tombs cause about 10k damage and if you’re within 10y of other people getting tombed, you’ll cause 10k damage to each other. So stay 10y away from others, even if you’re given a particular location to go. Do not stand on top of others, do not stand too close to others. This can be a problem in P3 where people are running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

It’s also really important to get a shield or a hot or two up on the people who are about to get Ice Tombed, so that they’re absolutely topped off by the time Asphyxiation kicks in, if that’s an issue. Hell, I even toss a Sacred Shield and FoL on someone if I can. Make sure Frost Beacon is on your raid frames, healers, that’ll show you who’s going to get tombed.

8) Phase 3. Keep it simple. If you have Unchained Magic, don’t cast. If you get a Frost Beacon on you, telling you you’re going to be a Frost Tomb, run to the appropriate side. Drop Mystic Buffet stacks every other tomb. Give tanks a chance to reset their stacks. Run out from Blistering Cold.

Above all, keep calm. The big problem I see in P3 (or P2, if you don’t count air phase as P2) is people panicking. Quit panicking!

9) Communication. While this is not imperative during the entire fight, it’s particularly important between healers in the final phase.

My previous guild, which did not use Vent or any voice communications, came up with the idea of using macros between healers to indicate who had Unchained (and was, therefore, not healing). The macro looks like this:

/6 *** UNCHAINED MAGIC *** on Madrana!

/in 29 /6 *** Unchained Magic *** is done on Madrana!

/6 is the healer channel we used so replace that with your own channel number. What you do with this is hit it when you get Unchained Magic. UM lasts 30 seconds, so this is an approximate macro that will count 29 seconds before telling your fellow healers that you’re able to cast again. Depending on when you hit the macro after getting UM, it might be a little late in announcing you’re ready to cast, but it’s better than nothing, particularly if you don’t use voice communication or officers are calling out things like where to drop the next Ice Tomb or whatever.

I think that’s all the advice I have for Sindragosa on heroic. Just keep it simple and think through the consequences to your actions. Good luck!