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Raid Rehash and Reflections

Raid Rehash and Reflections

Normally I would rejoice over a boss kill and blog about it ASAP, especially one that had eluded me for the longest time for sundry frustrating reasons, but the death of my friend silenced me into a respite and period of mourning the last several days.

Now that I’ve found the strength to move on, it’s time to get back to posting and look back at the craziness that was Heroic Dragon Soul.

Heroic mode had always seemed unreachable to a casual raider like me, no matter how nerfed the raid was. Historically, I had always found myself in the middle of some stupid guild drama that saw the disintegration of my core group and my progression, forcing me to either switch guilds or servers. To borrow a line from Riggnaros (in his Manaflask interview) and paraphrase it, you can’t have just five people wanting to try heroic modes and the other half not caring. When at least half of your people are indifferent, and the pickings are slim in the guild, you’re basically screwed.

This time, I got lucky. My GM/Raid Leader formed a partnership with her close friends’ guild – comprised of the most talented and dedicated raiders I have ever met – and our 10-man efforts in a span of a week and a half resulted in several heroic boss kills, including Heroic: Madness of Deathwing.

Heroic Warmaster Blackhorn

Heroic Spine of Deathwing

Heroic Madness of Deathwing

I’m not going to lie; the fights were brutal and unforgiving. Special mention goes to Heroic: Spine of Deathwing, which deserves a layer of its own in hell, and that’s putting it mildly. It also gave me the most heroic carpal tunnel syndrome, which had me cursing, “35% nerf, my @#$%ing ass!”

My GM had to laugh. “Hey, at least we downed Heroic Madness before MoP!”

Uh huh. For a casual raider like me, it’s a big deal to down an end game boss – especially on heroic – before the next expansion hits. Heck, I didn’t get to down even normal Lich King back in Wrath no thanks to guild drama, so yeah, this Deathwing kill means A LOT to me.

But it wasn’t just the kill that gave me satisfaction. It was also the players I worked with that night — the very patient and very skilled people who never gave up no matter how many times we wiped.

(Click to see actual size)



(So. Many. Skeletons.)

For the first time in my gaming life, I was with high-caliber individuals who were determined to get things done, who set aside both egos and excuses to see the raid group to the very end. They pushed me to be the best I could be that night and inspired me to keep going even when things seemed hopeless. My faith in humanity was restored. And all I could do was cry and scream at the end, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE??!!

So with that goal crossed out in my bucket list, albeit so late in this expansion, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief and spend the next several days waiting for Mists of Pandaria. And I certainly hope to raid again with those fine people in the future.

Here’s to a brand new adventure for all of us!

Slow But Steady: Heroic Yor’sahj the Unsleeping

Slow But Steady: Heroic Yor’sahj the Unsleeping

‘Twas a decent practice run with my new guild. We tested our mettle last night on Heroic Yor’sahj the Unsleeping and it took only three attempts to down him. Not bad for a young raid group that has a few peeps still in Raid Finder gear.

Heroic Yor'sahj the Unsleeping

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Speaking of raids and all things Dragon Soul, I had a chat with a buddy whom I hadn’t seen online in a while. He said he finally got Destroyer’s End on his main and some alts, but is hesitant to display his title. I got his drift. Everyone and his grandma has the title, which sorta-kinda diminishes its luster, especially after all the mega-nerfs. Then another friend asked me why I was doing Heroic Dragon Soul so late into the game, and if I didn’t feel bad that I was “behind most people who are at least 5/8 in H-DS” at this stage of the expansion.

I had to remind him, without sounding defensive, that after my old guild and I had normal DS on farm,my core group abandoned me for something called Diablo III, and I had no choice but to pack up and move to a new realm. My first month and a half on Turalyon was no picnic – my first guild was a perks-only establishment whose GM didn’t care much for raiding, and he ticked me off. My second one was a disaster in the sense that I got caught in the cross-fire of guild politics; I was a new face who had no clue what the hell was going on but because I was associated with a certain raid group, the GM hated me too and banned me from Mumble. I joined that group’s breakaway guild and I did my best to fit in and support our raid group by bringing in massive deeps and Seafood Magnifique feasts, but unfortunately, one stupid mistake after another in heroic DS – plus a guy who brought out the worst in me…

The Finger - Jack

…constrained me to jump ship. Again.

So yeah, talk about a really crappy start plus a lot of wasted time.

So the question remains, do I feel bad that I’m “behind” most people in Heroic progression? Not really. Being late is not indicative of my caliber, and I know very well what I can bring to a raid group. I was merely unfortunate to have been in guilds that either died or whose raiders sucked monkey balls. But I’m doing my best to make up for lost time. There is no pressure. I’m here to have fun. I’m just glad to be raiding actively again, which was something denied me the last two and a half months. And I can finally say that I am enjoying the game again and jumping for joy over the coming expansion!

PeeWee Herman

Heroic Ultraxion Plus Gurthalak for PvP?

Heroic Ultraxion Plus Gurthalak for PvP?

We resumed our Dragon Soul practice run last night and downed Heroic Ultraxion.

Heroic Ultraxion

And did the rest of the bosses on normal mode. Deathwing dropped Gurthalak, Voice of the Deeps, and since no one wanted it, I took it for myself. I have a mind to use it as a PvP weapon (my offspec is Unholy PvP), as I recall someone telling me I’d be better off PvPing with a Gurthalak than the Cataclysmic Gladiator’s Greatsword.

But is it worth sacrificing the resilience and critical strike? Reading the many different forums, opinions are divided over which weapon is better for BGs and arenas.

Cataclysmic Gladiator's Greatsword

VERSUS

Gurthalak, Voice of the Deeps

Decisions, decisions. Oh well, might as test both to compare. But if any of you can point me to reliable resources why I should (or should not) use a Gurth for PvP, please email me or leave a comment. Thanks!

Back in The Swing of Things: Some New Gear At Last!

Back in The Swing of Things: Some New Gear At Last!

I had a horrible day today. I won’t go into the details, but suffice to say it was the shitty icing on an already bad cake. Good thing my knight in shining armor was there to hand me Kleenex for my tears and snot (well, not literally, but it’s nice to know there’s someone who deeply cares for me).

And good thing I had a raid tonight to keep my mind off the negativity. It was my first raid with my new guild, and oh boy, are they awesome! For peeps who have little to no Heroic Dragon Soul experience, they were pretty amazing – slick, agile and cool as a cucumber. It was the best practice run I ever been in, mainly because I got two new pieces of gear from Heroic Morchok!

Heroic Morchok

Being the only plate-wearing DPS in the raid, I had no competition rolling for Bone-Link Fetish and Rockhide Bracers! Hooray!

My day’s ending on a good note. I have someone who loves me very much, I am in a nice guild, I had a good raid night, I got my first two Heroic pieces. I’m still very blessed.

Rusty

Rusty

I was so busy the last few days that I didn’t log on any of my toons. Surprising myself again, I didn’t give a damn. If I hadn’t signed up for tonight’s Dragon Soul raid with my new guild, I wouldn’t have bothered logging in at all. I’d rather curl up in bed with my Nook.

Yup, that’s right, I joined a guild in my new server. I saw one of their raid leaders recruiting on Trade for more peeps for their third raid group (for late night runs) and figured, eh, might as well give it a try. What appealed to me was that they were just going to learn Heroic DS and I saw it as a fresh start. I could have gone for a guild that was halfway through or finished with Heroic DS but being the masochist that I am, I whispered the raid leader and after a few minutes of chit-chat (read: background check), he tossed me an invite.

Maybe I just don’t want to get carried. Maybe I’m also trying to relive or recapture the good old days of the Little Engine That Could – where every single member had zero experience and we were all learning the fights. I’m a sentimental sap, shoot me.

Anyway tonight our 10-man group downed Heroic: Morchok…

Heroic Morchok

…and my blood ran cold when it hit me that I wasn’t even ecstatic (heck, I didn’t even take a group screenshot). I felt tired and extremely rusty. Am I succumbing to a severe  case of pre-MoP ennui?

Or maybe I’m still pissed over what happened to my last guild. At the back of mind, I was stewing over how my guild on Exodar could have accomplished this a long time ago if only they..

If only, if only, if only, if only, if only.

Anyway, My DPS was still excellent but I button-mashed my way through all the boss fights. Not raiding actively for more than a month sucked the life out of my once nimble fingers and made me forget my keybinds. Plus I have yet to get used to this computer’s mouse and keyboard; I wish I had brought my gaming mouse with me to the US.

I know I’m rambling here but tonight raid’s just brought back a lot of memories, and as I’m trying to finish this post I realized that tonight’s first heroic achievement didn’t resonate with me because I didn’t share a tight bond with the people in the raid. I haven’t been with them long enough to rejoice over that little victory. Once again, I felt like the odd man out, but not in a bad way, if that makes sense.

Don’t get me wrong. My guildies are very nice and welcoming. I’m just feeling my way through the group dynamics, like the stereotypical new kid in school checking out the cliques and sundry individuals in the cafeteria.  /awkward

Time to start paying my dues in my new environment. Let the rep grind begin.

Back to Dragon Soul

Back to Dragon Soul

Our core group returned to Dragon Soul for more Valor Points, tier tokens and Elementium Gem Clusters. We 9-manned Morchok and Yor’sahj the Unsleeping while waiting for one of our members to get online. You know your team is well geared AND skilled if you could 9-man DS bosses and still come close to beating your record kill by mere seconds.

I only wanted one thing from that run – the Chest of the Corrupted Vanquisher so I could wear the Backbreaker Spaulders I won last week and still keep my 4-tier piece for the set bonus.

The universe heard my plea.

DK Tier 13 with Backbreaker Spaulders

Backbreaker Spaulders - Stats

Necrotic Boneplate Breastplate - Stats

I’m still stuck with the 384 pants from Raid Finder. Ugh! Universe, please hear me once more: make me win the leg token in our next run!

Six DS bosses downed in one night. Too bad we started late; we could have done 8/8 but we started late and some people were itching to get back to their other games.

Now back to questing in Eastern Kingdoms.

No Regrets Starting From Scratch

No Regrets Starting From Scratch

I was a bit unhappy at first that we weren’t extending the Dragon Soul lockout, but now I’m glad we did.

‘Cause I won two tier tokens tonight and got my Necrotic Boneplate Pauldrons and Necrotic Boneplate Helmet!

Death Knight Tier 13 set

Hooray, that’s two Raid Finder pieces taken out of my set…and disenchanted.

Now all that’s left to get rid of is the Raid Finder Necrotic Boneplate Greaves!

I’m a happy Death Knight!  😀

Deathwing Will Just Have to Wait

Deathwing Will Just Have to Wait

Warmaster Blackhorn downed again. He ain’t a piece of cake when you have only ONE ranged DPS in the raid and the drakes keep snapping from their tethers.  >.<

(Click to see actual size)



And then came the debate on whether to extend the lockout or not.Frankly, I am sick of farming Morchok and company but we have a rogue in the progression group who needs his Elementium Gem Clusters. Not to mention I still have to get rid of my 384 gear. So looks like we’re starting from scratch AGAIN next week.

The monotony of Dragon Soul has gotten to me that I am actually looking forward to returning to Firelands to help a guildie continue his quest for Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest. Heck, I’d welcome any old school raid for that matter! Killing Deathwing for my New Year’s resolution can wait.

Now back to working on Loremaster.

Edit: GRATS TO BLOODSOED FOR DOWNING MADNESS OF DEATHWING! SO PROUD OF YOU!

Done With Raid Finder and Sundry Musings

Done With Raid Finder and Sundry Musings

I’m done with Dragon Soul via Raid Finder. At least on my Death Knight. My current gear is a mishmash of 397s and 384s which I would like to upgrade to all of the former. The only time you’ll see me there is to accompany friends, but after all I’ve been through in that Godforsaken place, I’d like to avoid DS – Looking for Raid, also known as Looking for Rez, as much as possible.

My little guild and I have been working hard in DS – Normal Mode to get everyone geared up and replace our remaining 378s and 384s. That said, extending the lockout so we could come face to face with Deathwing is not an option. Our goal is to get kitted out in all 397 gear before we come to blows with Deathwing and see that awful cut scene again with Thrall, Aggra and the Aspects (am I the only one who thinks that cut scenes should no longer appear once you’ve seen them?).

The downside of the 10-man raiding guild like ours is that you don’t have a decent-sized enough pool of well-geared players to replace key people like the tanks and healers when they can’t make it due to Real Life concerns. And since we’re not too fond of pugging, we’d rather cancel the raid and wait for those key people to return from their obligations. Slows down progression, I know, but since we’re not in any kind of race, there’s no reason to rush.

The good side of that downtime is that I’ve rediscovered my love for Battlegrounds. I managed to put together a good PvP set that gives me an acceptable 3965 resilience, and while I have yet to develop the Jedi-like reflexes of a good PvP’er like my guildie Marrok (one of the most badass rogues on the face of the earth, I must say), I’m coping in BGs and getting little cheevos here and there (thanks to my guildie Kyu for her awesome heals and Leap of Faith).

Twin Peaks Achievements - WoW

It’s the bits of variety that help lessen burnout and keep me interested in WoW that has impacted me in more ways than one. After a shaky start, I finally found a server and a guild I can call my home. I made very good friends in this game. I get to do cool things like Raids and BGs with awesome people. Things are happening for me and I’m looking forward to the one thing that will impact me on a personal level, which I don’t want to jinx by talking about it prematurely. Let’s just say 2012 should prove to be an interesting and game-changing experience for me in and out of WoW. Until that prayer is answered, I’m not saying another word.

May the Heavens hear me.

Alright, enough rambling. Now back to my Netherwing dailies. 18,862/21,000 revered, I should get my new set of mounts soon!

Peace!

No, I’m Not Rolling For You

No, I’m Not Rolling For You

To all the random Loot Whore Strangers in Raid Finder,

You are my newest pet peeve. You never fail to disgust me each time you roll need on something you already have, win it and use it as a bargaining chip to get the loot you want should it drop on the next boss.

Raid Finder - 1

Or, just before the boss pull, you tell me to roll for you on that weapon you really, really, really want.

Raid Finder - 2

To think we don’t even know each other and yet you treat me like I’m your close buddy (or lackey) who’d be more than happy to look like a douchebag ninja on your behalf come loot roll time. Your attitude speaks volumes of your character, which sad to say, leaves pretty much to be desired.

Why can’t you earn your gear the honorable way? I acquired my gear slowly but surely and I’m proud to say that not a single piece was a result of ninja’ing or brute-forcing a barter with another player. Yes, it took time but at least they were acquired fairly and cleanly.

How can you be proud knowing you got your gear in a devious fashion?

I hope I never run into your ilk ever again (though that would be like hoping I’d win the Powerball TWICE in a row), and I also hope that Blizzard makes Raid Finder loot non-tradable, just to discourage the likes of you.

Get out of my immaculate belf hair,

Cloudrunner

P.S. Hmm, I may just roll for you. But if I win the gear, I’ll just DE it for the evil pleasure of seeing you have a seizure.