My Chars

Friday, April 16, 2010

Leaving WoW

It's been a great 5 years. I've had fantastic experiences which I'll never forget, made many friends and perhaps touched some lives.

Raiding, my main activity (together with leveling alts :)) has always been fun and continued to be fun right up till the moment I decided to quit. From the shouts of joy on TeamSpeak when Ragnaros (40-man raid!) was defeated to the same shouts on Ventrilo when Lich King 25-man was downed recently, WoW has always provided me with more than enough motivation to log-on.

Too much motivation, in fact. I've been letting RL issues slowly slide downhill, playing WoW nearly every evening. Nothing like a major issue in my life, but a combination of small issues which I am unhappy about and which might, if I don't put a stop to them now, grow to be major issues.

So I'm taking a break. Maybe till Cataclysm, maybe longer, but for now I'm freezing my account.

To any bloggers reading this who are in SAN, thanks for accepting me so warmly, although I barely logged in to that char the few times I did were lots of fun. Feel free to gkick my level 8 Shaman from the guild :)

I'm shutting this blog down for now. Maybe I'll re-open it in the future, if I re-join WoW.


Thursday, April 01, 2010

First ICC-25 Run with the +10% Buff

Last night (as is almost always the case on Wednesday) we had more than enough people for ICC-25, so we had our usual ICC-25 clearing run.

What was different about last night was that it was the first time with the all-new +10% ICC buff, a 5% increase over the previous weeks' buff.

To make a long story short, there were some noticeable differences but they didn't make much difference in terms of progression for the evening.

  • Our tanks had more health as did the rest of the raid, leading to increased survivability.
  • Healer HPS actually went down. I guess this is due to all the healers doing more healing per spell, resulting in more over-healing. I could be wrong.
  • Raid damage was higher. We managed to take down Blood Queen with 2 MC'd people at the end, something which probably would have meant a wipe before the buff.
Bottom line though we took down the same bosses as we always do, in fact wiped a few more times than usual on Blood Queen due to some new people in the raid (the downside of heavy recruitment). Since the raid ended after Blood Queen we didn't even take down Dreamwalker which we have done in previous Wednesdays.

Still all-in-all I think the effects of the buff are noticable and I hope this week we'll have some good attempts finally on LK-25.

In personal news I won a nice new necklace, replacing my old 251 necklace and bumping up my GS just above 6k. Yey :)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Romp Through Ulduar-25 Hardmodes

Last night being a Tuesday we had less than 25 raiders online as is usually the case for us lately (officers are currently busy recruiting so hopefully this sad situation should change in the near future).

After a while the GL asked if we all wanted to go Ulduar-25 hardmodes, I guess the officers also wanted a break from ICC. Since people agreed (we all want the drake :)) the invites were sent out and off we went.

We started out 20 people, luckily a few people joined us (friends etc.) so I think we were 22 or 23 after clearing the trash before FL. FL himself was pretty easy with 4 towers and we one-shotted him even though some of the people had not done it in the past - the increased damage and health from our gear made the difference. Still several people died and we did have people jump on him and stun him once so it was obvious to me that without knowing that tactic we would have wiped.

XT hardmode is of course just a DPS race up to the broken heart phase so that was easy. Once we had the heart broken it takes a while to down him and ranged sometimes slacked a bit on taking down sparks leading to us having 2 up at once but we managed to get things under control and one-shotted him too.

From XT we continued to the Assembly of Iron. This hardmode is still not trivial by far, even with our gear. First 2 bosses are of course pretty easy now but once Steelbreaker is the last one any death will heal him for 20% and the smallest mistake usually leads to a death. So we wiped a couple of times but the third time everyone did the tactic correctly and we downed him.

Next up was Kologarn, this hardmode actually becomes difficult when you have too much DPS as it is easy to make a mistake and kill him without killing both hands together. Luckily our officers were on top of the tactics and required health levels and stopped DPS on each arm as required and we one-shotted this too.

Auriaya the crazy cat lady was easy, with our tanks improved stats they were taking very little damage from cats or boss and the healers had an easy job.

From her we continued to Hodir, this is a straight DPS race so of course was very easy. This is such a caster friendly fight, I went as shadow and placed 8th on Recount with over 12k DPS. Not bad for an off-spec :)

Thorim was much more of a challenge. As few of us had done this hardmode before (I think I did the 10-man version only once), once Thorim and Sif were down the combined lasers, ice-storms and lightning damage combined to take out over half the raid. I'm sorry to say I didn't move out of a Blizzard in time and died before I could heal myself :(
With less than I think 10 people alive and only 2 healers the fight dragged on but eventually Thorim was down, one-shotted even if a bit messily :)

Freya was next and we nearly wiped on one trash pack once, that trash is tough! :)
Thankfully there were only a couple of wipes on Freya due to people having to remember how to correctly kill the 3 big adds that spawn (that lasher will still pawn even a 60k health tank if it hits), or one wipe due to a tree not getting killed. Once everyone remembered the tactic we downed her smoothly and added Knock Knock Knock on Wood to our list of hardmodes.

It was raid end time so we still have Mimiron, Vezax and Yog-Saron hardmodes. I have a feeling these hardmodes will keep us occupied for a while! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Some Thoughts About Grouping in WoW

About a week ago Stylish Corpse put up this nice post about PQs and Grouping in MMOs in particular. As I haven't played WAR I cannot comment on PQs.

However I do disagree with some of the blanket assertions used by Stylish Corpse regarding Grouping and leveling and I can comment specifically about WoW.

"if you do want to group you have to put up with getting less xp, taking longer to complete quests, and generally getting less bang for your questing buck than if you were by yourself."

S.C.'s main point is that questing alone in MMOs today is better in the XP/hour department and therefore discourages grouping. I agree with this, at least in general. However, it's not so black-n-white, for example there are always group quests in every area of WoW and you'll nearly always see players writing in /1 asking for a group for that. I admit the mechanic for looking for a group for these quests could be improved but the point is such quests do exist and people do find groups for them (I know I have) - so it is not like questing at least in WoW is 100% solo. I suspect the same is true of other MMOs.

"What I would like for the next few MMOs to do is to provide some genuine benefit to grouping..."

Well here's the funny thing, WoW really does have a genuine benifit to grouping. The XP/hour, gear upgrades and everything are really good there. Only it is not for questing, it is when using the LFD tool.

Making this tool cross-server and allowing you to do any instance in your level range randomly however many times you wanted per day has had a huge influence on leveling. I would estimate my Warlock gained about 70% of his XP while leveling from instance runs and this was mostly because I had to wait so long as a DPS (~30 minutes) between runs. Had I been a healer or tank I suspect 90% would have come from them!
The XP/hour is amazing, I would be questing along for 20-30 minutes doing about 1/4 or less of my bar to next level, then the LFG window would come up and in a short 20 minute run I would be doing 1/2 of my bar to the next level. Not to mention gear drops!

I guess you have to experience it for yourself to realize what a difference the new LFD tool has made for leveling. I know I underestimated its effect by a lot before leveling my Warlock to 80.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Heroic ICC 10 Impressions

I wanted to put down on paper, err virtual in this case, my thoughts and impressions of ICC-10 man heroic boss fights. This won't be a strategy guide as the information on the normal websites (wowwiki, wowhead, tankspot) is already pretty good, but I will highlight some things I think are important, especially from my point of view as a healer.

For all(?) bosses one of the main differences compared to normal mode is an increase in health, leading of course to an increase in required raid DPS before the enrage timer which almost all bosses have. Since a larger health pool is a given, I won't mention it below per boss, but you can assume this is the case.

Lord Marrowgar - There are 2 main differences in this fight between heroic and normal mode. The first is the blue flames emitted move more slowly and cause more damage. Our normal tactic on L.M. is for all the raid except hunters to stand right on the boss hit box (behind of course), forcing him to spew those out to his only targets, the tanks (or the occasional hunter who has to stay at range). On heroic this makes it slightly more difficult for the tanks as they need to "dance" more to stay out of the fires. I don't really think this is a huge deal but it did mean more raid damage (tanks moving -> boss moving -> people suddenly find themselves outside hit box and targeted by flames...), so this is something to be expecting as a healer.
However while not a huge deal in the first phase, Bone Storm now becomes a hell of long-lasting, slow moving blue fires covering nearly the entire floor. Add to this the 2nd change which is bone spikes which continue to occur during Bone Storm and you've gone from a 10-man fight you can yawn your way through to one where you probably will be losing people. Pre-HoT before Bone Storm as much as possible and keep yourself alive - a dead healer heals no one. We managed to get Marrowgar down after a few wipes but it was certainly not easy.
I think in terms of tuning the fight for heroic mode, the devs got this one right. Now so easy that the "heroic" tag is a joke, not so hard as to make it impossible.

Lady Deathwhisper - During the first phase, the occasional MC (which does not happen in normal 10 man) can make life difficult for a 10 man team, as it takes DPS away from the adds/shield. We tried 2 tactics, in the first we stood in the platform behind L.D., relatively bunched up. The adds were then killed with AoE used to take down the shield at the same time. While this worked to get us to phase 2, bunching up meant a lot less room for mistakes, leading to wipes due to loose adds or MC'd people killing healers or other DPS before they could be CC'd.
Standing in the normal place in front of the boss, between the add spawn areas, meant more control but much less DPS on the shield so that we had trouble reaching phase 2. That's actually funny as in normal mode we can get her to phase 2 before the second add wave...
Reaching phase 2 just makes the fight harder as adds now continue to spawn, meaning the tanks now have an extra headache to deal with while the healers have to heal raid wide damage due to both boss, adds and ghosts.
I think based on our attempts that actually a solution of standing behind her in phase 1 and spreading out in phase 2 might work but we'll have to see. For now L.D 10-hc remains undefeated by us.

Gunship Battle - Heroic? What heroic? We got the I'm on a Boat achievement for the people who still didn't have it while 1-shotting this so-called Heroic battle. Oh well I guess free 264 loot ain't bad, although it would have been nice to be less bored.

Deathbringer Saurfang - I'm actually not quite sure what differences exist here from normal. The main one is the beasts spawn and cast a raid-wide slowing debuff on the raid (80% I think) which means when they get agro on people, they usually hit (unlike normal where you can usually run away). However D.S. was getting tons of Blood Power even faster than the beasts hitting people would explain, so I am probably missing something (need to read the heroic tactics myself I guess).
Regardless, this fight went from "kill D.S. on normal before a single mark" to "get a mark at 70% and wipe at 50%".
Our best attempt was after we settled on rooting one beast (say the left) while all ranged focus-killed (and slowed down) the right. Only once it was dead was the focus shifted to the right one. I suspect that a combination of better handling of the beasts (sometimes they were rooted close to melee) together with faster taunting of the boss by the 2nd tank when the 1st tank has the debuff would reduce the boss incoming blood power enough to let us win the fight.
Needless to say, the healing load when 2-man healing this fight is very intense and a paladin healer capable of keeping up 2 Mark targets using Beacon is worth his/her weight in gold in this fight.

Festergut - Interesting fight compared to normal, which alas I spent mostly face down on the floor (on the takedown attempt), proving without a doubt that the heroic version too can be 2-man healed, which of course was my intent all along ;p
Unlike the mostly static normal version, the heroic fight is made more dynamic by Putricide standing on a balcony on the right side of the room and occasionally throwing one of his yucky Malleable Goo things in the direction of a raid member. These come in (bounce in) rather quickly, so the approach we took was to stand in the left side of the room so as to give ourselves more time to react. In addition we stood in loose groups (still spread 6 yards of course) of ranged and melee, and a DPSer called out "ranged" or "melee" whenever a Goo was incoming.
As long as you can keep mobile while still paying attention to the regular fight mechanics (spores, etc.) you should be okay. We got him down in the 3rd attempt.

Rotface - I'm used to thinking of Rotface as a much more difficult fight compared to Festergut but the heroic version was surprisingly easy and we 1-shotted him. Like Festergut, Putricide "helps out" by adding an element to the fight, only in this case it was the much more manageable Vile Gas mechanic. I guess an unlucky Vile Gas + spew from Rotface + Infection would have killed someone especially with the increase to the healing reduction effect from M.I. but either we got lucky or 3 healers using 25-man gear are more than enough for this fight :)

Professor Putricide - We only tried a short wipe on heroic mode, so the only thing I know from first hand is that the new disease thing which you need to pass around killed our druid healer so fast it left our heads spinning. I have a feeling we'll be wiping on him for a while ;p

Blood Prince Council - It's hard to know what went wrong for us here. We tried slightly different tactics here on different wipes and perhaps that was a mistake, or maybe we were getting tired or impatient. Regardless, the increase in number and speed of Kinetic Orbs left us struggling to handle them while still keeping up good DPS on the bosses, while the movement-causes-dmg-and-slowing-debuff mechanic was truly a pain in the royal behind, especially if as a healer you were knocked back due to a vortex outside of healing range of the main tank. We lost the tank several times due to this. It's especially bad when you have to run from/to the empowered Fire Orb, but that tactic should still be used, regardless.
Pro tip (I only found out later alas) for all you Priests and Warlocks out there - wanding works very well from what I've read on those pesky Beach Balls. So having an arsenal mostly of DoTs and channeled spells shouldn't keep you from helping out with those orbs. Keep a macro handy maybe? Anyway using a wand as more than a stat stick, who would have thunk it? :)
Hmm come to think of it, rogues and warriors might be able to help out as well with their ranged weapons (guns/throwing-knives)? Nah, they will probably complain of the DPS loss ;)

Blood-Queen Lana'thel - Although we failed rather miserably on her council, B.K.L. herself proved to me more susceptible to our gentle persuasion and succumbed to us after about 5 attempts.
Key to the heroic fight is intense healing. With a 3 healer team our best healer, a resto druid, topped 10k HPS on the fight and I switched from Disc to Holy as I was unhappy with my healing output (I think I topped 7k on the takedown fight). Of course going from 2-man healing on normal to 3 healers on heroic means more pressure on our DPS but once they sorted out things like not biting people on time, we were all good ;p
As usual the Air Phase is where you have the most chance for people to die - If you are a priest like me, cast FW on the pull and it will be ready again for the second Air Phase. I used it on our druid (as he was our best healer) while using my Human Racial to break out of a fear in one Air Phase.

That's it for now, I hope when we take down additional heroic bosses I have more to update. In summary I think the heroic versions of the fights are well done and the fights are appropriately hard, except for the Gunship Battle.

State of the Solid

Been a while since I posted, as I've been writing short updates on Buzz which was enough for me. But I hear I may actually have a couple of readers so perhaps I should update here too ;p

Solidfaith and his guild have been advancing nicely, downing several bosses in Heroic ICC-10 since downing LK-10 opened the way. LK-25 alas remains an elusive target as the guild struggles with people not showing up due to RL problems/priorities.

Solidd - pushed into a healer role in guild alt runs and PuG raids, I've been thinking about buying Frost Emblem gear for him. Till now I've spent his Emblems on Primordial Saronites which I've sold in the AH. Buying raiding gear for an alt seemed a waste especially when I felt strapped for cash. OTOH I seem to have enough cash now for immediate needs unless I want to spend it on a 12k gold mount which would be silly :)

Solidstar - my poor neglected DK. You were such a fun character to level, but doing heroics as a tank compared to my druid Solidd seems blah, Solidd is more fun to tank with TBH. As for DPS off-spec, I never was big on melee DPS and frankly would rather play a ranged... At least I have Inscription as an excuse to log in from time to time :)

Locksolid - Speaking of ranged DPS, Locksolid finally dinged 80 last night. I even went to my first heroic instance run (how exciting ;)) and later joined a PuG 10-man to go to the weekly raid boss, Razuvious in Naxx. Not only did I get Emblems from the quest but he also dropped an iLvl 200 cloth shoulders piece which I happily snapped up - it was an upgrade! :)
I haven't gone to the trouble of crafting Locksolid items or buying him the BoA shoulder enchant (as a head I already use en engineering helmet which comes with its own "enchant") so that is next on my list. I expect I'm going to have a lot of fun doing heroics as a DPS, without worrying about tanking or healing like I usually do :)

That's pretty much it. I've sent Locksolid's BoA chest and shoulders (the chest was replaced with a quest drop) to Solidstate, I want to get him to level 75 at least before the expansion comes as well as max my tailoring and enchanting on him. I expect it will be a bit of a bummer playing a leveling mage after playing my warlock, as a mage is so much squishier :(

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Buzzing Around at Google Buzz

Where have I gone to these last few days?

Well I've been trying out Google Buzz and liking what I saw :)

Sure it's not a replacement for Blogger (yet!) but it is very easy/fast to use and really that's what I always wanted, a place to make short small posts about my WoW experiences. I don't really have the time (or inclination) for long/in-depth articles.

For my style of blogging, once Google add tagging and proper editing controls to the Buzz text input box (not that the Blogger one is very good, but that's another issue...) it will become a full replacement for this site. Till then, I'll probably be posting very little here as I keep updating Buzz with my daily/weekly WoW highlights.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Blood Queen Lana'thel 10-man Down

Last night I went for a scheduled 10-man raid. Actually we were supposed to have 2 teams running but we were short on both an off-spec tank and a healer, so in the end the officers decided to put one strong 10-man team up and have the other deferred to another evening when hopefully there would be all the mains needed.

Obviously not something all the people who got left out were happy about, but thanks to having 2 main-tanks and 3 main-healers my group managed to get all the way to Sindragosa, including clearing Blood Queen as I said (that we cleared Putricide is a given of course :)).

The evening started off as usual, first wing was never hard for us in 10-man and after the recent nerfs it is practically a joke. Second wing however was another story...
On entering the second wing we encountered the quest giver for the new weekly ICC raid quests who tasked us with getting infected from both Rotface and Festergut. As this requires not wiping on the second boss after downing the first, we decided to down Rotface first under the assumption that we were more likely to wipe on Rotface. As it turns out, we were right. We wiped on Rotface. Twice!

I have no idea why that happened to be honest. Sometimes even gear won't make up for lack of attention/focus. Also our third healer was trying to remove the debuff all alone with the result that he nearly didn't heal at all. 2-man healing this fight is no joke especially as both other healers were priests (a druid+priest combo would probably have had more luck). Regardless, we switched to having the paladin tank decurse with me helping and this time we managed fine, although a couple of people did die so didn't get the debuff.

Festergut was thankfully 1-shotted and as we had read previously, it was enough for one person in the raid to return the quest for all to get it completed. One lucky sob even got a 264 BoE ring in his bag, not me alas :)

In spite of this weak start (2 wipes on Rotface...) we managed to 1-shot Putrcide 10 and 2-shot Blood Council. Coming up to Blood Queen we were not so sure we would manage as the fight is intensive for both DPS and healers and privately I had some reservations about our healing setup, yes we were 3 main healers but none of us was usually in the top 2 of healing meters and I was sure the lack of HoTs from a druid would be felt. Indeed, we wiped 2 times and both were due to people dying, usually in the spiky damage period right after the fear from the air-phase. However on the 3rd try people were more careful after the air phase, healers were more ready or perhaps we simply got lucky, since in spite of losing one DPS mid-fight, we managed to get the Blood Queen down.

My tip as a holy priest is to use Fear Ward on yourself just before the boss takes to the air in order to continue to heal people up in preparation for the shadow bolts nukes. On the second air phase I used my Human racial to break free of the fear, so again I could top people up. Otherwise at least in 10man it is a fairly easy fight to heal, mostly using AoE heals together with PoM and liberal use of Renew. The fight is very mana intensive, prepare to use all 3 of pot, pet and Hymn.

Anyway after the Blood Queen we went for Valithria Dreamwalker, for me this was a first time in the fight but the other healers had already beaten this encounter in 25man so after a wipe due to me getting healer agro and dying we managed to beat the adds and heal her up to full. Interesting fight as we had 2 healers go into the portals all the time, one a paladin and the other an off-spec elemental shaman using a healing spec but DPS gear. In spite of the DPS gear he managed an incredibly impressive 13k HPS since he had almost full stacks from the portals all the time.

I liked the round room fight just before Sindragosa, with the waves of spiders coming down from the walls around you. There was some joking on Vent about being afraid of spiders :) But it was mostly a time for the DPS to enjoy some pretty wild AoE.

I guess due to the late hour and feeling hyped about getting to Syndragosa with 18 attempts left, we entered her room and cleared the trash, followed by killing the 2 big dragons flying around. Turns out, killing them started the fight so we lost an attempt. Then a DI'd paladin rezzed me and I stayed on the floor too long and pulled her again, costing another attempt... :(

So we called it a night but overall it was a very successful night and I think really good practice for all involved as none of us (I think) had been at Blood Queen with the previous 10man group which downed her last week. I think we are now better ready for the 25man version :)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Putricide-10 Down

Last night ICC was accessible, which means of course we didn't have enough people in the guild for a 25man raid. Murphy's Law and all that...

So instead we got together a 10man raid. As I've written before we only have main tanks in the guild which means for this 2nd group, one tank was an off-spec (warrior). In addition we were missing a healer so a DPS paladin went on his off-spec.

In-spite of this and and late start we managed to quickly take down both Festergut and Rotface (Rotface was 1-shotted to my delight).
At this point someone suggested going to Blood Council instead but the raid leader and most others thought it would be better to try Putricide since that way we would not have to re-clear trash unless we took too long.
As it turns out, it only took one try :)
Actually that amazed me, we should have failed. The off-tank was assigned to the Abomination yet had never used him before, so we gave him 5min to watch a video about it. Yes despite being fresh to the job he managed to (mostly) slow down the adds correctly and drink up the pools.
At phase 1->2 transition we had an add up since the DPS continued too long on the boss (didn't stop at 82%). We survived.
Someone died mid-fight. Our druid rezzed him.
The fight was crazy but controlled, everyone did their part and of course having DPS that is already amazing for 25man raids meant that in a 10man raid small mistakes didn't matter thanks to the insane DPS.
Still it was the first Putricide-10 kill for all of us in the raid and there was much cheering on Vent when he died :)

Feeling good we continued to Blood Council, where the same off-tank had a lot of difficulties in a previous raid either staying alive (not enough dark blobs on him) or keeping agro on the boss (too much attention to dark blobs, not enough to boss). This time, for some reason, he was perfect. We wiped once due to all 3 healers being too far from the MT tanking the other 2 bosses but one the 2nd try we got the council down as well.

I believe we would have taken down the Blood Queen as well but a raid member had to leave early so we called it. Maybe today :)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Small Steps

I haven't reported on progress for a while, for the simple reason there really hasn't been any. At least, not significant (in my eyes).

Sure, the guild cleared ICC-25 of all but Putricide and Blood Queen but really, those are the two bosses that I would like to report as taken down since taking them down means we can advance, but so far no luck. We have not even tried Blood Queen 25 yet and Putricide best attempt was 6% which is not bad, but not good enough ofc.

Earlier this week in 10-man a group consisting of 2 of our 3 main tanks and 3 of our best healers cleared all of ICC-10 including Blood Queen, so at least in 10-man the guild advanced as a whole. However since I was not in that kill and since a group consisting of a main tank and an off-specced or alt tank is hardly likely to be as successful, my personal advancement remains stalled.

Hence the small steps title - yes I have advanced in downing intermediate bosses in 25man ICC, but not the end-bosses. I've gotten new gear for Solidfaith and am actually pleased with his advancement in that respect. I keep doing the daily random heroic each day even on raiding days in order to get as many Frost Emblems as possible.
I've also gotten more emblems for both Solidd and Solidstar, but due to heavy raiding and focus on Solidfaith, there were many days where I did not do a daily random heroic with them.

Finally one nice thing I did was level Locksolid slightly yesterday. What happened was I was trying to help a friend with a 10man raid in ToGC-10 but for several reasons it fell apart. I was not in the mood for more heroics on Solidstar and had already done on Solidfaith and Solidd. Well as it turns out I had spoken the day before with a friend who was leveling a Shaman and he leveled 6 levels in one day just from grinding random instances (he started level 22 and got all the way to 28). This story made me very interested to see if I could level that quickly also. Since Locksolid was left at level 67 still doing quests in TBC areas and at 68 could start in Northrend quests, I decided to give it a try.

I logged Locksolid and signed up on the LFD tool. While I waited I continued with some more questing and pretty soon (I think it was around 15min, not sure) I was prompted with the party ready-check interface. Once inside, our group, composed of a paladin tank, priest healer and 2 other DPS promptly proceeded to totally smash the place.

This was Sethekk Halls. None of us was over-leveled for the instance (67 was highest level). None I assume were over-geared, since who tries to maximize leveling gear? Sure, BoA items are better than average usually, but even though the healer did a pretty lousy job, mobs were being taken down so fast my DoTs were pretty useless and I was pretty much forced into a hasty single instant-DoT and Rain-of-Fire. Pulling was non-stop and we were always at 50% health, it never mattered. So, either I'm remembering heroic Sethekk Halls and normal was always this easy (which I doubt) or Blizzard nerfed the hell out of lower instances. We did wipe once due to pulling too many mobs and getting 2 people MC'd, but that was the single time. Considering some of the crazy pulls we did, I am amazed we didn't wipe more times.

After finishing the instance in record time, the tank signed us up for another. The priest left but a druid healer (who was much better BTW) replaced him in under 10 seconds. We got Auchenai Crypts which used to be a hard instance but again, we nuked the place. I was actually using Hellfire on some trash pulls since the Druid was barely having to heal so I figured he would not have any problems. Helped my DPS by a lot, although the paladin tank still came up on top of damage done :)

I dinged 68 in the middle of the AC run, so that's 1/2 a level in about 1 full run, including rest-XP. I don't think I would have had the patience to do 12 runs (or more) in order to gain 6 levels but I see how it can be done, which makes instance-leveling one of the best (fastest) ways to level, assuming you get a good group.

I've already parked Locksolid in the Borean Tundra starting zone after doing a couple of initial quests there before logging out for the night. I hope raiding leaves me with some more time to play him as once again I find playing a warlock is immense fun :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Do all WoW players prefer ez-mode?

Not if you judge by my recent random heroics - AN on Solidfaith and Zul'Drak on Solidstar.

By the way the trigger for this post is an excellent post by PvD about what the Death Penalty really means. Go read it :)
However at the end PvD talks about how in WoW 5-man PuGs frequently kick a person who is under-performing or under-geared. Or easily leave group (especially if they are the tank) if they think they will save more time.

While this may be true in general, not all PuGs are like this. See Honor's Code PuG's Tale for a nice example of a good PuG.

Here are also 2 of my recent stories.

Solidfaith had a bumpy heroic AN start the other day, with a paladin tank who after the first 2 trash groups left the group without even a word. I can only assume he was upset at the DPS for pulling agro. Instead of everyone leaving group or myself leaving the group (which would have activated the 15 minuted debuff), we all stayed and chatted till and after less than 5 minutes (probably closer to 2 but I'm being cautious here) a new tank joined and we cleared the instance easily and without a wipe. Yes, the DPS were far from perfect, especially a noobish warrior. But there are many ways to deal with such issues and the most useless one is quitting the group without a word. Still the point is, the 3 DPS and myself didn't go into a fit when the tank left but waited the few minutes required to find another.

Solidstar had a much bumpier ride. Being an under-geared tank, it is hard for me sometimes to hold agro. Or for healers to keep me up. Well yesterday or was it the day before (only my RSS feed knows :p) I got into a heroic Zul'Drak random. Paladin healer, 3 DPSers. A few pulls later and it is obvious I'm going to have to work hard at keeping agro. But I like the challenge and the run goes relatively okay up until King Dred. At this point the rogue I think suggests we try the achievement. We try but I take too much damage from all the raptors hitting on me at the same time and die so we wipe. The healer rage-quits. Now at this point the DPS could have rage-quit as well, but they stay on and we get another healer. We go for the boss as you normally would, but the healer and a DPS die. I manage to stay alive long enough to the DPS to kill the boss, but as there is on one able to rez the healer and dead DPS, we are forced to wait. Again at this point any of the others - healer and DPS - could have rage-quit over the near wipe and long wait, but they don't. We continue on the groups in the next corridor, up the stairs and to the last few mobs before the last boss who are the annoying fearing DKs. Well at this point the DPS make an error and run in front of me and pull agro from the first 2 DK's + the patrolling single one. I might have been able to save even this from a wipe, but one of them gets feared into the back group of 2 DKs and pulls them as well. Wipe, and a DPS leaves. Now, I don't exactly blame him for leaving - it was annoying to wipe. But it was also stupid to leave at this point, with only 3 mobs between us and the final boss (we did manage to kill 2 adds). We quickly found another DPS, the dead people ran (well except for the rogue who didn't release and I could see the healer wasn't going to rez him but in the end one of the other DPS rezzed him) and we finished the instance. So sure, it wasn't pretty and it wasn't quick but the point is those players who stuck it out till the end prove not all WoW players look for the OP group to boost them through the instance.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Blood Council (25man) Impressions

Last night after clearing the first wing in ICC-25 our officers decided it would be better to give the new wing a try instead of doing Fester/Rot/Putri.

So off we went.

The trash before the blood council hits hard and the first pull nearly wiped the raid. We cleared the other packs more carefully (CC-ing one mob) but in general our DPS is high enough so that trash thankfully is not a problem.

Once we were standing before the council it was obvious most of us didn't really know the tactic. Personally I read the fight details but had not had time to watch a video so was not sure what to expect. Also read is perhaps a bit of a stretch, more like skimmed :)

Well anyway after going over a short tactics review we put a warlock as the shadow boss tank, and 2 of our tanks on the other two bosses. Initially we wiped very quickly as people learned what to watch out for but as the attempts progressed we learned and managed on our best attempt to get the council down to 40% which is pretty good for a first night. I'm confident we'll take them down the next time we face-off.

As a healer, specifically one tasked with tank-healing, I found the best tactic was to stand as far from the main "action" as possible, that way I could avoid most of the incoming damage simply by being far from it all the time. If you're going to be raid-healing or are melee or otherwise standing in the middle, there's no help for it but to be aware of the various explosions and stuff around you and run in/out as required. Practice makes perfect and all that...

What wiped us initially was raid people not knowing when to run out and when to keep away from boss. That was quickly fixed.

Later, we wiped at least twice due to other tanks or melee getting agro on the floating shadow balls, causing the shadow tank to die (due to missing dmg-reduction buff). Another time he ran straight into the physical-boss explosion - again in this fight everyone has to be aware of positioning and spell effects. Once we got the shadow agro sorted that was okay.

We wiped once due to a bug where the flame ball being bounced by one of our 2 hunters was bounced too high and pulled the final boss from above. That's a bit annoying if it's a bug since it's the sort of thing which I feel should quickly have been caught and seen in the PTR. The other option is that this is intended, for the purpose of preventing the ball to be bounced so high it doesn't pose a real problem, in which case the mechanic is sort of amusing. There we were happily fighting the council when suddenly an extra boss makes an appearance. Panic in the ranks is a good description of what happened next :D

On our good wipes, the ones where we progressed beyond wiping quickly due to a mistake, we wiped every time due to the empowered flame ball not being kited, exploding and killing many people. Now I'm not 100% sure what can be done about that since that sucker moves *fast*. We'll see.

All in all I would say this is a very fun fight, continuing the trend of complex fights such as Rotface where everyone in the raid really has to watch what is going on and not just blindly DPS or heal. I find such fights more fun than fights like Festergut which are a pure DPS race or simple fights like Lady Deathwhisper where you only need to move from the D&D she casts.

Of course part of the fun is being in a good raiding guild where everyone learns the fight quickly, if we continued to wipe all evening due to people making stupid mistakes I doubt I would have been as pleased at the end of the evening.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Holy Priest Healing in Festergut 25

Last night, which was Sunday, the guild continued our ICC-25 raid from last week.

Last Wednesday we had 3 groups doing 10-man ICC with some slots filled by off-specs and this actually went well (all 3 groups made it up to Putricide).

Thursday we cleared the first wing in IC-25 but couldn't continue due to massive server lag. So today we continued.

Festergut was as usual 2-shot, no idea why we always wipe once on him, it's like a guild thing. We even do it on 10-man... lol :)

But in spite of it being a fairly easy fight, I do want to point out what is in my opinion at least a better way for a Holy priest to heal the fight. What brought this on was seeing another holy priest in the guild who is geared about the same as I am do significantly less healing than me (3.5k vs 5k HPS) on the wipe attempt. So while getting ready for the next attempt I gave her a whisper and told her to heal the same way as me, namely focus on only 3 spells: PoM on every CD, CoH on every CD and spam PoH.
The result was both of us doing on the takedown attempt around 5k HPS.

Due to the constant spamming of PoH mana can become an issue in this fight, at least it is for me near the end of the fight. Manage your pet wisely and don't be afraid to use your Hymn and a pot at the right moment.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rotface-25 Down, All is Well

Been a while since I've posted, really mostly been too busy. But WoW business has been as usual, since the new wing opened we've cleared both Festergut and Rotface in 10-man and 25-man. Rotface-25 only last night since the guild missed a couple of raiding days due to missing people (including myself one day).

Speaking of last night, on 10-man we have already had 2 groups try out Putricide, one group managed to get him to 46% best attempt and group 2 (which I was in) to 60%. However soon after we finished Rotface-25, cleared the remaining trash and managed a single attempt on Putricide-25, ICC lagged-out. To be more exact, from angry users posting on the Blizzard forums, it seems that ICC was server-lagging massively on all the realms belonging to the same battlegroup of which Thunderhorn is part. That was very disappointing to us as we got stuck we massive server lag spikes, unable to complete spells, release from death or other weirdness. After about 20-30 minutes of waiting for the problem to be fixed we gave up (it was getting late) and called it a night.

Apart from raiding on Solidfaith I have gone down to a single heroic per day on Solidd since I now only need frost emblems on him, he is fully Triumph-geared on both tanking and healing specs. Instead I have been slowly doing more heroics on Solidstar, starting to gear him up. However due to lack of time (more raiding, less vacation from work) this is taking much longer compared to Solidd.
I think I'm doing reasonably well as a Frost DK-Tank but I'm not sure. For example I'm using a 2H weapon and the other day I was advised by another DK that "Frost is more for duel-wield tanking, if you want to 2H tank you should try Blood". My problem with that advice is that I don't see it is particularly true (I haven't taken talents specifically for duel-wielding) and I would lose out on some good AoE talents, something which I am not too keen about. In addition I only yesterday read an article on talking about this very issue and they didn't mention Frost as being only for duel-wielding, so I suspect that DK was wrong.

I need to post my impressions as a healer in Rotface-25 which is a crazy fight, will update another time...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

PuGs Since Patch 3.3

There seems to be more than the usual amount of negative posts on various blogs lately about pugging since patch 3.3 was released.

The latest I read was this rant by BBB, who is usually much more calm in his posts. But I've read other negative posts from other bloggers about the quality of PuGs since 3.3.

This has me a bit puzzled since I must admit I haven't run into nearly as many bad PuGs as BBB or other bloggers I've read and I PuG a lot on Solidd. Granted, I'm usually the tank and being the tank means I can still save the PuG even when things go bad, but still, I would have expected more bad PuGs based on the amount of negative blog posts and I just haven't.

I hardly ever run into people who are outright rude or refuse to listen when told they are doing something wrong. One memorable time was on an Old Kingdom heroic, we had downed all the bosses except the big mushroom dude at the end, so we were running around mob packs we left behind, going up the stairs and jumping down behind a mob pack around a fire so as not to pull them or the patrol of a humanoid+2 elementals. However a warlock in the party didn't dismiss his pet and of course his pet pathed down the stairs and pulled agro from both the static mobs and the patrol which was just passing. To add to this the patrolling mob from below (the mushroom area) was also pulled by range agro as we were too close to the end of its route and so we had a seriously merry fight on our hands. I popped CDs, mass-taunt and started swiping like crazy to get agro. Luckily our DPS were good and we survived. After the fight was over, I wrote in party something like "hey mate, that's why you always dismiss your pet before jumping! hope you learned your lesson :)", all friendly like. The warlock replies "it doesn't matter". Doesn't matter? The idiot nearly wiped us on trash! Out of the blue comes a group kick vote, I hit "hell, yeah" and the warlock missed out on an easy last emblem. Maybe a Triumph Emblem didn't matter to him but it felt good that the entire group knew he was being a jerk.

What else? Well obviously I also run into many DPS who on the one end of the spectrum are very low and on the other end are very high and pull agro. To tell you the truth? Doesn't really bother me. Heroics are so easy these days, I don't mind if people are doing low DPS as long as the run goes smoothly and is wipe free. They almost always are. If someone is obviously AFK or leeching, I will vote to kick them. But I haven't met many of such people and never more than one in a group.
On the other end are people with very high DPS who in spite of my fairly good (for heroics) threat manage to pull agro. These are usually Warlocks and Fury Warriors, but not always. For me TBH this usually adds a little extra interest in an otherwise too-smooth run, as I play ping-pong-taunt with the mob being pulled. Or sometimes I'll let it go, knowing the DPS is high enough to take it down before being killed themselves. An extreme case of this was one run where I was grouped with two people with over 4.5k DPS. I usually lost agro on all but the mob I was directly on. It never mattered, as mobs died so quickly the healer had little damage to heal. But "worst case" and the DPS died? That's fine with me too, their repair bill and so forth. Again as long as it didn't cause a wipe, why get excited about it? The only thing I don't like is DPS pulling mobs instead of me as tank, since that can easily cause a wipe. Usually a quick "next time you pull you tank it" warning will do, if not a kick vote usually does the job.

I've run into very few people with "attitude" problems. One time in Old Kingdom I started out as tank and right away I saw I had a DK with the "thorns in ass" problem, he was nuking sometimes before I got a single hit in after a pull and since he had high DPS many times he pulled agro. Still because his DPS was high and the mobs were going down, I held my peace. However the healer we had was not too good (not well geared and played badly too) and I kept having to hold back to give her time to drink up. One trash about mid-run the DK got impatient and I saw him pull a big patrolling mob. I held back thinking he would die quickly but then I noticed he had 47k health. Obviously he decided I was too slow and that as tank he could speed things up. Well I had no problem with that, I switched to healing spec once the fight was over and we creamed the next boss, although of course now DPS was lower since the priest stayed as healer - maybe no shadow spec, I never asked and she never spoke up. However we had the same problem as I described before, in trying to save time the DK tried to bypass some mobs by going around them and jumping down from the top of the stairs, however a warlock or hunter (I forget which) forgot the dismiss his pet and pulled the nearby static group. And a patrol. While the DK was running out front and without looking back to make sure all passed safely was already pulling the second patrol... needless to say, we wiped - the sheer damage output of those mobs coupled with interrupts (I was hit with Curse of Tongues 3 times) was too much. So much for being in a hurry and trying to save time... but what annoyed me really was the DK blaming the healers for the wipe! He was like "2 healer and you couldn't keep me up that's pathetic". Yeah, big surprise, either he was new to the instance or had never healed and had no idea what kind of burst those mobs were capable of. Basically, he was an idiot with an attitude and caused one of the least pleasant PuGs I have been in.

I've PuGed with many people who didn't know basic tactics for various trash or boss fights. Sometimes they said in advance and I explained the fight, sometimes they didn't and therefore died or caused a wipe. You might not be surprised to hear that on the first boss of the Old Kingdom group from the above story, we wiped because the priest healer (who as I said didn't heal well in any case) didn't know to stand on top of me (so I could swipe as soon as the adds were not immune) and the DPS didn't kill the big add quickly enough. so the healer quickly died and we wiped. After the wipe I explained to the priest the tactic, I wasn't mad at her for causing the wipe or voted to kick her, sometimes people will get kicked for admitting not knowing tactics so I would not kick someone even for causing a wipe unless it was done on purpose or with disregard to the group.

I think the one thing that bothered me about BBB's rant was his insistence on teaching others how to play correctly. Yes, I understand DPS doing badly is annoying, but no one likes to be told how to play their class and telling them "stand behind the boss" probably did more harm then good. Maybe not. I've been in PuGs with 2 bad DPS (below my damage), never 3. If I had I might have left, it seems BBB and other bloggers ran into such groups more often.

Maybe it is that U.S. players are less mature than European players? Or maybe I've been partly more lucky and partly more picky, as many times my PuGs tend to be me and a friend or two, lowering the number of totally random (and failing people).

I'll finish with a story about Halls of Reflection. This is my least favorite heroic to PuG since it is so easy to wipe there. Well I don't chose to go there on purpose but sometimes it will come up randomly. One time, I had a group made up of a druid healer, and 3 DPS including a warlock. My preferred tactic for HoR is to have the 3 DPS focus kill ranged adds, if they have CC use it otherwise just focus kill as quickly as possible, while I keep melee busy. Since the ranged don't hit hard the healer should be okay in keeping the DPS up. In this particular group I was counting on a DK to pull ranged mobs to him and "tank" them while the other 2 helped him. First pull went fairly okay although already I saw the DPS going after separate mobs. However next pulls became harder as the DPS were spreading their efforts, causing the healer to have to heal the entire group like crazy not to mention spike damage on me due to stuns which make my 40% dodge chance useless (one of the nastier aspects of tanking HoR). On the wave where we wiped I actually saw the DK DPS-ing the melee adds for some reason... anyway after the wipe I'm flying back, thinking how I can explain to the DPS that they must follow my tactic and what I can do to improve our chances, when the warlock pipes up and asks how to enter the instance he can't find the entrance.
Note, this was not a day or two after 3.3 release. It was more like 2 weeks and this guy still didn't know where the entrance was?
Well, it took me, literally, 3 minutes of patient typing to explain to this guy how to find the entrance. While I was doing this the DK decided to leave, maybe he thought we didn't stand a chance with the group as it was. Maybe he got bored. A few seconds later, the druid healer left.
After all my hard work, the warlock left the group without even a "ty" as soon as a entered the instance. Wish I could remember his name so I could put him on ignore list, the ungrateful twat... At this point the one remaining DPS was wondering in party chat if we would manage to find replacements. I didn't want to get the deserted buff so I stayed and lo and behold a few seconds later we did manage to get a healer (priest in this case) and 2 DPS to finish the run. It wasn't easy, the priest actually helped with CC apart from healing but we got it done without wiping. I was as proud of that PuG as I was disgusted with the previous one.

All in all, I am still very approving of the new LFD system and the PuGs I have found through it. I still prefer as many guild/friends in it (who wouldn't) but even most complete PuGs have been fine. Solidd basically doesn't have any more Triumph gear to buy for his tanking gear and is close to finishing buying Triumph Resto-gear, so PuGs have certainly been good for me gear-wise. If your experience has been otherwise, I hope you have a happy new-year and a better 2010 :)

P.S.- the one kind of PuG I do completely detest and avoid is a raid PuG. Almost without fail at least for me these have been complete fail-fests full of idiots and jerks of the worst kind. Maybe when x-realm raid PuGs are possible I will try them out.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Honor's Code has a good point

There's a good post over at Honor's Code about the new LFD system and wait times. In a nutshell, wait times are short now because many raiding tanks are doing one daily heroic for the Frost Emblems and once the need for those drops, so will the number of tanks.

It's a good point but I'm not quite so pessimistic. Certainly I don't think we'll be back to the wait times of pre-3.3 for the simple reason that you are now queued up with people from all realms on your battlegroup so at least on average you should be able to find tanks/groups faster.

However apart from the above point I don't think Honor's Code is taking into account just what a change the new system has made with regards to gear and instance difficulty. Since Triumph emblems give 232 gear, which is way above what is required for 5-man heroics (apart from HoR), alts, off-specs and casuals will all gear up quickly. This will be aided by the new system allowing you to run an unlimited number of heroics each day.
I think that for a long time to come, long after most raiders stop doing a single daily random heroic on their main, groups will still be able to find tanks and healers quickly. And unlike before patch 3.3 these won't be under-geared but will probably be actually quite well geared compared to level of gear required for doing heroics.

Of course that doesn't help with people who are well geared but have no idea how to play or do the instance, but that's another story...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Updates to Healing ICC

First of all there is a nice post up at Dreambound about healing ICC-10 as a Resto Druid. Actually it was posted Dec. 9 so I'm a bit behind the times but better late than never :)

The guide is a bit too focused on general fight mechanics for my taste but is otherwise very good. I disagreed with some points, e.g. the need to run away from Marrowgar's whirlwind - there is no need, it can be easily out-healed. A much more serious problem is the blue fires now shooting out in seemingly random directions as he moves across the room. However as Dreambound correctly points out, healing while moving is much less of a problem for Druids :)

Secondly I wanted to share a couple of observations from last night's 10-man ICC run with my guild. This was the 3rd group going so we used 2 off-spec tanks and 1 alt healer, still cleared it with very few wipes. I definitely noticed Marrowgar seems much easier in 10 man at least, so it is not as much of a challenge as it used to be.
For Lady. D., nothing much to add to what I wrote, except I noticed DnD really does do quite a bit of damage even if you move out quickly, so if you get that mid-cast, stop and run. Also I died since I didn't notice a ghost coming for me. Gah :)
Gunship Battle we actually managed to wipe once. Seems the gun operators were new to it and were not correctly DPS-ing the axe throwers, so they pretty much nuked us. Make sure your gun operators know what to do and how to do it and nuke the axe throwers or you may find healing a tad more hard than I made it out to be... :)
Deathbringer - we wiped twice with me as Holy, I didn't switch to Disc since I figured, hey, we're 25-man geared so taking him down in 10man should be easy right? Well after 2 wipes I switched to Disc and before I knew it he was down to 28% life before caster the first Mark!!! So anyway I've given up on having a Shadow spec as I'm tired of paying for Holy<->Disc switches only for Deathbringer. I'm now MS-Holy and OS-Disc, so will be able to easily switch to Disc just for Deathbringer.

Oh and is it just my guild's luck or is there a serious lack of healing cloth items dropping from ICC, either 25 or 10 man?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Healing ICC 25 as a Priest

This is a post about healing the first wing of ICC, hopefully I'll remember to do followups for additional wings as they open up. I'm not going over boss tactics, except as they relate specifically to healer, as there are enough good sources of information for general tactics.

The first boss is rather healing intensive but don't expect to top healing meters here. Paladins and Shamans assigned to healing the tanks will/should get consistently high HPS output due to the massive amounts of damage the tanks take. You can help by shielding the tanks pre-pull and after every whirlwind as well as using Renew and PoM. However most of your healing should go to the raid, especially on spiked people. PoM/Shield a spiked char if he was low on health to begin with and follow up with three fast FH followed by a (now slightly faster thanks to Serendipity) GH if anyone needs it. If not you can probably use that fast GH on a tank, steal some of that HPS from the tank healers ;p
During the whirlwind stage, even a Renew should be enough on anyone in range, plus of course shields and PoM (well as a holy I don't use shields much but if PoM is on CD and the target already has Renew a shield while moving can help). This stage is all about moving out of the blue fires while basically ignoring the whirlwind - renew/PoM yourself from time to time and you should be fine. However due to the now random directions of the blue fires you will find yourself moving a lot, so anything beyond the occasional FH will be hard to pull off and AoE heals will be of limited use due to people being spread out.
The most important thing to do at the whirlwind stage is actually at the end, just get away from wherever the boss is - he resets agro, has a freaking huge hit box and his cleave will of course 1-shot you. On the other hand don't run so far away from the tanks that you won't be able to help keep them alive at the transition. So basically, never stand in front of the boss (where the tanks are) but not too far from tanks.
Site-stepping blue fires during the tank-n-spank phase is easy, I usually go right-left, e.g. first line of fire I move to the right, next one I move left, back to my original position (if possible). Sometimes it will be right-right-left-left as the first line sometimes does not completely pass before the next one comes. A short duration (less than 1 second) of being in a fire is okay but don't attempt to stand and cast in one. This fight is all about instant casts and short duration heals, except for the occasional GH on a tank with low health.

Lady W., the second boss, has 2 phases. An annoying one and a less annoying one :)
Well in terms of healing the first phase nothing special comes to mind, except make sure to move out of the Death and Decay the boss does and use Fade if an add is slow to be picked up and you get agro (shouldn't really happen though). Mages should be able to sheep MC'd chars but if you are close enough a quick fear probably wouldn't be a bad idea. Just make sure to keep up tanks as some of the adds hit for stupid amounts of damage. I call this stage annoying because there are times with practically no healing required and times with some serious spikes. Tends to throw me off.
Phase 2 is slightly less annoying as the entire raid is much more bunched up and furthermore taking occasional damage from frost-bolt barrage, keep up Serendipityx3 and nuke-heal this with a quick PoH + CoH combo. Keeping up PoM is of course a must. Watch out all the time for ghosts, a quick shield might save some DPS who is too focused and not moving from the ghost, as for yourself always move since even a shield won't be enough probably to save you. Overall a much more relaxing fight than the first boss, much less moving about and less healing intensive.

Gunship battle - I'm guessing Blizzard put this in as a sort of "here's a relaxing reward, prior to the hell that 4th boss is". Seriously fun fight and very little healing required. If you're on the boarding crew, basically only the tank needs to be healed and everyone else should take only incidental damage. If you're on the side staying in place, sometimes a melee might stand too close and too long next to a whirlwinding add, or the tank might get some spiky damage from several adds on him, but really I spent part of the fight jumping around on my rockets doing a little damage to the boarding adds. There is a very nice caster ring that drops here by the way, so save your DKP :)

This brings me to Deathbringer, by far the most healing intensive fight in ICC's first wing. As the only priest in the raid, I respecced to Disc for this fight. If you have multiple priests, only one needs to respec to Disc although perhaps more can be better. So anyway this is from a Disc point of view.
Your first and main task is to keep the tanks bubbled at all times. This means of course PW:S and as many Aegis procs as possible. In addition you should be bubbling and emergency healing Marked targets and people with Boiling Blood. Note that main healing of Marked targets is a paladin task as they can keep up 2 such targets with beacon, you can just help out especially past the 30% frenzy mark. Pop pain suppression once on the first tank after a few seconds from fight start, it will be ready by the time you hit 30% however you will not at this time be able to use it on the current tank due to having two tanks very close in agro and the 5% agro reduction Pain Suppression causes. Instead use it on a Marked clothy to ease the healing on it.
The main problem as a healer with this fight is mana, as you basically want as many Aegis procs as possible on the tank, you'll want to keep casting throughout the fight. Use your Hymn and pet wisely and be ready with a mana pot. Do NOT let yourself run OOM near the end since it is at the very end that the fight becomes most intensive, with new people being marked much more frequently and therefore the chance of a Marked person dying, as well as the tanks taking very large damage spikes. If you must, stop healing before the 30% mark (or at least ease up) to let your mana regen a little prior to the most critical part of the fight.

That's pretty much it. So far my guild (which previously cleared ToC-hc-25 up to and including Twins) has cleared ICC with relative ease, except for a few wipes on Deathbringer and even there I suspect it is more a matter of perfecting player positioning and fight tactics that it was an issue of gear. So if you have full or even mostly 245 gear you should have no problem healing in ICC.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

3.3 First Week Impressions

Well it has been a week since 3.3 came out and I continue to be pleased with it, especially the new LFG tool.

I've been doing a lot of random heroics, mainly on Solidd but also one per day with Solidfaith (for the Frost Emblems). Although the teams I have been grouped with have varied in ability and success, the new system is an enormous improvement over the previous system in all cases, regardless of which people you are pugged with.
First of all actually getting a group together is much faster, even if you go as a DPS but especially as a healer or tank. In fact I already have the Perky PuG pet on Solidd and I have so far since 3.3 never waited more than a minute for a PuG (granted, I'm playing as a tank).
Secondly getting to the instance is now instant and add to this the fact that if you need to repair, you just teleport out using the LFG minimap button, repair and teleport back in. Actually this has one disadvantage, as one random PuG member said in party chat: "pretty soon no one will remember how the entrance to an instance looks like". Maybe not the best outcome for the designers who worked on the instance entrances.
In addition to the finding a group and getting to/from the instance, the new system is superior with regards to the actual experience of running an instance. With unlimited heroics each, I don't mind wiping and splitting up after being saved to the instance, joining a group on the last boss, etc. I also like that anyone can mark mobs and that kicking a person is not just up to the party leader. The new disenchant option is fantastic and a great time saver while limiting classes to need rolls only on gear for them (e.g. plate wearers can only need on plate gear) helps in preventing ninjas. Apropos ninjas, almost no one rolls need on the heroic orbs which is a nice surprise.

Solidd now has 4 pieces of 232 tanking gear and I hope will be well enough geared to join guild alt runs to ToC, assuming we manage to get enough interested people. But it is pretty certain nothing like this idea would have been suggested, or possible, before patch 3.3.

As for raiding, Ice Crown Citadel is a very nice instance and I'm happy to be raiding there, the Gunship battle is especially fun, while as a healer I find (surprisingly perhaps) the first and last bosses the most healing intensive. More on that in a separate post...

Friday, December 11, 2009

A very nice 3.3 first night

Well nothing went wrong tonight thankfully, and I managed to login without a problem and join the raid. Well, addons will take a bit more configuring to go back to normal state but otherwise the game was fine, not even much server lag (only once or twice the whole evening and not very bad then).

Lady Deathwhisper went down on the first attempt, of course the guild had already wiped on her several times yesterday so people were already well practiced. Gunship Battle is an amazingly fun fight and in normal mode not very hard at all, certainly easier than the other bosses IMHO. healing on the other ship (I stayed on the alliance side) was a bit hectic from what I heard on Vent, but no one died except at the end 2 melee who forgot the jump over before the Horde ship veered off and they died. Of course we waited for them to rez before we looted the chest :)

Finally there was Deathbringer Saurfang and he's a real tough one. Our best attempt was around 10% which is not bad for a difficult new fight, problem is 10% doesn't really mean "you're close to beating him", since by that time around 5 people had the Mark of the Fallen Champion debuff and it became impossible to heal. Of course every time one of them died, he healed up and we finished most attempts with him back at 40% or higher. The fight is pretty much a mix between a DPS race and a healing race, in addition to some add control which is pretty difficult. So it seems we still haven't found the exact balance we need to bring him down, hopefully it will be on Sunday.

After the raid I did a random heroic for the badges with some guild mates, and later the first of the 3 new 5-man instances with a PuG. It was very fast to find a PuG, the LFG tool worked great for me and the run was pretty smooth,

Overall a great night, I love the look of the new instances and the new LFG tool worked well for me. I haven't had time to login my other chars but I'm looking forward to trying them out too :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No patch for me, but guild did nicely last night

Alas, I had problems with the new patch and couldn't login (only finally got it sorted this morning), but at least my guild raided and they downed the 1st boss in ICC (25man) and got the 2nd boss down to 3% or so, so I'm sure we (assuming I have no further problems and can get a raid spot) will get it down tonight.

Pre-patch 3.3 the guild also progressed very nicely, clearing Faction Champions on 25-heroic on one night and Twins 25-heroic on the next, so only Anub left. I'm sure once we clear normal ICC in 25 man we will go back to ToC-25 heroic since we still get good gear there, so I'm hopeful we will also get Anub down in a few weeks.

I understand that except for some server lag initially, the patch update and raid went very smoothly for the rest of the guild, as I was the only one who had problems with the patch. So assuming this is the case with everyone else, that would make it about 1/30 people having some problems and for everyone else a very smooth launch for the patch, without any major bugs or instance bugs (at least for ICC raid). So, although personally I'm irked that I got shafted by the update, I have to hand it to Blizzard on launching what seems to be initially a very stable and good patch. I just wish they had the support to quickly help people with problems instead of falling back on the old "please reinstall the game".

As for the content itself I got a short peek at a friends screen while the guild was starting to clear trash (he lives close by and I was trying to copy the patch files from him, didn't work though*). The inside of the citadel looks amazing, I am really looking forward to raiding there.

Overall I am really looking forward for the next few weeks, my guild has been doing very well in raiding which is a new and nice feeling for me :) In addition I'm excited about playing my Druid as well as leveling my other chars as it should be much more fun now with the new leveling tools and LFG tool. Fun times ahead :)

(*) I finally solved the patch problem by deleting Data/{patch.MPQ,patch-2.MPQ} and running the repair tool. This reverted the game back to version 3.01 after which it patched itself all night back to a working 3.3 version. Long but at least it worked.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Solidd Goes Tanking

Well it's been a month since I last mentioned Solidd. I've been busy raiding of course with Solidfaith but Solidd has not been neglected. Over the past month I've been busy doing heroics with him and even the very rare 10man raid. Although I haven't done the heroics every day I still got enough emblems to gear up my resto spec rather nicely.

However I was not really enjoying my Moonkin spec much, I was almost never called on to use it in 5-mans and when I did my DPS was not so hot. I also noticed a pretty bad lack of tanks on the server, so in the end I decided to switch to a Main-Spec healer, Off-Spec tank. It's a strange combo since you can't share gear (unlike the resto/moonkin combo), however it has helped me a lot with finding PuGs and I don't mind tanking, in fact I kinda like it :)

It cost me a few thousand gold to get the beginner gear I was happy with and I've been spending emblems since then getting more gear but I feel my druid is fairly well geared for healing 5-mans so I didn't mind spending the emblems on tanking gear (I don't like to PuG raids much).

That's it for now, I have a lot more to write like my tanking talents and glyphs but am too tired now, maybe another time :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Tribute to Insanity

Although my guild raids 25man ToC and so has good gear and although we had a team who already downed Anub'arak in Heroic 10-man ToC, I have, until last night, failed to take him down. Nor has any team of the guild managed to do a wipe-free ToC-10 heroic till last night.

Every time, a combination of slightly weak DPS, bad tanking, not enough healing (this was usually the cause) or just bad luck kept me from getting the Anub'arak kill with the group I was in. Bad luck was hounding me..

Thankfully, last night as I said my luck changed, and quite dramatically. It started when we only had 2 tanks online so couldn't raid the 25-man Heroic ToC. It was therefore decided to raid 10man, both normal and heroic, with a single group. At this point I had to go offline for some Real Life stuff but I when I came back the group to the heroic instance was being organized and I was offered a spot. I was also asked to change my off-spec to Shadow (I was disc off-spec) so I could DPS on the last boss.

I don't think when we started, anyone had any special expectations, although we had our guild's top 2 tanks, 2 of the top healers with myself as a third (not as good alas) helper and some of our best DPS. The other 2 healers apart from me were a Paladin with Valanyr and a Druid with incredibly good HPS output.

We passed our first potential wipe point, which is the Worms encounter part of the Beasts fight, with no problems: e.g. no deaths due to the usual people with Burning Bile running into other people or stuff like that. It was really good to see everyone on top of their game like that. Icehowl also was not a problem as everyone managed to avoid each and every one of his charges (if only we could reliably do the same in the 25man Heroic version...).

Having downed Beasts with 50 remaining attempts we got ready for good old L.J. Here the discipline (and damage output) of our DPS team made the difference with every portal and volcano being taken down ASAP. Luckily for us the group we got for Faction Champions was not one of the harder ones (no ret-pally or Fury Warrior) which is probably the major reason why we managed to get to Twins with 50 tries remaining. Twins also didn't prove to be a barrier and finally we got to Anub'arak.

We started with the usual tactic of using only 2 healers so our damage would be high enough to push him to phase 3 after only one borrow. However unlike in the past this time I prepared my alternative action bars with a selection of healing spells and as soon as he we entered phase 3 I stopped DPSing and started healing. Sure this was a gamble (and not asked for by the raid leader) but it was a chance I was willing to take, since I believed our problems in the past had always been due to losing people due to Penetrating Cold. Well I was right, all went smoothly and finally, not only did I get the achievement for killing Anub'arak Heroic-10 and clearing ToC Heroic-10, but I also got at the same time the Tribute to Insanity.

Now personally I don't think it was that insane, just a combination of very good gear, following tactics to the letter and no one making any mistakes. But it was certainly fun and I was happy to be a part of it, even though the iLvl 258 cloak that dropped was a tanking one and not the healer one ;)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ulduar-10 Hard Modes - Revisited

4.5 months ago I blogged about Ulduar-10 hard modes, how we tried to get a few of them down and met with limited success.

My-my, how times have changed :)

This weekend, with much better gear I entered Ulduar-10 and very much nuked the place. Well, almost...

On Friday evening we took a friend of one of the guildies, a holy priest who was pretty well geared but not quite as much as we were. So we were 2 holy priests and a paladin healing (the other 8 people apart from me were all from the guild). With a strong DPS team and good tanks, we did okay and managed some nice achievements:

FL - we tried for 4 towers up but you really need people who know how to drive the siege engines and throw a person up to shut down FL at least once. We didn't have these people so we wiped a few times before deciding it was not important (almost all of us already had the achievement) and did it with 2 towers.

XT - this is where our strong DPS team really shined, going into hard-mode was not difficult at all and the fight itself was healing intense but very doable.

From XT we continued to Kologarn, no hard-mode there so we just nuked him. Crazy Cat Lady was also not too hard, mostly I guess do to our paladin healer and 50k+ health tanks :)

Now it was Hodir's turn and again our strong DPS made a once very-hard achievement into one which was, well, pretty easy :) I think we had like 1 minute left on the 3 minute timer, what a change vs. 4.5 months ago when I blogged about being short by 6 seconds!

Last but not least was Thorim hard-mode, actually I was caught off-guard by how hard the healing is once the gauntlet team jumps down and I got a little confused and managed to get myself killed near the end :(
Thankfully the rest of the team pulled through and we one-shot him also.

We had time for a few hard-mode Mimiron tries but it was quickly obvious we just didn't have the healing output for it, so we called it a night.

On Saturday evening the non-guild priest was replaced by our GL, a very well-geared (and well played) resto-druid. We were also joined by a new recruit, an enhancement Shaman who had great DPS but had not in the past cleared Mimiron so didn't know the fight. Hard-mode Mimiron is a really difficult fight, even for a team with ToC-25 gear doing Ulduar-10. It is really tuned so that any mistake will wipe you - so everyone has to be just perfect and not do any mistakes. So having a new guy who didn't quite know the fight led to a few wipes, apart from all the wipes made by people making the usual execution mistakes.

However the new guy learned quickly and after a few wipes I guess the rest of us had worked out how to not make mistakes, since we finally got the fight down, eliciting much cheering on Vent and a Firefighter achievement :)

My GL says that Mimiron hardmode is the hardest fight in Ulduar apart from Yogg+0 and after doing it, I believe him.

We continued to Freya+3 and not only got her down on the first attempt with time to spare but no one died. After the healing crazyness which was Mimiron hardmode, Freya+3 which I once described as a healing challenge felt... almost easy. Not quite, since people still needed to be on top of the action and do stuff like kill the 3 adds together, but certainly a lot less hectic than Mimiron.

I would love to say we also 1-shotted Vezax hardmode but alas we wiped the first time. What happened was, we had only 1 ranged DPS (a hunter) so we decided to have only him and the resto druid be ranged and group everyone else under Vezax. Alas, Vezax would have none of that and promptly cast Shadow Crash on a healer - yes on me :( As I was practically under him this of course completely messed up the melee and we missed the interrupt rotation. On the second try we had all the healers stand at range and this time we managed to get him, hardmode and all, almost without a problem - it was close though as both surviving healers were at the end of their mana :).

Now came Yogg+0 and this is where we completely failed. I don't know if it was the late hour, the group composition (too many melee, only a single ranged DPS) tactics or a combination of all of the above but on most wipes we barely made it even to phase 2, our best attempt was 50% on the brain. Initially we tried it with the druid as Moonkin but the DPS just didn't interrupt the Shadow Volleys and me and the paladin just couldn't keep the raid up, especially as we are both classes that need to stand to cast (especially big heals) and we were running almost all the time away from clouds. Once the druid switched back to resto we had problems with the DPS pulling agro on guardians. We tried to solve this using 2 tanks and had better luck getting to phase 2 but now we obviously lacked the ranged DPS to down the big tentacles, not to mention all the smaller ones who were casting spells/fears on us all the time and we quickly wiped.
Near the end of the evening we decided to give up on Yogg+0 for now and try for Yogg+1 but although that helped us to get to phase 2, our group composition of only 1 ranged DPS as I said basically killed us and on our best attempt we only got the brain down to 50%. I hope we try again with a slightly different DPS setup and manage, although Sunday-Tuesday are raiding nights so we might be too busy with ToC-25 heroic... we'll see.

All in all though the entire weekend for me was a huge success in terms of just having fun and stretching my raiding abilities. Sure some of the fights were much easier now but the hardmodes were not trivial by far, certainly not the hard ones like Mimiron and Yogg-Saron. If I make some of them sound easy it is only because all of the people in the group are experienced raiders who know all the fight tactics well. So I definitely have a sense of accomplishment about the recent 10man-Ulduar achievements and I hope to be able to down Yogg-Saron too :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An almost successful Heroic ToC-25 and Other Stuff

It's been a while since I last blogged, and the reason is due to the "Other Stuff" part of the headline - you see, I've started playing Torchlight :)

What happened was, I was disappointed with lack of heroic ToC-25 attempts by our guild, every time we were missing a tank or just not enough people. Tank shortage meant trying to do heroics with my new level-80 Druid was mostly pointless, so I was kind of looking around for more things to do.
At this point I read a couple of reviews of Torchlight, which described it as a Diablo clone with modern graphics but no multiplayer options - sort of Diablo 3 "lite", but here and now instead of in the far future. I took a look at some videos and screenshots, saw the price was just $20, fired-up Steam and bought the game.

Youtube and Google will give you all the videos and screenshots you want, suffice it to say I enjoy the cute graphics although I miss the true 3D environment of WoW - this 2.5D stuff pales in comparison. They did solve the "character behind some object and you can't rotate the camera" problem in a nice way though, your character becomes like a ghostly outline, you have to see it but it's very cool looking :)

Gameplay is very straight-forward with a single quest-line driving the "story" - there's no real meaning to the quests though as they only require you to drill down deeper into the levels of the dungeon. There's no such thing really as a class, since the "mage class" Alchemist for example can be played as a melee type! However I've always enjoyed playing a "mage" so that is what I'm focusing on.

There's also no World and no ability to wander from the path you are traveling, although there are side-branches/rooms you can enter for extra loot/xp. But in general gameplay is - go down the stairs to a new level, follow the path while killing everything in sight and looting anything that drops, continue till you reach the stairs to the next level, repeat.

Actually there are 2 other side quests, one is a robot that gives you a quest to kill a boss mob on a level further down, this is repeated every time you return - you just get the same quest but for a boss a few levels down. Rather pointless since there is no other way to go but down and you pretty much have to go through those bosses...
The other side-quest is from an NPC which will give you once every few levels a quest to get an item from a mini-dungeon to which it will open a portal. This mini-dungoen plays exactly like any level of the main dungeon, so the only reason to do it is for some extra loot and XP.

On the negative side, this is a very simplistic game, especially when compared to the complexity of WoW. There is nothing to do except kill mobs - no crafting/professions, no trade (except NPC vendors), no real story. There is one "mini-game" which is fishing, sometimes in the dungeon you will see fishing holes, which when clicked bring up a hook icon surrounded by two rings, the inner one is constant while the outer fluctuates. When the outer one merges with the inner, you click the hook icon to pull up the fish. If you timed it right, you catch a fish which you can feed to your pet - it gives it another shape and various abilities.
In addition to being very simplistic, you can see the lack of polish - items with the same name but different stats, ability to kill mobs that cannot reach you, quests from the robot NPC having exactly the same text, abilities and "talents" that are repeated (exactly the same) between the 3 "classes".
Of course the biggest downside is the lack of any multiplayer ability, never mind massivly-multiplayer :)

On the positive side, this is a very simplistic, simple game requiring no thought or effort to play :)
So if you've just spent a night wiping in WoW and want to relax, spending 20 minutes clearing a level or two of Torchlight with loot and gold dropping like rain might work for you - certainly I appreciate the experience. I don't really worry about my gear, certainly not about my stats. Time will tell if I can play and enjoy it for an entire month, which is what I would like to happen to feel that my $20 were well spent. For example there's no re-playability when trying another class- you get the exact same storyline, quests and instances. So it is possible that after finishing the game with one character, I'll find it too boring to repeat. We'll see.

As for the first part of my subject, we finally had the tanks and people online (well sorta) to give ToC-25 heroic another try. I say sorta, since one healer DC'd practically the entire night and one tank would DC almost every other fight. Still we did well and actually got Icehowl to less than 1% life before we wiped - even the healers were DPSing at the end, hoping to kill him before he killed us all (he was enraged already so all the tanks were dead), it was that close. The cries of frustration on Vent would have been amusing if I hadn't felt like howling myself at that moment (couldn't of course as the rest of the house were sleeping :)).

Hopefully we'll continue with more attempts following the reset today and finally get Beasts-25 down in Heroic mode - a big factor will be if people will learn to run away from his charge, since this is what wiped us every time we got to Icehowl (Worms still wiped us most of the times).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Solidd Dings 80

I actually dinged a few days ago but haven't had time to blog about it :)

Leveling was quite fun and fast, very profitable too - I probably made around a couple of thousand gold. In fact even after I dinged 80 I continued doing a bit of questing, just for the gold.

The main spec I chose was Restoration while for off-spec I chose Moonkin (a.k.a. Balance). Having played both a mage and a warlock I can say Moonkin is a very different caster from both, especially when questing/killing mobs.

I was pretty lucky once I hit 80 - between ToC-normal drops, gifts from friends and craftable gear made buy a guildmate (I gave the mats), I was soon decked out mostly iLvL 200 gear, with my weapon and trinkets being notable exceptions. Since then I have joined a guild alt run to Ulduar-10 where we cleared up to (including) Auriaya. From this run I got a very nice head item and ring. I also did a ToC-5 Heroic run where I got a nice necklace. Lots of stuff to enchant and gem but I'm not complaining, makes me a better healer :)

Healing certainly does feel very different from Priest healing, I'm not quite sure I have the hang of it yet but I know I'll get better. At least I don't think I messed up too bad in the guild Ulduar run :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Raiding Updates and Druid Leveling Impressions

I've been a bit quiet but not due to lack of playing, more due to lack of time to update here what with work pressure on the one hand and constant raiding or leveling taking up my little spare time.

Solidfaith continues to raid as a Disc priest mostly, although one exception is worth a mention. A group of guild-mates had cleared most of 10man ToC heroic and were stuck on the last boss, Anub'arak. A spot became available and I was invited to join as a healer. However the problem is, Anub'arak is a classic Holy-priest fight as the entire raid takes damage all the time so needs to be healed, in addition to 2 tanks - one on the boss and one on the adds and both needing large amounts of healing. Probably the best combination would have been a Holy Paladin (for the 2 tanks) and a Druid or Holy Priest (for the raid). We didn't have a Paladin and after it became obvious my Disc healing wasn't cutting it we did a switch and tried several attempts with 2 Resto-druids and me as shadow. We almost made it, 4% best attempt. Better luck next time I hope but it was certainly a fun night trying to beat an impressively hard fight.

Since my guild clears normal content very fast and we still don't attempt heroic 25-ToC every night, I did find myself with some raid-free nights recently, which I used to level my Druid (who is level 75 currently). I started leveling him by chance, a friend who was 70 wanted a partner and my warlock was still (and still is) level 67 so I had my choice of a hunter, mage or druid. I knew I could now get cold-weather flying for my druid at level 70 and assumed flight-form would make for easier leveling, maybe even easier than a hunter. I think I was right :)

Flight-form is an incredible boost to leveling. In many quests I have to pick up stuff, frequently with mobs pathing close to the required items. With any other character I would have to clear these mobs, not hard but certainly a slowing-down factor. With a Druid in flight-form I just swoop down, pick up the item still as a bird, and fly back out of range, taking me OOC.

Actually killing mobs is pretty fast as a cat with practically zero downtime, except on elites or multiple mob pulls when I have to go bear. I consider that I think an advantage over a hunter where I have to micro-manage my threat and my pet's actions or a DK where if I'm specced as blood for better survivability and less downtime, my DPS suffers. Although thinking back I recall it being easier to solo 3-man quests on my DK compared to my Druid :)

In any case I'm enjoying going over some familiar quests with a new character and I'm already imagining life at level 80 as a resto/moonkin duel-spec raider :)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Solidfaith Goes (Back To) Discipline

When I joined Nightmare-EU I was asked to come as Shadow, as they had enough priest healers at the time.
Although I have never played as a raiding Shadow Priest I was willing to give it a try and gave it my best effort. I read blogs, forums and various sites, worked on my gear and rotation and generally tried to output the best DPS that I could.

Results were... frustrating, to say the least. On some fights I could output very nice DPS - but only if they were overwhelmingly AoE fights where I could spam Mind Sear. On single target fights (most boss fights) I was sadly behind most of the other DPS in the guild.

It was not a gear issue nor was it rotation (I think). I think the problem is a combination of two factors. One is that Shadow DPS is behind in general, you can see that in in the Rankings, Shadow Priests are almost nowhere to be seen. The other factor is I think that Shadow Priest damage is just more susceptible to being hurt by high latency and since I usually play with 300ms-500ms lag I was hurt more by this.

Anyway, I noticed after a while I was not really improving relative to the rest of the DPS-ers in the guild. I also noticed we were usually lacking a Discipline priest in the raid. Putting 2 and 2 together I approached the GM and suggested I would go main-spec Discipline. He agreed and that very night I raided 10man Ulduar as Discipline :)

Since then I've had only one other fight as Discipline (25man Mimiron normal mode), as I was needed as Shadow during the other fights. But I have to say I enjoyed going back to Disc - my last time was after LK was released when I realized as a fresh level 80 that my low gear just didn't support Holy very well. I enjoyed being Disc also back then but was tempted to Holy by high healing output especially in fights with lots of raid-wide damage, of which there are a lot in Ulduar. Since then I've seen Holy HPS nerfed a lot with the Prayer of Healing nerf while Disc has not suffered as much (although the Penance nerf did hurt). In addition we have enough Holy raiding priests but not as I said Disc priests.

In terms of actual healing, the main HPS spell I have is PW:S - just cast it on as many raiders as possible, especially in AoE damage intensive fights. Prayer of Mending, Flash Heal make up my other main healing spells, with other spells such as Penance or Renew being used a lot less often.

Mana regen is just fantastic, I just don't see mana as being an issue currently. Of course I still haven't tried out Heroic ToC-25 as a healer which is where the real test will be.

In fact the only gripe I have so far as a Disc healer is that Recount doesn't measure bubble healing so I have to wait for the post-combat log parses to see the real healing picture. But of course this is not a problem with Disc healing itself :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Warlock Dings 67

I haven't had a lot of time to level Locksolid, hence the slow leveling. Thankfully leveling is now so fast that even with the little bit that I played I still managed to hit 67, only 1 level shy now of going to Northrend.

I dinged 65 still in HFP, amazingly. I did manage to get the HFP achievement for quests which is nice. 66 happened after a few quests in Zangramarsh. I could have stayed and done plenty more green and yellow quests but the mobs would have given me very little (if any) XP so I decided to split to Blade Edge Mountains, where the fact that I have a flying mount helped a lot.

After getting over half-way to 67 I was invited out of the blue to a Mana Tombs PuG. I decided to take risk that it would turn out to be a disaster, but thankfully we had a level 80 Paladin tank who pretty much cleared the place for us (everyone else was 66 or 67) and I dinged 67 just as I handed in the quest at the entrance of MT after the run was over. I even got a nice upgrade from the last boss, a necklace. So I'm happy :)

Anyway my rest XP is very low now so I think I'll rest and let it build up again before pushing on to 68. In any case, Northrend here I come :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Short Guild Update

Been a while since I've updated on our raiding status. Haven't really felt the need since we are neither bleeding-edge hardcore, nor are we struggling. Surprisingly, we're doing just fine, so situation as usual, nothing to report. No news is good news, right?

Last night we took down Yogg-Saron in 25man Ulduar, I think this has been something like 3rd or 4th takedown. A few wipes but people are really getting used to doing the phases right, especially the portal team which typically caused most of our wipes. Outside DPS is getting really good, I think it was on the takedown fight were we cleaned out all tentacles outside during every portal phase, leaving us with time to stand around and regen mana while the brain team did the hard work :)

ToC is also doing well, both 10 man and 25man. In 10man we finally got the team and time together and cleaned up heroic 10man ToC up to Anub'arak. I was there for the entire normal run and the first heroic boss (which we 2-shotted, although it was a close call there at the start). I had to leave at that point but my replacement must have done well since the team cleared all the other heroic bosses except as I said for the last.
25man has been cleared I think twice now(?) in normal mode, I don't remember exactly but we had some problems with attendance and AFKs but basically hiccups in otherwise successful runs. Hopefully people will show up today and we will be able to start 25man ToC heroic attempts.