Update; Two more first kills

Posted January 23, 2009 by notcoding
Categories: Eye of Eternity, Gaming, Naxxramas, Obsidian Sanctum, Raiding, Tanking, WotLK

Playtime has been limited lately – a few other things keeping my busy and/or distracted – but what time I’ve had has been constructive.

This week I hit exalted with both Son’s of Hodir and the Kaluak, so I now have my good shoulder enchants and epic fishing pole.  Doing daily quests for these two factions have taken up much of my non-raid playtime, so not having their quests on my list daily is a bit odd.

Tuesday night we did our 10-man Naxx, this was our first one night clear of the zone.  Under 3.5 hours;  certainly not setting any speed records, but a pace that I’ve quite pleased with.  The simple fact that I don’t need to remind anyone how anything works is still amazing to me.  Once people have seen the fights twice, everyone just does their thing.. having spent BC being forced to remind people to get up close to Nightmare, or not to move in Flame Wreath, well, this is pleasantly different.

So, Thursday night we were left with Sartharion and Malygos.  In late December we had tried leaving a drake up in Obsidium Sanctum, but quickly decide that we weren’t ready yet.  Last night, having plently of time, we decided to try it again.

I suggested leaving Tenebron – the drake in the back, who summons whelps – up for the fight, as this seems easiest.  When Tenebron joins Sartharion he only brings his whelp adds, and higher shadow damage for anyone in void zones.  Since the void zone damage can be pretty simply avoided, that just left the whelps to deal with.

The first pull was simply letting the off-tank get a feel for where things are positioned.  Discovered that Tenebron lands in the rear (on Sartharion’s left flank), with his portal being closer to the front (Sartharion’s right flank, on the fire wall boundary).  Since we want the melee stacked on the portal, so they can pick up the Whelps, the drake needed to be pulled back to where the dps normally stays.

For the second try Tenebron was pulled to position, but the drakes and elementals caused havoc – and the fire wall ate a lot of people.  It is funny that something that is so simple on by itself manages to cause problems as soon as another element is added.  It felt like my off-tank had too many things going on (Drake, whelps & firewall) and everything just felt like it was going at light-speed.  Rather than suggest that I give it a try, we had a feral off-tank the all the adds.

The third try did it.  After two hectic attempts, everything slowed back down, and it felt fairly easy.  Adds were (mostly) controlled, within a few minutes Tenebron died, and then it was simply a matter of not screwing up Sartharion.  The progression pull-to-pull was great, and it is a more interesting fight done this way.

Following on from that, Maylgos was the plan.  The past few weeks we’ve spent quite a bit of time throwing ourselves against him – we’ve seen phase three enough that drake control has improved considerably, but we’ve always been behind on the enrage timer when we get to that phase.  So, I swapped to my Malygos spec (basically added Improved Spell Reflect to help in phase two) and off we went.

On the way I explained to 3.0.8 changes – no CoH or WG while in Vortex, and some of the tricks being used to stack sparks are gone.

Buff buff buff, feast, flask and go.

One shot. /gasp

Mostly, it was just that we had higher dps.  Phase one was done with over 7 minutes on the timer, and we were on our drakes with more than 4 minutes left.  We lost three people along the way (while on drakes) – but still got him down with more than a minute to spare.

There was some discussion about exactly what changed – many thought the fight must have been nerfed in the 3.0.8 patch, but from a glance at the WWS numbers it looks like we just had a lot more pew-pew.

A still have a few things to mop up, but I hope to have the time this weekend to get a new title.

Raid Difficulty

Posted January 13, 2009 by notcoding
Categories: Uncategorized

Sunday night, in about three hours, we knocked out Vault-25, OS-25 and two wings of Naxx-25. We were not moving terribly quickly – in fact, at times we were downright crawling along. Nothing major, but just the typical “15 extra people make things harder” problems.

These Heroic Raids are run by our guild, but we only bring about half the group on most nights. Another guild (basically a sister guild, both having apparently been spawned in the same guild-split ) bring several, and we have been mostly filling things out with a few others.

A negative here is that at least 5 people had to sit out of one fight or another because they had gotten themselves locked earlier in the week. As this was a scheduled event, this is crap. We may not need everyone for each zone (heck, we did the Vault with only 19) but it isn’t to much to ask that everyone be able to at least zone in. An appropriate amount of frustration was put forth, and I think all parties understand that going forward the raids are an ‘all or nothing’ event.

So, How are 25’s different?

In Tier 7, there isn’t really any difference in raid difficultly – in fact in a lot of ways the 10-man content is harder due to the increased importance of every single raider.  Loosing one dps in a 10-man hurts more than loosing two or three in a 25.  So the content isn’t harder, why do 25-mans give better loot?

The 25-man Tax.

The leap from Karazhan/ZA to Gruul/Mag/SSC taught me this lesson. Those 10-mans weren’t without drama and hurt feelings, but every 25-man run was a stress inducing slog. Back then content *was* tougher, but the real problem was the people management, the loot, and the coordination. These days, on Heroic Raid night when an officer growls ‘just a sec’ on Vent (accompanied by the background tap-tap-tap-tappity-tap a “/o WTF!”), and I know I that have a moment to stretch, or grab another tasty beverage,  I try to remember to say a prayer of thanks that I’m ‘just a raider’ &  ‘just a tank’.

Perhaps a recent example is in order: We have successfully been using a simple loot system in 10-mans – everyone pass on everything, we’ll /roll (or whatever) and then each person gets their item. Simple enough, but it has always made me nervous. Last night it burnt us. After Sartharion went down a Rogue rolled need on two epics. He wasn’t from our guild, or our sister guild – just a friend of a friend.

He correctly played the “$#!@- oops!” in raid chat.
Our raid leader correctly booted him.
His friend, playing the well known role, testified that “it must have been a mistake.. he didn’t understand the loot rules.. known him for years..”

In the end, he was offline within moments (guilt or embarrassment? Don’t know, don’t care) and within a few more moments we continued on as well. Everyone handled it calmly. No shouting or threats. There will be more loot, lets all get to Naxx. Oh.. and make sure to set Master Looter, right?

Did he intentionally ninja? is he just that stupid? Hard to say, and I’d really put it at even odds either way. I chalk this up to the 25-man tax. You bring 15 more people, the chances of this type of things happening goes way up.

This is the worst we’ve seen, and for that I should be thankful.  Truth is, we have a solid group of people, and more often than not have to force people to take items over objections of “It isn’t a huge upgrade for me.. let someone else take it!”

Starting next week we will be doing two nights of 25’s each reset, which should be plently of time to at least work on everything available.  I am actually looking forward to it, but only partly because “it is a challenge we haven’t conquered”,  and largely because there is better gear.  I do want to see the fights on both modes, but gear aside, I’d rather be farming with just 9 others every week..

A few days a youngish rogue said “Boy, I really miss 40-mans” in guild chat.  The immediate reply was “..then you never organized one!”.

True fact : that reply wasn’t from me, but from one of our current raid leaders

Another true fact : only because I was the slower typist

Holiday Raiding Update

Posted December 31, 2008 by notcoding
Categories: Eye of Eternity, Guild, Naxxramas, Obsidian Sanctum, Raiding, Tanking, WotLK, WoW

After a short trip to visit family for Christmas, we were back to raiding Sunday night – not a scheduled thing, but we happened to have the right mix of people around. Those folks who were around earlier in the raid-week had cleared OS-10 and Naxx up through Sapphiron, so we went to work on Kel’Thuzad.

As the final boss in Naxx I expected this to be a brutal fight, but it really wasn’t all that bad. We were a bit melee heavy (there were 5 of us), so dealing with his chaining ice-tombs took some work, but otherwise it just took a few attempts to get the feel of the fight before we had him down. Not an easy fight, as there is a lot of damage being thrown around, but somehow not quite what I was expecting.

With Naxx empty, we headed over to visit Malygos in the Eye of Eternity. Now this is an interesting fight. We saw the first two phases, and most of us were going in cold – I feel bad about that, but in my defense, I didn’t think we’d be raiding at all that night, much less working on Malygos.

Phase 1 wasn’t took bad once I got the feel for moving him aruodn the sparks. We never quite got to stacking the sparks properly, but that shouldn’t be a problem next time around.

Phase 2 was an issue for us because we were so melee stacked. With only two ranged dps, we had trouble getting to the point that our melee could even do anything – something we’ll have to work on going forward.

To be honest, I’m glad that that we didn’t get to Phase 3 because I’d likely have be seriously owned by the flying section. I have since gone and done the Aces High daily a few times, and am very comfortable with it now – but it wouldn’t not have gone well going in blind.

Last night was the start of the new raid-week, and it went relatively well. In just over 3 hours we cleared OS-10 and 3 wings of Naxx. Our cable internet connection started acting in the 3rd wing, and the periodic drops did slow us down quite a bit from that point on. Thursday night I’m expecting that we will knock finish off Naxx and then get some more work on Malygos – which I am very much looking forward to.

Four Wings Cleared

Posted December 23, 2008 by notcoding
Categories: Naxxramas, Raiding, Tanking, WotLK, WoW

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Sunday night the guild had enough people available to hit up Naxx one final time for the week. Having cleared the Spider, Construct, Plague and most of the Death Knight wing we were heading to the Four Horsemen.

That is an interesting fight, that somehow seems more complicated when preparing for it that when actually doing it. The Tankspot video does do a great job in laying out the fight, but left me expecting it to take several tries to get down. In fact, we needed only two tries – with the first being wiped due to a silly mistake in the back half of the room.

While handing out loot there were more than a few complaints that Naxx may be too easy this time around.

Then we went to Sapphiron.

Running with our highest DPS’er out on holiday, and with only a single ranged DPS – I expected Sapphiron to be tougher. I was certainly not disappointed.

The fight seems doable – we had the dragon below 10% on one attempt – but our dps just wasn’t there. This feels like a fight where we are going to need to end it quickly, and where melee is something of a liability. Sapphiron’s cleave area is far larger than I’m used too, and the constantly ticking frost damage was putting stress on the healers.

I’m certain that we’ll get the boss down soon – like I said, we were missing a lot of dps due to the Holiday, but I think I may pick up some Frost Resist gear all the same. About half of my incoming damage was Frost, and the epic FR gear is really pretty well itemized. If I can make myself easier to heal, then we will likely have a better time all around.

Seeing as how we’ve moved quickly through Naxx so far, I’m was a bit surprising to spend most of an evening wiping to one boss – but kind of nice in a way. In TBC we ‘worked’ for nearly every boss kill, and thus far in WotLK we haven’t seen that yet. I do actually kind of miss it.

Also, I love raiding with my new guild. Great guys (and I do mean guys - my wife is the only female raider) and even on a rough night, the focus is on what was done better on each and every attempt. It is a great environment, and I’ve seen a lot of things that I will try to replicate should I start leading raids again. Managing an upbeat, positive end to a night of wipes is an impressive feat – and something that I’ve not seen executed quite that well before.

Gear List: Tanking upgrades from Heroic/10-mans

Posted December 20, 2008 by notcoding
Categories: Heroic, Protection Warriors, Raiding, Tanking, WotLK, WoW

Here is another of my gear list posts – again, mainly here as a reference for me.

Currently, 10-mans and Heroics are where I’m playing – so this list just includes those. About half my gear could still be replaced in that content, so I certainly have some more work to do.

This list is in order of priority, with the gear slots at the bottom not having substantial upgrades in the currently available content. This is not an exhaustive list of things I’d like to see drop though, as there are certainly other “occasional use” pieces that I’ll take if I come across them.

Helm

Current: Tempered Titansteel Helm / Arcane-Shielded Helm / Ground Tremor Helm
Goal: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Greathelm (Naxx10 – Kel’Thuzad)
Goal: Thane’s Tainted Greathelm (Naxx10 – Four Horsemen)

I’ve got three helms that I’m playing with at the moment, and would love to get something solid enough to replace them all.

The Arcane-Shielded Helm (w/ Austere Earthseige Diamond is my general purpose Boss tanking helm.
Ground Tremor Helm (w/ Eternal Earthsiege Diamond) is my threat piece.

However, word is out that this Titansteel Helm is getting a meta socket in the next patch – that would easily make it the best helm this side of Naxx-25, and would help narrow this slot down quite a bit.

Wrist

Current: Bindings of Dark Will
Goal: Minion Bracers (Naxx10 Trash)
Goal: Bracers of the Herald (Heroic Old Kingdom)

The main upgrade here drops in a heroic that I’ve not run very much, guess I need to fix that…

Feet

Current: Sabatons of Draconic Vigor
Goal: Plague-Impervious Boots (Naxx10 Noth)
Alt Goal: Tempered Titansteel Treads (BS BoE)
Alt Goal: Greaves of Ancient Evil (Heroic Old Kingdom)

Still weighing having the Titansteel Treads crafted. They really aren’t all that much of an upgrade, and Noth is dying easily every week – his piece is a serious upgrade. However, at 120 stamina, it may be worth getting the crafted boots anyway.. even if just for a lolhealth set.

Neck

Current: Chained Military Gorget (EoHx25)
Goal: Amulet of Autopsy (Naxx10 – Heigan/Gluth)

Having picked up the badge vendor item, I’m not seeing any major upgrades outside of Naxx.

Hand

Current: Horn-Tipped Gauntlets
Goal: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Handguards (EoHx60 or OS10)
Alt Goal: Gauntlets of the Master (Naxx10 Gluth/Faerlina)

The Tier 7 gloves are very nice, and they are where my next 60 emblems are going.

Cape

Current: Durable Nerubhide Cape (LW BoE)
Goal: Gale-Proof Cloak (OS10 w/ 1 Drake)

The only available upgrade here is in Obsidian Sanctum, and only if at least one drake is left up. Not doing that yet, but hope to give it a try soon.

Legs

Current: Legplates of Inescapable Death
Goal: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Legguards (Naxx10 Gluth/Thaddius)

Just need the T7 token at this point – but even that isn’t a huge upgrade.

Rings

Current: Titanium Earthguard Ring
Current: Deflection Band (Naxx10 Anub’Rekhan)

Goal: Keystone Great-Ring (Heroic Drak’Tharon)

Both of my current rings are solid, but I would like to see the drop from Drak’Tharon. Not a major upgrade, but something to give me some options on a pure physical damage fight.

Shoulder (No Upgrades)

Current: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Pauldrons

Got these this week. No major upgrades available.

Waist
(No Upgrades)

Current: Waistguard of Living Iron

Got nothing else outside of Naxx-25. This was my first emblem purchase, and it finally let me replace my old Girdle of the Fearless.

Chest (No Upgrades)

Current: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Breastplate
Collected enough badges this week to grab the T7 token off the vendor.

Trinkets (No Upgrades)

Current: Figurine – Monarch Crab
Current: Essence of Gossamer

The Monarch Crab and Essence of Gossamer cover me for most fights. There are a few other trinkets I’d like to have to fill out my gear sets, nothing that I’ll miss too much if I don’t get.

Shield (No Upgrades)

Current: Titansteel Shield Wall / Royal Crest of Lordaeron

Sure Crygil’s Discarded Plate Panel is nice, but for EoHx35 I’ll not bother getting it. It amazing similar to the two I already have, and certainly not worth so much as carrying around.

Ranged (No Upgrades)

Current: Armor Plated Combat Shotgun

Another slot where I am done for the time being.

Weapon (No Upgrades)

Current: Red Sword of Courage

I got lucky and picked up the RSoC on my first trip through Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle, and as such am mostly set this slot. The Slayer of the Lifeless (Naxx10 Gothik) is nice, but is effectively a sidegrade to the Red Sword of Courage. If I were to stumble upon it, I could work it into some gear sets – but it certainly isn’t a priority.

Moving into the new home

Posted December 17, 2008 by notcoding
Categories: Gaming, Guild, Naxxramas, Obsidian Sanctum, WotLK, WoW

Last night was another scheduled raid night. Pre-raid we had finished up the admin work of transferring guild leadership over to one of my wife’s alts – and so we were ready to /gquit on our mains and to make the jump to the new guild.

It is really hard to describe, but in the span of five minutes I went from a bit anxious to completely at peace. Perhaps it is because we’ve run with these guys for several weeks, maybe it was the amazingly warm welcome, and the immediate jokes in chat certainly helped – but it somehow felt like coming home again.

The evening’s raid went well. After a bit of a late start, we tried Sartharion (once) with one drake up before deciding to just get our loot and run. Following that we cleared Naxx’s Spider wing and the Plague wing up through Heigan, and which point we had to split. I’m hoping they went ahead and took down Lotheb, because I’d like to get a quick start on the other wings Thursday night.

Anub’Rakhan was ever nice enough to drop me an upgraded tanking ring, which I thoroughly appreciated.

We are still in the honeymoon period- that is certain – but for now at least, I’m very pleased that with the decision.

Weekend Update, non-WoW

Posted December 16, 2008 by notcoding
Categories: Gadgets, Gaming

Outside of WoW, it was time to replace some hardware.

My phone – a several years old Windows Mobile model – was about dead. I’d held off on replacing it since nothing on the market is ‘perfect’. Realizing that I could repeat the ‘just 3 months till the Next Big Thing comes out’ cycle forever, I went ahead and bit the bullet. Picked up an iPhone. It being an Apple product creeps me out slightly, but I really do like it a lot.

There are a few things I don’t like – the total lockdown Apple has on the platform being the main one, along with a lack of easy (non-ToS violating) support for tethering being another. That said, it is a vast improvement over my previous smart phone, and the existing Android phone just isn’t what I’m looking for (yet).

If that were the only toy I’d bought over the weekend, I’d have plenty to keep me busy playing.

However…

We also have a pair of older laptops that we get some use out of – mostly for small things around the house and especially while traveling. They have both been misbehaving, and are showing signs of serious hardware problems – so much so that we’ve basically stopped using them. We’ve talked about finding a replacement for months, and with Holiday travel coming up – now is the time.

Enter the Aluminum Macbook. /shudder

I really really really wanted to get a Windows machine. Perhaps something nice from Dell – but everything I looked at was either too low end, or a very expensive gaming machine. I just need a mid-range laptop, light, good battery life, with a reasonably powerful video card. For the money (even with the Apple tax) – the Macbook hit what I’m looking for.

Plus… it is sooooo pretty. /sigh

So… now that I’ve sold out, should I be looking for a package in the mail? Trendy jeans and a black tee? A cap with a discrete Apple logo? An iPhone app listing directions to the nearest coffee shop with WiFi and a too-cool-for-me indie soundtrack?


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