Archive for December 2008

Holiday Raiding Update

December 31, 2008

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.

Advertisements

Four Wings Cleared

December 23, 2008

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

December 20, 2008

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

December 17, 2008

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

December 16, 2008

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?

Weekend Update, WoW style

December 16, 2008

After several weekends with RL obligations, I was able to get some real playtime in the past few days. We knocked out a few more Heroics on Saturday – only Halls of Lightening and Oculus left – and I picked up a few upgrades. The Red Sword of Courage made me especially happy, since I’ve had trouble finding something nice for that slot. Those upgrades are nice since I’ve not had any real luck with gear in raids – though the 22 slot bag is nice.

Raiding is going well. This past week we cleared OS-10, Archavon-10, and played in Naxx-10 some. We finished the Arachnid and Plague Quarters, and took out the first two bosses in the Construct Quarter. Grobulus took a bit of learning, and we finished Sunday night working on Gluth – our add management still needs some work there. I also tanked Archavon-25 for a pug, even though I was initially brought simply as a condition for my wife healing for the run.

The guild also talked a lot about our proposed merger. It is odd, in that no one has terribly strong feelings on it – we all have a list of pros and cons, and are capable of going back and forth very easily. For a normally decisive group, this is odd.

As said last week, they are a good group of guys – and our runs have gone very well. The primary thing in the ‘against’ column, is that we’d be giving up ‘our baby’. I eventually asked the question “Are we enjoying the raids with them? Would we be happier on our own? Knowing the type of recruiting we need to do imediately?”

The answer there – across the board – was the raids have been a whole lot of fun, and we don’t want to give those up. Even if it means not doing our own thing for a while.

Sunday afternoon we talked on Vent with their guild leader (and officers) for a while. A first they seem like a totally laid back group – but the reality is that they’ve been raiding for so long, they just seem to know what is important to focus on and what isn’t. Their near term goals sync well with ours.

It helps that the Sunday night run went well. It was a short raid, but we made some progress. We primarially worked on Grobbulus and Gluth. We didn’t get Gluth down – and it was good to see how their group handled a fight where things just weren’t coming easy.

Post-raid, we chatted once more as a group, and we will be moving our Mains over reasonably soon. In the end it comes down to this:

  • If we stay, we give up the raids with them – period. Their sitting guild members to bring us is going to cause drama eventually, and I don’t want to cause that.
  • If we go, we can always come back. Absolute worst case, things go to hell; then we’ll only have lost a bit of time building our guild. Ultimately, it is worth the risk of a bit of time.

Available Tanking Upgrades – Heroics & 10-Man Raids

December 13, 2008

This is another gear post, mostly thrown together as a quick reference for my use.

It is a list of what gear I have, and what items I’m looking for in Heroics and 10-mans. This includes Emblem of Heroism items and crafted BoEs.  I’m using it to give me a quick list of what *is* an obvious upgrade, and what places are best for me to look for drops.  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.

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.

Shoulder

Current: Crusader’s Square Pauldrons
Goal: Abomination Shoulderblades (Naxx10 – Patchwork/Gluth)
Goal: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Pauldrons (Naxx10 – Gluth/Loatheb)
Alt: Wapach’s Spaulders of Solidarity (World BoE)
Alt: Pauldrons of the Colossus (Gun’drak)
Alt: Iron Dwarf Smith Pauldrons (Halls of Lightning)

It isn’t that my current shoulders are bad, it is just that there are lots of good options. Aside for hoping for luck in Naxx, need to start pushing Gun’Drak and HoL Heroics.

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. No doing that yet, but hope to give it a try soon.

Chest

Current: Breastplate of the Solemn Council
Goal: Heroes’ Dreadnaught Breastplate (EoHx80 or Naxx10 Gluth)
Alt: Massive Skeletal Ribcage (Naxx10 Sapphiron)

My current Rare quality chest piece is holding up very well, but I do hope to get a shot at the T7 piece very soon.

Wrist

Current: Svala’s Bloodied Shackles
Goal: Minion Bracers (Naxx10 Trash)
Goal: Bracers of the Herald (Old Kingdom)
Alt Goal: Bindings of Dark Will (CoT:Strat)

The main upgrades here drop in heroics that I’ve not run very much, guess I need to fix that…

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, but I just picked up the Gauntlets from Gun’Drak. I’ll eventually work of the T7 piece (either using emblems, or raiding) – but for now I’m pretty content here.

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.

Legs

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

Got lucky finding these on my 2nd Heroic Violet Hold run. There are a few small upgrades in Naxx10, but none of these are huge..

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 (Old Kingdom)

I have the materials for the Titansteel Treads, so I will likely have that crafted soon. Not a major upgrade over what I have, but I think enough to justify the purchase – presuming I can take the hit to defense.

Rings

Current: Titanium Earthguard Ring
Current: Unsmashable Heavy Band

Goal: Keystone Great-Ring (Drak’Tharon)
Alt Goal: Deflection Band (Naxx10 Anub’Rekhan)
Alt Goal: Signet of the Accord (OS10)
Alt Goal: Band of Torture (Nexus)
Alt Goal: Woeful Band (Halls of Stone)

The Titanium ring I made as a JC’er, and will likely keep it for a while. My other ring I just picked up in Heroic Utgarde Keep and would like to find some other pieces to swap it out with.

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

Current: Titansteel Shield Wall
Goal: Crygil’s Discarded Plate Panel (EoHx35)
Goal: Royal Crest of Lordaeron (CoT:Strat)

I have the Titansteel Shield, but would like to pick up one or both of these others – not a priority though. It’s not that the other two are upgrades, they are all very close, but they are different – and I can see keeping at least two of the three around for a while.

Ranged (No Upgrades)

Current: Armor Plated Combat Shotgun

Another slot where I am done for the time being.

Weapon

Current: Eternally Folded Blade
Goal: Slayer of the Lifeless (Naxx10 Gothik)
Alt Goal: Red Sword of Courage (Utgarde Pinnacle)
Alt Goal: Infantry Assault Blade (Utgarde Keep)

The Eternally Folded Blade is very nice, but all these others are solid improvements.