Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Comic: ICC10 Lana'thel

That's right, Blood Queen. You've been turned into a stick figure. BWAHAHA.

For giggles, I pulled out the "WTF?!" Tree as a transparent image. Methinks it would make a wonderful avatar. :3

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mains, Alts, and Frost Emblems

Seriously, my characters have been fighting with each other over frost emblem purchases.

A slim little blood elf slides into a chair with a glass of wine cupped daintily in one hand. She scatters a handful of small tokens onto the table in front of her: not money, but shining emblems glinting a silver-blue in spite of the dim, golden candle-light pervading the room.

"So," she says, sipping the sweet wine, "I'm considering what to buy first with them."

A tauren leans over from across the table to inspect the emblems. "Oooh, frost badges!" she exclaims, her eyes lighting up. She pushes aside the leather she had been knitting together from scraps. "How many are there? Primordial Saronite is 23 emblems apiece."

The elf pauses mid-sip, narrowing her emerald eyes in a sideways glare. Putting her nose disdainfully in the air, she carefully sets down her wine glass. "Oh no. No... I earned these emblems. I did. Why do you get them?"

The tauren is taken aback. "But... but I'm the main. It's for the good of the guild. The crafted boots are best-in-slot, there is no other I can get until Cataclysm's next set of dungeons!"

The blood elf sneers in disgust, wishing now that she hadn't told the young druid about her emblems. "I'm the ONLY rogue! Alt or no, I earned these badges, and you can spend your own damn badges on your precious Primordial Saronite. I feed the guild most of its saronite as it is, and titanium, too. Why do I have to give up MY badges for YOUR special saronites just to craft some dainty little healer boots?"

The druid sits back with a hurt pout. "I had to buy these gloves... this chest, these shoulders, this trinket. All to better myself, my healing, to keep everyone alive as we have faced off against Putricide, Lana'thel, Sindragosa, and the Lich King himself! I don't have the badges to buy the saronite needed for the boots, yet."

With a deep sigh and a roll of the eyes, the elf swirls the wine around in her glass, watching the blood-hued liquid as she ponders. "How many do you need?"

"Six," the druid winces.

The rogue shoots up in her seat, her blond hair bouncing in its ponytail. "SIX?! That's... that's 138 emblems! This is ridiculous... link me the pattern."

"I don't know the pattern yet...." The druid hunches up sheepishly. "One of the saronites is just to buy the pattern. I have the rep for it though," she adds hopefully.

The rogue looks up at the ceiling helplessly. "Lord! Okay, let me wowhead it... Pattern: Blessed Cenarion Boots?"

The druid nods.

"Five furs, too!" the rogue exclaims, looking at the pattern. "I suppose you'll be wanting me to farm those up for you, too? Sheesh."

"Well, you, ah, are the skinner..."

"Uh huh. What do I get in repayment for all of this? Eh?" the rogue asks, glaring.

It's the druid's turn to be indignant. "And just what are those bracers you're wearing? I could've kept them for my offkit, you know."

"One pair of bracers! Only cuz you might get a pair off of Miss Sindy the Undead Dargon once the feral gets his. Like I'll ever see her; I've been in what, one ICC10 pug? Ever?" The rogue scowls. "This is my life savings of emblems, and you want them all for yourself."

"You'd get a chance at loot and more badges," the druid snaps, "...if you tried to find more ICC10 pugs--" she cuts herself off suddenly, however, knowing the rogue had no personal control over her play time.

The two stare at each other in an awkward moment of silence. Finally, the rogue takes another sip of wine. "Stardance has gotten all the attention lately. VoA is the most I've seen in a long while... and all that shammy's good for is picking flowers and transmuting gems. Not that I, uh, mind her learning how to transmute Cardinal Rubies."

The druid nods knowingly. "Or making me Frostwyrm Flasks."

"She's not gotten her mastery yet, though."

"I know."

"The slacker."

Another awkward silence.

"So... erm..." the druid looks around the room uncomfortably. "What would you buy if not the saronites?"

The rogue stops as if caught in an unexpected hunter's flare. "Uhhh... well, that's what I was asking you for. Your offspec is feral, so you should have some idea of what a melee leather wearer would want, right?"

The druid sighs. "Well, I haven't exactly looked at the feral purchases, been focusing on my resto gear first. Plus, we have to consider what gear drops you have access to in PuGs... hold on, let me open up Rawr."

"Take your time," the rogue replies, leaning back in her seat and swirling her wine again.

"Ohh this is going to take some time all right," the druid answers, drumming her heavy fingers on the table. "How far do pugs get these days in ICC?"

"Er... well, I think the trade chat spam usually mentions stopping around Festergut/Rotface. I wouldn't put any bets past Saurfang though. Precious'll eat most raids. Puggers don't like wiping to trash."

The druid nods in solemn agreement, distracted as she peruses the gear lists. "So... belt you might could get in ICC... and neck... rings, one rep and one from Saurfang... how are your set bonuses? Worth getting?"

"Uhh..." the rogue responds. "We follow what, two rogue blogs? How should I know?"

"Maybe you should look into that," the tauren chides, smirking.

"Oh, come on! I'm the alt! She tried to gem me with feral armor pen before she remembered I use POISON."

Again, an awkward silence as both tauren and blood elf look quickly around the tavern, making sure the Mouse Cursor they shared wasn't around. It usually wasn't at this time of day, but there had always been exceptions.

"Okay, how about this..." the rogue suggests, "I buy the trinket for myself, and then get saronite for you with the rest?"

The druid scoffs. "That's 60 emblems... nearly 3 saronites! Half of what I need!"

"Yeah, and I earned them!"

"Why not get trinkets out of ToC25 and ICC10 pugs? Deathwhisper drops one, too..." the tauren offers.

"Have you SEEN how much that trink goes for in ToC25 GDKP runs?" the rogue counters. "Plus, they are MY emblems. It's not like they're just flowing in from raids like you get. I should be able to buy something for myself with what I earned."

The druid sighs, rolling her large eyes and playing with a braid. "I *suppose* that is fair. But... we need to look into the drops in more detail and make sure we pick out the best item you can get for the emblems... one you can't get elsewhere, you know? A big upgrade."

The rogue grins. "If only the emblem vendors sold weapons like they did on Quel'Danas. I love my daggers, but 232s are holding me back."

"Indeed," the druid agrees thoughtfully. She looks over her shoulder at the ToC staff hovering just off of her back. "Saurfang has yet to drop my staff upgrade, though if I did buy a staff, you know Saurfang's would just drop in the next instance."

The elf sighs. "My only hope for weapons is to find a half-decent ToGC10 run and get the 245 daggers. Ohh and maybe some gear tokens... and that 258 cloak. If we can do Insanity... would have to be a well-geared guild alt run for that though."

"Why don't we ask the Cursor to set one up?" the druid suggests.

The rogue's eyes lite up. "Oh... yeah, Kaalla has reached 80 now, and Immortalus. There are lots of alts who'd like some gear beyond the triumph emblems' 232 T9. Let's ask when the Cursor arrives tonight."

Kae later wonders why there are voices in her head demanding that she organize a ToGC10 alt run.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Guild Killpics: How does your guild handle them?

Among guild websites, "kill pics" are often a big deal. These are screenshots taken after a new boss has been downed as 'proof' (or just as a momento) that your guild has triumphed: especially important in the days before achievements, loot, and statistics tracking! These are most often posted on guild websites' news page, with some text about the boss or congratulations to the winners of particular boss drops.

Some are simple screenshots, uploaded straight to the file host and linked into the web page. Some are heavily edited and even positioned for "coolest effect" on camera angle, etc. Some are posed, others are "as the boss died." Many large guilds boast at least one player who removes all gear and poses naked.

For my own, I do the following:
  • Alt-Z is your friend. UI posts are for interface screenshots; kill pics look best without an interface, imo!
  • Turn off player names. I just don't like having them floating over heads and cluttering the image! Some guilds like to have them on to put a name to each pixelated face.
  • Crop and resize the image. I run a 1600x900px resolution, and certainly don't need all of it for the shot. I average Vortex's screenshots down to 770px wide to fit the max width of the front page news panel. This can be done with free programs such as MSPaint and GIMP.
  • Add a title, guild name, and date of the kill. If your guild has a logo image or particular font they use for their name, that can help in labeling it as "yours."
  • Sharpen parts (or all) of the image to further give it clarity.
  • Use photoshop styles to make the text look good. I pick colors from the screen shot itself or that would compliment it well, or colors that I just feel like using on a given day. This is where photoshop pulls leagues ahead of GIMP and MSPaint: layer styles which can be downloaded, imported, edited, and saved for future use.

  • Add some kind of border graphic to the image using similar/matching colors and styles as used for the text. It helps bring the image together and frame it. This can be anything from a simple solid or shadowed border to a full, faked magazine or comic book cover. Similarly, you can style it after newspaper articles, postcards, or wanted posters, though this may take more time and effort.
  • Add anything else that you'd like.
    • Loot Drops or achievements can be screenshot or print-screened off of tooltips, and added to the margins.

    • Did something crazy happen during the raid? Was something funny said? Did you get a screenshot of it? Picture-in-picture can make for a memorable kill pic.

    • Create a text box to add captions.
    • Draw in some missing players, in case they accidentally hearthed out before the shot was taken or some other circumstance/emergency. Like AFKae here.

    • Alternatively, use WoW Model Viewer to build a missing player and edit them in. If you do the lighting and cuts right, you can't tell they were not in the original.
    • ...or draw in the boss, in case he despawned before you got a chance to get the screenshot. Your guild will laugh.

  • Save it in a good quality. I prefer .png as the filetype; jpegs can work well, too, but be careful with the compression when saving it as it can get grainy/pixelated. .gif is often very pixelated and low-quality, so I avoid using that type.

How about your guild? Do you spend much time setting up the "ultimate" kill pic before moving on to the new boss? Are you proud of your killpics, or do you barely notice them? your guild photographer a slacker who hasn't posted the Valithria killshot (rescueshot) yet? /ducks

Friday, February 19, 2010

ICC10: Sindragosa

Sindy is no pushover when it comes to 10-man raiding (gear). She is very much a dps race and awareness test for your entire raid. The following is the strategy that worked best for us, and earned our first kill.

  • 1 MT (we used a prot warrior with frost resist gear)
  • 1 OT (recommended; feral druids work best as they are uncrittable in dps gear)
  • 3 healers
  • 5 DPS
The MT will be tanking for the majority of the fight. In cases of higher gear levels, you can probably get away with no offtanks (by burning her quickly), but for progression attempts for 10-strict guilds I do recommend going with an offtank. Now, to maximize DPS, this offtank really works best as a cat-spec feral druid: they are inherently uncrittable (defense capped) by talents and gain a chunk of health with bearform, and have both barkskin and survival instincts (if specced). This offtank will only be taking Sindy for 10-20 seconds at a time.

The first 65% may make you feel like you can get away with two healers. While this is accurate for that first 65%, phase 3 (starting at 35%) will take up half of the fight length and will require 3 healers: one healer will always have the unchained magic debuff, and if another gets iceblocked (which is very likely), then you will be down two healers until that block is broken.

The Pull:

Now, this is very, very important. Sindragosa will aggro immediately after you kill Rimefang, and as she arrives, she will block off the ramps and upper platform at the top of the stairs. Any players caught up there will be out of LoS and unable to contribute to the fight. Do not stand at the top of the stairs when Sindragosa aggros!

Below is the way we (generally) arranged ourselves for phase 1: tanking her facing away from the raid, with melee arranged along her side and ranged clustering together within aoe heal range and heal range of the tank, but out of the front cone of her breaths. She has a decently sized hit box.


Besides the usual "cleave, tail whip" dragon abilities, Sindragosa has a raid-wide frost damage aura, as well as these other tricks:

  • Unchained Magic: this debuff will always cast on one magical dps, and one healer. If you have no magical dps, then it will just cast on one healer. Whenever a player has this debuff, any spell they cast (including heals) will stack Instability on them. When the Instability stack falls off, it will deal magical damage to that player. 6-7 stacks is fine for P1/P2; in P3, I recommend reducing that by at least one for every stack of Mystic Buffet you have on you (since that increases the damage you will take).


  • Frost Breath: cone breath attack, slows the tank. We had our tank wearing frost resist gear (the crafted stuff) for this reason. If you are not the tank, you need to avoid standing in her front cone, even if you are out of cleave range!
  • Chilled to the Bone: where casters have instability, this is what physical dps get stacking on them. It has a chance to stack on each melee attack. 3-4 stacks is fine; once you get up to 5-6 stacks, however, pull back and hold off on attacks until your stacks drop.


  • Icy Grip: Sindragosa will pull the whole raid (and sometimes the totems too) on top of her. IMMEDIATELY run away from her. If you're lagging, have a holy priest cast the speed-bubble on you (if specced!) or some sort of life-saving buff! Otherwise her Blistering Cold attack will one-shot you. You have 5 seconds to get more than 25 yards away from her. RUN.
She will use these abilities throughout both P1 (100-35% while grounded) and P3 (35-0%).

Phase 2:

At 85% health (and every 1:50 afterwards) Sindy will fly up into the air and cast Frost Beacon (good debuff to add to your raid frames) on two random targets. At this point, your raid will want to run to a predetermined location (we chose the corner by the stairs) and gather up. The two players who are marked with frost beacon need to spread out nearby (more than 10 yards away from others): healers should pump the beaconed players full of HoTs and then, when the beacon wears off, the two marked players will become ice tombed.

Sindy will begin firing explosive frost bombs around the room: she will cast four of them before landing again. Everyone will need to use the ice tombs to LoS the explosions. DPS down the frost tombs a little bit at a time as she sends down the bombs; after the fourth bomb goes off, break the tombs and run back in to repeat Phase 1. If you take too long to break an ice tomb, the player inside will begin to suffocate.

Important: you need to LoS the bombs, NOT Sindragosa herself. There will be little blue frost runes on the floor marking where her next bomb will land. This is what you need to LoS.

Use bloodlust/heroism if available right after she lands from an air phase. You will want to push her past 35% before she enters a 4th air phase, due to the enrage timer. Remember, the last 35% of this fight will take as long or longer than the rest of it, and you want to push through the early phases as quickly as possible.

Phase 3:

At 35% health, Sindy stops hopping into the air, but she will begin casting ice tombs (via frost beacons) one by one on the raid and pulse out mystic buffet on everyone in LoS of her. You will use the ice tombs to drop your mystic buffet stacks as often as possible.

The key to ice tomb positioning is keeping them close enough to the tank for healers to be able to LoS the buffet, but still be able to see the tank to heal them. Your raid will use these ice tombs to drop their mystic buffet stacks via LoS.

If your MT is using frost resist gear, they will want to drop their own mystic buffet stacks after about 9-11 stacks (assuming their OT isn't in an ice tomb). Coordinate a swap after a frost breath to limit the likelihood of the OT needing to tank through a frost breath of their own. Equipping the OT with frost protection pots will help in a pinch, if you are using a dps-geared feral druid. Our OT was getting 4 stacks at most. If you are using a warrior, they can use intervene to quickly rush themselves to an ice tomb to drop their stacks, or use it to get back to the offtank. When the tanks are swapping, avoid having both tanks standing together in the same frost breath.

This phase is all about controlling yourselves, as a raid.
  • Melee should focus on killing ice tombs, as it gives them plenty of opportunity to drop their own stacks without gaining stacks of Chilled to the Bone (from attacking Sindy herself). We had our three melee, including the OT, focus entirely on killing these blocks. One of the melee took charge on vent to coordinate ice tombs: which to kill, when, and to verbally alert who had the next beacon. If any players looked to be standing too close to the next beaconed player, he'd also call out warning.
  • Ranged DPS should try to drop their mystic buffet stacks behind every other ice tomb, while spending the rest of the time killing Sindragosa. It is very important that they pay attention to their instability and mystic buffet stacks, as they can easily kill themselves in this phase.
  • Healers should try their best to keep the tanks and raid alive around ice tombs and instability. Do your best to LoS the mystic buffet at all times without loosing LoS on the tank. If you have unchained magic, limit how many stacks of instability you gain with your mystic buffet stacks, as it is very easy to kill yourself.
Position your ice tombs carefully, and stay away from players who have frost beacon. Chaining ice tombs can easily wipe your raid. If you do chain an extra ice tomb or two, direct your ranged dps to quickly kill the extra tomb(s) before returning to what they were doing before.

We did have a few attempts where we did everything perfectly, but came up against the enrage timer. It is for this reason that we used a dps-spec offtank, since she was able to pour out full DPS when she wasn't tanking, and a frost-resist maintank, since he could take far more stacks in P3 than he could without it.

Good luck!

Highlight: Hand of Salv

So, shortly on the heels of my shammy cohealer making himself his own blog, our ret pally (the one who cohealed offspec holy with me to an alone-in-the-darkness victory) has picked up the blogging bug as well. AttackAttack (yeah, shortening his name in vent is still being sorted out) has started Hand of Salv.

"My hope with this blog is to provide my personal insight into Strict 10 man raiding, raiding as retribution/holy, and my general experiences with the game." He's a pretty competitive sort, which is a relative rarity in 10-man guilds due to the game's overall focus on 25-mans with the world-firsts and rankings sites (guildox being the only one that currently offers 10-strict rankings and "firsts").

He also just recently returned to the game, after taking a short break before the introduction of T9 content. Which means I get to pick on him a bit:



So, go check him out, give him a warm welcome, and prod him to post some more :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Glyph-Swappage in ICC10

Blood Queen Lana'Thel was the start of something I had struggled, fought, kicked, and screamed against doing for as long as I could:

...having to swap my glyphs mid raid.

For a long time, I succeeded in getting away with using only three resto glyphs: nourish, WG, and swiftmend. It was a good mix of tank and raid healing love, and it got us through most of ICC. When Lana'thel gave us a 0.8% wipe, however, I knew I needed to bite the bullet and change up my glyphs, throwing a rapid rejuv in place of WG, since the spread of our little 10-man raid prevented me from hitting more than 4-5 people at once with the spell.

...then came Valithria. I was raid healing, so I needed WG back; I put in WG over nourish to see how the rapid rejuv glyph felt some more.

...and Sindragosa. Well, dang, I needed nourish again (until they just told me to go feral for it!), and RR wasn't as useful as WG.

...and Lich King. More spreading, massive damage, nourish beats out WG. I think. Or maybe I need Nourish AND WG, and RR will get the bench again. Still trying to decide on that!

...and of course the rest of the instance, which in many cases in conducive to using the WG glyph, especially trash, and some bosses that would probably be better with a RR glyph rather than WG due to raid spread.


So now I carry a stack of WG glyphs and RR glyphs: in most cases, a fight will tailor itself to one or the other. My limited bagspace cries against carrying more nourish glyphs, *cough*buttheguildbankiskindlyprovidingstoragespaceforthat*cough*. This is likely the most irritating thing I have found about glyphs thus far, and an unfortunate side effect of progression raiding in an instance that was built to have something more than cookie-cutter boss fights. While I certainly enjoy having a variety of boss encounters, "needing" to swap my glyphs around for each boss is particularly annoying, and I entirely blame the introduction of the rapid-rejuv glyph.

It was fine before this glyph came along. I had my three glyphs, and I was set. Then RR came along and had to spoil the party. I cannot deny its usefulness any longer: there are boss fights where heavy raid damage is going out over too spread a raid for WG to be as effective, and chain-gunning lifeblooms isn't effective enough, and I "need" that hasted rejuv to keep the raid alive on a progression boss.


This list assumes that a boss is "progression," or otherwise "not on farm." Farmed bosses are easy enough for the guild that a glyph swap is not necessary to ensure victory. Experience and gear will move a boss from a guild's progression list to their farm list.

This list is also based on 10-strict raiding with a mix of ranged/melee and 2 (sometimes 3) healers, no others being resto druids.

Lower Citadel - Marrowgar:
  • Swiftmend: generally a good idea, and with the movement phase, definitely a good idea here.
  • Nourish: two tanks plus a spiked player makes nourish an excellent glyph choice.
  • Rapid Rejuv: in his whirl phase, people will be fleeing in all directions, and may not stay in range for healing. Faster HoT ticks may or may not be beneficial here, depending on how far out your raid spreads (thus leaving heal range, etc).
  • Wild Growth: while some strats may have the whole raid clump up in melee range, generally there won't be a need for aoe healing, unless you have a large number of raiders all prancing about in the fire. More of the raid healing will be needed in the whirl phase, when raiders aren't nicely clumped. If your guild uses a brute-force-gear-overwhelm strat that keeps the whole raid clumped up in the whirls, WG would be an obvious choice to take as a glyph for this fight.
Lower Citadel - Deathwhisper:
  • Swiftmend: I love this glyph.
  • Nourish: tanks will be taking some spikey hits, and some dps may need a quick top-off over the hots already running on them before they get one-shot by a ghost, aggro, etc.
  • Wild Growth: most of your ranged and healers will be grouped up together, with periodic damage from aggro, the boss, and death runes. Melee/tanks will also be grouped with pets, though may be spread out too far to make the 6-target WG as useful. In phase 2, everyone will be clumped generally, and death runes can be quickly countered with this.
  • RR: not as necessary here, imo. Given the spikey nature of the damage, a longer-lasting rejuv serves as a steadier base for Swiftmends and hot-buffed nourishes. Lifebloom easily serves here as a good quick-ticking hot.
Lower Citadel - Gunship:
  • Swiftmend: /love
  • RR: Faster ticks on the tanks = glorious.
  • Nourish: assuming a 2-healer set up, you WILL be casting nourish on a tank, and you want it to be as buffed as possible. You may also need your nourish for an aggro-pulling dps on your own ship.
  • WG: given the split of raiders between the two sides, on top of the players jumping in cannons, WG simply will not be hitting 6 players regularly. Raid-wide damage isn't as much a concern, either, as much is negated by pressing the "w" key to get out of targets.
Lower Citadel - Saurfang:
  • Swiftmend: yep.
  • Nourish: tank healing and mark-of-the-fallen-champion healing, easily boosted by hots makes this glyph a no-brainer.
  • RR: the faster ticks allows this spell to counter the random-target DoT debuff without any other healing (in most cases).
  • WG: given the ranged spread and debuff-based raid damage, WG glyph will only be effective in the melee. Usually, the melee won't all have damage, so it's just a revitalize-love on the melee in one GCD. This is an option if you have a cohealer who is taking care of (or helping with) the DoT debuff. If you don't have revitalize, then it's a non-issue.
Plagueworks - Festergut:
  • Swiftmend
  • Nourish: lots of tank-healing here. I'd consider it a necessity.
  • Wild Growth: assuming you group your melee and healers and tanks (and pets) in melee range, you will (probably) find the 6 targets quite useful for raid-healing through some of the inhales and exhales. Target your WGs on the boss to ensure the tank shares them.
  • RR: could also be useful here, but I view it less so than WG. This will be a matter of raid makeup: if you are putting more players out in ranged (and away from AoE heals), RR will become more useful. Lifebloom can easily be used on ranged players, however.
Plagueworks - Rotface:
  • Swiftmend
  • Wild Growth: most of the raid will be grouped up and taking splash damage together.
  • Nourish: depends somewhat on your makeup and assignment. If you're mostly healing the kiter, you will want to prioritize mobility; if you find you are needing to heal the MT with Nourish, then the glyph will certainly be a boon. Nourish will also be enjoyed for boosting through a player who has the disease on them (for those that don't cleanse immediately) to help cut through the healing debuff, and for all those times swiftmend is on cooldown as people run through slime, get sprayed, etc.
  • RR: The faster ticks may be detrimental on keeping the hot going on those who run out of range (to merge oozes) and in keeping players swiftmendable: aoe heals will take care of most of the raid-wide damage. Situationally, with a kiter running through slime pools/ooze, it could be useful.
Plagueworks - Putricide:
  • Swiftmend
  • Nourish: even with three healers, you will be healing tanks, especially in P3.
  • RR: helpful for cutting through raid damage as the group spreads out around slime puddles, particularly in P3. It also results in faster revitalize procs on your abom for extra energy, since the ticks occur more quickly.
  • WG: this one has some usefulness for raids that group up on green ooze explosions to help spread out damage. In most cases, you will be able to bridge your WGs across the raid, as long as they are disciplined enough to stick more or less together (through P1/P2). P3 it is unlikely that you will have 6 players/pets close enough together.
Crimson Hall - Blood Princes:
  • Swiftmend
  • Nourish: 3 tanks, 3 healers. Druids will most often be assigned to the kite-tank, but even with the heavy mobility, nourish is useful for healing your tank. A possible alternative is RR, if you find your mobility is more important.
  • WG: when raid damage happens, it will usually be on a clump of players, and I found that the 6-target was frequently useful. Your own raid makeup and guild's style (and habit of grouping together) may alter your choice.
  • RR: could be useful, but lifebloom can serve the same quick-tick purpose in raid healing. If you find your raid does spread out too much for the 6-target WG to be useful, swap your WG with a RR for the quick-tick heal.
Crimson Hall - Blood Queen Lana'thel:
  • Swiftmend
  • Nourish: even if you're put on pure raid-healing duty, you will likely be using nourish on the dps. It will be more useful, at least, than WG, since the raid is so far spread out.
  • RR: given the spread of players, you will be using rejuv heavily in tandem with lifebloom, swiftmend, and nourish as raid heals. The glyph will help immensely in off-setting the heavy raid damage.
  • WG: it is unlikely that a 10-man raid will find much use for a 6-target wild growth in this fight, where it is detrimental to group up. It is more common to hit 3-4 players with your WG in this fight.
Frostwing Halls - Valithria Dreamwalker:
  • Swiftmend
  • Nourish: whether you are "raid healing" (including the tanks) or dragon-healing, nourish will be used a lot.
  • RR: a definite if you are dragon-healing. As a raid-healer, the raid damage tends to come in spikes, and often the raid is spread out too much to make good use of a WG glyph. You must balance the quicker-ticks usefulness with the fact that it doesn't last as long on the raid/tanks, making their swiftmend eligibility more prickily!
  • WG: only applicable if you are put on raid-heal duty, and only if you have a large group of ranged players who will be grouping up on you, and near the dragon. The splash can help heal the dragon as well as your co-healers and the ranged dps.
Frostwing Halls - Sindragosa:
  • Swiftmend
  • Nourish: even with three healers, you will be tank-healing in parts of P3. Between ice tombs and the unchained magic/instability debuff, healers will be rotating who is doing the active tank healing.
  • WG: your raid will be grouping up, a lot. You will also be able to easily walk up to bridge your WG with the melee. With the constant raid-wide damage, WG is extremely useful in this fight.
  • RR: WG and lifebloom easily make up for not using the quicker ticks of this glyph, since the raid is mostly grouped up. The longer ticks of an unglyphed rejuv will also help those players that are ice tombed, as it will continue to heal them even when they are in ice tombs and suffocating, if applied just before they are tombed.
The Lich King
  • Swiftmend
  • Nourish: even with three healers, you will be tank-healing a decent amount. It also helps if you get sucked into the blade in P3 and you need to heal Terenas.
  • RR: given the amount of movement and tank healing and heavy damage in this fight, faster-ticking rejuvs are a blessing.
  • WG: your raid should be clustering together often enough to make WG useful; however, the RR trumps it. If you want to replace any glyph with WG, I recommend replacing Nourish with it.

So, how about other raiding trees? Are you needing to carry around extra glyphs to swap them around mid-raid? Is this a phenomenon limited to the 10-man raiding scene, where nourish abounds in usefulness for many fights?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Nameplate Mods

I like nameplates, but I greatly dislike Blizzard's styling for them. It's too bulky and blocks your view of things beyond them. I far prefer having transparency to my nameplate mods, and throughout TBC, I used Aloft to personalize them: unfortunately, Aloft is a very resource-heavy mod, and since it uses the DogTag lib, it had conflicts with Pitbull as well as Cowtip.

So, in WotLK, I set out to find a new nameplate mod. I have two recommendations.

1) caelNameplates

Cael comes as-is: no setup options, though if you reaaally wanted to, you can personalize it by digging through the LUA. I don't recommend editing LUA, however, as you'll have to redo the edits every time you update the mod. Regardless, I like Cael's setup and defaults, and really didn't feel a need to edit it from how it came. It's a great simple nameplate mod for someone who wants to see the plates and not be overwhelmed by them. I used these for quite a while, and plan to keep it installed in case I need to revert back to them for any reason.

2) Tidy Plates + Threat Plates

It's much heavier than the caelNameplates, but it has customization options and a wonderful threat detection system that I have fallen in love with (and it's not as heavy as Aloft!). Based on low, nuetral, or high threat, you can alter settings for colors, scale (bigger vs smaller plates), and opacity. Now, I did have to tweak some of the settings because the default "low" threat value had an annoying bright green glow (which you can see in the screenshot below), and I wanted them smaller than the default, but it didn't take much digging to find and make changes to these settings. It also has different options for tanks, who would be more interested in seeing the ones they DON'T have good threat on, and it can switch each time you change your dualspec. I am currently using this mod.

Ignore the power auras going off around the screen :D Below, the large red bars are ones I have aggro on as a healer; the smaller green ones (I have since removed the green glow) are ones that aren't trying to kill me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Circle of Healers: Revisited

Miss Medicina has tasked the Circle o' Heals to review our responses and think upon our original answers. Here goes!

  • 1) Reread your original answers to the questions. With the benefit of hindsight, score your own work in terms of its cringe-worthiness.
Hmmm not much has changed aside the deep-end-dump into the haste pool with the GotEM changes and a Rapid Rejuv glyph that has made glyph-switching mid-raid in ICC a necessary and annoying task. I'm still comfortable with my answers :)

  • 2) Has your class's healing improved in the area you identified as its weakest?
We still have no shields. I don't see that changing anytime soon, though I'd still love to see a barkskin that I can toss to a friendly target!

  • 3) Have you changed your "least favoured class to heal with"?
Nope :) Still prefer cohealing (in 10's) with anyone that isn't another resto druid, for versatility's sake. I don't mind another tree in 25-pugs, though, since they usually prance around as raid healers and let me do my "I want to heal the tanks, too!" thing.

  • 4) Did you read the entries from others in the webring, especially your class?

  • 5) If Yes to #4, did you learn anything that made you a better healer?
Hearing of mods/macros/healing styles that I hadn't previously considered is always beneficial; more importantly, reading the other class' answers gave me insight on my cohealers' skills and abilities. I also added quite a few new blogs to both my official blog roll and to my huge Google-Reader list, which have brought me lots of interesting reads each week!

A few of the responses reinforced my belief that my own class tends to underestimate itself in being able to do more than just raid-heal or use any spell other than rejuv/WG. It made me sad, but it made me a better blogger (I hope) by being able to address these issues and anticipate comments when I blogged about anything contrary to the "druid raid healer" ideal (especially crit/haste changes and talent selection).

  • 6) What tools/resources or information do you think you would need to improve as a healer and how could that help the community at large?
I got Rul to make a resto shaman blog. One more to fill out that disparity in community information!

Beyond that, though, I'm happy with the resources available to me. I enjoy digging up strats and considering mechanics through fellow bloggers, as they offer a wider range of opinions and experiences than I can find just within my guild, and overall a warmer and more helpful atmosphere than can be found on official forums. Plus, the forums don't have stick figure guides... I'm a visual learner, what can I say!

  • 7) What did you identify as your worst habit as a healer? Have you improved in this area?
My bouncy attention around the raid sometimes allows hots to drop off a tank at inconvenient times. I've worked to ensure I only let them drop if the tank is stabilized (not counting LB blooms, of course)... or at least I hope I have. No one has screamed at me about it, at least >.>

ICC has brought out an awareness of a different weakness of mine, however: I am not a very good heal leader/healing coordinator, on the fly. I hate forcing others into a specific job. I second-guess my decisions because I don't want to force anyone into a spot where they feel they can't perform their best or feel trivialized. I KNOW I don't know everything about my cohealers, and forget specific abilities that may lead them to be better in one role or another. I prefer flexibility. I also don't like bossing people around :)

It wasn't necessary to micro-manage 10-man healing before ICC. We didn't NEED heal assignments through (most) of Naxx, Uld, and ToC. In ICC, we do need the assignments for many fights, and it's taking some getting used to.

  • 8) What did you list as your favorite healing spell and your least used healing spell for your class? Are these answers still true? If they have changed, what caused the change (i.e. patch fix, different healing environment, etc)?
Favorite is still Rejuv, least used is still Tranquility. I have pulled Tranquility out in very rare cases of high raid damage, Sindragosa being one of them, but of all my healing spells, it remains the least used.

But still the prettiest.

/p Pretty lights! Gather close for healing!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

RP: Cleansing Nightmares

~~ Just a short bit for fun. There, Rul, I wrote something! ~~

Fighting back a surge of disgust, Kae wrinkled her nose and stepped gingerly through the rotting vegetation. "Blech," she murmured. "They smell worse on the inside."

The elf at her side chuckled, though he too was careful to limit how much of the corrupted ichor he got on his boots. "You know, it wouldn't smell as bad if you weren't a panther."

Kae purred at him in a feline smirk. "Just do your thing, Verd."

"Patience, patience," he chided. Verdicus scanned the browned landscape surrounding them, littered with the broken and twisted remains of the Nightmare's abominations. They continued to slowly pick their way through the rot, until the elf paused. "Here," he finally said.

Kae backed away politely to give the elf room as his form shimmered, great wings unfurling from his growing bulk. A green drake reared back from where the elf had stood and unleashed a rumbling roar; a swirling green mist spilled out in its wake. As the mist rolled out, leaves and flowers sprouted up from the decay, growing up and over the remains of the Nightmare creatures.

Verdicus slowly turned in place, roaring out in each direction to blanket the area of blight with fresh growth. Kae sniffed gratefully at a flower as it grew up between her paws, then turned her golden eyes towards the horizon.

"Verd... the wind has shifted," she said stiffly.

The drake paused before his last roar, turning his own green eyes towards the mass of darkness looming over the hills. "Then we must go," he replied, spreading his wings wide. "Get up here."

"What?" Kae asked, taken aback. Then she laughed. "You deign to let me ride you?"

Verdicus was not so amused. "It's too close, we must go, now!"

Kae sobered and looked back over her shoulder at the swirling mass of clouds. There was no arguing with the drake; she hopped over the fresh carpet of green and leapt towards him. Mid-air, she twisted into the form of a stormcrow, beat her feathered wings a few times to gain height, and then dropped into place along Verdicus' shoulders. Again, her form shifted, this time into the slim figure of a night elf.

As soon as she had a grip along his wing joints, Verdicus beat into the air, sending a ripple through the grass and a littering of debris into the wind. Up and up they rose, angling away from the mass of dark clouds.

"You fly too slow," the drake finally explained, yelling into the wind.

Kae rolled her eyes but smiled. "Shall we go around it and start clean-up on the other side?"

Verdicus hovered for a moment, looking about and eyeing the storm, then continued on. "We must get out of its path regardless... but I have no wish to remain close when it is acting so unpredictably."

"It's always unpredictable," Kae murmured to herself. Though she had spoken quietly, she knew he had heard her over the whistle of the wind, for he huffed a bit and jostled her on his back. "All right, all right. We'll back off for a bit."

He rumbled in content at her agreement. "Besides... I should check up on you. Can't have you going hungry. You little elves eat so frequently."

"Bear!" Kae corrected. "Far less often than an elf. I can shift outside the dream as well, remember."

Verdicus seemed to be relaxing now that their flight was away from the Nightmare's clouds. He chuckled. "Even still... if you could become a dragon, it wouldn't be so much an issue, nor would I have to carry your slow feathers upon my back!"

"Certainly. Teach me to become a dragon, then, good sir!" Kae grinned.

"Hmmph," he snorted in amusement.

"Shall I fly now, then?" she asked.

In response, the drake arched his back, bucking her out into the air before flying on, leaving the elf tumbling through the sky. Kae squealed out an insult before shifting back into her stormcrow form and tearing after him.

They would return to the area tomorrow to fight again against the creatures the Nightmare left in its wake. It was a never-ending battle, but one that must be fought, and Kae's only hope was that they would find some clue to eradicating its corruptive presence from the Emerald Dream.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Off-Topic: My rats

In response to Keeva's post today on her colony, I wanted to share a few pics of the rats I once had.

I will also copy her on the "Note: please, no comments about snakes, I will delete them. It’s not original and it’s not funny."

My first two: Ceres and Kaly. All of my girls were dumbo, meaning they had larger ears set lower on their heads. When these two curled up in my hands at the pet shop and Ceres (the masked) reached up and licked my thumb, they stole my heart.

Kaly outlived Ceres by a good 6 months, and was noticeably lonely after her sister died. She wasn't exactly pleased, however, when I brought home three new little girls: Adara, Blaze, and C'Nedra. I named my draenei priest after Adara (who is peeking out of the mason jar below).

Kaly spent most of her time hanging out with me rather than with the bouncy ratlets, and I didn't mind that. She was happy to snooze in my lap or in the oversized front pocket of a sweathshirt. Eventually, though, as rats are prone to tumors and myco and secondary infections in their short two-year expected lifespan, they one by one passed away, living on only in photos and memories.

I had set up a table with their cage on it right next to my computer desk, giving them free roam of the table (and the play boxes and toys I set on it) with easy access to my chair. Just watch any wires they may have access to, because they WILL chew on them, as well as any clothes you're wearing, and probably your chair, too. I hacked their cage together by hand and mixed together their food myself (both cheaper and healthier); I loved my rats dearly. Even my grandfather was charmed by them: he spent a good 20 minutes walking around my apartment with Kaly perched on his shoulder, pleased as can be. They're very social and intelligent creatures: their only downside is that they have such short lives.

Once the last of my rats, Blaze, passed away, I agreed with my husband that our next pet would be a dog. Unfortunately, our current landlord forbids us to get a dog... but we are looking at getting a house of our own this year.

~~If you are interested in getting your own pet rats, I highly recommend checking out the RMCA for more information.~~

Kae's (10-strict) Emblem of Frost Priority List

My personal "order of precedence" resto frost emblem list, taking 10-strict drops into consideration.

I posted a list of 10-strict available haste pieces for resto druids earlier and can be found here.
  1. Lasherweave Gauntlets, 60 badges. These replaced T9 and have haste (> crit), which I needed muchly and didn't want to wait out on Toravon for!
  2. Vestments of Spruce and Fir, 95 badges. These replaced my crafted Lunar Eclipse robes, which is another crit -> haste upgrade. I also decided that of all the T10 pieces, the chest would be the best place to go offkit, with this purchase.
  3. Lasherweave Pauldrons, 60 badges. This replaced my old offkit Pauldrons of the Glacial Winds: a drop in haste, but a gain in spirit and the 2-pc set bonus. I considered waiting for the ones from Lana'thel, but we hadn't killed her yet by the time I had the badges, and this opens the option later for 4-pc set bonus.
  4. Purified Lunar Dust, 60 badges. This is a big boost to my Sif's Remembrance, and pairs well with the Sliver of Pure Ice (which I look forward to getting the heroic version of).
  5. Idol of Black Willow, 30 badges. Small but definite boost over Flaring Growth; requires build-up time however.
  6. From here I will have to make a decision based off of what drops I have already picked up elsewhere, and how far we have progressed:
    • Cape: Heartsick Mender's cape from heroic ICC10 is better than the badge cloak, but to gain it will require a good chunk of heroic-mode kills. I will decide if I want to purchase this cape at the time that I reach this point in my list, depending on how soon I feel I will be able to get the HM cape from heroic princes.
    • Hat: T10 is ultimately where I want to go, though Thaumaturge's Crackling Cowl is a good hold-over. The T10 does not have haste, so until equipping it gives me the 4-pc bonus, I want to use my cloth offkit hat for its haste. Thus, if I get pants to drop from VoA, I will buy the hat to make 4-pc.
    • Pants: I think it best to wait for a drop from Toravon (the 264 version, either drop or via token upgrade), or else Unrelenting Blood from ICC10 Saurfang heroic. I don't believe they are worth spending badges on until everything else has been purchased. If I haven't bought that hat yet (since I am using the cloth haste hat), then I plan to wait until I have enough badges to purchase both hat and pants together at the same time for 4-pc, thus expanding the length of time I have to hope to get the pants from VoA.
    • Note: the T10 hat and pants would be needed for the 4-pc set bonus. Both slots have non-set versions available as drops in ICC from Saurfang which are rated highly and have haste on them, which is why I have put them at the bottom of my priority list and why they are so dependent on each other.

  7. There is the Circle of Ossus to consider. It is rated (pretty much) the same as the Cord of the Patronizing Practitioner, but the Cord costs no badges and is a drop from heroic Deathwhisper: difference being a *tiny* bit less haste and spirit, and a yellow socket in place of a red. I am *assuming* the socket bonus for the heroic Cord is 7 spellpower, which is currently left off of the wowhead tooltip; programs such as Rawr will need to have this socket bonus added to the item to accurately compare the belts. I think I'll just wait out the Deathwhisper heroic-mode drop rather than spend any badges on this!
  8. Beyond those, I think my badges will then be put to offspec (cat!). That's a whole nother list to be worked out :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

10-strict Sindy down

She's very tough in ten-strict gear. We tried lots of strats. We wiped a lot. And we finally got her tonight, with what is likely the strangest re-working of our raid that we've yet seen. :)

  • MT: our prot warrior
  • OT: our resto druid as a dps cat spec
  • Healers: our prot pally (in holy kit), our shadow priest (in disc kit), and our resto shaman
  • DPS: unholy DK, ret pally, 2x warlocks (afflic and destro), marks hunter

So... we put our HoTs (me) into cat gear/spec and told her to go bear periodically in P3 to taunt it off the warrior (burn every cooldown possible to stay alive, including frost pots), while the warrior dropped his mystic buffet stacks as quickly as he could and taunted her back before the bear-cat-tree got frost burnt.


It worked. Major props go to our offspec healers, and it just highlights the importance of having a geared offspec in such a small raid that is a different role than your mainspec. Even if it means taking a healer and making them dps/ot while taking a tank and a dps and making them heal... because currently, nothing compares to a feral druid's ability to be uncrittable and have survival instincts in a dps spec and armor pen gear!!

We're staring down Arthas on his throne right now and refreshing ourselves on his strat. We're all pretty giddy right now after hurdling Sindragosa... let's see if she turns out to have been harder than the Lich King himself :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Theory

Boss: "Hey guys, we're having problems getting healers and tanks to queue for heroics. Think of some ideas to fix this with the upcoming holiday." /leaves

Underling 1: "Okay, boss. Hmmm, well, the problem is that there are more dps than healers/tanks."

Underling 2: "But why? Are healers/tanks not as fun? Are they more difficult?"

Underling 1: "Not sure, but clearly, they must not be as enjoyable. We should give them an opportunity to do something else... like dps. DPS is more popular."

Underling 2: "Oh, good idea! They'll have a holiday from tanking and healing."

Underling 1: "So we'll create a holiday mechanic that requires EVERYONE to DPS. It'll be great, and when everyone burns out from 2 weeks of nothing but DPS, there will be more tanks and healers."

Underling 2: "Could work. If nothing else, it will highlight the need for more tanks/healers and force more DPS to respec by the end of it. Let's try it!"

/implement Lovely Charms patch

...seriously, what else could they have been thinking? I'm baffled.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Love is in the Air... of course that means we should go forth and slaughter our enemies this year and turn their drops/parts/innards into lovely charm bracelets for our wonderful faction leaders.

...wait, what?

The quests and achievements this year are all a bit different. Most notably, there is
  • a new quest chain in Orgrimmar,
  • a daily summons boss in SFK,
  • you get love tokens to buy stuff through daily quests,
  • and you need to collect charms to turn into bracelets for these quests by getting killing blows on targets that are in a level range to give you xp (and not even a 100% chance to drop).

Yes, healers, this sucks for us. Get your dual-spec dps kit on and get ready to solo some world mobs (fun, I know ><). Or go do HoS and get killing blows on your fellow party members by being too close to them during the stone-block on Krystallus ;) (Yes, seriously, I got a KB on a mage party member today and was given a charm for it). Alternatively, CoS zombies and the dwarves inside Ulduar10 seem to work well. The charms only stack to 10, and the bracelets don't stack, so only farm as many as you need and have room to hold on to... though you can buy/sell the bracelets on the AH, or just beg them off your dps buddies with a sizeable guilt-trip.

If you want a full walk-through of the achievement, I highly recommend Alaron's post over at The Fluid Druid. He has a step-by-step guide on what you need to do for the achievement this year.

My only thing to add aside what I've rambled on already is a quick visual guide on where the crates are outside Org when you get turned into a goblin for the Pilfering Perfume quest (cuz I wasted a costume just trying to find it!):

Have fun ;)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Every Cookie Has a Mission

...shameless off-topic plug.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


So tell me...

What is wrong with this picture?

(Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fun Times in Patch Day ICC

What's a patch-day raid without server instability?

The night started off seemingly normal. Dalaran lag afflicted a few, but nothing out of the ordinary. We were hopeful for a smooth patch. No one spoke of it, of course. Never jinx your raid. Alas, our precaution didn't save us.

Mid-fight with Deathwhisper, the entire raid locks up and DCs. Some log in and find themselves in Dalaran. Others log in and find themselves at the front of the instance. All of Deathwhisper's trash has repopped. "...more rep, yay?" I say tentatively.

We were hopeful that was a single incident, rather than a harbinger of more to come. We clear through the lower citadel and gun straight for Valithria's chamber. The trash filling the hall is easy--too easy, I think, and I grit my teeth on each pull just waiting for a huge spike of damage to surprise the tanks. The spike never comes, and we relax some, staring forth at Valithria and talking tactics.

In a few pulls, we rescue Valithria (we used a 2-tank, 3-healer strat with one raid healer and 2 dragon healers, each trading every two portal spawns). Grateful, Valithria ports out to her freedom, leaving us to continue on our way. We descend the elevator shaft, reminiscing on Serpentshrine Caverns, and gather warily at the entrance to a vast room. Looking up, one of our raiders warns us not to move in until we're all ready: they have spotted the ambush of undead spiders clinging to the ceiling.

Once together, we run in and fight the wave of descending spider-guys.

We rejoice in defeating the swarm of spiders and comment how easy it was.

And then we go to the gate.

And then we look around for a lever to maybe open the gate.

And then we check out the side nooks, thinking they might lead somewhere.

And then we circle the whole room for a while.

And then we explore up to Valithria's room to see if we missed something there.

And then I pop onto Stratfu's IRC chat and ask if we're nubs that missed something on how to get to Sindragosa.

Apparently, according to those in the chat, the room *was* supposed to be a multiple-wave event, and the next wave just never spawned for us. ......

Okay fine, we'll leave her to try the wave thing again tomorrow after a soft reset, and we'll go poke some of the other bosses tonight.

We clear the insane trash into the blood wing (I tend to cyclone the spare mobs here, keeps my tanks safer), and we start up combat with the princes. The tanks and healers line up together, the dps spreading out among us, all facing the 3 prone princes in their columns of red light. Lana'thel orders them to rise, while she herself ports away. We wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And Scythe-bear runs up and starts t-bagging Keleseth, joined shortly by the rest of the raid.

At the same time, from the IRC chat, I hear reports of bosses despawning, some RESPAWNING (they got the same loot when they killed him again), and others just never initiating combat. And all reports seem to be coming from servers within the Stormstrike battlegroup.

Fun times.

We decided to at least go kill Festergut, if possible--luckily, he proved stable for us, and didn't give us any trouble. We killed Precious for a chance at her ribbon-shirt and called it an early night.

On an unrelated note,

U10: Alone in the Darkness

(video link at bottom!)

Few are probably looking back at Ulduar now, but Vortex is pretty bull-headed when it comes to achievements (we do have a large number of tauren, after all). Lacking both a rogue (wound poison, misdirect) and a hunter (misdirect... he's currently vacationing in the Bahamas!), we finally forced our way through Yogg's defenses with no assistance from the keepers.

I covered both the basic Yogg Saron strat and One Light in a fair amount of detail. For the truest form of hard, however, take One Light and nix Thorim's 10% damage and 20% health buff, with no chance of actually killing the adds in phase 3 (thus having them constantly beating on your less-health-than-otherwise tanks).

It is tough, as one would expect. It all comes down to controlling the P3 adds around their shadows healing buff, aggro on healers, damage on the tanks, and burning down Yogg as fast as possible. ICC gear helps, even the ten-man stuff, for making up for the lack of wound poison and misdirects. Your entire raid needs to be on their toes and ready for anything. Getting through P1 and P2 is the easy part... not much change from One Light, aside everyone being squishier. It's P3.

Phase 3 Alone:

Your brain team should get Yogg down to 30% within 2-3 portal phases. With current iLevel 232-251 gear, it should only take 2 phases, assuming all goes well in the brain room. Topside team should be clearing all tentacles and running to the back of the room before the brain team pushes Yogg into P3: use voice chat to coordinate this.

  • 2 Healers: run all the way to the wall. I mean ALL the way to the back wall: hug that wall so tight you leave claw marks. A holy paladin, even an offspec gimpy ret, is a major boon here with beacon of light. We used a holy pally and a resto druid. Keep full hots/heals/shields/etc running on both tanks and keep them both alive as long as you can, because when one of them dies, YOU are most likely going to die next.
  • 2 Tanks: position yourselves between Yogg and your cowering healers. Make SURE you are in range of both healers, but spread yourselves out to minimize Empowering Shadow heals. Use every cooldown you have to keep yourselves alive. Trade off with each other picking up each new add spawn, and make sure you get them before they reach your healers. The longer the both of you stay alive, the longer the raid has to kill Yogg before he wipes you all out. When one dies, be ready to mass AoE taunt the other tank's adds to eek out a few more seconds for the raid.
  • 6 DPS: burn Yogg. Ignore the adds and just burn the back of Yogg's head. Make sure you turn away from skulls, of course, but your job is to get Yogg down as quickly as you possibly can before the adds overwhelm your tanks.


Want a video of the chaos? Check out Vortex's 10-man video on Filefront (click to stream if you'd prefer!). It is from a warlock (topside team) point of view.

An edited version is hosted on YouTube as well, though lower quality.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dreamwalker and Lore

The green dragonflight fascinates me, from a druid perspective. They are the guardians of the Emerald Dream, and from an ancient pact between Ysera and Malfurion, all druids themselves must spend time in the Emerald Dream in trade for their powers over nature.

This pact isn't really discussed much in-game. Night Elves do have the opportunity to escort a sleepy bear-druid down the road of Darkshore, but it's only a taste of the deeper lore behind druids. Druids are supposedly called into the dream to fight against the corruption of the Nightmare (remember the 4 corrupted green dragons around Azeroth that we used to farm NR gear for AQ40?), but player druids have, of course, not been included in this. Understandably from a game perspective, though odd from a lore perspective.

When I switched my main from my alliance druid Kae to my horde variant, Kaelynn, I felt I needed to somehow wrap up or otherwise explain what happened to my elf. I decided that she would be one to answer those summons to fight the nightmare within the Emerald Dream. Thus came to be the title of this blog: Dreambound. When I created her guild tag in-game, I got creative with the rank names, Kae becoming the "Fang of Ysera" (pretentious, I know) while others became Wisps, Figments, and Dream Wardens. From my perspective as a role-player, Kae is locked in the Emerald Dream, fighting alongside other druids against the Nightmare's corruption.

...and that is where I've had to leave it. We've seen little of the green dragonflight since TBC's release, aside working with a few of them in Dragonblight as the flights banded together against Malygos. I was excited with the tantalizing Icecrown quest that sent players briefly into the dream to collect pine cones: a little reminder that it's still there, the Nightmare still teaming with corruption.

Valithria is yet another reminder, and one that isn't corrupted (at least not by the nightmare). I am greatly looking forward to rescuing her this week from the Lich King's experimentation, simply from that feeling of druidly kinship I have to the green dragonflight.

Though my night-elf Kae may be locked in combat in the Dream, Kaelynn yet still walks Azeroth and will see to it that Valithria is freed.

If you'd like to read some of the lore, check out the wowwiki articles: Emerald Dream, Nightmare, and related links.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Highlight: Ancestral Knowledge

A shaman guildie and fellow healer of mine has picked up the blogging bug and started up Ancestral Knowledge.

Happily, this increases the number of 10-strict bloggers, which is awesome as a resource to other ten-man guilds. Among his first posts include his thoughts on Invincible being limited to 25 mans (and he actually read through that whole troll-infested forum thread) and tips on searching for new guilds (which he undertook himself to find mine!). He's also taken the plunge and shared a short RP story--something I've been too shy to do, myself!

Go check it out and give Rul a warm welcome!

Invincible and 10-mans

Blizzard's stance on the mount is the same as for legendary weapons: to allow it to drop in 10-mans would detract from the item's uniqueness. Presumably, they don't want 25-man raiders farming 10-mans for additional legendaries and, thus, the mount: it would increase each 25-man raider's chance substantially to see the mount because they can hit up both the 10 and the 25 version.

Yet, we have achievements that are capable of sensing whether a raider in the group has been to 25-mans. Why not limit the 10-man chance to drop to groups who have cleared the instance without any member of the raid ever having stepped foot in the 25-man? There are multiple ways of doing this, including the gear-check ala Dedicated Insanity or just a "this person has killed Marrowgar 25."

Certainly, once Cataclysm is released, 10-man guilds can go back into ICC25 and try their luck at getting the mount. Just as they can all go back into TK from TBC and try to get the Ashes of Al'ar. *snort* How often does that happen? Most of the time spent in a raid instance is during its height as content, and even now, TK is beyond most players due to its complex mechanics, many of which are built to assume a full 25-man raid, and the drop chance is still infinitesimally small (edit: that is Al'ar, of course; Mimi-head and Invincible are 100% droprate assuming you can make it through the entire heroic-mode dungeon/hardmode). Is it fair to assume ten-man raiders will have to pug a 25-heroic version of a dungeon to get the mount, or have to do it when they're in Cataclysm? Will the mounts even still be available then, or will they be yanked out of the game like the Amani Warbears?

I don't care so much about the legendary weapons. Those are equippable items that impact the raid's actual performance, and to allow them to drop in a ten-man (even with a "strict" drop criteria) would require the coding for a "lower item level" version of the current item, which in turn seems counter-productive to the weapon's existence as a legendary. In the end, the weapons get replaced, shoved off into the dusty corners of banks and taken out to play fashion-craft with outside the auction house.

Invincible is different. This is a mount. In Cataclysm, while the healing legendaries of Ulduar are rotting under a mound of virtual cobwebs, Invincible will still be a glory symbol carrying players across the skies. Mounts are useful. We still see the Al'ar mount and sigh in jealousy, or the Headless Horseman's mount, or Rivendare's or Attuman's or the black AQ bug. We even still see the RARE original mounts of the game owned by players who have been in since day one, and didn't turn them in for the graphic upgrades. Mounts live on in a way that legendary weapons don't.

Mimiron's Head was handled the same way as they plan for Invincible: it only drops off of the hardest mode of 25-man. Ten-man gets a trinket that summons a tentacle, which is admittedly pretty cool. There was less of an outcry against this because Mimiron's Head was, as a mount, kinda corny. It doesn't have the same awe factor as the Ashes of Al'ar or Invincible. It still wasn't very fair, but it wasn't in that same way of "wow, I want that... for me, or for my guild."

Blizzard has stated many times that they support and believe in ten-strict guilds as being viable and non-casual, but at the same time, they limit us to the subpar cool-stuff. Legendary weapons we can live without, but when it comes to really awesome mounts, why are we getting shafted, especially when we know the code exists to limit its drops to only those ten mans who ARE strict?