Beginners Luck #2

Darraxus writes about beginners luck – which is when a new player gets really lucky on a drop that more experienced players took ages to get.

I think there’s something similar going on when I decide (after some thought) to upgrade the gem in my shield to an epic one – after all, shields never drop, right? And then we run the first boss in the new 25 man instance, and … guess what drops?

I didn’t even bid for it out of sheer irritation at sod’s law. I’ll grab it next time since we really don’t have many shield tanks. But meantime, I will get some use out of that epic gem, dammit :)

I can’t really complain about my luck because Spinks has been mopping up on tank trinkets recently. Not only did I swipe the Heart of Iron from Ignis (picked the one day that the tanks who had more DKP than me was away, which where the luck really came in) but I also snagged The Black Heart from my first ever run at the new 5 man instance.

I am never this lucky, so am enjoying it while it lasts. (If you’re in my raid, I promise not to whine about my luck with drops ever again, at least until the end of this expansion!)

First impressions of patch 3.2

I logged in yesterday with my druid to check out the new cat form, even though she’s a resto druid so I’ll never actually use it in anger. Was paged almost immediately to ask if I wanted to go join a pick up group and heal in the new instance. I said sure (the thinking goes that I’d want to see the place sometime so might as well practice by mishealing people I didn’t know, rather than friends), took about 10 minutes to find the entrance (5 man entrance is on the North side), realised that no one in the group had read anything about the encounters at all, and felt an oddly liberating sense of, ‘OK, let’s try it on heroic and see what happens.’

I actually have no idea how hard the new instance really is. We managed it fine in my PUG. Then we ran it again on normal mode, and decided that there wasn’t a huge amount of difference in difficulty.

Brief notes:

  1. First encounter. Grab a wolf (or horse if you are Alliance). Make tea while the Argent Tournament champions parade around the arena. Enjoy the adulation of the massed NPCs from your home faction. Then charge a random mob as chaos ensues. When fighting the bosses, try to kill them close together if you can – it makes it easier for the tank to pick them all up at once and also makes it easier for you to trample them down if they try to get up (I am not actually sure that this is sportsmanlike but as an undead warrior Spinks doesn’t bother with sissy paladin things like honour.) In heroic mode, you will want to mark the champions so you can focus on one in turn in the last phase of the fight, when you all are on foot. I don’t think the kill order is really important but don’t all fight different ones.
  2. A few easy trash packs to warm up. Kill the priest first, and the evil lightwell will disappear with them (if our priests got evil lightwells as a spell I’d totally re-roll one). You may get one of two bosses. If it is the paladin, turn away from him when he starts to glow, and if you are healing then start to cast as soon as he emotes that he starts to throw his hammer at someone. If he throws the hammer at you, you can catch it and throw it back. If it is the priest, she will summon shadows of familiar old bosses to fight – when she does this, focus fire on the image (her shield reflects damage while it is up). Most of the spells can be interrupted.
  3. The Black Knight. He’s a lot of fun. The fight is in three phases, first you fight him as a zombie (he will revive the blood elf as a ghoul so if you are tanking make sure to pick that up also). Then you fight him as a skeleton with some ghoul minions. Watch out because the ghouls explode at low health. Then you fight him as a ghost. When he is in ghost form the fight becomes a dps race because he puts out a debuff that increases magical damage taken with every tick and also deals magical damage to everyone in the group. If you are healing, check who has the marked for death debuff because they’ll be taking extra damage. (The third phase of this fight was the hardest healing in the instance, I found).

And for any Confessor Paletress fanboys, here’s the script of all the confessions she takes in the Argent Tournament tent. The forsaken one makes me proud to be undead!

We also ran a successful 25 man raid last night, despite half the addons working oddly. The first encounter in the new raid instance didn’t cause too many problems – I actually think it’s quite dull. Note that it only requires two tanks.

Then on to Ulduar which also has a few issues this patch, which are being hotfixed today, hopefully. Despite this we one shotted a few bosses, including XT with all the extra adds. I can’t say I was a great help on that particular encounter because I was in dps mode and managed to die fairly early on.

Must have been still getting over the trinket shock.

Welcome to Hotel Hard Mode

… you can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave …

I haven’t written much about raid progression recently. It’s because the good ship 25-man raiding has been drifting in the summertime signup doldrums. I think everyone is proud that we’ve been able to muster at least one raid a week and even based on that we now have three keepers down and can start to work on Mimiron. I know I am.

wow-heroes also reckons I’m the 7th best (geared) protection warrior on my server. I think it’s more likely that the others didn’t log out in their tanking gear but hey, a free compliment. I’ll take two. It’s actually more of a compliment to our raid group because I certainly didn’t do that on my own. And as far as loot goes, I’m still dancing the victory dance (don’t tell me you don’t do that too) from acquiring the Heart of Iron.

In some ways it is easier to arrange 10 man runs in the Summer, less people to worry about. In some ways it’s also harder. People just don’t take them as seriously as the 25 man runs and seem more likely to drop out at the last minute. So it’s been stressy for the organisers, I think. To know that however solid the signup list appears, you will probably have to be frantically whispering your friends list 5 minutes before raid start anyway.

We’re still working on Yogg, but to liven up the earlier parts of the instance,  we made a start on some of the easier hard modes last week.

uldach

So if you don’t know those ones, the first is a speed trash clear, the second is more of a dps burst followed by some positioning and the third is like regular Flame Leviathan but … harder?

Con-speed-atory

This is the Ulduar equivalent to the 20 minute Spider Wing clear. You have 20 minutes to clear  the three minibosses, as much trash as is in the way, and the Avatar of Freya herself. We found that the key to this was really good coordination and communication between tanks. You will be chain pulling properly (not like Naxxramas where you tend to just pull entire rooms anyway) which means that whoever is not tanking the last trash pack will be running up to mark and pull the next.

Kill order is still important here – big flower before little flowers, tree before dragon. (This is now sounding like a very zen strategy, or like an old codewar spying password. Q: the tree must die before the dragon? A: Yes, and do not forget the big flower.) With the miniboss nearest to the door (the one who casts the iron fists) we like to bounce him between tanks using ranged taunts when he has fists of iron up.

wowhead assures me that you don’t have to clear all the trash to get this achievement. We didn’t know that so we cleared everything and got it anyway. I suspect it may be more of an issue in the 25 man version. This one is especially fun for tanks, speed runs always are in my experience.

Heartbreaker

This was actually a more interesting fight than you’d think to see the videos or to read the strategy. The first big test is whether you can muster enough burst dps to get the heart down within one heart phase. You will want to single tank this one. If there are any pummelers in the first phase, someone has to move them down to where the tank can grab them.

After the heart is down, kill any remaining adds first. The boss will have aquired a bunch more health and healed back to full. His tantrums also hit a lot harder. You have to be disciplined with the gravity and light bombs (which spawn void zones and adds respectively). We had all ranged dps switch to the light sparks when they spawned.

And that’s really all there is to it. This one is quite fun for everyone except the tank – who just does the same stuff as usual. The rest of the raid get to run around, heal like crazies during the tantrums, and do some target switching when the adds spawn. Sorry tanks.

Orbital Devastation

The difficulty will depend on which towers you leave up. We’ve been going with storms and fire which puts more emphasis on people avoiding the beams of lightning and the (moving) beam of fire. It helps a lot if demolisher drivers have figured out the art of stacking pyrite, but otherwise is very straightforwards.

I still find this fight fun even on normal mode. I’m not sure if leaving towers up makes it any more fun – but it certainly doesn’t make it any less.

Hard Modes So Far?

We enjoyed tackling the hard modes this week, and I think they will become our default modes for those fights now. I’m not sure about some of the future ones – reading ahead, I’m seeing a lot of dps races in our future if we go that route. Freya with adds sounds to add some more interest to the fight though, and of course we still haven’t killed Yogg-Saron so don’t really want to spend too much time on the earlier encounters.

But it is fun to have a choice of progression fights.

I am amused to compare this with my experience in heroics this week. I don’t run many on Spinks but I did haul her out for a couple of speed runs through Old Stratholme. It was the double daily (ie. both normal and heroic versions) for two days running and we had a couple of new level 80s in guild who were very keen on the bronze drake.

So this became our private hard mode. Can we include two not-very-well-geared 80s in our 5 man and still make the timer? Oh yes we can. I think running that final gauntlet from the Town Hall to the timed boss in 4 minutes was a personal best (it may have been faster than that, I noticed 7 minutes on the clock when Epoch dropped in the Town Hall and we got to the extra boss with 3 minutes to go).

That’s two bronze drakes to go, and two very happy guildies. And I suspect I was pushing it way harder in the heroic than I did in the Freya timed run…