Welcome to a post that actually mentions WoW.

No, really. Well, I’m sure we can digress into other stuff if you really want me to.

No?

Okay, then let’s go.

Midsummer Fire Festival is here, Ahune is trying to freeze the Slave Pens, and players the world over ask themselves, “Why should I care what happens to the Slave Pens in another universe? Oh, wait, there’s loot? Frost Emblems? Well, okay then. This time. But only if I don’t have to fly back and forth to get there, man.”

Massive kudos go out to Blizzard for taking steps every stretch of the way to implement the seemingly perfect Holiday Boss Event.

Queue for random group from anywhere. When grop forms, everyone instantly forms in the instance, right in front of the boss encounter, no pesky trash (except for one, but come on) and no stupid questions about “Where do we go from here? Which way?”

When the boss dies, the only loot that drops from the communal chest are Cloaks and snowballs. And the quest item the first time. All special, rare, eagerly fought over potential drops are delivered as a random chance directly into each player’s own bags by the Developer Fairy, no ninja opportunities allowed.

It’s a beautiful thing. You either get a pet in your bag, or you don’t. No fighting over drops, no ninja loot tries, just did ya get it? No? Okay, we’ll try tomorrow.

And there is even incentive for groups to continue forming regularly throughout the entire holiday, unlike the last special encounter in Shadowfang Keep, in the form of Frost Emblems for a 5 minute encounter.

This is a mature system that has taken into account all the ugly realities of human nature as learned from an MMO system over the course of five hard years of bitching.

So, what’s left for the players to bitch about? Nothing, right?

Why, the fight of course.

If you have not taken your appropriately leveled** character into Slave Pens after Ahune yet, please, I implore you to do so.

**I say appropriately leveled, because while I don’t know what level you HAVE to be to get in, I know on the first day I saw a level 79 in there, so it ain’t only for 80s. I ain’t saying only well geared 80s should go… I mean everyone that CAN get in there, SHOULD get in there.**

Too bad my 63 Rogue can’t get in. Damnit.

Ah, the Ahune fight as it’s set up right now is one of the most brilliant cross sections of social observation I’ve ever seen.

I have seen more concentrated examples of sheer idiocy, in the shortest possible period of time, in that first day than in the last year combined.

Yep, gotta love it.

If you ever wanted to see tanks that have no business tanking a run let mobs go hog wild on your healer, or DPS ignore a dozen mobs and fire mechanics in favor of standing in one place doing boss-only damage while being hit by ice spikes, or healers that suffer nervous breakdowns or descend into crying fits, than Ahune is for you.

It’s awesome. I’m not being facetious, morons fascinate the shit out of me.

Where are these people when there ain’t a holiday boss? What the heck do they do?

This comes hot on the heals of a Dev/Blue Poster that recently said something along the lines of, “We can’t design things the way we used to, because modern players are so highly skilled.”

To that I respond, no.

/facepalm. NO.

Today’s players are not highly skilled. One day of seeing unguarded, live, raw responses to a new boss fight without Deadly Boss Mods holding their hands proved that.

No, todays players have websites to tell them how to gear, spec, and play, addons to tell them what to do, and guides and videos to show them in advance what’s about to happen. And raid leaders to provide detailed writeups and by-player breakdowns of expectations.

Todays players aren’t highly skilled in anything except learning how to read what other people said, I swear.

I’ve seen more 5500 Gearscore idiots running around like chickens with their heads cut off than I can frankly believe.

Why? What in the world causes this monstrosity?

I honestly think it is nothing less than what the players are really like when left on their own without guidance from someone that takes the time to LOOK and THINK about what’s going on during the fight.

By last night, things had settled down a lot. Most folks have figured out by now what a blue circle on the floor means. You know, unlike all those OTHER times a circle began to form under their feet, this time it meant bad things, so move your ass.

Most folks have also figured out that adds form at blue circles, adds form at boss and run in, and adds left untanked go for the healer. I know this is startling new territory, but okay.

Most DPS have, unfortunately, figured out that most of them outgear the encounter so much that they can successfully do what they prefer… stand in one place, ignore the group, the tank and the healer and all the adds, and just DPS down the boss. Let the tank and healer deal with all that ‘game mechanic’ stuff. Oh, and sometimes they get thrown in the air, but that’s what the healer is for. Damnit, that interrupts the rotation!

I love it. Watching people that first day, live and UNscripted, was mahvelous, dahling.

I saw three different groups wipe, while on my Shaman as Enhancement DPS.

Three groups. THREE OF THEM IN ONE GROUP HAD OVER 5600 GS! One had the Kingslayer title! And Ahune kicked his ass, lol.

Gear equates to skill MY ASS.

I’m not upset at all, by the way. I want to be clear about it.

I find it relentlessly refreshing to see people in the raw showing how skilled THEY are as players as they react to the unknown for the first time on the fly and have to think fast. 

Adapt or die.

Sure, it’s been two days. They’ve had other people tell them by now, “Hey, get out of the blue circle before the spike forms. Spikes be bad.” “Hey, if you don’t grab the adds, they’ll swarm the healer and we’ll die. Get off the boss, he doesn’t move.”

It makes me appreciate every individual I see that demonstrated skill and style. It makes me doubly appreciate the players with words of advice, encouragement, and a positive attitude.

But more than everything else… it gave me a refreshing few hours to mock the hilariously stupid antics of people that will tell you how leet they are for their titles and epics until they’re blue in the face.

That’s all well and good, dude. But, if you’re so great a player, if your skills are really all that… dude, why’d you let the healer die under a wall of adds? He was standing right behind you.

Oh, and in other news… I did Ahune just once on my Druid, and guess what? I got a little buddy. He’s an Ice Chip off the old block.

So now I’m just splitting my time between trying to get a certain awesome looking Scythe on my Shaman, and playing my Rogue. Oh, and watching the Wintergrasp timer, of course.

As of Thursday morning… nope, Horde still own it. Damn they’re badass.

34 Responses to “Yes, yes, the Ice Stone has melted, whatever”
  1. Jenova says:

    I feel your pain. The Horde have the same problem with Wintergrasp on Sargeras US. It took me over 2 weeks to get my titan shoulders, checking every day, at every opportunity. That after earning my tokens ONE AT A TIME!!

  2. Iceveiled says:

    blah. You’re the second blogger today I’ve read claiming to get the ice mini pet on their sole try.

    I have 4 80′s and have done it each day with them and haven’t seen it drop for me or anybody. I know it’s rare, but just once in my life I want to be that guy who says “I only did it once and it dropped.

  3. Seleria says:

    I think the funniest thing I’ve seen with Ahune is the complete opposite of your experiences. A solid 3 minutes into the fight & Ahune himself is at 98% because all of the dps are trying to pad their dmg meters with aoe on adds. Because meters matter!

  4. Drew says:

    “Where are these people when there ain’t a holiday boss? What the heck do they do?”

    They are running random heroics, and making it a miserable time for folks trying to gear up their fresh 80 DPS.

    Seriously. Last night I was in an H-OK that failed on the trash before the first boss. You wait 15-20 minutes to get in this, so of course you want to try salavaging it, but the potent brew of undergeared/learning healer combined with DPS masquarading as a tank makes for failure. And it will be another 15-20 before you get another chance to spin the wheel.

    I didn’t feel this pain before on my paladin when I was doing the heroic grind because (a) I was either tanking, in which case I had sufficient control and know how to taunt adds, or healing, in which case I was powerful enough to prevent a travesty, and (b) the good players were still grinding emblems. Those players are done gearing now, so we’re left with the dregs, and my fresh 80 feral cat has little in the way of CC to attempt to mitigate problems when they inevitably arise. I am reluctant, but I think I may have to switch to tree or bear for purposes of gearing.

    At least I got the scythe this morning (!) for casting purposes, and for the time being, melee DPSing. It actually has better stats and more FAP than my previous staff from the Ragemane’s Flipper quest. :)

  5. dorgol says:

    Comments:

    #1: For some reason the Enchanting recipe for Deathfrost drops from the chest and not from the daily bag. Took my warlock 6 or 7 summons to get it.

    #2: Warrior, Paladin, and Druid tanks have no business losing too many adds on this fight. Death Knights, though, at least have a pretty serious excuse: Ahune and all his cronies are immune to Frost. It’s amazing how much threat comes from Icy Touch (and in my case, Howling Blast). Maybe Blood tanks have it easier, I dunno.

    #3: The Scythe is absolutely awesome for Frost Mages for RP! The “use” ability has a 1-minute duration and 1-minute cooldown. So I’ve keybound it with Frostbolt and Ice Barrier. I’m always surrounded by snow while throwing Ice at my enemies. I luvs it.

  6. Minos says:

    It’s good that they’ve done something to prevent the dishonesty of previous holiday boss summons, but I’m still extremely annoyed that it also prevents the friends who beat me on Scorchling rolls last year from helping me get mine this year like they promised.

    My ideal solution would be to make the items from the bag tradeable. That would still prevent unfairness–nobody can force you to give up what you got in your bag. But you could still voluntarily give it up to someone else in the group, as in the case of my friends helping me farm the pet or when my paladin got the Scythe he can’t even equip.

    Add to that the fact that it’s not even clear if the Scorchling still drops this year, and I’m getting pretty frustrated with this holiday.

  7. Minos says:

    My paladin regularly gets fail tanks when doing Ahune and ends up tanking half the adds himself… as the healer. Even worse, though, is when I’m tanking on my druid. About half the time the healer insists on standing in front of me (probably because the DPS are EVEN FARTHER in front of me) and I have to keep jumping in and out to keep them alive.

  8. bigbearbutt says:

    Oh no, iceveiled, I did the boss on my Druid once and got the pet in my bag. I looked at it in surprise since I assiduously did the shadowfang Keep triad every time without fail and never even saw the pet drop, let alone won it.

    Then I moved on and have only run the boss repeatedly on OTHER characters, and have never seen it drop since.

    All I have to do is think of Shadowfang Keep, and I certainly feel your pain, Iceveiled. Yes I do.

    Perhaps it happened because i wasn’t expecting to see it the next two weeks and told myself I didn’t care. Maybe the pet felt the power of reverse psychology and decided to screw with me.

    Who can ever tell with the loot gods?

  9. Nimizar says:

    In GC’s defence, he was talking about the players that *create* the websites and addons that allow other people to finish the end-game raids with minimal skill of their own. You probably knew that, but I figured it was worth mentioning explicitly for readers that may not realise that was the case.

    I must admit, I generally haven’t seen these utterly terrible PuGs I keep reading about. I don’t know if that’s a consequence of the battlegroup I play on (Bloodlust) or just the fact that I don’t PuG all that much. Still, the tales of human folly make for entertaining reading, just like your barricade story :)

  10. Nimizar says:

    @Minos: no Scorchling drop this year – they added the Frigid Frostling instead. Blizz have said on the forums that they’re moving it somewhere else, but haven’t said where.

  11. Dave says:

    Last time I did Ahune was before we started raiding. We didn’t even have 10 people in our guild. We’d barely even done a heroic. We’d probably done Slave Pens, once. Ahune was really hard! We wiped over and over and over, the healer could barely keep me up while the big add was alive, keeping control of the adds with a Paladin’s mp pool at the time was maddening, but when we finally beat it it was just -so- satisfying. It was like a raid boss!

    So now, doing it to get bear gear for my girlfriend, it’s a little disappointing that the fight is over so quick. Just like it’s disappointing that the horseman is pathetic. Sometimes I wish these fights were scaled a -little- better. The hailstone dies instantly, like before the first small adds spawn, and then for the rest of the fight it’s just naptime for me. I taunt or HoR adds if they don’t die immediately from dps anyway. Kind of sad, but I don’t begrudge these things being tuned for newly geared players. Just makes me think back fondly on how hard we worked the first time.

  12. bigbearbutt says:

    To follow up from nimizar who is dead right, Scorchling does NOT drop from Ahune per Blizzard, but they say he’ll show up elsewhere so don’t fret.

    From the tone of the post they used, I almost think the implication is they are going to put appropriately’ elemental themed pets with their big mommys and daddys. It really was weird that taking down big frost daddy gave the Scorchling pet, even though it was the pet for the ‘Fire Festival”.

    So… might that mean wind and stone pets too? Or VoA pet drops?

  13. bigbearbutt says:

    Dorgol, thanks for letting me knowabout Deathfrost. i actually didn’t see that on the loot table, and hadn’t seen it drop. I’ll have to add that to reasons I run it on my Shaman.

  14. Minos says:

    I read Zarhym’s post about the Scorchling, but I’ve also read lots of anecdotal reports of it dropping. Either a lot of people are confused about the new pet or there’s an unusually high amount of trolling on this subject. Most likely it’s a combination of both.

  15. Ngita says:

    Funny most of them seem to be doing the strat I prefer, Ranged dps on the boss, that means its much less likely to go through 2 cycles. I as tank and kill alll the adds, if their is melee they can help me. The only targets that have threat on the mobs are me, a melee in my aoe range and hopefully a healer also in my melee range and not 20 yards away. Especially if I am on my frost dk tank. I have D&D a dot, and pestilence a dot, blood boil every 10 seconds or so and I can wack them.

  16. Shane says:

    RAWR! My pally got the scythe first try… absolutely bloody useless, he cant use staves :(

    I dont know how your server group is so noobish. Straight from the get go, we were attacking the adds and then the boss when the core was available, no wipes yet (fingers are crossed because I said that out loud). This event is available to level 78′s because I went in on my level 78 Ninja, and I got the agi cloak first try that I cant use for another level (shes 79.5 after doing the flames).

    This holiday has been the best so far. Ive stormed the evil cities of the Alliance on my priest,, not even a shadow priest but a disc priest. Granted I was stormed after by a bunch of evil paladins from the heart of hell itself, Stormwind, after I desecrated the flame in Elwynn forest, but hey I lived. While ensuring the evil fires of the Alliance were put out I was attacked by numerous demons… demons who thought they could kill a priest of the Horde… I say pfft! especially after I turned around and took them out. I think that was the turning point because every time I saw a flagged alliance scumbag I attacked them… So much fun that Im thinking about storming the cities again on my priest while signing up for the Ahune encounter.

    Summing up this is the best holiday event. Especially with the ability to sign up for the frost lord anywhere. I will be storming the cities with my druid next ,oh wait, Ive done that, hmmm my hunter next. Ok, next I will ensure the flames of the alliance are put out on my druid. I better go do that now.

    PS. My priest has a heap of pvp gear from wintergrasp, its a great starting point in terms of getting PvP gear. I do watch the WG counter but only so i can go and ensure WG stays horde…

  17. Llirt says:

    I made it a point to stand on every single one of the blue circles while tree healing. Flying is fun! I was disappointed when Ahune was dead and I couldn’t soar anymore.

  18. Deandre - Dalaran says:

    On my Rogue, I’m geared enough that if the tank has at least two brain cells to rub together, I can tell any ranged DPS we have to just burn down the boss while I handle the adds. I’d like to believe I’m pretty professional about the adds since it took NINTY ONE FREAKING KILLS before I got my agility cloak. In those 91, it only dropped 3 times…usually I lost it to Paladins too, which just burned my *** since they have a Str cloak option (and yes, I know ArP is bad for Paladins).

  19. bigbearbutt says:

    91? Dear lord, thats horrible.

  20. Qwicksylver says:

    Yeah my first time fighting him I was Healing and my wife was dpsing boomkin, we pretty much caught on right away to the spikes and made it through our first time. Though out of the 8 or 9 time we did it that day I only had one group wipe. I have done that place easily twenty times and had no clue a pet dropped lol.

  21. jinkx says:

    As a good friend of mine stated once: Raiding is hard. when raiding you have to move out of fire.
    Problem is that peeps EXPECT to outgear content these days and dont even know anymore what a decent bossfight really is.
    Im levelling a healer atm who just dinged 70 and the number of groups that just barge in when a group is assembled whitout even doing a readycheck, becuase “this is an easy dungeon at level 80″ are astounding. Must say that after i drank up, applied buffs, put totems, and ressed the rest, they mostly get the point :-)

  22. Csara says:

    In actual fact, I miss the old loot system, but ONLY because the parade of alts and my considerate guildies gave me a much better chance at the pet.
    And since they’ve added another in-game pet to the list, I now have two I still need… (no, not obsessive at all….)

    I will admit, I’ve been lucky on the group front, no major fails as of yet. Just, on occasion, some pretty poor dps players that I needed to balance out.

  23. Run it with mates, or expect the other players to be totally greedy freaks, who will need on everything they can. I know this is a negative attitude, but it is what the holiday event has done to me. iLevel 232 are sometimes not worth the pain.

  24. Another Bear says:

    Your level 63 is able to get in there, via a summon. ;)

  25. TerraformerX says:

    Unfortunately there is a bug with the lootchest!
    Mmo-champ warned about this…
    Seen it right the next run, when the Tankcloak was taken out of the chest without the chance to roll on it!

  26. kattrinsaa says:

    I finally nailed ahune last night, popped on and ran a blazing fast HHOL, the pug group chuckled and cheered when I gave my standard. “please keep all arms and legs in the car at all times, if you pull it you tank it, holler if you need mana, and don’t forget to have fun” speech.

    plowed through that, then some guildies said hey, want to come tank ahune? I’m immediately thinking, OMG they want me to tank a boss I’ve never even seen bethree.. err before. (deflationary language.. sorry) They said it was just a matter of controlling adds, I decided, i can do that.. so away we went. downed him first try.

  27. jeffo says:

    I’ve had a mixed bag. First try of the year on my lock, we downed the boss, no trouble (pure pug group, btw), and I got the pet. Later I went in on my Holy Paladin, pure pug. What a nightmare! It took at least five minutes. Somehow, nobody died, though I spent the entire time dodging mobs, running out of blue circles, trying to drag mobs to the tank, saving dps who were somehow knocking on Death’s Door. I had to blow Lay on Hands on one of the dps and then found myself wishing that I had saved it for the tank. We managed without any deaths, and the tank posted healing meters: he was on top, at about 1.9 K. That would explain a lot.

    I’ve run it since on each toon with guild groups and have had absolutely zero problems. And I got the staff. For my paladin. Ah well, the festival runs for another week or so, right?

  28. Zauri says:

    A real tank isn’t even necessary in most groups for Ahune (at least this year; TBC Ahune was another story in my experience). I took my paladin in after changing my prot spec to ret but without changing my role checkboxes and wound up ret tanking with 4700GS dps gear. None of the adds hit particularly hard and most of the time on two different battlegroups the randoms are able to kill Ahune by the end of the first withdrawal.

    Of course, last night I had to be proved wrong. I was pally healing for a group with two warriors and two DKs. They ignored the adds half the time, and everyone ran in to take a swing at the boss, only to be knocked back. Unfazed, they kept charging in…over and over. One died, ran back, and kept charging in…

  29. niceas says:

    What really, really burns my ass is that everyone on these runs seems to think that they should stand wherever the hell they want, rather than, you know, helping the tank deal with adds coming from all directions.

    I have yet to have a healer stand in the consecrate. When I’m healing, I am standing with the tank.

    If you are having problems with the adds, and you aren’t a hunter, run to the tank. Their AOE should more or less solve your problem.

    I have yet to wipe (*knocks on wood*) on any of my toons. That said, the number of times people have either a: dps’d the boss while the adds are spawning or b: stopped dps when the boss retreated makes me want to pull my hair out.

    On the other hand, my tank has all the cloaks, simply through winning greed rolls until my tank cloak dropped.

  30. Carnus says:

    Yeah, kinda had a wake up call on this one.
    What wake up call? Oh. I have a frost DK tank.

    Oh no.

    Yep, no icy touch, no howling blast.
    Just me, my taunts, and my dnd..
    It’s actually kind of fun, but that first 15 seconds of adaptation was scary. :)

  31. Ralph says:

    I have run this a few times this holiday on my Tree, and yesterday zoned in to find a Boomkin tanking (I am in no doubt he would also have been a healer in another group). We cleared it though, despite the 5.7k GS boomkin just standing there and DPSing the boss while a DK tried to coral the adds.

    Got the scythe/staff thing, would be awesome on my tree if I had not got the battered hilt healing mace a couple of weeks ago.

  32. Rob' Ramos says:

    You know… you just made my day with this blog post.

    Seriously. I’m wet from the sudden downpour here in Manila, and it’s a rather fail Monday, but after reading your post (my Guildmaster linked it to us via Plurk), I, was, like… “omg. How can so much win be in one blog post?”

    Thank you so much ^_^

    In fairness, we wiped that first try, on the very first day of Midsummer. Because we did the DPS burn route. Stupid of us, I know, I know. After the wipe, me and the GM decide to do it our usual way and “play this smart and safe.” Also, I’m coming off a two-month WoW-less period so I actually forgot where I put Lay On Hands and I’m rusty with my emergency Retadin healing acrobatics. Poor undergeared Shammy healer friend T_T I know, its not an excuse, but it took me a while to get the old rhythms back.

    Yes, this Ahune is good. Very good.

    Really? A Kingslayer?

    *stops self from giving an indecorous reaction*

  33. Thom says:

    Bear, I think what GC was talking about is the top end PVE players. Look at people from top 10 or even top 100 guilds (Paragon, Ensidia, Premonition, and many more) and compare their progress to that of the general populace. Blizzard can’t use gear as a barrier to these guilds, because if they do – the rest of us are pretty screwed.

    The general population – yeah, there are a LOT of bad players, including some with fancy titles and guilds.

    Grats on your new pet – I’ve run Ahune the past few days on my warrior, and have yet to see anything but the cloak drop.

  34. Resto says:

    haha I feel you pain, the other day I hop on to the Ahune boss with my resto Druid, and I got 3 mages and one paladin tank, so what happen? the Mages decided that the three of them should be on boss all the time, so we had so many adds running lose in a complete chaos tank was trying to gather them all up but she did all she could no one died and the mages killed him, however at the end they began insulting the tank wich i couldn’t resist and defended the tank told them they were a bunch of… (a bunch of insult), due to the fact they just wanted to top meter on boss was awful but nice tanking from that pally

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