Every Sunday evening for several weeks now, I’ve been getting together with a group of good folks across multiple servers, plugging away at the achievements for Glory of the Icecrown Raider (25 person).

The journey has been a lot of fun, and I’ve learned a lot about how the whole cross-server raid thing works along the way.

Did you know that you can’t use summoning stones in cross-server? The trick to cross-server grouping is that since you’re all on seperate realms until you step foot into the instance, anything you try and do from outside the instance only applies to folks on your own server. Summoning Stones are not in the raid instance with you. So, summoning methods only work if done from within the raid instance, and even then, you have to be near the instance portal. Blizzard changed things a while back so you can’t just bring folks right to you if you’re deep in the dirt. You have to surface to breathe the fresh air, then pull the people in to meet you.

Works great when almost everyone has Have Group, Will Travel to summon the raid to you, though.

Good thing there weren’t any plans to take that away or anything.

Oops, oh, right. They ARE taking away HGWT. They are replacing it with… Ride Like The Wind, faster flight path travel time by 25%.

What a STUPID idea. It’s almost as though someone stopped and asked themselves, “What one quality of game life thing can we change to screw over people who enjoy playing together as much as possible? Ooh, I know, let’s take away Have Group, Will Travel. That way, instead of just summoning everyone to the raid location and getting busy having fun, we can return to the days of blowing a half hour with flying and hearthing and shit waiting for people to get there. Nothing better than standing around for a half hour waiting on stragglers, I always say.”

My suggestion is, take your Summoning Stones and stick them just INSIDE the raid instance instead of leaving them outside. Then they’d actually fulfill their functions for all raid groups, both home grown and cross-server.

What is funny is, I’m writing this without knowing if they already moved the summoning stones on the beta or not. I haven’t heard anyone really talk about Have Group Will Travel since, like, April. Maybe they just moved some summoning stones into instances and raids and eliminated the issue. Got two people in your group that can get there? Then you’re covered.

But then again… maybe they haven’t.

Aside from seeing the truck of stupid barreling on down the road at us, the Sunday night raids have been a lot of fun.

We’ve managed to get every single achievement necessary now, with the lone exception of The Orb Whisperer.

We even managed to get “Been Waiting a Long Time” on our Lich King kill last night, on our first try! I was totally expecting that to take like five tries!

We are sooo close now. Just one lone Orb Whisperer achievement left to go.

The Orb Whisperer has turned out to be the most challenging achievement of the bunch for us. It doesn’t matter how much health you’ve got in your pool when the achievement requires you to kill the bosses without anyone in the entire group taking a set amount of damage in one shot.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re bubbled, either. It only cares that you got hit with it, if the bubble absorbed some it still counts. You need to use the mechanic of the purple orbs on the Kale tank to mitigate the damage from that one effect, and handle all the other spell effects properly, period. No bullshitting around.

Having tons of DPS to burn the bosses obviously helps a lot, because the faster they die, the less dancing you have to do.

Also, having tons of health does help since you can have a much higher DPS to healer ratio in your group. On each of our Orb Whisperer wipes last night, it took longer to actually die when we stopped fighting so we could get a chance to restart it than it did to give it a real go.

Okay, are we clear now? Good.

Now that I’m a few paragraphs farther down the page, I can reveal that I was just playing a practical joke on Matty. I’ve been intending to do this ever since we started talking about doing these achievements. In truth, we didn’t even get to Lich King last night before we were done for the evening, let alone try to give Been Waiting A Long Time a shot. We finished the raid after killing the Dreamweaver. 

But I was telling the truth about only having one achievment left to do. You see, what we really accomplished last night was finishing that pesky Orb Whisperer after all. :) It took us about a half hour of wiping on failed attempts before we got the coordination down, but we did manage to do it.

You have no idea how panicked Matty has been about not being there when we attempted Been Waiting a Long Time. Whisper whisper whisper. I just know that when she read that paragraph up above, the ensuing screams could be received by Curiosity, and damn the silent vacuum of space.

I ask you, if you can’t prank your friends, who can you prank?

But yes, that means that the actual and for true last achievement we as a group need is Been Waiting a Long Time  – Lich King kill.

Sadly, we have come so close, only to have to take a two week break, as the Bear family will be out of town next weekend.

Some folks still need Heroic mode kills of bosses, but we can’t even get that coordinated in my absence due to the second drawback of cross-server raiding… needing to be the Real ID or Battletag friend of someone forming or inside of the raid. 

To be cleaqr, you don’t all have to be Battletag friends with the raid leader. The raid leader can invite one person, convert to raid, check “make all assistants’ so everyone can invite, and then anyone else in the raid can invite people to join, even folks from their own Real ID friends list or just in their guild, no worries, no need to have one single point of failure.

Once Battletags go live in WoW, we could conceivably all share our Battletags on a forum and link up that way regardless of Bear time, but barring that, if the Bear is away, the raid cannot play. :(

Tt looks like the Mists of Pandaria official release date will come just in time to see a whole passel of people proudly plying the skies with dead drakes. I for one will salute our undead dragon mount overlords.

Once the expansion comes out, I expect to take a bit of a break as I level my Druid (as Guardian) to 90, and start my new Panda Monk,

Give it a month though, and I will definitely be looking to start up another such cross-server raid accomplishment group again. It’s been too much fun not to. Just gonna have to wait until we get settled into the gay ’90s first.

Maybe Firelands achieves and flaming bird mounts? Who could say where the whim may drive us on that fine day?

Been having a great time while we’ve been waiting a long time, my friends. Thank you to everyone that has been taking part, it’s been a blast, every single week.

17 Responses to “The Journey Is Almost Complete”
  1. Kay says:

    My suggestion is, take your summoning stones and stick them just INSIDE the raid instance instead of leaving them outside. Then they’d actually fulfill their functions for all raid groups, both home grown and cross-server.

    The problem with this is that it negates the reason behind taking HGWT away in the first place… getting people “out in the world” which is short hand for “make sure there’s a large supply of people who’d rather be doing other things available for PvPers to gank.”

  2. I agree, I don’t really understand why they’re taking away HG, WT. I don’t recall a single instance in the expansion where HG,WT was used outside it’s original purpose to exploit or other wise hinder other peoples gameplay experiences. You’re right, my raids generally start 10-30 minutes behind it’s designated raid times due to people logging on late for whatever reason and it cut a lot of time to just wait for the group to be full and then summon everyone to the instance so we could start pulling. This is going to make people who sit in SW/Org waiting for a summon all the more less desirable to have on a raid team because that’s time wasted. People got used to mass summons and not needing to know where instances are. This is just going to cause raiding to take longer.

    • Rades says:

      As Loukeda mentions below, HGWT was abused early on in Tol Barad. It’s also used currently for raiding enemy cities. However, the TB issue has been fixed, and really, are city raids that crucial a deal anyway? I don’t imagine it’s a regular occurrence on most realms.

      I can definitely understand them wanting people to be out and exploring Pandaria, and not simply hanging around Org. I do think there had to have been better ways to do this, though. Hell, maybe just make it so you can’t HGWT on Pandaria itself.

      As Horde players who raided in Tier 11 know (who didn’t have HGWT early on), manual travel to the raid is a HUGE pain. For Hordies, getting to BWD involved flying out from either Twilight Highlands or Swamp of Sorrows, an annoying waste of time.

      The frustration at cross-realm summoning just makes it all even worse.

  3. Matty says:

    I was about to burst into tears in this fine Mexican restaurant…good one Bear! More later (looks for a group of compadres to start heading north…)

  4. Loukeda says:

    HG, Wt was definitely used outside its intended purposes before it got the nerf. Right at the begining of Cata it was used for great fun in Tol Barad, sneak a rogue into one of the bases and summon the entire raid for a quick cap. But replacing it with faster flight paths is just silly

  5. Theodoxus says:

    HGWT’s loss is sucky – but I think it was the Mighty Warlock Covenant combined with the Righteous Mage Alliance that really got it nixed. Warlock summoning and mage portals will once again be needed.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve been on my druid or priest and someone would ask for a port to Orgrimmar. /invite, WGWT, boom. I’m a nice person. I like doing nice things for people. Blizzard just turned me into an asshole. Guess I’ll need to level my mage next to portal people places.

  6. Riegnman says:

    My suggestion,Blizz, is to take your summoning stones and stick them just inside your. . . Well, that’s probably not a productive suggestion. But it is as good as anything that they have come up with to solve the problem.

  7. Theodoxus says:

    I guess one option would be, once the raid is formed, being able to click on the raid icon and, as with LFR, just get summoned inside automatically (Raid Leader selects size and difficulty). That way, there isn’t any additional abuse potential and people still get to be lazy with their summons (including that one guy in every raid who is always on the ball at at the raid locale 15 minutes early so he can push HGWT and get all the glory – amirite?)

    Those still doing things (getting mats, food, whatever) could just click on the icon to be summoned inside per normal.

  8. Goose Igaly says:

    It’s been great, Bear. Have thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the other BBB followers

  9. Thelandira says:

    I, too, don’t quite get why they are getting rid of HG,WT…what does it really hurt by keeping it?

    Also, I’ve greatly enjoyed our Sunday nights over the last month or so….especially when the pre-expansion dulldrums have taken such a harsh toll on our guild. Many days/nights I am the only one logged in…and I can only do so much alone or dual boxing with my other account (which really isn’t “true” dual boxing…it’s just me on one of my tank toons with some squishie, or low level, dps toon on “follow”…lol). I will miss our Sunday night adventures when MoP hits, but will keep my fingers crossed that they will pick up soon after.

    Thelandira/Sheeturself

  10. Taikuutta says:

    Sheet truly is the best dressed hunter eveh! I too am really loving the Sunday runs. My guild is just a personal bank, so getting to run with a regular group of great people is awesome! Thanks so much for bringing this gang together.

  11. Classy says:

    Have a lovely vacation (soon)! Also, I can’t wait until they let us change our battletags again. I no longer like mine (I don’t really use it) but I want a different one. I’d pay $5 to change it eeeek! I would totally jump in on your Firelands flaming bird mount run. SO many things I still want to collect from FL. Ahh, I’m such a packrat…

  12. Cassaberee says:

    At first when i read about the LK achieve i was like “did i leave to early? DAMNIT!” And i was there last Sunday.

    I too have been have a blast, with my extremely limited free time these days i have had to give up raiding with a group and had been away from the game for a few months when this group thing came up, it brought me back. :-) Glad i was able to get in on it.

    And i too agree Sheet has an awesome transmog, and my toon is jealous of Taikutta’s as well. I wish i could transmog my plate into cloth items. So sad. :-(

    May have to level my mage just for transmog beautification.

  13. Thelandira says:

    Thank you all for the moggin’ compliments! Her current outfit is my favorite, but my druid’s (Draiko – in case you want to armory him) outfit comes in a close second for me.

    And Cass, I thought the same thing reading about the “LK Kill”. Bear got more of us than he planned, I do believe. Hopefully when we finish up ICC we continue grouping for other raids. I’ve only ever seen a few bosses in ToC and Uld and only 1 boss in Firelands. Would love to do complete runs of those.

    Thelandira/Sheeturself

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