Archive for the “Raiding” Category

Pull up a chair my friends, and let me share with you a tale of adventure… yes, adventure, but adventure shadowed by woe!

The story may be warmly familiar, but if you stay with me to the end there is a lesson to be learned within.

On an evening much like any other, a small band of misfit wanderers joined together. The purpose of their gathering was to enter the exciting Firelands, land of fun and frolic.

Firelands! A name that once spoke of endless hours of toil and grinding desperation, but now inhabiting that blessed ‘sweet spot’ for raiding; too easy for serious raiding, just difficult enough to need more than one person, lots of goofy mechanics, cool looking transmogs, and the possibility of super-cool rare mounts. Who could ask for more? Do a barrel roll!

Indeed, Firelands is now a place that is a joy to engage, taking only a scant handful of friends to romp merrily among the murderous minions, but having a bounty of potential rewards. Not least of which, of course, is that most wonderful of raid oddities, a Legendary weapon that multiple classes can use, that has little if any element of RNG, and that has so many stages lots of people can be doing it all in the same raid!

These few, these few, this band of misfits had fought together many a time before. MANY, MANY times before. I mean, seriously, that Legendary chain seems to take a coons age to get through.

Moving through that chain is kinda like trying to move a kidney stone. Lots of screaming and yelling, all out of proportion for the itty-bitty thing you get out the other end. And while it’s really important to you, nobody else really cares how the progress is coming. No, really. They don’t want to hear about it.

Of all of these friends that had gathered together, four had been there the longest.

There was Baddmojo, the Rogue, the tank in leather and the queen in red. Known chiefly for his alcohol consumption, Baddmojo could be counted on to be right up in the face of anything you cared to name, first to fight, warbling his mighty battlecry, “Cloak of Shadows, Cloak of Shadows, blood and souls for my Cloak of Shadows!”

Baddmojo is also known as the master of “where did he go, how the hell did he get to the next boss already, I didn’t know you could fly from Alysrazor direct to him, WTF.”

There was me, of course, the Warlock in spite of myself. Ever in pursuit of that next dribble of Smouldering Essences. What weapon do you have equipped, Bear? What’s that, Bear, did you fight a boss with your legendary staff-in-training equipped again? GG, Bear. GG. Did you remember to switch weapons, Bear? Did you, Bear? DID YOU? OMIGOD WHAT IS SO F’ING HARD ABOUT REMEMBERING TO SWITCH WEAPONS, BEAR?!?

By the way, did you remember to switch weapons back, Bear?

Then we had Elynea the fair, Elynea the Deadly Druid, Elynea of the everlasting hunt. Elynea, who has been on almost every single Firelands run with me, and every single fricken time the fire kitty staff has dropped, she has lost the roll to another Druid that came on our run for the first time and never, EVER came back again. And yet, she hasn’t yet killed me with the powers of her mind through the internet.

Tesh, I’m looking right straight at you, buddy. Firekitty staff ninja.

And of course, our course core foursome of diehards would not be complete without Aldyrr.

Aldyrr the Hunter. Trapmaster. Finder of rare pets. Talented multi-tasker and all around great guy.

Or is he?

There we were, once more unto the breach, facing the rocky chunks of magma, flames shooting into the skies.

We were so close. SO CLOSE.

For me, the road had been long, but I was finally nearing the end of the very last collection phase of the legendary questline. Smouldering Essences, that was my game, and the hunting had been good. 208 of the 250 were in my pouch already, and tonight would get me almost the rest of the way. If not tonight, then on our next visit ‘twould be a certainty.

And might not the mistress of chance smile on me yet tonight? The odds were long, but they could fall my way and this could be the very last night of chasing the chain, and the first day of being bound body and soul to the might of a majestic blue dragon for all time.

It could happen. It probably wouldn’t but IT COULD HAPPEN.

Never piss on the fingers of fate, they might wash their hands of your RNG chances for the future. Semper Fidelis. Always Faithful. It could happen. If not this time, then cheer up, next time for sure!

This was to be a special trip, my son was joining us after many months away from the game on his mighty Warlock Wooffie, and Elynea had brought her daughter along for her first full Firelands fun.

Also, and this was new, we would finally take a serious look at the Penitent achievement for Staghelm. I was sure, with the proper coaching and the use of /kneel macros we would get that one down, after our many half-assed attempts on previous weeks.

We began to kill the many, many trash needed for Shannox to get riled up, and it was so chaotic with summonings and late visitors and invites and scurrying around that we very nearly facepulled Shannox before I ever knew he had spawned.

Accidental boss kills are never a good sign, but first down and time to get a move on. Beth’tilac next, Bear which weapon do you have equipped? The right one? Good furball, here’s a cookie, keep it up.

Time to face the spider, my son wants to go up topside, being on the spider’s web is something he enjoys and remembers fondly it seems. I say sure, the more the merrier, I watch as it seems the entire group goes up top, and I’ve barely given the trash down below a glare and a scolding before Beth’tialc comes tumbling down, the web… comes tumbling down.

Loot, mount up and almost everyone dashes off to the next boss (magma!) as I swap weapons to my baby-almost-legendary and wait out the 30 second cooldown before I can drain the cold, dead corpse of it’s Smouldering Essences.

12… 11… 10… 9…

Beth’tilac disappears.

huh.

Wait.

WAIT.

WAIT ONE MOTHER (^)*(&^)& MINUTE HOLD THE PHONE WTF OVER!?!

WHERE THE FUCK DID MY SPIDER GO?

I SAID WHO STOLE MY MOTHER FUCKING SPIDER IN THIS MOTHERFUCKING RAID?

I look across the suddenly vacant space in shock, to see a lone Hunter standing there, looking back at me.

Standing there.

Hands full of spider leather.

SPIDER. LEATHER.

Aldyrr skinned my Beth’tilac. 

SKINNED HER WITH MY SMOULDERING ESSENCES STILL ON HER COLD, DEAD CORPSE.

Spiderthief, I name you. Trapmaster, Pet Finder, and now Spiderthief.

I’d call you a base, deceitful leather whore, but I’m actually afraid of what that would do to search engines and my traffic. Also, Leather Whore sounds like a pretty cool job description now that I think of it, I used to do leathercrafting, some of the stuff people would ask me to make I coulda put that on a business card, “John Patricelli, Leather Whore.”

I turn to my wife, I turn to her and I say, “He skinned her. He skinned Beth’tilac! He skinned my spider! I could have finished the quest tonight but HE SKINNED MY ESSENCES.”

And she looks at me, eyes devoid of sympathy, Cassie looks at me and she says, “Well, there’s a lot of leather on one of those. Also, you never would have finished the quest tonight. Get over it.”

Really?

Sigh.

Well, fine, but I can pout and write a really long blog post all about it, can’t I? That’s what mature adults do when they get all pouty over a video game, right?

oh, they don’t? they suck it up and move on? hah, you ain’t been around here much, has you?

Dedicated with loving respect to my buddy Aldyrr, make sure you go cheer him up on Twitter, his handle is @jhdesynz and I just know he’d love to hear from you.

The moral of the story, the lesson, the key thing to take away from all this, is… if you’re doing this chain watch out for your buddies, now that Baddmojo knows Beth’tilac can be skinned he announced he’s going to be using that knowledge for evil from now on, I’m telling you, watch your friends, they’re not to be trusted with this kind of power.

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Welcome one and all to my raiding recruitment post for World of Warcraft!

Bear with me, this recruiting thing is new to me. But this is serious.

Are you excited about raiding (on Alliance side) once Warlords of Draenor is released, but you’re concerned with the changes coming to raid team sizes? Do you really want to raid, but you don’t yet have a team?

Why not consider joining Team Wanda and the Band of Misfits (Azuremyst-US)?

Team Wanda has had consistent success raiding in World of Warcraft, both normal and heroic modes, for years now but always as a ten person team.

Team Wanda is a progression raid team that is serious about killing bosses and completing achievements, but on a limited weekly raiding schedule. Balance!

With the changes coming to raid team sizes in Mythic, Team Wanda is looking to expand it’s roster with some determined, skilled raiders who are willing to work with others as part of a team, put forth a ton of effort and concentration into each boss attempt, and can consistently be on time and prepared.

Have I scared you off yet, or are you still interested?

Here is the plan.

During this summer, in less than a month, Team Wanda will be expanding from the current 10 person team to a 25 team, and begin raiding normal Siege of Orgrimmar. The first 25-person raid is planned for Wednesday, June 4th.

The purpose of starting the 25 team now is to take advantage of being able to play current content cross-server so that the new 25 person raiders can shake out, get used to working as a team, and give prospective new players from other servers a chance to get to know Team Wanda (and vice versa) and decide in advance whether server transferring to Azuremyst-US and the Band of Misfits guild for WoD raiding will work for you.

Let’s be honest, it also gives a new raider from another server a chance to make a new alt on Azuremyst, level up to max and get geared out before WoD is released, so the cost of a server transfer can be avoided if that’s a problem.

Team Wanda’s raid schedule is;

Wednesdays at 6 -8 server (PST)
Sundays 4-8 server (PST)
Occasional Saturdays 4-8 (PST) (during progression)

All schedules will be up on in-game calendar at least a month in advance, so you can plan for raids accordingly.

Team Wanda still needs about 7 full time raiders to fill out the Mythic team. 

One sad note… we’re full on Hunters. I know! But what can I say, Hunters are a popular class.

We would prefer to also have at least 3-4 more players to be part of the team that would be comfortable being rotated in/out on a weekly basis. This is called a bench, we would need it to ensure raids every week when a few people might have real life conflicts. So if you are serious about wanting to raid and giving your all, but you just can’t commit to raiding two or three nights every single week, you could choose to join the guild and be one of the members of the bench.  You’d obviously need to try to absolutely max out your raiding main so that when you are needed off the bench, you’re ready to go. Swapping in and out will help keep the gear up there.

So. Interested?

If you’d like to join and give it a try, contact Alkeehol#2134 (Tom, Team Wanda’s raid leader and Band of Misfits guild leader) for further details. Remember, our first 25 person raid is scheduled for Wednesday, June 4th.

Tom says he will be making himself available in the coming weeks for any inquiries. Remember, cross-server raiding is available until we get closer to the actual expansion, when it will be fish or cut bait time. Or server-transferring time, anyway.

Tom says that your current gear level is not a big issue, as we are building a team primarily for Warlords and not for Siege of Orgrimmar. Siege normal (and eventually heroic) is just our training ground for the new expansion.

You should be willing to start on the legendary cloak quest if you do not already have one on the character you are planning to raid with, as the buffs to drops coming later in the expansion will make it much easier to obtain.  With that in mind, green level gear will NOT be acceptable, there is an island full of free purples to get you started. This isn’t planned as a carrying service, even though it is pre-expansion raiding. There is an expectation of wanting to progress, which means putting in the work to do so, on both a team level and on an individual level.

Loot? I bet you have questions on loot.

Suicide Kings is currently the leading candidate for the 25 person Mythic loot system, however that isn’t set in stone just yet. Tier pieces are on a separate loot table and will be dealt with on a case by case. A majority of the raiders in our current team are fairly well geared in heroic gear, so gearing new players isn’t going to take a long time with the abundant drops that come from 25 mans.

Speaking for myself, BigBearButt’s raiding main, Ursinerate, has a decent smattering of heroic gear and I’m one of the bench players for the 10 person team. So when Tom says the current team is fairly well geared, he’s not kidding.

Yes, we’re serious.

I know the idea of expanding a raid team at the start of summer may sound strange, but if you think about it, when better to begin preparing, trying out new players and getting a team nailed down before the expansion comes out?

Currently the plan is to just tighten up and focus the team in advance of Warlords raiding, running as a 25 person normal Siege of Orgrimmar team and getting all the kinks worked out.

HOWEVER, that does not preclude any existing heroic raid progression.  Our current 10 man team clears Malkorok heroic weekly, and we would like to be able to get back to that if not PAST that point with our newly expanded 25 man squad in the days before Warlords of Draenor.

Wait, Bear. I thought you freaking quit?

Um.

Well, I haven’t yet. At this time I have canceled my account, but there are still 13 days active before it shuts down, and I really don’t know if I am going to be able to break the WoW habit or not, especially in the face of Team Wanda raiding. Maybe I’ll renew for the summer, maybe I won’t.

You should keep in mind that this isn’t about raiding with BigBearButt, I may or not be there, and if I’m not there over the summer I probably won’t have earned a spot in the team once Warlords of Draenor comes out.

If you talk to Tom, you should do so because you want to be part of the most kick ass and fun team full of upbeat energy and ‘can do’ attitude without whining or bitching I’ve ever seen. A team that doesn’t suffer fools gladly, or at all.

If I came, would I feel welcome?

It’s a sad commentary on our times (or on what I see on the internet, anyway) but it’s important to me to say that this is not an all frat-boy college-age raid team. There are people from all walks of life in this team right now, of all ages and sexes, and they are joined by a burning desire to kill some freaking internet dragons.

Don’t come expecting a problem and hoping to find something to offend you, and don’t bring your own problems with you to slop on other people. Respect goes both ways.

That means people won’t be talking racist or sexist crap, but at the same time there may very well be tons of jokes about how drunk some people (including the raid leader) may be during off night raids, because all walks of life are welcome, INCLUDING the hard drinking dragon slayer.

Long post, but we’re kicking it into high gear and hoping to fill out the team before the first raid on June 4th.

Interested?  Contact Alkeehol#2134 through Battle.net or send me an email with your questions to thebigbearbutt@gmail.com and put “Team Wanda” in the header.

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Don’t ask me why, but I got a wild hair up my ass about getting the legendary cloak on my Hunter.

No, not the new Horrible Hordie, I mean on my happytime Alliance hunter, Beartrap.

Beartrap, who had been my main bear all the way through the Isle of Thunder, only to be dropped like a mortar base plate during a 20 mile forced march in favor of my shiny new Warlock.

Poor Beartrap had reached 14 of the Secrets of the Empire out of 20 Mr. pencil-necked pipsqueak Wrathion wanted. And I was already exalted with the little twerp, too! So close, but no orange meta gem.

Poor, poor Beartrap.

This could not be borne any longer!

Also, I’ve run out of anything in the game to do that holds any interest for me. Never before have I felt this complete sense of “who gives a shit about WoW, there’s nothing to do” like I do right now. Even during the long stretch of Dragon Soul raiding in Cataclysm I didn’t feel this sense of having nothing left to do.

Just… blah. If this is how I feel now, I am pretty sure I’m not making it to a fall/winter expansion release without unsubbing for the summer.

But there is still this one thing. I could finish out the legendary cloak on Beartrap before I make a decision.

Who knows, I could find a renewed sense of purpose in the game, I could become reinvigorated by the world and fall in love anew with soaring across and Azerothian skies.

And pigs could fly out my butt from all the bacon I eat.

This last weekend I decided to see if I could get any of the missing secrets. I did this by subjecting myself to LFR over, and over, and over. Late last night I endured Lei Shen attempts over and over and over, but at the end of it all 20 were mine!

Now to stick a harpoon up a flying serpent’s ass and run like hell.

Chain running LFR has left me feeling a little sick after witnessing the fruits of the boosted 90 program.

I’m glad the mechanics worked out well, and I get that saying “get your max level character now!” has more punch than “get your 85 and then quest to earn those last five levels so you get some idea WTF you’re doing.”

It still remains that I have never seen so many people, shiny and new, bravely setting out into the world of LFR with no idea how much crap they’re getting into.

It is always painful to see innocense lost.

Hunters seem to be the class that are the most obvious offenders. They have talents and spells that damn near shout ‘I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m in your raid!”

I see Aspect of the Pack left up all the time now.

One person left it up for an entire boss fight, on the Dark Shaman encounter. Entire fight, same hunter left it active the entire time. My UI let’s me see the name of the buff provider when I mouseover, so there was no mystery here. Whispers, ENDLESS whispers throughout the fight to please turn Aspect of the Pack off went ignored.

Others weren’t so kind. I tried to get them to take it off by whisper, but once the tanks figured out who had the buff up, it got ugly and public.

The person never did take it down. We wiped at about 5%, and everyone stood around until the hunter could be kicked from the raid.

I can easily picture them not knowing how to respond to /i chat, or know how to chat at all, or know which button clicks off an Aspect since it’s not like a normal spell.

As bad as that sounds, there is the case of the hunter I met in the first wing of Siege LFR.

During the Fallen Protectors, I noticed this one hunter had a cute wolf pet, and it stayed by his side the entire fight.

I didn’t say anything, we were busy, and maybe they were Survival and didn’t really feel they needed their pet for max deeps.

After the Protectors, on the way to Norushen I checked the damage logs, and they had about 35k DPS. That seemed… a mite low. Not as low as the 20k warrior I saw that stood in ALL the bad, and didn’t understand why they kept dying, but still bad.

So I whispered them, and suggested they change their pet to active because it could add a lot to their DPS.

The person was grateful for my advice. They had never played before, never heard of websites about WoW, bought the game because they could play at max level, excited to raid like they’d always heard of, and were afraid of doing the wrong thing. So they had the pet on follow and passive so as not to cause trouble or do the wrong thing. Did I have any tips?

I tried to help them as best I could, and they seemed very nice. They wanted to play, but didn’t really understand how anything worked so they shut stuff down if they were afraid it might cause problems.

Compare that to the other hunters I saw that left Growl on all the time, but still.

It makes me sad. It’s nice that there are boosted 90s available to bring people into the game, add more subscriptions right when things seem boring as hell for the next 6 months or more without anything new to do. OMG.

I don’t feel that’s it’s doing much of a service for that the new player when there is nothing in game to specifically help them understand what to do with the level 90 now that they got it.

I think the implementation was miles short of being done well. To do something like that and do it well would have taken a revamped version of their ‘challenge modes’ specifically designed to ease a new level 90 healer, tank or DPS through the basics of their class.

A ton of work? Sure. Work that in my mind was necessary. Too late now, but if it was too much effort to do that for the brand new player that never heard of the game before, then they shouldn’t have given free boosts with the purchase of the expansion. Leave it an in-game purchase for existing players.

This is the time, above all others, when those ‘welcome to WoW’ guilds that Blizzard had been building on the servers would do the most good. A place new players could be nughed where they could be told where to find those websites, a place to ask questions without ridicule or embarassment.

Too bad that program fell by the wayside.

I see a lot of trying in LFR. A lot of willingness to give it a solid go, stick with it and win. There seem to be more pleasant attitudes than ever before, at least if this entire last weekend was any indication.

Not from everyone, though. Oh, no.

You’ll be happy to know there are still plenty of asshats that are all about themselves and the ‘go go go we’ve been waiting 15 seconds I’m going to pull for you’ bullshit, and who haven’t adjusted to the fact we’ve got a new generation of player we need to bring up to speed. Or who simply don’t give a shit.

I actually saw it last night on Lei Shen. Three wipes, lost a bunch of people, one of the new DPS that came in (along with a change of tanks and healers) literally posted a stopwatch of 0:17 and said ‘go go go what are you waiting for’ and then ran and pulled.

Didn’t even have groups set up with healers in them for the platforms yet. Lovely little wipe. Did it take more than 17 seconds to recover from the wipe? Yes, I think it did. Did that person give a shit? Of course not.

Bottom line, I have never been embarassed to play World of Warcraft before, but trying to see the game through the eyes of a new player, seeing how these oh-so-vocal ‘experienced’ players talk and act has finally gotten me to that point.

I’m starting to come around to thinking that if people like that are going to be the most prominent part of every group activity, vocal and proud of it, then I feel embarassed to admit I play World of Warcraft. I already feel like I have to whisper people to tell them ‘all players aren’t really like that’.

Especially when I wonder if that is still true.

All I know anymore is me and thee, and I’m not so sure about thee.

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This post was going to be quite a bit different.

I had this thing? You know, the thing with the Cub? And I was totally going to report it.

Then this thing happened.

Trajar wasn’t able to make raid tonight, so I got called up off the bench. That’s what I asked for, to be put on idiot reserve, and so I warm a bench. Happily, I might add. Progression raiding is awesome fun, but requires a massive time commitment.

Anyway, so I got called up, and the first order of business was a first time raid attempt on heroic General Nazgrim.

A few tries on him, and we defeated him. HUZZAH!

A few words on Heroic General Nazgrim.

Heroic Iron Juggernaut is down, and we’ve tried on Heroic Dark Shamans, and the healing and AoE damage on that fight, even splitting with three tanks and managing Iron Tombs sucks.

Let me say that for posterity. FUCK Heroic Dark Shaman. Crazy out of control RNG timer bullshit URRGGGHHH.

A fight that will feel good once we are able to improvise on the fly for any weird ass timer combo. Until then, chaos.

But Heroic General Nazgrim? Completely controllable. Things are on a set schedule, and as long as you control adds properly and kill them like RIGHT NOW in the RIGHT ORDER, and face the sniper towards the wall away from the group, it felt very smooth.

Anyway. After that, we switched to normal, cleared the rest of Siege of Orgrimmar, and there was a ton of time left for the scheduled raid night.

The raid team has been working on old raid achievements when there is free time, so we went off to go after Heroic Lei Shen in Throne of Thunder.

The raid team worked on it a little last week, when I wasn’t there.

This week, boom, down goes Heroic Lei Shen. Titles for all! Satisfying boss kills, TWO new bosses down! Yay!

And then the secret chamber was unlocked and this happened;

Raden chained

Wow. The big one.

I mean, you only get to see this boss once Heroic Lei Shen is dead. Cut scene! RP text! Neat chamber!

We start talking about the fight, none of us remember shit about it. I barely remember seeing videos showing the world first kill team doing it in the center of the room. And balls, big balls everywhere hitting everyone in the face.

The raid leader yells, “We’re doing it live!” and in we run.

We died about ten seconds later to this interesting cataclysmic amount of damage, something like 10,000,000 each.

Fascinating.

So folks read some spell stuff, and we talked for a few minutes, and the decision was made… we have ten minutes left in the raid night, so screw it, pull it and go great gonzo. And kill the blood adds, ignore the vita. And something something heroes.

So we did that, and every once in a while a lightning bolt would come out and zap someone and they would drop dead. Boom! Face, floor, floor, face. Have fun!

In fact, once Ra-Den hit 40% and went into ‘burn phase’ with all the balls, or whenever he started that phase, we were down quite a few people, but screw it, dig in and see.

Down Ra-Den dropped in health, but so did our members, until there were only three left; Pankration the monk tank, Pumpken the shaman healer and Callaghan the paladin healer.

One tank, two heals. 20% left to go.

Then 15%. 10%.

We counted down, and down, and down, and DAMN IF THEY DIDN’T TAKE RA-DEN ALL THE WAY!

So this happened;

Raden Unchained

Pretty amazing, and a testament to how awesome our tanks and healers are on this team. Never even came close to being in trouble, and Pankration put out some amazing DPS, ignoring all the adds and letting him just take the balls all by himself.

To be clear, it was Ra-Den taking all the balls, not Pankration. Thought I ought to, like, be more specific.

So we were excited. Our second pull ever, and Ra-Den is down? Wow!

And then this happened;

guildfirstie

That… was a huge surprise.

All I can say is, way to go Band of Misfits on Azuremyst for kicking ass, and continuing to surprise me with how a bunch of people who are successful raiders can still be so nice, friendly, and fun without becoming flaming egotistical drama-queen asshats.

It can be done. It CAN be done.

It’s something special to have a place where when you log in, there is no stress. There is never a worry as to what drama may have happened while you were logged off, because there wasn’t any. Or if there was, it wasn’t between any of your friends. How incredibly, indescribably relaxing.

Plus successful raiding!

Also, bonus quote of the night; “So the way to do it is to ignore mechanics and go all-out on DPS.”

I do have one more thought.

Damn, I feel sorry for Trajar not being there tonight.

Good news is, they’ll do it all over again when he’s back! And even easier, because his DPS? Woo, puts mine to shame, everything will go that much smoother once he’s back on board.

Started the night thinking “I wonder if we’ll be able to get this boss down” and ended on a heck of a special surprise guest boss appearance.

I love this game.

Oh yeah, and seriously. Screw Heroic Dark Shaman.

Ooh, bonus quote of the night.

Lynn; “I wonder how many other guilds are wondering why they haven’t gone back and killed heroic Lei Shen and Ra-Den before now?”

Tom; “All of them.”

Quoted for truth, get your butt in Throne of Thunder in your fancy new gear and get you some Ra-Den thunder god mojo, man.

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Klaxxiarrayed

We were a grim crew as we filed through the open arch. The Blackfuse Company and a mighty dinosaur. All of that just to guard a door? What else are we going to find up ahead, corrupted Celestials led by a sha-infested Sargeras?

I was past caring. I felt numb. All I wanted to do was get past all of these misguided fools that believed in Garrosh, get this thing done. If the Kor’kron stood and died or were smart enough to run screaming before us, no difference to me.

Throw them all at us, Garrosh. Send us your fine Orc warriors, your true believers in your vision of what a Horde should be. So many good men and women lost for nothing while you cower in your hole. Explain to their mothers and fathers, explain how all this will bring about the bright future of your True Horde.

Or better still, don’t bother trying to explain. They will find the answers for themselves when they see your head at the tip of our spear.

The battle against Thok must have beaten me down more than I thought, because I didn’t get that we were under attack until the hum of an edge whipped past my head.

I ducked, startled out of my thoughts and quickly tossed up a rain of fire to get some breathing room.

Shit, I knew that buzzing sound.

The passage before us was thick with mantid warriors, their razor-edged limbs flashing as they attacked, wings buzzing as some leaped to try and flank us from the left.

Mantid?

Why the bloody hell would the mantid be here? Empress Shek’zeer was dead and gone and the mantid were under the guidance of the Klaxxi while they awaited the birth of a new Empress.

The Klaxxi… yes. Even in the dim light, I could make out some of the markings on the carapaces of the mantid pushing against each other in their eagerness to get at us. These were Klaxxi, untouched by the taint of the sha.

But why?

The Klaxxi warriors we fought showed no sign of wanting to talk it over. They were intent on getting to us and tearing us to pieces. It seemed they had been set to guard the way, and now that we had penetrated past the doors they would kill us or fall. Absolutely fearless and dedicated to fulfilling the will of the Klaxxi’va and their duty, as a true Klaxxi should be.

As we forced our way deeper into the passage, mandibles and armor pieces flying past, I thought I knew what was going on, and it felt like I’d been punched in the gut. Had it really only been a short few hours since I’d jokingly wondered if we would have to fight our family next?

And for my sins, here we are.

I remembered clearly the last time I saw Kil’ruk, my first and best friend among the Klaxxi, the first of the champions I had labored to free from his amber prison.

He had taken me aside to where the great sealed door faced the resonating crystals of the Klaxxi. I had always assumed behind it lay the entombed remains of great Klaxxi warriors of the past, perhaps even the Empresses of previous dynasties. Or maybe that was where they stored the fluids of their champions for genetic manipulators like Rik’kal to work with, always trying to improve the race.

What I learned from my swarm brother was a far different tale.

Kil’ruk had opened the way for me, and led me deep beneath the Klaxxi mound to a carefully guarded chamber. There were decorous carvings on the walls showing scenes from the mantid past. Scenes of the origin of the mantid… and who they truly served.

Kil’ruk said to me, “Wakener, your deeds have earned you the trust of the Klaxxi. You are to be rewarded.”

“The mantid are an elder race. The pandaren you associate with – they are but children. They have their role to play.”

“Each cycle, our young swarm their walls. The pandaren slay the weak. The strong return. With each generation, we grow ever stronger.”

“Before your history began, our empire was vast. We shared this world with our sister kingdoms, Ahn’Qiraj and Azjol-Nerub. Our Gods were many, and powerful.”

“We mantid worshipped the seven heads of Y’shaarj. Great was the Old One, and terrible was His wrath. He consumed hope and begat despair; He inhaled courage and breathed fear.”

“When the usurpers came – the ones you call ‘Titans’ – Y’shaarj was destroyed.”

“His last terrible breath has haunted this land ever since, but the shadows he left behind are mere whispers of his former glory.”

“I tell you now, because you have earned this warning. Your gods are not our gods, outsider. If the Old Ones ever return, we mantid will once again stand by their side. The wisest among you will do the same.”

I had stood in that chamber for some time afterwards, coming to grips with what he meant.

From the moment I had freed Kil’ruk from the amber, I had done my best to be a true friend to the Klaxxi. Together we had been successful in freeing the mantid from their slavery to the Sha of Fear, and regaining their freedom.

The truth was, the Klaxxi were the people I felt most comfortable with. The Horde and the Alliance were full of themselves and their petty fears, their prejudices and their hatreds. They brought their crap everywhere they went, and if they looked to build something for others it was just to consolidate their strength or build alliances so they could have greater resources or more allies for the next time they wanted to fuck something up.

The Klaxxi didn’t play any of those games. They had duty, commitment, a sense of purpose. They followed orders, and put the good of the many before the needs of themselves. They looked for and recognized excellence; what mattered was what you did, not what you said you intended to do. You couldn’t bullshit the Klaxxi, you performed and were rewarded or failed and were tossed on the shit pile.

Everything was aimed towards building a stronger society, a more powerful people that could face any challenge and survive into the future.  They didn’t waste time proclaiming how fucking great they were or how perfect and awesome the current rulers were. No statues were built, no fawning tributes, none of that crap. The Klaxxi didn’t pretend the world had achieved perfection when a royal child was born. They looked to the future, always to the future.

Fuck Varian, and fuck the statue he built to himself at the entrance to his castle. How about the masses starving at the walls of Sentinel Hill? The history of Westfall was written by the blood of those cast aside. But a statue to the greatness that is Varian Wrynn? Oh yes, by all means, open the treasury and bring up the construction teams.

The Klaxxi are my people, I am the Wakener and their swarm brother.

That is what made the secrets he entrusted to me so hard to bear. For all their logic and order, for their goal of a stronger tomorrow, they were still trapped by their beginnings.

Even as they grew stronger, smarter, as they began to think for themselves and act independently, in their hearts they thought it was all in service to some old dead god they worshipped in a musty old chamber.

I had left that chamber grateful that Y’shaarj was dead and gone.

As strong as the Klaxxi were already, it seemed to me every generation that got farther from the days of Y’shaarj would grow more independent. Their efforts to improve the race were bearing unexpected fruit. Given enough time, I bet they’d become a people free of the influence of Y’shaarj and look for a way past the cycle of war with the pandaren on their own. They probably didn’t even realize they were doing it.

I snapped back from my memories in horror, as I realized what this meant.

The heart of Y’shaarj reborn. How could I have been so stupid as to miss what that would mean to the Klaxxi? For all their selfless attention to duty, they still looked for someone, the right someone to take charge and tell them what to do. With their Empress dead they would be even more desperate for a leader to follow. A leader that tradition supported.

Who better than someone consumed by the Heart of Y’shaarj itself? To the Klaxxi, it wouldn’t be Garrosh using the dark power of the heart, it would be the Heart of their One True God speaking to them at last, through a warm-blooded faceless puppet.

Shit. Shit, shit, shit!

My teammates killed the last of the Klaxxi warriors, leaving the rest of the tunnel clear.

We pushed on and stepped into a vast chamber, with, yep, another big fucking locked door on the other side.

The room was very large with a high domed ceiling and raised terraces to left and right. Plenty of room for all manner of flying, leaping and crawling critters to come swarming down on us. Joy.

The room was full of Klaxxi, but the very first thing that drew my eye was an empty wooden crate cast off and abandoned in the far corner of the room.

There lay the chest that had held the Heart of Y’shaarj, still glowing with the lingering purple essence of a dead god come back to life. Proof if I needed any that a remnant of Y’shaarj was returned, surrounded by a swarm of Klaxxi eager to defend the way against any who came.

Against me.

The room was filled with those I had come to call my friends.

My heart was lifted for a moment to see massive Kovok stomping around impatiently behind the Klaxxi warriors like a particularly impatient dog that had forgotten where he had buried a bone. Ah, the good times he and I had had!

But enough. The Klaxxi had their duty, but so did I. There was a reason we got along so well.

Arrayed about the high terraces, the nine surviving Klaxxi Paragons looked down upon us.

I had stood beside each and every one of these powerful champions in battle, and I had cause to respect their will. They had never known defeat, and were so committed to duty they had permitted themselves to be entombed in amber, possibly for all time, just to be ready against the day their might was needed in defense of their people. And in the hopes of a good bloodbath, too.

As I’d expected, the first to recognize me was Kil’ruk, the Wind-Reaver. The angel of death, he who had laid waste to countless pandaren and mogu. He called to the others around him, saying “Look, brothers! The Wakener is here!”

My heart sunk even further. I already knew there would be no talking around this. You don’t convince the Klaxxi, you don’t debate or plead. They make a decision, and then carry it out. You could point out an advantage they overlooked and hope the Klaxxi elders would see your point, but if not, tough shit.

Rik’kal the Dissector turned his head to stare at Kil’ruk in disbelief. “They made it this far? I TOLD you the others needed some microsonic genetic alterations!”

I had to chuckle at that. Ah, Rik’kal, always letting his desire to investigate come before the matter at hand. I still had to laugh at the way Kaz’tik shut him down when Rik’kal wanted to… investigate the source of Kovok’s great strength. At least he did before Kaz’tik pointed out his vulnerability to sonics and how fascinating he might find his own spleen.

Iyyokuk the Lucid was clearly irritated, as if the solution to a clearly foreseen problem hadn’t worked out after all. “How illogical… Did they not take your warning, Kil’ruk?”

Kil’ruk shrugged his winged shoulders as Xaril the Poisoned Mind reminded him, “We Mantid serve a power far greater than they or their gods.”

Kaz’tik finished the brief exchange between them, and in that moment I realized that my chance to speak was lost. I had just watched them discuss how far being the Wakener would carry us, and as Kaz’tik said, the answer was “It matters not. The Old One will not suffer their intrusion.”

The nine Paragons all turned to look at us, and Korven the Prime addressed us directly for the first time.

“We have endured the Usurpers, their children, the loss of the Old One, and soon… you.”

Ka’roz the Locust joined in, speaking as if continuing the same thought. As though all the Paragons were of one mind.

“We will slay you all as easily as we slew the pandaren of old!”

Skeer the Bloodseeker picked up the thread, saying “And then the Old One will remake this world, for the Mantid.”

Hisek the Swarmkeeper fluffed his wings, saying what we knew would surely follow.

“Come, children of the Titans… You face the Paragons.”

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