Archive for the “Raiding” Category

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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Thokunchained

So! We left behind us the piped-in sounds of a deconstructed Blackfuse Company death dealer in search of the second and final part of the key we would need.

I’m normally the last person to be accused of having too much sense. Again, I chose to sell my soul for a minion to fetch me beer because I was too lazy to get off the couch. Long range planning and thinking about tomorrow aren’t high on my ‘to do’ list.

Despite that, I can’t help but wonder. If I wanted to seal a door so nobody could get to me, I might give one part of the key to the Blackfuse Company, and force a giant bloodthirsty dinosaur to eat the other.

But that’s because I’m an idiot, and it would only occur to me later when I ordered pizza to wonder how the hell I was going to open the door to get the delivery. You can’t be telling me Garrosh was so short-sighted that he locked his ass deep inside an impenetrable vault, and never gave a moments thought to the consequences of feeding one half of the key to a dinosaur.

On the other hand, that would explain so much.

What kind of lunatic declares war on the entire world, right? I mean, come on, it wasn’t enough to attack his traditional enemies, it wasn’t even enough to seek out a whole new continent to declare war on, oh no, he had to declare war on his own side… and then promptly crawl into the deepest hole he could find, lock the door, and feed the key to his pet dinosaur.

Yeah, that’s forward thinking and a strategic genius of galactic proportions.

Or, you know, a bloody loony.

Musing over the shortcomings of our enemy doesn’t get the job done. And if we wait too long, we’ll be digging through piles of dinosaur poop looking for the other half of the key before the day is done.

Not that I’m a stranger to rooting through piles of poop for loot, in fact at this point I consider myself a poop processing professional, a true poop loot scooper, but I’d rather deal with the front end of the critter if at all possible.

Back across the bridge through the spoils storeroom we ran!

Down the rough corridor we trotted, descending deeper into Garroshland with the growing scent of animal musk rising all around us. The screams and cries of caged beasts assaulted our ears, and we could sense that feeling of vibration you get in the air when you are near a lot of pissed off critters in very small cages.

We stopped just short of the lighted cavern and watched as Thok fought against a mass of Kor’kron tamers trying to force him back into his blown out cage.

Yup. That there is one big ass dinosaur, that there sure is.

It seemed fully preoccupied with the fun of trying to eat it’s handlers, but I have to tell you, I didn’t like the gleam I saw in it’s eye.

It looked like there was more to it than simply animal cunning.

It looked, well.

What it looked like was a 200 ton appetite with tooth and claw bits tacked on, a spiked tail, thoughtfully applied metal accessories that all the fashionable dinosaurs are wearing this season, powered by a 20 ton brain keen enough to know that quantity has a quality all it’s own.

There was a bountiful bonanza of tooth and claw with a bodacious booty on board. I guess Kor’kron tamers like big butts, but the veracity of their statements cannot be verified at this time. Since, you know. He ate ‘em.

As the last Kor’kron tamer disappeared down Thok’s gullet, we all gave a little cheer. I found myself rooting for the dinosaur.

Is that wrong?

Pumpken spoke up with what I was thinking, saying “I don’t want to do this.”

Tom rejoined with, “But think of the loot!”

Pumpken was firm. “I don’t want to kill him. It’s not his fault. Can’t we go around?”

I had to stop and think about that one. I mean, we could find another way in, couldn’t we? Don’t we have, like, gnome tanks and shit? In fact, and this is just me, but I could swear we just left behind a room simply crawling with bombs and other illicit weapons of silly destruction.

Hell, I’m an engineer, Mibs is an engineer, it feels like half of our team are engineers because, hello, rocket belts and Jeeves, so I don’t see why we couldn’t just, um, appropriate a few of those portable tracking lasers. Maybe an electromagnet to rip the doors apart in some big hinge-warping time space thingie.

There is this term, maybe you’ve heard of it. Repurpose? I’d like to repurpose a tracking laser right through the locked door.

While I was lost in thought, Pumpken was fighting the good fight on behalf of dinosaur decency. I didn’t say anything, but secretly, my heart was with her.

After this, what will we have to do next? Kill our very bestest friends, all just to bring justice to one immature griefing orc with daddy issues?

But no, no, there is a way things must be done, and our feelings of regret must be pushed aside if we are to proceed further on our journey. We killed General Nazgrim rather than take the time to find the service elevators, so chances are good we’re not going to give a dino a pass.

There is a perverse part of me that can’t WAIT to see what he has to offer in the way of upgrades.No, not because I lust for power. Well, maybe just a little.

No, I’m curious to see what we find, where it’s at, and to settle a private bet I have.

I bet everything we find is Kor’kron-sized.

So into the jaws of certain death strode the ten. No, not the ten thousand. TEN.

Well, not into the jaws. In front of the jaws? Beside the jaws, but a little to the rear, near the leg closest to the center of the room, maybe.

Ten people without siege engines or war machines, strolling into a big room lined with cages full of cranky people, all to kill a ten story tall dinosaur.

I’d like to say that we had learned from all that we had endured up to this point.

I’d LIKE to say that we approached cautiously, analyzed the situation, and proceeded with a clear goal in mind. Short term tactical objectives, fire and manuever to use terrain and line of sight to our advantage, creative use of improvised materials found at hand.

But no. All that came later.

What we did at first was to charge in wands a’blazing to see what would happen.

What happened was, Pankration the Megamonk got out in front of it, waving his arms over his head to draw it’s attention, and the rest of us, and I do mean ALL the rest of us charged in to stand right in it’s blind spot behind it’s left foreleg and started pounding it in it’s side as hard as we could.

Right away, we had problems. It kept shouting, and shouting, and every single damn time it shouted the shock of it broke our concentration, interrupting whatever we were trying to do. Anything, anything that couldn’t be done in an instant would just get knocked right out of our heads. I found myself carefully synchronizing my spells, timing it so immediately after a shout I would cast a few times, then pause for a shout, then cast again, fitting in either a Chaos Bolt or a couple of Incinerates depending on how fast those shouts went off.

Thok kept speeding up, shouting faster and faster until it was all we could do to stand there and not cower in terror. About the only people who could do shit were Arrakeen and her axe, Monstre and Pankration. Trajar the hunter got in some good hits too, but for most of us this was not fun.

Every time that shout came out, it seemed the concussion was knocking us around or something too, because we all started bleeding out the ears, and the scent of it sent Thok into a rage.

It wasn’t long before we were all bloody appetizers, the healers couldn’t keep up anymore, and Thok went all Jurassic Park on us.

As soon as he roared and went nuts, we ran for it.

Most of us had something else to occupy our time. When Thok went wild, some kind of half-assed dino tamer came running into the room to try and regain control. Yeah, good luck with that.

Our more close-in fighters went after the tamer, while the rest of us chased after Thok, running like hell back and forth across the chamber.

Oh, did I forget to mention why we had to run around chasing after Thok?

One poor soul, it seemed, had a special destiny in store; dino chow.

As soon as Thok went bloodthirsty, he fixated on someone and just went barreling tail over talons after them.

The first time this happened, sadly enough, it was Pumpken, who paid for her attempts to spare Thok’s life by having to run like hell.

She quickly changed into a wolf and went blazing down the hall for dear life, 200 tons of angry dino hot on her paws. Tom followed to try healing her on the run, and we all shouted encouragement as we realized that in his bloodthirsty haze, Thok was slavering and chomping and looked ready to rend and shred anything in his path.

We soon found out how true that was.

When the tamer died, we rummaged in his pockets (yes, in the middle of a fight, what part of loot and scoot don’t you get yet?) and found a key to the full cages around us. We looked around and saw a group of Waterspeakers in a cage off to the side. We realized maybe we could free them, and they could help us in this fight!

We ran over to the Waterspeaker cage just about the same time as Thok was growing tired of chasing Pumpken all the way down that long, long hallway, and for whatever dino-brained reason he fixated on Chron, who was back in the big chamber. With us. Like, standing right next to us where we were opening the cage.

Thok came running like hell after Chron. The speed that dino made on flat ground was terrifying. No, really, the more he chased people around the faster he got. It was insane how fast he was getting, clearly every time he fixated on someone he got faster. We had to do something and like RIGHT NOW or there would be no way to stay ahead of him.

Chron saw a wall of dino bearing down on him, made a move towards the left, saw that Thok was about to cut him off, so he swerved to the right instead.

Running, coincidentally enough, through the rest of us.

We had just about enough time to scream “Oh Chron no!”, but it was too late. Buford T Dinosaur ate four of us before the rest had time to scatter, and, well… let’s just say that even if we could have recovered, the survivors were so shocked at this turn of events that we could barely get our hands up in time to scream in horror before becoming a mid-afternoon snack.

Thok ate us, ate us one and all.

That might seem disconcerting to hear, since, you know. I’m sitting here telling you the story of how it happened, but what can I say? We got better. Our dry cleaning bills are freaking EPIC.

This is a protip, but when you see 200 tons of dinosaur bearing down on you, get the hell out of the way, because if you get between him and a meal you will get eaten, right then and there, no waiting, no secret sauce, no sesame seed bun.

A corollary to the protip, if the lunch Thok is fixated on happens to be you, do not, ahem, DO NOT run Thok through the group of your friends.

And if your friends are like my friends, make sure you owe them all lots of money. You want your friends to have a vested interest in your remaining alive and earning wages.

We had plenty of time to face Thok again, this time better prepared to run. Also, we looked forward to opening the cage and releasing the Waterspeaker to help us.

Um, no.

As soon as we opened the cage, Thok took one whiff of fresh fish and forgot all about his fixated lunch. CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP. Who knew Thok was British? Fresh fish and chips sent him around the bend.

While Thok was temporarily sated by his dinner, we piled up on his flank and went back to work. He started yelling and screaming, just like before, but there was something new added to the mix. Ice!

Plumes of icy blood began to spurt from Thok’s wounds, and he started spraying Monstre with an icy breath that threatened to entomb him in a solid block.

Seriously? He gains the powers of whatever he eats? You can’t tell right now, because I look all fierce, but I’m crying on the inside. Fierce crying!

That’s kind of the way it went, though. If he ate one of us he just kept going, but if we unlocked a cage, he would eat whatever was inside and it would calm him right back down.

But whatever he ate, he became. Or some such portentous crap.

After letting the Waterspeakers out (sorry, Gorai!) we tried to look for assholes to release. After all, if you’re just looking for saurian supper, why feed him friends?

Fish should be friends, not food.

We let a bunch of skumblades led by Akolik out next, and sure as heck as soon as he was done munching them, it was acid acid everywhere. Blech.

Towards the end, we could tell we were getting to him. Thok was weakening, but he was still an incredibly fearsome foe. We dared not lessen our efforts. We had one cage key left, and we released Warmaster Montreal Fire Festival into the park.

Bonus. Our weapons caught on fire! All extra burny and stuff. But after Thok ate them, um… his blood caught on fire.

He started breathing flame like a dragon, his blood burst into flames, we all caught fire and puddles of burning blood pooled under our feet.

I know, right?

When I woke up this morning, I never thought the day would find me saying to anyone, “So there we were, fighting this giant fire-breathing dinosaur covered in flaming blood, and then we….”

On second thought, I seem to have those kinds of days a lot lately. I might need to upgrade my life insurance policy.

And borrow more money from all my friends.

Arrakeen spun into the air, twirling her two massive maces like drumsticks and played a Lars Ulrich-sized solo upside his scaly head. BAM! Down he goes!

Wait, when the hell did she get that mace? I thought she had axes. Good lord, the thing is the size of Thok’s leg!

Great, so now instead of filleted, the bosses be getting tenderized.

Once Thok had fallen, nothing stood between us and Garrosh. FINALLY!

We staggered to the massive door, broken, burnt and bleeding and missing several important bits.

We unlocked the door and kicked it painfully to the side.

We strode forward, determined to put an end to this fight and ensure the continued safety of Azeroth.

For my part, I was no longer fighting for king, country or revenge of the Vale.

I was fighting for one thing, and one thing only.

Time off to have an all day spa.

Mud bath, manicure, pedicure, and oh lord hot stone therapy. Massage.

I will fucking KILL for a massage.

Aromatherapy? I have smelled, RIGHT UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL, the halitosis of a building-sized dinosaur. I want some fucking aromatherapy.

Yeah, I’ve found something worth fighting for.

Why do we fight?

You really want to know why we fight, Lorewalker Cho?

I’ll tell you.

An herb-infused heated wrap around my face, hot stones on my back, and a steam tub for later.

With rose petals. And maybe a nice biscotti with tea.

Ouchie!

Buttflame the Fierce

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Thok the Bloodthirsty

There is a trend I’ve noticed through the years.

I know, I know. I mention all of these things, and it probably sounds like I spend my days peering at the world from under the brim of a tinfoil hat.

It’s not true. My hat is lined with truesteel. Provides a lot more protection from the Titan mind control rays, plus it’s a lifesaver when those impromptu bar brawls break out.

But back on topic. My friends just blunder in and out of trouble and don’t think much of it, but I pay attention to these things.

Here is the thing I’ve noticed.

It seems as though the dinosaurs we fight keep getting a little bigger, a little faster, and a bit better armed every year.

Every. Single. Year.

I can’t quite explain it. I mean, sure, my suspicions were aroused the first time I descended into Un’goro Crater. I had barely stepped foot into the leafy green thickets and I was jumped by a raptor.

Only thing is, this raptor was wearing jewelry. Feathers and beads and shit. Makeup, claw polish, that kind of thing.

This concerned me.

I figured there were one of two things going on.

First, maybe these raptors were smart, had some form of primitive tribal society developing, were in the process of developing a rudimentary tribal structure. They were beginning to value ornamentation in efforts to attract a more discerning mate, took pains about their appearance, you know. Dressing themselves up. Checking their appearance out in still ponds and puddles.

Vain dinos.

Or, and here was the alternative that kept me up at night…

Maybe somewhere out there is a dinosaur fancier that crept around, dressing them up. Making them pretty for his own sick, twisted purposes.

Maybe somewhere out there was some errant Troll looking at a saurian fangéd maw thinking, “Mm you got a mighty purty mouth.”

That’s a thought to keep you awake on a cold, lonely night of camping in Un’goro, I shit you not.

Since that day, as I said, I’ve kept my eyes open. I watch, and I study. And I’ve seen the trends.

Dinosaurs with ornamentation, dinosaurs in bondage gear, dinosaurs with laser beams, shoulder fired cannon and even in one case a baby dinosaur learning how to trick his way to freedom from the trolls of Zul’Gurub with torches and stuff.

The creepy dinophile trolls of Zul-gurub.

I’ve come to the conclusion that both of my original ideas were true.

The dinosaurs are intelligent.

And there are people out there, specifically trolls, that, well… fancy them.

Wait, I know, I know, the idea of a special interest magazine called “Dino Fancy” is disturbing, but look at the facts!

Look at the facts.

The trolls, they keep getting caught with tied up dinosaurs, trying to get them to do things that are against their nature.

There are even trolls who, and I hesitate to mention this…

There are trolls that have gone so far down the dark road of dino depravity to have taken the time to learn how to transform themselves into dinosaurs.

I know, that sounds cool at first. Right? And for you and me, it would be. An innocent afternoon daydream from Calvin and Hobbes, romping stomping dino fun. Rawr!

Based on the evidence, I think those Trolls have staked out a darker territory.

You’re probably wondering why I bring all of that up.

No reason. No reason whatsoever.

 

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