Archive for the “Recap” Category

It’s funny, the way things work.

A long, long time ago, Matticus the wise and powerful interviewed me as part of his series on getting to know other WoW bloggers better.

I was very flattered, and as long winded as you’ve come to expect, and what it turned into was my first storytime. One of his questions I just ran with and ran my mouth off with, and I had enough fun sharing that story that I decided to continue doing that off and on over the years.

These storytimes are pretty much a fire and forget missile. I send one off, and it’s in the past. I don’t think about them much anymore. I was there when it happened the first time, I was there when I wrote about it as a nostalgic tour, no sense going back to, like, read it, y’know?

All this to explain why I was surprised when Ganluin sent me an email to tell me the link I had on my blog to the interview over at World of Matticus was broken, and to give me the correct link.

My first thought was, “Matt still has that up there? Wow, I guess stuff on the internet really does linger on like the scent of a bad cheese.”

My second thought was, “Crap, I didn’t know anyone ever read those things anymore. That’s ancient history. Maybe I should, like, go back and spell check my shit.”

I fixed the link, but in following the link over to make sure it worked, I took the time to read the interview through.

I’m going to repost the story part down below, just to save it on my own site for posterity. I’m amazed it never occurred to me that I might like a copy of that someday. I’ve always thought of Matticus as living and blogging forever. He is an icon. An immortal, a living legend, the bringer of priestly fire. What if he were to fall? What if he got abducted by rabid wombats tomorrow? Wombats that needed the best healer in creation for a secret wombat mission?

What if, over the course of his quest, Matticus was overcome with mad wombat lust and chose to make his life among them, his new wom-batty people, and never returned?

What would become of his site then? What of my interview?

Anyway.

Reading through the interview, I realized on top of wanting a copy of the story, I had left out some key visuals that would have helped the picture I was painting.

I’m going to kill two Mogu with one swipe here, post the story bit from the interview, and include a few pictures afterwards that ought to make a key bit of the story a lot clearer.

From the interview with Matticus, my first storytime;

Your blog states that you served in the US Marines. You willing to share any good/humorous stories during your time there?

I assume that the statute of limitations still covers… yeah, okay, so those are out. Hold on, let me think. What can I say that wouldn’t incur legal fines or liability?

Right, okay.

I’ll be nice and limit myself to a Marine story, and not include the subcategories of drinking, practical jokes, drinking, crazy physical stunts… oh, wait, that reminds me. Okay, I’ve got one. And I don’t think I can be arrested for anything in it.

So, I’m in the barracks with some friends, in the desert of Twenty-Nine Palms, California. And there are a bunch of us, and we’re bored, and it’s Saturday morning.

One of the guys has a car, which when you’re all PFCs or Lance Corporals, is a BIG thing. So someone suggests we get a shitload of alcohol, bundle some camping crap into the car, and head for Yucca Valley National Monument for some serious drinking and barbequeing, maybe stay over for the night.

Now, at the time I was the ringleader of our little clan, the resident Game Master of our gaming group. (Hell yes, Marines play role playing games. Best groups I’ve ever had in my entire life were with Jarheads. Intelligent men and women, tactically proficient and possessed of wondrous imaginations and low and evil cunning. God, I miss gaming in the service. Oh heck, where the hell was I? Oh, right.)

Right, I was the ringleader. And I usually organized games on the weekend, followed by everyone drinking, listening to Dr. Demento, and then having a steak and lobster tail barbeque in the beer garden outside. Beer garden? Don’t ask.

So I get us all organized, sort out who is going to bring what, then we hit the package store (where you buy your alcohol on base) and off we go out into the High Desert.

And we drive for miles, and miles, and miles. When we finally approach a likely looking campsite near some particularly fine rock formations, we are waaaaay out there.

As the car rolls up to where we’re gonna park, the engine makes some knocking noises… and then with a loud bang! we watch the hood of the car lift up with the force of a massive blow. The car stops. And I mean, right then and there.

So, we look at each other in the back seat, and then we look at the owner of the car. With a deadpan emotionless tone of voice, I say, “Engine threw a rod, Mark.”

He says, equally emotionlessly, “Yep. Looks that way.”

I say, “It’s a hell of a long walk back to the main road, man.”

He says, “Yep.”

I tell him, “Better carry a case with you when you go. And carry a bag. No littering in Yucca.”

He says, “Yep. Damn it.”

So off he went, with a case of wine coolers, to go flag down a ranger. Which he did, eventually.

In the meantime, heck, we had food, alcohol, and lots of free time. This was years before cell phones, so nobody had any way of getting the word out but by walking. Fortunately, it was Saturday, so we had two days to figure out how to get back to base before we’d be missing a movement, namely Monday morning formation. No worries.

Well, at the time I fancied myself a fair free rock climber. I went out fairly often, and enjoyed taking a camera with me to take shots from “How the hell did you get there” angles. I didn’t have any gear with me, but some of the rocks out there were pretty easy grades for a novice. I left the other guys to their drinking, and headed into the rocks.

So I went on in a little valley twixt the steep walls of rock, picked an approach, and started climbing. And the rock out there is nice, there are frequent and easy to reach handholds, indentations, fissures, you name it. I was just climbing to have fun, stretch out a bit. I was wearing jeans, combat boots, and no shirt, because I thought I was quite studdly, and I wanted to get some Sun for a tan.

I am sliding around a steep grade, feet inching sideways on a narrow crack as I work my way over to where I can see the way up is going to be easier. I’m a long way up, but it’s cool. I am pressed flat against the rock, arms spread wide and hands out, kissing the rock good and close, just kinda inching my way sideways.

As I go across this flat steep face, the rock is pretty gritty, and it’s suddenly smooth. It’s like sandstone, with a very fine grade of loose grit on the surface. And I start to slide down.
I force my body closer against the rock, I’m desperate for the rock to love me long time. I mean, I am seriously bear hugging this rock in a way that should require a marriage license and a hotel room.

And as I slowly slide down, I can feel a tugging on my pants as my belt is scraping along the rock. And then, suddenly, hella pain. Somehow, I make myself stop dead, possibly through heretofore unknown psychic powers, I don’t know.

What happened is, the belt buckle post grabbed on the rock, and my belt worked itself free, and the buckle, looped through the belt, came out of the sheath, but was still caught in the belt, all tangled up.

Oh, did I forget to mention that I was an amateur real-life leatherworker, and I’d hand-stitched my woven belt? And I’d used a belt-buckle palm dagger (what is known as a push knife) as the buckle with a sewn in sheath? Sorry, that must have slipped my mind.

Yeah, so the belt buckle came undone, grabbed on the rock, twisted on the leather looped through it, and pointed itself up… into my stomach. Braced agasint the rock.

And I was slowly sliding DOWN the rock face.

Yep, paints a pretty picture, doesn’t it?

So, let’s recap, shall we? I’m way up a rock face, I’ve got a dagger sticking into my stomach, I’m wearing no shirt, and I’m starting to slide down. And as I slide, the dagger is digging deeper.

Now, I calmly access the situation. I am not panicking, but I am 100% aware that I am the stupidest person on the face of the planet, and I’m about to die, die by being stuck with the dagger I myself spent hours crafting into a belt, and the worst part is I have 6 Fosters Oil Cans at the camp that I’ll never get to drink.

Such are the thoughts of a single Marine. Just so you know.

Obviously, I didn’t die. Sorry to break the suspense, but I thought I should mention that, just in case you were getting worried.

Instead, I kept on hugging the rock face fiercely. I slowed my rate of descent, kind of hoisted myself by the skin of my forearms straight UP and then inched the rest of the way onwards to my destination, since I had traveled a hard way up, and then eased my way back down to the bottom of the gulley.

When my feet touched down on soft desert sand at the foot of the rock, I gently pulled the dagger from my stomach, I unthreaded my belt from my pants, and then I threw the entire damn thing with all of my might as deep into the rocks as I could possibly get it.

I assessed my injuries. I had a nicely bleeding, seeping really, hole in my stomach, and the skin on my inner arms, from my wrists to my elbows, was gone. Sinmply gone. my inner forearms were raw exposed meat from being abraded against the rock to stop my slide.

So.

I walked calmly back to camp, and I’ll be perfectly honest here… I derived a certain sense of satisfaction, knowing that my reputation as a bad ass was going to be ramped up a few notches by walking out of the desert covered in blood. Kind of a consolation prize for being a galactically stupid moron.

I proceeded to borrow a buddies’ shirt to wrap up my arms and stomach, after pouring beer all over my arms to try and wash away sand. I’m intentionally trying not to think about how bad that hurt.
I kicked back, had a steak grilled over an open fire, and drank Fosters for the next 8 hours or so, until Mark came back in a park ranger truck, and we carried our happy butts back out of the desert, and I made my way to the base sick bay.

And as I walked into sick bay on that Saturday night, contemplating how to possibly spin what happened so I wouldn’t look like such an incredible dumbass on the inevitable after action report… some corpsmen rushed a guy past me into sick bay on a gurney. And the guy’s mouth was covered in dried blood.

It looked like the guy took a punch in the mouth, but the corpsmen seemed VERY anxious to work on him, so naturally I asked at the counter what was up with him.

Turns out he’d been drinking with his buddies in the desert (surprise), saw a rattlesnake, and decided to show what a badass he was by biting the head of the snake off.

Except the snake chomped his tongue GOOD. And even though he succeeded in biting the snakes’ head off, the fangs wouldn’t release.

I stopped worrying about the reception my story was going to get. Apparently, on a base full of Marines in the desert on a Saturday night, my story wasn’t even gonna make the top three.

All right, so that is the story.

There was one key thing about that story that bothered me at the time, and when I re-read it, it STILL bothers me.

I know what the hell I was talking about with the knife belt buckle thing, and maybe a few other people who read the blog know what they are, but this falls under the category of exotic or obscure weaponry.

I know from some of the conversations I’ve had with many of you that I am not alone in having spent a large portion of my early years mastering exotic weapons. It’s too late for us.

If you are still in your youth, and you are about to embark on a year-long journey of tomahawk practice, this is a protip for you; not once in my entire life have I ever found it useful to be an expert with a blowgun, throwing knives, shuriken, tonfa, tomahawks or  butterfly knives. Not once… okay, well, yes. Once. The blowgun. I think I even told that story somewhere, the blowgun mouse hunter. Fine, but that was a fluke, and a professional exterminator would have been a better idea anyway, so it shouldn’t count.

The point is, if you are still young and eagerly practicing your throwing knife or blowgun skills for hours on end… that’s cool, and it’s fun for a hobby, but don’t neglect marketable skills.  The market for exotic weapons experts is on the down swing, unless a new season of Top Shot starts up.

Anyway, AGAIN.

In the story, I describe the leather belt I had woven, damn that thing was a piece of work. I spent hours weaving the leather and stitching it so it looked like it was grown that way. The belt buckle part was cute but stupid, and falls under the category of “I collect and play with dangerous things, maybe they’ll rub off and make me more dangerous, hur hur.”

I have not only found pictures of the exact kind of belt buckle push dagger I talked about, but also an example of it both in and out of a belt.

Taken from The Martialist, here are pictures of a belt buckle push dagger and belt almost identical to the one I had used in 1982.

BowenbeltknifefromMartialist1

 

BowenbeltknifefromMartialist2

BowenbeltknifefromMartialist3

BowenbeltknifefromMartialist4

BowenbeltknifefromMartialist5

 

If you look at these pictures from the excellent article at The Martialist, you should immediately see what I tried to describe. There is a steel post that sticks out of the knife body, goes through a hole in the leather belt, and continues to stick out far enough to fit through the tongue of the belt, holding it in place.

This clearly makes a belt buckle push knife one of the stupidest emergency weapons on the planet, since in order to get it into battle, you have to unbuckle your belt.

“Hold on, I’m gonna kick your ass just as soon as I take off my pants!” Impressive battle cry heard nowhere at all ever.

What happened to me was that the metal stud sticking out of the knife caught on the stone, and all of my body weight was on that one point, pulling my belt up towards my stomach as I slid down. The leather stretched around the stud, until I slid off the stud, causing the tongue to slide partly out of the belt, loosening the belt, and giving the knife enough slack to come completely out of the sheath, and then, still caught on that DAMN STEEL POST, twist around and get the knife point up, tangled int he belt which was still looped through and around my waist.

When I wrote it the first time, I knew what happened but I couldn’t think of a good way to describe it. I did my best, but i hope now with the inclusion of these pictures you can see for yourself what a galactically incompetent moron it took to almost get killed by my own pants.

I almost got killed by my own pants!

Still just amazes the hell out of me, and I’m the one that freaking did it!

I’m glad it happened. It’s moments like that, that are well and truly lived. I’ll never forget that moment in my life, everything that led up to it, the whole thing. What I ate that week, what I was doing on base, so much is gone and might as well have never been, but that moment, hell that entire weekend will live in my memory for the rest of my life, and that makes it part of the only life that matters, the part that I can remember and experience again, if only secondhand.

Please, if you take anything away from this story, anything at all, it’s to get your ass out of your house, get out there and do something, anything that is out of the ordinary, because the ordinary fades into nothingness, but the special, the unique, the crazy or weird will remain with you forever.

Provided you live through it, of course.

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I ran the new LFR with a bunch of experienced raiding guildies last night.

I have a bit of a war warning for you. A notice to be attentive on the Twin Consorts.

There is this incredibly fun mechanic in Twin Consorts.

There are four celestial pedestals, one in each corner of the room. On these pedestals is one of each of the four Celestials in miniature, crane for DPS on the boss, tiger to slow down the boss attacks, ox to increase the raids health and dragon to grant health and mana regen.

No Life at 90 once again did an outstanding write-up on LFR mechanics that makes perfect sense once you’ve done it once and have seen what they’re describing. I’m delighted to link to their post, so if you’d like some excellent details on how to do the fights, you can find them there.

I’m here to talk pedestals.

These pedestals are awesome.

If you run to one and click on it, it takes you out of phase to the rest of the raid and bosses, and the chamber clears out to be replaced with a shadowy replica of the room, and seven stars in the center.

You have a pattern appear over your head, and you must run through the stars in the room to duplicate that pattern, starting with the brightest star. If done correctly, you are returned to the raid chamber to the fight already in progress, the celestial appears and the effect begins.

Here is an image from our ten normal run on Sunday to show you exactly what I mean.

Twin Consorts celestial small

As you can see from the picture, there is a little picture over your head that shows the motion of your projected path through the stars. You can also see that I am just completing the “W” path, and the beacon of light over the star that you must use as your starting point.

If you fail to do the pattern correctly, the star that you ran through that was wrong pulses red. You have to start over. If you take too long, then you are booted from the phase just as if you’d done the whole thing correctly… and after a couple of seconds the pedestals all reset and you (or someone else) can try again.

Since I did it successfully on normal, our pre-made peeps on vent nominated me to take control of this mechanic and lock anyone else out from using it at the wrong times. Perhaps my having the lowest DPS among our guildies in the pre-made also had something to do with it. :)

Here is why this is a concern in LFR.

When one pedestal is clicked, the player that activated it is taken out of phase. While in there, nobody else can interact with or use any pedestal.

There is a limited amount of time to correctly do the pattern, and if the person fails they are returned to the raid. But they take no damage while inside, and they are not blocked from immediately trying again.

If you take too long, if for example you just entered the phase and /danced, then at the end of the time allowed you are returned to the raid, where you can immediately click the pedestal in front of you and try again.

I’ll say that again. Whoever is the fastest to click any pedestal when they come to life will be the first and only person to enter the phase, presented with the pattern for that pedestal, and the game waits for you to successfully duplicate the pattern, locking out all others. If you fail, there are no consequences to you the player at all. You are simply returned to the fight.

Once a celestial effect is successfully activated, the player is returned to the raid, and while the effect is live, all the pedestals are inert. So, there is a short period of time you can use to get to another pedestal and be ready to click on it to activate it as soon as the last celestial effect wears off.

There are four pedestals, one for each celestial effect. You can use each effect only once total spanning the night/day phases, and then they all reset when dusk phase begins.

Think about that for a second.

There is a mechanic in Twin Consorts that lets someone click a pedestal, be taken out of the raid area to a special place where there is NO DAMAGE WHATSOEVER, where they can do whatever they’d like until the timer runs out. Then, they are returned to the raid standing in front of that pedestal, which will reset in just a few seconds for them to click it again.

This is LFR we’re talking about. How long will it be before someone simply clicks a pedestal and stands there phased out doing nothing for the entire fight, preventing anyone else in the raid from using any of the special effects while they were at it?

I would strongly have desired there to be an LFR-only lockout, where if  a player goes into a pedestal, when they came out it would prevent them from interacting with any other pedestal again.

That would give eight players out of twenty-five the opportunity to use and experience the phased space every pull, while preventing any one player from bogarting the celestial kingdom.

Maybe it’s not a perfect solution, but I think it would solve more problems than it would cause, and encourage people to learn the mechanic. I’d be happy with it.

As I said at the beginning, our pre-made players nominated me to do all the celestial pedestals, and let everyone know in raid chat I’d be handling it, so not to worry about it.

Even so, we had an arms Warrior that wanted to fight me for them, without actually activating them.

Yep, that fast.

At the beginning, I took the Tiger and activated it. Our intention was to use the Tiger in night to slow down the green mists that put you to sleep, give you a chance to duck away from some of the AOE damage.

Then I would leave them all alone until day phase, where I would in sequence use Crane for the direct DPS against the Sun boss, Dragon for the healing and mana regen because OMIGOD flame buff and ignored Ice Comets, and then I’d ignore Ox and just DPS.

What actually happened was, I activated Tiger, and then proceeded to DPS. While doing so, I kept an eye out for the pedestals, just to see if anyone else intended to play with them.

I saw the arms Warrior go over to Ox, and sure enough, he clicked it and vanished. After a while, he reappeared but there wasn’t an Ox. He failed to activate it.

Then he vanished again.

Huh. Well, let him play say I, because we weren’t planning on using Ox anyway. Who cares, if he wants to learn the mechanic instead of DPS, well, it’s LFR.

Day phase hit, and now we needed more celestial action, so off I went to get the Crane, and look at this, I’m in a race to activate it before the Warrior got to the Crane and clicked it first. Will he activate it if he goes inside? Do I risk it?

I won the race, activated Crane and came out, to rocket off towards the Dragon.

From that point on, I was in a race against the Warrior to see who would reach the pedestals first. Fortunately, I had the advantages of Engineering rocket belt and Burning Tendrils to get to the next one before the previous effect wore off, and I knew when I would be coming out and which ones were going to be dead.

Mind you, we had announced in raid chat that I was going to handle the celestials, so not to worry about the bloody things. And the whole time this is going on, I’m DPSing at range on the run while getting to the pedestals while the Warrior is just running around screwing with the corners of the room, accomplishing nothing, hoping to get in before me.

I managed to get them all anyway except for Ox, and then DPSed until Dusk, where I was under strict orders to activate Crane immediately to get maximum DPS on both bosses at once.

I got that off, but before I could reach tiger, in my Warrior buddy went.

In my defense, I had to avoid some Flames of Passion to get there, that routed me around the long way. Pedestal Defense FAIL!

In he went, but if he activates it, it’s all good, right?

Nope, no effect. Out he comes, accomplishing nothing, and there I am frantically clicking the dead air.

I’ve got Tom cranky on vent wondering where the hell his Tiger is, and I’m all “Damnit, give me just a sec here” and I managed to get in and get it done.

So, was the Warrior trying to get practice on the mechanic, and just really bad? Or was he trying to afk out of the run and screw us over at the same time?

I couldn’t tell you, but the effect was the same, and he might as well have just died on the stairs with the other three who got locked out behind a wall on the pull for all the DPS he did.

So, you’ve been warned, right?

Twin Consorts; because trolls didn’t have enough ways of being a pest before.

4/17/13 – updated with added picture

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Progression.

It means just one thing – moving further than you’ve gone before. Or does it?

In World of Warcraft it’s usually used to talk about raiding, but it’s not just what boss you’re on.

I’ve been raiding on my Beastmaster Hunter now for a few months, and I’m fortunate enough to be playing with a team that has been able to successfully (and repeatedly!) kill all the bosses in Mogushan Vaults.

So, progression. We started with no bosses, and kept working on them one at a time, getting better each week until now we’re able to clear the entire raid instance in a single 2-hour run.

Some groups out there are far further along than we are, killing bosses in harder raids or heroic modes, and some folks out there aren’t yet as far along as we, still working on earlier bosses.

S’all good.

The fact remains, we have progressed and succeeded. We haven’t fallen apart, we haven’t had a lucky kill that we can’t duplicate, we’re still moving forward.

I’m very happy about that.

But that doesn’t mean everyone in the team is happy.

It’s about expectations.

Last night we had a rough night in some respects. There are bosses we have on farm that we usually one-shot, well we had some wipes to ‘em. We still killed them, but it slowed us down more than expected.

I could tell it was disheartening. I could feel it, some folks felt we WERE moving backward, falling behind… losing progression.

We didn’t fall apart into whining and finger pointing. We dug in and went again. And again. And we succeeded, killing them all and ending the day with another complete clear.

not just a clear, but the last fight of the evening on Will of the Emperor was also one of our smoothest ever. The timing on the end phase was freaking perfect. Not a close one, not a squeaker, we destroyed Will of the Emperor.

What was the progression that made me happy? We didn’t kill any bosses that we hadn’t done before, and in some respects we were slower than usual.

The progression came from doing better on the fights that we have the least experience in. Sure, some of the early ‘farm’ fights were flopping around, but Elegon and Will of the Emperor were great. Better than we’ve done before.

On a purely personal level, I had a great night.

I’ve been trying to do my best as a Beastmaster Hunter on these raids each week, and my DPS has been okay, even good, but I’ve always felt that I was not coordinating my cooldowns and priorities and Focus management quite right. I could do better.

Last night, on every pull I tried my hardest to nail down my timing, figure out where I wasn’t hitting the right transitions.

Frostheim has said it before, and it is so true, we have a lot of buttons to manage. A lot of things to prioritize, and every attack or cooldown you use is a GCD that means everything else waits a skosh.

Last night my goal was to get every single one of them perfect. To have my Focus at the exact point that the moment Kill Command or Glaive were up, I was using them, no moments wasted. Cobra Shot used only as much as necessary to get the Focus needed, and no more.

No wasted GCDs. Uptime of the best shots. That was the goal.

I’m sure most folks don’t think it’s that big a thing and do it as a matter of course, but not me.

I worked hard on it, and I had a few good runs last night where I feel I nailed it. And I also learned what was working right and what rhythm helped me move in sync with my cooldowns.

At one point, I used all of my utility, did everything I was supposed to do, hit every point and ended with 86k DPS for the boss fight. I was so damn happy with myself, I had to whisper a friend, bursting with excitement,  ”86 freaking K freaking DPS, bitch!”

Keep in mind, other folks in our group regularly have higher DPS that I do, and last night was no exception. Monstre alone came in and did over 250k DPS on one of the fights last night. So I’m not whispering because I’m el numero uno head honcho. I was genuinely delighted because it wasn’t about being better than someone else, it was about setting a new bar for me to reach. A damn good bar. I played in the zone, as perfect as I could, and THAT was where I was at. From now on, that is the new goal for me to try and beat, and every fight I’ll still be looking at my abilities trying to see where I can switch something or prioritize something to do better.

Bosses were going to die anyway. In reality, I probably could have been half drunk and pushing buttons randomly, and we would have still won, and at about the same pace.

My progression, my satisfaction was in doing better than I had ever done before, and that left me on a natural high.

Well, goodie for me. I talked to one of our raiders a little later, just a quick chat about next week, and she seemed really down. I was genuinely surprised, we cleared all of Mogushan Vaults, whole thing in two hours. Sure, could have been faster, but in my book that ain’t failsauce.

I’ve been in first half LFRs that have taken longer than that, no lie.

But they were still down about it. Sounded kind of bummed. And that comes back to expectations and what progression means to each of us.

Just because I’m happy we cleared MSV, and just because I had a good time because I felt I was improving my skills and refining my technique doesn’t mean other people in the raid group had the same goals… or the same measure of success.

If your goal is to reach a certain point, clear a raid just so you can have a certain number of attempts on one difficult boss you’d like to get past before the new patch reduces the challenge, then anything less than meeting that goal is a failure, isn’t it?

What if you have your heart set on reaching Garalon? You don’t expect any difficulties in getting there, you’re not concerned with the old stuff, you have your sights set on this one goal. Get Garalon.

If that’s what you need to feel you have progressed, then not reaching that goal will suck. It will be a big downer, because you failed to reach that goal when you expected to.

Same raid team. But some are going home happy and others are going home depressed.

It’s just something to think about. Everyone has their own goals and definitions for progression and success, and while you are focused on trying to meet your own goals, it’s good to take a look at what the goal for your TEAM is, and do your best to make that happen too.

If your goal is to be better at your own role in the group, but other people in the team have the goal of reaching Garalon, then part of being a good teammate is doing what you can to help the whole team get all the goals met, not just yours.

So, yeah, we ended the night well. We didn’t slide backwards, we didn’t choke on a boss or hit a wall.

But we ended the night down, because we could have gone further, faster. And for at least one person, we didn’t progress. And that SUCKS.

Next time, hopefully we’ll get it done and meet the goals everyone has, and then everyone in the team can walk away happy, feeling that glow from a job well done.

Comments 4 Comments »

I’ve been raiding one night a week with some folks in the guild, I wasn’t able to stay with a weekend team but I’ve been lucky, these folks can raid on a weeknight late enough that my son is in bed for most of it.

How much can you get done in one night a week, though, when it’s just two hours? I say two hours, because we are scheduled for two and a half, but I need a break in there to get my son tucked into bed.

Yes, I know. I’m that raider on your team you would hate. It’s okay for you to tell me you’d hate to raid with someone like me, I know. I know all too well. There you are, your team is flying high, everything is in the groove, you are just getting cooking, and here comes this dude an hour in, “Hey guys, sorry, gotta go get my son brushed teeth and tucked into bed, sorry for the buzzkill. Be back soon.”

Priorities.

I’ve said it before, I may look like I’m logged in for 6 hours straight, but most of that time I’m afk… no, I wasn’t ignoring you, I was showing my son how to make a new design for a paper airplane. Or looking at a cool scene he wants to share from Transformers; Dark of the Moon. Since when does Optimus Prime have lips? Or watching him take on a pet team two levels higher, and taming a new rare quality Tundra Penguin. Those penguins are badass. Or I’m wandering around upstairs, wondering where I left my book. Is itin the bathroom? No? then where the hell… Or leaving the game on to go eat dinner and watch Top Chef or Chopped, because, hey, why even bother logging out? It’s not like there are people waiting in a queue… and ever since Mists of Pandaria released, it takes about 10 minutes for me just to log into the game, what with waiting for shit to decide if the game is up to date or not. Every. Single. time.

Okay, that one time, I was just ignoring you. But I don’t make a hobbit of it or anything.

With all that distraction, only two hours to raid one night a week, what can you really get done?

Well… for starters, you can clear Mogu’shan Vaults and also take down the first boss in Heart of Fear. :)

We’d been consistently clearing the first four bosses of Mogu’shan Vaults, then taking a couple runs at Elegon before switching over to Heart of Fear each week.

Last night, we cleared through Mogu’shan to Elegon as usual, had a rocky start with the first few Celestial Protectors dying inside the ring when Total Annihilation went off… but despite that we still went on to one shot it for our first Elegon kill ever!

I’m not sure how many attempts we’ve had over the last few weeks… maybe 7 or 8. More? Still, I think we were all a little surprised that after a weeks break, we came back and killed it on our first try of the night.

From there, we went straight to our first-ever run at the Will of the Emperor in normal mode, and we encountered the Convert To Raid effect;

“Yay! First ever kill of Elegon!”

20 minutes later…. “Yay! We’ve cleared Mogu’shan Vaults!”

It’s just like the guys at Convert To Raid say… once you’ve got Elegon down, the Will of the Emperor isn’t quite at the same level of challenge.

One thing that’s interesting is we had two healers for Elegon, but Tom had us switch to three healing on Will of the Emperor. He said that the healers may be bored for a lot of the fight, but once Titan Gas hit, they’d be going into overdrive.

True or not, I know that we one shot Will of the Emperor, but I felt we were right on the edge of having enough DPS to handle the adds, but not a smidgen more. I enjoyed how the fight feels, I felt challenged as DPS to get the adds down fast enough to be able to switch to the bosses when Titan Gas comes up without distraction. Hustle your butts! Keep calm and DPS HARDER.

What a crazy night. We cleared MSV for the first time, all in one night, and had enough time left over to travel to Heart of Fear and get a kill in there as well, making it seven bosses in two and a half hours.

All the cool kids may be off doing heroics and nibbling on the TOES, but I’m pretty impressed with our progress. I’ve been in LFR groups that killed fewer bosses in that time.

Sadly, yes I have.

Grats to Team Dippy for clearing the first raid in Mists of Pandaria!

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This is a pet battling, wrasslin’ post, because that’s where most of my weekend went.

Well, that and healing on my newly leveled, newly geared Holy Priest.

I would talk about healing Mogu’shan Vaults on my Priest in LFR, but shit, you’ve heard it all before, there’s nothing new there.

People continue to stand in shit and blame healers if they die, tanks still chain pull whether healers have mana or not, people REALLY continue to stand in the bad stuff no I’m not kidding, wtf, FOUR PEOPLE dropped into the pit on Elegon? REALLY?

Yeah, been there, bitched about it, nothing new here.

Ooh, wait, there is something new!

One of the people in our guild I group with a lot, Monstre, is a Death Knight that does both DPS and tank. Insane DPS, regularly over 110k, especially in AoE situations.

Monstre has been supportive of my attempts to get my Priest geared up for healing, and has tanked for me to be my little guinea pig. It’s been fun.

Now, I don’t give with any bullshit backseat tanking, but I always watch how people do things, and I’m going to compliment good skills whenever I see them, and he’s very good.

But a compliment from a friend, that’s not a testimonial to put on your tagline. you expect your friends to be supportive. All you can really do is hope they’re not lying to make you feel good.

but a compliment from a stranger… ah, that’s gold.

Cut to normal dungeons.

My son is leveling his Death Knight almost exclusively by chain running normals as DPS. He was level 87 and he has been struggling with just amazingly shit groups.

He gets the joy of waiting 45 minutes for a group to pop, and then when it does, he consistently gets groups that go through tanks and healers dropping whenever they want and groups falling apart.

I have personally watched over his shoulder to see as his group went through four tanks and various DPS and healers, with no talking, just people coming in, flailing ignorantly for a few trash pulls, then dropping.

I started watching over his shoulder because I found it hard to believe he was getting this kind of group without his doing something wrong to cause it. He had to be pulling off the tank, or dying by standing in the bad, or attacking the wrong mobs, or basically making other people leave in frustration.

Nope. It’s really just that bad out there in the evenings in random normals.

To counteract this idiocy, I’ve wanted to get my Priest up there so I could spec as heals and get him fast queue times and a solid, reliable healer who won’t abandon the group, and who should be able to keep tanks alive in normals even when they’re total idiots.

For my very first shot at this plan, I asked Monstre if he’d tank a few normals with me healing, just to pass a little time and have fun with my son.

See, it can only be for fun. You CANNOT queue for random normal instances through LFR if you are level 90. Apparently, you should not be allowed to get Justice Points through running randoms. If you want JP, run a heroic and get the dribs and drabs from boss kills.

I’m SO GLAD you need massive amounts of Justice Points along with the original Heirloom item in order to get the upgraded Heirloom items. SO GLAD. Pfft.

Since Monstre is über with a low sense of humor, I expected him to go nuts on pulls. He can put out insane DPS, he’s got tons of gear as a tank, and we’re going into a normal? Yeah, hold on tight and mana up, you got two secs.

Monstre fulfilled expectations. The first one we hit was Mogu’shan Palace, and it was a case of Monstre running forward and pulling as much as he could before the first boss fight, AoEing it down and seeing what he could take.

So Monstre is intentionally TRYING to be a tool tank. He’s doing the chain pulling, no pause for drinking, ‘I can take it OH SHIT” style of go go go running.

Now, the funny part here is, even in all the chaos, we’re on the first full boss encounter and my son turns to me and says, “Wow, this tank is really good. He’s standing still in one place whenever he can and letting me settle in and hit the boss without having to run around chasing him like an idiot! He’s great!”

LOL

That right there says everything you need to know about what tanks are usually like in the normals, amiright?

I tell Monstre what my son said, and he replies, “Oh yeah, I used to play a Rogue, I know what it’s like when a tank goes running around like a dumbass.”

Ayup.

So, if you’re a tank, you know, TRY to stand in one place when possible, unless there is bad stuff under your OR THE MELEE DPS feet, so melee DPS can get it stuck in real good?

Imagine if you will that you are distracting a puissant and fell mage, and as you are holding his attention you’re giving a Rogue a chance to slip up behind and stick a dagger in his back, right between the ribs. If you insist on RUNNING AROUND LIKE A CROSSWIRED FURBY, that Rogue can’t get the perfect shot lined up. So stop it.

Um, so Pet Battles.

Lol, screw it, My next post will be about Pet Battles. And I think I’ll call it “A Day in the Life of a Holy Priest”.

Comments 12 Comments »

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