Firelands – Now With Improved Shiny!


So, there’s this thing. It’s a staff, and its freaking legendary.

You can get it by running the Firelands raid for, well, for like forever. And then a little after that.

You may or may not know that I’ve been running Firelands every single week on Monday night with battletag friends, proving I have an understanding of the meaning of work.

If you don’t know, the formula for work is the amount of force you exert times the distance the thingie traveled in the direction you wanted it to go.

In other words, if you use all your strength to push on a rock all day long and it doesn’t move so much as a single inch, you didn’t do any work.

By that definition, I don’t get any work done at my job. Ever. That fucking boulder goes nowhere.

I’m getting lots of work done in Firelands, though. Every week we move that rock just a little closer to my goal.

I honestly believe that I will be done with the legendary quest, oh, about a week before the pre-expansion patch comes out. We’ll see if I did the math right.

You’d think I know Firelands pretty well, right? I mean, we kill all the bosses in Firelands-10 heroic mode every single week. Sometimes with six or seven of us, sometimes with just two or three.

You’d think, right?


Last night we were doing a special style of Firelands, we ran it in normal mode and focused on getting Elynea through the Delegation questline for the Legendary, gathering and charging the fragments from the first four bosses.

We completed the collecting and killed the special bonus boss, but it might have taken us a few tries to get all the stones we needed from Alysrazor.

Because reasons.

See, here’s the thing. No, really, it wasn’t my fault, I can explain everything.

The first time we tried Alysrazor, we were all set and Elynea was raring to get her pyreshell fragments from the eggs. It seemed like the easiest boss of all to complete, because all you needed to do was grab three of those fragments, and one dropped from each egg. There are two eggs per phase, so logically we only have to do two phases of fragment gathering before setting the thing and letting it eat an explosion.

Well, Elynea might have been a tad bit too eager. Maybe. Last boss and all, you know how it is. She was very… eggcited.

There she is, standing in the middle of the area waiting for eggs to fall from the sky, and when they do she is RIGHT on top of them, reaching for the fragments.

Couldn’t actually gather the fragments, though, because there were these damn hatchlings trying to eat her, chasing her all over the place, and she couldn’t lose aggro and my was she getting frustrated at those darn tanks.

Get some aggro tanks, what the heck, amiright?

Except, ha, the hatchlings focus on whoever is the first person they see/closest person to them. They fixate on you, and think you’re the mama. Or want to eat you, whatever.

By the time we realized Elynea was spending her time running around the whole area being pecked to death by big bird, the fragments despawned.

No problem, carry on, right?

Second pass with the hatchlings, everyone but the tanks stand well the heck away from the center, and she gets her two fragments. Only one more to go!

Third pass with the hatchlings, she gets her last fragment, gets all set, waits for Alysrazor to explode… and waits… and waits… and we took too long.

Bird never did blow up.

Apparently, you gotta close escrow on the fire crow before the end of the third cycle.

Too bad we found that out after she combined the fragments and dropped it. So we have to do the whole thing over including gathering three more fragments. And wipe, too, since there ain’t no enrage timer on the big bad bird.

We die creatively (and in some cases exhaustingly), run back in, and there we are waiting to get things started.

As I’m standing there, I’m exploring my surroundings as a bear is wont to do. I’m just lookin’ around at the ground.


I see something shiny there on the ground. It’s so pretty. So shiny.

I move closer to get a better look.

Sitting there on the ground is one of Alysrazor’s feathers!


I mean, look at it. It looks really cool, right?

I look at it, and my thought process goes exactly like this.

“Wow, that’s a molten feather.”
“It’s still sitting there on the ground.”
“It must not have despawned after the wipe.”
“I wonder if I can pick it up and run fast while we wait to start the fight.”
“I like to run fast.”
“What’s the worst that can happen?”

So, just so you know, and I’m saying this in the interests of performing a valuable public service, clicking on that feather is how you start the fight after a wipe.

Go figure, huh?

Who woulda thunk it.

Yeah… I suppose that does make more sense than that a molten feather just happened to still be lying there after the wipe.

Since some people (like Elynea) didn’t happen to be in range when I clicked on that pretty little feather, maybe we might possibly had to run like hell from Alysrazor all the way to the exit of the raid and run out.

Bonus points, who here knew the hatchlings would chase you all the way to the exit portal? Pretty cool, huh?


At least Elynea completed her Delegation quest and can now begin the glory that is gathering all those damn embers.

See, doesn’t that story just make you want to join me every Monday night at 7 central time? Don’t you just wanna LEAP into action?

Oh yeah, in a heartbeat. Sign my butt RIGHT up.

Grats, Elynea! You succeeded despite my very best efforts.

The WoW Bucket List

Tonight, a milestone was reached.

My son and I joined Soldris and Cain in an OpenRaid event, a 10 person Firelands Heroic run.

In that run, this happened;

Ragnaros Rising

This was Ragnaros, risen from the molten fires and standing before us in all of his incandescent glory.

And then we rolled him for his lunch money.

Seeing Ragnaros standing was, for my son, one of his deepest desires in the game.

Tonight that desire was fulfilled, and he was so stoked we had a hard time getting him to calm down for bedtime.

That is what I want to talk about. Things we desire in the game. Moments we want to experience, expectations we want to fulfill, just once, before we end our time with WoW.

For my son, one of the things he wanted most to do in the game, one of his deepest desires was to someday see Ragnaros standing there, risen from the lava and radiant with rage. And, you know… lava. And then to kick his ass.

My son is only ten, so granted it’s not a goal on the same order as be the next CEO of Exxon. But it was a no-shit serious “I will someday” goal. He took it as seriously as anyone could.

I think the term ‘bucket list’ has been overused, but it’s a strong sentiment. A list of things that go beyond the everyday, the ordinary, things you want to do to satisfy an inner need before the end comes. Not just Valor capping or daily quests, not another scenario or heroic to pass the time.

A list of goals you hold dear to your heart, the things you would love to see or do before your time with World of Warcraft was done.

Things that would fulfill your own desires, satisfy the itch that keeps you playing this game.

Tonight, my son achieved one of his goals. He saw Ragnaros standing on his own two feet, killed him, and achieved the “Firelord” title.

What are some of your own closely-held goals? What special experience or achievement would be precious enough to place on your own WoW Bucket List?

Firelands is Really Heating Up!

I have to think about that title for a bit. I aim for a certain amount of cheese to mix with my spicy sarcasm, but there is cheese, and there is shit.

Why am I thinking of peppery cheese? Oh right, game day this Sunday.

It’s game day this Sunday!

This is very exciting to me, Firelands on heroic has been a lot of fun so far, and this Sunday it’s going to be EPIC!

… what?

Oh, really? There’s some other game on this Sunday?

Good to know, good to know. Probably won’t affect our Firelands run, though.

After all, what kind if silly git would waste their time watching someone else play a game when they could do all the playing themselves?

Fine, whatever. I guess I better ask just to be on the safe side.

This Sunday, at 6 PM Central Standard Time, we’ve got a heroic Firelands 25-person run going on.

The run is pretty pro. We’ve pushed the raid ID, so we only have three bosses left;

Heroic Baleroc, Heroic Majordomo Staghelm, and Heroic Ragnaros.

That’s right. This is srs bsns.

Since this will be the same day as Superbowl Sunday, I’m asking for you to let me know in the comments here if you are really committed to be there for the run.

I ask that you ONLY comment to this post if you truly intend to be at this Sunday’s Firelands run.

If we don’t get enough commitment, heck, I might just watch the Superbowl myself. Beats sitting there with a half a group trying to pull in strangers to fill it out who don’t care to be there in the first place.

Again, please only comment if you ARE going to intend to be there. No “Boy, I wish I could”, it won’t really help figure out if we’ve got a solid group or not.

Now, if you don’t see a full twenty people commenting, and YOu want to go, by all means, say you’re coming. I’ll add you in.

Why twenty? I have confirmation that I will be there, along with Alex, Cassie, and our two tanks, Askevar and Venoym. So, five down, twenty spaces to go!

Sound good? I hope to see you there!

A Slight Burning Sensation

That did not go as planned.

The problem? No plan.

Last night, 25 person raid into the Firelands. Start to finish, fast run, complete clear.

I was happy to see a lot of Firelands achievements being earned when Ragnaros submerged for the last time. Lots of nice gear dropped, there were some fisticuffs over the two-handed mace from Rag, it was clear people were happy to be there.

What sucked about the run was, there were a lot more folks who signed up than we had room for. A LOT more.

Purely through my own screw up, I ended up with two different lists, so I lost count of how many people had asked to go. At one point the night before the run, I thought I still had three openings.

Um, no. SHIT.

Yeah. I think there ended up being something like 10 to 12 people who had emailed, posted or signed up in guild to go that we didn’t have room for.

WTB 40 person mode?

I logged in at ten minutes ’til the go hour, asked folks to whisper me if they were ready for an invite… and the response was overwhelming. At the top of the hour we were full and ready to go.

Quite rightly, people who were still waiting for an invite wondered what the heck happened.

To be honest, I didn’t expect that much enthusiasm over Firelands 25. I figured the peak of excitement would be Ulduar 25 achieves, but I guess quite a lot of us saw Firelands clears skipped over by the fast release of Deathwing.

None of that really matters now. What matters is a lot of people didn’t get to go on the run last night, and I do apologize. Wasn’t intended in any way, but I had no backup plan if there was a large turnout.

Okay, turns out I had a plan. It was just a really bad plan.

Now that the first week of normal mode is done, I’m wondering what our pace should be.

My original plan was to push forward and start right away next week with either heroic modes, or start looking at achievements. Either way, start the more advanced modes.

Now I’m wondering if we should give it one or even two more weeks of normal modes first.

Yes, progress is progressive. Moving on to harder stuff is more challenging, yay. That has it’s appeal.

If we did the normal 25 a few more weeks first, what I would hope is, some folks would be more interested in the progression runs than in doing more normals, and that would give some of the folks who couldn’t go last night a shot at a clear.

Then we could reform the group for progression on heroics and achieves with those folks really focused on that, and not just on a quick clear to have that column checked off the ‘to do’ list. “To Do: Kill the Firelord. For reals this time. Yes, I remember Molten Core, he got better.”

A few more weeks might also get the team more comfortable in working together and understanding the mechanics. Shit died real fast last night, blink and you’d miss it. Do we want a few more clears to have a foundation to build progression on?

Also, hey, normal 25 still sees Tier and weapon drops, and from what I saw last night, there was some solid demand for normal items. Would more people be happy with more chances at normal drops before we hit the color changes of heroic?

Me, I’m just enjoying the runs. If we take another week or two on normals I won’t feel like we’re ‘falling behind on progression’. I mean, it’s old content. It’s gonna still be there in a few more weeks. But maybe other people will lose interest, and fast, unless we move forward.

I don’t know, I’m just a writer on an MMO blog. I may be moody, but I don’t like giving other players the blues.

In related news, hey, the run itself was lost of fun. We crushed each boss in one attempt except Ragnaros, but they resisted just enough to give us the feeling they were more than a speed bump. 

On Ragnaros, Venoym was doing the explaining, but I figured it would be fun to wipe once on a try so people would have a better understanding of what stuff would look like when doing the description. There is just so much to describe in the fight, and without a frame of reference, it’s hard to visualize. I know, I’ve been there myself.

Turned out we almost one shot it on our first try… even though, holy shit meteors. Meteors! LOTS AND LOTS OF METEORS!

Shhh…. wanna know a secret? Don’t tell anyone, but I might, just might, have intentionally run a meteor over Venoym. A few times. Okay, lots.

Until he called me on it, anyway. 🙂

The most exciting moment for me in the entire run had to be the facepull of Lord Rhyolith. “Hey guys, we’re gonna have to OH SHIT we facepulled, here we go, hit left foot, left foot, left foot, more left foot, oh shit MONSTRE GET OFF THE LEFT FOOT GET ON RIGHT FOOT EVERYONE ELSE ON LEFT FOOT WTF MONSTRE.’

And we still won. That was hilarious. Closest I’ve ever seen him come to the edge without going in the lava. I swear, he pirouetted in place right on the edge, “Monstre on right foot, everyone else on the other foot.”

I got to fly on the feathers of flame, which I was very happy to do. I’ve never been allowed to do that before. 🙂 Hey, there are these circles, the bird leaves flaming fart rings, are those, like, important?

Alex also started flying with three feathers, and whacking on the boss. I think after a while we had a bit of a posse in hot pursuit. Was that wrong? No idea, birdie still fell down went boom.

All told, it was a great night, only marred by the knowledge that friends who wanted to couldn’t go.

The Return of the Sunday Fun Run!

The holidays are sadly over, and the winter blahs have begun.

You know what this means, right?

The return of the Bear Sunday Fun Runs!

Hopefully the emphasis is on the “fun”.


I’m planning on our first 25 person run of the new year being this Sunday, January 13th, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM Central Standard Time (CST, also known as Greenwich Mean Time GMT – 6 hours).

Who can take part:

Before I get into the details, in order to be a part of these cross-server runs, you have to have your participating character be Alliance, and also be part of the North American/US server group. It makes me sad that I can’t play with so many awesome people I read about and follow from the European servers, but, well, that’s what we get to deal with.

Typical Bear digression wandering away from the topic:

On the positive side, I do get to play with Aussies and listen to their awesome accents. On the negative, well… Canadians.

Just kidding! A lot of my guildies are Canuckleheads, they know I love them and their poutine. Oh, and Canadian Bacon? This just in. IT’S HAM!

I have to be careful not to antagonize the Canadian folk too much. I live in Minnesota, and in the long cold winters, I can hear them up there the other side of Lake Superior, sharpening their ice skates and thinking long thoughts on our bacon. If we push them too far, I can see them sweeping down out of the North with their sharpened hockey sticks poised to attack, ready to eradicate our heretical salty-sweet crispy smoked-pork ways.

What was this post supposed to be about, and how the HELL did I get to talking about a war with Canada over bacon?


Coming back to what we’re doing and who can take part:

This go around, with successful ICC and Ulduar achievement runs under our belts, I want to bring us up into the more recent Cataclysm days.

Specifically, this week I am putting together a 25 person team to go into Firelands this Sunday to do a complete clear, up to and including Ragnaros.

This first run would be a ‘getting familiar’ run, not a full-fledged achievement run or heroic mode kill. What achievements could be done quick or as part of the normal run we’ll go for, but the emphasis on this first run will be on spending the two hours getting everyone in the team familiar with each fight and understanding the basics.

Oh yeah, and on killing lots of flame-based mobs.

Right now, I do NOT have anyone in the group confirmed aside from Alex, Cassie and myself. Nobody has dibs on legendary questline items, nobody is a confirmed tank or healer, it’s a brand new fresh run starting up as of today.

Now, what makes this run different from previous Bear Sunday Fun Runs is that this is very recent content. I believe it will still be challenging for a group that is not used to playing and communicating as a team, especially once we get into achievements.

What I’m leading up to is the level requirement, and class composition.

For this team, I prefer that everyone in the group be level 90. I’m not going to be a hardass about it, the occasional 88 or 89 won’t be a problem. But I’d definitely prefer most of us be level 90.

As far as class composition, we’ve always been lucky in the past to have a great mix of tanks, healers and DPS players. The only difference this time is, I’m going to be looking to confirm folks in those tank and healing roles before the Sunday night run comes. I want us each to be as prepared as possible for what we’re going to be doing.  

Today Ragnaros, tomorrow the achievements!

Once this Sunday introduction run is complete, the following Sunday runs we will work on completing each of the related Glory achievements. Because of that, I hope that each person who signs up to take part will be able to keep coming back for the next few weeks, so we can get the entire group through as a team.

Yeah yeah, how do I sign up for a spot and a role?

If you are already on my Battletag friends’ list, then just whisper me when I log in this week or email me and let me know you want to take part, and what role you want to play in the team. I will start a list, and it’s a done deal.

If you are in my guild, I will be putting the run up on the calander so you can sign up, and I will be whispering you to see how sure you are you will be able to take part Sunday, and as what role.

And if you are neither of those things, email me at and we’ll work out the Battletag stuff so as to be sure to get you in no matter what US server you happen to be on.

Aw shit, legendary drama.

One last thing. If you are specifically intending to take part in the raid to further your progression in the legendary weapon questline, you must let me know IN ADVANCE of the run, including details on how far along you may already be. Emailing me is fine. I will make a list of each person, and figure out by some arcane manner who will go first, and let everyone involved know before Sunday. If you have never started it before and are hoping to do so now, make sure you email me so we can talk.  

I’m really looking forward to this.

I know a lot of people out there were raiding full time at the leading edge during Cataclysm and are sick of Firelands, but I always liked it, and I know neither Cassie nor Alex were able to take part in a Ragnaros kill. I have to figure we’re not alone in that, so hopefully we’ll have enough folks eager to go that we’ll be able to have a hot time in the old town this weekend.

I hope to see you there!

UPDATE 1/9/13: The tank situation has been covered, as Askevar and Venoym are going to provide the skilled tanking services for the team this Sunday.

Singed Feathers

Last night, I took my Moonkin specced Druid into the Firelands, to join Team Teddybear (and friends) in a spontaneous clearing of trash.

I know, right? My Moonkin spec is active one day and I’m managing Eclipses against Firelands trash.

Ahem. A little trial by fire.


So fun, though. Playing on my main is really so much more satisfying than on alts. If given the choice, I’d always be on my main, and I’m being given the choice.

You see that up there? What that spider is doing to the head of that Hawk… that ain’t right.

Now, taking on the Firelands bosses may seem daunting, but let me tell you, killing the trash is well within a raiding team’s capability. If your raid has been able to successfully down most of the current bosses prior to the Nefarian and Council fights, then you can do eet. 

Why would you want to? Well, this is the ICC rep raid of the expansion. Farming trash mobs gives you reputation with the Avengers of Hyjal, and at each rank you gain access to some truly sweet gear purchased with minimal gold.

At Friendly, you get an option of very, very nice cloaks, at Honored there are Belts, and so on.

The cloaks look cool, too. The bottoms are rounded and the pattern is very fancy, not that how they look makes a difference to anyone. Er, anyone else. Hmm. Looking good, Captain Shakespeare, looking mighty good. 

We went in and cleared trash under Matheos leadership, and after just three clears/resets, everyone in the raid was Friendly and had some new cloaks.

We also averaged one BoE epic drop per trash run. Each of the firs two runs, a BoE item dropped, and the third time it was a Leatherworking recipe. A one handed Strength axe and a Strength/Expertise necklace. 

Would it be worth stopping your normal raids to go farm trash? I don’t think so. Personally, I’d prefer to do all the current raids until they were well and fully nailed down if I hadn’t already, and then move on to Firelands. It’s not going anywhere.

At the same time, if you miss the days of pug raids forming to do IceCrown Citadel, then you should be delighted to hear that they’re back, at least as far as trash clearing goes.

I don’t like doing spoilers, but there were a few things I wanted to mention about Firelands that I think won’t ruin anything.

First, it feels much better than Molten Core, or other underground raids. Having it be totally open to the sky, with fiery meteors hurtling to the ground and blazing Hawks circling overhead adds a sense of being exposed to scrutiny, with the freedom to move around.

Gazing across the vast landscape truly feels like you’re venturing into another world. 

Second, this may surprise you, but the trash encounters are more forgiving than the early run up to the first boss in ICC.

In ICC, you had a narrow channel you had to go down, and there were traps that would activate the giants (that were instant raid wipes in the early days if you popped them while other trash was still alive), and there were masses of things to web your party, and all sorts of other fun stuff.

In Firelands, it’s very open. If you are careful, you can pull each different group or single individual without getting extras, and without getting knocked back into other mobs. If you charge straight in like a bunch of billy badasses, well, that’s not the fault of the design team. 

The Molten Lords are two tank fights, where each tank wants to swap lead whenever they reach 3 stacks of the debuff. The rest of the group wants to watch for a little powder-puff of flame under their feet, it signals an impending eruption of boom. Not too bad, not an instant kill or even all that damaging, but do you really want to stand in the bad if you can avoid it by paying attention?

The groups of 5 salamanders are designed to test your groups CC. There are two (or three) casters that WILL chain heal the rest… hey, this shouldn’t surprise anyone that’s done Molten Core before. Since we CC’ed three of the Salamanders, I can’t tell you how many were casters, but it’s an easy fight if you get your CC off and keep on it while the first two get burned down. 

The turtles and the hellhound patrols… we avoided those. Matheo said they are bad news, and there is plenty of trash to kill without having to worry about them. We did pull one group of turtles, and you know, they were pretty tough. We ran out like little girls, in the finest traditions of raiders tired of repair bills everywhere.

Really, it was just fun. I was expecting to continue Hyjal questing to unlock the Firelands dailies, and ended up having a very fun night of raiding instead.

It helps that the mobs patrol everywhere, and you’ve got freedom to move where you want as you go. They’re spread out a bit, and while some paths overlap each other, well, that’s what Silencing moves are for, to drag ’em, right?

Anyway, what I’m saying here is that if you’ve got solid heroic gear, and you put in the effort to get crafted epics made for your character, and you’ve been doing some Troll dungeons and got your shiny new Justice gear wearing a hole in your pockets, well, why not look for some Firelands trash clearing pugs, and have yourself a great time?