The Weary Warlock Part 1 – Tidy Bowl

Now you know I’m not a racist. Why, some of my best friends are Tauren. But when I saw what Garrosh and his boys did to the Vale, well, that there Orc just had to go.

When I heard that ol’ King Wrynn was throwing together an army to pry horny out of his tin can, I was quick to sign right up.

When my son asks me where I was when Garrosh was brung low, you won’t find me spinning lies. I’m gonna be able to say, “Boy, I was the one that ripped those horns off’n his shoulders and shoved them straight up his ass.”

Yeah. That’s right. Me! King Wrynn recognised me right off when I signed up to go, too. He said to me, “I remember you. You’re the one that brought that nine bean casserole to Anduin’s confirmation, gave me gas so bad I was on the wrong throne for three days, aren’t you?”

I just puffed up with pride like I was fix’n to burst. “That’s me, your highness. Buttflame!”

King Wrynn was damn glad to see me. In fact, he told me he had a special mission for me, one that I was supremely suited for.

He said that. He said “Supremely”. Me, Buttflame! After I looked that up, I tell you I was mighty proud.

King Wrynn told me he was putting together a special team, and he was sure they’d need my expertise. He said that after Garrosh threw that purple pumping dingus into the well and blew up the Vale and all, it exposed an entrance leading underneath the well. He needed some folks to head on in there, under the cracked and broken well, and find out what happened to stop up the pipes making all that there magical water.

I’ll admit, I protested a bit at first. I mean, I’m Buttflame, right? My presence is feared in battle and in taverns that sell pickled eggs all over Azeroth. It seemed to me being some glorified plumber was a bit, well, beneath my dignity. He insisted I was perfect for the job, so I guess when there is a truly legendary clog in the pipes, I’m your man.

It was the very next day after Garrosh dumped his trash down the pipe and backed up his shit all over the Vale. I joined that psychotic Band of Misfits that Wrynn threw together, and down the pipe we went.

Stepping inside, we found we had to watch where we walked. I’ve seen crap in all different sorts of colors, especially when it’s all you can eat curry night at Smiling Jack’s Murloc Shack, but this was a new one on me. Purple? And it wasn’t just floating and bobbing in the water either, it was aggressive shit, man!

We pushed our way, looking for whatever was clogging up the drain, and I felt pretty useless so far. That wasn’t any place to light a match, let alone bring down a rain of fire. What was Varian thinking?

We had barely gotten down the pipe and we found the clog. It was this massive water spirit named Immerseus, and it was pissed, man. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for it, though. I mean, you take one look at it, you could see it’s whole head and face was covered with this clinging purple and black sha crap, and you know that stuff is persistant and clingy. You can try all you like, that shit won’t flush the first time.

We got ourselves all set to break up that clog. We’d have the water running again in no time, clean the Vale right up.

The guys in charge told us to stay away from his front end, he’d be spraying some stuff that would take us down in no time. So the rest of us spread out around his backside, and it occured to me that might be a bad idea just a little too late. The leaders went in the front, and he started spraying puddles of the foulest purple crap right out the back.

It seemed everywhere you stood, a purple puddle formed under mah feet, purple gas floated around, little purple tornados sprung up, and the smell! Blessed Elune, bringer of light, don’t start a fire in here or we’re done for!

We’d barely gotten started and hadn’t even had time to break out the Holy Plunger of Antioch when the whole crud-infested thing submerged under the surface. Were we done?

Not hardly! All them purple puddles on the floor got sucked right down the drain with it, and would you believe he flung all that poo back out at us, smacking it all against the back walls!

So there we are, having to turn around and deal with a flood of aggressive piles of crap, all flowing back downhill to Immerseus and the drain.

Some of those puddles we could kill, but others were some kind of horrible toxin that could only be healed. I’ve had days like that, especially after some really good chili, but it sure kept the healers occupied trying to pump green into them.

It kept on like that for what felt like forever. We’d barely get started pounding on Immerseus, and the next thing I knew we were fighting a rain of crap. The longer we went, the fewer crap piles there were we could pulverize, the more the healers had to take care of. And if even one of those made it to the drain, we all got hit with a short, sharp shower of shit. Not fun, man. Not fun.

Finally, the last puddle was burst, the clog was gone and we had somehow survived to report the all clear. We crawled back up out of the drain, only to find the former protectors of the Vale, standing there covered in crap and looking a bit green around the gills, if you catch my meaning.

Now, we tried to explain that we didn’t mean to send all that sewage back up the pipe, right? Things just kind of got out of hand with Immerseus. But they weren’t having any of it. They were gonna teach us a lesson for the crap covering them and all the rest of the Vale.

At least, I think that was what was going on. All I know is, the three of them got a touch cranky when we came crawling out of the pipe.

The fight seems like a blur to me now. There were three of them, and ten of us. They had friends, flames, more friends and a fearsome amount of area-wide damage.

We had a plan. Smack one down a bit, deal with their trash, then move on to the next. We whittled ’em all down bit by bit, something like a third at a time, until all three of them were pretty evenly beat up, and then we unloaded on them all, keeping it spread out so that when the first one finally went down, the last one was dead only a few seconds later.

One good thing to say about that fight was, it was over.

With the clog cleared out of the well’s pipes, and the former protectors down for the count, we all figured it was about time someone went to investigate where the hell that purple heart thingie came from in the first place. What if something else were down in there? Maybe, just maybe if the ancients kept their most disgusting purple crap in there, they also stored some industrial strength ammonia or bathroom cleanser.

Or maybe that was just me wishing. Those robes were almost new when I went in there, and do you have any idea what the dry cleaning bill looks like on robes of unholy demonic summoning? Blood stains? Don’t tell me about how hard it is to get out blood stains!

We fought our way through piles of trash, some of it with weird names we avoided. We debated whether or not we had to kill it all before heading down into that mine, but in the end we argued that someone else could worry about it, all we had to do was push through to the mine by the quickest means possible.

We got down in there, and found the chamber where that purple crap was originally stored. You know, before Garrosh dumped it in the well, creating the worst toxic release since that twerking terror unloaded her last album.

Inside the chamber, we found this ancient Titan construct dude named Norushen. He said something about how we all had to be purged of some crap or something like that, but man, I’ll be honest. I wasn’t really paying attention. Anyway, who was I to argue? If he thought we all stunk up the place and needed some serious steam cleaning before moving on, hell, I’m right there withya, boyo!

So we all lined up to get good and clean, and that’s when things kinda went pear shaped.

See, as soon as we gave the go ahead, this big purple nasty thing formed in the middle of the room. It started spewing out a beam of nastiness, and I’ve seen something like before from this eyeball dude named Durumu. So we had to run to not be hit by the beam as it slowly swept around the room. And we all had a ton of this corruption crap all over us, like we were almot three quarters covered in crap. So how do we get this off of us? It was clogging everything we did up, healing done, damage done, everything was reduced cause of how gooped up we were.

Well, turns out that two golden orbs would show up, and if one of us touched them, away that person would go down a pipe, to fight or heal some living corruption, and if we got it all purged we’d be cleansed and could go back up!

Of course, there had to be a catch. Every time the person going down the golden orbhole was a damage dealer, when he came back he brought a big honking mass of nasty with ’em that had to be brought low quick and left a puddle of ick behind that we had to mop up somehow.

Seriously. Dude, next time you want a plumber, call Roto Rooter, I mean wtf. I don’t care if you’ve got a crown on your noggin or not, I didn’t sign on to wipe your royal behind for you.

Before too long, we had all cycled through the gold orb-o-matic, and with the corruption purged off of us we were able to get some serious hurting in on the big nasty in the middle. A final, frantic heroic surge and we had it beat!

Norushen was proud of us. Or something like that. Maybe he was just glad we didn’t smell like burnt chicken feathers anymore. And it was only the one chicken, it’s not like I make a habit of it or anything.

Norushen said we were ready, and opened the door to the next chamber. This was it, the big one, the reason we came down in here! This was what we needed to do to be able to destroy Garrosh and avenge all that had happened to the Vale.

Except… um, what the hell dude? It was another of them Sha things! The Sha of Pride?

Look, I don’t like Sha any more than the next guy, but how many of these things are there, anyway? And pride. Where’ the harm in that? When I let a good one rip, after everybody is done waving their hands through the fog I get nothing but compliments. Of course I’m proud of it, wouldn’t you be?

It’s not like massive clouds of funk could actually HURT anyone, right? Or come alive, or clog up drains, or poison wells…

Oh. Okay, I get it now.

This was it. I was promised, this one more thing in the Vale, doing our part to cleanse the pipes, blow through the clogs and free up the corruption so it could all be washed away in a Tide of ammonia and good feelings. The Sha of Pride must fall so we could take ship and lay Siege to the stronghold of Garrosh Hellscream, mean guy and fashion disaster.

No, really. Have you seen that place he calls a home? Steel plates, rivets, spikes and walls? Honey, that is so Wrath of the Lich King. Be original. No Fung Shooey to it at all.

We took on the Sha of Pride, and again with the puddles of purple crap under the feet? Really?

I ain’t no Spenser for Hire, but I’m detecting a theme here.

So, puddles under our feet, time to back away and burn it down, close back up and keep going. People get locked up for our pride, well, there’s always a helping hand or two tog et us back out. Big extra meanness to take us from behind, yeah we’ve been there, done that.

A straight up slog, and as long as we kept close together for a little helping glowy hand from Norushen, moved our butts to break our buddies free from the locks and burned down the add each time, it was a piece of cake.

Nasty purple gooey cake. Nice going, Sha.

That was it. The Sha of Pride was down, and we all stood around, taking pleasure in having won. we were very pr… um happy to have won. Yes, that’s it. we weren’t proud, we were happy in a peaceful, contemplative way as we regarded with total seriousness and no preening whatever that we had overcome four obstacles on our way to facing down Garrosh.

We reported our progress to King Wrynn and were told that we were now ready to join him and the rest of the Alliance army on their flagship, as they were about to make landfall on the docks to the East of Orgrimmar. It was time for the Siege to finally begin!

Oh yeah… and since we did such a great job cleaning up the crap in the Vale, he had just the mission for us!

Something about hammocks. Or was it cannons? I couldn’t tell for sure, it was hard to hear what he was saying over the sound of the explosions from balls hitting the water all around us.

I’m sure it was hammocks, though. He thinks we deserve a nice rest for all we’ve done so far!

A Blast From The Past

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.

Because Trolls Didn’t Have Enough Toys

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

What Does Progression Mean To You?

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.

It’s Funny But It’s True, Damnit

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!

What A Long, Strange Pet Battle It’s Been

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”.

A Little Too Much Powa!

This last week, I’ve been running frequent random Twilight heroic instances in search of a weapon upgrade for a certain Death Knight Cub.

Alas, the drops have not been forthcoming in terms of weapons, but Valor and Justice are always welcome. Alex turned to me yesterday and announced he bought a Wooly Mammoth!

Yep, tooling around Dalaran, he spotted the Exotic Mounts vendor and checked out the wares on sale. Imagine his astonishment when he found you could buy a Wooly Mammoth to ride as a mount, and instead of costing gold, they cost Justice Points! He happened to have over 3000 Justice Points at the time, so one impulse buy later, he’s huge and hairy riding something huge and hairy.

Speaking of bears on camels, oh wait, that was my run with Precious and Soft. That’s for a different story.

So really speaking of huge and hairy, as I was saying, I’ve been tanking up the heroics for the insta-queue thing.

I thought I’d seen it all, but last night actually gobsmacked me, left me flabbergasted, boggled my brain and blew my cool.

It was wild, man.

We gathered up an all-guild run for a random Twilight Heroic, with Alex on his Death Knight, Cassie whacking all the things on her Shaman, BB throwing the red fire on his Mage and Ursi healing on his Priest from the Hellscream server.

I, of course, was bringing the butt.

The instance we got was Hour of Twilight, which elicited a groan from me. No weapon drops coming from THAT son of a bandersnatch!

Ah, well. Maybe next time.

As I bounced from place to place in true poohtigger style (you can call it Bearcatting all you’d like, I know who I draw my inspiration from), the comment was made that bears bouncing all the time must be a guild thing, since so many of our guild Bears do it.

I made some throwaway smartass remark about having done it for years and years now, as it’s the only way to exercise those rear haunches. Big butts are all well and good, but those legs have got to be strong to launch me into the fray. A wimpy Feral Charge would be a terrible thing, just terrible.

Apparently, my remark taunted the Priest. Sigh.

We blasted through in good time to the final boss, and gathered around while we waited for Archbishop Benedictus to shut up and give us go time.

Was I bouncing as I waited?

NO.

No, I couldn’t bounce as per Standing Order: Bear #1369, though, because that bastard Ursi abused the Priestly powers granted to him for no other reason than to prevent our bouncing.

When I ran into the chamber under Dragonshrine, Ursi cast Levitate on me, and then on every other member of the party including himself.

No bouncing! There was no bouncing! I wanted to turn around and say to Thrall, “There’s no bouncing with Benedictus! Thrall, there’s no bouncing! Make it stop!”

He did this with enough time to waste that we were able to comment on how I looked freaking cool bear paddling through the air. Cassie transformed into Ghost Wolf and we noted it looked like her wolf was standing on a flat plane of air rather than doggie paddling. There was plenty of time to pass for the posturing pontiff to propose the primacy of powa, the pontificating prick.

Being in this cooldown period, and having nothing at all to cause damage to pop the Levitate off me, I let it go and shifted to caster form. As soon as we got to about 12 seconds before the boss activates, I popped Bear (Furor +10 rage) and then Enrage (+20 rage +10 over time and prevents Rage decay) so I’d be all up and ready to throw down the bigbuttbeatdown.

What followed was instant epic karma.

The WoW gods are clearly Bears, for never before have I seen such sinister, swift justice to a misguided miscreant.

It all started with a Levitate, and went straight down to hell.

We’re all floating around Archbishop Benedictus, I’ve shifted out and in and have Enrage ticking and I’ve got my Rage bar full enough to get it going.

Boss goes active, I start with a Mangle to set the Bleed, Feral Faerie Fire, Lacerate stack going. My Tidy Plates/Threat Plates addon is solidly in the green. All is right in the Bear tanking world. My rage bar is filling nicely from all the damage I’m doing.

Except the boss isn’t facing ME, he’s facing Cassie and his back is to me! 

I’m trying to move him to the side in preparation for the waves and he ain’t going, but my bars are all green, so I should have solid threat, and he doesn’t have one of those “ignore the tank” mechanics, and WTF is going on? Cassie is a badass doing 28k – 30k DPS, but who the wha the how the fuh fuh fuh fuh

I use Growl to taunt, nothing, I’m doing the “Well DPS harder, damnit” thing,s no dice, I’m still green Threat Plates across the board but Cassie is on vent saying she has aggro, get it off me naow, what kind of fail tank are you, Ursi is healing Cass for all he’s worth, BB and Alex both die from lack of heals when the wave comes through, and it’s just freaking chaos, and I’M STILL FLOATING.

I was still floating.

I was still floating as the party died around me, Growl and Challenging Roar did nothing. My attacks all caused damage exactly as normal, but they seemed to have no Threat component at all. Nothing. But Threat Plates clearly thought I was generating Threat just fine. KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!

All I could do was float there, watch folks scramble, and search frantically among 20 little buff icons under my portrait for the Levitate one to click the damn thing off.

By the time I clicked it off, there was just Cassie and me left standing. Wimps.

We killed the boss, of course, I mean, Bear and Enhancement Shaman, c’mon. Chomp chomp.

That was the single freakiest thing I have ever seen on live. I’ve tanked that powa-ful idiot many, many times and I’ve never seen that happen.

In fact, I’ve done it so many times I’ll admit I was complacent and horsing around. I wasn’t taking him seriously. It was a point of pride in my skillz that of course I’d be full of Rage and ready to pop a claw in his skull the second he came off rant, but that was just because it’s that thang I do. It wasn’t out of fear of losing aggro or anything.

Woke my ass right up.

So of course, the only thing to do was get on my Priest, queue for an Hour of Twilight immediately, take a full PUG group in (Death Knight tank) and Levitate everyone at the same point on the Archbishop just to see what would happen.

It wasn’t to be mean, it was FOR SCIENCE!

Sigh. Nothing out of the ordinary. We won, no excitement, no screams or panic-filled chases. Bummer dude.

I don’t know whether there was some weird confluence of Talents and Abilities that just happened to create the conditions for a perfect bug, but I think I know what the real cause was.

The Bear Gods really did frown on Ursi preventing me from bouncing. And they took swift and powaful justice on the offender.

Let this be a lesson to you all.

Does a Bear bounce in a PUG?

YES

And don’t you even THINK of trying interfere. You’ve been warned.

I Have Met the Asshat, and it is Dalra

Please note, there has been an update to be found at the bottom of this article on April 14th, 2012.

So, you know how I was amazed at how bad that LFR run in Dragon Soul was as a healer?

Yeah. Second round was even worse. I blame Red, I went in for more healer gear.

What we had tonight could have been a good run, except for one thing.

A single player held the fun of 24 other souls hostage… and that players name was Dalra.

Yes, that says Dalra of Icecrown US. 

Would you like to see a picture of Dalra, proud enhancement shaman, in action on the Spine of Deathwing?

Just in case that is difficult to make out, here, let me zoom out a bit.

There in the center you can see the raid group on the Hideous Amagamations in the center, up and down the line.

And there, up in the upper right hand corner, you can see Dalra, all on her own, killing a tentacle. As an Enhancement Shaman. All there, all alone, killing tentacles. Spawning adds. Lots and lots of adds.

You see that title she has? Destroyer’s End? Yep. Solid Enhancement Shaman DPS. Dual wielding, got 4 piece tier, yay.

Too bad she queued as a HEALER.

The whole Spine of Deathwing fight, Dalra did nothing except single-handedly destroy tentacles, spawning endless waves of Hideous Amalgamations and the bloods that follow.

And here is something I didn’t know. If all the tentacles are dead, a new tentacle spawns, so there is no chance of your ever accidentally killing every Hideous Amalgamation and being left with no way to nuclear blast the plates off to expose the tentacle.

I. Did. Not. Know. That.

But now I do, and I have Dalra to thank for that. So, thanks!

24 people in a raid trying their best to win and move on, and those 24 people are subject to the whims of one person, a person who has the achievement and the title of having completed it on normal, who knows what it is they are doing, and who chooses to try and screw everyone else intentionally.

For fun, I guess.

And there is nothing anyone can do about it. that is the point of this post. Once the boss is pulled, that’s it. The group has no control in any way over the outcome from that point on.

You’re done. Wipe it or push on, beat it despite them, and give them their ‘fair’ chance at loot.

Once that boss is pulled, that player is free to do whatever the hell they want for the rest of the fight.

I want to be clear on this.

The issue is not Dalra. Dalra is nothing.

Nothing unusual or special or even especially irritiating went on tonight. If Dalra logged off with warm fuzzies knowing they got a second Deathwing Axe and relic drops tonight (according to the Armory) by queueing as a healer for insta-queues, doing enhance DPS while the group was down a healer, and even intentionally screwing people by trying to wipe the run if what she wanted didn’t drop… well, most people didn’t even notice.

Apathy and expectations are so low at this point that nobody really cared. It was just faceless, nameless asshat number 45862. As the picture shows, the tone of comments weren’t outrage, just tired acceptance. “No joke, I’m tired of morons in LFR.” That’s not nerd rage, that’s apathy and acceptance that stupid is just stupid.

We went on with some other faceless clown in LFR, and finished the run. Most people, I imagine, don’t even realize that it was on purpose. They are probably so used to stupid people by now, that if anything, they just pegged Dalra as being another in a long chain of incredibly stupid players, and went on with their lives.

I know better, because after Monday night I went into Spine looking at all the tentacles to see if I could identify another asshat and get some screenshots for my own fun. AND I DID. I watched while healing my whack-a-mole frames, as Dalra didn’t even start on the normal group tentacle. Right from the start, they went to an untouched one, destroyed it very fast, went to the next, destroyed it, and so on until all four were dead. Then kept killing tentacles as they respawned. Then, when the first plate lifted, killed more tentacles. As fast as they could pop.

There was no mistake, no confusion. It was a dedicated attempt by Dalra to wipe a raid from the second it triggered Spine. And I caught it early, notified everyone, began asking for Dalra to stop right away. There was nothing anyone could do to stop her. Just watch, and do our best to heal and kill.

If anything, anyone in the guild Shining Star Crusaders should feel ashamed that Dalra is carrying your torch, representing you. I don’t know anything about Shining Star Crusaders, maybe it’s a guild on Icecrown famous for shenanigans and being trolling asshats. Maybe it’s just some dude in a basement that is so ineffectual in real life that they have to do stuff like this to feel some kind of connection with someone else. Some kind of desperate bid for attention, any kind of attention, to rise out of the meaningless morass that is their pathetic excuse for a life, something to try and prevent themselves from feeling so cold and alone in a world that hates them. And they’ve got a personal guild full of their alts. I don’t really care.

My take is as likely to be accurate as anyones, and mine at least is based on personal experience seeing one of their guild members at play when they didn’t know they were being watched somewhere that it might turn up in public later.

Update: Some folks in reading this thought it was an actual slam on the guild mentioned. I thought I had stressed in the post, fairly bluntly, that I was speculating wildly on the kind of guild that had Dalra as a member, while at the same time knowing nothing whatsoever about the truth of the guild. That I was speculating like this or ‘musing aloud’ to prove the point that Dalra was serving as my only window on the kind of guild SSC might be, because in LFR cross-server activities, I didn’t have any way of knowing anyone in that guild prior to seeing one memeber in LFR be an asshat, which is entirely UNLIKE the old style single-server runs where guilds could form lasting recognizable reputations. In point of fact, after this post went live and word about Dalra got out, SSC took immediate action, removed Dalra from their roster, and took further action to make it clear that kind of behavior was not representative of their guild in real life. Clearly, in real life the guild SSC is not actually a single kid in a basement. Some of the responses (on each side) also showed me pretty clearly that a lot of people fail at reading comprehension. At least, they do where imagined insults and direct attacks are concerned. End of update, I now return you to the original post.

Dalra is not important. This post isn’t really about Dalra.

I am simply USING Dalra as my little bitch to make a point about an extremely serious issue in live LFR.

There needs to be a check on anti-group asshats after the boss is pulled.

There has to be a way to remove or curtail intentional trolling or flagrant wipe behavior.

“But Bear”, I hear you cry, “You can’t let people boot other players once the boss is engaged, people might kick them right before the loot rolls like in the bad old days of Argent Tournament.”

To that I say, I don’t care anymore. If it salves your conscience, let them have their roll at loot if they were in the group after the boss was pulled, so long as they were kicked and not disconnected or left of their own free will. Maybe require 10 people to all click “Accept”.

But you have to give us some options here. This shit isn’t even remotely funny. This one person tried to cause intentional mental anguish to 24 other people. Whether anyone else in the group felt strongly affected, or if they just blew it off and kept going, the intent was the same.

We asked Dalra not to kill the tentacles, we begged them, we told them they were kicked the second we wiped if they didn’t stop. They did it anyway, with grim dedication, and in total silence. No taunting, no smack talk, just a dedicated pursuit of wiping the raid.

And when we wiped, we did not kick them, because they left the second we wiped.

We queued, and Dalra was added back to the raid. And left on her own. And was added back. And again. AND AGAIN!

The LFR raid finder KEPT RETURNING DALRA BACK TO THE RAID, because Dalra had succeeded in wiping us once, knew we were going to kick her, so had left on her own and requeued AS A HEALER to find a new raid to screw over.

So, since they hadn’t been kicked from us, we kept getting her right back. Five times, in and left, in and left, with the raid in growing amazement at the way the system was being played.

We finally stopped queueing and did it short a healer.

That’s not just stupid, that’s broken.

Blizzard, anyone out there, I know you care, I know you’re trying.

Please. Just take action, let us find out what it is after you’ve got a plan, but fix this. To have asshats free to wreak havok to this extent on a raid is an embarrassment.

Updated (April 14th 2012): I have had two emails from the purported guild leader of Shining Star Crusaders stating that Dalra was a member for only 4 days, and regardless is now gone from the guild. The guild leader is emphatic about wanting to have the name of their guild dissassociated with Dalras action while a part of their guild, and I certainly don’t blame them.

If you are following this article, or have come here from a followed link, please be aware that there is no character named Dalra that is a current member of the guild Shining Star Crusaders according to WoW Armory, and please do not direct any unprofessional or inappropriate comments to the guild members. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Gaming the LFR

Last night felt like a very, very long night.

I raided for what felt like hours.

Hold on, it really was hours. It really only felt like minutes. The time just sped away on the wings of angels.

Evil little raiding angels with black wings taking delight in the death of online baddies, but angels nonetheless.

After my last post about the LFR difficulty issues, I had some thoughts on how someone who wasn’t a raider could try to take advantage of the fluctuating skill situation.

My thinking was pure speculation, but it went kinda like this;

If I was a raider, then I would know my scheduled raids were coming up. I’d want to be as powerful as I could for the raid. Therefore, I’d want to get my mains into the LFR as soon as I could after a reset, so that I could get my first shot at any ‘free’ upgrades, and get them all gemmed and enchanted and reforged (and transmogrified) before raid time, whenever that may be. 

Some guilds do raid on Tuesday night right after the reset. Those folks might have changed to using the LFR Tuesday night, or they might not.

Why change to an LFR Tuesday? If they raided Dragon Soul normal before the LFR, they might send a good upgrade to a person that proceeded to get a comparable item (at a slightly lower level) the very next night, a wasted opportunity to benefit the team as a whole.

If tank A just got a 384 tier shoulder, do you give a tier shoulder from normal mode to the same tank the very next night, or do you spread it to the other tank instead who is still wearing 378s?

The way I figure it, however the guilds are raiding, the majority of leading-edge progression gamers would probably try to get in on the LFR Tuesday night after the reset to get their ‘free’ upgrades, maybe Wednesday, and be as powerful as possible going into their ‘real’ raiding for the week.

Now, more pure speculation, those same raiding guilds would probably end up queueing as groups instead of piecemeal, since they don’t like idiots any more than casual players do, and bringing your own tank/healers has always been a time-honored method of reducing the chances of failure. Or annoyance that affects performance, anyway. I’m not saying an entire raid team would queue as one, just that the likelihood seems high to me that folks that raid together and know each other well would probably be able to find five buddies online at a given moment to queue with.

Plus, it’s more fun to scoff at other players when you’ve got a group of like-minded friends to hear your snarkiness. I know that’s how I roll.

That was my thinking.

How to put it into action?

If I, as a non-raider, wanted my best chance at playing with serious, talented people in LFR instead of idiots and offensive asshats that spend more time typing hate than targeting adds, then I would want to queue up Tuesday night.

A theory is just a theory until it gets tested. Accordingly, I went into LFR last night to see what it would be like.

I ran the Dragon Soul LFR three times last night, back to back. I played on my Warrior for the first wing, and then on my Hunter for the first and second wings.

Every group went smooth. Every group had complete success. Through the entire night, there was only one wipe.

The first run of the evening had myself, Cassie and two fellow guildies. The rest of the group was composed of non-guilded random people.

There was a little confusion on colors, the whole “green ooze does not aoe in LFR, you don’t have to prioritize it” thing that keeps throwing people used to studying normal mode. Our one wipe came from haste. In the future, mister strange tank, please try not to pull the boss while you rush across the big open space to get to the next trash pull. Shortcuts are fine, shortcuts THROUGH the big boss-circle-area on the floor, not so much. ‘kay?

Even with that, it was a far cry from the runs of just the night before, where everyone had a chip on their shoulder and felt the need to belittle everyone else rather than, oh, you know, do their own part. Unless typing a lot of bullshit equates to skill. /sarcasm.

There were two more runs for me that night, and on each run more members of our guild’s raid teams joined in. Or drove it forward, as the case may be.

I felt some of the raiders out a little, and got some comments along the lines of, “I want to knock the LFR out now so I have any loot before we raid.”

Anecdotal evidence, granted, but clearly there are some raiders right in my own guild that were certainly thinking, “Get in, get it done, get gone.”

Those last two runs?

The first one was the first wing again, smooth and clean. About ten guildies, plus random scattered people. At one point, Baddmojo the guild figurehead and raiding Rogue from Team Wanda broke over 52k DPS. Intentionally. Yes, that is a five and a two, followed by ‘k’, and it doesn’t stand for karat. Yes, I do feel that any character breaking 52,000 DPS on a single boss fight is overpowered and ridiculous. What frightens me is the idea that once raiders really get cooking in Dragon Soul Heroic, 52k might seem… quaint.

The second wing raid was more interesting. We were now in Azuremyst evening prime time for gaming, and we queued with about twelve guildies all together for it, including one tank and three healers.

The raid group we got was forged of just three guild groups.

Seriously. There were three guilds represented in the raid, almost no solo players.

The run was so smooth it went even easier than the first wing.

It became clear early on that the entire raid was formed of experienced raiders knocking the LFR out early.

It was my first time completing the entire second wing from start to finish as one raid. I have seen the middle two encounters a few times, but that was always as a replacement for people bailing in a failing group.

The tone of the discussion in vent was mostly amazement and disbelief that nobody did x stupid, or died to y from not moving out of the fire, or targeted the wrong mob, or ran the wrong way, or whatever.

It was one night, and maybe it was a fluke. But I have to compare the runs last night with the ones scattered over the last week and weekend, and there is no comparison in quality.

Last night just was… nicer, and far FAR more professional.

Not serious, just… no stupid bullshit.

In closing, I would like to leave you with a story that Yalani shared in guild chat the other night, a story about Yalani’s Priest and LFR. The name of Yalani’s Priest has been concealed to ensure the story will continue to have a happy, repeatable, ending.

Turns out, Yalani was in the LFR, doing the first wing.

There was this asshat in the raid, I’m sure that comes as a complete surprise to you, who kept typing elitist smack during the run. You know the kind of thing only too well, I’m sure. Constant criticism and offensive bullshit heaped on others. 

The raid progresses through the bosses until they are on the last boss of the wing, Hagara the Stormbinder.

For those of you that haven’t done the encounter yet, at one point Hagara will stand in the middle of the vast circular platform and channel the Frozen Tempest. Hagara hides in a Watery Bubble, four pylons form at equidistant staitionary intervals along the outskirts of the platform, and four equidistant lines form that transform into Waves of Ice that travel in a clockwise direction around the platform.

If you get hit by an Ice Wave, you take a shitload of damage and, generally, you die. 

Ice Waves are considered extremely easy to avoid. Before the waves form Hagara shoots red beams out to clearly show where they’re gonna be. At that point, you’ve got lots of warning to move your ass to a point in between any two lines.

No, really. When the Ice Waves form and begin moving, you can easily stay right in the middle of two waves, running around the rim of the platform. If you have some form of run speed enchant on your boots, it’s extremely easy. Just run around, destroying pylons as you come across them, and when the last pylon falls the Ice Waves vanish.

It is SO easy for someone prepared for the fight to avoid the Ice Waves that whenever someone new to the run dies by being hit by one, the asshats in the raid WILL mock them and call them stupid, noobs, morons, and all that other stuff. It’s one of those things people like to use to show disgust, as if they were born already knowing to avoid the Ice Waves, and as if it wasn’t the responsiblity of the experienced to make sure the raid is prepared for the encounter and questions are answered before pulling.

So, back to the story.

The raid is fighting Hagara, the Ice Waves form, and the raid starts running around the circle.

Yalani hangs back near an Ice Wave and Life Grips the asshat to her.

Asshat gets hit by Ice Wave and instantly dies.

Said death by Ice Wave is noticed by all, but not why. Immediately, all the OTHER elitists that like to mock people (but not nearly to the extent this one asshat did) just tear him a new one for being a stupid noob dying to the Ice Wave.

Asshat descends into frothy-mouthed nerdrage.

I like to actually picture the asshat seated at his (or her) computer (in his or her mom’s basement, of course), literally frothing in rage.

Well done. Well done indeed.

This is officially my favorite thing of the expansion.  Not the patch, the expansion.

Thank you, Yalani. Thank you OH so much for that. May you continue to bring swift internet justice to asshats on Hagara, and cause them to tread oh-so-lightly in the presence of any Priest they encounter from that point forward.

Baradin Hold is watching you!

The new boss is up and smoking in Baradin Hold, and his name be Occu’thar.

This be what he looks like alive;

And this be what he looks like all deaded and stuffs;

Now, let’s say for a moment that you’re a Druid trying to go all Feathery on Occu’thars’ butt.

For the people doing DPS, there are two things to be real careful of; staying the hell out of the big red circles on the floor (Focused Fire), and being set to drop massive AoE on the Eyes of Occu’thar.

See, the big dog randomly picks somebody and does a Focused Fire that stays on where that player had been standing, burns for a second, then spawns a large red stationary circle (12 yard radius) at it’s gaze point, a circle that does 35k+ damage per second, for several seconds. Needless to say, anybody standing in the bad gets eaten alive.

The other thing he does, is he casts the Eyes of Occu’thar, which spawns one eyeball per player in the room; the eyes travel to each player in a cloud, stick on the heads of the players dealing damage as they burrow in, and then once they are done (10 seconds), they detonate, doing Shadow damage to everyone. If all the Eyes detonate, they are doing cumulative damage. It’s a wipe. You can survive one Eye, say the one on the tank as long as the tank doesn’t currently have the 100% Shadow damage debuff from Searing Shadows.

Before the Eyes get cast, you want everyone but the tank of the moment to be all huddled up close, and you’ve got about 9 seconds to blast the shit out of those eyeballs before running like hell, because immediately after the Eyes pop he’s gonna shoot that Focused Fire right where you’re standing.

You want to have somebody or some place marked that you’re all going to fall in on, someplace close to the melee, so everyone know that when it’s time to deal with Eyeballs, we be moving to ‘x’. We had a big blue square over a melee DPS player for our fall-in mark. We tried a stationary mark on the floor first, but since the doggie likes to cast Focused Fire on you, that meant if the Focused Fire was on the mark, we didn’t have a second fall-in point to run to.  With a melee marked for us to fall in on, the other melee didn’t have very far to run to stack up. All this means is that, with the tanks swapping the big dog back and forth between them due to the Searing Shadows breath debuff, the melee will keep shifting position at least a little. If the Focused Fire circle drops on a melee, you’ll be shifting your movement a lot.

But it worked, damn it, it worked.

So, this is basically what he does.

When you pull him, he’ll do a Focused Fire on somebody. Everybody starts all spread out, using /range with a 12 yard distance if DBM doesn’t have it set up for you yet. That way, when it picks somebody, there is just one person hustling to get out of the circle before it goes boom.

Very shortly after that very first Focused Fire, he casts the Eyes of Occu’thar. Everybody that can, fall in on your marked spot. As soon as the cloud of eyes descend upon you, blast the shit out of them. Then, SCATTER! The first of two Focused Fires that follow each Eye summons will immediately (and I mean immediately) begin. I mean right the heck NOW!

You get away from the Focused Fire circle, continue DPSing the boss. Stay spread out. After a short break, the second Focused Fire cast since the Eyes spawned will appear. You are now safe to immediately fall into position on your Eyes AoE mark, there will not be another Fire before the Eyes are cast. When the Eyes appear, AoE them fast, then scatter again before the next Focused Fire of the cycle hits.

Rinse and repeat. It goes 1 Focused Fire, then a repeatable sequence of; Eyes of Occu’thar summoned, first immediate Focused Fire, delay of a few seconds, second Focused Fire, then stack up for the Eye sequence, then begin again.

There is almost exactly 1 minute between the very beginning of the first Eye summons and midway through the second Eye summons. I know this, because I cast Starfall (1 minute cooldown) in the middle of the first Eye spawn, and it still had 1 second cooldown remaining at the end of the second Eye summons.

As a Moonkin, I understandably felt under the gun to deliver some AoE here. You keep hearing how awesome Moonkin AoE can be. You just have little margin for error, you’ve got to burn all those Eyes down fast.

When the Eyes spawn, you’ve got about 9 seconds that the little bastards have to be dead before you’re running from Focused Fire. You do not have time to screw around with tab-targeting and Moonfire/Insect Swarm. You have to have a clear tactical plan in place for what to cast, when, and why.

As things began, I quickly pushed my Eclipse bar into a Solar Eclipse, to gain powerful Wild Mushroom effects. I am currently, stupidly, specced for Lunar Shower, dumbass that I am, so I couldn’t spam my Sunfire like I should’ve on the boss between Eye phases. Why? Because my Moonfire/Sunfire would give me Lunar Energy and push me out of Solar Eclipse.

I tried using all sorts of other spells, like pushing my Starfire a lot, and what I found out was my mana currently can’t handle my all out DPSing the boss AND doing AoE, because I have to use Hurricane each time. I had to carefully eke out my Starfires and Insect Swarms, so as to regain some mana before each Eye.

As I said, I pushed into Solar Eclipse, kept some DPS up on the boss, and waited until Focused Fire was done and we knew the Eyes were next. I started positioning my Wild Mushrooms on the fall-in mark, recasting them on the fly if we needed to adjust. As soon as the Eyes were summoned, I fired Starfall to get the cooldown started in anticipation of the next round, detonated my Mushrooms, backed off a step and kicked off a Glyphed Typhoon (does larger AoE with no knockback), and then I used Hurricane to channel them down the rest of the way.

Then, I ran like hell, of that I can assure you.

Hurricane eats so much mana it’s a sin to use, but there is a reason we have it; sometimes, you just need AOE and everything is on cooldown, and you don’t have time to recast three Mushrooms. 

I really should never have been specced into that Lunar Shower, that kept me from using Sunfire on the boss, and that was a lot of lost DPS.

Every wipe we had was from failure to clear 100% of the Eyes within 9 seconds. Wild Mushrooms just do too much damage in Solar Eclipse to let it fall off. The best solution that I can see is to drop Lunar Shower, and practise the timing on popping Starfall, Mushroom Detonate, Typhoon, and then rapid-casting three more Mushrooms and seeing if the Detonate is off cooldown in time to use it. I really don’t think there are enough GCDs in there to do all that in 9 seconds, but right now I’m too tired to try.

Still, we did it, Occu’thar is dead tonight at the hands of two different Band of Misfits raid teams, and it felt like a solid win.

I hope that all of you enjoyed or will enjoy similar success this week, and dear lord, I pray that you don’t try to pug that. It is enough to break the strong and drown entire cities in the tearful cries of “Get the hell out of the red! No, you’ve got to burn the eyes! Stop DPSing the boss, and kill the EYES! FUCK your damage meters!”