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The Rumpelstiltskin Approach

My guild is running a few old raids at the moment.  Last Friday we started BWD.I was quite surprised at how complex some of the fights were. I don’t know why I was surprised though. I don’t do ordinary Cata heroic dungeons because I find them harder than HoT dungeons, so why I thought BWD would be a straight forward tank & spank with no need for strategy, positional awareness or any sort of thought on my part  just because it’s not the most current raid I don’t know. Chalk it up to my naivety and/or stupidity – as with most things.

We had to call it quits last Friday, however, before we could get to Nefarian & this has thankfully given me chance to do some research on the guy in preparation for when we finally meet. As  Sun Tzu said-

“… if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles”

In other words if you know your rotation and faithfully read Icy Veins or some other strategy  guide then you may not find yourself visiting the spirit healer that often – unless like me you know these things but still do something stupid like blinking off the edge of Skyfire mid fight  (yes that was me in DS last Saturday ….sigh)

Sun Tzu also said

“…if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one”

Hmm I think he was being a tad generous there. In my experience  knowing  my class & rotation but not knowing the boss strategy never ends well. But there is always Deadly Boss Mods which can make up  a bit of the shortfall  (it’s my desert island add on – although since I wouldn’t have a computer on said island not really sure  what I’d do with it – but that’s how much I love it).

Finally he said,

“… if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”

Yes – if you think you are playing your mage when you’re actually on your warrior and think you’re fighting Ultraxion when actually it’s Yorsahj chances are it will not go well …and if the boss doesn’t kill you your guildees will.

So taking Sun Tzu’s advice (who am I to ignore it) I’ve been doing some research. I think if I keep the following in mind I will be showing Nefarian who’s boss when we finally do meet the next time the guild runs BWD (it won’t be me – I’ll just point at my raid leader and then hide behind a rock).

1. His sister is Onyxia & she will be in the fight too. Ooh goody. Two dragons for the price of one. I really wish Deathwing would come along too so we could take a photo and judge who takes after who (“they all look a bit..well…dragony really”).  And wouldn’t you just love to have been the babysitter responsible for putting them to bed when they were children…I mean whelps. Nefarian resurrects Onyxia at the start of the fight. Taking advantage of any old historical brother sister rivalry or animosity won’t work on this occasion (although apparently when they were younger he once set fire to her birthday cake – he claims he was trying to light the candles – and she’s never truly forgiven him for that). But in this fight they have decided blood is thicker than water. The strategy guides advises to tank them on opposite sides of the room – otherwise you’ll  be finding out if your own blood is thicker than water when you’re lying  in a pool of it.

2.Like some mad Mickey Mouse in Phantasia he will also summon some dancing bone warriors – ok they don’t dance but they are animated so it’s kind of the same. These can be CCd or kited but not feared – I  mean what would scare a skeleton bone warrior – xrays of broken bones set wrong perhaps?

3. Once Onyxia is gone (I’m hazy on how we actually do that – get Nefarian down as low as possible & then finish her off I think….?) the raid is filled with molten lava (is there any other kind?) and the chromatic prototypes. Now they’re the sort of thing that appear in WoW and – because I rarely read quest text – I have to nod & pretend to know what they are when really I don’t. But the shame of confessing this here has sent my scurrying over to WoW Wiki to find out – so now I know. They are prototypes of the chromatic kind. Obvious when you think about it. And there are three of them. Not having done this fight I’m struggling to visualise all this but it seems each of them is on a platform casting Blast Nova which has to be interrupted & the raid must jump onto the platform- to escape the lava presumably. I can say right now that this pretty spells the end of me in this encounter. I can never jump where I’m meant to jump – I lose all sense of direction. So I will be the one dying in the lava with my GTFO add on becoming  increasingly hysterical at my stupidity.

4.After the prototypes are gone you jump back down (or in my case maybe get a battle ress). We can then expect more dancing bone warriors – this time getting recharged with Nefarian’s shadowblaze spark. The bone warriors need to be kited while the rest of us burn Nefarian down I think.

And that seems to be it. Sounds horrendous to be frank – but I guess I’ve just got to experience it. And oh one other important thing – Nefarian is NEFARIAN (with an A) not NEFARION (with an O). This  is vitally important since Nefarian seems to have made a conscious choice to spell his name in this way – apparently proper black dragon flight naming convention means his name should end with an ION. I’m sure this fact is really a secret weapon – knowing something’s real name gives you power over them – as Rumpelstiltskin taught us all. So I strongly suspect that all that strategy stuff above is a red herring & if – instead of actually fighting him I stand completely still and repeatedly type Nefarion Nefarion Nefarion in raid chat we will much easily defeat him & my guild will love me forever. That’s the plan anyway. I’ll let you know how it goes.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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Dr Tank or: How I learnt to stop worrying and kill my Healer

It’s too boring all this sensible dungeon running- you know where the Tank keeps aggro, the Dps understand their role and don’t pull and the Tank looks out for the Healer (even permitting mana breaks and checking that the Healer is remotely in the same vicinity before pulling). Yes that’s so booorring. Where’s the excitement? Where’s the risk? And more to the point playing this way keeps the Healer sane & alive. Who wants a sane and alive healer?  No one these days it seems. So here’s my top 8 tips to running Setthek Halls (just one dungeon chosen at random …not …I repeat not…because my Discipline Priest just emerged from there all dazed and confused) in such a way as to cause maximum mental and physical damage to your Healer (and come on admit it – you  know that’s what you really want to do. There’s no other explanation for the way this dungeon is run).

1. In general there are a number of enemies in Sethekk Halls that can fear party members including the Healer. Tank – if this happens and you end up dying please please quickly type  “FFS healer” into party chat – they deserve nothing less even though it was you who pulled several groups at once and even though every single party member was therefore taking an inordinate amount of damage. No – ensure the Healer knows that they should have been able to heal the group- indeed what sort of Healer can’t heal when feared?

2. The Time Lost Controller casts Charm Totems that can mind control members of the group. So definitely definitely don’t kill the totems & definitely definitely don’t kill the Controller before he can cast more totems – you want as many totems around  you as you can. Remember your goal is to turn the Healer into a gibbering wreck – preferably a DEAD gibbering wreck.

3. Don’t CC the Avian Darkhawks and Avian Rippers  no matter how many of them there are (in fact general dungeon tip: don’t CC anything – the developers put CC abilities in the game as an in-joke – only noobs use them). Gather up as many birds as you can (channel the Birdman of Alcatraz or something) and let them have at you.

4.  Some mobs cast  chain lightening – to get maximum effect from this ensure the Dps stands as tightly grouped together as possible and of course do not even think of turning the mob  around to avoid the Dps. Where’s the bloody fun in that? And if the healer tries to stand well back to avoid the chain lightening then teach him/her a lesson by running off as fast as you can in the opposite direction so that you go out of the reach of his/her heals. Do this well & anyone in the same house as the Healer will find themselves staring aghast at this monster at the computer who is using language so vulgar that even the fish look shocked (and fish can swear I tell you).

5. Time Lost Shadow Mage – seek them out, seek them out – they can destroy your health in seconds. If – happily – this happens just as the Healer is charmed or feared  then pat yourself on the back. All you need is a wipe & a “FFS healer” and it’s job well done.

6. Setthek Initiate – their magic reflection ability enables them to  reflect spells. This is a great chance to get the Dps in on the fun too. As a general rule Tank & Dps should try to coordinate all damage taken so that the health of the entire group drops as quickly and dramatically as possible (preferably when the Healer is taking a well signalled  mana break).

7. 1st boss – Darkweaver Syth. He summons elemental minions who can deal a great deal of damage but are easy to kill. So logically you must ignore them & focus only on Syth no matter how many of them appear. Indeed you want as many of them around as possible because the Healer will then have their work cut out keeping everyone up. This is great. Exactly what you want. As an added perk if you’re a Warlock repeatedly cast Hellfire to drive your health down. Then get your mana back by life tapping like there’s no tomorrow. Excellent work.

8. 2nd boss – Talon Ikiss. His arcane explosion does around 4000 damage. If he blinks to you you must stand right where you are to take as much damage as possible. Rebuke anyone trying to break line of sight by hiding behind a pillar – they are clearly  not on message (and remember the message is “We hate all Healers”).

And that’s it – 8 quick tips to destroy your Healer in one dungeon run. And you never know – seeing as I’m starting to think all Healers (myself included) are complete masochists – they’ll probably even agree to do another run with you when Sethekk Halls is finished. Then you can start all over again. Enjoy.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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You want me to heal AND run

God –  and I thought tanking was scary. It’s a walk in the park compared to  healing. I’ve been healing Cata dungeons  quite a bit recently  – including one Cata heroic. What a nightmare. I really didn’t know my heart could remain in my mouth that long.

I started out with a few ordinary Cata dungeons using Luxmi my resto shaman. Just dipped my toe in the water as it were – didn’t realise it was water infested with poorly equipped tanks and dps with no situational awareness at all & a universal “what the hell is a cool down”  approach – but there you go.

I found it so  depressing  at the outset  when I realised at 85 you don’t see the health bars leap up in the same way you do when healing  the lower levels. Or am I just doing it wrong? Everyone says a good riptide and two healing waves is a great opener as a shaman- my tanks yesterday were on their knees at half health with that after just one blow from a trash mob. So I continually had to throw out much bigger heals (my original typo there said “I had to throw out much bigger head” which is an entirely different way of bringing tanks to their knees but frowned upon in game)  and then ran out of mana.

With my holy pally it was no better. By the time I remembered to also judge & use crusader strike to get mana back everyone was  dead. That might have been my fault. The mage in the group  also seemed to struggle unnecessarily. When I’m playing a mage I very rarely need healing.  Why then do other mages fight toe to toe with mobs and take lots of damage. Yes I know – they are idiots who think they rolled a Paladin. Simple really.

Is it me? I don’t know-  I follow Icy Vein tips regarding rotations & I think I’m doing the right thing with my gear & stats- I listen to Mr Robot’s advice more than I listen to my mother (not hard admittedly), although not when it comes to enchants – the day I have that sort of money is the day it turns out I’ve won Blizzard in a raffle.

It’s not all bad of course. In one Lost City run the group said “well done healer” and I blushed for four hours solid.

But I don’t help myself. I totally humiliated myself in Grim Batol –  not on the healing front as it happens. I was with a great group so the healing part was fine.  But  the bit at the beginning when you run to the dragons to go and bomb the crap out of everything – well I lost my sense of direction, ran in the opposite way  (yes I know…) and fell of the edge and died. We’d only been in the dungeon about five seconds. I confessed in party chat  – had no choice really since someone had an addon that had already flashed up “Luxmi dead-  cause unknown”  and the group  all lolled at me. I was totally humiliated.

It’s really not easy this healing lark – even when you’re not falling off edges. I did heroic Shadowfang Keep  the other day. The first boss – the one that asphyxiates everyone in sight and makes you cry if you’re the healer – was nervewracking enough but we survived it. The tank continually running out of line of sight to pull three rooms worth of mobs was hard too it has to be said. But that bloody boss that does that green poison thing that means you have to run around and heal at the same time!!!! How? When I’m running I have to concentrate on running or I fall over & die (as Grim Batol above showed). I can’t heal as well- even if I just cast instants – it’s just not happening. I am not in this game to multitask. I just want to stand there and cast pretty heals and see green bars fill up quickly and easily.

You know saying all that makes me realise what I should be playing – and I have got a real hankering at the moment to return to it. It’s The Sims. I should just start a new character- loosely based on me of course. Set  her up in a nice little house and just enjoy keeping all her green bars nice & full. No stress. No fuss. An ordinary life in an ordinary house. Maybe I’m just a bit burned out but more and more that appeals to me – in gaming and in life. With plenty of whoohoo too of course :)

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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Me and Warlock Down by the School Yard

Just had an interesting dungeon experience (and by interesting I don’t mean so annoying and frustrating it has turned me into a psychotic lunatic – that was yesterday). I am levelling a Discipline Priest –  Styleesh. She is currently 49 (but in the interests of an accurate record she was 48 when we entered the dungeon). The dungeon was Zul’Farrak. I used to be scared of this place when I was first levelling a healer (Androse my Pally Healer who is in her 50s on some godforsaken server somewhere  – she is unashamedly Horde which causes a problem given my current all Alliance girl group). But I felt ok at the thought of doing it as Disc. I really do love this Shield business. Allows me plenty of time to look around & appreciate the scenery. I’m not even doing that whole Disc Priests/DPS spec. I’ve gone for the purist (aka laziest) spec  – I just heal. But if a doctor said that you’d say that was more than enough- so I reckon the same should apply to me.

So anyway it was me, a cuddly Druid tank who coyly said it was his first time, a warlock, a rogue & A.N.Other DPS (left half way so can’t remember, but was then replaced by a mage). Off we trotted. The happy five. And we really were happy. The tank was excellent,  nice pull sizes – perfect for me to get by just bubbling him & casting the odd renew (occasionally I’d do a penance if I was feeling flush with the old mana). It was all good. But he went round the wrong way. Actually I didn’t think there was a wrong way in Zul Farrak as it’s  just a circle really – but there’s definitely a more efficient way which he didn’t pick.  The warlock kept saying it was the wrong way but not very assertively (sort of “Excuse me Sir but would you mind awfully if we, perhaps, just maybe, turned around and tried traversing these plains in the other direction?”). But the tank didn’t change direction. And I’m a tank lapdog when I heal so I didn’t leave his side (yes I would go with the tank over the edge of a cliff if he asked me – but I would sneakily cast levitate on myself first). So we went the wrong way- which meant Gahzrilla was the first  boss. All was fine there  though. In fact the boss was down before I realised it. Either the tank was excellent or I’m such a superb healer I’m actually doing it without even realising. I’m probably healing right now as I type this now I come to think of it.

Anyway the Pyramid  bit was fine too (that’s the bit I used to be scared of). The only sticky bit was when the tank ran round the corner after a mob & went out of my line of sight. This meant I actually had to go  after him (can you believe it- I had my lounger set out on the stairs and everything – Zul Farrak is a good naturist zone did you know -going by last week’s Bugle).

We then did  Chief Sandscalp & Ruuzlu. Again fine. The fight passed in a blink of an eye. This left us with  Theka, Zumrah & Antusul  because we’d gone the funny way round. But before we could go and finish it all off the bloody tank- old Cuddles himself- left without even saying goodbye …or thanks. I was  heartbroken but got myself a low carb treat & cheered right up (don’t get me started on low carb stuff- I won’t stop – it’s my new passion now that Glee has finished. No one can do more with a bit of protein powder and an egg than me – cooked a three course meal the other day.)

The mage left too (but I expected no more of the mage – they are fickle) so it was me, rogue & Warlock. Zumra was first. I really didn’t hold out much hope but I have to say we were awesome. I healed the pet, bubbled the warlock & rogue and screamed for my life when I was attacked. Classic noble fighting stuff. The spirit of the seven samurai is far from gone. We killed him dead (not like the other type of killing when they walk around and moan about their back hurting). We won the day.

We then hunted down Theka. Not so great. Every scarab on planet Azeroth was aggrod (I think I might have been  a bit too liberal with my heals) & we went down in a blaze of  ignominy. But plucky souls that we are we re-entered the dungeon, turned in the quests completed so far & rode on back to him, shaking in our saddles but determined nonetheless.

Once we got there we made mincemeat of him – literally (I turned my nose up as I’m a vegetarian) but then Roguey Boy (not his name but they’re all called something like that) said he had to leave. Warlock & I tried to persuade him to stay with promises of glory etc. Then when that failed we simply cried & begged him shamelessly (we were both females so some might say that came easy to us – but they’d only say it once). Nothing worked. His heart was stone and he too left us. We were both now chalking up enough abandonment issues to keep our therapists in work for years.

Anyway off we continued with an unspoken determination  not to let this beat us. I bubbled the minion as a sign of true commitment to the cause (wouldn’t normally dream of wasting my precious mana on a pet – I’ll barely use it on the dps- hehe). We were left with Antusul. The fight started but we were stood in the wrong place & he summoned a ton of basilisks. So for once I really had to earn my money as healer. I was healing the pet, the warlock, reducing my threat, healing them all again, healing myself (to hell with the threat) etc. Pretty sure the minion died at one point (or curled up in a foetal position for a joke) but in seconds he was back. The cycle continued until finally- finally – we did it. Me and the Warlock – truly awesome.

We rode back to the quest giver triumphant (ok teleported in & out) and then thanked each other for sticking with it to the end. Then we left. Probably never to see each other again. But it doesn’t matter – we’ll always have ZulFarrak. Our moment of glory.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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It’s Getting Worse: A Tale of Two Dungeons Part 2

I wanted so much to be coming on here today to write about how things had improved for me in heroics (or HCs as I now professionally  call them). And I have had some small successes, i.e. did 6/7 of my VP runs this week, avoided pistol barrage by hiding at the top of the stairs, finally sussed out the ropes at the end of Deadmines etc. But all that is pretty irrelevant because I have a more fundamental problem – I still cannot  find my way back into dungeons after I’ve died. What was previously a slightly funny and occasional mishap is fast becoming a recurring nightmare. I get lost so easily.

It’s always been a bit of a joke between me and my husband about how bad my geography and spatial awareness is. I’ve asked him some odd geography questions in the past – a classic which he will never let me forget is, “How far away from Holland are the Netherlands?” And he loves to play the “If you were driving to town from here which way would you go?” game with me because he knows I would go via some ridiculous convoluted route (Scotland or Iceland or something).

And my  spatial awareness …well … it leaves a lot to be desired. In my head for e.g.  north is whichever direction I’m facing. This made for fun times when husband & I were  out geocaching (on a positive note it allowed us to discover some lovely rural communities of the sort made famous in Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Hollywood on our doorstep). I was lying in bed the other night half asleep when I realised I was visualising our bathroom  in the wrong place (why I was visualising any bathroom is a question for another day). I  think in my head I forgot which house I lived in and started thinking about the layout of my old house. It all could have had most unfortunate consequences had I needed to get  out of bed and  go to the toilet.

What’s the reason for all this? Well my theory is that it’s because I’m a “head” person (my husband suggests I substitute mental case here for head person).  Outside of work I am always thinking of the past or future, but never really the present. And I’m always somewhere  else – never really “in” my practical physical surroundings. My mind is always off on some tangent –   is the universe just a projection of my mind & in which case why have I projected George Osborne,  what did happen to my dog Blackie & why won’t my parents tell me, did I really once ride a camel or was that a dream (still no idea on that –  I remember a hump but that might have been the old lady with the poor posture who lived up the road- in which case it was mean of me to climb on her back), what are the chances of an “immortality and constant youthfulness pill” by the time I’m 60,  will the “future me” do wonderful world-changing things or will I be old, childless and regretful. It’s a constant swirl of stuff. It goes on in my dreams – every night I enter a rather skewed version of this current world with characters, narrative and even plot twists. And all this makes me less connected to  stuff around me than I should be. And because I’m not as mindful as I should be I think I’m a bit of a floater in dungeons too. If everyone is around me I just go in their direction, trusting they are right. But once I’ve lost everyone it’s game over- I’m left alone somewhere wondering how I got there and not sure what to do next.

I get help in game with my  situation awareness with the GTFO add on – I hear noise and I move. It’s Pavlovian training at its best. But as you know from some of the Bravetank posts finding my way as a tank around dungeons was a constant source of stress to me. That’s why I was so over the moon when I discovered Maps for Tanks. But I now know we  need another type of Maps website – a Maps for Returning to Instances when you are Dead – subtitled  Keep Calm and Look for a Swirly Thing.

It’s awful. I am constantly lost trying to find my way back in. Today I had to leave a HC  because of trying four times to find the entrance to End Time in Caverns of Time. It was totally mortifying.  I found several other entrances to other instances (wonderful), but not the one I was dead in. The game bluntly told me “Your corpse is not in that instance” but did not offer me so much as a hint as to where it was. The map was no use. It made me run into a tree. And all the while the group was waiting for me. Tick tock. They were lovely but I was so embarrassed I had to leave.

Afterwards I went out into the garden to find husband and tell him. I was really upset. My husband thought something had happened to a member of the family. “No,” I told him, “I couldn’t find my way back into the dungeon.” He laughed and said “It’s only a game.”

Well yes it is and it isn’t. I hate sticking out so much as the incompetent one. I like to think I’m competent in my job. I try hard to be good at what I do. But I’m not good in these dungeons – in fact I’m nowhere in the vicinity of good – I can’t even find my way into these dungeons. I’m like the charity case brought along for the ride. And each time it happens my self esteem plummets just that bit more.

I read all your comments of course and they’re all so reassuring  but when I’m in the dungeon it only ever seems to be me that’s lost, me that they’re all waiting for, me that doesn’t know the tactics. And it’s not fun then. I love the game but sometimes I suspect it is a masochistic type of love – because actually playing it is so stressful.

So what should I do? Everytime I log on I think I will just get on with things like my dailies, farming rep, doing all the Cooking Achievements etc. (but aaargh chocolate cake recipe- still not dropped), or just quietly making embersilk bags to sell on the AH. But once I’m on I find myself hitting that bloody dungeon button after about 5 secs  – always hoping it will be ok. And sometimes it is. But not when I die and there’s no res incoming – that’s when it all turns bleak. Again a bit like life I guess :)

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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A Tale of Two Dungeons: Part 1

As you know I’m a super cool and rock hard level 85 now and doing Heroics (struts stuff around keyboard).

Ok …that was totally for show – I might be doing them but as you’d expect I’m working myself up into a nervous frenzy before, throughout and after. I thought as range DPS I could just stand at the back and basically hit whatever the tank was hitting. It’s certainly what I’ve been doing up until now (although occasionally saving groups from wipes by some pretty dexterous blinking). However, Cataclysm heroics are a whole different ballgame.

It started with an embarrassing fail in Grim Batol heroic. I started halfway through just before the second boss which I somehow managed to survive  but then we faced Drahga and it all went wrong. I remembered from the ordinary version you had to kill the fire elemental thingies  but what I’d not realised was that there was this almighty flame breath thing from the dragon that try as I might I seemed to run into  (I was almost bathing myself in the stuff). And I have the Deadly Boss Mod so there really is no excuse. So I died.  Everyone must have (it’s a blur now)  because I had  to run back in. But I  got totally lost on my way back and nearly ran into a pack of mobs. Oh dear I thought. I need to go another way. I considered for half a second and then spied what looked like a molten lava river below the bridge. I flicked the map open and assessed the situation and then did the only sensible thing you can do in these circumstances. I hurled myself off the bridge into the  molten lava. Do not ask me why. I had a vague thought I could take a short cut through the lava….. Yes this is why husband and I no longer go on  walks together.

As you’d expect I died again. So I then did what all dignified people do at this point- I left group without saying a word. I was totally embarrassed. I sat in the corner licking my wounds for a bit until husband told me to stop as it was putting him off his tea.

“I’m going to read all the strats online & not go in again until I absolutely know what I need to do in every single Cataclysm heroic,” I announced. Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile will recognise these as classic Bravetank words – said after every failed embarrassing dungeon run. But I indeed started reading up on  Grim Batol. But all the reading did was make me more scared at how complicated it was. Groups will wipe if they don’t do blah blah. Remember to do blah blah. Ignore blah blah at your peril.  Oh my  goodness – instance strats are totally boring and complicated to read.

Ok another approach is needed I told myself. You will learn this by going in again and again, learning through your mistakes. Getting better by doing. It was a bit like Robert the Bruce and the spider – although to be honest if I had been in  Robert’s position and in a dark and dingy cave and  suddenly spotted a spider anywhere near me the English would have heard my screams from miles off and promptly come and killed me. So lucky for Scotland I wasn’t there then (thank me later Scotland – a free holiday in Edinburgh will do).

But of course in real life trying and failing and then trying again and succeeding is great.  Doing this in a dungeon is another thing. I mean you try and fail in real life and what happens … Well ok as a surgeon pretty bad stuff I expect. Ok what about a  hairdresser? Well yes that could get nasty too I bet. Ok as a teacher- well it’s only the entire next generation in your hands….

Ok I admit trying and failing in real life is pretty serious too. But in  Heroics it’s worse- I mean they call you noob and stuff.

But even as I ruminated on the issue I knew it was the only way – I had to get in there. Plus my  addiction to valor points needed feeding.  Since I’ve been able to shop at JP and VP quartermasters I have been unstoppable. Even though my JP firehawk set is annoying because I now have a renegade mirror image who appears when I don’t want her to appear and pulls stuff I’m scared of  I do love the gear. So I have to run Heroic  dungeons & I have to run randoms.

So with this in  mind I queued up again yesterday and to my “joy” (i.e. total dismay) I got Grim Batol again. But this time from the start.

I steeled myself. I could do it. The first trash mobs were easy & I found myself somewhat relaxing (by which I mean I unclenched my teeth by a millimetre and finally exhaled). We then had to jump on the dragons. First problem. It was telling me to free them from the net first. That wasn’t in the normal. Anything that takes me by surprise in an instance removes my  ability to think or move my character. This doesn’t make for great gaming skills. I sat there for a second and then attacked the net- feebly- with my staff  as a bludgeon. It didn’t work. I’ll have to use arcane barrage  I thought, but the logics of this bothered me. How could I arcane barrage the net without killing the dragon?  This would defeat the whole purpose surely. By now of course everyone else  was  flying & merrily bombing away- I was calculating the angle of my barrage. Finally  common sense took hold of me. I remembered how WoW actually worked  & shot the net. The dragon  survived (it’s a miracle!)  & I jumped on its back for the  bombing mission.

Once that was over (not sure how effective  I  was – I missed loads because I had my camera angle turned wrong) I landed back with the group. In  fairness they didn’t berate me for the length of time it had taken me to badly complete a relatively simple task and on we pressed.

The first boss as you know is General Umbriss. As we approached that area one of the group said, “Mage sheep the purple thing.'” I immediately froze. What bloody purple thing? I got ready to look up “purple thing Grim Batol” on the internet but there was no time. I searched around the dungeon panic stricken- shit I needed to sheep something. I didn’t know what, I couldn’t see it. I randomly targeted something that looked vaguely purple but luckily I hit my mouse wrong  (all fingers and thumbs by this stage). We hadn’t actually even started on the boss yet. There was no purple thing. Eventually I came to my senses and  typed  “What purple thing?” “The one that comes with the boss,” was the answer. Hmm. Ok. Still didn’t really know but I decided the only thing for it was to attack the boss with the others but keep my eyes peeled for anything purple. So we started on the boss and  I kept looking when suddenly lo and behold a purple trogg appeared. I have never been so happy to see a big purple thing in my life  (insert own lewd joke  if you like). I immediately sheeped it. I felt so proud. I had been given an instruction and had carried it out unquestioningly.  Never had I been so happy to act like a mindless drone.

The second boss was fine. I even avoided the cave ins. Amazing.

The third boss got me scared. This was the one I’d died on. But I remembered the adds. I remembered the flames. I remembered to blink into and past the flames. And amazingly I did not die. YES!! I yelled at my monitor – adrenaline now really  pumping. Was this Heroic actually doable?

We progressed onto the last boss. Slow down the add on the left I was told. Oh God it was purple thing type instruction all over again. What left? Whose left. What is this thing you call left? But eventually I saw the adds emerge and I slowed one on his way to the eggs. BUT THAT’S ALL I DID. I didn’t realise it was slow then kill. I just thought I had to cause him some inconvenient mobility difficulties. I then stood in the wrong place during shadow gale & died. The thing ended as a wipe.

To be fair though they all just patiently regrouped. I ran in and again almost got lost. It suddenly occurred to me though that they were already at the boss. How could this be? I was running past the dragons at this point. I noticed I could jump on them. I started to put 2 and 2 together (chimps would have picked this up quicker than me). Still not trusting my Columbo like deductive powers  I asked the group, “How do I get to you?” “Use the dragon and jog a bit,” they said. So I did and I got there. After that the tank gave us clear  instructions. Me & a pally DPS were to slow AND kill  leftie add and the other DPS was to do the other. Made sense to me & so we did it. I also stood in the right place during shadow gale (basically threw myself at the group figuring that wherever they were standing was ok- I was too stressed to be able to identify the safe spot myself) & we downed him!!!! Grim Batol Heroic was complete!

I was over the moon. I thanked them profusely for their patience and they were lovely in return. It was a really good experience looking back but absolutely terrifying throughout. Bit like life  :)

 
23 Comments

Posted by on March 28, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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Hacked Off

Well what a week of WoW highs and lows. Firstly the highs (don’t want to depress you in the first paragraph). Seashell hit 80 yesterday!!! I’m over the moon. She is now my second highest character and will, I hope, hit 85 before Terema – my oldest  character who is still 84 and  somewhere in Uldum (last seen flirting shamelessly with Harrison Jones).

To get to 80 I had to endure the weirdest dungeon I’ve so far encountered- The Oculus. I went in there blind (is there a clever “eye” pun there?).  I had no idea that drake bit was going to happen. When I was told  I had to pick a colour I assumed you had to go for your favourite colour so I walked around a bit, weighing up the options, wondering which went best with my dress – that sort of thing. Think I ended up on what turned out to be the healer drake. By then as you’d expect everyone had gone. To be honest no one in this group knew how to do the dungeon so I think everyone flew off in different areas and started one on one battles with enemy drakes. That never ends well. I flew right to the top, got totally confused, flew back down again, got attacked, died. Rinse and repeat. Several times. In the end I quit swearing to the heavens I’d never go in there again.

Until the next day- after crazily opting for randoms since I wanted my 12JPs (12!! No Blizzard it’s too much – you are overwhelming me with your generosity) I was in there again. This time – dignity out the window – I decided to throw myself at the mercy of the group and pretty much begged for help the moment I arrived.

“It’s easy,” said one of them, but put a little :P after it to show they meant well. Luckily the tank had also never done it so the two other dps & healer gently took us through it, explaining everything patiently (“Now those ahead of us are enemies….repeat after me EN…EM…EEEES, we don’t like them so hit a button…no not that one …you’re now fishing) , including the fight at the end where my AMBER drake  (yes I found out as dps I needed an amber one regardless of what colour dress I was in) came into his own. And we did  it – I achieved Northrend dungeoneer (I hadn’t realised it was the only dungeon I had left  for that) & soon after level 80!!! What a great night.

And so so different from two nights earlier when I was hacked :( I couldn’t believe it. One minute I was in a dungeon merrily  spamming arcane blast , the next I had been throw off WoW. I tried to get back in but it wouldn’t accept my password. Then my husband – like the host in a Miss World contest …started announcing each of my characters in turn as they  logged in and out and showed up in his chat window – we are Real ID buddies (least I can do for my husband).  We felt so helpless (like an ardent feminist watching Miss World to keep the metaphor rolling)- knowing it was happening, watching it happen, but unable to do anything about it (apart from chucking a bra in the gas fire). I went on the Blizzard site and reported it while my husband sent a well meaning but ultimately ineffectual message to the hacker saying, “We know you have hacked this account.” Half hour or so later my password was changed & I was back in finding out what damage had been done. All my characters on that server (bar one who had less that 100 gold to her name so was clearly not worth the time of day…not good enough to be robbed …odd thing to be hurt about isn’t it?) were in  Stormwind bank. Nothing had been taken from their bank accounts though just their gold. So if I’m reconstructing events correctly (watched an old Columbo last week  so I know exactly how it’s done) someone would have been waiting in the bank for my hacked characters to hand over their gold. A slick  operation. Blizzard were fantastic though. I had all my gold back – and quickly too. I then promptly went and got myself an authenticator (yes yes I know – should have had one already) and now hopefully (touching every piece of wood I can) everything’s ok.

But I do have a little issue. I currently can’t get into Wrath heroics because my ilevel is 7 too low  & I can’t get into Cataclysm dungeons because it’s about 40 too low. This means I have to start questing in bloody Mt Hyjal- something I didn’t enjoy first time round as Terema who at least was a tough pally. I’m already finding it  difficult as a clothie fighting things that burst my ice quicker that I can cast it & blink faster than me.

But happy days anyway- I have my gold back & I’m 80 and I never have to do The Oculus again- oh wait- there’s an heroic version isn’t there…?

 
19 Comments

Posted by on March 10, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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Holding Out For a Hero

For years I’ve read about WoW heroics with both a sense of fear and awe. I’ve read how high the standards and requirements are, how professional the conduct, how unforgiving the judgement. You do a fraction less than the dps expected and you are unceremoniously booted. I never thought I’d be good enough to go in an heroic. I never thought I’d be brave enough.

But the week before last Seashell hit 70 and began to do some Northrend dungeons. All fine – definitely more enjoyable as a Mage that can evocate as opposed to a Shaman that seems to expend mana just walking around (I’m looking at you Luxmi). And let’s not even talk about where Bravetank is on this journey. So Seashell the mage was having fun and performing well.

Then I noticed in my dungeon list that heroic Burning Crusade dungeons were available. I started looking through Atlas Loot at the type of stuff I could get, then went to the kitchen for a towel to wipe the drool off my keyboard. There is something about purple stuff isn’t there? I have had it so rarely in my colour deprived WoW life. I remember squealing over greens. I remember telling the neighbours about  blues. But purple – well it’s family celebration time. Even when the stats are lower than my current armor  – as is always the way.

“I really want to try an heroic,” I told my husband, “But I’m terrified.” Hard to type the scoffing sound that came next but suffice to say he immediately queued for an heroic – showing that he was the man of the house I think. Within seconds he was in the dungeon and I was sitting over by my computer feeling queasy with nerves for him.

“Oooh it’s got a little icon by my mini map,” he said (reading this over my shoulder by the way he denies the “Ooh” bit). He started fighting. “It’s ok,” he reported. “I think there’s more trash but no different apart from that. People are typing in complete sentences though which is odd.” Odd indeed. I have never come across proper sentences in a dungeon before. It’s usually a collection of cryptic letters that I have to figure out – not even sure I’ve got “nvm” right.

Anyway his first foray into heroics  continued. Nothing dramatic or untoward happened. He just treated it like a normal dungeon (which in his case is blizzarding everything in sight and staying behind to loot without a care in the world). He did not get booted, yelled at or spiritually condemned. At the end the final boss dropped 4 things, two of which were purple, none of which suited his class (so usual loot inspired tantrum which I ignored) but he’d done it.

“That’s not too bad,” I thought. “I can do that.” But as is my wont I wanted to do it better (wont and wanted in the same sentence – how’s that for a grammatical showdown?). So off I went to the auction house to buy the very small amount of enchants I can get that are useful and usable at my item level. I also made myself some buff food (I love cooking – makes me feel all Jeremiah Johnson – but without the brutal family massacre). “I will be awesome,”  was my basic philosophy. “They will see that I have made the effort, that I’ve gemmed (actually nothing I was wearing could be gemmed but I’d at least checked), enchanted and buffed. I wanted to be the perfect Heroic WoW participant.

So I queued and after a few minutes I was in. “Here goes,” I thought, “This is where I play with the big boys.” (That sounds quite rude doesn’t it? Sorry) After only a few moments one of the dps shockingly announced he was stoned. “Oh my goodness,” I thought. “He will be booted. Heroics don’t condone such laxity.” But no. The tank just replied, “Fair enough.” Fair enough? I looked at my depleted gold balance – I’d spent a fortune in the AH getting ready for this- and started to feel a bit queasy again. We carried on fighting. I checked Recount and I was second. That surprised me. Before going in I had been scared I wouldn’t hit the right dps. I’d  tried researching to see what that should be in level 70 Heroics but hadn’t found the magic number. But my fear that I was well below it appeared unfounded. Then suddenly I noticed a bunch of mobs running towards me. That’s usually the sign the tank is dead. And indeed that was the case. I blinked around the place a bit and somehow managed to stay alive. With the mobs dead the healer started ressing the tank, saying, “Sorry I was trying the new belt on.” Again I couldn’t believe it. I always wait until a really quiet moment or when I’ve left the dungeon to put new gear on. But the tank just did a smiley & all was forgiven. This was so not what I was expecting.

And so it continued. It was all very laid back. Mistakes were made but no one freaked out. It was far from the pro – cutting edge – no mistakes tolerated  Heroic I’d been expecting.

And this turns out not to be an exception. I’ve done about half the Burning Crusade heroics now and pretty much without fail I have seen worse performance than in normal, but greater tolerance of it. What is that all about? Have I misunderstood heroics, or is the standard and performance I was expecting only now to be found in end game heroics? At the very least my fear has been put to bed  – I  can go in them, perform at the required level and get my hands on lots of lovely purples much to my family’s great pride. It’s just so not what I was expecting!

 
15 Comments

Posted by on March 4, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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Defying Gravity

My excitement knows no bounds. Not only have I had my swift lovebird (see last post) but I’ve also now got the companion Peddlefeet and a flying carpet.  And what’s more – I’ve finally plucked up the courage to make and WEAR the black mageweave set.

I think husband slightly disapproves of the outfit. I told him that she has a cool yellow cloak and he said, “No one will be looking at her cloak.” He then said he hoped I hadn’t spent too much on the cloth since there didn’t actually seem to be alot of material in the outfit. His attitude isn’t helped by the fact some young man (I think- but who knows in this game) was so enamoured by my name the other day that he told me he loved me and offered to get me lots of cloth for my tailoring. Husband thinks I’m attracting the wrong types. I think anything that speeds up my tailoring is worth considering.

Anyway in regard to the outfit – is there such a thing as dressing inappropriately in the game? Can you show too much thigh and buttock? I wrote about this over on the F Word site in the “You’ll Catch Your Death in That” article. I’m still battling with some of the same issues now as then.But I like the outfit so I’ve taken the plunge. She’s embracing her right to wear what she wants to wear – no matter how chilly it gets or how her thighs chafe.

In other Seashell news- she is nearly topping the dps charts in most dungeons apart from the one I ran around equipped with a fishing rod…! It’s so nice to be effortlessly powerful as opposed to all my other characters who are strenuously weak. Also everytime I put focus magic on someone I feel great and magnanimous – you’d swear I’d just done a five hour stint in a soup kitchen. “There you go- have some extra critical hit from me. No don’t thank me please. Oh you weren’t going to. What a surprise.”

To be fair I’ve actually had some good groups of late. There have been a few new tanks (Seashell is 63 so running with the Death Knight crew). The ones I’ve met have been quick to confess their inexperience and courteous to all. How long before the brutality of the dungeon world beats that out of them? One even fairly won a need roll then offered it up to the other person who’d lost saying “You need it more than me.” Amazing. I’ve stayed with a couple of groups for 2 or 3 dungeons which for me is a sign of commitment on a par with getting engaged.

Had an addon fest this morning. When I had to reinstall the game a few weeks back I lost my add ons and I hadn’t got round to re-downloading them until today. Went for Auctioneer, Tidy Plates, Decursive, Mage Nuggets (which makes me whisper something like, “Thank you for Innervating me” – which sounds slightly obscene I think), something on Achievements (the Overachiever?) which is helping me /love all the critters I need to, and Atlas Loot which I adore. It has made me very focussed in dungeons – since I actually know what items might drop I can “enjoy” that lovely tense moment just after the boss dies and we wait to see what’s dropped. Husband has been a tad shocked at the vulgarity of my language when something stupid in plate inevitably appears.

Fishing and cooking continue – I’m on a quest for Enormous Barbed Gill trout so if anyone knows the best spot for them let me know. Wowhead has sent me to all sorts of places but so far I’ve only caught one (and been killed several times – can’t believe fishing is so dangerous – I’m clearly doing it wrong). I’m getting all excited at what I’m hearing about Dalaran cooking and fishing dailies – is it really the promised land? I want to make Delicious Chocolate Cake. I can’t believe I’ve reached the dizzy heights of the 350s in all my professions (Archaeology doesn’t count of course  – it’s still on something like minus 7 ).

So it’s been a good couple of WoW days. I seem to be making real progress, actually enjoying the dungeons and meeting some really nice people who have been a pleasure to run with. Now who’d have ever thought I’d say something like that!!

 
9 Comments

Posted by on February 18, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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I’d rather have an eye patch

Before I start – just wanted to thank everyone for their kind comments and support after the last post. I do appreciate it. Tank you (I mean Thank you – how Freudian was that?!).

Ok Wow news! Well it’s not good actually (never rains etc!) I’m having to reinstall WoW from scratch. That bloody latest patch has totally messed it up for me. Tried all sorts of fixes and cannot get the optimization thingimajig to work. Just freezes from the start. How arrogant is the whole idea of optimization? I should be able to choose what is optimised when. What next? Blizzard employees to come round the house and optimise my living space (actually I wouldn’t mind that – maybe they could get rid of the stairs  and set up the house with some sort of Nagrand swing bridge affair). Anyway I digress. It’s the stress of inserting, removing and reinserting CD after bloody CD. My fingers ache (yes older generation- I know you did all sorts of hard stuff down mines while surviving on coal sandwiches or whatever – but try reinstalling this monster of a game. Then you’ll know suffering.) Anyway the thing is I have no idea if this will work either. And typically the minute you can’t play something you really desperately want to. I even have a hankering to wander around Shattrath – god how desperate am I? SHATTRATH?! And I had so many hopes for Seashell this weekend (yes I know I should be playing Bravetank but think of Seashell as just a mage version of Bravetank – same horror stories in dungeons just viewed from the back with less wrong turns (although get me – I was asked to guide the group the other day since- amazing- I was the only one who knew the way. A proud moment.) Of course if I’m not talking about Bravetank then you are losing out on my tanking wisdom…hmm ….yes…exactly….

But also playing Seashell recently has allowed me to revisit all the early dungeons again and see how other tanks do it. Some do it better. They don’t cry and stuff. Show offs. But some thankfully do it far far worse! Which is nice to know.

The following is just some of what I’ve been involved in over the past few weeks (pre patch – oh those heady innocent days):-

1. Tanks that claim to be the leaders, demand we follow them no matter what (deranged egomaniacs), but then show they have no clue about the dungeon at all by leading us to our deaths. And in most cases – because we’ve been indoctrinated to think the tank is Queen (or King –  yes yes I know some men play tanks too but who takes them seriously in that skimpy gear …oh sorry got that the wrong way round) we follow. And when you don’t …oh lordy lord. Then it all kicks off. The best example of this was in Uldaman where one of the DPS did that thing you do (hmm “that thing you do” – that could be the name of a film – or it is –ok – move along) to make the huge lady boss comes out (you know – the one that could take the Statue of Liberty lady in a fight) but the tank & healer didn’t realise (or care) & carried on pulling another group of mobs further on. They died. Quickly. The two other DPS and I fought the boss valiantly but ended up dying too. Someone mass ressed us and then it started. The tank blamed us for not following even when they were wrong, the DPS said they couldn’t since the boss had been summoned, insults started flying, mothers were discussed. Then the thing came up to boot the tank – but I (stupidly) thought we should give him another chance. Everyone can get it wrong I thought. So I refused to kick much to the other DPSs annoyance.  We carried on fighting. A fantastic cloth chest item dropped that was a massive upgrade for me. I rolled need because there was no arguing about it – this was good for me. And the tank rolled need too!! I couldn’t believe it. And he won!! I’d saved him and he did that to me. This time I initiated the vote kick – maybe petty I know but honestly– and this time he went. I’ll probably never give anyone the benefit of the doubt again (so sorry husband if I find your head in some other woman’s cleavage- no benefit of the doubt from me).

2. The other great experience was in Scarlet Monastery Cathedral. Now I admit I’ve done that so many times now I finally know the tactic – kill all the mobs before going anywhere near the boss. Only took me like 100 times- I am totally improving my gameplay. I also know that not everyone else knows this. For some people it’s their first time in there and I know only too well what that’s like so I am very nice and stuff. But there was one tank recently who just seemed to relish pulling everything in sight deliberately. In the beginning I think he did it because he honestly thought he was so great he could handle it. But when that failed he tried to make it look like he was doing it on purpose (a “That didn’t hurt” sort of thing, and “See I really really want to die a thousand deaths, I loves it I does” – I’m convinced he spoke like that). He was typing lots of cackling laughter into Party chat while we died again and again and my little armor guy was getting redder and redder until I started fearing it would all fall off). I could feel my hatred rising. Why didn’t I just leave you might be wondering? Well it was greed and vanity pure and simple. I wanted – nay desired with a purple passion – the Whitemane chapeau for Seashell. First time I’ve ever deliberately sought a special item of clothing. I’ve become all superficial and stuff. She’ll be waxing lyrical about manolo blahniks or whatever they’re called before you know it and then I might just have to hit her over the head with my Deadwood boxset until she starts valuing dirt, dust and cussing again. Anyway I wanted to wear this delectable head item with my self made Robes of Power (Seashell is an  accomplished tailor & will of course go into business full time when she tires of all this arcane barraging). And it did drop for me in the end & I did win the need roll so I guess it was worth the repair bills but not the stomach ulcer, blood pressure and all the material spent on a voodoo doll of that little tank.

On the subject of my outfit by the way (I think I’m actually channelling Carrie Bradshaw now…no wait…just checked – still have a braincell so I’m ok ….I know I know miaow)- I actually have gone past the level of Robe of Power so have transmogged another piece to look like it (my first bit of mogging). The chapeau looks gorgeous with it I think…. but someone made fun of me in Stormwind. “Nice transmog they said” which I took at face value at first but they followed it up with “lololol” which I take it is not good. Would have posted a screenshot but as you might have heard I’M HAVING TO REINSTALL ALL OF WOW AGAIN

Anyway in the time it’s taken me to write the above I’m on Wrath of the Lich king which is taking ages and is accompanied by background music that is just…well..it’s no Glee I tell you that. Anyway lovely. Great way to spend a Saturday. Please all join together and pray to Elune that it works for me once they’re all installed – I need WoW, I do, I even miss Dire Maul now. This is getting bad.

Oh and before I go I’ve also written something for the F Word site – if you’re interested it can be found here. http://www.thefword.org.uk/reviews/2012/02/youll_catch_you

 
12 Comments

Posted by on February 4, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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