Meant to post this a few days ago: Dunain hit level 80 while questing!
(Cross-posted with WoW_Muradin because I’m too primitive to have an editor that’ll post this to both.)
Well, WoW went to v3.0 yesterday.
It’s different. I don’t remember the Burning Crusade engine being quite so big of a shock, character-wise.
Hunters have changed a lot. The fact that Scatter Shot is now a 10-point talent in Surivival makes sense (I always thought it was a little odd in Marksmanship, but it worked well with the ‘utility’ feel that BC Marksmanship had), but it caught me flatfooted. Since I’ve been needing that to survive a trap that breaks early, Dunain is currently invested in a little Survival rather than Beast Master, and won’t be trying Chimera Shot until 71.
Everything else is weird. The reactive abilities have had that stripped out. Mongoose Bite no longer requires a dodge before I use it and Kill Command no longer needs a crit. Instead they’re just on timers.
Aimed Shot has been massively depowered. In fact, it really doesn’t do much more than anything else, and less than Multishot does per shot. It’s pretty much Arcane Shot with a ‘no heal’ debuff now. The good news is it’s now an instant. However, it shares a cooldown with Multishot now. The only shot with a cast time I have now is Steady Shot. I should check if they fiddled with that.
Aspect of the Viper changed, but is still pretty sick. Before it increased mana regeneration, with the effect getting stronger the lower the hunter’s mana was. It meant that it was effectively impossible to run Dunain out of mana for more than a few seconds. Now, it halves damage done, but returns mana per shot (I approve of the idea of making it a real choice). I was getting back ~380 mana per shot, and interestingly, I got mana back on each hit with a Multishot. ~380×3 – ~340 for Multishot = ~700 mana profit. When out of mana, it will get a hunter going again even faster than before.
Lance is very different. I’m noticing the AI seems to have changed, and he *sometimes* charges a target as soon as I attack. (Or else I’m way too used to hitting control-1 now.) Don’t know why sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn’t. I’m going to have to study this and try to understand what the heck he thinks he’s doing.
The guild managed a quick run through Heroic
Steam Vaults Slave Pens last night to see how things were working.
The only way I could tell that it was Heroic is that we got Badges of Justice off the bosses. I know that SV is a really weak Heroic, but… this was a pushover.
Part of it is definitely Blanc. They have really upped the DPS on Protection Warriors.
Been a while since I’ve had a fun WoW story… even though there’s been plenty of runs.
Dunain is doing well. The little curmudgeon has pretty good gear, and his damage is darn frightening. (So is his crit rate–I’m aiming at a pure DPS build to keep from drawing aggro with huge threat spikes from critical hits, and he’s running about 18% crit chance without party buffs. I think that’s at least as high as before I decided to forgo crits for steady damage, lo those many moons ago.)
We had lost one of our regular better players to job woes a while back. He’s back (at least on weekends) now, but we’re still loosing Grumbly. He’s switched his main to a Dranei Shaman who just hit 70. Blanc and Dunain helped outfit Khaaleen with brand-new gear when she hit 70, and should be doing fairly well equipment-wise.
We also ended up helping her and Kris (another high-level alt) go through Bloodfurnace, the second Outlands dungeon. In fact, we were all on high-level alts, with Khaaleen, Kris, Farmishi and Dracovii. We only had four, but two of us were seriously over-level, and Draco was moderately so.
It… was different as all of us were in different roles than our normal ones, but we were all on characters we really liked. As a protection Pallie, I was main tank, and occasionally backup healing for Khaaleen (who was also backup tank by virtue of having more damage output than I can tank for).
Everything considered, it went reasonably well. I was leading/marking, another job I’m not used to. We wiped a few times, but generally held it together through the tough fights. I also proved that I know what I’m doing as a prot pallie; I just have to figure out how to get the rest of the party to live through it.
The second boss encounter is very demanding, with four rooms opening up in sequence, keeping you in battle through the entire thing, and then springing Broggok on you as your fifth straight fight. We got through the first two waves fine, and then things started getting out of control. We had the main fight, and a single guy separated, and I’m not good enough yet to judge what really needed my attention and deal with it reliably. We got through it, but the fourth wave started doing us in. I just missed putting a shield on Khaaleen, and desperate, had to shield myself with the plan of immediately shielding Dracovii before they could get to him.
Good theory, poor execution, I just missed Draco as well, leaving me alone (Kris had been the first to die). My shield lasted long enough to heal myself, and I defeated the remaining orcs. Leaving me with 1/3 health, 1/4 mana, big abilities on cooldowns from a previous fight and wondering what to do about the boss.
The answer was, of course, take everything he could dish out while slowly wearing him down and staying out of the poison gas. Boggrok isn’t a heavy hitting boss, the main threat is these rings of poison gas that slowly expand from where he is. So I slowly backed around the room, leaving a bright green highway in front of me, and desperately kept my health healed up as best as possible.
He eventually made a very satisfying thump on the floor. He was grey on me, but he’s still a boss, and I had soloed him. And then I went and walked off the adrenalin for a couple minutes. -_-;
There’s been a few small and big things to talk about recently.
A couple weeks ago, Drew gave me some RAM for Haruhi (in fact, he was somewhat forceful). I had supposed much of my problems with WoW were from an anemic graphics card. After going from 512 MB to 2 GB, I have found out that isn’t the case at all. It’s still not going to do anything fancy in the game, but at least I can switch out to the browser (for WoWiki or Thottbot), and I can turn my settings up from the bare minimum.
Dunain has collected keys for all five Heroic instances. This has allowed me some time to work on Farmishi again, and last Tuesday it finally happened:
Farmishi hit level 70 in the middle of a Shattered Halls run (much like Dunain, now that I think of it). She was able to buy all her skills and flying mount immediately. (It seemed very strange to buy a mount for her.) Now I just need a way to get epic flying mounts on two characters….
Along with gearing up for some Heroic runs, we’ve been getting ready for Kharazan. This last week featured a push to get more characters keyed, with a Shadow Labyrinth run on Sun, a double-header of Steamvaults and Arcatraz on Wed and the Black Morass on Friday. Jariedthe needed to finish up the chain, and while Smudge and I already had our mains keyed, we were wanting to get Shrimpette and Farmishi keyed as well.
Most of the runs I’ve been on as Farmishi lately have been very smooth, to my surprise. Sadly, the Black Morass run did not follow. We were plagued by two problems, one, knocking down an elite was taking long enough that it was being a problem for Thermidor to keep burning down the non-elites coming through the portal long enough. Second, Farmishi was playing main tank, and really relies on someone hitting her to generate threat. The mage-types were very hard for her to hang on to. That said, the second run nearly got through the second boss (the toughest part) even after Farmishi died early on in the battle. For some reason, we just couldn’t get it that good again, and I eventually swapped over to Dunain to repair the group’s biggest problem: damage. Jariedthe tanked, and everything went very well. Farmishi will just have to get her key later; I’m planning on using Dunain in Kharazan for quite a while, so it’s not a big deal. Ironically, the last boss dropped an item for Dunain, and an item for Farmishi, so I would have been fine either way.
The next day, Fickle Muse turned out most of the A-team for the first trip into Kharazan. Sadly, we haven’t seen Noxlux lately, and Asclepius turned out to be kidnapped by a sushi dinner that went for 8 hours…. This not only left us at only six people (Blanc, Dunain, Grumbly, Blondiewood, Thermidor, and Jariedthe), but no actual priest. We knew we’d need to PUG for the last few slots, but we were hoping to bring all the essentials, and not have to be too picky. It took about an hour to fill the group, with three slots (including a priest) coming from the guild TrollBraggers (a very nice group), and a fourth being someone that a couple of us had known for a bit, Marabella.
We had all been coached (especially by Grumbly and Blanc, who’d been there before) that Kharazan is a very tough place, and that our goal that night was just to get to the first boss (Attumen – technically optional) and defeat him. Not that it was a long epic struggle, it’s just that the monsters in his area respawn after 25 minutes (!), so a failed attempt probably means clearing the way to him again.
We actually did fairly well. Some deaths on the way, but we made good progress, kept moving, and reached Attumen. And we wiped. We got back, found nobody had respawned yet, and tried again. It went much better, and we got him down. Blanc got the Vambraces of Courage, our first Khara gear!
After recovering/repairing from that, we turned around to go after the first true/required boss of the instance, Moroes. Fighting up through the ball room to the banquet hall, where he is, was interesting. Moroes, however….
He comes with four elites standing next to him that would be nasty enough as a non-boss fight group. Moroes is a nasty customer on his own – he needs two tanks to control as he’ll periodically incapacitate one. Which left us really short on ways to deal with the other four. Crowd control is the generally preferred method, but as they’re undead, mages (what we have plenty of) don’t do as much.
We tried twice, getting two of the adds down the second time, before people had to start going to bed. We arranged to try again Sunday, with much the same group. Our healer from TrollBraggers turned out to be unavailable, but Asclepius was here this time.
Moroes didn’t really go any better. As part of the secondary control, I get to ice trap and kite one of secondaries, not something I’m used to trying to do.
The fight itself (at least so far) is wild. There’s insane amounts of damage flying around and a desperate attempt by the non-tank, non-healing parts of the party to burn through the four secondaries before all the control fails. So far it hasn’t happened. There was one time I was particularly happy with where I did a good job of keeping my guy down, but we lost healing early, and it all flew apart just as it was getting somewhere.
Instead of beating ourselves up all night, we went over to the servant’s quarters, the easiest part of Kharazan, but generally only worth reputation. We cleared the area (the spiders are particularly nasty, make sure to use stealth detection around the visible spiders), but didn’t see the mini-boss appear, so we went upstairs to the guest chambers. I’m afraid I blew that one, and got too close to a group that wiped us.
We ended up the night by going after the ‘beast boss’ when he appeared as we started re-clearing our way through. The conventional wisdom is that the items they drop are mostly just worth disenchanting, but the Shaman in our group from TrollBraggers was very happy with the bracers that dropped.
So, overall, a little better than we’d been warned, and we’ll be back next weekend.
Okay… so I haven’t talked about WoW for a bit. The reasons for this are one, I haven’t been playing as much lately, and two, the original point of writing up WoW adventures was to talk about humorous incidents and maybe talk about some of the more impressive things we’d seen.
So, while I have been playing, and there’s been a good number of runs through the BC instances, there hasn’t been as much fresh material of late.
However… this needs to be told. ^_^
Wednesday, after Micca was up and running again, we managed to scrape together a group for Shadow Labyrinth. Blanc and Dunain had a quest item to pick up, and Thermidor had two quests to do.
In general, we have problems with the third boss, Vorpil, who’s a pure annoying fight at the best of times. However, a previous attempt last week stalled at the second boss, Blackheart, who is usually a pushover for us. This week… it got strange.
Blackheart isn’t very tough at all for a boss himself. The problem is that he will regularly mind-control the entire party to fight each other. It’s random and chaotic for who’ll end up fighting who, but the party can do much more damage than he can. Also, what ever random things you do can end up burning a lot of mana. Usually, it ends and we pick up the pieces and go on to finish him off after about the second bout of party mind-control.
This time we got unlucky. Thermidor got finished off during the ‘fun time’, and Dunain barely survived, only to be taken out by a cleave before he could bandage. Down two people early, I thought it was going to be a failed fight… but Blackheart couldn’t finish off Blanc, Jariedthe, and Asclepius. So… we ran back for the instance. Right after arriving, Blackheart randomly targeted Thermidor and ran for the entrance himself! o.o
We ended up bailing out a couple times while Thermi and I tried to get ourselves up and running again, before rejoining everyone in the front hall of the instance to finally finish the fight.
Other than that silliness, everything went very smoothly.
Had a busy weekend, not least due to WoW-activities. Friday was our second attempt at the Black Morass.
A while ago, coming off the success of Old Hillsbrad, we went into the Morass to try the second part of the Caverns of Time. …It didn’t go well. It’s a very tough and demanding encounter. Yeah, one. You clear some of the surrounding area, talk to Medivh (who really needs to relax…), and the Infinite Dragonflight shows up. The party has to take down elites that show up out of portals, when the elite is down, the portal closes, and the next portal opens. There’s eighteen portals with the sixth, twelfth, and eighteenth having bosses instead of normal elites. This keeps the party busy, and doesn’t provide much chance for rest.
Oh, did I mention that the portals release a steady stream of non-elites who go straight for Medivh that have to be killed before they can take the shield protecting him down?
We could get to about the fifth wave or so before being overwhelmed. This time things were a bit different. Blanc and Dunain were not yet 70 when we tried it, and overall equipment is better now.
Blanc, me, Grumbly, Blondiewood, and Noxlux went in…. And we still couldn’t do it. We did several attempts, and had various problems. We did get tantalizingly close, getting all the way to the 17th wave… which we were still taking down when the last boss showed up. We were just in too poor of a shape to bounce back, but we were close. All the other attempts generally fell apart around the second boss.
It was annoying, especially so since it was obvious we *could* do it, but just couldn’t get all the way through the fight to the end.
Saturday was an Underbog run for Shrimpette. It went smoothly, except for the end. For some reason, the Black Stalker put the party through the ringer, killing three people, and with Blondie succumbing to a damage-over-time right afterwards, leaving Nox to rez everyone.
After that, we decided to take one more try at the Black Morass. With some alt-shuffling, we ended up with the same team as Friday, except switching out Noxlux for Asclepius. This was a help, since Asc has completed Black Morass with pick-up groups (I still don’t understand how…).
The strategy was the same as previous, and close to the standard: Blanc tanks the elites, Blondie and I grind them down with damage, Asc keeps us healed, Grumbly sticks near the Dark Portal and takes out the non-elites on their way in. Sometimes I take them out when Grumbly needs a break. Note that Grumbly was doing his own healing with bandages and the such.
An interesting note by the way, the second boss is immune to Taunt… but not to Growl. Lance pulled him off of Blanc very easily.
The first time… did not go well. We ended up with multiple portals open and spewing out critters after the second boss. We think it may have gotten up to three, and we burned it back down to two before it fell apart on us.
With it having been a close thing, and that being something no one else has mentioned, we decided that might have been a bug, and reset the instance and tried again despite it being later than everyone really wanted to stay up.
And it was… an amazingly smooth run. Everything went smoothly, we powered our way through the last few waves in record time and were well prepared for the last boss… who wasn’t prepared for us. ^_^
Sunday was a Guild barbecue hosted by Thermi and Jariedthe. Sadly some bad news threw a wet blanket on the celebration (I don’t think it’s my place to say more here), but we managed a good time anyway.decided to make a new Blood Elf warlock, and everyone else followed suit, giving us a party of five new blood elves of various classes dashing from place to place denuding the landscape of monsters wherever we went (Locusts of the Fickle Muse…). It was confusing, unorganized, and silly fun.
Last Wednesday, Dunain re-entered the magical land that has no experience bar. He hit level 70 during a Shattered Halls run.
As you might guess from that screenshot, I was also doing the new quests at the time. The new content for that with Burning Crusade is much like the original set of quests, and grand simple fun.
A few days ago, with help of a loan from a very eager Blanc, he got his gryphon. Once again, that’s been an interesting experience. Being able to fly wherever you’re going is very nice, especially with how vertical certain parts of the world are.
Runs are continuing to happen. We’ve now had two runs where we’ve gotten all the way through Shadow Labyrinth. And on this last run we got the record for number of wipes down to a low of two. Both were on Vorpil, it’s going to be a while before we can do him easily.
I went on my first Steamvaults run Saturday night (the guild had gone a couple times without me). Went pretty well. Farmishi is finally set up to do an Auchenai run and start trying to get the next piece of her Dungeon 1 look-alike set.
The former means farming air elementals. Lots of them. Argh.
Between BackBreaker being busy and my other hobbies, haven’t spent as much time on WoW lately. However, that’s not to say nothing’s happened. In fact, we had a very exciting run this last Sunday.
We’ve been trying, without success, to get through the level-70 wing of Auchindoun. This last time we decided on something slightly easier, Shattered Halls, the third wing of Hellfire Citadel (and technically the easiest of the level-70 instances).
As it turned out, none of our party (Blanc, Dunain, Blondiewood, Grumbly, Asclepius) had been through the entire thing. In fact, the only prior experience there was was from when Blanc, Blondie and I tried to three-man part of it. We got through the second room before encountering a group that we couldn’t do.
It’s a nice instance. Blizzard has done a nice job with a different set of challenges than the normal fare. We wiped three times, and none of those was on a boss. Sadly, Lance had the highest death rate I’ve seen yet. There’s a lot of high-damage melee types that Lance just cannot handle tanking (especially while he’s still 67), but we needed the extra bit of fight control. In those fights where we could avoid doing that, it was much better.
The first real challenge of the instance are the initial groups. You can pull many of them separately, but they will get replacements for anyone you pick off. The key is the Legionnaire in the middle. Until he dies, the group will keep getting replacements forever.
The other parts that stick out in my mind are a couple of areas where one or two monsters and maybe some non-elites will regularly show up. It really rewards a party that can handle situations on the fly and keep moving. The first one is a kind of slime-pit that you get at through a hole in the wall to get around a locked door (and immediately got a bunch of Star Wars references), and the second is an advance down a corridor while flaming arrows are being shot at/around you.
It’s certainly the toughest thing we’ve gone through, and should help put us on the right track for a successful return to Shadow Labyrinth later. Oh, and Dunain dinged 68 part way through the instance. ^_^
Trying to catch up on a few things here…
Farmishi finally reached 64 last week, and immediately went on a Mana Tombs run to celebrate. It went very cleanly. However, there is a certain drop she’s looking for, and she didn’t get that. So, we went again. It turns out that Thermidor has been missing a fair number of instances, and hadn’t done Mana Tombs yet, so we gave him a guided tour. That run also went very well, until the end where our place started getting horrific latency and lag spikes. Doing an escort quest when it may take you a few seconds to do anything is not fun. Farmishi still didn’t get her drop, so we’ll be back for boss farming. ^_^
However, the real focus of the guild lately has been the fourth wing of Auchindoun, Shadow Labyrinth.
It’s meant for level 70s, so we’re going in slightly under level. The guild went in once earlier (without me), and apparently had a really rough time, not even managing to do the second boss.
Earlier this week, we did the first run with me in it. Three 70s, Blanc (69 – hit 70 about two fights before the second boss), and Dunain (67 – barely, Lance is still 66). It went fairly smooth all things considered. Most of the time, we were doing quite well. There’s some 6-monster groups before you take on the second boss. Those wiped us. However, we kept control part of the time at least, and and killed some of them, so it was an easier group on the second try.
The boss himself is an odd fight, as he’ll regularly force the entire party to fight each other. However, he wasn’t too big a problem.
The third boss, Grandmaster Vorpil, however…
Tough. Really tough. Really, really tough. Really.
He would not be so bad. He does periodically teleport himself and the entire party to one spot and do some frightening AoE damage. But that’s dealable. No, he opens portals, which start summoning voidwalkers that start slowly moving towards the boss. If they touch him, they go away… healing him in the process. We can get him about halfway down before that becomes a problem. But we can’t guide him or clean up the voidwalkers enough to keep the fight from getting out of hand as Mr. Boss gets healed and hands us a E-ticket ride on the Wipe Express.
We went in a second time the following day (or was it the day after that?), and things were much smoother, and progress was much cleaner. Naturally, all that ended when we hit the third boss again.
It’s frustrating. But the current diagnosis is that we need a bit more DPS, and we’ll probably get that just by Dunain getting closer to 70. The guild can put together an all-70 group as it is (Blanc, Blondiewood, Grumbly, Asclepius, Noxlux), and it might be interesting to hear how that would work out….
Oh, and Dunain seems to be skipping the Tier 1 look-alikes, and going straight to Tier 2.
Oh, while I’m on a semi-RPGish bent, and for those of you haven’t heard, Dragon Magazine is going to cease publication this September.
I haven’t paid attention to Dragon for years, somewhere around #150-ish it lost all interest for me. I still had interest in earlier issues, so it was at least partially something the magazine was doing, and not the mere fact that I was moving away from D&D to other RPGs.
Anyway, it is another childhood friend gone by the wayside, like AH and GDW before them. It will be missed less than the others, but it was the last of the grand old gaming magazines.
Well, Burning Crusade‘s been out for about two months now, and there’s a lot to talk about, so this is likely to get very long. ^_^;
First off, our guild currently has four 70s in it. I am at the back of the pack with Dunain at 64 and Farmishi hitting 63 yesterday. (An interesting kind of ‘check-uary’ there, everyone’s so used to thinking of the final run up to 60, that it’s natural to say “54″ when you mean “64″….) Admittedly, I am slowed down some by the fact I have other hobbies (like playing ASL with Patch).
Overall, I like Burning Crusade. Blizzard has done a wonderful job with all the new content. I do have some overall minor gripes. The hardware specs got pushed up with the expansion, and there’s no real acknowledgment of this anywhere in the promo material, leaving me to be surprised when my machine practically falls over dead the first time I go in Zangarmarsh (turning everything down to minimum has allowed it to be tolerable…). Beyond just the number of people who had marginal systems to begin with, I’m sure there’s a fair number who needed to adjust settings, and I think a little warning of this fact would have been prudent. Anyway, the other gripe is that I think they notched the item quality in Outland up too high. I understand that they want offer something to all those in their Tier 2/3 epics short of the new endgame content, but the random base world-drop/quest reward greens beating most of the blues our guild had seems a bit much to me.
I realized shortly after the release of BC, that I would probably prefer to switch to Farmishi as my main instead of Dunain. Along with this came the realization that the time to make the switch was a month before BC came out, so that I could position her properly. So, Dunain’s still my main… for now. The real obstacle is that they are both blacksmiths, and Dunain still has a good lead on her.
The guild as a whole is still getting the various crafting skills up, and we’re mostly entering the time when the recipes start actually wanting unusual items. Material du jour? Primals. Primal Earth, Primal Fire, Primal Life, Primal Mana… you name it and there’s something to collect of it. Last night was largely spent by the guild at large in collecting these types of materials to make Riding Crops for our high-levels. Dunain has just hit this type of thing himself, and the nice little store I’d built up isn’t nearly enough. But it looks like a little effort will keep Blanc in new armor nicely.
We’ve done a number of instance runs, though they’ve dropped off a bit lately. The highest one I’ve seen so far is the Mana Tombs in Auchindoun. Very nice, and we did pretty well, especially for a first run. Sadly, Dunain was too low level to get any quest for the place, so we need to do it again for him.
On the way to new endgame equipment, there’s a few options. There’s some small sets in the crafted items, a good number of very nice greens, and then there’s recolored versions of Dungeon 1 items. These last are generally nice socketed blue items from instance bosses geared towards the particular class who’s set it looks like. They start dropping in the first instances of BC, and are generally also the first socketed items you’re likely to see.
Anyway, I happened to get the breastplate for Farmishi’s set early, and thought it looked really nice. After finding out about the full set, I decided to get them all. So we ended up in our second round of Coilfang Reservoir runs about a week ago. Naturally, this is where the next pieces drop, and I figured Farmishi would be spending a fair amount of time in there getting all three pieces available. The runs went very well, and we did both of the low-level wings in one evening.
…And it turns out that it was Pally Night at Coilfang, as everything she wanted dropped, including some Warrior gear she can use for tanking (Smudge was on Shrimpette, so Farmishi was the only one present who could even use it). All told, Farmishi got five new pieces of equipment… only one of which she could immediately use. The other four all required level 63, and she was still part way through 62. Last night she finally made 63, and is looking quite snappy.
So now Farmishi wants to go to… the Mana Tombs. However, given the equipment and quests, she’s going to wait until she tips over into