Rebirth v2.0

At some point an itch becomes so unbearable that you just have to scratch it. You know the right thing to do is to just ignore it and it’ll pass, but instinctively your fingernails claw at the quivering flesh. I really thought I was on the precipice of leaving WoW behind me, but patch 3.2 pulled me back in. Actually I’ve been back on Cenarius for about 2 months now, but 3.2 was the reason I came back.

The idea of the mini-gear reset piqued my interest in coming back to Azeroth. The ability to get tier 8 and equal quality loot through badges from running heroics and Naxxramas meant I’d be able to pick up with my rogue and progress at my own pace and possibly be geared enough to run Ulduar and Trial of the (Grand) Crusader in preparation for tackling Icecrown Citadel.

I was able to get a small taste of Ulduar(10) prior to 3.2 with the now-dead Omega raid group in Awry. I just wasn’t geared enough to provide the DPS needed, and trying to find a 3rd group of 10 progression-centered folks proved to be just a little too much for the ill-fated raid. Much of the problem was that many of the folks filling out the raid were using their alts and the group-organizer was hoping for Omega to be a non-alt run.

Needless to say after the 1st failed attempt, motivation diminished and attendance fell apart for the remainder of the attempts. We did at least down Flame Leviathan and XT no problem, but had issues with Razorscale and Ignus. It’s almost a shame that Omega was pushed and then shelved when it did, because I feel that now 3.2 is over a week old, many of us who wanted to run Ulduar are now geared enough to run it with better results.

I suppose it’s all the same however, Ulduar is still being run on a frequent basis in Awry and I’m sure should I want to drop in for the 25 man nights, I could probably land a position, if only as a replacement for someone else that is burned out on running it. Besides Blood Ring v3.0 … er I mean Trial of the Crusader seems like it might be fun in that it’s purely boss fights and should be a growing raid in the guild.

I really want to see Icecrown Citadel and hope that prior to the next expansion I will get a chance to defeat the Lich King. It’s been a goal of mine to see the real end-game content while it is still fresh and I’ve always been behind on the gear curve to do so.

Patch 3.2 has provided me with a lot of opportunity to catch up and fortunately ONE Naxx25 run boosted my rogue to being Ulduar-ready. I’ve always had horrible luck when it comes to loot rolls, but karma had to have been in my court last weekend when I won not just one, two, or three rolls … but SIX rolls.

I think by the 3rd piece of loot I won, (btw the loot rules were CLEARLY stated prior to the raid starting) another rogue in the raid QQ’d and whispered me “lootho” before leaving the group. Sure I could have passed on a couple of pieces, but they were HUGE upgrades for me and by the 3rd win, it became a “game” to see how many pieces I could “lootho.” (BTW, this was pretty much a 60-75% guild Naxx25 run and the rogue that QQ’d was a non-guildie)

I’m somewhat kicking myself for actually passing on the 6th piece that I won, [Calamity’s Grasp], but a guild enhancement shaman was #2 on the rolls and my “lootho’ng” guilt got the best of me so I told the ML that I’d pass the loot down to the shammie. If that was the only Naxx25 run I was planning on going to I’d be a little more QQ about it, but I’m sure I’ll be downing Kel’Thuzad in the near future again and will have another shot at getting it … that is if I don’t end up getting something better out of Ulduar or ToC.

On another very interesting, and by interesting I mean absolutely world-shattering and changing mind-blowing interesting, my wife finally decided to give WoW a shot and she appears to genuinely enjoying the very brief experiences she’s had so far with the game. We decided to roll 2 human warlocks on Whisperwind (my sister’s server … which she has abandoned) but may end up rolling horde on my server, Cenarius, if she really starts to dig it and we pick up the WoW-Battlechest so she can roll a Blood Elf.

*Crosses Fingers*

Cherry

I can’t help but laugh that 2 months have come to pass since I last updated this blog. Not a whole lot has changed in my personal realm, IADT has proven to not be all that great as a school (5 week classes are far too accelerated) and everything else is pretty much normal. Still work for Iron Mountain and with the “economy” in the “condition” that it is “currently in,” I more than likely will not risk a profession change until things “rebound” and I can feel secure in an industry without the same security in my current field.

But considering the lack of personal life updates to blog about, let’s get to the meat of this post. Holy crap has Wrath of the Lich King proven to be incredible, mind-blowing, immersive, and sometimes annoying. I took 7 days off from work with the intention of getting my rogue to 80 and getting a substantial “head-start” on obtaining pvp equipment.


Iron Dwarf Nevik, lol.

I figured a couple of focused days of hardcore questing and I’d be done leveling. That was until I discovered that 70 to 71 would require 1.4 mil xp, and each level thereafter would slowly increase that. So the original plan of getting my rogue to 80 and working on my death knight and mage on my sis’ server only occured when Cenarius was experiencing 1.5-2 hour queues.


Phasing at its best: Battle for Undercity

It took 8 days to get my rogue to 80 and I ended up being either the 5th or 6th level 80 in Awry. Some of you may think that pushing like that would diminish my enjoyment of the process, but I mightily enjoyed the grind to 80, (but definitely not looking to do it on my alts until the xp reqs are nerfed =). I was able to experience just about every new instance before hitting 80 and had a blast with some of the quests.


Culmination of the Drakuru questline.

I really have to give Blizzard credit as they finally woke up and realized that they needed to treat our toons as actual participants in the lore and not as spectators. Prior to WotLK there were few lore-immersing quests in WoW, and those that did exist, were mainly reserved for the elite eschelon of raiders. The new phasing technology employed in WotLK is absolutely brilliant allowing us to feel like we are actually affecting the world around us. From the battle of Undercity to the reclaiming of regions in Icecrowne, phasing technology is incredible.


The defeat of *cough*asshole*cough* Loken on heroic difficulty.

Another kudo Blizz deserves is their new implimentation of heroic dungeons. Eliminating the rep-grind and keys to unlock the heroics makes gearing up alts (should you choose to do so) a lot less painful. While the hardcore may feel that the new end-game content is far too easy, there are plenty of challenges awaiting them from the heroic achievements. I also applaud the related decision to expand the exposure of content to a larger community. I could care less about the elitist raiders that abhor this decision, especially since the harder content is on the way. You shouldn’t have to treat WoW as a 2nd job to fully experience it.


Anub’Rehkan down, Naxxramas(10)

With that being said, I made a monumental step last night with my first progression raid experience with Naxxramas (10). Awry was able to field 2 10-man raids with less than diserable class balance, but the 10-man I was apart of was able to clear the Arachnid quarter (2-shotting most of the bosses) but then proceeded to wipe at Heigan numerous times and then on Patchwork when we decided an hour of failing at Heigan wasn’t fun anymore.

Our issues with Heigan were mainly from not being able identify the safe zones accurately enough. Either our tank would stand far too close to the edge and half the melee would get hit, or people would run too far into zones 1 & 4 and not make back to zones 2 & 3 during phase 2. At one point one of our shamans noticed a safe spot with slime splashing up all around him without getting hit. We tried stacking the raid on the spot, but it appears to have a very small spot to stand on; some got hit, some didn’t.

Our last few attempts were really promising, but again phase 2 proved to be our raid killer. Lag really ramps up the issues with this encounter, but that should be easily overcome by everyone being able to remember exactly how large and where those safe zones are and not rely on anyone else. I appeared to get phase 2 down on our last few attempts, but without the tank staying up, I can’t tank Heigan as a rogue, lol.

After an hour of wiping on Heigan, we decided to try out Patchwork. We employed a strategy that in hindsight seems to have undone what we were trying to accomplish, but I think we also had issues with gearing on our OT for the encounter (ie. not enough HP). To ensure that the OT would always be soaking the hateful strikes, we had our melee dps dip themselves in the slime to keep our HP down. Unfortunately this also halves all stats, so our DPS took a HUGE hit and we were rapidly falling behind on the required DPS to bring Patchwork down before our healers went OOM.

I knew that tactic seemed a little weird as I’ve read that Patchwork is a benchmark DPS encounter; ie. no threat to worry aboutso DPS gets to stay 100% on Patchwork. Dipping in the slime was never mentioned, so obviously we were doing it wrong. Instead we need to make sure that the 2 highest HP members have enough HP so that a hateful strike can be healed through and not temporarily make a melee DPS the soaker.

All in all it was a great experience and I’m looking forward to more progression raids with my guild. (Are my PVP days over?!)