Thursday, April 30, 2009

Champion of Stormwind!

Every so often, I will decide that a quest or achievement is worth fighting for because of the gains available, or the similarities to raiding encounters. I decided that the Champion title was one of those things. It was not easy to get. Jousting requires a short reaction time and it was hard for me not to give up. Two things work in my favor here: (1) I'm stubborn, and (2) I have the support of my guild behind me. Thank you especially to Cinnas and Tidefury, for your advice and encouragement.
Something happened yesterday that shook me to my core, and at the same time made me realize just how special the people of Clan Redundancy Clan are. AbleGamers posted an article on Halo and accessibility, and it generated a firestorm of response from the XBox gaming community. I really don't want to dignify them by posting the bigotry and hatred here, but Mark Barlet's response that the disability community is easy to join was epic. After reading them, I was so angry, I just was ready to lash out at the first nondisabled person I saw (not a good idea when you're married to a nondisabled man). Instead, I logged on to WoW, and saw the people that understand that this is more than a game to me. As I explained to our newest guild member, who read my blog to try to understand the guild a bit better, my disability is not a secret in guild. I'm not sure how many of the guys truly understand what I deal with, but they know that I am not the typical gamer. As I laughed at their jokes, listened to how their day was, answered questions about Noblegarden and the like, I was reminded that there are good nondisabled people that really care. They restore my faith in humanity.
Special Note: Check out the World of Warcraft community site to see the link to Steve Spohn's article on the colorblindness UI interface, and a nice explanation of what AbleGamers is all about!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Breaking Inside

Last night's run, we had everyone invited, summoned and ready to go a few minutes ahead of start time. Yay CRC!
Leviathan went off without a hitch. I'm looking forward to trying a hard mode next week. Razorscale was difficult - we kept losing healers. I think I did okay, except I died a couple of times to consecutive fireballs. Targeting wasn't a huge issue, as I had a good melee dps in my group to set as my focus for my macro.
On to XT-002 Deconstructor, and my first time seeing it on 25-man as dps. No scrapbots got to him, so I feel like I did my job okay. My dps for the second and third bosses just wasn't there, though.
As we were getting ready to clear to Ignis, one of the DK's logged on and I was asked to step out. Not a problem, and they were able to one-shot him. I needed to do some farming for the cooking daily, so I was okay with it, although the rub is, would we have been able to one-shot him with me in there? I don't have the answer to that question.
Anyway, I finished the cooking daily, and picked up the tournament dailies, then went back to Ulduar to wait and see if I would be needed since we had a raid member leaving early for work.
I went back in for a Kologarn attempt. Again, this is not a fight I dpsed on, so it was a little different, I was on sensory overload the whole time, and my dps sucked. We got him down though, and I didn't die, despite Eye Beam (ty updated Deadly Boss Mobs).
On to Auriaya. We can get her, but it isn't easy, and we went through a lot of wipes to get it. In between attempts I get a tell from our mage telling me that if the Runescribe Blade dropped, he was passing on it to me. I trust our loot council, but I'm sure he's noticed me hold back from rolling on stuff because someone who is in more raids and does more dps than me wanted it. The blade dropped, I saw the stats and bonuses, and thought, "hell, yeah!" I used up my last Abyss Crystals to enchant it, but it was worth it.
Starting on time, downing six bosses the first night, and ending early is total win. Again, awesome job guys.
Keeping my spirits up and my attitude good is a constant struggle for me in Ulduar, especially when it's not going well. I know I don't do everything I should on the Auriaya fight, I can't. I've learned how to bury my negative feelings, act cheerful, and push through, but I keep struggling with whether I really deserve to be in there. I know how everyone feels about it, that isn't the issue. Sometimes I wonder if I should just disable recount, and not look at how I'm doing. WMO shows a more accurate picture anyway, it's just not immediate feedback. At the end of the night, all I can do is what I can do, and hope it's enough.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stop making me cry!

A couple of really cool things happened yesterday.
When 3.1 first came out and I showed my son the colorblind user interface, his face lit up. I mentioned in my AbleGamers status message that I wished the developers at Blizzard could have seen his face, and the Editor-in-Chief of AbleGamers offered to relay a message to his contacts over there. Yesterday, I got an email that I had a private message from Ioo. It was a reply from Nethaera, one of the Blizzard developers, thanking me for my comments. That blew me away. Development in any MMO is a never-ending task, and Nethaera does a lot with the community site, so I know he's busy, and the fact that he took time to send me a well-written, personal reply says a lot.
The main group that had been going into Ulduar went back in, and I was overlooked on the initial invites. Things like that are very hard for me not to take personally. Luckily, someone was on to whom I could say, "I'm feeling sorry for myself and I don't know if I need a shoulder to cry on or a kick in the ass." Sometimes all I need is to get that out, and I can talk myself out of the mood and move on. So I went to Azure Watch to collect eggs to get items for the Noblegarden achievements, when after a bit, I get a tell from Cinnas, "Wanna hop in, or are you busy egging?" I don't say no to raids, so of course, I went in.
I come in and ask, "Which boss are we on?" Cinnas says, "Mimiron." I say, "Oh, $#!*." Octaester's guild was on their third night on Mimiron last night, and hadn't downed him when I went in.
Mimiron is a very technically challenging fight. I love technically challenging fights. We didn't get him down, but got through the first two phases and saw a good bit of phase three. Yay us, and grats Conviction on finally getting the kill.
After raid, I went back to egg collecting, and got into a conversation with Cinnas. I said the above phrase after he made the comment, "I wish most of our raiders had your attitude, hell, I wish I had your attitude." I choose the attitude I display to the guild. Oct is the only one who usually sees the rage. I do that for a couple of reasons. First, I play with mostly men primarily in their 20's and 30's, and most of them are single. It is very easy for men to dismiss women as emotional, even if they make a good point. (Don't tell me you don't do it guys, you know better and so do I.) Second, I don't have the dps to make waves. If I start getting pissy with the officers any time I'm replaced, I'm going to see "You have been removed from the guild by XXXX" in yellow letters on my screen. Third, what I do is the right thing to do, for me and the guild.
Cinnas then proceeded to ask me how jousting was coming, and try to brainstorm ways of making it more manageable for me, and we got on the topic of the Hodir fight, where he told me that he thought I did well. I need to hear that. It's so easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking that no matter how much I improve, I still suck at this, and I don't. I am improving, and the guild is a big part of that. Most players will not get down into the minutiae of dealing with a disability like cerebral palsy, and I appreciate all the people who understand that sometimes I need encouragement, and sometimes I need a fresh set of eyes looking at the challenge.
This morning, Oct and I were chatting about last night, and I made the comment, "I'm so glad you suggested I apply to CRC. Did you know it would be like that for me?" He said, "Oh yeah, it's a great guild. I just needed to raid more." I don't think they will ever understand how special they are, but that makes them even more unique.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fighting through the challenges

I haven't posted in a couple of days, because I was camping with my sons' Boy Scout troop this weekend. I had fun, but I'm a bit sore.
Last night there were 27 people signed up for Ulduar, so I wasn't sure I would be able to make it. A couple of people didn't show up, though, so I was in.
The Hodir fight is the one that, after hearing about Oct's experience on the PTR, I wasn't sure I'd be able to do. It's a lot of moving around, stuff to avoid with white-on-white graphics, and very little time to react. At one point, I was looking for another dps to come on, because I was feeling that I needed to be replaced. In the end, I concentrated on not getting frozen and keeping an eye on how much damage I took from icicles. Long story short, we got him down, and on our final attempt I got 3370 dps. It's definitely a credit to our healers that I stayed alive. Thank you Bast, Larry, Prynts, Alord, Rali, and our newest tree, Luna!
Thorim is an interesting challenge that we are still working on figuring out. One of the biggest challenges for any guild when working on difficult content is learning how to work together and avoid the temptation to scapegoat. It's not just one person, it's 25 people working together to master something. Remember, we're all in this together.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Subbing in and the Pouncing Pussy

Today's title is courtesy of my boy Squig, who never fails to make me laugh or smile, and completely proves wrong the saying that elite players are douchebags.
I ran 10 man vault yesterday with some guildies and some members of Just Wipe It and Aeon, who along with Conviction and Escalation, are fighting to see who will be the next guild on Turalyon to down Yogg-Saron. I had a great time, got warlock T7 and T8 gloves, and got to meet some great people. It's always hard to run with elite players I don't know, because I am afraid what they will think of me, but these guys are really cool, and I appreciated them being there.
Last night, when I finally got home, I went up to Icecrown to work on the Tournament dailies. The guild had already down Deconstructor and Kologarn, and I listened to the Ignis kill on vent. About an hour into it, I get a tell from Dem, "Wanna come in?" My answer was, "If you need me, hell yeah." The way my guildies reacted to me coming in surprised and touched me. I got cheers and hugs from the raid members, and a tell saying hi from Cinnas as soon as I joined the group. Sometimes when I write this stuff I feel like Sally Field: "You like me, you really like me." The truth is, however, that I'm not the person who tears up the dps meters. That my guildies are willing to understand my challenges and support me means the world to me.
Auraya is a tough fight, there is no two ways about it. If you can survive the pull, you can probably get through it. After the second wipe, Dem sent me a tell asking if I was glad I came, "Welcome to Death." I told him I was where I wanted to be. Yes, wiping is expensive, but I want to be with my guild hitting my head against the wall as much as I can.
After trying a few different ways to pull, we got it done, third new boss kill for Clan Redundancy Clan last night, yay! I died partway through, and couldn't top 2000 dps, but I was there.
After raid, Flip and I discussed my spec a little more, and I tweaked it again. There are a lot of new facets to playing an affliction warlock that I'm still getting used to, but I am getting used to them. I will say, as I continue to struggle, that there are times when I just want to throw my hands in the air and say, "forget it, I'm done, no more." I know there will be a boss before Algalon who will bring me to tears, even if he doesn't feed on them. What keeps me going is the combination of my love for raiding and seeing new content, and the support of my friends.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Getting Support from Your Guild

Tuesday's comments really made me think, especially the one from Soundbow. I've had different levels of choice about what to reveal about myself to the guild and its leaders (my husband, in a misguided attempt to protect me, has taken that choice away from me a couple of times - that's created some real life arguments). I've thought about my journey as a player for almost 3 years, and as a raider for almost two, and have come up with some ways to get support that I think are effective.
  1. Do your homework. The only hand-holding I expect is to be told, "You can do this." I look at WWS/WMO reports like a madwoman, and I bounce things off of Flip and ask him questions constantly, but I don't expect him to tell me how to play my character. The forums at will tell you how the best of the best play your class, and give you a good starting point.
  2. Let someone analyze your play, spec, gear, and glyphs, and do the same to them. I started asking Flip a simple question about seeing Shadowflame in the WMO report from the razorscale fight, and he ended up reminding me to pick up a couple of new glyphs, then told me where I'm leaving dps on the table. I know several very elite players, and they all love to talk about how to pwn at their class.
  3. Share your challenges, swallow your excuses. The first time I did Bloodboil in BT as a discipline priest, I had trouble targeting the right person for pain suppression in time. One of the raid members said, " Make a macro /assist Gurtogg Bloodboil." It worked wonderfully. On the other hand, if your raid members are paying attention to not only what they're doing, but watching you, excuses won't work, so don't try.
  4. Learn from your mistakes. Constructive critcism is your friend. Especially in new content, it takes time to get it right. There is no one who can't learn from others.
  5. Tell your guildies what you need. One night on Archimonde, when Oct was still in CRC and I was still relatively new, I was healing the melee, where there wasn't much room to run. I realized that I was going to have a hard time avoiding the fires, and said so to Oct. He told me, "Let Dev know." Sent a tell expressing me concerns, and he replied, "Do I need to move you?" I said, "you might," and he did.
  6. Know who to listen to and who not to. There are people in this game that can't see beyond themselves, and the advice they give is what works for them. If it doesn't work for you, take it with a grain of salt.
  7. Don't let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn't be able to do. You know the challenges you face and what you need. If there is something simple that the raid leaders can do that will increase everyone's chances to succeed, they should be doing it.
  8. If all else fails, find another guild. Leaving a guild is never easy, but if you are not in a guild where you are supported, you will be miserable. Sometimes it takes a little digging to find the right guild, but it can be done.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Surprising Myself

"And when the night is cold and dark, you can see, you can see light. And no one can take away your right to fight and to never surrender." Corey Hart, Never Surrender

Okay, so I'm showing my age. Generally, I don't quote 80's pop on here, but this is one that has been stuck in my head ever since Junior High because it says so much about living with a disability and depression. Also, the events of last night fit it so well.

Last night's raid started out with a little bit of stress and humor. Right after Dem came on and I'm sure was getting ready to invite, we get a message: "[SERVER]: Restart in 15:00." So we have a laugh, I finish eating supper and get on vent, and we all come back on once Turalyon gets back up. I get summoned to Ulduar, and go in, when my screen goes dark. I look down, and there's my dog sitting on the surge protector switch. To make matters worse, Oct isn't home, so I can't get him to send Dem a tell. Finally get the computer up, get back in, get a message "l2 tame pet" from one of the hunters (I love my guild), and get ready to grab my demolisher for Flame Leviathan. One shot, Baby!

On to Razorscale. Flask, eat, spellstone, imp, Fel Armor, healthstones, soulstone, worry. Remind myself of Dem's words, that I will do what I can and my efforts are appreciated. Listen to strat and where to stand. Go through a few attempts, surviving the active fights each time. Fourth attempt goes pretty well, I get a little bit of blue flame but with my own healing and healthstone, plus raid healing, I survive and we get her down. First kill for me and I survived! Send tell to Flip, "I did it!" I'm in loot council, so I try not to break down in tears. 15th on the damage meter isn't great, but it isn't horrible either.

Mount up and start heading for Deconstructor. Tell from Dem, "Hey girl, we need to bring in more punch for this one." No apologies, I like that. I reply, "np" and head to the portal. I say, "I survived." His response, "You did great." That is how it should be. Went to Icecrown for Tournament dailies and finally beat a Valiant! I'm getting there.

Looking at WoW Meter Online this morning, I had 75% dps time on our Razorscale kill. That's an improvement, but Flip did 85%. I'll never be as good as he is, but he makes a good target. I'm still not using shadowbolt enough, and I am having trouble with targeting the adds when Razorscale is in the air, but those are things that can be worked on fairly easily. I honestly thought that I could not do that fight, thanks to CRC for helping me prove myself wrong.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Facing Reality

Well, the first Ulduar raiding week is over, and Turalyon server has seen full clears by the top alliance and horde guilds. Might and Fusion have my sincere congratulations, along with all the guilds on other servers that cleared this difficult content this week.
I was chatting with a friend yesterday who was asking me if we are recruiting caster dps because people are getting busy. I replied that that's part of it, and Dev's making sure we have enough people to raid, but also I may never have the dps to do Ulduar, at least not in progression. "::::swat::::" Hey, tree branches hurt!
I don't like negativity, and I don't like saying I can't do something, but as I have told Dev and Boom, there are certain realities we have to face, and I like it when we face them together. I may never be able to get above 3k dps on a fight like Deconstructor. I may not be able to react fast enough to survive Razorscale. We do what we can, and maybe by the 2nd or 3rd clear, I can come in and be good enough to survive.
The fact remains, however, that I have a disability. I can't throw a switch or wave a magic wand and remove the effects of cerebral palsy. Denial doesn't help anyone, least of all me, but the fact that my guildies accept me as I am is extremely touching. If I surprise myself and can hang in there, wonderful, if not, let me bow out gracefully, with my head held high and surrounded by hugs.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Changing Roles (Maybe)

10-Man Ulduar went pretty well Saturday night. I got a sweet new sword, and actually was able to do 2.5k or greater dps on most of the fights. After the run was over, I was still on vent and I logged on to AbleGamers to see if there was anything new. What I saw was my article featured at the top! In a very excited voice, I told Orbitz about it on vent, and piqued the curiosity of the four other guildies still in the channel with us. I gave them the address and pointed out the article. Seeing the reactions of the AbleGamers community, my husband, and my guildies has been the best part of writing this article. Of course, getting it picked up by three other websites was pretty cool too.
Yesterday afternoon, I was logged into the game, but took a few minutes to talk to my mom on the phone. When I walked back, I scrolled up and saw that Dev had announced that we are recruiting for a resto druid. In the past, I would have seen this as an opportunity to keep my raid spot, and tried to switch to not be replaced as much. I've had a very significant paradigm shift this past week. The realization that I am wanted for so much more than my damage or healing output is both powerful and humbling.
About 40 minutes before raid start, Dev logs on and invites me to the raid. I send him a tell that I don't want to bother him while he's getting ready for raid, but there is something I would like to talk to him about . He asks me what's up, and I explain that I'm wondering if it would benefit the guild for me to play my healer. After a short consultation with Bast and the other officers, he said, "Switch over, let's try it out."
It went okay. We got Deconstructor down, which I'm not sure we could have done with my lock, considering either Squigs or Younger would have had to heal, and they do huge amounts of dps. Looking at the healing meter and WoW Meter Online, I have a lot of work to do. Then again, I haven't done much on the druid since the patch, and druid healing has changed. Off to to see what they have to say about it.
What the future holds for me, I do not know. The effects of the cerebral palsy will be a liability no matter which class I play, the only question to answer is which role is going to best benefit the guild.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What a week!

I'm home from a Boy Scout fundraiser and completely worn out, but pleasantly surprised at how well I did, given all the walking.
This week has been full of ups and downs. Thursday, a dear friend decided that World of Warcraft no longer held the charm it once did, and decided to quit the game. My husband is grieving the loss of his buddy, and I miss one of the people in-game who truly understood me.
I was approached this week about writing an article for about the latest patch and what gamers with disabilities can expect. It was published yesterday!
I also was given a couple of very precious gifts by a couple of guildies yesterday and today. I can't elaborate - hopefully they know who they are and what they did. :-)
Ulduar 10 is tonight - I told Nyru I'd go if I was around. I go with a little bit of a reservation, but with the knowledge that it will be okay, whatever happens.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Attitude is Everything

Lots on my mind this morning, not the least of which is all the stuff I need to get done today, and the fact that I overdid it yesterday and my bursitis is acting up. Could be worse, I can still move.
Yesterday, I did 10 man vault on my druid, and was in the unique position of being the only one who had seen the fight before. I realized how much the guys I play with can intimidate me without meaning to. It's also easier to explain a fight when you are mashing buttons 1-4 than when you are clicking colored boxes, especially since my push to talk is bound to my 5th mouse button to make playing the lock easier. After a few attempts, we got him down.
Last night was my non-raiding night. I never know how I'm going to react when I get home and see my guild progressing through content. I chose not to get on vent during their attempts on Razorscale, because it's harder for me to make sure the kids are doing what I need them to if I'm listening to battle conversations. Long story short, they got him down! Grats to CRC, grats to Larry on your fragment, I know you will use it well, and grats to Flip and Younger on your loots, I'm so excited for y'all.
It became clear to me once I got the kids to bed and got on vent that I am going to be over my head in Ulduar. The thing is, no one is going to say, "This content is too hard for you." My husband's even stopped saying that, having been proven wrong too many times. I don't tend to listen to what my husband tells me about fights in Ulduar after a certain point. For one, our raid leaders are likely to employ different strategies, and I need to focus on what CRC is doing. One of Dev's sayings is that we progress as a team, and I know that if I listen to them, I will be successful.
I went to bed, fully intending to find a chance today to have a hard conversation with Dev about whether I can honestly call myself a raid member and wondering if he's trying to balance my feelings with what's best for the raid a little too much. I woke up this morning with a blinding flash of insight. You can replace dps, but you can't replace attitude. I'm the person who shows up to raids with food, flasks, and shards. I'm the person who reads up on fights before the encounter so I know my job, and I'm the person who analyzes WoW Web Stats to see where I'm losing dps. I'm the person who quietly steps out, sheds my tears, and forces myself to extend congratulations on first kills.
Where does this leave me for Sunday? I know I'm going to have trouble with the deconstructor fight. The only option is prepare, show up, run if I'm needed, and step out if necessary. That's what I do. Supporting me and giving me a place to call home, that's what CRC does.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Emalon the Storm Watcher

Last night was a non-raiding night, so 10 of our members ventured into Ulduar (and downed Flame Leviathan, grats guys!). I was in a group that decided to take on Emalon the Storm Watcher, who is the new boss in Vault of Archavon, about 15 minutes before the Wintergrasp battle started. Emalon has four adds at the beginning of the fight. Periodically he selects an add to blow up if it is not killed quickly. If an add blows up, it's a wipe, and soulstones won't help, since you die in his room. Fortunately, they put the spirit healer right in front of the instance portal so it's a short run back. We killed him on our second attempt. I'm still working out UI issues and I'm not really sure my glyphs and spell rotation is optimal, but I did okay DPS.

This week has been an interesting week. Stress does not mix well with depression and borderline Asperger's Syndrome, and I put a very public temper tantrum on this blog where I violated one of my own rules and called out someone in the guild. I am very sorry for that. When I look at accessibility of WoW, the people who allow me to do as much as I do are the raid leaders, officers, and raid members, and they do it without being condescending about it. I truly love and appreciate all you guys, and I can't imagine playing the game without you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Flame Leviathan down!

About 7 hours after the servers were supposed to be up, we were finally able to get on, get our specs fixed up, look for new glyphs (WTB), and get over to Ulduar. This was the first time I have ever gotten to go into an instance with a guild for the first time, and the most I have ever prepared for a new instance, so I was very excited.
Driving a combat vehicle was not at all intimidating, although I was a little different to have a passenger. First try on Leviathan, we still didn't completely know what we were doing and I died when I was kiting. Second try, we let the siege engines go in first, and I ended up getting locked out (reaction time FTL). Third try, we understood the fight, we were working together, and we got him down! Unfortunately, the instance server crashed as we were clearing to Ignis, but those things happen.
I think the changes to affliction will actually make it easier for me to play. I still need to tweak my spec, get my new glyphs, and download the new version of recount to make sure, but I was seeing 3K on a target dummy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Patch Day: Ulduar is here!

"Memories have left you broken, and the scars have never healed." - Three Doors Down, It's the Only One You've Got

Confirmation has come that patch 3.1 goes live today. I'm excited and worried at the same time.

Yesterday was a bad day on a lot of fronts, but a couple of good things happened as well. I finally got the achievement for Shadowmoon Valley quests on the lock, and when I was running through Ironforge with my pvp gear on to do the daily battleground, I got approached about a warlock/boomkin 2v2 arena team. I guess that will change my mind about dual spec on the warlock!

Yesterday morning I got a text message from my brother about my dad's blood counts after this round of chemo. Not good. The sadness most of the day was almost overpowering, or would have been if I hadn't had other things to distract me, like my husband coming home for lunch to discuss some business matters (probably could have waited, but never underestimate the lure of Easter leftovers).

So, raid time comes, Sarth 3D for the first time in about a month for me. That I can handle this fight at all without going to a corner and rocking after each attempt is an accomplishment; it is really overstimulating for me. Still, other than a little perceptual difficulties with void zones, I did okay. Unfortunately, although I did better than I have in the past, my dps isn't as high as it needs to be and we couldn't get Sarth down with any drakes up.

Well, I told myself I wouldn't edit out the rant, but I decided after my conversation with Orbitz and doing some soul-searching, that the rant wasn't necessary.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Auriaya: Crazy Cat Lady on Steroids!

This is another fight that has me looking forward to getting into Ulduar, just because of the creativity of the developers. It's also going to be fun listening to the debates about the achievements.
Auriya has a shockwave attack that splits 231250 to 268750 physical damage among all targets in its path. I don't know of any tanks that can survive that kind of damage, so guess which way she's going to be facing? She also has a nasty shadow attack, so Prayer of Shadow Protection and Shadow Ward are going to be essential. Also, there's an AOE fear, so I'm going to be so thankful for my dots. I'm not sure if the human ability or pvp trinket will work on that, but it doesn't appear that there are any dangers like there were on Archimonde, so it should just be a minor nuisance.
Auriaya will occasionally spawn packs of panther adds, which can be AoE'd down, or not, depending on whether you want to go for the achievement or not.
After 1 minute, Auriaya spawns a Feral Defender, which is a cat with 9 lives. There is an additional achievement for killing the Feral Defender along with Auriya.
This fight is definitely a place for healers to shine. Going for the Nine Lives achievement will definitely be a test of mana management.
Good training fights: Sartherion, Maxxaena, Anub'Rhekan.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Kologarn: So now I come to you with open arms...

I have to hand it to the developers, they are really being creative with the bosses in Ulduar. Not only do you fight Kologarn, you also fight each of his arms. Kyth's take on the fight is at
As far as practice bosses go, I'd say bosses where you have to avoid stuff, like the OS trash and the library event in Halls of Stone, and bosses where members are incapacitated and you have to kill stuff to free them, like Maxxena, the Prince in OK, and the first bosses in Utgarde Pinnacle and Utgarde Keep, would be good practice.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Iron Council: Pick Your Poison!

The Iron Council made its appearance on the North American PTR on a good night, so there is a very good write-up at, plus I got to look over my shoulder/hear one-sided vent conversation during Conviction's attempts.
Basically, there are three dwarves that are all tanked simultaneously, but killed individually. Each time a dwarf is killed, any remaining dwarves gain extra abilities and are healed to full. If Runemaster Molgeim is not killed first, he gains an ability called Rune of Death, which is cast on a target player and does 6000 damage per second on anyone in range. I believe rock shards in Vault would be the closest thing we have to that currently. Stormcaller Brundir does an attack called Overload, which is a 10 second cast that deals 25000 nature damage to anyone within 30 yards and knocks them down. When you see the overload emote, run away, similar to Loken's Lightning Nova.
I'm looking forward to the debate about which dwarf to leave until last. I think it's going to be dependent on raid makeup, and that should be interesting.

Friday, April 10, 2009

XT-002 Deconstructor: A Machine with a Heart

This boss was on the North American PTR, so you can read Fusion's take on it here Conviction of Turalyon also went up against him, and I had the opportunity to glance at the fight over Bryan's shoulder, as well as hearing his comments to his vent.
This seems like a classic tank and spank, with a couple of twists. Every 25%, his heart is exposed, increasing his damage taken by 100% and he summons adds which will attack the raid, and some which heal him if they reach him. Killing his heart activates hard mode, in which his limitations are removed and he spawns void zones.
Preparation for this one: Gluth, Malygos, Kel'Thuzad, Sartherion with drakes up.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Razorscale: Dodge and cast?

According to MMO-Champion, Razorscale has two phases. He's in the air during phase 1, and on the ground during phase 2. Those phases repeat until he is brought down. Just looking at what MMO-Champion has to say, the best preparation is running what I already do and learning to run around and dps (or heal, I still am making myself available) at the same time.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ignis: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the Scorch!

I'm really looking forward to this fight. No enrage timer and lots of interesting elements. Again, Kyth has a great writeup on
Ignis has a Flame Jet ability that causes damage, and interrupts spells. This means that casters and healers need to stop casting before the 2.7 second cast completes. This is similar to the Ingvar the Plunderer fight in heroic UK. I may actually try to run this with DBM disabled, because I'm not sure if we will have an updated version before our first time running this.
Ignis starts the fight with 20 Iron Constructs inactive, and periodically spawns one as an add. These are vunerable to the Scorch effect, which is a frontal cone attack that leaves puddles of fire on the floor. The OT brings the Construct to a fire patch until he gets the Molten effect (20 stacks of fire damage), then to one of the pools of water in the room, at which point he gets the Brittle effect. When he is brittle, he is frozen and vunerable. If he is killed at this point, he shatters and does damage to anyone within a 10 yard radius, so when the construct becomes brittle, the OT should back out and let ranged kill him. A good practice fight for this would be Gluth in Naxx or Sarth with drakes up.
From a healing perspective, any fight where the raid takes significant periodic damage is good practice, so Malygos, Gluth, and Sapphiron would be good fights to get ready.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Flame Leviathan: No woman driver jokes please!

As most raiders predicted after seeing the Malygos fight and all the vehicle quests/PvP opportunities, Ulduar starts out with an all-vehicle fight. Flame Leviathan has three types of vehicles to ride/fight in, and two of these types can carry a passenger. It's basically a kite and kill fight. Fusion of Turalyon fought it, Kyth's write-up is on
The best thing you can do to prepare for this is to do the various fights which have vehicles involved. In other words, Wintergrasp and Strand of the Ancients, and the various quests that involve combat vehicles. If you have the Northrend Loremaster achievement, you have probably at least experienced all of them. As I read the strats, I'm starting to get ideas of who should be in which vehicles also. For instance, siege engine drivers should be able to tank, kite, and interrupt. Salvaged demolisher drivers and passengers on both large vehicles should be good with ranged attacks. Salvaged chopper drivers should be able to dart in and out quickly as they drop tar.
I'm thinking I will be a passenger on a siege engine or salvaged demolisher, so to prepare, I'm going to do wintergrasp and try to be a gunner as much as possible.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Preparing for Ulduar

This past week, I've seen a huge improvement in my dps, and have had to admit that keybinding did make a difference /sigh. Also, I noticed a huge improvement in my ability to stay in the safe zones during the safety dance.
With these developments, I'm looking forward to preparing for Ulduar. Noblegarden has been put on the PTR calendar for April 26, which says to me that April 21 is patch day. Let the debate over what we run that night begin!
What can I do to prepare (other than getting my hunter to friendly with Sons of Hodir and mega-farming)? I'm going to be looking boss by boss at what MMO-champion has to say about boss abilities and what current game events provide a similar experience from a strategy perspective.