Thursday, 27 August 2009

More Ulduar Ownage

Ulduar again. Getting better at being in the "right place at the right time" to start DPS when everyone else does, and spend less time running around chasing kited adds, avoiding things that kill you and legging it to get in range of bosses when heroism pops. I've even started noticing when things are going on aside from my target. Flaming cyclones approaching from behind - I moved. Feral defender respawns, called, target switched and dps started. People standing in void zones - yelled at. My aggro-dump is hardly needed these days, but when it is, it's never on cooldown... I might even try for a Naxx undying run!

Things looked good from the start, downing Flame Leviathan, Razorscale, XT and Ignis without breaking a sweat. We even saved a construct and slapped Shattered on our scoresheets. Moving swiftly on to the Antechamber, Kologarn went down without a fight and we farmed Auriaya as usual. She dropped an Elemental Focus Stone, which, since the introduction of BoP trading in groups, I begged to equip for my Epic achievement. Didn't matter really, since I won it.

We decided not to skip the Iron Council this week, and give it a single try - just to see how the group handled it. We've been running for a few weeks with the same people, they all know the tactics and put out good DPS, fair threat from the tanks and great healing. What could go wrong?

Well, everything could. But nothing did. I Choose You, Stormcaller Brundir! finally flashing on my screen along with The Antechamber of Ulduar . Happy news.

Normally we'd head for Hodir and call it a night, but as we were ahead of schedule we decided we had the right composition to take on Thorim. 4x of us (tank, healer and 2x locks) took corridor duty so I gained I'll Take You All On when we defeated him. First time was a wipe because someone didn't follow instructions. We weren't ALL stacked on the Collossus' heels so someone got Charged... This caused the colossus to spin round to face the tank and, before I could move, his Smash hit through my cloth for around 40,000 damage. Goodnight!

Undeterred. we nailed it second time around with relative ease. Managed to avoid all the lightning blasts and put out fairly good DPS.

250 Dungeon & Raid Emblems was a nice surprise - Didn't realise I'd got so many tokens, although still a little miffed that the statistics for the old TBC heroic badges didn't start until AFTER I'd bought pretty much everything the sunwell vendors sold. I reckon I spent over 600 badges prior to Wrath but my actual statistics don't reflect that.

After Ulduar, we had a quick blast through a couple of heroics. For the last 20-30 Violet Hold Heroic runs, Lavanthor has been hiding. He turned up, and I finally achieved Lockdown!

Other interesting runs included Trial of the Champion (Heroic, of course) that had the last "mini boss" required for the achievement (I think it was the Orc Warrior).

Alt-wise, Settled has reached Level 80 and is starting to gear up (Colosseum normal) for DPS and Tanking. I'm going to drop the healing spec and take a protection stance, as we're always missing tanks for runs. The fact that I have enough mats for a Titansteel Shield Wall and three nice defence plate pieces dropped in the Colosseum have NOTHING to do with it. I've gemmed the DPS gear as best I can with a mixture of strength, +hit, crit (on the meta) and a +10 stats and will be looking more into which instances I need to farm to get some more decent gear.

Toc (normal) has 8x tanking pieces including plate armor, rings, necklaces and trinkets; 9 suitable for DPS; and 4x suitable for healing. Getting hold of them is only a matter of time, and finding a group willing to farm it for a couple of hours - which my guild have kindly fulfilled. I can see (again) the process of winning loot, gemming it, enchanting it, and replacing it on the first couple of naxx runs - so I'm NOT going to be putting expensive stuff on gear I think I'll be replacing soon. Obviously, if iLevel 226 stuff drops that's only going to be bettered by ulduar 25 and toc 10/25 stuff, I'll go to town on it, but I'm not falling into the same traps I did with Everwrath. (Bought and enchanted a Titansteel spellblade at a cost of almost a thousand gold an hour before getting the Grieving Spellblade off Faerlina...)

Thursday, 13 August 2009

More tying up of loose ends...

Wednesday was Raid night, and took on Ulduar. We decided to go for the achievement Flame Leviathan and zerged it without catapulting onto the turrets, gaining Shutout for those (like me) who didn't have it already.

Nerfed Gravity Bombs on XT-002 Deconstructor to add to the scrapbots achievement I got last week. Sadly, we had no engineer so the heap we left on the floor was wasted.

Everything went smoothly till Kologarn where we had a couple of issues, mainly with people zerging the wrong arm and rubble escaping, but regrouped, went quickly over the tactics and nailed him.

Finished the run with Hodir down, and, analysing the logs I kept toasty warm, starfired and in a stormcloud for between 30 and 40% of the fight, peaking at 20,000 DPS when all the buffs lined up and my trinkets and cloak procced together.

After Ulduar, finally got around to Heroic: Drak'Tharon Keep and completed Northrend Dungeon Hero.

Yesterday, Needing a couple of instances worth of Wyrmrest Accord rep, I joined some high dps and well geared tank/healer for a blast through some heroics. Gotta Go! was unexpected, but I'm not complaining!

  • Kill Malygos for the Champion of the Frozen Wastes title.
  • Throw Eadric's hammer back at him for the Faceroller achievement.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

High achiever

With a little time to spare I thought I'd tie up some loose ends and restock the pantry. Fished a few stacks of spellpower food, then finished off The Oracles rep, and got another egg.

Farming heroics for an evening got me enough badges to buy the Evoker's Charm necklace. Quite an upgrade on the old chain of latent energies. It also got me swapping tabards quite regularly as the achievements rolled in.

Knights of the Ebon Blade was unexpected, I must have been pretty close as I got it in the first instance. Not having another tabard handy, I just took it off, and before I got to the bank to swap it I had another two achievements - The Winds of the North (Alliance Vanguard) and 20 Exalted Reputations. The Daily Heroic was Old Stratholme, and as we had plenty of AoE DPS we went for the timed achievement, The Culling of Time - and got it. Lost the roll on the mount though... but will be doing it again soon.

To cull more time, we pugged OS10 then OS25, Defeating Sartharion the Onyx Guardian and the Twilight Drakes with only 20 players in the raid, and two of them were offline at the time! Less Is More (25 player) and Besting the Black Dragonflight (25 player) in the bag.

Killed the Black Knight again in Heroic Trial of the Crusader. Amazing roll on Boots of the Crackling Flame got me the Needy achievement. Still having no luck with Trial of the Champion 10 man... We've got to Icehowl but someone accidentally got charged, and of course we wiped pretty much instantly.

Finished off the night with a few daily quests in Icecrown, and spotted a rare elite. Northern Exposure and a satchel of goodies with 25 Gold in it.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Enter Ulduar & Call of the Crusade

My first footsteps into Ulduar were very tentative ones. Although I have known most of the people in my "new" guild for quite a while, I still feel the need to impress them with my playing skill, high DPS and knowledge of tactics.

Although it's useful to watch tankspot videos and read up on how-to: guides, nothing really prepares you in identifying buffs and debuffs, finding where you should be stood, when you should move and how to avoid upsetting 9/24 other players.

According to Ensidia Fails, a nice addon that barks out when avoidable debuffs or damage isn't avoided (I've got it set to inform me privately at the end of the fight) I didn't stand in the fire as many times as I'd expected. Also, according to World of Logs, I had the highest DPS in the party - rocking in at 3500 personal or 4041 if you count my imp's firebolts. I could squeeze more damage out if I used Curse of Agony, but I prefer to keep Curse of the Elements up on boss fights, as it both reduces the amount of threat I put out and it helps the casters by reducing resistances and buffing magic damage by 13%

Starting the siege with Flame Leviathan, I was given the job of demolisher passenger and asked to Take Out Those Turrets. To be honest, I think our DPS was enough to skip that phase, as the boss was at around 2% by the time I was finished with the second turret. It was nice to be up close and personal with such a massive boss though.

Moving swiftly on to XT-002 Deconstructor, this was a fun fight. Being bugged and throwing out dozens of adds, we wiped once before quickly regrouping and changing tactics. Nerf Scrapbots. Nuff said!

Razorscale, by comparison was a fairly easy fight. Analysing the fight I can see that although my DPS was again the highest, my "uptime" was pretty low. I spent too long repositioning myself to kill adds (running around aimlessly looking for things to kill). Now I know where I should be, my next attempt should be much better. That said, it was still a kill, and I am now sporting Binding of the Dragon Matriarch with a fresh buckle and a +23 spellpower gem.

Besting The Siege of Ulduar required dispatching Ignius the Furnace Master, and this was certainly my favourite fight. I excelled under Heroism bashing out a peak of 9300 DPS as Embrace of the Spider, Now is the time!, Empowered Imp, Backdraft, Pyroclasm and Elemental Oath all procced at the same time. Great healing got me through the Slag Pot and Hot Pocket flashed up as I ran back to the caster group to finish off Ignius.

Kologarn was also pretty straightforward, getting high DPS on the right arm. Must make a macro to quickly switch targets from arm to head and back and try to keep up DOTs on both for maximum damage output. Seems the ideal fight to have Curse of Doom and Immolate up on the head as much as possible while spamming immolate, conflagrate, incinerate and chaos bolts at the right arm. I love the way the corpse becomes a bridge into the next part of the instance, such a nice way to make bosses mandatory.

Auriaya, again, was surprisingly easy to defeat - concentrating on quickly downing the adds and staying out of void zones I was quick to grab Nurturing Touch - a nice upgrade over my old nerubian wand. Losing a small amount of +hit is good to get extra spirit and crit, along with a small amount of stamina, intellect, spellpower and all-out dps come wanding time...

Hodir took a couple of goes to nail. He ended up hitting me for 55,000 damage on the first try. Not really sure why he was hitting me, I think the DPS was suffering, and that was partly my fault. Although I'd watched the fight and knew about flash freezes and standing on snowpiles, I wasn't really concentrating on setting the friendly targets free and wasn't capitalising on the buff areas. My first fight where mobility is everything, I spent far too long running about avoiding the biting cold and not enough time killing the cause of it.

Our second try was pretty much textbook. Learning quickly from my mistakes I quickly freed the friendly adds and got myself hooked up with stormpower for 48% of the time and a toasty fire 34% of the time, meaning less running around and more boom, reaching a peak of 17,000DPS when all the buffs fell into place. Downed him and picked up Staying Buffed All Winter and I Have the Coolest Friends.

Not wishing to prolong the raid past our intended length, we finished there and half of us decided to go have a look at the new instance. Having a quick go in 5-man normal, we decided the fight was easy enough to push through the heroic, and downed that too. Picked up a replacement for my crafted ebonweave robe and a new ring, Embrace of Madness and Emerald Signet Ring now leaves me with just the trinket short of the epic achievement.

Wishing the 10-man was as easy. Wiped about 6 times learning the first 2x Northrend Beasts. We've got the first one on farm now, but the giant Jormungars are proving tricky. Will read up about them soon and adjust our tactics before we try again.

Outside the guild, I have picked up the 10-man achievements for Emalon and Archavon to go with my earlier 25 man progress, and finally got myself back into Sholazar to complete my Oracles rep grind. Picked up another egg, and will see what hatches next week.

When handing in my second daily quest I was surprised by an achievement popping up. My first thought was "but I calculated I'd need all three to get exalted" quickly followed by elation as I realised I'd just rolled over 10,000G from quests.