Light & Leafy

Archive for the ‘Ice Crown Citadel Pwnage’ Category

After defeating the dreaded Lord Marrowgar, the next deranged lieutenant of the Lich King you will encounter is Lady Deathwhisper. The Lady is the supreme overseer of the Cult of the Damned, reveling in the power the Lich King appointed her after she elected to dispose of her corporeal form.

Lady Deathwhisper is similar to many lich fights we’ve seen in the past. She primarily uses frost and shadow spells, and like Kel’Thuzad, her first phase mostly involves being able to control the numerous adds that spawn on the sides of the room. Once your team is able to make it through the first phase and break her mana shield, you’re certain to take home some pretty purples.

Phase One

When you first encounter Lady Deathwhisper, she’ll be wrapped up in her mana barrier, a protective bubble that causes all damage done to eat away at her mana rather than her health. The dps must burn through her mana before she will become vulnerable. When the mana barrier is depleted, phase 2 begins.

During the first phase of Lady Deathwhisper’s fight, adds will spawn on a 60 second timer.  In 10 man, the adds will alternate which side of the room they spawn on, while in 25 man they will spawn from both sides every time.  There are two types of adds that can be spawned:

  • Cult Fanatics – Melee mobs that will occasionally buff themselves with Vampiric Might, increasing their damage done and healing themselves.
  • Cult Adherents – Caster mobs that will occasionally shield themselves with Shroud of the Occult, absorbing spell damage and making them immune to interrupts. The adherents will also cast Curse of Torpor, which will cause the victims’ spells to have an increased cool down of 15 seconds unless it is dispelled.

Meanwhile, Lady Deathwhisper will constantly be adding to the chaos. She will target random raid members and place a Death and Decay at their feet. All members within in the green goo of doom must run away the second they see it; at 4500 damage per second, it doesn’t take long to die. She also will cast random shadow bolts on the raid group every 2 seconds. They’re really just a nuisance to heal through rather than anything truly worrisome.

Dark Transformation will cause one of her Fanatics to turn into a giant, shirtless green blob that runs around wearing purples shorts. They do a bit more damage though, so it’s best to have a tank kite them around the room while the dps smush it to smithereens.

Animate dead will resurrect a fallen Fanatic or Adherent. Resurrected fanatics will need to be killed by casters in your group as there are immune to physical damage. Resurrected adherents are immune to spell damage and will need to be killed by hunters or melee dps. See, the kitteh and warriors ADHERE to their targets, while the mages and lockies…FAN AWAY from theirs?  Curse you, fanatics. Ur in my blogz, ruining my mnemonic devicez.

Dominate Mind: Oh, and did I mention in the 25 man version she mind controls? Yep. Get out the polymorph:baby penguin! Unless you’d rather have your little ball of fury arms warrior come up to your holy priest and turn her into a fail angel.

Once a wave of adds is finished, all dps should move to Deathwhisper to bring her mana barrier down until the next set of adds spawn.

For healing the first phase of this fight on 10 man, usually one healer is assigned to watching the tanks. The other 2 cover any incidental damage from her AoE spells, and help dps her mana shield when the raid feels stable.

On 25 man, the healing gets a bit complicated. I will give each tank their own personal healer, with a pally beaconing the tank in charge of kiting any Fanatics that are turned into the lumbering green giants. There is usually no room for healers to dps, as the death and decay and shadow bolts seem to take the majority of our respective mana pools. Keep healers near anyone capable with a taunt or a crowd control mechanic; you will usually be the first to catch the attention of your insane team mates, and as most classes will be able to one shot the squishiest of healers, it’s better to have someone around who can protect you when the giant purple gnome is running straight for you.  You’ll want to have someone (or multiple people) dedicated to removing the Curse of Torpor, or your healers will be in for a nasty surprise.

If you’re having trouble getting into phase 2, it might behoove you to set one of your dps (preferably a ranged so that she doesn’t cast death and decay within her footprint) to attack her throughout the fight. Another trick you might want to try is to cast heroism when her shield is at or below 20% and just burn through.

Phase 2

This is when Lady Deathwhisper comes to deal with you bothersome scrubs herself!  The adds will stop spawning, but Deathwhisper gains 4 more abilities: Touch of Insignificance, Summon Vengeful Shade, Frostbolt and Frostbolt Volley.

Touch of Insignificance is a debuff placed on your tanks that will reduce their threat by 20% for each stack (though sometimes an impatient druid or warrior might get a stack – that just makes them gleeful). This requires some tank switch-a-rooing, but all in all it just means that as healers, you need to know which tank is getting frostbolts to the face when.

Summon Vengeful Shade will…wait for it….SUMMON A VENGEFUL SHADE! Crazy idea, right? Basically the shade is a little purple ghostie you need to get away from or it will explode and hurt you and everyone around you. You can’t damage it, you can’t root it. You just need to run with your robes hiked up and shrieking like a little blood elf… *ahem*

Frostbolts are 2 second casts that can be interrupted. If not, prepare for your tank to take some pretty heavy damage.

Frostbolt Volley has a 4 second cast that should be interrupted as many times a possible, or count on your entire raid eating a 13k icicle simultaneously. Even if you’re a resto shaman, now’s a good time to have Wind Shear on your bars.

During phase two, the most important task for healers is to be aware of their surroundings. One Vengeful Shade exploding around the same time as a death and decay or uninterrupted Frostbolt Volley is pretty much a guarantee for you to be spending the rest of the fight on the floor, tasting the death and decay (hint: it does not taste like pistachio ice cream).  Also, because the tanks will probably have to move Deathwhisper out of death and decay occasionally, it’s imperative to watch where they’re leading her; the pillars on the top of her platform make excellent line-of-sight obstructions.

The healing assignments are likely to stay the same as phase one, as Deathwhisper really isn’t any harder on the tanks than her minions were.  Focusing Deathwhisper and having her cast bar visible can be a really helpful way to prepare for a Frostbolt Volley, allowing you to queue up any AoE heals before everyone has already gotten a snowball to the face. Mass dispel is also handy to have on hand to dispel the slowing debuff that lingers after the frost spells are cast.

The most important part of the Deathwhisper fight is being able to knock down her mana shield in a timely fashion; after that it’s a simple awareness game as her health isn’t very high and her damage can be very manageable.

Good luck and happy raiding!

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Last week I wrote a post looking at the lower spire of Ice Crown Citadel from the perspective of a holy priest who occasionally likes to be discipline. Now, because I promised, here are some tricks and tidbits I’ve picked up while healing on Sairyn and Fluffikins. Again, if there are any other tricks you can think of (and I’m sure you can!), please post something in the comments! I’m still learning the in’s and out’s of healing with leaves, so any other suggestions are highly welcomed!  For organization’s sake, each fight follows the format of what both shamans and druids can do, then druid specific tips, then shaman specific tips. Oy vey.

The Trash to Lord Marrowgar

Like I’ve mentioned before, the trash to Marrowgar is pretty simplistic, but there’s always something you can do to make these fifteen minutes of rep go smoothly

Hotting up the melee. It’s kind of like being a priest spreading out the renew love. Only it’s better on a druid because you can toss around hots faster than those shiny necklaces at Mardi Gras. I swear, the first few times I did the trash in ICC I didn’t even realize the packs of skeletons exploded because the druid had the melee so hotted up. Usually I go with a rejuv and 1 to 2 stacks of lifebloom, depending on how many melee dps I have in the group.

Or, you can just chain heal. No matter how hot your healers may be (oh oh, I went there!), normally your group will want to make sure each of the exploders die individually. I have my chain heal set up as a mouse over macro so that I can keep an eye on the current target’s health, with my trigger finger ready to go as soon as the skelly’s health gets to about 10%.

Interrupts! Sure, you can chain spam shackle undead to interrupt the Nerubian’s from casting their dark binding spell. But what if you have no priests?! The heals shouldn’t be so demanding that you can’t take your eyes away from grid/vuhdoo/x-perl for a moment to catch a interrupt or two. I feel a lot of the time we forget moves that don’t come into play in our day-to-day instancing/grinding. Now’s the time to work on your Wind Shear muscle memories.

Instant casts are teh best! By this point, we know the big guys will try to interrupt our spells. To those big guys I say, eat my instant casts! The only sure fire way to not be locked out if you can’t be bothered to pay attention to your boss timer warnings is to cast spells that can’t be interrupted.

Lord Marrowgar

Keep a rejuv/riptide on yourself. It’s common knowledge that Marrowgar has a crush on my druid. So, every time I see that his bone spike is coming off cool down, I plan ahead to have a rejuv on myself. Worst case scenario is that I did a bit of over healing. Best case is that the other healers don’t need to worry so much about their limp tree impaled next to Marrowgar’s butt. I’ve started to do the same with Sairyn’s riptide just in case Marrowgar decides that draenei are just as cute.

Stick to single target healing. It gets a little messier here. I admit freely that maybe my raid teams are just not as coordinated as others’. If you all manage to stay pretty close together during the whirlwind phase, please feel free to skip this and move on. If your team also runs around like litter of kittens during bath time, this might bear mentioning. On fights where everyone is taking damage, it’s instinctual to cast one spell to heal them all. Your intention is admirable, but the reality is that even if you have 5 people within your heal radius, it is unlikely they are going to be close enough to one another to bounce a chain heal all 4 times or to receive the splash of a wild growth. Generally is just simpler and more effective to hit each individual player with a quick heal and be done with it.

Guess what has the same length cool down as BOOONEEEE STORMMMMM? BARRKKK SKINNN! Not quite as epic as I had hoped. Oh well. You can still pop your skin at the beginning of his whirlwind phase in order to get safely away from his twirling axe. And it’ll be back up and ready to use the next time Marrowgar decides to bring out his inner ballerina.

Tanks aren’t the only ones who can use Earth Shield. Yes, you’ll want to keep it on one (generally the squishier tank) while Marrowgar is standing in place and saberlashing, but think of where it could be most effective during his whirlwind phase. Is there a certain dps who seems to lag a bit getting out of the way of the cold flames? Or a clothie who always gets caught behind one of the candelabras? Maybe they would be better candidates for a little earthy loving than the tanks with stacked armor and quick cold flame reflexes.

Totems are tasty.   Choosing the right totem is a topic for an entire post, but I’ll share 2 I love for this fight as a resto shaman: Frost Resistance and Stoneskin. Now, the way I see it is this: you can either use both totems throughout the fight, or you can plan ahead a little bit and set up 2 of your totem calls – one for the stationary phase and one for the whirlwind phase. Since no one’s really doing much damage during the whirlwind phase, there’s no reason to keep Flame Tongue and Strength of Earth down.  Use your second call to give your raid a little extra frost resistance and armor until Marrowgar settles down again!

Lady Deathwhisper

Curses are the most important thing ever! Both shamans and druids can remove curses. And the curse of torpor is no exception. Essentially, it will increase the cool down of spells cast by the inflicted player. Imagine my surprise when my regrowth had a cool down associated with it. If you are cursed at the same time as another player, be sure to remove your own first. If there are multiple players cursed, follow a hierarchy: healers then tanks then dps.

Hex and Entangling Roots can be used in the 25 man version of the fight. If you see a mind control running towards you, a hex can be a great way of preventing your team mate from smiting you into oblivion. Entangling roots are also a useful tool, but try to root your rather large friend somewhere away from other players so she doesn’t start slapping people around.

Purge, baby, purge! Kind of like how I mentioned priests could dispel the buffs from the purple short wearing monstrosities, only with purge! I think it might be a little harder for restos, though, because purge isn’t generally a spell I expect to be using (then again, I rarely pvp). Just a friendly reminder though: if you have a mage, give him a little time to steal the buff before you purge it. If he still hasn’t and it’s been a good 5 seconds, it’s probably a good idea to remove it before you tank ends up sprawled out on the floor.

Use heroism/blood lust when you’re on the verge of breaking her mana shield. You have 24 seconds until the next set of adds, and Lady’s mana shield is sitting around 16%. Now is the time to heroism and pop cooldowns to help you easily transition into her second phase. Don’t worry about wasting it on the shield and not on the Lady herself; if you’ve made it to phase two, you’re likely to succeed.

Frost resistance is great for phase two. If you have a paladin, an aura is wonderful to help mitigate the damage her aoe frost bolt does to your group. Luckily, you don’t need a pally to provide the resistance if you don’t happen to have one kicking around. Drop a totem, forgo the flame tongue buff, and be happy when you’re chain healing through the frost damage that people aren’t getting hurt more.

All hands on the poop deck! (hehe I wrote poop in my blog. I have the mentality of a 4 year old. /shame)

If you’re on the main boat, stand near the edge so you can heal the jumping tank as he careens towards your ship. If you’re set to be standing on one boat anyways, it pays to be somewhere you can reach both tanks. You’ll be able to spam heals on the tank who’s getting axes chucked at him as he tries to safely land back on your ship.

Trees should probably stay on the main boat. Ok, maybe I always turn into a bear so I can have the rocket butt bear. But generally speaking, I don’t bother flying over from one boat to the next. I stay on the edge of our boat to help heal the tank handling Saurfang, but unless it’s dire, I refuse to jump from one boat to the next because the jumps always switch me out of tree form. It gets expensive after awhile, and for whatever reason it lags me to hell when I’m on the way down. It’s just easier, and a bit safer, if I bounce (rocket-free) around the deck of one ship.

Honestly, shamans, I don’t have much else for you here. Sorry. *averts gaze bashfully*

DBS (Does Bake Snickerdoodles? Hrm not quite right. I need to work on effeminizing Saurfang’s abbreviation).

Healing through Marks. Typically, I assign one healer per mark. There’s not too much you can do to get through the damage except to time your cool downs to the duration of the fight, and focus on your assigned target. Marked players will require heavy healing, and even the slightest distraction could mean death. On my druid, I normally roll all of my hots, followed by nourish spam and swift mend on cool down. On my shaman, marked characters get my earthshield and lesser healing wave spam. Sometimes, if the mark happens to be near another player, I will bounce a chain heal off of him to help keep the raid topped off. On both characters, I save nature’s swiftness for that oh-dear-lord moment that usually occurs near the end of the fight.

Helping your ranged dps, one root at a time. I found that healing really wasn’t intense the first half of this fight, no matter which character I was on. So, I took to keeping my druid in her caster form to help root the blood beasts, buying the ranged dps a little more time for kiting the adds. You’ll just need to be careful to make sure no one is in melee range while the add is rooted, or the beastie will turn to nomnom on your friend.

Rawr! I’mma big scary bear! If you’re confident, you can shift into bear form and taunt a blood beast to you to get it away from the tanks and melee. Because you’re not normally a bear, it’ll be easy for the ranged dps to pull the beast off of you. You can also use this in an emergency if you see a beast ready to chow down on someone in range. If you do taunt the blood beast though, remember to start running away. It’s not doing your team much good if you’re allowing yourself to become a snack to an overgrown blood worm.  This can also be a useful strategy if you’re running with a very low amount of ranged dps.

Let’s talk about rebirth: don’t use it if you don’t know how they died. If a person died because of a Mark of the Fallen Champion, it’s pointless to battle rez them. They’ll only come back to life with the debuff again, and likely die to the amount of damage done in the seconds it would normally take to fill their life bar. This means Saurfang gains an additional 5% of his health back, and it’s a risk that’s usually not reasonable to take. There is an alternate strategy using a paladin that I’ve heard rumor of, but as I have not tried this myself, I’d rather not recommend it to any of you. If you’ve heard anything about the divine intervention strategy, I’d love to know if it was actually a plausible strategy or not.

More totem talk? Right, this probably seems like a no-brainer. But I want to remind you that you can use Earthbind totem to control the blood beasts, much like a druid’s entangling roots.  I recommend placing the totem between the stairs and your kiting dps so that it likely will not be trapped anywhere near something it can gnaw on (i.e. your teammates).

So, I believe I’ve covered everything I’ve thought of in the last few weeks. Clearly, I don’t have as many tips for my shaman friends as I do for my trees, but I’m  hoping to see more Sairyn action in the upcoming weeks, and if I find any new tricks, I’ll be sure to update. Also, apologies for the wall-o-text. I tried to cut it up a bit for the sake of space, and that plan backfired on me.

By now, all my healers except poor little Nesme have seen the Lower Spire of Ice Crown Citadel (don’t feel too bad for her, though, since she did just get Quel’Delar).   I think it attests to the ability of Blizzard to create a raid where I’m not snoozing until I get to the last half of the instance (ToC, I’m looking at you. *evil glare*).

Along the way, I’ve managed to pick up some tricks that maybe will help someone else out there conquer the lower half of ICC. I was going to do this in one great gigantic post, but I figured that would create a wall of text so large it would put some of my verbose guildies to shame. So, today will be priests (of both the discipline and holy nature, as I’ve *gasp* raided the first 4 bosses as both) and next time we’ll look at what I’ve found as helpful as a druid and a shaman. Most of you have probably already figured this stuff out, but maybe you’ll be able to apply some of the tricks to other Blizzard encounters that are similar!

Marrowgar’s Trash

The trash leading up to Marrowgar is pretty simple but you can make it even simpler on your healer friends!

The Dead skeleton duders that usually come in packs of 4 or 5 explode upon death; your tanks don’t really feel the pain, but your melee sure will. I like shielding all the kittehs, rogues, enhancement shamans, warriors, and dinosaurs in my raid when I got my bubbles going on (ret pallies don’t exist). Otherwise, I make sure to blanket them with soft fuzzy renews before the first dies. Speaking of those guys, I always make sure that I have a Pain Suppression or Guardian Spirit ready for my bladestorming gnome-turned taunka or rawr!cat. Because the only thing worse than a dps pulling aggro is a dps splattered on the floor.

There are 3 pulls, all in the middle of each room, with 2 Nerubian casters. They can be shackled. Remember that? You probably haven’t had it on your spell bar since Burning Crusade, I know.  But trust me when I say that those pulls go so much smoother when you don’t have to turn every two second to smite the tree out of his cocoon. Another thing about shackle: just because people keep breaking it doesn’t mean you should stop casting it. Shackles will interrupt the Nerubian when it’s casting the web wrap or dark mending spells. And a non-healing spider is a good thing.

The only thing left are the giants that come out roaring when someone steps on their traps. Guardian spirit can be useful when cast immediately on the tank to keep him in tippytoppy shape until the other tank gets there to share the saber lashes. Other than that, be grateful that you have all those neat instant cast spells and try ever so hard not to get interrupted. Unless you like wanding down big bone giant, which is very much a possibility.

The trash in here is pretty easy, though if you ever feel overwhelmed remember that you can always sprint back to Light’s Hammer and everything will leash back. If you ARE running away, make sure that you keep yourself protected with bubbles or wings or whatever else you have in your arsenal.  If you’re really bored, you could always have a healthy competition with the other healers to see which of you does the most dps. My bets are on the aggressive penance priest.

Lord Marrowgar

I’ll admit, it took us a bit of time to really get Lord Marrowgar down. It can be hard to get used to switching gears between every phase, but you’ll certainly get the hang of it!

If you’re not standing in his hit box, do it! Now! Standing with melee isn’t cheating; it’s simply making your life easier by not having to dodge each of his flame breaths. Plus there’s the bonus of your bonespike being quickly taken care of by all those nearby melee dps! It’s their payment for having you always saving their aggro-pulling behinds.

During the BOOONNEEEE STORRRMMMM phase, bubble yourself before you start running away. Chances are you’ll get hit for a tick or two of his giant whirlwind, but even on 25 man this can be easily mitigated by a bubble. Also, tossing renews/bubbles out like they were rice at a wedding will help cover raid heals until you can find a spot far enough away from the twirling skeleton of doom and his blue flame patches to triage those who need immediate attention.

The only other thing I can think of, and this seems much more pivotal on 25 man than on 10, is to keep guardian spirit or pain suppression up on a designated tank as often as you can. They really do take quite the beating while everyone else gets to stand still.  And if they’re moving out of Cold Flame constantly, the more extra healing they receive, the better the attempt is sure to go.

Lady Deathwhisper

I love mana burning her during this encounter. Usually, we don’t need me to do this anymore, but when we were first starting ICC, it’s seemed to help tons to mana-burn her while the dps were chasing down adds. I’m not sure if it reduces her mana with both the burn and the little bit of damage the spell does as well, but it’s definitely worth a shot if you’re feeling a bit tight on dps.

Dispel is your friend. Those the green horrors romping around in purple shorts? If you’re worried about your kiting tank getting smoshed by them, you can always dispel their buff. This is incredibly helpful when you don’t happen to have a mage to spell steal or a shaman to purge. Sometimes I forget that a priest’s dispel is both offensive and defensive.  Usually, I’ll tab target my way through adds to make sure none of those beasties is doing more damage than it has to.

The last thing I have to say about Deathwhisper is that if your tanks are kiting her on her platform away from the death and decay puddles and the pink ghosties, I’d recommend jumping up there with them so there are no line-of- site issues if they duck behind a pillar. Otherwise, suggest having them come down her front stairs so you have the majority of the room to work with.

Gunship AHOY!

I think the gunship battle is my favorite fight in the lower half. And if you ever get the chance to be in one of the cannons, go for it! It’s incredibly fun and a really good way to relax mid-raid if you’re finding yourself stressed.

Rocket butt keybind! I always happen to jump over to the other boat. I find it safer to have someone there just in case people beating on the battle mage start getting hurt. I usually place my rocket pack on my bars wherever I have my abolish disease keybound; you won’t use that spell at all during the fight, so I find that’s the easiest one to replace and remember to use. Using the keybind will allow you to fly over there sooner, rather than having to click on the shirt, and then click on the placement of the landing point. Right before I land (either on the Horde’s ship or back on my own), I’ll cast a bubble and a prayer of mending on myself. It helps negate the damage you take upon landing. One other note about landing – when you land on the opposite boat, try your hardest to land on top of some of the axe-throwers in the front row (Sorry,  I don’t know what the Horde equivalent is.) so that you can bring their health down a bit lower.

Keeping up the other boat’s tank. The opposite faction’s leader will be hitting his tank quite hard, especially as time goes on. I like keeping a renew and either a guardian spirit or pain suppression up on that tank when I can. Stacking up serendipity can also be useful to get out lickity-split greater heals (shorter than the cast time of a flash heal!) if Saurfang/Muradin are stacking their buffs really high. Also, since you’re leaving the ship earlier than your tank, it’s helpful to have a few instant casts ready to go so that you can heal him as you’re flying through the air.

Deathbringer Saurfang

Discipline priests were just too overpowered for this fight, with their bubbles of awesomeness preventing DBS from gaining any blood power. So, Blizzard (rightfully) scaled back the effect bubbles have on DBS’s blood power bar. I usually heal this fight as discipline anyways, but that’s just because this fight is still primarily all predictable damage that you can mitigate.

Using pain suppression on the tanks when the Blood Beasts appear is really helpful. Some tanks, especially, paladins, can generate enormous amounts of threat on nearby targets without even trying. Tossing pain suppression on the tank will help decrease their threat on the blood beasts, allowing the dps who are going to kite them pull them away more easily.

Bubble as much of the range as you can right before a blood nova. On 25 man, there is less room for everyone to spread out, making it much likelier that more than one person will get hit by the blood nova. To make this easier to heal through, mitigate as much of the outgoing damage as you can by peppering the raid with bubbles!

Remember, Divine Aegis and your normal bubble will both absorb damage. I usually will hit someone with Blood Boil with a shield and then with a heal that can proc divine aegis so they’ll absorb the majority of the damage, rather that just what the bubble would absorb on it’s own.

Binding heal is your bestest friend. Normally, this is a heal I usually forget to mention. It’s second nature in my own play style, but I never remember it when I’m talking to others. Binding heal just might save your life if you have a Mark of the Fallen Champion. By using it to heal yourself at the same time as another, it helps you keep yourself alive through a thoroughly wicked debuff.  Guardian Spirit is also a very good spell to keep on players who have Marks on them as it will increase the healing done to them as well as prevent them from becoming Deathbringer’s snack.

I think that concludes my priestly thoughts on the first 4 bosses. I’ll try to get some druid and shaman tips up by the beginning of next week. Since I don’t happen to have any experience pallydining it up in the Citadel, be sure to check out Cel’s advice for holy paladins at I Like Bubbles! And if you’re a priesty who has any other advice or tricks for the first wing of ICC, please share in the comments or on your own blog!

Happy weekend, all!!!

/hug

Last week, I decided a break from WoW (and especially raiding) was in order. The lag had gotten so bad that even playing around on my hunter (who has now made it out to Hellfire Peninsula with Osy’s adorable gnome) was impossible. Thankfully, those issues have been resolved on Terenas, but I still felt a bit worn out raiding most nights. So I found this website (it’s safe, I promise), and after downloading and tinkering with DosBox (well, after Osy tinkered with DosBox – it’s pretty user friendly –like you-drag-the-game-onto-the-program-and-you-play friendly -unless you have an LCD monitor like I do. Then,  I hope you know more about DosBox than I do or can, you know, read a wiki and follow instructions), I played some really, really old games. Like SimCity old.

I think my main grievances are lack of commitment and the feeling like my 25 man team has hit a wall. It wouldn’t be so bad if that wall was not Festergut. But what it boils down to is that we simply don’t have enough DPS to meet the enrage timer (according to some math I did, we’d have to average about 7k dps per dps player, and we’re not close to that yet).

I get frustrated when I can’t fix something for my team. I really don’t know much about dps, having really only played healers, and consequently, I don’t know how to get my team to crank out bigger numbers when they’re all seemingly following their ideal rotations. Maybe the ranged isn’t spread out enough? Maybe we were range-heavy the last time we tried?

10 mans are going well though, and usually cheer me up enough to go back into 25 man with an optimistic outlook. My druid’s team is getting progressively more cohesive (which I’m continually impressed with because before 2 weeks ago we were essentially just a group of strangers), and my priest’s team finally got Valithria down (I’m going to get around to posting suggestions for that fight, even though I kind of feel like we cheated because we brought a 4th healer in and single-tanked the waves of trash).  The priest’s team always feels like a challenge though. It seems like we can’t always get the same 10 people, though we always are playing with close friends and usually 8/10 are consistent.  We’re super close, and we play exceedingly well together, but actually finding a time to meet is like pulling teeth. From a lion. Who may or may not be cranky. And who definitely hasn’t been given any nitrous oxide.

I wonder if I’m the only one who’s not excited for Cataclysm yet. I mean, I’ll be plenty excited when I get to create a Worgen rogue and level through all the new content. And I’ll be plenty excited to revisit my healers and re-figure out how everything pieces together. But I’m not excited YET.  I know it’s a ways away, but I secretly fear I’m never going to see the end of this expansion. That for some reason or another I’ll never get the closure I’m longing for in Arthas’ storyline. Lore is part of the reason this game is so fulfilling for me; to be so involved, and so close to true end-game progression (and lore progression) , it would be really disappointing for me to have to find video of the conclusion of Wrath of the Lich King rather than experience it first hand.

I don’t want to jump ahead to Deathwing and speculating about the new world order before I finish what I’ve started.

I can’t get too pessimistic though. I know deep down that my teams will conquer the Lich King (even if it’s not zomg-rite-nao!). And our 25 man’s have just been getting stronger and stronger. We’ll be able to smush Festergut someday, even if we need to conquer other encounters first.  We’ve had these roadblocks before (Razorscale wipes for 3 weeks? Why, yes I remember that!)

Oh, and the trash after Valithria? That made me happier than a peanut-butter and banana and nutella sandwich.  And that’s a pretty happy sammich.  I would know. I made them for lunch during our Saturday alt raid.

*Addendum: OHMAIGAWD I WANT AN OOZLING FROM THE HOLIDAY BOSSES NAO!!!!! That is all.*

PS. Both my 10 mans got the weekly quest to kill Festergut and Rotface. Both my 10 mans one shotted Rotface (who we attempted first because we figured we’d be more likely to wipe on him) and wiped on Festergut.  The first group had vomit on the melee group because we only had 3 ranged situated around the room and one died because he didn’t get all the spore debuffs he needed (I had offered to stand out so we’d have a backup range, but people said that was unnecessary and dangerous….) . The second group, and this was shitty, wiped around 25% because the second tank’s taunt wasn’t working and Osy blew up the entire raid. I felt horrible for the second tank because it was pretty clear that he was beating himself up over it.  All in all though, I had to laugh, because we never wipe on Festergut.  Talk about performance anxiety.

PSS. I do this sometimes on my guild forums, but I might MIGHT start publishing recipes for foods you find in game. I was motivated by this because my office friend and I have decided the 18th of every month is National Cupcake Day (we found like 5 different sites all claiming a different month, but interestingly the same numerical day, as National cupcake day). So the first recipe will probably be for Tasty Cupcakes. If what I make for Thursday is tasty. Which it might not be. Who knows?

/hugs for listening to my rants

*Clears Throat*

Why did you build me up,

Saurfang, baby, just to kill me more

Face on the floor.

And then worst of all,

You always spam nova

After a blood beast

Can’t get you beat.

I’m confused!

Marking everyone, honey!

You didn’t do tha-at before!

So, help me up, Saurfang,

Don’t wipe me no more!

That was to the tune of “Build Me Up Buttercup” by the Foundations. If you don’t know it (WHAAT?), go here. Nao. I canz wait.

Something interesting came up last night. We’ve killed Saurfang twice in our 25 man group and loads more in our ten mans. And yet, last night, he seemed substantially harder than he has in the past.

At first, I really thought it was only because we pugged a few spaces. Maybe they were just getting hit by the blood beasts as we were killing them. Most of the marks we were receiving were handed out during add phases anyways. It made sense.

And Blizzard fixed the exploit on the gunship allowing marked players to hop into a cannon so they wouldn’t take any damage and risk dying, giving Saurfang 5% of his health. We all knew that was coming, sooner or later. So, we had to step up the healing game to get the marked players through the fight. That really wasn’t so bad. I focused on the marks while allowing the 2 other discipline priests handle bubbling the rest of the raid.

Well, it wasn’t bad until the 6th mark or so. I believe that’s where we started loosing people, even though our pally had one marked baconed, and everyone but him was spamming heals on marked players.  But, with nearly another mark out and Saurfang only sitting at 25% of his health, it was game over.

We wiped a few times over, attributing it to the lack of coordination we were feeling all night. A little after our normal break time, we decided to call the raid and hope that we’d have better luck on Thursday. A quick Patchy kill to end the night on a positive note, then off to our own desires(I wish we had Wintergrasp to try out the new boss, but there’s always tonight).

My 10 man decided that we’d go in, since we still had an hour or so before end time, and clear the front of the house so that when we went back this weekend we’d be able to focus more on the content we haven’t cleared or seen.  Breezing right along (and winning a sexay new belt off of Marrowgar), we got to Saurfang, happy knowing that we could kill him in revenge for all the wipes and headaches he caused earlier.

Now, my favorite dwarven discipline priest waited while I switched into my ohmaigawdbubbles!spec, and we divided up the bubbling assignments.  Our holy pally went ret to smush face, and we were in business.

Or so we thought. We got about to 80% of his health, and realized that his blood power was already at 50%. The last 4 or 5 times Dyrum and I have healed this fight together,  we were able to get through the entire encounter without a single mark. Suddenly, I was wishing our holy pally was still helping out healing.   One mark went out on our top dps.  Then a second.  Then a third.

My fingers eagerly twitched for my guardian spirit button to help keep the marked players alive, only to cast power infusion on a kitty.

This wasn’t the clean, predictable kill I had expected.  It had this messy, scrambling feeling.

What happened to Saurfang? What happened to ez-mode lewtz?

Well, as far as I know, there were only 2 theories:

  1. (Provided by a lock guildie in the 25 man version) Saurfang had bugged after the patch. He was stuck on heroic mode, gaining blood power at a much higher rate and doing more overall damage to the raid. I haven’t found any sources pointing to this as of yet, but I was eager to believe that over believing our group was just incapable of fighting the fight as intended.
  2. Saurfang had been fixed to work the way he was always intended to. This was the theory that Osyras and I were tossing back and forth.  Maybe discipline priests were never meant to be completely win for that fight. Instead of preventing Saurfang from receiving blood power on a target whose damage is absorbed by a bubble or divine aegis, maybe bubbles were only ever meant to absorb the damage while allowing Saurfang to continue to build blood power.  It made sense the more we considered it. It would make the achievement to kill him without Marks of the Fallen Champion more difficult to get. And it wouldn’t put one healing class so above and beyond any of the others. The only question I have is, if this was the way the fight was intended to work, why didn’t Blizzard fix it sooner, rather then lulling guilds (like mine) into a sense of accomplishment and farm status?

I’m not really sure I know what happened last night, though I’m sure I’ll find out in the coming weeks.  I do wish that Blizzard would mention something, either by saying that yes, they fixed Saurfang to be the fight they always intended him to be, or by confirming that he was glitching out on heroic mode after the patch yesterday.  Stealth patching is…stealthy.  I like knowing what I’m up against. I don’t really care if the encounter had to be tweaked,  I just want to know if I need to fix my healing strategies or not.

Saurfang will either return to being the easy peasy lemon squeezy fight that he was, or we’ll have to adapt and succeed. Maybe that’ll make the rewards ever so sweeter.

Did any of you have problems with your ICC attempts this week?

Also….

Having a cold is teh sux. Having a cold, and having to go to work, is worse. Having a cold, having to go to work, and having to deal with snow is the worst.

I can haz hot cocoa?

Rush

Posted on: January 25, 2010

Who’s ready for a science lesson?!?

*pauses*

I said, who’s ready for a science lesson?!

*crickets*

Well, since it’s my blog, you’re going to get one anyways! HA! See how I tricked you there?

When humans are under stressful, threatening, or incredibly exciting conditions, we tend to respond with a basic “fight or flight” instinct. We either run away from our situation and regroup ourselves accordingly, or we take the bull by the horns (metaphorically, I don’t actually suggest trying this at home) and face our situation head on. No matter what we choose, our bodies are already beginning to prepare themselves in case of an emergency. The adrenal and pituitary gland are secreting epinephrine and endorphins into our blood stream, while our brain is sending signals by way of norepinephrine.

Wait. Back up. This is a WoW blog. Why are we using big words pertaining to our REAL bodies when normally we’d be healing the animated bodies around us. Well, it’s all connected.

Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline), norepinephrine, and endorphins are all different types of hormones released in our bodies  during times of stress (stress, in this case, meaning any thing physically or mentally dangerous or exciting; this can include pain, being scared, the sensation of falling, high tension situations, etc.).  Epinephrine is released through our adrenal glands right above our kidneys, and is responsible for increasing oxygen supply to our brains and muscles. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter, or a messenger, for our brains, and in addition to telling our hearts to beat faster, it is believed to increase attention/focus and our ability to make decisions quickly. Endorphins are controlled by our pituitary glands, and are released during times of stress and physical pain; they promote a sense of well being in the body and control the amount of pain our brain picks up.

So, now that we know a little bit about them…

The three hormones we’ve briefly touched upon usually combine to form what’s commonly known as an adrenaline rush.You know the feeling. The sense of euphoria you get when you’re screaming your lungs out on that new 90mph roller coaster. Or the jittery insomnia you experience the night before a major exam.  Maybe the exhilaration of an encounter you just can’t seem to beat…

That’s right. You don’t need to (thankfully) pull someone out of a burning building to feel the rush.  You can experience it in a controlled environment with nothing but a few hours of your time at stake.

I think that makes certain boss fights enjoyable:  the thrill of not knowing whether or not you’re going to succeed. If you were to go into Naxx and wipe repeatedly on Anub’Rekhan, well maybe you’d just get angry or put it aside. And once you finally DID succeed to kill him, chances are you’d be excited, but not euphoric.

Now picture yourself in Ice Crown Citadel, facing Professor Putricide with only 3 more attempts before Tirion comes in and tells you its time to throw in the towel. You can’t spend hours more wiping, you can’t even come back the next night to finish.  The pressure is tangible. And that’s when the rush starts setting in.

Now maybe some raiders come to the table with the cool, collected attitude that I’ve never had. But I’m pretty damn sure every single one of us last night was hopped up on the experience. I don’t rightly remember the last time we all raided in nearly complete silence, so intensely focused on our jobs. I don’t remember the last time me and my tree friend couldn’t find the words to describe the intensity of healing the last phase of the encounter.  The B.F. and I were up until ungodly hours of the night going over and over the fight, gleefully picking through every detail, too excited to even contemplate going to sleep. Just thinking about it, nearly 15 hours later, I can feel my heart start to race and the energy start to well up inside me.

And I can’t help but think that it’s a great mechanic of the game. Theoretically, we should perform a bit better while under the effects of the rush: all our attention is focused on the game. I know I did. I poured every bit of mana I could into the green bars on my screen. I pre-hotted, pre-casted. I stopped being overly concerned about my mana pool, relying on Sneaky the shadowfiend, and innervates, and *gasp* even mana pots! I felt completely in tune with Edainne at that moment, even though after years of healing on her I know her like the back of my hand.

And, in a way, it’s cathartic. We get to experience and release the emotions we don’t normally deal with in our day-to-day lives.

So, my dear readers, when was the last time WoW gave you such a rush? I’d love to hear others’ stories, maybe commiserate over fights that got my blood going, so to speak.

I’ve always been soft-hearted. Maybe it’s a result of the daily dose of cute kittens and puppies I find in my inbox every morning.  I mean, my favorite quests of ALL TIME in the game are Oh noes the tadpoles! and Help Those Who Cannot Help Themselves.” Freeing innocent baby creatures from certain doom? Yes please! I’m not so soft-hearted, however, to feel guilty about killing their captors.

It’s an interesting moral crisis I find myself encountering every so often in game. I have no qualms about killing an aggressive beastie who charges at me, but I’ll spend hours farming the bull rhinos in Borean Tundra for meat without even TOYING with the idea of killing the baby ones. Did I ever regret killing Kel’Thuzad on numerous occasions? Heck no! But every time I enter Gluth’s room, I feel my heart sinking a little more knowing I have to euthanize a creature that had no say in its creation.

Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader made me forget about my moral ambivalence. In Ulduar, I rationalized that anything I broke could be put back together. XT -02 Deconstructor was my favorite fight because of his adorable quotes and somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that as soon as we had freed Mimiron he would go out to the courtyard and put XT back together again. Clearly, I have an active imagination. And everything in ToC, except the champions, was so dastardly that I didn’t feel too upset ransacking the corpses.

Now we’re raiding Ice Crown Citadel. Here is the pinnacle of Warcraft immersion. Everything we have faced has led to this moment.  And now, more than ever, my conscience has started to rear its head.

Most of the instance, I feel like I’m saving the world (or, at least healing my comrades while they save the world). Lord Marrowgar and Lady Deathwhisper are just evil. I know that even though we might have sunk the horde’s battleship, in the end they’re ok. We didn’t kill them, just thwarted them a little bit. And while Saurfang’s story is tragic, we are not killing the hero of the Orcs, merely his reanimated body that has been thoroughly corrupted by the Lich King.

It’s the Plague Wing where my confidence, my security of toppling the evil festering in the Lich King’s castle, comes into question. I haven’t killed Putricide yet, but I KNOW that I’m not going to regret it when I do. He’s a happily employed agent of the Lich King, and he’s fully aware of the destruction he’s helping create.

Killing Festergut and Rotface is where my heart starts to feel a little heavier. Are they nasty, challenging little buggers to fight? You bet your sweet honeymint tea they are! But that’s just it: as exhausting and terrifying as they can be, they’re also little buggers. They have the mentality of a child. They don’t seem to actually care if they kill you or not; they simply are doing what Daddy told them to do. They want to make their maniacal, vile father proud, not having the wherewithal to realize they’re simply experiments to him. And as a raid group, we’re chillingly cruel to these young abominations. We kill their puppies, for goodness’ sake! (Which in and of itself makes me a little sad).

I won’t lie, I was ecstatic the first time we killed Festergut. Our team savored and shared that victory just like all the others before it. But after the celebrating, I realized that I wasn’t completely satisfied with my kill. I realized that a part of me truly was sad at killing a rather innocent creation (even if he was intended to be used for malicious purposes, I don’t believe that either abomination would kill unless following a direct order from their creator). And I know it was inevitable.  I’m not a roleplayer (though sometimes I’ve toyed with the idea); I recognize I need to kill Festergut and Rotface before I can kill the Professor, before I can finish the instance. Even from a lore point of view, Festergut and Rotface probably would have to be exterminated after Putricide’s demise; they love Putricide so dearly that they would probably fly into a catastrophic rage if he were hurt.

Honestly, all of this leads back to the dedication and talent of the Blizzard teams.  It’s one thing to create an encounter that people are excited to beat; it’s another thing entirely when you create an encounter that actually make people experience a bittersweet victory.

So, thank you Blizzard designers for making me feel.

And to Rotface and Festergut: I’m secretly rooting for you. You’ll always get a /hug from me.