Saturday, September 27, 2008

Brewfest! Hic!

The many festival events that occur throughout the year are a really fun aspect of playing Warcraft. Being a Drunken Badger one festival that definitely appeals is that of Brewfest. We've been having a lot of fun doing the daily boss in Blackrock Depths and both Jez and Seph have walked away with some 'lawl' items such as the Direbrew Shanker and useful items such as for Seph the sweet stam trinket Brightbrew Charm. Best of all though both Jez and Seph are now running around on their own Great Brewfest Kodos! Hooray!I also discovered to my immeasurable delight that if you drink enough you really DO see pink elelphants roaming Shattrath! *grin*

Just before Brewfest arrived Blizz also gave a nod to Talk Like a Pirate Day which I took advantage of by turning Jez into a pirate for a while. It was very amusing to me to run around in pirate costume due to my history of playing Yohoho Puzzle Pirates. Poor Jezabella, I haven't logged in for a while now. She's just sitting in her villa counting gold these days. Last I remember she was sitting on about 2.5 million, imagine having that much gold in WoW!

Retro Raiding

It seems that the closer the expansion looms the greater the vogue for 'retro raiding'. Prior to TBC the only end game type raids that Jez participated in were ones for Zul'Gurub, Molten Core and Ahn'Qiraj 20. Even though I never got a chance to see them I did complete the quest lines for attunement to Onyxia and Blackwing Lair. Probably because I'm an incorrigble completionist.

I have been very pleased of late therefore to be able to see both of these instances as part of the retro raiding frenzy that has gripped Feathermoon. Nax has been seeing a lot of action too but as I never managed attunement for this old world version of The Burning Crusade's Sunwell I haven't been able to see it and I doubt I will be bothered getting attuned before Wrath hits. These three are the only remaining old world instances that require attunement still.

Blackwing Lair's dark environs. Poor dragons, reminds me of Blades Edge.

Visiting Blackwing Lair was an absolute thrill, remembering as I do the tales of trial and tribulation of the then lead raid groups going through this content back when Jez was just a young huntard drooling over the big bad hunters walking around in their uber Tier 2 gear.

Compared to the open spaces of Mount Hyjal, my current raiding location, the decor of BWL was quite gloomy. Lots of dead dragons and stone halls. Quite Dwarven in style really. As our normal raid's main tank commented to me (as he too had come on this adventure), he wouldn't have relished hours and hours grinding this dungeon back in the day and I agree. At least in Hyjal we're out in the fresh air *wink*

You might think that seeing BWL as level 70 would be a walk in the park, well I can tell you now it certainly wasn't that. I was part of a group of about 25 composed of end game raiders from several of the most high end raids on the server and we still had to be careful. My greatest challenge was throttling back my DPS as the amount of damage I was doing was insane. Also as the only hunter I was responsible for several of the boss pulls by Misdirecting to the main tank. Being completely new to the instance and having no idea of any of the fight mechanics made this quite nervewracking!

I need to remember to turn off names before taking screenshots.

The Nefarian fight out on his balcony was definitely the highlight. That was an extremely fun fight, everyone was giggling and exclaiming over vent about the different animals they were getting turned into. I was turned into a giraffe! I didn't think they even existed in the Azeroth universe! Nefarian sure has an active imagination *grin*

Is it just me or does the tunnel leading down to Onyxia's lair look like a giant gaping dragon maw?

Just yesterday I joined a band of adventurous types who desired to seek out Onyxia in her lair. I jumped at the opportunity to go when Csilla the perky priestess mentioned that more DPS was being sought. It was quite amusing to arrive at the instance entrance and get the 'Discovered Onyxia's Lair' dialogue. As we moved inside it was only natural that many jokes about MOAR DOTS and 50 dkp minus were made. Again being almost completely ignorant of the fight I was a little worried about doing something huntard-like and demonstrating major fail. As it was the fight went very smoothly. This was a much easier encounter and our group of ten or so featured a motley mix of gear levels and some people not yet 70.

Dead Onyxia huzzah!

I'm very happy that my efforts to get attuned all that time ago did not go to waste even if I have not been able to experience the 'full flavour' of the instances. The opportunity to see the content at all is definitely a win in my book.

Has anyone else had the opporunity to do some retro raiding? If not where which of the pre TBC instances would you most like to see?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Banking attire is very important

I've heard others talk about how they dress their mules in special outfits and thought this adds a bit of fun to that poor overworked toon. In my case a female dwarf paladin who never saw beyond level four. Fittingly for a dwarf she hasn't seen daylight outside of Ironforge in months. I started playing her in the early days of my WoW career when a friend had just started and also rolled a paladin. Myself and another friend thought we'd help him along with some companionship. However the two guys soon outstripped me in levelling and I found Dwarfs altogether too short and slow after playing a Night Elf hunter and returned swiftly to my beloved Jezrael.

Recently an enterprising individual was advertising over trade chat all of the items they had for sale including a COD delivery service. They were using a clever mod that allowed you to query different items. I promptly ordered up an outfit to dress my dwarfikins in, I present to you Serenla, Dwarven banker.
As you can see I've added rounded corners to this image. Inspired by a recent post from Aurik of /hug I decided I really wanted to learn how to treat images in this way as I think it looks really attractive. When I have a moment I'm also going to look into getting the model viewer and using masks so that I can present images within posts in the attractive way that Aurik and others do, but for a Photoshop noob like myself I was pretty excited to work out how to do rounded corners heh!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In your face Archimonde!!

The DB raid has been pretty lucky in terms of our progression, we moved through T5 and into T6 at a pretty rapid pace. At the end of January this year we were sitting at 70th server on wowjustu and by mid July had moved up to 25th. At the time of writing we are currently sitting in 22nd. I think this is mostly as a result of a core group of skilled and dedicated raiders who have consistently raided together since we started back in Karazhan way back when. Over time this group has also grown as we have picked up recruits to the raid.

However Archimonde has been a bit of a stumbling block for us. It's a complicated fight that more than ever requires every person in the raid to be experienced with the fight and be totally on the ball. One mistake by one person can cause a snowball effect that results in fail.

The DB raid started in Mount Hyjal in June and quite quickly got the first 4 bosses on farm, however due to various factors including some instability of our roster it is only now, 2 months later and after numerous attempts that we have successfully downed Archimonde for the first time. In true DB style however it was a one shot! We had a good feeling about this particular group and were confident that we'd get him after a few attempts but I think we were all suprised and elated to succeed on the first attempt. Unfortunately this particular huntard was out of the fight early after dying to Doom Fire for the first time ever. How embarrasing. I was lucky enough to get a battle rez later in the fight (which is unusual since we don't ever BR due to the risk of the person getting quickly killed due to low health and causing another Soul Charge) to contribute some pewpew and help down him. The delighted screaming and yelling over vent and various chat channels was awesome. It's these kind of moments that totally make the game for me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Random acts of kindness

I've been slaving away at my Netherwing rep dailies lately. As you may recall one item on the list of my many goals has been to get myself an awesome dragon to fly around on. This last Friday night I headed on over to Shadowmoon Valley to do my daily round of questing. I was gathering the annoying fel glands when someone asked in general chat if anyone needed eggs. 'Netherwing eggs?' say I, to which they respond yes, and I promptly indicate my desire for them. The Netherwing eggs are awesome because they are a repeatable hand-in that earn you a tasty 250 rep.

I'm promptly invited to group by a pally who gets me to fly over to him where he is standing on an egg. He then leads me to a couple more eggs and then offers to help me with my dailies. This guy was seriously my lucky charm because I got a bunch more eggs from mining Nethercite and from downed mobs. He helped me do the mine dailies and then went off to do Magisters Terrace with his guild.

Being that I'm an Aussie playing on an American server the dailies tick over about 9:30pm so I was able to do a couple more quests immediately after handing in one lot and also found a couple more eggs. All told I gathered 12 eggs in one session!! I'd been expecting to have to spend about 3 more days doing the daily round of quests to hit exalted - but thanks to this generous person I dinged that very night and was able to pick out my shiny new mount!

So Lokthor of Feathermoon - I salute you! It's these kinds of random acts of kindness that make up for all of the r-tards out there. I should also mention Klinktronic a friendly mage who also tried to help me out with an egg he'd found in a mine node - however when I mined it I got no joy. Still it's the thought that counts!

I also have to say that the last quest that you go through at Exalted is awesome. Yay for finally having my lovely netherdrake. Now which goal to focus on next?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tales from the battleground

I may never pug a battleground again. Ok I'm lying, I know I am, because I'll want to PVP and no one else will be up for it and I'll keep hoping for one of those stellar moments where the stars align and a pug group forms with no AFKers or idiots but rather with people who know how to play and want to win. Yeah, I'm an idealist I guess.

I do have some positive stories to tell from the warzone of the battlegrounds though, there is hope.

Last Friday night I was part of a group that just roflstomped all over Warsong Gulch (ok so it was a premade of guildies plus some friends, I promise I have a couple of good pug stories too though).

We won 7 games in a row, mostly in around 8 minutes each. After the 7th game we just couldn't seem to get the queue to pop no matter what how long we waited. Horde of the Cyclone battlegroup I apologise to you. Actually no I don't! HAH! And jimihendrix hunter with the /rofl emote? You picked the wrong hunter. There's nothing like having everyone on voice chat to help organise a little personal extra pwnage.

We had so much fun as a premade we went back and did it all again on Sunday. Good times. Although it sadly got a little boring after a while.

How about a tale or two of triumph in the face of adversity? After a really disappointing 'losing attitude' pug WSG the next one I joined I immediately asked if there were players present who wanted to win. I got a couple of affirmative responses and then a pally piped up: "What are your instructions then oh fearless leader?" (or something along those lines). 'Well crap' I thought, 'You've put your big huntardy foot in it now Jez, better talk fast or forever accept the label of scrub'. So I did: "The main plan is communicate, call all incs and exits, guard your carrier, set picks, control mid, get our flag back. Mostly just communicate." I wasn't very hopeful but zomg people DID communicate and would you belive it - we won! That was a very satisfying feeling.

Then there was that Eye of the Storm incident. Emelin and I were grouped up to PVP together so barely a premade but when thanking someone for a buff I realised that I was Battle Leader. Eeep. Um. Ok, might as well say.. something.. no one else is. So I gave some basic instruction: Grab DR and MT everyone else rush FR. And people actually followed my lead and we captured 3 nodes! I did my 'call incs early' thing and spent most of the battle guarding a node and calling out instructions re where to defend and where to attack. As a hunter I generally end up guarding nodes in battlegrounds like Arathi and EoS so if I've got the eyeline I tend to do a lot of communicating about enemy movements anyway. Well and tell people to fight on nodes not roads. But yeah we won that EoS too!

I don't really like being in the 'leadership spotlight' so to speak in WoW. I prefer the role of support. But it just goes to show that being the one to stand up and give some direction and encourage communication can actually make a difference. I don't think we won those battlegrounds because of me, but I do think that by communicating early a desire to win and offering a strategy it maybe boosted all the other jaded people like me sick of losing attitude pugs into bringing their game faces and doing their best to win instead of just expecting to lose and not bothering to try that hard. A positive winning attitude really does help. Who knew.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A huntery look at Mt. Hyjal: Anetheron

Welcome to the second in a series of posts on Mt Hyjal from a hunters perspective. When we first started Mount Hyjal I looked around for a hunter guide to the instance and didn't come across anything so hopefully other hunters will be able to get something out of these posts, or even better from my selfish perspective - teach me some new stuff to help improve my performance *grin*. I've previously written about the Rage Winterchill fight.

As per my previous post WoW Wiki provides info on the instance overall and the specifics of the Anetheron fight.

As usual I will be talking from the perspective of how we in DB handle the fight, I hear tell we do things somewhat differently from many other T6 raids. The important thing to remember is: your mileage may vary, there is no 'teh one and only' strategy. Also, rather than covering general tactics I will look at tips and strategies specific to hunters.

Anetheron is the second boss of the instance and the last boss which you will fight in the Alliance camp. The trash waves preceding the arrival of Anetheron introduce a new mob type which is of great interest to us as hunters: Banshees!

Trash waves
As per the first bosses' trash wave hunters should be dropping frost traps in sequence to slow the incoming mobs. All of the other tips etc I mentioned for Rage Winterchills trash waves apply again. However, of specific interest to hunters for this fight are waves 4,5,7 and 8 which feature Banshees. Waves 4 and 5 have 4 Banshees and waves 7 and 8 have 2 Banshees. Hunters can provide an important service to the raid by kiting the Banshees back to the NPCs to take care of them leaving the rest of the raid free to handle the other mobs.

Make sure you have swapped your PVP trinket back out for your normal trinket whilst the raid is preparing for the Anetheron waves.

I have a general macro named 'target' which I update for various fights and prior to the commencement of the Anetheron waves I like to set it up for the Banshees so that I can quickly start the process of grabbing aggro and kiting them. My macro is very simple: '/target ban' and bound to a key. I use a combination of Arcane and Distracting shot to grab aggro. You could MD yourself I suppose but I prefer to use my MD on my tank target to introduce a nasty Abom to them for instance at the beginning of the wave.

In my post on Rage Winterchill commenters suggested it was a good idea to bring NPCs into the fight early. This is fine and good and if you need to introduce the NPCs from the very first wave of the instance you should do it. We find in our raid that we handle the waves quickly enough without the NPCs involved leaving us time to drink and rez (if need be) between waves and will save the NPCs for the Anetheron fight.

Of note for hunters in the Anetheron fight is the fact that Towering Infernals will spawn on top of players at timed periods. Whilst the player targeted should run toward the OT who will tank the infernals it is the job of the hunters to MD each infernal onto the OT.

Therefore it's important to set up an MD rotation as overwriting another hunters MD can cause big problems. I set up an alphabetical MD rotation with our hunters as the easiest to remember and not dependent on group make ups being changed. We don't use an MD on the boss as he arrives as the MT is usually able to pick him up straight away. Still it's a good idea to keep on your toes in case one is needed.

In the DB raid we have a couple of rogues who will use Distract on the bosses as they arrive to give the raid more time to prepare for the fight (drink, rez, buff, etc). As soon as possible after the last trash wave I change my target macro to '/target tow' so that I can very quickly pick up my infernal. These guys can smoosh squishier members of the raid very quickly and you want to get into range of the infernal asap. It's important to communicate about the MDs. I generally announce who has the next MD over vent for each infernal, also important is to quickly coordinate who will have the next MD if the next hunter in the rotation has gone down. This is one fight where having several hunters is a good thing. It's definitely doable with only two if neither one dies, and I know of raids that have no hunters at all! Of course I think you need at least two hunters but I'm a little biased ;)

Once the OT has picked up the infernal ranged DPS should burn it down before the next one arrives whilst melee DPS concentrate on the boss. In our raid we position Anetheron on the right hand side (if you are facing the entrance the mobs come through) with the OT standing near Jaina. This allows the healers on the OT to benefit from Jaina's awesome spirit buff, keeps the infernals far enough away from Anetheron and gets the other NPCs involved in the fight.

It's important to keep the raid spread out as much as possible so that the number of people affected by Carrion swarm is kept to a minimum - this is most important for the healers of course.

During the fight we also have one hunter (me usually) keep up Scorpid Sting on Anetheron which helps out the healers who are needing to split their time between healing the MT, OT and also the raid as well as dealing with downtime from Sleep and Carrion Swarm. To do this I need to position myself where I can swing between pewpewing the infernal and throwing up another sting on Anetheron without having to move much.

Sending your pet onto the infernals does no good due to their fire damage so I generally send Snaggle to gnaw on Anetheron's knee caps and try and keep a mend pet on him. The most important thing in this fight for hunters is getting the infernals to the OT stat and keeping up MQoSDPS. As soon as Anetheron is down to around 15% or so we switch all DPS over to him and burn him down whilst the OT handles the remaining infernal and then finish the infernal off afterwards.

Once Anetheron is down it's time to hand out the sweet loots, grab your badges and mount up and ride to the Horde camp. Make sure everyone is out of the base before talking to Jaina and activating the destruction of the base. If you happen to be a miner you can mine nodes containing epic and rare gems along the way. We hand any gems mined over to our loot master who hands them out via raid rolls at the end of the raid.

So now you're two bosses in and ready to take on helping Thrall and friends save the Horde base, guides to the two bosses you'll face here coming soon!

Image courtesy The Warlocks Den