Archive for April, 2009

30
Apr
09

How Noble of Me

Pictured: An upstanding member of his community

Pictured: An upstanding member of his community

Ah yes, Springtime.  A time when a young man’s fancy turns to raiding and you can smell the fresh, flowery scent of epics in the air.  Raiders flit from boss to boss, collecting these epic lewtz in order to spread and pollinate other bosses so they too might have a chance to drop the precious purples we hold so dear.  But with this increased love of the plums, came another whole new way to waste time in our most favorite of games.  Yes, I speak of the newest of WoW holidays, Noblegarden.

So yesterday I logged on in the afternoon and said to myself, “Self,” I says, “why don’t you give this new spanking version of Noblegarden a try?”  Not one to disappoint myself, I figured why not and made my way out to Orgrimmar then down to whatever that little level 10 village is called.  I spoke to the appropriate NPC’s, picked up an egg basket and was soon sprinting everywhere, trying to beat people to the plethora of eggs that were spawning all around.  I must admit, it was rather amusing.

I’m not sure at what point my amusement spilled over into obsession, though, but soon I found myself wishing death and destruction upon my fellow WoW player.  Sure, you may have technically gotten to the egg first, but didn’t you see me standing there?  Don’t you know how long I’ve been doing this?!  I have to raid in an hour, I just want the title, DAMMIT!!  Ahem.  Anyways, at a certain point, this holiday morphed from an amusing way to kill a couple of hours to something that had to be done, that needed to be done!

My main problem with this holiday was the sheer randomness of what you got inside the eggs when you cracked them open.  You see, in order to complete the meta-achievement, you had to open these brightly colored eggs and hope you received three items.  An Elegant Dress, A White Tuxedo Shirt and Black Tuxedo Pants.  However, these did not drop regularly, oh no, not at all, and though you can buy these items from a holiday vendor, you have to actually loot them from eggs in order to get the achievements.  So began one man’s journey into the brightly colored maw of madness.

Hours of "Fun"

Hours of "Fun"

You see the picture on the right there?  That’s everything I looted while I was looking for one pair of Black Tuxedo Pants.  Keep in mind when you look at that chocolate that I ate 100 of them for the achievement, bought a rabbit’s foot for a hundred, the bunny ears for 50 (which I promptly looted two in a row not twenty minutes later), a pair of the Black Tuxedo Pants for 50 as well (so I could get the kissing achievement) and that each of those eggs in the 20 stack cost me 5 chocolates and I’d already planted two by this point.  And I still had 189 leftover.  Have you ever spent hours running your character in a tight circle around a newbie town?  Yeah, not pleasant.

So what are my impressions of this holiday that Blizzard brought us, albeit slightly late?  It’s an easy title with the hardest part being you have to travel to Un’Goro and get someone else to come with you and turn you into a bunny.  However, it feels like just a time sink with no draw other than the title and the eventuality of being able to get the proto drake.  It’s not fun like some of the other holidays and seems to really have no purpose other than to give you some mindless actions to do for a few hours.  Overall, I was actually very disappointed with it and by the time I finished all the achievements and got my title, I felt more relief to be done hunting god damn eggs than a sense of accomplishment.

I give this holiday a D+.  It accomplishes what it sets out to do, which is keep people occupied while they play.  However, it feels kind of like it was just thrown at us with no thought to entertainment value.  The only plus is that they at least made it so the eggs respawn quickly and keep players from really fighting over the spawn points.  The only redeeming quality about this holiday is that it was easy.  I was able to accomplish it in about 6 hours or so.  How about you, gentle jerkwads?  Did you enjoy the newest of Blizzard holidays?  Or will you never be WoW nobility?

-Dueg

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29
Apr
09

Nerfapalooza

nerf-gunI’m not sure if anyone’s really been paying attention lately, but it truly seems that Blizzard has gone nerf happy in the recent weeks.  According to a recent post from Daelo, they will be further reducing the difficulty of 6 different Ulduar bosses, including Ignis and Razorscale who have both already been nerfed a couple of times.  Now our guild has only managed to down Kologarn from the Antechamber so far, but to be fair, we only had one full raid night and two hours to get that far this week thanks to missing raiders at inopportune times.  Plus, we’d never been to Antechamber before.  Kologarn was a little rough, but once people settled down and got the rhythm of the fight down, we were able to blow him up no problem.

But are these new nerfs justified?  A week ago, I was writing about how rough Ulduar is compared to old content and though it was definitely hard, it was fun.  It was enjoyable to feel yourself getting both excited and nervous at the same time once more and for downing a boss to mean more than just three minutes work to me.  After faring so poorly the first week of Ulduar, our guild came back last weekend and walked right through the Siege mobs, one shotting 3 of them.  We were still sloppy on Razorscale and XT, but it was a show of progress that we were able to one shot both of them after wiping so spectacularly the week before.

I will admit that these mobs had received slight nerfs from the week before, mainly that the mobs on Razorscale were weakened, but none more so than Ignis.  For anyone who tried Ignis before the nerf, the guy absolutely raged on your guild thanks to bugs and over-tuning.  The mobs were a huge hassle to handle before thanks to timing and the severity of damage taken by the off tank.  But they had given it a substantial nerf and last week it was really more a matter of figuring out positioning (coming in this week’s Friday Strats!) until we downed him, the only boss in siege we wiped on.  Point is, all these fights felt challenging and hard, but now they were doable at least.

So let’s take a look at some of these changes.  First off, Ignis:  The interrupt effect and duration of the damage from Flame Jets has been reduced, the damage from the Slag pot has been reduced, the number of Heat stacks needed to transform an Iron Construct into a Molten state has been reduced, the base melee damage done by Ignis has been reduced, and the damage bonus Ignis receives from Strength of the Creator has been slightly increased.  They’ve reduced his damage again and I’m not sure why, to tell you the truth.  Our MT would take gobs of damage every once in a while, but it was nothing that was breaking our healers and slag pot damage was kind of a joke already.  The interrupt on Flame Jets was also reduced and though I can see slight merit to this, but I don’t think it was necessary as it was easy to avoid this effect if you paid attention.  Finally, by increasing the buff from Strength of the Creator, it really seems to me that they are trying to make this a fight where you have to bomb heals every once in a while on the MT.  A lot of unnecessary nerfs here, imo.

For XT-002: The duration of Tympanic Trantrum has been reduced, the timer for XT-002 to hit berserk has been increased, the damage of Light Bomb has been reduced, the effect radius of Light Bomb has been reduced, and the health of XM-024 Pummeler has been reduced.  These are some interesting changes, especially the reduction of Tympanic Tantrum length.  That was a real raid killer ability and one that definitely tested the healers.  This may be a good change, as long as it’s not reduced to the point where it’s trivial.  The light bomb changes I find mixed as the radius was only 10 yards and if you planned properly for places for people to go, you were ok, but the damage could come at an unlucky time.  These changes were slightly warranted, considering that it was all too easy to lose a random raid member to bad light bomb / tantrum timing.  A reduction of hp to any add mob is good to me.

For Kologarn: The damage of Stone Grip has been reduced, the amount of time to break someone out from the right hand has been increased, the radius and damage of Rumble has been reduced, and the damage of Focused Eyebeam has been reduced.  The damage reduction and lengthening of Stone Grip will be most welcome in our raid, but again, I’ll wait to see the actual benefits of this nerf.  The reduction of damage and radius to rumble will also be quite welcomed as if this came during a shockwave, it could be disastrous for the raid.  The damage of Focused Eyebeam being reduced is a bit of a god send for people who can’t figure out how not run through your fellow raiders and get them killed.  This fight was rough with a lot of crazy raid damage flying everywhere, so these can help with inopportune timing of his various AoE damage abilities.

For Assembly of Iron: The damage of Rune of Death has been reduced, the damage of Chain Lightning has been reduced, and the damage of Lightning Whirl has been reduced.  Now we haven’t gotten any attempts in on this for 25 man, but let me tell you, even on 10 man the rune of death could be a raid killer if your people weren’t quick.  It’s mainly to do with the fact that the radius is so huge so you will get hit with a tick or two if you’re in the center of it.  I can only imagine how rough it must have been for 25 mans.  A damage reduction to their other AoE abilities didn’t seem necessary in 10 man, but I’d have to get it down in 25 man to get a feel for it there.

Also they snuck this in there: The effectiveness of the Priest spell Divine Hymn has been reduced.  You coulda at least reduced the cooldown timer, you sons of bitches.

I don’t know about these changes, honestly.  The problem before was that the siege area was a bottleneck for guilds and I think that it was due to overtuning of the encounters in the beginning.  But they seem to be severely nerfing it and what a lot of people are feeling right now is that Blizzard is trying to make it accessible to a lot more players than it seemed to be for.  A lot of people, and you can call them elitists if you want to, feel that this might be going too far though.  Players have a raid that they can play around in already and if you want to come to Ulduar, well, that’s the big kid’s playground.  However, I will say that it feels as though these nerfs are taking all the sharp edges off of Ulduar, making it more forgiving.  But is that good?

-Dueg

28
Apr
09

Dueg’s Mantras

The Mantra of Light

The Mantra of Light

I was reading Derevka’s excellent Kologarn Strat this morning (she makes an excellent point about the eyebeams) and halfway through it, I ran across this amusing little line: “Now everyone, let’s say Healer Mantra #6 with me: ‘I can’t heal through stupid’.”  This amuses me because without really realizing it, healers do develop small mantras like this throughout our virtual careers.  And so, since I’m scratching my head for an idea at the moment, I will blatantly thief her line and create a whole post from it!  Let it not be said that Dueg is not quite devious!  So, I present to you, Dueg’s Mantras:

I am a Healer – This is my main one, it describes me in the game.  It’s what I like to do while I’m in the game and it’s what I’m good at.

You are My Tank, You are My Friend – Tanks come first beyond yourself, always try to keep them alive.  This one blends with my next one.

But I like DPS too – Don’t worry, DPS, you’ll still get heals… if I have time.

If We Wipe, it’s not My Fault – This is something you really have to whisper to yourself a lot on frustrating nights.  Just keep the heals coming and all will be right once more.

When We Wipe, We All Run – I’m not your rezzing machine.

Taking Avoidable Damage means Unavoidable Death – This is my version of Derevka’s #6, except it applies to me as well.  If you die from something you can avoid, it’s your own fault, so please adjust.

Progress is Good – Even on nights when you wipe over and over again, as long as you can see raid getting better on successive attempts, you can still feel good about the night.

Raiding is a Team Sport – You have to be prepared to be at the disposal of your team during set hours if you want to raid.  If you’re not there, then you can upset the balance and even cause raids to be canceled because they’re one healer short… Scrat.

Stupid People Gotta Go – Sorry stupid people, you’re not welcome in my raid.  Get your act together and we can talk.

Anger Solves Nothing – Getting mad and raging in vent is a ridiculous way to accomplish things.  If you need to say something or berate someone, do so, but be calm and straightforward about it.

Respect Your Other Players – People not worthy of respect will eventually become obvious.  Until then, if you want people to accept you onto their team, you need to show them respect.

It Will Always Be Just A Game – Remember this whenever you log on.

So there you go, 12 tasty little mantras for anyone who wants them.  And if you have your own, I want to read them, so drop me a comment.

-Dueg

27
Apr
09

The State of My Spec, A Holy Review

holycatIt’s been two weeks since 3.1 came galloping out of the gates and in that time a lot has happened.  New talents were introduced and old ones were bid a fond (or not-so-fond) adue.  Spells were buffed and some were nerfed and some became completely new reinventions of themselves.  Oh, and you may not have noticed, but our entire mana regeneration system was revamped as well.  Yeah, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks.

Through it all I’ve been watching and evaluating.  I’ve tested my spec’s limits and tried my hardest to maximize my abilities as a healer while dealing with what Blizzard has given me.  Through it all though, I’ve had a general sense of well being and trust in the fact that holy priests would not be getting a nerf and I feel I can easily say that 3.1 has been very kind indeed to the priest class.  In fact, I’ll go over some specific points in what has changed, whether for the better or not.

Mana Regen

Let’s start with a what a lot of people thought would be a huge change for the priest class and would cause much game quitting in frustration.  The out of 5 second rule (o5sr) mana regen’s contribution from Spirit was severely nerfed, lowering the total’s by close to 40% depending on how much mana you were stacking.  I myself saw my total drop from bout 900 to close to 544 with the nerf.   However, while doing this, Blizzard changed the mechanics of all the major mana regeneration talents, causing them to counteract this change and keep your inside of 5 second rule (i5sr) mana regen number the exact same.  I don’t know about other classes, but this worked as intended with the priests.

Now, in addition to the change to Meditation, which was buffed to give 50% mana regen while i5sr, Holy Concentration had a major revamp.  Before the change, this talent would give us two free casts of Flash Heal, Greater Heal or Binding Heal every time it procced.  Basically this meant that Holy Priests could slip o5sr very easily while still keeping their HPS going.  With the nerf to o5sr however, this talent became next to useless as is except for the occasional free spell.  So they changed it that now it procs on any crit heal and causes you to regen an additional 50% mana while it’s active.

What does this mean?  Well, when I’m raid buffed I generally have about 400 i5sr regen and about 30 to 35% crit bonus.  This talent is almost always procced which means during raids I’m usually sitting with a 600 i5sr regen.  Before, priests would have to dance, constantly stopping for a few seconds to allow a couple of huge regen ticks to get in there and it worked perfectly if you were good at timing.  Now, priests have become sleek and aerodynamic, able to keep up sustained heals for minutes without pausing for breath or running oom.  I’d say we got a buff in mana regen department.

Throughput

Holy priests are quickly becoming the thugs of the healing world with the amount of numbers that they can put up in heals.  Though we’ll probably never be able to beat a paladin in comparable gear with single target heals or a druid at HoTs, with the buff to Circle of Healing this last patch (40% more healing), we’re finally pulling even with shamans in the department of raid heal.  As a holy priest, we also received a buff to Renew and I will tell you right now that yes, Renew is a useful spell, and yes, I use it often.  This buff makes it able to keep pace with some of the Druid’s HoTs and combine that with an up front heal that can crit and proc for you, and you’re got a spell you actually want to cast.

Combine the buff to Renew with the improved CoH and not to mention that we can now ad a spirit buff to ourselves (finally) and you’re going to be seeing massive numbers on the Recount.  I’ve noted in raids that I’m beginning to top the charts consistently and have even been able to best our two powerhouse druids on a couple of bosses in sheer healing amount.  With the sheer amount of crazy raid damage you see on a lot of the bosses in Ulduar, AoE healers are really shining right now and plenty of priests are stepping up to the call.  Once again, this area is a buff for priests.

Spell Weaving

I’ve already posted a little bit on the new Serendipity, but I feel it’s such an important change to the spec, that I figured I’d go ahead and mention it again here.  This new talent effect is an excellent and welcome change to the priest’s arsenal.  This spell basically gives you up to 3 stack of 12% haste buffs to Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing for every Flash or Binding Heal you cast.  When we were in Naxx, there was almost no incentive whatsoever to cast Greater Heal unless you were in a situation that specifically called for it.  The problem was that the spell had a long cast time and though it hit for a huge number, flash heal was your bread and butter when on raid healing.  

Finding myself on raid healing often, I almost never used this spell.  However, with the ability to gain a haste buff on it, I find myself checking my buff bar quite often and trying to hit up a GHeal whenever I’m fully hasted with the Serendipity buff.  It’s also encouraged me to cast a few quickened Prayers of Healing when they were called for, but with such a huge mana cost, I try to be careful not to throw those out there too often.  I won’t call Spell Weaving a buff, per se, but it definitely accomplishes what it’s intending, which is to get us to cast our less used spells more often.

AoE Heals

I’ve already mentioned that Circle of Healing got the big buff this patch, but I glossed over the fact that Prayer of Healing is now new and improved.  Before 3.1 it was a spell pretty much reserved for five mans or times when there’s massive raid wide damage going on.  However, with the change to make it a targetable spell that will then cast on whoever you target’s full group, this spell has once more become extremely viable.  You combine this with the fact that Serendipity now hastes it in order to deal with that monster cast time it has, and I would say that Blizzard has done a fantastic job convincing us that this spell is cool after all.

However, my favorite new healing spell of all time and forever has got to be Divine Hymn.  If you haven’t taken the time to examine this new spell that is made of pure sexy, what it does is heal the three closest raid members for about a Greater Heal’s worth of HP every 2 seconds for eight seconds.  Every time it ticks, it finds new raid members to heal, and it’s a smart ability which means that it finds the lowest health person to do it to first.  It does this up to 12 times and also leaves behind a 15% buff to all healing that person receives for 8 seconds.  This is the ultimate raid healing spell and can literally save a wipe if you know when to use it.  Understandably, it has a 10 minute cooldown, but is still an extremely powerful spell.

Those are the major points of the changes right now, but honestly, looking at all this, I don’t see how you can think the spec has not been changed for the better.  We’re now more mana efficient than before, we cast bigger and faster heals.  Though I won’t say we have complete superiority over the healing totals in Recount, I will definitely say that any decently geared holy priest has a chance to top the charts consistently.  I’ve actually moved up from almost always being 3rd or 4th to regularly being 2nd or 3rd during my guild runs because of these changes.  But how have the changes been treating you, gentle priests of yonder?  Do you revel in the changes as I obviously do?  Or do you yearn for the days of patches past?

-Dueg

26
Apr
09

The Sunday Cop-out, Wherein Dueg Shows off His Ninja Skillz

Heya everyone gonna make this one short and sweet cause I’m throwing a bbq this evening in order to celebrate the first truly hot and fantastic weekend of spring.  This week I wanted to show off all the work i’ve been doing in my dining room for the last month and a half.  You see, for anyone who didn’t know, When we bought our house the dining room actually had a couple of closets in it, cutting it pretty much in half.  Here’s a pic of the dining room from when we were standing between the closets which were in an archway heading into my fiance’s office:

Yeah, a little cramped

Yeah, a little cramped

So we decided that those bad boys had to come down.  And so it was that I focused my chi and rage into a tiny white hot ball of fire, and I struck with all my fury!

KEEEEEEE-

KEEEEEEE-

YAI!

YAI!

By the way, I know that I’m desperately in need of a haircut during the demo pics, I don’t see why you had to point that out, sheesh.  Anyways, lemme give you an idea of how big these closets were:

And there was another one on the opposite side

And there was another one on the opposite side

And in case I wasn’t sure that the previous owners were totally bonkers, I submit to you Exhibit A:

What's wrong with this picture?

What's wrong with this picture?

I’ll tell you what’s wrong, look at that color!  What is that?  Puke?  Gross.  Plus they actually cut off the molding for the window so they could stick a couple of extra inches onto the closet!  And the ceiling that got torn up when they installed it, cost me a hundred bucks to get a plaster guy in here, sheesh.  Anyways, I digress, these people were whack jobs, here’s a pick of what the dining room looked like after we pulled down those travesties to God:

You can see the closet outline on the ground there

You can see the closet outline on the ground there

So after we got the plaster guy in, we were able to finally start painting, first, the ceiling:

Like a warm, summer sky.

Like a warm, summer sky.

Then the walls:

Like a warm, summer... uhm... light brown... colored... thing

Like a warm, summer... uhm... light brown... colored... thing

And finally put an extra glossy coat on the base molding, sanded as much of the closet outline on the floor (we’ll have to get them refinished before it’s complete gone), put some finish restorer on the table and bought a new chest of drawers for the dining room.  and so I present to you our final product:

I guess it will do

I guess it will do

As you can see, we still need to put that poster up in the background there and we’ll be getting some sort of chandelier to hang over the table.  We also want to scrape and paint that radiator, we just haven’t decided what color to go with yet.  Still, it feels good to have a functioning dining room again after a month or so of having it in various stages of progress.  Till tomorrow, take it easy everyone, I’m off to drink some beer and eat some meat!

-Dueg

25
Apr
09

Saturday RP – Recovery

“You drew them a light damned MAP?!” Reyk slammed his stein down on the warped, wooden table the four companions sat at, beer slopping over the side.  “Then they will already have a start on us!”

It had been a full day since the four had made good their escape from the fields of the Howling Fjord and found themselves just outside of the small settlement known as Venomspite.  A tiny frontier town, the hidden encampment was little more than an inn, an apothecary and several military administration buildings and barracks.  Once they had arrived and Dueg had tended the wounds and bruises their incarceration had left them with, they had made their way to the inn.  A rotting, gothic affair in the usual style of the Forsaken, Noxt had surprised the three previous prisoners by revealing he had reservations for the lot of them.

After retiring to his room, Dueg had decided the time had come to search through the gift the night elf had given him and taken out the traveling pack with the picture of the door stenciled on it’s flap.  After opening it, he had found what appeared to be the shoulder guard of a full set of plate armor sticking out.  After much pulling, Dueg managed to yank the heavy piece of armor from the opening, finding it impossibly large to fit in the entirety of the bag.  When he examined the armor closely he found sigils and sacred runes of the light and Silvermoon city etched on the piece, revealing it to be Reyk’s armor that had been taken from them during their brief incarceration.

Feeling exhaustion, confusion and curiosity warring in his mind, Dueg decided it best to leave the mystery for the morning and retired for the night, his brain still trying to sort out how the armor had even fit in the bag in the first place.  The next morning he called Reyk into his room, who was very grateful to find the sacred shoulder guard once more and just as confused.  When they opened the small traveling pack once more they found an edge of his greaves poking out and were able to remove that as well.  One by one they were able to remove the entirety of Reyk’s armor from the small pack, realizing that magic must be afoot.

After Reyk had recovered his armor completely and returned it to his room, he called in Scrat and Noxt to consult while they were able to remove Scrat’s mailed armor and the entirety of the three companion’s confiscated travel supplies.  Noxt deduced that the bag they were given was an enchanted satchel which held a dimensional pocket within itself.  Thanks to this, it was able to store large and heavy items such as the lost armor and supplies they were currently recovering.  However, this revelation only raised more suspicion within Dueg as to why Ter’vona would gift such an obviously valuable enchanted item.

Reyk too was becoming suspicious as to how Dueg had come across such an item from their captors and said as much by calling a meeting between the four to better explain the events of the last few days.  After everyone had returned to their rooms to drop off their recovered gear, the four made their way down to the sitting area of the inn, calling for beer and wine and allowing Noxt to explain his part in the mission.  It seemed that their ruined camp site had been found not too long after they had been captured, alerting the local Horde authorities to their predicament.  Noxt had been tapped as a specialist in search and rescue attempts, having been able to escape from the Alliance himself twice after being captured while spying.

When the camp had been located, Noxt had made all haste to it, able to arrive within hours of them being escorted there thanks to magical means of travel.  After spying on the goings on, he had formulated a simple plan.  He would put fire to the several boxes of supplies they had in the center of camp, sneak in and disarm the spell ward that was keeping the three prisoners from using their divine gifts, then sneak them out.

“…except Duegathalas here had already made his escape without our help.” He had ended his story while the other three at the table turned their eyes to Dueg, questioning him silently.

Dueg calmly sipped at his wine before placing it down and beginning his recount of what had happened.  Telling of his chest wound then of the curious night elf and the small Ignat, who seemed the de facto leader.  Then his voice began to drip with malice as he spoke of Finegal, the fallen priest who wielded shadow’s powers.  Of the torture session and his ultimate submitting to the dark powers as they held his will hostage and forced him to reveal the route they had taken, causing an outburst from Reyk.

“No, I did not draw them a light forsaken map,” Dueg rebutted.  “The pervaded my mind and stole my will from me, such is the power of the light’s dark twin.  They drew the map, they just used my body and mind to do it.  You should know the abilities of the shadow as well as I since you have also studied the light.  I attempted to destroy the damned map, but the human bested me in the grapple and they were able to get it.”

Reyk sighed and leaned back, absently tugging at his disheveled, raggedly cut hair, “They tried to get us to talk as well, but I suppose they decided to use the shadow on you first.  It could just as easily have been Scrat or myself who succumbed.  So the question now is where do we go from here?”

Noxt nodded, “I am at your disposal.  The High Executor thinks it best that the Forsaken be involved in this mission as well, since it has fared poorly so far.”

Scrat scowled slightly at the mage but nodded nonetheless, “Yes, da ‘ting of it is, we need to be movin’ quickly before dey get da jump on us.  ‘Ave a chance to place obstacle in our pat’.”

“Agreed.  We should move quickly,” Reyk said, “After examining a map of the local area, I see that we need to move east then and into the Grizzly Hills post haste.  We must be careful though, for that will bring us in close proximity to the Scourge fortress of Naxxramas, which spoils the countryside with it’s foul magic, causing the dead to rise.  Normally we would cut south, but that would add too much time onto our journey.”

The other three nodded and downed their drinks, standing to gather their belongings from their rooms.  Since Dueg had been the one to receive the gift of the bag from the night elf, he was elected to hold it as well, storing excess items they may come across or things too heave to carry.  Everyone else donned their recovered armor or simply collected their supplies then returned to the lobby of the darkened inn.  Noxt signed the military receipt and nodded to the other three as they left the inn, turned east, moving as quickly as possible.  All the while, Naxxramas sat on the horizon above their intended path, glowing with a menacing light.

-Dueg

24
Apr
09

Friday Strats – Razorscale

Welcome to Ulduar!  Hopefully by now most people have gotten to fight at least the four bosses of the siege area, with some of you probably advancing to the antechamber area.  I myself have been able to go through the siege and antechamber twice on 10 man these last couple of weeks and we were able to get the siege area bosses down in one night this week on 25.  Yes, Ulduar is effin awesome and yes, shit just got real.  

So what I’m trying to say is that we won’t be returning to Naxx anytime soon, but don’t worry, I do intend to finish it.  For the time being though, it’s all Ulduar all the time.  I decided to skip over Flame Leviathan for the moment because there’s not enough info out there to really put together a strat on his hard modes.  On easy mode he is rather easy, so I think people can handle it without my sage advice for the time being.  I’ll probably do it the week after next since it’ll be such an involved post.  So for the first Ulduar strats, I’ll skip to the second boss we usually do, ladies and gentlemen, Razorscale:

...and I will name him George, and pet him, and feed him, and...

More like RazorFAIL, BAM!

The Prep

You will be fighting Razorscale on a large platform overseeing a huge cliff.  There will be a set of four harpoons (two on ten man) on the west side which is where you enter and it will be open all along the eastern half of the platform.  During the fight you will have adds spawning all along the eastern edge of the platform that will need to be corralled by tanks.  We usually set up two groups on the northern and southern side of the circle with one group floating back and forth to help.  Make sure you split your healers evenly as there will be a lot of incoming raid damage.  Healers may also want to set their focus to Razorscale before you begin (I’ll explain later).  Once you have your sides split, simply buff up and speak with an npc standing by the harpoons to begin the encounter.

The Fight

Razorscale begins the encounter flying above the platform, targetable but out of range.  The dwarves you spoke to begin to repair the harpoons one at a time.  We assigned a ranged dps, usually a hunter or mage to make sure to fire those once three were ready then stand by the fourth and fire it once it was ready to go.  While you’re waiting for them to repair though, big drills will start to come up from the ground and deposit iron dwarves onto the platform.  There will be three different mobs, Dark Rune Sentinels, Dark Rune Watchers and Dark Rune Guardians, which you’ll want to kill in that order.

The Dark Rune Sentinels have a whirlwind ability that can land up to 40,000 damage on your cloth wearers so you’ll want to pull them from the rest of the raid when they come up.  Melee should be on their toes and ready to run when the whirlwind hits.  The Dark Rune Watcher is not a hard melee hitter, but he casts chain lightning, which deals increasing damage on up to 5 people in your raid, up to 11,000 on the final target, so they should be a priority target after Sentinels.  They will also cast a single target lightning spell on random people for up to 12,000 damage.  The Dark Rune Guardians are just your typical melee mobs.  They occasionally do a double weapon strike for about 10,000 damage, but other than that, just hold off on them till the other targets are down.

While your raid is fighting the mobs and the dwarves are finishing up repairs on the harpoon, Razorscale will be spitting fire at random people throughout the raid.  She’ll cast two types, a regular, orange Fireball spell that deals up to 12,000 damage and then a blue one called Devouring Flame which hits initially for about 10,000 damage then can tic up to that same amount every second for six seconds to anyone standing within 6 yards of the landing spot.  

Players have to be mobile and ready to move as this effect will kill a clothie in three seconds and it’s a waste of healer’s mana to have to heal someone through this type of avoidable damage.  If you have Razorscale focused, she targets the person she’s going to hit with fire and has a cast time on the ability, so you can throw some pre-emptive heals on someone about to get hit with fire.  I usually throw a HoT combined with shield on someone I see is about to take incoming damage.

Once all four harpoons have been fired, Razorscale becomes grounded and is stunned for several seconds.  As soon as she lands, all dps should stack up behind her and hit her with everything they have.  Blow cooldowns, use bloodlust, try to burn her as fast as possible.  Once she breaks stun, she’ll shoot a Flame Breath in front of her, which is her main breath weapon, dealing up to 22,000 damage in a cone in front of her.  Before she takes off again she’ll also cast a Wing Buffet ability which will knock everyone within a 35 yard radius around her backwards in the air.  The ability itself doesn’t hurt, but everyone knocked back will take fall damage, so be ready with heals when they land.  She’ll then return to her position and adds will start spawning again until the harpoons have been repaired again.

When you get Razorscale to 50% she’ll become permanently grounded and you’ll be able to begin phase 2.  Ideally you’ll want to permanently ground her the second time she lands, cause if it takes till the third you’ll be cutting the enrage timer awful close and after that you’ll never dps her enough before she goes berserk.  Once you’ve got her down and a tank has picked her up, she’ll begin casting her breath weapon fairly often.  She also begins to cast Flame Buffet every few seconds (I think it was close to every ten) which is a stacking debuff that raises your fire damage by 1500.  This hits the entire raid and makes phase 2 a dps race.

She’ll begin stacking a debuff on the tank called Fuse Armor which drops his armor, attack and movement speed by 20% for each stack and lasts 20 seconds.  You’ll need to trade off tanks to allow this effect to wear off.  We usually did the trade at two stacks.  While you’re fighting her she’ll also begin to drop a circle of flames on the spot where she’s standing so the tank will have to occasionally walk backwards to move her out of that.  Melee needs to be aware in this phase.  There won’t be too much raid damage flying around, but the tanks will need a lot of healing, so healers should try and focus on whoever has the boss taunted with an occasional eye for minor raid damage.

This fight has a lot of raid damage flying around with the mobs occasionally aggroing on the wrong people when they spawn and Razorscale spitting flames all over the place, so healers must be quick on their feet.  A good rule of thumb here is that when you first enter the platform there’s a huge red circle painted on the floor in the center of the area.  When she’s spitting the flaming fireballs, she seems to most often target the person closest or farthest from the center circle.  I don’t know if this is intended or a bug, but it really seems to work that way.

Update:  Jov was kind enough to point out in the comments that this is intended for Devouring Flame.  What she’s doing is targeting the person closest to her which before the first time you ground her is in the center of the platform.  After she takes off again, she will be flying around the outside of the circle and targeting whoever is closest to her.  Jov recommends having a healer and dedicated sentinel tank in the center before the first grounding then after the second, ranged dps follow her around while the rest of the raid bunches in the middle in order to keep AoE damage out of the raid.  This sounds like a very solid strategy and I will be recommending it to my guild the next time we hit up Ulduar.  Thanks Jov!

Healers should be aware of where they are in relationship to the raid and the edge of that circle at all times in order to try and avoid being targeted, but don’t rely on it, still be ready to move.  Also, the circle roughly maps out the radius of her wing buffet ability when she takes off again during phase one, so make sure to stand outside of it.  You must also be mobile in phase 2 as the tanks will be doing a lot of moving to avoid burning in the fire pool she drops, so be prepared to keep up with them.  Of course the rule of “don’t stand near the pointy end” still applies here, but make sure you don’t lose range on them at an inopportune time.

The Loot

I’m going to break from tradition here and loot both 10 and 25 man loot since both are viable right now, we’ll start with 10 man

Binding of the Dragon Matriarch – This is an awesome crit piece for your waist slot.  The low intellect might make it less attractive for a disc, but shadow or holy who need a bigger dose of critage should jump on this.

Eye of the Broodmother – I think this is one of the sexiest new trinkets in the game.  During longer fights this trinket basically gives you 87 crit and 250 spellpower.  I would definitely try to grab this if you don’t have a better trinket with a similar stacking effect.

25 man

Shackles of the Odalisque – This is a very nice healery wrist slot with comparable stats to Unsullied Cuffs, but I’d probably pick these up for all that sexy crit on them.

Collar of the Wyrmhunter – This would be a super sexy shadow item if they don’t mind the loss of spirit.

Guiding Star – Slightly better than the KT mace, this would serve any type of priest well as a main hand weapon, though I would say that there are better staff options for holy priests later in the instance.

Living Flame – This is a solid hit trinket for shadow priests with the ability for 20 seconds of burst damage to boot.

You are now locked to this instance.  Next week, we’ll be looking at Ignis and then we’ll return tot he Flame Leviathan before XT.  Till then, if anyone has any ways to improve the strats or tricks that have worked for your guild, please feel free to post them.

-Dueg




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