Saturday, June 27, 2009

Spectral Tiger in Las Vegas, pst

So my stay in Las Vegas has almost come to an end. We (Thror and myself) have been here for 8 days now, and tomorrow we're flying back to the Netherlands. Overall we've had a pretty ok time, but I have to say that although this was an experience, I'm never coming back to Las Vegas.

Scammers Everywhere
Surely you've seen these sort of things in your trade chat, right? 99.5% certain that these are people trying to scam you. And the spectral tiger is not the only scam method that is being used out there. If you've never run into one of these before, has a pretty good story about how there are scammers out there trying to rip you off through these tricks.

Well....Las Vegas is much the same, only then on a much larger scale. There is not one person here who is not trying to rip you off. I told about one earlier in the week, and today we ran into another one even worse today.

We walked past this fake tattoo stand this afternoon. I have 3 small tattoos on my shoulder, and would really like a last one on my ankle. So I stop to check out the pictures, to see if there happens to be something to inspire me.

I sit down and leaf through their booklet with pics, and before I know it this guy is talking away. Since I was almost done with looking through the pictures I get ready to leave, and tell him that he didn't have anything that was attractive to me.

He asks where I would want the tattoo. So I point to my ankle and we talk a little. He says, one moment I'll check, I might have more elsewhere. He comes back with a picture with a dragon on it.

Not too bad I say, but too big for my taste, and not entirely the right picture anyway. But he ensures me that it's just to see how it looks and everything. I shrug and put my foot up so he can stick the picture on. He sticks the pic on, and mumbles something about how great it will look.

But before I know it he starts applying ink to the picture. He draws three lines and I stop him.

"What are you doing? And am I paying for this?" was my question. He starts to say that he will make a special deal and all that. I go like, ohnono, I don't even want this picture, please take it off. He keeps going and keeps saying he'll make a special deal. So I repeat more sternly that I would please like him to take it off, and that I'm not paying for anything.

The guy gets completely pissed. Starts telling me that I agreed and everything, and that I should pay for the ink. I mean seriously what the hell. I made it quite clear that I didn't like the picture, that I wouldn't want that tattoo anyway, and that I didn't want to pay for anything. He starts shouting, and tells me that I shouldn't be so fucking stupid.

This was seriously not fun. I didn't pay anything, walked off, and I was luckily fast enough so all that was left on my leg was a red spot because of the scrubbing to get the ink he smeared on it off again.

And wow, maybe I should not even have spoken with this guy, but seriously, how can you go through life like this? How can anybody look into the mirror after trying to do this day in day out to other people?

Circus Circus - Hotel Advice
If you ever do plan to go to Las Vegas and you start looking at accomodation think off the following:
  • Online maps of The Strip are compeltely not proportionate. We stayed in the Circus Circus, which on the map is close to the mono rail, but when you get here it turns out it's a 20 minute walk, and mounts don't work here.
  • If you don't bring your orphan along, don't stay in Circus Circus or Excalibur. These hotels are true family hotels, and going for a nice swim will most likely mean getting divebombed by young orcs (I swear this is what most of them look like nowadays).
  • If you go with 3 or more the taxi is most always cheaper than the bus.
  • Locationwise I would say take a hotel that is located (geographically) anywhere in between the Wynn and Planet Hollywood, there are hotels for different price ranges here, but this is the center part of the strip from where you can fairly easily reach the rest.
'Believe' - Show Advice
We went to see only 2 different shows while we were here, but seriously do NOT go to 'Chris Angel's Believe. No matter how much discount they give you on your tickets, it's not worth the money.

The guy himself, Chris Angel, is about as ignorant and self-absorbed as Variann Wrynn, and if the best act in your show are the clowns, than you don't deserve a show. I seriously do not understand how Cirque du Soleil lent their name to this.

(Thror's just saying that he now has an image in his head of Variann Wryn on stage...I think this would honestly have made for a better show!)

We also went to see 'O' from Cirque du Soleil, and this is definitely a show I can recommend. The acts were fabulous, but wow were we high up on the balcony. It made me slightly dizzy at the beginning, and I'm not scared of heights. Once the show got started we could follow everything pretty clearly though, and it was amazing.

(So as an in between, I just went outside for a smoke, and these security people came cycling up. They ask 'are you Joan?' I say no, their reply 'Are you sure?' what the hell sort of question is that? o_O People here are weird sometimes)

Random Thoughts to Finish.
  • Casinos are not made to let you win. If you stick money in, expect to lose it.
  • Las Vegas by night looks really, really cool from the Voodoo Lounge at the 51st floor in the Rio.
  • Wear good shoes when you come here, you will do a lot of walking.
  • Sunscreen and water are your friends.
  • Trees made out of concrete are less charming than real ones.
  • I wonder what it says about me that I managed to finish two books while only being here for one week.
  • Corn dogs are a great idea, hot dogs on a stick.
  • They have no idea how to make yoghurt here, the stuff I had tasted like some Chernobyl accident gone wrong (yeah, really, that bad).
  • A ridiculous amount of clickety card people trying to sell you naked ladies and stick full trading card games with escorts in your hands.
Anyway, sleep is prolly a good idea. We have about 20 or so hours of travelling ahead of us tomorrow, and though that's way less bad than getting here, it still requires a good night of sleep. Nighters!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


So I'm in my hotel room hiding away from the blistering daystar and poking around on the internet a bit, and I run into tier 9 announcements. So I naturally start poking for my own tier gear (priest) and to my amazement I see the following:

Those are the tier 9 setbonuses as they are currently set for healing priests. I go huh...

Check out the tier 8 setbonuses:

As you can imagine I hope the tier 9 are somewhat standin setbonuses because they didn't know what to do with them yet, since this would be slightly ridiculous to go backwards in setbonus. Who on earth would even want this? o_O

I can think of many options for setbonuses that make more sence, even for setbonuses that make sense for both holy and disc. They only have to go towards flash heal or something.

But seriously to go from a 2 piece that gives 10% to a 4 piece that gives 5% on the same spell....must be a woopsie on blizz's side..I hope.

Other News.
Been having a great time here, met up with some guildies, and had a good time with them. The wedding that formed the reason for us coming here was yesterday, and was pretty cool. The bride looked gorgeous, and the groom didn't look too bad either (sorry Mandii, gotta poke ;p).

We've got two Cirque du Soleil shows lined up still before we fly back on Saturday, O and Believe from Cris Angel, which should hopefully be cool. The sun is burning hot, but the pool is nearby and all in all it's not too shabby for a holiday. Though I have to say that I'm amazed by the amount of ways people can think of to try and get you to spend money.

Funniest so far was that we were asked if we wanted free tickets for a show. So Thror and I look at eachother, suspicion on our face, and tentatively reply, 'sure.'

The guy takes us into his office, comes with a complete BS story, all we had to do to get the free tickets is take a tour around their resort. But it would cost us nothing, we would be picked up by the bus, and brought back, and it was all really gorgeous. Thor and I shrugged, we had to do something with our time here, so why not.

And then it came...all the guy needed from us was a deposit of 5 dollars. We would definitely get it back though. Thror and I looked at eachother, said no thanks, and walked out of the office. The look on the guy's face was priceless. Literally his mouth dropped and reached the desk.

Oh well, shows once again that we're not unreasonably suspicious, people really are out there to get you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


So I’m at Cincinnati airport. It’s about 11 pm my own time, and only 5 pm local time. That flight, seriously I thought it would never end, and I swear that the moving flight map told me that we had 8 more hours of travelling to go for about 3 hours. We must’ve been flying backwards or so.

Unfortunately the travel is not finished yet. We’re currently waiting for our connecting flight to Las Vegas, which is scheduled to leave at 20:05 local time, and arrive at 21:13 Las Vegas time…after over 4 hours of flying, gotta love time zones. All in all I feel pretty much halfdead, but hey 10 more hours of travelling to go so I better find something to entertain myself with.

We did manage to check up on the internet this morning at the hotel at Schiphol (btw I can advice CitizenM hotels to anybody, what a great hotel for not a big price at all) and we saw that Blizzard has managed to release all sorts of new information about patch 3.2. the morning we’re about to be without access for 24 or so hours.

What we got this morning still is more changes in the professions, proto drakes might not be leaving, and lots and lots of changes on various classes.

Also an announcement on changes in how the emblem system works seem to be upcoming, all the emblems disappear except for emblems of conquest. Even the dungeons going to emblems of conquest I think (though I did only have time to skim through it).

And then some stuff on how they might make the new raid instance work. All the hard modes into the heroic version of the raid. I do wonder if you can still do them in a different order that way, or if your team is completely stuck if the first hard mode requires a specific 10man setup. We’ll have to see how all of it works out.

I for one still find it a shame that the patch is coming closer and closer, and we still haven’t finished Ulduar. Yoggy still has to die, and our group not raiding for two weeks is not going to help much. Oh well, here’s to hoping we still have time afterwards.

Anyway, gonna close my eyes for a bit, and hope that I won’t sleep through the boarding call. It would be nice to eventually sleep in a bed. Ciao.


So we arrived last night really really later, and I can tell you that travelling for 26 hours in one go is not to be adviced. We got our rooms and sort of crashed for the night.

So far my experiences here: OMG it's frigging hot here! I cannot remember having been anywhere where it was this hot! More later ;)

Oh, apologies for the odd font and stuff, laptop is not doing what I want it to.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Profession Changes in 3.2

  • Alchemy:
    • Benefits from Mixology for Northrend flasks/elixirs increased.
    • A new flask usable only by alchemists, Flask of the North, which increases your Spell Power, AP, or Strength for 1 hour, and can be used in arenas.
    • Endless Healing Potion and Endless Mana Potion no longer usable in arenas. Amount of health and mana has been increased, and the cooldown reduced. They are still usable everywhere else.
  • Enchanting: Ring enchants buffed.
  • Engineering: Hyperspeed Accelerators, Hand-Mounted Pyro Rocket, and Reticulated Armor Webbing buffed.
  • Herbalism: Maximum rank of Lifeblood increased in healing, and Lifeblood now scales slightly from maximum health and is no longer affected by the GCD.
  • Inscription: Shoulder enchants buffed.
  • Jewelcrafting: Dragon's Eye gems buffed.
  • Leatherworking: Fur Linings buffed.
  • Mining: Maximum rank of Toughness buffed.
  • Skinning: Maximum rank of Master of Anatomy buffed.
  • Tailoring: Embroideries improved.
Taken from

I've not seen this discussed much, while it's a pretty massive change coming up. I'm an alchemist..PVE..what do I care about a flask usable in PVP? o_O

I hope it'll all balance out by the end..would hate to switch skills...hmm, though if it turns out that tailoring does indeed get buffed pretty heavily, I can see myself go for the extra mounts. Closing in on 100!

Anybody have thoughts on these changes?

A Blog shouldn't be a Sales Site

Feeling slightly better today. Went into work as well to get the last necessities done before I get my time off. And with a nice blanket around me (yeah, even though it's 22C I still felt chilly x_X) I started going through the blogs I normally go through.

Started with a rant from Lady Jess. And yes, I agree, silly weapons. But I guess they just don't find it worth the time too much to go back through content and change weapons and gear for the lower levels :(

Then onto Troll Racials are Overpowered where Klepsacovic has turned from a prot pallie into a ret pallie. Maybe for the wrong reason? I wouldn't have done it for the reasons he gives, but hey...go read it and judge for yourself.

Blessing of Kings
has pics of the maybe new pallie mount. Pretty, but where is my priestly pegasus?

And then I went on to WoWgrrl...

Firstly I got a little pissy with the fact that she was trying to sell the somaniest levelling guide, and that silly thing kept popping up at the bottom as well. After I had clicked that away I didn't even feel like reading the post anymore, so I click the next linkie on my linkbar, and again and again. Turns out the next 15 or so links came from this site, sticking me into some silly thing, while throwing all sorts of adds at me.

By now I was so annoyed with it, that I went to my own blogroll and removed the site from there, and removed it from my reader. I enjoyed reading some of the posts here, but I started to feel more and more dirty every time I had gone there, because of all commercial crap thrown at you as a visitor of the site.

So yeah, I completely understand that people wish to get some money back for the hosting, time spent, etc, and have some adds on their blog for this reason, but this just got out of control in my view. Unfortunately this also wasn't the first time I got annoyed with the adds on this blog. There is a line between blogs and commercial websites, and this site had reached that line.

Luckily there are many good, real blogs out there for us wow addicts, you only have to click on one of the blogilicious pics to just get to some of the coolest blogs out there ^_^

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Packing a Headache

So yeah, been feeling under the weather all day already. Been staying warm, and took it easy. Also going to have to make it an early night. Which is sorta crappy because of course I had planned to pack suitcase and all that for Las Vegas.

But hey, anything is better than taking this under the weather feeling along with me, so I guess rest today, and packing tomorrow.

Hoping to bring a laptop so that I can post once or twice while there and do a quick update or two. Am looking forward to being there, not so much to the flight though. 5 hour stopover in Cincinnati airport, gosh, I hope they have nice benches to take a nap on or so x_X.

I poked my druid a little bit as well today. Stuck her into a kitten spec and on the dummy I got her up to about 3K dps. Not bad for a character in half greens, eh?

Anyway, she needs some testing in an instance, and I need an early night. And since time can only be split so many ways, the blogpost today is a bit short...oh well.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend Overview

Ulduar 10
We're still going strong in Ulduar 10, yay! This weekend we got Thorim on hard mode, and we managed to get Disarmed on Kologarn. And both in one go! We also worked on Yogg quite a bit, and we seem to have phase 1 down. It's still a very challenging fight even without the mind control, but a couple more weekends in the instance and we should have the fights down.

Unfortunately this will have to wait for a while as we won't be able to raid the upcoming weekend or the weekend after due to real life circumstances. A guildie of ours is getting married, and me and my boyfriend got an invite to the wedding.

I think he never really thought we'd accept the invite, since he's sort of getting married in Las Vegas, and we both live in the Netherlands. But hey our tax return was due and we could get the days of work so we said why not and booked.

I just wish he had managed to get married in some other week than the summer festival of course..but oh well, I guess you have to sacrifice some for your friends ;p

Ulduar 25
We had one set up for saturday, but unfortunately we had way less people show up than last week. We did FL, Razor, and XT002 with 24 and then picked up an extra healer who came online for Kologarn.

We also had less experienced people this week so Kologarn took quite a bit of effort to get down, and we called it after this since it was starting to get late, and our EST people would soon have to leave anyway.

Funny enough we did pick up two heroic achievements, one tower on FL and Disarmed. In fact the only way we managed to kill Kologarn was by switching to his left arm at the end and pray that it would go down, lol.

So yeah, while our guilds 10mans are doing awsome, it turns out to be really hard to get 25 raiders together on a time that everybody could go, and then to actually communicate the raid well enough to get it all done. Still though, only our seconds forray in there, with some heavily undergeared people, I think we did pretty ok.

Naming Oddness
I'm not sure if I had told this already somewhere, but my dad plays as well. He plays a pallie, and I think he reached level 50 today. He also has apparently a taste in naming that went against the naming regulations.

So on saturday he got a GM dinging him that they wanted to talk with him. In all his newness he had no idea what to do so it took him about 15 minutes to even figure out how to reply to the GM.

The GM was first of all pissed off that my dad had let him wait this long (wow, a little more understanding for the starting player please!) but then he was told that his name had to change. My dad of course asked why, and was told that it was a roleplay violation.

His name was StrongBeauty....anybody see any roleplay issues with this? o_O

The GM suggested a name, and my dad not knowing how to react accepted. He was told to log out, and then his name was Vousa. wth sort of name is that in roleplaying context? Afterwards he got an email saying that he had gotten a strike against his account and that the next one could mean that his account would be locked.

So when he told me on Sunday that he was quite upset over this, and that he still didn't entirely understand you can imagine that I went like 'Whaaaa?!!?'

So I opened a ticket. Waited forever, as you do with tickets these days. And finally a GM replied. I explained the situation, and luckily the GM was very understanding. He told me to hang on, and after a while he came back. He got it all arranged, and my dad would not only get his original name back, the strike would also be removed.

Both my dad and I were all happy of course, and I thanked the GM. The guy was even so cool to show up on his druid and gave us a snapshot opportunity. (Yay I have pics of my EU char with a GM!).

So all would be good.

Today my dad logs on in the morning, all was still happy. He logs on in the afternoon, and ...his character was called Vousa again. No message, no warning, nothing. Just the name back to what he didn't want in the first place.

Of course he was by now getting a little desperate, and going that he would simply cancel his account again. He was also worried that he would now have 2 strikes against his account. I sussed it, and opened another ticket. After a while I figured I didn't like the wait though so I found the customer support phonenumber and called them.

In the end the rep said that there was a misunderstanding, but that there were no strikes against my dad's account at least. I asked him if he could change the name to something he at least liked, but he didn't have the tools to do so, and I would have to open a ticket. When I left my parents house my dad was still waiting for the ticket to be answered.

All in all I have to say that while the second two support people were very helpful this was a pretty bad experience for a new player. My dad is purposely not grouping with others too much, and when he does the first thing he says is that he's very new and doesn't understand everything yet.

I just hope that this was a one off isntance, because to greet new players in this manner really isn't the best way to go about it.

What about you? Any good stories about GMs?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Blogroll went poof

Gah...ever had that when you clicked the wrong button, and oops, all of a sudden something went missing?

I just did that to my blogroll >_< I have a massive list of blogs that I read and follow, and I was fiddling with adding some to my blogroll, and poof there it went.

I will fix it when I get home, I promise!

Edit: Fixed. And with for a night of playing instead of writing about playing ^_^

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Living into the next expansion

Around the blogosphere everybody is already speculating about the next expansion. Will it be the Maelstrom or the Emerald Dream. Will we be in an under water world? Will the Naga rule the world?

I guess it's very human nature to live in the future. We're hardly ever satisfied with what we have, so instead we look for something that we think can make our lives better. And clearly this thing, whatever it is, must still be created.

It makes me wonder what it would take to be happy with what we have. I mean, it's pretty impossible that all these people are done with Ulduar yet, right? I read Guildwatch, (like a lot of us do probably) and most of those guilds are proud that they've finally finished Naxx.

So how come we're already looking towards new content?

I believe that Blizzard has made some critical pacing mistakes with Lich King. They've forced their players to look forward faster, the whole expansion breathes haste.

Take for example a look at gear. A small group of players came out of Burning Crusade, and at 70 their gear was ready for Naxx. A slightly larger group could race through the heroics for a couple of small upgrades and then ran into Naxx. Leveling was no difficulty at all. Upgrades didn't come from quests, or from normal dungeons.

The first goal set into this expansion was Naxx, and I think a few vital steps were skipped that way. Most guilds brought completely ungeared alts into Naxx and could succesfully run them through.

So while Burning Crusade might've been slightly slow in the progression, and had roadblocks in the wrong places (Kael'Thas and Lady Vashj attunements), there just were no roadblocks at all in Lich King until Ulduar.

Gear and progression are much, much more accessible than before. Of course this is offering the more casual player to also look into the raid instances, but it also means that the not so casual players are racing through the content.

The philosophy of creating content for a larger group works fine, but currently the content is being developed so fast that the casual player could reach it eventually, but the hardcore player just sleeps through parts of it.

This in turn puts Blizzard in front of the problem of having to design content and push it to live faster if they don't wish to lose those hard core players.

By doing this however, they are pushing the speed button for themselves, but it also seems as if the larger part of the player base has gone into speed mode. The players are running, or at least attempting to run.

What I wonder about is if this fast pace is not putting of both the casual and the hardcore in the end.

The casual because they are pushed towards new content before they're done with the current, and they will start feeling rushed, not able to keep up with all the changes.

The hardcore because no matter how fast you push content, the challenge is just not there for them.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

To the experienced

Today something a little less WoW related, and a bit more life related. So if you're only interested in the WoW posts then I can only suggest to go read something somewhere on a different blog, I can advise just clicking through to one of the blogs under Blogilicious on the right.


What the hell is up with people who always think that they're more experienced? What is experience? Doesn't that mean that you've sort of done it before? But how do you get experience, if you never get a chance to get that experience?

And the worst thing, all those so-called experienced people don't believe in giving chances. They don't believe in giving breaks. So all the inexperienced people will stay inexperienced if it were up to these people.

These are the people who avoid risks. These are the people that you really just don't want to work for if you just come out of college, or if you just joined a sport, or in WoW's case, if you just turned 80 on your first character.

They are the cowards that leave it up to the people with more balls to take a chance on the motivated, driven, qualified, but inexperienced person.

They are the weaklings who come in and seduce the experienced people away once those who did give them a chance trained them, and gave them that so desired experience.


So, as you might've guessed by now, I hate those 'experienced' people. You know why? Because they're driving so blindly on experience that they don't see the jewels of the future.

They are those professors that you sometimes see in films. Yaknow, the teachers who carefully look over a group of enthusiastic kids with their hands in the air, and decide that nobody is suitable enough to answer the question.

Such a vicious circle. And you know what, the only way to every break that circle is by giving people without experience chances. Give them a chance in your team. At work, at school, in WoW. Just give them a chance to prove that they can do what the role needs.

So if you're out there, and you're in the position to give others chances. Then please, please do.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

CC on CC: Is creative time wasted?

One of the posts today at wonders if Blizzard is wasting their time by working on things that have nothing to do with the actual content of the game. That if Blizzard wouldn't be working on new druid forms, and on stuff like the Ulduar Bosstiary, would we then all be level 100 or something already.

My immediate reaction to this was that if the Blizzard designers wouldn't be spending time on things around the game, and on how the game looks that the game would no longer be in existence.

I think that one of the reasons that people love this game so much is that it is completely immersive. You can completely lose your sense of time and environment in the game, and just feel like you're in the fantasy world they've created.

Of course there's also the more realistic side to the game that they have to worry about. They have to worry about how to keep all these players busy, how to keep giving them goals in the game so that they will keep enjoying the game.

And it's not only the continuance in the game they have to worry about. We, the players, also become ever more demanding. As we get given new and better things, we want Blizzard to cough up even better content for us to play through.

They finally give us new druid forms, and what do we, the community, do? We complain about how these druid forms look. So instead of being happy with what we get, we're already looking at the next thing that should be made.

For all those designers to keep being creative they need to find inspiration. Inspiration outside of what we know, inspiration that can lead to surprising new things. Because we, the players, aren't going to be satisfied with what we already know. We want more. We want new things, new experiences, a new high every time.

So yes, I think the Blizzard designers should go outside of the game and find their creativity. They should fiddle with things on the side, with story lines, and with things like druid forms. It gives the game the flavor that we've all come to expect from them. The flavor that we all love.

Then again, as one of those very demanding players I do have to ask....Can those same designers please design a few less dailies, and a bit more of the less repetitive content?

Oh to not forget, one bloody mary for Nefernet, who knew instantly where I was yesterday ^_^

Monday, June 8, 2009

Where am I?

I hand't planned on doing a Where am I? this week. In fact I had planned on doing part III of the Ulduar guide. But then I went out to do some quests for the loremaster achievement, and I just saw this amazing opportunity for a screenshot.

Unfortunately I did have to leave Anzu at home. He simply refused to come with me once he realized where we were going. Something about the area not agreeing with him I believe.

So I pulled out the kodo and he didn't seem to have a problem with taking me where I wanted to go. I did tell him not to drink from the water, you never know what's in it.

I'll find the person who guesses it first this week a bloody mary. Don't ask me just seemed appropriate.

Weekend Overview
We had a pretty amazing weekend as well. Got another meta achievement for Ulduar 10 (Crazy Cat Lady), we went back on Sunday and ran into time problems so frying dwarves will have to wait. We also had some fun in Ulduar 25, and I have to say that I'm pretty amazed by the quality of dps in our guild as a whole.

And we got Sarth 2D done. Not entirely there yet, but we ran out of playtime, and I'm sure Sarth 3D will be falling some time this week. And then it's only Maly 6 minutes that we have left for the Glory of the Raider achievement. Woot!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Glory of the Ulduar Raider - part II

Yay, we did Crazy Cat Lady this week, and as you can see at me proudly exposing the banner, we're currently realm ranked number one on strict 10 over at ^_^

Obviously that might change after this weekend, since we will be doing Naxx 25, but this is still something that makes me really proud of my guild. We have seriously earned this spot as well btw, since the second place had about 100 achievement points less. Go Furious Pantaloons!

This will be the second part of the guide to the meta achievement Glory of the Ulduar Raider.
Part I can be found here.

Defeat Mimiron after activating his Self-Destruct mechanism on Normal Difficulty.
To activate Mimiron Hard Mode you press the button behind him. He has quite a small agro radius so you can just wander around him and get to the button without difficulty.

This fight is all about control. You have to know him normal mode inside out, know his abilities inside out, and that is when you can start trying hard mode.

From pushing the button you have 10 minutes to kill Mimiron.

Periodically he puts out fires under the raid. Those fires will be put out after a while, but in the meantime they do quite a bit of extra damage if you stand in them. So you have to manoevre around the fires, and around all of his abilities.

On top of the fires and the timer Mimiron gets an extra ability:
Emergency Mode
InstantActivates a heightened response mode in emergency situations, increasing damage and health by 30%.
So all of his sub parts are getting their health buffed.

This fight is one of the harder ones to learn, but once you've got it down it becomes easy mode. We took a couple of raid lockouts to learn him, but ever since the first down he's been on farm since.

Here's a video of the hard mode, but there are many out there.

My group has not been ready to try this yet. It's not the hardest hard mode in Ulduar, but it's definitely one that might take a while to learn.

Destroy both of Kologarn's arms within 12 seconds and then defeat Kologarn on Normal Difficulty.
This is a DPS control achievement - you need to break both arms and then destroy Kologarn within twelve seconds.
  • Roughly 15% of his HP are lost with each destroyed arm.
  • You want to focus on destroying his right arm and DPSing the body until the body hits 35% health.
  • At that point, burn down the left arm until it's around 10% health, then switch back to the right arm and burn it down.
  • Be careful about AoE, since the hit boxes are so large it's easy to hit the body or left arm while DPSing the right arm.
Break the right arm, break the left arm, and destroy what little HP the body has left.

So far we have not managed to get this achievement. Our coordination is getting a lot better, and I'm confident we will have this achievement next week.

I Could Say That This Cache Was RareDefeat Hodir before he shatters his rare cache on Normal Difficulty.
This achievement comes down to understanding what the different abilities are that the NPCs are using.

There are 3 buffs to be gained from the NPCs:
  • Toasty Fire
    InstantWarms nearby friendly creatures, preventing the effects of Freeze and Biting Cold, and increasing Spirit by 4. In addition, your Spells and Ranged attacks have a chance to singe enemies. Toasty fire can be extinguished by falling ice or Flash Freeze.
  • Storm Power
    InstantCharges a nearby friendly target with lightning, increasing critical strike damage by 135% for 30 sec.
  • Starlight
    5 yd range.InstantEnvelops a location in starlight for 1 min, increasing attack and casting speed of friendly units within it.
To get the cache you have to kill Hodir within 3 minutes of engaging him. The only way to do this is to start working on learning the fight and use these buffs better and better. The singed debuff is very very important, and keeping this debuff on him will greatly increase your dps against him.

Even if you don't specifically work on this, the fight becomes a lot easier if you get to know and love the use of these buffs. And if you work on it a little every week you will progress towards this achievement naturally.

We are currently at about 4 minutes without specifically trying for this achievement, and just practicing on getting better at the fire debuff. I would like to say that we'll get it next week, but this one is not too high on our list to work on, since I know we can do it once we start working on it a little.

Stokin' the Furnace
Defeat Ignis the Furnace Master in 4 minutes on Normal Difficulty.
This is perhaps the easiest one of the meta achievements. Bring enough dps and you will get it. We didn't even try for it, and got the achievement just by doing the fight normally.

Our setup at the time was 3 healers, 2 tanks, 5 dps. Yes, only 5 dps.

Our tank was breaking the golems, so we didn't lose dps on this, but other than that just get good at keeping dps up on him while he's being moved around.

Also, in the first of these series I promised to get back on Crazy Cat Lady once we had done her. We did it this weekend, and got it first try. The healing needed is rather incredible, and I think my heartrate was about double of what it normally is by the end of it.

The damage that the raid takes is pretty enormous. We tried to do little aoe until we were sure it wouldn't kill the sentries anymore before she would go down. There were a few 'OMG moments' but we did it fairly easily.

Stay tuned for the third and final part of this guide.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Glory of the Ulduar Raider - part I

Those who read my blog more often will know that I raid Ulduar 10 every week. We were set on a drake this time around, and the news that the drakes would be taken out with the next patch sort of hit like a bomb.

It's slightly depressing, but hey, I realized that the only chance we still have is to shake it off, and put our shoulders under it. So I started researching into what we would still have to do to get the pretty flapper. And instead of keeping my research to myself I figured I would share it.

So far our 10man has done all of the fights in Ulduar 10 on normal mode, except for Yoggy. We are on the verge of finishing off several hard modes, and have done some. I have no idea if we can do it, but I do know that we will fight for it.

Defeat Flame Leviathan with all 4 Orbital Defense Systems active on Normal Difficulty.
So far we have done Flame Leviathan with 1 tower up, and last week we tried with 2 towers up. It turned out that we simply didn't have the gear level yet to do this, or the practice.

The Leviathan gains +25% Base HP, +15% damage and one of the following abilities for each of the towers left up.
  • Tower of Storms (yellow): Thorim's Hammer - Physical damage. Extra damage at point of impact.
  • Tower of Flames (red): Mimiron's Inferno - Fire damage and an AoE damage zone.
  • Tower of Frost (blue): Hodir's Fury - Frost damage and entombs vehicles near the impact point in ice. Entombed vehicles are stunned for 1 minute, taking damage over time. The tomb can be destroyed with flames. Possible fire damage sources in this encounter are the Leviathan's Flame Vents, the demolisher's Hurl Pyrite Barrel and the Chopper's ignited Tar.
  • Tower of Nature (green): Freya's Ward - Nature damage and summons Guardian of Nature adds.
Basic tactics are the same as on normal mode, just takes a lot more practice, and knowing what to do when.

The trick to doing hard mode on Flame Leviathan, as with any hard mode, is perfect execution. You want to keep the pyrite stacks on him as high as possible, and cause overload as soon as possible. The person at the top should also communicate when he is about to overload so that others can get ready to unload dps on him.

Iron Dwarf, Medium Rare
Defeat 25 Dark Rune Guardian Dwarves with Razorscale's Flame Breath on Normal Difficulty.
There are 3 type of adds on Razorscale, you want to pick up the bigger type of dwarves, dps them down quite a bit, and then when Razorscale lands fry them in her breath. Generally you try to have 1 tank focus on frying the dwarves while the other tank keeps Razorscale busy.

This achievement has one huge advantage; you don't have to kill the 25 dwarves in one raid lockout. So far our team has killed 16 of 25, and we're hopefully able to finish the upcoming weekend.

I Choose You, Steelbreaker
Defeat the Assembly of Iron with Steelbreaker as the last member alive on Normal Difficulty.
There are 3 ways to kill the Iron Council, and every way has its own achievement. Saving Steelbreaker until last is considered one of the hardest achievements in the instance.

Killing any boss of the Iron Council Supercharges the remaining bosses, healing them to full, increasing their damage and giving them new abilities.
  • Steelbreaker starts off with the High Voltage and Fusion Punch abilities.
  • When 1 other boss is killed, he can cast Static Disruption, an AoE and nature vulnerability spell.
  • When both other bosses are killed, he can debuff a player with Overwhelming Power, increasing that players damage by 200% but causing a Meltdown after 1 minute, killing that player.
  • Once both other bosses are killed, Steelbreaker also gains a stacking +25% damage buff for each player he killed (including Meltdown casualties).
Only his target (the main tank) gets the Overwhelming Power debuff, and his target will always have it, meaning if the tank dies too early or if he is taunted off before the Meltdown, he will immediately apply it to his target again.

Steelbreaker also heals for about ~15% hp for every target killed (again, including Meltdown casualties)

Doing Iron Council on hard mode drops the quest item to start the quest line to fight Algalon the Observer. It requires you to collect quest items from Hodir, Freya, Thorim & Mimiron killed on their hard modes.

With good healers you can heal through 1 player dying from Meltdown, so you have 2 minutes to kill Steelbreaker.

Crazy Cat Lady
Defeat Auriaya without destroying her Sanctum Sentries on Normal Difficulty.
Auriaya starts with two Sanctum Sentries on normal difficulty, those Sentries have 3 important Abilities:
  • An Aura that increases the damage of all nearby Sanctum Sentries by 50%, this stacks multiplicative, not additive, so 2 buffs equal +125% damage, 3 buffs +212.5% etc. On normal difficulty this is fixed at 50% as only one Sanctum Sentry can be nearby.
  • A Jump ability that deals a large amount of damage, only used on the main target and only if it is out of melee range and within line of sight.
  • A stacking Bleed Dot.
The Dot is the most important part about this achievement, as you will have to switch tanks in order to reset it. In addition you will have to deal with a much higher amount of damage as the Sanctum Sentries do hit quite hard.

What you also need to know is that the Feral Defender never comes before the first fear. So the more you can get her down before the first fear the easier.

The other thing is that you probably want to switch tanks right after the fear so you can get rid of the stacking debuff.

Our 10 man will be trying this one this weekend, so I'll report back my findings after that.

Lose Your Illusion
Defeat Thorim while Sif is present on Normal Difficulty.
We have already worked on this one, and have almost gotten it down. You activate hard mode by getting through the hallway before Sif disappears. This means you have to engage Thorim within 3 minutes after you have opened the gate to the hallway.

We bring one tank, one healer, a rogue, and a slow hitter or ranged into the hallway. We leave 2 healers, a tank, and 3 dps in the arena.

The main thing that happens extra in this fight is that Sif joins in and shoots lots of frost damage around.
  • She frost novas people on the place where she stands, this has to be dispelled.
  • She casts blizzard on the outer ring, ranged has to get out of that.
  • Ranged has to stay spread out because of the chain lightning.
  • Everybody has to get out of the lightning draw. The best way to see this is to keep an eye on the floor, if you see lightning there, move to the other side of the room.
This fight comes down to understanding what is happening and reacting accordingly. Situational awareness is really, really important in this fight as getting out of all the damage makes that a lot less healing is needed.

I will be dividing this up into three different posts so keep an eye out for part II and III. fish cake for Mandii who managed to guess where I was in one go yesterday :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Where am I?

So a bit late this week, I felt I had to write about other stuff, but Anzu had a sudden urge for fish today so I took him out fishing.

We went around a bit, and he started squawking like all hell when he saw the waterfall. And since even birds start to stink when they haven't had a shower for a while I figured I would do what he wanted.

Only thing...where is this waterfall?

We caught a few extra fish, so this week I'll bake a fish cake for the winner. Don't ask me why you would want to win fish cake, but the bird does seem to like it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

CC: Ulduar Drake = Carrot on a Stick

The news about the proto drakes of Ulduar being taken out by next patch is still hanging heavily over my head. I guess I really thought that my group had a chance this time. That if we worked really hard that we could do it.

It got me thinking about how silly the system that Blizz is currently using really is though. With these proto drakes they are catering only to the whining of the high end guilds. That everything is too easy, and that content should be harder.

Well, those high end guilds were right, content was too easy. But, it now feels as if content is at the correct level of difficulty, only Blizzard hasn't switched their thought process yet.
Marketing Driven Drakes.
When Blizzard created Ulduar they created a whole new tier of loot with it. They also decided that there should be normal modes, and hard modes for a lot of bosses. On top of that a whole new pile of achievements came along.

From a marketing point of view they must have created all this to keep their subscribers happy, because happy subscribers mean people who play, and keep playing.

Achievements seem to have been created for one reason only. The designers simply cannot catch up with those who finish the content fastest. So instead of having to do the same content over and over, which would get a lot of high end guilds pretty bored, pretty quick, they gave them a goal in the game. An extra reward they could earn next to the glory of being the first to conquer the content. They created achievements, and hard modes.

This was all a great idea, until they decided that they should do something special for those who did manage to get through this really hard content they designed. And they decided to make something special for it. So the 310% mount came into being.

Then they realized...wait, if we just leave the mount in, it won't be too long or the mount won't be special at all anymore, and we'll have whining people on our hands again that they still cannot have anything special.

To counter this they decided that the mounts should be taken out by the time it would get "too easy" to get the drakes. Blizzard figured that this would be by the time that guilds would be in fully geared in the next tier of gear.

So when Ulduar came, the Naxx drakes were taken out, and they've planned to do the same with the Ulduar drakes ones the Collosseum comes. And unless they come to see that instead of keeping them players, this will cost them players, they will do the same with the rewards that people can earn with the next tier. I's been going well so far, why change, right?

Wrong. When they keep dangling bones in front of people and then pull it away again people will give up. There's no fun in working your but off and then being told that the promised reward is not being given out today. But hey, if you work really hard next time, you have another chance.

Imagine This....
Imagine being in a job. You love this job, you are incredibly happy with this job. And then one day your manager comes to you and asks you and your team to organize something massive. Something bigger than you have done so far within your job. He gives you the exact demands of the project and tells you that if you manage to fulfill every demand perfectly, you and your team will get a nice bonus at the end.

So you start working your butt off. You get all the preparation done. Get your team organized, and start working on this massive project he asked you to do. And you know what? It's going really well! Your team is managing progress, and you can really see the project take shape.

Everybody is working really hard, and you've already planned some extra studies for some members of your team so you can deliver to all the demands,. But nobody minds, because they can all see the bonus at the end of the project.

But wait. One day, your manager knocks on your door and tells you that you and him (or her) should have a little chat. He tells you that main management has given directions that the project should be finished within the next month. You feel the blood drain from your face; you know that there is just no way you can make it before that time.

The manager goes on to comfort you that it's ok to finish the project later, but the bonus is then out of the question of course. He gives you a friendly pat on the back and leaves the office, smilingly saying that he's still full of confidence that you can finish the project with the tools given to you.

The door slams shut, and here you are, sitting on your chair with his words still echoing in your head. No bonus. You worked your butt off to get that bonus. You told your family that you would all go on a nice vacation once the project was finished. You told your team that if they would all work really hard they too would get their bonusses.

After an hour of pacing around your desk, you step out of your office and call the team together. You have made the calculations there is just no way that you can get the project done on time, but damn if you wouldn't try your hardest to at least finish the project and make it a success.

Bonus date passes.
Your entire team comes in slightly depressed on due date, but you give them a peptalk and tell them that the next project they would definitely be able to make it within the set time, and that you are proud of them for doing such an amazing job. The team feels slightly better, and you keep working on the project. You all love your job and next time you would just work slightly harder to keep that bonus in the pocket.

You sit in your office again one day. The project is about 70% finished, and your puzzling over some of the final demands to finish the project. When you hear the familiar tap on the door.

Your manager steps in and jovially asks if you two can have a chat. There's this big project coming up, and he wants you to lead it. The only small little thing is that the management expected you to have finished the last project already, so the next project was set up with that assumption. A lot of the new project's parts are even depending on having finished large parts of the first project.

But as your manager continues, if all the demands of the new project are met, there's a big bonus waiting at the end...

The Moral.
I'm not a professional writer, but I did my best with the story. I hope I at least managed to give you the right feeling. I do have a couple of questions to ask you now though...

Did you notice how the manager never gave a time limit in the first place?

The team and team leader never knew how much time they had before they started the project. It was even suggested that as long as the project was fully succesful and the team lived up to the demands that time wasn't an issue.

How motivated would you be to put yourself and your team out there again?

I can tell you that most teams would be way less motivated. And even if you would get them to work on the second project. And they would work really hard. Do you really feel they would go for it a third time? Or a fourth time?

Empty Office.
I can tell you where the company of my story is going to end up.

At the employment agency looking for new people. They set the bar too high for their employees. And no matter how much these people loved their jobs, being placed for tasks that are just out of your reach every single time is simply demotivating. So in the end most employees simply decided that they didn't want to work for a company like this anymore.

Makes me wonder where Blizzard is going to end with their drakes...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Harder than we had hoped for

Yay, I finally managed to get the poll up. I had tried several times over the weekend, but the poll service of Blogger seemed to be down or something since I got an error every time I tried. But it's here, and we'll see how many replies there will be.

This past weekend has been a very busy raiding weekend, and I've been in game just enjoying the momentum instead of out of game blogging about it. This does mean however that I have some catching up to do of course ^_^

Lets see....

Ulduar Proto Drakes out with Patch 3.2.
Friday evening late, I read on wowinsider that the Ulduar proto drakes are taken out with the introduction of patch 3.2. I hate this patch already.

Our 10 man has been working so hard to get progress, but in the end it seems Blizzard really just wants only the top guilds to have these drakes. raid instance, just hand them out to the same people again Blizz, because if you don't give others slightly more time there is just no way that we can manage to get this done.

The other thing that really bugs me with this is that it's just not possible to get these achievements in the set time with only 10 man gear. Blizz says it's tuned for that, but it just isn't. If you want to get the drake, get your 25 man gear, and do the 10man with the 25 man gear.

What this message does to me is create a mass feeling of disappointment. It doesn't matter how hard you work on it, if you actually have a life next to WoW, meaning that you cannot raid every day, there is no way you can get that drake.

Flame Leviathan + two towers = ouchie
Saturday morning we did Ulduar 10. The message of the proto drakes weighing heavily on us, but we decided to not give up and go for some hard modes. It's disheartening to know that there's almost no chance that we can actually make it, but we should at least try.

So we started out with a couple of tries on Flame Leviathan with 2 towers, but after a few tries it became clear that we just weren't ready for that yet. So we did him with one tower to at least get our badges. He went down so fast with only one tower, which really shows that hard modes are exactly that, hard.

His health just goes up so far that our execution was no where near flawless enough to be thinking of more towers just yet. Of course this too will get easier once we manage to score a few higher item level gear items, which will give all the machines just that little bit more health.

XT002 - hard/heart mode beaten!
Next up was XT002, and since the dps in our group has increased pretty dramatically lately we decided to pick up our pride from not managing FL+2 towers, and try this on hard mode as well.

First try the heart did go down, but we were nowhere near prepared for the amount of damage being put out on the tank once he does switch to hard mode. So the tank just exploded under our eyes.

The adds do stay away after you kill the heart so there's at least that, but then you have all those silly void zones to manage. So we made sure that we were all standing on one side, and anybody with a gravity bomb had to run to the other side to drop the void zone there.

We got him on the 5th try or so. The feeling of jubilation that comes with a hard mode kill is still pretty overwhelming. Next to the normal loot he dropped a tanking ring, and emblems of conquest.

Kologorn held on to his right arm 4 seconds too long
We went on to do Kologarn, and the plan was to do the Disarmed achievement here as well, but I think the dps was so much in full kaboom mode that the left arm died too early. I think we were 4 or 5 seconds off for the achievement.

The problem being of course that once he's dead your chance to do the achievement for that week is sort of gone. Better next week I guess.

Other than this we finished Auriaya, practised getting better at the stacking debuff on Hodir, got a few more dwarves fried on Razorscale, and killed Ignis.

Back on Sunday
Sunday morning we went back to finish up the instance. We started with Mimiron, and while it took us a couple of weeks to get all the different phases down, we now only needed 2 tries to finish him off! Mimiron is on farm, woohooo!

After Mimiron we made quick work of Freya and her trees, and since nobody died we added her to our Champion of Ulduar achievement. And then on to Thorim.

Sif's a Bitch
Ahead of time I had already anounced that we would be trying Thorim on hard mode. So we divided our groups into a hallway group, and an arena group, and went for it. We had all ready about the lightning ability, but apparently none of us had ever fully understood it.

We got through the hallway on time, jumped in, and Sif started casting. It went well for about 10 seconds when....KABOOM, lighting rails and half the raid blew up. Having no idea what had happened we went through some tactics again, and a sigh of 'oh! that's what went wrong' went through the group.

Before doing hard mode we had just never bothered with getting out of the lightning, and just healed our way through it. Turns out that this just really isn't possible on hard mode. So we sort of had to learn the fight all over again, but now having to deal with dispelling novas, getting out of the lightning thing, while staying spread out for chain lightning.

I have to say, it's quite a bit to deal with all at once. After several tries we got him down to about 20%, looked at the time, and decided that he would just have to die hard mode next week. So we did him on normal while practicing the lightning. Amazing how much easier that gets without Sif freezing you stuck in place.

Vezax no green stuff
We went do kill Vezax, and since we had someone there who had never done it before we took a couple of tries, but we got him down fairly easily. As a healer I got to know the incoming damage better, and managed to do the fight without needing to use the green puddles.

I guess it will take a couple of weeks still, but we should be able to get his hard mode down soonish as well.

We decided to save Iron Council for last, and gave Yoggy a couple of tries, and I can tell's really, really hard somehow to get out of moving green clouds. Every time we had extra adds spawn, and that just makes the fight impossible.

After a couple of tries on Yog we went back to Iron Council. We did them on normal, but did add it to our Champion of Ulduar achievement.

Sarth 3D
Sunday evening we agreed to go try Sarth 3D zerg for the first time. I was healing, and boy I have to say that a lot of healing is needed in a very short time x_X

We went for 2 hours, got him to 9% or so once, but didn't manage to kill him. Either way, he will go down next week as well, and we will all get that dragon at least. If Blizz doesn't come up with a silly...hey it's become too easy with the next level of gear as well, lets take it out.

FL25 easier than FL10
To close off the weekend a couple of my guild went with a pug group into Ulduar 25, and I was amazed at how ridiculously easy FL25 is compared to FL10. He went down like a charm, and people were just screwing around it seemed.

The pug did way better than I had expected, We got FL, XT002, Razor, and Kologarn down, and that gives me good hope for our guild run in Ulduar 25 next week to get the watchers all down. Mimi is probably going to be the stopping point.

So quite a few emblems of conquest richer, and a full weekend of raiding later...does explain why there weren't any posts, right? ;)

Final thought of this weekend
What the hell were the Ferarro's thinking?