Friday, April 30, 2010

Moar Sanity Pls

Good news: The semester is over and I have two whole weeks off from school-type douchbaggery.

Bad news: Memento's main hunter, Es, has now seen more ICC than the rest of us. He pugged a group last night that downed Rotface in addition to the first four bosses the rest of us are used to seeing.

I believe this is his vengeance for missing our ICC runs the past two weeks. I, too, missed the guild ICC run this week due to stupidity computer issues. I got too used to plug-and-play awesomeness that I neglected to update my motherboard drivers. Which means my motherboard pretty much had fits when I introduced it to a shiny new graphics card.

To answer your question, Alerexis, I have no idea when we are going to try other bosses. Hopefully next week. Some of our engineers still have a big project to finish up, but we should all be available for some real ICC head-banging in the next two weeks, if nothing else.


Last night we pugged a tank and healer for 10-man TOTC. There was a movement towards an 25-man run that got shot down. After more than 10 people had been invited. Our bad. Poor communication. Lack of leadership. Whatevs.

Dumm said he wasn't interested in a 25 man run and I said that I wouldn't consider 25 mans to be guild progression (because there would more not-guildies than guildies). So we regrouped, pugged the 10-man and trouped off to the Renaissance Fair. (Go back and read this if the Renaissance Fair bit doesn't make sense. I haven't been able to think of the Argent Tournament as anything else since I read it.)

So... interesting turnout in TOTC. Dumm got paired up with another warrior tank. And Penguin pally healed with a Shaman. Militia's shaman got to dps. The rest of us melted faces. There's some stuff about the end of TOTC being a surprise. So if you're in the one other guild that hadn't done it yet, don't read this entire post. It's a spoiler.

We wiped rather spectacularly on the two Jormungars the very first time. The second time I get the poison and run to the wrong tank (Dumm had the fire). I died. The Jormungar went down, but not without a fight. Militia and I formed the Elitist's Dead People Society. How the other 6 or so people pull off Icehowl, I have no idea. But they do. Rezzes and cookies all around.

Jaraxxus. We eat it a second time. The adds got tanked... by Senach and I. Sen died. I flipped out, but luckily Dumm was on his way to pick up the Mistress of Pain who happened to be especially interested in what I was doing. Our pug shaman eats some green fire. Infernals run rampant. We die.

And my thought is: "This is a group that supposed to be able to handle the Faction Champions? We're DOOMED."

Funny thing, though. We weren't. After all our trouble with the Northrend Beasts and Jaraxxus, the Faction Champs go off with barely a hitch.

I did discover that I have no room in my UI for all the buttons I want to push in a PVP fight. I created another bar with some PVP-only things on it. Like Curse of Tongues - which I thought might be particularly useful on their healers. Some DoTs and Fears made the bar.

Then I found out, when it came time to focus on one target at a time... I couldn't find my normal spells. /facepalm

Anyway, the mages keep some of the more obnoxious folks sheeped. Militia's enhancement shaman is on interruption duty with the paladin, as is my felhunter. I'm cursing and fearing and dps'ing on the main target. I am not, for the most part, DoTing. Because I was afraid my own spastic OMG-PVP retardness would lead me to DoT a sheep target and that would have been a terrible, terrible thing.

And we SUCCEED. On the FIRST TRY. It was a miracle folks, a miracle.

Not only that, but we also succeeded at killing the Twin Valkyrie. On the first try.

Not only that, but we also succeeded at killing Anub'Arak. On the first try.

But that's getting ahead of the story.

Nothing interesting as far as the Valkyrie were concerned. We got the speed kill though, which was sweet. Then we're all kinda staring around. I see the Path of Frost animation go off. And its curious... because I remember Ann saying something about the end of TOTC, but I don't remember needing to walk on water being part of it.

And as the ground DISAPPEARS I remember. And I try - I try frantically - to click off the Path of Frost buff. To no avail. We splat. All of us except Militia and Senach, if I remember correctly. Sound suspicious? It should. Militia put Takk up to it and warned the mages. But not me.

I thought we were in an Elitist Society, Mil? What gives?

Of course, there's a bit of complaining. Takk disappears on us, even though it was Militia's fault, and does not reappear. So Time - our new and awesome Healer/Tank/DPS - popped in as a DPS for the last boss of TOTC.

Like I said, we succeeded. There wasn't much in terms of fat loots. There were some hit boots that Sen and I discussed a bit. Sandals of the Silver Magus vs. the Prelate's Snowshoes.

I got an upgrade! Having a dual-spec in Affliction and Demonology means I run into some issues with the hit cap. The issue being that the hit cap is staggeringly different for Affliction than Demonology. So... if I'm running Affl, I'm severely over the hitcap. If I'm running Demo, I'm just barely flirting with the cap.

My upgrade, thus, was an off-hand that allows to me put away a ridiculously hit-laden staff when running Affliction. Chalice of Benedictus. Shiny, amirite?

Final note: as mentioned, we have another new member in Memento Mori. Time recently reactivated his account and was looking for more laid back raiding environment, which hopefully Memento can continue to provide. He brings us a druid healer, a warrior, and a paladin. Thus far, he has proven to be a valuable addition.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mythbusting: Fail Pugs

I think, by now, everyone has had at least one fail pug. In fact, if you have more non-fail pugs than fail pugs, you should certainly thank your lucky stars.

Last night we pugged some empty slots to get us started on a fresh fun of ICC. Batra was back and online, but opted not to go with us. He says he's going to try and get a good DPS equipment set together, since we have an official main tank in Dumm.

The run went quite smoothly. We managed to wipe on trash before Marrowgar, because we didn't have any trap-removing people and we managed to hit two traps at the same time. Very painful. But nobody quit. Nobody even said "lol, noobs". There was no finger-pointing or angryness or anything like that. It was just one of those things that sometimes happens and, while its unfortunate, everyone pulls up their big girl/boy pants and moves on.

ICC general chat on Hydraxis is like trade, but less populated. It made no sense whatsover and there were a couple of "your mom" jokes. And something about a mailbox with a sandwich in it... that Saurfang stole. So thats why we killed him.

Anyway. We wiped on Saurfang again. And then downed him the second try. Again. This is certainly not the worst pattern of fighting we could get into, but its not really the best either.

One of our pug members was Ayliffe again. Who we need to actually remember to look for before we pug melee dps, because he's awesome. His DPS is pretty sweet and he's just generally a great guy to raid with.

It was a fail night as far as caster loot went. Plenty of plate, a couple pieces of mail and leather gear. No cloth. No castery type weapons or trinkets. Which also isn't the worst thing in the world. Even if they did drop, competition for caster items is fierce in Memento. Consequence of having two mages and a warlock as our core dpsers.

Still, we had a great time. Nothing particularly remarkable, except that we finished the wing in under two hours. Like, "Tra la la la la. This is no big deal." I even stayed alive on the gunship this time.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sarth: Now in Multiple Dimensions

We now return you to your normally scheduled tales of noobraid. While not guaranteed to be text-wall free (generally the opposite, in fact), I can promise that this post will be free from quotes from Blizzard. You're welcome.

Raid almost, kind of, got started on time! There was a small detail where I was in Dragonblight waiting to start the weekly (Sartharion) and everyone else was headed to Vault. Not a big deal. Although, I think some people see a certain amount of irony in summoning a warlock.

Nothing interesting in Vault. We had a good group. Militia has started healing on his Shaman, so our guild is certainly gaining some diversity in our available characters for raiding even if we aren't technically gaining new players.

Our Vault group was not interested in our plans for the rest of the evening: Sartharion with 3 drakes. So we grabbed some PUGs and headed off into the Obsidian Sanctum.

Now, I don't think anyone can deny that Sarth3D is HARD. You don't have much more than a minute before the drakes enrage. And this is pretty much guaranteed to wipe everyone out. Assuming you still have people alive even at this point after lava walls, whelp spawns, and stupid fire elementals.

We cleared the trash, no big deal. I mistakenly pulled one of the groups because I was CONVINCED that Dumm had already attacked them. I survived much to my amazement, and probably due to the sheer awesomeness of Dumm's tanking and Militia's healing. Oops. I'll try to not do that again. Except for when I'm bored and the Eye of Kilrogg sounds like an exceptionally good idea.

Penguin is on his rogue and he "resets" Sarth so the rest of us can get into position. After several wipes, this simply entailed finding the large pile of bones and standing on it. But for the first attempt, Penguin showed us where to stand to have the best chances of avoiding a GIANT WALL OF LAVA to the face.

When combat actually starts, Dumm picks up Sartharion and we pop EVERYTHING. I was running Demonology - which, in retrospect, I probably should have switched from at least once to see how the two specs are really comparing at the moment - so for me that's Metamorphosis. For Militia, it's Heroism. For Takk, it's Army. It was nuts. Sartharion was down to about 40% in the time it took for Metamorphosis to wear off.

And the combination of my current haste rating and heroism and whatever else was going on was just absolutely shocking. Incinerates were going off in a second. No, really. ONE second. Can has all the time, please?

But anyway, the stars were aligned for that first attempt because Sartharion saw 1% health before me and my 9 friends ate dirt. I think this first one was our best attempt. Not only attempt, to be sure, but probably the best.

We persisted! For the next hour and half we threw ourselves against Sartharion and his twilight drakes. We had pugs come and go. We had a really awesome mage at one point that topped Sen on the meters. Everyone who came in with us did very decent damage. I was quite impressed, all things considered.

After many more wipes and two visits to Jeeves to repair gear, we called it. We were going down consistently when Sarth hit 8-12% health. So, for kicks and giggles, we went and killed two of the drakes and then went back to Sarth to show him a resounding What For.

We had some angsty moments: when DPS wondered "Why don't I have enough deeps to kill a giant, angry dragon?" When tanks wondered "Why can't I stay alive when Sarth hits 10%?" When healers said "Watch your own selves when Tenebron descends because I can't keep you guys and the tank up at that point."

We called the night after that so that sleep could happen for those of us that work on Friday mornings. Next week we return to ICC and attempt to play dress-up with kill some princes. All in all, I think everyone had a very enjoyable night. It was frustrating, sure, but never boring!

Wiping repeatedly on Sartharion has left me severely short on funds. Aioka recently received Tome of Cold Weather Flight so the accumulated gold amongst my characters is not much.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I'm sure these posts are a dime a dozen; but, of course, I can't resist. Blizzard's Cataclysm Class Previews went live a week ago. I confess, I've only read a couple of them so far.

These are my comments and initial reactions to the Warlock Preview. I've had a few days to try and process these out and determine how I really feel about them. I'll post my initial reactions, no matter how silly, along with the better thought out responses now that the information has had time to stew.

There's a lot of information in the Class Previews, which makes this post a bit ridiculously long. If you're only interested in certain sections, here are your wall breakers:

1. New Spells
2. Soul Shard Overhaul
3. Mechanics
4. Talents
5. Really Lame Mastery Bonuses

1. New Spells

Fel Flame (level 81): Quick-hitting spell dealing Shadowfire damage. This is similar to the mage ability Frostfire Bolt, in that the lower of the two resistances (in this case shadow and fire) on your target will be used for calculating its damage. Additionally, Fel Flame refreshes the duration of Immolate and Unstable Affliction. Our goal for Fel Flame is to provide a spell that's good for mobility and for use by Destruction and Demonology specs. Also, did we mention it uses green fire? Yep. Instant cast.

First reaction: If its similar to anything a mage has, then I don't want it!

Response: Completely contradictory to my first reaction, I'm pretty excited about this. Anything that lets me avoid recasting Imm or UA has to be a good plan. That's a full 1.5 seconds I can spend casting a nuke without losing any benefits of the dots. I can see it's fully useful for both Affliction and Demonology, which makes me happy. It seems as though it would fit quite easily into the Demo's execution phase, but considerably less seamlessly into Affl. Although, that assumes the execution phases don't change too much between now and Cataclysm.

Dark Intent (level 83): Increases the target's chance for a critical effect with periodic damage or healing spells by 3%. When the target lands a crit, you get a buff to your damage for 10 seconds. This effect stacks up to three times.

First Reaction: More freaking mage nonsense. See Focus Magic.

Response: I'm still pretty unsure about this one. It's not at all interesting to me. I'm sure it will be quite excellent in practice. And I am happy that its better (in a biased, subjective sort of way) than the mage one. And it doesn't say (yet) that I can't cast it on myself. But I just can't get excited about it.

Demon Soul (level 85): Fuses the warlock's soul with his or her demon. This provides warlocks with a self-burst cooldown to use. The specific effects granted by Demon Soul depend on the demon chosen. Demon Soul lasts for a certain number of charges or until it expires (around 20 seconds), depending on the demon used. 2-minute cooldown.

First Reaction: Om nom demons? o.O

Response: I don't I have enough information about this to really get excited. The cooldowns that become available will really make or break this spell. It has high potential and I'm looking forward to seeing what Blizzard is going to do with it.

2. Soul Shard Overhaul

Soul Shards will no longer be inventory items, but instead a new UI resource mechanic. Warlocks will have 3 Soul Shards that can be used during a fight and will not be able to gain additional shards during combat. Soul Burn will consume a Soul Shard resource, thereby allowing you to use the secondary effects of some spells.

This will complicate my life for awhile while I get used to a new system. And I think Soul Burn is likely to seriously overcomplicate my already messy action bars. I keep a lot of things handy for situational purposes, like Death Coil, Drain Life, and Health Funnel. Now I'll need to create more buttons for situational uses of Soul Burn + Some other spell.

I'm concerned, as are a lot of other warlocks, I think, about the inability to regenerate Soul Shards in Combat. I understand the concept "using a Soul Shard should be a big deal", but I think there's going be a lengthy period of time where people try to figure out when to use them without gimping their dps. In a big fight, too many things can go wrong. I'm not saying what they have here is a bad idea. I'm just concerned about how it's really going to pan out in game.

And, honestly, where did I get these Soul Shards in the first place if not in combat? I had to Drain the Soul of someone/something while also actively managing to kill them. If I managed to do this outside of combat, then my stealth abilities put rogues to shame. I had no idea Blizzard was planning on adding a warlock stealth. Cataclysm really is making dreams come true.

3. Mechanics

When reapplying a DoT, you can no longer "clip" the final tick. Instead, this will just add duration to the spell.

Heck freaking yes. Clipping my DoTs is something I still manage to do way more often than I should. What is this likely to do to a spell like Curse of Agony? Does the damage just keep increasing? Because that could make my life a whole lot better.

Curse of Agony and Curse of Doom will be converted into Bane of Agony and Bane of Doom. Bane spells are considered magic instead of curses. This means you will be able to cast one Bane (e.g. Bane of Agony) and one Curse (e.g. Curse of Elements) on a single target.

More Dots, More Dots!

This will complicate things a bit, in that there will be more stuff to monitor. But with other spells automatically refreshing the duration on Imm and UA, then things should even out in the end.

It will certainly make things interesting for our particular Raid Setup. With an unholy DK to apply Ebon Plague (assuming they don't change this) we don't need Curse of the Elements. Which means I can play with things like Curse of Weakness, Curse of Exhaustion, and Curse of Tongues. Fun times.

Hellfire will no longer deal damage to the warlock.

Imps will lose Fire Shield, but will gain a new ability, Burning Ember, which is a stacking DoT.

The succubus melee range will be increased. The succubus will no longer have Soothing Kiss, but will instead have Whiplash, which knocks back all enemies within 8 yards.

Voidwalker Torment will do increased damage and generate a lot of area-of-effect (AoE) threat. Suffering will become a single-target taunt.

Some other stuff that I find less interesting. I used Hellfire to kill myself once. So, while it was useful in that one instance I don't think I'll miss that mechanic much.

Succubus becomes a PVP contender with the Felhunter. Voidwalker attempts to become a real tank. There are no new demons being introduced at this time. This makes a lot of warlocks really sad. Personally, I don't care too much. It would be interesting to have a new demon, sure, but what role would they play?

4. Talents

Demonology will gain a new direct-damage spell, Demon Bolt. Demon Bolt will add a debuff that improves the damage done by the demon to the target.

Metamorphosis will no longer be subject to demonic crowd control. Furthermore, abilities available only while under the effects of Metamorphosis will be altered to put more emphasis on the warlock's own spells.

A largely uninteresting section in which Chaos Bolt makes a trip into the demonic realm and Metamorphosis attempts to provide unique demon spells that don't suck.

Although, I will be disappointed if they change Demonic Charge and Immolation Aura. Because that combination is very entertaining.

5. Really Lame Mastery Bonuses

Spell Damage
Spell Crit
Shadow DoTs

Spell Damage
Spell Haste
Demon Damage

Spell Damage
Spell Critical Damage
Fire Direct Damage

There's not too much to say about these. Except: Why are none of these about Shadow Damage? Ok, shadow damage over time made the list. But direct fire damage managed to beat out direct shadow damage. Demonic Damage - damage that doesn't even come from the player - beat out direct shadow damage. I am confused by this.

Read the Official Preview here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What Road Block?

Last nights Progression run was so full of WIN it's hard to describe. Rather than beat our heads against the wall in either Ulduar or TotC, we took our noobraid on a field trip to ICC.

After the weekly, of course, which was Noth the Plaguebringer. I only mention this because it's really awesome, being able to go "Oh, Naxx? Yeah, we can get that done in about 10 minutes." And have it be true. Ann and I didn't even remember to flask before the fight and we still downed him before he could teleport. Being over-geared is not something I ever really expected to experience, without taking my lock over to the pre-Outland dungeons.

So, ICC. We pug the blank spots: 1 tank, 1 healer, and 1 dps. We get a very decent group. The other healer was a Disc Priest, which some of our "Disc is not for Raid Heals" people didn't think would go well with our Holy Pally. I thought it went quite well, but I'm not on that end of things on my warlock. It was interesting to see what Penance looks like from the receiving end.

Our tank, Dumm, is definitely made of awesome. We're all new to this, of course, but he picks up on everything so quickly. He keeps us squishies from dieing in horrible ways. He's opening up a little in gchat and such. I'm sure the rest of us are pretty scary, though.

*Lord Marrowgar:
This was my second time fighting Marrowgar. My first time with the knowledge that "Hey, Bone Spikes are BAD".

Militia and Pengu were both trying to explain how to not die in Bonestorm which involved going left at one point and right at another. So, naturally, when the first Bonestorm arrives I'm standing there going "Which way is left?"

I survived, though. Whew.

*Lady Deathwhisper:
Also my second time fighting Deathwhisper. I remembered this fight quite well. Or, I thought I did.

Well. After the first wave of adds, all of the dps were just kinda standing around. I was expecting a second, insta-wave. It wasn't until the second wave actually showed up that Pengu reminded us that we should be attacking the giant bubble around Deathwhisper between add phases. Oops.

*Gunship Battle
My first time on the Gunship. I spent the fight dead. And no, I have no idea what happened.

*Deathbringer Saurfang
Militia assigned all the range folks their positions for the fight. Sen and I on one side, Ann and Militia(on his hunter) on the other. So each side could take out their respective Blood Beast. And try to keep it from nomming on the healers. Emphasis on try.

Our first attempt went pretty well. We got him down to below 25% health. Then things kinda went nuts with the Blood Beasts. Someone died on the other side, so Sen was trying to Slow one and Frost Nova the other and we were both trying to dps them down. This was ok until one got Frost Nova'd right in front of one of the healers.

The second attempt was much better. We succeeded, which is always an improvement on not succeeding. Sen and I switched a few things up in an attempt to make the Blood Beasts hate us faster.

And now that I'm thinking about it, I have no idea what tanks, melee, and healers get up to during boss fights. Apart from tanking, healing, and melee dps'ing, of course. I know there's some stuff where the tanks taunt off each other, but that doesn't have any real meaning for me as the only tank I've played is a level 33. And I know there were Bubbles and Penances and Holy Beam of Righteous Light or whatever Holy Pallies have flying around everywhere. And I also know Takk and the pug-rogue were up there beating Sarufang about the face. (While doing more dps than me. Sigh.)

I was very much "in the zone" in which I do everything I can to keep DoTs rolling on Saurfang and kill Blood Beasts quickly and without getting eaten. I had a blast.

So, with the first wing down Memento now has THREE raids in which we can attempt to progress. And, really, I thought ICC was going be Beating Your Head Against a Brick Wall, Hardmode but its... not. Yet.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Road Block

So, yes, it's been awhile since the last post. Both school and work are DPS'ing me in the face. This will probably not change in the next few weeks, but I will endeavor to dedicate more time to here. Especially since so many interesting things are going on right now.

Memento Mori, over the past several weeks, has:
* Gained and lost not one, but two priests.
* Road Blocked themselves in not one, but two different raids.
* Given up on the idea of Sunday evening being in any way related to the guild.
* Not been on time for anything.

Wow, that wasn't meant to sound all bad. Memento also has:
* Had tons of AWESOME FUN just doing our noobraid thing.

So, our raid healer Sess has gained some serious real life aggro and is unable to meet our raid times at the moment. Pengu has been doing the bulk of the healing now (literally), as a truly awesometastic Pally Healer. I have been working on my priest, whenever I have time. I would really like to try raid healing, I think.

We've been pugging healers and any other blank spots for our raids. VoA has become a standard part of the week. Nothing interesting has dropped since our first run, though. The second week, the same dbag shaman from our Ulduar pug was mistakenly invited back. I was really impressed, actually. He didn't say anything the entire time. At least, that's what I thought until I remembered I had put him on my ignore list. Still, it was overall a short, painless run.

Anyway. Our Road Blocks. Or: Beating Your Head Against a Brick Wall, the Intermediate Version.

In lovely Ulduar, Memento has successfully downed five bosses with a combination of Pengu single-healing and moronic pug healers. Yay, us! We have gone on to wipe repeatedly against the Assembly of Iron, Auriaya, and Hodir.

Some times its poor strategy, some times its lack of communication, some times its just a matter of people standing in too much BAD and not enough GOOD.

And I'm sure it doesn't help that my learning curve, at least, has been an average of three or four fights before I really know what's happening. And even then, I can't say that my situational awareness is all it should be.

While this is frustrating, of course, nothing quite beats the adrenaline and rush of triumph you experience when you DO kill that annoyingly huge dude with the big arms for the first time. (Although, I swear, I got attacked by those stupid eye beams SIX times in a ROW.)

This, Militia assures us, is the essence of raid progression. And really, if you never have any problems can you really say you're learning? If you never struggle, can you get the same rush of "We're so badass" when you succeed? I think not.

Same story in Trial of the Crusader. Some minor issues with the Northrend Beasts. "OMG, I have Burning Bile, where do I go?" ... Yeah, that would be me. I think some other people probably had trouble with that too. Our pugs certainly didn't have any idea what was going on.

Regardless, we survived the Jormungars and the Wendigo and Lord Jaraxxus. Then come the Faction Champions. Oh, them. I hate them. And I hate PVP to begin with. So anything that smacks of PVP breaking into my neat little PVE world is AWFUL.

Which is why PVP is probably going to end my dreams of What a Long, Strange Trip Its Been.

WTB shorter cooldown on Death Coil, pls.