Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lootship is freaking Boring

The scene: Raid night. 8:00 pm. Raid is schedule to start in 30 minutes and I am getting everything ready to go on Marariel. (I will be PREPARED.) I buy myself some flasks, farm up some soul shards, and even fly out to ICC so I can be a proper lazy-raid-member-summoning warlock.

Literally minutes before we get a full group, our gracious raid leader calls for a switch. I'm on healing duty.

Clearly, I am failing at fulfilling my duties as an EVIL warlock (tm).

That said, it is your sworn duty as a member of the EVIL Warlock class to complete the Warlock class' one official obligation, which is to ensure that every single raid leader in the universe fervently believes that THE RAID WILL SUFFER A HORRIBLE FATE AND FAIL if there are not enough warlocks in the raid at all times.
-Excerpt from the Super Secret Evil Warlock's Guide.

Of course, I enjoy healing and gearing up my healer is very enjoyable. (Only 58 more emblems of frost until 4pt10! >.>) I mail myself the flasks - huzzah for both priests and warlocks nomming spell power like there's no tomorrow - and switch to Aioka.

The other half of the healing team was Hippy - our druid who sometimes chooses to grace us with his heals. The first two bosses were fairly uneventful. We get to the Gunship Battle and Mord glitches Saurfang so that folks can wail on the Mages, Rocketeers, and Axe Throwers to their heart's content. I throw bubbles at everyone I can reach and then... wait.

And wait some more.

And then Hippy starts to complain that there's nothing for him to do.

So I start really focusing on the health bars. They're not going down.

Don't get me wrong, this is good behavior for health bars. I like it. But we realized that there's not a lot of point to bringing two healers to normal Gunship anymore. (Why, oh why, can't we have heroic Gunship?) Like so many events in raiding, this is just another example of something that... shifts my perspective enough to give me a jolt.

It's certainly not a "lawl, I could solo heal this". It's a "holy cow, I can solo heal this?".

To make it up to Hippy, I let him solo heal Saurfang.

What? That doesn't make it better? Well, I did it anyway. This fight always makes me want to go out and GET DPS GEAR RIGHT NOW. Because if I can go 5.7k in healing gear, who knows what kind of awesomeness I could manage in dps gear.

This week Memento returned to the Crimson Halls (better known as the Blood Wing, I think). This is my favourite place ever. Sometimes I get to CC things! It's so exciting.

The Blood Prince Council was a very lucky one shot. Mord and Militia were tanking again and I was spending most of my time on them. Because, you know, it would be silly for the druid to tank heal. But towards the end I get thrown against the wall by one of those stupid kinetic bombs and suddenly I can't reach EITHER TANK.

I start running towards Militia's position because he needs more healing in the right now sort of way. I spam some Flash Heal and Penance and start to breath easier when Mord totally bites it across the room.

Now I'm totally flipping out. I spam heals at Militia with everything I've got and WE ACTUALLY MAKE IT. I couldn't believe it.

To fill out our group we pugged two hunters - neither of whom were particularly bright. This is important for the next part of the story.

I am equipped with the Blood Queen Addon (as mentioned before) so I get it setup and ready to go as we prep for the fight. We start with a bite list based on dps, when I knew - I KNEW - from last time we did this we'd have better success with a bite list based on who knows wtf to do.

We explain the fight. I explain the addon and how it will post raid warnings and instructions. We die. Repeatedly. People are being mind controlled left and right. This is extremely bizarre to me, because the first time we did this we just wiped. Now we're getting wiped by our own people. Eventually, we gave it up.

Note that is a direct result of not having enough warlocks in the raid. Clearly this proves that any raid without enough warlocks WILL SUFFER A HORRIBLE FATE AND FAIL.

Prospective Raid Leaders should note that having Marariel in your raid is a sufficient number of warlocks. You should not add more unless the alternative is a non-Marariel-sanctioned-mage. Otherwise, you may need two or three.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Significant Win

I read that Deathfrost Boots are better than the Sandals of Consecration for a Discipline priest. Its the idea that the 16 extra crit on the dps boots is better than the 80 spirit on the healy boots. And this is true if one holds with the idea that both spirit and hit are wasted stats for Discipline. (True on hit, debateable on spirit depending on your mana and regen. Your mileage may vary). I realize Holy is a different ballgame.

This is good news for me in my eventual attempts to get dps gear for my Shadow offspec. Although I realize that because its better than something else, that doesn't necessarily make it good. Wowhead commenters that are good at math go on to state that the Deathfrost Boots are actually 2nd Best in Slot for Discipline. Shut up. And I can make these on my tailor? Right now? Brb. (BiS honors given to these bad boys. A hotly contested item for casters and healers of all armor classes.)

Anyway. The point I'm working up to is that my priest (despite actually healing a large amount of ICC by now) is now actually more than prepared for ICC. So I'm perfectly willing to bring either Aioka or Mara to our weekly run. But not both. Which I told Mord earlier in the week. I can heal or I can dps... Actually on Aioka I can reasonably do both. I'm sort of dreading the day when Aioka does better dps than Mara.

So, Wednesday, I was expecting an evening full of warlocky goodness that ... never manifested. We've recognized that the three-healer combo is definitely a good plan for everywhere beyond the Lower Spite and the Plagueworks. Mord set up the raid with not only himself as healer, my bubble-flinging dorf, but also Ann's Holy priest Ash. Priestly Twin Powers Activate!

The only really interesting consequence of this being that the lootmaster was a healer.

Most of the Lower Spite is old hat by now. Militia came in as a tank again, but on his death knight this time. Things were so ridiculously smooth that both Ann and I went Shadow for the Saurfang fight. I don't have recount set up on Aioka, so I have no idea what her dps was. A respectable 5.5k according to Ann (who has her own blog-home now over at Noob Raid - getting saved to others' fail runs since 2010).

In the heady rush of facing new progression last week (Blood Queen who?) we decided that this week we would tackle the Lower Spire and the Frostwing Halls. Hellooooo Sindragosa. Therefore, we thumbed our noses at the Plagueworks and the Crimson Halls and went right over to the Frostwing Halls. Dreamwalker went surprisingly well. Last week Mord solo-healed the dragon, this week he solo-healed the raid. What a show-off. :p

No, he was nice enough to let two priestlets who have never seen the inside of Nightmare Portal give upping Dreamwalker a shot. I'm happy to say that we did not let him or the rest of the raid down. Binding Heal and Greater Heal got dusted off and put to good use. Penance was kept on cooldown. The only thing I think I particularly failed at was... picking up those stupid green balls in the Nightmare Portal. That's not terribly important, right? Ugh. I'm afraid I'm a bit retarded in full 3D environments. I tend to have trouble in the Occulus too.

The trash runs between Dreamwalker and Sindragosa was totally thrilling in that 'I've never been here before and why are things climbing down the walls at us?' sort of way. The gauntlet was terribly messy for a group that's never been there. Even with Militia very carefully herding us along. It was somewhere in the middle of this that I finally realized I still had my dps trinkets equipped. (1 & 2) Probably when I found out I couldn't tap my Sliver for mana. Oi.

Walking out onto Sindragosa's platform was an awe-inspiring moment. The literal ton of frost whelps gave me the heebie-jeebies. And when you finish wiping them all out, Sindragosa flies in looking every part the avenging dragon who you should probably not poke in the eye or kill her babies. The entirety of vent was treated to a rather unflattering yelp on my part. But hell, that dragon startled me.

But when we had rebuffed and finished laughing at the noob (i.e. me) and I put my proper big-girl healing trinkets back on we were ready to throw ourselves at MOAR NEW CONTENT.

Not to put a damper on the excitement we felt, but it ended rather horribly. It started well enough. We learned to juggle air and ground phases easily enough. I managed my own Instability debuff decently well and if anyone else sucked at it I didn't notice.

Final Phase, however. Oi.

The first two attempts I was the first one to Ice-blocked. The first time I wasn't fast enough getting to the pre-determined 'Ice Block Area' and tombed a whole bunch of people. Whoops. Second time was much better. But then the second tomb is scheduled to come down and we haven't finished beating up the first one yet and the melee hasn't cleared their stacks of whatever and we die. And this goes on for 3 or 4 attempts before we call on account of sleeping.

I think if we manage to get to a point of extending raid lockouts again, Sindragosa needs to be the first (and likely only) fight of the night. Then we might actually have a chance at throwing ourselves at her enough times to start improving.

Militia, however, assures us that we're miles ahead of his other guild in terms of how far we made it in our first several attempts. Apparently getting to the final phase on Sindragosa is significant win.

I don't doubt that we'll continue to get better, I'm just hoping that we have enough time before everyone is done with Wrath for awhile. I know Cata is looming on the horizon, but I'm spending my time with my fingers in my ears going "Can't hear you!".

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Alternative Title: 'AMG I SAW THE BLOOD QUEEN'. Because as excited as Tam was to see the Lich King, that's how excited we were to see new content. And it matters very little to us that other people think this stuff is easy and old news by now.

As previously mentioned, Wednesday is our new progression night and last night was excellent. We were actually successful in finding people to extend the lockout, which was a very pleasant surprise. We had to rearrange our team a little bit and I think Ann and I both managed to save both our priests and our casters to this raid ID.

I believe I also mentioned we have two new guildies. Colvar brings us a warrior, a warlock, and a rogue. He's... interesting. He actually seems... skittish. He reacts to our questions and clarifications as if, at any moment, we were going to boot him from the raid/guild/life. He's eager, though. Colvar started the run last week on his warlock, as did I. This week he brought his warrior and switched to his rogue midway through. I think he probably managed to save the most characters to one raid ID.

Dru brings us a tanky-druid and a shaman. Tanks always seem to be in short supply at Memento, so this addition is particularly welcome. He's also eager. Dru organized a short weekly trip earlier in the week that went very smoothly. I think Dru started with his shaman last week and brought his druid this week.

Mord actually came as a healer on his paladin, something that happens very rarely. Militia actually came as Militia; the first time he's been on his paladin in a long time. We ended up with a raid group that looked like this:
2 Tanks (Militia-paladin, Dru-druid)
2 Melee dps (Colvar-warrior/rogue, Batra-dk)
3 Range dps (Ann-mage, Barheim-mage, Goticus-warlock)
3 Healers (Myself-priest, Takk-shaman, Mord-paladin)

Probably could have used a Spriest or a Boomkin, but for us that's a surprisingly well-mixed raid group.

Last week was the second week we managed to go 7/12 in one night, so we started with Dreamwalker. Yeah, started with something that's been a complete failfest in the past.

Takk and I focused on healing the raid while Mord healed the dragon. From the strategies I've read this is somewhat unusual. In general, one healer stays on the raid and two go to the dragon. The sad truth of it, though, is that my priest cannot really be relied on to heal the entire raid in an unfamiliar fight. Takk could have handled the raid with his shaman, but I'm not personally convinced I would have made a difference on the dragon.

In the end it didn't matter too much. We wiped our first attempt at 92%. Our melee were spending too much time running around and one of our tanks died at an inopportune moment. We rallied for a second time and upped that dragon to full 100%. It was a matter of melee knowing where to be, and range calling out Blazing Skeletons, and me managing my mana as best as I know how.

The Blood Prince Council is every bit a beautiful, unholy mess as I could have hoped for. We wiped here several times. For silly reasons. Because its one thing to listen to your raid leader or raid assist to explain the fight. And its one thing to read about empowered blah blah in the guides. And its one thing to watch videos of other people pulling it off. It's totally a different thing altogether to be THERE for the first time with your screen exploding in color and warnings and ALL THE HEALTHBARS ARE GOING DOWN. Which is not the direction they're supposed to go.

And DBM has this handy range feature that tells you who is within X range of you - very nice for Empowered Vortex. But mine kept disappearing for no reason that I could fathom.

As a raid, we had huge issues with getting blown around the room. Whether because of too many people standing too close to vortexes or those cursed Kinetic Bombs, I'm not sure. But it's very disconcerting to FINALLY find a good place to stand where you can reach almost everyone with your healing spells and then get thrown 30 yards across the room. It sucks.

Sure, its a tricky thing. You find out a vortex is near/on you and you have to move 10 yards away from everyone without ranging all of your healers. And when your healers are more or less grouped around the center, this can be difficult.

But it still sucks.

In the end it was messy and unorganized, but we succeeded. Defeating them was an excellent thing, but I'm left wondering if it will take any fewer attempts the next time we try it.

I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to be the ranged tank for Keleseth on my warlock. Not that Militia didn't do a great job, but that I would still really like to try it one day. Maybe after we get some more practice.

So then we went upstairs. To the chamber of the Blood Queen.

Trying to explain this fight to people who have never been there and never watched others do it is an interesting adventure. Especially when your own knowledge base is largely theoretical. We think Militia has been with his other guild, but for everyone else it was our first time.

Several weeks ago, in preparation for this triumphant event I downloaded the Blood Queen addon. And I was the only one who had it. It posts to the raid who is supposed to be biting whom and when. I set it up to give an 8 second warning, since known of us had ever been there before. The first priority list it cranked out was kind of bizarre so I adjusted it. We set out to try it out.

We died EPICLY (still a word in maraland).

There was so much confusion with the red ribbon between people and no one could see what was going on and our pug-mage got bitten first and was like 'wut?'. He couldn't find his target so we told him to bite another dps rather than get mind controlled. Instead, he bit Mord. A healer.

We died.

We died several times, really. And everytime it was "Ok, everyone, chill out. I know this fight looks like a really quick mess, but take your time. There will be a raid warning for when it's time to bite targets and then you have 8 whole seconds to get there. Calm down. Don't worry."

Finally, we got everything settled. Ann arranged to take the first bite, which seemed to help. I got better with my fear ward (not great, but better). It was another success that was messy and hectic but oh so full of excitement.

Personally, I have love/hate relationship with coordination fights. When everything goes the way it's supposed to its a well choreographed dance. Everyone performs their role, there's good communication, genuine support, and the thrill of triumph at the end is truly sweet.

When everything goes wrong, it's huge mess of color and sound and bewilderment. At the end of poorly executed coordination fight there's a tendency towards finger-pointing. It leads to arguments and general bad feeling.

The Blood Queen was kind enough to drop her nail, the much-sought-after wand upgrade (over this well-used piece) for everyone who wears a sissy robe. I got lucky. Aioka's been lucky recently, winning the wand with something like a 48 and the T10 pants from VoA with a roll of 5.

And I realized, my nooblet priest is not so... nooby anymore. She has good gear. Not just 'decent' or 'ok' gear, but good. In some cases, great. I still have some pieces with hit on them and I'm still rocking my PvP bracers, but of the first 10 bosses in ICC I have healed 9 of them. It kind of blows my mind.

Not that it has anything to do with myself. We have a good thing going right now and a great group of people to be going it with. Dru signed off last night with the following message:

"Thanks for letting me be a part of your guild. I've been looking for a long time, and I'm glad I finally found a good one."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Memento has tentatively settled on a schedule for the semester. Our progression night will be Wednesdays 8-11. Trying to form up a 10-man group that can extend the lockouts from week to week and hopefully get further than our current 7/12.

Tuesdays and Thursdays will be guild nights for alt runs and whatever nonsense we feel like getting into. Last night it was an "alt" run of ICC. A couple a new guild members and new noobraiders went with Ann, Mord(on his rogue), and myself (on Aioka) to do battle with the first 5 bosses in the Citadel.

We wiped to Marrowgar, which sucked. Overall we had some noob-type issues with stacking and switching targets and general raid awareness. Deathwhisper, Lootship, and Saurfang went relatively painlessly. Our Saurfang fight was epically messy. We had only three ranged dps, 2 mages and a Boomkin, which made getting the bloodbeasts down difficult.

We wiped to Festergut twice. People had difficulty understanding what a Collapse Point was (where the range is standing to get spores) and what we meant when we said "Move Out" (run to the collapse point).

The other half of our healing team was a druid. I finally (after two hours or so) made myself relax and focus mostly on the tanks and left the rest of the raid in the very capable hands (limbs?) of said druid. Made my life better and we seemed to encounter less difficulty afterward. Seems like, regardless of whether Discipline is considered tank heals or raid heals, my personal style tends towards tank healing. This thought warrants more experimentation.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What Boredom Gets You

While its true that the semester is starting up and all too soon time will have to be devoted to studying and homework and research and stuff, I haven't been able to really get into yet. The advantage of this being that I still have time for WoW. The disadvantage being that if I'm not careful I could up rather behind without noticing.

On my happily school-free weekend, Ann and I got a smidge bored. We've been missing out on our regular raid schedule recently and it was just time to show some internet enemies what-for.

So we hopped a pug to Ulduar with Mord.

A pug in which, it turned out, only Ann, Mord, and I had ever been to Ulduar. Everyone else was there because they'd never been and thought it would be fun.

Fun. Right.

I went on Aioka as a "tank healer". As a Discipline priest "tank healing" is a concept that boggles the brain a bit. Don't get me wrong, having only one target to Penance and Flash Heal makes life much simpler. But Flash Heal goes faster in the 8-10 seconds after a Bubble. And if the tank can't have a bubble then someone else is getting it and by the end of the fight everyone in the raid has bubbles regardless of whether I'm technically healing the tank or technically healing the raid. I also Frisbee the tank but since it can go just about anywhere, I count is as a raid healing spell.

Getting up to Flame Leviathan was fairly painless. I went as a gunner, which is what I'm used to doing on Mara. Our little raid went right up to Flame Leviathan and proceeded to pull everything despite frequent commands in the raid channel to definitely not pull.

None of the towers had been taken out and no one really had any idea what was going on and in general it was just bad.

After the wipe, Ann offered Memento's Vent for the raid's use. After some testy words on my part that if we weren't going to use Vent then people at least needed to pay attention to their raid chat.

The raid organizer's (at this point Mord was leading, because this organizer was pretty fail) response to this was "I don't have vent, lol."

We got everyone else into the proper vent channel and got a couple towers down. Went back to the Flame Leviathan and sucked much less. Mord gave very comprehensive instructions for fighting FL. On vent. Which meant our failadin (did I mention the raid's organizer was paladin with all 71 points in protection?) didn't hear any of it.

But a decent number of people, Aioka included, got Orbital Devastation for it.

XT was pretty basic. The tanks took their assignments well. I kept them and the raid alive. I did more overall healing than my shaman healing partner; which was hard to understand. We absolutely did not attempt Razorscale or Ignis.

Clearing the trash up to Kologarn was probably more complex than it needed to be, but we succeeded. Mord handed out assignments and instructions for the fight. We had a rather decent warrior tank who had recently dinged 80 and was very eager to show his stuff.

So eager in fact that when the fight started, he ran right up to Kologarn and off the edge of the cliff into the abyss and died.

The other tanks were not prepared to jump into his spot and, even if they were, I was way too busy laughing to heal them. And it was funny because it was just such a noob thing - on our poor warrior's part for not stopping before running off the edge of a cliff and on our part for not mentioning that there's a huge cliff there and Kologarn has a huge hitbox so don't get any more up close and personal with him than you have to.

This is what we would like noobraid to be about: introducing new players to raiding (while hopefully not getting them killed in silly ways) and helping them to get experience they might not get elsewhere. Especially people like that warrior who are going to be totally awesome and all they need is experience and gear.

I have a feeling we may be seeing more of these this semester since our raid schedule is going to be split. We haven't worked out all the particulars but we are currently planning on running raids 3-4 nights a week. Everyone is free on Wednesdays, so I suggested that for our progression night. Mord will probably run something or other on Monday or Tuesday evenings and I volunteered to lead Thursday evenings. Because I'm crazy like that.

Last night we took our whole 4 guild members who were online into another guild's ICC-25. I'm not really a fan of healing 25-mans but they essentially told me they'd carry me through it and it really didn't matter if I healed or not. I got another "tank healing" spot with two other tank healers. And my overall healing was miserably sad for the whole night. I got a cloak upgrade out of it though.

To be perfectly honest, it was kind of a miserable adventure. One of their members was on one of the Shadowmourne quests. When they died, they asked for a battle-res on a trash pull. I think it was a Culture Shock thing. If you're in one of our ICC runs and you die on trash in the lower spire, you will run back in. Because certainly none of our healers will resurrect you.

The Upper Spire is a different story, sometimes.

And this guild like to talk about random things instead of ... you know ... doing stuff. We were getting ready to face Saurfang and instead of starting the fight some of the people on vent starting debating the 'Agility is for Frost DKs' issue. Which has already been done to death in our own guild, so I was really not interested. I thought about going and starting the fight myself. They could have had most of the conversation while waiting for Saurfang's attention.

It was string of these minor irritations that made the run less than enjoyable overall. Some of the members were whiny and 3 or 4 people throughout the night dropped raid for reasons I just didn't understand.

Here's to crossing my fingers and hoping that everything will settle down again soon.