Thursday, August 25, 2011


Ragnaros finally down! My guild has had him for a few weeks, but I managed to miss the first two times we got him and 10man, and we've been training everyone to get him in 25man, so I haven't actually been in on a Rag kill until now. ...and I just realized I didn't take a screenshot of it. Ffffff.

Oh well. That means this weekend hopefully I'll get the strat for Rag up.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Majordomo Staghelm

Majordomo Staghelm! Finally we get to pay him back for the countless bundles of Morrowgrain we collected on his behalf. The traitor! I didn't even play until Wrath, but I was adamant about doing every quest I was offered, so I too collected waaaaay too much of the stuff until I was told there was really no reason. Fun fact: I thought his name was Stranglehelm for a good year or so.

There are 4 distinct mechanics you will need to worry about in this fight.

1. Scorpion Phase. This will be your opening phase, and will start with everyone stacked up in the middle, in FRONT of the boss. The reason we all sit up front is to share the damage from his cleave. During scorpion phases it is all damage cooldowns, all the time.
1a. Eventually Domo's stacks of Adrenaline get too high and he's insta-cleaving the raid. At this point the raid spreads out to trigger the next phase. Even though we are melee, I suggest hurtling yourself out from the boss as well during this transition. If the transition is triggered too slowly Domo could get another cleave off, killing the tank and whatever melee are left.

2. Cat Phase. In kitty form Domo will leap onto various ranged raid members and leave giant fire pools on the floor. Don't worry about them, as you should be sticking squarely in the middle (having run back in after ensuring a good transition). On every leap fire cat adds are summoned and picked up by the tank. It is melee's job to kill them ASAP.All melee need to switch to the adds, period. Just like with the scorpion, Adrenaline stacks will build and Domo will leap quicker and quicker, meaning you can easily have two adds up at once before transition. If not all melee are on the ball, you might end up with three or four, overwhelming your tank.
2a.Everyone runs back in, triggering Domo's brief human form during which he will stun you and casting Searing Seeds on everyone in the raid. Make sure debuffs on you are easy to see. The debuff timer could say anything from 5 seconds to 55 seconds. At 5 seconds run out of the raid, and not towards anyone else running out or in. At 1 second pop shammy rage, the seed will explode, then you run back in to help eat cleaves with the rest of the group. If you explode you seed in group, you will wipe the raid. End of story.
The raid will eat 5 or 6 cleaves then transistion to cat. Then back to scorpion, then back to cat. On this transition Domo will go human and summon Burning Orbs, which look a lot like orange alien plant pods. In 25 melee usually don't worry about these. In 10m one of the orbs might show up in the middle and then it's like Baelroc. You take orb damage for as long as you can then switch with someone else.

Tip: We find the Burning Orbs cat phase really hard on the healers, so we usually only go to 4 stacks and then switch back to scorpion. At this point flaming sycthe cleaves hit really hard but we usually only have about 15% to 10% to go. If you have a priest healer or a paladin tank you can have the tank run through the boss and eat one cleave solo. This is because both these classes have an ability that also for the tank to basically be saved from a killing blow. Just make sure the tank runs through Domo, and doesn't just try to turn him. This boss turns at the speed of molasses. A normal turn will just result in taking half the melee out.

All in all, I find Domo a lot easier than a boss like Lord Ryoltih, because this fight just requires good situational awareness, there are no random elements involved. As long as you understand the phases it's a cinch. Though I will admit this fight does require a high level of personal responsibility, especially with searing seeds.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Blog Azeroth: Shared Topic 08/08/11

Bags and Bank Space
This week's topic, paraphrased from Amerence
Over the expansions a lot of soulbound items have piled up, in banks and bags alike. Tier gear, trinkets, random grey items, you name it.Some people collect this stuff, some don't.  Some do it consciously, others not so much. Amerence asks, "Would it be worth a try to suggest to Blizzard to extend the capacity of our Bag and Bank item slots? Or do you think the cost of just tailored Bags (22-30slots) will do the work?" Should storage space even be an issue at all?

To answer this question  I first had to take inventory and see just what it is I do have in my bags and bank.

Bags: I do try to keep my bags current and useful only. Only two (backpack and a frostweave) are full all the time. The frostweave holds my offspec gear, as well as alchemist stone, permanent flask, and hearth stone. My backpack is full of fun little things to use when bored in raid, such as my Orb of the Sin'dorei or my Spring Flowers. Everything else in my bag is alchemy mats and enchanting mats, so  I essentially always have two and half free bags for quest/dungeon/raid drops.Overall I don't really consider bag space an issue, once I've hit level cap. It seems kind of backwards that we get the big bags once we stop questing so much, as every time I've ever run out of bag space, it's when I'm leveling a new character. Maybe that's supposed to be part of the challenge or, more likely, a reminder to go into town when you have to sell stuff. (Side Note: I love the option in Torchlight where you can send your pet into town to sell things for you. We do have mounts that bring the vendors to us in WoW, but they're all at level cap and thus not helpful to leveling chars either).

Bank: Oh are not nearly as free as my bags. I have T11 and T10 both saved, down to the trinkets. Why, I'm not sure. I didn't even really earn T10, as I came to raid ICC so late that badges basically showered down upon me and bosses tripped over themselves and spit up gear. T11 I feel like I actually earned, so maybe I can understand wanting to hold onto that. Really, though, I'm afraid that if I delete them I'll suddenly need them again. Like, Blizzard will push the rewind button and bam! we can only wear T10. It's a completely insane fear, but there it is.

Maybe  I should just keep my favorite piece of each tier (usually judged by looks) until I have my own unique shaman gear. I don't roleplay, but it might offer me a nice compromise of keeping some of it and still having bank space.

Next is tabards. By all accounts, I have very few tabards - they only take up one bag - and even I can see the need for something like a tabbard holder, separate from the bag and bank system, more like the title system.

I have two bags full of holiday stuff. I always wear the holiday's clothing during the holiday and switch my title to the most festively appropriate one.

I have a trinket and totem bag, where I keep the fun/cool ones I've collected over the levels. This includes the Totem of the Earthern Ring, my first combined totem, and trinkets like Commander's Badge, that took me forever to earn.

Then I have the bag of things that no longer exist in this game. Primal Hakkari Tabard anyone? I have four pieces of the shaman tier 4 set, collected not because I really wanted them, but because I joined the boyfriend in facerolling Molten Core a couple times. These items have no use to me, and really no sentimental value...but it comes back to, if I delete them ...I might need them suddenly.

Based on what I see in my bags and bank, I'd say the amount of storage space Blizzard has provided is fine, for me. There is no reason for me to hang onto half the stuff I have, if I needed more room I could easily get it - as soon as I convince myself that no NPC will ever accept that Zulian Coin for anything, ever.

However, I am not a roleplayer and I have only played WoW for a little over a year with any sense of dedication. If I did RP, I can easily see how I would use up all my bank space in a second storing different outfits for Kaezhol. If I had played since Vanilla, I would probably care a bit more about owning a tier 1/2/3/4/etc set or hard to get items. As it is, i just haven't played enough to become attached to a large number of things.

To sum it up: banks and bags are cluttered. Sometimes it's for good reasons (RP/nostalgia) and sometimes it's for not so good reasons (deranged belief that Gutbuster might become best-in-slot again). Ever growing bag sizes might be the easiest fix, in terms of coding or something (not that I claim to understand that); but, if Blizzard ever decided to devote the time and resources storage in WoW could really use a good makeover.A tabbard hanger, an equipment closet for sets of old gear, and trinket drawer - storage that is specific and organized. That would proabably require a huge overall of ...something? Everything? I don't know where/how things are stored in WoW dataspace now, but making it pretty probably wouldn't be...well, pretty..

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Blog Azeroth: Shared Topic 08/01/11

Identity and Affiliation
Courtesy of Akabeko
How does your character define themselves? What part of their identity is most important to their personality and self-presentation?
In meatspace, we have so many affiliations, it's anyone's guess whether we consider ourselves a tuba player first, or a student, a Gators fan, a New Yorker, a mother, a nerd, a liberal. Our identities are comprised of so many different aspects of life that it's hard to tell which parts different people will choose to define themselves.

In game, there are less game-related ways to identify.
You can identify as:

your class - your spec
your race - a particular subgroup (Mag'har, Wildhammer)
your faction - a faction other than Horde/Alliance

 This topic brought up a rather curious revelation for me - my main is perhaps the least defined of all my characters. Kaezhol is who I raid with, so I spend the most time with her, but I know very little about her.

I know small things. I know that her parents wanted her to be a paladin but she stubbornly decided to study shamanism instead; but, that she was bad at the harder (read: healing) spells so stuck to lighting axes on fire and whacking things with them. I know that she's calm unless she's fighting, and when she's fighting, she doesn't mind getting her hands dirty. I always picture her right in the middle of it: weapons swinging, grungy armor, hair slicked back with sweat. But that's it.

It doesn't seem to make much sense, considering I love playing her. I couldn't spend twelve hours a week doing the same things over and over (like tanking the floor with my dead body) if I didn't enjoy playing her. It's just that... I don't know what her story is.

My warrior on the other hand, now she has a story. I know where she came from and where she's going. As far as game time with her goes, however, I just use her to get enough valor points to buy Kaez bracers and then she's back on the bench.

My lowbie druid alt is the same - though not quite as fleshed out as my warrior. But the point is she too has more of a story than Kaez. Heck - I even have half a story developed for a forsaken alt I have yet to make.

Why does Kaez get the idenity shaft? Is it that I spend so much time thinking about her in terms of raid - did I cap valor this week? What gear is BiS this tier? How should I improve my DPS on this boss? - that I don't feel the need or have the time to think about her creatively?

Or is it simply that I see her as an extension of myself? In WoW I am Kaez and she is me. I don't have any elaborate identity associated with her because, to me, she is already as defined as she needs to be.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


 You know, every time  I type out this boss's name  I have to mentally think "Aly's Razor," very slowly, in order to spell it correctly.

Quick Version: There are four phases to this fight. You will cycles through all four at least twice.
  1. While some ranged are flying through hoops and chasing the boss, we melee are on the ground taking out evil druid casters.
  2. Alysrazor crashes to the ground and you run around avoiding vortexes.
  3. The boss is pooped, so she lies there vulnerable while evil druids try to reenergize her.
  4. Flame on! Alysrazor is back up and ready to go. She’ll try to take out the raid before she heads back up. 
The battle always begins with a knock back and AOE damage. When the pull is signaled I drop stoneclaw and pop shammy rage and end up with little to no damage taken. (If this is the first pull, wait till after the dramatic intro to use them). 

Phase 1:
In 25man you need at least 3 DPS on each initiate side, but it’s probably safer with four. In 10man you need two. The casters fly down as fire birds then transform into druid-of-the-flame form and start casting. They will always start with an uninterruptable Brushfire, followed by Fieroblast, which can and must be interrupted. Even without talents we can usually interrupt every cast of Fieroblast. I say usually, because about 10% of the time, for no apparent reason, they’ll double cast. If this is the case you can drop grounding totem or have one of the other melee get it. I’ve had grounding totem miss, but I think it was a range problem.

The reason you need more than just yourself on the casters is because they come down at a preset time. You need enough DPS on them to kill them before the next lands.The always come down in this same order:
Stay out of the middle to avoid her frontal attack when she sweeps through the center. As for feathers – pick up a feather or two if you can, but wait until the second or third molting. Healers and flying ranged have priority.

There are worms. The tanks will be dragging the ugly hatchlings around to get them to eat the worms. Watch out for them, as at least two will always spawn in your way. The brilliance of wind shear is that it’s a ranged interrupt so just step back to avoid the worm’s flame.

After your caster dies there should be roughly 20 seconds left before phase 2. Pick the nearest hatchling/tank combo and start wailing on it.

Phase 2:
This phase is singularly responsible for 85% of our wipes. Either half the raid ends up dead because of the vortexes, or we use up all our battle rezes and then the tank dies. Long story short, learn to run in a circle and you will not wipe the raid.
If you have a feather or two, get to one of the middle to outside rings. Wait for the vortex to spawn and just follow it. The vortexes don’t start damaging immediately and you’ll have enough of a run speed buff to always stay behind it.

If you don’t have any feathers, you still have ghost wolf. You can also alternate between two lanes. Follow one vortex to start out, when one passes you going the other way turn 180 into its lane and follow it. Then another 180 again and follow one in your original lane. It’s kind of like a NASCAR race. Left, left, left, left.

Once you see the trick to the vortexes, they’re actually quite easy. At this point you will no longer fear a fiery death and can happily dance back and forth between them collecting rings to up your DPS in the coming burn phase.

Phase 3:
Stack on her tail, pop wolves, pop hero, and start mashing buttons. The better your tanks are at interrupting the reenergizers, the longer the burn phase lasts.

Phase 4:
Once her energy restores to 50, Alysrazor will get up and start doing heavy raid-wide damage as well as nasty attacks on the tanks. These attacks have a huge cleave range so make sure everyone but the tanks is stacked well on her tail. This is a great time for shamanistic rage. I also drop a glyphed stoneclaw right before she hits 100 energy, so that I have a bit of a shield when she knocks everyone back.

After the knockback it’s back to Phase 1. The adds still spawn in the same place, you’re still interrupting, etc. When she finally drops from the sky you have a chance at Moltenfeather Leggings, or if your raid AND your roll is really lucky, Flametalon of Alysrazor.

Monday, August 1, 2011


YOU SHALL NOT PASS! Ahem. Ok, sorry. Just had to get that out of the way. We can move along now. Baleroc is a tank and spank fight with mechanics that make this the hardest spanking your tanks will ever receive. Your tanks will be split between the one tanking Decimation Blade and the one tanking everything else. Your healers will be rotating between healing the tanks and healing the DPS on Shards of Torment in order to get stacks of their much needed healing buff. DPS will be rotating on shards to manage stacks of the Tormented debuff. Handling shards is what we will be concerned with.
 For this fight there are two (10m) or three (25m) groups that will always be together. In this setup there are always 2 sets of healers on the tanks and one on the shards. In 25man it’s a little smoother because the groups will always be the same melee-ranged-healer. In 10man the healers have to rotate between 3 of them, but on two groups, so one healer won’t always be healing the same set of crystal-takers.The reason we have groups for DPS is because of the shard’s minute(ish) long debuff. The debuff drastically increase shadow damage from the shards and so it must fall off before that person can take any new stacks.
Everyone starts stacked in melee and ranged/heals on the left. When the first shard starts to spawn everyone BUT melee group one and ranged group one move to the right side. When the shard despawns everyone should then be on the right side. The next shard will then spawn on the right side (since it spawns on someone) and everyone but melee 2 and ranged 2 will move left. This pattern continues until the boss is dead.

Shards are always preceded by a beam of purple light (think alien abduction).
If you are melee 1A it’s your job to make sure you’re standing next to that beam when it appears. Once the shard forms, pop shamanistic rage then keep DPSing as normal. At around 12 to 13 stacks you move out to rejoin the rest of the melee and your partner, melee 1B moves in. I usually drop glyphed stoneclaw totem right before this move to give myself and the healers a bit of a buffer during the switch. 

As melee 1B, put melee 1A on focus. That way you can see the number of stacks on your partner. You should be standing close enough to the shard that when 1A moves out, you’re automatically the next thing the beam latches on to. Pop shamanistic rage and DPS as normal. Once the shard disappears, move back in with the other melee to ensure the next shard spawns on the correct side. 

If you’re in 10man, your will be taking every other shard. If you’re in 25man you will have 2 shard durations to just attack the boss before taking it again. 

PAY ATTENTION TO WHICH GROUP YOU’RE IN AND WHICH GROUP IS CURRENTLY UP.  I cannot tell you the number of times we’ve wiped because someone from Group 3 went when it was still Group 2’s turn, or someone from Group 1 forgot they were up again and the beam jumped around to five people in a flurry of “debuffs for everyone!”

In the case that something does screw up, your extra DPS should be prepared to stand in. However, this call should be made only by the person who screws up and no one else should have a say in vent. If you say “crap, I just took 2B’s and I’m supposed to be 3A, Warrior can you take the first of the next shard.” Then there’s a good chance the situation can be salvaged and rotations will proceed as normal the next time around. 

If, however, multiple people  screw up, or multiple people are calling out for someone to replace someone else, you’re probably just doomed. Wipe it and try again. Or get really lucky, somehow screw up three different times, having people randomly throwing themselves on the shards, and end up getting the achievement. You know. Potato, potahto. 

Once everyone understands their shard rotations this fight is very easy. For the DPS anyway. Expect wipes as your tanks and healers figure out how to deal with the extra high damage, extra high healing mechanics of the fight. 

The wait is worth it, as Baelroc drops our beautiful, beautiful Gatecrasher