So I said to myself “I’ll make a new blog post everytime we kill a new boss.” To that I only have to say; well, shit.
So here’s today’s yet again belated uninspired post: Heroic Will of the Emperor, Blade Lord Ta’yak and Garalon down. The big bug guy was shockingly simple compared to other heroic bosses so far and went down in a total of 12 pulls, including a few at the start where we weren’t even aware that pheromones debuff lasted longer on heroic. After rectifying that and sucking a little less, we killed him at enrage with 3 healers. Next week I’ll just battle healer it up or something. CORNY, GUYS! Also, forgot to take picture of Ta’yak. Nobody cares. Not even Shelly.
… or the art of slowly catching up to speed.
We’re just about two months into the expansion and the dust has settled from the initial stampede engulfing WoW and its players. We’ve done our dailies, our dailies, and… our dailies? Aside of that beaten horse, what we’ve done is bashed our heads against bosses in raids.
It is difficult to describe T14. It’s one of their biggest tiers to date, and it offers a mind-boggling mixture of old proven raid mechanics and new unique features. But most importantly, the tier is enjoyable. This is not only crawling out of a year long grind of Dragon Soul, arguably one of the biggest hiccups in WoW’s raiding history – and finding something better – but stepping into raids and fighting bosses that promote a genuine drive to keep trying and progress further.
We had a rough start on any sort of heroic mode. We may have been rusty and out of the loop, or just incredibly shit, likely both. We cracked our skulls against heroic Stone Guard the first week, and quickly killed the within the first hour in the next reset. Feng did not offer much of a challenge, but after this the show started for real. We tried both Gara’jal and Spirit Kings, getting a feel for their general design, and ultimately downed the former.
After clearing up Terrace of Endless Spring on normal on its release week, we decided to return to vaults and get back at the Spirit Kings and beyond. Spirit Kings on heroic is an interesting fight with very little change from normal in theory, but in practice it creates one of the more complex bosses they’ve made for a long time where every single small mechanic matters. It gave flashbacks to other highlights of fights from past tiers, and it’s great to see that they’re still capable of challenging us in intriguing ways.
Great job everyone on the kill and the Elegon heroic two or three-shot afterwards. I can’t remember and to be honest nobody cares about that sparkledragon. Tomorrow, Will of the Emperor and then Heart of Fear/Terrace of Endless Spring on heroic mode awaits us!
Cataclysm has finally passed us by. The long months of farming Dragon Soul are finally over, making way for the shiny new expansion. Mists of Pandaria doesn’t bother with revamping old zones or streamlining leveling, instead focusing (like a good expansion should) on the higher level/end-game stuff. We’re now just over a week in, and I thought I’d make a new blog post to comment on the state of things before we dive into raiding, give some recognition to awesome guild achievements, and generally update this dusty blog.
So, aptly, we’ll start with day one achievements. Let me start by saying that a group of us would have reached Realm First 90 at the same time, if it weren’t for Blizzard managing to screw up Alterac Valley, allowing players to earn ridiculous amounts of experience per hour (even by losing battles). Once again, we found ourselves able to start levelling at around 02:00 server time, a good 45 minutes behind the front end of the curve. Still, our merry band of intrepid realm-first-seekers pushed on, getting ahead of the curve as we entered the 2nd leveling zone (the Nagrand-esque Valley of the Four Winds).
However, it was Zohryn (now Zogh, resto/DPS druid) who snagged our very first guild achievement, bagging Realm First! Zen Master Skinner in almost no time at all!
With a metric fuckton of preparation and two miners/peons collecting materials for him, Neimi took a short break from leveling to earn Realm First! Zen Master Engineer!
90 seconds after priest Ebrill hit Realm First! Level 90 in GGBlizzard Valley, Stoke snagged Realm First! Level 90 Death Knight, now having 3 expansions worth of class Realm Firsts.
Minutes after that, I myself hit Level 90, getting Realm First! Level 90 Rogue.
Neimi followed shortly with Realm First! Level 90 Paladin, having out-leveled the Alliance competition in the last stretch.
Others came close, with Onida losing out on realm first shaman to another Alterac Valley farmer – consolations to him! Yukela’s attempt to be the first monk at 90 was also thwarted by some buggy level granting from the RAF account, and his competition having some pretty dedicated boosters. Annoying to say the least. Iltharen/Julia’s fishing attempt was close, but no cigar – someone else was lucky enough to grab that achievement. Anyway, on to other things.
It’s apparent that Mists of Pandaria is a completely different beast to Cataclysm. Along with the new lighting engine which makes everything look nicer, the aesthetics of the zones and the attention to detail mean that Pandaria’s locales are the best WoW has ever seen. The levelling is also certainly more challenging – by the time you hit the Dread Wastes, you’ll probably want to team up with a buddy if you’re not a particularly strong self-healer. The zones feel more alive than ever before, and with a huge amount of rare monsters/items to find, exploration has never been better rewarded (there’s even a faction that gives you a mount for exploring special lore items).
While not everyone agrees with the INSANE amount of dailies that one can do, the content is certainly more engaging than Cataclysm’s incredibly linear, often shallow dailies and quest lines. While I find the majority of the dailies more entertaining than Cataclysm’s, a large number of professions rely on these reputations to earn any money. While it lends gravitas to an individual’s achievements in their crafting, it’s a questionable design philosophy. If Blizzard intends alts to farm the same dailies for months on end, I can see people being discouraged from fully experiencing content on different classes. Time will tell.
Until that time, we now have heroic dungeons, scenarios and the incredibly daunting challenge modes to keep us busy outside of raids. The heroics vary in quality – if you ask me, some of the bosses are a bit lacklustre, and Shado-Pan Monastery needs to be cut in half to make two instances. Still, the overall quality of design is far superior to Cataclysm’s mostly uninspired dungeons. Again, the design and attention to detail is better than ever. No question.
The scenarios are somewhere between heroics and group quests, and are relatively fun for what they are. If Blizzard keep adding them, they’ll be a nice filler – although well-geared players will munch through them incredibly quickly. They’re harmless bites of gameplay for when you have absolutely nothing else to do, but still want to play WoW.
Then there’s Challenge modes. Oh, boy, Challenge modes. Imagine BC heroics amped up a few notches and then some. Then add a timer to it, so to get the highest achievement for it, you need to pull fast, CC efficiently and put out a HELL of a lot of DPS. We worked on what’s said to be the easiest one for the last few days, finally getting Gold after what must be 40-50 tries at least. They are utterly bonkers, and the last few seconds of the instance today were incredibly tense. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Gold awards for challenge modes turn out to be the hardest content Blizzard have ever released.
When you’re done with crafting, dailies, heroics, Challenge modes, scenarios, and there’s no raid on… PET BATTLES. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d get into these, however Blizzard haven’t half-arsedly inserted Pokemon into their engine. There’s a proper questline spanning across all the continents, an insane amount of achievements and rare pets to obtain, and the actual system itself is as addictive as the game it so shamelessly knocks off. I smell a lawsuit, Blizzard.
THC is about to step into our first raid, so we’ll see what that content is like. After all, for most people in The Hungering Cold, raids are the most important part. But I take solace in the fact that there is no way, just NO WAY that it can get any worse than Dragon Soul, can it? Here’s hoping.
No, this is not a fairy tale per say – but now that I’ve got your attention there is a couple days overdue news for you!
Dragon Soul Heroic cleared. Yeah. That was it? Kind of. Firelands was far from the perfect raid, but Ragnaros was close to a perfect encounter – more than can be said for Madness of Deathwing where the Spine part prior to it was a more overall gripping experience (and that isn’t even a pun on the tentacles squeezing people). The concept of moving from platform to platform with rising difficulty is cool, now if all the platforms weren’t almost identical. At least the final phase added some interesting elements on heroic, with knowing when to hold DPS and go nuts or over the top raid damage. Still, overdone raid damage is kind of the concept on every boss in this instance to the point they even made every tank’s 4-set tier bonus a raid wide cooldown. I’m not bitter, but could surely have been more impressed.
We used barely a fourth of the tries we needed to down Ragnaros Heroic, and I leave the opinion on this chapter in WoW raiding to the individual to decide. What now until Mists of Pandaria? Time will tell.
Well, on normal at least. Madness of Deathwing was fun from a dps perspective, but seemed a bit underwhelming for tanks and healers. I personally enjoyed the sense of urgency and the lack of need for a traditional enrage timer with the recurring raidwipe timers. Even if it only took 10-11 pulls to finish the last boss of Dragon Soul, thanks to everyone that attended both today and on wednesday earlier this week!
Oh yeah, forming a circle between the NPCs after the fight for a kill shot proved more difficult than the actual boss and his chin despawned. Why do I bring these people to raids again?
Before the yadda-yadda about the amazing feeling once the trickiest boss since heroic Lich King finally went down, let’s have a recap of the past months.
THC entered the Firelands patch in a bit of turmoil, in the wake of our retirement from 25man raiding and the reformation and re-organization of a 10man group in its place. It was a rough start, with players having to adapt to new roles and assignments – all while we stepped into a completely new raid instance. Shannox went down pretty quick on heroic mode, and after many ends and turns (left and right, mostly right…) we got down Heroic Rhyolith before any significant nerfs, and steadily tried our way through the other bosses. Eventually, we found the order of success in going Alysrazor, followed by Staghelm, going onward to Baleroc and finally Beth’tilac before the way to Big Daddy Rag himself stood clear.
It took a lot of sweat, tears, reassignments, tactic talk, repairs, cries, laughs, lots of fails on the lava worms that kept respawning, and a daunting 3% wipe – but finally it all paid off and Heroic Ragnaros tumbled down in what was a perfect try where it all lined up in the final phase.
I’d like to thank everyone for the efforts and support through us pulling back up into the raiding scene, our current roster of myself, Stoke, Ayatara, Taelos, Ksav, Saevir, Yukela, Zhumda, Ashwa, Tairi and Zohryn.
A special call-out to Ksav for prophecizing the kill. Prior to the pull we killed Ragnaros, he whispered me telling he can feel the kill is coming now, and asked me to screenshot it for proof. I did.
Once again, thanks everyone! Now Dragonsoul and patch 4.3 awaits us!
As we plunge down through the cracked floor to the hidden reaches beneath us, the victory rush from defeating the lord of the Twilight’s Hammer pales in comparison to the fact we’re mere minutes away from standing infront of Sinestra. Congratulations to everyone that attended the progress raids and ultimately led us to killing Cho’gall!
Also good work ninjapulling Sinestra and getting her down by 1%. Okay, not really. I blame Ksav.
Cataclysm is certainly offering a completely different level of challenge on its first tier of raiding than what its prior bastard cousin, Wrath of the Lich king, had in store. After renewing the roster with a sleuth of promising recruits and scoring a long-due kill of Nefarian on heroic mode, progression once again kicks up properly when we turn our eyes to the next obstacle in our conquest of Tier11 heroics – Cho’gall. The man, the ogre, the legend. The guy that did questionable things with the dead husk of a God. Yeah, that guy. We all love him.
At first glance, reading a rough summary of our favorite doomsday prophet’s heroic mode it appears to have very little actual differences in terms of boss mechanics – boiling down to three things:
1) Two Adherent adds instead one
2) The ability to damage elementals that show up to buff Cho’gall
3) An extra type of tentacle in last phase. Schoolgirls unite.
Things are not as simple as they seem, of course. The requirements of the raid for just about all of the mechanics are a massive step up from what the fight asked of a raid on normal mode. After attempting multiple different ways of defeating the encounter for a couple of raid days, it now falls down to the coming serious nights of progression for us to judge if we got what it takes to unlock Sinestra.
Introduction by Meryam:
The Cataclysmic craziness has begun…
And the world will never be the same. Deathwing’s burning rage has settled upon Azeroth, replacing Arthas’ bitter cold wrath.
As Azeroth trembles and transforms, the heroes of The Hungering Cold are seen preparing. They gather resources, polish their gear and sharpen their weapons, to ready themselves against a challenge they have never faced before.
Champions, the road ahead of us will be difficult. The path will be long and arduous, and our journey has only just started.
But we will march together, like we always have. We will face everything, and anything, that gets thrown our way. We will shatter any wall, any creature. Immortal or human, it matters not.
We will not give up, that is not for us, not in our world, for the harder it gets, the more determined we will be, the more hopeless it will feel, the more dedicated we will become, and if we get lost, we will find our way. That is the spirit of The Hungering Cold.
In the end, we will stand tall and proud. We will stand victorious, together.
Deathwing, all your glory are belong to us!
At the beginning of the last expansion, THC was a small guild with big goals, and we definitely met those goals (and then some). Now, we’ve started Cataclysm with a full roster of keen, like-minded players who enjoy raiding together and overcoming all challenges presented to us. I think most of us have been playing insane amounts over the last week or two, but I’ll take a breather to recap the start of the new progression and the impression I get.
After nearly an hour waiting to get onto the server, a lot of us were keen to level as fast as humanly possible, going for those Realm First achievements. Many of those who really went for this had tried beta, so we’d already seen the amazing quest content that Blizzard had prepared for us. The new zones and their mostly linear progression seem to divide people’s opinions – while some enjoy the storyline-based content, others feel the exploration and the freedom in questing has been lost. What we can all agree on, however, is that Gnomebliteration is awesome.
So, our team of mad levellers tried their hardest to go for Realm Firsts, however unfortunately a few of us were thwarted by a handful of Alliance who had managed to get onto the server 30-40 minutes before us. In a timeframe of 14 hours, that really counted, so we lost Realm First Hunter, Paladin and Warrior by a few painful minutes. However THC managed to snag a few of those unique Feats of Strength, Stoke reclaiming his Realm First Death Knight achievement, with myself nabbing first Rogue a few minutes later. On the profession front, our moving paladin Lythena managed to become the first Enchanter on the realm to reach the 525 cap, with help from guildies that were willing to send him greens. Awesome work guys, and bad luck to those who missed out by a tiny margin.
Not all of us were ‘that’ bothered with being so fast, most wanting to enjoy the content at a leisurely pace, but as a whole we were ready for heroics and raiding in stupendous time. Heroics were going on by the evening of the 7th, and a good 3 heroic groups were going the night after. One thing that can be said about early Cataclysm progression is that it is definitely more involved and challenging. The difficulty curve already seems far steeper than Wrath’s heroics, especially for healers. But that didn’t stop us, and by Friday, we’d assembled enough level 85s to go 2-shot Brutall- I MEAN Argaloth in Baradin Hold. We followed this up with a great raid on Sunday, taking down 3 bosses in Blackwing Descent, only to disenchant 2 of our first 15 loots. Typical!
So we’re already on track to steady raiding again, and I hope we can ultimately have as good a time in Cataclysm as we did through Wrath of the Lich King.
You guys rock!