Category Archives: Experiences

Adventures in Blackrock Family: Day ???

HEROIC BLACKHAND

This guy.

What a jerk.

Look at him, pacing around his forge muttering at us.

We should kill him.

Creature of Habit

Blackhand’s primary abilities are similar in all three phases, but the way you handle them will be different in each one. The repeating abilities are Smash, Marked for Death, and Slag Bombs.

Smash targets the current tank. The visual is a red circle on the ground around the tank, and it is always a knockback, regardless of the phase.

Marked for Death targets two raid members. The visual is a yellow arrow on the ground pointing from the boss to the selected players. When it hits, it does a ton of damage and a knockback.

Slag Bombs are mines, and they do exactly what you think they do, so make it a point not to step on any.

Phase 1

demolitionIn P1, the tanks handle the Smash with a cooldown, and in our case, a couple of handy life grips and a well-timed heroic leap to bring our flying warrior tank back into the fight.

Throughout the fight, Blackhand will start to demolish the forge, raining debris on your head (Demolition). The whole thing does a lot of damage and there are swirly areas to avoid. The big orange swirl on the ground has increasing damage by proximity, so try to stay away from it at all costs and use a healing cooldown to get through the damage of the ability.

These big orange swirls will leave debris piles on the ground (they look like some kind of giant campfire). When you get Marked for Death, go behind a Debris Pile–the Debris Pile will soak the blast. If you are NOT marked, you should stay out of the line of fire as it will put its full damage into whatever it hits first, whether that’s a Debris Pile or Random Melee #3 who tunneled too hard and didn’t see the arrow.

Bombs on the ground. Don’t stand in them. Easy.

Phase 2

After successfully completing Phase 1, the floor beneath your feet will crumble and you’ll fall right into Phase 2. During weeeeePhase 2, adds will spawn in the rafters around the room and shoot very painful things at the raid. Blackhand will also summon siege engines that fixate the closest player to them when they become active.

Smash. You’ll use Smash to deal with the rafter jerks–have a designated group stand with the tank in the red circle. Your tank will need to position the boss prior to Smash so that the tank’s back is facing the chosen rafter, and then a designated group of players will need to stand inside the Smash circle directly behind your tank.

When the Smash occurs, the group will get knocked back (and if you’ve done it correctly) right into the rafters to kill some adds. We send 3 melee & a healer, and while I would love to be in the rafter group (CAN I GET A STAR FAAAAAALL), we noticed that a ranged getting Marked for Death at the same time Smash comes out made the timing tricky and sometimes completely fail.

Marked for Death. We have designated kiters (hunters, duh) who position themselves close to the Siege Engine spawn points. They get fixated and do their best to run the Siege Engines over bombs, both destroying the mine and doing damage to the engines.

You will need to kill Siege Engines, so plan to have ranged switch to them, then stop around 30%. Marked for Death will take care of the rest.

Marked for Death in this phase will be placed behind a Siege Engine whenever possible, breaking the Siege Engine’s armor so that it takes damage and preventing its damage. There will be at least a few times when Marked for Death goes out when there isn’t a Siege available. Those who are targeted during these times should stand still, pop a cooldown, and take the hit, allowing everyone else to move out of the line of fire.

Bombs. Guess what. They’re still bombs. They’re freaking everywhere. Do your best to avoid them and let your kiters run the Sieges over them.

Phase 3

The floor will again drop, taking you to the heart of Blackhand’s forge, which looks kind of like hell. Positioning for this phase is extremely important, and you’re going to need to use the edges of the room, so plan for that in advance.

Smash. You’ll be using the knockback mechanic from Smash to move around the room, so when Smash is coming, your tank should put his back to the center of the room, and the entire raid should stack inside the circle directly behind the tank. When Smash goes out, you’ll all take a bit of damage and get knocked back to the middle of the room, at which point you will head to the next chosen edge.

Marked for Death. There are no cheese mechanics for Marked for Death in this phase. Those who are Marked need to put their back to the center of the room so they don’t get knocked off the platform, and everyone else needs to avoid the arrow. That’s all there is to it–back to the center of the room, pop a cooldown, eat it.

Bombs. In this phase, 3 people will be targeted with Slag Bombs. The visual is a circle around the chosen targets, and after a few seconds, a small volcano (a la Rhyolith) will appear at their feet. If you are targeted with Slag Mine, take it to the edge of the platform whenever possible. Definitely do not stand in the middle of your raid with it.

The fight is pretty straightforward when you just look at the mechanics like this, but it’s all about execution, right?

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Adventures in Blackrock Foundry: Day 1

I’m guessing everyone knows Blackrock Foundry is a thing now, and many of us are doing that thing! Twitter’s been awash in 140 characters of BRF goodness.Foundry

Last night, <Check Please> rolled up on some normals before getting into heroic. We ended the night at 7/10 Heroic BRF, not too shabby, and I replaced my PvP bracers thanks to Kromog (thanks, man).

So uh, here’s kind of a quick recap of the bosses on Heroic for ranged dps cause I need to write a blog post that’s longer than 50 words for once. :-P

Note: clicking on boss name headers will take you to the kill on my stream!

Gruul

Easy peasy, and if you did Gruul in Burning Crusade, there will be a few things that feel awfully familiar. Remember that Shatter? Be on the lookout for Petrifying Gaze and spread out if you have it. Avoid Cave-Ins (like old times!). Avoid the big ground smash effect, as well.

Other than that, if you’re a dps or a healer, you’ll be stacked in one of two groups that are 10 yards apart for soaking Inferno Slice and doing your thing.

Oregorger (George)

Best GIF – TY @ordaris

There’s nothing to Phase 1 when the tanks get their Acid management all settled. If you’re ranged, stand in a stack and move together out of the puddles on the ground, conserving as much space as possible. If you have to run over those puddles at some point in Phase 2, you’ll be glad you didn’t take up half the room with them.

In Phase 2, priority 1 is living, priority 2 is dpsing crates. George will face a direction and roll in that direction, turning in an L shape and crashing into walls. The best advice I can give for living is to keep up with the boss. If you just follow him around, making sure you’re almost always in the area he just rolled, living is easy because he never rolls back on himself.

Oh, and if you happen to be that class that casts Starfall, it’s pretty fun for crates.

Beastlord

This fight is almost mindless for ranged. It’s like a heroic 5-man boss. Kill boss, aoe/cleave adds, move out of the white swirlies on the ground so you don’t get stuck to the floor, kill spears that are impaling your friends, DoT/cleave other spears, don’t stand in fire.

No, really, that’s everything.

Collect loot.

Operator Thogar

The only really stupid deaths I had were on this boss. I’m a little too fond of getting clipped by moving trains, apparently; and managed to die twice to them.

The best advice I can give you is watch the doors. Throughout the fight, one or two of the four train tracks will activate and a train will come running through it, likely killing you (or nearly killing you if you’re a warlock, I guess) if you’re standing in its path. We marked the tracks with colored markers to more easily identify where trains and adds would be.

Kill boss, cleave adds, focus the Man-at-Arms and the cannon operators when they’re up. Move away from bombs, move out of the gravity grenades that will attempt to suck you in. And I speak from person experience when I say: don’t get run over by a train!

Side note: We have the best warlocks. Also, I think around 11pm we’re all half-mad.

Hans’gar & Franzok

Honestly, this fight was nothing. DPS, avoid slaggy fire patches as they move towards you, don’t get stamped (move off of glowing rectangles). Easy peasy.

Flamebender Ka’graz

This one gave us a little bit of trouble. We wiped 5 times on her, more than any other boss.

Ultimately, this is what we did:

Stay spread out so you don’t chain Lava Slash, and mark a stack point for soaking Molten Torrent. Anyone who can solo it, should (hunters, spriests, mages), anyone who can’t needs ranged to stack with them in the circle to spread the damage.

When the wolves come out, kill them evenly (they need to die at the same time). If you get fixated, move in an arc between where the ranged are spread and where the melee are standing so that you don’t run a fire line through people in the raid (our tanks/melee positioned themselves so they wouldn’t get hit by them as we kited).

Kromog

This is Kologarn’s weirder, uglier brother.

After a couple of tries spread out, we realized that was kind of idiotic, so we stacked our range, moved out of Rippling Smash, and moved into Runes when they appeared. Each person stands in one rune which will turn into a grasping hand. We found that killing the grasping hands before the end of Thunderous Blows was NOT a concern, so we just started DPSing them as soon as the Thunderous Blows cast started. Seemed to work out.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Starfall? Cause I love it.

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Warlords So Far: Raaaaaaaaaaaaiding!

Regardless of the level of progression, the focus for most raiding guilds the past few weeks has been solidly centered on Highmaul. First, Normal and Heroic difficulties, then Mythic & LFR. I’ve seen a lot of guilds on my own server as well as several groups using the Premade finder venture into Normal & Heroic, downing some bosses and farming trash for epics. LFR is a little on the easy side, but I suppose a year of complaining about idiots in Siege of Orgrimmar LFR would lead to that.

As for my guild, we’ve cleared Normal and Heroic, picking up realm first Heroic clear & Mythic Kargath along the way, and are working on Twin Ogron in Mythic. Accompanying screenshots, of course:

Imperator

Kargath

I dig the raid so far, but that could be relief from being out of Siege of Orgrimmar! The encounters are fun (at least for now), and it feels great to be raiding something new.

What about you? What difficulties have you ventured into? What have you found there?

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Warlords So Far: Leveling & Gearing

It’s only been 5 days since Warlords of Draenor released, but with all of the craziness, it feels like I’ve been doing this for longer. Server issues/crashes/bugs/insanity/sleeplessness aside, I’ve enjoyed the expansion so far–how about you?

Leveling

WoWScrnShot_111514_221613Around 4pm on Thursday, the game just quit for me. I got stuck in every way possible, from the flying-in-mid-air-over-the-garrison to the 90% loading screen. At 9:30, I just gave up.

The next day was better, only 2 hours of 90%-loading-bar time, and I ended up hitting 100 at 3am Saturday morning.

Quests/Story. Holy crap, guys. I did the full story line in every zone, and I was not disappointed. SMV was a little distracting with its million side quests and Garrison activities, Gorgrond was on the shortish side, but Talador–favorite leveling zone by far. That cinematic at the end was amazing; I’ve watched it three times since level capping.

Spires of Arak was nifty, but Nagrand got kind of grindy for me. Could have had something to do with being 2am and being on the edge of delusion and desperation to hit 100. The Throne of the Elements quests, though; and the final story quest with the cinematic were the perfect way to level cap.

WoWScrnShot_111614_074207

Killing CrapMost of it was a joke, honestly; I went in with almost full Mythic Warforged and Starfalled a lot. I was teamed up with two mages for SMV and a monk for Talador. Might be another reason Nagrand felt grindy–it was the first time I had to work for some of those kills.

Treasures/Rares/ObjectivesI didn’t go hunting for these most of the time. If they popped up on the map (TomTom/Handynotes ftw), I’d go grab them, but otherwise I just stuck to my quests. I also didn’t touch dungeons until 100, as most of the dungeons don’t have quests and the XP you get from completing them doesn’t compare to what you get from doing pretty much anything else.

Gearing

AaaaamberFor anyone who’s into raiding, hitting the level cap is like opening up an entirely new game, and it’s all about gearing. I have to say, I’ve been pretty lucky so far. I’m at 631 equipped ilvl, a good start for sure, even if I did just transmog over the new items. What? They didn’t match!

Heroics. I’ve mostly been doing heroics with guildies and friends, but I’ve pugged a few. With guildies, it’s usually easy peasy. With PuGs, there’s often a wipe or two along the way, but I’ve not yet failed to complete a dungeon I started due to a bad group. Of course, as one of my friends pointed out, as more players get to 100 and venture into heroics, PuGs will become more hit-or-miss because it will be drawing from a much larger cross-section of players than it currently is.

Running with guildies is better anyway, duh.

Missions/ProfessionsThe only item I can currently make is the leather engineering helm, but I’m waiting. A guildy pointed out a couple of days ago that with Molten Core dropping 640 helms, using my mats to make the helm might be a waste.

As for mission gear? I haven’t seen much yet. Most of my missions provide XP, gold, or garrison resources, and I’m perfectly okay with that.

AH/BMAHKeep an eye on your AH. Yeah, the prices are probably pretty high at the moment, but take note of the seller and send them a message. You’ll occasionally find someone willing to barter. That’s how I got my 100k 665 ilvl neck for 50k. Thanks again, friend.

BMAH’s so hit or miss and usually way beyond my price range. But if you’re swimming in gold, you never know what you can get there. Just ask my GM; he’s the big guy who stands on buildings.

WoWScrnShot_111814_011845

#TLBCFarewellPandaria

Last week I started a giveaway thanks to Ask Mr. Robot: one-month free premium access to AMR. I asked you guys to show me your favorite place in Pandaria and tag it with #tlbcfarewell Pandaria. Here are the winners!

From Katherinn(e) [@wowinthedetails]:

From Syrco Owl [@Syrcorax]:

From Stormie [@Summerstormsz]:

From Anna [@NotAnna]:

Congrats and thanks for sharing your favorite places with us! I’ll be sending you all a DM with your AMR key today!

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Entitlement, Feats of Strength, & the Removal of In-Game Rewards

This is a lengthier discussion on something I posted on Twitter.

For some who read this, this is going to sound a little bit cold and maybe a touch heartless: you aren’t entitled to every achievement and mount in the game.

As 6.0 draws closer and closer, there’s a small cacophony going on in a few segments of the WoW community. I’ve seen it on the official forums, Twitter, and let me assure you, I’ve seen it a lot in-game. Trade chat, whispers, ignores–you name it, I’ve experienced it.

This outburst is related to the fact that there are many things that will be unobtainable after 6.0/Warlords. The two that spring to mind most quickly are the legendary cloak and the Normal & Heroic Garrosh achievements and their accompanying titles/mount. While the reasons stated for the request are often different, the statement itself is always the same: “Don’t remove them, I should be able to acquire them once they are no longer content.”

Let’s just stop right there for a second and talk about a good word: achievement.

Don't judge me.

Don’t judge me.

Of course, most of us who play WoW relate that word to the blingy bling that pops up when we do something cool (or sometimes ridiculous, stupid, tedious, and seriously-what-were-you-THINKING-with-this-one-Blizzard).

a·chieve·ment
əˈCHēvmənt/
noun
  1. 1.
    a thing done successfully, typically by effort, courage, or skill.
    “to reach this stage is a great achievement”

That is a stellar, 10-point word.

When I raid and we down bosses, it’s an achievement, an accomplishment. It is a thing we have done successfully with effort and skill. We put time and energy and practice and skill into raiding and we are rewarded for our efforts with gear, achievements, titles, and mounts.

But everyone has different interests and skills in WoW, and while they often cross over (and some people are just boss at everything, P.S., I both love you and despise you), usually each player will have a focus–a thing that they like to do and are good at doing.

Though there are MANY examples of this, the most obvious to mention in relation to raiding is PvP. Some people are amazing at PvP. When they build up their rank and their points, when they win arena after arena or rated battleground after rated battleground, they also experience achievement. They also receive rewards of gear, achievements, titles, and mounts.

You know what? I will never see those high-level PvP rewards. I don’t love PvP the way I love to raid. What little skill I have is focused on PvE, and that leaves PvP mostly out of reach for me. And you know what? That’s okay. I don’t expect to receive the rewards PvPers do. That’s their skill, and I am impressed. More power to them!

PvP? Nah, I'm good.

In the same way, there are those who will never see the Heroic raiding achievements, mounts, and titles. They’ll never have the highest level of raiding gear. And that should be okay, too.

Whatever you do in this game, whatever you’re skilled at, you have something available that allows you to say, “HEY, HERE I AM, THIS IS WHAT I’M GOOD AT!” PvE, PvP, pet battles/collections, reputation, professions, quests, leveling, even gold-making. I’ll never have the high-level PvP rewards, I’ll never have the best archaeology rewards (my eyes are bleeding just thinking about it), and I’ll definitely never see any awesome pet battle achievements.

But I have Heroic Siege under my belt. I have the titles and the mounts and the gear. It’s what I’m almost good at, it’s where I get my rewards.

Iron Juggernaut

I guess here’s where my issue with those who are making an uproar over the removal of these achievements: if you aren’t a raider and you haven’t put the time and effort into raiding, why do you feel entitled to the rewards of that section of the game?

It’s okay to be a little envious or a little disappointed that you’re not going to get something you want, but instead of dwelling on it, enjoy what you do well. Enjoy the aspect of the game you like. Put all of your effort and time into that thing and become the BEST at that thing. Get all of the rewards for that thing. I won’t expect to get the rewards from the thing you’re amazing at. Please don’t get angry about not getting the rewards from the thing I’m good at.

Addendum: When this comes up in Trade chat, the next message is usually, “But you sell Heroic Garrosh for gold, doesn’t that ruin the special-ness?” Well, I’d say that the people who spend their time, effort, and energy making butt-tons (yes, that’s an official measurement) of gold are allowed to spend that gold how they wish–gold-making IS their skill, and their reward for their effort is being able to buy whatever they want most, be it an insanely expensive pet, mount, PvP rating, or PvE achievements. 

Seriously, though, 800k gold for a Spectral Tiger? I’ll pass!

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The Value of a Copper

If you’ve played World of Warcraft for any length of time, you are familiar with both the changing value of gold over the past several expansions and the fact that someone is always going to bring it up in Trade Chat eventually. Until recently, I mostly stayed out of Trade, but there are always a few things that entice me out into the open, and this conversation usually works:

Random Monk #472: WTS [Pretty Cool Pet] 5k PST
Random Warlock #829: That’s not worth 5k, it’s like 2k.
Random Warlock #829: On my other server, it’s 500g or less.
Random Monk #472: It’s going for 7k on the AH.
Random Warlock #829: That’s stupid, it’s not worth that.

SoapboxGive me a sec to grab my soapbox…okay.

Value is not a static principle. At best, the value of anything is circumstantial, constantly in flux based on what is occurring around the assignment of value to a particular item or service.

It’s like this, K: The value of any item or service in WoW is whatever people are willing to pay for it at a given point in time. This system fluctuates and is self-regulating.

Here’s an example: If Random Monk #472 up there lists his [Pretty Cool Pet] for 5k and someone buys it, then good for him, he’s made some gold! If, however, he lists [Pretty Cool Pet] for 3 weeks at 5k and it never sells, then he has two options: keep the pet or lower the price. Self-regulating, see?

Then you throw in variables like competitive sellers–Random Paladin #386 undercut the monk and offered the pet for 3k, now the monk has to decide if he’s willing to sell the pet for less than that or if he should keep it–and you’ll see that prices really are continually in flux.

Each time one of these decisions is made, buyers and sellers are determining the worth of an item for themselves. In the above scenario, the monk has to ask himself: is the pet worth more than 3k to me? If it is, then he’ll keep it, and if not, then he’ll sell it for the lower price. Easy peasy.

When you say to someone, “It’s not worth that,” what you’re actually saying is, “It’s not worth that to me,” which is perfectly fine as long as you don’t claim to speak for the entirety of the server population. If [Pretty Cool Pet] isn’t worth 5k to you, then you have the option to go farm/capture the pet for yourself, and that’s a value-determining question in itself: what’s worth more to me right now, my time or my gold?

Next time you’re tempted to piss on someone’s gold-making Cheerios in Trade Chat, just don’t. Whether it’s a [Pretty Cool Pet] or a Heroic Garrosh kill, determine its value for yourself and let everyone else do likewise.

And to the Random Warlock #829’s of the world, I say:

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10 Years, 10 Questions

There’s a lot of reflecting going on in the World of Warcraft community, from the things we love about WoW to this massive project from Alt:ernative Chat: 10 Years, 10 Questions.

10 years, has it really been that long? 8 years for me, now–hard to believe that one game can hold collective attention for this long. I guess asking “why” is a natural step!

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

Because it was epic. I watched my then-boyfriend raiding Molten Core and listened to him explain how he was playing with other actual people, each person with a different role; a different task. I thought that was incredible, and I wanted in.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

The same character I main today and have mained since day 1: Ambermist,, druid. I started out as resto, leveled some as feral, resto-raided through BC (if you can call it that, I was pretty awful), and then switched to moonkin, which I’ve been doing since Wrath.

It’s funny, I get a lot of crap when I forget to buff stats, and that’s been an issue since the inception–I remember my husband saying, “Wait. You have one of the strongest buffs in the game and you aren’t even using it?”

Buff Stats!!1!

Some things don’t change.

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

I wish I could say there was some thought involved, but there wasn’t. I picked the faction my husband played; that said, I’ve never been unhappy being Alliance!

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

8 years of memorable moments and I can only pick one? I don’t think I can do that!

My first guild raid–Gruul’s Lair. I remember seeing the invite popping up on my screen and having a mini freakout, followed by a whisper from the healing lead, “Heal the tank and don’t panic.”

Every memorable moment–raiding through BC, those achievements I just had to have, my legendary staff, shenanigans with guildies, becoming an officer, the last half of heroic Siege, even Challenge Modes–started with that invite.

CMs

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

At this point, I must sound like a broken record, because every time this comes up it’s the same answer: raiding.

And yes, it has always been the case. I got sucked into WoW because raiding looked like the most fun thing I could imagine in a video game, and that hasn’t changed. I play to raid.

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

It changes, there’s never one place that I’ve stayed since the beginning. The bank area in Dalaran, the clock tower in Stormwind, the tallest hill near Halfhill, my perch or the stoop in Shrine–each of these areas has been a place for me to park.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

Oh dear. Hang on.

90s Played

The calculator tells me that’s about 588 days on my level 90s. Holy crap!

I have played since September 2006 with a 9 month break in 2011.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

Yes, I definitely do, at least the first time through a zone.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

All of my regrets are related to people in the game, not the game itself. Times when a miscommunication or misunderstanding led to a parting of the ways or when friends ended up being not the friends I thought they were, those are the things I regret.

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

At different points in time, it has had different effects. I had to back out for almost a year to get some stuff in my life together, for instance; but there are a lot of things I’ve learned about myself, people, and communication as well.

Besides, at the end of the day, it’s just a good time. ;-)

- See more at: http://www.alternative-blog.net/2014/09/time.html#sthash.yofgrt2P.8qPRhAkd.dpuf

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