Category Archives: Information

Adventures in Blackrock Foundry: Day 2

We had so much fun Tuesday, we had to go back in last night (seriously, new content is so good), and we ended the night at 9/10 Heroic.

As I did yesterday, just posting a quick recap of the 2 bosses we did last night as ranged.

Note: If you click the boss’s name header, it will take you to the video on my stream!

Blast Furnace

Here an add, there an add…the first two thirds of this fight is nothing but killing adds and blowing yourself up properly.

In Phase 1, We left Foreman Feldspar up and just cleaved him down with the other adds, putting the raid on one side at a time while leaving one group of ranged to kill the Bellows Operator on the opposite side of the raid. Security Guards leave shields on the ground that will protect any add within them, so adds shouldn’t be in the shield.

While you’re handling these adds, it’s important to run bombs well–players will be targeted with bombs just like in the Spoils encounter in Siege of Orgrimmar, and bombs also drop on the ground when Engineers die.

If you’re targeted with a bomb or you pick one up, you run it to the Heat Regulator on the side of the room in which you’re fighting and then use your extra action button to blow the bomb up, damaging the Heat Regulator. You have to kill both to proceed to the next part of the fight, and the longer it takes, the more you’re wearing on your healers.

Phase 2 is honestly probably a bigger DPS check than the Phase 3 boss, because getting through Phase 2 quickly makes the rest of the fight much, much easier. During P2, there will be Primal Elementalists channeling around the center area of the room. They’re shielded and immune to all damage, and the only way to break the shield is to kill a Slag Elemental on top of them.

We just decided on a kill order starting from the side of the room we were on and moving around the circle to the other side. When someone is fixated by a Slag Elemental, they stand on top of the Primal Elementalist (you can have more Slags than you need, in which case the extras should just hang out, they don’t hit that hard) and the Elemental is killed.

When the Elemental dies, the Elementalist will lose his shield. If you want to make Phase 2 & Phase 3 more manageable, focus on getting the Elementalists dead before their shield respawns. Use the CDs you have available and give up padding on the Slag Elementals to get the Elementalists down as quickly as possible.

Note: Slag Elementals do some pretty sick AoE damage when they die, so don’t be standing next to them when they explode.

That's gonna be a wipe, guys.

Phase 3 is a boss fight with a ton of raid-wide damage (sorry healers). We started on one side of the room with ranged stacked and then moved out of the puddles on the ground, working our way around the room. Ignore Slag Elementals at this point, they don’t hit hard enough on their fixate targets to matter and it’s not worth trying to kill them and/or risk blowing them up in the raid, just focus the boss down and win.

Iron Maidens

This is one of those fights that starts out with a couple of mechanics and then just keeps stacking them. Fun fight, though.

The three bosses have to be pushed below 20% at the same time, then you just dps, don’t die to mechanics, and pray. On a timer, the boss with the lowest health that hasn’t already will jump to a ship across from the main platform, and you’ll want a group assigned to grab the hooks and kill the adds on the ship. Each boss has its own ship mechanics/adds, so the order in which you do them depends on your raid. We chose to do Marak > Garan > Sorka.

I’m just going to make a list because that’s easier. Abilities you need to know how to handle as a ranged DPS:

  • Blood Ritual: Marak will choose a target and start Blood Ritual, which looks like a red squiggly line (yup, dem’s professional-soundin’ werds) connecting the target to the boss. Move so that you create a triangle with the tank who will move into the cone you’ve created and soak the AoE damage she does when Blood Ritual ends.
  • Rapid Fire: Gar’an will target a player marked with a red arrow and begin to shoot a volley of pain at that person that detonates in an AoE marked by a circle on the ground. Move out of the raid and kite it around the edge of the room. Tip: it moves more slowly than you think it will, so don’t rush or speed boost or you might cause it to arc through the raid. Don’t hurt your friends.
  • Penetrating Shot: Identical to the Aim on Paragons except that you won’t take splash damage from standing too close in the beam while you soak it, so just pile everyone into it. It can be feigned, guised, and invised just like in Paragons.

How to Be a Boss at Bombs

When one of the bosses goes over to the ship, it will trigger a barrage of bombs on the main platform. This mechanic is stupid easy to avoid taking damage from if you know what to expect.

First: Red targeting circles land around on the ground, not many at all, avoid them. Bombs will appear wherever there was a targeting circle. Get close to one and pay attention to where it is.

Second: Those targeting circles will disappear. As soon as they do, move onto the bomb that was dropped by the circle. In another second, targeting circles will fill the rest of the space that was not previously targeted–basically, anywhere there’s already a bomb will not be targeted.

Third: That bomb you’re standing on is going to start looking really pissed off because it was one of the first to drop. After a few seconds of looking angry, it will explode. Before that happens, move to one of the new bombs.

Fourth: As soon as the first bomb detonates, move back to that spot and wait for the rest of the bombs to explode.

It sounds like a lot, but I promise once you see it, it will make sense.

The last phase, after they’re pushed, is pretty chaotic and hella fun. And you might die. You’ll probably die. Burn them down one at a time, kill turrets as they spawn (and avoid the fire spitting from them), and continue to handle the other mechanics.

There’s 2 more mechanics to be aware of in this phase: Dark Hunt is just damage, but when it ticks off it hurts for a lot, so use a CD. Lesson learned. There’s also a debuff called Convulsive Shadows that should NOT be dispelled. It will hurt a billion times more if you dispel it than if you just let it fall off.

The fight’s a mess, but I thought it was fun.

Next up is Blackhand. I’M READY, LET’S GO.

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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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A Story of Two Guilds, Heroic Garrosh 25-man, & The Warlords Announcement

A Story of Two Guilds: Heroic Garrosh 25

Some of you might recall this post, borne from the frustration of dealing with a new guild that had recently transferred to our server.

That post sparked a, uh–conversation, of sorts, which ultimately resulted in a peaceful state of being between our guilds.

I posted that in March, and in the 5 months since, our two guilds have actually formed some sort of bizarre and yet completely functional bond–one that resulted in combining our two end-of-expansion rosters into a single 25m Heroic Siege group.

After an easy clear up to Garrosh and 40 wipes on the ugly orc himself, our band of unlikely compatriots cleared the instance on Heroic 25–the first group to do that on our combined Durotan & Ysera server.

Heroic Garrosh StupidCongrats, Chi Cerca Trova & Check Please. Thanks for being awesome and making beautiful raid babies together.

The Warlords Announcement

Whoa, the Twitter feed today–half-impatience, half-angst, full-on, non-stop tweeting about the Warlords of Draenor cinematic & release date reveal.

WoD

My thoughts? Cinematic was cool–not-edge-of-my-seat cool, but definitely a good start to the story that we’re going to see unfold in the expansion. Preview trailer for WoD features was mostly me saying, “YES, I saw that!” and “I’ve quested there!” (Something a few more of you will be able to say after attending the event!).

The most exciting part for me was the release date. I was predicting sometime in November, but I knew I was one of the more optimistic ones–right before it started, I asked some of my in-game friends for their predictions, and the earliest was the first week in December.

What did you think of the cinematic? Of the features and zones? Of the Ashran explanation?

And how is your end of expansion to-do list coming along? We’re so close now, guys. I can hear the drums of war, and they sound awfully sweet. <3

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Twiiiisted!

Hey, guys! Just wanted to make a quick post to let you all know that the Twisted Nether Blogcast crew was foolis–I mean, awesome–enough to invite me to their podcast!

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Seriously though, this Sunday, 9/22, 11 PM Eastern/8 PM Pacific. It’s a live podcast with a guest chat room–I’ve listened to TNB and been in the chat room before, it’s good times! You can get to the show by clicking the image above or hit up their site here: http://www.twistednether.net/.

Hope to see you guys in the chat room; I’m looking forward to chatting with Hydra and Fimlys!

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Why I’m Glad I Dropped 10k Gold on the Black Market Auction House

brawlolcatIt all has to do with the Brawler’s Guild.

I’ve had my eye on these invitations since they first appeared on the BMAH, but they were far too rich for my blood with auctions ending upwards of 50k. However, as Madam Goya continued posting the auctions and more and more people got their hands on invitations, prices quickly came down. Last night I grabbed one at just under 10k. I didn’t think I’d win it, and at first I had a bit of buyer’s remorse. Would it be worth it?

The answer is unquestionably, unmistakably: yes.

I fought through Rank 1 last night and Rank 2 this morning, and it has been the most fun I’ve had in game outside of raiding in a long time. Quick introduction, in case you’ve never seen the Brawler’s Guild, and then I’ll tell you the reasons I love it.

What is the Brawler’s Guild, Exactly?

Walk through a small door in the Deeprun Tram (Alliance–not sure where you Horde folks go) and down a quick ramp, and you find yourself in a bar with a huge pit in the middle. Inside this pit, bosses spawn, and competitors take them on one-on-one. If it’s your first night in the guild, here’s how you get in on the action:

  1. Talk to a Brawler Bouncer. They’ll have a chat option to join the fight.
  2. Wait in a (for me) short queue. Watch other competitors from your realm and sometimes others while you wait.
  3. When it’s almost your turn, you will get an ingame announcement proclaiming “You are next in line!” Get ready!
  4. When the current fight ends, you will be ported down and take on the first Rank 1 boss. There are 4 bosses per rank.
  5. Kill the boss or die trying! If you kill the boss, you get a Brawler’s Purse with some gold and a gray item worth some gold, as well. You then queue again to move onto the second boss. If you die, you can queue to try again until you get it.

The bosses get progressively harder and go from Rank 1 to Rank 8. There are boss mechanics and enrage timers, so you will need to be on your toes!

Why I Love It

The Challenge. Prior to this, my most favorite thing I’d done in-game was the staff quest from Firelands, in particular, the part I had to solo in the Nexus. After a raid, the second thing I love most is a solo challenge that really tests my skill. How well do I know my class? How good am I at handling mechanics when there’s no safety net? This is that kind of challenge, and it’s exciting!

The People. I might just be lucky, but the people I’ve run into so far in the Brawler’s Guild have all been incredible. I was scared the first fight, worried that someone would call me a noob or yell insults at me if I did something stupid, but that was directly the opposite of what actually happened. Instead, people cheered me on, buffed me, joined groups with me so we could buff each other, rezzed me, and whispered me to encourage me and give me tips. I hope this experience continues, because it has been extremely rewarding so far.

The Experience. The whole setup is just fun. It’s fast-paced, you can watch other competitors, you feel like you’re progressing through the levels, you’re testing your skill–it feels exactly like what they described: a Fight Club for adventurers looking to test their mettle.

That is why I love the Brawler’s Guild. If you can get an invite grab one and step into the pit. You won’t be sorry!

I’ll be posting the December Challenge later this week, by the way! 

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SWTOR & My Unexplained Ban: The Resolution

Okay. This, for real, should be the last post about this, but I make no promises, because that’s what I said last time.

If you’ve followed my story (Part 1 & Part 2), you know that the most recent update was an email from a representative at Customer Service, telling me they were trying to get in touch with me.

About 20 minutes ago, I got a call from Johnathan, and the first thing he offered was a profuse apology immediately followed with the answer to the one question I’d had: in this instance, the program they use to catch ToS infractions brought back a false positive, not once but three times.

The computer said I was hacking. Out of respect for their policies, which I will explain in a sec, I won’t say exactly how. Eventually they realized the computer was wrong–it was our persistence (yes, all of you are included), that kept them looking at it, so thank you.

On a personal level, my account has been reactivated and I’ve been given free play time. In a couple of weeks, they’ll call me back to make sure everything is still going well.

I was also assured that this experience, my honesty in my blog, and I’m sure your input, as well, has made them take a new look at how they handle these types of situations in the future. The reason they didn’t want to tell me exactly what I had done is because (as many of you suggested) the developers who make the third party programs look for clues like that to improve their programs and make them harder to detect.

However, that doesn’t excuse the impersonal, form-letter replies, or the amount of time and effort it took to get someone to really figure out what was going on, and he agreed. I told him that if I could pass on anything from this situation, it would be that anyone who appeals, especially repeatedly, deserves the courtesy of a personal email, even if it says, “This might take a little while, but I promise we’re looking into it and we’ll let you know as soon as we know something.” And then actually do. Keep that line of communication open, because in the end, we just really want to know we’re being heard. Continue reading

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SWTOR & My Unexplained Ban: Part 2

The other post was getting lengthy, and as this is the last update I foresee posting (and also, a longer one), I’m writing it in a new post. If you don’t know the story behind this, you should read SWTOR & My Unexplained Ban: A Cautionary Tale. Context is everything.

Update: The Resolution

Update, Wednesday, June 20th, 9:02 p.m. I know I said I didn’t foresee updating again, but we might have a breakthrough here, guys:

Dear […],

I am J– of Star Wars: The Old Republic Customer Service.

I have been trying to contact you over the phone today to discuss your accounts suspension. Unfortunately I believe we may either have an incorrect contact number or have been calling at an unsuitable time.

If it is appropriate for us to call you, please provide us with a time which suits best and phone number that will reach you.

If you do not wish to discuss this over the phone we can always correspond over email.

Thank you for your time.

If you have any further questions about this, or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

Sincerely,

J–

Star Wars ™: The Old Republic™ Customer Service

I sent him back my phone number and the best hours to call. I’ll let you know what happens.

—————————————————

Here is the email I received today:

Dear […],

I am J– of Star Wars: The Old Republic Customer Service.

I am contacting you in relation to your one week suspension as a result of a Terms of Service violation.

I am very sorry if your suspension has caused any confusion or frustration. Terms of Service have examined your case in detail over the course of your dispute emails and have found that the suspension action on your account still stands. This one week suspension will be lifted on the 22nd of June.

Thank you for your patience in this matter, and if there’s anything further we can help you with please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Sincerely,

J–
Star Wars ™: The Old Republic™ Customer Service

We would love to hear your feedback on our Customer Service and invite you to fill out the following survey which will help us to continually improve our support!

There are so many things wrong with this message in light of everything I’ve already experienced, I don’t even feel like listing them out again. I have faith that those who have kept up with this rollercoaster ride can find all of its irony and frustration on their own.

I was on the fence about canceling until I got this. I’m not canceling because I got banned for a week. If I had knowingly done something wrong–or even if I had unwittingly done something wrong and was told what had happened so I could prevent it–I would have accepted the ban with no question. No, I’m canceling based on the principle of this whole experience. No customer should ever feel like this.

Here is the message I included when I canceled my subscription:

You can read the full account of my experiences here: https://battlechicken.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/swtor-my-unexplained-ban-a-cautionary-tale/. Not that you will, but you’re certainly welcome to.

This is why I’ve chosen to cancel my subscription:

I have been falsely accused of cheating four times now in the course of three days. I realize that whatever you’re seeing on your end must look very convincing, but whatever you’re seeing is wrong. If I did use a third party program with SWTOR, I am STILL unaware of what program I used, and I didn’t use it intentionally.

No one will talk to me. If someone would have an actual conversation with me, asking what programs I’ve used, what happened to me in game, getting details about what I have been doing, then maybe we could clear this up. I refuse to be treated unfairly and then get form letter after form letter telling me that I’m wrong without any actual discourse with your company.

There has been no legitimate attempt by your customer service to help me figure out what happened in this situation (exception given to JJ @SWTOR on Twitter, who did actually reach out to me). You have, in essence, treated me like a guilty liar without attempting to find out from me personally if there could be any truth behind what I’ve said. Based on the responses I’ve gotten, I’m still not sure anyone has actually read my emails.

I have been patient and thoughtful in all of my responses. I have tried to create some kind of communication, first by earnest emails and then with public support, and I’m still getting the exact same email over and over with absolutely no personal recognition of my experience or frustrations.

I still hold a faint hope that this could be resolved, not only for my sake, but for my husband, who is extremely upset that the game he’s waited for so long is being ruined for him with my issues.

Also, I hope you resolve your Customer Service issues in general for the sake of all of those others who have experienced this or similar and haven’t had the platform to voice their opinions and garner the support I have. I might have felt downright bullied were it not for the wonderful MMO/blogging/Twitter community that has consistently had my back through this situation.

However, my subscription is set to renew tomorrow, and I refuse to give that $15 to a company who treats their customers like liars and declines person-to-person interaction in a situation that has escalated to this point.

For this reason, I am canceling my subscription.

Good luck to you.

Sincerely,

[…]

C’est la vie. 

I’m sad about not being able to play a game I enjoy, but my principles will not allow me to sit down and accept this. Maybe there’s still some resolution to be had and I can come back. I hope so.

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