Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’
Since I still seem to be getting some hits ’round here, I figured I’d remind everyone that I’ve moved to a self-hosted and much less lockly (Yes, it’s a word!) domain: altadin.com.
If you haven’t updated your bookmarks and RSS feed yet, please do so! I miss you. /sadface
… and undergoing a “small” makeover in the process!
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, then you know I abandoned my warlock somewhere between Naxxramas and Ulduar. I will always be a warlock at heart (figuratively; everyone knows warlocks don’t actually have hearts — or, if they do, they keep them in a jar on a shelf somewhere and take them out to scare small children during Orphan’s Week or for other special occassions), but given that I currently raid as a restoration shaman and, occasionally, as a protection paladin, the truth is that I feel rather “trapped” by my brand. Even though I’ve never been a strictly warlock blogger, I am compelled to write from a ‘lockly perspective, which, increasingly, I just don’t have.
So. My new domain (although clearly titled towards my current passion) is a little more open-ended. I will eventually categorize my posts by the classes that I play and create drop down menus, creating the look of three alt blogs in one. If this sounds at all interesting — or you think you may actually miss me (you will miss me, right?) — wander over to my new place and take a look around:
Hope to see you there! /wave
One week ago yesterday, I stood — forlorn and teary-eyed — in Sky Harbor’s careworn and ever-so slightly dilapidated Terminal 2, waving a broken-hearted goodbye to my boyfriend as he navigated the labyrinth that is airport security on his way home to Calgary.
It was the first time we had seen each other since his last three-week visit in February, and was likely to be the last time we would see each other until the three-day weekend we have planned for my birthday in October.
Long distance relationships suck.
Sure, there would be the daily phone calls, the late night Vent conversations, the thrice-weekly raids and the double-paladin alting that passes for dates in our lonely, online existence. But after ten days, not as Sarielle and Keaton, but as Michelle and Jef — ten days of cuddling on the couch while watching Firefly on DvD… ten days of contemplating wine but settling on Mountain Dew and Diet Coke … ten days of romantic dinners and deep-fried artichoke hearts and Sims 3 and Dancing Through Life …
I couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t go back to Azeroth, where spending an afternoon with the man I love means doing the daily circuit in Icecrown or leading 23 of our closest friends through Ulduar.
Apparently, he couldn’t do it either.
On Tuesday morning, I was back at Terminal 2.
So was Jef.
He proposed in Terminal 2, in the exact spot that we first met last June, and where we’ve both met and said goodbye on every visit since. The cute, sweetly romantic thing is that he didn’t even fly into Terminal 2 this time: he flew into Terminal 4, and took the airport shuttle to Terminal 2 to meet me in our special place.
There, he went down on one knee — in front of everyone — including a little old lady who was pleased to announce she had the entire thing on film! — and made a lovely, heartfelt speech. It took leaving and coming back again to make him realize it, he said, but our proposal shouldn’t be about an expensive dinner or some crazy scheme to slip me a ring. It should be about a real life together, and a real, tangible commitment.
Needless to say, I accepted.
And, lo and behold … it’s soulbound.
* * *
I love you, bear.
An ancient evil awake.
Arms like spaghetti.
After stalling on Mimiron for two weeks (and finally downing him on an off-night, something we haven’t been inspired to do since Kael’thas!), my 25-man raid is now reliably clearing Ulduar through General Vezax.
General isn’t quite “farm status” yet: it still takes several attempts to kill him — and even then, only if Keaton is tanking. (Our warrior has a hard time with surges. I don’t suppose anyone has some tips for outpacing them, sans Dash?)
We’ve spent two evenings on Yogg-Saron, and are finally making it into Phase 2.
Phase 1 is supremely annoying. It should be easy. One tank and one healer position themselves in the center of the room. Everyone else stacks by the door, moving as a group and as little as possible to evade the large (=impossible to miss!) green clouds that drift around Yogg Saron’s prison in predictable (=easy to avoid!) patterns. The clouds spawn adds that must be tanked and burst down to a few percent, then taunted to the center of the room and finished off by ranged DPS. This is really important, as the adds explode when they die and deal damage to Sara. You absolutely do not want the adds to die before the tanks have them in position! Otherwise, (1) they explode on the raid and (2) their post-partum DPS wasted.
Touching a cloud causes it to spawn adds prematurely, so if the raid isn’t adept at avoiding Bad®, it can become quickly overwhelmed. Adding to the general chaos is Sara’s annoying tendency to mind control classes that can fear, so it isn’t all that unusual for the center tank or his healer to be feared into the clouds, triggering an add spawn. Sara also seems to enjoyMCing paladins and casting Blessing of Protection on adds, so we’ve starting blowing our BoP’s and similar cooldowns at the beginning of the fight.
… Okay, so maybe P1 isn’t as easy as I thought it should be! Still, if your tanks can maintain a taunt rotation while the rest of your raid avoids slow-moving pools of Bad® it shouldn’t take too terribly long to master.
It took us two days, stretched across two very frustrating raid weeks. It’s not that we aren’t ready to wipe; we are, and proved it over and over again on Mimiron. The phase just wouldn’t click for us — and when it finally did, it unclicked (or clunked) the next day we attempted Yogg and we found ourselves starting the learning process anew.
(In my guild, learning process is a euphemism for epic fail.)
(To be fair, the first half dozen or so second-day wipes were because we an had inadvertantly triggered hard mode. Hint: Mimiron’s pedestal isn’t supposed to be empty!)
The few times we’ve made it into P2 have been chaotic, but an absolute blast. I know I should be disappointed in myself for getting lost in Yogg Saron’s brain and going insane (…twice…), but becoming <Yogg-Saron’s pet> and running around beating my friends to death with a baby rattle is ridiculously fun. So is combing through the World of Logs parse at the end of the raid to see who killed who and giving them good-natured grief about it.
The first time I went insane, I did 3,424 damage to Keaton before the raid brought me down … and look—
—it took a mage and a warlock working together to do it! That kind of unprecedented cooperation almost brings a tear to my eye.
Forget boss kills and epic loot: this is why I raid!
Like my 25-man raid, my 10-man team is clearing Ulduar through General Vezax every week. Although we have yet to down Yogg-Saron, the Old God doesn’t seem to be a priority at the moment: by unspoken agreement — and since we’re all pretty fried from the 25-man attempts — we’ve temporarily shifted focus and are experimenting with hard modes and achievements instead.
So far, we’ve achieved Flame Leviathan with two towers, Auriaya with both Sanctum Guardians, Freya with one elder and Thorim’s hard mode (which involves defeating Thorim while Siff wreaks frost-mage flavored havoc on the raid). We’ve also killed Ignis in less than four minutes, and while Stokin’ the Furnace isn’t a hard mode per se, it does count towards the Glory of the Ulduar Raider meta-achievement we’re hoping to complete before 3.2 is released. We’re currently 3/13th’s of the way there.
10 vs. 25
As a guild, our focus is on Ulduar 25 progression. The current plan is to speed through the first twelve bosses of the instance, eschewing hard modes, to give ourselves as much time as possible on Yogg-Saron. Once the Old God is defeated, we’ll shift our attention to hard modes and the Heroic Glory of the Ulduar Raider meta-achievement. (“Mini-Razorscales for all!” has become our rallying cry.)
Meanwhile, Uld10 is relegated to off-nights — often as an impromptu event organized by whoever feels like taking the initiative at the time. Ulduar 25 always trumps Ulduar 10. (Case in point: when we were “this close” to downing Mimiron-25 for the first time, both of our Ulduar 10 groups canceled their Sunday raids to return to Heroic Ulduar on what has traditionally been an offnight.)
I don’t think it’s possible — or, rather, I think it’s exceptionally difficult and ultimately unwise — to build a raiding guild around both 10- and 25-man content. I would eventually like to develop my thoughts on the subject into a full-fledged blogpost; for now, suffice it to say that the bulk of the challenge stems from the fact that 10 x 2 != 25.
I was working on another Random Updates-style post — and waxing poetic about Yogg-Saron’s tentacles — when I was called into an emergency meeting at work.
Now, emergency meetings happen all the time when you work in the credit industry during a recession. Half of the companies we sell to are on the verge of bankruptcy, if they aren’t already there. I figured this was more of the same. Another national account filing for Chapter 11, a multi-million dollar exposure to be verified, proofs of claims to be prepared …
Then I noticed that HR was at the table.
That is never a good sign.
So, it turns out that my position is moving to Rosemont, Illinois.
I am not.
I’m trying to come up with something more eloquent to say than fuck, but it isn’t working.
I met my boyfriend in Heroic Underbog.
It’s incredibly geeky — almost too geeky for him to admit publicly, in fact, and he sings the Iron Man theme song while we’re out shopping and once memorized pi to 31 decimal points. (It’s hard to outgeek the girl who knows the entire Summers family tree and has an honest-to-Earthmother crush on a Transformer, but … somehow …. he manages.)
True story: he took me to a wonderfully romantic fondue restaurant for Valentine’s Day, and actually blushed when the waitress asked us where we met. Because I have no shame, I told her the whole story. To her credit, she didn’t laugh! To our bemused surprise, she asked if we collected Oracle eggs. She doesn’t play, but another server does so the entire wait staff knows that Saturday is Hatching Day.
If she ever decides to roll on Black Dragonflight, I owe her a proto-drake whelp.
Anyway. I met Keaton in a Heroic Underbog PuG. He was tanking (of course), and a mutual friend was healing. I’d say I was DPSing, but the sad truth is that I barely knew how to play my warlock then, so I was just really there to banish water elementals (and because my pocket healer found that PuGing was surprisingly easy if he could advertise in /2: “LF3M. We have a holy paladin and a girl!”)
(I miss you, Ilkka. Even if I still can’t pronounce your name and you once twice habitually tried to whore me out in Trade.)
I absolutely loathed Keaton after that first heroic. If I could have punched him in his stupid slack-jawed bearface, I would have. Totally.
It’s not that he was a bad tank. On the contrary, all Ilkka could talk about for days was how wonderfully easy the run had been; how much health Keaton had and what a joy he had been to heal.
Blah, blah, blah.
No … I was the bad one.
Keaton just kind of pointed it out to me, not by anything he said or did (he isn’t mean), but by setting the bar higher than I ever imagined I could reach.
On my tiptoes.
With my imp balanced precariously on my shoulders.
He chain pulled the entire instance, which I so wasn’t ready for. I didn’t know my way around (I still can’t remember which portal leads to UB and which to Slave Pens or Steam Vaults) and I just couldn’t keep up with the much more experienced reroll group. Plus, he wouldn’t let me drink! I was Affliction, of course, with Dark Pact and Life Tap in my arsenal. But I was also unusually considerate for a warlock (my best friend was a healer, after all) and never tapped out of combat.
So I spent the entire run irritated — at myself, for being so spectacularly out of my league, and at the spastic bear tank who insisted on spelling cool with a k and wouldn’t stop jumping (he still thinks it improves his dodge).
So, imagine my horror when my pocket paladin lured me onto Vent a few days later.
“Hey, remember Keaton? That (absolutely amazing, never-had-to-be-healed, let’s-clear-this-place-in-30-seconds-flat) tank from Heroic Underbog…”
Uh huh. But wherever you’re going with this, Ilkka, I don’t like it.
“He has this guild, the Combat Wombats. It’s small, like ours. I think they’re all real life friends. College students. They seem really cool.” There’s that word again! At least he spells it with C. “Anyway, Keaton and I were talking about getting together to run Karazhan in a couple of weeks, once we’re all keyed. What do you think?”
“Awesome. Keaton’s online now. I’m going to invite him to join Vent with us so we can work this out.”
The boys handled the details. The game was just a game to me at that point, and not the obsession it is now — so as intimidated as I was by the idea of actually raiding with Keaton and his Wombats (my sister took me to a raid once, and I was out-DPS’d by a Searing Totem ;.;), I figured I’d let them do whatever they wanted to do and continue quietly questing my way through Netherstorm and working half-heartedly on my Karazhan key.
Eventually, the afternoon for our first joint-Kara run rolled around. I was keyed, flasked (for the first time in my virtual life) and rocking the Frozen Shadoweave.
Keaton and his Combat Wombats stood us up.
“They’re in college, right?” Our 16 year-old Aussie boomkin asked, staring up at the gates to Karazhan. “Betcha they got drunk last nght and are sleeping it off now.”
My little sister and a couple of her friends — hardcore raiders already well into SSC — came down to Kara to fill in for our missing Wombats and talk us through our first foray into T4. We took so long to clear trash that by the time our shadow priest made his way back down from Orgrimmar (he hearthed out to repair without telling anyone), the spectral horses had actually started to respawn. We called the raid without ever seeing Midnight, let alone Attumen.
Keaton logged on a few hours later to apologize for sabotaging missing our first raid. And to reaffirm our boomkin’s psychic prowess. The Combat Wombats were indeed drunk.
He made it up to me a few days later by taking me to Blackrock Spire for my Worg Pup.
And sending me flowers. Lots and lots of flowers …
I hate flowers. But I like puppies, so (for future reference) if you’re going to try to buy my forgiveness or affection, small furry things are the way to go. Unlike some warlocks I could mention (/cough Imanqary), I don’t even set them on fire!
I eventually decided Keaton wasn’t so bad, after all, and even forgave him for embarassing me in Heroic Underbog, for drinking himself senseless on the eve of our very first Karazhan raid, and even for believing he’s a Night Elf druid who has mastered the lost art of Tauren form.
Spelling cool with a k, though?
Yeah, that has to change.
Spinks is teaching her orphan to be a mighty warrior in a very clever post that — on second glance — actually seems to be evolving. (I just visited it again to link it, and what started as ten steps has become into fifteen as Spinks’ commenters chime in with their own words of wisdom.)
I briefly considered doing something similar for the Orcish brat I seem to have been saddled with, but … who am I kidding? The world needs more warlocks like we need more Sons of Hodir dailies — that is, not at all.
Once upon a time (or, rather, tier), warlocks were an endangered species. Of course, now that Affliction has been toned down so anyone and their pet shoveltusk can manage the rotation, we seem to be making a comeback. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t mind (I hated seeing spellpower cloth go to waste, or — worse! — to mages), but it’s actually gotten into the point that I can’t even take aim at a training dummy without some Blood Elf bimbo in a mis-matched Darth Vader suit coming along to ninja my soul shards.
Have you ever tried to conjure a creature from hell with the kind of dilluted, stale-cookie of a shard you’ll proc when multiple locks are siphoning the same soul? I tried to summon my succubus last week and ended up with a gnome instead.
Unfortunately, I’d already done the cooking daily.
Fortunately, chilled meat still sells well … so I guess the gnome wasn’t a complete loss.
Still, I’d have preferred Hesva.
So. Since I don’t want the infernal, snot-nosed little ragamuffin to become even more infernal by following in my Xintor’s booted footsteps … what do I do with it?
Naturally, my first impulse was to dispose of it — discreetly, of course, so as not to upset the Orgrimmar Matrons. (I don’t care, myself, but I have it on excellent authority that their wailing annoys Thrall, and the War Chief isn’t someone I’m willing to cross. Yet.)
… Also, the Troll matron in the Valley of Wisdom totally creeps me out. I don’t know why she insists on looking at me like a toothpick; I still have a bit of flesh left on my bones, thank you very much.
Alas — and I should have remembered this from last year, when I dragged that bug-eyed Blood Elf, Salandria, around Outland — the pests are immune to everything. Rain of Fire. Fall damage. Even Demonic Sacrifice! You name it, I tried it. And failed miserably.
Then it occurred to me:
This “frail” little orcling is — what? Six seasons old? Seven?
And utterly indestructible!
Given a few years to ripen, and some careful manipulation nurturing from yours truly, well, let’s just say a super-orcish thrall could be useful to a woman with my ambitions …
In the meantime, he can always carry my soul bag. I suppose.