Amidst all the chaos of Patch Day — …
Did you get to raid last night, by the way? If so, in the heartfelt words of my dearly beloved (if slightly laconic) rogue officer: H8. The server lag on Black Dragonflight was so bad that we called the raid after a 20 minute face-off against the load screen.
— … where was I going with this?
Admist all the chaos of Patch Day, a lone blue post from Eyonix caught my eye:
As we’ve already discussed, we’re in the process of developing a new service for World of Warcraft that will allow players to change their faction from Alliance to Horde or Horde to Alliance. To prepare for this new service, we’ve removed the restriction that prevents players from creating both Horde and Alliance characters on a PvP realm.
And by “caught my eye,” I mean “was jabbed through my skull with a spork” as half my guild logged off to roll level 1 dwarves and frolick in the snow.
Northrend was down for most of the night, and the old world was playable only in five minute bursts, but it wasn’t a complete waste of a night because …
… I have a Spacegoat.
(Amber will be so proud.)
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.
Actual conversation from Vent during an Ulduar raid:
Shadow Priest (upon returning to the guild after a lengthy absence): Hey, whatever happened to Sundays? Didn’t we used to raid on Sundays instead of Wednesdays?
Raid Leader: We did, but people got lives — apparently.
Shadow Priest: Oh. Right. Must be all those churchgoers.
Elemental Shaman: … And on the seventh day God ended his work; and he rested, and said THOU SHALT NOT RAID.
I love my guild.
I am such a girl.
And while I’m not likely to win any Best Dressed awards anytime soon …
… I would be absolutely mortified if I showed up in the Don’t! pages of Dalaran Today. ;.;
* * *
On a small side note, I will most likely be /afk for the next week or so. My pet tank is coming down for a visit! We may catch a raid or two while he’s here, but I rather doubt we’ll be blogging about it. 😉
After earning all of 2,418 honor on my level 79 paladin “twink,” I decided I’d had quite enough of that thankyouverymuch ... and ding’d 80. Now I’m fulfilling a long-held but (frankly) terrifying goal, and <cringe> learning to tank.
You know, all of those cute, paladin-flavored buzzwords (“holy,” “divine,” “righteous”, “shield,” hammer”) were, well, cute before I actually needed them to mean something.
Hammer of the Righteous and Shield of Righteousness. I know one of them does single-target damage (I guess this would translate into “generates single-target threat” in more tanky terms?), and the other is basically a cleave. I also know — courtesy of my guild’s other paladin tank, who follows me around Northrend laughing at my spec, my glyphs and my feeble attempts at maintaining a 969 “rotation” — that I can’t just macro my 6 abilities to one key and my 9 abilities to another; I have to actually be smart about them. So if I’m pulling multiple mobs, I want my cleave to be the first 6 ability I use.
Okay, that makes sense.
… But which of these stupidly named abilities is my cleave? Ugh. To my uninitiated (but lovely!; I do play a Blood Elf) ears, they sound exactly the same.
After a quick poke around Maintankadin, I picked up a neat trick, and am now learning to translate everything from Paladin into Warrior so it makes sense again. Warrior abilities don’t have cute, clever little names that follow some kind of bizarre, escaped-from-a-reality-TV-wedding theme. No, warrior abilities are wonderfully descriptive! Shield Bash. Cleave. Intercept. Heroic Strike. You can totally tell — from the name alone! — what the ability actually does.
I should’ve rolled a warrior.
Of course, then I wouldn’t have had this sexy red-headed Tinkerbell look going on. It’s a trade-off.
I hate hard-modes.
No, I love hard-modes!
Okay, let’s just say that I have a love/hate relationship with hard-modes.
I love hard-modes because I love to be challenged, and (with Yogg-Saron calamarified) hard-modes are the only challenges that remain for us in the current tier (unless you count the Summer Attendance boss, which I sort of do. If filling a 25-man raid in the middle of July awarded loot, I’d have … one sock. Maybe.)
But at the same time that I love attempting hard-modes, and eventually overcoming them, I hate hate HATE having to make a choice every time we come to a boss who has a hard-mode — which is most of them, even if you only count those that award ilevel 232 loot and ignore those that don’t drop epicer-than-epic epics but are part of the Heroic meta-achievement.
The question itself is simple (“Do we, or don’t we?”), but the answer seldom is.
Two weeks ago, we downed Flame Leviathan with all four towers active. It took us a good two and a half hours of attempts, during which we jokingly declared that once we’d finally achieved Heroic: Orbi-tuary, we’d never attempt it again. Our victory was inevitable, and euphoric. The loot? Thoroughly anticlimactic. A Golden Saronite Dragon for me! (which I was absolutely thrilled about! — but since I’m a Restoration shaman, my guild tended to view it as a waste ;.;), and some Abyss Crystals for the bank.
Of course, with Flame Leviathan in pieces and morale practically air born (or at least as high as our resident shadow priest), the raid’s attitude towards the encounter started to change. “That wasn’t so bad, after all…” “It was actually kind of easy, once we got the hang of it. I bet we could do it again…” “Ooo, have you seen the hard-mode neck? WTB!”
The very next week, when we opted to forgo the hard-mode in favor of a quick two-towers kill, half of the raid was overjoyed … and half of the raid was disappointed. No one complained, exactly, but there were quite a few players who quietly rued the missed opportunity.
Last night, we decided to try for four-towers again. We’d recruited liberally and had a full raid for the first time in weeks — including several new players who were eager to experience all of the Ulduar hard-modes (including those, like Flame Leviathan +4, that the guild had already defeated).
And although I didn’t mention this to anyone in /officer chat, I personally thought that reprising our previous achievement would be symbolic of our new beginning.
In hindsight? I sure as hellfire hope not.
If it had been a simple matter of “Okay, we aren’t on top of our game…” or “We have some new players who aren’t quite up to it yet…”, then it would have been easy to call the hard-mode attempts after the first hour or so.
But we were actually making progress! Each attempt brought us closer and closer to the achievement. We suffered from some exceptionally bad luck, a series of untimely disconnects, several occurrences of the same annoying glitch (Flame Leviathan would continue to move, but his model would stand still — and then magically “warp” across the screen) and a heartbreaking 1% wipe.
Each and every time we charged back into battle, we were convinced that “we so have this fight!”
And until the last half hour, we were having fun, in spite of the wipes. We were laughing on Vent — joking, teasing each other, discussing strategies and tweaking our line-up. Energy was high. Everyone seemed invested in the fight, even those who didn’t need loot and quietly (or not-so quietly) protested that we could be using the time to work on new hard-modes and achievements instead.
Then, about thirty minutes before end-time, when it suddenly seemed possible that we might not manage to eke out a victory after all … morale tanked. But we were I was stubborn, and invested in our progress (no one wanted to admit that the last two and half hours had been a waste!), so we pushed on.
Flame Leviathan: 1.
Us: … 0.
I was more than a little crushed at the end of the night, when we zoned out of an instance we weren’t even saved to. I felt like I had wasted the best line-up we had had in weeks on a fight that didn’t even utilize our line-up! Everyone was pretty down about it, and two of my veterans made a point of reminding me in /w’s that it was my fault we spent the night wiping on “old” content when there were new hard-modes to work on (and therefore progression to be had).
Yes, it was a bad call. In hindsight, we should have scaled back to FL +2 after the first hour and moved on.
But it didn’t feel like a bad call at the time — we were so very close!, and I can’t help but think that if we had managed to defeat Flame Leviathan, then it wouldn’t have been a “bad call” at all.
Tonight (assuming that we have the right raid composition for it), the plan is to knock out FL +2 and power through the early encounters. I hate feeling like Flame Leviathan defeated us, but with only two raid days to clear the entire instance, we really can’t afford to give him any more time this week.