Bye, Bye 2009

2009 is almost at an end. The fifth year of World of Warcraft was the year of anticipation for the final showdown with The Lich King which we will see early in 2010 before ending in Cataclysm. We’ve seen some significant changes to both the game and the community.

1.Β  IMMORTAL – The bane of every raid team. Sure achievements are fun, but if you’re the person that has a d/c and gets targeted for Anub’s spikes before you disappear costing your raid team a cloak for the week the fun quickly turns to stress and irritation.

2. Class utility – Bring the player not the class. We’ve heard this catch phrase so often over the past year, and Blizzard made good on the promise by spreading necessary buffs/debuffs/etc to various classes so that your team is covered no matter what. Unless you’re fighting Instructor Raz in Naxx, then you’d best have two priests with some hit. πŸ˜‰

3. Casual Raiding – Heck, it’s not even casual raiding anymore. It’s PuG raiding. I was so proud of my former server in TBC for the number of successful PuGs we could run of SSC/TK. Now raiding truly is anyone and everyone’s game…well, as long as you stick to normal mode difficulty.

4. Gearscore – No, not the shaman alt one of our officers levelled. With this fun (sarcasm font) new addon, you can be judged instantly by the item level of those purples you have thrown on. So what if you’re a rogue wearing spellpower leathers? Those babies have an average ilevel of 245, and you’re good to go, lol. Gearscore is not a perfect tool for determining raid readiness. Most forget that Naxx was originally cleared by guilds with raiders in 70 gear, but try to get that idea across in trade chat. πŸ™‚

It’s been a pretty great year for the rogue class, in my opinion. This expansion we received Tricks of the Trade, Fan of Knives, and a return to dagger viability. Sure it’s not a Warglaive year, but you can’t always be number one. Best of luck to my ret pally teammate as he collects some Primal Saronites to speed up his Shadowmourne building. πŸ™‚

Enjoy the dawning of the new decade! Happy, joyful, andΒ  prosperous New Year!

Happy Winter Veil!

I hope everyone is enjoying their new BB guns, and a very happy holiday surrounded by family and friends!

The Winter Veil Song

(based on The Christmas Song-Chestnuts Roasting)

Worg haunches roasting on an open fire,

The Lich King nipping at your soul.

Winter Veil carols being sung by a friar,

And gnomes dressed up like goblin foes.

Everybody knows a jingling bell and some mistletoe,

Makes all of Azeroth’s heart light.

Druids with their hands all aglow,

Will find it hard to put enemies to sleep tonight.

They know that Father Winter is on his way,

He’s loaded as many food and presents as he may.

And everyone, Horde and Alliance, will try

to make their mounts into reindeer that can fly.

And so, I’m offering this simple phrase,

To levels from one to ninety-two,

Although it’s been said many times, many ways,

A Very Happy Winter Veil, to you.

Yeah, it’s off a bit, but heartfelt none the less. Best wishes! πŸ™‚

Ventrilo

Voice chat is what really makes MMO’s or any online gaming and raiding guilds fun. Even though our guild is really good about remaining quiet for the raid leader and officers during our raids, the sounds you hear when we beat something worked on is a big part of the fun in team play.

A guild member was nice enough to fraps Monday’s Heroic Anub kill…including vent. This is a transcript of the last 5% of the fight: (which may bore a lot of you, but I like having the record of it :D)

Main Tank Druid – Penetrating Cold 3 seconds

Melee Class Lead – Watch MT, he’s low!

(main tank dies – boss at 3%)

Warrior OT (raid leader) – Taunting, Shield Walling, Got it! Pally OT get all the adds!

Paladin OT – I CAN’T

(both rogues tricks and FoK the adds to the Pally)

Pally OT – Stunning the adds.

Warrior OT – I’m dead. 1% Burn him, go go.

(all 3 tanks, and half the raid is dead)

Main Tank Druid – WTF seriously? He’s almost dead.

Warrior OT – DISPERSION PRIESTS. DISPERSION.

(More people drop dead to either agg or penetrating cold)

(5 raid members alive – 2 rogues, 2 hunters, and resto shaman that popped back up)

(The rogues die, Shaman dies again, 2 hunters left)

Warrior OT – Go Hunters. Burn him!

(Hunter 1 dies, 10k health)

Anub dies,Β  Last hunter dies, Achievements pop

(various general screams, shouts, and other excitement)

Me – *laughs* That’s awesome, the whole raid’s dead.

Main Tank Druid – OMFG I love you Hunter #2! I EFFING LOVE YOU, MAN!

Shadow Priest – I’m screenshotting that. Just like that.

Resto Shaman (that popped up) – I rezzed! I THREW FLAME SHOCK AND LIGHTNINGS AND EVERYTHING I HAD AT HIM!

(various I’m so screen shotting this)

Raid Leader – Go ahead and release gang. We’ll loot after everyone’s in.

Of Frozen Halls and Undead Bugs

I accompanied Jaina Proudmoore on her storming of The Lich King’s inner sanctum. Unfortunately, she still believed that Arthas was residing in the Lich King’s cold interiorΒ  somewhere. I guess she didn’t do the Matthias Lerner quest chain. Between Arthas and Kael’Thas, Jaina sure hasn’t been lucky in love. I think she should have stuck with the study plan.

My favorite part of the Halls of Reflection was the reveal we get from the ghost of Uther as he speaks to Jaina:

Uther: There is … something else that you should know about the Lich King. Control over the Scourge must never be lost. Even if you were to strike down the Lich King, another would have to take his place. For without the control of its master, the Scourge would run rampant across the world – destroying all living things. A grand sacrifice by a noble soul …
Jaina: Who could bear such a burden?

And the speculation begins. We receive another piece of the story in the Icecrown Citadel raid instance as we hear this exchange:

Highlord Tirion Fordring: Our march upon Icecrown Citadel begins now!

The Lich King: You now stand upon the hallowed ground of the Scourge. The Light won’t protect you here, paladin. Nothing will protect you…

Highlord Tirion Fordring: ARTHAS! I swore that I would see you dead and the Scourge dismantled! I’m going to finish what I started at Light’s Hope.

The Lich King: You could’ve been my greatest champion, Fordring. A force of darkness that would wash over this world and deliver it into a new age of strife.

The Lich King: But that honor is no longer yours. Soon, I will have a new champion.

The Lich King: The breaking of this one has been taxing. The atrocities that I have committed upon his soul. He has resisted for so long, but he will bow down before his king soon.

Highlord Bolvar Fordragon: NEVER! I… I will never… serve… you.

The Lich King: In the end you will all serve me.

When the next gate unlocks in January, it will be interesting to see the new encounters and further progression of the story.

In guild news, we took down Heroic Anub’arak last night to complete our Trial of the Grand Crusade. It was definitely a “Tribute to Mad Skill” as one of our hunters was the last man standing, delivered the killing blow, and died just after Anub fell. One of our holy pallies captured it in a vid for us with vent, it’s totally going on my list of classic raiding moments.

Enjoy the holiday season! Happy gaming. πŸ™‚

Patch 3.3 LIVE

Patch 3.3 hit live servers this week, and was relatively smooth for a patch day. I love my guild leaders for not scheduling a main 25 raid for us on Tuesdays, so we get a bit of a cushion from UI rebuilding and laggy servers.

Most notably Patch 3.3 introduces:

1. Icecrown Citadel (Tier 10) 10 and 25 man raids and a new 3-wing 5 man dungeon The Frozen Halls.

2. Dungeon Finder and random heroics with PuG’d party members from your server’s battlegroup.

The Rogue class changes also bring with them some adjustments to our game play. You can read an update to the EJ Simple Questions/Simple Answers here. The basic combat spec changes to 20/51/0 and is edged out by Mutilate for top DPS in PvE encounters.

I had my first opportunity to run ICC 25 man last night. Our guild was the second on the server to clear all four available bosses in one raid night despite our Wednesday start. In 2 hours and 15 minutes of raiding we cleared through Deathbringer Saurfang then finished with the weekly Instructor Raz raid quest in Naxxramas.

Some notes on ICC:

1. Gorgeous music. Yeah, I know. I don’t play with music on all the time either. But you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t zone in early, and take a second to listen.

2. The Rogue Quartermaster is a gnome! Hell yeah represent….uh. I mean yeah the Tier 10 set looks bad on that rogue, too. πŸ˜‰

3. GUNSHIP IS AWESOME – It goes down in my book as the most fun vehicle fight…ever, ever, ever. Jet packs, cannons, faction fighting. It’s a blast. Even if our chest was bugged and we didn’t get any loot or emblems for completing it last night, lol.

4. Take the time to watch what happens between after you kill Deathbringer Saurfang. Tragic.

So excited to see what else the Citadel has to offer. So far, so good. I know better than to complain about the ease of defeating these encounters. This is still normal guys. Heroic hasn’t opened yet. πŸ˜‰

Happy Raiding! And Happy Holidays!