I’ve been so bad about posting lately, so apologies. Further apologies for being a bit rambling in my catching-up.
Suffice to say, things have been rather slow for no apparent reason. Immediately after we had our first week of real successes in Ulduar-25 – the next lockout period, mind you – we started running into attendance issues. A couple of attempts were made at bosses past Flame Leviathan, but at this stage it proved to be less than feasible for us to be attempting them with 20-21 people. Thus, until this last raiding week, I haven’t been back in the 25 man version for much of anything.
Fortunately, the guild appears to have stepped up their efforts to ensure that we’ve got the bodies to get involved. Mentoring / gearing efforts have been offered to some of the people who are newer 80s, or those who have always been around, but not in a raiding capacity. I think that it’s safe to say, as long as we can cull2-4 of them per week, we’ll be good.
A side effect to this all has been a pronounced lack of 10 man Ulduar as well. I haven’t been raiding with MiM as much on their regular signup periods in order to keep my ID clear, as we’ve been told that the nights when 25 man attendance falls short may be diverted into 2×10 raids. Unfortunately, other things have happened in those timeslots as well. A lot of it was productive, such as under-21 Naxxramas. Some of it is just alt runs.
Fortunately, it looks like the worst is behind us, and a corner is being turned. We were able to launch a 25-man raid Saturday night, marking the first time in three weeks where the numbers have been there. Possibly due to rust, possibly to newer people in a few slots to make numbers, we had a more or less pedestrian result. Flame Leviathan was a predictable one-shot, nothing spectacular. On a personal note, Manch was *finally* rewarded with one of the drops that I’ve been coveting, the Steamcaller’s Totem. I think it’s pretty amazing, as a side note, that the difference between this and the Totem of the Bay is greater than Bay vs Empty Slot.
After that, we moved on to Razorscale and things got messy. A few people had to leave here and there as we made attempts, but we just kept getting borked on the grounded phase. When we’d exhausted everyone’s patience with her, after about 6-7 attempts, the call was made that this would be our last try for her and we’d be moving on to something else – and wouldn’t ya know, we downed her. I think the key was adding a 4th tank into the mix; while we didn’t really have too many issues with 3 tanks and the adds, if something unlucky happened and one got killed before the grounded phase, it left no margin for error. On top of that, Razorscale does have a bit of a habit of catching people at bad moments, and we lost tanks on every attempt – including 2 of 4 on the kill. Still, I think that wiggle room was the difference.
Things were running late at that point, so we moved on to Ignis, which was a one-shot success. Sadly, the next night found us with 23 as a couple of usually reliable raiders had connection, computer or RL problems and couldn’t join us. Apparently, ISPs in Australia are dodgy as hell. As a result, we went back to do Malygos and OS+1 for grins. Both down successfully, and I was finally able to collect on my Heroic: Judgement at The Eye of Eternity loots. Yay!
As I still had my 10-man ID open, I joined an impromptu guild run on Sunday, which went very well. We skipped Ignis, but in 3 hours pushed all of the way to Freya – whom I’d never seen before – and got in a few attempts before hitting “raid time” and disbanding for the night. All of the bosses were successful one shots, and most fights were very…. comfortable. It’s feeling a lot less chaotic in there these days, and I like that.
Outside of Ulduar “progress”, though, I’ve been smashing along on the toons. Zuggzug has joined the 80 pantheon (now 6 strong), leaving just 3 toons and a bank alt left below 80 (76,71,71 – just 22 aggregate levels!). With Inyaki moving up to 76, I’ve also finally got a Blacksmith available as well – he’s up to 442 now.
Noobz ran a full clear Naxx-10, which was great for experimenting with a Demonology Raid spec, and Eusko managed to get through an entire Naxx-25 for once and I picked up some great loots for him, which is really helping me to get him rounded into form. He still needs a run or 2 more before I’m completely comfortable, but it’s safe to say that a lot of the rough edges have been removed.
The only real bummer for gearing was on Kel’Thuzad; we were running 3 tanks (myself on Eusko, a DK and a Druid) and he dropped the Wall of Terror. Predictably, I just about crapped myself since the other 2 tanks don’t use shields. We did have a warrior in the raid who has a Prot dual spec and sometimes tanks Ulduar, but he wasn’t interested. Good for me, right? Wrong. When it comes time to roll “Need- Main Spec” I roll – and so does a Paladin Healer. Guess who lost? Yup.
Now, the person who won this has apparently paid the 1000g to dual spec, but that’s about the only tanking cred that I’ve seen. In every raid that she has been in where I’ve also been along, she’s been a Healer (and I miss very, very few raids). On top of that, there are a few other things to consider – that the shield is the DEFINING piece of gear for a Prot Paladin, and also that this is friggin Final Boss Loot. Her rolling on that is about as asinine in my mind as me rolling on the Torch of Holy Fire (which also dropped, and no I didn’t) because I offspec Holy. It’s silly because it undermines the raid, and does nothing more than grant her a nice shiny purple for her bank, or to run heroics with if she can’t find a tank. It’s a waste, because it won’t see the light of day in 25 man content, where it counts, because she raids Holy – like I raid Prot on Eusko.
She’s done it before, too, popping into a raid at the last minute to get the 7.5 head when a Priest (and a good one at that) who had been on for the whole run also needed it – and that player actually wound up /gquitting over the incident. I guess what I can’t get my mind around is why she was allowed a “Need” roll on this – we’d all been rolling “Greeds” for offspec loot prior; additionally, those of us with offspecs that realistically won’t get played much (like Eusko as Holy) had been defaulting to “only before shard” position by our own requests. Yet, there she goes. I could probably complain that it shouldn’t have been Master Looted to her either on that grounds, but I think that the ML was feeling more than a little drained after a long 2 nights (we’d brought along some new raiders and alts for gearing / practice) and just decided that it was one less headache. Life goes on.
Coolness note for the Eusko run, though – when we took on Kel’Thuzad, I was slated to be one of the add tanks in back along with the Druid. Now, the gal who plays the Druid is a knowledgeable player who plays her class fairly well. However, this was her first time facing KT. Easy enough, we said – pick up 2 adds and hold em. Wait for raid to kill KT. Well, cool me moment #1 came prior to the add phase. I know it’s mundane to most, but it’s the little things that you do which keep raids going on. In my case, I had moved up to the front a tick to stun someone who had the Chains of Kel’Thuzad thing on them; as I was running back to the rear, our Shadow Priest got Ice Tombed. I’d been targeting people throughout the fight with FoL on the blocks to help a little bit, so I flicked over to him – and three things just happened at once. I noticed his health bar had dropped to about 25%, I heard the call over vent saying “I can’t get you, you’re out of range” – and I saw Mariah Carey. (click that link, BTW to know what I’m talking about.) As a guy who usually plays the Healer – man, that felt good. Anyhow, back to the adds – they came out, we each got our two – and my Tank partner died in a Void Zone. Couldn’t see it under the Guardians, I guess. Anyhow, I was able to acquire both of them straightaway and hold all four. Fortunately for me, we had a Battle Rez available to bring her back into the equation. She got rezzed and buffed, and peeled two of the Guardians off me, one by one. Crisis averted? Nope, she died in a second Void Zone. Kel’Thuzad hates add tanks, I guess. Anyhow, I was able to grab em both up again and – between the efforts of myself and my healers – stay alive til the end! I suppose that it’s worth noting, the elation I felt at pulling off the 4-Guardian feat certainly added to the letdown with the whole shield thing, though.
I guess that the other real bummer about the last month comes on the Guild front. Despite the fact that MiM isn’t a real cutting edge progression guild, we’ve got a lot of very good players – just not enough to do much in the way of 25s. However the core players have all been around for a long time and are by and large very skilled. I’d wager that MiM’s 10 best can hang with just about anyone on the server’s 10, but for the fact that we don’t have the gearing opportunities from the lack of 25s.
** Anyhow **
We’ve recently lost a few people who were (are) both good raiders, good friends and good people. I don’t know all of the “why” as to their departures, and even if I did it wouldn’t be appropriate to air it out online. One was a Hunter who had been in the guild over two years, and who has known the many of our core people since high school. The other departure was a husband and wife team, Prot Warrior and Holy Paladin. All of these players were skilled and valuable from a raiding standpoint. From a social standpoint, they were well-liked, amusing and a large part of the guild identity. Losing them has hurt on all of those fronts; I know that people leave, but it’s pretty rough when the people who do the leaving are 2 years+ as members. I’m concerned about how this affects our raiding viability, and I miss seeing them in the /G text. I hope that things improve and we persevere, though; already, we’ve had a few good players return to the guild after long absences, and that helps.
I guess that the only other news, really, is that my wife’s Shaman is getting fairly close to 80 now. She was always Elemental in BC, but now that she’s playing the Mage all the time, wants to go Resto with her. to that end, I’ve whacked together a pretty fair healing set for her that should allow her to step right into Naxx-25 level stuff once she learns the mechanics. Maybe I’ll list off the gear later, but it’s a better entry-level set than I had, that’s for sure!
Anyhow, that’s the bulk of it for now. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations – hopefully I’ll have something more interesting next time!