Farewell to Firelands

Farewell Firelands

ZELCANDOR: “Engulfing Flames inc – oh lol, Raggy’s already dead. Wait, how did our Shadow Priest die?”

MAGE: “She got hit by that bugged meteor.”

PALADIN: “Ah well, she was gonna life grip us into its path anyway, good thing we got her before she got us!”

And with that, Tier 12 progression raiding came to an end for us.

We’d spent the night wiping on Heroic Ragnaros yet again but the mood was good. As much as we’d read all the horror stories about Heroic Ragnaros being a guildkiller, we’ve always thoroughly enjoyed learning the fight and making progress on it. A huge part of this is because we’ve never had the lineup available to really go for the fight – on our first night, both our Shadow Priest and Hunter had to drop out a the last minute due to real life. We decided to give it a go anyway, to see if our tactics were viable. It was pretty fun to 8 man Heroic Ragnaros and learn as much of the fight as we could. It was even more fun when our 8 manning actually yielded some results, with our best attempt bringing Ragnaros to 50% HP.

Since then, the story’s been the same – we clear all content and then have 2 nights on Heroic Ragnaros but always without our ‘perfect’ raid comp. Lots of wiping ensues but hell, we all have fun, we all learn and last night was so sweet. On our last attempt, we executed the fight perfectly, we got Ragnaros to 42% and wiped on the 3rd wave of Molten Seeds. Our aim was to bring Ragnaros to the second transition before that third wave of seeds. Unfortunately, our Warlock wasn’t available and our 10th DPS had just joined the guild, never having set foot in Heroic Firelands and thus was a little undergeared compared to the rest of us.

But fun was had by all and we ended the night with a rather messy but funny Normal Mode kill. And so, that’s that. No more Firelands for a while. Patch 4.3 is here and it may be that we can’t raid as often as we’d like to due to our members going off on vacations or visiting friends and family. I think most people will have become thoroughly sick of Firelands by now but personally, I feel a bit of regret at not having more time with Heroic Ragnaros. I know, I know, we haven’t even seen Phase 3 or 4 yet and it could have given us a lot of grief but we’ll never know. What we do know is we’ve wiped on Heroic Ragnaros a lot and thoroughly enjoyed it!

I guess it’s strange to start with a review of Firelands raiding at the end but there you have it.

Our first couple of months of Firelands raiding were pretty rocky. We’d just come off the back of an unsuccessful guild merger and were hemorrhaging players. We’d decided that we could no longer do 25 mans, it was just too much work and we didn’t have the playerbase for it anymore, especially with the lofty standards of play we wanted to reach. We tried running 2 groups of 10 mans but that was causing a lot of unhappiness. I had to take an extended break due to real life, a break that resulted in my stepping down as GM and as one of the guild RLs.

And then, a bigger blow, the only other experienced RL had to step down due to real life. Serendipitously, this co-incided with my return to the game and I was back in the RL hot seat. A role I’d traditionally run away from due to the simple fact that I just never thought I was all that good at it.

Returning to Raid Leading was rocky. My real life was kind of a mess at the time and I wasn’t sleeping properly or even emotionally up to the task of resuming raid leading. But I sucked it up and did it, anyway.

And you know what? I hated Firelands.

It was shit.

I wasn’t familiar with any of the trash and patrol routes. I thought it was retarded as hell to have to clear half the trash just to summon the first boss. Half the time I mispulled and wiped the raid because I was so impatient.

I grudgingly had to admit that tanking Riplimb was pretty fun in the Shannox fight. But still, I hated it.

Beth’tilac was okay, simple tank and spank fight from my perspective. But still, I hated it.

Rhyolith gave me a headache. I couldn’t see shit, I was constantly running into magma lines, adds were a pain to tank and no-one seemed to understand how to steer the sonnofabitch. I hated it.

Alysrazor was an exercise in frustration. On the surface it had looked to be fun, with tanks doing 1000% more damage. In practice, it was another fight where I couldn’t see shit and was constantly dying due to running out of range of the healers. And let’s not even start with those goddamn tornadoes. I hat – actually, you probably get the idea by now. 😛

Baleroc and Staghelm were fun in their own way but then came Ragnaros. I hated it most of all. It was a long fight and I just didn’t ever engage with the tactics the raid had come up with in my absence. They just didn’t make sense to me and for those first few weeks, I just handed over raid leading to our mage and stumbled through the fight, hoping for the best.

But why the hate? It’s not really that bad, is it? I mean, some of the fights suck but it’s no Icecrown Citadel (don’t get me started on that shithole. Or well, maybe that’ll be an interesting future post).

Well, in retrospect, I realise that what I hated was that I wasn’t really in charge.

I’d come back from a break and in my absence my fellow raiders had cleared all of Firelands on Normal Mode. I was the Raid Leader and while I’d read up on every fight 10 ways to Sunday, I had no idea about our specific tactics for Firelands. And because of that, I hated it and just couldn’t engage with the fights as well as I should have. I hated posting tactics and assignments only to find out that they weren’t how we’d been doing the fight so far, that our tactics were different. I hated explaining some things only for my raiders to correct my assumptions about the fight. I hated having to figure out if I should stick with what everyone knew or change things to tactics I was happy with.

In the end, it was half and half. Some fights I changed things here and there to make them work for me. Others I left alone.

But as time passed, things changed. Real life began to settle down and I stopped being quite so moody and unstable. We started Heroic Modes and suddenly I felt that fire and excitement at having to come up with tactics and progress with my guildies again.

Now don’t get me wrong, our Heroic Mode tactics are in no way all down to my strategic genius or anything like that. The moment we dropped down to 1 x 10 man team, our raiding changed. It became a lot more collaborative and all my tactics are is a blueprint, a starting point. We go in, see how we do with what I planned and then we fine tune and adjust to make the fight work.

I also enjoyed that we started to work on our Glory of the Firelands Raider achievements, whittling away at it until we got it done (goddamn Alysrazor and her bloody tornadoes).

In the end, I’ll miss Heroic Shannox and the intricacies of the dance that myself and my fellow tank do to lose our stacks.

I’ll miss the tense vent chat of Heroic Beth’tilac as we communicate and do our best to keep things controlled in Phase 1. I’ll really miss our Hunter calling out in annoyance and frustration that Spiderlings are coming from the same side yet again, while he valiantly tries to make sure he gets every Broodling. 😀

I’ll miss the fun of picking up all the adds on Heroic Rhyolith and dancing between Magma Lines and AoE slowing the slimes.  Actually, no, scratch that, I’ll always hate this goddamn fight.

I’ll miss topping the meters on Heroic Alysrazor while in full DPS gear and my healers shouting at me to stop being a nub and put on my proper tanking gear! 😀

It’s such a pity I only started to appreciate and enjoy Firelands at the end.

Ah well, we’ll be back soon enough – we still have 2 Dragonwraths to complete!


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What I Hate About Introductions

I find them utterly boring, that’s all there is to it. While I do think it’s useful to know something about the author of a text in order to better understand the message, a dedicated introduction post is such a turn off for me.

I figured I’d take the Blizzard approach on this matter of introductions: learn by playing, or in this case – by reading. Besides, even if I started explaining who I am and what I think or believe I’d probably get it all wrong. I’ve found people’s opinions of themselves tend to be more or less inaccurate, and I think the information you’d expect in an introduction post is best conveyed between the lines of posts dedicated to something altogether different.

Actually, screw that. I’ll tell you something about myself right here (internal conflict!!!!). I like graphic illustrations, such as the one below. They give a lot of information at a quick glance, like this particular picture says basically all of the above. I shall call it “the TL;DRicon.”

Anyway, I think this was supposed to be a WoW blog or something, so I’ll give it a go. It’s funny actually, I’m writing a WoW blog although I don’t really even enjoy it so much these days. It’s like a blind guy writing articles about movies. In other words, totes awesome.

What I hate about World of Wacraft.

Heroics. Oh the drudgery. I mostly run dungeons as a DPS so here’s basically how it goes:

  1. Join the queue
  2. Spend 30 minutes fishing and waiting for the queue to pop (I never really fish, I just want to sound more productive than I really am)
  3. Join the PUG hell
  4. Spend the entire dungeon hoping it’ll be over soon and you can get your VP
  5. Repeat
  6. lol

Raids. Undivided attention for more than 3 hours. Anyone who knows me knows that 3 hours of focusing on one thing is just not my style. Back when I raided I had to keep spamming the raid chat to get the required division of focus.

2V2 Arenas. 40 minute matches that end in a tie, need I say more?

Rated Battlegrounds. Wait, nevermind, I actually like those.

Professions. Grinding materials for X hours to get Y item and ditch it the next patch. Yay.

Now I must say I’ve been a victim of all of the above during my 5 years of World of Warcraft, or is it 6? Who’s counting. I know, my credit card is! Okay, let’s try and stay on the topic. I’ve been a part of a few raiding guilds (really just the same guild collapsing a reforming mostly). In raiding guilds the main activities are raiding and heroics, and I used to enjoy them alright – I think I stopped liking them because bilzzread sucks 2day. Or maybe I just like different things. Also done my fair share of arenas, never really reached any proper rankings but I think I have the 300 victories achi + some on alts. As for professions, I grinded archeaology until I got the pattern for the Sandstone Drake and then I grinded the materials for it. Oops. Either way, I figured I’d TL;DRiconify this one as well – alors voilà:

PS. I know it’s just arranged text, but hey – try making those using a typewriter! –> They’re pictures.

Anyways, why am I writing this blog? Well, Zel and I thought it’d be fun to write something from the perspective of someone who’s not enjoying the game right now and I also thought it’d be nice to have someplace for me to write about other shizzle I’m into. Voilà! L’ introduction!

PSS. Also, they’re JPEGs.


Insight into The Drunk Tank’s Blogology

Yes, he tanks drunk most of the time. She doesn't drink that much, she's just funny.

The Drunk Tank and The Vorty Priest meet in Darnassus to talk weighty matters such as the global recession, the Occupy Wall Street movement and Michael Bay movies.


Yes, an inteligent introduction to our blog. Bask in my maturity.

I kind of wanted to avoid doing an introduction post as I’m just very bad at them. However, I’m stuck. There’s a whole bunch of things I want to blog about, ranging from upcoming content to current content, encounter design, speculation and of course, warrior tanking. But the more I sat down to try and write about this stuff, the more I thought it lacked context. You need to know a bit about me, where I’m from, what I’m doing etc!

So an introduction of sorts is in order. Dammit! Just what I wanted to avoid!

So, taking it from the top, I started playing WoW at the start of TBC and I have always been a tank and a damn good one. /pride

I play a warrior on The Sha’tar-EU, a low pop RP server. I love tanking and the warrior class. I’ve gone DPS every now and again but frankly, my DPS isn’t anything worth writing home about. I do above average DPS but as it’s not my main spec so I never get to practice outside of the occaisonal 5 man heroic and therefore just don’t really care about topping the meters as a good little DPS should do.

I’ve been an officer in the top guild on my server and then GM of the guild that formed after that guild disbanded. My guild is called Immortalis and after running it for 2 years while also doing all the raid leading, I finally got to the point where I didn’t have the time or motivation to do so anymore. So, I stepped down as GM, became a regular member and more recently an officer again. Throughout my time in Immortalis, I’ve pretty much always been the Raid Leader and Main Tank, for better or worse.

Right now, Immortalis has a bunch of server first achievements (which I’ll go into in another post) – that’s achievements, not realm first boss kills. We’ve completed our Glory of the Cataclysm Raider, Glory of the Firelands Raider, killed Sinestra, gotten to 6/7 Heroic in Firelands and are currently progressing on Ragnaros Heroic. I’m happy with our progress, though we are behind some of the other guilds on the server. I’m aiming to be a lot more aggressive in terms of progression when 4.3 comes along but again, something for another post.

No longer being GM has given me some more free time and decreased my stress load to the point where I actively have time to do other stuff. There is a running joke in my guild about my drunkeness as well as my propensity to pun (oh, such horrors await you, readers!). So, late one night last week, I was saying to my partner in crime, Vorty, how awesome it is that some of my friends have WoW blogs and I’d love to have one of my own. Vorty wanted to share her opinions about stuff too and so we conspired to make a blog together. And here we are. Vorty will be along in a while to make an introductory post of her own. It’ll be at least 43% funnier than this one. She’s like that, random, hilarious and awesome.

So, what’s this blog going to be about? Well, sooner or later I’ll cover everything from Mists of Pandaria, Raiding, Tanking, Warrioring and general WoWing. I’ll talk about future content and past content. What I’d like to see, what I speculate may be on the horizon. I’ll wax lyrical about my past glories and triumphs. I’ll bitch and moan about things in WoW that I dislike. But something else I really want to do is be positive about the upcoming expansion.

By now, it’s been a while since Mists of Pandaria was confirmed as the next expansion and the WoW forums are full of indignant QQ about how it’s lame to play panda men (and women), how Blizzard are ripping off Kung-Fu Panda, ripping off Pokemon, how the new talent system is dumbing down the game and catering to casuals, blah blah blah. I would have thought that the vitriol would have died down by now but ah, well.

Speaking personally, I’m looking forward to the next expansion, it looks really fun! Unfortunately, the sheer level of hatred aimed at Mists of Pandaria found in the WoW Forums and MMO Champion just depresses me. I just can’t brows for information about stuff at those sites anymore because it just harshes my buzz, yo. I just kind of wish people would stop being so negative and just try and have some fun. So yeah, this blog will be a counterpoint to that every now and again.

Anyways, this being an introductory post, there’s not much in the way of interesting content. I’ll have a look at the MoP Warrior talent trees in a future post as I’m still playing around and thinking them through – not that that’s saying much, warriors have the most straightforward talents of all the classes. I’ll also spend some time going through the other aspects of Mists of Pandaria such as PvE Scenarios, Pet Battle Systems, Lore, Beta-ing and all the other stuff you’ll find in a typical WoW blog, though I’ll try and stay focused on warrioring and tanking.

But for now, an introduction post is all you’ll get!

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