Friday, December 9, 2005

Seal of Ascension. An UBRS/LBRS run.

Last night I logged onto Darkhoof. I was hoping something would be going on even though it was a "down night" for the guild without anything scheduled. As soon as I log on I get a whisper "UBRS?" "Of course" I reply. I still would like to get my Vest of the Elements off General Drakkisath and UBRS has gotten pretty easy with all of our experience. Too we had a young Rogue and a new Priest along and they need their gear.

Anyway as I'm heading out to the zeppelin stand they tell me, as I was already doing, "Get on vent." (Ventrillo, our preferred voice comm choice.) By the time I get to the Zeppelin stand they tell me "Leave the raid." and I do so and get invited into a party. "We're going to get you the UBRS key." I.e. the Seal of Ascension.

Cool. I'd gotten lucky with the gem drops and have had the parts for over a month now, and I'd picked up Vaelyn's (sp?) Gift from Brackenwall Village. All that had been left to do was to visit Emberstrife in his lair deep in the marsh, beat him down, and make him forge a key for me.

So I left the zeppelin stand and headed back into Orgrimmar to catch a windrider to Brackenwall Village. Our party was all guild officers, and two were already ahead of me heading to Emberstrife's, and two were following. I knew they way because I'd already visited Emberstrife once before to speak with him and get some quests. (There's trouble in Dragonland my friends.)

Anyway Viscera, a Rogue, and Sapphyre, a Priest, were ahead of me and were already killing some of the elite Dragonkin outside of Emberstrife's Lair. As Hution, a Druid arrived, I'd stepped into the lair and put on my Dragonkin disguise. It's pretty cool though the movement's aren't all there. For instance, they can't dance or wave. But when armed they'll equip the shield and dagger you have in your hand.

Anyway, as soon as these three saw a Dragonkin standing in the entrance they all attacked. Sapph launched a Shadow Word: Pain, Hutty a Moonstrike, and Visc did his thing. All failed because it was me! HA HA! :) Funny stuff. Especially hearing it over vent. (Almost as funny as the time in the Tribute Run where they yelled in vent "Oh, *&#t! Run Darkhoof. Run!" And I ran. Dancing Ogres are so funny.)

Lexia, a Mage, arrived and we headed into the Lair.

I removed the disguise because for this Seal of Ascension quest the point is to beat Emberstrife down and break his will. Hutty went into Bear form and Visc did his Rogue thing and Emberstrife was quickly reduced to tears. I placed the unforged seal on the ground, and then mind controlled him with the orb. Cool. I was a real Dragon! Anyway, I looked for and initially did not see the seal I'd put on the ground. I didn't see it at all when the control broke. As I returned to Darkhoof, I again controlled Emberstrife. This time I saw the seal, and saw the Breath Fire command. I blew fire on the seal. Nothing. I blew more fire on the seal. Still nothing. Then the mind control broke again. We killed him until I could figure out what the deal was with the unforged seal. I was sure I was doing everything right.

So there we were, on Emberstrife's perch, when two Dragonkin walked up. "Where's the Dragon?" "We just pwned him." "Oh." "You doing the quests?" "Yeah. Don't pawn him again until we're done." ("Did he just say "pawn?" we ask each other on vent? :) "Okay." They do their thing and move on. We again attack Emberstrife and show him what a little girly-dragon he really is. I place the seal again, and mind control him. I see the seal and blow fire on it. Again. And then I see the frost breath button. Doh. I blow frost on the seal too. Bingo. The seal is forged and as I collect it I am restored to Darkhoof. Emberstrife dies, again, and I hear the distinctive sounds of skinning while Lexia takes Emberstrife's skin. The yardage this beast has shed in his career must be astronomical!

Anyway. Success! Now one last stage was to return to LBRS and return the forged seal and get the ring/key. We rejoin the UBRS raid, and the raid channel on vent, and make our way to Kargath.

As we arrive it sounds like an uber-Alliance guild is having it's fun in the entrances of Blackrock Spire and Depths. They've got folks stationed on the chain, down by the entrance to Molten Core, and at the entrance to BRS. There are skeletons everywhere. As we ride to the entrance from Kargath we hear the reports. We ride past a few alliance outside of the gates and then enter. The ramp downward is littered with bones. Lots of bones. But the trick here is: Keep moving and keep heading to your destination. To the left, up the rock, onto the chain, up to the left again, under the rock, over to the balcony, a jump onto it, head in, wade through the sea of red names to the instance entrance and go go go. Whew. Made it. Zerg entrance for the win!

We were a 15-man raid on UBRS. When you 5-man it, to do some quests, it is tough. 15-manning it, with Druids sleeping and Rogues sapping, is very easy. We cut our way down into LBRS where I turned in my forged seal to get the Seal of Ascension. +Nature, Fire, and Frost Resist. Not bad. And then we cut our way back to the entrance of the UBRS part.

Have I mentioned that I was the #2 healer on our last two runs into the Molton Core? I'm proud of that. I've got good +Int gear to boost my mana pool, and I've got +healing spells gear to improve my healing. (Hutty was the #1 healer there. Druids rock when it comes to healing. And the Battle Rez they can do is incredibly useful.) I'm a Restoration, 0/11/40, specc'd Shaman in order to provide the Mana Tide Totem for casters. And it counts. I crit often with my healing spells. (The 11 I have in Enhancement gets me faster ghost wolf casting and two-handed weopon talents.)

Anyway, I also have +Stamina gear for when I'm outside, and my Zulian Stone Axe, while providing +22 Int it also has +44 Attack Power.

My group had 4 Rogues in it. In the raid we had two other Shamans along, two Priests, several Mages and Warlocks, and 1 Warrior. We had a single tank. So I put on my +Stamina gear, and brought the Axe out and prepared to melee for a change. I might off-tank here, but I'm going to want to smash stuff while I do it.

I put out Stoneskin Totems to keep the damage my group takes down, and Healing Stream Totems to heal a little of what we do take, and reduce somewhat the burden on the healers, and for the Rogues I drop Grace of Air Totems. They just love it. (As much as Warriors love the Windfury Totem.)

Keeping the Windfury buff up on my Axe, and my Lightning Shield up, the Grace of Air Totems were providing me a lot of satisfactory triple hits. The Zulian Stone Axe, while all +Int also does decent damage. 58.6 damage per second. And +44 Attack Power adds, what, +3 dps as well? If you've ever been one-shotted by a Shaman, it was probably via a Windfury activating, and maybe even with some Flurry action to boost it. Mind you, being Resto specc'd, I don't have the Improved Windfury buff, nor the Flurry talent. (I miss those. I may respec when I head to the Outlands where I imagine smaller groups and melee will be common again.)

So, as I was saying, we were cutting through the ranks of the UBRS defenders. We cleared out those 8 rooms in the start without a loss. Our Warrior would charge the Summoner, one of the mages was casting some frost spell, and otherwise they were spamming Arcane Explosions, and a thought occured to me. "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!" I wasn't straight up meleeing yet, casting like 2 Chain Lightnings per battle, and then meleeing the runners. (Our Warrior, a Tauren named Carlspackler, wasn't our usual Main Tank either. He's happiest wielding this huge Halbeard of Smiting. He is typically the main off-tank though, and this run, boy he did great as the Tank.)

We got to the Emberseers room and dispatched him without effort. I mean, for a boss, he's so ... wanting.

We then moved into the "LEEEEROY JEEENKINS" room. The Rookery. We did the Event. We then had one of the younger characters pop a few eggs as he moved to the ramp. Easy enough to kill the Whelps. That Leeroy Jenkins video is such a laugh. We took out the Dragons on the ramp, and along the ledge, and it was like wind through wheat.

We then moved on to attack the Orcs in the Armory. They went down swiftly as well. There was a rare Orc there and he dropped a Starsomething Tiara. Nice. And we just cut through to the balcony. Do you remember your first time in UBRS? When all this was so difficult? When all this took real strategy? I mean if we can pull one group, accidently another, and for giggles, another, and survive with only a death or two on our side, "What the hell?" What's happened to us? How did we get so good? Does the gear really provide that much more benefit? Could be. I didn't have my Sergeant's Cloak, or Timmy's Golashes, or my Dreamwalker Armor, or my Pauldrons of the Elements, or my Zulian Axe or Defender the first time I came to UBRS. With all this gear, and everyone else with their improved gear, we have gotten so much better. (And when you run into an Uber-Guild that makes Nefarian cry like a little girl on a weekly basis, they've got gear that makes ours look like vendor trash. That's turning around though with every guild trip to MC.)

So we make our way up to the balcony overlooking the Arena. Hooah! We jump down and wait. We dispatch wave after wave of Orcs and Dragonkin and Whelps. "Is this the best you've got Rend Blackhand? This? Send in the girl scouts and give us a challenge!"

That sets him off and next thing you know Rend arrives, riding his Dragon Gyth. Gyth is swiftly downed, and then we turn on Rend himself. And here's where my new Seal of Ascension again comes in handy. (It automatically opened the doors for us earlier.) Having equipped it before jumping down in the arena, I now used it. A huge Dragon appears, ghostly, heals us all for 5000 each, and then begins attacking Rend with us. Seems Rend's been a bad, bad Orc. Seems he's been abusing his Dragons. Rend goes down. And for the 2nd time in days drops another set of those Warrior shoulders. Alas, the guild warrior who want these is not with us. Rend also drops a polearm, but it's not as nice as what our Warrior already has, and so we disenchant both.

And so we moved on.

We moved our way on to the Beast. Our new Rogue, Kippin, is tasked with being "Punted." Yay for the Puntee. (Every newcomer to UBRS is made the Puntee. Its a tradition of ours. If you haven't been Punted, you haven't really lived. You must try it.)

We cleared out the rest of the room, and then the bridge leading over to General Drakkisath's room.

Clearing out the room to get to Drakkisath can sometimes be trying. Some days we don't do well and wipe on the first group. Last night we pulled one group at a time, got no adds, and did well. In our battles so far we lost one, maybe two tops. I didn't rez once this run. Didn't die once either.

We remove the trash mobs and have Drakkasith in our sights. We start the battle, and we have our Hunter lead Drakkasith off out of the room. We dispatch the first guard, and then turn on the second, and Drakkasith surprises us by being returning too early. No matter, we kill the 2nd guard and then concentrate on him. Our gear is good because he's taken down very easily. Yay for the team. Our Priest got his set shoulders earlier, and now he got the set robe as well.

Remember me telling you I've been #2 lately in healing on our 40-man MC runs? Well in melee mode I was #4 in damage output on our 15-man raid. And #3 in damage taken. Our guild's got skill.

Let me add: Recap is an add-on. It's been very useful in establishing what works, and what doesn't. Are you really "All that?" Let recap tell you. Using recap I set goals to be the best in a category that I can be. Are you really healing that well? How's your mana efficiency? You got the dps to keep up? Get Recap and find out.

All in all a great run in UBRS for the guild. And Darkhoof is now keyed for UBRS so that's excellent as well.

And tonight, Friday, we head back into Molton Core.

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