Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tonight is MC Night. So grab your stuff, your ankhs, and get down to Kargath. We'll be leaving at 8:50 p.m. sharp. Or thereabouts. Don't forget to repair before you set out, Noob!

I start this thread hoping that I'll be able to add to it as the action tonight unfolds.

A run to Molten Core with Requiem, a horde guild on Smolderthorn.

(Well, I'll be taking you on the run we do on Wednesdays. We aren't "leet" enough yet to do it all in like five hours or so. Eventually, but not quite yet.)

It's T-3 hours now and I'm just getting this together so it's ready to go when I am.

I've got my, Darkhoof's, Astral Recall spell set to Kargath. There's a reason for it that I'll get to.

Too, the only real raiding I do nowadays happens to be in Blackrock Spire and Kargath is a far superior jumping off point than Thorium Point is. God, what a PvP nightmare that place is. Heh. Ever try to turn in 1,000's of Dark Iron Ore, 5 at a time, to some thick Dwarf while Night Elf rogues are prowling about? That's just no fun.

Okay, so it's 5 minutes before meet time and I am attempting to connect to the server.

Ummm. This happened last night while we wanted to go to ZG. And the last time. And the time before last.

Still connecting. What's up Blizzard? I was just on a realm. I move over to a low population server (Smolderthorn) and I can't log on? Vent's up so I tell my guildies I'll be a little late to Kargath. Others are experiencing the same thing. While I wait I'm already typing in the blog here. (I am now updating this since you can't type in a blog and heal your charges at the same time.)

But, no worries. I did manage to log on, and I was already in Kargath and I got an invite to the raid right off. Nice.

Darkhoof leaves the inn at Kargath and it's like the scene from a Turkish Bazaar. There are people everywhere! Two or three different guilds. Preparing to run Molten Core or Blackwing Lair or maybe just go to Upper Blackrock Spire or such.

I tracked down Lexia, our mage, and she gave me some of her wonderful water. Like mana, or ambrosia. Quite restoring to the mana pool. Lexia is usually very difficult to find. Yes, she's got some nice colorful robes on. Her eyes are like little beacons. She has a happy dancing little murloc as a pet. But imagine a slight Undead Mage amongst a sea of huge Tauren Shaman, Warriors, and Druids. It's like horns and manes is all one sees. A quick /target revealed she was close by so I open a trade window with her and in exchange for 5 snowballs she gives me 40 Conjured Waters. (I've got the snowballs to spare and she enjoys hurling them at Ona the Orc Shaman.)

I've got water, my gear is repaired, and so I kill a little time. I get my Worg Pup out, change into Ghostwolf form and run around like a mad dog.

I'm not much of a PvPer. But I'm undefeated in the ghostwolf vs. ghostwolf category. Such a simple and feral fight. No spells, no heals, no windfury procs, just good old teeth sunk into somebody elses fur. It's a slow fight, we 60 Shaman have a lot of health, but I whittle them all down eventually. Master of the Pack. At least in dog form.

I ran into an old friend and waved as he managed to defeat a Warrior. He is a Shaman. It's our healing powers that gives us an advantage. Kind of like a Paladins "bubble heals," our lesser healing waves can be improved with talents so they aren't as easily interrupted. With +218 healing I can recover a goodly amount of health while still fighting. (A 60 Warrior once found that out when we ran into him down in Stranglethorn Vale.)

At the appointed time, 8:50, we set off for Blackrock Spire. We like going as a group, because, like they say, United we stand, divided we fall.

We aren't alone as we enter the gates of Blackrock Spire. There is a pathway of skeletons down the ramp. Before I even leave the tunnel I'm rewarded with an Honor Kill. (I love when I get Honor Kills and I don't even see the death. This particular Honor Kill was a Knight-Lietenant.) Then another. I spot the red names now. One is on the floor under a mob of Horde. Dead or very short. Two more are on the rocks above the chain. A level 60 Mage and one other. I'm hoping it is not a Priest as I jump on the chain and move downwards. For the Mage I drop a Grounding Totem to absorb any spell he might thrown my way. Now a Priest, as I've already once told you, will Mind Control you and dump you in the lava. Halfway down the chain, out of habit, I drop an Earthbind Totem. Don't need anyone following me too closely now. "I need space!" I make my through the center and back onto the next chain leading to the bottom and at last get to the Blood Elf and his gem. I touch the gem and am transported into the Molten Core. (Outside the shimmering portal I can see the end of Blackrock Depths. I'm glad there is a shortcut to reach this place.)

Sidebar: As we collect inside Molten Core someone tells the story of a friend of his. His friend is just level 56, first time ever anywhere. Proud to finally be getting to go someplace as famous as Blackrock Spire, he makes his way here, across the Searing Gorge, enters the gates, comes down the ramp, and, first time mind you, is promptly mind controlled and run into the lava. The person telling the story then says as of that day all Alliance, of any race, level, or creed, will die if he can manage to get to them. At the point where a war becomes personal, watch out. Bad things start happening. For both sides.

Not all of us had left the same time. A handful of folks were asked to go repair. Some were asked to put their clothes back on and then told to go repair. I thank the gods that loin clothes aren't a removeable article of clothing.

While we wait in the entrance of Molten Core we hear people talking about entering Blackrock Spire. Uh oh. Those Alliance we ran into? They weren't there to cause a little trouble. They must have been gathering for a raid as well and in between our passing them and our stragglers reaching them they'd reinforced their numbers.

But, at 9 p.m., our appointed time again, we pulled the first Fire Lords.

These battles are becoming second nature now. And our Warriors and Hunters are confident enough to stay ahead of the game. The mana of the healers barely, and not always, restored before the next fight starts. But that's how it's supposed to be done. Just a moving wave down into Molten Core to the first bosses.

Now Molten Core has what we call "trash mobs". They include Fire Lords which are massive giants, made of molten lava. They usually come in pairs. Our raids always have a Main Tank and an Off Tank and no matter what your talents build is before reaching 60, if you're going to be of use, or want to be out front, you'll have a Protection Build to go raiding. Warriors are there to take damage, not do it. Mages, rogues, hunters, and elemental shamans, are there to do the damage.

Another form of trash mob is the Fire Elemental. These are like the elementals you might find in the Arathi Highlands. But immensely more powerful. Level 62 or 63, and Elite.

Then there are the Rock Elementals. You've probably seen these in Thousand Needles or the Badlands. And there's a few versions of each of these trash mobs. Some of the Rock Elementals run person to person and smash up people. Others have a big hit that sends everyone around them flying. (Think Matrix.)

Then there are the huge two-headed Core Hounds. Either individual, or in packs. And they have multiple talents as well. They might breath fire. They might stun the entire raid. They might send you scurrying about in fear.

All of these trash mobs, if handled wrong, can wipe out a 40-man raid.

How? you ask? Well, funny story from this very raid. We have two hunters out front. One pulls some elementals from one side, the other pulls some dogs from another. The classic "Doh!" moment. We're capable enough raiders that we can only but laugh at this. Too funny. "You pull." "No, you." "No, you." We're close enough to the entrance that a few survive by running back out of the instance. That could result in death anyway if the Alliance are right outside. On the way out a mage dropped dead next to me. He'd been dotted (damage over time had been cast on him) by something. Almost! Well, short of it, we survived, returned, rezzed, and were back in business.

We continued on into the Core on the way to our first boss, Lucifron.

One thing a little different than other instances. The respawn rate of trash mobs is very quick. You have maye 20 minutes and these things reappear! Don't stop! And don't forget to make a note of when you killed what. You don't want to be picnicing when something is due back. However, yay for us, we've gotten good enough that we move so fast we don't worry about keeping timers going.

We kill some more elementals and then prepare to fight the Fire Imps. (Right. Just like the Grell kin found in Darkshore. But level 62, Elite, and swarming in packs of a dozen.) This is usually the death of at least a couple of our mages, but this night the Imps fall under a whither rain of fire and frost and lightning. We run through them so easily this time.

Lucifron is there before us. And we're there for him.

There are some Core Hounds yet to remove from our way and then we prepare for the fight.

I'm in the Main Tank's group this run. First time.

And I die. Video can be found here.

But Luci goes down. And Cenarion Boots and Felheart Gloves drop. Every boss will drop at least two [epics].

After the loot is distributed we get going on the next task. This is to kill Magmadar, an even larger two-headed hound. Magmadar makes the Beast in UBRS look like a Chihuahua dressed in a funny little people clothes.

To reach Mag we need to go through some Core Hound packs. These aren't quite as difficult as the Core Hounds that wander about the Core, but they come in groups of five, and if you don't kill them all at pretty much the same time, the surviving hound will resurrect the dead ones. All five have to die at the same time, and then someone has to pour a bucket of water on the ashes to make real sure they're really dead for sure. "Only you can prevent wildfires."

There are like five or so of these packs. And we take them out one at a time. Our Warriors tank the dogs and everyone else rains hellfire down upon them.

Until we stand before the Big Dog. Magmadar. He's ... relatively easy. Not much to do here. The Main Tank beats on his nose and everyone just shoots stuff, casts stuff, or stabs him from close range. If you aren't the Main Tank, and you see teeth, it's time to lay up the damage!

Magmadar isn't just a big slab of beef though. He breaths fire and can launch this fire thing that lands on you like napalm. He casts a fear spell that has everyone not protected by a Stonetremor Totem running about the place like boys at Neverland Ranch. Even with a totem you'll initially run off. You simply come to your senses earlier. (Whew, Michael is out of town!) And he bites I suppose. I tend not to get too close. I drop my totems and keep an eye on our other casters mana levels, in case I need to drop a Mana Spring or Mana Tide totem, and otherwise heal the boss.

And then Magmadar goes down. So easy this time. 1 1/2 hours into our raid. Woot.

See the video here.

When we first started we would typically, on a Wednesday, only do Luci and Magmadar.

As we got better we could move to the next boss. At that point though all those trash mobs we'd cleared through earlier would be back. We'd have to fight all the way out to where we turn to the next boss. At this point we'd strip off our durability items (death causes damage, repairs cost money) and make a suicide run out. I.e. run and and be killed by the first mob. Then run back from Thorium Point in spirit form and then reappearing at the entrance with not too much harm done. (If you find yourself at Thorium Point, in spirit form, and you're surrounded by a mob other other spirits, and none of them are wearing anything, that's what they're doing. (If they've just wiped then they'd still be wearing their gear.))

But this time, we've done so well, we simply go back out the way we came. The Fire Imps have respawned but they are non-issues this run. And we find ourselves on the hill overlooking Gehennas area. And we start down.

It's not so bad. I used to seem impossible. But here we are like scouts on a hike. There are Fire Lords and Fire Elementals and Rock Elementals on the way to Gehennas but they're not tough. Gehennas has two guards and they're just seperately tanked, killed one by one, and then all attention goes to Gehennas. This is a tough fight. He's got his regular attack and he's got some curses he likes. One time a shadowbolt found me and hit me for 2,100 points of damage. Ouch. (Yes, being in the mere presence of a good rogue will cause about that much damage, but here on top of everything else, it's deadly.)

Gehennas goes down 2 1/4 hours into our raid. And it's all over. Booya.

And we aren't done yet.

Last stop tonight, kids, is Garr. A great big bunch of rocks piled on rocks.

This room is like a mall at Christmas time. There's a dozen trash mobs in the area. If you had one of these in your neighborhood it would fold onto itself and create a black hole. Heavy, man.

This is how we do Garr. Four Warlocks take and banish 4 of the 8 Firesworn who protect Garr.

Firesworn are Rock Elementals. Moving pebbles stacked on each other. But can they hit. And once you kill them they'll explode and everyone around goes flying. And if you kill one, you only make Garr stronger.

So the Warlocks banish and hold 4 of the Firesworn and keep them out of play. Four Warriors have the other 4 Firesworn. And then one by one the Firesworn are killed. As each is killed the group attacking the remaining Firesworn gets larger. When the 4th is killed all attention is turned to Garr.

And it was such an easy fight for me. I healed the Main Tank, kept the totems up, and since he took so little damage the healing easy.

But, as Ron Popeil says, Wait, there's more. Well, we are almost done.

On killing Garr the fights not yet over. Remember the four Firesworn banished by the Warlocks? One by one the banishment is broken and the Firesworn is killed. With the 8th dead then it's time to count the loot. I think another Earthfury Helm dropped and since I already had one, this raid didn't get me any loot. :) But it's fun nonetheless.

So, at end of the night we had taken down 4 bosses in 3 hours. That's 8 epics, or about 1 per group of 5. Would you invest 3 hours for an epic item? Sure you would.

With the last of the loot in it's new owners hands, the portals open to the Undercity and Orgrimmar and I step through. One moment in the Molten Core at Blackrock Spire, next in the dry streets of Orgrimmar.

No comments: