Back to 25 man raiding again

It’s been a few weeks, but boy it was nice to get back to killing bosses again tonight.  We decimated Festergut in a single attempt (where I broke my record for single target dps, even taking into account the 15% zone buff) and then went on to try a brand new boss.

Double figures feel so sweet!

Valithria Dreamwalker is a green dragon who needs to be healed from 50% health to 100% health to win the encounter. So, it’s exactly the opposite of a normal WoW fight. This time, the heroes of the encounter are the healers, who have to go into tiny portals and gather clouds of “goop” which magnify their heals, so that by the end of the encounter, they need to have healed the dragon around 10 million health in about 7 minutes max. In the meanwhile, the other 22 people in the raid stand around and try and fend off all sorts of waves of nasties who spawn more quickly as the fight progresses. If you don’t do them in the right order, or you forget which ones explode upon death, your group of players will die very quickly.

I’m very pleased to be able to link a Youtube video from tonight’s first ever kill of this boss by our guild. It was done on our 9th (and last) attempt. Our first try, we got the boss to 59% before dying, then 66%, then we had 3-4 mid 70%s attempts.

Insane progress

At a time when most people are taking a break or easing off playing WoW, I have been going all out to achieve one of the rarest Feats of Strength available in the game. I wish there was a way of tracking how many people have got the “Insane in the Membrane”  achievement on my server, but it doesn’t appear this is possible. Anecdotally, on the Khaz’goroth forums there are at least 6, with plenty more that are mid-way, judging by the Auction House speculation on items required.

Despite many “guides” insisting that you need Bloodsail reputation at Honoured, whilst simultaneously having all 4 Goblin Reputations at Exalted, I feel comfortable post patch 3.2 that this is no longer required, and there will be a lot of teeth gnashing if my presumption is wrong. So, of the 7  Exalted and 1 Honoured reputations required, I am currently:

Bloodsail Buccaneers: Hated. I’ll be doing this one last. Apparently going from Hated to Honoured can be done in a single solid 3 hour burst if you have a party of five people. 0% done.

Booty Bay: Exalted. 100 runs of Dire Maul North was enough to get this. I actually enjoyed them as I was able to vendor a ton of stuff, and Disenchant all green and blue items.

Ratchet: Exalted

Everlook: Exalted

Gadgetzan: Exalted

Darkmoon Faire: 9000/12000 Honoured. Despite spending a lot of time on the Auction House and levelling Inscription to 450, herbing and making cards, Decks have been too expensive to buy and some cards (helloooo Ace of Portals and Ace of Beasts) have been impossible to find. On the bright side, I made a Nobles Deck and sold it for 4700 gold. I still have around 60 Epic decks to hand in, and that is going to take at least another two months. The decks cost around 500 gold each currently, and I may have to blow 5-10k getting the last of them. I am probably about 40% done with this faction.

Ravenholdt: 750 / 21000 Revered. I waited till I had the Goblin factions completed before looking at this, and I’m glad I did because I might have given up if I’d realised earlier. Of all the grinds, this one has got to be the worst. The 6 hours of killing at Durnhold Keep was mindless, but manageable. From Revered onwards, The Heavy Junkbox collection (involving the pick-pocketing of 14,000 guards at Tyr’s Hand in Eastern Plaguelands) with a 15% drop rate has got to be the most insane part of the Insane title. I have borrowed my ex-guildie Jason’s level 80 rogue for a few months, and setup 5 macros to make it less painful and only started this section 2 days ago. If only I could run around faster when stealthed (apparently you can re-spec for 30% faster speed but I’m reluctant to ask him if I can do this). I am about 5% done (in terms of time) with this faction.

Shen’drala: 6000 / 21000 Revered. This one is pretty crazy also, and due to greater overall awareness of the need for Librams and Pristine  Black Diamonds, and subsequent supply / demand bullshit, the 90+ diamonds required are now going for 200 gold each+ on my server, and Librams for 110 – 150 gold each. Supply is pretty steady, so if you have 20-30k gold, you could complete this faction in a week of so. I buy the items only when less than 100g, so it’s been slow and steady so far. I’m about 70% through this – and thank god, have only 30 more diamonds to buy. One of the cool things about this grind is the need to spend time in Scholomance and Stratholme for Skin of Shadow and Frayed Abomination Stitchlings. I’d hardly ever been in these intances so it’s been fun to farm them in speed runs.

And thats it. I’ve really enjoyed it all so far, though it’s fair to say that not a lot of household projects are getting done, and my wife has been very tolerant. I’ve been going at it for 8 weeks now and probably will be done in another 8-10 at an average time expenditure of 3-4 hours a day.

Major items to buy on the AH for those interested:

Pristine Black Diamond (90) < 100g – used to be about 40g but prices are crazy now.

Libram of Protection, Libram of Focus, Libram of Rapidity (total of 90) < 70g

All blue Darkmoon Cards < 20g if you’re lucky. Mostly averaging around 40g each and you will need to have 500+.

Primal Life / Mote of Life / Darkflame Ink / Ebon Pigment (when cheap) for making Darkmoon Cards.

Why I am still playing WoW

It’s just over a year since Kim and I rolled a Horde character each and joined <ten> on Khaz’goroth and I am still battling away most nights of the week in some form or other. Although I’m in a smaller guild than before, which is less active on forums and in guild chat than I’d prefer, the players are mature and the Guild Leaders have a great attitude. They even made me a team leader last week.

At the moment I’m working heavily on “the Insane” title, which I am finding exhilerating and challenging at the same time, and I’m about 30% done. My biggest problem seems to be finding Pristine Black Diamonds at reasonable rates (i.e < $100 gold), but otherwise the grinding for Shendra’lar and Steamwheedle Cartel factions has been very bearable. Having this 4-6 month goal in front of me has given me a real spark and I look forward to finding those Auction House librams for bargain prices several times each day. It’s been a huge boost to have an Alliance character to scan for me also.

And the negative stuff you ask? Well, we recently lost our awesome Raid Leader to burnout and I have been quite devastated about it. The replacements are terrific people, but it’s fair to say they’re not in the same league, and I find myself unexcited about gear upgrades and general raid content partly because we haven’t run a 25 man raid in weeks, but also because I’m preoccupied with the Insane project. It seems like lots of people are going through a WoW lull right now; perhaps the glory days are over. There’s pretty much only 1 Feral Druid blogger still out there, so I feel like I’m losing touch with the top DPS tactics that I was so aware of previously.

Healing a bit of Ulduar 10

On Sunday evening, I got the fright of my life when I was asked to be the third healer in Ulduar, in what for us was “progression content”, meaning making attempts on bosses we’d never downed before. I normally am a dps (damage) class, which is arguably the least responsible role in any raid. So, it was guaranteed to be a mineral water (and not beer) night as I needed to concentrate.

Over four hours I finally got a good chance to try out my healing spells via various mouse button and key combinations, but I have to confess that I used a limited repertoire of spells. I really just wanted to get a good handle on 3-4 core heal types. I was running Recount, so I could easily check what spells the other druid was using – my plan was to offset those with some different ones.

Overall I healed nearly as much as my wife, the Holy Paladin. I kept Rejuv’s and Lifeblooms up on people, and occasionally remembered to Swiftmend them, and threw in a bunch of Nourishes in also. I wish I could say that Wild Growth was as effective – I had a hard time noticing if it even worked at all and I suspect I was out of range mostly.

In the finish we downed Freya and Hodir (both on our third attempts), and it was a big thrill for me. I picked up a ring upgrade and a lot of confidence in the process. The next morning I was still buzzing at our great achievement and I couldn’t wait to try some more healing.

I’ll have to post a screenshot of my tree in action.

I’m more powerful now

Time to update my WoW scenario.  About 10 weeks ago, I made a post about playing a horde druid. At the time I was level 70 and I’d been levelling my arse off to get to 80. Well, I finally made it, and then seeking to improve my character and play with a larger group of folks / meet some new friends etc.. Kim, Ben, Oui and I went to play with a guild called “ten”, who amazingly didn’t mind us coming along on their Friday night runs.


So far it’s been fun, though they are less organised / structured than our previous guild.  There are the usual couple of attention-seeking, high maintenance young American teenagers, and the odd grumpy bogan Aussie misanthrope who throws foul language around to ward off possible impending niceness. Somehow it all works and it’s a fun group capably led by just two remarkably patient men in their 30’s/40’s. Last night, we did four wings of 25 man Naxxramas to the light background music of Queen, Cold Chisel, Hot Chocolate, Credence, The Trashmen and Jeffferson Airplane. When a Kiwi piped up and suggested perhaps some Dr. Hook might be good, he was howled down for his bad taste. Lots of fun. Our music selection came from the Itunes of the anonymous “Outlawed DJ” through his Ventrilo mike. It was awesome.


I’m really happy with seeing my character improve, and finally not be the lowest in the groups I’m in. Here was my dps for Patchwerk last night. 4030 last week, 3600 the week before.

I am Grenache!


I picked up two pieces of tier gear and am starting to have a nice little set of gear now, though I have yet to try the Malygos fight yet. Here are my updated screenshots.


Nowdays weak bear


Nice kitty


Since joining my new guild, I’ve been able to play pure dps as there seem to be a ton of tanks, so I have forgone most of my tanking talents except for Survival of the Fittest, so my bear stats look poorly. Look at that terrible dodge! Thankfully my cat is very nasty and lethal as a result.


Final comment? If you are a feral dps you MUST install the FaceMauler mod. It upped my dps by 450 last week. Even if it is cheating a bit.

Stats before I forget

Kim and I took a break from our WoW guild and re-rolled some level 1 characters on the horde side for some more casual play with real life friends from work and a couple of friendly Thai folks. It’s very different in a small guild but refreshing to see the game from a different angle.

Today we went into ZG and did a hasty Karazhan run afterwards – all in about 2.5 hours total. It was lovely to be loot-hoovers and not have to struggle the whole way like we used to.

I wanted to record my stats so I can look back oneday, so here are the shots for now.


Bear and cat…

Instance # 36 (Illidan Stormrage)

Last night we downed Illidan on our second full night of attempts. The first night, we had 19 attempts, and we squeezed in another 12 last week after some other bosses. Last night it took 7 goes and he was toast. On at least 1 or 2 of those attempts, I wiped the raid due to standing in either the green Fire Blazes on the ground for too long, or by getting lasered by the blue Eye Beam


Illidan Stormrage - downed November 10, 2008
Illidan Stormrage - downed November 10, 2008


When Illidan finally dropped it was oddly anti-climactic, as there was still a couple of Shadow Fiends loose in the raid, running around, and I had my game sound turned down so low I couldn’t hear his emoting. He was on 0% health, and yet his body wasn’t showing the customary sparkles indicating he had loot for us all. So, there wasn’t the jubilant simultaneous screams of Vashj. It was still magnificent though. When I bought the Burning Crusades expansion in January 2007, Illidan was the final raid-boss in game. As we all know they introduced a new patch which added The Sunwell, so nowdays it is Kil’Jaeden.  This is where my WoW raiding ends. A magnificent journey and a lot of fun along the way. The only boss I never ended up killing was Archimonde, and I would dearly like to spank his arse when I have a level 80 character onesday.

A guild member recorded a 13 minute Fraps video (.avi file) of the kill. Unfortunately there is no sound, but I was happy to spot myself on a few occasions, and I was particularly proud of my tanking of the Flame in Phase 2 amongst huge amounts of green Fire Blazes on the ground, and the blue Eye Beams. It was toasty warm in there!.


Hmmm…yes it was noisy. Rugby sucks too.

Tonight we had a bit of a guild get together at the raucous P.J O’Reilleys on what happened to be a Bledisloe Cup night. It’s fair to say it was not condusive to conversation, and for that I apologise. I’ll be more careful next time.


Still, great to put some faces to names and eat some icecream at the end.


From left: Zilentzhadow, Clendaone, EvilKinevil, Drjnr (and Sandra), Andelenne, Shamed, HawtKaellan, Diablos, Iosephus, Keiralea, Antheriel, Veldor, Qualm, Sarumian, Bridei.  Click here for a bigger shot.


Instance# 35 and #36 Five bosses down in three weeks = amazing!

We had a heck of a Friday night last week, as far as trying out new things in WoW. After the 2.4 patch was released a month ago, the necessity of killing two of the most difficult and tricky raid bosses in the game had been removed. A ton of guilds had completed 6/7 of Serpentshrine Cavern and 3/4 of Tempest Keep, but Vashj and Kael’Thas were left in the surge into Mount Hyjal and Black Temple – the last and hardest raid instances in the game (hey let’s not include The Sunwell, as it’s only new). Our raid leader is of the mindset that if you can’t kill the Tier 5 bosses that I just mentioned, how on earth would you be able to down the Black Temple guys, so he suggested as a matter of pride that we shouldn’t skip and we should tough it out. So, as per my last WoW post, once we downed Lady Vashj a month back, there was a surge of interest in having a look at Hyjal.


So, on Friday we went in there for the first time, AND ONE-SHOTTED THE FIRST THREE BOSSES. At the end of the night, I had drunk 4 beers and all the bosses seemed the same – because in Hyjal, you fight 8 waves of minions before the boss arrives on the scene. A lot of people consider the waves to be harder than the bosses. I’m not going to explain the fights, except that they were fairly straightforward if you knew what to look out for. Here are the screenshots.


 EDIT: 4th MH boss down, and 1st boss of Black Temple downed before a bunch of our regular raiders (McStabbystab, Veldor, Admetre, Smallock, Serein, Cruzz, Humus) left to join a high-end raiding guild on Thuarissan called (terribly) The Lovenasium. Darn. Nagentus we downed with only 1 raid member (Admetre) left alive. It provided much amusement on the night.


Rage Winterchill

 Click here for a bigger shot.



 Click here for a bigger shot.



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 Click here for a bigger shot.


Nagentus (Black Temple)

 Click here for a bigger shot.