Friday, February 24, 2017

Krosus Progression

Apologies for the Wall O Text. I'll try to remember to get some screenshots next time.

Nighthold

The Voracity crew headed back into Nighthold and knocked out the first three bosses (Skorpyron, Chronomatic Anomaly, and Trilliax) in short order. We had gotten our first kill on Spellblade the week before, but it was messy as my six-year-old's bedroom and I wasn't sure it was repeatable. I was right. The problem area, at least from my point of view, is moving out of Arcane fog while staying with my co-Tank during Annihilate. After a couple of pulls, I could feel the attempts getting more and more solid. Our Warlocks upped the AoE damage with a combination of some Warlocky spell and other Warlocky spell (Cataclysm?). That helped put the adds down faster, and the next pull we got our kill. It still wasn't super clean, but she was dead, and neither of the tanks were, so that's a bonus.

Aegis of Light


I had experimented with Aegis of Light for Spellblade to help both me and my co-Tank mitigate an Annihilate. I didn't find it that helpful. You can't use it on the move, or cast other mitigation spells. The 20% from Aegis isn't enough by itself to get you through. I may try it again at some point, chaining a copule of Shield of Righteous hits before I drop it.

Krosus

We only got a couple of attempts on Krosus last time, but this week, we had more time to play with him. I switched my spec over to Holy Shield for this fight. Holy Shield lets you block spells and you can use it to block Searing Brand and Slam. I don't know if it was because of Holy Shield or something else, but the Searing Brand DoT felt more manageable this week than it did last week. During one of our attempts, my co-Tank went down and I figured I'd hold on as long as I could. I guess its part of my tank mindset, but I never like to give up on an encounter, even when its pretty obvious that we are on a one way trip to Wipesville, Population: Us. I blew every cooldown I had, as did our healers, and when I finally started tanking the floor, I had 17 stacks. This is as much a reflection of our incredible healers as it is my tanking. We knew we had the DPS to beat the enrage timer, and once the DPS figured out the Orb of Destruction positioning in the final phase, Krosus was eating fel lake.

Tichondruis

The Officers decided that our next target would be Tichondrius. If you played Warcraft III, Tichondrius was one of the three Dreadlords that Sylvanas overthrew to become Queen of the Forsaken. The others wound up working for Sylvanas (Varimathras) or infiltrating the Scarlet Crusade (Balnazzar).

Tichondruis is an involved fight. My main job is kiting bloods away from the boss so DPS can kill them. We had some good learning attempts, but the list of our mistakes was, as Maverick might say, long and distinguished.

Oh, Legendary

After the raid, I went and opened up my Mythic+ chest and lo and behold, inside was a Legendary, the Chain of Thrayn. My dream Legendary is Saruan's Resolve, but there's no chance I'm going to complain about not getting it. It'd be like someone gave me a Honda and I'm complaining because it wasn't an Acura. I already own Prydaz, Xavaric's Magnum Opus, and after doing a little research, it looks like the Chain is better, but playing casually, I haven't finished the last Class Order Hall advancement which means I'm restricted to a single Legendary, and, as a bonus, because I've had Prydaz, I haven't kept any of my other neckpieces, so even if I wanted to use the Chain, I literally have nothing to put in my neck slot.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pathfinder, Mythics and Alts


Pathfinder


One of my goals has been working towards finishing Broken Isles Pathfinder, Part One. In Warlords of Draenor, I was a little behind the curve on the flying meta and competing with flyers for the rare kills you needed for Order of the Awakened rept was difficult.

I had already completed the A Glorious Campaign. Variety is the Spice of Life and Loremaster of Legion achievements. All that was left was Broken Isles Explorer and Broken Isles Diplomat. For Diplomat, the only one I was missing was Wardens. Ironically, the best way to get Wardens rep was to do the Kirin Tor Emisary. First of all, you only needed to do three quests for that Emissary and I always do all the Ley Line Race ones. The Kirin Tor Emissary lets you pick a reputation token that gives you 1500 reputation with one of the Broken Isles factions.


For Broken Isles Explorer, I was missing a couple like Trueshot Lodge, and the Gloaming Reef. After running around a bit, I knocked those out and finished Broken Isles Pathfinder, Part One.

Mythics


I ran again with the old Devolve crew. These guys are tremendous players, and I always appreciate it when they invite along for their run. My key this week was Neltharion's Lair+4 with Bolstering. This meant that every mob that died buffed the remaining mobs with more health and let them do more damage. The worst were the pulls with all the little scorpions. We quickly learned to the kill the big guy first.

My key upgraded to Maw of Souls+6 still with Bolstering. I found this one easier than Neltharion's+4. They pulls aren't as large so the Bolstering didn't stack up as high.

Alts


Tivonicus, my Balance Druid, is the first alt I've gotten to 110. Legion feels like a Druid expansion, especially Val'shara. Cataclysm was more of a Shaman expansion and Wrath was a Paladin/Death Knight expansion. I used the BoA item in Honors Hammer order hall to get him to Artifact Knowledge level 20 in short order. My goal with him to finish his class campaign. Unlike the Paladin, the 'do 20 World Quests' part of the Class Campaign comes right off the bat for Druids, and I've been working on those as I can.

I have no clue who I'll work on next after the Druid. I'd prefer my alts to be on the same server and with the new token for Blizzard balance that might be more feasible than ever. I've never been great at making gold in WoW, and it seems like everytime I get close to buying a token, it doubles in price.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Catching Up - Mythics and Nighthold

I was running a Mythic Plus the other night with my old crew (Wichita, Black, Lakini and Donk) and one of them mentioned how he missed reading the old blogs I did. Most of my writing free time has been devoted either to my Blizzard Watch columns or to the novel I'm working on. Something had to give, and for a long time, that's been this blog. Lately, though, I've found that I, too, have missed the outlet.

I'm going back to my original vision for this space of chronically my adventures through Azeroth. At most, I'll post weekly. These articles won't be as polished as my Blizzard Watch stuff. The editors over there are first class and help me take my writing to whole other level. What you'll see here is raw Honors Hammer.

Mythic Plus Shenanigans


That Mythic Plus I did was amazing. These guys have many different toons, but I think the composition was Paladin Tank (yours truly), Hunter, Balance Druid, Rogue, and Demon Hunter. It was a Darkheart Thicket+2, but the interesting part to me was that we ran it with one tank and four DPS. No healer. Well, technically, I guess you could say I was the healer as well as the tank. Basically, my crew could kill stuff so fast that my self healing through Judgment of Light, and Hand of the Protector plus my cooldowns could sustain me. With my Relics, I've gotten Ardent Defender down to almost a 1 minute cooldown. It wasn't until we tried Maw of Souls+6 with Raging that Lakini switched over to Resto. Maw is the Mythic I know the least, but even with it being maybe my 3rd time in there, we still beat the timer. The only real problem I had was the Seacursed Swiftblades. These guys turn into ghosts, teleport and then whack you pretty good. With the Raging buff, those guys could about one shot me.

Raiding


On the raiding front, I'm firmly cemented as a main tank in Voracity. We're a normal mode, 3 hour a week guild working our way through Nighthold. We've got Skorpyron, Chronomatic Anomaly, and Trilliax pretty well on farm at this point. I take the little scorpions on Skorpyron. With Avenger's Shield, Consecration, Eye of Tyr, and Blessed Hammer picking them up is not a problem. I drag them to the boss where our melee DPS cleaves them into bits. Chronomatic Anomaly is an interesting fight. Our healers are amazing and we've never had much trouble with it. I adore the voice acting on Trilliax and its a fun fight overall. There isn't anything 'Paladin' specific I do on either of those two fights.

Sorry for the Wall-O-Text. Here's a picture of my current Trasnmog:

Spellblade Aluriel


Our roadblock has been Spellblade Aluriel. We do fine on the Frost and Fire stages, but Arcane is usually a mess. I have to stay with my coTank as we move out of Arcane Fog while mitigating Annihilate. Sometimes we have to do that with a bunch of Arcane adds in the way. If we get separated, one or both of us is going down. For Annihilate, I try to make sure I have multiple charges of Shield of the Righteous ready. When I have two stacks of the debuff, I'll add in a cooldown. This is one fight where I like having Aegis of Light talented as it can help both me and my coTank, but I usually only get one use of it per fight. We actually managed to get her down (our fist kill), but it required a battle rez used on each tank. I'm not sure how repeatable it is at this point.

Krosus


We had enough time left over to go take some stabs at Krosus. I still owe this guy big time after what he did to Tirion. Do you I've forgotten, Krosus? Do you think I've forgiven?

We made some decent progress, but didn't get it down. It's something of a relief to have a fight that is mechanically simpler after the more complicated Spellblade fight. It looks like we are going to be cutting it real close on the DPS check for this fight. All I can do is try to stay alive, but if the other tank goes down the debuff is going to do me in in short order.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tin Foil Hat: The Titans Aren’t Dead

Throughout the Legion expansion, we have been recovering the Pillars of Creation, items used by the Titan’s keepers in the ancient past to shape Azoerth. We’ve also learned the Titans who gave those artifacts their power are dead, killed by their own champion, Sargeras.

But are the Titans dead? My own theory, to borrow a line from a famous philosopher, is the Titans are only dead “from a certain point of view”.

A simplified story


I think we’ve received a simplified version of the story; the same way a wise parent will simplify a horrific story for a child too young to comprehend it. We know that when the Titans died their essence came to Azeroth and inhabited the Keepers. Only Keeper Ra understood what had happened and it sent him into a deep malaise. The other Keepers couldn’t even process it.

But could being as colossal as a Titan’s have their entire essence housed in a Keeper? I think not. We are talking about the beings of such enormous size and power that they killed an Old God like we might swat a mosquito.  Not all their essence went into the Keepers. It couldn’t have. I think some of the Titan’s power infused into the planet itself and from there into its inhabitants, and it might have been Amun’thul’s plan all along.

We know the Titans scoured the universe for sleeping world souls. Like Sylvanas, they realized they had no way to produce more of their kind. They even called Azeroth “the Final Titan”. At that point, Amun’thul must have realized there would be no more Titans.

We are told that in the final battle with Sargeras, Norgannon wove a spell just before the Titans were destroyed. I don’t think Norgannon came up with that in the spur of the moment. A spell that powerful must have been prepared. We’ve seen from the Forge of Origination that the Titans loved fail safes and Azeroth itself may have been a final fail-safe for the Titans. Amun-Thul knew there was a real chance Sargeras would defeat them, and if he did, it would mean the entirety of Pantheon wasn’t enough. To save creation, they needed a larger, more powerful Pantheon. But Azeroth was the last world soul. There would be no more Titans, no additions to the Pantheon. The fundamental problem still existed.

How do you make new Titans?


Before their battle with Sargeras, Amun’thul worked with Nargannon to create a way to send the Titans essences to Azeroth. If the Pantheon defeated Sargeras, they won. If Sargeras defeated the Pantheon, he wouldn’t kill the Titans, he would free their essence to inhabit and power an army of heroes creating a new pantheon larger and more powerful than the first and one capable of defeating Sargeras once and for all.

The champions and heroes of Azeroth are the reincarnation of the Titans.

This is like the concept of the Bhaalspawn from Baldur's Gate. Spoiler alert for an 18 year old game but your character and all the enhanced individuals in Baldur's Gate are Bhaalspawn -- the mortal offspring of the now dead god Bhaal and females of various races.

We aren't the mortal offspring of the dead Titans but in the same way that Bhaal spread his ... err.. essence into Abeir-Toril, when the Titans died, their essence spread into Azeroth. Over time it coalesced in certain individuals. Sometimes it found a compatible spirit with a Titan forged like the Dwarf or Gnome. Other times it found a receptive host in a native being like an Elf or Troll. Even sentients from others worlds like the Draenei and Orcs possessed compatible spirits.

These Titan essences are what set our characters apart from the other ‘normal’ individuals on Azeroth. From our first adventures, we have been working to continue to better harness that Titan power within us, getting stronger and more powerful with each passing day.

Each Titan essence gives the hero a bent towards particular powers.  Those who have the essence of Eonar the Lifebinder become Holy Paladins, Disc/Holy Priests, Resto Druids, and Mistweavers. Norgannon’s spirit gave rise to all Mages, and Balance Druids. Khaz’goroth and Aggramar’s essence leads the adventure to becoming a physical DPS or tank. I couldn’t decide which one would fit. I think tanks fit Aggramar given his Pillar, but Prot Warriors carry a scale of Neltharion whose power came from Khaz'goroth. Golganneth’s essence powers all Shaman. Aman-Thul, like his Keeper Odyn, is the all father and all of Azeroth’s champions carry a tiny spark of him in them.


The Titan’s aren’t dead


They live on in each of us, and through us, they will again face off against their wayward brother Sargeras. Only this time, instead of five Titans, it will be an army of Azeroth’s mightiest heroes, and when that happens, Sargeras will fall.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Starting Legion

Once we got to the Broken Shore, we found ourselves face to face with the huge horde of demons. There were some familiar faces from our past battles like Brutallus.

Tirion Fordring

We found Tirion being held in a Fel prision by a big demon named Krosus. Tirion broke out of a similar prison during our fight with the Lich King, but this one was much stronger. We had to watch helplessly as the demon crushed Tirion and he fell into a pool of Fel tainted water.

Tirion Fordring. THE Highlord. THE freaking Ashbringer. He deserved a better end than this. I would have liked his end to be similar to that of Varian with Tirion making some great sacrifice to save us, but that was not to be.

Ulduar and Karazhan

Once we got back to Dalaran, I was sent to talk to Magni Bronzebeard. He was alive. After the downer of Tirion's death, finding out Magni was alive was a much needed lift. It only got better. I was going with Magni and Braan to Ulduar! Man, I loved that raid. We talked with Mimiron because we are tight now that Yogg isn't in his mind anymore. We learned about the Pillars of Creation. There was also the major reveal that Azeroth is a Titan, or at least a Titan in potentia. But she is awake and alive enough to talk to Magni in his crystalline state.

Khadgar decided he needs a book from the library at Karazhan to figure how where the Pillars of Creation are. Ulduar and Karazhan in one day, I was having a blast. Like Ulduar, things are a bit quieter in Karazhan now that the place has been de-Malchezzar'ed . That didn't last long as the Legion showed up and we had a fight on our hands. We managed to get the book and high tail it out of there.

We had a big meeting in Dalaran and Khadgar convinced the Council of 7 to let the Horde back into the city. Jania lost it, resigned from the Kirin Tor, said peace out and teleported away. I can't really blame her. The Horde haven't exactly been trustworthy allies, well, ever.



Stormheim


You get a choice of which zone you want to start with and I opted for Stormheim. I met up with Sky Admiral Rodgers again and we set off. Once we arrived over Stormhiem, we were immediately attacked by the Forsaken. I guess they didn't get the whole "we have to band together to save Azeroth" memo. After a long battle they managed to blow up our ship. At this point, Sky Admiral Rodgers is never letting me back on one of her ships again. Between the last two sky ships and the boat in Vash'ir, people are not going to want to travel with me anymore.

I had to find the Aegis of Aggramar which the Vyrkyl had but weren't too keen to give up. I had to prove myself worthy. I completed the first two challenges but during the third, I get banished to Helheim. The ancient King whose blessing I needed also got stuck in there with me. In the course trying to escape, we witnessed Sylvanas making some sort of deal with Helya, the Vyrkyl deity that runs Helhiem. I don't know exactly what Sylvanas was up to but I'm pretty sure its not good for anyone who is still breathing. Despite her heroism at the Broken Shore, I'm not sure if she's totally on board with the whole "band together to save Azeroth" thing. It was the Forsaken, after all, who attacked both the Horde and Alliance at the Wrathgate. Sylvanas claimed no knowledge, but I've never believed that. She's got too many eyes and ears to think Palatress did all that without her at least knowing about it.

Worgen

I got out of Helheim and got called to Greywatch to talk to King Greymane of Gilneas. This seciont brought to you by the letter 'G'. It's still kind of weird to have werewolves in the Alliance but, hey, I'm not telling them no. It turned out the Forsaken were cooking up a new patch of the Plague right here in the Broken Isles. Nothing says "band together to save Azeorth" like trying to Plague everyone!

At this point, I have to wonder if the Forsaken aren't working for the Legion. All their actions seem to help the Legion more than hurt it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My Dearest Mylra (the Broken Shore and Demon Invasions)

Please note there major spoilers for the Alliance Broken Shore scenario contained in this blog post.

***SPOILER ALERT***    ***SPOILER ALERT***

The King Returns


My Dearest Mylra,

I’m sure by now, even in Deepholm, you’ve heard of King Magni’s return. While it thrills me to see him moving again, I am relieved he is allowing the Council to remain ruling Ironforge. The last thing this world needs is another War of Three Hammers and you know better than anyone how my heart would be divided in a such a conflict. I could never stand against my fellow Bronzebeards, nor could I take up arms against your Wildhammers. With the Council still in place, it will not look odd or out of place for a Wildhammer and a Bronzebeard to be seen strolling together through the Commons.


It is hard to believe it has been four years since we first met far above the rocky surface of Deepholm. So much has happened in that time: the rediscovered of Pandaria, then the reopening of the Dark Portal and the battle against the Iron Horde and the Fel Horde. I know how angry you were each time I left and you didn’t hold back your elemental fire. All I can tell you is I did it for the good of Azeroth, and to protect the future that I pray to the Light we may one day have together. With Archimonde vanquished atop Hellfire Citadel, I returned to an Azeroth at peace. I even picked out a little spot near Farstrider Lodge on the edge of Loch Modan where we could build a house together. The Tram should be here soon to take me to Stormwind and from there to Deepholm.

I can't wait to see you again.

With all my love,

Theogrun Bronzebard


The Summons


My Dearest Mylra,

As I got off the Tram, I was handed a summons from Varian Wyrnn, the human king.

The Legion has returned to Azeroth.

A ship to take me to the Broken Isles is already prepared and I must leave at once. My mission to Deepholm, must, once again, wait. My fellow heroes and I will drive the Legion back to the Twisting Nether from whence they came and then you and I shall be together.

With all my love,

Theogrun Bronzebard


Betrayed


My Dearest Mylra,

I write this as we are recovering from the failed assault on the Broken Isles. We have lost so, so much. First, the Legion destroyed the Highlord right before my eyes. The Light that had saved him and protected him from Arthas atop Ice Crown Citadel proved impotent against the immense demon Gul’dan summoned. I can still hear his tortured cries for the Light as he fell. But even after losing Tirion, we pressed on and had gained the advantage. Victory was in sight. Varian called for the Horde archers to clear the skies, but nothing happened. As we looked to the place where they were stationed, they retreated! Looking up on that ridge, and watching the demons fill it to rain down all hell upon us, it was like reliving the betrayal at the Wrathgate. I could almost hear Putress’ voice. 

Wasn't the Wrathgate enough? Wasn’t Theramore enough? How many times are we going to trust the Horde and watch as they betray us? If it wasn’t clear to everyone by now that the Horde cannot be trusted, I don’t know what more it will take. We can’t spare the strength now with the Legion at our throat, but should I survive the coming campaign, I promise you this. when it is over, the Horde will receive justice.

Varian called for a retreat, but a great Fel machine grabbed our airship. As I slid towards its maw, I prepared myself, knowing I would never to see you again, but Varian lept from the gunship and cut the monstrosity down, sacrificing himself to save us.

 As a man who once lost his own King, I know something of what the humans are going through, but we have no time for sorrows, for now we prepare for the full Legion invasion. 

With all my love,

Theogrun Bronzebard

Crossroads


My Dearest Mylra,

After defeating a Legion incursion at Gadgetzan, I received news of another attack, this time at the Crossroads. I wondered if I should let the Legion just have the Crossroads. Give them Durotar and the Barrens for all I care.  I am saving Azeroth for the Alliance, not for those blood thirsty, backstabbing monsters. But, as quickly as the thought came, I knew it was wrong. We can give the Legion no quarter, not one spec of dirt on the whole of Azeroth to call their own -- even if it means saving a Horde settlement.

I fly north. May the Light and the Elements protect me.

With all my love,

Theogrun Bronzebard

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Tanks' Dilemma

You ever read something and identify with it -- like the person was telling you your own story. This  happened to me reading the comments on the Officer's Quarter post "The repentant quitter and the wandering officer" on Blizzard Watch.

User Fyresparxx said this:

Guild searching often makes me feel like a hooker. (Am I allowed to say that?) I want a mythic tank slot more than anything else. Those slots are really hard to come by. Which often makes me consider what I'm willing to do to get one. I've raided with guilds I actively dislike. I've put up with abusive environments and rampant guild drama. I've tolerated corrupt leadership. I consider joining guilds I know for a fact that I won't enjoy. But I want that tank slot. It's like a drug. I need it and I'll do just about anything to get it. 

I would say I feel more like a mercenary. I've never had any ambitions of being a Mythic raider, but I understand the craving for a tank spot all too well. I wouldn't call it a drug, but a choice. The Tank role happens to be the one I like the best, but the math works against me. If I wanted to heal, there are 4-6 spots in each raid. If I loved to DPS, well, you can always use another DPS, but whether it's a 10 or 30 man raid, there are two and only two tank spots. Two tanks, to be exact. And ixnay on the wishing for more tank spots. That's all. Two. Uno, dos. No substitutions, exchanges or refunds.



I think there is going to be tremendous social pressure on Tankadins, Brewmasters, and Guardians early on in the expansion. There are going to be a legion of new Demon Hunter tanks (see what I did there?). Demon Hunters, Warriors and DKs don't have a healing spec. With all specs (and dimensions and realities) open to us, I can see the following scenario happening with some regularity. The Avenger's assemble, err, I mean the raid assembles, and lo and behold, we're short a healer. We've got three capable tanks: a Brewmaster, a Vengeance Demon Hunter and a Protection Warrior. The Prot Warrior and the Vengeance Demon Hutner can't do anything but tank or DPS. The Brewmaster, though, can switch to Mistweaver and be our missing healer. Maybe he doesn't have his artifact leveled up, but with more gear than ever workable for multiple specs, a lesser healer is still better than no healer at all.

It puts the Brewmaster in an unenviable position. Either he goes Mistweaver or we don't raid tonight. Maybe he goes along with it for one night, but then it happens again. How many times does it happen before he's no longer a Brewmaster, but a Mistweaver, or before he starts casually looking through the Recruitment forums?