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The Big Blind

 

After you take out the trash, have someone hit the big gong to make Atramedes come out and start his painfully long RP sequence. Don’t get me wrong I like the sequence and am glad that you don’t have to watch it every time you start the fight like Saurfang but there’s a reason every boss encounter doesn’t start with one.

When it’s finally time to get down to business out team starts by tanking atramedes on the right side. Unlike most dragons, this one has no tail whip so don’t be afraid to move toward the tail if you have to. We normally have our tank near the first gong and the rest of our team stacks up on the side of this beast.

Positioning the boss is going to be a very important part of this encounter. Being alongside the boss as opposed to behind the boss allows the team a little more time to see Sonar Pulse, allowing slightly longer to get out-of-the-way. Sonar Pulse like everything else in this fight adds sound to your sounds meter. When any member of the raid reaches 100% they get destroyed by the big blind bird.

I had my team download Atramedes, the addon which gives you an easy to read little box that lists the top five teammates with the highest sound and their sound level percentage. Do your best to avoid anything and everything this guy throws at you during the fight and it’s not too hard to stay alive and down the boss.

Along with the Pulses, the dragon will Sonic Breath and Searing Flames while on the ground. Sonic Breath is an ability that targets and follows the person with the highest sounds. We counter this by choosing a direction that the person should run and everyone else moves just a bit in the opposite direction. This works really well if people can tell their left from their right. For those of you who have trouble with this, I suggest post-it notes on the sides of your screen.

Searing Flames creates more sound than a road construction crew outside your window,  the morning of your day off.  This AOE damage is probably the most healing intensive part of the fight so be ready. This is where you’re going to want to use your Holy Radiance and other AoE heals for sure. This is also the point where the tank is going to want to gong the teams sound level back to zero before someone gets ate.

At this point I’ve covered everything you need to worry about in phase one. After eighty seconds of this, this bird is taking to the air. Phase two is pretty simple. It’s a good idea to gong just after liftoff. You’re going to choose a member of your team to kite Roaring Flame Breath. This ability will always target the player who last hit the gong. We use a feral drood for the ability but anyone with a bonus to speed would work well.

Everyone else just needs to stay out of the poop on the ground and dps that Big Bird untill phase one starts again. When phase one begins you’re going to set up shop on the other side of the room by the remaining gongs. Phase two last for sixty seconds.

This is an easy encounter with a really cool sounds mechanic. More about staying out of the poop this monkey is flinging at you, raid awareness is key to the encounter.

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With less than a month left in Winter, I am counting down the days until Spring. It seems a little foolish, I know. As if on this day, the first day of Spring I can expect nothing but warm sunny days. Not in New England but with every passing day I know that I am closer to not having to don my hat gloves and coat every morning, that the days are getting longer, and I won’t have to worry about snow for another eight months.

A lot of exciting stuff is happening right now. I just got back from vacation. I was visiting a friend who I originally met through online gaming. This is not the first time that I have been able to meet the person behind the avatar. I met some of my guildies at Blizzcon and then in December more of us got together for the release of Cata. I often sit back from the keyboard and wonder what some of my guildies might be like in person. It’s always cool to be able to put it all together. I am really hoping to meet some more of my friends from Azeroth at this years Blizzcon. Yoda, Red, Van, I’m talking about you here.

In game, my raid team is only working on Cho’Gall, Nefarian, and Al’akir for our progression. You can expect to see some more raid boss guides popping up on the site in the next week or so. Our Tuesday night romp through BoT ended with Cho’Gall decimating the team with only 4% health remaining. That was after about a dozen attempts where we took the fight into the second phase. The first phase of the fight is a faceroll compared to the mayhem in phase two. Hopefully with a little more practice we will have it this evening. Any tips or tricks your team uses for the four tentacles would be appreciated.

Out of game, PAXeast is in two weeks. If you have no idea what I am talking about, PAXeast is the biggest gaming event on the east coast all year-long. I attended this three-day convention last year and I felt like I had died and gone to gaming Valhalla. There will be plenty to please everyone from casuals, to hardcores, console gamers to pc players, serious RPers to munchkin board gamers.

I am really, really excited about this event and if you live in the New England area I would highly recommend getting a day pass and checking this thing out. You will not be disappointed. I will be in attendance all three days and would love to meet up with fellow pallies, or bloggers,  gamers, or basically anyone who wants to meet up. 🙂

The Azure Guardian soars over the misty plains of the internet. My loyal servant scans Blizzard’s Blue Posts and sends word of the ones my readers and I shouldn’t miss.

In case you missed it over on MMO-Champion, it was announced in a post by Nethaera that Blizz has increased the proc rate for transmutation masters but decreased what Blizz calls the spike, meaning the proc will produce less transmutes. They claim that this will even out so that you will be proccing just as many as you were before just on a more consistent basis. The full post here…

“I wanted to hop in and clarify and confirm there was in fact a change that was implemented with the patch that unfortunately did not make the patch notes.”

“The change actually adjusted the return on the transmutes so that you weren’t getting spikes in the amount of items you’d get from the transmute. Instead, if you transmute over a period of time, the amount of the transmute return should even out.”

“So basically if you transmute on a regular basis, you should see a more regular return on the transmute vs. a spike in large returns. Transmutation specialists will almost always get a PROC when transmuting living elements.” (source)

 
Though I am not a transmutation mater, even as an elixir master I always closely watch changes to alchemy. It seems to me that I am not proccing as many extra flasks as I had in Wrath and I would like to see this addressed. I have seen some QQ about this over on the profession forum. I am wondering if any of you feel the same way?
 
It is also rumored that Blizz has increased the spawn rate of herbs in all of the new Cataclysm zones. I have yet to find anything that confirms this. This is a welcome change especially with all the phasing herbs disappearing in front of my eyes as I move in to farm ’em up.

She Says I Play Too Much

When I think about what it means to play too much a few different things come to mind.

I think of Clara from hit web series, The Guild. Clara, for folks who have never seen the show is the loveable stay-at-home Mom who neglects her kids, her husband, and almost every other aspect of her real life to play a MMO, not unlike WoW. The character emphasizes how hard it can be to balance real life responsibilities and MMOs, especially when you throw young children into the mix.

Back in Wrath, I regularly pugged in a 25 man where the  raid lead and his partner just had a newborn daughter. My heart went out to him because I know he was trying hard to keep it all together. But, twenty-minute baby afks started to add up and it didn’t take long for him to realize that he had to take a break from the game.

I am not at the point in my life where I am thinking about taking on the huge responsibility of raising children. I may never get to that point. I would like to say that I am willing to give up gaming if I had to but it has always been such a huge part of my life.

When I ran my guild back in Wrath, WoW took up most of my weekdays after work and some weekends. It’s probably safe to say that it was way too much WoW. I was religiously running raids four nights a week and sunday night guild meetings. I found myself blowing off everything besides work just to be there for the guild. It was definitely way too much.

Being a member of Obsessive, I show up for raids at least twice a week. I always set aside Monday and Tuesdays and nothing comes between me and raid night. Pretty much I’m like this kid twice a week. As you can imagine this becomes a bit of a bone of contention with the misses.  

On Tuesday I wasn’t feeling so good. I left work in the afternoon and went to the doctors passed out in the waiting room. Eventually they saw me gave me some Tylenol for my fever and sent me home with some antibiotics. That night, I was sick as the dickens but I wasn’t going to let it stop me from downing bosses. The girl said that it was a serious problem that I was putting raiding before my health. 

That night, post-patch we downed six bosses. It was the best raid night that we have had post-Cataclysm. We one shot Atramedes. I got three pieces of loot if you count my T11 pants bought with Valor Points. She went to bed early and told me not to wake her up. She was mad as hell in the morning. Was it worth it? Maybe…

Back in Wrath, I remember being on vent one beautiful sunny sunday afternoon running some BGs with guildies and one of my buddies came back from being AFK. He said, “my girlfriend is packing her stuff up right now, she’s leaving me.” Then he said something that I’ll never forget, “third girlfriend I lost to WoW, good riddance”, and then he cracked a beer.

We have all heard stories of MMO addiction getting out of hand. In the new millenium rehabilitation centers for treating video game addiction have started opening around there world, spotlighting this issue. I think many of us justify how much time we spend playing by comparing ourselves to others who never seem to log out of game.

I have heard a lot of crazy stories about MMO addiction gone terribad. What stories have you heard? When do you think it’s time to set up an intervention? Just how much is too much?

Holy Nerfbat Batman

So I can’t help but notice that half of the healing classes (shamz and priests) acquired some overall buffage with patch 4.0.6 and as per tradition we got more of our mechanics trivialized.

I can imagine that there are some folks out there saying but wait Pork, didn’t you see the buff to DP? Yes I read that bit too but I hardly consider it a buff. With DL, HL, and FL costing us ten percent more mana, I have the sneaking suspicion that Blizz is not happy over abundance of mana (assuming you’re not using FL at all and using HR sparingly) and we should expect some OOMage when raiding tonight.

I am definitely not saying that the other classes did not deserve a buff and to be frank it makes our jobs easier. I was very surprised to see resto droods get an over the head swing with the nerfbat as well. Chad, healing lead and a mate who I talk about on the blog gave up his restro drood in favor for his holy priest. Hearing him talk about the spec’s weaknesses and reasons for rerolling, I was expecting to see some improvements made.

I am not going to start feeling sorry for myself yet but I do feel bad for healadins who are still gearing in heroics. I remember back when I was hating every second of it and I can’t help but think that the headblow to PoTI and our main healing arsenal becoming more expensive is going to take a heavy toll on what I remember being a very strained mana pool.

Last night Yoda, our resto shamz pst me and said something to the effect of is my meter correct that you were at about 100% mana the whole time we were killing Magmaw? I admitted yes and he said that in the future he’d ask for additional raid heals if he was getting low on mana. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I was being pretty liberal in tossing out heals to everyone. I was worried he might reroll and steal all my drops.

All kidding aside I can understand why Blizz increased the mana cost of DL and HL. It would have been nice if they had left FL as is because they just made a very big waste of mana (which was on par with other healing classes big mana heals) an even bigger waste of mana. No one in their right mind should be using this spell now. But to be honest I didn’t use this spell and so I am not upset by these changes.

I am upset about the change to PoTI. I can’t help but think that this isn’t just a nerf to our talent it’s also going to be a nerf to HoSac, which is my favorite Cd. I really hope that we will still be able to use this ability without having to worry about dying because it is perfect for both heavy tank damage mitigation or just saving some mana.  

Some changes I would have liked to see…

  • A raid wide damage mitigation Cd, making us a more effective option for raid healing
  • A boost to HS healing output for a lil more healing on the go
  • LoH returns mana without glyphing (less mana would be ok) so it does not feel quite as mandatory freeing up space for something more fun
  • A shorter Cd on HR, again increasing our ability to raid heal, the mana cost is high enough that you don’t want to spam this

These are just some things I brainstormed last night while thinking about the changes that Blizz made to us in 4.0.6. I think none of the changes make our class more fun to play. I also think they further pigeon-hole us in the tank healer role. What changes to holy paladins would you like to see? How could Blizz make our class for fun to play? As alway, your thoughts are always appreciated.

Gender’s Game

Some years back I remember reading a news article about a college student who took advantage of some desperate male MMOers by pretending to be a sexy lady MMOer on his sexy Nightelf female toon, flirting with them and getting them to shower him in gold and in-game items. The article said that this guy was doing it as a social experiment, but I wasn’t buying it. 

I bet you’ve heard stories like this pop up from time to time. Not everyone who is  trans-tooned is rolling that way to take advantage of unwitting players. I know players on both sides of the gender fence who choose not to roll their own gender for various reasons.

I know plenty of females who don’t want people to know they’re girls. They can fly under the radar without anyone harassing them, male or female. It’s been my experience that female gamers can ruthlessly harass other females worse than men, so I can understand why girls might want to do this.

My ex-girlfriend always played male characters. She said she thought people in LFD and BGs were more likely to follow directions if they thought they were coming from a member of the male persuasion. This brings up interesting questions about the role gender plays in authority. I liked that we could be flirtatious and playful with each other while in randoms without making it obvious that we were not a heteronormative couple.

Plenty of folks (male and female) say they do it because they prefer the look of the in-game character models of the opposing gender. The troll female comes to mind when I think of notoriously terrible looking female models. Reading up for this article, many girls on the forums say that they play female but wouldn’t be caught dead playing one of the Worgen female models.

TimmyPowegamer: “They are trolls, they should look ugly and frumpy and hunched over like the males. Not pretty and upright like humans and elves. Same with Orcs.”
Many women prefer to play an attractive looking character. Listed as one of the female options the picture at the right could mistaken for male.

A lot of people hate the way armor looks on a specific gender. I personally am glad that blizzard stopped putting midriffs on female armor,  but I think they could do a little better at differentiating it from the male armor models. I have heard guys make the argument that they don’t like the way cloth armor looks on male models. One guy told me he liked the way plate armor looked on his female toon’s back side.

Strych: “My college roomate had a toon named and modeled after his girlfriend. I think he spent more time oggling his toon though. When he finally got the ultimatum, he chose his digital GF over the analog.”

Do you find it strange when your male friends have female names for their female toons? Or do you think it’s just a normal part of the RP experience involved in the MMORPG? I would never judge the trans-tooned, I just want to get some insight on the reasons players roll the opposite gender. I find it fascinating that so much of this goes on in the MMO world.

Cataclysm is Too Easy

I kid, I kid, But really, you should have seen the look on your faces when you read this title. I have been seeing a whole lot of qq on the forums (Still?) about the latest edition to the World of Warcraft legacy being too hard. I personally don’t think it’s shaping out to be too hard or too easy. Of course I am a Pally healer and I do have plenty of nerfs in my future.

Obsessive, my ten man raid team was able to one shot Double Dragons on Tuesday night. This was a big credit to Adgamorix’s (of Divine Plea) response to me calling in a life line for tips on this fight. Thanks dood! Using their strat we were able to cut down our kill time significantly and able to cut down on overall healing. In case you missed the comment, the main difference in this strat with the one we were using is this…

During the second phase you have a mele group stacked on the butt of the dragon you have your ranged group spread out around the dragon (within healing range) instead of stacking. When one of the ranged folks get the Twilight Meteor debuff they run to the mele group to split the damage.

This means that half of the people in our raid are going to be moving less than if they were stacked. They will also be taking less damage from Engulfing Magic and Void Zones. The only time they will need to move is for the Meteor or if a Void Zone spawns under them. This makes Engulfing Magic a no brainer for the ranged because they can just stay where they are and dps without hurting anyone else in the raid.

I also like this because if I get EM and change lanes without checking my blind spot then I only have to worry about nuking one player instead of a carload of them. Love this because using boss mechanics to nuke most of the raid is like a FFVII style Limit Break for me. You could say it’s my special ability 🙂

With this tip and some practice your group should be able to one-shot the boss every time. Heres a quick rundown of the fight.

Valiona’s (purple dragon) first, position the raid five yards apart around the boss to avoid taking damage from Twilight Blasts. We practiced our positioning on Red’s Pet which was kinda silly and fun but kinda helped. Run in for Blackout, Cleanse it and run out (if you don’t have Sacred Cleansing talented then someone else will have to do it). During the Blackout healers should pop their AOE heals (like HR) becuase this part can be a bit messy if not timed perfectly around Twilight Blasts.

You will have to deal with the occasional frontal cone AOE, Devouring Flames. Just move to the back-end of the boss and then return to the original positions. Someone usually takes some damage from this so be ready to heal them up fast. Rinse, repeat, phase two is starting when she puts down Dazzling Destruction. Get sucked in you end up in the Twilight Zone or some terrible place like it and you have to click on the portal to get out.

Theralion (blue dragon) comes down and it’s time to put the strat above into action. Mele stack on the butt, ranged spread out around the dragon. Ranged move in for Meteor, Mele move out for the Engulfing Magic. DBM will mark players with these debuffs. Also remember to stay out of the poop (Void Zones). Toward the end of the phase you’ll have to deal with three bouts of Deep Breaths from the flying dragon. Have a member call out safe zones. Stairs, Mid, Door worked pretty well for us.

Awesome fight with some cool mechanics. Now we are working on Al’Akir and Atramedes as our progression. We got Atramedes down to about 40% health on Monday so hopefully we can open it up and take it home the next time we get in there. I’ll let you know. Thanks for reading and enjoying and I want to hear from YOU, Do you think Cata is too easy? Too hard? Or not as bad as everyone is saying? let me know.