Exactly one year ago today I started this little corner of the net to chronicle my adventures (or misadventures) in Azeroth.
A year later, I'm writing what I believe will be my last post.
Am I quitting WoW altogether? Not sure. With Cataclysm on the distant horizon and my penchant for gaming I can't say that with any certainty.
I'm not going to delete any of these posts or close the account or anything like that, because if there's one thing I've learned it's that you never know where life is going to take you. I'm also going to keep my Twitter account up and running, although I'll likely not be posting from it (except the auto-posts from Raptr).
I'd like to thank all of you who've read and commented on this compilation of pointless ramblings. WoW bloggers and readers are some of the most kind, helpful, and wonderful people out there.
It's been a truly amazing trip. I wouldn't change a thing.
If you're interested in following my real-life adventures, here are a couple of links:
Haven't been playing in a while. Landed in the hospital a couple of weeks ago, and then last week the Baby Tank had surgery. No playing means nothing WoW-related to talk about, so there's been no blogging either.
Hoping to get back in the saddle soon, but in the meantime, here's a pic of a puppy:
He's the newest addition to the Aggro Junkie family. Going to pick him up on Wednesday.
Finally got the chance to finish ToC last night. I had previously been in on a couple of runs that didn't work out way back when EoF was trying it for the first time. Last night, though, we cleared it and I, at long last, got the achievement for it.
My observations are as follows:
It kinda sucks.
I've heard people say it sucks, but now I know for myself that it, indeed, sucks.
EoF was supposed to head into ICC Wednesday night. That didn't work.
Tried Thursday. That didn't work either.
Finally, we made it back in on Saturday. I was sick and out of commission earlier in the week, but there were also a couple more folks who couldn't make it to the weeknight raids. It was probably a good thing, really. A little break now and then can't hurt.
I was lucky enough to get the shield from the Gunship Battle. Finally, I got to ditch the one heroic item I was still lugging around. I've always had miserable luck with shield upgrades.
The real story of the night, though, was Festergut. First attempt was an almost instant wipe. During the second attempt I died and our other tank blew up due to 10 stacks of Gastric Bloat. The third time, however, proved to be the charm. Clean kill, no deaths, much rejoicing.
We took a look at Rotface before we called it and, if we execute as well as we did on Saturday, I'm hopeful we'll be able to drop him this week.
In TBC I proudly carried my Khorium Destroyer, crafted for me as a gift from my lovely wife, Cheesi. It was the tank gun back then...kind of a rite of passage into the ranks of the meat shields.
When WotLK came around, I crafted myself an Armor Plated Combat Shotgun the second I hit 80. Great tank weapon when you start your heroicing.
That's a long stretch of time to be carrying nothing but a gun. Veneretio recommended a while back to pick up some thrown weapons for a trash set, but I never really got anything in TBC or early WotLK that I wouldn't be embarrassed carrying in a raid. Thrown weapons back then were pretty much built for rogues, so they were great for trash threat. Plus, throwing has a much shorter cast time than shooting (that was a big deal pre-Heroic Throw, but even now it's helpful to have a secondary option in the event that the pulls are happening quick and HT is on cooldown).
Not too terribly long ago, I coughed up some emblems for the Blades of the Sable Cross, the first really accessible replacement for an Engineering tanking gun in a very, very long time.
There was nothing wrong with the Blades. In fact, they were quite nice. It just felt weird to not have a gun. It was hard enough to take off my goggles, but losing my gun, too? I felt naked...couldn't walk through Tinkertown without getting dirty looks.
After last Wednesday's..."issues"...with ICC, we walked in on Saturday and one-shot all the content we had previously cleared. We then two-shot Saurfang.
The Turned Champion isn't really that bad of a fight when you get down to it. It just requires communication, especially when things don't go according to plan. If, for example, a Blood Beast starts gnawing on melee for some reason, don't panic...just say something to the ranged responsible for picking them up. There's not a ton of room for error, but you can get yourself out of a fix if you stay calm and just talk to each other.
We took a look at Festergut and are going to give him an honest effort tonight if we can manage the personnel. There was a lot of "do we have the dps for this?" talk, but I think we can do it. The mechanics on that fight aren't as complicated as some of the other ICC fights, so our dps crew should have enough room to work without that much distraction.
I also learned that I can't tank Heroic Halls of Reflection, specifically, the waves at the beginning. I gave it my best effort, but simply cannot pull it off. If the mobs all came from the same place, I could manage, but because they're coming in from all over the room it's a little too much for this poor, old, beat-up Warrior to handle. I also get a bit of lag sometimes when dealing with AoE, so when a rifleman drops a frost trap on top of whatever AoE the group is doing I end up with a couple seconds of a frozen screen only to return to find a dead healer.
I'm sure I could do it, but it would take some practice. The problem with practicing a unique set of pulls from a specific instance, though, is that four other people are paying for it, too...both with time and repair bills.
All in all, it was a good weekend in Azeroth. Got my Ashen Verdict ring and even managed to putz around with the holidays. I don't think I'm gonna get titles out of both of them, but I'll settle for some achievement points and vanity items. My banker is very happy with her new Lovely Red Dress, but keeps bugging me about the black one.
Hopefully we can take out Festergut tonight and cross another boss off of our progression list.
Last night we took down Razuvious for our weekly raid. Nice and easy, and holy crap did we need it.
After Wednesday's charlie foxtrot, much analysis and discussion happened and we've decided that, while we could have executed better, the lag certainly didn't do us any favors. Marrowgar dropped the last two weeks, so it's not like we can't handle the fight. In fact, I'm confident tomorrow night he'll die like he's supposed to.
I'm not sure if I'll be raiding ICC this weekend, but either way I'm hoping EoF gets some new boss kills out of the deal. I know once we get past the hiccups we'll have the place cleared before Arthas knows we're in the building.
Have I mentioned that I love my guild? Such an incredibly smart, talented, and friendly group of people to run with.
Anyway, stay tuned for, hopefully, some good news.
Went back into ICC last night for what was supposed to be a quick clear of a couple of bosses to set us up for some progression on Saturday.
It. Didn't. Work.
As far as issues beyond our control go, the overall server lag was horrible. I didn't really notice it on my end until BoneStooooooooorm. What with Marrowgar spinning around and coldflame all over the place I couldn't move effectively or pick up aggro quick enough when he stopped. It also hurt the tanks as we tried to stay locked together to split the Saber Lash both at the beginning of the fight and immediately after Bone Storm was over.
Beyond that, I personally didn't do very well. My positioning was crap as was my threat gen. For the life of me, I just couldn't get to my spot, get my body properly facing the boss, and get close enough to the other tank in time.
My solution? I think I need to run some random 5s and/or lower level raids. Not only will the emblems help me snag some upgrades, but I really need to knock off as much rust as possible to be effective again.
Saturday, I felt really strong. Last night, I didn't. It's gonna take some work to get back to the point where I can tank successfully on a consistent basis.
We only have like an hour and a half to work, but I think that, given our success last weekend, we can get quite a bit done as long as we get started on time with the full group. This will set up real "progression" this Saturday, which is exciting.
In other news, I caved and started monkeying around with the Love is in the Air holiday. I'm batting 1.000 on holidays since Thanksgiving, so I'm trying to keep up that momentum and maybe get an exceptionally ugly mount for my troubles by November.
I'm hoping that I'll have some good news to report regarding our progress tomorrow.
I mentioned on Twitter that taking a long hiatus as a WoW blogger leaves you with nothing to write about when you return. With that, Aoirselvar and Kadomi provided me with a couple of post ideas. Since I've got wicked writer's block, I will run with both.
From Aoirselvar:I guess you can start writing about your experience returning to the world of Azeroth.
Mostly, it feels like I never left. Now, I've logged in over the course of the hiatus, but it was usually on a Saturday morning when only a couple of guildies were online anyway. I'd do a couple of dailies, maybe work the auction house a little, and then log off.
I didn't feel awkward or rusty until we went to ICC on Saturday night. That's when the time off showed itself for me. I didn't feel like I was really in the pocket the first couple of pulls. I really wasn't at my best throughout the run, for that matter. I'm not saying I did poorly, but I certainly noticed that I was out of practice.
My guild is great. They've been so understanding and welcomed me back with open arms. The only remotely weird thing from a social standpoint is that everybody has better gear than I do. I laugh when I see a guildie on their 4th or 5th 80 and that alt has a gear score that dwarfs mine.
I've got some work to do.
From Kadomi: You raided ICC, how about your first impressions?
I really enjoyed getting to work a bit in ICC. I think Blizzard did a great job with the place, overall. Based on what I've seen, you can't exactly waltz your way through there. You have to actually think about the trash, and the bosses aren't pushovers. Also, the dodge debuff really makes things interesting.
My last real raiding experience was in Ulduar. I was involved in a couple of trips to ToC 10, but neither amounted to much of anything. Even in TBC, we never really got past the first tier or so of raiding. The chance to go in with a really, really good group and take on some of the higher-level content this time around was exciting.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I wasn't really geared for the place when I walked in, and on top of that I was horribly rusty. I'm looking forward to getting some upgrades and getting myself back in shape.
Thanks for the ideas, Aoirselvar and Kadomi! I'll get back into the swing of this blogging thing sooner or later.
I've been logging on the past couple of weekends trying to get back in the swing of WoW. I missed it, frankly. I missed my guildies, I missed raiding, and I missed cursing every time I get aged yolk (if I don't get that proto-drake before Cataclysm, I'm heading over to the frickin' wolvar, I swear).
Saturday I pulled one of my marathon sessions. I was trying to squeeze in dailies while running after the Baby Tank and keeping the Puppy Tank from peeing in the house.
Saturday night was EoF's second evening in ICC 10. Tatia asked me if I wanted to go, but I didn't want to walk in there with mediocre gear and kill any momentum they had from the prior week when they managed to down three bosses. As the day progressed, though, I realized I really, really wanted to go with them.
So, I picked up the mats for a quick and easy upgrade and signed up. We had a Lock finishing another raid, so we decided to start clearing trash while we waited on him. Started pulling only to realize our other tank, a Pally, was having some technical difficulties. We initially thought it was just a dc, but as it turns out his whole computer went nuts and he was down for the evening.
Down to eight raiders, now, with a tank (that would be me) who's out of practice, undergeared, and trying to hold on to 200 The Damned (hyperbole intended) while all of our better-geared dps go nuts on them.
It worked. Don't worry, I was surprised, too.
We cleared to the first boss, had one of our crew bring in an alt tank, and filled the open slot. Had some difficulty with Marrowgar, but two shot Deathwhisper and the Gunship. Marrowgar was even nice enough to give me a mace as a "welcome back to raiding" gift. It got late, and we called it a night.
When I was raiding more regularly I generally overgeared the content we were attempting. This was the first time in a while I undergeared the content and, subsequently, had less of a margin for error. All in all, I think I did ok.