Tuesday, February 11, 2014

WoW Weekly: Ashes of Al'ar, Mount Parade, and facing Garrosh

WoW Weekly is a biweekly-ish, self-absorbed look into the things I've been doing -- or not doing -- in the game. From auctioneering and pet battling to mount farming and raiding.

It finally dropped.

Late in the week, I headed into Tempest Keep with the last eligible toon I had in my stable of alts before lockout reset: a sorry, undergeared paladin tank, whose item level disadvantage ensures the fight requires an actual strategy and not a simple zerg. After several minutes of the final phase of the fight, Kael'thas fell, and on the second page of loot I noticed an icon I'd not yet seen before. There it was.

I right-clicked the item, causing the achievement to flash on my screen and broadcast into guild chat. "Ha!" was one whispered response, with others chiming in once they realized what had happened. "Now," I said, "now, to see how many kills it actually took." I brought up the achievement pane, clicked the statistics tab and checked to see how many times Kael'thas had fallen at the hands of my paladin. Nine times, which likely meant it was the ninth week in a row I'd run with him. Methodically, I logged in to the other six characters I've been running with and noted the same statistic, tallied them up and couldn't help but chuckle at the figure.

200. On the head.

Nearly a year and three month's worth of heading in each week. "That's insane," remarked my guild leader. Not sure if she was referring to the kill number or the length of time it took---or if that is an apt description of my "dedication." For roughly the first six months, it was just my main, a shaman, going in each week. Then, almost like clockwork, every two months saw another toon leveled and geared enough to solo the fight themselves, until I had a total of six. Then there was my paladin, sitting at 89. Two weeks after I added the sixth character, and thanks to the Timeless Isle, the paladin was in decent enough shape to give it a go. And did that ever turn out to be a good move.

Mount Parade

I knew I was near the 200-mount goal, near enough to where purchasing or crafting the three jewelcrafting panthers I didn't yet have was all I needed; however, I was hesitant to spend another 60,000g+ on my banker's server, given how much I spent there recently. On my main server, I've set my eye on a rare mount that will require some saving, so I wasn't keen on snatching a panther there, either. In the end, I grabbed two reasonably priced panthers from the old server's auction house. Then, I brought up the achievement tab once more to see if there were any easy ways to reach mount number 200. 

Glory of the Ulduar Raider (10-player)

Some might think it sad I still had this one hanging out there, but I only started raiding seriously near the tail end of Ulduar. With I Love the Smell of Saronite in the Morning and Iron Dwarf, Medium Rare being the last two I needed to satisfy this achievement, I gathered it was something I could likely solo.Earning the latter achievement proved to be annoying, if only a little challenging because I had to tweak my strat to ensure I didn't kill the Guardians too early. The solution on my shaman was to switch to my resto spec, equip an agility weapon in my main hand and do my best to gather up the Guardians. Bringing them down to an acceptably low health level for Razorscale's breaths with just white hits was easy then. I started the encounter at 2/25, and once I found a rhythm, I was toasting 3-5 Guardians per breath.

Sapere Aude see Garrosh on normal

Two weeks ago on Thursday, the Zealots in the guild (our earned raid rank) headed into Normal Siege of Orgrimmar for the first time after having cleared the Flex version on just our 13th visit while on a 1-night, 3-hour-per-week schedule. I silently set a modest goal for the raid of 8 boss kills for our initial venture; I felt it a challenging, yet realistic goal. It turned out to be a bit too realistic: before our mid-raid break, we had cleared up to Nazgrim, one-shotting everything. As you might imagine, we were all pretty high at that point. We ended up wiping once on Nazgrim because of an unfortunate, mistimed cooldown, but then easily cut through Malkorok and Spoils of Pandaria. 

When we got to Thok, things got a bit more chaotic. We found that fight quite a bit less forgiving than its Flex counterpart. We'd wiped a few times on Thok, and it was starting to feel like actual progression. One-shotting all but one boss up to that point was nice, but the worth of the prize grows when you know you just can't breeze through it. True to our form, we killed Thok on the infamous "last pull" of the night, leaving 11 of 14 Siege of Orgimmar bosses dead in our wake. 

Then, last Friday I found myself bringing a tank into a group formed via public channels, and let's say things didn't go so well. The leaders knew what they were doing and thus eschewed the need for voice communication, despite half the raid asking for it. After four failed attempts at pushing Immerseus to even one split phase, the group fell apart. Given that a couple of the players who had been in vent were pretty cool, I offered to put together a group made up of mostly guildies. This turned out to be a pretty awesome partnership: two from the failed raid (both in Heroic progression guilds, one of them being the Realm First: Garrosh guild), a hunter from Trade who subsequently brought a toon into Sapere, and seven of our Zealots.

Though the raid went much longer than we normally run, we were able to clear Paragons (with ease, I might add). Thus, on Sunday we assembled a group of whomever was on, and with the kind help of one of the tanks that joined us late on Friday's run (we had several leave throughout due to time), we were able to take some cracks at Garrosh, almost pushing him to phase three and gaining invaluable experience for our next adventure into Normal.

Not a bad week.

Looking for an awesome, friendly, active group of adult players who also raid on a 1-night schedule? We're looking to continue building in preparation for WoD. We're additionally looking to build up PvP and RP activities, as we have several players seasoned in both. Check out our guild recruitment post on the Emerald Dream forums.

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