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Two Days Back

July 26, 2013

Dear Reader,

It’s been a wild two days back.  In fact, I’m afraid it’ll be hard to keep up the momentum I started with unless I get the guild situation straightened out pretty quickly.  That’s both a blessing and a curse, of course, as it highly motivates me to get to work on becoming guilded while also holding an axe over my neck if things go poorly again.  Here’s hoping they don’t.

My first day back I investigated the “new” Isle of Thunder.  I dove into those quests and scenarios with gusto; as much as I disagree with solo instances in MMOs, I had no problem with them myself and found the story and gameplay very enjoyable.  I liked partnering up with Jaina and my new Shado-Pan friend, Taoshi, and I found the challenges fair in most cases.  I actually completely messed up the smoke-bombing of the harbor and didn’t leave a path for myself to get up the hill.  I was worried what that would mean, but I quickly learned that ghost wolf was, as it always has been, For The Win.  The lasers from the spotting beacons I’d failed to neutralize didn’t have a chance.

I am curious why WoW’s moving to mandated solo scenarios, but since there’s only a few and I don’t think any were particularly tough, I won’t obsess over it.  After the scenarios, I went ahead and did the dailies around the island.  Those I did find a little challenging.  The mogu area is very dense with mobs, and if I hadn’t met up with a very friendly person who simply said ‘Just mount and run; don’t try to fight your way through,” I’d probably still be there clearing mobs.  I guess my ilevel 470 or so gear isn’t even up to trash-clearing standards, but I’m working on straightening that out.

Other than that area, though, the dailies were fine, and since that complete stranger was so helpful and nice, we partnered up and blew up the dailies.  I like the structure; it’s very reminiscent of Firelands or Tol Barad, with an “evolving” questline that takes you to different places.  At first I was afraid the constant crossing of the island would be cumbersome, but again I learned to just mount and run.  That’s not always been an option, but even if I get dismounted, well see above about ghost wolf.

In the process of doing the dailies over two days, I saw four of the IoT rares, too, which were fun and tough to solo.  Molthor took about 5 tries; since I’m out of practice, I had a hard time interrupting his horrific visage every time.  Once I got that down, though, he went down, too.  I feel like soloing those is a good test of some kind, perhaps of your efficacy as a future raider, as some of their mechanics are very raid-like near instant kills.  Molthor, for example, can usually guarantee a kill if you get feared, hit in the back, dazed, and thus unable to get out of his thunder strike.  I know.  It happened repeatedly.

After plowing through the dailies, I went back through some of my pet-gathering desires and found that I’d missed some new pets.  I quickly got those available on IoT, which only left me 3 normally capturable pets: the impossible minfernal (yes, I know it’s not, but I still don’t have one), the Quiraji Guardling, and the new Unborn Val’kyr.  I gathered the quiraji with no trouble and found an unborn val’kyr on my first rotation, though it was about 90% of the way around Northrend.  Still no minfernal, of course.

I checked my “Raiding with Leashes” achievement and dove back into the early raids.  I’d finished Naxx a while ago, so I skipped it, but I still hit MC, BWL, and AQ40.  Nothing new, but I’m only missing 2, so it is what it is.  Upon checking what I still needed (I sold a few on other servers for money to buy other things, so I don’t actually have all the pets I have credit for), I noticed another raiding with leashes?  Yes, please.  Alas, it was time to call it that night, though, so thus ended day 1.

Day 2 was just as full.  I flew to TK to start the new Raiding with Leashes achievement.  The first three bosses were no problem, and I got the pocket reaver (nice name, by the way: Is that a reaver in your pocket or are you just happy to pound and silence me?) but damn – KT is still a pain in the ass.  He actually successfully killed me the first time; I figured since I had no trouble with Naxx, a level 80 instance, that the level 70 would be a joke, but he nailed me in the next-to-last phase.  I think my error was that I read a guide that told me to use the Staff of Disintegration to win the 2nd advisors phase, which completely gimped my spells (or so it felt like).  When I just used my gear and killed the advisors quickly, I got through them with enough mana and life to finish up KT with little trouble.  I’d never beaten him before; I was around for Kara and BT, but only did a few TK raids that never got him down, so it was my first KT kill.

And he dropped the Ashes of Al’ar.

Look.  I have terrible luck for rare drops.  Terrible.  I farmed for the crusader enchant for weeks and never got it.  I did ZG on cooldown for months and months, Sethekk Halls, Stratholme, and Uthgarde Pinnacle every day for those months, and never got any of those mounts.  It’s very zen that the time I just kill a boss to do it is when a rare mount drops.  Still, it was a major serotonin hit, and an excellent welcome-back present from the RNG gods.  

After that I flew (on my phoenix) over to SSC.  I blew up every boss in there, too, until Lady Vashj.  Now, admittedly, I didn’t remember her strat, so I was acting a bit foolishly, but when it eventually came back to me, I restarted the fight and found it very difficult for me to solo.  Here’s the thing; I don’t have an infinite amount of instant spells, nor can I apparently trust earthquake or lava (it’s not magma, goddamn it; it’s above ground) totem to kill the adds around her quickly enough.  In the 2-3 minutes it took for the toxic jerks to spawn – and I got every one of them on the first spawn – she had gotten 80 some-odd stacks.  That’s 860% extra damage, for those of you who don’t remember or never met her, which is not negligible to a level 90.

Even with her big-girl panties on (guess what show my wife loves), she only got me by 200k hp.  If I’d had one more proc of lava burst in there, I think she’d have died anyway, but I didn’t.  Now, I have no doubt with a more careful approach, I could get her, but I didn’t really want to have to deal with that, so I just brought in my two friends in Germany and we blew her up.  No pet from her, but since I did get the Tideskipper and the Tainted Waveling, I can hardly complain.

Revisiting Kara was a blast; that’s the raid I cut my teeth in.  It was fun to obliterate everything that used to be hair-pulling, and it was a nice nostalgic run, except I could not for the life of me remember how to get from the first part to the second.  I remembered our boss order, running around the back to the now-unlocked door, and going up the old stairs, but the door didn’t unlock!  I’m not sure if I didn’t remember to do something, but I’d killed all the early bosses and it remained locked.  I didn’t know where to go, so I spent about 20 minutes running around the extremely-large (if you haven’t explored it, you really don’t know just how large it is) raid, retracing my steps, rechecking the door, and so forth.  Only when I finally remembered there was a door on the other side of the opera event (which was the last boss I’d done, and thus the last step to retrace) did I figure out a second way to get upstairs.  Even with that potentially-frustrating run, I really enjoyed the whole raid.

I was curious whether or not Chess was soloable, but I read up a strat guide and one-shotted it.  No pets from the whole place, but honestly, I always loved Kara and consider it my favorite raid to date, so, really, who cares?  I even started up the Nightbane chain so I can summon him in the future.

TL;DR: it was a blast, and I look forward with excitement and a little anxiety to what’s next.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (and phoenixed)

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Beshara permalink
    July 26, 2013 10:42 am

    Congrats! That’s awesome that you got the Phoenix mount on your first kill. The Isle of Thunder quest line is nice on Horde side if you like blood elves. It’s nice to see Lor’themar doing something.

    If you are pet collecting try to do the Battlefield Barrens stuff one week to get Ghaz’rooki while you still can. Last I did it the collecting was pretty easy, and it’s a nice weekly valor boost. Hope your guild search goes well!

  2. July 26, 2013 12:36 pm

    Dear Stubborn:

    I regret to inform you that I now hate you. Utterly. Also, you will be receiving an email from Blizzard at their new email address (blizzard@gmail.com) explaining that you will no longer be able to use the Ashes since you’re too damn lucky.

    The solo scenarios are to advance the story – normally they’d happen in the main world, but if you show up “late” to the party you miss out on the chain of events. This way you still see what happens and get to view the whole progression. Otherwise you’d have shown up to the current state.

    • Mos permalink
      July 26, 2013 7:53 pm

      “At first I was afraid the constant crossing of the island would be cumbersome, but again I learned to just mount and run. That’s not always been an option, but even if I get dismounted, well see above about ghost wolf.”

      There’s a neat trick here. The quest givers on the island (except for the main base) are all hidden in little invisibility fields. If you run into one of those you’ll drop all aggro, so you never really need to worry about mobs except when you’re actually questing.

      “I am curious why WoW’s moving to mandated solo scenarios, but since there’s only a few and I don’t think any were particularly tough, I won’t obsess over it.”

      I don’t think they’re moving in any particular direction right now. The introduction to the 5.3 content, e.g., has some solo quests and a couple of group scenarios. I get the sense that going in to Mists they felt they needed compelling solo & small group content and thought dailies were a large part of the solution, along with pet battles, brawler’s guild, and the various rare/exploration things in Pandaria. When dailies weren’t received well I think they came to the realization that there’s no real one solution to the problem- people will get bored of the same thing eventually- so they’re just focused on constantly mixing things up and seeing what people like.

      You can really see the pivot in 5.2 – they still had their dailies in production so they’re on the island, but they’re not crucial in the way that Golden Lotus dailies were. In addition to the dailies, however, you also had the treasure vault, the various rares and summoned monsters around the island, some non-trivial achievements, and Dino Island. Then that was followed by Barrens and heroic scenarios in 5.3 and now the upcoming “self-directed” Timeless Island. There’s no specific direction any more- just experimentation. Which is healthy, I think.

      Good luck on the guild search!

  3. July 27, 2013 4:27 am

    OMG, Ashes! Grats! :D I hadn’t read any guides for Chess but I also managed to solo it, but maybe I was just lucky. Glad to hear you’re back in the game and enjoying it so far.

  4. July 29, 2013 11:53 pm

    I love the Isle of Thunder. Though I’m not completely sure whether it’s actually better in some way that I can’t quite identify or if I just went to it with a healthier attitude towards enjoying the game (bloggers, take note). The rares are challenging, the small group bosses are great fun, and the daily quests are interesting enough that I don’t actively hate them. And I love the art design and ambience of the zone. It reminds me of Tol Barad (which I also loved) but even more… textured. I think it’s the best “questing” zone our game has yet seen, and it makes me extremely hopeful for what will come next.

    I always thought the solo instances were mainly an excuse to add all those single-player-game-esque features like story and awesome cutscenes that some people like. Oh, but I loved that bit on the ship where you’re sapping all the guards. Single player stealth is great fun.

    So if you’re grinding gear again you’ll probably be LFGing for some Heroic Scenarios… my ID thingy is Coreus#1296 if you ever want a hand. :)

    Grats on the birdie!

  5. Lowtec permalink
    July 31, 2013 5:12 am

    If I remember correctly you don’t need the quest chain to summon Nightbane anymore. There should be an urn standing around somewhere in the middle of the Nightbane platform.

    And congratulations on Ashes, that’s an awesome mount :)

    • July 31, 2013 11:06 am

      You know, I thought that too, but when I went out to his terrace, there was nothing there. I did some reading and it seems that there is a quest line, but there’s no independent item any more, so once you do the question, you don’t have to lug the urn around any more. That’s the conclusion I came to, at any rate. If someone else knows different, please let me know (:

      Thanks for the comment!

    • July 31, 2013 8:03 pm

      That’s correct. Also, the Karazhan quest line is as long and annoying as it ever was. (I use Nightbane’s shield with my Warrior T5– looks amazing)

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