Monday, January 16, 2012


On Thursday, the casual 10-man raid group I run with managed to take down Ultraxion (on normal, not heroic). While I know that's not really a big accomplishment in the grand scheme of things, I think it's reasonably decent for a group that raids a fairly laid-back 3.5 hours per week.

Of all the fights we've faced thus far, I think Ultraxion has been my least favorite. Part of this is because while I was the healer lucky enough to get to pick up the blue crystal - which is the final (and, in my opinion, most appealing) of the 3 crystals to spawn - the vast majority of wipes occurred prior to its appearance. The other part of why I dislike the encounter is, I think, because its mechanics are designed in such a way that just one single failure from any individual in the raid almost invariably leads to an unnecessarily slow and drawn-out wipe. Now, I don't mind single failure wipes or slow wipes in and of themselves, but both mechanics together mean that raid groups like mine with particularly limited raiding schedules are disproportionately punished.

If a single failure is going to result in a wipe, then I'm of the opinion that said wipe should be brutally quick and immediately recognizable, because not only does it reinforce the idea that certain mechanics are extremely dangerous, but also makes it so that people can give the encounter another try with minimal delay and a reasonable opportunity to understand what just happened. Similarly, I think a slow, drawn-out wipe should provide ample opportunity for the raid group to try to recover and rally itself to a victory. Combining the two disproportionately punishes the people with the least amount of raiding time, since those are the same people who are most likely to have the least experience with gauging whether a given situation requires a passionate or pragmatic approach.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Brief Thoughts on PvP

Lately, I've been getting more and more into PvP in WoW. Part of this is because how efficiently I can cap out Valor Points these days - all it takes is one day of Raid Finder and one day of raiding and I'm either capped, or extremely close to it. As such, it makes little sense for me to run heroic dungeons, because I've already obtained most of the meaningful upgrades they provide.

The other significant reason, as silly as it may sound at first, is the introduction of Void Storage. I think one of the biggest problems I had with PvP in the past is how squishy I'd felt, and since I didn't have enough bag space for a full set of PvP gear with which to unsquishify, PvP would easily become a source of frustration rather than enjoyment. Thanks to Void Storage cleaning out much of my bank and bags, I now have the inventory space necessary to maintain a complete set of resilience gear (well, nearly - I'm still using a PvE weapon because it's better than what's available from Honor Points), and as such I find myself leaps and bounds tougher to kill.

Momma said heal you out!
Rather than being frustrated by my own helplessness in one-on-one scenarios, now I find I can easily survive as long as I need to in such situations - often long enough for reinforcements to arrive or for my opponent to get bored and try to find someone less difficult to kill. It's gleefully heartening.

Plus, it seems that more and more of my raiding friends are also taking a new interest in PvP. While I certainly still queue solo almost all of the time, just the mere prospect that I know people I can go to for advice and the occasional Horde-slaying somehow makes the whole experience all the more enjoyable. What a difference a change as simple as that can make.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Another Healer-Friendly Grisly Trophy Place

Yesterday, I posted a couple of places in the Shadow Wardens area of the Molten Front where healers can more easily acquire Grisly Trophies for the Darkmoon Faire monthly quest Test Your Strength, given by Kerri Hicks (The Strongest Woman Alive!). Unfortunately - for the sake of argument, anyway - let's say you haven't unlocked the Shadow Wardens daily quest hub yet. Instead, you chose to first recruit the Druids of the Talon...and that's as far as you've gotten. Well, fear not! There's actually a semi-decent place for a healer to grind Grisly Trophies on the Druids of the Talon side of the front, too.

Healer go down the hooole!

The place you're looking for is known as The Molten Flow, a massive cavern which can be accessed through the a giant hole that opens up in The Furnace area during the Into the Fire quest given by General Taldris Moonfall. If you follow the leftmost path through The Molten Flow, you'll run into a cavern filled with Charhounds.

What distinguishes these mobs from most other level 85 mobs is their total health - or, rather, their lack of it: they only have about 31,000 hit points. This means that they die remarkably fast, even for healers. Additionally, since they're sleeping in packs on the cavern floor, it's fairly easy to grab and AoE down several at a time. Once you're in the right place, there are really only two things you have to worry about: a single Flamewaker Hunter that patrols through the area, and the respawn timer for the Charhounds themselves, which can be anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on how many other players are in The Molten Flow.

D'awww. Aren't they cute? Time to murder them all!

Good luck and happy hunting!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Farming Darkmoon Faire Grisly Trophies as a Healer

If you've visited the revamped Darkmoon Faire, you've probably run into the quest Test Your Strength, for which Kerri Hicks (The Strongest Woman Alive!) requests that you gather a whopping two hundred and fifty Grisly Trophies off of reasonably challenging enemies across the world (of WarCraft). Now, for whatever reason, Blizzard decided that when people are partied up, rather than giving everyone an equal shot at being able to loot a trophy, it would instead only drop for the person who attained the killing blow. In other words, it means that healers will inevitably get the smallest share of trophies in a group, since we are usually more preoccupied with keeping everyone alive than with trying to snipe kill shots.

Considering that, in addition to the group dynamic above, healers also tend to have the slowest killing speeds out of the 3 roles, it means that any healer who doesn't have a damage-dealing off-spec will have to either spend a disproportionately large amount of time trying to complete this quest, or they'll have to learn to play smarter rather than harder. In the spirit of that idea, here is a place healers can go to maximize their Grisly Trophy acquisition:

In Patch 4.2: Rage of the Firelands, Blizzard added a brand new quest chain and a variety of daily quests that told the story of Archdruid Malfurion Stormrage's offensive into a place in the Firelands known as the Molten Front. As it turns out, the Molten Front is a fantastic place to farm Grisly Trophies if you know what you're doing, especially if you've progressed far enough to enlist the aid of the Shadow Wardens. The key to this are two quests given by the Shadow Wardens:

  • The Wardens are Watching is a daily that is occasionally available from Marin Bladewing at the Forlorn Spire. It's not always available, but when it is, it can be a particularly helpful quest for a healer collecting Grisly Trophies because it grants you a Shadow Warden guardian who will help you kill enemies in The Widow's Clutch and close to the Forlorn long as you don't attack and capture a Druid of the Flame. Since killing blows from pets count for the pet's owner, this means that the Shadow Warden guardian can help deal damage for you without sniping away your chance at looting Grisly Trophies.

The Wardens are Watching this area here. It's fascinating.

  • Enduring the Heat is a guaranteed daily quest (unlike the above, which has a random chance of being available each day) along the Shadow Wardens route. The quest asks you to head into the Igneous Depths and destroy 8 blue runes inside the cavern. While inside, fire elementals will spawn and try to kill you, but by standing on the runes you will receive the Flame Protection Rune buff which significantly reduces the damage these elementals deal to you. Additionally, when you destroy the rune, not only will it detonate and instantly kill any nearby elementals, but it will also credit you for dealing the killing blow, thereby granting you Grisly Trophies. What this means is that if you simply run onto a rune and stand on it, wait for elementals to gather up around you, and then detonate it once you're surrounded, you'll get plenty of Grisly Trophies with very little effort. Unfortunately, if you're the only one doing the quest at the time there's a maximum of about 6-8 elementals up at once per person, but even with that limit you should still get between 48 and 64 trophies just from intelligently handling this one quest. Considering that you'll have to complete a good few other dailies to unlock this quest for the day, chances are that you'll only have to do the chain once or twice to fill up your Grisly Trophy quota.

If you can't take the heat...stand on the runes. They help. ;)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

Hopefully, the world won't come to an least, not until I've managed to attract a 4th regular reader. =P

...And I feel fiiiiine!