Wednesday, 30 March 2011

My First Raid Experience in Bastion of Twilight and Blackwing Descent

I was hoping to put a clever title such as: 'When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on,' because raiding is all about perseverance and determination, but sampling my first raid was epic enough without having to think of a clever title. Yes, I have done Baradin Hold a few times now, which I was really excited about at the time, and then people kindly informed me it was "not a proper raid," well, although I don't agree with that comment I can now see where they were coming from when they told me that!

When I put my name down for the alt/social run of my guild, I honestly didn't think that I would get invited along, as although it's an alt run everyone else would have already experienced the instance on their main character and no what to expect. 

However, my name was down for the run in Bastion of Twilight, and I was going to make sure I knew the tactics. I had a week from putting my name down, till the raid took place to learn what to do. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I watched videos, I read blog posts and forum posts and made endless notes and then quick glance notes which I kept close at hand.  I'm glad I read up, I wouldn't have wanted to have gone into the raid unprepared, even though the raid leader did a great job at explaining tactics as we went along. It was also good to speak to other healers, because you can read the mechanics of the fight and know the names of every spell the boss will cast but it doesn't count for experience, something is always easier the second time round, once you have seen exactly how something works.

Monday night (the night before the raid) rolled round and I was thoroughly expecting not to be on the raid, but the prospect of possibly being there meant I had a really restless night, it took me ages to fall asleep, I think I dreamt about causing a wipe, over and over again. People who raid regularly, will not realise or remember what a huge thing the first raid is. I feel like since I started playing WoW my aim has been to raid, to get to the level cap and become the best player I can be. I still have a lot to learn, but to be a member of the top guild on the realm, and to have the chance to raid with these people, even if it is with their absolutely mind blowing.

Tuesday morning rolls around, I spend a bit of time going over my notes and watching the tactic videos again and then I stop with the fear of starting to over analyse stuff, yes, I felt it important to understand the basics, but its also supposed to be fun? 

Tuesday evening approaches, we discover that the raid is definitely going ahead and we get an I flew over the Twilight Highlands and made my way up to the BoT, I grew increasing nervous. I was literally trembling, so much so that I was accidentally pressing other keys because my fingers were slipping and doing silly things like putting a HoT on someone who didn't need it, but I was just blown away by the whole thing. From the way the encounter looked, to watching 10 people work in unison, to hearing the communication, I can understand why so many people love to raid. Just before we entered the raid I had a sudden crisis of confidence, maybe I couldn't raid, I knew that gear wise sitting at 352 my gear was appropriate, so it had to come down to my abilities to get the job done - to keep everyone alive.  I have no doubt that the other healers dragged me through it, they were both druids and I feel my nerves made me slow to react. Husband said to me, you know the tactics, you know how to heal...just go for it and enjoy, you can do it. He was right.

After we cleared the first trash pack, I started to settle in, but as we reached the first boss my stomach twisted into knots. There was Halfus Wyrmbreaker waiting to be killed. Now I was so excited at the time, that I cant remember how many attempts it took, but I think it was two. 

As he went down, I turned to my husband who was tanking throughout the raid and we gave each other a high five, and as I relaxed and laughed at getting my first ever 'proper' raid boss down, I realised that I was on a high and it was great feeling, we had worked as a team and we had defeated him. It was so much fun.

Then even more surprisingly, I received loot: an epic robe - Robes of the Burning Acolyte. I didn't expect to receive any loot, and I wanted to go and raid for the experience and the ability to say 'I'm raiding,' but receiving the loot was very welcome and also from Halfus, husband received some plate wrists. The new robe has boosted my item level to 353 and it was a very big upgrade on my heroic Halls of Origination robe. Both of us receiving loot signalled another high five, and then we both focused back on the screen to move on towards the next boss.

Getting through the trash was proving pretty straightforward and easy and before I realised it we were ready to 'get all up in' Valiona and Theralion's face. By the way, for future reference, Valiona is the girl of the two dragons, the pinkness should give it away :) I did die a few times on this encounter and I think it was because I was reacting to what was going on, and by that I mean that once something was cast I would then respond, and that made me slow, once I started to pre-empt, and watch the casting bars and turn and look at the boss, things went alot better. We did have a 1% wipe at one point and I think it was on this encounter. At no point though did I think that we wouldn't get them down, in fact the wipes made me more determined to perform more effectively and efficiently and pay more attention to what was going on around me.

After we successfully defeated the dragons, it was decided to move on to Blackwing Descent, and I nearly had a heart attack, I had started to make notes and revise BWD, but in nowhere near as much depth as BoT (I have an A4 sheet for each boss in BWD, a whole book for BoT), as we mounted up and headed in the general direction of the instance, I frantically scrabbled for my notes and husband and I were reading over them. 

We arrived, we got stuck into the trash with no problems and arrived at Magmaw.

We cleared the trash in this room without any issues either and it happens to be the only action screenshot I managed to take, and not a good one at that. I was so busy concentrating, that moving my hand to press the screenshot button was not really an option. 

I knew the basic outline of the fight and the tactics were reiterated on vent, we got in our positions and started to attack, but we did wipe. I think he was down on our second or third attempt but everyone except my husband and one other player (or two) were alive. I think at 11% we were a minute away from the berserk, but somehow they managed to beat it.

 We did then move on and have one go at Omnitron, but it was late by this point, and when we wiped, we called it a night.

What did I get from my first raid experience? Well, I loved it. I cant wait until I get to do it again, and I know that next time I'll perform better because, I wont be so nervous. It was everything I expected it to be and more. I can understand why people love raiding, and the hard work I feel I've put in to get to this point, really paid off. I loved how everyone worked as a team, and had a laugh whilst doing it. All I can say is a massive Thanks for the raid leader and members for allowing me to come along, being the massive newbie to raids that I am.

Advice for first time raiders like myself? Know the tactics till the point you are comfortable explaining them to someone else, going into a raid when the nerves and adrenalin is going and to not know the tactics would be disastrous and a massive knock to confidence. If you are unsure as to what you are supposed to do, double check and ask, there would be nothing worse than messing everything up because you didn't know where to stand. I had to double check stuff, and hearing people referred to on vent as their main character, instead of the alt in the raid, was also a little confusing at times, since I don't know them very well yet, but most importantly...have fun.

After we finished raiding for the night, husband realised that he hadn't got his valor points from his daily heroic run, so a guild group got together and we loaded Grim Batol.

As we got to the boss Dragha Shadowburner and he summoned Valiona, I couldn't help but smile to myself and think...I killed you less than an hour and half ago and it felt great...

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

PuG Diary: Shadowfang Keep

Tuesday 29th March 2011, 4pm

As I watched SFK load up, I felt happy, as its one of my favourite instances, but this run was downright ugly.

First few trash packs seem to be dealing a lot more damage than normal to the tank, who then announces he has got serious lag and the death knight agrees with him. Most of the time they were just standing there and getting hit and other group members were getting aggro.

We get to the first boss where interrupts are relied upon and the DPS position themselves at the bottom of the stairs waiting for the tank. Why they cant wait is beyond me because the inevitable happens, they pull the boss and the tank happens to be disconnected.

Finally we get the tank back but no one is doing any interrupting, because apparently it's taking them an age to cast anything. Eventually and I don't know how we managed it we kill the boss, everyone lives and I'm just about in mana.

nice to be acknowledged for keeping everyone alive against the odds

We get through the rest of the dungeon, with a few wipes, but the frustration just left me in a bad mood.

The group consisted of a Warrior Tank who had never tanked SFK before,  a Hunter pulling 9k DPS, a Death Knight with 8k and a paladin in full PvP gear managing about 5k.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Weekend Round-Up

Well I've just finished my first weekend back in WoW after moving house etc. Its good to be back.

I did another PuG Baradin Hold and got an epic PvP cloak: Vicious Gladiator's Drape of Prowess, so in order to get some use out of the bits of PvP gear I have, husband and I did a few random battlegrounds. I never stand a chance against a rogue or druid but I'm there for healing rather than trying to kill people, if I get a couple of killing blows, I'm happy. During an Isle of Conquest battleground, I managed to gain the achievement Back Door Job.

We also did a few heroic runs, they feel no more taxing than a normal instance now, so we did 4 last night alone, and during a Halls of Origination run I got the 'Sun of a...' achievement. I also finally got enough valor points to get myself some epic shoes, Slippers of Moving Waters.

In other news, I've decided that the next step for myself in WoW is to raid, and I know husband has been looking forward to raiding again, so I've been researching tactics for various raid instances, and I'm working my way through them at the moment, but to see me would think I was revising for a degree in raids. My desk is covered in sheets of paper, detailing overall tactics to the fight, and then what, I as a healer need to look out for, I have bits highlighted, some underlined and a nice folder to keep all my notes safe. I'm watching videos on youtube and pausing every few seconds so I can write down what was just said, and then watching it all the way through to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Excitingly, a friend of mine has just joined WoW, she is playing a Troll Hunter on my server, and I hope she is having a good time! Plan is to give a hand with some quests when I'm around and about. When I first started playing and my husband was playing his max level Priest, it was really helpful to have someone around to keep me alive and it meant I levelled quite quickly. When we both started new characters, it was fun to have someone to talk and play with and we were a team to be reckoned with...we still are (hehe)
Also, a player that used to play with my husband, who is also rather legendary, has come back to the game and has brought his fiancee along, its great to see two women starting to play, and I hope they both enjoy it as much as I do and it's good to see you back Viene! :)

PuG Diary: Throne of the Tides

Monday 28th March 11.30am

Overall a pretty uneventful run, apart from the cut scene. For some reason it bugged out on me and  was unable to cancel it, and so by the time the scene had finished the Tank and Melee were dead. Yes, they hadn't thought to check that their healer was with them.
I asked them why they didn't wait, they said they had not realised I wasn't with them. The tank apologised and we moved on without any further problems.

Once again a rather uneventful run. We completed all the bosses which I haven't done in a while, as we usually skip Erunak Stonespeaker and go straight to the last boss.

The group was made up of a Warrior Tank, who took considerable healing but at least he used my lightwell. I'm usually arguing with people to click it but throughout the entire encounter he used it 75 times. We had a Paladin who dealt 12k damage, a Mage who dealt 10k and a warlock who dealt 8k.

I'm glad that players are starting to use the lightwell, as I feel its necessary for people to take a certain amount of responsibility for their health and if they see themselves dipping low and they are in range of the lightwell, I don't understand why people are scared of it.

Friday, 25 March 2011

PuG Diary: Vortex Pinnacle 25th March 2011

My first entry in my PuG Diary. :)

Friday 25th March 2011, 4.30pm

I got the usual adrenalin rush as the load screen came up and felt disappointed that it was the Vortex Pinnacle. I've not hidden the fact that I don't like Vortex Pinnacle, for a while when cataclysm first came out I really struggled with Altairus. I couldn't see the wind...despite trying numerous different tactics, but I think I just had a psychological block to it because once I had beaten it, I've had no trouble since. (I know there was a change to it in a patch but i beat it before the changes) even so, I just don't enjoy it as much as some of the others.

Today I was running with a Druid Tank who had a couple of unecnhanted items, but more annoyingly had a hard time keeping aggro. The DPS consisted of a Mage who put out about 10k DPS, a Hunter who did the same despite having 5 unenchanted items, and a Warrior without trinkets who put out12k, but also generated alot of threat. In the end the Tank took 47% of my heals and the Warrior took just under 35%.

Healing wise it was quite a tough run because of the amount of damage that was spread out and some silly mistakes like not pulling the young storm dragon from his healing circle. Otherwise it was an uneventful run, rather boring, no wipes and the tank was happy to stop when I need a mana break.

What devil art thou, that dost torment me thus?

Yesterday husband (tank) and I did Karazhan, it wasn't as straightforward as just entering the instance though, we had to complete a quest chain in order to get the key and although this took us one evening, it was interesting because when levelling my Priestess we skipped many of the Burning Crusade dungeons and so to see them and get the achievement for them made for an interesting couple of nights.

I especially enjoyed the Opera Event, and as you can gather from the blog post title, we encountered Romulo and Julianne, and also the Chess Event, I thought we may have a problem as there was only two of us, but husband took control of the King and I took the Warlock and we just aimed at the Human King and dealt as much damage to him as possible, ignoring everything else. It worked as a tactic, and we were soon moving on.

I felt Karazhan lived up to what people have said about it, but since we were completing it at level 85, it was very easy, and we didn't have to pay any attention to tactics. We were killing trash faster than my spell cooldown but even so, I'm glad we did it.

I think that in it's day it would have been an amazing and somewhat tough raid, I dont think I got to see the best of it being such a high level, but its definitely worth seeing.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Back in Azeroth

At last, broadband is installed in my new house and I can get back to playing and blogging about WoW.

A month has passed and in that time, I've missed WoW, only made better by the fact I could still keep up to date with my favourite bloggers and my guild forum. Don't get me wrong, I've been busy in real life and the time has flown by, but in that time there has been no doubt there has been something missing in my life. I've had moments when I've been itching to start a new blog post but due to not being in-game, that has been a pointless exercise.

I finally logged back in yesterday afternoon. Just before we took our break, I'd been given a nice new mouse and I'd set a few buttons to spells and I couldn't remember what they were! I stood in Orgrimmar, targeted my husband and then tried to figure out what they were lol.

We then decided to ease ourselves back in to the game by doing a Battleground. I was hitting keys automatically and knowing that I was pressing the correct key for the situation but unable to remember the name of the soon came back though. We then ran heroic Shadowfang Keep (one of my favourites because I feel it's suited to Holy and I can CC) and had no problems what so ever, and following that I now feel confident that I can remember what I'm doing :)

I logged on today to run a heroic and ended up in Throne of the Tides with an awful group. A shadow priest with 2 PvP items equipped, no enchants and no gems. A warrior who kept going AFK and a paladin tank who had never done the instance on normal let alone heroic. I was the best geared there and we didn't wipe once. Yes I lost the paladin a couple of times but that was mostly due to bad tanking tactics. In fact on one boss all that survived were myself and the shadow priest and between us and using our shadowfiend's we downed the boss.

So now that I'm back in the game, the next logical step is to start raiding. I don't know if that will be possible with my guild because they are now the realm number 1 and have a lot of members and well into heroic raid progression, but I'm hoping at some point on one of the entry raids, they need a healer, and they give me a shot. In the meantime, just a case of doing daily heroics to earn valor points for upgrades and trying other things such as some old content raids for fun.

It's good to be back, oh WoW how I have missed thee :)