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With Naxx25 cleared over Wednesday and Thursday and plans for Malygos and Sartharion-plus-three-drakes in place for the weekend, that pretty much left a light ‘n’ easy, stretch-your-legs run through Naxx10 as Friday’s excursion. Anj was there, remarking to herself on how comparatively quiet the TeamSpeak channel was and hey, wow, what’s this?! Double-figure framerate? Cool!

We’d taken down Grobbulus, had a little break and a talk-through tactics before heading down the slimepipe towards Gluth. Anj was assigned to Zombie Chow kiting duty along with a couple of other ranged DPS, and there was much rejoicing.

As soon as the fight started, it was clear there was a problem.

Um… I’m not firing.

Arcane Shot, Steady Shot, Auto Shot… nothing.

Back in the Burning Crusade days, every so often, I mean it was pretty rare, I would become the unwilling victim of some kind of a bug where my Auto Shot would stop working, I’d have to relog to get it back again, but this was different. No shots were working at all! What? What?!

Panicking, checking various possibilities commenced while zombies were making their way ever closer to Gluth. Then in my character window I saw a strange red border around the icon for the crossbow. Checking the tooltip was not pretty.

Durability 0 / 90

Oh noes! How did this happen?! Seriously? Okay, so I was summoned to the raid without time for repairs but no big wipes were planned and DurabilityFu showed an average of 55% for all gear! All, it seems, except the one weapon any hunter simply cannot exist without. And it chose the one encounter where it was needed more than anything else to present itself.

So…

So I…

Elune, forgive me…

I had to run up to Gluth and use (jarring chord) a melee weapon, up to this point largely uncontaminated by the blood of various baddies! Oh, the deliciously-inconceivable shame! That included clicking Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite from the spellbook when the cooldowns were up because, to be honest, I just don’t have them on my action bar! Why the hell would I? There’s a Wing Clip Plus Raptor Strike macro, that’s about it, it was only about a week ago that I discovered Mongoose Bite didn’t need a dodge to be usable any more.

Of course I still did my bit by breaking away every so often to set down a Frost Trap, but still. My name is Anj, and I’m a Melee Hunter. Hi.

I can only thank my guild for being a kindly, forgiving bunch and laughing it off while clearing trash as I hearthed back to Dalaran, got repairs and flew back in time for Thaddius.

It will make a great story for the grand-kids some day… :\

As far as level-cap footwear has gone, there’s only been one type I’ve liked but hardly ever worn, those being the sleek, hug-the-calves type, regularly seen in leather but rarely in mail, that seemed to have always taken second place in drop and stat popularity to the somehow wrong -looking fold-over-top ones.

But tonight’s Malygos25 bagged Anj a pair of Boots of the Renewed Flight and they look gorgeous. Big, stompy, chunky, goth boots that look like they Mean Business! Kick-down-the-door-and-drink-dwarves-under-the-table business, f’reals!

I’m really enjoying my newly-discovered love for raiding which I never really felt in Burning Crusade, perhaps mainly because when everything was brand new and people could fill a Karazhan group in a matter of seconds, I hadn’t even reached level 10. Yeah, I did Kara enough to get to exalted with Violet Eye but it was still always more stress than fun, and that stress caused me to decline a lot of offers for groups that I could have easily have accepted. I never got the imba bow, the tier armour set or the number of Badges that would allow me to buy decent alternatives, but this time round I’m in there from the beginning and it feels amazing.

There’s also the fact that I’m in a guild that is geared enough to have Naxxramas on farm status and I am, with my friends, for the most part, being carried while I slowly creep up the DPS charts, even though topping the meters is no longer my priority over plain, basic Having Fun and enjoying my role and contribution to the group.

Not that it’s all been easy! Sartharion plus two drakes was a trial and there’s still the same plus three drakes to come before Patch 3.1 and Ulduar when the guild playing field levels a little bit. Not to mention the bosses that you can be as geared as you like for but still require a lot of co-ordination, I haven’t lived through Heigan yet but felt a true sense of pride when I finally got Thaddius (yes, I’m slow). There’s still the stress but it’s stress without the sense of hopelessness which makes a big difference. Here’s to the future, I honestly can’t wait.

Does anyone else get Malygos mixed up with Fleet Foxes’ Mykonos? Just me? Okay.

The Undeath Carrier! *glee!*

Dropped from Heigan The Unclean, a fight in which I was the only one to die. Pretty early on too. A kindly druid had to battle-rez me and I ruined everyone’s chance at The Safety Dance. *shame!*

So, you know, as beautiful a staff as it is, ’twill forever be tinged with tragedy. I’ll get over it. Tomorrow is another day!

Oh, and Torn Web Wrapping too, once again I find myself way over the hit cap.

After two nights and countless wipes (including one magically life-affirming 1% epic-flavoured fail), it finally happened. Sartharion fell over and there was nothing his two extra drakes could do about it.

Between Misdirecting to various tanks, Tranq-shotting enraged fire elementals, avoiding void zones and fire-walls, leaping through portals and then back out again as well as keeping a suddenly-suicidal kitty alive all under 10fps, it counts as probably the most stressful WoW experience I’ve had so far but, after it all, looking back, the most blissfully satisfying. Especially considering that on the last attempt, the one that mattered basically, I managed to stay alive through it all, uncredited on the raid leader’s add-on that lists Those That See A Blue Circle Or Wall Of Fire And Say “Ooh pretty!”.

“Next week,” quoth the raid leader once all the loot had been distributed, “We do it with three drakes!”. /feint.

A few weeks ago I was going to write a post on how I wasn’t too bothered about raiding and am always happy to fall back on questing with just my kitty by my side but it’s amazing how much being in a guild that sets raids and actually goes and does them has changed all that.

Already, so early on within the development of the Lich King storyline, Anj is more accomplished with progression than she ever was over more than forty days of level 70 life in Burning Crusade. I can say things to myself like “Arrowsong! The Undeath Carrier! Tier 7! These are the things that will be mine!” safe in the knowledge that they could well be, rather than some peppy pipe dream.

Huzzah!

They (the “They”) say that the British love a good queue. They will walk across burning coals to get to one, regardless of what is offered at the end of it, just for the chance to stand in line for something, all civilised.

Now, I’m technically British. I’m not sure how much weight that carries for it was, after all, the sheer chance of birth location and I have no love for the concept of patriotism, but being as how I hang around with a lot of other British people I don’t think I’ve met anyone who has said “A queue?! Where! Get me to the queue!”. Queues are annoying, but I think it is true that your British people will join them begrudgingly and silently seethe to themselves whereas your Americans will just flip out and splash Uzis around semi-colon, close bracket.

But look! Look!

naxx25queue

Naxx25, after the Four Horsemen encounter and instead of everybody jostling to the front and clicking like mad on the chest (as happened countless times in Karazhan), almost without any instruction whatsoever everybody formed an orderly line. There’s me and Bups at the back there on the top picture, dancing and talking amongst ourselves as we filed gently to the front. So civilised! As queues go, it was a joy to be in it.

So, yeah, Naxx25. In with a group that could officially label me as “Being Carried”, I found out a few things:

  1. I am saving up for a new compuper but I am sure that this one cannot do twenty-five player raids. My framerate was below ten for most of the fights. For all I said about The Macro a few posts back, it was only the fact that I was spamming one button that got me from 16th (a few fights in) to 13th (at the end) on the damage meters. Sorry, The Macro, you have your place.
  2. Turning Spell Detail right down to the minimum is all well and good, but I honestly think that I’d be doing okay for FPS if there was another option to turn everybody else’s spell casting effects off! It wouldn’t be ideal but, hey, my poor elderly compuper. :(
  3. All video effects down to a minimum and 1024×768 :O By comparison it had the look of a cute 8-bit game bringing back lovely memories of my happy Amstrad CPC6128 days, which was okay I suppose. Maybe next time I’ll try 800×600 and keep living on pasta so maybe I can get a new machine next month.
  4. We didn’t do the Plague Quarter so I didn’t see if Arrowsong dropped, although I did get some new boots. However, having decided I needed to replace my boots to drop some haste, I managed to collect a replacement pair with even more haste. I have too much haste! WHY IS IT SO HARD TO AVOID HASTE?! My Steady Shot cast time is just over a second! :p More apologies and defense for The Macro, at least spamming that keeps my rotation in check without going mad.
  5. Finally, Naxx25 is really easy! When…  you’re in with a group that downs a boss under two minutes. :\

Welcome to the “I’ve Slapped Kel’Thuzad, Big Style” Club. Thanks, ooh a card too? Marvellous! :D

Happily popping arrows into Archavon the Stone Watcher, he got to 20% health with just five seconds of cooldown left to go on both Sphere of Red Dragon’s Blood and Bestial Wrath. Mmm, I’m going to save the Kill Shot a few seconds.

Popped them both, giggled maniacally and teased my finger over the button for Kill Shot…

Press!

MISS!

Oh. Em. Gee! That was the one shot that missed! A bitter lesson learned the Hard Way once again. Hit rating, anything less than the cap just isn’t worth risking.

some time later…

I played with this idea today, touching on subjects as to why a random number generator would miss the one shot that was going to be so effed up and linking it to why, when peeling an orange, if a squirt of tart citrus juice is going to squirt out it is more or less guaranteed to hit you RIGHT IN THE EYE and where this places the notion of fate, predeterminism and the idea of a non-existent god. I came to conclusion that it was all just mindlessly keeping my mind busy to shield me from a dull day at work and that it doesn’t mean anything. The fact that a random number generator will sell your whole family into slavery at a moment’s notice and an orange being malevolent enough to want to blind you is only because these outcomes are infinitely more memorable than the millions of other times they do pretty much what you want or expect them to them to do. Plus it wasn’t the only shot that missed, there was one other but it was an auto shot which probably wouldn’t have crit so that put a stop to that. Yay Teh Godless Universe!

What’s worse than wiping on Prince at 4% health?

Two words: Server down.

IT WAS GOING SO WELL! People were staying alive, well, okay, the person with the “Follow me!” star marker died but we managed to still navigate a safe path around the infernal fires sans guide and… and… /cry.

Log back in once the server is working again, try to return…

No instance servers available.

He had so better drop that bow.

(…Of course when we were finally allowed back on, it was pretty much as I suspected. All that trash we cleared between Shade and Prince had returned and we suffered a string of losses against the big guy when we reached him again. There was one “Super Bad Luck” Infernal incident but mainly I’m putting it down to the party being affected by the “Disheartened” debuff. Pfff. Next time, Prince. Next time).

There’s been talk amongst my little group of RL(tm) friends about having a crack at some arena recently and, apparently, they think Alysha would be a good candidate in a 3v3 team.

So I’ve brought her out of the semi-retirement of Disenchant Duty, bought her the blue PvP gear that honoured rep with various Outlands factions gives access to and she’s been jumping around some battlegrounds like a crazed hell-cat trying to get something vaguely resembling effectiveness from her new SL/SL spec. But that’s another story for another time…

It was while doing this that I got a whisper from an old guildmate asking if my warlock had done Gruul’s before. No, she hasn’t, and to be honest with you her gear at the moment probably wouldn’t even scratch a raid boss in Lower Karazhan, let alone Gruul. Now, I said, if it’s a hunter you want on the other hand…

“We might do actually. Yeah. Can you get your hunter?”.

Yup, relogging now…

“You’ve done Gruul before right? You know the tacs?”

Pff! Yeah! Wha’? Yeah, totally!

*relogs to Anj while feverishly scanning WoW-Wiki for the details about What To Do For Gruul If You Have, In Fact, Never Even Set Foot Inside His Lair*.

Ever heard a story from a friend who got a job with no experience but they had the confidence to just blag the interview? Yeah, well I was just trying a bit of that. And so…

Well, I still managed to scrape into the top ten of the damage meters which, I shall continue to convince myself, isn’t that bad going considering the whole lot took about twenty minutes because of a Black Temple-geared group. And some of the time I wasn’t even popping out arrows because, don’t tell anyone, I didn’t have a clue what was goin’ on.

Pauldrons of the Fallen Hero dropped. I rolled 3. That’s fine, because the actual main reason I was there was purely because The Cudgel of Kar’desh had been half finished in my quest log for altogether far too long.

Now then. Heroic Slave Pens again, honestly, it never ends! These people and their outrageous demands!

So… hi. Watch as I attempt, in vain, to sneak back like a person returning to a party after leaving in disgraceful circumstances.

Well, what’s been going on? Nothing much to be honest. The festival of alt-levelling has continued, both Girlpants and Wintersong are at level 60 and doing the steady grind through Hellfire Peninsula. Winters has reached both Mangle and Omen of Clarity in the talent specs while Teh Pants is gathering quest rewards for a switch back to Elemental.

Fenellafudge reached level 30 and became my first character to hit that level and be able to swan straight off to buy a cut-price mount. Now, you know how I said that blood elf mounts looked more comical than the grim harbingers of doom that, I imagine, they were probably supposed to represent? Wrong again. “I am a fearless hunting orc and, yes, ’twas I that beseiged and laid waste to your village. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to saddle up my demented, LIMPING dog and ride out of town…”. Darkspear rep is still on the priority-gather list, and heavens to betsy Horde get the rough end of the stick on mounts.

Also, look!

Anj was called back into active service for a farming run of Karazhan, seeing Nightbane and Netherspite for the first time ever and, over the course of about three hours, gathered twenty-one Badges of Justice, my own personal one day record by a long shot, as well as Gloves of Quickening. She even had a glimpse inside Zul’Aman, not as successful a run given that we fell flat on our face at the first boss due to tank problems. It still counts, and it’s very pretty.

Happy Lich King news of today is the revelation that certain aesthetic features of characters will be changable as well as the hair-styles. This is only good news because I’ve noticed for a while now that Wintersong has no facial markings and I have no idea what in the name of Elune was going through my mind when I clicked “Create Character” with that choice. It’s not right, it’s not on, and it will be changed.

Finally, am I the only person in the world that misread the “exotic pets” part of the extended Beast Mastery talents as “quixotic pets”? I was all ready to tame one of Azeroth’s moons. Stunned by a rogue who thinks I have no pet with me? Oh, you poor, sweet fool… WHAM! And you’ve just been moonstomped, along with everybody else in the zone.

First raid in (another) new guild, specifically to bring Prince down, the raid leader voiced his concerns about my gear saying that “full epix” are needed for him. When the party turned up short and I was invited along anyway, what was the thing that happened? This was the thing that happened:

And we all learned the true meaning of Christmas. *closes book*.

First Karazhan raid with the guild where All I Need To Do Is Turn Up and omg I have to hurriedly install Ventrilo while we all gather at the meeting stone! I have feared this for ages, mainly given the attitude of people through the medium of text, but it turns out there was no reason to, at least not in this case. I was expecting “fucking fucking fucking” but actually got the politest and, hell, I’m just going to say it, cutest voices ever to be transmitted over an intertext near me, aaaw, just wanted to hug them! And only had to say “Do you wanna just back off the mic a little bit?” once! Powdor had a theory that the censored language is probably due to the possible fact that the parents of these kids being within earshot and, to be honest, I’m all for that. Keep it clean, keep ’em keen.

You’d have to look hard to find a greater supporter of the vocal cuss than me (read up on some selected works of Lenny Bruce for example, that’s where I’m sitting) but it takes on an extra layer of slovenliness when placed in text. And to hear them screamed into a microphone when you’re trying to concentrate killing something? Not for me. This is where it gets weird. To swear like crazy at your monitor when too many mobs pull, a Hordie won’t leave you alone, a tree or some other environmental item blocks your view… whatever, is a reflex thing. The same goes for shouting it into a microphone, and yet to take that reflex and type it out takes a whole other level of energy. I don’t doubt that a certain amount of cusswork was going on behind the scenes but the thing is, none of this was being done while pressing the button that turns the microphone on. I think Powdor was right.

First Karazhan raid with a new guild and omg who’s at the top of the damage meters? Yeah. Reco’nise. And the chance to get a nice “in action” shot framed by some lovely books… I’m there. Incidentally, does it look like I’m being completely irresponsible with aggro on the auld Omen there? Well, not quite. A few people in the party didn’t have the latest version and we witnessed a large number of awry-aggro wipes.

Three resto druids keeping us all alive in Karazhan, not the most varied healing team you could possibly imagine but, like SweetiePie by the Stone Alliance (and ev’rybody know they known for droppin’ science), they take the prize for the All-Before-Attumen Luckytime Summer Dance-Off!

Taking Moroes without a priest in the party was… an interesting experience. Being the only hunter as well, I impressed myself (even if it was only myself) with keeping the Blue Square trapped by running from the top to the bottom of the room and using Concussive Shot to help buy me some vital cooldown time. Go me, multitasking is all part of a hunter’s job!

Spent the better part of 386g on a Primal Mooncloth Bag to replace another of the Imbued Netherweave variety, which may have been a silly expense for what is essentially two extra slots but, hey, we needs our bag space! At least the comparison of the price of a fully-made-up 20-slotter with the cost of the individual mats to ship over to my tailorin’ warlock for craftin’ made some kind of bizarre economic sense.

But, you see, bag space is a contentious issue with hunters and, I suppose, warlocks. We get one less! I’d love to be able to carry around a change of clothing for PvE and PvP play but, sadly, I’d have a tiny amount space left over for the random gatherings of daily life and be faced with even more trips to vendors to lighten the load. Isn’t it about time that we got a handy, out-of-the-way, keyring-styled bag for ammunition or soul-shards? Given the length of time this request has been floating about, the answer is an emphatic “Probably not”. It makes sense though, from a logic perspective, doesn’t it? A quiver, shot pouch or soul-pouch isn’t even a full bag! It’s a mini-bag at best. One of the reasons I prefer the bow over its alternatives is the reassuring image of a cute quiver strapped to my back whenever I’m using it, and you can see that it’s a mini-bag, perhaps even a micro-bag. Nano-baglet?

Logic and basic realism are minor concerns in this area anyway, since recently I’ve been storing consumables like my food, drinks and potions in the same bag as gathered “Sludge. Just… sludge”. Why am I carrying this around? And why do vendors pay so handsomely when you schlop it down on their counter? Like, eew. I hope those Warp Burgers are wrapped. Seriously, with a choice of trinkets, my growing list of always-stocked potions, my Purple Festival Dress for casual dressin’ in the city and foods to keep kitty happy, space is too tight to mention.

One thing I can enjoy from a massive increase of two extra bag slots is the chance to carry around two weapons, namely my long-serving Gladiator’s Heavy Crossbow and the occasionally-used Lohn’goron, Bow of the Torn-heart (scoped for +crit, natch) which throws out marginally less D’s per S but scores points for shot-speed and being too gorgeous, at least until we can get Prince Malchazaar down enough times for the bow he’s hoarding to drop. As a guild we got as far as him but things started going horribly wrong. To be fair to us, on a couple of occasions we got really unlucky with where his infernals landed, but still. “Could do better”, written in red Biro at the bottom of our report card.

I’ve also been playing around with Disengage, until recently probably the only spell that I have literally never used*, and it turns out that it’s not completely useless. Hardly what you’d call a life-saver either though. Ah well, at least we try.

*The Hour-Later edit: The fact that I completely forgot about the existence of Tranquilizing Shot probably says a lot.

(photograph by kate e. did and shared under a Creative Commons license).

Team Angel’s second visit to Karazhan this week commenced in the usual clunky fashion with one member dropping out before we’d even got through the gates (oh noes! Lost DKP!), one member calling ahead to warn of a slight delay and one member not even showing up with nary a note from the doctor nor nothin’. Bad start to his DKP, being as how it’s now two points into minus figures. Hey, we gots to be tough and do this by the book. They will learn!

The tragically short visit on Wednesday left us picking up the thread from Maiden of Virtue, do you think there’s a passing resemblance to Princess Diana there? Maybe it’s just me, although pointing out that the likeness would be more accurate in five minutes time was apparently ‘in bad taste’. Come on, it’s been ten years now. Let it go. No real problems were encountered, I just stood back, unleashed Bestial Wrath alternated with Bladefist’s Breadth and kept firing our Fatal Pointy Sticks of Fury into her, taking the stun debuff when it came as a chance for the tank to gain a further lead on the aggro tables. Two other hunters in the group besides me, one Marksmanship, the other Beast Mastery and who was at the top of the damage meters? Stop asking such silly questions…

Opera event next, Big Bad Wolf event and, wouldn’t you know it, I was the first to don the red hood and cape for the mad dash around the stage. We wiped with Wolfie down to 20% health but came back a little wiser and finished the job off, quickly followed by a takedown of Curator on the first attempt. Oh yeah, we roxxor. A sting in the tail before we wrapped up for the night, Gloves of The Fallen Hero dropped. I lost the roll, and not only that, after a tie-break re-roll! Booo! What are the odds? But, hey, it’s no real big thing, I’ll happily pass up on it all if it guarantees getting my hands on that bow. Bow first, tier [whatever] after, are my priorities right? And because I often feel guilty for reporting it within the group itself (no-one likes a show-off), here’s the end-of-raid top three, screenshotted seconds after a bunch of people left the group but, rest assured, the top three remains as was.

Karazhan, 18th April 2008

The second green bar you can see there is a marksmanship hunter. It’s really not fair is it?

Items of dubious tangibility aside, my long-standing problems with WoW stemming from low memory (512Mb, gusp!) has been nipped right in the bud thanks to the extended loan of and extra 1Gb of the stuff. Snapped it in straight after the ‘Zhan and oh. My. God. Shattrath City at a consistent framerate! The ability to push the graphics up from the lowest settings and to feel the joy of a crisp, bright, beautiful world where I can actually see into the distance! So this is the game y’alls have been playing is it? Never again will I get hopelessly lost in the fog trying to find the bloody entrance to Botanica, nor will I miss out on the lush wonders of Nagrand while flying at a height of greater than thirty yards.

So now starts a full two-worlds tour, just looking at it. It’s like it’s all new!

August 2017
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