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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

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Inbetween doing a circus-standard, mad balancing act with defence, dodge and stamina for Winters’ tanking wardrobe recently I finally found the time and motivation to get Rebirth and Innervate bound to focus macros. Yep, I’m lazy. But here’s the thing, when testing the Rebirth out I was told I was lacking any Flintweed Seed. Flintweed Seed? WTH?! Turns out that from first getting the ability to level 70, I’ve only ever been using Rank 1.

/target self

/bonk

The only thing that saves this from being the level of Ultimate Epic Fail is perhaps the fact that, as a tank, I’ve only had the cause to use the ability about five times my entire life. Definitely no more than ten, and most of them being outside instances “just because it was there and hardly ever got used”. Two occasions spring to mind though:

  1. In Sethekk Halls. Mega-healer Bupu died on the last boss and since we were all safely behind a pillar getting ready for the AoE, I had the chance to bring her back to life. I cast, she returned and within half a second was instantly killed by the AoE. Yeah, it was quite funny, in a way.
  2. In Shattered Halls. Again, the last boss and Bupu was cruelly relieved of the ability to stand up. I had a full health bar, a quick Barksin, Rebirth and back to bear form was entirely possible. Once again Bups returned to her mortal coil and was killed halfway through her first self-heal by Bladefist’s annoying rushy-about trick. Not quite as funny this time.

Both occasions granted us an extra fifteen seconds of that natty Angel thing that priests do, so we still came out on top. Not a complete loss but even so… I should be ashamed.

We also tried a heroic! Underbog was the daily and it has been said that it’s the easiest heroic, so we packed our bags and traipsed over there. Three things were noted:

  1. I could probably use a bit more dodge.
  2. Bupu could probably give her +healing a mini-boost
  3. Can we please have a mage that isn’t a total psycho with a whole-party deathwish? Seriously, wariness of mages have taken over hunters in my LFG grumbles. Damn mages. We got through it but, hoy, it was exausting. Why do I get the feeling that I’ve typed this before, verbatim?

New additions to the Tank Wardrobe since then include Thoriumweave Cloak (enchanted for extra dodginess) and, surprisingly pleasing, Alexandrite Ring of Eluding from some random trash in Arcatraz. +19 on both dodge and agility makes it a pretty neat find, and was some consolation for Elementium Band of the Sentry not dropping again.

Now coming up to just shy of 22,000 armour, 13,000 health and 33% dodge, maybe it’s time to try out that heroic again.

The very last of Anj’s green items has finally been replaced! Obviously an occasion as momentous as this requires a more or less instant replace-and-vendor move, thereby removing my ability to even remember what it was, and The Armory has already uncharacteristically updated to reflect the change. Suffice to say it was a pretty good necklace (and, with pretty good, I mean that it just managed to out-stat the Choker Of Bloodied Feathers back in the day, hence it being around my neck in the first place), but nevertheless a regular quest reward and, even-lesser the never, was green.

Taking the heroic Slave Pens’ Quagmirran and giving him the slap he so righteously deserved resulted in a giddy-epic Adamantite Chain of the Unbroken falling out of his pocket. So that’s where he was hiding it! A slight drop in agility, but a much-needed boost to my recently-diminished critical strike chance and I’m dancing. A lucky greed roll also got me detailed instructions on how to cut a Balanced Nightseye gem and, given the amount of money I’ve paid for these in the past, any jewel-crafter seeing it on the auction house is going to have to expect to part with some heavy money for it. I am sure that jewellers can use their spare masses of gold as a thrown weapon, I’m never going to get an epic flying mount and yet you can spot anyone good with jewels by the brand new iPod they’re carrying.

Also acquired today for Anj’s ever more powerful raid outfit were honour points spent on PvP bracers to bolster up her stamina, enchanted and socketed for a total of +40 attack power, a mini +7 agility for gloves, and mats gathered and posted to Powdor for a Knothide Armor Kit for boots. Well, they are still PvP boots, if I’m going to spend money enchanting them with anything it’ll be something more suitable for the battlegrounds or, who knows, maybe one day, even arena (gusp!).

Now to set my sights on Warp Splinter. He’s going to hate me. The normal difficulty still owes, yes owes, me a Beast Lord Cuirass which I don’t really need because I have the set bonuses tied up in the four pieces I wear already but, hey, I want to complete the set! We can do nothing if not coordinate, dammit. Meanwhile the heroic version of him is hiding some natty epic Beast Lord-matching boots from me and he should think again before being mean about those as well.

Maybe I should let him know that I know his mum and he should play fair or I’m going to tell…

(photograph is by blugrn and shared under a Creative Commons license)

Having spent a fair amount of time being slightly scared of what might become of me should I enter a heroic instance, I took the plunge yesterday and joined a group of people for the (drum roll) Daily Heroic Quest in Hellfire Ramparts. Being the first instance of Outland and therefore the first heroic, it seemed as good a place as any to start.

Doing instances with groups of strangers as opposed to my usual raggy-doll band of vaguely optimistic chancers is always a thousand times more stressful, any silly slip-ups are likely to be forgiven when amongst friends although I’ve heard tell of anonymous people getting way too stressed and screaming all manner of “n00b”-variants and general scattered abuse when even the smallest thing goes wrong. A guild member whispered me not more than a few days ago asking “What the hell is <other guildy name>’s problem?!” because she got silenced, couldn’t cast spells and then got yelled at. Blood pressure goes crazy, I mean it’s only a game. Some people take it far too seriously. Psh!

Still, I think it’s helpful to head off instance-wards with strangers every so often and fight that “with friends” complacency. We did pretty well, although mistake #1 for me was mis-pressing a button and setting a fire trap instead of an ice one making one encounter a little more difficult than it could have been. Mistake #2 was getting my kitty to one of the 2nd boss’s felhound pets a little too late to save our healer. That caused a wipe, red face, admissions of “my bad” and apologies were distributed and we were away again.

The final boss didn’t give us any trouble at all which was a pleasant surprise. Doing this boss at regular difficulty and well above the level requirement for the instance has still seen a wipe there but on this occasion, the guy came down, then his mount and both of them were killed pretty quickly.

All in all, I was pretty pleased that I’d finally moved up a notch in instance difficulty but still so stressed after it all that I had a little lie down. As another note, I’d completely forgetten that keys were needed to get into Heroic instances. All I’ll say for that is it’s lucky I bought the Hellfire one a few weeks earlier or would my face ever have been red at the entrance.

My secured collection of the Coilfang Reservoir (already had that one), Tempest Keep and Auchindoun heroic keys in the evening was only very slightly overshadowed by a guild member being the first to get the Karazhan Master’s Key. It shall not dull my triumph!

December 2017
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