Thursday, 12 August 2010

So long and thanks for all the fish

 I posted this on my guild forums yesterday. I might as well post it here too.

Well... its become that time.

I've realised that while the game can be a great hobby I need to recognise that it is just that and that it inhibits me in the way I play it now. I had an epiphany the other day whilst on holiday. Things are going slowly in the guild at the moment, with many people hitting burnout and holidays etc so staying online unless you're levelling is a little pointless and I realised: I'm tired of the heroics I've run for a year, of all the raids I've raided to death, of trolls both in LFD and trade (and the lack of server community) and above all I'm tired of the grind. The fact that you can't stop playing or you'll slide back, blizzard isnt alone in using this idea of loss to get you to keep playing. . This article was one of the things opened my eyes. I wouldnt say it was fear, more a bit of a wake up call. I had 2 weeks off - week 1 I played wow - week 2 I'd arranged a trip to see some relatives up north. Week 2 I was severely ill and I still had a better, more rewarding time.

There's another article on that site thats also very good. It show how the internets is making us sick. Again a little dramatic but some of what it talks about is completely valid to most of us. I do realise this website is mainly a comedy website but they made some pretty good points.

I recognise that I get a kick out of taking a an alt character from scratch and by allocating the time and the effort gearing it until I can shine with it. Maybe I'm a little OCD but I enjoy the feeling of power this gives me and the way I can excell. I also get a kick out of raiding, like the satisfaction when we kill something we've struggled on. However, this is a virtual world and at best we're leaving footprints in the sand. I can't put on a CV my Hardmodes, my experience or even my Gearscore. The fact is that any reasonably intelligent person can pick up the game and excell without too much work is depressing and devalues that crap anyway. People constantly go on about skill when increasingly you don't need it to do well at this game . It's a grind fest. It rewards you for knowing that 1 piece of extra information.

Basically I took a hard, honest look at myself and didn't like what I saw. Gone was the 19 yearold scamp who was playing between partying and in it's place a guy in his mid 20s, who's mildy overweight and has alienated to this date 3 girlfriends and a couple of best mates. I didn't start out like this, in fact at the beginning I was determined not to play as much as I do now and I forgot that. Sure I've made friends playing the game and I hope that they find a balance that works for them. Most of the people I've met playing WoW have been fucked up in at least one obvious way, often not making them a bad person (like Axxx who hates gays but is otherwise friendly) . Often it's just something that they've fallen in to. I know a lot of you do have your heads screwed on right but you guys seem to be few and far between. I hope you don't go the way I've gone. I recognise it's not entirely the game but how I interact with it and it's my own fault I've come to this point.

WoW has taken some of the best years of my life. It sounds melodramatic but I've been foolish and tied myself to wow to make sure I didnt miss anything in game and as a result I've missed a lot outside it. This large amount of time in game has also made me ill. Not "arghh its the bad AIDs" ill but disatisfied with my quality of life. Getting home and playing several nights a week means I don't have time for exercise, sitting at the pc has given me bad posture, and playing late and relying on the game for entertainment have made me a frequently tired, boring person. This got worse when my job changed.

I'll be online sporadically to enjoy the game in small chunks, but I'm not going to put my life on hold any longer. Good luck in the future with your goals whether they be Virtual or RL and I'll probabaly see you from time to time in game. Rxxxxx xxx is probably the best home I've had in any online game and I hope you guys chill out a bit because the atmosphere we have in raids sometimes can verge on toxic .

All I'd suggest is that if you've put on weight like I have, go out for a jog. I did the other morning and although I nearly died and was slow (and in all honesty had to walk off a stitch for part of it) once I'd got back and returned to normal I felt incredible. I slept like a baby that night something I haven't done in ages.

Oh and be nice to Bxxxxx and Hxxxxx theyre both working hard for the guild with no thanks for it. They have a difficult time ahead and could do with your support.

I hope Ive given at least 1 of you something to think about. Surprisingly I'm going to miss the time I spend with you guys, even the bulgarian mafia or TEAM SWE. Please know that even though I'm a bit of a cunt, I generally either wasn't serious or was doing it for the benefit of the guild. To paraphrase Txxx: While I was an officer we had to make some tough decisions and they weren't always the right ones, but they were the best ones we could make. It's been a privilege being an officer for you guys and being a member of Rxxxxx xxx.


TLDR: ISAK, Retiring from raiding/being an officer. Won't be online so much.

PS: If you need crafts or something. Send the mats to echo then get Exxx to text me.

It's been fun being part of the blogging community but I feel I need to take a big step back.

So long

/echo out

Thursday, 15 July 2010

The Hypocrisy of Gearscore and a Racist gets his Just Reward

As my previous guide showed I've rolled a paladin. Well, I've been mostly focusing on building a ret spec on the loladin, so Lady RNG in her capriciousness naturally is bestowing me with healing upgrades and tanking gear. I blame Theanorak - He made me want to dips! Also becoming v tempted to fork out for a shadows edge as I have golds! I'm chasing DMC:G too and just missing an ace. Total of 1kspent on it - which is mitigated by all the other cards I picked up trying to proc them via Inscription isn't too bad.

I did a random icc10 on the pally as I was on too late to make the raid the other night. I knew a couple of the guys in it and it seemed we'd probably clear at least 7 bosses. As I'm in the process of speccing ret (in ret gear so comedy that people stop me and make fun of me in dalaran - yeah thats a 251 weapon next to those 138 trinkets /flex)  I was questing as ret in zul drak to finish it off and make some tasty gold for any silly achievements I decide to do. I join the raid and the first thing I get is "why does the paladin have 4k gearscore" from the tanking DK. I reply with something snarky, confident that I've three people from the guild that I might not know that well but at least know me well enough to know I'm a good enough player to keep up and that my holy gear is pretty good . Plus I'm an officer so they wouldn't dare kick me :D .

Now after the dk is reassured I'm healing and that I'm in ret gear he shuts up. But I'm still annoyed. Everything goes fine mostly up to rotface. We've killed fester and have the weekly and he suddenly pipes up.

"I'm tanking the boss, the warrior should kite the ooze".
"Actually" I cut in "It's really easy to do the kiting as a dk, plus you can CoI the little oozes and control them" "Yeah but I can't do it"
"So you were prepared to not let me come on this run when I had 4k gearscore but you yourself don't have the ability to be here"
"yeah but its hard, paladin is easy"
"actually I've done it before on my dk, you don't even need to be tank specced"

The group worked around him and only one wipe caused by both of us healers getting the debuff and a little confusion about who was healing who along with the tank (the dk) staying in to take the angry poo poo to the face. We kill putricide in a 1 shot again despite the dk playing terribly and tanking in the wrong place and go do valithria before doubling back to blood. After the mage randomly drops group we continue with 9 and the dk is tanking kelseth the caster. Complete. Abject. Failure. He's not using CDs not stacking orbs its a nightmare to heal. By this point I can tell people are playing like gash as I'm also keeping an orb up with judgement and holy shock in between spamming holy light on the tanks. we get it to 3% but people have to go.

How does this work? I can't come to fucking ICC with 4k when I've knowledge of every fight but scrubs like him think they can stop other players from joining despite the fact they're not actually any good and have lamed their way to a higher GS. Even with the 4k GS I could still link the achievement for 3 wings on this alt and if pressed could even relog and link all 4 wings on both difficultys with kingslayer. I realise this is preaching to the converted and this is shit everyone knows and the subject is a tired one at that but I needed to rage! I've started ignoring players that malignantly stupid so I don't have to carry them in the future.

Anyway we had a main run on reset day. Wow all these people we don't see on progression days showing up on reset day? What a coincidence! The high point of the raid - being told by the trial rogue (who has a tendency to talk alot and state the obvious) was that his friend, a hunter, had been banned for something he said in ICC general chat. I recognised the name and recounted why he'd been banned. I'm a hypocritical jerk to be qute honest and I often say things that are borderline tasteful and I troll a fair bit, however I know where the line is and I never cross it. His friend posted something racist which, as some people know, really grinds my gears (many in my guild actually think I'm a black muslim for some reason). I'd reported the guy and apparently he got a 1day ban and nerdraged hilariously. I'm sure the rogue will tell his friend it was me, and I actually generally hope it gets a rise out of him. I have no patience for that kind of mental retardation and I'm quite happy to continually report his misdeeds until its perma :)

Top tips - include time in the chat log of when the person you were reporting said the offensive statement. So please, blizzard do read these and like any sensible company they take a very sensible approach and they DO DEAL with it. Report - ignore them - clean up wow!

/echo out

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Real ID - See what I mean now blizzard?

The WoW blogosphere has been awash with people posting their concerns and worries about the new RealID system were introducing. Chas over at Righteous Orbs pretty much had the same thought as myself as did Jen over at Stories of WoW

I've stated in the comments of a number of blogs that I'm against the nature they've introduced the system and the fact they've now tied it to the forums for my own reasons.

Well, they only went and got pwned. A blizzard moderator posted his name to show how "harmless" it was and sure enough the digging some people did was instantaneous. His address, phone number - you name it they pulled it up. Apparently his house has had in the region of 80 pizzas sent to it (thank you 4chan, ahem) and they've had to diconnect his phone due to prank calls and he's taken down most of his facebook. Here's the story over at wowriot. Here's the original thread on the official forums .

All I'm going to say is a great big fat


On the other hand I hope the rest of that poor misguided moderator manages to regain some sense of privacy after all this blows over. I know some blizzard employees are famous in any case and this could happen to them (hell some crazies have probably already done it) but considering this guy seems to have been int he wrong place at the wrong time

Also here's Hitler's reaction to the forum addition. Mainly geared towards the SC2 people but made me smile.

/echo out

Edit 1:  It's been brought to my attention that some people have been harassing blizzard staff. There's even a website full of personal information about them. They even know someones goddamn shoe size. If that isn't wrong I don't know what is.

I know I don't get a hell of a lot of traffic but I might as well document some of the downright crazy shit some people are doing. Someone posted on one of the staff members wedding guest books

A very interesting read over at Team Liquid who singled out a single post made by someone claiming to know a GM basically mentioning that the employees are just as pissed off as everyone else. With good reason I imagine, now they not only have an unpopular decision they don't want to enforce but they also are getting harassed. As much as I'll repeat myself saying this but I feel really sorry for the middle guys taking the flak. Full quote below:

Nachtjäger, Suramar, 59 Night Elf Death Knight post 35821 in epic thread wrote

Got in touch with my ex-flatmate, whose sister works as a GM for Blizzard, to see what the internal buzz on this was. Apparently, at the moment the employees are largely as pissed as the players, and she stated that despite attempts to keep it hushed, it has become known that the big creative players within Blizzard are pretty much as unhappy about this as we are. Everybody has been told they are not free to comment on this situation outside of specially prepared statements.

  I also did a bit of digging to see if I could find any further detail of what's really been happening. Typically the full scale of the shitstorm isn't known for a couple weeks but Encyclopaedia Dramatica already have a post on it. I did try and brave /b at 4chan to see if anything else was happening but now I feel soiled. Heading to bed, I'll keep updating if I find anything.

/echo out

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Preparing to Raid: A Slacker's Guide to Holy Paladins

When I rolled the paladin I intended him to tank. But reading blogs and seeing some of the fights in ICC, notably valithria,  I found myself being enthused with the idea of healing. So I read up more, pestered my guildies who play the spec, looked longingly at loot lists and generally tried to absorb as much as I could. Below is what I did and how I did it.

Basically my first stop wasn't really a surprise. Its the holy pally compendium on Elitist Jerks. It's an incredible resource so I recommend anyone rolling a holypally pick it up and read it. I should also point out that I had a very clear vision of how I was aiming to play and it wasn't Flash of Light even though it's easier to go that way to begin with. I'll explain a little about what I see are the two percieved methods of healing as a holy paladin and how the people who play them tend to spec.


Now basically theres two main playstyles each based around which healing spell you more commonly use, Holy Light and Flash of Light. Holy Light paladins are incredible tank healers, whereas Flash of Light is more suited to raid healing. Personally I'm of the opinion that Flash of Light is suboptimal because you have other healers that are far better at filling that niche. HL tends to be focused on healing the tanks, is a bit easier to play and really uses the strengths of the paladin. Again the EJ compendium has an excellent breakdown of the pros and cons of each playstyle.

Now armchair experts might tell you that FoL pallys go Holy/Ret and HL pallys go Holy/Prot. This isn't the case always. It's said because the FoL style requires more crit for throughput generally because they can't cast many HLs due to their much smaller mana pools (at least this is my interpretation) but to be quite honest you can perform well in either spec and Holy/Prot has some very nice utility.

Spec wise I went straight into the Holy/Prot raid spec but you may find it easier to go holy/ret, at least to begin with, and pick up the crit talents because you may struggle in blues especially with the amount face tanking aggro whores in the LFD system these days.

At this level with your mana pool tiny you'll be using FoL more so its better to glyph for it now then once your mana pool is bigger swap the glyph to Glyph of Holy Light.


Working back from what stats benefit me the most you basically want these things:
  • Int
  • Haste for throughput
  • mp5 (regen)
  • Crit (regen)
  • Spellpower
Typically any healing plate will have int plus one of the other three. In terms of regen mp5 is on the whole better than crit so bear that in mind when selecting gear.


With my DK a Scribe (or inscriptioneer/inscriptivist as trade chat seems to call them) I churned out the following glyphs
Then craft but don't use:
As I mentioned above I swapped from Glyph of Flash of Light to Glyph of Holy Light once my mana pool could handle it. Some people also use Glyph of Seal of Light instead of wisdom but personally I don't think 5% healing it's worth the mana wisdom saves you

    Ok so you've read up a little, got the basic shit down and are sitting in blue gear with a thumb in your anus. Here's the way I believe is best to gear up.

    Do a couple BGs or a wintergrasp. Acquire the paltry some of 12k honor and buy the pvp libram. It buffs your FoL and will help you out.

    Hit TOC5 Normal - you should be getting reasonable queue times, if not beg your pals to come help because you're running this instance for Tears of Vanquished. Any other plate healing loot you might as well pick up and chuck rare quality yellow int gems into them. Once you've got this trinket you should have motley collection of gear in addition to it.

    Hit ICC Normals - You're after the Shield in normal Pit of Saron and there's some other fairly nice stuff to pad out your gear.

    This is when the heroic grind starts. If you really want to go for 4parts t9 then go ahead. But personally I think it sucks complete ass in general and you'd be better off picking up other things. Now you want to maximise benefit from the badges you get so we're going for the shit you will not replace for a while.

    First off grab the trinket Talisman of Resurgence for 50 badges. This is incredible and you should macro the Spell power "on use" effect to your Avenging wrath (you want to use Divine Plea because it gives mana back, but "Oh no - my heals suck because it reduces healing" so you pop your AW and they suck slightly less).

    Then go for the badge ring Heartmender circle. It's not ideally itemised but for your buck it gives you a solid item that doesn't require you to gem or enchant it.

    Now you suck slightly less, so you continue doing heroics - the weekly etc until you have enough badges. Unless you're an asshole like me and bully guildies in to helping you in TOC25 you will not be picking up trophies and so you will not be able to upgrade your t9. So the best course here is to go for the 245 MAIL (omg) helm from badges and the 245Plate shoulders (UNLESS YOU WANT THE 4SET BONUS). The mail helm quite frankly is incredible and the shoulders are similar to t9 shoulders but a higher iLvl and so have better stats so if you must drop one of them for the bonus lose the shoulders. Once you have these pick up the t9 gloves and chest. The gloves are very good and the chest is ok, the only other achievable chest outside of raids drops from Falric in Halls of Reflection so you may find it easier to just go with the tier one.  Legs wise you have a similar choice so if you can't get Legguards of the Frosty Depths or Blackened Ghouls Skin Leggings to drop from Pit of Saron it might be better to just take the tier set again. I go for the cheap option so I just queued for the ICC heroics I felt comfortable doing.

    You should basically be trying to run at least the first two ICC heroics every day as 2good necks, a weapon some boots and the above legs and chest all drop there. I'm just going to whack a list of all the reasonable items you can find from those instances because quite frankly its the fastest and cheapest way to gear up.

    Forge of Souls:
      Pit of Saron:
      Halls of Reflection:
      Bracers - I broke with tradition here and crafted the ToC ones. "Reasonably cheap" but if you want something else pretty much any mail or plate mp5/haste/crit ones will do not that you'll find anything approaching 232 ilvl thats decent.
      Waist - lot of people argue for going craftable - I had a mail belt for a while that I got from a TOC10. There one in TOC5HC which is passable
      Cloak - Pvp! Its 50+k so it might be a bit of a slow burner if you detest pvp.
      Ring - theres a load of reasonable rings out there. Anything with haste/mp5 int is good but you're more liable to find a crit one. Hold off on buying anything - you're going to want to wait for the Ashen Verdict Rep ring in any case once you start raiding. Having the HoR ring and the Badge one isn't a bad start.

      Remember the time you level it is also very important - if you can manage to get anything reasonable from holiday bosses like Ahune or the Headless Horseman you should always pick them up.

      You're pretty much in the best state you can be without raiding. Grats you sexy bitch. Your mana should be in the 26k region provided you haven't slacked on gemming/enchanting which means you're able to through a lot more holy lights into your repertoire. Throw out that FoL glyph, pick up the ilvl 200 badge libram and you are a healing machine.

      You'd probably be ready about halfway through this guide to start raiding but I felt comfortable that I was actually pulling my weight once I'd gathered most of the stuff I've mentioned. Your gearing from here is fairly simple. Try to concentrate on the same stats I mentioned at the start. As your gear gets better and better is easier to pick up more crit and haste. Just remember its only generally worth picking up your t10 head and shoulders.

      So I'm not a complete bitch and don't show you I lived what I learned, below is my sexy MALE draenei's armory. Join Team Fridge (referring to his slender shape) and roll one yourself.


      Many thanks to both the full time and part time Holy Paladins in my guild, the people at EJ and anyone else blogging about healing in general today. Oh and the rest of the guild for not whining when I said I'd help them out and join their raids then relog to my shit alt :D

      /echo out

      Saturday, 19 June 2010

      I Haz Announcementz

      Well I've got a day off so I'm actually able to update for once! I had a very productive day levelling my boomkin and stopped early to look at the mountain of planned posts I'd made while bored at work. Then I sat in a car for 8 hours and listened to England play terribly in the world cup. Not exactly what you'd call a perfect day. I'm beginning to think I'm cursed and that any football team I follow is doomed to failure.

      Before the car journey I was rifling through my notes I keep around my pc. I have all kinds of scrawled notes from my loot system on my pug runs, officer duty reminders and notes about players I want to invite to alt runs. The vast majority is notes on my alts and the gearing plans I make plus the associated theorycrafting with notes to check my bookmarks to find the pages again.

      I was considering alts and how I play them. I'm incredibly cheap with my alts - I almost never spend ages gathering crafting mats and having shit ready for them but at the same time I've very single minded about gearing once I have them at 80. It occured to me the other day reading some other blog (I shan't flop my wowcock out, don't worry) that I'd also rolled an alt of that class and spec too, and given how in depth the person had gone about various subjects I was curious about what state their character was in. So out came Echo the Internet Detective and I tracked down their character on the armory. I was surprised with their gearing level. I don't mean GS - hell, the holy pally BiS libram is ilvl 200 but with what items they'd picked up. I honestly thought they would have a much more optimal setup given what's available to them. They're on about ICC yet theres some pretty nice upgrades available outside that would help them out.

      I don't mean to disparage anyone but gear makes shit easier. There's a saying army types have which goes something like:
      "A litre of sweat is worth a drop of blood" 
      That basically is my entire approach to raiding. However I'm also a bit of a slacker so I use what other smarter and more dedicated players have done. Every time I roll a new alt I generally have a clear idea of what I want to do at 80 and so I research and collect so much information I figured I might as well put it to good use and do something with it.

      So, expect several guides on how to play in patch 3.3 which don't assume you want to pay 30k gold and blow all of your carefully hoarded goods but will have you ready for ICC with a least a broad clue of what you're supposed to be doing. Currently in the works are Holy Paladin, Boomkin, Elemental Shaman, Arms Warrior, MM Hunter and maybe a spec of DK if I get overexcited.

      In other news I stumbled across a couple great bloggers so I'm in the process of updating my blogroll to reflect this. There's been a couple I've left off for too long. Also the webfilter at work means I'm able to read  you have if you have your own site as anything with blogspot/wordpress is blocked. Although I may have found a loophole that will enable me to view but not comment.

      /echo out

      PS. Today's question is: Even though you're playing on a multimedia machine do you also take notes in the old fashioned way if you have to remember something or plan something to do with wow?

      Saturday, 8 May 2010


      Sadly due to the amount of work I've had recently and my employer's IT team deciding to block any blogging websites it's meant I couldn't update my blog as often as I had meant to. This combined with trying to make as many raids as I can to support the other officers in my guild means I've been playing lots and had lots to write about, just not really had the time.

      My guild is doing well. We're currently bashing our heads against LK25 HM which is just a painful fight even with the buff. We also recently got our first shadowmourne the other day and its owner has been putting out quite frankly sickening dps (it's also good on putri25 HM, because we tend to have that guy tanking in the abomination which bases its damage off of his weapon damage -  he did 18k dps on that fight).

      I've been incredibly ill so have been mostly standby. Except for the fights we still struggle with I've not really been to many of the icc fights this week on HM.

      The main result of my flu has been my paladin who's professions I powerlevelled to Northrend levels as well as nabbing him 3bits of tanking T6 and enough shinies to ensure his levelling will be peaceful and smooth. Just don't talk to me about mining mithril in the hinterlands...

      I also rediscovered my favourite pvp movie in my bookmarks whilst looking about. It's callled Danaik 3 Tripple D and it left me gobsmacked the first time I saw it. Its not another one of those "high crit" videos its a hunter ranging in level from 72-78 taking on raid geared 80s (i think ulduar was progression at the time) and completely and utterly destroying them. I highly recommend it - link below

      Daniak 3 Tripple D

      Currently planning next weekend to pull my finger out and get myself the 10man drake. Haven't really been bothered till now as our 10mans are friday and saturday evenings which I made a promise to myself to keep sacred. So I've set the challenge on our guild forums and I'll see who shows up. It's only liable to be Putricide and Sindragosa that provide the challenge but we'll see. Hopefully in a couple weeks I'll have a shiny drake to show off or if we decide to put progression aside and do the 25man achievements - 2 drakes!

      /echo out

      Sunday, 18 April 2010

      A reminder of why I still raid

      Posting this very late as I've had a fairly hectic work schedule (long story but essentially I had to find a new role within the company I work for). In addition to this I no longer have access to any Blogger or Wordpress sites from work, so please if you find me commenting less on your own blogs please understand that I still check my favourites even if I don't always have the time to post.

      Monday the 6th of April I had a reminder of why I still raid.

      We had 23people 10mins after raid start and in /o we were having premonitions this raid being like our last 2 raids on thursday and sunday which were cancelled due to lack of people that could do the Hardmodes. One of our pally healers logs on, and the last of the bulgarians logs on. We has raid.

      Immediately start on Saurfang HM. We've been just about managing to hang in there sub 30% when the Marks really start hurting but we've been losing people at 5% and wiping (one memorable wipe last week my beast died and I distracting shotted the boss). People are staying positive and assigning marks and then 4th time we managed the kill. Very impressive stuff from our healing squad.

      Then onto Rotface HM where we oneshotted and then Festergut HM where after a small wipe due to DPS dying (I swear I was in range of the goddamn spore!) and other DPS being stupid with Malleable Goo we took him next try with a pally bubbling on enrage and the dots taking him down for our second new HM kill of the night.

      From there we moved to the Princes HM which I swear is a test of "can you stay awake while shooting balls" and BQL HM where we managed another enrage pally bubble kill second try after our bite order severely messed up.

      So then we cleared up putricide on normal and headed back into the frostwing lair where after a minor altercation with one of our healers and the subsequent ragequit on the pull (who does that?, I mean really) we adjusted the raid and bounced back to take down Valithria on HM second try. It was getting very late by this point and by the time we'd killed sindragosa on normal we had 1minute to raid time. So we said to the raid:
      "Look we realise it's raid time. Stay with us and we'll have one shot on the Lich King then we'll call time"

      We zone in on the spire and hurriedly assign tanks and dispellers. We've got a couple of us who haven't downed him on 25man and in my case I've never seen the penultimate phase. Halfway through P1 we realise we haven't assigned Valkyr dps
      "Fuck, just go fucking nuts on them"
      we haven't assigned TotTs or MDs for raging spirits
      "Glue them to the fucking tanks"
      Healers are running low so our boomkin is calling the innervates for the lowest. We're on the valkyrs now and people are playing out of their skins to get the CC in. I'm kill shotting Valkyrs right at the edge. Slightly badly placed Defile caused by me, but we're all out of it in seconds.
      We hit the second remorseless winter in fine form and then P4 and vile spirits are dying quickly and the tanks are kiting.
      All of a sudden its over and everyone is joking about kicking one of our rogues so he doesn't get the kill.

      Lich King one shotted. Hello Kingslayer Echo. Hello the reason why I raid. It's not so much the stuff we accomplished last night although thats always gravy. It's more that this is a group of people who for the last year I've spent upwards of 16hours a week with in 25mans and countless hours here and there in alts runs, 10mans and nostalgia runs. I've actually really missed them since I had to stop raiding so much midweek. I know most of them pretty well and this last push from them after the loleaster holidays trouble of the past few days has been epic. A lot of people have been musing that we don't kill LK enough since we downed him. This may be true but focusing on hardmodes is an obvious choice we've had to make as an officer team. The fact that nobody was screaming at anyone when things didn't go perfectly or already working out who to blame for the wipe while everybody was alive was really refreshing. This showed when we bounced back from everything the big bad of the expansion threw at us and downing the bastard to top off an already awesome raid night.

      /echo out

      PS: Its nothing to do with the 10% buff fuck you :D

      Since this happened we've also taken down all other hardmodes we were working on and are now 10/12. Putricide HM went tonight and we're working on Sindragosa HM. The night described above is what I see as the turning point.

      Thursday, 1 April 2010

      Ulduar Achievement Happy Fun Time

      Blegh, having a chance to raid this week means the weekends recap is slightly late. Still, another HM down on 25 and we spent this wednesday working on saurfang. But back to the business at hand:

      Following last week's rather random Algalon kill a group of us decided we'd venture once more into Ulduar to earn ourselves some more nerd points. After some reasonable levels of interest on the post I'd left in the guild forums detailing the "shopping list" we were going to use I was hopeful it would be a breeze forming. Unfortunately one of our tanks decided he'd rather arena than come along so I struggled a bit there. Once I'd finally managed to get 2 reasonably geared tanks online it was merely a case of arbritating between the raid members which achievement to do. I also had to do a lot of warning that we weren't here to do drake achievements which unsurprisingly caused a load of people who hadn't read the forums to ask to come then immediately ditch. I made sure to mention this because I've helped out on enough Ulduar 10s and to be honest the reason I have done none of the achievements I'm after is because there was always at least one person who was getting the drake. A couple people did tag along and were happy to pick up what they could.

      I cannot stress how much of a good time we had. Obviously a lot of us overgeared the place to shit so that made some achievements rather trivial (Yogg in 7mins done with 1min30s to spare :D ). Another great thing is that as a raiding guild nobody really wants to go back and do this shit except the people who weren't with us the first time around. So hearing some people's reactions on vent when kologarn pops up, or yogg emerges, when you engage Algalon or even the train to mimiron (Which was hijacked! Also being levitated when the train is turning causes deaths, thank you Ami) was really nice and reminded me of how I used to view the place before it became too familiar.

      We had reasonable speed throughout, and apart from a couple hiccoughs managed to get people credit for their Champion of Ulduar metas on most bosses as well as most of the hardmodes when we didn't need anything specific.

      Here's what I managed to tick off (Link spam):
      Nerf Scrapbots - Slightly RNG dependant, we waited till we had 4 pile spawns then went mental on the bombs
      I Choose You, Runemaster Molgeim - Relatively easy, we were trying for Can't do that while stunned too but unfortunately someone missed an interupt.
      With Open Arms - Pretty easy with our nuke dps
      Nine Lives - Cleared a big space and kited the boss around, cue much hilarity when the tank decides to face the boss away and dies. Feral druid bears up and we nuke it down.
      Lumberjacked - Interesting achievement for the healers, easy when we nuked each one we pulled down to 10% before pulling the next. Then once 2 of them were low I MD'd the last one (Brightleaf - the one that heals)  to the tank and we nuked it down then killed the other 2.
      They're coming out of the walls - Easy, spawn a load of adds from the clouds and nuke them down. In the end it was myself and a mage AOEing. We got the achievement then wiped
      He's not getting any older - Wierdly its phase 1 thats often the biggest problem here - with our gear and the watcher buffs its too easy for dps to overnuke the adds. The power of having 4 of us in ICC25 gear go mental on the brain meaning 1 portal phase drastically shortened the fight. It was then a relatively easy third phase where we spent the majority explaining to those new to the fight how the insanity worked and what the best way to preserve it was. It led to a druid guildie who'd never seen much of ulduar before getting about 4 achievements (yogg + general, full clear, nobody insane, 7min).
      Supermassive - Narrowly missed out of He Feeds On Your Tears then wiped three times due to people failing at portals.
      Champion of Ulduar - Although we intitially tried to get this for a couple of people it was only me and another two guys who picked it up. My two missing fights we properly pulled it off (Vezax and Freya)
      Over 9000 - Not Ulduar related but after all the of the nerd point farming it popped up for me as it did for our pally healer when he got Champion of Ulduar.

      10 Achievements left in Ulduar10! Although considering some of them are very tricky or RNG based it should be interesting - eg Alone in the Darkness and Herald of the Titans .

      So, I've set out this weeks list and we're going for the as many as we can again. More people are making enquiries and we're expanding this to the entire WotLK 10man instance achievement list and hitting everything we can.

      Anyone else been achievement farming?

      Saturday, 27 March 2010

      Passing Loot

      Now with various bloggers running into trouble with their guilds for posting drama seeding posts I hesitate to post this. However, I've always tried to keep my blog private although not to the extent that if they find it they will not automatically be incensed by what they find. I don't even directly link to my guild on the blog just because I don't want any unwise or retarded ranting I do to reflect on them. As a background we use EPGP which we reset at the beginning of each new tier of content.

      Let the ranting begin

      Basically I'm a little annoyed. Due to a new initiative at work I often have Wednesday or Thursday back at my base site near home so starting this week I was able to attend our thursday raid which consisted of Deathwhisper Normal (lots of wiping on HM DW on wednesday after HM Marrowgar 1shot), Gunship HM (lol), Saurfang on normal, princes HM and tries on BQL again on HM.

      At Saurfang, Deathbringers Will drops. A lot of our Mainspec DPS have it so the majority of the rolls on it were Trials/Offspecs. One of our rogues rolls because as Combat it's his BiS too. As a slacker who's been averaging 1 raid a week since TOGC25 this troubles me because I'm on top on prio on EPGP and its my BiS too. It's also an item I've been building my gear around and getting it would enable me to properly pursue my gear progression without resocketing. This will also be the second time I have passed the trinket. Our system also rewards people for their attendance (not to mention we punish people for missing raids and not posting and for particularly retarded mistakes/behaviour) and that is reflected in their availability of gear to them.

      Now I know this rogue. I like this rogue and to my mind the obvious thing for me to do is to pass it because his attendance is much higher than me and I reckon I'll only have 50% attendance for the next few weeks and my previous attendance was 25% for the last two months. As I'm mulling this over a minor shitstorm is breaking out on vent because I'm mulling over the decision and have told the officer doing Master Looter to continue going as the Tier pieces being rolled for don't affect the prio of anyone involved.

      I got very angry. I am not a fuckwit - in the end I am in this guild for one reason and that is to see us as a whole progress. When I see people getting butthurt over loot it really annoys me given the sacrifices myself and the other officers, not to mention the longstanding members, have put into it.

      Whether I choose to take this piece of loot or not, the opinion of certain loudmouths, either on vent or via whisper, mean nothing to me. If the system allows it - the items I win are mine and I have attended the relevant number of raids to win them. I will not sell my priority to the highest bidder nor be influenced by people threatening drama. If somebody wants to tell me what the fuck I should do then they can expect my response to be telling them what to do (fornicate themselves with a chainsaw).

      In the end I looked at the information in front of me and I made the decision I felt best suited the Guild.

      Congratulation Roguepal bff! My reward was the DPS you put out on BQL you crazy Sonofabitch. We'll get that sparkly bitch next time (0.5% wipe = painful)

      /echo out

      PS. Fuck the trials it's mine next week muhahahahah

      Wednesday, 24 March 2010

      From AQ to MH to Algalon to Valithria 25HM - Or how I wasted my Sunday.

      The day began on Saturday night actually. Well technically Sunday morning because I'd done what I've been trying not to do recently, which is play under the influence after a night out. Whilst playing with a couple of my guildies I managed to talk about doing an Ulduar achievement run. Yup, some people get drunk and talk about their parental issues or their messy break up. Me, I talk about the silly extra Ulduar Achievements.

      I arose late, hungover with a mouth which seemed to feel like a cat threw up in it. Considering I don't have a cat and I've stopped smoking I think something is afoot here! After some morning ablutions I checked my SAN character for auctions, then jumped on my hunter to do the daily. Ah. He's done it, so I checked my alt... and my other alt... and my horde alt. I seem to have managed to do it on all 4 and yet have no recollection. Worrying.

      Guild chat pops up and soon I'm on vent chatting shit with everyone and helping someone with mic issues. After a run fails to materialise for the HM ICC10 group I grab the people at a loose end and strike forth into AQ40. My healer friend is levelling a lock and wants to come with us to MH so we agree to go AQ first so she can ding 70 and come along for some levelling gear.

      AQ was hilarious. Viscidus in particular. You see this boss needs frost damage to kill him after you've got him to 1hp. You use frost attacks and he becomes frozen then the melee shatter him. 12 people, you'd have thought one of us had frost attacks. We only had 1 dk so we sat there for about 10mins while he spammed Icy touch which only the application counted for incidentally because the boss is immune to diseases. He finally freezes and everyone is afk auto attacking so he doesn't shatter. /facepalm. We abandoned it and cleared the rest without issue before hitting MH and picking up our friend's lock and couple other guildies.

      Mount Hyjal is always fun. I got Echo his rep achievement after the second boss so i jumped to my Prot/ret pally to pick up tier gear. Cue the end of the run and I have the t6 set bonus. The banter on vent towards the people who can't use tears on Archimonde is always fun too :D

      The trouble was that after this people were beginning to drift off and I don't think anyone wanted to do BT or Sunwell. That was when my questionable behaviour the previous night came up. I pointed out we had 2 hours till the main raid and people probably need to sort things.10mins of "oh camman Echo" and we've thrown aside such petty worries and are clearing to Algalon. It's still a tricky fight all considered - with gear the enrage element of the fight was gone completely because we had 4 dps solidly on the boss most of which were doing 7-8k. Two tanks and 3 healers who took a couple tries to get the co-ordination going. We initially had 2 healers but got an ele shaman to play his resto offspec because the DPS wasn't an issue. 1 lucky ranged dps got to kill collapsing stars. Why oh why is this always me? Once I'd sorted the rhythm it was fine in fairness - a key thing if you're ever called on to do this is set a bind to mark the star you're on as skull and then completely hold off killing it if theres a cosmic smash soon or the tanks are low. We downed it after about half an hour and my good female friend who now plays a ret pally was ridiculously happy (even if she spent 50% of the fight dead in the back hole realm).

      I realise some people wont have played the fight so I thought I'd do a speed overgeneralisation of it:
      • Algalon hates people with epilepsy, so be sure to turn away at the start of the fight (It's a light show). He's also trying to tell the Titans that Azeroth is totally shit and they should blow it up. Instead of using reasoned arguements you're going to kick his bitch ass to change his mind. Great lesson to teach kids blizzard.
      • You need 2 tanks and they need to manage their CDs well. Algalon also still hits like a truck and is a rogue style mob (dual wield) so your tanks will take a pounding.
      • If you think you will struggle, you need EVERYONE to commit to spending the next 60mins glued to their pc chair. You only get 1hour a week to kill this guy and trust me, when some wanker goes afk after a wipe you will want to kill him.
      • You also need someone who has done iron council hardmode looted the quest item then killed each of the keepers. Chances are if you're ready to do algalon you have all this.
      The actual fight is relatively simple (all stats relate to 10man):
      • There are collapsing stars which are losing health. When they die they do a big aoe to all in the raid. 4 Spawn at a time and you have to make sure you kill them one by one because if they are left to their own devices they will all go off at the same time and wipe you. When they die they also create a black hole which is one of the key mechanics of the fight. If you stand in the black hole it puts you inside it (essentially a phased version of the platform) where there are elites wandering about and you take damage from an aura.
      • Now every 90s Algalon does an ability called Big Bang which as you've guessed is a big explosion that hits for over 70k physical damage. To avoid this everyone jumps into a black hole so when it goes off nobody dies. However, if everyone avoids the damage Algalon casts Ascend to the Heavens that pretty much rapes everything. So you leave someone outside to take the hit - either a tank with CD's popped or a shadow priest with dispersion. You also need to move out of the black hole when you jump in because after a few seconds you get ported out to the normal realm again and if you just stand in the hole you'll get re-ported.
      • The only other concept people will struggle with (provided you have a good, stylish, handsome and modest DPSer on the stars) is cosmic smash which is a big fire ability that is used every 25s and hits harder the closer you are to it. Its like a burning circle on the ground only it hits like the fist of an angry god if you're on it. Generally you can take the hit but the resulting fall will kill you, and if someone kills a star just afterwards you'll die.
      • Tanks need to swap or they get ported to black hole land when they get 5 stacks of a debuff the tank does (phase punch) - generally we have the tank that isnt tanking Algalon pulling the floating Living Constellations (annoying balls that shoot you) into blackholes to close them so there aren't too many up. I like to think of it as the title sequence to 3rd rock from the sun.
      • At 20% all the annoying stuff disappears and you get 4 black holes in a square around the boss that spawn adds. Simply have one of the tanks pick them up and go blow any CDs your dps have left to kill Algalon before he enrages.
      TLDR: Avoid fire, jump in black stuff to avoid big fire, avoid black stuff the rest of the time and pray you have tanks and healers and 1 dps who read bosstactics.

      This fight is beautiful and a hell of a lot of fun. The voice acting and the Lore is actually really good. Its one of the few times when I've killed something in WoW and it actually felt like my silly nelf was actually a hero as opposed to a tosspot with a bow and a wild animal who assaults innocent monsters for their things. You also get a bitching Title - Starcaller Echo on 10man or Echo, the Astral Walker on 25. I've linked the serious bosstactics below, do check out the dialog for when you defeat him. See what I mean? Listen to the sound file its really really good. I've also included a shot of the light show below. Forgive the shitty UI its from our first pulls aaaages ago.

      Just after we kill him, those of us who are members get dragged into the main raid to go do some ICC25HMs. Unfortunately we had a bit of an issue due to a load of people geared and skilled enough having RL emergencies/conflicts so we had a slightly weakened raid groups that could clear normal but would struggle on HM. I offered to sit out due to my inability to raid recently as a result of a very busy job.

      We weren't sure we had the raid available but after some intense officer discussion went in and knocked over festergut and putricide on normal then decided to have a crack at Valithria mainly to learn the HM fight and get some practice. 10 tries later our pallies have sorted their coordination, the hunter channel is full of positive discussion about our kiting and the raid is actively troubleshooting the things holding us back resulting in a kill great success! (People keep calling it a kill - if you're killing valithria "ur doin it rong")

      All in all a busy day and surprisingly rewarding day, even if now my hand hurts from over playing. I also seem to have some enthusiasm in guild for the Ulduar nerd run next week. So we're going to give it a go and knock over as many achievements as possible.

      /echo out

      Friday, 19 March 2010

      The Drama Llama and the Fixed (well almost) Mic

      First of all there's something I'd like to get off my chest. This is obviously regarding a topic many in the WoW blogging community will know about so I'll dispense with drawing further attention to it other than the below.

      Crankyhealer - I enjoyed reading your blog and considering there's very few blogs I actually check up on I'm saddened by the fact you've decided to leave the blogosphere. Your idea, which you've been held over a barrel for, was a little misinformed. The way I feel you've been treated by the community, however, is wrong. I've really enjoyed your writing and I think perhaps other people could have exercised a little discretion before posting. I hope in the fullness of time you do come back. *Guilt trip*

      In other news I got off my arse after c. 3 months and fixed my soundcard and mic issues. It was actually refreshing logging onto vent and being able to respond to the banter. I'm still having driver issues which is leaving my mic volume very low but I'm working to resolve this and should be shouting happily at people standing in fire in no time. Incidentally not being able to "vent" on Vent was one of the reasons I picked up blogging.

      Being back on Vent also brought up a rather surprising, and possibly worrying topic. One of the newer players to join our guild mentioned the first time he heard me a couple months ago. He'd joined a Ulduar 10 achievement run to get people the Rusted Proto Drake. I'd got mine a while before so was just along for the minor "stand on one leg while playing a banjo and killing the boss" style achievements as well as lending a hand. Basically we were on Mimiron HM and people kept dying in the fire (oh god the fire). As we were explaining it, and motivating people I was using my normal tactic of trying to make it funny so that people remember it. Well apparently he wrote down what I said and had it by his pc - he can't remember it and has since lost the scrap of paper but it did involve lesbians and fire.

      One of the advantages of vent is that it's so fast moving that I can unload whatever bullshit in my mind and it wont be there in posterity to embarass me unless somebody is recording - which, and i ferverently hope this is the case, is not a regular occurance in my guild. I've heard myself during bosskills and thankfully the people recording tend to keep me off of the final video (Yogg Saron I believe was a mixture of tentacle rape and anal sex jokes). Plus my voice sounds to me, when played back, like Mike Meyers was trying to do a Fat Bastard/Shrek accent and ended up bringing in some Canadian/South African. I've yet to inflict this on SAN members yet but it's only a matter of time.

      As a thought for the day - Whats the stupidest shit you've ever heard anyone say on vent?

      I'll start with "Wait I can use my mouse to run?" (name witheld - guildie of mine who is amusingly clueless about certain things within wow)

      /echo out

      Wednesday, 17 March 2010

      Whiny Post Day

      So apparently this is the day we're allowed to whine. At the risk of sounding like an elitist fuckhole I'm going to talk about DPS. DPS are the irresponsible children of wow. They rarely have any real responsibility other than to do "good" for their gear level dps, and not stand in bad. If they fuck up the raid might wipe, but not that second. I am a DPS and other DPS who play terribly annoy the hell out of me.

      I fucking hate carrying people. I really do fail to understand how some people can grasp the relatively simple mechanics of this game. I've played typically high dps classes, and also the ones that have been considered lower and yet I've never been so godawful I've been asked to leave a raid group. I'm not blowing my own trumpet here, I routinely play with a range of players some of whom are such good players that their alts actually outplay our mains and show us up. What I'm trying to say is that if you're playing WoW then you're connected to the internet. You have access to google. Do the fucking research - there's a lot of resources online if you can't do it yourself. I'm a retard too, but I'm not a completely lazy one.

      Take playing a hunter. I play semi regularly on my hunter (not as much as I want to - thanks work!) and raid occasionally. I do pug TOC25 every so often to try and pick up the belt from anub and I'm constantly thrown by how many of my class play terribly. It's not just the obvious raider pet peeves like standing in bad etc, but more their gear choices, specs and rotations. I'll quickly state I don't view BM as a "bitch" spec and to be honest generally play BM in these pugs. Now this often results in comments from the other hunters generally about how badly I'll do. Due to my lack of raiding, my gear isn't much ahead of theirs. What they've picked up in new ICC gear compares to my TOGC25 gear. Yet generally, and yes I'm generalising because you can't have a good rant without unfounded accustions, the quality of the players shitting on my BM spec is bad and I'm above them by 2-3k dps.

      It happens with other classes I've played like blood/frost DK, Ele shaman, Balance druid and arms warrior. Not all of them are ez mode, yet theres always a simple few rules that people forget.

      1) Gearing - Lazy gemming, lazy enchanting, stupid stat choices (expertise? are you fucking kidding me?)
      2) Speccing - Don't assume what you are playing now is optimal. Read your patch notes.
      3) Rotation - Again, I'm not hunterjesus here. I rely on people a lot more patient and analytical to do the theory crafting, then through a process of elimination work out what works for me.

      Now of course if I can, I'd raid with my guild because I know people are there for a reason and have raiding rank because they've proven they don't need hand holding. But do you never look at the people below the tanks in Pugs and ever just think "How? How is this a problem for you?". It really does remind me of the video someone made near beginning of TBC in Gruul. They took a  hunter with a macro bound to every key of their keyboard being played by someone literally bouncing their forehead off the keyboard. They still managed a respectable place on the meters as I recall.

      So to all the people out there being carried. Pull your finger out. It's all your fault.

      /echo out

      Friday, 12 March 2010

      Zen and the art of Drunken Tanking

      Now I apologise in advance for this but there's a good reason behind it. You see the thing is I have a theory regarding tanking. Given the title of this post I'm sure a lot of you can probably guess what I mean.

      Tanking while drunk makes you a better tank

      It was a subject that was brought to my attention recently. Having discussed this with guild tanks ages ago in possibly every end game guild I've been in it was something that isn't new to me nor to the bulk of people who play wow. Doing a little research produced some quite hilarious and worrying results. A thread on the official forums had a worrying number of tanks who, if they attend most of their guild raids, quite possibly have drinking problems. I even seem to remember a tank from the Horde faction on my server who once said (and I'm paraphrasing because my memory sucks):

      "Tank x boss? But I've never tanked that sober before"

      Alcohol as a performance enhancer isn't a new concept in terms of the internet. Many programmers will swear by drunken coding for example. In terms of anything else like driving, running or anything that requires coordination it obviously sucks.

      Tanks will speak of the "zone" they reach where everything became simpler. Kind of like Zimmerman's valley if you've ever read the Terry Pratchett book Thief of Time. A brief explanation of this is below. Also go read some TP - it's incredible.

      He [Zimmerman] is credited with going deeper and further into Time than any history monk before him, with the exception of Wen himself. Zimmerman could slice Time into thinner and thinner slices, passing through regions of great temporal instability until he reached the deep, but stable, zone known to the Monks as "Zimmerman's Valley" in his honour. Once in the Valley, a monk who can stand the extremes of cold and scarcity of useable oxygen is capable of travelling further and faster than ever before.

      Now this is all well and good if this theory holds true. But speak to anyone of drinking age (in the UK this is around about 12 if my town is to be believed) and ask them about the nights they managed to balance their drinking into the perfect equilibrium of being fun and sociable without being a dickhead. Most people will admit that it can be tricky and once they've gone so far its easy to keep drinking and end up with some worrying photos to explain the next day.

      In terms of tanking it's something I've experienced in both lights. I'd come in from a night out and was moderately inebriated and ended up in a karazhan pug as a druid tank. I'd run the place to death before but never tanked it and even though it was a late night run people commented that I'd been quite good. On the other hand I've played drunk before and it was godawful. I was overpulling, not waiting for healer mana, singing on vent and running into and getting stuck on scenery.

      There's a beautiful parallel from TP regarding Zimmerman again that I believe illustrates this:

      Zimmerman predicted that there would be another stable region even further down the Time Slice than the Valley. According to Lu-Tze, he was doing just fine looking for it, right up until the moment he exploded.

      Dont drink and tank kids. It's not worth the explosions.
      TLDR: Don't over do it or you'll play terribly. In fact you might just THINK you're tanking amazingly.

      We're finally at the reason for this post. I came in drunk last weekend and I was a very bad tank on my prot pally (now 71). Sorry to the players in the pug group on rampage battle group in that auchindoun instance for the wipes and sorry I fell asleep logged in.

      Seeing as inebriation is todays theme, has anyone else found evidence to support or refute this? I'd be interested to read your comments - considering the propensity of the Guild Members of Single Abstract Noun for cocktails I'm pretty sure there's a rich seam of data out there :P

      /echo out

      EDIT: I did it again this weekend... Sorry people in Utgarde Keep.

      Tuesday, 9 March 2010

      Achievement Whoring

      Given I've little time available to raid at the moment I've been looking at what achievements I'd like to focus on completing. In the beginning I was whoring achievements like nobodys business. The crazy lust for more nerd points took me all over the game. Over time the frenzy died down and I was left with a silly total and a load of half finished things glaring at me.

      So, here's my list that I'm focusing on:

      The dalaran ring - I've had the gold for a while. I just can't bring myself to spend that much gold. I need to just sack up and do it. I've more or less paid for every other expensive achievement in the game (both 16k mounts, the 9k mount, all other purchasable mounts and pets, the haris pilton bag etc etc) so why do I need gold for really, my raid gear is as good as I can get it and fully enchanted and I've already ground everything I want on my alts.

      Higher Learning - The last 2 books I need never seem to be up. I check everytime I log in.

      75 pets - at 72 atm. Too cheap to buy the next 3.

      100 mounts - at 90something and waiting for the pvp change so I no longer have to go to WSG. Also doing the argent dailys for marks. I think a couple zg runs, doing one of the achievements below plus the pvp should get me it.

      Tabards - 17/25 again waiting for pvp change.

      Frostbitten/Bloody Rare - Have npc scan up all the time. Fighting back tendency to fly endlessley from zone to zone. I've got a self help group of other people who share spawns with each other. So far we've marked off a couple by giving each other the heads up.

      Reps - Wintersaber Trainers - I got halfway through and then boredom took hold and I couldn't do it. I don't have THAT far to go. Timbermaw gets done with Wintersaber, so it's really Hydraxian Warlords, Cenarion Circle and Zandalar tribe I should focus on. Which would take me a lot closer to the exalted title, and also give me a couple others.

      Battered Hilt - Just for the achievement really. I think its a sidegrade overall maybe a mild upgrade.

      PVP - I simply don't at all yet there's so many I could pick up.

      Raiding - I got bored and theres a load of silly little achievements I never did on both 10man and 25man. I'm certain I could get people to show up its just getting the wherewithal to kick people into doing it. I also need to start getting people into the mood for pimping the new drakes.

      I don't really know why achievements hold such a sway over me. Is anyone else a bit OCD too? I stopped actively farming them when Wrath raiding picked up (around Ulduar) and now the only use I tend to have for them is the status symbols like the 310% mounts or the titles.

      The only trouble is the status symbols become devalued over time. The first time this happened was the For the Alliance and the black warbear. We formed 3 raids - literally 115-120 people (basically the raid squads of the 4 big guilds on the server) and swarmed the horde leaders one at a time. Considering the Leaders were 80 and we were 70 and our tanks had a running back in from death rotation, it was a big undertaking. It was also something to hold over the horde and over the next couple weeks and again at 80 we formed defence raids and kept trying to stymy them. One of my favourite wow memories. As soon as 80 hit any tard could halfass a raid together at 1 in the morning and get their bear..

      It used to be that having the rusted drake was rare, and then as gear progressed more and more people were picking them up. So we took down Yogg on 1light to get the ironbound drake and slowly that's being eroded too. So once we get the new ICC ones within a couple of weeks as they add the aura to make the bosses easier they'll become more and more common.

      Of course I'll probably manage none of the achievements listed above because I'll be tempted to head back over to Single Abstract Noun instead. If you aren't feverishly levelling a character over there and neglecting your main, what achievements are you after? Or even what achievements are you most proud of getting?

      /echo out

      PS: I missed out on immortal too fyi - ffffffing lag on sapphiron the week before they ended it and it was the last achievement I needed for the black drake :(

      Thursday, 4 March 2010

      Elder Echo's top 10 dungeon tips

      As my contribution to the Elder Blogging Event started off by Khi at Tree Burglar I decided to put down some of my general dungeon tips. In wow years I'm probably about middle aged and given my extensive range of alts I often have

      Now a lot of bloggers have spoken about playing their alts and getting whinged at or told off by other people who think they can tell them how to play. Allow me to state firstly that I only give people tips when their playstyle is causing the party problems and secondly that I generally always try to do it via whisper.

      That said playing on my balance druid and healing from said spec in randoms to get groups means I spend so little time actually doing any healing that I'm noticing what people are doing. So without further ado, here's what I've been trying to politely ask people do properly. So help be a constructive party member and don't do/ help out the newbies yourself!

      1) Stop pulling shit that is miles away from the tank - this is fucking obvious. In addition to this let the tank get the initial aggro as they are more likely to hold it if you do.

      2) Paladin tanks, stop casting exorcism when tanking groups of mobs. Your health spikes because WHILE CASTING YOU CANNOT PARRY, DODGE OR BLOCK! Ahem

      3) All tanks - learn how to move with mobs. I understand that for many of you, the random dungeon system is first step you will take into tanking. That said, an important point to remember is that you lose a whole lot of avoidance if the mob isn't facing you. From behind you cannot block/parry/dodge, this is also the reason melee dps attack Bosses from behind.

      4) Put your buffs up at the start and then renew them without asking. There's nothing more frustrating than having to wait for the one person who is too cheap to buff.

      5) Look at mana levels. If your healer's mana is low then pulling more mobs is a guaranteed wipe unless they manage to pull something special out of the bag.

      6) Hunters, please turn growl off. I know your pet can tank but its easier for the tank to pick up the mobs if they don't have to worry about your pet stealing one while they aren't looking. Its also a focus loss, so your pet will in fact do less dps while growling.

      7) Warriors, hold off on charging in if you aren't tanking. Yes it gives you rage but it often prevents the tank from pulling stuff back. Wait for the tank to stop moving, then charge.

      8) DKs, use Death Grip sparingly. Helping a tank out by pulling a caster into melee range is useful. Pulling a mob out of the pack is not.

      9) Understanding. If someone is doing something wrong - try and tell them in private first. Often there might be a good reason for them doing something. For example most levelling specs differ greatly from raid specs. So if my druid doesn't have points in certain talents, I for certain know this and know why I haven't bothered taking them. Someone saying "OMFG NOOB USE MF" is unlikely to garner a positive response.

      10) Loot. The pink elephant in the room. All I'll say is that the LFD system gives us a lot more gearing options and this loot will only last us so long. It's never nice to have someone be an ass with loot but ignore them and you never have to worry about them again.

      /elderecho out

      Wednesday, 3 March 2010

      Guild History

      What always amazes me when I play wow is the amount of emotional investment people put into some guilds so that they often become an almost living and breathing extension of themselves. I'm pretty sure that on my main I've been guilded close to 100% of the time since my first guild and it was only reading Tam's and Amber's posts on Cliques and their effects, and then Jen's post on why she loves her guild that the idea for this post really fleshed out in my mind. There's a guy I raid with who loves to talk about the history on our server. As in how and when things happened and all the old drama. I think it's because like me he wasn't in the guilds challenging for server firsts at that time and wants to understand why the raiding scene is the way it is.

      Well my story starts as a massive noob to be blatantly honest. I joined my first guild Loyal Hearts at around 30ish on my second character which is my main now. I went back and looked at my first character, a dwarf hunter and it's hilariously terrible so I've left it as a sobering reminder that I wasn't always clad in purpz melting faces. Like most levelling guilds this one eventually died once most of the higher levels hit 60 and joined another guild. Almost 4 years on the old GM is in my current guild as an inactive and still logs on every so often to say hi. I'd come from a background playing another MMO called Matrix Online. I still had friends from that game I'd occasionally see but most of them rolled on another server and I'd put too much work in to move by the time that became apparent.

      After a long haitus, where I went travelling and saw a bit of the real world, I came back and started playing again. Dropped the guild which was essentially dead only to be picked up for another on the off chance which saw me introduced to a great number of friends I still see today. Arms Arcanorum was a great place to level but as I hit 60 and started trying to get the guild raiding together instead of with other organisations it got more and more frustrating and eventually I left because I wanted a fresh start to try and get a raiding guild going. A bunch of the people left Arms to follow me to the new guild just as TBC came out. This is when I got the raiding bug and started tentively researching rotations etc. I would I still speak to 5/6 people semi regularly and considering they are internet friends from 4years ago I think thats pretty impressive.

      Chaos Ltd as we were called gained a rather poor raiding reputation because we'd gear people and they'd go on and join other guilds that were better progressed. We managed I think server No6 in kara but the leap to 25mans and Gruul proved too trying. My officers and core would be playing well but the 10-15 or so cannon fodder were awful. Our best wipe on gruul was 2% when one of our officers shouted "DI the tank" meaning Lay on Hands and a silly paladin did it - OT dies melee dies, everyone else dies and I die a little inside. We were casual but some drama between me and an officer (D) spread in /g . He kept inviting back a shaman and I kept kicking them. When he removed me from our arena team before the S1 titles so the shaman could get some points I lost it and left.

      The bulk of our guild surprised me and followed me to Earth Wind and Firewater (even D with whom I had the argument with) who at the time were similarly placed to us and welcomed the influx of recruits. Sadly the guild hinged around their MT and after making inroads into SSC and TK the guild was disbanded when he stopped playing.

      A lot of my friends stopped playing at this time and I joined a more raiding oriented guild called YOGS ,again with D. Sadly missing too many attunements and standing in bad meant I wasn't cut out for them. I was raiding on a terrible machine and after I missed the last kael raid for vials I stopped playing. The one thing that had happened at this time was that I was min maxing for the first time and not making do or slacking.

      Eventually returning to the game, I went casual and messed about with friends. Some old Chaos members had joined a rising guild called Allerian and being hopeful of a spot I applied only to be shot down. The hunter class leader didn't like me from something way back in Chaos where he'd been in my squad and wiping lots of raids. I'd kicked him and he resented me. Once a few more of my friends got in the app got reopened and I was left in no doubt that it was only because I'd had so many vouches that they'd had to accept. I at both stages loved and hated this guild. When the right people were in the raids it was great fun and we cleared most of TK and SSC. When BT and MH came out the old GM came back and it just went downhill.
      We got accused of being cliquey which was true in retrospect but it was mainly a shared banter and a hatred of carrying people who contributed nothing and yelled the loudest for rewards. The Hunter CL was still being a massive arse and I swapped between BM and surv regularly because even though accepting me as Surv he decided he wanted to be the token surv hunter and demanded I respec. Then when he didn't show up for raids I'd end up respeccing back anyway.
      After about 2 months in the guild I noticed the Gm and his best friend were siphoning off gold (people could buy DKP each month) and craftable mats for their alts which were needed for progression. The trouble came when the GM class swapped twice, used his massive DKP advantage ( he refused to reset the system from kara days because he'd earnt so much) to take loot then class swapped again. He then applied for another guild whilst remaining GM and said he'd still look after us.

      My 10man group plus the assorted other friends we played with left in one almighty clusterfuck of drama because of this. All the bitterness came flooding out of a lot of people and I rather unwisely got into a slanging match on the official forums (I'd say I won but it wasn't pretty). It was just before the nerf patch at the end of TBC and somehow we ended up hanging out with a load of the ex members from the formerly most progressed guild on the server. They'd run into Sunwell and eventually disbanded and gone to another server only to hate the guild they merged with and move back. Our guild Rainbow Renegades (with memorable ranks such as "littal rainbow") merged with them and became the guild I'm in now.

      I try not to talk too much about my guild. I know some of them read this and if I got into a really big rant I know I'd either cause drama or more likely look like a massive tool. Basically we're Server No2 and from our initial outlook have grown from a casual guild into a lot more of a hardcore presence. I've made a lot of good friends that I hopefully will be meeting up with soon, more so than any guild I've been in.

      Our server is small. A lot of the people I've met along this journey to 80 and WotLK I still speak to occasionally or recognise in dalaran. Hell, among the more progressed guilds there's even a kind of unofficial bond, mainly because the /w s for pug raids etc tend to bounce around the same people. It's got to the point that I've tried other servers and because I don't have the shared history or a reputation it almost feels lacking.

      So, if you're still reading after this massive wall of text, what's your history? Do you have a chequered past?

      Answers on a postcard please (or in the comments)

      /echo out

      A Confession

      I nipped onto an alt last night and I was a very bad balance/resto druid. I was running about trying to get 43 so my friends wouldn't outlevel me so badly that I couldn't play with them when we're all online.

      I join the queue for the random dungeon as DPS. Nobody is on so I requeue as DPS/Healer and it still takes 10mins while I run about questing before anything happens.

      Eventually I'm in ZF and quest items are dropping. Whilst trying to remain awake healing (seriously I can keep a tank up pulling normally with rejuv) I ask

      "Hey guys, could somebody share the quests?"

      No response. Completely blanked. I ask again and finally the tank answers

      "Because it will take me longer to get the drops"

      I'm not so naive to insist everyone I play with isn't a complete fuckwit but this was a joke. If I insisted on that I'd have a pretty lonely time and nobody would play with me either but that's besides the point. Who is that pathetically selfish though? In terms of quest xp in the grand picture the 2 ZF quests that rely on drops are maybe 10-12k each and with the amount you end up running the place through the random dungeon you'll finish it in any case by the 3rd run at the latest. Anyway I reacted completely maturely.

      "Pull more. Lets get this done"

      Tank runs around gathering mobs. Cat form, sprint,

      "Find your own goddamn healer"

      I'd feel bad about it but I figure considering most of the rest of the party had the quests too and said jack shit they were collaborators. At least, albeit obnoxiously, the tank said something. I'd also like to think that after that wipe they couldn't find a healer but maybe I'm just being to vindictive.

      Now, whats the meanest thing you've done in WoW? It doesn't have to be justified, I'm just curious if anyone else has perhaps "overreacted".

      /echo out

      Edit: turns out I don't know how to type today. Also preview mode doesn't show shitty layout *angrybear*

      Sunday, 28 February 2010

      Clueless DPS

      Playing on my pally who I've  specced prot recently I had 2 of the most contrasting groups whilst tanking.

      First was Mana Tombs. After a whole load of healer DCing and people going afk while we try to queue we finally get moving. Same level mobs and my gear isn't amazing, plus I'm noticing the healers mana regen isnt amazing (most probably an ele shaman healing). Everything is fine up until first boss only the 2 levels higher hunter keeps almost pulling aggro expecially on the first boss where you generally stop while dark shell is up. The DK then decides I'm not pulling fast enough and the rogue goes afk.

      After a couple almost wipes prevented by me and the healer going nuts and keeping everyone alive I'm quivering with nerdrage. Apparently I don't know how to pull. I remind him I did this instance to death at 70, I know it better than him and I know its fucking stupid to try to chain pull Mana burning mobs because I'll oom, the healer will oom and we'll all die. I get told to l2p.

      I snap. I cannot be held responsible for what happened:

      "I'm going dps, if its such a fucking EZ mode instance you can tank"
      "LOL NO U TANK NOOB. I only pulling because you wont. DK can't tank anyway"
      "Go ahead start pulling"
      /w healer: Don't heal him
      nub dk has died

      I let him die a couple times, taunted off the hunter only once the mobs he'd overaggro'd had killed him and generally did asshatish things like that. The instance continues with me getting constant grief from the dk, the hunter constantly posting meters, the healer being silent and the rogue afk.

      Finally approach the end boss and clear. A resounding ignore on the dk so he can go be obnoxious elsewhere. One thing I did notice is that once I feel people are taking the piss I become completely intractable. Even about buffs. Like at one point the rogue was yelling for BOM. I ignored him then after a couple of mins asked him what the magic word was.

      My other run in contrast was cool. Auchenai Crypts. A bit of a suicidal rogue with the wanderlust who otherwise seemed very apologetic when he accidentally pulled groups, a mage and a warrior who both did acceptable dps and didn;'t make me want to self harm and a resto druid who didn't care what his mana was like and urged me to keep going, even if he's on 5%.

      Even with the annoying spawning ghosts and crap like that we still kept a good pace and cleared with no issues. Perfect run.

      I'd have dropped group on the first occasion purely because I grow tired of that crap but at the time we were having trouble filling all spots regardless of tanks. I really hope any of the upcoming changes they're considering won't affect the ability to remove douchebags.

      Meh, I've been so busy with work recently that dungeon runs are the closest I've got to pve

      Wtb raid!

      /echo out

      Monday, 22 February 2010

      Goodbye Sweet Prince

       (The following is taken from what I posted on my guild forums edited for your delicate eyes)

      Today friends I recieved what is the 3rd warning against my account and it is a tale of woe which will make even the strongest among you cry at the injustice. So steel yourselves friends for what follows is not for the fainthearted. I have strayed in my time from the straight and narrow but never have blizard properly caught me out. Did they catch me when I was MDing lowbies in IF? Did they catch me for trolling in /trade? No, each one of these warnings has been related to my naming of my characters.

      I play on RPPVP realms because I like the people and regretably a couple of the names of my characters have been considered a breach of the RP naming conventions. I've actually removed a fair chunk of the detail purely because the first couple I'll throw my hands up and admit I was in the wrong. All were completely indefensible and the GMs have shown remarkable restraint and good humour in dealing with me.

      The shock with has prompted me to write this diatribe? It is the saddest nail in the coffin of pain. As some of you know I picked up a Beast Mastery spec due to the furore caused in the hunter blog community about its raid viablity. So in an effort to have a go I dusted off my old pet from the end of TBC, the awe inspiring Devilsaur you've all grown to love as much as I have. Blizzard.... they renamed him and warned me.

      ACCOUNT: *****
      Character Name in violation: Echosnare's Pet - Gaylord
      Type of violation: Inappropriate
      Consequences for account: Pet renamed and warning issued

      I would like to ask that we all take a moment's silence in honour of the great pink dino. May this shameful day be forever known in history as Black Monday.

      Goodnight sweet prince, you were our hopes and dreams. When you got big and red, so did we. When you stomped about, you gave us permission to break the mold and stomp about too. And when you roared there wasn't a dry seat in the house.

      I will always miss you

      /echo out

      Hush, he's with the Angels now.

      Friday, 19 February 2010

      Frostheim takes a "Beasting"

      Now if you read a load of hunter blogs at the moment you'll notice a medium sized cloud of nerdrage focused around the issue of BM raid viability.

      Basically Frostheim, one of the bloggers over at Warcraft Hunters Union also has a column over at, and in this column he kicked up a storm by stating his opinion about the current state of the BM spec and the raid viability of the spec too.

      I'd just like to weigh in on this one and say:

      Leave Britney Frostheim alone!

      The WHU blog is a great source of information for both new and experienced players and for some people to rubbish his entire site over it is stupid. What's even more stupid is the complete lack of understanding of basic raid mechanics that some people in the comments threads everywhere have shown both defending and lampooning the spec.

      First of all I doubt this was intended to be a sucker punch to the spec. Yes the tone was slightly condescending and yes not all of the data he used was perfect in every way but cut the guy a break. Everyone loves BM and Frost is no exception. The tone a lot of people picked up on rather hurtfully is the way the guy writes but it's intended to be amusing, and if they bothered to see his blog they'd realise this. I think some people came into the the post expecting to be outraged and filtered their responses through that rage.

      Secondly some of the people replying on both sides further serve to reinforce the stereotypes I thought hunters were edging away from.
      In the defending corner the fact that one of the main defences was that FI was a key buff was a complete joke. Yes it's important, yes your pet could also be bringing an armor debuff but its also true that the buffs are brought by other classes that don't struggle to compete and in 25mans they will most likely be covered. I forget the poster but I also believe someone was arguing that because your pet was better on movement fights - it was better on certain fights in ICC where you're required to move a lot which in my mind is bullshit. Any spec has learnt to move by now and it wont gimp your spec if you're doing more base dmg anyway. Every spec is stronger at different things, surv will benefit more from magic gimmick fights like Hodir, MM will benefit from %dmg increase fights like BQL and I also feel this is where BM falls down. Why they hell can't blizzard give the pet a buff or make it an applied debuff to the target?

      Some of the people on the other side seem to be using Frost's data as a stick to further beat the spec with which is also a shame. Mainly just to make themselves look like the better players. Obviously no playstyle is better than any other provided the player is still having fun. Apart from the normal trolling this was partially a backlash against all the people turning up to vent their anger. I reckon if half of them posted their armorys we'd be laughing at their gems.

      The Data. As was pointed out "the plural of anecdote is not data" and this was why the column was originally penned. Frosthiem has been getting multiple emails from BM hunters calling him out for "dissing" their spec every time he mentioned it wasn't a raid viable spec and he chose to address it (before he entered the hunter druid bet) with actual data. The data wasn't perfect - as has been pointed out. I believe this to be an almost self fulfilling prophecy. Because BM isn't the best dps spec, the best min-maxing progression hunters won't play it and so the gap widens on the meters shown.

      As has been repeated Ad Nauseum it's not competitive, however, it's still a viable way to raid if you're not raiding hardcore. My main problem with the spec is the fact that often I know I'd be top of the meter if I respecced. I have access to reasonable gear (when I have time to raid) and I can gather the setups to get me over "the bare minimum" but I don't want to be there.

      IN MY OPINION I agree with Frostheim on a lot of points and I believe there's a damn good reason you don't see a lot of hunters as BM in ICC and thats because its not optimal and until it gets a bit more love (Which is probably coming in the form of better pet scaling) it will still be lagging behind the other specs. I'm not saying for one second that BM hunters shouldn't raid, I'm merely stating that because the deck is stacked against you it's unlikely you'll be in a progression guild in that spec, purely because raid leaders will always try and optimise their raiders.

      Lastly I'd like to point out that whilst people aren't as energetically jumping on the BM Wagon the theorycrafting is still out there if you're after it. EJ still has a thread up on it which is being updated and theres always the Spreadsheet if you prefer to do your maths on your own.

      I myself have decided to take up the mantle of BM on farm content at least and see just what kind of numbers I can push out of it. Mainly so I can bring Gaylord the big pink dino back. I'd like to extend the challenge to all other hunters rocking MM and survival to make their offspec BM so we can actually gather some decent data. From my initial spreadsheets I'm getting more out of Arp than AP although that could be related to the spec I'm using. 

      I'd welcome any tips/tricks from more experienced BM hunters in the comments below

      /echo out
      (hectic week, meant to get this out sooner)

      Friday, 12 February 2010

      Having the balls to fail

      A bit of a change today. I'm going to try not ranting and instead try and reach out and help some people I think need a helping kick up the arse hand.

      I was musing on some posts I see around the WOW Blogosphere and my first hand interactions with people I know on my server and it reminded me of when I was first getting started with proper raiding. Basically there's people I see every day who will often hold back their own progression because they're afraid of the tarring and feathering that often follows in most online communities when you make a mistake.

      Now as a Raid Leader our squad is solid and we have no recourse to invite friend ranks let alone randoms for progress but in my alt runs I often ask people I know if they want to come along to some very easy content for some free purpz and a laugh. More often than not from the indiviuals I'm referring too I get back

      Sorry man, I'm not sure I'm ready for x instance, I think I need to do more work on my gear.

      or at least a variation of that. Now I know I'm an asshole sometimes and it could be they don't prefer my raid leading style (carrot and stick approach, mostly stick) but I think it's a problem a lot of basically good players have. They are suffering from "low self epeen™"!

      Back in the days when I was just sinking my teeth into TBC content I was obsessive about my gear. I may not have had the best gear but for the access I had - I had the best gear in each slot available and enchanted and gemmed and I believed that if I wanted to get further I had to be in the maximum the previous content offered. I was not the only one in the guilds I was in who felt like this and often it was used as an excuse by the guild leaderships to call off raids or stop trying. When I joined my current guild I was completely broken of this. Initially we didn't have the best gear or even the best players on the server. We started Lich King content in blues and we cleared everything the first week. It took us a little longer to get the 3drake OS but still we were improving all the time and were trying to avoid getting complacent as we moved into Ulduar. Half of the time we'd down shit and I'd be thinking "I didn't think we'd manage that after the first 3 wipes". It wasn't uncommon for the people I was playing with. They were used to wiping and used to overcoming content by wiping on the fight and learning something new each time.

      My point is DO NOT GIVE UP. Nobody can tell you that you cannot do the content you are attempting except you. Sure it might put a bit more pressure on the raid but we're strange beings us humans. We need adversity to grow and yet if we see the easy route we will almost always take it. Stop being humble because I've seen full t9 232 players pass on doing ICC because they thought they weren't geared and players in worse gear join and rock the meters. I have even tanked up to putricide ICC10 on a death knight wearing mostly naxx gear with a couple bits of T9. Sure it was harder and I had to work really closely with my healers to make sure if they were boner spiked, for example, I'd use something to try to stay alive but it was also a hell of a lot of fun. Coasting through content as soon as its nerfed isn't.
      To the players who don't believe they deserve or are ready for higher content:

      Only you know how good you are and only you can deny yourself opportunities. Sometimes it will be legitimate but remember: Failure will make you a better player because the awful feeling you get when you do let the side down is the perfect motivation to get better and never do that again.
      Echosnare - Motivational speaker (2010)

      And accept my goddamn invite to the purp train

      /echo out