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A Look Back at Cataclysm…

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment

So here we are…less than 24 hours from the launch of the newest World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria.

I’m still neutral on a new expansion. I discussed my thoughts at length last night with a guildie and shared that right now, for me, the biggest draw of the new content is going to be the day I step into the new raids. I’m looking forward to strategizing with my cotank, figuring out how we’re going to handle the fights, looking forward to the motivation of downing new content.

But instead of looking forward into the crystal ball at the content I haven’t run yet, let’s look back on Cataclysm in general!

Launch and Tier 11

I don’t really recall Cataclysm’s launch. I wasn’t in an active guild,4 so I wasn’t in any rush to level. I was on a high population realm, Area 52, so I think I actually didn’t bother to log in for a couple days until the initial rush died off. Not to mention that it was in the middle of the holiday season, so I was busy baking and preparing to entertain guests.

I leveled my first Paladin, Valkyrii (my Wrath main), to 85, and then followed up by leveling my hunter, Mirina (my BC main). At some point Raziel was thrown into the mix, along with my Death Knight (Azrael), my Priest (Gabriel), my Mage (Raaena), and my Warlock (Kiiera). To this day, I haven’t leveled the rest of my alts (2 shaman, a warrior, a rogue, another DK (who is now set up for Herald of the Titans), and my druid), because the Cata content got dry very quickly.

I decided that I wanted to go back to raiding (I had taken T9 and T10 off from guild raiding, and instead PuGged through ToC and ICC), so I started looking around. Not seeing many options on realm, I decided to start recruiting. We had almost gotten a solid team, but no one wanted to focus on gearing and I ended up deciding to transfer off the realm.

That’s one of the challenges with large population realms–there’s a ton of people, but there’s also more guilds than you can shake a stick at.

So as Tier 11 approached it’s end, and I still hadn’t started raiding, I began searching off realm for a new home.

I ended up transferring Raz to Drenden to raid with Rades‘ guild, Tsu Tain Guu Faitaa, otherwise known as TTGF!

Tier 12

I ended up joining TTGF to tank full-time in Firelands. Which, looking back on Firelands, was pretty damn fun. Dog tanking on Shannox, chasing adds around on Rhyolith, and eating Decimation strikes on Baleroc (ouch).

Firelands was a fun tier, but I still have heartburn over the fact that we missed the nerf bat by a week on the raid. We had been working so hard on Ragnaros, and almost had him down. But due to our inability to sync schedules for weekend raids, we missed our chance for our pre-nerf kill.

It was a sad day.

We dabbled with some Heroic bosses, but primarily stayed with normal clears through the raid. The bigger challenge for me was our raid times. I was raiding 10p-1a while having to make a weekly client meeting the following morning, requiring me to be about 3 hours after I went to bed (assuming raid wrapped at 1a). My body couldn’t keep up with  the time difference, and I had to look for another place with better aligned raid times (the challenge of raiding with a West Coast guild!).

Firelands was great because I finally got to focus on what I loved doing best, tanking. I had healed in Wrath, dabbling with tanking when my GM was willing to respec to Holy for me tank 5-mans. I was never able to tank in a raid environment (the downside of having a BiS healing set for the time), so Firelands was the first chance I got to fully climb into the tanking driver’s seat and get ready for the ride.

And it was totally worth the lack of sleep to do it!

BlizzCon

BlizzCon fell towards the end of Firelands, and I had a blast! I got the opportunity to meet a ton of the folks I get to talk to on Twitter and to spend some time with some of the great WoW personalities! I even got some time to talk to Ghostcrawler himself about tanking at the Charity Dinner (which was super cool as well)!

While at BlizzCon though, I got to meet a ton of members of my future (and current) guild, Enveloping Shadows! It was fun to be able to sit down, drink, and socialize with a large majority of the officers!

Soon after I returned home, I applied as a healer (hilarious, I know), and was accepted. I transferred over a couple weeks later and dove into Firelands with a 25-man team, trying to wrap my brain around healing. I actually healed for our H. Alysrazor kill!

But there were only a couple weeks left in Firelands, and then we headed into Tier 13…

Tier 13

Tier 13 started with some healing fun, but before Christmas I had swapped back to Prot almost full time. I’d heal as necessary (I do actually have a pretty nice healing set on Raz now…and a pretty nice Ret set…and yea…), when we managed to be short a healer.

Tier 13 was the first time that I can say that I tanked an entire raid, start to finish, on all difficulties. I got to down Deathwing on Heroic mode several times!

Tier 13 was interesting…I went from 25-man raiding back down to a 10s team. I watched as we were almost barely able to fill a raid towards the end of the tier. I watched people decide to “retire” from raiding, shrinking our pool to the point that we were pulling in non-raiding guild members that we hoped could hit buttons or soak an Hour to pulling in people like Rades once Dragon Soul went RealID wide.

Rades has bailed my ass out repeatedly. Thanks dude!

The Miscellaneous…

Since we got to the point that we were clearing H. Dragon Soul in 2 hours, we had a lot of time to fill. ES took some time to backtrack into Tier 11 and clean house in H. Bastion of Twilight, capturing our first guild Heroic clear and downing Sinestra, to heading to Throne of the Four Winds and cleaning up H. Al’Akir. We went back to play in Blackwing Descent, but still, to this day, H. Nefarian still isn’t playing nice…maybe at 90.

In Conclusion…

Cata, while not the most “thrilling” expansion to me (I still haven’t quested through all the low level content), brought about a lot of changes in my play style. I’m back to raiding full-time, having an integral spot on a raid team, having a raid team that I usually love signing on to hang out with (usually because some nights I’m just not in a mood for people).

As the clock ticks down, I spent time cleaning out Raz’s bank, taking some time to gear my unplayed hunter (she went from 333 ilvl to 375 last night thanks to guildies carrying me through dungeons), and playing around. I haven’t been online much in WoW lately, but the past couple days I wanted to go back and play the content. I pulled people through dungeons, both guildies and PuGs, for the shear fun of seeing how fast we could clear the content before I never set foot in them again. I’ve run ZG, ZA,  and even multiple Deadmines. I even did a full clear of H. Halls of Origination yesterday afternoon!

To me, that’s the perfect send off. Remember what you did in this expansion, and run it with the people who bring you joy in the game world, and in turn, energize yourself for what’s right around the corner.

In less than 15 hours MoP is live…I wish everyone the best with leveling! I’ll see you in Heroics soon!

Raziel, Savior of Azeroth

August 6, 2012 2 comments

When Enveloping Shadows wants bosses dead, we’ll get bosses dead. Past experience has proven that we can put our minds into this zen state and steamroll through content that we may have been dragging our feet on earlier. ES saw Heroic Zon’ozz and Hagara fall on the same night, completely unplanned, but quickly doable once we buckled down and focused.

Which is why, in the grand scheme of things, our July 31st and August 1st raids don’t surprise me at all.

The Final Countdown

The team showed up, energetic and ready to get more attempts on Heroic Spine. We had been getting to third plate with regularity, but hadn’t been able to hold it all together long enough to beat the encounter. We rolled through 6/8 Heroics, with only a mild hiccup on Skittles (something about a Blood DK out-healing a druid by 80%). The team blew through Heroic Gunship, and our raid leader gave us a quick reminder of our Heroic Spine strat before we were parachuted down onto Deathwing’s back.

We lost a healer early on, but we kept pushing through the plates. The tanks were making changes to our strat on the fly, adjusting as we found rhythm to a fight we’ve been working on sporadically for months. And then, after almost 3 months of beating our heads against Heroic Spine, the DPS popped that final plate off and achievements lit up my screen.

There was a pause for screaming in Mumble, and then we were on the platforms for Madness. And we all paused, realizing that probably no one had looked at the strat. Our raid leader called for a 10 minute break for people to go read up, relax, or see family after our Heroic Spine 1-shot, so that they could come back to their PCs and be ready to push ahead on Madness.

I remember glancing at the clock, my mind still unable to process that we 1-shot Spine, realizing we were about to attempt the final fight of this raid tier, and it wasn’t even 9p.

Heroic Spine

Descent into Madness

The raid team reconvened, people still in shock that we had 1-shot Spine, and I quickly began discussing survivability with my cotank. We decided to “wing it” and see what would happen for impales as we tossed around cooldown ideas. Our raid leader gave a quick rundown of the fight and we gave it a go (or 5). The beginning fights were discovering just how squishy I was on impales–quick trinket/glyph swapping, and we were back in business. (Quick note: Blood Death Knights are SUCH a broken class. My cotank takes an impale and drops to 95% health while I’m freaking out as the healers are recovering from me dropping to 40%. Blahblahblah nerf DKs =P) When we called our attempts for the night, we were clearing to platform 4 without issue, so we knew we had it in the bag on our next raid night.

The team showed up on Wednesday, ready to take Deathwing down once and for all. Our Holy priest had spec swapped after the previous raid to give Disc a go. Our warriors respecc’d for slows, I tweaked my glyphing even more, and we knuckled down for more attempts. We saw a .5% wipe and knew that we had the fight down. We would have had a kill on that attempt, but one of our legendary staff wielders DC’d on one of the platforms and we just couldn’t recover before the enrage hit.

No speeches by yours truly (running joke from H. Gunship–Miri would give a fail pep talk and we’d down the boss on the next attempt, so the speech became a requirement for H. Gunship kills), instead you could feel the energy of the team in Mumble–they were ready for the kill! We zoned back in, focused, and away we went!

It was one of those moments, just like on Heroic Spine, where the achievements caught me off guard! On Spine I was wrangling bloods and had no clue what the tendon was at. On Madness I was slowing bloods so that we could push more DPS to end the fight. Neither time did I know health percentages, so when my screen lit up with Heroic Madness, I screamed for the second time in two days!

With the entire team standing, not a single death, we beat the enrage by almost 40 seconds! We were ecstatic! We doled out loot (Gurth and Kiril), and in typical ES fashion handed the drake to one of our druids.

We learned Madness, start to finish, in under 4 hours. We beat the tier, the expansion, and we still had hours left of raid. The team was let go early to go celebrate, and I raised a shot glass several times in toast to the team that achieved the kill.

Heroic Madness

Meta!

Of course, finishing off Deathwing once and for all netted many of the raiders their Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider, so we had to go pose for pictures!

Twilight Harbingers

In Conclusion

It feels good to complete a raid tier when it’s still current content. It feels even better to complete an expansion’s final  boss. Wrapping up Dragon Soul gives me closure to move on to MoP–a chapter that I am more than willing to let become a memory. Dragon Soul meant much to ES; our raid team shrunk from 25 to 10. Our raid leaders changed, our comp was continuously evolving. And still we persevered. The team banded together and supported each other through the entire tier, proving that 10 people with goals can achieve anything–even in a video game.

A big thanks and a massive congrats to my raid team. I look forward to us tackling MoP together in the near future!

On a Personal Note…

June 10, 2012 1 comment

It’s been a while, and I feel like I should stick a post up here letting you all know that yes, I am still alive, and yes, I am still blogging.

I’ve been incredibly busy since I came back from travel in April. Work has been a massive time sink–I’ve been training new team members and trying to get better control of my crazy work life–because, well, at some point, I don’t want to be working 12+ hour days.

That being said, I relocated in May, and now spend 14 hours a week commuting (2 days a week). If you ever doubted my sanity, this should erase any question of doubt!

I’m still raiding with Enveloping Shadows 2 nights a week. We are currently wiping on Heroic Spine, and most nights end with me not even able to fathom where our weak point is (I have some ideas,  but I’m still unsure). A lot of raid frustration is around the fact that our second staff (AKA, Staff 2.0), vanished from the game within a couple weeks of the team completing the second legendary (Staff 1.0 did the same thing). We currently cross our fingers at night that all 10 will sign on to raid because we don’t have any members on stand by. It’s a touch rough!

I haven’t given Beta much time, which annoys me to no end! I love playing it, and finally feel somewhat in tune with the new Paladin stuff, but I just haven’t had the time.

Most of my free time (what little there is) has been going to Diablo 3, where my Wizard is playing around in Nightmare level. I die a lot, but it’s fun :) She’s the only character I’ve played in D3, and I think I’ll be taking her up to Inferno before I consider rolling an “alt.”

I’m still on Twitter, though not as much as I was in the past. Usually  because I’m so damn busy right now (which I’m hoping will change at the end of the month).

I’ve been studying for my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and I’m testing at the end of the month. It’s a 4-hour test after 4 days of boot camp, so I’m hoping I can pull this off and cross it off my list before fiscal year ends!

I just returned from a jaunt to NC to do some teaming with my coworkers and meet the engineers who I abuse mercilessly on a daily basis. It was a great time to kick back, play some Kick Ball (yes, there are pictures), Bowl, drink, and eat a ton of sushi! My team is reorg’ing our business focus and alignment, as we are part of a service that no other company can offer to my customer base, so I’ve been doing a lot of design support at the ground level. I took on the massive redevelopment of our internal support space, so I will have my arms full with that for a bit–it’s a godsend that my Director supports my random goals and helps me out when I need it. We’ll see if this paves the way for some new role alignments in the future. I’ve been pondering a relo to NC in the next couple years but if I can put a support structure in place and maintain an escalation point for my greater team from the comfort of my home office (with little to no travel unless management requests), then I will be happy. We’ll see–this is the time where I have more flexibility to push for things that benefit me. :)

Anyway–it’s safe to say that very few of you give a shit about my private life, but I did want to let you know that I am still playing WoW (though not at the levels I used to, see above for reasoning) and that there are more blog posts in the pipeline!

–Miri

BETA!!!!

March 30, 2012 7 comments

Betabetabetabeta

Not going to lie, I squealed like a little girl when I saw this screen this afternoon.

I have issues...

It got a great response from @Vosskah:

Then there was the humor involved when I told Mal:

I apparently have a limited vocabulary when I'm excited...

I’m glad to report that my cotank has also made it into beta, so we’re going to go tear up content together!

If there is anything that anyone would like for me to test in regards to Paladins, please let me know! I will be messing around with all specs, but focusing on Prot (as expected).

Posts will soon follow about Beta discoveries!

Random Quick Update

February 29, 2012 1 comment

Damn my Capris...

I’m still alive, just tossing that out there. Stuff has been a bit crazy IRL, in guild, and everywhere in between. Things I still owe you guys:

  • Updated Transmog ideas
  • Spine & Madness strats (damn these fights are boring)
  • H. Morchok and H. Ultrax quickie guides
  • More posts where my cotank makes fun of me
  • Miri on Guilds: Culture
  • Then & Now meme
  • Update on my Heroic 10s team

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s what I can think of. I’ve been writing a ton, but it hasn’t been blog related, so, sorry guys =\ Work has had me bashing people’s heads into walls and well…raids have been sorta having the same results. Something more like me bashing bosses into walls. And Heroic Ultrax sneaking in a 204K hit that I apparently couldn’t miss last night and went splat to because of an ill-timed Twilight Instability.

Anyway, usual excuses post. Lots of work travel for the remainder of the week but hopefully I’ll find a moment of clarity this weekend to post.

Enjoy the header, this was me on Ultrax last night, bitching about fashion woes, like all good Belfs do!

Also: cute Lofaz and Raz pic (I got “holy crap you REALLY are short” tonight when I shared it).

My Cotank DID transmog that awful looking belt...

Sixth

February 18, 2012 2 comments

Earlier this week I was tagged into a new blog meme called “Sixth” by Bulidar of Among the Elements and  Aralosseien of Achievements Ahoy! The meme was resurfaced by Gnomeaggedon on the 15th of February and I’m not gonna lie, I was sorta paranoid about what my “sixth” was.  But before I share my “sixth,” let me share the rules!

  1. Go to your image folder
  2. Open the sixth sub-folder and choose the sixth image
  3. Publish the image! A few words to describe the picture couldn’t hurt!
  4. Challenge six new bloggers
  5. Link to them

Like, Bulidar and Aralosseien, I don’t have sub-folders in my images folder, so I selected the sixth image in my screenshots folder.

And without further adieu, I give you my sixth:

Should I be surprised that it’s Raz? Nope. Not in the least! I’m standing on the roof of Grommash Hold, the building that Garrosh Hellscream occupies in Orgrimmar. It was New Years Eve, and it was the first time since I’ve started playing WoW that I sat and watched the fireworks go off! I was later joined by a guildie, Ursal, for chitchat while we chilled. That week I had tanked ES’s first kill of Madness, and was in a generally mellow mood while I farmed satchels for mounts and pets.

Speaking of mounts. I’d like to point out that I finally got a mount from a satchel last night. I just happened to accidentally LOOT the damn thing from the satchel. What did I get you ask? Oh nothing great–just ANOTHER Green Proto. My anguished yell will echo in the hallways of my home for the near future.

Anyway, enough about my bad luck, let’s pick the next round of 6!

I’m eagerly awaiting to see what these folks have for their “Sixth!”

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