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Monday November 1, 2021


Out with the old, on with the...new?






BC has been a treat so far, happily my playstyle is working out quite well with the guild I’ve been with for the past 6 months or so. Most of them have several alts, and we happily run everything in Outlands together.


Altoholism, it's a Playing Style


Of my 9 levelling toons, 5 have hit 70 and are 4 experiencing Kara on a regular basis. My warlock is my fully Kara geared toon, luckily getting the dagger from Prince, there’s an upgrade left in Kara, but in terms of open world capability and 5 mans regular or heroic, he’s set. I have no inklings to push further than Kara, at least until my guild hits SSC after the nerfs. We’re not lazy, we’ve just done it before and are watching other guilds implode with the jump to 25 from 10’s and none of us are looking forward to the silliness.


My hunter, who hit 70 first, sat for a very long time after the lock hit 70. I spent the past weekend working on him, getting his Ravager pet to 70 from 63, as I’d been using my favourite skinned pig from RFK but the poor guy just wasn’t holding aggro anymore. Doing that, I put in a determined effort to collect the long overdue Beast Lord set. Fortunately, I struck it lucky, only needing about 6 runs total to get the four-piece set bonus operational. He’s hit Kara a couple times but hasn’t been lucky with drops in there. Soon enough I suppose.


Druid has been a weird one. Was feral up until 60, but got my ass kicked on the opening quests in Hellfire. Decided screw that, went boomkin and levelled to 70 that way. A few Kara runs later, she’s got some decent resto gear, including Nightbane’s Staff, so her future’s in being a Tree.


Shaman went halfway through the 60-70 range as an interesting pvp-resto spec. First toon in BC that I’ve been able to both heal 5 mans and quest effectively. In the last 3-4 levels he was pure elemental, zapping the crap out of 5 mans and having a blast. Now at 70, with a couple of Kara runs under his belt, he’s got some excellent elemental gear, and a decent resto set as well. He’ll probably settle into resto quite well for me.


Latest to 70 is my little gnome frost mage, who had a blast with a couple paladins tanking and healing 5 mans. Every time we saw each other logged in, we’d gather a couple more dps and hit every instance. It went spectacularly well, that most of his levelling was done in instances. There are PLENTY of quest gold rewards waiting for him out in the wild. Little dude’s going to make me some serious coin. He’s yet to go into Kara, there’s another mage that’s working on her gear and I don’t want to take anything from her. It’s her only toon and since I have many, it’s an easy choice.


The 'Others'


This leaves my other 4 toons, that are 62-60 in levels. Priest I just switched to holy-disc in order to slam the instance trail again, was shadow while levelling but looking forward to healing a guildie’s paladin tank. Should be fun.


Rogue is sitting in Stormwind, running faithfully back and forth from mailbox to AH, and doing some Jewelcrafting and lockpicking on the side. He’s 62 and he’s content. Well, I’m content to get back to him when the dust from other toons settles.


Paladin is a full fledged protection. Ramp runs have been spectacular, BF is an annoying silencing instance that I am getting a good headway in the pulls. Little variances from other people’s tanking these days, I’m more old school in making LOS pulls. Asking at the top of an instance to just chill till all of the mobs get to me, then you can go apeshit, usually works for the DPS. Those warriors who charge out right on the pull… well, they find that if the healer heals them, that’s cool. If they don’t get heals, their dps numbers drop rapidly upon death. Like I said. Old school.


Lastly is my poor Warrior, who waits patiently in Shattrath for me to have him do something other than mail his stuff away and back, cycling the 30 day returns. He’s 62, and I’ve just had other things on my mind. He’s understanding though, because his life’s been as a tank and he’s not looking forward to fighting for aggro on mobs in 5 mans. Fury or arms, perhaps to get him through. We shall see.


Wylset

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  • Writer's picturewylset

A post from Sundy July 25, 2021


The Horde. Bamboo & Rope mixed with Brick & Mortar, but equal to the Alliance.






While others were working up the Raid progression Tree, defeating Mag’s Lair, Gruul’s Lair, SSC, the Eye, Mount Hyjal and finally Black Temple, I was happily bouncing between alts and progressing slowly up to SSC. I found that the guild was stalling as their push into 25 man raiding required more and more commitment to raid schedules and performance. As more pressure was applied to push further, people would fall to the wayside and move into different areas of the game. It was also in the waning months of The Burning Crusade, when burnout typically starts to rear its head, and people who have been playing for months suddenly stop showing up.


I became one of those, dropping my toons out of TWC, and venturing out on my own. After a short time, I found myself wondering what the Horde side of the game was like. I’d done a bit of levelling some Toons on a PVP Horde Server, Burning Hollow. I’d get a toon up to around level 25, enter into the contested areas, and find myself getting stomped by any Alliance level 60 toon that happened to come across my path. I found it frustrating, and quickly abandoned hope of levelling any more toons there.


Lightbringer Server


I wish I could remember how I ended up on Lightbringer, perhaps it was a server that was up during one of Elune’s down times. I used to create a Toon on a different server while waiting for Elune to get back in operation. Once I decided to try the Horde side of things, I started creating and levelling Toons there. I was pretty quick with it, even in the days before Heirloom gear. I soon found myself sitting on another group of max level Toons, and venturing into the Raiding path as I’d done on Elune. Guilds were very happy to take on people, anyone who showed interest, and especially if you had experience raiding already. One guild I joined with had been running Karazahn for about a month, late bloomers, people who were exceptionally casual. I’d joined a run on my Holy Priest, and was able to help the GM to lead the Raid. She was quite happy to have someone who knew what they were doing take the reins, and I led that happy bunch through their first clear of Kara. The same reactions over Vent that I’d heard months before on Elune were exploding in my ears once again.


My timing worked well… again I was able to bring just about any class, any role, but this time on the Horde side. I found myself going through the same content, but with different people, different attitudes. I was once again in my prime, having Toons to level as well as Raiding on a bunch more. It seemed to be an equitable tradeoff for me, one that exists even to today in MoP. The pattern of Raiding through the first Tier or two of an expansion, then levelling more toons, then returning to Raiding at the end of an expansion.


I’d found a fun crew to hang out with, people who accepted my Altoholism without complaint. Casual guilds that comprised themselves of everything from social players, to newbie Raiders, to Medium Raiders, to Hardcore wannabe’s that just didn’t have the time or drive to compete at the highest levels of Raiding. I fit somewhere in there, never wanting to be Hardcore about anything but the time I’d spend playing, yet never wanting to be completely inept and just spend my time picking flowers or fishing while on Azeroth. I truly enjoyed becoming proficient at any role that was required for Raiding, learning enough and practicing enough to be a valuable Raid member.


My Elune Toons sat pretty much where I’d left them, while I worked away at my new Horde Toons. Eventually I’d have the same as I did on Elune, 9 level 70 toons, with a non-levelled bank toon.


Wylset

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  • Writer's picturewylset

A post from Wednesday September 14, 2014


Raiding can be fun. It can be frustrating. It can be awesome.





The Burning Crusade had introduced two new forms of Raiding, based on the size of the groups. Gone were the 40 man Raids of Vanilla, here to stay were the 10 man and 25 man Raids of BC. With the introduction of the new Raid Instances, Blizzard had created specific Raid sizes for each of its new Instances. Karazahn, the first Raid Tier of BC, was limited to groups of 10 man only. A typical 10 man consisted of 2 Tanks, 3 Healers, and 5 DPS. Eventually it would wind down to 2 healers, with an extra DPS taking their place.


Karazahn was my first true Raid, where I’d actually put in some forethought and prepared a specific toon to Raid with. Molten Core had been a complete mystery to me, where I’d let my online friends guide me basically by the hand in the preparation and eventually entering the Instance. After I’d levelled my first 70, a Warlock called Gronrad, I started down the path of Attunement that Blizzard had laid out before us.


Attunement


There was quite a long journey in order to obtain The Master’s Key, the requirement for a Toon to enter Karazahn. It began simply enough, a couple of quests that made you kill and collect some items in the World. A bit of travelling here and there to different Quest Masters, nothing that was difficult for a single Toon to accomplish. This is where the solitary part ended, and the group content began.


The next step required you to enter the 5-man Instance Shadow Labyrinth, and find the key fragment beside the last boss. When BC launched, entry into Shadow Labyrinth required a key, found at the end of another 5 man instance called Setthek Halls. Are you starting to see a pattern here? Much of BC required an Attunement in order to move forward in the game.


Heroic versions of each instance required you to purchase a key, a key that was only available for purchase by gold once you earned a certain reputation level with a particular faction. 5-man Instances were grouped into factions: Hellfire Instances required Honor Hold (Alliance) or Thrallmar (Horde) reputation. Entry into Blood Furnace would require Revered reputation before the key was made available to you. Every toon that entered those instances required that key. Auchindon Instances required Lower City rep, and so on. There were even specific instance keys, like Shadow Labyrinth and Shattered Halls which required you to either complete another instance first, or follow a particular quest chain in order to obtain the specific key. Fortunately, where a specific instance key was required, Blizzard thankfully required only one party member to open the door, the rest could enter as long as they had the reputation key for the Heroic mode. Rogues were in demand at that time, as they were able to pick the lock if they had the required lockpicking skill level. I used to park my Rogue at the entrance of different instances in order to pick the lock. As well, there were levers located inside the doors, in order to let people in once you were inside.


All of this eventually disappeared, or became easier, as Blizzard lowered the reputation requirements to Honored. At the beginning, however, it was much more complicated and time consuming. An Altoholic would have to send each of their Toons down the Attunement path in order to progress. For most people, having to do this chain a couple of times was enough. For me, I was happy to progress each of my Toons into Raiding, and ran those Attunement chains over and over. It wasn’t only for myself, but there would always be someone else that needed a step in the chain, so finding people to run the instances with wasn’t that difficult.


Entry Into Karazahn


I was still with the guild called TWC when BC started, and was happy to find a spot on one of their 10 man Raid teams. Finally receiving my Master’s Key after following all the Attunement steps, I was ready with potions and a bag full of Soul Shards. More memory lane tripping… Warlocks required Soul Shards to do most of their Warlocky things. Creating Summoning Stones, Healthstones, Soul Stones, you name it, it was required. So, you’d load up on Soul Shards in your specific Soul Shard bag, and considered yourself ready to Raid.


We entered Karazahn and the Raid Leader started marking targets. One issue with CC in Kara… most of the mobs were Undead. Mages can’t sheep undead, but Priests and Hunters had a heyday. This is where I truly learned the value of CC. 4 mobs beating on Raid-ready tanks during the first few runs of Kara were just too much to handle. Healers would fall behind, and a Tank would quickly fall to incoming damage. Add to that a Raid-wide fear that some of the mobs would insta-cast, it would turn into a wipe very, very quickly. Thankfully our Raid Leader was well prepared, and within a few minutes we were facting our first Burning Crusade Raid Boss, Attumen the Horseman.


We learned to position ourselves and target Attumen’s mount first, so that the second phase would be brought about quickly. During the first phase, the mount would randomly charge the closest person out of melee range. I recall one particular very casual player who wanted to Raid. She was well liked by the guild, but just didn’t have the Raid skills that would allow her to progress beyond anything more than a tag along in a Raid. The Raid Leader would have her position herself up front, in order to prevent the mount from charging and stunning any of the healers. She never complained about her role, in fact she seemed more than happy to provide a usefulness, in whatever capacity she could.





Moroes


We eventually progressed beyond Attumen the Horseman, and reached the Grand Dining Room, with Moroes and his band of mini-bosses. To this day, that is my favourite Raid boss of all time. Every time you faced Moroes, he would have 4 mini-bosses with him, each with their own ability. That was bad enough… but Blizzard added their own nasty twist in that there were 6 different mini-bosses that the 4 would be randomly chosen from. You never knew which 4 would appear, you had to adjust on the fly each time.


One Tank would make the pull, and the Off-Tank would pick up one of the mini-bosses. The other 3 mini-bosses would be either Kited or CC’d. Priests would quickly shackle one, hunters would ice-trap a second, and usually the 3rd was kited by another DPS class. The DPS would then focus their fire onto the Off-Tank’s mini-boss, trying to down that mob before the Off-Tank picked up another Mini-Boss. All during this, Moroes would disappear at times, re-appearing to apply a Gouge Damage-Over-Time (DOT) debuff on a random player in the Raid. Eventually, if all things went well, Healers would keep people alive while Tanks and DPS worked together to not only kill each Mob in turn, but to maintain their CC and Kiting until the Off-Tank could pick up each mob.


As a Warlock, most of my initial forays into Kara were just to output as much DPS onto the focused mobs as possible, while not breaking any CC, and using my abilities to help the Healers keep me alive. I’d marvel at the expertise some of our CC’ers had, one awesome Hunter in particular. I wish I could remember his Toon’s name, but his real name was Matt. Matt was the first person I saw capable of not only maintaining a steady high DPS output on the targets, but at the same time he would keep one mini-boss ice-trapped, and ALSO kite another of the mini-bosses. This guy had it down pat, and I vowed to learn from him, as my next Toon to level 70 would surely be my hunter, Wylset.


The rest of Karazahn was pretty much the same excitement, divided into 2 nights of 3 hour Raiding. Eventually we’d clear it all in one shot, but at the beginning we were doing what every guild goes through, settling down the player rotations, getting people used to the fights, and picking up loot that would help us push through into the next encounter. We’d faced down the ever-changing Opera event, which rotated between a Romeo and Juliet fight, or the Wizard of Oz Council-type fight. We’d made it past the fun Chess event, and made it to the top of the castle to face Prince.


Each Raid Boss we faced had its own challenges and trials, sometimes it would take a couple of weeks to get the mechanics and placement down to a regular boss kill, sometimes it would be a straightforward one shot fight. At the beginning, we were churning through Raid members pretty quickly, rotating people in and out until we starting getting multiple 10-man groups running through.


Progression – Sort Of.


Progression for me wasn’t in terms of seeing the next Raid instance. It consisted of putting my hand (and my alts) to every type of class role. As I levelled each Toon, I would send them through the Attunement chain, and gear them up enough in Heroics in order to enter Karazahn. Eventually, I learned to Tank, Heal, DPS, CC, and even Raid Lead the entirety of Kara. At my high point, I was running all 9 classes through Kara on a weekly basis. It was an extraordinary amount of time to put in, but I learned to scour the Trade Chat and quickly jump on any group looking for anything, at all times of the day. Some weeks I’d slack off, running my Main (Gronrad the Warlock) and a couple more alts, but I’d always keep looking for more runs through Kara.


Wylset

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