Monday, December 15, 2008

Obsidian Sanctum

Welcome to a wonderfully compact and highly rewarding instance!
The amazing thing about this instance is that the harder you work, the greater the reward!

The Obsidian Sanctum, also called the Chamber of Aspects, is located beneath Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight. It contains a large raid dragon "Sartharion the Onyx Guardian" and his three lieutenant drakes... plus some small groups of trash mobs.

Each mini-drake boss has specific debuffs and added mechanics such as continually spawning adds etc. The details are well documented in multiple locations like: Wrath's Obsidian Sanctum... and all of your favorite WOW informative webpages.

My guild has easily blown through the individual drake fights dragging along all of our raiders to familiarize them all with the different drake fights and to gear up with some minor loot. We then decided to tackle the "Sartharion plus TWO drakes fight". (Our raid leader has ultimate confidence in our abilities, and so we skipped the more simple Sarth plus One drake fight). Sure enough, we got it down in just 3-4 attempts.. Our raid day was cut short that week. The Following week, of course, we started some intense work on the final and most difficult encounter that the Obsidian Sanctum offers.. Sartharion plus ALL THREE drake lieutenants. (I'm sure we could pull the whole instance to make it even more difficult, but that would just be an instant wipe and insanity if we didn't clear out all of the roaming trash in the chamber).

After much difficult work, and practice dodging waves of fire-lava, and keeping agro on all of the spawning whelps and lava elementals, we learned that our most difficult challenge would be a crunch time where our Death Knight main tank would take extremely large hits that could potentially one shot him... After numerous hours of attempts and several repair bills later for all 25 members... we got over that hump, and it was mostly downhill from there... though I died while tanking Sartharion as the second round tank... I was then raised... I thought I was ressurected normally, but noticed I couldn't move and only had access to that crazy Zombie pet bar.... so I Exploded offering my small bit of dps on Sartharion and was then ressurected normally.. Unfortunately, I got disoriented from the rez, and ran the far way when a fire wave came and died again... :P BUT I got off my all important and life saving Innervate on one of our top priest healers, and the raid pulled off the final kill...

Yeah yeah.. I'm sure you've read a dozen "We did it!" stories on wow blogs... but this particular kill was important for us because it was a server first kill, and the 25 of us were the only ones who could sport our brand new titles.... till Limbo feels like killing it in the near future.

Until this time, Limbo has been always just a small step ahead of us getting all of the server first kills. Their dedication is commendable and has been a small nudge for our raiders to always do their best. Perhaps because our guild has always been riding on their furry little tail, they have been more dedicated and motivated than they might have been if we didn't exist on the server.. Either way, Limbo is an excellent companion guild to have, and we have worked with them on multiple occasions regarding swaping useful classes or gear or crafting items... and the friendly competition just adds some excitement...

If your guild is working on multiple drake + Sartharion pulls, Keep working at it! It's really an exciting accomplishment! Eventhough I wasn't thrilled about my personal job of swiping every single add and trying to keep agro on them all with all of the horrible lag and fps that my sadly out-of-date computer compromises me with.. I kept my focus to do my best as all good raiders do, and trusted my excellent raid leader to guide us through as he always does.. We all love and admire Sirloin!! I'm sure he ranks well up in the top 10 best raid leaders in all of the World!..of warcraft. *smile*

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reflections on WOTLK Raiding

After immersing myself into the new content, I now have a fairly encompassing perception of how the raiding and heroics seem from the view of a feral druid tank.

First, as a tank, (especially a druid), it is extremely easy to find groups for tanking heroics. Feral druids seem to be very reliable tanks. Thinktank has mentioned in detail the mechanics of druid tanking have now been "built in" and are not very gear dependant anymore, and with the advent of swipe affecting all targets, it's much easier to pick up groups of mobs. So it's always nice to hop online and get asked to tank multiple heroics or hard hitting mobs.

Second, regarding raiding, on a scale of one to ten, the ease of the top dungeon seems to be really nerfed to me. My guild was able to work its way through all of the sunwell content before the huge changes were put into place making everything easier. So if Sunwell pre-nerf was a 10 on the scale, I would only give the Naxx 25 man instance a 5. It is a lot like Karazhan was before getting all geared out. Each week we do Naxx, it just gets easier. We only took 1-3 tries on each boss when we were learning the whole thing, and most of our actual wipes were due to server issues. We have had to challenge the lag monster almost every night in surprise locations of our raid dungeons.
The worse lag monster tends to rear his ugly head when we attempt the 25 man Malygos.
The lag was SO Bad when we were jumping from protective purple dome to purple dome that our time limit before Malygos enrages was shortened to near failure each time. If we lost more than 2-3 people in the final drake challenge, it would end up being a wasted attempt.
Regarding our strategy for Malygos.. Originally we had people stacking either north or south of the dragon, and simply move "away" from the sparks that would appear.
This seemed a very chaotic approach and I suggested that we have some organized method of moving away from sparks so that healing drakes and dps drakes would never split up. We ended up with a huge single stack to the south with all of us together... always getting healed, and able to keep continue to keep our dot stacks on Malygos. If a spark appeared, the whole group would then move counter-clock-wise around Malygos and remain in a single large cluster.

After learning each of the interesting new raid bosses and fights, it seems I am at the point of... "Is that it?"... we have completed every challenge so far except for doing the Obsidion Sanctum with the central dragon PLUS 3 drakes up for an epic fight. We were able to do the Dragon plus two drakes up fairly easily... and likely this final challenge won't take us long to complete either. I rather miss the times when we would be stuck on Kalecgos for 3 weeks each week filled with uncountable attempts tweaking individual rolls and accountability to perfect a method that works for our guild..

Final perspective:
The story content...
Regarding levelling to 80, I felt pressured to reach 80 as rapidly as possible in order to be able to begin raiding and hopefully get some server first achievements. I was about the 28th level 80 player, and it took me about 10 days. I was delayed because my daughter was levelling a deathknight on my account at the same time, and my son also plays his hunter on my account.
Overall though, I have been very impressed with the extremely long chain quests that the new content sports. You see how the stories evolve and become an integral part of them. I especially enjoy the Heroic Culling of Stratholme. I have a small group that runs that each day accumulating the bronze drake mounts. Once we have gotten everyone in the group a drake, hopefully we can sell the drake mounts in a similar fashion to the Armani bear mounts from ZA.

Affects on friends and guild relations:
I feel I actually have a lot more time on my hands to be able to do small instances or quest lines with my friends in this new world, or just work on questing solo and exploring. The raids take little time to prepare for since the "floor ham" appeared in our first full raid. (I was sitting in horde kitty form next to a floor ham in a raid, and a few players tried to click on me to eat me thinking I was the Feast!!). All we need to acquire are some flasks, and it seems even the flasks are becoming less necessary for a tank, as our healers spell power and mana efficiency keeps going up and overall survivability isn't even an issue. My guild has done lots of recruiting and there are many new faces in the guild with fresh excitement for our extremely fast raiding progression that we try to maintain. Occasional old guild members who have left over little things have migrated back, and players whose Real-life situations took away their time to play have come back to enjoy the new perks of the exciting new content...

It's well into the holiday season now, and many of my other gaming RL friends have been dipping into other new games that have come out, but I still enjoy my WOW virtual life and guild relations and gear/achievement endeavors... I'm not the "shoot-em-up" type, and I'm not a loot hog requiring new things constantly. The only other game I have been toying with is Spore. (My name is Swiftpaws) It is not a multi-user interface. It is single play only but you can incorporate other people's content and creations into your own game. I have an artistic nature and creating fuzzy animals and beautiful architectured building and vehicles appeals to me... but nothing is quite like my real virtual home in wow...