There’s been another change this time. I’ve decided to convert all the diary text to past tense and not have any of the blockquotes anymore. It makes it easier to adapt and split up text into more paragraphs.
Bricaard was getting so prominent in the guild that I barely had time to do my own stuff anymore. I harvested the usual bout of herbs in the three zones I usually visited, but during this a couple of guildies invited me to help them out with various elite quests. Later I wanted to farm highborne undeads in Winterspring. I was invited then to UBRS but declined, but as the raid plans were changed to LBRS they repeatedly tried to invite me again. And later, Sino tried to invite me to a run in Dire Maul.
Doing UBRS/LBRS and Dire Maul could be okay, but I didn’t want to do them 24/7.
I tried various methods of farming to gather money for my epic mount quest. Some ogres in Deadwind Pass dropped money and loot, and were relaxing to farm. I quickly stopped farming blood elves in Azshara, however, after I discovered that they could heal themselves. I really despised that because of how long it took for a paladin to wear them down. A few satyrs nearby were better targets, but their loot was on par with the ogres, and they were closer to Ironforge. I also did another round in the three zones harvesting herbs. I don’t think I have had so much stuff for sale at the auction house at once. Unfortunately it was a slow process. I only reached 170g this day, and I was at 110g a day or two earlier.
There was a long way to the 400g I needed for the epic mount quest.
I helped Gast and Argethon kill Hexx in Hinterlands and release the captured gryphon pup. Then it was time for a genocide in Felwood. I joined Tamako, Stovamor and Saphire and we all went crazy killing teddies. The goal was to increase the reputation for the Timbermaw faction, and we also managed to wrap the green bar around from unfriendly to neutral. Unfortunately we needed to wrap the bar around a few times more before we could at least talk to the Timbermaw and buy formulas and recipes from them. It also got old fast just circling around the same green pond killing the frequently spawning teddies.
Aitchy and Daria (the latter was Stovamor’s hunter) wanted to visit Zul’Farrak. I agreed to help them out, but it turned out that 14 year old Aitchy (which was 37 year old Gooseyboy’s son) didn’t have all the quests, so we had to visit Hinterlands first. We checked the cages, cleaned out an altar, and then returned to Zul’Farrak. We also invited Aunion and Talmaril (a priest) and then Aitchy got curious in chat. He managed to lure a lot of personal information out of us, like what country we were from. At one point the discussion got to genders, and Stovamor revealed that there were four girls in our guild. Saphire and Fernflower were two of them while two others had told him to keep quiet about it.
The trip to Zul’Farrak went surprisingly well. With Bricaard and Aunion, both level 60, we really owned everything. For once I tanked and pulled, and I did so quite aggressively – somewhat inspired by Arathon. We weren’t even close to wiping at any point – the trolls had their asses handed to them. We did most of the bosses and areas, including the always impressive big battle at the top of the tall temple stairs.
A few days later we tried to gather a raid to UBRS, but we had problems filling the remaining 2-3 slots. We gave up and downgraded to just 10 man for LBRS, but even so we still had some trouble getting ready. It felt a little unprofessional, but maybe it was also a consequence of the fact that The Phoenix Order still didn’t have enough players at level 60.
In LBRS, Sino was MT (Main Tank) and for the first time ever I was MA (Main Assist). It actually went well for my part – I made sure I was always on top of the spellcasters as the first thing. However, the assisting players didn’t all excel at hitting what I was hitting (especially Danish Groin) which Sino didn’t refrain from criticizing from time to time. That being said, we had as much as three priests along. One of them was Priestthingy, which surprised me by being a lot more sensible in chat than I had expected. He had obviously matured quite a bit since we last played together.
I obtained the first gem of four for assembling the key to UBRS, and I also won a set item with a lot of intellect on it. It became part of my healing gear. I now had four items for this set – chest, gloves, shoulders and boots – and wearing it all (including Blessing of Kings) added up to 4,8K mana. It wasn’t bad, but it could still get a whole lot better.
The next day, I got Bricaard up to cap while fishing and now had 300 in all his professions.
Later that evening, Bass, Herinko (a new level 60 warrior in our guild) and I agreed to help Sebastianus and Niknak with a blacksmith quest for five in LBRS. Herinko was MT, I was MA, and Bass was MH. It went pretty well, actually – Bass was once again an excellent healer, and we killed the boss that we were reaching for. It was the one that always cursed us into frogs. We continued a bit further but got unlucky with a “runner” in a cellar and wiped. We then decided to call it a day, but both Sebastianus and Niknak were very thankful. It felt particularly good to help out Sebastianus, who had been quite grumpy lately. We also learned to not hit the enemy that Sebastianus had frozen inside an ice block.
After harvesting yet another bout of herbs in my three favorite zones, I finally decided to spend the first piles of money on my epic mount quest. I bought six arcanite bars and paid the first guy 150g along with the many expensive materials. In a short while I went down from 440g to just 172g. Unfortunately I needed another 150g + 50g + additional materials. I had to farm a lot more money.
Apart from the herbs I also tried farming ogres in Deadwind Pass again, but sadly killing them for the umpteenth time had now become incredibly boring. In fact, so many days of playing the game almost every day since launch really took its toll on me. Just the sight of Ironforge, the bank, the auction house, the low polygon count, and the blurred textures made me depressed. I was actually starting to ponder whether this was the beginning of the end. Had I seen what I needed to see in this game? Did it offer me anything anymore, even in spite of not having seen the big raid dungeon Molten Core yet?
Maybe it was time to say goodbye and return to single player games yet again?
Or perhaps I just needed to be more engaging, join more pick-up raids (even though I wasn’t crazy about them) and play my priest some more – even though I disliked doing the same quests that Bricaard had already done. It would also be a real pity if I dropped out before I got my epic mount. Maybe I just needed a small break? In the guild, a priest by the name of Excel decided to quit today. He had also taken a break from the game, but as he returned to it today he discovered that it didn’t help. So he gave all his stuff to others and left the game for good.
Would this also be my fate?
But I decided not to get ahead of myself. Let’s see if perhaps the game could be spiced up somehow during the upcoming days. First of all, I decided to settle with harvesting herbs from now on. No more farming monsters for money.
Luckily the game didn’t feel quite as boring the next evening where I was invited into a 5 man visit to the live side of Stratholme, which was a first for me. Ironically it still started out with a few undeads. We had a few new players in the guild, and some were along for the ride. Apart from myself there was Tinya and Parvati (both mages), the veteran Setix, and finally the only one from outside; Brotherjohn – a priest from Horde Hunterz. The fights went for the most part well, but I didn’t feel particularly compatible with Tinya. She (probably a he in real life) talked too much in chat, sometimes in a commanding manner, and often with unnecessaries such as “heal bric” in the midst of battle. I was MA, which wasn’t respected much, but it also has to be said that the first part of Stratholme called for much more area-of-effect spells. I was excited to reach the castle with humans, but then the game server started acting up. Players started popping off in greater numbers, and it cut the dungeon visit short.
Tinick and I managed to beat Blazerunner in Un’Goro Crater. He had the gadget required in order to remove its thrusting aura, and then I finally managed to acquire the reward – Linken’s Boomerang, that could pull from a distance.
After an invitation in our forum we gathered up for a 15 man raid to UBRS. Because of the forum post, inviting went really smooth – in fact, a few guildies even had to miss out. The raid was fine for the most part, with Sino as MT and Tamako as MA. We did wipe once in the big chamber with eggs because Tamako believed he could lure a lot of whelps into a corner. It did indeed also work as planned, but also too much so. He had way too many on a tow. I finally won my #1 wish these days – the Lightforge Spaulders. No more looking like a hobo. Stovamor also needed them and rolled 95, but I rolled 99.
During the raid in UBRS I also got the chance to try out Blizzard’s new raid interface. It looked like it was inspired quite a lot by CT_RaidAssist – the same type of boxes – but it also had a slimmer design. Buffs were shown in the sides and on the names, and it seemed less error prone and pleasantly simple. I was missing background colors for buffs and I had other minor nitpicks, but even so, I had a feeling this could mean the end of CT_RaidAssist. Or maybe it was just wishful thinking.
I came a bit further with Bricaard’s epic class mount quest. I paid another 150g and was then asked to kill 25 terrordale spirits in Eastern Plaguelands. I had to summon them in green fields after which 1-3 of the kind appeared for a fight. They could dish out strong curses that drank my health and mana, but they were still doable. The next task was to scrape another 50g together for a lady with horse fodder.
Another 10 man raid to Stratholme had Niknak as MT and Saphire as MA.
The next day had a soft beginning. I helped a guildie, harvested herbs, farmed mobs in Felwood and Deadwind Pass, and I paid the horse fodder lady the 50g she was asking for. I was in UBRS again with my guild and it was a good run. General Drakkisath in the end was still nothing like stealing candy from a kid, but at least we got better at killing him each time.
After that, Bass, Sycho (a new mage), Izz, Alabrin and I went to Dire Maul where I got to see the western section for the first time. Here we found walking trees, tons of undeads, and also the big tree boss that Bass and I had to kill in order to make progress with our mount quest. Even though Sycho (once a guild leader in the now disbanded Eternal Knights) didn’t quite believe it was possible without a warrior, we still managed to beat the final two bosses. It wasn’t a walk in the park, but it worked well with Alabrin as MT. Around various obelisks – where a blue ray was pointing into the universe – there was a ring of mana-consuming demons, and they all had to be killed for a force field to drop around a boss. We just about whacked Immol’thar even though three of us died and Bass almost did too.
Then we reached a prince in a library – it was a normal looking humanoid that didn’t leave much of a first impression at a glance. He turned out to be a devil in the fight. He threw us around with ease and was fast and dangerous, but with supplemental healing from three pallies – topping off with Izz’s already skilled healing – we managed to down him too. Two quests were done and we had to close them by a ring of lady ghosts on a bridge area above the library. On the way up we were bugged by a group of spawning ghosts and we wiped for the first and only time. It’s just typical that people drop their guards after having killed the biggest bosses – I have seen it so often.
But we got back and got access to a chest in the library with rewards. I chose a very interesting 2H mace called Bonecrusher. It dealt 129-194 damage with 3.00 speed for a DPS of 53.8. Not bad at all, but my old 2H mace had a top damage of 220. Even though it was slower (3.70) and didn’t even reach a DPS of 50, its top damage was still better suited for Seal of Command. On the other hand, there was a whopping +30 strength and an extra 1% critical damage, but that would replace +21 stamina on the old one. I had my doubts. The fact that I had the Crusader enchantment on my old one finally kept me from making the switch. I still kept the new one ready in my inventory, though.
After the dungeon, Alabrin kindly donated me the last azerothian diamond so I could deliver both it and the pristine black diamond to the guy in Stormwind with my epic mount quest.
And with that, Bass and I were finally ready for the visit to the cellar in Scholomance.
For some strange reason my Kingsblood herbs stopped selling well at the auction house. If this was going to be the norm from now on, the timing was indeed excellent for my part. I had reached my goal for the ridiculously expensive class mount quest anyway.
To relax a bit with something else, I bought a cheap two-hand sword and trained both that and the unarmed skills by hitting yetis in Alterac Mountains. Later I continued in Badlands and in Feralas, but I could feel that my unarmed skill only wanted to raise from 299 to 300 on enemies above level 50. The two-hand sword skill could reach 305 on a level 47.
Later that evening, Tamako invited me to another tribute run in Dire Maul. With us was Sino, Daedalus (our new and skillful druid) and Tinya. The latter tried to lecture me on the proper use of blessings on mages in an anything but diplomatic manner, which was really annoying. A bit later, Sino was also the target of a condescending comment from her. It turned out that she had a “retired” level 60 paladin and came from Unseen Legion, which explained why she was so high on her horse. Sino and I agreed in officer’s chat that her manners left a lot to be desired. She claimed that it was better to give mages the Blessing of Salvation buff instead of Blessing of Wisdom. I was doubtful about this to begin with. For single attack spells it made sense, but for area-of-effect damage it didn’t seem to matter much. Besides, she was often down to half mana which could have benefited from Blessing of Wisdom.
The diary text went on a bit further about the expediency of using the other blessing buff and I kept being doubtful at the time, but I happen to know today that she was in fact right. As time went by and I tried it out in dungeons and raids, it actually made a whole lot of sense to do this. Lowering aggro for everyone except the tank was often very important.
I just wish she had conveyed this in a friendlier manner at the time.
But other than that, the trip to Dire Maul itself was fine, with just one bad luck wipe. Once again I won a new and interesting 2H mace from the king at the end. It was called Unyielding Maul and did 135-204 damage with a speed of 3.20 for a DPS of 53.0. It had +12 stamina, +250 armor and +12 defense. It seemed more appealing than the other 2H mace I won earlier, and I immediately enchanted it with an additional +7 damage. I decided to try swinging with this one instead for some time to come.
The next evening our guild was back in Stratholme again. First we killed the baron, then we did the mail boxes, and finally we cleared the Scarlet area. We rocked with our new druid Daedalus as a tank in bear form. He was very good, with quick and sensible orders for coordination. We only had one wipe because of a bad pull close to Balnazzar. Here, Daedalus showed us how useful his class could be. Because he also had the ability to sneak like a rogue and resurrect, he snuck inside past the many respawns while we waited outside. I won a 16-slot bag and Stovamor won two items in the Lightforge set.
The next day, Bass and I finally got our epic class mount.
Arathon (paladin), Ionas (priest) and Pookyi (mage) helped us out. The trip through the dungeon to reach the cellar was not perfect – Arathon was not on top of his game and had a few bad pulls. Sometimes I saved us with Divine Intervention while another blunder had us running all the way back. Luckily it went better in the cellar with Rattlegore and we managed to deal with the four waves of ghosts reasonably well. When the final boss went down, it was a weight off my shoulders. This was what I had considered the worst hurdle for Bricaard yet, and now it was over and done with.
I tried harvesting herbs in my three favorite zones afterwards. Although I loved the speed of my new mount, I could feel that I was sick of grabbing the same herbs for the umpteenth time.
The same thing could also be said for UBRS the next time I was there. I could feel that I was getting really tired of seeing that place, but I had already signed up for Friday as well.
The problematic player Tinya, who had a caused a stir in our forum because of a heated debate with Sino, announced after the UBRS raid that she and her friend Parvati were going to leave our guild. She believed we were too slow about getting into Molten Core and she wasn’t interested in raiding UBRS all the time. So it was hey and see you later, and then /gquit. The talk went on in the officer’s channel, speculating and assessing, but we agreed that it was for the best.
We didn’t get into UBRS that Friday evening. We were barely ten players, so we settled with Scholomance instead. It went well, with just a little fuss from Sycho (a new mage) who was surprisingly inexperienced. He needed to have a lot of the abbreviations explained to him.
I tried to visit Maraudon solo with Bricaard to water some vines for closing a quest. This spawned a few elementals – one level 47 elite and two level 45. They were ridiculously difficult and soon handed me my ass, even after using two shields and Lay on Hands. I had to drop that idea after a shameful run back from the cemetary. I absolutely hated Maraudon. It was the worst dungeon in the entire game.
Spent some more time training weapon skills in Western Plaguelands, after which I had finally maximized them all. I was probably the only fool on the entire server wasting time getting them all up to cap. In my favorite area with undeads I often buffed strangers passing by.
I liked to believe this gained me a nice reputation on the server.
A few of my mates in the guild and I – primarily paladins – joined up to beat the powerful lich, Araj the Summoner, in Ruins of Andorhal in Western Plaguelands. She was as easy as pie – and it cleared out two antiquated quests in my log. Now I finally had the key to Scholomance.
Tamako suggested that he logged on with his level 22 priest, Alystriel, helping him with a visit to the low-level dungeon Shadowfang Keep with Bricaard as bodyguard. I had only visited the beginning of this instance once before to get a part for Verigan’s Fist, so of course I was interested – even though it only had quests for horde. Alystriel had never seen the rest either, so we had a good time. All enemies were around level 20-25 elite and were of course no match for my level 60 paladin. The castle was quite stylish and the instance not too big. Somehow it reminded me of a medieval town with a blue tint in Anachronox. During the run we met were- and ghost wolves, a wolf boss, and at the end Archmage Arugal. Everybody had their asses handed to them and Alystriel got all the goods she came for.
It was really nice to see something completely new for a change.
Bricaard, Arathon, Tamako, Izz and Kregorine was in Dire Maul again next evening. Kregorine was a gnome mage and needed to finish a quest to gain superior mana water, and this took place in the eastern section. It suited me fine as it was the last part of Dire Maul I had yet to see. It also turned out to be the easiest section. The many walking flowers, trees, satyrs, and mini bosses took a massive beating and we had no wipes. Then we went to the western section to deal with the mana-eating demons by each their pylon, followed by the two-headed boss and the prince. These two bosses wiped us a couple of times which annoyed me a bit. By the first boss I tried using my healing gear for the first time. It gave me 5,6K mana, but it didn’t help much. Only when I also helped smacking the boss in the third attempt did we kill it. The prince wiped us once where we got it down to one pixel of health – lucky bastard – but we got him in the second attempt. To be absolutely honest, I felt that these two bosses in the western section of Dire Maul were a tad too difficult. Blizzard should have tuned them down a bit.
Towards the end of July, I spent a lot of time reading and writing in the guild forum. There was a fervent debate about the introduction of something called DKP (“Dragon Kill Points”) to make the distribution of epic loot in raid instances such as Molten Core fair. In spite of Rav (Arathon) being eloquent and convincing, Egres and Niknak kept being against it. I tried to meddle at one point and offered my suggestions along with examples, but Niknak quickly shot it down. It felt like he loved to play a devil’s advocate that could go on forever. It fizzled out when he didn’t answer a question I asked, but it didn’t feel like a win. Instead he commented on a lot of other posts. To me it just felt like he ignored me. I have never been particularly good at these sort of discussions and I probably never will be. It doesn’t feel like I have the ability to really see the big picture. I was repeatedly impressed by Rav, however.
After helping out Aitchy and Jolam with the elite trolls in Hinterlands, Nick helped me getting the last three vines in Maraudon using his level 60 warrior, Tinick. This time it was easy and it was wonderful getting that old quest cleared out of my quest log.
I then spent some time collecting colorful crystals in Un’Goro Crater and spending them on the pylons to create useful crystal entities. One of these could heal over time, another create an explosion in a three yard radius, and yet another give +30 spirit for 30 minutes. Not bad.
Then came one evening where I had to lead a raid for the first time ever. We were too few for UBRS, so I invited nine of the booked ones for LBRS instead. Unfortunately there were a lot of newbies in the raid. Asger, a warrior, had never been MT before. Rosaleth had never been there before at all, and Endrin didn’t even know what MA meant. Moreover, Sycho was pretty annoying. He cursed a lot and often intervened in my leadership. Even the knowledgeably Daedalus was a little too governing at times. Asger broke sheep to begin with, and the battle orders were problematic – something I had nothing to do with – but as the 3 hours and 40 minutes went on, we warmed up and got better at our individual tasks. We only wiped once, and in other fights we actually did pretty well. Loot was for the most part crap, but Seraphine did win a few gems towards the completion of the key to UBRS.
Leading a raid seemed administratively stressful, and I had also been mulling over having to do this during the previous week. A lot of players had to be gathered, CT_RaidAssist had to be set up, the MT/MA/MH had to be appointed, the rules repeated, and much more.
Personally I don’t think that a computer game is fun anymore when it becomes so much “real” work. I wanted to keep out of future suggestions to lead another raid, but maybe it was unavoidable because of the rank I had in The Phoenix Order.
The final day of July arrived and we raided BRD with ten players. Normally people only want to enter it in a group of five, but we had a different goal this time. We wanted to finish a quest to speed up access to the infamous 40 man raid instance, Molten Core, and also to reach the emperor at the end. We had no wipes and completed the quest, but the emperor didn’t drop any of the Lightforge gloves we were hoping for.
After this we took a sneak peek inside Molten Core itself. Arathon was in the group, and I had no doubt that he could soon take care of all the tactics and lead a full raid there. We even tried to poke the first few trash mobs. Not surprisingly they crushed us in seconds. I personally got a kick so hard that I was thrown out of the loading entrance, so at least I avoided dying.
That was the end of part 6.