Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Instance from Hell

I was having a brief discussion -- through blog comments -- with Sal from the Elune's Grace podcast and she mentioned that she hated The Steamvault, the level 70 instance in Coilfang Reservoir. I guess "hate" is paraphrasing and it's a strong word, but she indicated dislike for the place. It kind of surprised me. Of the many instances that I've run in Outland, that one didn't strike me as particularly dislike-inducing. :)

The worst of it as far as I'm concerned are the first 20 minutes. Clearing the naga packs as you move around and hug the right wall are the worst. A few spots in there you're almost fighting blind with all the plant life. Once you clear the nagas, though, and that one elemental pack most groups clear, it's pretty smooth sailing from there. The first boss can be a pain if you're not watching for the AoE and/or you can't take down the adds fast enough. The second boss is pretty easy, and even the final boss is not much of a problem once you understand the mechanics of the fish tanks. When properly run with a minimum of deaths, you can get that place cleared in about an hour. (Yes... I'm sure you uber folk clear it in under 60 minutes.) The end boss is great for us hunter-folk, since two pieces of our Beast Lord set drop in there. I've still only managed one piece after probably nearly a dozen runs, but....

The place I dislike the most -- and I've heard this echoed by many, so I know I'm not alone -- is Shadow Labyrinth. That place just has a huge combination of annoying situations and pulls that make it actually warrant that "hate" word. The first room or two are OK, and the first boss can usually be handled without problem by dragging him into a hallway to limit his fear-bomb. After that, things get rough. The 5- and 6-pulls before Blackheart the Inciter are horrible, and even after they reduced the number slightly with one of the patches, it's still not a fun place. Add to that getting jumped from behind by the stealthed *elite* assassins and an already difficult 6-pull can turn into a nightmare wipe as the add goes right after a cloth-wearer. Blackheart is no treat either, and the fight actually becomes *harder* the more well-geared you are because you spend half the fight killing each other with your own upgraded gear. After that room, things mostly settle down, but Grandmaster Vorpil can give groups fits sometimes. Murmur can also be a group-buster if you don't have the right combo of if the wrong person gets flagged as the "bomb" one too many times. The number of times I ran that place trying to get my spear made me dislike it more and more each time and my guild continues to run it as we help our members get their Karazhan key parts. As luck would have it, after I gave up running it for my spear and bought the reputation reward from Thrallmar, the spear dropped on my next trip in there helping a guild-mate. :)

I can't think of any other instance in the game that draws as much of a groan (collectively) in guild chat when someone asks for a run in there.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Moroes! Dead!

Yeah... maybe that image is a little too small to see any detail, but it was the best of the bunch that I snapped after my guild's downing of Moroes this past Monday.

We've taken to running Karazhan on Sundays and Mondays now. Our guild is fairly small -- but growing -- and we consider ourselves pretty casual. Mostly older folks, several married and with kids, so we can't raid 7 nights a week for hours on end. The second Kara night was just added and we have guild nights on Thursdays as well.

Anyway, we had actually tried Moroes a couple of times on Sunday, but I wasn't around for the attempts and was not sure what happened. The RL decided to tackle him again on Monday night, after they had downed Attumen the night previous. (We continue to "farm" Attumen and gear a few people up.)

On this night, the WoW "gods" were with us, I guess. We had two poor attempts, one ending before it began. I had been on a couple of failed Moroes attempts with other guilds, but never actually seen him drop. We had the requisite dual priests and me as the hunter. On the final attempt, they decided to use me for an emergency trap should shackles break. After the pull, I sic'd my pet on the first-kill target and dropped a trap at the priests' feet, and went back to DPS'ing the first add. Kept the pet up and on Growl with Mend Pet and she went down pretty quickly. Our Pally had been off-tanking the second-kill target and we quickly got her down as well and switched DPS to Moroes. Our priests and other healers were doing an awesome job of keeping those with Garotte alive. I'm not sure how many times Moroes vanished, but I think we got lucky and he put the Garotte on the same person a couple of times -- thank goodness it doesn't stack. It was a close thing in the end, with a couple of people dropping as Moroes dropped under 10% health, but we managed to keep enough DPS alive and took him out. I survived an agro-pull (got nervous and forgot Feign Death was cooled down), by the skin of my teeth.

Our Maiden attempt was less fruitful, and we seem to be a bit stuck on her, but also never seem to have enough time in our allotted runs -- we try to keep them to about two hours -- to make several tries. This week we only managed two attempts and had her under 35% when bad luck struck. Our Paladin's Blessing of Sacrifice was put on a rogue, who then died, so the Pally didn't get snapped out of Repentance and the tank went down *just* as our other healers came out. Bad luck, that, but we'll get her soon. We're so close we can taste it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's "an-EYE"...

The inspiration for the blog's name comes from this nifty little video:

I kinda like the double-meaning of the title. Maybe my character's "eye" to the outside world?

Many of my guildmates still have trouble saying my name in TeamSpeak/Ventrilo even after I posted and [bumped] a link of this video to my guild's forums. Oh well... I answer to numerous variations and don't get cranky about it. Much. :)

I've used the character name in MMOs all the way back to the original Asheron's Call. It should be spelled "An'nai", but WoW is finicky about using apostrophes in your name. You can do it, but try getting someone to /tell or /whisper you. There's some arcane numberpad shortcut for doing it. (I'm surprised the spammers haven't taken advantage yet.)

I recently had to remove the apostrophe from my guild forum name, too, as it was causing the parser for our raid manager to cough up furballs. So there you have it....

Annai (an-EYE)

For the true geeks out there, the name comes from Tad William's wonderful "Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn" trilogy. (Most of my character names come from there.) If you haven't read it and like fantasy literature, it's worth at least picking up at the library and giving a try. The first book -- The Dragonbone Chair -- starts out a little slow, but things pick up fairly quickly. An'nai should technically be an elf, but who wants to play those goodie-two-shoes anyway?

Also, credit for the avatar goes to the Looking for Group comic. They offer up those thumbnails for forum avatars. Hopefully it's OK to use 'em for blogs, too.

Tap, tap, tap...

So... the venerable BRK (http://bigredkitty.blogspot.com) gave me the inspiration to start my own blog. This won't be a daily diary, but more of a journal of my ongoing adventures with my Level 70 Tauren Hunter, Annai (an-EYE), and the guild he belongs to, Embers of Creation on US-Alleria.

I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on "all things hunter", but just write about things that I encounter elsewhere or that cross my mind about playing a hunter. I may also sprinkle in some warlock stuff, since I have a nearly-70 Orc Warlock as well. Something about those pet classes....