Monday, July 21, 2008

Talk To The Hand

I logged on Saturday night with the idea of finding a premade PVP group from either Heroes, Mal Katai or Dominion for Battlegrounds to continue the grind for my Season 2 Mace. There was also rumor that Mal Katai might be doing a Sunwell trash PuG. I had thrown my name in the hat to try to get a spot there as well.
When I logged in, I got a tell from Vlad. She is the Raid Leader and Co-Guild Master of Dominion.
"Wanna do Kael?"
I calmly responded to her query.
I went and respeced back to Protection and grabbed my shield and consumables.
It turned out what I joined was a combined Bloodsky/Dominion Ring run. Bloodsky is the most progressed guild on Altar of Storms Alliance side. Dominion (my guild) is next.
Several people in Bloodsky still needed Kael'thas for their Scale of Sands ring. This is just like the Kara ring you can get when you complete the attunement quest for Kara. For this ring you have to complete the attunement to Mount Hjyal. Then as your reputation with Mount Hyjal (Scale of Sands) increases, the ring gets better and better.
I was really excited to be in the raid.
We only had a handful of people in the Raid, probably less than 10, who had defeated Kael. Some of our raid team had never even faced him before outside of Magister's Terrace.
We started off by killing Al'ar to eliminate the trash. Vlad and I were on the ground killing Embers in Phase 1, then I was collecting Embers in Phase 2 with an Arms Warrior helping out.
Al'ar was a one shot. At that point, I was feeling good about our raid.
Vlad was leading the raid. As we approached Kael, I began to wonder what role I'd find myself in. In the raid we had at least 4 capable tanks. Of the 4, Weibe, a Warrior from Bloodsky was the best geared. I don't recognize Warrior Tier gear right off but his Bulwark of Azzinoth was unmistakable. There may have been more people capable of tanking in the raid, but I couldn't identify them. The other Paladins appeared to all be Holy, the other Warriors were sporting big two handers, and the other druids appeared to be Trees.
Vlad began her explanation of the fight and each persons role in it. She always ensures that each person in her raid knows what they need to do. I was quite pleased to when she assigned me to tank Telonicus as I had done in Dominion's attempts on Kael'thas.
We got ready for our first attempt.
Phase 1 went pretty well. I could have done a better job positioning Telonicus. We got into Phase 2 and something happened in regards to the Axe. I was on the Shield, so I didn't have visibility as to what exactly happened, but the Axe took out a couple of people and we wiped.
We regrouped and went over a couple of questions and got ready to pull again when the drama started. One of the Bloodsky guys made a disrespectful comment over vent concerning the length of the explanations Vlad was giving. It was something to the effect of "Do you ever shut up?"
Perhaps this was his hundredth time at Kael, but for many of us, this was still pretty new.
Kael is not exactly an easy fight to explain or execute. I probably have a little bias considering Vlad is my raid leader, but I thought the explanations were thorough as needed and didn't take an unreasonable amount of time. I mean think about this for a second, she is trying to lead what is essentially a PuG (granted a well geared PuG, but a PuG nonetheless) to kill Kael.
One of the Dominion Hunter's left the raid group. Several others, including your humble author thought about it, but Vlad stayed in, so we did, too. I could just see the raid falling apart, both groups trying to get new people and a fight over the InstanceID. Somehow we kept it together.
Vlad wanted to replace our lost Hunter with another Hunter from Bloodsky, but before she could invite him, someone else with assist in the raid invited a Retribution Paladin. I know Vlad isn't a big fan of Ret, but to her credit, she pointed that the issue was the need for Range DPS over Melee DPS, not the need for another class over the Ret Paladin. But nevertheless, the Paladin stayed.

We made our next attempt. I positioned Telonicus much better on this attempt, but I made another mistake. After I got Telonicus into position, my understanding was I was to go to the wall. Being at the wall, and out of melee range of Telonicus, meant that I wasn't building much threat on him. Sure enough, someone pulled. I dashed in and hit him with everything I had and I was able to get him back before the raid suffered much damage. We moved through Phase 2 with the weapons and into Phase 3. Unfortunately, the Bow, Shield and Axe were still up. I dragged the Shield over to where Teloniucs had died, and Vlad taunted it off me right before he rezzed.

I started tanking Telonicus while the rest of the raid dealt with the other advisiors. In Phase 1, you fight them one at a time, but in Phase 3, you fight them all at once. With my Paladin Healer watching me, I felt like I could have tanked Telonicus all night. He wasn't going to be able kill me. Then one of the other adds took out my healer and not long after that I was dead.
We switched our Warlock from AoE duty to the Bow. Basically, he was supposed to seed to weapons, and Shadow Bolt the Bow.
On our next attempt, I positioned Telonicus, put my back to the wall, but stayed in melee building all the threat I could. No one came close to pulling him from me in Phase 1. We make the transition into Phase 2. I start spamming the macro I had made to target the Shield and blast it with Judgement of Righteousness.
I pulled the shield into the AoE fest going on with all the weapons. Various people in our raid were looting the fallen weapons. Vlad came over to taunt the Shield off, but it was almost dead anyway.
I got into position to pickup Telonicus. That's when the fun really started. Thaladred works in a similar fashion to Supremus during his kite phase. He will 'fix his gaze' on one member of the raid and walk slowly towards them. It is imperative that he does not reach melee range on that person. This is pretty easy in Phase 1, when everyone can move together and there are no other adds to worry about it. In Phase 3, there are 3 other adds to fight as well as Thaladred.
Well guess who old Thaladred 'fixes his gaze on'? That's right, good ole Honorshammer, who happens to be busy doing his best to royally annoy Grand Engineer Telonicus.

Lucky for me, Vlad had gone over this exact scenario during her explanation. I'm glad she had taken the time to go over this little detail. The task of kiting Thaladred took precedence over the task of tanking Telonicus. I dropped one more Consecrate on Telonicus and hauled freight away from Thaladred. After a couple of moments, he changed his target and I ran back to Telonicus. I hadn't been there long enough to even get my rotation going good, when Thaladred fixes his gaze me on again! It seemed that Thaladred decided he couldn't resist my gorgeous body. It's the beard, I get that all time at the pub in Ironforge.

As I'm running back to Telonicus, I see one of our Rogues sprinting over to Weibe (Warrior and Main Tank for Kael). He was carrying the Shield that Weibe would need to tank Kael.
I got back to Telonicus, popped my wings, and built all the threat I could.
The next thing you know, Kael is active and starts mind controlling different people in the raid. I did what I could to Hammer of Justice mind controlled players, throw a Blessing of Protection on Healers, and Cleanse off debuffs. The most damage was being done by our Feral Druid who got mind controlled and was ripping up our clothies. I taunted him, but he came out of the mind control almost immediately. One of our shamans got mind controlled, and Kael made him blow his Heroism.
Somehow in the middle of all that chaos, we managed to keep Weibe up through the Pyroblasts.

Then everything just kind of stopped. Kael went into another speech. (Does HE ever shut up?) Then we all start swimming through the air a la Magister's Terrace. I was still in full tanking gear. At this point Kael starts to Arcane Explosion the whole raid. I targeted our 'real' healers and threw as many flash of lights as my mana pool would allow. I was taking damage from the Arcane Explosion as well so I made sure not to heal myself. One of the other healers would toss me a heal, or I'd get a friendly bounce from a Chain Heal or Prayer of Mending. This would give me a little more mana from Spiritual Attunement.
Our raid got into a nice little rhythm: Kill Kael, Kill Phoenix, Kill Egg, Kill Kael. We fought through the next several moments before disaster struck. A Flamestrike landed directly on our healer group. Raid started to buckle, but Kael was in the single digits and we managed to kill him before he killed our Main Tank.
Tempest Keep Cleared!
I had hoped that our Ret Paladin would have done exceptionally well and opened some eyes in Dominion. He came in clocking 600 DPS, which was not exactly what I had hoped for.
I ran up and looted Kael'thas' Vial of Eternity and my Badges. We went through loot. Since it was a PuG, it was just open roll with a Master Looter. I rolled on Verdant Sphere, but I lost the roll. I won't say I didn't care, but I was so excited from killing Kael, that it didn't even matter. I passed on the chest token as I have Chestguard of the Stoic Defender, which I feel is every bit as good, if not a little better than the T5 chest.
I took the portal to Shattrah, where I grabbed Vashj's Vial of Eternity, and my Ultrasafe Transporter: Gadgetzan out of the bank. Through the wonders of Gnomish technology, I was in Gadget. I mounted my trusted Charger and we rode like the wind to the Caverns of Time.
I turned in the quest and achieved the "Hand of A'dal" title!

I have acheived a major goal I set out for myself, and one that at times, I never thought I'd see completed.
A year ago, I was making my first attempts at Curator, and starting to realize that I had a different vision than my guild.
"People sometimes ask me "What's the rush?" with Kara. I guess I don't feel like I'm rushing. I want to see new bosses, experience the fights, see the content that I'm paying for and that Blizzard put their time and resources into. I've done AB, AV, WSG, and Eye a thousand times. I know the areas pretty well. I've never even seen what Mt. Hyjal looks like.
There is so much of the game I haven't even seen yet. Bosses, Zones. I want to cross swords with these great characters I loved so much in Warcraft. Kael'thas, Lady Vash, Archimonde, even Illidain himself."

It's a year later, and I've faced down every one of those guys, with the notable exception of Illidan himself.
I really like the idea of titles. At one point, I was sure I was going to purchase the "Of The Shattered Sun" title. But once I saw that I had a real shot at "Hand of A'dal" I knew I wanted it.
Titles are a great way to display what the focus of your character is. "Hand of A'dal" or "Champion of the Naaru" shows the focus of the character is PVE, where "Duelist" or "Gladiator" shows the focus of that character is PVP. "Of The Shattered Sun" shows the focus of that character was building rep with Shattered Sun. "Knight Leuitenant" shows that character participated in the old PVP system.


Josh said...

It is very, very difficult to judge a Ret Paladin's DPS on Kael'thas, as it is with all melee DPS. The melee are very hands-off during the encounter - can't do much during phase 1, are overshadowed by AoE in phase 2, end up kiting a bit in phase 3 and can only go after Telonicus or Sanguinar, and in phase 4 they end up running away from phoenixes/flamestrikes a lot, and there is a lot more DPS lost when switching from Kael to egg to Kael for a melee when the egg isn't right next to Kael.

Can't judge a Ret Paladin's ability based on the Kael'thas fight, or really anything in TK - the only fight you can benchmark on in TK for a melee is Void Reaver.

lethal said...

Congrats on Kael kill!
Always nice to achieve personal goals.

Anonymous said...

Grats TED!!!:)


Gothyelk said...

Great write up and story. Grats on your new title and your success. :)

Chickenpox said...

Congrats HH !!


Anonymous said...

Hey Honors,

Long time reader, first time poster. First I'd like to say grats on the title. Second, I was wondering (assuming you have) if you have putzed around with the wrath talent build. I saw over at blessingofkings a couple of very speculative holy builds and have yet to see a prot build.

Ive found that I don't have enough points for everything I'd like. I can't find points to put into improved SoR. Seems like a heavy focus on decreased mana cost which isn't an issue in progression fights where you are truly challenged, but very useful when you are slightly overgeared for an instance. Thoughts?

Kaziel said...

Grats on the title and the kill, man. Way to go. Way to go indeed.