Friday, January 9, 2009

Feels Like The First Time - Naxxramas

(I apologize for the lack of screenshots. I logged off WoW sort of late, so I didn't get a chance to grab them)

So there I was happily banging away on the anvil working on my Engineering when I get a whisper from my old buddy Wichita of Heroes Inc. Only Wichita doesn't play Wichita anymore. He put down his totems, and took up a Runeblade and now plays a Deathknight named Ellevis (man, I hope I spelled that right). I still think of him as Wichita. So when you see me say Wichita in this post, I’m actually referring to Ellevis the Death Knight.

Anyway, Wichita wanted to know if I was saved to Naxxramas this week. I responded that I wasn't. His next question was to find out if I'd be interested in running with his group a little later on that night. I told him that I would be very interested. He told me he wasn't sure how the group was going to stack up so he might need me to be an Offtank or DPS. I told him either would be fine. My preference would be tanking but I was a little undergeared, especially for the harder fights, and the last thing I would want to do would be to drag down the entire raid. On the same token, I was honest with him and told him my DPS would be low. Whether it's gear or skill or some combination, and no matter how 'faceroll' easy it's supposed to be for a Ret in greys to do 2k, the simple fact is I'm a sub 1500 DPSer.

He wasn't worried on either account. He felt like his healers were geared enough for me to offtank and anything hard he would tank himself. He likewise felt his DPSers would make up for any DPS deficiencies I might have. I could say he just wanted me for Kings and Replenishment, but he just wanted me because he knew me, and he thought I’d enjoy the run. It's good to have friends, especially people as gracious and nice as Wichita.

I kept banging away on my Engineering until he gave me the group invite. The spot he had open was for DPS, so I went up to the Cathedral in Stormwind and respec to Retribution. I grabbed a Flask of Endless Rage off the Auction House and cooked up some Dragonfin Filet.

Something weird was happening with the summon. I'd click accept, but nothing would happen. So I hearthed to K3 and flew in from there. (My hearth is set to K3 in the Storm Peaks because with my old computer I couldn't log into the game if my toon was in Dalaran, and if I tried to hearth to Dalarn my frame rate would drop to single digits).

The first thing I noticed as I zoned into Naxx was we were running with just 9 people, and no one seemed the least bit concerned. I know we ran some 9 man Karas back in tBC but that was after people had T6 gear, not a month and a half after release. We had Wichita's Death Knight, 3 Druids (Tonk, Origami, Zadorr), a Hunter (Vunderman), 2 Shaman (Bluetide and Sparks (I think, I’m a bit fuzzy on his name, sorry)), and a Priest (Blackhaus). I was the only Paladin so I was glad I had used the 10/61 build Josh posted on Eye for an Eye that included Kings. Parenthetically, Eye for an Eye is a GREAT blog for Retribution Paladins, and his Pre-Raid FAQ should be required reading for anyone taking up the Mace. The others in the raid were pretty happy about it, too. The only people who didn't want Kings were the Hunter and I.

I knew I was ‘safe’ in this group. Most of these guys I had run with in one form or another. They were all really nice and helpful people. They weren’t the kind to give you a hard time about being a noob or doing low dps.

It was totally cool to be in Naxx. The place is just hauntingly beautiful right down to the soundtrack.

The night became something of a blur right from the first pull. This group pulled fast with very little break between pulls. It seemed like Wich had listened to Ciderhelm a time or two about pulling and not giving the mana users a chance for a nice drink and hearty meal between pulls.

My basic goals were :
A) find the Star (their symbol for first DPS target)
B) DPS the Star
C) Don’t wipe the raid.

All the trash was AoE'ed like Dominion had started doing with Black Temple trash after 3.0 was released.

Consecrate would eat into my mana pretty quick so I had to be judicious with its use. Also, because I wasn't sure what kind of environmental hazards I'd face, I ran Seal of Command instead of Seal of the Marytr. (Could this account for some of my lower DPS?)

First up was Anub'Rekhan. This was the very beast that had accompanied Arthas through the Old Kingdom in his race to beat Illidan to Icecrown. He was a Hero Unit in Warcaft 3: The Frozen Throne and here we were facing him down.

Basically all I had to worry about was Wichita calling out Carrion Swarm and running to the range/healers (sort of like Enfebble on Prince). In between I would switch from Anub to the adds and back to Anub.

Then we pulled to Grand Widow Faerlina. Tonk was on the Boss and Wich would control the adds. At certain points, we were supposed to switch from Faerlina to the add and burn it down.

Faerlina dropped the Gauntlets of the Master. Wichita already had his Teir 7, and wasn’t interested in them. I was the only other plate wearer in the raid, so he gave them to me. I had not expected to receive any loot at all, so I was very appreciative of Heroes generosity. Did I ever mention that Heroes Inc has some of the most generous/nicest people on the server?

We continued on to Maexenna. Wichita explained the fight and we engaged. I never got thrown to the wall, and Wich didn't want his melee dps worried about running back and forth. The range DPS would take care of it. I had to be careful not to Divine Storm when the little spiders spawned, otherwise I would aggro them.

With Maexenna down, I received the achievement for the Arachnid Quarter.

We decided to go to the Plague Quarter next, and I was introduced to Noth the Plaguebringer. We picked up a 10th, a Warrior named Absoloot. Basically I dpsed Noth, then DPSed on the adds when they came.

Then we came to Heigan the Unclean. The veteran members of the group started to speculate as to which of the new members would die first. I didn’t really understand until I did the fight. My plan was to stay on Origami (Feral druid). That worked okay at first but as the pace picked up, I started taking damage. I didn’t want to be the FIRST to die, although I could see my death was pretty much inevitable. So I bubbled, and that kept me alive for about 12 seconds (coincidentally the exact duration of the bubble). I wasn’t the FIRST to die, but I went splat before Heigan was attacking Wichita again.

I did my best to watch the poison come up to try to get a feel for it, but I think it’s going to take a couple more times for me to get it. I’m especially nervous about having to tank this fight. Wichita seemed to know where to go almost instinctively. I’m going to wipe my raid so many times trying to learn that.

Heigan dropped some DPS plate shoulders which I was happy to see go to Absoloot (TG Warrior). I had already received an epic on the night, and he hadn’t, so I gladly passed.

We continued on and worked our way up to Loetheb. This had the feel of a healer/tank fight. Loetheb puts up a debuff that prevents heals from working like RoS Phase 1. There are very small windows when the healers can actually heal. I tried to make sure that Divine Storm was ready to go and off cooldown for those healing moments so it’s healing would help out. I also switched from Judgement of Wisdom which I had been running most of the night (to the great glee of the Hunter) to Judgement of Light. I figured this would help especially with helping to heal Origami (Feral Druid).

The way you beat this guy is to kill a spore which buffs you with 50% crit, and makes you cause no threat like the Insignificance buff on Teron. You grab this buff and open up with everything you got. Being a Crit based build like Retribution, I was especially happy to see this. I actually broke the 2k DPS barrier, but it was obviously a much skewed case.

Loetheb’s death would grant me the Plague Quarter Achievement.

Wich asked if anyone had a preference between the remaining quarters, Death Knight or Construct. No one had any strong preference, so he said one of the guys coming Monday named Chickenpox “liked to kite” so he’d save the Construct quarter and we’d do Death Knight.

Our first test here was Instructor Razuvious. Wich and Tonk would mind control the Understudys while we banged away at Razuvious. The Understudys did a great job tanking Raz. My job was pretty simple, just hack away at Razuvious’s back.

Then we came to Gothik the Harvester. I was assigned to the ‘Dead’ side where the mobs would come after being killed on the ‘Live’ side. Live side, Dead side, what is this Strath all over again? We didn’t have much trouble controlling things on our side as the Live side did a good job to not overwhelm us. A couple of times I’d barely get a Judgment off before the mob was dead.

Gothik dropped a Slayer of the Lifeless. Wichita asked if I would be interested in it. What I wanted to say was “ZOMG! YES! YES! YES! YES!!! Please and thank you, a thousand times YESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!” But I tried to play it cool and just said “Sure.” Neither Wichita nor Absoloot had any real interest in it and next thing you know it’s in my bags. This night had exceeded my wildest hopes. Two drops!

The Slayer had almost as much DPS as the blue two-hander I had used most of the night.

We had time for one more fight and it’s one that I’ve been looking forward to seeing since I heard Naxx would be reinvented for Wrath of the Lich King, the famous Four Horsemen!

Wich and Tonk would take two of the Horsemen while the Shaman took another. I don’t remember who got the last one. I was hanging out with Wichita and Origami as we switched from one horsemen to another as their debuffs stacked. Unfortunately, we lost the Shaman and that put us on a one way trip to Wipesville.

It was getting late, but we decided to try again. The Shaman had not tanked this encounter before so Zadorr (Resto Druid) offered to take his place since he had done it.

We pull. One horseman down. Two Horsemen down. Three Horsemen down, and then the Fourth Horsemen fell!!

We had completed the Death Knight quarter!

The chest spawned and Wichita was hoping for a helm. I was rooting for him as well. Unfortunately, it was a staff. The chest also contained a Chestguard of the Lost Conqueror (Paladin, Priest, Warlock). Wichita asked me if I wanted it. I told him to give it to Blackhaus (the only Priest in the raid, and we had no Warlocks or I would have told him to give it to them). Blackhaus already had it.

You ever been to Christmas and you show up and give a gift to relative, and he turns around and says he was thinking of you through the year and actually bought you 3 gifts. It’s a mixture of happy and excited and embarrassment and indebtedness. That’s sort of who I felt after begin given that token.

It was late so we had to call it at that point.

I can’t thank Wichita and the crew from Heroes Inc enough for inviting me along and allowing me to run Naxx with them. I had an absolute blast, and I can’t wait to go back.


Blue said...

It was great to have you with us Honors!

Argent said...

Yeah, you're seriously gimping your DPS by not using Seal of the Martyr... when I'm ret (on rare occaisons), I can basically use almost every cooldown in FCFS, including Consecrate without running out of mana, and I don't even need to hit Divine Plea exactly on the cooldown.

The only places where it might not be safe to use Martyr is on Loatheb and Gluth. Loatheb is actually a fight where you'll get a lot more mileage out of alternating judgements - judge wisdom just after his necrotic aura comes out, then on the next judge (roughly) judge light so it's up for the break. But JoL isn't such a huge heal (ditto with Divine Storm), that I'd focus more on DPS. You won't be able to spam consecrate, but you might be able to use Sacred Shield to absorb some of the Martyr backlash and still use it. Otherwise you can play it safe and use Seal of Command for that fight.

Similarly with Gluth, he does a Decimate that drops you to 5% -- if you can hold off on DPS during that time, Martyr is probably safe, but I'd probably use Command for that reason.

The trick with Heigan is as soon as you see the flames in Phase 2, run just past where the flames shot up, which will make you safe for the next eruption.. It always starts on the left-hand side of the room (facing the boss), and then goes 1-2-3-4-3-2-1

Ellevis said...

It was nice to run with you again Honors.

Couple things:
1: We were pulling fast because the trash is pretty easy in there and I have complete confidence in my healers. Also because we are dropping down to 2 nights of raiding next week, and we need to start pulling faster if we're gonna do full clears of Naxx, Malygos and Sarth + Drakes.

2. I definitely could have shown you exactly where the break points are for the Heigan fight, but honestly it's much more fun just give a brief explanation and let people see it for themselves. The fight can be done with 5 people still alive so I wasn't worried about people dying :)

3. Don't feel bad / embarrassed about getting loot. None of us have any problems with loot going to you when / if you run with us again. Also the loot you got was not gonna be used / needed by anyone else.

Was fun and I'm glad you enjoyed your first time in there.

Anonymous said...

So are you cashing in your T7 chest token for Prot or Ret?

Another tip on Heigan - the safe zones overlap. There is a place to stand that is safe for both the 2nd and 3rd wave. That said, I wouldn't try it.

What I did this week that worked well was to drop an engineering flare on a very safe spot in each zone. Tankadins have so much threat right now that it is no problem to take a couple seconds to drop that (also, Heigan doesn't hit for much - the only serious damage comes from those waves and from the disease which has to be cleansed ASAP).

Some folks put flares up before the fight, but I like to be 100% sure and just put them up during the first Phase 1.

Also, a lot of people will tell you not to stand on any cracks - bologna. The safe zones encompass cracks.

Anyway, grats on a very successful first run! I know my first run in Naxx (just a couple weeks ago) was totally exciting. I always get kind of giddy and nervous the first time we raid something.


Honors Code said...

I consider myself Prot first, Ret second. I'll be cashing my tokens in the same way.

Josh said...

Congo-rats on the Naxx run, and the gear! And as always, thanks for the blog plug :)

For Naxx, if you go back again, use Seal of the Martyr *everywhere*, with the exception of these fights:
Loatheb (if you don't trust your healers)
Gluth (if you don't trust yourself to hold back after Decimate and before getting healed)
Sapphiron (because the constant frost damage is a biatch)

Other than that, cut yourself with SotM to do more DEE PEE ESS. Trust me, I'm a professional.

Bacon said...

Grats on all that. Sorry I missed the fun.

Regarding Dalaran, if I log out anywhere in town beside some secluded area, I can't get back to Bacon. I have added another 2G to my machine and it's better, but Wintergrasp gets nasty. I'm thinking my video card is due for an upgrade. Something like an
Radeon HD 2600 might help my older AGP board.

Honors Code said...


Make sure you aren't CPU limited. What I found was that replacing my aging AGP card wasn't enough. I needed a complete core upgrade which eventually led to buying a new computer for Christmas.

Ofn said...


I missed this raid last night, and the chance to raid with you. I'm glad you got to go. Grats on the loot!

Jacob said...

Hi Honors,

If you do Heigan again, there are a couple YouTube videos that can help you get a good feel for the dance.

I like TankSpot's Guide to Heigan:

Anonymous said...

seal of blood is like the circle of life. you damage yourself, the healers heal you, spiritual attunement gives you back mana, you can steadily crank out high mana attacks, smart healers will always keep you alive because your replenishment is like water in the desert.

wankster of magtheridon

Indigo said...

So I'm not the only one who has that problem with Dal! I'm so glad to hear that. I've taken to parking all my toons in Undercity as a result.

Anonymous said...

just wanted to add that hearthing to the cantrips and crows tavern in the sewers has helped reduce my lag problems

Dhalphir said...

Heya Honors, just thought I'd clarify a quick thing. I feel like I'm nitpicking but I'm a bit of a lore buff. Anub'rekhan wasn't actually the crypt lord that accompanied Arthas to the Frozen Throne. That was Anub'arak, who can be found in heroic Azjol'Nerub.

Anub'rekhan doesn't really have much place in the lore of warcraft besides as a spider lord who served under Anub'arak before they became Crypt Lords.