Dec 1, 2007

Tonight, the Gold Team went back to the dreadful Zul'Aman and triumphed over Akil'Zon, the Eagle Aspect. He took a few tries, but eventually succumbed to our superior fire power and strategy. Instead of trying to collapse on one person in the outer ring, we all collapsed on the tank in the middle. We also just ignored the eagles and we were able to defeat the evil eagle.

After that, we moved on towards Halazzi. There were quite a few mobs to clear along the way, including one that had a nasty buff on it which increased movement speed by 200% and reduced casting time by 300%. He used it to cast a fireball volley aimed at almost everyone in the group almost instantly. I was able to spellsteal his buff and it was amazing! I was casting almost instant fireballs. However, he also liked to break sheeps quite often, so even if I had the haste buff, I couldn't do too much with it as I was resheeping most of the time. We had a couple of tries on Halazzi before it got too late to continue and it was good to see what we need to do to kill him. He's a tough fight, dealing a lot of damage, placing totems down that need to be instantly killed, and spreading around chain lightning. This guy may take us longer to master than Akil'Zon, but I feel once we get the encounter down, future kills should not be hard to repeat.

Before we left Zul'Aman for the night, we attempted to complete a quest which had us visit Akil'Zon's platform, Halazzi's room, and Jan'Alai's platform. We had completed the first two objectives, but have not gotten to Jan'Alai yet. So, we decided to see if we could zerg Jan'Alai. We all mounted up, I equipped my Riding Crop and we were off. I think I made it the furthest of all because I had a couple of people in front of me who were carrying some mobs behind them, but in the end, none of us were able to make it up to his platform. Oh well, another day, another time.

Akil'Zon dropped the Signet of Ancient Magics which I won. I was conflicted as to whether or not I should take it, but since no one else really needed it, Legionaire and I rolled and I beat him out. After collecting the required amount of troll tusks for the Tuskin' Raiders quest, I turned them in, located Zungam on our way to Halazzi, and was rewarded with a Charmed Amani Jewel which I threw in the Signet. I threw a 12 spell damage enchant on the ring and I'm still conflicted. The Signet gives me a nice stamina upgrade, a couple extra damage and intellect, but I lose a good amount of crit rating. I might just use the ring for PvP, or it could replace the ring I'm currently wearing. Oh yeah, the signet also has mana regeneration on it, so I might use it for that reason as well. Some of these fights are quite long and I can use all the mana I can get. I guess we'll just have to test the rings on our next trip to Karazhan or Zul'Aman and see which works better.

Nov 29, 2007

Last night, while working on obtaining the Crescent Key, I also was able to get a new recipe for Runn Tum Tuber Surprise. I unfortunately couldn't find any tubers in Dire Maul last night, but will look for them again tonight. Either way, with my cooking skill at the highest point, rather than focusing on creating better foods, I'm looking to create rare foods. I'm sure those who enjoy Stormchops (thanks Harkor for cooking some up for me...I have yet to find this recipe in a crate of meat), would also enjoy the Tuber Surprise.
Last night, after my dailies, I enlisted the help of Harkor and Llyr to obtain my Crescent Key. We quickly cleared through Dire Maul as necessary and Pusillin was no match for us. With my new key in hand, I entered Dire Maul north and starting killing ogres until the Gordok Shackle Key dropped. I then happened upon a kind goblin named Knot Thimblejack who was being held by the ogres. Before I released him, he offered to teach me how to make a Gordok Ogre Suit. I thanked him for the information and released him from his chains. Apparently, even while chained to the floor in this remote part of Azeroth, he had still managed to collect some precious items, which he gave me in exchange for his release. One of the items within his cache was the Ogre Tannin required to make my own ogre suit! I quickly gathered up the necessary items from my pack, sat down, and used my skills to create a disguise that makes me look exactly like one of the Gordok ogres.

However, after donning the ogre suit, I became greedy and wanted to get some more ogre tannin for another suit. I figured, dressed as a Gordok ogre, the other Gordoks wouldn't attack me. Boy was I wrong. They not only attacked me, they beat me to a pulp after catching up with me following my frost nova and blink. After waiting a while, I decided to go back into Dire Maul to see what Knot was up to this time. And lo and behold, there he was, captured again! However, after killing countless ogres for well over an hour, I was unable to find the one ogre that was carrying the keys to Knot's shackles. I plan on venturing back inside Dire Maul later today, because, besides wanting to free Knot, I have heard rumors that Knot occasionally comes across a tailoring pattern he does not need. A tailoring pattern I would very much like to have.

It may take me a while, but eventually I will get the patterns for Mooncloth Gloves, Cloak of Warding, Felcloth Gloves, Inferno Gloves, and last, but certainly not least, the Belt of the Archmage. All these patterns cannot be found anywhere else other than Knot's cache and they cannot be traded once found. The only way for me to learn these patterns is to find them in his cache. Unfortunately, I have realized that I might need to kill the guards rather than the regular Gordok Ogres as they have a much higher chance of carrying the key to release Knot. And I found out last night I cannot kill the guards by myself because they cannot be held in place by my frost nova, nor will they be disoriented by my Dragon's Breath. Perhaps I will have to find someone as bored as me to help out with some Knot Thimblejack runs.

Nov 28, 2007

Yesterday during my usual auction house perusals, while looking for patterns and formulas to complete my tailoring and enchanting skills, I stumbled upon the recipe for a Shadow Hood. Unfortunately, I was not able to figure out how much the pattern was worth, but I figured it was worth a lot to me since I had not seen it at auction before, so I quickly bought it for 80g. The price might have been high, but I needed the pattern, and I'll usually pounce on anything cheaper than 100g. So 80g was almost a steal. And I know one more pattern now.
Monday night, after I was done questing and fighting in arenas, I made my way over to the hall in Stormwind so I could purchase my new Vindicator's Pendant of Conquest. So yesterday, when I was ready to continue questing and raiding, I quickly bought my pendant with my saved honor points and lamented the fact that I had not earned enough arena points to purchase my Vengeful Gladiator's Silk Trousers.

After getting my gear in order, I headed out with the Gold Team to Karazhan. This time, Comador sat out the first few bosses to give Mercreus, a hunter who is also on the Mushrooms of Doom 2v2 team with myself and Nefernetcher, a chance to fill in. He did a great job all the way through Curator and received a new bow from Attumen. On our way through, the Crone finally dropped Legacy. Comador just barely beat out Mercreus on the roll by one point. Congrats to Comador, I know he's been looking for that item for a long time.

Meanwhile, the Maiden refused to drop the Boots of Foretelling for me and the Shard of the Virtuous for the healers. The Curator dropped the Gloves of the Fallen Defender, giving Aracely, our raid leader, his first piece of Tier 4 from within Karazhan. After all these runs, he finally receives a piece. Going forward, we continued to one shot every boss until we hit the Prince. Due to a poorly placed elemental, an unfortunately death due to the shadow nova early in the fight, and my death right near the end due to axes hitting me, we took Malchezaar down to 3% before he killed us. We quickly regrouped and took him down. He once again dropped the Helm of the Fallen Champion. As Harkor was the only Paladin/Rogue/Shaman in the group, he received his third tier four helm. While I continue to wait. Of course Malchezaar also didn't feel like dropping the Nathrezim Mindblade.

Oddly enough, while running the numbers last night, it's a toss-up between which off-hand item I would use with the mindblade. There's three possibilities: Jewel of Infinite Possibilities, Talisman of Nightbane, and Fetish of the Primal Gods. The three vary slightly. The Jewel has spell hit, the Talisman spell crit, and the Fetish has spell haste. I already own the Jewel, but passed on the Talisman the last time we saw it. I might take it the next time it drops. And I have more than enough badges to purchase the Fetish after last night's 22 badges for a full Karazhan clear. With the Mindblade and the Jewel, I lose two hit rating which puts me exactly on the hit cap which is perfect for raiding. I also gain 41 damage and 23 crit at a loss of 24 stamina and 15 intellect. Not a bad tradeoff at all. The Talisman gives me 46 extra damage and 40 extra crit, but I lose 23 hit which I will have to make up elsewhere through re-socketing, or a similar change. The Fetish grants me an extra 55 damage, 23 crit, and 17 haste (which enables faster spell casting) at the cost of 23 hit and only 19 stamina and 16 intellect. If I can figure out a good way to make up the 21 hit rating to reach my max, that is definitely the way to go, so perhaps I don't need the Talisman after all. The only thing is, I need the Prince to drop the Mindblade. And with the way Kara refuses to cooperate, that might never happen.

Nov 27, 2007

Unfortunately, last night I was only able to get in games with Phill the Battle Chicken. We had some really great matches where we completely destroyed the other teams, and a few matches which were amazingly close, and only a couple where we were dominated. We kept our rating above 1500 and I should receive about 380 arena points today. Unfortunately, that's not nearly enough to buy the pants for tonight's Zul'Aman raid, so I am stuck with the Spellstrike set. If it comes down to it though, I could don my Trial-Fire Trousers and the Crown of the Sea Witch which grant me an extra 50 stamina, 40 intellect, and 20 spirit at the cost of 38 hit, 64 crit, and 23 damage. Pretty big tradeoffs. From a pure damage output point of view, it's not a good tradeoff. From a surviveability point of view, it could work. The question is, do I add 500 hit points in exchange for damage output? Will 500 hit points keep me alive that much longer? Or will my extra damage output bring him down that much quicker?

Nov 26, 2007

I've done the calculations and I will not be able to buy my new pants tomorrow unless I can get a 3v3 arena team going. Hopefully I can persuade some of the people in my 5v5 group to join a 3v3 team and then I'm sure I can get Mercreus and maybe Nefernetcher from my 2v2 team. Or perhaps tonight Nefernetcher, Mercreus and I will start a new 3v3 team and I can get somewhere around 800 arena points for the week. I only need 774, so it might be close if our ratings get too low on the 2v2 and 3v3 teams.
A few nights ago, we ventured back into Zul'Aman for the second time in as many days. We made quick work of Nalorakk, falling short of the 20 minute timer by just a couple minutes. We then worked our way through the gauntlet twice getting in quite a few attempts at Akil'Zon. Unfortunately, we were unable to get him under 40%. The fight itself has a few confusing components, and I'm still trying to figure out how exactly we as a team can handle the fight.

I've heard of a few different strategies, but we haven't had much luck with any of them. We've tried killing the eagles and also leaving them alone. We've tried huddling up in anticipation of the storm and we've tried spreading out. We've basically tried everything we've heard of or thought of, but nothing has come of it yet.

What's most upsetting is when a stupid mistake by any one player dooms the whole raid. We have so few shots at Akil'Zon before having to re-run the gauntlet, it is frustrating when one little mistake by anyone can cause a wipe. I'm hoping that with more practice we'll be able to get this guy on farm, but it just gets frustrating when things don't go as planned.

After doing some further research this weekend, I'm going to try wearing some different items to give myself some extra stamina (I haven't run any arena games on either of my teams this week - something I really need to do to get those points - hopefully tonight some players of the 5v5 team will be available after Gruul's Lair). With some PvP gear on, I might be be able to survive some more eagle swoops without taxing the healers. I just ran some quick comparisons and if I can get the Trial-Fire Trousers along with the Collar of the Aldor, I will lose some hit and crit ratings, but gain stamina, intellect, spirit, and damage. I already have the Trousers, and would just have to hope the Curator finally decides to cooperate the next time through Karazhan.

The next step up would be the Vengeful Gladiator's Silk Trousers with the Collar of the Aldor. Again, I lose some hit rating, but gain in every other category, including 43 stamina (versus a gain of 26 stamina with the other combination).

The last combination I could work with is Vengeful Gladiator's Silk Trousers and Vengeful Gladiator's Silk Cowl. Here I gain a whopping 72 stamina and 37 intellect, but at a cost of 54 hit rating (same as the Silk Trousers and Collar) and 3 damage. I do gain 37 intellect though, which helps augment some of the losses.

The other nice thing about any of the three combinations above is I am able to use the Chaotic Skyfire Diamond which does give me an extra 12 critical strike rating and, if I do crit, an extra 3% damage. And when I'm doing upwards of 4200 on crits, that's an extra 126 damage. With a critical strike chance of about 30% with raid buffs, that's an addition of 38 damage - period. So while the second and third combinations include a loss of 8 damage and 3 damage, respectively, the addition of the meta gem more than offsets those losses.

I think my preferred combination would be the second option. If I could get the Silk Trousers and the Collar, I would gain a lot of stamina and intellect, lose a lot of hit, but gain a little crit and about 30 damage. The best part of all is I would have a 100% chance to avoid interruption of fireball - which would be absolutely amazing as those stupid eagles swoop down on me. Perhaps the Curator will hear my pleas for him to drop the helm and I'll be the only one needing it. Unfortunately, even if I do get in the games needed in 2v2 and 5v5 tonight, I don't think I'll make it to the 1875 arena points needed to purchase the pants. I will have them in two weeks though. My only hope would be to get a 3v3 going quickly tonight and get a few extra points from there.

Either way, even if I do my best to research the fight, gear myself differently for extra stamina, and know when to move, I can only do so much. I'm not sure why we don't require the other raiders in the group to be similarly prepared. I know when the thunderstorm is going to come and can be ready for it. I know when I'm too close to other people so I don't get hit by chain lightning. I'm ready and have done my research. Hopefully we can take him down soon.
((For those that haven't yet, download BigWigs - you shouldn't be doing instances without it!))