Living on the West Coast has some significant advantages when it comes to patch day. Most namely, the servers being live by the time I get off of work ;) I did not have to sit around and wait for them to go live while twiddling my thumbs, which was nice.
I was able to get most of my mods updated, but I am still missing a few that I don’t know if there are updates for (anyone know if oRA2 updated?). And for those using X-perl as your party and target frames, there is a fix for the “target” issue over on WoWAce, just download the most recent “beta” version, and you should be fine.
By the time I got logged in last night, the server had already been live for at least and hour, if not two. We had 40(!) people online in our guild. Most of them were already taking advantage of the new 5 man zone, I was still working out all my mods. In fairly short order, however, everything seemed to be functioning, and I seemed quite ready to raid.
Ice Crown Citadel Raid
Monolith made a decision back in TBC to take Tuesdays out of our progression raiding schedule. This is a decision that I am generally pleased with, as any kind of wonky maintenance tends to screw up Tuesdays, and with the majority of the server raiding on this day, the lag is god awful. The only thing that I dislike about this decision is that my competitive side of me hates not getting in there on the very first night and getting a kill done. It all works out in the end, and really is the best for us, but man does it burn me when others get horde first kills ;)
What we tend to do on release days is use the night to give us an advantage in our 25 man raids, by sending in a 10 man guinea pig group to ferret out anything tricksy that we need to watch out for in the 25s. Last night, at one point, our guild had 3 of these 10 man groups going, with varying success. The group that I put together to prepare us for tomorrow night cleared the zone fairly easily. But what every group did and contributed to was exposing almost the entirety of our raid force to the first and second boss. I think that this will be invaluable to the learning curve for our 25 man when we go in tonight.
As the groups progressed we openly shared tips and tricks that we learned throughout the evening, such as:
- The giant bone skeletons in the trash on the way to Marrogar are set off by “traps” that can be disarmed by a rogue.
- Making a targetting macro for the bone spikes saves a lot of time!
- Fanatics cleave. Cleave I tell you!
While I enjoyed myself quite a bit in the zone, it was really hard for me to actually get a measure of what the zone is going to be like in our 25. Largely because we are a 25 HM guild in our 245/258 gear plowing through 10 man content. I am very much hoping that our 25 is successful tonight though! *crosses fingers* I don’t want to set our expectations hugely high, but I realistically think that 2-3 bosses is not out question.
5 man Zone and the new LFG system
After our 10 man finished last night, Brade and I decided to go ahead and give the LFG tool a whirl, so I figured I’d share my thoughts on it. Brade and I queued as a party, selecting “tank” and “healer” respectively. We probably waited in the queue for no more than 30 seconds each of the two times we used the tool last night, and then were ported to our instance. Well…we tried to port to our instance, anyhow. The strain on the instance servers last night was enormous, and we often ended up back in dalaran.
However, all you need to do is use the green eye on your mini-map and select “teleport to instance” until you can enter your instance. Your party will maintain as everyone tries to get an instance opened up. We chose to do the “daily random” instance first, for our tokens of frost. The dungeon finder paired us up, and we were escorted to Halls of Lightening with a moderately geared mage, warlock and warrior. Of course, the mage was not expecting so much beef from the tank (Brade with ~50k life) and heals…and went on and on about it. But, Brade and I took it in stride giggling to each other at home, and went about our way. The instance occurred without incident, and when we were finished, we were happy to find that we could be teleported out using the same little green eye on the mini-map :)
“That wasn’t so bad”, I said, and I queued us for another. This time I decided I would risk the lag of the new 5 man, and put the two of us in the queue for the first of the new 5 man heroic (the one with the guy at the end that reminds me of Reliquary of Souls!). This time we were paired up with a huntard (truly, he was), a rogue and a death knight that was AFK. The hunter kept telling us that “he’ll be back 1 minute” and shared that he was “smokin’ weed”. Uh, ok. By this point it was past the point that I should be online, and should have been getting ready for bed, so I’m not happy about the AFK guy.
We decided that we could clear up some trash while we waited. But, I discovered the most wonderful thing: you can vote to remove a member of your current party. How I found this, I’m not entirely sure, but there was the option staring at me in all it’s glory. So, before we got too far I opened up a vote to remove the AFK, weed smoking, Death Knight. Apparently everyone else in the party agreed as we were quickly presented with the option to return to the LFG system to fill our party.
It took probably no longer than 10 seconds upon selecting “yes” for another DPS to join our group, and be ported to our dungeon. It was a very capable ret paladin. Short of the Huntard being…well a huntard, the instance went on without incident. My first thoughts of the zone was that there was too much trash. I thought we were never going to get to the first boss and would endlessly be pulling crap just to get there. Once we finally did though, the two bosses in the zone proved to be fairly fun :)
I’m not entirely sure that I can judge the difficulty of the zone, as Brade and I can brute force our way through a metric shit-ton of stuff, so I suspect that I won’t truly know how difficult it is until I go in with the paladin, priest or shaman and a tank that is a little less geared than Brade.
Overall, I think that I quite like the new LFG tool. The mage from our first group gushed about how wonderful it was, and seemed to do most of his dungeoning through PuGs prior to the LFG tool. The instance that he finished with us was his 10th for the evening. I really like that you get the option to remove someone from the party if they are AFK, unpleasant, etc. I really like how quickly it fills groups out, and I can’t wait to see how it works for Kitai as I start to hit the regular Northrend instances at level 70. Heck, maybe even some of the outlands ones that you can never find groups for anymore short of being boosted.
I like to instance, and I really don’t mind PuGing too much. I think that it’s going to offer up such a smoother experience for everyone, at least as far as instancing goes. I really recommend that folks give the tool at least a few tries, even if they have a guild full of mates that they can utilize to instance.
Haste, Glyphs and Re-specs, Oh My!
As discussed yesterday, I took the 18/0/53 spec on Beru. I made some of the new Glyphs of Rapid Rejuvenation, but did not try them yet, as I was trying to get a feel for the effects of the GotEM changes.
Last night, I opted to keep my 4 piece T9 set bonus, and run with ~600 haste. My 10 man did not have any of the haste buffs that can be provided in a raid setting. I honestly did not notice a very large difference at all in the 10 man running at 600 haste and no additional haste buffs. The other resto druid in our guild, who has significantly less haste, however, did make several comments about feeling quite sluggish. I am going to suspect that the more haste you managed to get, the less noticable the change is going to be. Quite honestly, in my 10 man, nothing felt different. I’m going to suspect that this is going to be even more so true in our 25 man tonight when I have additional haste buffs.
However, when we hit the new 5 man dungeon last night, there was a noticable difference. I quite frequently received the “that ability is not ready” error message, much to my frustration. I was *just* clipping the GCD and I suspect it is because in the 5 man, lots of people were taking damage and I was trying to get them all topped off as fast as I could. To compensate, I just forced myself to wait a breath longer before casting, and that stopped the error message spam.
I think that the new rejuv glyph would probably have been useful in my 5 man last night, but because I wanted to get a feel for the GotEM changes, I didn’t want to break it out and try it. I intend to play around with it a bit soon.
Overall, I do not think that I am going to be hugely affected by the haste changes. Any adjustments that I will need to make will be quite minor, and will soon enough be engrained to become second nature :)
Random Other Things!
Because I have an authenticator, I was the recipient of the super cute Core Hound Pup. I absolutely adore this little fella! And speaking of pets…don’t forget to stop by and visit Breanni in Dalaran to obtain your albino snake and calico cat.
Tonight, when we enter Ice Crown 25 for the first time, we are going to publically announce our first Shadowmourne recipient. I sent him a whisper earlier this week in confidence to let him know, and so that he knew to get on the new rep stuff ASAP to get started on the quest. But we are going to make it official tonight, and let the guild give him the congratulations that he rightfully deserves.
I think that’s about all I’ve got for the moment! Now it’s off to see what else I can learn to help us in our first 25 man push in the zone tonight ;)
I am curious though, how did everyone else’s experience go last night?