Something very strange happened to me in a PuG this week. Like many of you I’ve been farming the Elemental bosses in an effort to round out those last few slots on my alts that aren’t already dripping with level 251 or better gear. The whole process has been very scary considering that this is the prelude to Cataclysm, and if it’s any indication of how random dungeon groups in Cataclysm are going to pan out we’re all in very deep shit indeed.
About half the time, things go pretty smoothly, although mostly through brute force and ignorance rather than actual judgement. Let’s run a few examples up the flagpole and see who salutes.
Grand Ambassador Flamelash has a few adds paying homage to him. If your tank is a Deathknight, the best tactic is to drop a Death and Decay down in front of you and Death Grip the leader into it. The rest of the adds will run in and you can take care of them safely and easily before pulling the boss himself. A Warrior can Heroic Throw the leader with the talented Silence that comes with it to achieve similar results. Everyone else has to wait 15 seconds for them to finish talking and they’ll come to you anyway. So, hands up anyone who’s been in a group where the tank just runs right in and takes the lot of them with the boss at the same time? Yeah, pretty much everyone reading this. Half the time it works because we mostly completely overgear the encounter, but on those occasions when we don’t, and if you add in the factor that even after six years of World of Warcraft there are still people out there who don’t understand that Fire is hot, things can get messy. And trust me, it’s a LONG walk back from the Graveyard at Thorium Point to the Blackrock Depths entrance. Most people these days don’t even know where the entrance is. I’ve been farming Flamelash with Galadan for the strength neck to round out his Retribution set and on more than one occasion he’s ended up having to keep the Tank up with Word of Glory and some judicious Flashes of Light because the healer didn’t understand that standing in Fire burns.
Crown Princess Theredras comes with similar tribulations. The two Earth Elementals guarding her can be pulled distinctly from the boss and doing so makes the fight largely trivial. But no, that would be too easy. Hands up anyone who wiped because the tank (or some dumbass dps) pulled them with the boss included? Yeah, thats a lot of hands. While we’re doing a headcount, any healers out there who find Theredras to be particularly troublesome to heal? Yeah that would be because of the frontal aoe that she does. The one that everyone stands in because they’re too dumb or overconfident to move their stupid arses out of.
Moving on to Prince Sarsarun, the fight’s probably the easiest one out there if you just remember one thing, one thing that’s common to almost every boss fight in the game – Don’t Stand In Bad Shit. Seriously, this is not rocket science. You don’t even need Boss Mods for these fights, if there’s something there once the fight starts that wasn’t there before and it either appears under you or starts chasing after you once it spawns, be somewhere else. This is not hard. Let’s hear it from all the healers who weep in frustration at the dipshit dps who just stand there rolling their faces over their keyboards while the same vortex on Prince Sarsarun knocks them into the air over and over and over again?
And finally, we move onto Kai’ju Gahz’rilla. A frustrating fight to tank due to the Freezes that she does, but again, very simple if you remember three rules that should be so obvious at this stage of the game that they shouldn’t need repeating. First our old favourite – Don’t Stand In Bad Shit. Seriously, how hard can it be to move away from a spiky mass of Ice that gets fired at you? You even get an aggro warning with it, what more do you need, a telegram from the Boss with written instructions? Secondly, Ye Shall Not Stand In Front Of A Boss With A Breath Attack Unless Thou Art The Tank. Thirdly, and probably most importantly on this particular fight, Thou Shalt Interrupt Any Special Casts The Boss Does. Especially if the cast concerned heals the boss to 90% if you don’t interrupt it. The spellcast in question here has a 3 second cast time! You could read a book in the time it takes for her to get that spell off. But apparently you can’t click an interrupt that’s off the Global Cooldown already anyway.
None of the above is advanced raiding technique, it’s all pretty basic stuff. Take into account that the people failboating on these Elemental bosses are the people you’re going to be pugging with on the way to and at 85 where things are going to be a whole lot less forgiving of fuckwittery and it paints a very glum picture indeed. Which is what makes the whole guild advancement system suddenly appear a whole lot more attractive.
If you needed any incentive beyond the obvious “unlock some really cool perks for your guild” that comes with doing instances with your guildmates, then the tales of horror given above should be more than enough. I don’t believe that Guild Advancement is going to sound the deathknell for random pugs, but it’s going to give it a serious kick in the happy sacks. If you’re not already in a stable guild with people you can instance with who don’t breathe through their mouths, your levelling and instancing experience on the way to 85 is likely to be pretty grim. However, I did say at the start of the post that that something strange happened to me this week, and it’s not the failboating that I’ve related above. That’s not strange, that’s par for the course. If I’d not been pugging the Elemental Bosses I’d not have met the 100% awesome Smacker from the Shadowsong server.
I was doing Flamelash on Sithica for the aforementioned Flamelash Amulet and disconnected right on the pull. When I managed to log back in, I was lying face down dead with the boss in a similarly inconvenienced state not far from me. The rest of the group had all bailed out except for the healer, a holy paladin named Smacker. Seeing me log back in he did the first unusual thing, he actually started to resurrect me. At first I thought he’d sat around waiting for me to log back just for this purpose, which would have been mind-boggling in a pug, but no, he wasn’t quite THAT awesome. After the rez I thanked him and took a look at the boss. Yep, the amulet had dropped and of course, I’d missed the roll for it. It turns out he was waiting for the loot roll to time out so he could loot it, since he’d won the roll in my absence for his offspec. I congratulated him on his good luck and /waved as I prepared to leave the instance, when he asked if I needed it.
Yeah, you read that right.
Two seconds later a trade window popped up and the Amulet was in my bags. Unasked for, unsolicited, just out of the goodness of his heart. So if you’re on the Shadowsong server, send Smacker a whisper telling him what a great guy he is.
In other news, I had an amusing conversation with a GM this week. Dingles had suffered an ignoble death in the Storm Peaks due to failing to realise that a) dismounting while 200 feet in the air is never a good idea b) failing to remember what Slow Fall was bound to and c) failing to remember to use her parachute cloak. Anyway, a lot of fail in a very petite package, resulting in a small but perfectly formed crater in the Valley of Endless Winter. Now those of us who’ve died in the Storm Peaks will understand that it’s not the most friendly of zones for those without a flying mount and for some reason she ended up on foot at the spirit healer. That was bug #1. Bug#2 was that her body didn’t appear on the minimap. Bug#3 was that when she evenutally found her body, the resurrect button stopped working, and bug#4 was that the Return to Graveyard button failed.
So faced with the prospect of being forced to haunt Dun Niffelim forever, I logged a ticket, and got a pretty swift GM response:
Gotta love a GM with a sense of humour! Speaking of which, the following gem popped up in trade chat this week. Take a close look at the name of the guy looking for a rich guild to join…
See you next time!