“That’s the biggest ninja I’ve ever seen!”

There’s a particular feeling that comes with being a tank and a healer pugging together. It’s a kind of freedom. But more than that, it’s the feeling of “you need us more than we need you.”

Don’t get me wrong, this hasn’t become the blog about how I abuse random puggers. I don’t, and certainly Lara doesn’t. But if a DPS is rude or mouthy – we could kick them, easily, and have another in the time it takes us to click “A member has left your group for [This Instance]. Would you like to find another?” They’re ultimately replaceable. But we’ve been pugging, and it has been fun.

First, I went and did the Nesingwary quests to acquire the Blessed Book of Nagrand. Librams don’t grow on trees, folks, and this is the first one I’ve been able to obtain that actually benefits my healing. I had another one from a Hellfire quest earlier on but it’s not really a Holy libram. So I have this, and lo, it is glorious.

We thought that maybe we’d like to run Escape from Durnholde, and so we’d gone to do the tour-guide pre-quest thing. But when we queued up for it, it was taking an uncommonly long time. (A whole five minutes, no kidding). I remembered that before we’d done the pre-quest there had been a lock symbol (not that kind of ‘lock) next to Durnholde in my LFD queue pane. It won’t put you in there for a random unless you have gone to the Caverns of Time, and done the whole ring-around-the-rosey thing. I consider this a major oversight on Blizz’s part. You worked to make this content, you created the LFD tool so that people would run it. Don’t make it so that the average person can’t hop in there to see it. I like Durnholde, but if we want to do it I think we’ll have to get a group together by asking around in LFG which may be more trouble than it’s worth because I still anticipate the trouble of people not having done the pre-quest. Might be something we’ll need to go back and steamroll later in order to get it done.

Instead we queued for a random, and drew Sethekk Halls again. My husband hates this place so much that when I was running it to get the Anzu mount for my druid, he’d say, “Yeah sure, I’ll go to septic halls with you.” I don’t dislike it, though. We did have a bit of a mishap with one of the mind-controlling totems. The totem picked Lara out of the group – I was frantically trying to beat the totem down, and I think the group turned…and commenced to beat the crap out of my poor bear. She died.

We went on to do The Shattered Halls (what’s with all the Halls places?) It was a pretty interesting run, I’ve never done it at level before. I love having a tank who can innervate me. The gauntlet parts of the instance are just pressing enough that they feel urgent and had me watching my mana use as well as utilizing all the cooldowns available to me. The fire patches at the end of one of these gauntlets proved a bit distracting for one of our DPSers – so attracted was he by the glowing light, much like a moth, that he walked into it and ignited promptly. A similar event happened on the boss who puts shadow void zones on the ground, but I’m sure the incident was unrelated.

I was briefly excited to think that I could blow the door down with one of my engineering bombs, but sadly, I couldn’t. We had no rogue and no blacksmith of the appropriate level either, so we had to Scooby Doo it through the sewers of fel orc muck. Overall, I liked Shattered Halls, it was challenging enough. I would not have liked it with a less familiar tank, though.

He really is a big ninja.

After we were done there, we wanted more of a challenge. Unable to get through the portal to the Isle of Quel’Danas (affectionately referred to hereafter as the Isle of WTF, a moniker that has persisted since the first time I went to do dailies there at level 70 and was bewildered by the mass of people and mobs), we opted to queue for it via LFD without actually picking up the attunement quest.

Our MgT group was actually pretty good. We had two mages and a DK. The DK was one of those random, loud people that just says stuff and leaves you scratching your head. I find these types always make a pug run entertaining, if nothing else. We had a bit of a mishap at the first boss (I want to say Selin Fireheart, but I’m not sure if that’s right). One mage and the DK didn’t come into the room as we were engaging, and got locked out. “YOU LOCKED US OUT OF THE ROOM,” the DK exclaimed. Lara apologized and said she hadn’t meant to, and he stood outside the door ranting and raving the whole time. “Lier,” he said, “You meant to do it.” We assured him that we really hadn’t deliberately been trying to three-man the boss…which we then proceeded to three-man with nary a hitch. And to think, my guild told me I’d need the Arcanite Reaper to do DPS. Hah!

Magister’s Terrace was probably the most pugging fun I’ve had since… the most pugging fun that I’ve had. I knew that going in at only level 69 was fairly bold of us – that instance isn’t messing around. Much like the Icecrown Citadel 5-man instances, back at 70 it had better loot than most of the other instances, and was a “step up” in difficulty. We actually employed crowd control (two sheeped mobs per group, on some pulls) and methodically made our way through with little further incident. The one thing I wasn’t looking forward to was Kael’thas. The kiting necessary to keep the phoenix engaged is tricky. We entrusted this task to one of the mages initially, but I’m pretty sure that the Death Knight got involved. In any case, while we were flying around and freaking out and I was trying to heal the massive AoE damage, one mage died. Then the other mage tried to take over – that mage died too. Then the Death Knight died.

It was just Lara and I, and Kael’thas. “I’ll turn your world upside down!” he kept yelling. I do not mind admitting, I was completely freaking out. Healing on the run is not my strong suit with this character. I slapped Beacon on myself. I healed Lara. I’d swim/fly by and holy shock her, pause for a second to toss a quick FoL, then when we landed, I’d Judge Kael’thas and swipe away at him with my silly healing mace, and Holy Shock, and just whatever. It was hair-raising. It took several “flight” phases. But we got him down! Just the two of us. And for an extra treat, look what he dropped:

I will pet him, and love him, and call him George.

I wanted either Lara or I to have him. I won the roll with a 100, but we will maybe have to go back and get one for her too, when we can do the place with only two. Needless to say, I felt that we earned that little phoenix, even though the DK made a rude gesture at me for my hundred roll. One of the mages was extremely gracious in saying, “I think that it should go to the ones left standing,” which obviously I couldn’t say on our behalf, but I was secretly thinking. When you down the last boss of MgT with just two people, it’s kind of a big deal.

After that, we did this:

Your pathetic failure will serve as a warning to all.

First Northrend instance (twice), and first Triumph emblems. (Why, back in my day, Triumph emblems didn’t just grow on trees… we were grateful to have an instance with DPSers who seemed to know where their “2” button was and didn’t pull aggro. We traipsed all the way to the meeting stone and we liked it…!) But I have to admit, I don’t much mind the change for my spoiled alts. Pugging to 80 should amass a goodly amount of emblems that will serve me well. Right now, even with twinked out gems in my gear I felt that healing this instance was a struggle. Not the whole way, but definitely hairy at parts. I have been using Beacon (Highest DPS/health or myself, and not hunters) and that helps some. I figure that some more gear for Lara and myself probably won’t hurt, even if it means giving up all those luscious gem sockets. I can’t help but remember that everything I’ve read also says that healing five-mans is harder than healing raids, and I could see why that would be. To some extent, is that going to change though, with the Cataclysm changes?

On that note, you won’t find a breakdown of Cataclysm changes for any class here. I’m too easily distractable with my various alts. I can jot down my reactions, though.

Mage: Heck yes we are getting Mage Heroism. There isn’t a single mage change I’m not happy about. They’re mixing up Arcane a little bit, and looking at Fire (which used to be one of my favourite trees to play) and even Frost is getting a bit of attention. I really like being a mage, and Cataclysm looks like it’ll be a good time to be one.

Druid: They went and made all the trees sad. Well, most of the trees. I’m a fairly indifferent tree. If anything, I dislike moonkin form and wish I could choose to eschew it, but it’s one of those things I just deal with because I love the druid’s utility. We were doing Yogg + One Light the other day to get some more people Rusted proto drakes. I was going into the brain room – if I hadn’t been a druid, I couldn’t have put HoTs on the melee as we ran, then went boomkin at the brain and DPSed the heck out of it. Druids are very cool. I think the solution to have the perma-tree form be a minor glyph is a reasonable one. I wouldn’t personally glyph it, but it would let folks glyph it who care about the form a great deal.

Shaman: Right now the shaman is a strong contender for a Class I Might Like To Play More come Cataclysm. The changes aimed at making resto a more mobile healer are quite yummy, as well as instant cast Lava Bursts (Lava burst to the face!) We’ll have to see how this goes, but I like it.

Paladin: I don’t think the nerf to Beacon was a huge surprise. What we have here is a class/spec that is so strong in many contexts that it makes any other option laughable. We’re working on Heroic Saurfang right now and without a Holy Paladin’s ability to heal two people at once… it’s hard. I know that “bring the player not the class” can go too far, but in some cases it can go Not Far Enough. We have a great resto druid and Disc priest but the two of them together can’t touch this encounter the way a holy paladin could. I’m not sure why Blizz delayed the announcement when they announced really, so little. Except the Hands thing. Because I needed another “hands” spell to not get confused about. Yes.

Finally, search engine terms! Because I love them.

can a dk tank ramparts – My personal experience suggests otherwise, but your mileage may vary.

pugs sudden death – Yes, they do that. I’d suggest first things first: Look down. Are your feet on fire? If not, look around: Are there corpses located in anything that resembles: ooze, void zones, burning patches, freezing patches, or anything else commonly called “floor candy”? One of those corpses may be your tank and/or healer, and is possibly the source of your problem. Few pugs are willing to admit that they may have in any way messed up, as well, which leads to Sudden Pug Death.

troll totem – The newly redesigned totems are very cool. They look like this: Totems!

why is scarlett monastery so great – Why is Scarlet Monastery so great? I think that it’s because it’s broken up into digestible pieces (Graveyard notwithstanding, which is a bit boring). It has enough patrols to keep you on your toes, corner places for line of sight pulls, a guy who tortures people for fun, and some weird dominatrix relationship drama thing at the end, plus a pseudo-cultist religious order has “win” written all over it. It’s also pretty linear, which means I won’t get lost in it.

level 80 running alt thru stockade – You don’t really need to google this, do you? Just…run in and facepull things. Everything, if you want. I like to do it with my priest. Shield, facepull half a wing, Holy Nova! Profit. Tell your lowbie buddy to hang way back and don’t do ANYTHING. Don’t even breathe. Just give you plenty of room, don’t cast, and be a loot monkey, that is their appointed task.

quickest way to finish gnomeregan – Hahaha.

wiener fork healer – That’s Mrs. Wiener Fork Healer to you, bub. What are you staring at? They work for marshmallows too.

18 responses to ““That’s the biggest ninja I’ve ever seen!”

  1. I’ve probably mentioned this, but when I healed the occasional WotLK instance on my priest while leveling, I found the final boss UK to be the hardest until I eventually started healing heroics. Everybody is still mostly wearing leveling BC gear that is pretty awful, and if the tank positions the boss incorrectly everybody gets damaged. It gets easier from there, so don’t worry too much.

  2. About the quests to get into Caverns of Time, remember that to get to Pit of Saron and then Halls of Reflection (more Halls, eh?) you have to do the quests in sequence through Jaina or Sylvanas.

    (As a Horde player, I simply can’t fathom what Jaina would be saying in those instances, BTW. That entire set of quests seems perfect for someone so driven for revenge as Sylvanas is.)

    Anyway, welcome to Northrend! Have fun in The Nexus!

    • @redbeard: It is sickening really. Jaina is first looking for things that will help us fight and then she is all ‘oh I have to see if there is something human left in him’. Gah!
      She annoys the heck out of me. Like at the start of PoS when the two casters and Tyranus fry all the soldiers… She is all “You Monster!” Dude! You just sent a wave of soldiers to KILL him. WTH do you think he was going to do? Invite them to tea? Of course he killed them! You sound like a whiny child when you say ‘you monster’ to legitimate self defense and predictable retaliation.

      Do the Horde get the super awsome part where the leader that talks to much gets blasted by Rymfang? That part was sweet.

      • @ReversionLFM:

        I think that these 5-mans were designed with Sylvanas in mind, and then just kinda-sorta “ported” over to Jaina for the Alliance. After all, the quest sequence in Icecrown with Arthas’ heart ends with Tirion Fordring saying that while people might think this was a failure, he begs to differ. He needed to know if there was any of Arthas left, but there is only the Lich King.

        The opening sequence of Pit of Saron has Sylvanas shouting “Soldiers of the Horde, attack!” That’s followed by “Pathetic weaklings! You’ll have to battle your way through this cesspit on your own, I’ll meet you on the other side.”

        The ending where all of the freed slaves getting fried is pure Sylvanas: “I thought he would never shut up!”

  3. I am happy for your sanity that you found someone like Lara so at least you have a good tank come pugging time. However, putting my own selfishness first, the Pugging Pally posts were a little more entertaining when you had to contend with random tanks :P. Having a stable group is just .. not the same lol

  4. I *love* MagT. It’s my favourite instance in the game, although I wouldn’t dare do it with a pug. I suppose having Wonder Bear on your side helps a lot. And grats on George. He is very shiny.

  5. Grats on your pet! I’ve always wanted that pet.

    /jealous

  6. You were kiting the phoenix? The pheonix should be killed from range and the egg needs to be killed as fast as possible. You’re not supposed to bring the phoenix into phase 2. :)

    Kael is very easy compared to the rest of the insdtance and was even killable with 2 persons back at 70 on heroic. You just needed a healer and a DD alive. Most pugs ended with only a few people alive. :)

    > But if a DPS is rude or mouthy – we could kick
    > them, easily, and have another in the time it
    > takes us to click “A member has left your
    > group for [This Instance].

    What a lot of people forget. EVERYONE is instantly replaced by the tool because a group in progress always get to the front of the queue. A healer or tank is as replaceable as a DD. It doesn’t matter that there are more DD. For a running group, everyone is equally replaceable.

    And UK is about the hardest place in WotLK. I’ve tanked it once with my DK on 68… the healer was amazing. Nevertheless, I apologized to him after the (successful and smooth) run and didn’t return before I hit 70, which allowed my to craft the cobalt set with a ton more stamina. UK is harder then all normal TBC instances, in my opinion.

    • I know Blizzard says that a run in progress gets priority in the queue. Unfortunately, the practical reality of LFD seems to be that — especially when you’re lower than the level cap — being at the head of the queue isn’t enough to get you an instant replacement when your tank leaves.

      Even at level 80, I’ve found you often have to wait ten minutes or more for a replacement tank in a heroic. It’s true that ten minutes isn’t all that long, but given how short all the modern 5-player instances are, it’s a substantial fraction of the time you would have spent doing the whole run if nobody dropped. :) In any case, it’s definitely not always “instant”.

      I’ve never had to wait for DPS, though, that’s for sure. Well, except as Vid mentioned, when we queued for the Escape from Durnholde, and nobody was attuned. I wonder if maybe they left the Caverns of Time out of the Orientation Packet they give to new Death Knights? (It got lost between “Aggressive Pets: Your Ghoul and You!” and “Glyph of Pestilence: Sharing the Love with New Friends.”)

      • My comment was more related to heroics. In heroics there is no reason to not kick a tank or healer who is a dick. The LFG for non-heroics is not really working because the pool of people queuing for these is way to low. That’s also the reason why no competitor will be able to copy the LFD.

        I had a lot of problems with my tank in TBC dungeons to find a group. Sometimes I even had to wait for DD and was in the queue with a healer. I was about 2 hours in LFD for CoT (specifically queued for that) until I logged. The next day it worked but we couldn’t get a group for CoT2 although we were a healer, tank and a DD. The DD then invited her husbands 80 and we 4 manned the dungeon. The later dungeons are way more difficult to find people. The ones where the level range allows the DD to queue for Northrend. :)

        The DD needed the drops for the potion specialization. Yep, that quest is in the dungeon you will never be able to run because of the attunement. Just become transmutation alchi and respec. It’s probably easier. :)

        Also it’s funny that you cannot take the portal to the gold island before level 68 but you can queue for the dungeon earlier. :)

        The problem also exists at level 80 where it’s very very hard to get a group for normal HoR. Unfortunately, the best non-raid shield and non-raid cape for tanks drops there. The items from heroics are all inferior and there is nothing for emblems (besides the cape for frost but there are other things to buy for the rare frosts for a fresh 80). Stupid Blizzard, stupid.

        When I was gearing my warrior tank I run normal instances and met the same healer in 3 instances in a row! That means we were the only healer and the only tank queuing for normal instances at 80. :-)

        > Even at level 80, I’ve found you often have to wait ten minutes or more for a replacement tank in a heroic.

        I have never ever noticed that and I had to wait for quite some tank replacements. They often instantaniously drop group if the dungeon is Oculus, HoR or HoS. :-)

        > (It got lost between “Aggressive Pets: Your Ghoul and You!” and “Glyph of Pestilence: Sharing the Love with New Friends.”)

        Yeah, you’re lucky, the don’t have their “army of stupidity” now.

  7. Congratulations on your Blessed Book of Nagrand… you’ll have that a long long long long embarassingly long time. :) And it will serve you well.

    Unless you buy an emblem libram or something. Hrm. Those weren’t available yet when I was trying to get rid of my BBofNagrand at 80. :D Anyway, it’s an awesome libram. First holy one out there, IIRC.

    And grats on George! That’s an incredibly special way to commemorate your two-man of Kael.

    • I think the next good Holy libram is this one from the Venture Bay PvP quests in Grizzly Hills. I’m hoping I can bribe Vid to help me with those, since there’s a respectable idol upgrade for me there, too. :)

      (It’s also tempting to go back for the 22 Badges of Justice for this one, and Burning Crusade heroics are hard enough at-level that it might lead to some exciting adventures in itself…)

  8. Congratulations on your new pet!

    I remember farming that place endlessly for my girlfriend and we never got it. This is what I would call lucky :)

  9. Grats on George.
    That was awesome in many ways:
    2-man the final boss
    rare pet drop
    /roll 100

    Do good things come in 3s because we stop counting?

  10. That’s amazing, I can’t believe you got the Phoenix pet on your first try! And with a 100 too! Surely this is the karmic gods rewarding you for 60+ levels of pugging hell. :D

  11. Kind of unrelated to the posters above me, I just wanted to tell you I enjoy very much your blog…:)
    I’m in a somehow similar situation, I rolled a shammy mid-december (I was mostly playing with a group of RL friends and due to some RL issues they had to quit WoW, I was quite lost around Dalaran so decided to level an alt as a means to keep interest in the game) and I’ve levelled her mostly through LFD.
    I’m a bit behind you, since I’ve also done some questing and I had no other characters on the server she is to help with heirlooms & stuff, but I’ve got a sudden curiosity to check her statistics and apparently my Zyina has been in 101 dungeons, in which she died 68 times and drank 624 beverages (I’d guess an enh shammy is more mana starved than a priest at lower levels).

    So, ever since I discovered your blog I’ve been reading it on every updated, laughing out loud at your pugging adventures which so much ressembled mine (i’m looking at you, Maraudon and DKs).

    GL in your Northrend adventures and I just can’t wait to see the next installment. I’m getting there soon too…

  12. Ahahaha the penultimate line had me giggling and then the final one killed me dead laughing =p

    I tanked MgT on my pally recently at lv69, it was really scary! Some of those pulls at the beginning are horrible, way harder than stuff in Northrend dungeons. The group was pretty nice though, they even waited patiently while I explained the strategy to Kael’thas (they totally thought I was pulling their leg when I said there was a phase where you all swim in the air hehe).

  13. Pingback: The Odyssey « Pugging Pally

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