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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

So in the middle of our first run in Ulduar, a guildie throws down a Sandbox Spectral Tiger ride as a bit of side entertainment between wipes. Obviously, there was a rush for it. Sometimes, being the largest, fluffiest kid (with antler-goring capabilities) in the crowd has its uses.

Notice the glaring kitty druid standing in front of her. Now stop making snide remarks about weight limits and wait your turn :-P

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

Yesterday was one of those epic nights where everything seemed to come together and before we knew it, we’d spent over seven hours with the same people cleaning out multiple raid instances because we were having too much fun (or too drunk) to stop. If I was back at university, last night would have been one of those nights where we started out at the neighborhood bar, club-hopped our way down Sunset Boulevard, had an early morning dinner at Mel’s, then crashed at somebody’s place giggling until dawn. And, as luck would have it, my druid was the lucky little bird riding that particular train of giddy coolness.

We started out the night with our regularly scheduled 25-man Obsidian Sanctum. This was a nice, short warmup session done on easy 0-drake mode for the sake of bringing in as many guildies as possible to collect Emblems of Valor. We cleared it without incident, then realized that Alliance didn’t currently have Wintergrasp, so we couldn’t continue on to Archavon as our schedule usually dictates. So we split into our 10-man teams to start cleaning up previous nights’ stuff. Most notably, the rather slow Naxx run from the last night.

This is a picture of Litenin, one of our favorite pally healers, being dead after a Four Horsemen wipe. It is worth noting for a few reasons. 1 — I can almost see up his nose. I tried very hard to, but the camera wouldn’t let me get any close because the ground was in the way. 2 — Dead people are people with too much time on their hands, so they spend it trying to take pictures up their friends’ noses. I thoughtfully cropped myself out, but I am indeed just as stone cold dead right next to him. 3 — We spent a lot of time dead on Thursday night and were still stinging from that particular debacle.

This was the happy scene from last night’s team, beginning our streak of IWIN. We went in with two freshly-dinged and mediocrely-geared (one week old or so) DPS casters, two healers who’d never done the encounters, and a tank who’d never tanked those same encounters. However, the people behind the toons (despite being a bit on the intoxicated side) knew their roles, listened to instructions, and everything clicked. We did it in two tries. Of course, it helped that most of us had done the encounters before, if not in those specific roles.

Sadly, moonkin form does not hide very well. It’s a bit on the bulky and antlery side for that. Trying to drop aggro as a moonkin is equally laughable. There’s a reason why we’re given that hefty armor bonus in shapeshift form. Coming from my hunter mindset with a whole slew of aggro-management buttons, there were quite a few moments of panic when my chicken realized she was next in line to be fried.

We killed Grobbulus (one-shot), Gluth (one-shot) and Thaddius (two tries, thanks to some polarity confusion) in quick succession.

…then ambled our way over to Frostwyrm Lair where we similarly one-shotted Sapphiron with minimal frost resistance. Being a druid DPS is refreshingly different from hunter DPS — even though we’re both ranged, my druid was able to run around throwing spot heals, decurse, and battle rez while still zapping the boss. In many ways, she’s much more survivable than my hunter, aggro-management issues aside. It also meant I had no use for the damage meters, because being a utility hybrid makes it much harder to gauge your actions in a group on one number alone.

Group photos in front of large dead corpses, always in style.

We’d always heard that the bosses leading up to him were harder than the Big Bad himself, but this was the first night we got to prove it. By one-shotting Kel’Thuzad with our ragtag little band of hybrids. Go us! KT-in-1 was also a guild first, and officially puts Naxxramas-10 on farm status for our guild. More or less.

Unfortunately, a dead-body-trophy picture for KT doesn’t work very well because he’s just this dull glowy lump after he dies. He has a cool throne, though, which we got comfortable in. Novaz (our uber-tree) on the upper left, Cronollo (enhancement shammy) on the upper right, Robsagat (uber-tree-in-training) standing on the throne, Anoela (boomkin-in-training) sitting on the throne, Astheenos (prot warrior) standing on the pedestal to the left, Takarakasai (survival hunter with a new bumpy bucket head) standing next to him, Celletar (our favorite dead rogue) standing to the right, and Hausenhealz (elemental shammy) sitting at the bottom. Chaaso (our prot pally) was still distributing loot and Litenin (our holy pally) had run back to the city for some reason or the other. Pallys are apparently camera-shy. Seven hybrid classes (3 druids, 2 shammys and 2 pallys) = crazy good versatility, plenty of emergency healing and multiple forms of death recovery. It was an awesome group.

Not being quite ready to call it a night, we then decided to hop over to Obsidian Sanctum and pick up some free loot there, courtesy of squishy dragons. We switched out a few people who’d been saved, then sat down to a nice five course meal of… pig. Lots of pig. Courtesy of our guild chefs, who are mowing their merry culinary swath through Northrend wildlife while leveling their skills. Note that watching a tree, a giant chicken, and two space goats eating copious amounts of pig is strange, to say the least. Don’t think about it too hard, though. In fact, that might have been our motto for the night.

After the dragons, it was well past bedtime for most of the east coasters. A little band of us continued onwards into the wee hours, though, since we just needed a few more emblems to buy goodies from the Dalaran vendors. We hit the daily heroic, Culling of Stratholme. Our chefs presented us with a hideous 2-headed mutant pig feast. We were too drunk and sleepy to care and still ate it.

…and we scrambled for the goody box before the bosses were done talking.

My druid came away from last night with five new epic items, including the boomkin tier-7 leggings, substantial upgrades to her ring and trinket slots, and healing staff for her upcoming dual spec set. She was also able to buy a pretty necklace with that newly-earned stack of emblems. A very nice haul, indeed, with the bonus of no hangover in the morning!

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

Some people like to have costume parties. Here at Breakaway, we like to have costume raids. Wearing the same old tier gear gets boring, y’know?


Touring the heroics of Tempest Keep as the Grateful Undead.


Pirates versus Ninjas day in Karazhan!


Including an all-pirate dancing male revue!


And just recently, dancing dwarves took over Naxx :-)

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

On the evening of February 9th, Breakaway cleared 10-man Naxxramas for the first time. We’ve been working at this place for a month and a half now, making steady progress as we learned the fights and geared up our guildies. With barely any experience of the pre-WotLK Naxx, this was truly a new undertaking where we went in cold and scrabbled our way up through practice, determination, and LOTS of repair bills. Considering that the 10-man version has been said to be more difficult than the 25-man relative to the number of players, this is quite the accomplishment. Everybody who has ever raided with us all these weeks contributed to this night and should know that they will all get a chance to sit on a dead lich’s throne in the near future.

The team picture here shows Revanchist (and his ghoul Dirtface-Bonegobbler-Ribgibbler), Wrongwayray (the pally who resolutely solo-healed the whole latter half of one attempt), Dirtythirty (the tank who gave it his all as an emergency healer), Novaz (the superfast battle-rezing tangerine tree), Lucidrose (quite the scary battle mage), Wyldbyll (the freshly-80 priest who was invited, then told “Surprise! Meet Kel’Thuzad!”), Galena (with her faithful old cat Kiisa), Hausen (the tank who is not German), and Cronollo (who is totem-tastic). Also present were Eliseth (the amiable lock who let us go through nearly all of his stones on one boss) and Faing (who unfortunately got swallowed by real life after our first few wipes).

With Kel’Thuzad down, we will now proceed to turn Naxxramas into the happy free-flowing gear farm that it was meant to be. Gear is important because our next challenge looms near — we will be going head to head with Malygos later this week in the Eye of Eternity. Here’s to many more victories, Breakaway!

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

Oh, and in other news? Yeah, we killed Sapphiron. Last week’s attempt didn’t go well, thanks to the crazy double damage bug that wiped our raid in record time. This week, post-hotfix, we go in and nearly one-shot him on our first try. A bit of bad luck (random blizzard spawning above our “safe spot”) wiped us at 1%, but we then hopped right back in and killed him shortly thereafter. We peeked in on Kel’Thuzad and gave him a couple of good tries, but it was very late so we soon had to call it. We’ll be going back in on Monday to deal with the big boss himself, and expect to soon be updating the progression threads with a 10-man full clear :-)

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

So after raiding a couple of times post-nerf, then browsing through the charts posted at various forums, it’s pretty clear that the current spec for highest hunter DPS is Survival. As I have stated previously, I am a BM hunter for my own sanity and because it is what I enjoy the most. The idea of seeing my pet shrink in significance from trusty-companion-and-teammate to mere accessory status causes no small amount of mental anguish. For this reason alone, I would probably just stay BM and go along my merry way. Except for a couple things.

Last night, I had a talk with the SO (who also is one of our raid leaders) about my hangups over the Great BM->SV Exodus, and where that left me. He was quite understanding and pointed out that I’d still be taken in raids regardless of spec, because my old spec — while no longer topping the meters — still performed highly enough to put me in the upper half of the DPS group. I do not search for raid spots beyond what our guild offers, so I have no issues about whether or not I’ll be accepted outside of that setting. This left the choice to re-spec purely in my court. Which, as we all know, will quickly lead to a lot of inner turmoil and self-reprobation stronger than anything somebody else could dish out.

Our guild has always been supportive of everybody playing the spec that makes them happiest, and tried to accommodate off-specs even in raids if the attendance allows it. This has primarily been a policy that has effected tanks and healers, but BM spec would probably fall under this category now as well. However, many of our guildmates (I can think of two shaman, a priest and a couple of tank-types just off the top of my head) have taken it upon themselves to re-spec as needed for raiding purposes to be better contributing members on the whole — oftentimes at great and recurring expense to themselves.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from these people, it’s that the social aspect of the game encourages us to bend in ways that we wouldn’t otherwise in a more self-motivated (single-player RPGs, say) environment. They juggle multiple specs to do their best in raids and suit themselves in their downtime. There is really no reason why I couldn’t be doing this as well, especially when we’re talking about a 25% increase in damage that could help our guild progress that much faster through content. Especially when we do not yet have Naxx on farm-status, our people are still getting geared, and we need to bring everything we’ve got to each and every fight.

Then there’s the part where my own words come back to bite me. When I wrote up the class lead mission statement for the guild, I included a bit about how leads should “be familiar with the different specs available to their class, ideally having played each one enough to have a solid grasp of the mechanics and specific details needed for each tree.” Admittedly, I have not touched the other trees since the expansion, and that was just plain complacency on my part. With the majority of the class now switching to another tree, it becomes necessary to understand survival more fully to better aid other hunters in the guild when making their own speccing choices.

So with that being said, Galena will be going survival when the realms come up this afternoon. I’ll probably take my cat along on raids until I finish leveling up a wolf for the additional raid buff. [Never mind... our warriors' battle shouts will override Furious Howl. Looks like my flappity moth is coming to raids after all... that should make the tanks really happy ;-) ]

This will probably stay in effect until we have a few good survival hunters to fill raid spots, allowing me to slink back to BM unnoticed. Or until Blizzard figures out where all the hunters went and nerf survival as well. When not raiding, my hunter will probably see a lot less use as I will be concentrating on leveling my balance druid, who is proving to be quite an enjoyable little DPS-monster herself. She was a healer during Burning Crusade, and might be doing a bit of spec flip-flopping as well, depending on what the raid needs. Guess it’s time to stir the pot and see what floats.

…or maybe I’ll just go level my death knight and be done with it. Heh.

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Finally!

Jan. 15th, 2009 01:35 pm
pierydys: (Default)

Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

Last night, Breakaway cleared the Military and Arachnid Quarters of 10-man Naxxramas for the first time. For many of us, this was the first time encountering some of these bosses and for most of us, this expansion was our first time in Naxx at all. We’ve been chipping away at it for a couple of weeks, but taking down the final bosses in two wings is definitely an accomplishment and we look forward to much more progression in the weeks ahead!

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

“Yeah, you’re like the guild’s crazy cat lady. Except, you know, not old and scary.”

Sadly, they are not wrong. Not at all. *pets Mr. Bigglesworth* Miiiiiine.

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

To quote Riou, “Nothing cuter than two teddy bears and a cherry!”

Because there’s no point in raiding if you can’t do it in costume. I’m sure Gruul understood.
And since we were all at gnome-level, poor Wooddy managed to fit into the lineup without even trying.

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

We started late again, which was perfectly fine because I was still running around trying to restock my consumables for the night’s adventure. We’d been told to read up on the fight over the weekend, but I was still surprised to see that almost everybody did indeed do it. It was a refreshing change after having been in a few too many groups where people ran in without the slightest idea what was what and just expected to have their hands held. While I know that experience is the best teacher, I also believe that studying up will keep you from looking completely clueless. Or maybe I’m just too much of a research junkie. Landing in a guild with similar-minded folk makes me happy, though.

So yes, armed with all the diagrams, videos, and tips we got from the helpful WoW community, we marched back in for our date with a big, boney lizard. Our first try got him down to 24%, the second time 22%. Our third try doesn’t count because it was something of a flukey flub. We got him down the fourth. It really was just a matter of anticipating the phases and perfecting our choreography after the first round. Then lo, there was a giant pile of smoking bones at our feet and (shock of shocks) more of that ever-present purple caster/healer gear to be distributed. (Yeah, I went into this dungeon know full well that I’d probably only be farming badges, since it’s not the most hunter-friendly of places. Especially when you have luck like mine.)


Nightbane? Down! “Kara has been cleaned!”

Did I mention that in addition to this being my first Kara experience, let alone first full clear, it was the guild’s first full clear? Gleeful, I say. Yeah, karma is good. :-D

The group, being in high spirits at this point, voted to conclude the evening with a field trip to Zul’Aman. With time left to spare and half a flask still ticking down, the boy and I jumped at the opportunity. Hitching a flight from gloomily desolate Deadwind to the humid jungle depths of Ghostlands, we rang a gong and killed a bear god.


Fluffy-yet-rabid Nalorakk? Bit it.

Well, there was more to it than that, of course. At least a handful of us had never seen the place before so the fights got a little messy as we figured things out. I, for one, learned that I need to devote an hour or two to making some better raid macros. We kind of jumped over Gruul and Magtheridon, so the content was just a tad harder than what we had just completed. There was probably a miniscule chance that we’d actually complete the timed run on our first try, but it was definitely a good scouting mission. And dude, a 20-slot bag for killing him! That not only added 2 slots to my on-character bags, but meant that I could replace the 14-slotter in my bank with my old Imbued Netherweave, resulting in a net gain of 6 slots! Packrat joy!

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

So we picked up last night with the Chess event, which is a wacky, chaotic mess. I can see why so many people like it, since it’s a refreshing departure from typical boss fights. You’re role-playing within a role-playing game! How novel. :-D I forgot to grab a screenshot, which made me go “d’oh” since I’d promised myself I would start taking more photos now that we were into raid content. I got to play two pawns and a horse, and would love a chance to try out the other pieces in the future.

Oh, and our group composition changed a bit, since we were entering the latter half of the dungeon and had to recruit accordingly. Another top-notch priest was brought in, as well as our top-DPSing gleefully trigger-happy shammy friend. There was also a hunter, but due to RL problems he got swapped with a lock halfway through. This was my first time playing with some of the “big guns” in the guild, so it was all kinda cool. Also, the boyfriend ended up switching out his warrior for his hunter (Galena’s protégé) during the Prince fight, since we only needed one tank for that particular battle.


Terestian Illhoof and his nasty imp? Down.


Prince Malchezaar in his spanky pants? Down.


Glow-in-the-dark Netherspite with his dancey beams of d00m? Down. (“Nobody skin him until I get a picture!” Hee.)


Bloody evil eats-you-in-one-munch Nightbane? 74%. Um, we have until next Tuesday to work on it. ;-)

Even without that @%#%&* bony dragon, though, that’s still 20/22 badges from my first run. And a pair of purple shoulders which look exactly like my old blue ones (which I still have to keep in my bag because they get used occasionally for trap bonus), so nobody even noticed when I put them on. Not bad, not bad at all.

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Originally published at My Cat Eats Faces. Please leave any comments there.

So, Karazhan. The much-venerated doorway to end-game content.

Here’s the thing about Kara — I’ve been meaning to raid it for ages. Since my hunter turned 70 back in February, probably. I’d studied the boss fights in both print and video format, read through countless articles on strategies and gear, gotten all the addons, stocked my bank with any number of consumables, gone through lord-only-knows-how-many heroics, you name it. In fact, my hunter was geared to almost Serpentshrine Cavern level, according to most character auditing systems, without ever setting foot into a raid dungeon and only using minimal PvP items. Yet due to some guild issues and a chronic fear of PUG-raiding, it wasn’t until last night that Galena of Terokkar finally raided Kara. And what a night it was!

Our guild master, deciding to mix things up a bit that evening, put together a group weighted more on the inexperienced side, with two tanks who hadn’t gone past the first few bosses and a handful of newcomers (including yours truly), some still in greens. We started out with three hunters (2 BM and 1 MM), a lock, 2 druids (a resto and a balance), 2 warrior tanks, a holy pally, and a holy priest. Very heavy on the ranged DPS, though we ended up trading in another hunter (hee!) for the boomkin and a rogue for the lock as the evening grew late. Our tour guide for the evening was the experienced (if somewhat leery, due to our new group) priest who figured we’d get through the first four bosses and call it a night. We started more than an hour later than planned, further making it likely to be a short run.

Except, well, not really. Overall, we had six substantial wipes that night. Which, given that we usually clock around that many when learning any heroic dungeon, was rather impressive. Our guide detailed strategies and positions, and our group followed orders with a surprising precision. We were upbeat, efficient, and even fought our way through a handful of pulls in which we really should not have been left standing. It went so well that we continued beyond the initial plan, up until the point when many of us were falling over in our seats and starting to see double.


Curator down :-D


One of the more interesting moments, when Shade cast a hilarious mass polymorph.

Bosses killed that evening: Attumen, Moroes, Maiden, Opera: Oz, Curator, Shade of Aran. We wiped once in Opera and once at Curator, but the others were quite clean. About four hours later, we broke for the night with 11 badges pocketed, a small pile of goodies distributed, and a plan to regroup the next evening. I can’t wait to see how far we get tonight.

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