This weekend was a bit of an odd one, namely because of the extended holiday granted by veterans day. It is also odd because it felt strange to go so long without a post after the recent outage in my blog. Most everything is working as intended, but for whatever reason on the new hardware there is an artificially low upload limit which is causing me to have to shrink my images for a bit until I have that sorted out. In truth I doubt most people will really notice that much given that my theme tended to scale them down a bit anyways. The only real annoyance is I actually have to play which images I am going to use and shrink them down beforehand. As far as gaming went I was all over the place… playing copious amounts of Destiny, World of Warcraft and even a little Guild Wars 2. I also started Diablo II the December game of the month, in honor of the 20th anniversary. The strangest thing about going back and playing that game is… just how amazingly well it still holds up. Maybe I am viewing it through the haze of nostalgia… but other than some dodgy animations it mostly just “works”. Sure I miss some of the more interesting abilities that Diablo 3 added in, but it is also making me appreciate the game we have more. So instead of going on about a whole slew of topics, I am largely going to focus in on World of Warcraft. Firstly on a crazy whim I decided to de-Worganize Belgrave my Deathknight. He started out as a human and the more I played him in Worgen form the more I was annoyed at how small in general two-handers look on that model. Both my Artifacts for Blood and Unholy felt like I was swinging a one-hander which just felt “wrong”. Along with this shift however I managed to get into the groove of the Deathknight and in theory that is probably going to be my next 110. While I need the rogue and the alchemy it provides… I just struggle to get into a would be stealthy class.
The core of this mornings post however is about Karazhan. We managed to miss the first week because we were juggling trying to get attuned, with raiding and all sorts of other things… that by the time Sunday rolled around we didn’t have a permanent 5th player. After we snagged Kylana we went in on week two and managed to make a significant amount of progress getting six of the eight bosses. We made an attempt to pull together last Monday but scheduling conflicted with us as it was Ashgar’s On Call week. From there we largely plotted our revenge throughout the week and in truth I was more amped about popping into Kara than I was about our super smooth clear of Emerald Nightmare. I’ve talked before about that this is essentially what World of Warcraft was missing for me… a tight group experience for a fixed limited number of players. After Zul’Aman there really didn’t seem to exist a similar experience, and while 10 player raiding was essentially that… it just felt different. Raiding feels like raiding no matter how many people you bring, and while I probably had more fun during wrath in the 10 player group… it didn’t feel significantly different than the 25 player version I was already running regularly. Doing both 10 and 25 watered down the experience, so that by the time we killed the Lich King on 25… it felt like old hat already since we had done it months earlier in the as a 10. It also served to make me that much more frustrated when players seemed to struggle to grasp the mechanics… since they were exactly like the version I already knew like the back of my hand.
What Karazhan provides more than anything else… is a unique experience that fits within certain confines. This week we managed to clear significantly faster, but still a little bit behind the time we would need for a Nightbane run. By the time we hit Opera we still had around two minutes and thirty seconds on the timer… but the RP dialog before the event actually starts ate up roughly a minute of that time. Essentially if we are going to do this we need to be chain pulling the place, and at some point I hope to get there. For the time being however we have been working on getting stable kills. Moroes was still a pain in the ass that we BARELY pushed across the finish line… but a oneshot is a oneshot so we were happy with that. We struggled a bit on a few other fights but at the 1 hour mark we were sitting halfway through the raid. We made it up to the Mana Devourer and took a handful of tries before we managed to defeat it and start moving onto the final boss. I am not going to lie here… it took us a solid hour of attempts on Viz’aduum the Watcher because that fight is less about damage output… and more about trying to time all of these stupid things from happening at the worst possible time…. while avoiding as much damage as is humanly possible. This is absolutely the sort of fight where you can just end up getting screwed by RNG, and it reminds me of the stark difference between FFXIV raid design and WoW raid design. The encounter as a whole has as many moving parts as Coil Turn 9 for example… but it is far more RNG dependent and far less successfully messaged. However all of that said… we managed to finally get a good attempt where the stars shined upon us and managed to get our guilds very first clear of Karazhan. Now just to speed up the process and get us a Nightbane as well.