Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Patch 3.3: The Agony and the Ecstasy

Well, we're now in the age of 3.3, and the launch wasn't as buggy as the patches I've mentioned previously. There was the usual 3 hours of being unable to connect to the server, and there's the matter of the floor of the airship at the end of the Halls of Reflection frying people's connections, and the return of "Additional Instances Cannot Be Launched", and the flaws in the new LFG... well, it wasn't perfect, but it really wasn't THAT bad. All of my addons held up, contrary to the predictions of the Yogscast boys.

The new five mans are actually very well put together, and quite fun. I ran it with some guild members, and we cleared all of them, sharded almost everything, and picked up a couple of achievements. Then we got DCed at the end, and a few of us, myself included got locked into a loading screen for the better part of an hour. Thankfully, I was prepared for such an occurrence, and had purchased Dragon Age Origins.

After a few hours, we managed to haul ourselves online, and bludgeon our way into Icecrown for my exploratory 10 man run. I thoroughly enoyed exploring the new content. The fights were more difficult than ToC, but not as difficult as ToGC, and it was no where near as buggy as Ulduar's release. Alas, I did not get the opportunity to crash the Skybreaker into some poor horde guild's ToC run.

We rolled through Lord Marrowgar after deciding to three heal it. We switched back to two healers for Lady Deathwhisper, and after two wipes sorting out the proper kill order for the adds, we knocked her down. We rolled around slaughtering horde and scourge before the gunship battle while we waited for our DCed feral druid to log back on. Then came the real fun on the boat. It was kind of late, and I was somewhat disoriented, and instead of grabbing a rocket shirt, I talked to the other NPC. Yeah, the one who starts the fight. Fortunately, everyone was on board, although not everyone had their shirts. Thus began a frantic scramble to figure out who was supposed to go where and do what, and explain to them their roles as the horde began to pour out onto our vessel. Forget pulling blind, salvaging blind surprise pulls are the most exciting thing in raiding. We had another surprise pull on Deathbringer Saurfang. We didn't see him, and we weren't sure what to do, so we talked to Muradin Bronzebeard, and out rolls Saurfang Junior. After Saurfang's disparaging racist comments, we found ourselves in combat, without a comprehensive plan, again. Unfortunately, this time, as I was barking out orders frantically in vent, my mic decided to stop working. The melee DPS didn't realize to stop AoE when the beasts spawned, and we wound up tanking the first two sets that came out. This provided Saurfang with a healthy Blood Power boost, and wound up wiping us. We returned again, with a working microphone, and a plan, and destroyed Saurfang in short order.

Lore ensued, with High Overlord Saurfang showing his paternal side, and reminding me of why he's one of, well... one horde NPCs who get any serious amount of respect from me from a lore perspective. Meanwhile, while Jaina cried about how great King Wyrnn is, we quietly stood the side.

"That's great, where's our epics?"

Then King Wrynn began to make battle plans, and dispatched peasants who promptly went and began building something.

"Are they building our purples?"

Alas, no, they did build a reagent vendor and repairman though, which was nice. We began to search frantically for our loot, until our healer lets out a holler on vent.

"I found it! It's over here!"

The Deathbringer's Cache is shoved in a corner, behind a pillar, and is painted gunmetal gray, just like the walls around it. GG Blizz.

Only one piece of tanking loot dropped, the mace from Lord Marrowgar, which I passed to the other tank, because I didn't think the loss of stam and armor made up for the gain in hit and DPS. Other than that, our feral druid made out like a bandit, and so did our holy/shadow priest.

All in all, I'm quite proud of how the ten man team acquitted themselves. It feels good to have built something that works.

However, here comes the pain. I logged on today, and stumbled through a random H Gundrak with 17k latency in order to pick up my two frost emblems. I was basically tanking the instance through memory and anticipation, with updates on where everything was standing every 15 seconds or so. It worked fine until the room after Sladran, where the warlock got too big for his britches, and decided to pull two packs for me. Normally, I pride myself on my ability to salvage DPS from their own stupidity, but watching this group crash and burn in slide show format was frustrating. So I let the trash kill everyone else before I AoEed it down, as I rezzed the rest of the party, I warned them to not pull for me. The rest of the instance was pretty much forgettable, if a little disjointed.

With my two frost emblems in hand, I logged off, and prayed that the latency issues would solve themselves by raid time. This was not the case. I logged on to a red bar in the 16k range. I started assembling the raid, and dashed towards the raid instance, hanging my last hopes that it would stabilize when I entered the raid instance. My latency did drop, all the way down to 13.7k ms. I'm used to handling things in the 600-800 ms, and I've muddled through raids with as high as 1.3k, but this was ten times worse than the worst I've ever handled. I can't raid with that level of lag. So I told the our utility player to log off his Hunter, and onto his Paladin, and gave him my spot in the raid. I handed raid lead off to one of my officers, and stepped out of the instance, out of WoW, and out of Vent.

As enjoyable as it was crushing ICC 10 with my handpicked crew on Tuesday, it was just as painful to miss out on my guild's first push into ICC 25. They're in there right now, hopefully dominating the scourge. Good luck, guys.

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