standing at the back in my sissy robe

June 16, 2009

my world is upside-down!

Filed under: Real Men Wear Purple,Sweets for the Sweet,Vainglory — Tamarind @ 10:51 am

So some fool (might have been me) stayed up to 1.30 in the morning to three-man Kael’thas at Magister’s Terrace.  Being the indolent casual I am, I never quite got round to doing it at the appropriate time but I was damned if I was going to walk through it whistling and polishing my nails behind an 80.  I’ve lately fallen in with a handful of players, all of whom are running reasonably competently instances at my level in Northrend, but after another take-down of UK there were only 3 of us left in the mood to try something frivolous, myself, the pally tank and a undead mage.

The tank and the mage make for an endearing pair – he is clearly her WoW mentor, which naturally makes me nostalgic for days of yore.  She is tanking with her L Plates on and, actually, she’s pretty decent.  She’s not M’Pocket Tank, of course, but who is.  However, she is sensible and mostly effective and just needs a bit of practice at the tricksy stuff (spellcaster mobs get away from her sometimes and splode me).  She did panic-bubble once but she was terribly apologetic (to my corpse) and hasn’t done it since.  I like healing for her because, although she’s not amazing (yet) and occasionally makes mistake, she’s always nice, eager to learn and fun to play with.  The mage, of course, is clearly a Burned Out Veteran.

Somehow we decided we wanted to do Magister’s Terrace and the truly heartbreaking thing was we couldn’t get anybody interested in joining.  Nobody could see the point.  I could have arm-twisted an 80 into helping us out, certainly, but I most assuredly didn’t want that.  I wanted to run the instance, not see the instance.

So we 3-manned it and it was amazingly good fun.  And nobody said “lol noob” when I looked excitedly into the scrying orb.

I know it is generally not common practice to say that anything in WoW is difficult (especially when one is operating in a post-nerf world).  One should be able to play WoW with your nose while juggling three elephants and a weasel, and putting out a small kitchen fire (in a different house).  But this was difficult, delightfully difficult.  Let me see, I think we were all about level 73-74, there were only three of us and, although we were competently geared, we weren’t amazingly geared.

Our first act inside the instance was to wipe because the tank over-pulled.  So from then on it was creeping forward, marking, strategising, using LOS and cc out the wazoo.  And, y’know, I love instancing like that.  I mean, yes, sometimes you’ve done something a hundred and fifty times and just want to run through it as quickly as possible.  But it’s wonderful to feel that it’s your skill and cunning that’s making the difference between success and failure.  And I’m not saying that this is was an amazing feat of WoW machismo or anything like that.  It has added neither length nor girth to my WoW cock.  But on a personal level it was was meaningful.

Selin Fireheart dropped like a bitch and we danced gleefully on his corpse.

Vexallus, however, not so much.  The fight is an absolute fucker, no two ways about it, and especially demanding on the healer. But, somehow, somehow we did it.  It came down to myself and the mage lying helpfully dead on the floor while the tank plugged away at him for the final 2% of his health.  Tense.   About a repair bill’s worth of wipes though.  Under different circumstances, I might have said “fuck it, not worth it” but it’s amazing what liking your team can do for your resolve, and there was no way I was letting them down.  This is the sort of thinking that means you stay up til half past one in the morning isn’t it…

The journey from Vexallus and Kael’thas seemed a cake-walk after that.  We wiped once on Priestess Delrissa but only because we didn’t Own the Environment and foolishly tried to take them on between the pillars.  Between all the horrible effects they throw you, I lost sight of basically everyone and was thus reduced to running around headless chicken style shrieking LOS LOS! until, yeah oops, I died.  “I call that a good start,” purred the Priestess.  “Yep  yep,” agreed the mage, “that was our healer.”   The second time, though, we drew them out from between the pillars into the (cleared) garden and took ‘em down.

And, after a couple of attempts (mainly while we flailed failingly about in zero gravity), Kael’thas also fell to our 3manly might.

Like … wow.

I know this probably doesn’t strike anybody out there regularly taking on Uldar as worth the fuss but, well, truthfully it was a big deal to me.  In a perfect world I’d have liked to have done it with friends but, in an imperfect one, I couldn’t have asked for more than the undead mage and his neophyte pally tank.  I’m so grateful I got take on Magister’s Terrace in a semi-meaningful way, rather than having someone boost me through it or face-roll it myself at 80.  And I’m really glad I fell in with a couple of people happy to ooooh and aaaaaah and giggle with me.  There was, of course, no loot to speak of (well, actually, there was amazing loot … had I been level 70 and pre-WotLK) but, ah, the experience, the experience was beyond price.

Especially because I am fanboyishly into Kael’thas.  I don’t quite know why.  I think it’s the camp factor, and the tragedy of it all.  Also you have to respect a man whose approach to home decoration is enormous statues of himself.

I don’t presume to have readers, although I’m deeply thrilled when it appears I occasionally do, and I certainly don’t want to put pressure on you but … what’s your favourite instance (or your favourite raid, if you’d prefer), your favourite villain?  And why?  (that sounds weirdly like a Blind Date question … well the sort of Blind Date question that would inspire all the contestants to run away screaming).



  1. /feels pressured 😛

    Well I for one am (semi)regularly taking on ulduar and i can see what the fuss is about, magister’s terrace is a difficult instance. Back at 70, the only way it could be done was with inordinate amounts of crowd control since the pulls are so large, so 3 manning it (with only a mage for CC! well maybe mind control at a push… and don’t pallies have that thing where they press a button and the mob goes All Asleep With The Little Birdies Flying Around Their Head? Or maybe thats in the ret tree…) where was I… oh yeah, 3 manning it is definitely an achievement, and nothing to be scoffed at. Vexallus is a complete healer gang bang, I tried to heal heroic magister’s terrace on my priest at 70… and we do not talk about what happened then. No We Do Not.

    Moving on, its funny that you stayed up so late doing it, it kinda reminds me of the time a few guildies and me were trying to do the heroic occulus achievement where you just use 5 amber drakes on the last boss (if you haven’t done occulus, you should – it’s a good instance with lots of movement fights and lots of challenge ^_^) Well, cutting a long story short, it got to 7am the next morning (we started at around 4am) and we still hadn’t got that bitch down :< i think everyone was getting sick to death of that place, so we decided to just kill him normally before promtly becoming comatose on our collective keyboards.

    As for my favourite villain… ooh it has to be XT-002 in ulduar, because I don't usually play with the sound on but one of my friends told me to do it for that fight, and when I did – well I won't spoil the surprise, but his bemo (boss emo :P) screaming had me laughing out loud.

    From a healing standpoint, though, my favourite encounter in the game would have to be mimiron. If you're not familiar with the fight, its 3 very different and fiendishly difficult stages followed by a fourth stage which is a culmination of everything you just survived in the first three. The reason I like it is because the stages are well balanced at requiring different strategies to heal – the first stage is a lot of tank healing at certain intervals, the second is frenetic AoE heal spam where every missed global cooldown could result in someone's death, and the third one is healing two tanks and dispelling a nasty debuff with occasional raid damage. At the same time, you have to be situationally aware – in phase 2, rockets are fired at people which you absolutely have to move out of or you take 5 million or so damage, in phase 1 there are mines to avoid and in phase 3 you should watch out for bomb bots. It gets a lot easier as you spend more time doing it, but learning that fight is the most fun i've had in wrath so far.

    So, did I win blind date? did you pick me? Huh, did you?!!

    /gets rejected

    oh fine then. Sorry i wasn't Kael’thas enough for you, just because i don't build statues of myself im not a real man?!

    *bursts into tears and runs away, purple robes and flowers flailing in the wind behind him*

    Comment by uke — June 16, 2009 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

    • Well, you get points, certainly, if not prizes 🙂

      But thank you for encouragement for our Magister’s HELP I HAVE NO ACRONYM Terrace run. We got quite good at managing the cc by the end, but, as I say, the mage was obviously the alt of somebody awesome. I think there were about 6-7 guys standing in front of Kael’thas and the mage was very much \”this is the end of the line guys.” I don’t know how we didn\’t like bitches but … we didn’t … bizarrely that was even more dramatic than the fight with the Big Bad because we were so stressed about it. Vexallus, though. *shudder* He will haunt my nightmares. He makes healers cry.

      Mimiron sounds fantastic – although I don\’t think I will ever be capable. I like using different healing strategies although occasionally it’s a bit like “learn monkey learn, learn dammit.” And, here\’s a confession, if you promise not to tell anybody – I *know* not to stand in fire but can I do it? Can I? Well, I’m getting better… *shame*

      Comment by Tamarind — June 17, 2009 @ 11:26 am | Reply

  2. Melonmonkey has been happily flailing his branches through whatever content he could get in on for the entirety of his time as a character. He leveled mostly restoration, so he got many chances to experience that feeling of success when he would actually achieve something.

    That, to be honest, is why I play the game. Being boosted up helps make leveling easier, but in the end it comes down to beating the hard boss and letting out a sigh of relief or a nerd scream.

    My favorite fight right now is Yogg, but that is simply because he’s the stone our guild has to move to get to say we’ve cleared most of ulduar. My favorite fight always seems to be what stops the guild I’m in from progressing.

    Comment by melonmonkey — June 16, 2009 @ 6:27 pm | Reply

    • I\’m really impressed you levelled as resto. I suppose it\’s *slightly* easier for druids because they\’re *slightly* hardier than priests but people always give me a virtual look – a kind of \”are you completely sane\” look – when they learn I\’ve managed to limp to my mid 70s as holy.

      I doubt I\’ll ever make it to Yogg myself but I\’m really into him because of the mad-dorfs-in-the-mine quest. Firstly, as I\’m sure I\’ve explained with far too much enthusiasm before, it was a cool question (anything that asks you to extract dorf brains is good for me) but I *loved* the Lovecraftian whispering 🙂

      Good luck in taking him down. I\’m sure I\’ll know when you do from your blog.

      Comment by Tamarind — June 17, 2009 @ 11:36 am | Reply

  3. I agree with melonmonkey to a certain extent – the challenge and puzzle-solving of how best to get through a boss encounter often makes one remember that boss very fondly. Our 10-man finally downed Thorim last night and that was a blast.

    For just burn-through-them fun instances, I’ve enjoyed all of the Caverns of Time ones, although I’ve never done Mount Hyjal.

    I really enjoy Ulduar as far as raids – so far I have not come across an uninteresting or boring boss or encounter in the place. Even the trash mobs have caused issues!

    As for my favorite boss? To date, that is the Four Horsemen in Naxx. For some reason, I always just have a helluva good time running around healing in that one (I generally start out in the back of the room.)

    But really what I look for is an interesting encounter with coordination and teamwork required and lots of fun healing challenges.

    Comment by wildgrowth — June 16, 2009 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

    • Belated congratulations (as \”gratz dude\” as I believe local parlance goes 🙂 ). I really need to at least pay a flying visit to the Caverns of Time but the fact you had to bend over and take a lore hit before you were allowed in annoyed me. Not, I hasted to add, because I object to lore, but on principle I like it to be disseminated in a sensible way and while a bunch of people are yelling at you to get a move in not a sensible way.

      I think you\’re right about the need for encounters to be challenging and interesting but I always find them more interesting if I have a level of imaginative engagement in them, whether because of the game itself or because of previous experiences.

      Comment by Tamarind — June 17, 2009 @ 11:41 am | Reply

  4. Cheers on that Magister’s clear … doing it with three low-70s is still nothing to sneeze at so you have every reason to feel good. It’s always nice to hear about patient veterans mentoring newcomers, too.

    My favourites? Hmm. From vanilla, it’s Scholomance for the design and challenge, and Maraudon and Wailing Caverns for the story (my main’s a night elf druid so the plots there are “close to home”). From TBC, I am not sure actually — maybe Shadow Labyrinth. Challenging trash, fun bosses. The chaos phase at Blackheart always made me laugh. Of the raid-content I saw, I liked Lady Vashj (my druid hates nagas), Moroes (controlled chaos), Netherspite (ribbon dancing) and the Shade of Aran (uncontrolled chaos) best. Kael’thas I didn’t down till after the pre-Wrath patch that made stuff easier, but he was intersting even then.

    In Wrath, so far … I really don’t know. The instances go faster and feel more bland, partly because of CC-less AoE chain pulls, partly because they lack associated questlines. TBC had some kickass long questlines, Wrath has fewer, and they rarely tie into instances. Bit of a shame really. Long questlines and raid attunements could be a pain, but they were also engaging and a tangible achievement. But, some of the Wrath bosses are still fun. Overall, I think I like the Nexus and Ahn’kahet best (beating up teammate clones during Insanity on heroic is a blast, and I say that as someone who hates PvP). In Naxxramas, I like Heigan, the Four Horsemen and Sapphiron best. Ulduar, no opinion yet. Maybe the Assembly of Iron, of the bosses I’ve seen so far.

    There really isn’t a WoW villain who engages me personally. They simply are not “present” enough and tend to annoy me if they are. Arthas/the Lich King is overhyped and so was Illidan — I never saw Illidan; my druid would be glad to kill him but *I* think he’s just a whiny punk brat, same for Arthas. I think the only time I had a “I’m SO going to get you!” vibe was with Pathaleon the Calculator in TBC since he is actually active behind the scenes in various places (Hellfire Peninsula, Terokkar, Netherstorm) so he wasn’t just a random boss popping up out of nowhere.

    Comment by Feralan — June 16, 2009 @ 10:53 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for the cheers 🙂 I always feel a little bit foolish enthusing about my WoW adventures because most people have been-there-done-that-a-million-times.

      Again, Scholomance I didn\’t get a chance to take on – which is sad-making, although I will probably pop in just to admire the place at some point. I\’m glad to hear somebody else likes Mara. Nearly everybody I have spoken to rolls their eyes because it is apparently \”big and empty\”, although how it can be empty when it is full of angry, corrupt satyrs I have no idea. I always thought Mara was pretty epic – but I think I did it first on my cow who was, of course, all interested in cleansing the place and saving the day.

      I agree with you about the Wrath instances, thus far. I\’ve found them all a bit \”meh.\”

      I suppose the problem with WoW NPCs, villainous or otherwise, is that you have to actively put time into giving a damn. It\’s not like a single player when their fate and yours are tied together in a very direct way. WoW villains are being regularly and repeatedly killed off by every group that wanders by 🙂

      Comment by Tamarind — June 17, 2009 @ 11:51 am | Reply

  5. Feralan raises an excellent point about bosses engaging with you personally, which is why my favourite boss is still Archmage Arugal.

    My first ever character was a Forsaken Warlock, and by the time I’d fought through Pyrewood village with my Voidwalker I was *soooo* ready to kill that guy.

    Comment by Temitope — June 16, 2009 @ 11:49 pm | Reply

  6. Bosses, at least a few of ’em, should be built up properly to create desire to finish them off, IMO … to finish THAT BOSS off because of what they did, not because they’re a random loot pinata. WoW has way too little of that. Kael’thas and Pathaleon were built up a bit, most instance and raid bosses aren’t. Lady Vashj? Ancient nasty, zero storyline involvement. Karazhan? Didn’t *have* a story, it was just there, a giant random loot pinata that, though it contained some fun fights, didn’t pick up any of the leads from vanilla that it should have. Archimonde? Unmotivated time-jump for no reason. Kil’Jaeden? Well-known, but not “present” in anyway. Actually, I think the very first raid boss had the best lead-up: Onyxia. (She was the first, yes?)

    It seems they are changing it a bit with the Lich King since he pokes his silly helmeted head in on a few occasions — but since I don’t like that character, it doesn’t really work for me. :p It is “Oh geez not him again …” rather than “I want you DEAD for that!”.

    There are also Loken and King Ymiron. The former I admit is decently done since he’s behind much of the trouble in Storm Peaks, directly uses you for his own goals and gets away with it. Forgot to mention him in my first post — he was someone I DID want dead. The latter, though, has the problem of having been introduced at level 70 in the starter zone, but only appears in a level 80 instance. That’s too much time in-between.

    Comment by Feralan — June 17, 2009 @ 12:37 am | Reply

    • I’m with you on the Lich King. His appearances don’t make me want to kill *him*, they make me want to know why the heck he hasn’t killed *me*. Or possibly to kill Tirion Fordring for being a kill-stealing bastard.

      Loken was pretty cool, although like – I suspect – a lot of people, I didn’t actually do any Storm Peaks quests until I’d already done Halls of Lightning, so I got the buildup after I’d already killed the guy twice.

      King Ymiron I feel kind of sorry for. If you dothe Alliance quests you learn that he tried to exterminate humanity in its infancy, but otherwise your first introduction you get to him is when you kill his wife without provocation, which isn’t really the sort of thing that makes you want to take somebody down.

      I’m trying to work out why I find Arthas so unsatisfying. I think it’s because he never actually *does* anything. He just shows up and tells his minions to kill you, which they of course fail to do. I think part of the problem is the fact that the Horde and Alliance are basically the aggressors in Northrend. Zombie plague aside, all Arthas has done since Wrath launched is pose and defend himself. The big defining moments of Wrath (the Wrath Gate, the destruction of the heart) don’t involve Arthas doing anything pro-active, they involve him getting *spanked*.

      Comment by Temitope — June 17, 2009 @ 10:11 am | Reply

      • Yes, I agree, I think Arthas is getting to be a bit of a problem, in the sense of \”losing all his cool points\” rather than \”I want to take this guy down.\” He\’s just so iconic that the more stage time he gets, the more it damages him. It\’s like when you appear in the DK starting appear and he\’s standing there in his ugg boots on the balcony and maybe it\’s just me but I think the impulse to run up to him and dance with him is fairly universal…

        Comment by Tamarind — June 17, 2009 @ 11:55 am

  7. […] silly adventures on Magister’s Terrace has confirmed something for me: I really dislike healing in Northrend.  And not just because of […]

    Pingback by Patent Pending 100% Original, Fresh off the Cheese Press Guide to Healing UK « standing at the back in my sissy robe — June 17, 2009 @ 10:59 am | Reply

  8. I just have to put my shout-out for Scarlet Monestary. Perhaps it’s just because I ran it late, late at night with a pile of folks who became good friends, or maybe it’s because we did some XP grinding by running it naked, or maybe it was the naked dance party/picnic/keggers in the courtyard…

    The best was the unarmed, though. Watching the tank punch High Inquisitor Whitemane over and over… priceless.

    Obviously I was run through by, in this case, 2 very accomplished 70s, but there’s just something about that place…. 🙂

    Comment by lantanasham — June 17, 2009 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

    • I love SM too … now there’s a comment you don’t make innocently on your blog very often. I think it’s partly because it’s, well, not a culmination but at least a climax of a long quest arc, and also laying the smackdown on fanatics never gets old.

      That sounds like a hilarious run though! I do enjoy sillying around in instances sometimes – so much better than soul-less PUGS.

      Comment by Tamarind — June 17, 2009 @ 11:26 pm | Reply

  9. I ran Heroic Terrace almost non-stop from the day they released it on the PTR to the last days of Burning Crusade and its -still- a place that makes me go a little chill on the inside.

    My first thought is always “That immolate really hurts!”

    If you had as much fun on Vexallus as you mentioned then I’d say you had the official Terrace experience.

    Comment by Twonationarmy — June 17, 2009 @ 11:49 pm | Reply

    • Fun, hmmm, yes, this is obviously some new definition of the word I had not previously encountered. Although truthfully, between the screaming and dying and the running about frantically and the bleeding eyes … yes, I believe fun was had. I’m now completely terrified of Vexallus though – a chill on the inside of my very own 🙂

      Comment by Tamarind — June 18, 2009 @ 9:38 am | Reply

  10. […] effort into finding one), it’s all too easy to feel like an alien from planet brain.  I loved running Magister’s HELP I HAVE NO ACROYNM Terrace (MHIHNAT?) with the L-Plate Pally and her Mage Mentor […]

    Pingback by a small amount of gushing and more posts that made me go hmmmm « standing at the back in my sissy robe — June 19, 2009 @ 12:26 pm | Reply

  11. […] I convinced a friend of mine to bring the frost mage he’s currently levelling along for the ride. The same friend who poo-pooed my Magister’s HELP I HAVE NO ACRONYM Terrace run.  Not, perhaps, my brightest ever idea.  But, “we’ll have all the cc and all the DPS in the […]

    Pingback by the fallacy of WoW machismo « standing at the back in my sissy robe — June 22, 2009 @ 3:44 pm | Reply

  12. […] not most people’s idea of fun. My idea of fun is running Razorfen Downs in full black tie or three-manning Kael’thas. Most people’s idea of fun at Endgame seems to be running through Heroic dungeons as fast as […]

    Pingback by Thoughts on 80 at Righteous Orbs — August 11, 2009 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

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