Tuesday, August 10, 2010


No_WoW I’ve uninstalled WoW. Finally. I got to reclaim 20+ GB on my hard drive. This was important as I had a grand total of about 5GB free on my whole computer. Pretty sad, in the day of $50 terabyte hard drives, but that’s how it goes.

The last day on my WoW subscription was yesterday. The last time I played was a week before that. Though I joined Bucket List with the hopes of completing my list of things to do in WoW, I didn’t complete a single one of them, not on Myze anyway. My hunter, Catrìona, has defeated the Lich King, several ICC hard modes, and had a mildly successful arena team.

Bucket List was a good idea, plagued by disorganization and overrecruitment. I won’t get any more specific, as I really like Euripides and don’t want to damage my relationship with him any further. I will mention that a large majority of folks were pretty easy to get along with, including all the officers, and the core of the guild was filled with some talented players.

Bucket List wasn’t the place for me, and sadly, I regret moving my character over to that server to play. I couldn’t have remained on Sisters of Elune, though, the Alliance on that server doesn’t do any challenging content. I’m not sure if they’ve even beaten the Lich King yet. The remainder of Drenden consisted of some decent guilds, but that server overall is too concerned with GearScore. It’s by far the worst I’ve seen.

When I got my Druid to 70 in TBC, my philosophy behind her was to create a raiding environment that I would enjoy, even if I wasn’t the person running it. To that end, I created a successful 10-man guild that lasted until the first few weeks of ICC, and split, mostly because of the stresses my absences caused due to RL concerns. Additionally, the way Blizzard punished 10-man guilds really hurt it, and made it hard to recruit players.

My hunter’s philosophy, however, was to simply hit the cap, then work to get the gear needed for endgame raiding and go for it. In TBC, her first Karazhan raid was the day before WotLK came out, but in WotLK, I was able to raise her to 80 (my third 80, about when Ulduar was finishing up,) then quickly climb guilds until I got to be in the top guild on the server. All in all, it took me about a month to get to the top guild on the server. By mercilessly dropping guilds to get to better ones, I was able to get to the top and be successful in a short amount of time. And I met some really cool folks up at the top.

If I were ever to come back to the game, this is the philosophy I would have to employ. However, right now, I’m too busy enjoying all the extra free space on my hard drive.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A thought on RealID


It’s the hot topic for now, so let me just say this:

Yes, Blizzard, using RealID on the forums will reduce trolling, but that’s only because it will greatly reduce posting. While I don’t post on the WoW forums, a lot of smart, competent people do, and the forums are already a much better place than they might otherwise be given the size of the player base.

So yes, you will achieve your stated goal in this case. Good job, Blizzard.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kicking the Bucket


I’ve regemmed my gear for cat and I’ve joined Bucket List, the guild that also houses Euripides and Darkbrew, two of the heavyweights of the hunter blogging community.

The guild is named and based on the idea of a “Bucket List,” or a list of things to do before you die. Since I plan to leave WoW at the turning of Cataclysm, there are some things that I would like to do before that happens.

First off, I’d like to kill the Lich King on my Druid. I’ve already done so on my hunter, but as we all know, hunters are much better as alts than as mains. As they say, everyone has a hunter alt. Even Darkbrew has a hunter alt. Doing so on my “main” character would definitely be a good cap off to the expansion, and was one of my goals going in, since I didn’t get very far raiding in the Burning Crusade.

Second, I’d like to get a 310% mount. Any 310% mount would do, but I think the way I’d like to do it is through Ulduar. Ulduar is one of the best raid instances ever designed, and I’d like to power through it as a melee DPS, a role I have yet to fulfill in that zone. Note to self, don’t Feral Charge (Cat) Kologarn!

Third, I want to be on another podcast again. I’ve been doing some other projects with my voice and I’m thinking about picking up a little more decent recording equipment for voice and instrument work, and I’m rather enjoying it. I’m working on a Let’s Play (a narrated playthrough) of a Super Nintendo game, which will eventually be posted on YouTube, but I’d really like to get into a sort of a roundtable discussion, preferably about raiding, Druids, or even hunters. I've bugged Euripides in the past about getting on his show, but I think they’re constantly packed with the best interviews hunters have to offer, meanwhile I’m just on a guild doing 8/12 hard modes on my hunter alt with a slightly nonstandard Marksman spec. But either way, I would like another shot as a podcast guest to make up for my somewhat awkward appearance on the Twisted Nether Blogcast.

I’m fairly confident in the first one occurring at some point, though the other two are definitely in question. It’s good to have my goals written down, though. I can come back later and cross them off my list.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Flame Leviathan Easy Mode

Flame Leviathan is the first boss in Ulduar, and rather unique as it is the only fight in WoW at the moment where you completely abandon your class for the whole fight. Gear does matter in this fight, though, as each vehicle will have more health based on a sum of the item levels in your gear, minus your tabard, shirt, off-hand and ranged/relic.

So, before you hop in a vehicle, put on all your highest ilvl gear. This only applies the the driver of the vehicle (all the vehicles in 10-man have 2 slots, one for a driver and one for a passenger.) After entering the vehicle, you can safely remove all of your gear to save yourself a repair on a wipe. This is helpful for learning the fight.

This guide and all following guides are structured such that you should only have to read what your role specifically is doing in the encounter to perform it correctly. Each section has a general description, followed by a subsection for each role. If you are learning a fight for the first time with your guild, I would suggest only reading the parts that apply to you.


The first thing you want to do is talk to Brann Bronzebeard to start the encounter in easy mode. In this mode, you will not have to worry about destroying towers, you can just head straight for Flame Leviathan. Do not talk to the Lore Keeper of Norgannon to begin this encounter unless you want to do the battle with at least one tower up (though the strategy presented here is perfectly applicable to 1 tower up.) If you accidentally talk to the Lore Keeper to start the encounter, but want to down Flame Leviathan with no towers up, you can safely run out and reset the instance, rather than going and destroying all the towers.

After you talk to Brann, the vehicles will become available. There are three types of vehicles, and there are two of each: the siege engine, the demolisher, and the salvaged chopper.

Here's a look at the roles in the encounter:

Siege Engine: The siege engine is responsible for interrupting Flame Leviathan's Flame Vents ability.

Siege Engine Gunner: This guy is responsible for shielding the siege engine, shooting down pyrite, and lighting oils on fire.

Demolisher: The workhorse of the group. This guy is responsible for stacking pyrite on Flame Leviathan for high damage.

Demolisher Gunner: Shoots down pyrite, picks up pyrite, ignites oils. This guy needs to be always aware of the Demolisher's pyrite supply so that it can do the most amount of damage possible.

Salvaged Chopper: Responsible for moving pyrite to more convenient locations, and picking up anybody whose vehicle was destroyed.

Note: I have purposely excluded the ability "Throw Passenger" and related abilities. They are not used in this strategy and highly unneeded on easy mode Flame Leviathan. It's a little more complicated, so don't worry about it for now until you start working on Flame Leviathan with 2 or more towers.


The trash on Flame Leviathan is a great place to learn the ins and outs of your vehicle. There are many dwarfs for steamrolling over, plus some larger mobs, and some pillars from which more dwarves will spawn.

Steam Engine: Your job for the most part is to take damage. You are, quite literally, the tanks during the trash. If you are surrounded by dwarves, use your Ram ability. The Steam Rush ability is largely unnecessary on trash, but part of the fun of driving a siege engine, so go crazy! When you get to Flame Leviathan's area (pictured above,) move to the back right side of the arena and wait for the rest of the raid to get ready.

Steam Engine Gunner: Shoot down pyrite, and attack large trash mobs and helicopters. If your Steam Engine starts taking a lot of damage, activate your Shield Generator.

Demolisher: Use Hurl Boulder to AoE down the packs of dwarves. Use pyrite on the mechanical spiders, the giants, and the pillars that summon dwarves to down them quickly. When you get to Flame Leviathan's area (pictured above,) move to the back right side of the arena and wait for the rest of the raid to get ready.

Demolisher Gunner: Shoot down pyrite, and pick up pyrite if you notice any deficiency in your Demolisher's supply. You can do a fair amount of DPS, so be sure to use Mortar to help shoot down large mobs and pillars.

Salvaged Chopper: Your main source of action will be if someone else screws up to get their vehicle destroyed. In that case, you need to pick them up, drive them to the entrance and drop them off so they can get a replacement. You will also round up dwarves if your raid is doing "Dwarfageddon." Finally, positioning pyrite so it's easier for the Demoisher Gunners to grab is probably the most helpful thing you can do here. When you get to Flame Leviathan's area (pictured above,) move to the back right side of the arena and wait for the rest of the raid to get ready.

When you get to Flame Leviathan's arena, everyone should use a replenishment pad if they need it (there's an achievement if no one uses it.) Then have everyone group up into the right corner opposite where Flame Levianthan enters (pictured here.) When you finish off the trash here, Flame Leviathan will come barreling out, so be prepared and stay in that corner! Before pulling the final trash, have your gunners shoot down a healthy stock of pyrite. When everyone is ready, and there's plenty of blue stuff on the ground (don't forget you can use the Salvaged Chopper to bring some pyrite to a more convenient spot,) kill the trash.

The Fight

Flame Leviathan will target a Seige Engine or a Demolisher for a short time or until they die. Everyone's main priority is to run away from Flame Leviathan if he is chasing you (this is announced in a raid warning.) Ideally, when Flame Leviathan is chasing you, you will be able to kite him through a flaming oil patch, which will slow him down and deal damage to him (it won't deal damage to you, so you can drive through it yourself.) Here are the other things you should do, according to your role:

Demolisher: Your job is to make sure that your stack of Pyrite is always at 10. When the battle starts, if you aren't the first person being chased, stack your Pyrite to 10. Once your Pyrite is at 10, start using Hurl Boulder so you aren't running out of pyrite so quickly. The Pyrite debuff lasts about 10 seconds, so if you use a rotation of "Pyrite, Hurl Boulder, Hurl Boulder, repeat," you should always have the Pyrite 10 stack debuff up, while not taxing your gunner too much into having to pick up pyrite from the ground. Your range is pretty high, so you should always be near pyrite for your gunner to pick up. If you are chased, don't worry about stacking pyrite, just make sure you don't die!

Demolisher gunner: Shoot down pyrite as needed during the battle. Keep your driver in heavy supply of pyrite and let him know when you aren't near any you can pick up. You can also fire shots at Flame Leviathan and the oil spills to ignite them. If Flame Leviathan is chasing your driver, save the speed boost for when Flame Leviathan is almost in striking distance (but before he can hit you.)

Siege Engine: If you have DBM, your job will be a little easier. You are to follow Flame Leviathan at a close enough distance to interrupt his Flame Vents ability with your Electroshock ability. DBM will warn you 5 seconds before Flame Leviathan changes targets. As soon as you see that warning pop up, turn around and drive away from Flame Leviathan. If he decides to chase you, you're already running away from him. If not, just get behind him again and resume interrupting Flame Vents. Since you cannot turn during Steam Rush, use it only when you have a little bit of room in front of you, regardless of whether Flame Leviathan is about to hit you or not. Do not use it, or any other attack on Flame Leviathan; your Demolishers can easily down him within a couple of minutes on their own.

Siege Engine Gunner: Shoot down pyrite as needed during the battle. Fire shots at Flame Leviathan and at the oil spills to ignite them. If Flame Leviathan is chasing your driver, save the Shield Generator for when Flame Leviathan is almost in striking distance (but before he can hit you.)

Salvaged Chopper: Drop oil spills in front of or near where Flame Leviathan is being kited. Pick up containers of Pyrite and drop them off near the Demolishers.

Flame Leviathan should go down in a couple minutes if both Demolishers are keeping their pyrite stacks up. Congratulations! You made your first step into Ulduar!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Triumphant Return!

It should be no secret to those who know me in-game that I have stopped quitting WoW. I am back playing WoW and have been for two months. I've spent a lot of that time trying to get my guild back in place as the number one 10-man guild on the server, or at least on the Alliance side. Yes, there is a such thing as competitive 10-man raiding, it's just nowhere near as competitive as 25-man raiding.

Nevertheless, I am a firm believer in the idea that 10-man raiding is harder IF you don't supplement it with 25-man raiding. You'll often find that your healers are a little less powered than usual, and you don't necessarily have the luxury of saying "I'll take all my melee to this 10-man and we'll down it more easily because they buff each other." No, if you're in a 10-man guild, you don't have the resources that a 25-man guild has. You don't have the redundancy, the gear, or the ability to selectively carve out a perfect 10-man. Also most of the raid strategies are for 25-man.

Well, I'm going to change that. I'm going to begin posting Savant's 10-man strategies, so other 10-man guilds may hopefully be able to see how to tackle the content. I'll be starting in Ulduar, which your guild can jump into as soon as you've cleared Naxx that most of your people are at least half-epicced. Of course, you want to take every advantage you can when learning new content, so make sure all gear is fully gemmed and enchanted, and that you have plenty of Fish Feasts and flasks to go around.