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Reports of His Demise… (Part I) (Beltar RP)

(This story came out of the convergence of two things.  One is the Feathermoon Peace Summit, a bit of RP that’s happening tonight, Friday 7 September, in Dalaran; a group of PCs from both factions will be meeting to attempt to broker at least a tenuous peace and time to heal in the wake of Deathwing’s destruction and the end of the Cataclysm.  It will, of course, all go spectacularly wrong in two weeks or so…but the characters don’t know that.

The second is trying to explain the fact that I haven’t played World of Warcraft for going on six months now, and hadn’t played my dwarf hunter Beltar for a few months before that.  He’s been absent for almost a year.  I offhandedly mentioned something about this on Twitter one day a few weeks back and Marty–the guy behind Bricu Bittertongue, driving force behind the Peace Summit, world’s most ascerbic paladin and Number Two of the Wildfire Riders–came up with this idea.  I took it and ran with it.  Combine the dwarf’s newfound love of archaeology and the heightened state of tension between the Horde and Alliance, and season it with my tendency to do horrible things to my own characters, and, well, here you are.

There are several other parts to the story, which will come in due time as I write them.  And yes, this means that I hope to get back to WoW blogging, and blogging about other games as well, on a more consistent basis.  I don’t know if I’m over my critical WoW burnout, and my head is still kind of fucked up in a lot of ways, but with a new job and living in a new town taking some of the pressure off things, I am somewhat optimistic–a rarity for me–that I can get my poop collected enough to get my blog groove back.

Oh, this story is rated “R” for language, thick dwarven accents, and exploding heads.)

Beltar Forgebreaker had never been very good with numbers.

Mathematics, advanced or otherwise, had never been a subject that the School of Hard Living had bothered to teach him.  He could do what he termed “simple cipherin’,” if he had quill and paper, or perhaps charcoal and rock, or even stick and dirt, to hand.  He tended to count on his fingers a lot, out loud.  Someone had once told him that if he’d apply himself to learning some sort of bizarre form of science he only remembered as “trigganawhatthfuckever,” it would make him a better shot.  But that was pigshit, he knew.  He didn’t think about being lethal behind the stock of a gun, he just was.  He sighted, he fired, things died, and he didn’t waste time or effort worrying about the whys and wherefores of it.  “Why mess it up with thinkin’?” was his reply.

Fact was, he simply didn’t need to be good with numbers.  He could count the coin in a purse given to him after killing a target or completing a job as a bodyguard, and when that was empty, he went on to the next one.  The nuances of finance, of computing compound interest or balancing a ledger, that was best left to others.  As long as he had enough to eat and drink and whore and buy what he needed, with a little stuffed away in a sock for emergencies, that was fine.

But there was one number, now, that Beltar never lost track of, and never forgot.  He carried it with him, every waking second, and he knew exactly how to cipher it and how he had arrived at the result.  That number was precisely three hundred and sixteen.

It was the number of days since the orcs had captured him.

(The Pig and Whistle, just shy of a year earlier.)

Taverns like the Pig don’t operate on the same schedule as the rest of Stormwind, or even the rest of Old Town.  The quietest time inside the Pig isn’t the darkest part of the night, just before dawn, but instead is the brightest part of mid-morning, when the good citizens of Old Town (there are a few, believe it or not) are at work, and everyone else is still sleeping off the previous night’s adventures.

This sunny, quiet morning inside the Pig’s main room, there were just two people up and about.  One was Reese Langston, doing what Reese had gone for gods alone knew how many years, even before the Wildfire Riders had come along and taken over…cleaning mugs, arranging taps, preparing the tavern for the day ahead.  The other was Beltar Forgebreaker, perched awkwardly in a chair too tall for his dwarven frame as always, gun propped against the table and bulging pack taking up another chair nearby.  He was enthusiastically polishing off the last of an egg-and-steak breakfast, letting fly with a huge belch as he put down his fork.

“You knock the mugs off my shelf burpin’ like that, Forgebreaker, they’re coming out of your beard,” Reese growled without even looking up.

“Bah,” Beltar replied.  “This little trip o’ mine works out, I’d get ya sommat fancy glass t’replace ‘em…y’know, fer ‘em tea-drinkin’ mage types.”  He wiggled his fingers at Reese.

The barkeep snorted.  “You ain’t said where you’re goin’ on this trip, anyhow.”

Beltar eased down off the chair and began arranging items in his pack.  “Kalimdor, ain’t as sure ‘zactly where yet.  Hirin’ on w’ Explorer’s League, doin’ some ruins diggin’ over ‘ere.  Turns out Deathwing, in addition t’damn near destroyin’ th’ world an’ all, cracked open a few ol’ night elf an’ dwarf ruins, an’ th’ League’s been lookin’ fer folks t’, ah, ‘freelance,’ shall we say.  Y’know, workin’ fer ‘em but not quite workin’ fer ‘em, case th’ locals git techy ’bout it.  ‘Plausible deniawhatsit,’ one ‘em perfesser types called it.”

“Never pictured you as the archaeologist type, Forgebreaker,” Reese said, putting down the mug he’d been polishing.  “I always thought you’d use artifacts for target practice.”

Now it was Beltar’s turn to snort.  “I ain’t no pointy-headed Harrison Jones-type what can’t tie ‘is boots, lad.  But…Nether, I dunno.  Gotta have somethin’ t’do what with peace breakin’ out like a rash, aye?  ‘At Jones ponce gave me a coupla books, I read ‘em, dig some diggin’, found out I kinda liked it and apparently I ain’t ‘arf bad at it.”  A shrug.  “Must be in our blood ‘r’ somethin’, dwarves diggin’ up ancient shit.”

“You told Tarquin or Annie?”

“Nah.  They don’t need t’know.”  Beltar went back to arranging his pack.

“What’s wrong?”

“Ain’t nothin’ wrong.”  Beltar didn’t turn around but kept working on the pack.

“Horseshit.  Don’t lie to a bartender, Forgebreaker.  You oughta know by now that never works.”

“Ain’t nothin’ what needs t’be talked about, Reese,” Beltar replied shortly, still not making eye contact.

“Beltar.”

The dwarf stopped working on the pack, hung his head, and sighed before looking back up at Reese.  “Aright, lad.  Y’want yer answer?  The short of it is, it ain’t like they need me ’round here noway.”

“What are you on about?”

“Take a look ’round, Reese.  Deathwing’s done.  Shaw’s backed down.  Boss’s turned legit, as close as that boy’ll ever git.  Riders got ever’thin’ under control ’round here.  Sevens ain’t even fuckin’ wi’ us no more, on account’a th’ Riders bein’ dragonslayers ‘n’ shit.  I ain’t no dragonslayer.  They didn’t need me fer any ovvit.”  He turned back around and started yanking on straps and drawstrings on the bulging backpack.  “Ain’t but three things I ever been good at, Reese—used t’be four but I’m gettin’ on too old fer ‘at one.  Number one’s killin’, number two’s drinkin’, an’ turns out, number three’s diggin’.  Got ’nuff people ’round here t’handle number one, an’ it ain’t like y’can make a livin’ outta number two.  So I’mma go dig.  Might help git m’head right, might not, who knows?  But hangin’ ’round here w’ fuck all t’do surely ain’t.”

Beltar awkwardly hoisted the pack onto his back and began strapping it on.  “Figger they all might notice I ain’t been ’round in a few days, ‘r maybe not.  Reckon if they don’t, ain’t no loss on either side, aye?  ‘S all covered either way.  I ain’t left no notes ‘r’ nothin’, figger y’can tell anybody askin’.”

Reese stood there with his mouth half-open as the dwarf finished adjusting his backpack and started walking for the door.  “That sounds damned final, Forgebreaker.  You are comin’ back, right?”

Beltar shrugged as he picked up Black Death, his rifle.  “Prolly.  I ain’t plannin’ t’git m’self killed, if that’s what yer askin’.  Guess…I dunno.  Guess a change o’ scenery might do me some good, I reckon.  Feel like I’m actually part o’ somethin’ again, y’know, ‘stead o’ just th’ ol’ dwarf in th’ corner wi’ a pig an’ a ale.”

He stopped and turned back as he reached the threshold and stared out into the bright Stormwind morning.  “Take care o’ yerself, Reese.  I’mma miss yer cookin’.”  A forced grin.  “An’ mornin’s like ‘is.  Yer…yer a good man, lad.  See ya soon.”  He stepped forward and disappeared into the dusty sunlight of the street outside.

“You too, Forgebreaker,” Reese Langston said softly.

That afternoon, when Reese went back around to the stable, he saw a familiar black shape standing in a stall to greet him.  Squealer oinked once, seemingly pleased at Reese’s expression of stunned exasperation.  There was a note pinned to a string around the boar’s neck:

Reese.  Take care of the fat bastard for me, Jolly the drool factory too.  Dog’s downstairs, he knows to go out to pee and shit.  Not so sure about Squealer even after all these years.  He ain’t bacon so don’t even.  Beltar.

 

(Stonetalon Mountains.  Nine days later.)

The view, Beltar had to admit, was worth the trip it had taken to get here.

The cliff to the north dropped a hundred feet or more into a green valley, dotted with scrubby trees.  Beltar knew that the sea was off to the northwest, but a wall of rocky hills similar to the one that surrounded him blocked sight of it.  No one seemed to live down there, which was odd to him; he knew the soil in the Stonetalon Mountains was generally too poor for farming, but he also knew the Tauren were hunters, and he’d seen signs of game when they had explored down there a few days earlier.  Ain’t bad country fer Kalimdor, he thought.  Beats all outta Desolace fer damn sure, least until th’ Cenarions get done with ‘er.

He turned back around and looked at the ruins that had brought them out here to this northwestern corner of Stonetalon, a place that was so damned remote that the maps didn’t even bother to name it.  The Cataclysm had partially opened up the high valley in which he now stood and revealed what might have been some sort of pre-Sundering elven town or outpost—so the “perfessers” said.  To Beltar, the columns did resemble some ruins he’d seen while flying over Azshara years earlier, but that was about as far as his knowledge of architecture went.

He, two archaeologists, and two Explorer’s League guards had been here for three days, digging and cataloguing the old elven ruins.  They’d ridden in following the lead of a goblin that they’d paid a damned exorbitant sum to lead them through a tortuous pass in the mountains up from Desolace.  The journey had cost them one of the pack rams that had been shipped in special from Loch Modan, and that had just been the beginning.  Their erstwhile guide, the day after he’d gotten them to the valley, had up and disappeared.  Beltar had a good eye for terrain, and thought he could get them back out to Desolace when they broke camp tomorrow, but the goblin’s sudden vanishing act had him nervous.  These lands, he knew, were not only wild, but a war zone between the orcs and the Alliance.  And as near as he could figure, the Horde was winning.

The sounds of an animated discussion carried over to him.  Beltar looked over at the great white worg next to him and sighed.  “Fuckin’ eggheads, Furball,” he shook his head.  “Better see what’s what afore the perfessers stab each other w’quill ‘r’ sommat.”  He picked up his rifle and walked over to the other side of the ruins, Furball casually padding along behind.

The “perfessers”–Dolwin Longstride of the Explorer’s League, and a Kal’dorei from Darnassus who had just introduced himself as “Carnelius” and hardly said six words to Beltar since—were standing over a half-buried piece of statuary, having a heated argument.

“I’m telling you, Professor,” Carnelius said, drawing the title out in a way that made it quite clear what he thought of it.  “This is not what you think it is.  There is no possible way that this could have been used in elven worship.  It is a simple ornamental house statue from a period no further back than two hundred years before the Sundering, and has no real historical value whatsoever!”

“Far be it from me to correct ye, Professor, about yer own people’s history, but yer full o’ dung!”, Longstride roared back.  “I read every history yer own scholars wrote on late Azsharan religious practices, an’ I’d bet a week’s bar tab in Ironforge that this here is a temple offerin’ statue.  An’ see those jewelry carvings?  That went out of fashion five hundred years earlier than what you said.  This is a find, ye stuffy ponce!”

“Um…”, Beltar interrupted, straddling the statue to stand between the two academics.  “I don’t rightly know whether ‘is bit o’ furniture’s from a temple house ‘r a house house ‘r a fuckin’ shithouse.  What I do know izzat twilight’s comin’ on, and y’d best keep yer damned voices down!  Sound carries a ways off those rocks up there, and in case y’ hadn’t heard, there’s about a shitload o’ orcs two valleys over what ain’t gonna take kindly t’us furtherin’ yer academic study.  So pack yer shit up, an’ be ready t’ ride outta here at first light, ‘cuz we’re pushin’ our luck bein’ up here.  Unnerstand?”

In the tense, echoing silence that followed, the only sounds were the chirping of the birds and the suppressed snicker from one of the caravan guards.

“Now see here, dwarf,” Carnelius finally managed to grit out through clenched teeth.  “I do not take orders from…”

“Fine, lad,” Beltar cut him off.  “Y’ don’t take orders from th’ likes o’me?  Tell Garrosh Hellscream all ’bout yer ornamental house statue while th’ rest of us ‘r halfway back t’Theramore.  This ain’t a classroom, y’ poncy git!  This…”

Beltar stopped.  Furball was staring up into the rocks to the east, growling.  His fur began to bristle.

Fuck,” Beltar hissed, and that one word had a weight of meaning behind it.

“What’s…”  Beltar cut Longstride off.  “’That there worg can hear ‘n’ see better’n any of us, an’ th’ way he’s actin’, I’d say we got company.”  He glanced up and saw that the guards had already drawn their blunderbusses and moved near some defensive positions.  Good lads.  He reached down beside the statue, where he’d set Black Death down when he’d first come over.  “Find yerselves a place t’hide if y’ain’t innerested in gettin’ in a fight, lads.  I’d say this might be ’bout t’git ugly.”  Fuck, why am I not wearing my armor?  Because you can’t dig in armor, dumbass, that’s why…

There was a hissing sound near Beltar’s right ear, just over his head, from behind him.  Reflexively, he turned and brought Black Death to his shoulder.  The sight settled on a red-clad troll that had just stood up from behind a rock forty paces up the shoulder of the valley to the west, the other direction from where Furball had been looking.  The troll’s arm was extended forward.  Details burned into his mind—teal skin, green hair, yellow tusks—as Beltar stroked the rifle’s trigger once.  The crack of the gun boomed off the walls around them as the troll flung his arms wide and disappeared back behind his rock.

Beltar spun back around to see Carnelius still standing there looking down…not at Beltar, not at the statue, not at Longstride.  He was looking at the throwing axe protruding out of his breastbone.  He touched it, eyeing it with what could have almost been academic interest had it been buried in someone else‘s chest.  He looked to the rock where the troll had stood, coughed once, and collapsed in a heap.

“Move!”, Beltar screamed, and dove for the excavated area around the statue, trying to find some cover.  The others did the same, and even as they did, the hills around them—all around them—erupted in shouts and screams.  A throwing spear clanked off the statue as the old dwarf landed awkwardly and rolled behind it.  Booms from the guards’ guns mingled with battle cries as Beltar stuck his head up and tried to come to grips with what was going on.

Orcs, and the odd troll, were pouring down off the ledges overlooking the digsite.  A couple dozen, maybe more, Beltar guessed, all wearing identical spiked brown shoulderguards and matching breastplates.  Some were throwing spears, others were waving swords and axes.  All of them had bloodlust in their eyes and curses on their lips.

Beltar felt no fear…there wasn’t time.  Time slowed down and his actions became automatic, honed by decades of training and experience.

Find a target.  He peeked up from cover and picked out a particularly large orc near the front of a group of five clambering down the western slope toward him.

Aim.  Black Death’s unwieldy barrel and bayonet cleared the lip of the pit and the sight settled on the orc’s massive head.

Fire.  One gentle squeeze of the trigger, a flash and crack, and the top of the orc’s head exploded as he turned to urge on the ones behind him.  Bone and brains sprayed as the orc’s neck and shoulders snapped backward while his legs, improbably, carried forward another step.  The net result was an almost laughable cartwheel, the orc’s bare feet flailing in mid-air for a split-second before his lifeless body, pitched parallel to the ground, crashed straight down into the rock.  Beltar didn’t see it.  He was already behind the top of the pit again, jacking another round into the chamber.

A scream from his right…the orcs had reached the column one of the two guards had been using for cover.  He had thrown down his blunderbuss and drawn two hand axes to try and defend himself, but there were four of them and but one of him.  One orc rolled on the ground in front of him clutching his stomach, but another smashed an axe through the young dwarf’s helmet and on into his skull even as a troll speared him through the gut so hard the guard’s feet left the ground.

Beltar aimed and fired again.  The orc he’d picked out fell forward, dead before his face met rock, and the one behind him clutched his shoulder and spun backward—not dead but at least wounded.  But still they kept coming, apparently not slowed by any fear of death.

A yelp, from his left this time.  He saw Furball covered in blood—some his, some not, judging by the two motionless orcs in front of him.  He leapt onto a third, driving him to the ground with fangs sunk into the orc’s huge neck.  Then he disappeared under a wave of green skin, brown armor, and flashing blades.

No time to mourn.  The fourth orc went down to a shot in the gut, and then the fifth was upon him with no time to reload.  Beltar was no lover of close-quarters fighting, fair or unfair, but he wasn’t entirely unskilled at it.  He couldn’t match the orc strength for strength, even in his younger days, and he was far from those.  So he wasn’t even going to try.

The orc bellowed a war cry and brought his great two-handed axe down, trying for a single killing blow.  Beltar side-rolled to one knee as best he could, using Black Death to parry the downstroke.  Sparks flew and metal screeched as the parry pushed the axe aside just enough to send it sticking into the soft dirt at the edge of the pit.  The orc, still carrying some forward momentum from his charge down the hill, couldn’t stop and went ass-over-elbows down the slope, crashing into the base of the statue leaving the axe stuck in the ground.  Beltar staggered to his feet and bayoneted the orc in the throat before he had a chance to recover.

He dropped back to one knee and grabbed another round to reload.  He faintly heard the noise of movement behind him, and turned around as he brought the rifle up to firing position.

He saw a huge orc with brown skin.  He saw the flash of a hammer.  And then he saw nothing.


Four whole seconds to spare

Yeah, uh, Orkin here, were gonna have to charge extra for this one...

Yeah, uh, Mr. Fordring? Orkin here. Listen, we're gonna have to charge extra for this one...

Well, actually, four and a half seconds if you’re being really precise.

That’s how much time The Anvil had left on the enrage timer last night when we finally downed Anub’arak in 25-man normal Coliseum, after three weeks of trying.

To say that Anub’arak was a notch higher on the difficulty scale than the rest of the fights in the Coliseum (Faction Champions excluded, but more on that later) would be an understatement.  After all, Northrend Beasts is basically three gimmick fights in a row.  Lord Jaraxxus makes the healers cry, but as long as people know to run toward the wall and not stand in Bad(tm), it’s not too rough.  Twin Val’kyrs?  The ultimate gimmick fight, but if you can tell light from dark and can interrupt Twin’s Pact, it’s no big thing.

The Nub is a little rougher.  We’d gotten several good shots at him last week but the healers were having real trouble keeping the offtanks up.  Our plan was to have the offtanks grab and hold both pairs of Burrowers so DPS could focus on the big guy; otherwise we had no shot at dropping him inside his short enrage timer.  But despite having excellent healers in the raid, our DK offtank (who’s got more health than any of the other three of us) kept falling over.

It was then that our raid officers, looking through the logs, discovered what Spinks posted about over at Welcome to Spinksville yesterday:  The Anub’arak fight is one of the only encounters in WoW where Shield Block rules.

The Nerubian Burrowers stack a debuff called Expose Weakness.  Each stack causes you to take 25% more damage, up to a maximum of 225% (9 stacks, down from 10 pre-3.2.2).  But the catch is, apparently if you block one of their attacks, your shield block value is subtracted from their damage before the Expose Weakness debuff multiplier is added.  Burrowers only hit for about 2500 to 3000.  See where this is going?  Our 46,000-health DK, with no shield, had no way to mitigate the 12,000 to 15,000 he was taking per hit from two burrowers except his jealousy-inducing 33%+ dodge.  Our warrior, the other offtank, did.  The DK died.  The warrior didn’t.

So last night I was the #3 tank, and I was on burrower duty.  I dutifully loaded up my “trash” set instead of my normal boss-tanking set.  My trash set is a real hash of things, built for block value over even block rating.  I still rock the T7 helm with it, plus some of my four T8 pieces, other bits and pieces from Ulduar and maybe one other from Naxx still.  It isn’t so much designed for block tanking as it is designed for DPS…I even normally run two crit trinkets instead of tank trinkets (although for this fight, I strapped my tank trinkets back on) because it’s a set designed for light-hitting trash and any situation where I need to rip an 11k Shield Slam out of my ass.  I ended up losing about 10 points of Defense, a crapton of dodge%, and maybe 1500 health from my boss set, but my buffed shield block value was a tasty 2593, and I was still at 543 Defense and 42,200 fully buffed health.  My block rating was a bit low at 22.78%, but as a warrior, I’ve got two other tricks up my sleeve for that–Shield Block, for almost complete immunity to damage for 10 seconds out of 40, and 3/3 in the recently-buffed Critical Block talent, meaning 60% of those blocks wouldn’t be for 2593, they’d be for almost 5200.  I couldn’t block everything, but when I did block, I made it count.

The strategy, I’m pleased to say, works like a charm, and you don’t have to build a super-block set that gimps everything else to do it…well, on normal, at least.  (On heroic, yeah, you probably do.)  We did run into trouble on the first time we got Anub’arak to phase 3 when we had four burrowers up.  As good as our healers are, keeping up a tank with two burrowers, with 50% haste, and 9 stacks of Expose Weakness, and Swarming Leech, just wasn’t happening.

The last two attempts we got him to phase 3 with only one set of burrowers up, and as long as we kept the burrowers separated so they didn’t buff each other, the healers could keep myself and the other OT (paladin) up without much trouble.  Tanking one burrower, even with 9 stacks of Expose Weakness, isn’t too bad.  The first attempt, we just ran out of time and he enraged at 4%, finishing the last of us at 2%.  On the killshot, I thought we weren’t going to make it because he was still at 18% health with one minute left.  A couple of the healers shifted over to DPS, we lowered everybody else’s health in the raid even more to slow down the Leeching Swarm, and all of us blew everydamnthing we had (I was tanking a burrower while beating up on Anub).  And he fell over with precisely 4.5 seconds left on the enrage timer.

Now is Blizzard going to “fix” this little trick?  I don’t know.  Shield Block has evolved into a mechanic that doesn’t really fit with anything…it’s overpowered against trash and underpowered against bosses.  It’s good to see a fight where it actually matters, and fortunately Anub’arak is quite easy for a druid or DK to tank so there’s still great use for them there.  It seems mighty cheesy to be able to build a set that allows one warrior to tank four burrowers–on heroic, no less, as Spinks documented–with impunity, but that’s a very extreme example.  I wouldn’t put it past Blizzard to break our little Shield Block trick, but if they don’t, and until they do, we’re going to take full advantage of one of the few bones they throw us on a fairly challenging fight.

Oh, and as you may remember from the rant immediately below this one, I kinda hate Faction Champions.  And by “kinda,” I mean I’d like to find the guy at Blizzard who thought this was a good idea and beat him silly with a wiffleball bat.  Well, there was a little patch note in the 3.2.2 release that mentioned some changes had been made to this fight.  We didn’t know what to expect going in last night.  But here’s what you need to know.

First week, seven wipes.  Second week, five wipes.  Third week, three deaths.

Faction Champions got nerfed TO THE GROUND, BABY.

The biggest change?  Taunts no longer have diminishing returns on them.  Think about that for a second.  That one change alone, not even including the damage reduction they put in, turns the fight into cheesymode.  Seriously.  They assigned me to harass the death nugget.  I could just spam Taunt every 8 seconds, with total impunity, to pull him off of a squishy for a few…enough time for me to drop a Charge or Intercept on him, or Shield Bash him to slow him down, or Concussion Blow or Shockwave to stun…oh, and they didn’t go immune to my stuns, either.

Sure, there were times where the DK got away from me.  But not many.  And when he did, I got him right back.

As much as I hate that fight–and I still do, with every flabby fiber of my being–I almost felt dirty at the end of it, that’s how easy it was.  It reminded me of an AB match when a premade runs up against a PUG, except the Faction Champions didn’t /afk out halfway through.  Yep, after whooping it up at our expense for a couple of weeks, ol’ Wrynn the Chin saw his boys and girls get a straight-outta-Compton gangsta beatdown, Hordesiyyyyyde style.  Word up, yo.

Finally…so what reward does ol’ Tirion Fordring give us for completing the Trial of the Crusader?  The chance to do it all over again on heroic!  Well fuckin’ yay there big guy, excuse me if I’m somewhat less than enthused about going Groundhog Day on your little spectacle.  Catch me next week and we’ll talk about it.


Madness? This…is…DARGONS!

We got it on the fourth try.

That is easily the most insane fight I have ever seen in WoW.  It makes all the stuff I thought was crazy–Majordomo Executus, Vashj, even Kael’thas–look like it’s moving in slow motion.  Trying to gather little fire elementals and drag them out of the way before they get hit by lava walls and become big pissy fire elementals while also grabbing drakes and trying to stay alive while doing all of it…daaaaaaaamn.  And there’s still one more drake left to go.

I have got to get better at add-gathering.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but I sucked out loud doing it tonight, even on our successful attempt.  Fortunately we had a kick-ass paladin and a hunter who was fast on the icerink traps.  Gotta work on it for next week.

After seeing heroic Sarth +2, heroic Sarth +3 has got to be…ugh.  I’m simultaneously amped about it and dreading it.


Good and evil

Some really interesting thoughts about Alliance vs. Horde and “good” vs. evil over at Going Bearfoot.  It’ll make you stop and think about just who the “good guys” and “bad guys” are in WoW.

(Hat Tip:  Varenna over at Binary Colors.  Enjoy that new T8 paladin belly-shirt armor!)


Ruminations on the Wrathgate

This morning, after wiping on the Insomnia boss, I got my blood elf hunter Illithanis through the last part of the Wrathgate questline, saw the Cutscene of Cool (SPOILER ALERT!!), and completed the Battle for the Undercity (gaining level 75 in the process).  Illy is the third character I’ve run through the Wrathgate (now two Horde, one Alliance) and it’s still pretty much made of awesome.  But as I helped Thrall clean up the mess in Undercity, my sleep-deprived mind started wandering, as it is wont to do, and got me to thinking…

(CAUTION: Spoilers lie under the cut.  If you are one of the, eh, fourteen or so people out of 11+ million who don’t know how the whole Wrathgate/Undercity event goes and want to wait until you see it for yourself, then you may want to skip this and read some of the other fine content on this here blog thang or check out the blogroll.)

Spoilers lie within. And random thoughts. You’ve been warned.


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