Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

So I got hacked last week ...

Earlier last week I realized that I had to bail out of raiding for a few weeks because my two nephews, ages 5 and 3 were coming to visit (they arrived late last Friday) . As an aside, the only thing more stressful than two kids, are two kids whose biological clocks are set to halfway around the world. Imagine the two most hyperactive kids in the world ... then imagine them waking up at 11pm and not going to bed until 3pm the next day.

... zzz ...

What was I talking about again? Oh yeah! Getting hacked!

Anyway, I logged on late Saturday afternoon to say hi to guildies, show off my new Wildfury Greatstaff, all that jazz. So I'm on for around an hour, say byebyes to the guild for the day, then try to go get some rest before the kids wake up.

I check my email the next day, Sunday morning, and find a PM from one of my fellow officers. Apparently I had logged on very late at night on Saturday on my various toons, raided the entire guild bank, then transferred all the non-soulbound items to a different character.

So I immediately logged on to WoW, and sure enough, my toons were ransacked. Most of my saleable gear was gone, either sold to the vendor or transferred off to a different person, the guild bank was empty save for some consumbles that some guildies had put in there after the incident. My 70 rogue alt still had all his equipped gear, and Minmon still had some gear that couldn't be vendored, but other than that ... nada.

My first reaction was sadness that, even with just half the gear on my druid, he could still dps better than my rogue.

My SECOND and more sane reaction was shock. Damn ... it's like a robbery, you hear about it on the news, you hear about people that it's happened to, but you never expect it to happen to you.

Despite it all though, I was actually surprised that I wasn't as mad as I had originally imagined I would be if I got hacked. After thinking about it, there were several factors involved:

1) Losing the gear did not diminish the fun I had getting it in the first place. My t5 skirt was off our first FLK kill, and the fact that they were gone didn't diminish the feeling the entire guild had when it dropped. My belt of natural power was gone, but it didn't change the fact that I got the pattern after our sloppiest Hydross kill EVAR (some hunter forgot to switch sides, pulled aggro, and much silliness ensued as we tried to dps Hydross down before him and his 12 friends murdered the whole raid). The loot was just a side-effect of having fun, not the cause of it.

2) Blizzard was very prompt with help. I emailed the GMs about my account that same Sunday I found out about the hack. I talked to a GM live just yesterday, and I got an email earlier today stating most of the important pieces of gear that I had was restored. Most of my gold is still gone, as is most of the stuff in my bank, but for the most part I'm functional again.

3) I am not holding back guild progression. I was going to be on hiatus for a few weeks anyway, so if there ever is a good time to get hacked, it's now.

4) It has been reaffirmed that my guild is the most awesomest guild in the history of the universe! I was immediately beset with offers of help from my fellow guildies to get back on my feet. It's always awesome to know you have friends around when bad crap happens.

5) I get to make a lot of Chinese farmer jokes!!! I'm fairly certain my guildmates will be sick of them by the end of May, but to heck with that!!!

So yeah, that's my "getting hacked" story. It's not as dramatic and tear-jerking as some of the others that I've read, but I did learn stuff from it! That's good right?

Oh, and Vic, if you're reading this ... umm ... my system is clean, so can you please promote me from Gnome now? Please?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

5-tanking A'lar Phase 1

Last week, Band of Thorns went into The Eye for the first time. As a guild policy, we generally don't skip bosses, so last Monday we tried our hand at A'lar for the first time. Now, having read the strategy on bosskillers, which recommended 1 add-tank, and 3 A'lar tanks in Phase 1, I wondered why people don't suggest having 5 tanks instead. Well, after downing A'lar last week (and again this past Friday), I now know why. When you run 5 tanks on A'lar, phase 1 is easily the most boring tanking job in the entire game.

Now before people have any ideas that we raid-stacked for 5 tanks, please understand that BoT has 3 prot warriors, 3 feral druids, and 2 prot pallies who regularly raid. These days we generally have the ferals occupy dps slots, but all of us are capable of main tank duty when appropriate *cough*Tidewalker*cough*.

Anyway, back to A'lar...

To those who are unfamiliar with the fight, after a few trash pulls, you'll find A'lar in a circular room with two levels. A'lar has two phases, one in the air and another on the ground. For the most part I'll be talking about phase 1. There are 4 positions on the upper level of the room that he will go to in a clockwise direction. If there is no one in melee range of him, he will cast a flame buffet that hits everyone in the raid for 2000/second, so there has to be a tank ready to pick him up when he moves to a new spot. A'lar never aggroes on ranged during this phase, and melee don't dps on A'lar, so threat is absolutely a non-issue. Occasionally A'lar will fly into the center of the room and start casting a "flame quill" on the raised portions of the room (where the tanks normally are). Any tanks that get caught by the quill are insta-gibbed, so tanks have to jump down, then run back up immediately after to tank A'lar before he flame buffets the raid to death.

Sooo ... the key to phase 1 is tank coordination. Labeling positions A thru D. At the start of the fight:

A - Tank 1
B - Tank 2
C - Tank 3
D - empty

Once A'lar moves from A, Tank 1 has to move.

A - empty
B - Tank 2
C - Tank 3
D - Tank 1

And the leapfrog goes so on and so forth. That's with three A'lar tanks. Now compare this with having 4 A'lar tanks.

3 A'lar tanks = amazing coordination between tanks as they leapfrog between tanking positions
4 A'lar tanks = 90 seconds of looking at A'lar from far away + 30 seconds of looking at A'lar up close

The only break in monotony was when A'lar would occasionally fly up to the center of the room to flame quill the raised area of the room. As the person who assigned tanking duties I made it a point to assign myself to a tank position nearest the ramp heading upwards to give myself something to do.

Seriously, this past Friday when we downed A'lar again, I actually went ahead and alt-tabbed out to read the guild forums, only checking back in every 10 seconds to see if a flame quill was coming.

So anyway, we 1-shot phase 1 A'lar, then wiped around 4 more times during Phase 2 before we downed him. I have to say, Phase 2 is way more fun. :D

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My First Blog Post EVAR!

Hey all! My name is Raymond, and I play Minmon, a feral druid on the Vek'nilash server. I am both a founder and officer of Band of Thorns a casual raiding guild on the Vek'nilash-US server which also happens to be the second longest lived Horde guild on the server.

I started this blog because I wanted to share my experiences as both a raiding feral druid, and as an officer trying to walk the tightrope between "casual" and "progression."

I'll admit to being a first-time blogger, so any comments and suggestions from the world at large are more than welcome.