Making the World of Warcraft more trivial, one post at a time…

IntoheroicsThe time has finally come. My average iLevel has crept over the magic 328, so a-Heroicing I shall go.

And, let's be honest, I was a little nervous. From every blog post I read, from all the chatter on Twitter, Heroics in Cataclysm have more in common with the nightmare days of the Burning Crusade, than the facerolls of Wrath.

Sunday morning. A druid doing dailies. A guild heroic run looking for just one DPS to make it an all guild group. 

Reader, I joined them.

It did not go well.

The random number generator through us into Grim Batol, a dungeon I've yet to run on normal, let alone Heroic. The trash – wasn't too bad. We had a single death in the entire run to the first boss, despite the ineptitude of a confused druid meaning that the bombing run was less effective than it should have been. But the boss. Oh, the boss. After half a dozen wipes with little sign of progress, we called it. And I'm going to call it as my fault. I'm not used to DPSing in instances, I'm not used to Heroics, and I'm new to the dungeon. It wasn't to be.

We hit the RNG again, and dungeon findered our way into Throne of the Tides. This one I have done. And the trash went swimmingly again. But the first boss saw our little part-time boomkin spread over the floor by a whirlwind. And that was that. At this point, I bailed in favour of a better-geared and more experienced guildmate, and they went on to clear the instance. 

At this point, I wasn't feeling great about my readiness for Heroics. And that was just super timing – because tonight was guild Heroic night. In the build up to starting raiding next month, we're having a night a week of Heroics, just to help the old gearing-up. The group formed, with me in my familiar healing role, some well geared-guildies and one slightly under-geared warlock. And off we went to Vortex Pinnacle.

The trash went down pretty easily. That seemed familiar.

We got to the first boss. That seemed to be familiar.

We one-shotted him. That most certainly wasn't. (And we were ahead of the other Heroic group at this point, which was satisfying).

The second boss? Down on the third attempt.

Another couple of wipes on trash between there and the end, and the  we engaged the windmill for the final boss. Half a dozen wipes, mainly due to casters getting caught outside the magic, sparkly triangle. A final attempt, when I finally, completely ran out of mana, with my potion and Innervate blow, with the boss at 5%. The result?

1stHeroicLet's see that again, in slow motion:

My Heroic cherry is well and truly popped.

My conclusions? Yes, Cataclysm Heroics are hard. But they repay skill, organisation and persistence. I felt way more comfortable as a healer than a DPS – but then I've been healing instances for five years, and barely ever DPSed seriously. We were on Vent, we had a skilled tank, and a DPS who could guide us through the fights. It was good natured, and we persisted and saw the results. Yes, gearing does play a huge part. Our under-geared Warlock was getting brutalised compared to our well-geared Mage. That's life. Some more Heroic and Justice gear will give us a little more room for error. 

I think I enjoyed tonight's Vortex Pinnacle run more than any single Wrath Heroic I ever did. And that, I think, is rather the point. 

Doing my raid prep, like a good little druid.

No idea if the raid will actually happen, given that it's compulsory expenditure, dinner and sex day…

Worgen look damn good in the Lunar pants suit and a top hat. 

Have I introduced you to Halesworthy, yet? He's my second druid, a feral, and he's in his mid-30s right now. He's getting the most playtime of my alts, and I'm seriously tempted to push him onwards towards 85 ASAP.

Oh, and that's the most bizarrely inappropriatley dressed Innkeeper I've ever found in the game with him. She's got a ram stable for an inn – and she's wearing a barely-there dress. I tell you, Northwatch Hold does something to people's heads. 

OK. It's late. It's, what, a year after the first guilds did it? Two months after we should have done, really. Nine of us were level 85. And it still took us two hours of wiping to orbs and defiles. But we did it:

KingslayerAnd damn, but it felt good.

Update: Here's our victory shot, fresh from the guild blog:


McGonigal also argues convincingly that people who like to play online games, far from being social recluses, are perhaps well equipped to make positive changes in the world, and could even solve some of the greatest problems facing humanity. "Games inspire extreme effort," she explains, and create communities that stick together long enough to get things done. Now designers like McGonigal are inventing games that tap into this potential, to direct the colossal effort that gamers represent towards real-world challenges.


From a New Scientist review of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.

And we'll get right on to saving the world, once we've finished all this Tier of raiding… 😉

[Full disclosure: New Scientist is published by my employer]