Progression feels good

The hunter

When I started this blog about a month ago, I had just begun raiding again.  I’d been running Raid Finder Dragon Soul for months, and had gotten to a point where my item level was about as high as it could be without killing Alizabal or setting foot in Heroic Firelands or Normal DS: RF Tier 13 4-piece set, along with Zeherah’s Dragonskull Crown, Batwing Cloak, the crafted bracers, Valor ring / belt / boots / necklace, both RF weapons, and the Matrix Restabilizer.  That put me at around a 390 ilevel, perfectly fine for normal modes, but not quite high enough for progression.

Our guild raids the 10-player versions.  I had told my raid leader that I was available wherever he needed me, although we both agreed that I didn’t quite have the gear for much in the way of heroic progression.  Within a couple of weeks of alt raids, I had Kiril, Fury of Beasts, a 397 tier chest, the Valor trinket, and Destroyer’s End, as well as a Heroic Morchok kill.  A spot opened up on the progression raid team, and he asked me to run with them.

At the time, the team was 2/8 HM (Morchok/Ultraxion), and the raid invite instructed study for Zon’ozz and Yor’sahj.  I put in some time watching video, taking notes, and reading up the finer points of the fights at Icy Veins.  The raid team had decided collectively to focus on progression at the expense of clearing DS every week, due to time constraints, meaning that we would likely stop at Ultraxion for a while as we worked through the second, third and fourth bosses.  Despite our best efforts to get some Protector tokens in the alt raids, as well as a bow and Agility trinket from Madness and Spine, respectively, drops had been scarce, so I went in with them on that first night sitting at 393 and feeling that I would have to play very well in order to not hold the rest back.

The first week (4/22), we spent quite a bit of time on Zon’ozz before switching to normal and killing through Hagara, and then I got my Heroic Ultraxion achievement.  (During the next night’s alt raid, I switched out the druid after we killed Ultraxion for my hunter, in order to have another chance at the bow, etc.)  Last Sunday, we came back and, with some adjustments, killed Heroic Zon’ozz on our third attempt, which was pretty effective.  We then spent the rest of the evening working on Heroic Yor’sahj, coming fairly close to killing him once (~1.5%, if I recall correctly).  We decided to take an extra night and try again last Monday, and we did indeed come back and down him the next night, which we followed by completing the rest of the instance anyway since we had the time.

Not bad for one weekend.

(Still, no bow.  Ah well.)

It was very exciting – two heroic progression kills in one weekend, my second with the team!   Granted, it’s Dragon Soul – not any of the earlier tiers, which were more challenging in my opinion – but it was intense and gratifying.  It was also nice to get the Yor’sahj kill before Tuesday’s most recent Dragon Soul nerf.  Personally, I felt that I could hold my own with the rest of them, although I certainly didn’t play perfectly.  My damage was solid though relatively unspectacular, and since I was learning the fights along with many of them I didn’t feel like I was holding anybody back.

Tonight, we’re looking to work on Heroic Hagara.  It’s going to be tough, although the nerf will make it a little easier.  With new 397 shoulders, 410 gloves and the Starcatcher Compass, I’m sitting at 395, so I feel less like an underdog, gear-wise.  Once I post this, it’s time to revisit Fat Boss and Icy Veins to brush up on the Hagara strategy.

I’m running as Survival, which I’ve done for the entirety of the tier on Mushan.  I have run RF DS a few times as Marksmanship on my alt hunter, Ghilleadh, who has no set bonus yet, and the first alt raid I ran with Mushan had no paladins in the group, so I did respec for that night to bring Trueshot Aura.  That was crazy – I hadn’t ever tried MM with the set bonuses, so I was learning a ‘rotation’ on the fly.  I was able to hang with the rest of the group, although I’m sure I wasted a lot of focus, but I haven’t needed to do it since, and I don’t expect to, given that I think I’m going to be on this team for the duration and both of our tanks are paladins.  MM works, but SV is more flexible for both movement and focus management, and at this point there’s little question that I’m currently playing 4-piece Tier 13 better as SV.

I actually like the look of this druid tier. I think I’ll forgo transmog on this spec for a while.

The druid

Anacrusa is absolutely not a priority relative to my hunter and the main raid team, but after weeks of bad drops and continued mediocrity playing moonkin, I had a banner gear night last night.

With 2300 Valor points in my pocket, I’ve been waiting and waiting for a fourth tier piece, both in order to have the set bonus and so I knew which off-set piece to buy (helm, chest or gloves).  I’ve been faithfully running RF DS, but between bad rolls there and bad luck during alt runs (other than Lightning Rod, which is an awesome weapon), I hadn’t gotten the chest or gloves to complete the 4-piece bonus.

Well, last night, all of that waiting came back to pay its respects in spades!  Running with two better-geared druids, a better-geared rogue, and no DKs or mages, I picked up four(!!) tier tokens and the Will of Unbinding.  With those five pieces, I only had two ilevel 378 pieces to replace, so I upgraded them with the Valor belt and relic.  I spent more gold than I care to discuss filling those pieces with epic gems, reforged, and voila!  My druid is now slightly better geared than my hunter.

This… this makes me both laugh softly to myself and shake my head in disbelief.

On one hand, it’s just annoying, because obviously I’d prefer my hunter to have better gear – he needs it, in some ways, more than she does.  On the other hand, I’m a better hunter than I am a moonkin.  Balance is a bit more frustrating for me to play, because movement almost requires Moonfire spam, while Survival huntering just requires focus to allow for some high-powered instant shots while on the run.  So in some respects, she needs the gear more than he does.  So I guess that’s good.

Seriously, I have to admit that I’m excited to try this new gear out next weekend, to see how much it helps me (and how the four-piece changes the way the rotation works out).

Closing

Anyway, that’s an update on last week’s raid progress.  I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given, and proud of the recent success we’ve had.  Hopefully we can continue to progress over the next several weeks; I’m confident we’ve got the team to do it.

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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc.  Comments are welcome!

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2 Comments on “Progression feels good”

  1. Laeleiweyn says:

    Sounds like you’re having fun. Good luck on Hagara. :)

    • Mushan says:

      Thanks! I am having fun.

      We’ve now been tackling H Hagara for two raid lockouts. We seem to still be getting better acquainted with the transition phases, as well as the transitions out of those phases (dealing with repositioning for Ice Lances and Tombs, that sort of thing). Last night we finally managed to get through the Lightning phase a few times, but we’re still working on coming out of them with everyone alive. Hehe…

      Over all, we saw some nice progress last night, even with having to substitute for a couple of people.

      The nerf has had a funny effect, too. We killed Zon’ozz and Yor’sahj heroic just before the nerf… and then the past two weeks, we’ve easily one-shotted them. It feels like the cumulative effect of a 5% nerf is way more than 5% when you shave 10-15% off your record kill time after it happens. :P


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