A Call to Arms: Herald of the Titans

CALLING ALL ADVENTURERS, ULDUAR AWAITS!

Many moons ago, I used to lead runs for this little achievement called Herald of the Titans. It was great fun; I’d bring a group of at-level, at-gear players in to fight the awe inspiring Algalon, in pursuit of a pretty awesome title and Feat of Strength. I had retired these runs a while ago after getting dozens upon dozens of people their Algalon kill, but the time has come to once more venture into Ulduar. Back by popular demand, I am once more setting up runs for Herald of the Titans!

So what exactly is the Herald of the Titans achievement?

Designed to mimic the experience of Wrath-era raiding, Herald of the Titans is a Feat of Strength with some pretty stringent requirements. In order to earn the FoS, players must defeat Algalon the Observer in 10 man Ulduar:

  • At level 80
  • With armor item level 226 or below
  • With weapons item level 232 or below

Effectively, you have to recreate a character as it would have appeared in Wrath (although, you can bring a class that wouldn’t have existed during that time, they just have to follow the aforementioned guidelines). Your reward for completing the encounter as it was designed to be approached is a pretty spiffy title – Name, Herald of the Titans – as well as a shiny new Feat of Strength! Pretty nifty, huh?

This brings me to the Fussypants Herald of the Titans runs!  The preliminary deets are below.

Where: Nesingwary/Nazgrel/Vek’nilash US, Alliance Side
(You are not required to level your character on this realm cluster, but I would highly recommend doing so since I have stockpiled a great deal of foods, enchantments, and other raiding materials to use during our attempts)

When: TBD, depending on the availability of the team(s)

Who: YOU! I’m looking for anyone interested in achieving this Feat of Strength!

IMPORTANT NOTE: YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE A LEVEL 80, GEARED OUT CHARACTER AT THIS POINT IN TIME. I AM ONLY ASSEMBLING TEAMS RIGHT NOW.

Will you answer the call to defeat Algalon in the depths of the titan city of Ulduar? Please fill out the Google form and join this Discord so I can start to organize the groups!

If you have any questions, feel free to message me on Twitter @thefussypants, on Discord Fussypants#4821, or by email thefussypants(at)hotmail(dot)com.

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Farewell to my Heralds

The final group!

The final group!

Citizens of Dalaran! Raise your eyes to the skies and observe!  For the very last time in Warlords of Draenor, our world’s destruction has been averted in defiance of our very makers!

Algalon the Observer, herald of the titans, has been defeated by our brave comrades in the depths of the titan city of Ulduar for the eighth and final time.

Cold logic deemed eight runs too many. Cold logic, however, does not account for the power of guild dedication!. It’s up to each of us to prove this is a Feat of Strength worth obtaining! That our titles… our titles are worth earning.

Man, I couldn’t say goodbye to my Herald of the Titans runs without quoting dear ol’ Rhonin.  Don’t worry though, unlike Rhonin, I can keep the speech down to once through.  With the final group defeating Algalon on Wednesday, <oTQ> has officially ended our Herald of the Titans runs for this season.  And because of the upcoming changes to set bonuses in older expansions, the Wednesday run may have been our last run… forever.

Herald of the Titans has been my pet project for almost two years now.  I’ve leveled up three different characters, cleared Naxxramus for gear more times than I care to count, and helped get over 50 people their Herald of the Titans title.  It’s been a long, sometimes frustrating, but overall, incredibly rewarding journey. And I have to admit, a part of me will always love the Algalon encounter.  Except the Cosmic Smash.  Screw the Cosmic Smash.  But every other part has a special place in my heart.

Herald of the Titans was really my first experience organizing and executing a large scale group activity.  At first it was just guildies but in time, it grew to include other friends, acquaintances, and eventually random people who’d heard of the runs.  I quickly found the best ways to get key details out to people (bold, change the color, and jack up that font size) as well as the importance of keeping my master posts up to date.

I also learned how to deal with failure.  Our first couple of runs actually ended in wipes for 3 hours, something that I had definitely not expected or planned for going in.  There are ways to keep morale up and ways to encourage improvement and those first couple of runs were an awesome teaching experience.

And finally, I got to meet and interact with all sorts of people.  Good friends who I got closer to. Guildies who I didn’t know as well before the runs and became friends with after.  People who joined our guild because of Heralds.  Twitter folks who I’d never gotten to play in game with before. And all the random folks who stumbled across the page after googling ‘Herald of the Titans runs’ (we were one of the top hits!).

It’s been a fantastic two years.  However, like all things, this chapter is coming to a close.  To all of those helped supply the runs, to those who kept coming on the runs to help me fill the occasional open space, and to those who got their titles through the runs, thank you.  Thank you for coming along for the ride, for gearing up your characters, for maxing out those gems and enchants, and for watching out for the Cosmic Smashes.  And congratulations, Herald of the Titans!

 

(Editors note: Because Yotaan and Fussypants are going on vacation, there will be no blog post next week.  We will be back at it the following week however, just in time for the alleged prepatch drop!)

Heraldic Invitation

WoWScrnShot_042615_173134Many months ago, I blogged a bit about an event I ran with my guild by the name of Herald of the Titans.  Once again my guild is running groups through for the achievement, and I wanted to open up the invitation to all my readers!

The Herald of the Titans achievement requires some rather specific situations.  First, all the 10 people in the raid group must be level 80.  No level 100, not even level 81.  You’ve gotta be level 80 on the dot.  Secondly, everyone in the raid must be wearing ilvl 226 or below gear.  And while all of this is active, you must go and defeat Algalon the Observer in Ulduar.  Basically, you complete the fight at level and at gear.

So why would someone want to go for such an achievement? Well to start us off, it’s not actually an achievement, its a feat of strength. And as everyone knows, that’s 3x more fancy.  But on top of that, you also earn the Herald of the Titans title.  And bragging rights! What’s more for there to ask for?

If you are interested in joining the event, shoot me an email at thefussypants(at)hotmail(dot)com and go to our guild forum pages for more in depth information.

We currently do not have a run date because people are still leveling and gearing up but when such a time comes around it is my priority that everyone who wants to gets a run.  The event is a ton of fun and I would love to play the game I write about so often with my readers!  Come join us!

Now, onto other business!
WoWScrnShot_100115_184024The vote was in, and Yotaan and I have started leveling our Ironman toons! I am playing a goblin hunter by the name of Greedypants and he is playing a tauren druid by the name of Bullsmack (isn’t that such a great name!).  And yes, you should all feel bad for voting warlock because warlocks are icky and gross.  Thank goodness hunter beat out by one vote!  Mages forever!

Currently, Yotaan is level 5 and I am level 2 so technically he is in the lead.  However, I’m just letting him wear himself out before sweeping in and taking the prize! Totally!

We will keep you updated on our exploits as we level!

Times Change

Times ChangeIf you had told me a year ago that I would be raiding current tier progression, I would have looked at you and laughed.  If you had told me a year ago that I would be the officer in a guild 900 strong I would have shook my head and told you no way.  If you had told me that I would have tanked current raids, led three groups successfully to their Herald of the Titans achievement, or fallen in love with the monk class I simply would not have believed you.  And yet here we are, a year later.  And all those things are true.

A year ago, I was a part of a small but cheery little guild.  While it was full of wonderful people that I truly enjoyed playing with, it just was not a good fit for the way I played the game.  A year ago I was an average pug healer.  Occasionally I would have some really good plays but I wasn’t much special.  I wanted to raid more than the pugs I could get into, but I didn’t think there was a guild out there who would want me with my unpredictable schedule.  A year ago I was terrified of tanking.  I couldn’t even lead a dungeon at max level, let alone tank any raids.  A year ago, I restricted myself to what I had at that time.  I rarely went far beyond my comfort zones and I hesitated before most opportunities.

What was that thing Garrosh said in the cinematic?
Times change.

Today I am a proud officer in <Of The Queue>.  I have successfully lead a number of events.  I have tanked all of Highmaul, most of Blackrock Foundry, and a bit of Hellfire Citadel.  I have become a much better healer, capable of using my cooldowns and abilities in a raid environment.  I am in a raid group that is 7/13 in Hellfire Citadel and progressing rapidly.  And I now rock a mistweaver and brewmaster monk as my second main.

So many times we stop short with what we have.  We are so afraid of change and of failure that we don’t move forward.  What we have is good enough, no need to desire more.  But the world out there is boundless in it’s opportunities. Even if we fall, we can always get back up again.

Have I had my fair share of failed ventures? Absolutely.  I worked so very hard on things that completely fall through.  I’ve said “Good enough” instead of finding ‘best’. I’ve let fear keep me from trying new things.

But I’m making the conscious effort to stop.  I want to experience all that the world has to offer (both in game and out).  Instead of saying no, I want to say yes to new experiences.  Because the world moves and world changes.  Times change.

I have found my niche in the game where I am happy.  I log in and say hello to all the people and I feel like I belong.  I’ve pushed beyond my ‘good enough’ and into my ‘great’. I’ve found friends to support me and taken opportunities that I never would have dreamed of getting.  And most of all, I’ve accepted that it can change.  Everything can change. I won’t be stuck in the past, grasping at the almosts.

So this is my message to you today.  A bit sappy, I willingly admit.  But genuine.  Seek out what makes you happiest.  Times change; let yourself change with them. Find your ‘great’.

Titanic Heralds

The team that could

The team that could

Completing something and earning a reward always carries a strong sense of satisfaction.   But when you complete something, and it was hard, and it took time, and it took effort, that satisfaction is greatly increased.  There’s this pride that just doesn’t come when you are simply handed a reward.  A fist pumping, ‘yeah I did this even though it was hard!’ pride that makes the whole experience seem so much more worth it.  It might have been difficult, but it doesn’t matter in the end.  You did it.

I have been lucky to experience this a few times in my video gaming career.  One huge time was when I finally, after months of trying, got my Ahead of the Curve Garrosh Hellscream kill.  I’d spent so much time and effort working towards it, that once I finally got that achievement, I felt on top of the world.  And just last weekend, I had another such experience.

It all started with a little wish for the Herald of the Titans title.  In the early days of ‘Of The Queue’, several people (including myself) had expressed a desire to work for that title.  Being an events coordinating officer, I did some research and set up a group.  That group quickly expanded to three groups, and we began cheerfully leveling and gearing up.

For about a month and a half, we made preparations for the real runs.  We ran leveling dungeons, and then once we were at level, we ran gearing raids.  Morals were high and we expected to gear up and get Algalon down easily.  After all, all of the resources we had found has stressed how easy the encounter had become.  Heck, two prot pallies had duoed the encounter at the end of Mists.

Unfortunately, the encounter was not as easy as we had been lead to believe.  Not in the slightest. We got to the first of the runs and commenced our first pulls on Algalon.

And that cursed messenger absolutely wiped the floor with our faces.

Our tanks couldn’t last more than twenty seconds even with our healers popping all their cooldowns.  I think the lowest we were able to get him that first night of attempts was 45% down, by bursting as much as we could in the first minute before we’d be crushed. We simply couldn’t handle the amount of damage he was putting out.  After a good 2 and a half hours, we called it quits for the night.

As I have previously written about, this was the point where I took up Brewmaster tanking.  The next night I very rapidly learned how to tank and we started our first pulls.

We were better.  We were definitely better.  We could hold together for longer, had a coordinated plan, and were able to better execute the mechanics.  The percentages on wipes slowly creeped down.  45%.  Then 35%.  Then 25%.  We worked just as hard if we had been raiding current cutting edge raids, doing the dance of dps, healing, and tanking.

But it just wasn’t enough.  Wipes got down to 19% but we just hit a wall.  Algalon was hitting like a cement truck and there was no way around it.  I would pop Guard, an ability that puts a pretty sizable shield on me, and Algalon would tear through it in one normal melee. Every special ability hit required some sort of cooldown and any tank mistake would end up in death.  If the heals missed even a single cast, someone would go down. The margin for error was tiny and as we got more tired, we just couldn’t tighten enough to get him down.

Again we called it for the night.  However, instead of picking up a new spec I went and did some extensive research.  At first I had been worried that our failure had been some fault of our own, but what I found out disproved that completely.

It seems that Algalon had become much harder post squish.  In fact, he was as hard if not harder than he was when the fight was current.  Apparently Algalon’s damage has not been properly reduced, so moderate melees became crushing blows.  As one poster reported, Algalon is capable of putting out 44k damage in a matter of seconds.  To give you some perspective, my fellow tank and I have about 50k health maximum.  A few moments of healing lapse and the tanks would go smush.

I also learned the vital importance of flasks and potions (we had figured this out in our owns raids, but further reading cemented the fact).  Every toon in the raid has to been maxed out to the nines, or we wouldn’t be able to overcome the encounter.  Armed with new knowledge, we attempted for a third time.

We got all ready to run but one member of our group had to drop because the encounter wasn’t letting her zone in.  We attempted to find a 10th member.  In desperation, I put up a group in the Group Finder.  We got a bunch of 100s, and then a whisper from one dude.  One awesome dude.  Duskraven-Lothar just happened to be skimming when he found our group.  He got on his semi-geared shadow priest and we were all ready to roll.

Right away, there was a difference.  The fight was just as hard as ever and many wipes were still had.  But we were executing mechanics better than ever before.  A solution was found for a difficult mechanic that had been the causer of many wipes.  Duskraven-Lothar dependably cast Dispersion and soaked the mechanic for us (seriously, this guy was awesome).  We started at higher percentage wipes but slowly but surely got down to less than 20% ones.

We were almost there, wiping a few percentages away from kill in the second phase.  But we had stalled, we just needed that final push.  One of our members announced that she would have to leave in ten minutes, and that was the motivation that did it.  Several more wipes and were were just about there.

And then the star aligned.  It was the last attempt for the day.  After weeks of practicing, we executed the fight perfectly.  Adds were going down properly, damage was being avoided if it could be.  We got all the way into the second and final phase with no one dead.  For a few tense moments, we gave it our all.  Heals, dps, tanking, all frantically done in an intense silence.

Then, Algalon despawned.  We stood, shocked, for a moment or two.

Across everyone’s screens flashed an achievement months in the making. Herald of the Titans.  We had done it.  We had done it!

The cheering that broke out in Mumble was matched by none in it’s enthusiasm.  For a solid ten minutes, we cheered and took screenshots with our brand new titles.  Months of hard work had paid off and we had what we came for.  We were Heralds of the Titans

I want to thank my team for their continued efforts at this.  Every time we ran, our members brought some new tips, tricks, or experiences to the table. For a team that had never raided before together, we tightened remarkably well.  You guys were the reason we were able to get this, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group.  Congrats and thank you!

This was probably one of the proudest moments of my WoW career.  Just thinking of it brings a smile to my face.  My team and I completed something insanely hard together despite the odds being stacked against us.  It was a powerful learning experience with a worthwhile reward and I’m so glad that we decided to embark on this quest.

And I’m never going to take that title off now.

Mistful of DPS healing

By the way, this tank was awesome

By the way, this tank was awesome!

And here I go again! I’ve started yet another healer, this time a mistweaver monk.  I’m leveling this one to be the healer in several Herald of the Titans runs.  Which in hind sight, might not have been the best idea considering that monks were not around when Wrath was current and there is no tier gear for them.  Oops.  I’m too far along though to turn back (BC leveled at the moment of writing).

I chose mistweaver for two main reasons.  I have never played a monk beyond level 20 and I was curious about fistweaving.  Monks beyond level 20 is a truly enjoyable affair, but fistweaving not so much.

First, let’s start with the positives.  I’m really enjoying monks!  I think the Chi system worked out remarkable well and feels intuitive (instead of tacked on like it is for paladins).  There’s a good rhythm of building and spending chi, especially for mistweaving.  And the accelerated leveling is a gift that keeps on giving.  Monks feel fast, light on their toes, and flexible.

If I had to pick one negative thing, I would chose the fact that one must constantly interrupt the channel of soothing mists.  For years I have been trained to never interrupt channeled casts until they are done.  Especially for healing abilities (Tranquility and Divine Hymn come to mind), you never want to interrupt if you can help it.  And this ingrained knowledge has made it difficult for me to interrupt Soothing Mists to cast other abilities.  It’s a small pet peeve, but I feel guilty every time I end Soothing Mists early.

While I think Mistweaving is enjoyable and lively, the same cannot be said for fistweaving.  I feel that fistweaving could be fun and enjoyable, but right now it is weak.  Very weak.  Perhaps this gets better with level or gear, but as it stands I cannot reliably heal by fistweaving.

I know I’ve already mourned the loss of dps healing, but it still haunts me.  There is just something innately appealing about being able to do two roles at once.  While I don’t advocate for the return of SoO disc levels of power (while enjoyable, it was a balancing nightmare), I do think that dps healing should have some sort of relevance.  It’s just too entertaining a mechanic to get nerfed into oblivion.

Other than fistweaving, monk has been an enjoyable healing class! Monks are different enough that the play style doesn’t feel like any other class, an impressive feat considering all the different healing builds out there.  And as a bonus, when I get to max level, there are a bunch of monk transmogs just waiting for me to wear them!