Fun With Trains

Bel’s Blog Bonanza – February 27, 2015

For those not familiar with it, I write a bi-weekly column on and they made the huge mistake of letting me name it myself.  As such I gave it the completely bombastic title of “Bel’s Blog Bonanza” and every other week I give a run down to the best of my ability of the current hot topics circulating through the gaming blogosphere.  This week I talk about the echo effects of the rather brutal interview of Peter Molyneux by Rock, Paper, Shotgun.  This had many responses out in the community, and I picked a few of the ones I felt represented the various feelings the best.  Additionally the Crowfall Kickstarter has been huge on the blogging front with an absolutely overwhelming number of posts contemplating what everything means thusfar.

This week has also been huge as far as game patches went with the two remaining subscription juggernauts of Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft both releasing a significant patch on Tuesday.  From the Final Fantasy XIV side from we had a large number of posts talking about their experiences with the Manderville Golden Saucer and related items that came into the game this week.  On the World of Warcraft front we had quite a few reactions to the various features that were put in with the first patch of the expansion.  While the viewpoints of FFXIV 2.51 seemed overwhelmingly positive, the reactions from the World of Warcraft players were a little bit more mixed… which I assume is what you would expect from having a much more mature community.  The honeymoon was over long ago and now folks are viewing the game through less than rose colored lenses.  In any case check out the post and let me know what you think of the column.

Fun With Trains

Last night I finally started to feel like I was getting back into the swing of things.  Yesterday as a whole I felt considerably better than I had since last Thursday.  With it being a raid night, and we had cleared all of the encounters we had worked on during my medicated stupor on Tuesday… this meant that last night was entirely a learning night.  Some people get depressed at the concept of constant wiping, but for me it feels cool because we are getting to try new things.  Last night we set our sights on Operator Thogar, which for those who are unfamiliar with Blackrock is the “Train Boss”.  His room is essentially a train depot with four different tracks.  At various points during the fight a train will come barreling through the room and if you are on the wrong track at the wrong time… it will flat out one shot you.  For me as a bit of an abomination as Gladiator DPS… it will take me down very close to death but not actually kill me.

As you move through the encounter some trains will simply buzz through, and others will stop and drop off adds.  Among the types that drop adds there are ones filled with simply mindless trash mobs, and others filled with what we have termed “specialists”.  It is these specialist trains that cause the problems and quite simply last night we were not getting them down fast enough… while at the same time dodging trains.  It seemed like melee had the dance down pretty well, which is generally the case since melee is used to constantly moving.  We just need our ranged and healers to get used to the rhythm of the fight to be able to time when they can cast and when they have to be moving.  Basically we died constantly at this same point… where we have a pack of specialists and we did not get them down with enough time to move to the far edges of the room and split up.  I feel like this is a critical juncture and once we nail that we will have the encounter.

Killing the Flamebender

Wow-64 2015-02-26 21-41-21-83 Generally speaking if we do not make serious progress on our first few attempts, it is almost better to switch targets and let folks digest the mechanics for a week.  When we come back the following week there is absolutely a marked improvement.  Since this is the case with our raid, our leader called the halt on the Orc Trainmaster and we went back to working on Flamebender Ka’graz.  If you remember we actually made some solid progress on her awhile back getting her down into the 30% range if I am remembering correct, so I knew going into the night that more than likely this was going to be a fight we could fine tune and get through.  Once again this is a fight with a lot of moving parts.  Players have to avoid lines of fire that get drawn on the floor as she targets a ranged dps and attacks them.  This means the melee spend most of their time shifting around trying to keep from standing in these.

The crucial part of the fight seems to be dealing with the two lava wolf spawns.  This was the point at which we spent the most effort improving last night.  We shifted around trying several different combinations and finally landing on actively calling which target which group of players should be attacking.  Like I said last time these work like Corehounds and if they are not brought down at the same time… they both re-ignite.  The other big thing we tweaked was where the group collapsed, attempting to do so in the center of the room rather up within melee range of where the boss is tanked by default.  I think the combination of both of these was what actually allowed us to get through that second flame puppy phase with essentially a full compliment of players.  From there it was just repetition of the things we were already good at doing… and when the third dog phase happened we were able to ignore them and finish off the last 3% of the boss.  As is rare for us we actually managed to get everyone to stand still long enough to take a kill shot.