Ma Ma Ma My Monara

Monara, The Last Queen

As if the trash leading to Horridon wasn’t annoying enough, now we have to deal with this bitch, lol.

After dispatching Jin’rokh Tuesday night, we moved on to deal with the Tormented Spirit trash like we normally do when we noticed a giant quest marker hovering over the first set of stairs.  Walking towards it, we were presented with a quest, Requiem for a Queen, that asked us to put someone named Monara to rest.  Here is a description of the quest:

A chilling breeze sweeps across your body, bringing with it a haunting drape of sadness. Your soul sinks as you hear the faint, melodic cries of Monara, the last Queen of the Mogu.
Her sweet requiem creeps through the air, bending and shaping itself into a spectral hand, reaching for your heart. As it grabs hold, you see a brief flash of Monara’s last moments… her brutal murder by the hand of Lei Shen.
Song turns to sadness and Monara weeps, wailing louder and louder into the darkness.

We then realized we encountered something we haven’t seen since the days of raiding back in Wrath, the weekly raid quests.  Remember when we were tasked with killing Flame Leviathan, or Lord Marrowgar or the snow giant before Lootship or keeping Donovan alive during the Lady Deathwhisperer fight for the week and you got bonus Badges for it?  Yep, these weeklies are back, and for completing the quest, you are rewarded with the Spoils of the Thunder King, which contains gold and either a Blood Spirit or Mote of Harmony. No bonus Valor though, booooo.

So where do you find Monara?  She hovers over the platform after the first set of Tormented Spirits, where the giant Golem usually is.  Be aware of her Shadow Nova ability, which will blast anyone within a short-range of her a ways back.  We learned this the hard way, as most of us got knocked off the platform to our deaths.  After a few attempts and multiple deaths, someone read a forum post that said Monara can be pulled all the way back to Jin’rokh’s room to make killing her easier.

So our normal 20-30 minute Horridon trash turned into close to an hour of frustration.  And that frustration was made worse as we didn’t make significant progress on Horridon himself.  I hate this boss, lol.

Wednesday night, we decided to change it up a bit and do a quick clear of Terrace to get some upgrades that people could use.  And since most of us were swimming in Elder Charms from doing dailies on the Isle of Thunder, this would give us a better chance at getting those upgrades.

To throw a little fun into the mix, Lyss and I gave anyone who healed the Enchanted Plant and kept it alive during the Tsulong encounter 500 gold a piece, for a total of 1000 gold.  I threw a couple heals on the Plant and even Shadeey got into the action by bandaging it in between phases too, lol.  Easy achievement is easy.

Who's Got Two Green Thumbs?

We made quick work of the rest of Terrace, one-shotting the whole raid and some people got a few upgrades.  I even got my normal version of my Sha-touched weapon, Kilrak, Jaws of Terror, from the Sha of Fear to replace my raid finder one.  But I won’t be using though, the one-handed axe I got from Jin’rokh, the Worldbreaker’s Stormscythe, has better stats and a much higher ilvl.  I might need to revisit it laster to see if socketing Kilrak with the legendary gem and upgrading the weapon in 5.3 will make a difference.

After Terrace, we made our way back to Throne of Thunder to work on Horridon a bit.  As we were getting ready to kill the respawned Horridon trash, Wok noticed that Shirl was on the Isle of Giants and he asked if she was killing Oondasta.  She said yes, but the raid she was in had just wiped and were reforming for another shot at the giant T-Rex.  We made a quick decision to head out there for some possible ilvl 522 gear and grabbed Zari along the way.  We made it just in time and killed the beast, with most folks getting their first kills and achievements and even loot.  With 11 of us from the guild in on the kill, we even got the guild achievement too.

Oondasta Guild Run

So back to ToT we went, killing the trash quickly and Monara again, this time wasting no time and brought her straight into Jin’rokh’s room.  We didn’t get to complete the weekly quest again, even though the giant quest marker sat on the stairs taunting us.

We refined our strategy a little bit on Horridon and we made good progress as we were constantly getting to the fourth door.  We made it past the fourth door once, but by then most of the raid was dead.

Maybe it was the upgrades and/or the Oondasta kill, but to me, the feeling last night felt more enjoyable as we made significant progress and we got lots of loot.  We’re getting close, hopefully we can kill this damned triceratops next week. =)

Thoughts on Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Last week, Blizzard announced its newest addiction game at the Penny Arcade Expo East called Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.  Basically, it’s an online collectible card game set in the Warcraft universe that is going to be free-to-play for the PC and Mac, and later for the iPad and other tablets.  The initial set will have 300 cards and you can earn a booster pack of five cards by winning matches or you can purchase them for $1 a pack.

You play as one of nine “Heroes”, representing the some of major classes in WoW.   By using spell, ability and minion cards, your goal is to bring your opponent’s life points to zero.  From some of the gameplay I’ve seen, you can play as such characters like Garrosh the Warrior or Jaina the Mage.  The game board and cards are 3D and animated, giving the gameplay experience a lively feel.  Even the opening of a new pack is made to feel exciting, just like the real thing, lol.  I think the game looks great and hopefully I can get into the beta to test the real thing out.

So what does this mean for the WoW TCG?  Probably nothing, I haven’t heard that it would affect it in any way.  I think Cryptozoic has done a great job of keeping the TCG alive ever since they took over the reins from Upper Deck Entertainment back in 2010.  With 20 expansion sets and several raid decks out, the TCG is moving along quite well and the fan base is still strong.  The Hearthstone trailer contains artwork from the TCG and I think some of the cards in the set may have come from there as well.

So am I worried that Hearthstone will replace the WoW TCG someday?  A little, but I think it’ll take a while for it to happen, if it ever does.  It all depends on how the players take to Hearthstone and how popular it gets.  With everything going digital these days, there is a possibility that the TCG goes virtual and becomes Hearthstone or part of it.  We’ve seen it before with other WoW media like the manga and the comic book and even the novels could go eventually go digital.  I think the WoW TCG will be here for a while though, especially if they keep churning out the Loot cards that most WoW players covet.

So what about you? Thinking about joining the beta?  Will you give up playing Angry Birds or Bejeweled during non-WoW hours to play more Warcraft?

Oondasta Owned

Fighting Oondasta

Last Friday, I saw someone in trade chat trying to get a raid together to take down Oondasta, the giant T-Rex that resides on the Isle of Giants.  I had read earlier that day that Blizz put a hotfix that would make Oondasta spawn more often, so I figured I’d give it a shot.  So I whispered the raid leader to see how many they had in the raid and they told me they were only up to 6 people.  This was a little disheartening, especially since Blizz eliminated CRZ grouping by not giving players from other servers loot on a kill.  And since Drak is such a low population server, getting a decent sized group together would be difficult.

So I decided to queue up for a random LFD instead and after that was done, Van asked me if I wanted to kill the Zandalari Warbringer in Kun-Lai Summit.  While flying out there to meet her, Wok managed to join the Oondasta group and I whispered to him, asking him how many they had in the group.  He said there were about 17 people, so I told him to keep me updated while I help kill the Warbringer with Van.  Van asked me how many it would take to take out the Warbringer and I suggested two or three more dps to make the kill go faster, so she invited Averry and Shirl to come along.  And wouldn’t you know it, the Kun-Lai Warbringer drops the mount, which Shirl won.  Feeling lucky, I suggested that we go for the others in the Jade Forest, Krasarang Wilds, Dread Wastes and Townlong Steppes, but our luck ran out and we didn’t get any of the other Warbringers to drop their mounts, just a whole bunch of insignias and bags of crafting materials.

I had whispered Wok on the way to the Townlong Warbringer and he said that the Oondasta raid was full and that they were heading out to the Isle of Giants.  I told him to let me know how it went and a few minutes later, I got Wok’s DBM automatic message saying that they had wiped on Oondasta at 86%.  Wok was saying that it was pretty much insta-death out there and that he was getting 2 minute rez timers, lol.  On their second attempt, they managed to get to 64%.

After our Zandalari mount farming, I dropped group and headed out to the Isle to see if I could assist with killing Oondasta.  When I got there, there was already a second raid forming, so I joined it and invited Van back.  We only had 22 people in our group, but I figured this would be enough to take Oondasta down, since the raid was getting closer and closer to killing it.

I tried to take on some of the Crushes that Oondasta would lay on the tanks, but I wasn’t able to taunt off and instead kept getting smashed by the Piercing Roars and Spiritfire Beams.  I died four times and ended up with a minute rez timer.

Waiting to Rez

It wasn’t too long after that last death, though, as Oondasta finally bit the dust.

Oondasta Dead

Millions of Years of Evolution vs. My Fist

And for my troubles, I won a sweet ilvl 522 belt, Voolar’s Bloodied Belt.

Voolar's Bloodied Belt

I don’t usually save belts in my bank for future transmogs, most of them are too thin and small to notice, but this is definitely one I’m going to keep.  Look at the teeth on that thing, lol!

Arvash sportin' Voolar's Bloodied Belt

The loot tables for Oondasta are pretty good, so I hopefully I can get in on a few more kills on the dino.  One world boss down, one more left to go, can’t wait for Nalak to drop me some tier gear!

Terrace of Endless Spring Complete!

Finishing the Sha of Fear

After wiping all Tuesday night to Horridon the Horrible, SR went back into Terrace of Endless Spring last night to finish what we started a while back, the Sha of Fear.  Our problem before was killing the pandas in gazebos in time before the second team got sent away, but we just didn’t have enough dps or they would get healed too much by the healy orbs.

We tried to killed the Sha before patch 5.2 came out for a chance at the Feat of Strength, but we ran out of time.  I blame that on an awesome guild meet we had. =)

After 5.2 hit, we received a 10% buff to the Tier 14 raids.  The panada adds were much easier to kill and although we had a hiccup on our first attempt, the second one proved no contest.  I think we had only 6 or 7 Ominous Cackles before the Sha of Fear went down for good.

Tier 14 Complete!

Shadow Rising Terrace of Endless Spring Complete!

And for killing all the major Shas in Pandaria, you’re rewarded with a nifty title, the Tranquil Master.

Arvash the Tranquil Master

Tranquil Master

So with that, all of Tier 14 raiding content is now complete.  Shadow Rising is the only guild on Drak’Tharon with completed MSV, HoF and ToES raids.  DEFAULT, FTW! lol

Not sure if we’ll go back to do any heroics, I think the Throne of Thunder will keep us busy for a while.  Great job again to everyone, now let’s go kill us some trolls and dinos!

A Dino for the Hammer

Exalted with the Sunreaver Onslaught

Last night, I finally hit exalted with the Sunreaver Onslaught, the Horde faction that is stationed on the Isle of Thunder.  I managed this even though our server is only on stage 2 of opening up the Isle (we were at 97% completion before I logged for the night, so we should have the next area open today).

Gaining reputations with most of the new factions has never been easier.  Combine the Grand Commendation that you can purchase at revered with the daily bonus reputation from running a random Heroic dungeon and the path to exalted is a breeze.  I’m not sure if Sunsong Ranch offers work orders for the Sunreavers, but if they do, it’ll make the grind that much easier.

If only the Shado-Pan Assault was this easy, lol.

Lor'Themar Theron

When you reach exalted with the Sunreavers, Lor’themar gives you a special quest to retrieve the remains of one of the bosses in the Throne of Thunder, the Dark Animus.

Dark Animus quest

Attuned Crystal

Your reward for completing this task is a Sunreaver Standard, but I’m more excited at the chance of the Dark Animus dropping the Son of Animus pet.  Because, you know, it doesn’t take up any precious bag space, lol.

The Dark Animus is the ninth boss of the Throne of Thunder raid, so I won’t be seeing him on Normal mode for a while, since Horridon has been stomping our asses of late.  But the LFR for Animus should be available next week, so I could complete it then.

As with most factions, there are rewards available for purchase.  The Sunreavers don’t really offer anything exciting; there are some ilvl 496 belts, rings and neck pieces that can be purchased with valor if you’ve been unlucky at getting these to drop in HoF or TotES and a tabard.  But for mount collectors out there, you can purchase the Reins of the Crimson Primal Direhorn at exalted.  After the faction/guild discount, the mount comes out to only 2,100 gold.

I haven’t been mount farming for the other Direhorns that drop from the elites across Pandaria yet, but this is awesome first one to have.

Reins of the Crimson Primal Direhorn

A Crimson Direhorn for a Crimson Hammer?  Perfect. =)

UPDATE:  Thanks to Veluxia for pointing out that once you reach exalted with the Sunreaver Onslaught and purchase the Crimson Primal Direhorn, you automatically get the Alliance version, the Golden Primal Direhorn, on all your Alliance toons.  Here is a pic of Valoree on the Golden dino.

Reins of the Golden Primal Direhorn