Matt’s Hodir Impressions

Matt’s Hodir Impressions

hodir

First, check out this awesome video by Siha. Some great teaser footage regarding the Hodir encounter. You can see me around the 22 second mark. I’m running away to the bottom right corner of the screen. Great choice of music, to boot!

To all the players who said Blizzard didn’t know how to create challenging content.

You guys are in for a treat.

At around 3 PM Pacific, it was announced that Hodir would soon be available for testing. In fact, he would be open at 4 PM. That left me an hour to scramble the players necessary to give it a shot. I knew there was no way I’d be able to field a full 25 man raid group. Conquest managed to bring in 6 players to jump in. I posted on Twitter looking for volunteers. No avail. I checked my GMail for online contacts. Apathy was free. Quick glance on AIM? Siha was free. After 90 minutes of struggling with UIs, server crashes and the like, we were one of the first groups that were able to zone in. The entire zone is quite breath taking. Check out some of the shots I sent into WoW Insider.

WoWScrnShot_022609_171253 After my making my way through most of the instance where we pass through the exterior lightning charged towers (where the Flame Leviathan is, no doubt) we enter a door that takes us into another part of the area. It looks like we hit the inner sanctum. The main chamber branches off into a multitude of rooms which takes your party to different bosses. Naxxramas has four wings. Ulduar has many different wings. I was’t able to get a count. But I think there were at least 5 or so hallways that led out. We managed to find Hodir with little difficulty in a circular cavern.

And we were joined by Daelo! Poor guy! He’s the lead encounter designer for Blizzard. General chat exploded the moment he announced his presence. People were asking him to unstuck them from various areas inside the instance. It got to the point where he had to bring in his alter ego (Daelotwo) to help with the unsticking process.

omgdaelo

What you’ll find is a large, oversized blue Dwarf-like individual. He’s got four NPCs encased in ice in front of him. Looks like they are integral to the encounter somehow. Our Death Knight tank starts the dancing process of kiting him around. We kind of deduced there was a Keristraza like ability where players had to keep moving. Siha and I were the only healers. We danced around. She covered the main tank (our Death Knight) while I tried to handle the rest of the raid.

 

 

For the past several years, we have all been conditions to aim the camera toward the floor. Illidari Council especially taught us to get out of fires. Blizzard has thrown us a curveball. This time, the raid need only look up. If you see snow, look out below as a chunk of ice is going to fall from the sky!

We barely lasted 2 minutes. But oh my was it such a blast!

WoWScrnShot_022609_171939I have to say something on a side note. It’s an exhilarating feeling to come to a new boss for the first time with zero idea of the boss does. It’s interesting in the fact that as players one of the first things we have to do is figure out what abilities and attacks the boss uses. Once we iron that out, we isolate what we can do or what the environment around us can do to help counteract boss abilities. I’ve never really been at the forefront of progression before. Literally. Bosses in the past have been done with explanations from other players or strategy guides or videos. For the first time, everyone is more or less on an even keel because no one knows what the heck is going on. There’s a huge rush after the fact where everyone chimes in trying to deduce what just killed them. Then theres a myriad of suggestions on how to go about preventing or adjusting for it. We don’t actually know what works. I mean testing raid content is like a big giant algeba problem: It’s literally guess and check.

As far as healing goes, we didn’t last long enough to get a good handle on healing. This instance feels like Zul’Aman: Reloaded (in terms of relative difficulty from Karazhan up).

Notes and observations

4 frozen NPCs in the middle of the room. Of the 4, you can break up to 2 on Normal and all 4 on Heroic. They assist the raid and hand out buffs.

Breaking out the Moonkin offers a haste buff to the raid (Unsure if its spell haste, haste, or both types of haste). You currently have to stand on the circle of light in order to use it.

On Normal, Hodir has 10 million health. On Heroic, around 30 million.

His attacks are melee and frost based.

Frost novas are dispelable. I believe they are cleansable as well. Hooray for magic effects.

This encounter is inspired by Keristraza in the sense that players have to move around to reset the damaging frost aura. It starts off at 200 initially and then continues to double to 400, then 800, then 1600 and so forth.

After the initial 45 seconds, Hodir does an ability called Flash Freeze. It’s a 9 second cast capable of nuking everyone in the room regardless of line of sight. It is possible to fully resist it. If it connects, you get encased in a chunk of ice for 5 minutes. The only other way out is to get busted out by DPS. Don’t forget that when you’re frozen, the aura is still on you.

Frozen Blows: Physical damage reduced by 70% but attacks deal 17750 additional Frost damage.

Special thanks

I’d like to extend a hearty thanks to the brave players who were willing to wipe with me.

Eridan – WTB more soulshards *grin*
Siha – Being online at the right time. Probably would not have gone in without her healing presence.
Wukki – Helping me with the notes and boss observations (and doing some research on her own)
Apathy Inc – I forgot your blog address again
Superkathoid – For offering her services as DPS even though I was already full on DPS :(

I plan on leading another team back in there tomorrow (Friday) at around 3 PM PST. We’re setup on Broxigar. Iron Council is scheduled for 4 PM PST. If you’re interested, I’ll on the PTR around then to get my present guild organized. I’ll most likely need an extra set of hands. You’ll recognize me on my character (Matticus).

If you’re interested, follow me on Twitter. Or else bookmark my Posterous (or subscribe). I’ll be updating my Posterous more often with screenshots and a live braindump of everything going on.

In hindsight, I shouldn’tve formed the group the PvE server. Way too many people.

20 Questions with Siha

Every week, Matt gets a chance to sit down with a WoW Blogger chosen by Matt’s right wing. Find out a little more about your favourite bloggers as he tries to get to know them a little more!

This week, Siha of the Banana Shoulders was awesome enough to stop healing for a few minutes to answer a few questions.

Tell us a bit more about yourself and how you got into gaming and World of Warcraft.

In the real world, I’m a very geeky girl living in Brisbane, Australia. I’ve always been into geeky pursuits, and I’ve been a roleplaying gamer (i.e. pen-and-paper/tabletop gaming, particularly Shadowrun, Exalted and Dungeons & Dragons) for fifteen or sixteen years. I first got into MMOs with Ultima Online – a bunch of my workmates were playing, it sounded awesome, I picked it up… and loved it, until they all fled UO for EQ and somehow I missed the MMO memo. I came back to MMOs with SWG (Star Wars Galaxies) and that led me to EQ2… and then WoW.

How did you come to power in your Guild?

Well, my guild – Southern Wardens – was formed in 2003, as an Aussie guild in Star Wars Galaxies. In mid-04 people started getting excited about the upcoming EQ2 and WoW releases. Most of the guild went to EQ2, and I was guild leader for the EQ2 section of the guild, but over time people started trickling across to WoW as it was frankly much more fun. Eventually I went with the flow, picked up WoW in early ’05 to check it out… and I don’t think I ever logged into EQ2 again. I became an officer in SW fairly quickly; I’d been an officer in SWG and guild leader in EQ2, and the guys knew I’m an organiseaholic (and therefore good for delegating stuff to!) We had three previous guild leaders in WoW, but all had to stop playing or drop back to very casual hours for RL reasons; I tended to work very closely with the previous incumbent, so when he had to stop playing, I was the obvious choice. The short version, of course, is "because no other lazy sod would do the damn job when I tried to give it away". :)

I asked Kestrel if he had any advice for up and coming GM’s. I’m going to ask you something similar. What is one mistake that you’ve learned the most from throughout your time as GM?

Not communicating things quickly enough. Good lines of communication are essential with your guild; if your guild trusts that the officer crew are managing things equitably and transparently, they’re more willing to accept that the decisions you make are for the good of the guild, and more willing to speak up calmly about problems instead of causing storms of drama. And, of course, you stand a better chance of actually keeping your guildies satisfied.

What are your initial impressions of 2.4?

I really like it. I think some of the high-level raid decisions by Blizzard are fairly insane – like taking stamina off a lot of the T6 pieces in Sunwell Plateau, or adding T6-equivalent badge loot – but I think the world event is going to be much more fun (and less server- destroying) than the AQ40 and Naxx world events. The Shattered Sun quests are a great expansion to the dailies, and overall I’m just happy with it. Plus there are some great specific additions – the ability to link spells and quests in chat channels like you can now with items, for instance, or the badges of justice that will be dropping from many 25-man raid bosses. Thumbs up.

What made you pick a Paladin over the other 3 healing classes?

I like healers, and always have. My SWG main was a Master Doctor/Teras Kasi Master (TK being the unarmed martial arts in SWG); my EQ2 main was a Templar (a plate-wearing cleric)… the ‘healer who can take a melee beating’ is just a fun archetype. To be honest, though, I didn’t really realize I was picking a main I’d still be playing and raiding with three years later!

Why are protection Paladins so freakin’ hard to kill and what is their one weakness?

Hard to kill: like any other tank, they have great armor, stamina and survivability. They’re hard to kill in PvE content, too – just ask the raid bosses who die at their feet every week. ;) Plus from a PvP perspective it’s particularly tough for melee classes to take them on; the mechanics of tankadins means that they specialise in reflected damage (from Holy Shield, Retribution Aura, Blessing of Sanctuary and some gear choices) so any meleer who’s trying to beat on a prot pally is more likely to kill themselves than the pally. Weakness: can’t kill a damn thing? Does that count? More seriously: everything a paladin will use in PvP (unless they’re a Ret pally) is a Holy spell. Lock down their holy school with interrupts, counterspells, slams and the like and they can’t do _anything_ – no Holy Shield, no bubble, no heals, no nuffin’.

Have you ever been treated differently as a female gamer by other > players?

Never, actually. I wish all female gamers were as fortunate.

So with all that healing gear you have on, how is levelling in the expansion going to be?

Just fiiiiiiiine, thanks to the change in 2.3 where healing gear adds spell damage. For a healer/offtank-specced character, I can put out some decent DPS – I’m not going to be winning any contests, but it’s fine for most questing. I’ll likely respec to 40/0/21 shockadin spec for some heftier DPS (sacrificing my ability to offtank, which doesn’t matter for levelling) and I’m not anticipating any problems at all.

You have your own domain and webhosting for your blog so I can see > you’re fairly committed to the blogging enterprise. Your 2.4 notes have been terrific and insightful. What can readers expect to see from Banana Shoulders in the next year?

I’m hoping to have time to get deeper into analysis and some light theorycrafting about paladins and general game mechanics. I also enjoy writing guides, like my guides to the daily quests or to holy paladin tanking, so there will be more of those if I see a subject that needs writing about. And finally, I’m really hoping to get into the WotLK beta (as I did for the TBC beta) so you can expect a lot of WotLK blogging if that happens. In particular, I wrote a popular jewelcrafting levelling guide during the TBC beta ("Siya’s Jewelcrafting Guide" for those of you that used it), and I’d like to provide a similar service for Inscription (and, of course, Jewelcrafting 376+).

What would the 51 point holy talent be?

I’m not actually sure, to be honest. My initial response would be "please god, some kind of multi-target heal" but I’m not entirely sure that’s appropriate. That one needs some thought. So for now I’ll just say "a multi-target heal, please!". :) >

Speed questions

Being a successful raid healer requires:

Situational awareness and focus.

Best way to wipe:

The very first time a hunter discovers that pets path funny when he jumps down from a high ledge. Hellooooo, half of BRD, we’re very pleased to see you!

Most common excuse for your tank dying:

On Teamspeak: "Uh, guys, WoW crashed. Have you pulled yet?"

Buff:

Mages.

Favourite non-combat pet:

The Robotic Homing Chicken, from a loot card in the WoW Trading Card Game.

Favourite non-WoW related stress releasing activity:

Watching escapist TV – current favourites for that category are NCIS, Family Guy, Scrubs or Burn Notice.

I can’t heal without my:

background music.

Name of your 2H DPS mace (all Paladins have one, don’t lie):

That Thing In Bank Bag #6 That I Don’t Have Room For In My Bags. (Actually, it’s a Hammer of the Naaru off Maulgar.)

Best way to say no to a guild member:

Make my 2IC do it. (We’re good cop, bad cop.) …I kid. Mostly. The best way is to be firm but fair, and try and suggest an alternative that might meet their needs.

3 things you want to see more of on other blogs:

  • Well-written guides that make information accessible (eg Dwarf Priest’s guide to priests in PvP, Big Bear Butt’s guide to feral tanking, etc.)
  • Universally-useful information – for example, not just "we killed Gruul today!" (though that’s great), but "we killed Gruul today, and here’s a new strat we developed that works really well for that fight if you don’t have enough healers!"
  • Links to me! ;-)

Special thanks to:

My 2IC Alinden for all the hard work he puts into helping run the guild and coordinate our raids. My guild as a whole for being so damn awesome (four first kills in four weeks, hooray!). And the folks in the Blog Azeroth chatroom – especially Valenna, Nightravyn, TJ, Bear, Bellwether, Phae, Megan and your good self – who have all provided lots of good company (albeit at weird hours, you strange Northern Hemisphere people, you!) and an inspiration to be a better blogger.

Banana Shoulders is an excellent resource for Holy Paladins and authored by a terrific person! While you’re visiting, don’t forget to subscribe to Siha’s blog!