Flame On: Leveling Legion as Fire

For as long as I have played a mage, I have played a Frost mage. Why? I’m not sure exactly. It probably had something to do with having a Pet; with the survivability that comes with all the freezes, slows, and burst damage that Frost spells afford; and maybe on some subconscious level that I like the cold.

I didn’t start playing until Wrath of the Lich King. At that time, Frost as a specialization (spec) was weak for raiding. So while I leveled and learned how to play Frost, I needed to raid as Arcane if I wanted to contribute any kind of meaningful damage to the encounters. As Cataclysm rolled around, I continued with the Arcane mage because it was what I was comfortable with, and it seemed to do all right.

Back in Firelands, I was a Blood Elf

Back in Firelands, I was a Blood Elf

That was until Firelands came out, and the Alysrazor encounter required constant heaving hitting damage per second (DPS). As the top DPS player in my guild group…in my guild…and of the Horde faction Mages on the server, I had to learn how to roll Fire to pump out the constant critically striking hits (crits) that were needed to get the bird-boss down as a single player target, while the rest of the raid worked on the additional monsters (adds) that were roaming around on the ground trying to kill everyone else. I don’t remember if I finished out Firelands as a Fire mage, or if I just learned it for the one encounter.

I do remember when Mists of Pandaria was released though, and Frost mages were suddenly the top damage-dealing spec for Mages, and I was elated. Not only did I get my Pet water elemental back as something more than a novelty, but I also got a slew of new damage abilities and a rotation that felt second-nature. I also remember when I logged out one day as a Blood Elf Mage, and for the first time in playing World of Warcraft, I paid for a Race Change to a Pandaren.

From a Blood Elf Mage, with a bonus to Enchanting

From a Blood Elf Mage, with a bonus to Enchanting

To a Pandaren Mage, with a bonus to Cooking and Rested XP

To a Pandaran Mage, with a bonus to Cooking and Rested XP

For leveling, the Pandaren Rested XP bonus was second to none, and allowed me to outlast those I was with and become the second in the guild to level through the expansion, and in around 30 hours straight. The new Glyphs allowed my pet to gain some intelligence and act on his own, it gave me added abilities like splitting my ice damage between multiple targets at no more cost, and a number of talents I enjoyed like Nether Tempest that could do Damage Over Time (dot) to everything in the area, and let the dotted mobs kill each other.

I got a Legendary in MoP - but so did everyone else.

I got a Legendary in MoP – but so did everyone else.

I stayed a Frost mage through Mists of Pandaria, and through Warlords of Draenor – though, I did not raid in any official capacity during Warlords of Draenor. Over time, through MoP and WoD, things started to change slowly: talents got updated, glyphs got added and removed, and spells changed. This happens every expansion – sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

Warlords of Draenor became World of Garrison, because we rarely, and never had to.

Warlords of Draenor became World of Garrison, because we rarely had reason to leave it.

And here we are, at the end of Warlords of Draenor, with pre-patch activities and version 7.0.3 of the game. And as a long-time Frost Mage, they made the spec useless again. They killed the Glyph system and added only *some* of the enhancements to the Talent Tree instead. In removing the Glyph system, they returned my Frost Elemental pet back to a dumb barely autonomous pet, solidified the talents that classes of spells like Arcane, Frost and Fire were only available in their respective specializations – Nether Tempest is an Arcane spell now, and I am left with the lackluster Frost Bomb (though Nether Tempest isn’t what it used to be at the start of MoP either – all the similar spells are normalized so there is no clear advantage).

In working through the pre-patch content, demon invasions and lore setup with Khadgar…not with 1, but with 2 mages (one Frost on Horde, and one Arcane on Alliance) it became clear that both of the specs I am used to are weaker now with the changes coming in Legion. And while I don’t intend on diving head first into raiding again, it would be nice to not fall prey to the stuff I’m supposed to be killing during my journey from 100 – 110 due to a weaker class specialization. So I decided that this time, I would buck the common sentiment that “Fire is great when you have all your gear, but not for leveling” and go for broke with Fire from the beginning of this expansion.

Catching fire where it all started, at Ice Crown Citadel

Catching fire where it all started, at Ice Crown Citadel

Now the journey begins all over again. I will be starting when the patch releases at 12am Pacific Time – though I’m playing on Dalaran, which is an east-coast server, and won’t see a patch until 3am server time…or 2am local time for me. I have the week off from work, and will be live-streaming the journey via Facebook Live on my personal page. Leave a comment here if you would like access to the stream and can’t otherwise get it.

Finally going PVE

It’s a long time coming, but I’m finally taking the guild to a PVE server.

I only set up on a PVP server because that is what my wife was on when I first met her and started playing. We had a golden opportunity back then on US-Drak’Thul-PVP, because for some reason Blizzard turned US-Drak’Thul to a PVE server, and offered free realm transfers off to keep the PVP status for those players interested.

Foolishly, I didn’t understand any of this at the time, and decided to take the free realm transfer to US-Dalvengyr-PVP. We landed there mainly because a guildie had an alt guild there, and he offered it up as a destination so we could continue raiding together.

Realm-first Shannox kill on Dalvengyr

Realm-first Shannox kill on Dalvengyr

Well, part-way through Firelands, that server started to die, and it became nearly impossible to find people who weren’t already in a guild, and weren’t already raiding, to help fill out openings in or raid roster, and we had another decision to make: disband, or transfer.

We chose to transfer again, but this time, Blizzard had added the Guild Transfer tool. The officers and I scouted out some high-pop servers with active trade chats and a decent sized auction house, and we narrowed our options down to US-Stormreaver-PVP. This choice lasted from the end of Firelands, up until Horridon in Throne of Thunder, Pandaria.

After 6 weeks of being stuck on the same boss, the guild disband. We had some really good players, and some really novice players, and we couldn’t get the damage we needed or the gear we needed to move past this boss. We came back to it after a few weeks of working on something else and downed it once, but never again.

We finally killed it, 9 weeks later

We finally killed it, 9 weeks later

The guild disband, and I decided I’d see what it was like to join a guild where you had to prove yourself, instead of inheriting a guild and trying to run it, having never actually been in a guild before. The first guild I joined was with a former guildmate and officer (Frostybuds) after the disband: Playground Legends. And they were doing pretty well, except the raid leader was a dick and compared his attempts with us, on what was apparently his Warlock alt, to his far more geared Paladin that he ran with another guild. They eventually got stuck on the midpoint boss in Siege of Orgrimmar. Tensions ran high, so I decided I’d try to pug when we couldn’t get anything going.

The first guild I joined that wasn't my own.

The first guild I joined that wasn’t my own.

I ended up going a couple of times with another guild who had another former guildmate and officer (Schnigle) called “Eastbound & Down”…after the ridiculous HBO Series. We progressed further and smoother than was happening in Playground Legends. So after a few pugs with this group I offered to join them and fill in their Mage slot. We managed to get about half way through the heroic modes before getting tired of the Siege content. Seeing what I’d seen all too often before, I offered up the vote (as a raid lead/officer sort of role) that we put raiding on a hiatus, since many were getting tired of the grind, myself included.

The last freelance guild I joined: Eastbound & Down

The last freelance guild I joined: Eastbound & Down

A few weeks into the hiatus, I went back to join my original guild, and booted everyone from it except my alts, and my wife’s alts. I sent them all an in-game mail and let them know they were welcome back if they came back on in time for this mail to still be in their inbox (they had all been inactive for over 30 days) and used my wife’s account to invite myself back into the guild. I consolidated my characters into one guild (The Spot) and gave another guild I brought over (Planet Express Crew) to one of Frostybuds’ alts.

In Warlords of Draenor, I decided I would not host a guild of people anymore, and now it is entirely composed of the characters of my wife and I. While leveling up in Draenor, I found the first couple days to be the most enjoyable because I rarely had to worry about being ganked. No one had the gear to challenge anyone else, and everyone was trying to level their main so they could get on with raid content.

I sit alone with my NPC friend, Yazigo.

I sit alone with my NPC friend, Yazigo.

However, as soon as some hit 100, they turned back to the 2nd zone in the world quest chains, and started ganking people trying to level their alts, or even their mains with a late start. This lead to me having 2 level 100s, that leveled simultaneously on different servers and with different factions. Every other horde character I tried to level on my more progressed server, I could only get through the first zone before the ganking started in the second. So I stopped all my alts at 93 after completing the first zone.

Today, I went to run an Apexis Crystal quest, and in Blizzard’s infinite wisdom, they don’t have faction-neutral guards near the flight masters. So as I land, a warrior is waiting to gank anyone who comes in on the flight path. I attempt to defend myself, since he’s already brought me into combat before my spell bar shows up, and I manage to only do 20% damage to him before I die.

So, fuck PVP servers, and fuck people who run world PVP for no reason. In the real world, if you killed someone for no reason, there would be a price to pay. I’m just trying to play this game to relax, and not to fuck around with people trying to get their shit done just because they’re a different race.

My alts are going to have a much better time.

My alts are going to have a better time.

Now, I transfer the guild to US-Dalaran-PVE; a medium-pop server (according to the Choose a Server screen) but with a far more plentiful auction house, and a friendly trade chat. I look forward to leveling my alts in complete relaxation knowing that  I will never have to worry about getting ganked again.

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Closing the gate…for real this time.

Well, folks. Unfortunately our efforts to rebuild the guild turned out to be one-sided when it came to buy-in from the guild members to put forth the effort necessary to rebuild the guild, with the GMs being on the one side for putting in the work.

In the course of 3 years, I have rebuilt the guild from its initial split from another raiding guild back on Drak’Thul where it first started, and again on Dalvengyr when Drak’Thul went PVE, which is where we picked up Ãndea as we rebuilt on a new server.

Then when Cataclysm released, I passed GM to Ãndea and another guild member, only to return 6 months later to stop the threat of a guild split and transfer off the server, and resume GM. The guild still split, but those that left ended up for the worse in a guild led by an alt that never raided as promised. Ãndea and I rebuilt with those who remained to finish off 4.1 content and raid 4.2 Firelands.

When 4.3 released, we had to transfer to Stormreaver because Dalvengyr died, and we rebuilt on Stormreaver with the hopes that there would be a plethora of players to choose from on a high pop server. We got dual 10man raids going, with a late start into the content and made it to heroics before breaking for summer.

During the summer break, the officers played the Beta content so that when 5.0 released, we could get a head start on content. Unfortunately, not everyone put as much effort into gearing as our Officer Core did, and we had to rebuild again so we could start the content on a reasonable schedule. Running dual 10 mans got us going, but also held us back as a solid 10-player roster could not be formed for either group. Going from dual 10s to a single 10 worked for a while, but we had to recruit some players to fill the gaps in the roster.

Once 5.1 released, that is where the personal responsibility that was absent at the start of 5.0 started catching up to several key players, preventing us from progressing through all 3 raids in a timely manner, and setting us back on gear for when 5.2 released.

At the release of 5.2, we tried to keep everyone in the roster and even went back to 5.0 content to down it to get them geared over the course of 3 weeks…the players who needed the gear didn’t or couldn’t put in the effort outside of raid to better their character, and some who did had bad RNG for getting any kind of drops during raid. This issue put us behind after the first night of Throne of Thunder, and we had to recruit new players to fill the slots that opened up.

We spent around 9 weeks from released just to down Horridon due to a combination of 2 or more of the following: undergeared, unfamiliar with their class, tanks, healers. All of the DPS was geared to be at Megaera or doing Heroics at the time…the rest were geared for the 1st boss of ToT, or not even geared enough to be in there, according to wow-heroes.com. March 6th, the first night of ToT release we downed the Jin’rokh the Breaker…May 1st, we downed Horridon…May 15th, we downed Council…the same week, we got Tortos to a 0% wipe, and then nothing.

At that point, the good players left, the troublesome players were removed from the guild, and we decided to start fresh. However, of the remaining players, it turned out that only the the GMs were interested in putting the effort to rebuild. Over the course of 3 years, the effort to rebuild has been put forth several times from the GMs…whether it was to rebuild our own raid team from within the guild, or rebuild the guild on the server with established reputation, or rebuild on a new server with no connections at all. So, we decided that we’re done rebuilding.

Ãndea and I have split the guild bank gold & contents as our salary for the work we’ve put into the guild, and turned off repairs and donations. We’re closing our doors for real this time, and turning it into our personal level 25 alt guild. For the players in the guild, you may stay, or  you may go. We recommend you go and find a place where you can get your $15/mo’s worth of game subscription. But if you just want to log into the game and do your own thing, and don’t need an active guild to do it, that’s fine too.

Thanks for a fun 3 years,
@neotsn / Neotsn#1586

The Spot, Now Recruiting!

Update

We’re no longer recruiting for the guild. We’ve closed our doors for now, and moved on to other things.


What we’re looking for

Recruitment is open for our Throne of Thunder 10-man Roster. We’re looking for a few dedicated players to fill a few open slots in our core raid group who understand their class & spec and are continually improving their character and ability, both during and outside of raid time. Exceptional players may find the opportunity to try their hand at raid-leading. Interested players should meet the following requirements:

  • 510+ Item Level
  • 5/12+ ToT Experience
  • Preferred Age: 18+ (exceptions are case by case)
  • Mumble Installed

In the past, players who have not done their part have hindered our progression – either with a lack of time, lack of understanding, or general lack of effort. This time around, if we decide that a player has these undesirable qualities, an Officer and/or a player knowledgeable about the class will speak with them to help improve their performance. If such improvements cannot be made, the player is in danger of being replaced.

Raid Schedule

We raid on Tuesday/Thursday @ 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm Server Time. If you sign up as a raider, we expected that you’ll show up to raid 99% of the time…and on that 1% that you have to miss, that you’ll let an officer know ahead of time. If you sign up for a raid, we expect that you’ll be able to stay for the full duration of the raid night. If you cannot stay for the full duration, let the raid leader know before the raid to ease group composition.

Open Positions

As of this posting, we have these class positions open:
Class Name = Preferred
Class Name = Will Consider

Tanks: Heals: MDPS: RDPS:
  • Death Knight
  • Monk
  • Warrior
  • Druid
  • Monk
  • Priest
  • Druid
  • Monk
  • Rogue
  • Shaman
  • Warrior
  • Druid
  • Hunter
  • Priest
  • Shaman

We will consider other classes not listed above for certain roles, but our goal is diversity in the roster and preference to certain classes in certain roles.

If you’re interested or would like to know more, please download Mumble to hold a voice conversation, and/or get in touch with Neotsn (Neotsn#1536) via in-game mail or a whisper.

Welcome to The Spot!

Welcome to our new guild, The Spot, hosted by the-spot.net.

tsn logo

Hosted by Neotsn’s social network: the-spot.net

The Spot is a newly restructured, level 25, Horde guild, located on Stormreaver (Central Time Zone).

Our Guild philosophies are simple:

  • Everyone is paying to play the game, so everyone should get what they are paying for.
  • No one player is more important than the guild as a whole.
  • Treat others as you want to be treated.
  • Those who sow the seeds, harvest the seeds, make the dough, and bake the bread are entitled to the first slice.

Simply put, if you put the work into your part in the guild & raid group, you’ll benefit from the work you’ve done. If you do not do your part, you will not benefit, and will not remain part of the guild or raid group.

Raiding and the Schedule

Our standard raid group is 10-man. Our standard raid times are Tuesday & Thursday @ 1930-2230 Sever Time, with the expectation that the earlier the whole group is online, the earlier we can start raiding.

We run a semi-hardcore, progression oriented raid, with Loot Council driven by the askmrrobot.com RoboCouncil feature (may require premium subscription to view) using the “Republican” methodology (those with the best gear will benefit more from an upgraded piece). There is no DKP, there is no favoritism, there is no fairness…there is only cold, logical, Math.

Recruitment

As of this posting, we are currently recruiting all classes with an emphasis on diversity, and all roles. We expect that you have a full understanding of your class, the latest information on its rotation, an awareness of situational talents, and proper gear enhancements when you apply.

We also ask that you have at least a 510 item level equipped for your main spec, no PVP gear unless it is proven to be better than otherwise unobtainable PVE gear, and can maintain proper raid awareness during fights.

If you are interested in joining, please mail/pst Neotsn (or Neotsn#1586) or Ãndea (alt+0195) in-game. There will be more information regarding what’s necessary to join, and what’s expected of those who do posted to the forums.