The Mocking Smirk of the Loot Gods

"What's your luckydo?" - Every Grummle ever

There are some days when I just have to shake my head and smile at the weird way that things work out.

The thing about random loot drops is, obviously, that they are random and impossible to predict. You might go for weeks without getting drop, or get three great pieces in a row. Call it RNG Hell, the Loot Gods, Bad Luck or whatever, but blame random chance for that one item of gear that you've been unable to upgrade.

That's where I was last night. My gear was looking pretty good; 522 or better on every single item except for Boots (502 Raid Finder, so at least current tier) and my Shoulders.

The shoulders were embarrassing: [White Tiger Mantle], my LFR shoulders from last Tier that stubbornly refused to upgrade themselves. Weekly LFR runs of Iron Qon and Primordius and almost daily Heroic Scenario runs in the hopes that I would beat the miniscule odds and get a 516 drop with stats that weren't entirely useless.

Nothing. The Loot Gods were displeased, apparently.

I had given up hope completely of ever getting a drop. I was convinced that the drops didn't exist (much like the Shield from Tortos and the Twins, but that's another ranty, Gear QQ post). So I resigned myself to grinding towards Exalted with the Shado-Pan Assault and just buying a set.

And last night, right after Ji-Kun fell over dead into her own green slime, this popped up:

Finally! I was so excited. I wanted to teleport out immediately and buy them, but my raid leader told me to have some damned patience and wait until the end of the raid.

The Loot Gods are bastards, though. After more than two months of waiting and hoping and begging, once I was Exalted and could just buy the damned things and get the suffering over with, what did Primordius drop? Yup: [Spaulders of Primordial Growth].

My raid team all laughed and told me that at least I hadn't spent the money on the reputation gear and would I please finally shut the hell up about shoulders, already?

Now, you're probably saying, "So what?" This sort of thing happens to us all at one point or another. Random is random, after all.

But the Loot Gods have a real flair for the ironic. Guess what Iron Qon dropped? Yup! [Shoulders of the Crackling Conquerer].

I didn't even bother to roll on them. Yes, they're my best in slot and I would absolutely love to have them...

But three sets of shoulders in one night is just too much for any Paladin.


Ahead of the Curve: Lei Shen

Lay the proud Usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow! 
Let us Do or Die!  - Robbie Burns, Scots Wha Hae.

I really like my new Raid Team.

I suppose that they're hardly new any more. I have been raiding with them for three months now, and we've been from one end of the Throne of Thunder to the other. We've exulted in glorious victory together and toiled in hardship and defeat at the hands of our enemies. Good times.

Interesting factoid: The Snails on the stairs to Ji-Kun have killed more of us than Primordius and The Twin Consorts combined. Adversity, thy name is Gastropod.

Anyway, I'm really proud to be part of this group. When I joined them—undergeared and ill-prepared—I was understandably nervous about my performance and acceptance into the group. After all, I was replacing the former Raid Leader—also a Holy Paladin—who knew these people, had more experience with the fights and much better gear. Although I would never had admitted it at the time, my greatest fear was that the raid leaders would realize that I was a talentless hack after the first few pulls and ruthlessly relegate me to Non-Raider-Pariah status permanently.

Isn't it always nice when your Worst Fears don't come true?

To their credit, the group (and guild in general) made me feel right at home. To me, at least, Acquired Taste was an instant fit.

It's nice to have a home again.


First of all, I'm really glad that Blizzard has finally implemented this kind of Achievement. It's something I have been advocating for a long time. It finally provides a way to differentiate between people who put in a lot of work to kill a boss while it's current, and the Tourist who goes in after the fact to just look around. I love it!

Acquired Taste runs two different 10-Man Raid Groups. When I joined the guild both groups were at a very similar point in their progression and there was a healthy rivalry between the two as to who would get the next progression kill. Sadly, the Prime-Time raid always seemed a step ahead of the Late-Night Crew, but I'm proud to say that both groups have managed to down Lei Shen and are 12/12.

Despite the fact that the Late Night Crew has had a revolving door of people, we've managed to get things done. Doing a quick count in my head I can think of 6 or 7 different tanks we've used, at least as many healers and DPS that come and go before I can even learn their names. But the personality of the group has stayed constant. It's actually remarkable that we've managed to keep steadily progressing with all the turn-over, and (while I hope they don't read this because I wouldn't want to inflate any egos) it's a testament to Ittymar and Amara, our excellent raid leaders.

We actually downed Lei Shen almost a month ago, but I'm posting this now because last week was special. It was the first week that we downed the entire instance without extending the lockout, and it was the week that I personally got my 12/12 achievement as I had been absent when we first killed Iron Qon and The Twins and the group had extended the lockout to tackle Lei Shen. This week we took them down in order.

Now we're going to start playing around with Heroic modes, which will be another first for me.


Apparently, our resident Warlock FRAPSes our raiding nights. This is a first for me; I've never been able to watch myself play the game, and it's especially odd seeing it from another's perspective. It's pretty cool, actually.

Here is our first Lei Shen kill. Look for the Paladin in the full Tier 9 transmog running through bad stuff and generally being out of place all the time if you want to find me. I'm the one calling the tanks impatient at the beginning if you're interested in what I sound like.


The Bottom End of the Learning Curve

In Which the


Comes to the


That he has Been Playing his Class


Mists of Pandaria has introduced a lot of changes to all the classes, as is normal with any expansion. When Cataclysm launched I spent hours obsessively scouring each PTR patch note and news release for any change. So I had a pretty clear idea of how the rather fundamental changes to the game, and healing in particular, would play out. 

Come Mists and I did none of that. In fact, since it's launch I've spent far more time in my Protection Levelling/Questing/Pull-Twenty-Mobs-And-Mow-Them-Down spec than I have healing.

So the past few weeks have been spent not only in a frenzied effort to raise my gear level from its former barely-enough-for-LFR level to something that wouldn't completely embarrass me in a normal mode Throne of Thunder 10-Man, but it's also been a steep learning curve to fully understand my class again.

Big things like Talents I had a pretty decent grasp on, at least in the broad strokes, but in reading up on them in the excellent Bossypally Talent Guide I realized that some of my choices were less than optimal. Particularly Hand of Purity, which had been transformed from middling to awesome since the beginning of the expansion, a talent that I had never really considered before that I now consider an essential tool.

I also didn't fully appreciate the effect that normalizing Mana would have on Paladins. In all previous expansions, Intellect was a Paladin's no-brainer, don't-even-think-of-gemming-anything-else-dumbass, best Stat. Not so for Mists. Now the once lamented Spirit is a Holy Paladin's best friend, to the point that the once useless Blue Gems are pretty much all I need now. That was a head-scratcher when I first read about it, let me tell you, and it went against two expansions worth of common sense.

Similarly, Mastery is now such a viable gearing strategy that Ask Mr. Robot considers it the default way to build a Holy Paladin, relegating a Haste-heavy build to the status of the Ugly Cousin that ain't quite right in the head.

I admit, I took the lazy route this expansion: at the start of Mists I didn't do much in the way of homework on my class, and just kept gearing and gemming and playing the same way I had in Cataclysm.

But there's nothing like a Raid Boss to quickly show a person just how bad the lazy way is.


Staring a progression boss in the face for the first time
in a long time. Please ignore the skeletons.
I have officially been a Raider again for three weeks now. My new guild Acquired Taste is full of excellent people who were more than willing to help me get geared up, as well as hand-hold me as I learned the new fights. Their help, as well as some getting some long-awaited good loot-luck in LFR, has seen my iLVL rise from 476 to 501 in three short weeks, still on limited play-time. I'm managing to keep up with the other healers, despite my still-inferior gear.

But lordy, it's been a challenge. Walking on to a raid team that had three bosses on farm that I had never before encountered or even studied, being expected to contribute in a meaninful way and not hold the raid back, all while sporting several blues and one or two PVP gear pieces. Not to mention that this is a brand new guild for me and I'm still in my probation period, so if I don't impress I run the risk of losing not just my raid spot but potentially my new guild as well. But hey, no pressure, right?

In the end I think I've done pretty well. The first week we downed Tortos for the first time, and we followed it up with a last pull of the night, three-people-left-standing Megaera kill the week after. Our third week saw Ji-Kun fall, with the Battle Medic on nest-healing duties.


It's felt great to be back raiding again. The people I'm with are great, the Throne of Thunder raid is excellent and it's nice to finally be caught up with the game again and to feel like I've got things under control.

What? Patch 5.3 dropped today? It's got a whole bunch of new stuff to figure out, two new epic questlines and dozens more dailies to do?

Son of a bitch.


The Long Road Back

In Which the


Attempts to Reconcile


and Makes a 


For reasons that I cannot quite understand, this expansion hasn't really caught my imagination. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of really great things about this expansion; I'm really impressed with the levelling experience, for example, and the visuals are spectacular—probably the best that WoW has ever done. Mists of Pandaria has humour, great stories and a lot of things to do. But it just hasn't captured me: I like Pandaria, but I'm not really excited about Pandaria. And I don't know why.

Actually, I think I can make a guess. I think it has something to do with the fact that I have no goal to achieve this expansion.

Once I hit 90 I simply felt lost. Run a few heroics, get some decent gear, start running LFR. Once that was done, then what? Dailies? To what end? What is the point of gearing up a character if not to raid? It becomes rather like a girl dressing up in her best ballgown, twirling in front of her mirror night after night because she knows she's never going to get the chance to go to the dance.

At the risk of beating the same old dead horse and paraphrasing real-life Forsaken zombie James Carville, "IT'S THE RAIDING, STUPID".

Since January when some tumultuous real-life changes hit the Battle Medic household, I have essentially been taking a sabbatical from my Paladin. I've spent very little time playing WoW since then, and the vast majority of it has been on various different Alts on various different servers. Alt levelling, low level PVP, dipping my foot in the dark side of Horde levelling. Basically anything other than logging onto my main.


So imagine my surprise when I finally do log in only to discover that my guild has transferred servers. And they went Horde as well. Double whammy.

It was a surprise, to say the least. The letter that is automatically sent from Blizzard is a terse slap in the face as far as notifications go. In fairness to the guild, I wasn't around so it's certainly not their fault that I didn't know—the website had plenty of info and I'm sure it was discussed at length in Mumble. So I don't blame them and wish them all the best on Mal'Ganis as damned, dirty Hordies.

But it did leave me feeling rather abandoned and alone. And it got me wondering whether or not I still enjoy this game enough to be paying my fifteen bucks a month for the privilege.

Blues just ain't gonna cut it anymore.
As it turns out, fuck yeah! I do.

Time to get back to work and start gearing in preparation for raiding. I'm way behind and I've got a long way to go, but damn, I'm looking forward to the challenge. I've just joined up with a new guild that has a late-night raid team that should work around the Dwarfling's schedule, and importantly, seem like fun people to be around. A fresh start, so to speak.

Look for more from Battle Medic in the very near future. I'm certain I'm going to have a lot to talk about.