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Seated on the Throne of Tides December 17, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, World of Warcraft.
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It was Saturday night and we were all online and in-game extra early.  The usual start time is 9pm.  A couple weeks back we all showed up at a little after 8pm.  This time we seemed to have a group nearly ready to go at about a quarter after 7pm.

It isn’t unusual to find Earl or I or Skronk on that far in advance, but when Bung showed up we knew we were off to an early start.  Ula was rousted out of whatever she was up to and got into the game, giving us the whole team.

  • Earlthecat – Level 82 Human Warrior Tank
  • Skronk – Level 82 Dwarf Priest Healing
  • Bungholio – Level 82 Gnome Warlock DPS
  • Alioto – Level 82 Night Elf Druid DPS
  • Ula – Level 82 Gnome Mage DPS

From there we figured we ought to head straight into our first Cataclysm instance, the Throne of Tides in Vashj’ir.

In order to avoid anybody feeling the ill effects of motion sickness from the sometimes disorienting zone of Vashj’ir, Skronk and I swam out to the great whirlpool at the bottom of the abyssal something or other and went on through to the other side.

The whirlpool beckons

The whirlpool beckons

There we were able to use the summoning stone to get everybody together.

Summoning Stone

Summoning Stone

Then it was just a matter of getting everybody pointed in the right direction and through the portal and into the instance.

More after the cut because… well… the same stuff I say every time.

And into the instance.

Once inside the view was what I had seen previously… which is to say, all the water was on the outside and we were nice and dry on the inside.  None of that swimming around in three dimensions for us.  Instead, we were on firm ground and facing a few rows of trash.

Feet wet, but otherwise dry

Feet wet, but otherwise dry

The instance itself described a vaguely familiar shape when we consulted the map.

Jack Skellington as a Landing Signals Officer?

Jack Skellington as a Landing Signal Officer?

Familiarity aside, at least the layout seemed clear.  Once we got up through the cervix, we would have a boss off to both the left and right.  Which one to choose first seemed to be our big decision.  And then we tried to go left… and then right… and found ourselves repulsed, thrown back, and denied entry by a pair of giant tentacles, one defending each path.  So we clearly were not headed to either of those locations, which left only the center room, which seemed oddly empty.  There was a great big hole in the floor, which we discovered held some clear yet semi-solid matter… gelatin-like was my impression… which we could stand on.

In the middle room

In the middle room

Otherwise, the room seemed bereft of meaning.  No additional exits except straight up, and since we were not swimming, that seemed to be a bust.  We wandered around the room a bit until we all happened to be standing over the hole at the same time.  Then the gelatin began to quiver and bulge.

Something is happening

Something is happening

It expanded, filling the room and pushing us, still standing atop its crown, up the shaft above us.  Soon this strange, biological elevator deposited us at what I will call “the second floor.”  The map confirmed, we had new places to go.

Second Floor, Throne Room Ahead

Second Floor, Throne Room Ahead

Well, at least we were spared any choice of directions.  The target here seemed to be straight ahead on the map.  There was the usual amount trash to get past, but after that we were facing Lady Naz’jar.

There she is...

There she is…

We followed our standard practice and just rushed on into the fight to see what would happen.

What followed was a short, sharp fight, with adds and some nasty area lightning.  We managed to figure things out on the fly and Skronk managed to keep us alive.  Upon slaying her, we wandered about the room looking for what was next.  The room seemed to be bare, so we headed out the way we came, only to be confronted by Commander Ulthok, who wasn’t there when we came in.

This fight went okay.  Again, we learned as we went, and one of the things we learned was not to stand in whatever gunk Ulthok lays down on the floor.  Earl stayed in it a bit too long and died late in the fight.  The sacrifices one makes as a tank.  Fortunately, feral druid was on hand.  I swapped to bear form, got aggro, and was able to hold Ulthok down and stay out of his gunk for the remainder of the fight.

Ulthok down, back to cat form

Ulthok down, back to cat form

Earl got a ress and we went over to interact with a control panel which brought up a cut scene showing what appeared to be a giant crazed kraken looking… well… crazed, as some lightning discharged and killed off those tentacles that were previously barring our way.

Tentacle be gone!

Tentacle be gone!

Cut scene over, we were left to find our way to a teleporter, which we noticed on the way in, that dumped us back to the crossed back on the first floor.  There we chose to go to the right… no real reason why, we just did… which in hindsight appeared to be the right choice.  Clearing trash we ended up facing the Draeni Erunak Stonespeaker.  We waded into that fight, only to find that he was being controlled by some squid-like entity who was the real boss, Mindbender Ghur’sha.  He jumped out and went straight for Skronk, who we proceeded to beat on with vigor until the squid was eject.  Skronk survived the encounter.  However, the fight went on and Earl again took one for the team.  I again swapped to bear form and finished off the tail end of the fight.

Bear versus Squid!

Bear versus Squid!

We managed to power through and take him down.

After reviving Earl, we were left with just one choice of where to go.  Back around the tunnels we went.  There was a point of eternal respawns that we figured out and bulled our way through after a few rounds, but we eventually found ourselves in the final room facing a really big guy.

The big guy

The big guy, Neptulon!

As it turned out, he was on our side… as much as we are ever on a “side” in this game… and had some work to do and wondered if we could please defend him while he set about it.  And so the final even began.  Running around and taking on the spawns was a work out, and clearly pointed out that we need to coordinate a bit better.  We need a couple more plays in the standard playbook, like stick close to the tank in event of this sort of thing.  All the same, we were successful, Neptulon finished his thing and then made us all huge and told us to go take out the final boss, Ozumat.

Trust me, we're huge...

Trust me, we’re huge…

And then began the most chaotic part of the whole instance.  Ozumat (about whose name many a pun was made) is the giant kraken-thing, previously seen being crazed.  I think.  While we were all huge, we were also inside a clear dome, while Ozumat appeared to be outside the dome.  I think.  We had to kill him, which meant getting close to some huge crack in the dome, through which we were able to hit him.  I think.

It was hard to tell what was going on.  The limits of the camera, our huge size in a confined space, some bad lighting, and the boss not actually being in the room with us combined into a “Am I hitting him?  I think I am hitting him.  I have him targeted.  Did I just hit him?” sort of scenario.

The one thing I was certain of was that Ozumat was putting out some pretty powerfull AOE on the whole room.  We all died, except Earl, who in the reverse of the last two boss fights, was the sole survivor.  He managed to target and get enough damage on Ozumat to finish him off.  And maybe everybody else was hitting him.  It was hard to tell.  But he went down, the fight was over, the instance was done.

ToT-Achi
Earl, and engineer, had a revive capable tool on him, so brought me back to life.  I was chosen because I could ress and happened to be visible in the middle of the room.  Skronk, the other choice, was off behind some decorative coral and it took a bit of searching to find him.  Once we were all upright again, we took our traditional end of run group shot.

Greetings from the Throne of Tides!

Greetings from the Throne of Tides!

At that point it was still early in the evening for us.  In fact, we were about 10 minutes past our usual start time.  So Ula opened up a portal to Stormwind for us where we decided on our next steps.

Skronk hit us all with levitate

Skronk hit us all with levitate

And from there we decided to do some scouting in search of the next instance in Cataclysm.  But that is a tale for another post, which should be up later this week.

All told, we managed to get through our first Cataclysm dungeon well enough.  As usual, we went in without any prior research, which made the whole thing more interesting as we figured out what was going on.  Boss fights were good, though a bit easier than I expected.  Loot was fair.  There were a couple of good caster items and Earl got a weapon upgrade.  But in a group that now covers three of the four armor types (cloth, leather, and plate) there seemed to be a lot of mail armor showing up, along with the usual smattering of pally +int plate.  It is always the case.

But we are otherwise done with Vashj’ir, which I do not think will disappoint anybody.  As previously noted, while it is tropical fish tank beautiful, it can be quite disorienting.

Some additional snapshots from the run.

Comments»

1. Wilhelm Arcturus - December 17, 2013

As sort of a follow-on, which I forgot to add, I am liking the feral druid thing. The ability to DPS as well as tank and heal some when the situation calls for it adds some dimension to my play.

I still came in well behind Bung and Ula on DPS, but in looking at total damage done, I was in second place just behind Earl. So I did a lot of damage, just not in the bursts that the casters did.

2. Talarian - December 17, 2013

Vashj’ir is a gorgeous zone. Honestly, it’s probably one of my favourite zones for the entire game, though I understand why other folks might dislike it. But years of games like Descent and Flight Simulator allowed me to transition to navigating in 3D pretty easily.

Throne of Tides was a great, instance as well. The Heroic version of it was one of the easier Cata Heroics, and it still caused plenty of wipes, especially on Lady Naz’jar, and the hallway leading to Mindbender Ghur’sha. I swear, that hallway killed more people than almost any other trash run in that tier of 5-mans. It was amazing.

3. Helistar - December 18, 2013

Unfortunately the “real” DPS/tank hybrid died with MoP. Now you can manage to survive as a feral in tank role, but not against a “real boss”. While in Cata it was possible to really have a hybrid spec and offtank in DPS gear, after the spec split of MoP feral tanking is a short-lived experience. You need the level 90 talent (Heart of the Wild) and a cooldown rotation if you hope to make it alive.
BTW what addon are you using for feral DPS? Because you really need one, the base interface really does not cut it…..

4. Matt - December 18, 2013

“I swear, that hallway killed more people than almost any other trash run in that tier of 5-mans. It was amazing.”

Wasn’t that the one with those elementals that put a buff on themselves that pulsed an aoe? I remember spellstealing that.

5. Wilhelm Arcturus - December 18, 2013

@Helistar – The only addon I am using for my role is GTFO, which beeps at me when I am standing in the fire or other damaging stuff. What DPS addon would you recommend?

6. Helistar - December 18, 2013

The people at fluid druid will provide some good suggestions, about a different one each player :P The current fashon is Droodfocus, I think. Personally I use Eventhorizon out of habit, but it’s not for the faint of heart since it’s more or less abandoned, it’s not feral-specific and requires some lua config file editing.
Some people also use warlock addons as both classes are DoT-oriented. The base interface does a really bad job at tracking dots: small icons, semi-invisible timers, mixed with tons of other debuffs. When you need to plan on when to refresh multiple dots, you really need to know which one will expire first, in how long, etc.
Honestly, for normal mode dungeons you don’t really need it, but if you ever plan to go into LFR (= long-lived bosses), having a good addon provides a lot more fun through reduced frustration….


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