My Shadowlands Situation

I haven't really talked about it much, but I'm still casually playing retail with the husband. We dip in and out for short play sessions during the week, mostly to do our callings, and when we have a bit more time we also run the weekly dungeons (only on heroic level, and yes, I've given in and agreed to queue for pugs for these), do dailies in the Maw and run Torghast once or twice a week.

As a strange side effect of this, I've grown incredibly tired of WoW fan content, which is very odd. Even during the years when I was unsubscribed from retail, I generally still enjoyed reading blog posts and watching videos about it to some degree. You'd think that now that I'm getting some first-hand experience of what they're actually talking about I would enjoy them more, but for some reason the opposite is the case.

I don't know if it is because I can only stomach so much retail WoW each week and actually playing it myself means that reading or watching content about it would be too much, or because there's such a disconnect between the way I play and the audience that most WoW content seems to be targeted at. I mean, I see all this talk about class balance on my feed, about how people feel forced into certain covenant choices, about chasing gear upgrades or transmogs and crafting legendaries... and none of it has any relevance to the way I play whatsoever.

I chose my covenant based on what I thought would fit my monk's personality best, even though I don't like the Kyrian covenant abilities much and keep forgetting to use them. We upgraded our covenant gear as far as the game would let us and don't really have much left to work on in that regard unless we wanted to raid, PvP or run Mythic+ dungeons. We haven't crafted any legendaries because to a casual solo player some of the materials required are prohibitively expensive so we only run Torghast for fun. (I think we're up to layer seven of the normal mode and have cleared the first two layers of the twisting corridors.) We also enjoy slowly increasing our Renown week by week for some personal rewards, as well as chipping away at our sanctum upgrades at a snail's pace.

I suspect that without the gear grind we'd eventually run out of things to do, but I'm sure patch 9.1 will be around and offer some new activities before that has time to become a problem. It's just strange to me that even while I'm having some fun in retail again, I continue to feel alienated from much of the player base and the way most outspoken players seem to approach the game.


Classic Burning Crusade... Yay, I Guess?

It's been a week since BlizzConline came and went, and faithful readers may well be wondering why I haven't said anything about the Burning Crusade Classic announcement, considering how excited I've been about this prospect for almost a year.

Truth be told, I thought the actual announcement was somewhat anticlimactic (though I didn't help myself by only watching it on my second screen while tormenting my class leader's newest tanking alt in Strat Undead). We all knew it was coming; it was just a matter of getting the details, most importantly the actual launch date - and that we didn't get. On the one hand I'm a bit disappointed because I was really hoping to be able to book time off work soon (hah), but on the other hand Blizzard not wanting to commit to a date yet implies to me that the rumours about an early summer launch may well turn out to have been overly optimistic, and that wouldn't be an entirely bad thing for me as it would give my guild more time to clear (and re-clear) Naxx.

What we did get is confirmation of how expansion/character progression is going to work, and I have to hand it to Blizzard on that front as it seems like they managed to find a solution that should at least come close to satisfying the maximum number of players. By default the existing Classic servers will progress into Burning Crusade, but you'll get a prompt for each individual character whether you'll want to take them along for the ride or transfer them off to a perma-Classic version of your server instead. The character copy option I wanted will exist too though, if only as a paid service. And there'll even be level 58 character boosts!

You could be cynical and call those last two things greedy cash grabs, but to be honest I think the restrictions put on these services make sense. As much as I would have liked to be able to just copy everything to save myself from having to worry about making any wrong choices, if this was the default for everyone it would probably clog up the servers and databases with millions of effectively "dead" duplicate characters that people didn't plan to play anyway, and I can see why Blizzard wouldn't want to do that. By putting a price tag on the service it'll be limited to those who actually want to use those characters and I guess that makes sense. I'll definitely be copying my hunter main and possibly some alts as well, depending on the pricing (which we don't know yet either).

It's a similar thing with the character boosts. I'm not really a fan of that kind of thing in general - though probably not for the reasons people usually cite - but I can see the appeal in this particular instance. Does anyone who started playing Classic with existing friends not know someone whose interest fizzled out before they hit the level cap but who might be interested in coming back for Burning Crusade? There are sensible restrictions in place to cater to this particular audience without opening the doors for people to skip ahead or boost farm bots (only once per account, no draenei or blood elves, no professions trained etc.).

The other major reveal was that unlike current Classic with its #nochanges approach, Burning Crusade will have #somechanges. I would have been worried if this had been the direction for the current game from the start, but to be honest after one and a half years Blizzard have shown themselves to be respectful of what Classic means to people. They have in fact made some small changes to the current game as well, such as increasing the spawns of Black Lotus to align better with how much more populated Classic servers are compared to Vanilla, but these changes were always made with great care and have made a lot of sense.

From the sounds of it they'll take a similar approach to Classic BC, for example by giving the faction-specific paladin seals that turned out to be horribly unbalanced to both factions, or by not having Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep open on launch day. Draenei and blood elves are also supposed to be released with the pre-patch instead of the actual expansion launch to give people time to get their new shamans and paladins caught up in time for the opening of the Dark Portal. While that's definitely a departure from how things were "back in the day", it honestly sounds great and I'm perfectly happy with those tweaks.

So yeah, basically the reason I haven't had much to say about the official BC Classic announcement is that it all sounds very solid but what details we've had aren't very exciting to me personally. Without an actual release date my focus will remain on Naxx and simply getting more of my alts levelled up for now.


Riding the World Buff Train

I've mentioned Classic's "world buff meta" before, but for those not in the know, it basically works like this: With the general difficulty of outdoor content, Blizzard thought back in the day that temporary buffs were a good way to reward players, because you really do feel them making a major difference to your performance and survivability.

They were mostly designed in an organic and fun way, without any real concern for balancing. You slay the dragon and hang its head from the city gates, so everyone in the city is happy and excited and gains a buff called Rallying Cry of the Dragonslayer for two hours. Makes sense, right?

The thing is that those buffs are incredibly overpowered. For example the Rallying Cry gives 140 attack power among other things - for reference, my hunter in a mix of tier two and three gear has about 1300 attack power unbuffed - so even for someone who's already pretty geared, that one buff alone still increases their power by ten percent. In a way the buffs are even more attractive for lowbies though (at least in cases where they don't scale with level), as a levelling warrior with 150 attack power hanging out in Stormwind for example can turn themselves into murder machine with twice their regular power level for their next round of questing!

The problem is that players realised that they could control the timing of these buffs and use them to their advantage by simply holding on to those smelly dragon heads for a bit. Sure, it may be a one-time quest, but with forty people in a raid group you can easily start your nightly raids by having someone hand in the quest and trigger the buff for weeks or even months in a row, and that's without taking into consideration that multiple guilds can cooperate to coordinate their timings.

The dragon head is the easy part though, because assembling in town before the raid is easy. But then you also want to go to Booty Bay for the heart of Hakkar drop, do a Dire Maul tribute run and get the buffs from there, find and cleanse a songflower in Felwood... considering the amount of travel time in Classic and the fact that all these buffs only have a limited duration, wanting to min-max your performance turns into a logistical challenge before the raid's even started, something to tackle potentially even days in advance, though you then have to make sure to stay logged out until raid start once you've acquired your buffs.

It's a very odd meta and I was very uncomfortable with it at the start, especially when the content was so easy that people in greens who weren't even max-level could clear Molten Core just fine. As some players described it at the time, it basically meant spending two hours gathering buffs to finish the raid fifteen minutes faster. Relevant to speed runners going for records for sure, but surely not for the wider population?

And that's without even getting into the fragility of these buffs, and I'm not even playing on a PvP server. As I noted the first time I went to AQ20 with my guild, I picked up the head and heart buffs because it was a low-effort thing to do, just to lose them five minutes into the raid when we wiped on a bad trash pull. Imagine how that feels if you spent hours setting up travel all over Azeroth to get those buffs!

My guild being truly casual, nobody's ever been required to pick up any world buffs, but getting the head and heart just before raid time has always been considered a good thing to do. The guild mistress and a few others also used to advocate for Dire Maul Tribute runs before AQ40 sometimes, but those seemed to be a lot less popular, what with the effort of getting down to Feralas (since you couldn't necessarily count on a warlock summon being available) and back to town (again, since you might not be able to catch a mage portal). I did them a few times and admittedly the first time it was pretty exciting to see my threat and damage shoot up (especially back when my gear wasn't great yet), but ultimately I still decided that it wasn't worth the effort of making it a regular occurrence. After all, few others ever seemed to bother, we'd often lose the buffs early due to wiping on something silly, and we could clear the instance just fine without them, so what was the point? The allure of just being higher up on the damage meters by the end of the night wasn't enough for me.

Naxx has been different though. None of us really bothered with buffs the first couple of weeks because we all knew that we were going to wipe early and a lot (and we did), but once we started to have at least the first few bosses on farm, speed did become a concern. My guild raids Naxx twice a week and the instance has fifteen bosses in it. Speed runners clearing the place in an hour notwithstanding, we knew it was always going to be a challenge for us to clear things fast enough to have consistent progression time on the newest bosses. (I'm amused every time I see some meme that lists "three hour AQ40 clears" as shorthand for a guild being unacceptably bad and slow. Whenever we cleared AQ40 in three hours we thought we did pretty well!) Plus some of the fights in Naxx are hard enough that going in with world buffs can actually make a big difference to whether we can get them down with ease or not at all.

So the drum beat to gather world buffs more often has become louder - not in a top-down way, but presented as a "we need to do everything we can to beat these bosses" team effort. Tribute runs have become more frequent, and warlock alts were placed to be able to offer summons. Last week the Darkmoon Faire was in town, and you can get one of a selection of buffs there as well by having your fortune told. The fact that it was making camp in Mulgore, a Horde starting zone, did not put the guild mistress off and she organised another bunch of alts to taxi people over there as well.

A lot of other guilds were doing the same, so there was a plethora of lowbie alts with names like "Summonbot" in attendance. I remember one particularly bizarre moment when a conversation ensued in /say about which of the available buffs to pick from the fortune teller. Someone from another guild commented that the resistance buff was best for Sapphiron, to which our guild mistress countered that we needed the damage buff for Loatheb - we were way too casual to worry about Sapphiron yet. At that point I felt the urge to chime in with: "Yeah, we are the casual Mulgore summoning squad!"  and then I had to laugh at myself because of how absurd it sounded. Surely there's nothing casual about parking alts in three different locations to ferry your guildies around Kalimdor for faster buff pick-up.

But then, this is how it always goes for me. I'll never be a top player and I despise the kind of min-max culture that looks down on anyone who doesn't follow the current meta even if whatever they're doing instead is perfectly fit for purpose. But when I care about the game and I find that what I've done so far isn't good enough anymore, then I step up. Even if that includes gathering temporary buffs in odd places, or farming awkward consumables from frost giants in Winterspring and giant scorpions in the Blasted Lands. Because I want us to win. And as bizarre as this whole buff meta is, there is something satisfying about approaching it as a team: from the warm fuzziness you feel when a guildie hands you a stack of consumables for free, to the relieved smile of another guildie who was late to log on but you held the cleared Tribute instance open for them anyway.

It almost makes me wonder whether I'll miss these odd rituals once Burning Crusade comes around...


It's Complicated

According to the guild's invitation log, I joined <Order of the Holy Fork> on the 18th of August last year, meaning that I will soon have been in my current WoW Classic guild for six months. Like many things during these strange times, it simultaneously feels like no time has passed at all and like I've been in the guild forever. Either way I wanted to do some musing on how things have been going.

When I joined the guild, the best way to describe how I felt after a few days is to say that I fell in love, as strange as it may seem to some to use that particular term for a whole group of people or even an institution. Everyone just seemed so great, making me laugh, helping me see and achieve new things in game; I wanted to be online to chat and play with them all the time.

Even so, there was a more cautious voice inside my head as well, warning me to not fall quite so hard and quite so fast: Sure, they may be fun to hang out with and make you laugh, but you don't know these people (yet). Don't expose yourself to potentially being hurt by assuming too much and trusting too much, too quickly.

And that wasn't entirely wrong, because the honeymoon phase during which everything and everyone seemed perfect couldn't last of course, not in a guild with this many people in it. That's not to say that anything turned out horribly wrong, but there've been conflicts and personality clashes, and sad times over people leaving (whether quietly or angrily), and at times it really got to me! I actually think that my online relationships have become more intense in general since this whole pandemic/lockdown thing started - I've always taken them no less seriously than IRL friendships, but let's just say it's easier to shrug off an argument over Discord when you spend more time being out and about than when you spend all day cooped up at home, as that makes it much easier to end up brooding over what so-and-so might have really meant when they said XYZ... if you know what I mean.

In case the previous paragraph may sound a bit disillusioned, make no mistake: While a couple of relationships with guildies may have turned a little sour over the past few months, others became (even) better. Most notably there were a number of people who mostly ignored me at first - not out of any malice I think, but probably because they'd seen too many new raiders wash out after a couple of weeks to get invested in anyone's company too quickly. As it became apparent that I was planning to be a more or less permanent fixture though, they started to warm up to me and that's been nice to see. Also, I learned that friendship can blossom in the strangest of circumstances... such as spending most of an afternoon arguing with someone about how to pull trash in Naxx.

The situation as a whole has given rise to some rather philosophical thoughts for me. You know how there's all this talk nowadays of social media trapping people in echo chambers? Well, being in a 40-man guild feels a lot like the opposite. Sure, there are some common threads running through the lives of Classic raiders (many are parents trying to catch a break from their spouse and kids for example), but there are just as many differences and you often can't really know what sort of person is hiding behind the avatar beyond "someone who wants to raid". But even if someone suddenly reveals something about themselves that strikes you as negative, well... you can't very well leave over something like that if you want to keep raiding, right? So you stick it out, and then maybe one day that same guy who made you really mad the other week suddenly helps you out with a quest and you go "hmm".

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying people should be forced to spend time in the company of others they don't get along with, but it's been interesting to me how gritting your teeth on occasion to tolerate behaviours you're not fond of can also give you a chance to maybe see another side to that person after a while and reconsider your stance on them.

Twenty years ago when I was an awkward teenager who didn't know anyone in real life who shared any of her dorky interests, finding people that were more like me online was a godsend, and I still think that easily being able to find like-minded people on the internet is a good thing. But I've also come to think that it's not bad to occasionally butt heads in a shared space and maybe find some sort of respect for each other after a while.

And once again I wonder what'll happen when the raid sizes go down in Burning Crusade and there'll be less need to put up with certain individuals to fill out the raid, and you'll ideally want your Kara team to just consist of your closest friends if you have a choice...


Naxx Update

I haven't written about my guild's Naxx progression since the post about the raid's release in early December, when I expressed some concern about us having gotten only three bosses down during the first week - a week when the news were all about how more hardcore players had once again cleared the raid within hours of release, and our own initial forays felt slow and clumsy even by our more casual standards.

To the Forks' credit though, we have persevered... and in fact appear to have slid into a unique niche on our server as the one Alliance guild that's consistently progressing at more old-school speeds. Everyone else seems to either be (nearly) done or have given up. This has actually led to us picking up more recruits and our roster is the strongest it's been since I joined, to the point that we even have to bench people occasionally.

I missed out on our Maexxna and Razuvious first kills, but was there for Heigan, Patchwerk and Grobbulus.

Getting back into the groove for the Heigan dance was easier than expected (after having learned it during Wrath of the Lich King) and both times we've killed him so far I was one of the few still alive by the end, with half the raid dead (though I have yet to successfully make it out of the gauntlet he teleports you into, something that wasn't present in this form in the Wrath version of the fight).

Patchwerk required a lot of wipes (though they were no skin off a hunter's back as I could always just run into a corner and feign death) while tanks and healers figured out what to do, but then things just suddenly clicked and we went from a 48% wipe to a kill on the next try.

Grobbulus is the biggest loot pinata in the instance, to the point that even we could one-shot him! Figures that a boss like that was hidden behind Patchwerk...

Gothik the Harvester has eluded us so far for reasons I'm not entirely sure of. I remember this fight being so easy in Wrath, and the Classic version isn't really any more complicated mechanically, but somehow we always end up getting overwhelmed by adds on one side or the other just before it's time for him to come down. I'm sure the raid leaders will figure out what's going wrong eventually.

One fight that's very different from how I remember it in Wrath is Loatheb - in Wrath he has this necrotic aura that prevents healing for most of the fight, so healers had to time big heals to go off at just the right time during the brief windows when the aura dropped off for a few seconds. In Classic, there is no such aura, and healing can be done at any time - but casting any healing spell as any class will put all your healing abilities on cooldown for a full minute, meaning that the healers have to set up a strict rotation to keep the main tank topped off and not a single heal can be spared for the dps, meaning that we have to follow our own strict rotation of using consumables to stay alive for five minutes.

We gave it some "dry runs" without consumables just to practice the positioning of the spores and things seemed to go well enough, but when we tried "for real" our dps felt way off. I suggested that we might have to try him as the first boss of the evening with as many world buffs as we could muster (casualness be damned), and when we did that we wiped at 3%. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to get him down this reset.

So things are going... decently! We've come a long way from that first night of constant stumbling, followed by other nights of wiping five times in a row on the exact same spider trash pack, to being in a position where we at least have the first few bosses on farm and can progress a little bit more every week. Which is all I could ask for really! Huge kudos to the leadership team for keeping it all together in what honestly seems like pretty challenging circumstances to me (and no, I'm not writing this just to suck up to them in case one of them reads this).

I don't actually know whether we'll even be able to clear the instance before Classic TBC comes out if the rumours about how soon it's supposed to be released are true, but I'm happy to be along for the ride either way.


(Don't) Boost Me

I've been thinking about boosting lately. As far back as Vanilla, I remember scowling at one of my friends when he offered to boost an alt through the Deadmines on a higher-level character. After all, I wanted to do the dungeon for the experience of doing a dungeon, including all the at-level group play that entails. Having someone too high-level for the content just AoE everything down with ease for faster XP and loot kind of seemed to be missing the point.

There's a certain type of MMO player whose every response to someone not liking a thing is to say something like: "Well, don't do it then. You can let other people have their fun. It doesn't even affect you!" But in a social space I've always felt that misses the point. When you're looking for group mates, anything that diminishes the pool of players available to you can be a problem - and people opting to be boosted instead of playing the dungeons the "intended" way with other players of their level is definitely one of those things. I liked how this meme from reddit illustrates the issue:

Fortunately for me, this isn't much of a problem on Hydraxian Waterlords. Boosting happens, sure - but from what I can tell it's rarely transactional. Or at least the occasional person trying to buy or sell boosts in LFG seems to either get ignored or gently scoffed at. Hydraxians tend to see boosts as something you do among friends, to make friends, or just because you're bored and/or feeling charitable towards other players. I often see people advertise that they are about to carry someone through the Deadmines or Stockades and have room for more lowbies to tag along. After all, it would be a bit of a waste if a good melee weapon dropped and you only had a little mage in your group, right?

The first time a guildie offered to boost one of my alts, I felt kind of conflicted. It was definitely going against my usual modus operandi, but at the same time it would've felt rude to refuse, and I wasn't that strongly opposed to the idea of some extra XP and loot on that particular character. And then... I kind of ended up enjoying it for what it was, not a real dungeon run but rather a relaxed way to hang out and keep busy while exchanging banter.

Also, as I think I mentioned before, my alt levelling feels very different now that I've refreshed my memories of the whole process on both Horde and Alliance side. It's not as engaging, and there are definitely times when I get stuck in a bit of a funk, for example because I have some elite or dungeon quests in my log that I want to get done but am struggling to find a group for. A helping hand can be a great way to get you "over the hump" there so to speak.

I've even accepted boosts from strangers a couple of times. These can be hit or miss. One time I joined one for the Deadmines where the booster had advertised open slots for randoms but in practice didn't give a damn about anyone but the friend for whom he had originally set up the run, so that us latecomers - who were obviously under-levelled for the whole thing, which was part of why we were there - struggled to even make it into the instance unassisted.

Another time on the other hand I joined a Scarlet Monastery boost group helmed by a bored level sixty warrior and with three of us little ones having healing spells, we ended up forming a little entourage encouraging him to make bigger and bigger pulls while we all spammed our low-level heals on him. That was good fun and didn't feel that different from a regular dungeon run in look and feel, even if the warrior being vastly over-levelled obviously made it easy mode.

I still prefer normal runs and it's quite disappointing when you join what you think is a normal pug but after struggling to fill the last slot someone brings in a vastly over-levelled friend that just turns the whole thing into a boost instead. But my opinion on the practice has certainly become a lot more nuanced than it used to be.


Diffusal Blade

I just feel the urge to write about the most awesome AQ20 run I had yesterday, because I want to remember it forever. It was one of my guild's community runs - in Classic, a community run is a publicly posted raid hosted by one guild that organises the whole thing and usually brings the majority of the raiders as well, but others are welcome to sign up - usually because it's older content and not enough people in the guild are interested in running it anymore to sustain pure guild runs.

Anyway, this particular run was memorable to me because so many things went wrong in the most absurd of ways; I just couldn't stop laughing.

We were off to a late start because our main tank for the run - one of the officers who is usually impeccable in his attendance - had been delayed by real life. However, he still ended up making it inside the raid before our bard, who'd decided to join on his druid alt and was dismayed to find that we couldn't offer him a summon because we didn't have any warlocks in the raid. This is when we learned that he didn't even own a basic ground mount, "because it's only twenty percent faster than travel form anyway", so we were all standing there like numpties waiting for him to walk to AQ... on foot.

When we finally got started, we wiped after only a few trash pulls as we got three groups of wasps at once... though since we were still close to the entrance, a few people managed to run out I think.

On Rajaxx, someone did that thing everyone always says not to do and stood on the rocks. I'd never seen the effect myself but basically it can cause the fight to randomly reset... I didn't even fully realise what was happening until one of my co-healers (an alt belonging to one of our raid's main tanks, and one who is always very reliable) was suddenly running past me saying something like "nope, nope, nope". I followed him out of reflex more than anything else, and only noticed afterwards how all the waves we'd already killed had decided to respawn and had all aggroed on us at once.

This ended up killing all the friendly NPCs, and I didn't even know that they don't respawn when that happens. Without Lieutenant General Andorov's AoE healing aura we were running on fumes by the last wave on our next attempt. Oh yeah, did I mention that I was healing on my pally? I eventually blew my Lay on Hands on saving the main tank's life and fortunately the boss died and we didn't. It was exciting for sure!

On Ossirian we had a wipe because on the pull, while the main tank was trying to body-pull the boss away to a better position, the off-tank auto-attacked as the big bird ran past, which resulted in the boss comically turning around at the last second and smacking the OT dead. With one tank dead, aggro was an issue and our mages weren't helping themselves either:

I made this meme afterwards, based on a comment from one of our fire mages.

In general there was a lot of silly dying. There was the dps gnome warrior who kept faceplanting every other pull but declined my offer to replace his Blessing of Might with Salvation instead to reduce his threat. Another gnome, a mage, also kept dying but was strangely into it. We joked about how gnome sacrifices were a necessary part of a successful run and he seemed utterly delighted and even asked if he could come be our sacrifice again next time.

However, my favourite moment of all was when we got to Moam and realised that we had no warlocks or priests to drain his mana, and while we had several hunters, Viper Sting doesn't stack for some reason. Somehow this prompted our bard to ask whether rogues had a way to drain mana. (We did have one rogue in the raid, who had stated at the start that it was his first time in AQ20. I don't know how new he was to Classic in general.)

This seemed like a pretty absurd question for an experienced raider to ask, considering he's done these bosses dozens and dozens of times and should know better. However, one of our mages immediately responded in chat with "diffusal blade" and a couple of people on voice instantly agreed: "Oh yeah, diffusal blade!"

This made me pause in confusion because while I've never played a rogue to a high level, I was pretty sure that no such ability existed. However, it sounded like the sort of name a WoW ability could have, and also like it fit the theme of mana draining. Having several people bring it up was even more confusing. I found myself wondering whether it was maybe a proc from a rare weapon or something - after all there are a plethora of such oddities in Classic and I'm sure I barely know half of them.

So I opened Google on my second monitor, did a search for "diffusal blade" and got the result that it's an item from Dota 2 - and it does indeed burn mana in that game! Ahh, so it was a joke that had gone over my head... and the people who'd agreed had done so jokingly because they did get it. Pretty clever!

I wasn't the only one who hadn't got the joke though - and our bard wasn't applying his critical thinking either, but instead took it for granted that if a guildie told him that rogues had a mana burn ability called diffusal blade then that was clearly the case, so he started lecturing the newbie rogue about how this was the right boss to use it on. Meanwhile, the poor rogue must have been thinking: Dafuq?

I'm not entirely sure for how long that continued as I was laughing so hard at that point that I actually lost track of the conversation for a bit. I think in the end someone told him not to worry about it though.

For what it's worth we tried Moam with no mana burns except for that single viper sting, which resulted in him blowing up within 32 seconds and wiping us. We decided to just skip him after that.

The main tank and I were still talking about that run the next day. He commented that it was funny that messes like that make for much better stories than smooth runs and I couldn't help but agree.