Sunday, August 25, 2019

Garden update

So, this is the year that both the tomatoes and the cucumbers went all-in.  I've got somewhere around fifteen pounds of tomatoes on the table right now, and that's after three batches of salsa and one of ketchup.

tomatoes on the dining room table

The ketchup was not a difficult process, just long, and I'm getting a food mill so that when I make sauce I can get all the seeds out.

thickening the ketchup

This was also a summer of squash.  We ate a lot of it, and there's a couple on the counter that we either need to eat or they're going to get composted soonish.

so many squash

The cucumbers went hard for about three weeks and then slowed down to a slightly faster than we can eat trickle.  The first thing I made was relish.

sweet relish before adding the vinegar

I ended up making three kinds of pickles besides relish: sweet spears, dill spears, and dill slices.  It took me a while to find reasonably-priced pickle crisp, so only the dill spears got it.

sweet pickle spears

Besides the garden, I moved the planters to the patio this year and put flowers in them.  Apparently monarchs like zinnias?  I'll probably plant more of these next year since they've been pretty prolific and low-maintenance.

zinnias with butterfly

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Classic Molten Core Guide (Retro)

So I was poking around in my WoW folder (not the install folder, where I have all my WoW-related crap) and found the Molten Core guide I had been writing.  I thought I had a full "Pulling Molten Core" guide, but if I did, I can't find it.  So here's how my guild did Molten Core, up through Garr.

A note: for hound packs, we used five tanks; basically three of the warrior DPS had to bring shields, just for those pulls.

Clearing trash

Molten Giants/Destroyers

In matched pairs, Skull/Mark on the left, X on the right.  OT takes Skull, MT takes X.  Wait for 3-5 sunders before DPSing, depending mostly on how much aggro you pull compared to the tank (so, you squishies, wait for 5, or at least wait for 5 to start laying it on thick).  In unmatched pairs, the Giant gets the Skull regardless of right/left; everything else is the same.  If the tank is new, wait for more sunders so he/she has a better chance of holding him.  Destroyers stun, so tanks should try to separate them when they're in pairs to avoid stunning each other.  It's very important to wait for sunders on Destroyers since the tank will be getting stunned while trying to put them on.


Wait for 3 sunders.  If they pull in a pair, put a Skull & X on one so that the DPS knows what to focus on first.  Lava Spawns need to go down as soon as they appear, so groups 5-8 should be watching for them.  It is especially important to stay on top of the Spawns if they pull in a pair, to avoid them splitting out of control.

Lava Annihilators

These guys wipe aggro and run all over.  Wait for 1 sunder if needed, but the dude will still run around.  They can be banished if needed during adds or when multiple mobs pulled.

Lava Surgers

Wait for 3 sunders.  Remember the S's:  Surgers = sunders.  These guys will still run around some, but they'll go back to the tank more with sunders.  They can also be banished if needed.

Core Hounds

Wait for 3-5 sunders.  Tanks need to try to turn the Hound away from the rest of the raid because of the fire breath.  The Hounds come in a couple different varieties, basically debuff and disco.  Disco will make people run around for about 3 seconds every few seconds, and the debuff ones will put one of a couple types of debuffs on the raid.  Try to avoid pulling more than one at a time.  LOOT THE DOGS.


Tanks with challenging shouts up can use that to group them; AOE the buggers.

Hound Packs

Mark at least one Hound; if the tanks are being slow about picking up their targets (sorry guys, but you do that sometimes), mark them with the first five raid icons (starting bottom up, skull & up) and have the tanks pick up the same icon each time.  The tanks will need to hold the Hounds as clumped as possible, and then after waiting about 5-10 seconds for them to get sufficient aggro, AOE the buggers.  Keep an eye on their health; you want them to drop within a few seconds of each other so they don't get back up.  Some of the DPS who aren't AOEing can tab through them to switch to the most alive one if needed.

Lava (Fire) Packs

The Firewalker dies first, so it gets the Skull and the OT; the Fireguard (Flameguard?) gets the X and the MT.  Mark the Lava Elementals with the Square and the Moon so the locks can keep track of them for banishing purposes.  Locks should probably have pick-up banishers set for the packs so that when people gets stunned, there's no confusion about who's picking it up.

Getting to Lucifron

The trash section should cover the how to kill parts - but what do you pull when?

To start, you've got the obvious Giants before the first bridge.  After those, you'll want the Firelord to the left of the bridge on the other side.  There's both a Surger and a Hound that pat almost all the way up to the bridge, so for clearing the first part you'll just want to watch for them and pull after they leave.  After the lone Firelord, go for the two elementals to the right - it may be two Firelords, or one Firelord and a rock dude.  If it's an unmatched pair, banish the rock dude to kill the Firelord first.  There may be some more waiting on the Hound/Surger pat at some point.  You can pull the Giants that are across the bridge next.  After those guys, if you haven't already, move across the bridge and take whichever pat comes back first.  If they come at the same time, just banish the rock dude.

Moving past the first bridge are a couple elemental pulls - sometimes Firelords, sometimes Annihilators or Surgers.  Sometimes the first two will pull one at a time, and sometimes they won't.  The Hound pats through the part just past the elemental are irritating - you just need to watch where they're going so you can take them when you want them and not while you're trying to clear something else.  The Giants east of the bridge to Lucifron and everything along that edge can be left alive.  Take the Core Hound that pats just across the bridge before going for the elementals (Firelords, Annihilators) across the bridge.

After the static elementals across the bridge, the first two Surgers in the Imp area need to be pulled.  Putting a Skull on the first one makes it much easier for the hunter or whoever's shooting it to watch it; they need to shoot it as it's going to the right so they don't get the imps too.  If you *do* get the Imps, banish the Surger till the Imps have been AOEed to death.  The second Surger is a little harder to pull because he goes out of range so easily, so the Skull icon makes it *much* easier to watch him.  Once the first two Surgers are gone, you can run into the first pocket on the right - be careful not to pull the Imps.  The third Surger is often pulled by the tank who will be tanking it, and it gets pulled back into the pocket where the raid is.  (Not sure offhand on the 4th (& 5th?) Surgers, but they're done similarly after each Imp killing, I think - this area is visually confusing to me since I usually end up looking at a bunch of Taurens' backs for most of it).  The Imp packs on the right hand side of the path through are killed in standard Imp manner.  Once you get through the Imp area, you kill just the first Hound Pack before killing Lucifron.


Lucifron has some mean curse debuffs - Curse of Doom and another 5 minute one.  Put the Skull on one of his guards, the X on the other, and the Square on Luci if you think marking Luci is really necessary.  The MT tanks Luci on the wall north of the cluster of stalagmites (smokestacks, plumes, other misc. terms) while his guards are killed in the pocket south of the door.  STAY AWAY FROM THE SCARY DOOR.  People get mind-controlled during this fight, and fear can send them into the Imps.  Kill the guards in the pocket south of the door where everyone's out of range of Luci's curses.  Once the guards are dead, you can move in on Luci.  Ranged can try to stay out of range of his curses - if the boss mods are up and broadcasting, you can try to back up at just the strategic times if you're otherwise in his curse range; melee may need to back up out of curse range and bandage if the healers/decursers get too busy keeping the tank and themselves up.

If that very minimal description gets you through Luci okay, you just kill through the Hound Packs until you get up to Magmadar.


Mag is basically a big Core Hound with Frenzy and AOE Fear.  The tank can "stance dance" in and out of Berserker to try to dodge the Fear (helps if boss mods are up & broadcasting).  If possible, the tank should get Mag far enough away from the north wall that healers can stand there and be out of range of Mag's fire breath, as well as trying to turn him to face north.  Hopefully you'll have more than one hunter with tranq shot, since it's got a bit of a cooldown and he can Frenzy before it's ready again.  The Frenzy makes him hit really hard, so hunters will need to pay attention and get it off.  If someone else got it first, your tranq shot won't shoot, so you won't waste the cooldown.  Some of the ranged (and healers) should be able to stand outside his AOE Fear.  He also throws a fireball-conflag, so you need to move out of it pretty quickly and bandage/heal if it lands on you.  These last for a while, and you can get feared into them; there are usually several up at a time once things get going, though they do eventually burn back out.  If the tank can hold him without getting feared much or at all, he pretty much is just a DPS-him-down fight.

After Mag, you have to get back through the Imp packs.  The Surgers (and the Core Hounds on the other side) have respawned by now, so it may or may not be faster to strip and die than to try fighting back through.  If you do try to fight back through, it may be smoother to kill a couple of Surgers in Luci's area, and you'll probably have to AOE a pack of Imps there, as well.

Either way, you're back to clearing trash up to Gehennes.  Watch for the Core Hound pats.  You can go down the west (right) side of the tunnel towards Gehennes and not touch anything on the left side of the columns.  You're actually going to come at Gehennes from the north, so when you get to the north end of the tunnel you're going to switch to the elementals spawned on the left side by the rim of the lava pool (probably after the Core Hound).  If you're worried about adds while killing Gehennes's guards, you'll want to clear all the Giants and elementals south of (not in) Garr's room.


Gehennes is done much like Luci, though he has a different arsenal of debuffs and damage spells.  He flings shadowbolts and a rain of fire type AOE.  His guards are pulled to the north, between the column and the wall, while the tank and his healers/decursers take Gehennes to the east towards where the elementals were.  Mark one guard with Skull and one with X; hunter pull at least the guards, and Gehennes can as well be if needed.  As with Luci, decursing the MT is a large part of surviving this fight.

Once you're done with Gehennes, there's not much trash left before Garr.  There's a Core Hound in the tunnel you'll want to keep an eye on; he pats at inconvenient times and you may have to have a hunter run him down to grab him when you want him.  The Core Hound closest to Garr needs to be pulled from behind the stalagmites to the right of the tunnel to avoid pulling Garr with him.


How many of Garr's baby elementals you need to kill before him depends mostly on how many locks you have.  Put a raid icon on each of the babies and assign a lock or tank to each; start the tanks on the Skull end of the icon list since we're used to killing Skull-X-etc. first; the MT of course is on Garr.  Garr gets ice-block pulled by a mage, at which point the locks need to banish and the tanks pick up their targets so that the killing can get started.  Kill all of the baby elementals that have tanks one at a time first; they blow up when they die, so anyone close will need to back off it.  If the tanks can pull them to emptier areas without pulling them too far away from the ranged DPS they should; you don't want to kill the MT or a lock with the baby elementals you're killing.  Garr gets stronger for every baby you kill, so you don't want to have to kill any of the banished ones.  Once you've DPSed Garr down, you can do the banished babies one at a time.

After Garr, there's at most a Surger in the tunnel before you get to the Lava Packs.  You need to do three before you can take Baron Geddon and Shazzrah:  the closest one, the one in the middle, and one hidden to the right, which can be marked through the wall if you wander your mouse over the area.  Watch for Geddon's pats as you're pulling the packs.


  • SHP - Straw Hat Pirates, the guild I'm in
  • MC - the Molten Core, the first of the 40-man raid dungeons in the game
  • raid - a group bigger than 5 people
  • CT_raidassist - an add-on to the game that helps with managing things in a raid group
  • Ventrilo - a voice chat program (usually refered to as Vent)
  • Boss Mods - another CT produced add-on that notifies a player about the bosses' special abilities
  • SK - Suicide Kings, the loot system the guild uses; it involves lists which you 'suicide' to the bottom of when you win a piece of loot
  • master looter (ML) - the person distributing loot
  • tank - generally a warrior, but basically someone with good armor and a lot of hit points; they come in main tank (MT) and off tank (OT) varieties; the main tank is generally your best-equipped warrior, and the off-tanks deal with the weaker monsters; a tank's job is to hold the monster's attention while the DPS kills it
  • DPS - actually, damage per second with regards to weapons, but in a group it refers to classes whose job is to do damage; this generally comes in two types, melee (warriors and rogues) and ranged (hunters and casters (mages, warlocks))
  • healers - the last main type of job in a group; they heal
  • decurse - to remove negative affects off the raid; generally done by healers and casters
  • buffs/debuffs - buffs are positive affects on your character; debuffs are the negative ones
  • main puller - usually a hunter; they shoot trash mobs to pull them over to the raid
  • boss - a unique monster in a dungeon with good loot
  • trash - the monsters in the dungeon encountered outside boss fights
  • raid icons - the skull, X, square, circle, triangle, star, diamond, and moon I refer to a lot are raid icons to distinguish monsters
  • aggro - originally short for aggressive, it generally means when something goes to attack something else; if you pull aggro, the mob will be hitting you
  • AOE - area of effect spells, generally damage
  • DOT - damage over time spells
  • pat - short for patrol
  • zerg - a Starcraft race, which has come to mean running en masse at something 

Bosses not in my old document

  • Baron Geddon - we would clear enough trash packs in and past the tunnel for someone to grab Geddon and pull him back into Garr's room.  Bomb players were supposed to run to the side of the room closer to Gehenne's spawn point where the ceiling was shorter.  Priests might try to levitate bomb targets.  Mana burn dispelling was important.
  • Shazzrah - we pulled Shazzrah with a hunter pet and Eyes of the Beast back into Garr's room, where the raid would have formed up into a circle around the room.  Everyone ranged DPS Shazzrah.  Everyone.  When he would blink and arcane explosion, that part of the ring would run away and then reform.
  • Golemagg - lots of trash to get to Golemagg; we'd pull him up closer to the door to the room and have two off tanks hold the dogs down at the far end, ignore the dogs, and kill Golemagg.  This was a fight that readily employed bandages (for the random fireballs) and feigning to drink halfway through.
  • Sulfuron Harbinger -we'd keep Sulfuron at his spawn point and pull his healer adds one at a time out of heal range of the others, with rogues and warriors interrupting their heals as we killed them one at a time.  After all the healers were dead, you could burn down Sulfuron.
  • Majordomo Executus - this fight involved crowd controlling as many of the adds as possible, killing the casters (I think) first one at a time and then the melee ones.  What I remember most about the Domo fight was my brother's laptop's video card literally burning out just before we pulled one night.
  • Ragnaros - the tanks would start off on the middle island, with the healers on ring behind them, and the ranged dps and some of the healers perpendicular to them where there's a kind of backstop on the middle ring.  Melee dps would swim/jump over to the spot behind Rags after he came up.  For the Sons intermission, we'd gather them up and AOE them.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Brain Energy

So I have like 27 draft posts here right now, and I haven't really had the brain energy to touch this place much of at all.  I've been... busy.

On the work front, being a librarian at a SUNY, we're in the midst of an ILS migration that's going to wrap up and go live this summer.  I am simultaneously more than ready for it to be done with, already, and occasionally terrified that I'm forgetting some integral thing we need to get done before we're live.  Maybe that normal for migrations?  Anyway, this has been the biggest brainsuck for the past eight or ten months.

On the school front - yeah, I'm in school again.  I probably (maybe?) mentioned I'm doing a certificate program right now for archives.  After the class this spring, I've got three more to be done with it.  I'm really enjoying the public history classes I've been taking as part of this, and it's been showing me that a) I miss history and b) I've been doing way more public history than I realized as part of what I do in the library.  The last paper I wrote was on the history of my piano (turns out it was built in Muskegon), and that has gotten me playing more, as well, so yay school.

On the reading front, I'm aiming for 52+ books again this year, with the additional caveat of not so many graphic novel/comic issues.  Not that I don't think they're reading, just that they're kind of cheating on the goal when the goal is to be reading more pages, not more titles.  The book unit is just convenient for articulating the goal.  I have been dabbling with audiobooks this spring (I had a coupon, and Hoopla is a thing), and made the mistake of starting a trilogy that the third book isn't out until 2020.  (City of Brass is the first one.  I really enjoyed the narrator in the audio.)

On the writing front... Okay, so like, I never really stop getting new ideas.  Characters, scenes, premises.  I just don't get them out on paper like I did twenty years ago.  So I've got completion/revision goals for this year, and the additional goal of getting stuff down out of my head.  Currently I'm working on finishing #208, my NaNo from 2013.  It's what I was planning to work on when I sat down in my recliner tonight and ended up updating my website and posting this.

On the gardening front, well, it's March.  The gardening front has been pretty quiet since tear-down last fall and planting out the onions.  But the garden & flower show is this weekend!  I will probably get whatever candy Uncle Sam's is selling; buy some bean, pea, and flower seeds; and enter to win a cubic yard of dirt.  (I've considered buying one but don't want to have to schlep it back to the garden from the curb.)  I need to prune the apple trees and the grape vine Sunday if the weather cooperates.  Then I'll probably do nothing on the garden front till the end of April, and hopefully the ground will be thawed and I can turn it over and plant out seedlings the second weekend of May.

On the other crafting fronts... knitting and sewing are mostly on hold this semester.  I'm doing a cupcake project.  I've got a list of cupcakes I wanted to try baking, and have six left on the list:
  • Pineapple w/coconut frosting
  • Carrot w/cream cheese frosting
  • Devil's food w/chocolate frosting
  • Lime w/lime frosting
  • Churro w/cream cheese frosting (first recipe idea from Reddit)
  • Lemon w/lemon frosting.

Oh, and my WoW guild is 2/9 bosses into the heroic difficulty of the current raid tier (which is so much better than the first tier this expansion).

Anyway, I've been busy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Bert's Bots

New pet battles!  Yay!

Some of the new pet battles in Battle for Azeroth have been... odd.  Pets that are not of the family you would expect for their name/model, multiple pet battles where you just have to survive because they self-destruct after ten or so rounds, and the like.

Bert's Bots is a mechanical fight in Gnomeregan.  Bert is outside the instance, but underground, so if you're Horde, you'll probably want to take the transporter from Grom'gol, rather than do something like use the Last Relic of Argus, because it pretty reliably lands me on Eastern Kingdoms, think, "Oh, that's close enough to fly," and then fly through the gnome guards and end up flagged and at 20% at the pet battle.

The first pet will swap two of your pets back and forth, the second kind of spams fire puddles on the floor that are dots that persist through pet swaps, and the third just kind of spams a basic mechanical attack.

I tried it with Hatespark the Tiny (2,1,1), Fel Flame (1,1,1), and Water Waveling (2,2,1).  Hatespark the Tiny is from the Molten Core anniversary raid thing, so if you didn't get one and don't want to shell out the exorbitant prices for him (I paid something like 25k for him just after the event ended, but the US median price on Undermine Journal right now is about 250k), any pet with Deep Burn and another ability that takes advantage of Burning is probably fine.  Looking into Water Waveling's abilities, Geyser is rarer than I realized, but Water Waveling is just tamed in Zul'drak, and the other pets average 3k-15k on the auction house.  (Water Waveling is my go-to elemental for pet battles that have mechanicals in them.)

Basically I started off with Flamethrower and then just used Conflagrate, Deep Burn, and Burn as Hatespark and the Fel Flame got swapped around, re-upping Burning as needed.  Eventually the bots got through both fire elementals, and the Water Waveling was able to finish off the last one - I used Geyser first since I definitely needed the damage and stun to finish it off.

Pets for Bert's Bots