The Bitch King

As some of you know, we have both present and former World of Warcrack players on the O514 staff. Pale Horse (unlike his tanking mentor, Iron Weasel) is still a student and continues to indulge the habit, albeit only a couple of times a week. It is a significant act of nerdery, therefore, that PH and nine of his online compatriots succeeded in killing the final boss (read boxart guy) of the current expansion – the Lich King. Before you relegate this post to the heap of shit-you-don’t-really-care-about, consider the accomplishment it describes.

The fight is pretty epic. The Lich King sits atop his Frozen Throne; as the fight progresses, he shatters and rebuilds Icecrown Citadel around you. He often summons winged Val’kyr to drag your friends out over a mile high drop and let them go; he sometimes tears their souls out and feeds them to Frostmourne (only 429US$ !). Geeky, to be sure, but also pretty metal… and very, very hard in terms of  technical difficulty. According to World Of Logs, only a little over 4% of attempts made on the Lich King have succeed on both his 10 and 25 man difficulties. Since he launched on February 2nd, the Lich King has wiped close to 200,000 raids on ten-man and 270,000 on 25. To wit: in the last three months, he has killed almost nine million players. We’re only the sixth guild on our server to succeed, and the first guild to do it that’s considered “casual.”

Here’s a video of us killing him, in two parts; if you’re actually interested in watching it, I suggest you go to youtube and watch them in 720 fullscreen. The first part is more interesting if you’ve actually played MMOs, but will be difficult to understand if you’ve never played WoW in particular. You can identify the author therein as the cow-lady who transforms into a big, fuzzy bear and goes by the name Farrath.

What is not difficult to understand, however, is the kind of teamwork and practice something this complex requires. For those too disinterested to watch the first part, skip forward to about 2:30 of the second part below, and remember that we’ve been working on killing this guy for weeks.

Two minutes and thirty seconds into the second video (about ten minutes into a fourteen minute long fight) is where the shit hits the fan. Things have been going well so far, but one little mistake at a brutally unforgiving juncture sends the fight into a tailspin: as his souls is sucked into Frostmourne, one of our healers, Serrangel, dies. From three healers, we are now down to two; in consequence, our main tank Meezun dies. I take over, and raid damage begins to mount; trying to heal everyone through it, our raid leader and second of three healers Galbrok dies. In a mater of moments we are reduced to six of our original ten; our backs are thus firmly against the wall even as we stand on the brink what  Jane McGonigal so eloquently described as an epic win: “an outcome so extraordinarily positive you had no idea it was even possible.”

We stayed calm, we communicated effectively… but were we sufficiently clutch? Give this bit of the video a listen – the teamwork (and the nerdscreams) are worth it 🙂

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Design Game, Save World

You think that headline is a joke? It may seem funny, but check out the best thing to come out of GDC this year: this rant by Jane McGonigal.

Watch it. Awesomeness.

I’m off to save the world now.

[cross-posted to just another meme vector]