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For the two or three people left who don't know about it, Blizzard's annual convention, Blizzcon, starts tomorrow.

No way in hell can you get tickets - they sell out within hours of going on sale - but virtual tickets allowing you to stream some of the  panels and speeches can be purchased here.

I hear tell there may be a new World of Warcraft expansion announced.

Here's Ninotchka with the Team Kaels and Tuesday Flex reports:

The flex-o-rama had a very close call on Spoils of Pandaria. We heard the timer count down to 1, I swear I saw the last mob die and the energy counter go to 50, but we got blown up anyhow. Fractions of a second away from a kill on our first pull. So we regrouped, certain people who ought to remain nameless remembered to use their flasks, and we cleared the room soon thereafter. OK, it was me. I forgot to flask. My fault. We then went on to Thok the Bloodthirsty, which I WAS NOT PREPARED for. Luckily, most of the rest of the team had done it before on LFR and they were eventually able to get it through my head what to do (GO TO GREEN! GREEN, NOT BLUE!) and we defeated the encounter. Next week, wing 4!

Team Kaels owes a vote of thanks to Team RubiPam this week. We appropriated their lockout on Tuesday night and started our raid by facing General Nazgrim, short-circuiting the (what feels like) hours and hours of trash-killing that is the Dark Shaman encounter. We were rewarded by swift deaths from Nazgrim and Malkorok, and by a breakthrough on Spoils of Pandaria. We lost a dps early, but still managed to kill the final mob as the seconds ticked down 5...4...3....... It was quite satisfying. We put in some good work on Thok the Bloodthirsty, got him to 17%, but we were missing a couple of regulars including my co-tank. It is possible to one-tank this fight, so we tried it. Thing is, one-tanking the fight leaves a lot less room for error. We're close, we'll get it next week for sure.

Pamena with the Team RubiPam report:

Team RubiPam report:

Another good week for Team RubiPam - on Thursday, Halloween night, with Vanillapie superbly subbing in for Mageartin who was off trick or treating with his grandson, we extended our lockout and tackled Dark Shaman right off the bat. Well, after killing the trash which takes quite a while in itself. When we got to the Shaman themselves, however, we made relatively quick work of the encounter, getting it done on either the 2nd or 3rd pull, I can't remember. Not many wipes, at any rate. As Rubi said, we are half way through Siege of Orgrimmar! We then went on to try General Nazgrim - you know, I understand military code of honor and all that, but I'm still disappointed that the General stuck with Garrosh here. At any rate, he puts up a very good fight, complete with whirling blades of death, adds, a defensive stance during which cries of "don't hit the boss, stop hitting the boss, pull that bleeping pet off the boss!" are regularly heard, and while we had some very good pulls (got him to 1% on one), we didn't quite get it done.

Monday, Rubidium was out, so we decided to try the 3rd wing on flex, with Carune coming with us and Bemused and Pamena two healing. We did not expand the size of our flex group beyond 10, as we wanted to closely approximate a normal run to get the best use out of the practice. Most of us had done Nina's flex raid on Tuesday, which had gotten thru Malkorok, so using my lockout, we were able to start on Spoils of Pandaria. What a total pain in the ass that fight is - although also interesting in that each side of 5 has to beat the clock to get all their boxes opened and mobs down, then switch sides to kill the other half of the mobs. Many wipes, and we found that we had to recalibrate our dps on each side, switching people around till we got it more or less even. I actually, on this fight, heard Thanael utter a cry of anguish the likes of which I had never, in 3 years of raiding with him, heard him make before - turns out he grabbed the hook transport back up to the platform by mistake, instead of a box to open, leaving his team to enjoy our untimely deaths below without him. Nonetheless, we finally got it and it was very satisfying. We had less than a half hour of raid time remaining after that, so we went to check out the big dino with the axe sticking out of his forehead, and got some good work in on him. Tonight, we have Rubi back, and we will go back to General Nazgrik, who I think we may well be able to get tonight. Then on to the 3rd wing!

Rubi will be out next week - something about "vacation", I do not know what that concept is all about myself - so Team RP may go back and farm the first 5 or 6 bosses on normal, maybe try flex, we'll see. We could even take a night off ourselves! I keep saying this raid tier has to last us for 6 months at least, so I really would like to not get burnt out on it before we even get to Garrosh, let alone to heroic mode. Still, it was a really good week for our team!

Also, Pamena gives us the Saturday Night Massacre report:
Saturday Night Massacre report

We had another successful LFR Saturday night, this time with 16 people going into the 4th wing, including both tanks, Thanael and Brumal, and I think ALL the healers. It was a very good run - one shot the first two, and I believe we 2 shot Garrosh, despite neither of our tanks ever having done the fight before. It was also nice to have the non-WL people in the raid notice and be pleased by the fact that they had stumbled into a guild group LFR. Very nicely done everyone.

This week, I'd like to take a break from MOP, and do a Saturday Night Achievement run through Cata or Northrend, or maybe some of both. So everyone take a look at the achievements you're missing and we'll try to tackle a bunch of them. I'll put up a thread at the web site asking people to list what they need so we can kind of organize it. Kind of.

[UPDATE] Fixed. Sorry about that.

Here's the Team Z report from Tvath:

Team Z continues its assault on the Throne of Thunder, this time making short work of Ji'Kun the enormous bird. This fight involves groups of players going off to nests to deal with enemies there while the main raid keeps damaging the chicken. Despite the fact that many of our members had never done nest duty before, it went off fine after just one or two pulls. The New England contingent was fueled by the victory of our beloved Red Sox (sorry Gingerbeer!).

Next up is Durumu, a big floating eyeball that has frustrated many raid teams already! We've all done this fight many times on LFR, but the 10-person normal version includes some mechanics we haven't seen before. I suspect this one will go down next week, but then again, I've said that before.

Team Kaels invited a couple of us to go along on Siege of Orgrimmar raids last week -- since we're not on Siege yet, we can sub in with the other teams without losing our lockout. It was great experience, but I have to say my favorite part was when someone asked "What is the meaning of life?" and five people immediately replied "42."

Our kitty druid Ettocrut is touring colleges next weekend so we'll be bringing in a sub to help us squash the eyeball. Ewww. That sounds gross.

And that's my week. For the Horde!
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