Picking the Right Gear

I healed Shadow Labs last night.

For the record, I detest this instance. There are AoE fears, threat clears, big pulls, mind control effects… It’s basically one big “Pay Attention” instance. The second someone screws up, you’re at risk of wipe. I don’t think I’ve ever managed a clear without 8-10 wipes, although thanks to some tips I picked up last night, I’m beginning to think I’ve just been running with under-geared players. See, the problem is that slabs really requires 2-3 well-geared level 70 dps classes, but the people wanting to run slabs are usually fresh 70s chasing their Kara key frag.

Anyway, that’s beside the point.

One of the group members last night was a green/blue mix hunter. Definitely under-geared for slabs, in my opinion. Particularly for Grandmaster Vorpil, you need plenty of DPS, and he was CC-specced. Sure, he could chain-trap, but (given our other 2 dps were also fresh 70s) we just didn’t have the DPS for the bosses. He whined a few times about how we didn’t have the DPS and fights were taking too long, but seemed to get that he was a part of the problem.

Anyway, at least he knew the instance well. You know why he knew the instance well? He was “farming Murmur” for a drop.

So here’s the point: If you’re wearing a bunch of greens, don’t farm Murmur for a drop.

Slabs is notorious for taking hours to complete, for whatever reason. Sometimes (so I’ve heard) it can go smoothly; other times, people drop out, your puller keeps aggroing multiple groups, you start a boss fight just before honor lag, your tank keeps walking just a touch too far back before consecrating and breaking traps, your sap breaks early every pull, and generally Murphy kicks you in the teeth every time you turn around. The assassins keep ganking your healer, your rogue keeps pulling while trying to sap (come on, I know you guys can get this right, I’ve seen rogues who can), … You get the picture (See? I really do hate this instance.)

Add to this the fact that everyone has a different theory on how to kill Vorpil (Kill the adds, Kite the boss, Kite the boss II, Kite the boss III, Ignore the adds, Kite the boss IV), and all of them seem to require at least two well-geared DPSers to work, and most people (having downed Vorpil) run in, grab their Kara frag, and never set foot inside slabs again.

I’m getting side-tracked again, kind of. This hunter of ours, farming Murmur. For his Sonic Spear.

Now, I’m sure this is a great weapon. One helluva blue. But it has an 11% drop rate FROM MURMUR. This means, on average, you’re going to have to run slabs FIVE TIMES right to the end. Now, our little hunter tried to tell us that we couldn’t get the Kara key frag until we’d downed Murmer. I knew perfectly well this was untrue, and I said so. He insisted on downing Murmur first. Then I pointed out that, in our little group, our healer (me), our tank (my regular prot pally), and our shadow priest (a guildie) were all after the frag. Our rogue was also a guildie, and definitely on our side, and he was on his lonesome, wanting Murmur but not the key frag.

So, a quick trip ’round the side of the room, one dead elite later, and three of us are celebrating our first key frag. Then our tank goes offline.

Now I can understand that the hunter was a little freaked here, but this was a technical difficulty, I can assure you. Laptop problems. Anyway, a tank was quickly found to replace her (a druid, so stealthing past the repop was an option), and Murmur went down on our first attempt. Naturally, the sonic spear did NOT drop, and the hunter was upset. Five hours wasted for our poor little hunter (although a primal nether dropped for me!)

Yeah, 5 hours. We lost a lock early on (full epics + several fresh 70s running slabs = nasty repair bill), and had to waste time replacing him. Then we just didn’t have the DPS for Vorpil, and ended up booting two players (temporarily) to get two DPS epiced guildies to finish off that boss. Then there was repop to deal with bringing our original players back in, and one of them had flown off to who-knows-where and we needed to run out to summon him. With all the wipes (mostly due to bad pulls) I had to run out TWICE for repairs, both just after wipes to save on running. But of course other group members didn’t take the “hey, maybe we should repair now we’re back at the start of the instance anyway” hint I gave, and ended up having to RUN back out before boss fights. Admittedly, this group was on the bad end of disorganised, but at least we did end up clearing (most slabs groups I’ve been in have wiped a few times on Vorpil and called it).

So, back to our hunter. Let’s say only a third of his groups bail, and 2/3 of the time he makes it to Murmur. He’s obviously paranoid over people grabbing the Kara key and bailing, let’s say that happens 1/3 of the time as well. And just to be really generous, let’s say groups are over (either called or cleared) in an average of 2.5 hours (a bit low in my experience). This means that for every actual down of Murmur he’s had to run 3 slabs runs, at 7.5 hours total. Now, at 11% drop rate on his spear, he’s probably going to have to down Murmur about 5 times to score his spear, and it could be rather more than that (although it could be less). This is pushing 40 hours of frustration, and I’m guessing his repair bill ran to about 15g for our run (mine was rather higher, but my gear is better and I don’t have Feign Death), so that’s 45g per down of Murmur, or towards 250g all up. Ok, let’s say these estimates are way over, and it’s really closer to 25 hours and 150g, particularly given you earn gold while running instances.

Come on.

I have epics that were much less costly to get. 25 hours of game time is A LOT of gold (even just questing at 70 you should be able to pick up 40g or more an hour). I’m happy to farm Steam Vaults, Black Morass, or any number of other instances for blues, but I just can’t see farming Murmur for a blue weapon. Surely there are better epics that wouldn’t be much harder to find? How are you gonna feel (having spent literally days of time farming) when you pick up an epic BoE to replace it for 1000g? Or when you start running heroics for a couple of badges an hour, and discover a nice epic badge reward to replace it?

Ok, maybe I’m missing something and this spear is really worth all the effort. But I’m just not convinced.

So, I guess my point is, sure, aspire to great gear. Troll the gear lists. But keep it in perspective: sometimes you’re just better of taking second best, and moving on. There aren’t many gear pieces out there that are SO INCREDIBLE that you’re not going to replace them eventually.

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