HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Sound and Ambience

Turning up the ambience in Zul'aman makes the jungle come to life. It will also help you defeat Akil'zon the Eagle Avatar.

Turning up the ambience in Zul'Aman made the jungle come to life. It also helped us defeat Akil'zon.

Do you remember the first boss in Zul’Aman? I do. Akil’zon still ranks up there as one of my favourite encounters in World of Warcaft. Deadly Boss Mods was notoriously untrustworthy at predicting Akil’zon’s electrical storm. However, if you listened very carefully, with your Ambience sounded turned up, you could hear the storm approaching each time.

I got into the habit of raiding Zul’Aman with my Ambience turned up and Music turned off. It felt like a completely different place in a different game – tropical and wild.

Pop Quiz

Q. When the XT-002 says, “So tired, I will rest for just a moment!”, what does he do?

WoW.com recently published a story about a guild who run a weekly pre-raid trivia session to get the team motivated. They included one of Relyimah’s 20 question sets which included the question above.

This was the first moment where I stumbled taking the trivia challenge. Mentally I replayed the XT-002 Decontructor fight in my head. And even as I can hear XT saying “So tired…” I hear the rallying cry as Heroism is activated.

Yep, it’s when the Heart of XT-002 is exposed.

Matticus once wrote that he didn’t need to be warned over vent when it was time to activate Pain Suppression before Sartharion could breath fire all over their tank on their Sarth3D wipes – he could see the animation change leading up to that particular boss ability. He could see that giant dragon head lifting up and know that Sartharion was getting ready to take a deep breath.

The best way to be aware of what is happening around you isn’t always to pivot your camera and take a look. It isn’t always installing a bunch of addons. Take your eyes off your cast bar (or combo points or whatever) for a moment and look around. Turn on your sound and listen.

So many cues in this game come from sound, I honestly don’t know how people play with it turned off.

If you go back to the XT-002 and his exposed heart. How do you know when Heroism is active?

  1. Your character grows (animation – visual)
  2. You gain the Exhaustion debuff (screen information – visual)
  3. Your cast times and global cooldowns decrease (screen information – visual)
  4. A war cry sound is played (sound – audible)

Of those 4 cues in the game, which one do you rely on to know when Heroism is active? For me, it’s absolutely the sound first, then I’ll run my eye over my debuffs (which, admittedly, are prominent on my UI setup) to confirm by checking for Exhaustion. A part of my mind is also noticing the swiftness of my casts, and if I’m not looking elsewhere on my screen I might have noticed my character grown in size.

If you’ve ever played a Rogue, you’ll know the distinctive sound that accompanies entering Stealth. It’s unmistakable. A smart Rogue isn’t going to walk up in front of you and then enter Stealth where you can see them. They’re going to sneak into the bushes, or approach from behind and hit it yards away. But you can hear it. Hearing the enemy enter stealth has saved my life many a time defending nodes in Arathi Basin. Well that and Holy Nova.

The Celestial Planetarium

The ambient soundtrack in the Celestial Planetarium is incredible

The ambient soundtrack in the Celestial Planetarium is as amazing as the visuals

On Tuesday night we had our first shot at Algalon the Observer. I love Mimiron, I really do, but Firefighter was a pain in the ass. Unlocking the gate to Algalon was certainly a suitable reward. Spending an hour with him was even better.

I was playing with my usual sound settings which look something like this: Master Sound on 50%*, Sound Effects on 50%, Music on 0% and Ambience on 75%.

Everything about the Algalon encounter is just beautiful. I don’t know how else to describe it. One of our raiders compared it to the Infinity Room at the Gallery of Modern Art, and perhaps this is just the gamer in me talking, I thought it was even better. The “room” feels huge and endless and the ambient soundtrack is just amazing. I was trying to explain it afterwards and the best I could come up with was: it sounds like a sonic boom – deep and echoing.

Probably a terrible description. But it’s the best I can do I’m afraid.

Please, if you get a chance to visit the Celestial Planetarium make sure you turn on your sound, especially your Ambience, first. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

* I drop my Master Sound setting down significantly so Ventrillo will always be louder than any sound produced by World of Warcraft. If you don’t play with Vent, just leave this at 100%.

One Response to “Sound and Ambience”

  1. ShaedraNo Gravatar says

    Yes, this! I’m also mystified when people say they play without any game sound. I listen for the Heroism, and other audio cues help when my attention has to be somewhere else. My guildies tease me because I can quote what the bosses say, but it’s not useless information when it’s giving you a heads-up about what’s about to happen.

    Just off the top of my head: “All will be reduced to ash!”
    “Watch now, as your hopes are swept away!”
    “Such insolence…such arrogance…must be punished!”

    Technically that last one is a five-man, but it’s still one I remember. Your Algalon screenshot is amazing. If I ever get to see it in there I’ll make sure to remember about the sound settings!

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  1. [...] all of the hard modes and earning a key, Algalon is simply awesome. I remember reading over at HoTs & DoTs when Lathere and Cass were first starting on Algalon. At the time, I thought: This is a fight I [...]

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