Friday, February 27, 2009

And I'm Out

Just for the next week. No need to panic! I'm going to go see my love and relax without thinking about school (besides that take home test and that paper and...).

I didn't ask for guest writers this time because I'm planning on having something queue'd up, so you're never without. Plus, there's always Sann. He talks about things, on occasion!

Before I go, I'd like you to meet hunter #2,473: Sugarcake!

Isn't she adorable?

She's followed by her first pet, Sprinkles:

And her tank bear, Frosting:

Let's see if we can get her to at least level 20, shall we?

Oh, and Sugarcake's introduction to BRK was nothing short of priceless.

Sugarcake? What Orc is gonna flee in terror from Sugarcake...


Nothing like making the hunter master himself aghast at what you've done to the huntering name, huh?

See you in a week!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Are You My Mommy?

No. No, no, no.

I opened the cage. Now go home.

…Seriously. Shoo. Your parents are probably worried about you. And, to be honest, you look kind of creepy. Like…bug-eyed piranhas. That walk.

Across the water. Over there. You know, where you live? I have work to do.

Oh…yeah, I suppose the orcas could be a problem. But…still. No. Go! I have to, um…make the grown-ups take a nap. You know, as punishment for locking you in cages.

Don't give me that look! It won’t work on me. You need to go across the water and that’s final. I’m sure…most of you…will make it…


All right. I brought some sandwiches and shade. If you promise to be good, and stay under the umbrella until I’m done, I’ll give you the sandwiches. Okay? Just. Wait. Here.

Look, there’s nothing to be scared of, okay? I’m taking care of it. I’ll be right back. No, seriously, I will. Just…wait

…Fine. But one sandwich, then I’m taking you across the water to your parents. I hope you know you’ve cost me a lot of time and I am quite angry.

…What are you doing? That-that tickles! Stop that! You are all seriously in trouble! No murloc kisses! No! Arrrrrgh!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Puppy Love

The general feel, I find, is that PUGs suck, and no one likes PUGs. I do not mean the small little dogs, as they tend to be adored by many. There are people who dislike the little buggers, but generally not to the extent that has people spewing vitriol across the interwebs with enough fury to melt pixels.

Nah, what we're discussing is Pick-Up-Groups. And I'm here to be that small, tiny, sheepish, dissenting voice that knows it's about to get odd looks and patronizing tones, as well as questioning of its sanity. I understand this situation well; it happens every time I'm in Sidhe Devils chat talking about how much I enjoy world PvP and even being ganked.

I love PUGs.

Where else do you get to meet new people? Where else can you break out of the mold, of your clique, of your guild, and expand your network of competent people? Perhaps gain the respect of members of high ranking guilds who just need another? Or gain the interest of people who are looking at joining your guild? Or perhaps someone who will one day need just. One. More. Healer. for that run you've always wanted to do, but that no one will take you to because they want people who know the fight (rather than just having the skill to do it)?

Or even finding out which people to avoid, to not associate with, to warn your friends and guildmates about?

Of course, there will be PUGs you just cannot stay in. Someone grates on your nerves, someone is a jerk, someone just can't cut it and they're bringing the group down. I'll be the first to say that, even if it's to a lesser extent, that happens in guilds, too. In fact, it's worse when it's in your guild, in my humble opinion, because it makes leaving the unfortunate situation even harder. You will have to see these people again the next day, and the next, and so on.

And PUGs serve their purpose for a lot of people. They generally give me quick access to badges and reputation where I would otherwise stand around in Dalaran for an hour waiting for my friends to log on or wake up. They give me a chance to try new things without endangering people I know, and I can even help people out along the way. I offer to go help PUG CoS timed runs all the time. I won my mount my first time in there, and there's nothing but offspec gear in there for me; but it's quick badges and rep, and someone gets another chance at the mount.

Also, pugging with people who don't always bring their best has actually improved me as a healer. When I can keep a shaman up for five minutes against a boss in VH, when I can take down Heroic Loken with just myself and a tank...I think I've learned something. I see others' mistakes. I see my own. I see how things can work and how they can fail.

I've met amazing people through PUGs. Sannhet, another author on this blog, was PUGed into my first ZF run, and it was the start of a frankly amazing friendship. I have people whisper me all the time to see if I want to do runs or help heal a raid. Some are friends, some are acquaintances, some are randoms from trade, true, and some are people I've PUGed with.

I don't think PUGing should be knocked as hardly as some people do it. I've PUGed over half my experiences in WotLK, and my experiences have almost always been positive (almost). There were some bad ones here and there, but truly...

I just love PUGing.

(This seemingly pointless talk about PUGing brought to you by oshi-I-have-four-midterms-this-week.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Note for those of you who use IE:

For some reason my layout bugs out in IE and starts removing text from the posts. If you mouse over the post title, it should correct itself. I'll be working on figuring out why this problem exists; for now please bear with me.

He Said, She Said, Tree Said

That's right, let's talk about sex and gender in a video game.

You see, right now I'm taking a psychology class, and we're looking at gender issues. To take a "unique" slant to the paper I'm writing, instead of writing about gender relations at a bus stop or who drives faster or how people interact while waiting in a line, I thought I would tackle the mightily broad subject of gender relations in WoW.

Of course, I have my own experiences and have already started writing the paper, so it's not like I'm grilling you for information to do my work for me. But I thought, if anyone would have interesting stories to relate, it would be readers of my blog. So, if you have free time (like any of us have that anymore), just write to me about your experiences that relate specifically with sexuality and gender in WoW.

Do you notice any trends in what gender fills what role while playing (healer, dps, tank, etc.)? Who talks more in Guild Chat or Vent? Who brings up what subjects? How is loot distribution handled? Are there favorites? Problems with gender? What about gender and sexuality differences? Unfair treatment? Harassment? Do people ignore sexuality and gender prejudices when they exist? Do they perpetuate or welcome it?

It's important to mention this goes for all forms of gender and sex, not just the silly and arbitrary dichotomy of "men" and "women."

Part of this was spurred on by having experienced, this weekend, some of the worst sexist behavior I've ever been subjected to in WoW. It's also always been a big interest to me; I've written a bit about age and gender in WoW before. WoW is, in fact, a social game and mingling of all genders and sexes is inevitable. And, as an aspiring psychologist, I always find human interactions fascinating. And, now, with cyber-stalking and internet bullying real and damaging threats, it's important these issues aren't overlooked.

If you want to share your ideas and experiences, but aren't comfortable writing in the comments, you can always send me an e-mail. And, hey, if you're a blogger and are starting to write a wall, feel free to post an answer on your blog. I do request that people please keep it relatively clean and understand this is a public forum; not only can it be viewed by people of all ages, but it will also be viewable by people of all different walks of life.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Mount Debate

I've had this discussion with many other people, so I thought I would open the floor to other viewpoints! The discussion topic: flying mounts and druids.

Some people think they are a waste. After all, our flight form is instant-cast, allows for quick gathering, looks nice and can save you from falling. It's built-in; you only have to pay for flight training and the skill. Who needs a mount when you have that? The only possible reason could be the seasonal achievement that required flying mounts (due to needing to be riding a reindeer).

On the other hand, mounts come in a wide variety of species, color, size and mechanics. Taking an extra second or so to summon a mount is no big deal when you're flying somewhere like Naxxramas or a summoning stone.

Some seem to think special items like the CoS bonus drake mount is "wasted" on druids due to the epic flight form. I know I felt guilty when I won mine, but I ride it constantly just because I love riding drakes. I've been warned off buying the red drake from Wyrmrest because it's not worth the money since everyone has one and I have flight form.

Well, what do you guys think? Is a special mount, such as the blue protodrake, azure drake or CoS drake, wasted on a druid?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Twisted Nether Welcome Wagon Returns!

And yours truly is driving.

As terrifying as that is, I urge you to head on over and check it out. Every week on Friday I'll be introducing a new blog. Some have a few months of experience, some have only a few posts to go off of. It's a great way to expand your feed reader and find new voices, so I highly recommend it.

This is, however, the only time I'm going to remind you, as you should have Twisted Nether in your feedreader anyway. They're a great podcast with news, advice, interviews and more. I've been on it, and though I sound like a completely nervous dork (which is appropriate, seeing as how that's what I was) with a twelve-year-old's voice, Bre and Fim are always awesome, and have the best guests.

So head on over, check it out, stay a while, listen to bloggers strut their stuff, and have a good time!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Behold, the Mighty Power of My Hearthstone!

So, yeah, I'm in Northrend. Took the boat there, and Bellwether's been sending me all over the place. It's crazy! Like, apparantly, if I spend all my time in the Howling Fjord, I'll miss the robots that I can engineer into pieces in the Borean Tundra. But if I spend all my time in the Tundra, then I miss out on pirates. I'm not sure why I have to go to the pirates, but taking down that insane guy and then killing his bear with no back-up will be some good practice.

Anyway, I started out in the Fjord. Pretty place, but there's way too many giant smelly guys who apparently just love to work out their frustrations by running headlong into our base. I don't know what they're so angry about. Perhaps not everything is to scale? But, what a way to compensate.

Well, there's this one quest there where you have to go into some sort of shadowy area and there's these winged ladies who are wearing too little clothing flying around, and you find out that you humans are the offspring of the giant Vrykul (nice to know your whole race is just a weaker deformity of a larger race, no?). And guess who's there?

Arthas. Oh, I was ready to give him a piece of my mind. Except replace "mind" with "axe" and "a piece" with "the entire bladed head." However, Arthas is apparently too much of a pansy to take me head on, and froze me in some sort of bubble. It was pretty weird. I kind of just froze. I couldn't even bubble myself, and that always works!

And then, as I'm a captive audience and the guy loves the sound of his own voice, he started yammering on about if I "feel it" and "languishing" and "souls" and "eternity." I really only caught the "eternity" part because it so accurately described the self-important spiel. And you know the winged bitches were bored, too, but they're scared to death of him.

He looks kind of fat in his armor.

Anyway, this whole time he has his back to me. I suppose it's dramatic? And then he starts going on about how I'm not powerful enough to serve him yet and it's not my time. If my eyes weren't frozen in place, I'd have rolled them. Well, it seems at this point the Bitch King had decided that I needed to die to prove a point, and that just wasn't in my plans. Weird that some almighty undead monster of a man can stop even a pally bubble with his weird stasis thing, but he can't defeat the power of the hearthstone.

What a scrub.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sixth Screenshot in your Sixth Folder...

Well, I don't have folders for my screenshots (not yet on the new computer, anyway), so I just took the sixth screenshot, period. It's hella boring, but, well, here it is:
Im in ur boat, bombin' ur pyratez.

This was started by Critical QQ, and perpetuated by Braids, who tagged me. I'm now going to tag other people!

So, Holy Discipline, Leafshine, Banana Shoulders, /hug, The Delicious Druid, and Tree Bark Jacket, let's see what pictures you're hiding!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Square Peg

I don’t have a home.

Well, that’s extremely ambiguous, so let me explain. It all started with reading Bear’s post looking for new members for Sidhe Devils. I’m a member of that guild, and log on every once in a while to chat and hang out. They’re a great group and I am quite fond of them. However, something Bear said in his post made me come to a realization.

We have had a lot of good folks join that play a main character on another server, and are just joining SD to touch base once in a while and say hello. That’s always been fine with us, but those folks aren’t actually members of the community. They are friends passing through and saying hello, but they are not shaping the guild with their actions and creating the shared history the guild has together.

Don’t get me wrong. Bear is spot-on, and I don’t begrudge him saying it. The thing is, I don’t have a solid, tight-knit community, really, not anymore. I've been guildless for a while, and that's what a guild represents to me.

After Sunder split, all my friends split. I have friends in Vigilant, Fear Engine, OverWhelming, Specced for Awesome, The Dragon Reborn, Republic, Trial Expired, Kind of a Big Deal, Injustice and so many more. And that’s just Alliance-side! I’ve been invited to join a lot of guilds, but…nothing feels like home. With all my friends split up, and my inability to maintain a weekly schedule due to job and class responsibilities, I can’t choose one, not even based upon raiding availability. My schedule is a large part, possibly, of what is keeping me distant.

More than that, I'm not ready to be in a guild again. I keep joining, and they keep collapsing or friends split off and leave or they're not what I expected. I suppose it feels "safer" to not join a guild or community and therefore not be hurt when the time I invest in seeing it succeed goes down the tubes. I suppose that's a bit of a pessimistic outlook, but lately that seems to have been the more likely outcome.

Now, I have a community, per se. Wonderful friends who play with me all the time, and who love to hang out with me. They make time for me, they take me on their raids and heroics, they help me with quests and we compliment each other with our professions. The component missing is that elusive home.

But what is "home"? I don't actually know what I'm looking for. So, at this point, it's probably better for me not to be in a guild on Bellwether until I figure it out. I've been suggested a fresh start on another server, but I’ve played on Dark Iron for almost three years. I know the people. I know the community. I know the inside jokes, the forum crowd, the trade chat. I know the ninjas, the bad guilds, the good guilds, the gankers and the gank zones. I have a friends list full to the brim. I don’t want to leave. I just can’t feel confident enough to find a home if I transfer, either, when I don't know people on other PvP servers (and I have to play on a PvP server; it would kill me not to) and I don't know what I'm looking for, which is probably the most important factor.

So, how about you guys? Anyone else out there still recovering from guild-loss disappointment? Perhaps you also don't know what you want? Maybe you've recovered and would like to share how you found what you wanted?

I'm all ears! (Literally, have you seen these things? Giant purple sails!)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Heroic Resto Cheat Sheet: The Nexus

This guide is part of a series on healing Heroic bosses and gaining achievements. They are straightforward, quick guides designed to give an overall idea of what to expect.

The Nexus
Commander Kolurg/Commander Stoutbeard
These bosses are optional, and they are exactly the same as each other except one is a dwarf and one is an orc, and one is only for Horde and the other, only for Alliance. Otherwise, they do the exact same things: Whirlwind, Charge and Fear. The Whirlwind has a ridiculously large radius and hits like a truck; the Charge also hits like a truck, though a slightly smaller one, and there’s a possibility of being feared into other frozen packs. The boss comes with two healer adds that must be killed first. An interesting note: since this is a side-boss, if someone dies they can release and run back in without getting locked out of the instance or not receiving loot. He still drops an Emblem and Stone Shards (as long as you have Wintergrasp, of course). This boss is only on heroic, but he’s relatively easy to heal through so long as your melee run out of the Whirlwind and you keep an eye on those who get Charged.

Grand Magus Telestra
This fight operates in three stages. Fortunately, they all come down to: heal everyone. There tends to be a lot of random ancillary damage, and the main tank will not always be the person being hit hard. This is especially in the second stage (and possibly the third), where the Magus will split into three separate mobs. Between each stage she’ll draw everyone into her and then throw them out several times like a yo-yo; try to time your Wild Growth (if you’ve spec’d into it) for when she pulls you in so that you hit as many of your teammates as possible. The key to this fight is prioritizing on the fly; who is taking a high amount of damage and who needs healing quickly, and keeping HoTs up during the three-split phase due to the possibility of Time Stop. If you can do this, then you can kill her. Also, as long as you are in Tree of Life form, you are immune to her polymorph (called ‘Critter’) and have an advantage over other healers.

Side Achievement: Split Personality
This requires a lot of control on your DPS’s part, and a lot of attention on your own. It may take longer to kill the adds attempting this achievement due to the need to micro-manage their health. This makes it even more important for you to keep HoTs rolling and prioritize your targets. Also, an interesting side note: the Frost form cannot be killed while casting Blizzard. It must either be interrupted or you must wait until it is over.

This is another “omg everyone’s getting hit” fight. Rifts spawn periodically that do an AoE around them; move away. They can also summon adds if not killed fast enough. When Chaotic Rifts become “charged,” however, you cannot outdistance the AoE, so it is more important to keep everyone HoTed and healed while keeping the MT up. You will often be the first target of spawned Wraiths, anything you can do to keep yourself alive is important, including Barkskin, Health Pots (if your mana pool can handle it), and Shadowmeld if a Night Elf. If you can mitigate this high amount of AoE damage (Tranquility can also help in an emergency), then you’ll be able to pull through.

Side Achievement: Chaos Theory
This achievement requires a lot of kiting, so make sure your group clears a large area around and leading to the boss. Kiting him away from the spawned rifts will allow for no damage taken from non-charged rifts, no Wraiths attacking, and the ability to stand still and soak through the damage while the charged rifts AoE their range-less damage. It will be at this point that you must keep everyone topped off, until Anomalus becomes vulnerable again and you can keep kiting. Just repeat until he dies, and you should have your achievement. Remember, too, that Wraiths can be killed, just not the rifts.

Ormorok the Tree Shaper
This boss is an interesting devil. If at all possible, one should never stand on the ice spikes; they do a good chunk of damage when they hit underneath you, and a small chunk when you land. However, they’re not always avoidable. During the fight, Ormorok will summon little lashers who, when they hit you, will entangle you in place. You cannot shift out of this entangle. Thus, anyone who is trapped in the roots needs to have HoTs on them in case they are spiked. They won’t launch into the air, but they will take a decent chunk of damage. Otherwise, simply heal the main tank and whoever lags into the ice spikes.
EDIT: Flawlless in the comments had this to add: "Omorok, Spikes are completely avoidable, Just stand directly under him at all times, have the tank tank him in the middle of the room, you can practically stand nose-to-nose with your tank, and keep all casters and melee there too, noone will get hit by spikes." Thanks very much!

The Nexus is full of bosses who hit almost every single member of the group all the time, and Keri is no different. Keep jumping and use insta-casts as much as possible to avoid the stacking cold debuff, and keep people healed during the massive frost nova (which you can shift out of). Keep the main tank up, and you should down her quickly. Stay away from her tail, also.
EDIT: Anonymous reminded me; Keri also enrages near the end of the fight, needing more healing on the tank!

Side Achievement: Intense Cold
This is perhaps the easiest achievement for any druid. Simply keep jumping or moving as much as possible, and shift out of the AoE frost nova. This is an entirely personal achievement; even if no one else in your group obtains it, you can still gain the achievement if you do not get two stacks of the debuff.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

By Dose id Sduffed

Ay hade dis hohlidah.

Ebe’ybody dhrows roses ad me, ahd I’b allergig.

Ahd sdupid cohmm’ners thing id fuhnny do breag mah h'ard.

Bellwedder id mayging me wear dis sdupid oudfid, doo.

Ahm goin do go do bed undil id’s ober.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Public Service Announcement

The mineral matter of variable composition that was previously congealed in sub-freezing temperatures has since become liquefied due to excessive levels of thermal energy.

We now resume our regularly scheduled programming.

- Sann

Welcome to the New 4 Haelz!

Isn't it shiny? Isn't it spiffy?

I've wanted three columns for forever, so that people didn't have to scroll down a mile to find important information.

It's still a little disorienting to me, after having used the same theme for over a year, but I like it. I hope everyone else does as well; I've been told it looks like a margarita!

And, well, if you don't like it, you can always read the blog through a feed reader!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Update on the Wrecking Ball

Thanks to the suggestion of a Community MVP poster, I sent an e-mail to I sent them the exact post I put on the forums, and received this response:


We moderate the forums according to our Forum Guidelines here: ( All forums have an additional sticky thread with a subject title along the lines of “Welcome: Please Read!” These threads provide additional information for the intended purpose of a forum.

While I am unable to comment on specific instances, masked profanity and prolific 'trolling' are common reasons for a post's removal. There is no need for such language on the World of Warcraft forums. Threads containing any masked or unmasked profanity would likely be removed at mininum.

Should there be a need to report a post in the future, it helps to include any notable trend / contextual information similar to the situation that you have described for an unconstructive poster.

-The World of Warcraft Community Team

Didn't really tell me much, at all, and I love how I can constantly say "I have read the rules" and they'll keep linking it to me. So, I took the Blue's advice to send my concerns to . I sent this one (it has a couple paragraphs from the original, but many points are new):

I wish to begin this by stating I am not against forum moderation, and I actually applaud that the CM's have taken a more active role in their community. However, I do have some issues which I feel need to be cleared up.

On the Dark Iron realm forums there now seems to be over moderation where once there was little to none, and it is wrecking the community. Every other post is deleted, every other thread is deleted, and most of them are barely or seemingly completely not in violation of the forum rules that it is confusing and off-putting. People now post on the forum less; at the time of writing this e-mail, the Dark Iron (US) forums had not seen a new post in two and a half hours, where once there was constant communication.

It is actually disconcerting to read what seems like completely harmless posts that are then removed and deleted. I have read the forum rules multiple times in an attempt to understand what is going on; however, most of the deleted posts seem like such a stretch I cannot believe they have been removed. Many people have been suspended or banned, and the community has taken a great hit.

Some examples of deleted posts include:

-A post asking if someone was still on the server or had left/quit the game
-A post thanking a guild for friendly game play
-A post asking where someone had gone

To give a more elaborate example, this is how the third instance ("A post asking where someone had gone") was dealt with. The post was laid out like this:

Subject: @[Playername]
OP: Inquiry as to the location of [playername]
1P: Polite, short response
2P: Insult directed at [playername]

The first deletion was the OP. This was shortly (perhaps an hour) followed by the deletion of 1P. Then the thread was left with 2P (the insult) as its first post for almost a full day before the entire thread was deleted.

Not only is this sort of deletion trend disturbing, it goes in stark contrast to what happened only a few weeks ago. An individual was spamming the Dark Iron forums, literally, with posts that contained the same two words (if I recall correctly, they were "and again") ad nauseum in a block/wall of text. He did this in multiple threads for an extended period of time. Many people reported him for spam, as did myself. His posts were never deleted and, from that, I can only garner that he did not receive a suspension. Only a few weeks later now and it seems almost impossible to know what to say, when even nice, friendly posts are being deleted under the heading of "spam."

I understand the forums need to be moderated. I appreciate the CM's time and effort; it's obviously not a job that comes with a lot of perks and probably has a lot of pressure. Knowing that, I still wish to ask for a little bit of leniency when it comes to the forums. By no means allow people to "get away with murder," but when every other thread (or more) is being deleted, it really harms the community of players. I have heard more than one person say to me that it was not worth going to the realm forums anymore. I do not wish for them to become a wasteland.

If there is no community, there is no reason to utilize the boards.

I thank you for your time and hope you will consider what I have written, and understand both my confusion and my concern.

I have yet to receive a response to this e-mail, and I sent it yesterday. In the meantime...the forums just aren't fun anymore. If this ends up becoming the norm, I guess I'll have to find another way to waste my time in between classes.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Like a Wrecking Ball to a Community Building

For those of you who don’t know, I spend a lot of time on my realm forums. I enjoy the community, which is not as “trollish” as most people assume. It does have its own subculture with rules and traditions, but it is an amazingly good way to build a community in WoW. It’s where you find out about the ninjas, the bad raid leaders, coordinate cross-faction events and trading, and even make friends.

And, well, lately, it’s been a little crazy there. Here’s what I posted on the Customer Service Forum:
I would like to preface this with stating I am not against moderating the forums, I am simply confused about certain decisions and the increased, if activity, and wish to have this confusion cleared up if at all possible.

Lately, on my realm forums (and perhaps others), there has been a rapid increase in the amount of threads and posts deleted, as well as a sharp rise in suspensions and bans. While this in itself is not bad, the choice of what stays or is deleted, as well as the sudden activity when prior there was little to none, is off-putting and confusing.

For example, it was only a few weeks ago that an individual was spamming the Dark Iron forums, literally, with posts that contained the same two words (if I recall correctly, they were "and again") ad nauseum in a block/wall of text. He did this in multiple threads for an extended period of time. Many people reported him for spam, as did myself. His posts were never deleted and, from that, I can only garner that he did not receive a suspension.

Now, posts and threads disappear without warning and, as far as I can tell, little reason. Posts which have been deleted have included:

-A post asking if someone was still on the server or had left/quit the game
-A post thanking a guild for friendly game play
-A post asking where someone had gone

To give a more elaborate example, this is how the third example ("A post asking where someone had gone") was dealt with. The post was laid out like this:

Subject: @[Playername]
OP: Inquiry as to the location of [playername]
1P: Polite, short response
2P: Insult directed at [playername]

The first deletion was the OP. This was shortly (perhaps an hour) followed by the deletion of 1P. Then the thread was left with 2P (the insult) as its first post for almost a full day before the entire thread was deleted.

I have reviewed the rules for the forum recently. I have been able to find nothing wrong with the prior stated posts, as well as many others which were deleted. I understand that it cannot always be revealed why things were deleted or suspended, but I am honestly unsure of what I am allowed to post at all anymore without worrying it will be deleted or I will receive a suspension/ban for what I say.

Thank you for your time.

I can only hope it receives some attention, and the confusion can be cleared up. It is absolutely ridiculous what is going on. The community is dying because it seems like no matter what people say, half of the time it’s deleted.

Another forumite of DI introduced this thread to the Customer Service Forum, but the response was…less than satisfactory. We can only hope it becomes more stable and predictable sometime soon. I want to get back to talking to my friends cross-faction, the ones whom I can't in game.

Friday, February 6, 2009

100,000! And Rambling about the FUTURE

100,000+ views! I am so happy that my blog's reached another milestone. I think that owns, personally, and hope I can keep churning out posts for everyone that are both fun and informative, and you keep coming back to visit.

There are a lot of changes in the works for 4 Haelz. I'm learning GIMP bit by bit, and am coming up with a lot of fun pictures and designs. Of course, all of this has to be done while still giving me time to do my homework, go to classes, sleep, and, you know, actually play WoW! Add into it that Sharlet (who has since quit playing WoW) is teaching me how to play DotA on WCIII, and my hands are full. Plus, I believe I'm still supposed to eat?

I've contemplated redoing my blogroll. I like how it looks; unfortunately, it is really difficult to keep updated. A lot of those little squares lead to blogs that no longer update or have disappeared entirely, and adding blogs takes time I do not always have. It is a little frustrating; I love the design but the upkeep is just a little overwhelming. And it occurs to me that perhaps it does not help people find any sort of blog at all. Not all of the pictures are clear about what is contained in the blog it leads to.

That being said, I do not know if I want to go to the Blogger blog roll that updates and displays based on who posts. While the advantage of that is that I can add as many blogs as I want and never worry about deleting the ones who never post and can conserve space at the same time, it does not allow for a static list, in case people are looking for a certain type of blog. Say, for instance, Bear hasn't updated with something "feral" in the title, but someone is looking for a tanking bear post. They may not know to go to his site.

I am also not completely satisfied with my layout; I want more space to organize information, but I am a little bit fail without a template, and I am horrendously picky when it comes to what I want. If I had the time I would learn how to make my own, but until the summer (and perhaps not even then), time is something I don't really have.

I also want to add some sort of increased functionality to my blog. There are plenty of ways to relay information. I feel I have the typing down; perhaps it is time to expand my repertoire? I'm not quite sure which skills I have that could do so, but I'm brainstorming, so we'll see where it goes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gear vs. Skill

On Sunday, I was invited to two different PUGs, who asked me just about the same question. Both reacted in somewhat the same manner, but how they chose to go about expressing it and their actions that followed greatly differed.

The first PUG was one for Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle. They needed a healer, and I needed heroics (and still need that elder). On my way there, I remarked in party chat that I had never been before, neither on normal nor heroic, and wondered if someone could give me a quick rundown of the bosses.

The immediate response was a wish to know my healing and spirit. Knowing it was lower than many preferred, I told them 1200ish in caster, with over 800 spirit, and 1330 healing in tree form.

What followed was a long, uneasy stretch of silence. After about five minutes, there was a sort of uncomfortable “I guess we’ll try it” and the bosses explained in about two sentences. The rogue disconnects.

I get to the instance and the lock and I start summoning. Four people are there and we run inside. Another person disconnects. Then the tank disconnects, and it’s just me and the warlock. Though of course I have no proof, I strongly suspect it’s due to the numbers I put in chat. Insulted, I thank the warlock and hearth.

Fast forward a few hours, and I’m in Dalaran when someone advertises for a healer for heroic Old Kingdom. I’ve also never been here, but I need badges and gear. I whisper the one asking. He also asks me for my healing, telling me it’s a difficult heroic. I reply with the numbers, and tell him I’ve never been, and it’s all right if he wanted to find another healer. He is also unsure, but he gives me a chance. A healer, who in his eyes is dangerously close to undergeared, who has never been, will still get a chance.

I have never had so much fun in an instance. It was challenging, forced me to focus and kept me on my toes. I think there were three deaths throughout the instance, and one wipe due to an accidental double pull. We made the corpse timer, I got two pieces of loot, and the tank was thrilled with me.

Gear isn’t everything. That tank took a chance bringing me along, and it paid off. I understand not everyone wants to take that chance; that people can be “elitist,” or at least jaded from bad PUGs. They could want an easy ride or simply think if you don’t hit a certain number, then you can’t do it. Sometimes gear means a lot; there are caps tanks need to meet, a certain amount of hit dps needs, but other stats aren’t always so regimented and a lot does depend on skill.

On Tuesday morning, I ran with a prot paladin with only 19k health, whose first instance as a tank was Heroic VH. I was forced to swallow some of my own advice; despite my irritation at his inability to hold aggro, and how he never used Captain America, the group as a whole worked with him to improve his tanking. They held back on DPS so he could generate threat easier, I blew cooldowns like a madwoman, and we helped him by reminding him to throw his shield and how to prioritize the different targets. In the end, VH went down, we all got loot, and there was only one initial wipe. It was difficult, but the tank improved and we got our badges and spirit shards.

Give people a chance, and don’t always judge them by their gear.

EDIT: I would like to reiterate that the part that insulted me the most was the fact that they chose to disconnect; if they had told me they were not comfortable with me healing, that would have been fine and I would have respected that choice, just as I told the tank looking for AN that he could choose not to take me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bear is Awesome

But his feedburner sucks.

See the evidence here.

If you subscribe to Big Bear Butt's blog, and have been wondering why he hasn't been updating, well, his feedburner broke and you need to resubscribe!

Wouldn't want to miss out on anything this Bear churns out, imo.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Heroic Resto Cheat Sheet: Utgarde Keep

This guide is part of a series on healing Heroic bosses and gaining achievements. They are straightforward, quick guides designed to give an overall idea of what to expect.

Utgarde Keep:
Prince Keleseth
This is a very straight-forward fight. Get HoTs on the person who becomes randomly Ice Tombed, as they tick for 400 damage a second. This should be easily offset by a Rejuv and one Lifebloom. Keep your Barkskin for if you become the target of skeletons, and keep yourself HoTted. Otherwise, simply heal the tank and anyone else who is becoming a target of summoned skeletons. If possible, also use Barkskin if you become Ice Tombed, as it should reduce the damage you take until your dps can break you out.

Side Achievement: On the Rocks
If you’re going for this achievement, realize your dps will have to be fast, and you will need to keep at least a Rejuvenation and Lifebloom or a rolling stack of three Lifeblooms on anyone Ice Tombed. If you or your tank become Ice Tombed early in the fight, it’s an unlucky set up. Unless you have an off-tank or off-healer, it will not happen.

Skarvald and Dalrann
Skarvald and Dalrann come together. Skarvald is the half-naked brutish melee, Dalrann is the necromancer. If your group is not planning on killing Skarvald Dalrann first, you will wipe (thank you to Paravel in the comments for pointing out my name mix-up). As long as they go down at the exact same time and Dalrann dies first, you will be fine. Heal people who are charged by Skarvald or shadowbolted by Dalrann’s ghost. Keep your back to a wall; there is no minimum distance for Skarvald’s charge on heroic, so he can charge even if you’re next to him. Keep people topped off, but main focus should be the tank and Skarvald’s charge targets (especially clothies).

Ingvar the Plunderer
This boss requires you to position yourself to the side of him, as far ranged as you can get, while still not LOSing your other ranged. Use instant-cast heals and keep everyone topped off as much as possible in the both phases, and if you have it try to apply Wild Growth after the silences from Challenging Roar (phase one) and Dreadful Roar (phase two) end to heal the maximum amount of people possible. This fight is the king of random damage encounters. It is very important that you do not stand in front of him, and no one standing next to you grabs aggro. Also be aware of who you are healing, as in phase two people can become debuffed so that the healer gains damage while healing them. If you cannot take about 1.5k damage, heal yourself first. This debuff is called “Woe Strike.” Also, be aware of who has axes floating around them. Move away from them, but keep them healed. If you are in their vicinity, you will be damaged as well.

Though seemingly involved, the fight should be fast-paced as long as your dps is decently geared. The faster they kill it, the less damage everyone takes.