Friday, August 13, 2010

Into the Emerald Dream

EDIT: Sorry guys, until I reactivate the blog, comments are locked. This will keep me from having to police the comments for spam until then. If you need to contact me, please use 4haelz AT gmail DOT com. ♥

If you notice the blog template has changed, that is not a sign that 4Haelz is coming back, but rather that the other template was broken and I still have some pride with what I leave behind.


I know I have said for a while that once things slowed down, I would start reporting on the beta and testing things.

Unfortunately, it won't happen.

4 Haelz is closing. My time with WoW is over. Maybe temporarily, most likely permanently.

If it was just boredom with the current game, that could easily be overcome through my access to the beta. But I haven't logged into Cataclysm except twice since I got it. It holds no appeal.

I just recently got a job as a TSS (Therapeutic Staff Support), working with kids who have behavior and/or mental problems. Besides this, there are many different aspects of life I want to explore, including improving my art (two of the pieces in my gallery have Mature Content filters on them; i.e. NSFW) so I can perhaps take on more commissions such as what I do for BRK, actually sit down to write the book ideas I've had forever, whether or not they go anywhere publicly, and volunteer more at the animal shelter until (and probably after) I can afford to have my own dog. I also need to find another job, as my TSS position is only part time. I just recently purchased car insurance on my own policy for the first time, and paid to have the title of my car (that I am terrified will now break down spontaneously) into my own name.

I'm becoming an adult (or something similar), and frankly it is as terrifying as it is exciting. I just don't have the time, or inclination, to play WoW, and stringing you guys along saying how I'll get to it just isn't fair to either of us. Not fair to you because you wait for it, and not fair to me because then I'm forcing myself to play a game due to expectations I created.

My account has actually been canceled for nearly a month and a half, and I haven't been playing for longer. I wrestled with closing the blog, because I have possibly enjoyed writing in here as much as I had playing the game. When I received the beta, I had hoped it would rekindle things so I wouldn't have to close it. Then my guild collapsed, my friends transferred, and my boyfriend quit WoW immediately after I did. I felt the pull less and less.

It is sad for me, really. I played this game for nearly three and a half years without any account cancellations or real breaks. In that time I made a lot of friends, a few enemies, a couple creepy stalkers, and managed to become a trusted source of information and advice (who occasionally screwed up). I will really miss it.

I'll still be around on Twitter as @Bellbell, I'll still have my 4haelz AT gmail DOT com e-mail. You ever feel like chatting, hit me up. I've said before; I'm pretty friendly, and at the moment I just moved to the middle of the woods. I'm gonna attempt to be regular again about updating my RL blog, but that sounds super boring to you guys, I'm sure. My home life is unfortunately not a high flying adventure, QQ.

Who knows, maybe this isn't forever. Maybe I'll get the itch again and I'll have the time to scratch it, and Bellwether will romp through the plains of Azeroth. But, until that day, I will hibernate in the Emerald Dream, as all Druids eventually do.

Love you guys.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beta: Sorry About the Teasing

In all honesty, I have not had any time to play the Beta. I've got some screenshots to share with you, and I'll hopefully be able to log in soon and get some real testing of the new tree done for you (and some frustrated grumblings as I try to walk in it, as well). I can't promise it will be soon, as I have a lot of real life, important, sometime urgent, things to sort out (a temporary move, apartment hunting, getting my first real, career-oriented job, purchasing car insurance for the first time on my own policy...), I will do my best. I'm as curious as you guys, so if there's anything specific you want me to look at, let me know.

So, in the meantime, here are your screenshots!











And hey, if you like Spirit Beasts and/or Hunters, check out the shirts BRK is selling (again, my design).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Beta: First Impressions

While I haven't had too much time to play the beta due to the arrival of my step siblings from Ireland and general scrambling for employment, I do have some good news. Though my computer cannot handle running video at the same time as beta, I do have a Resto Druid friend who will be recording various things for me to post on the blog.

As well, BRK and a few of his friends, including me, will be heading into five mans as soon as our schedules align, and I'll be able to give a little bit of a better idea on how healing feels under pressure.

Everything is a little different in WoW now, even things on the scale of Stormwind Bank (which is really pretty but a little glitchy inside). The new water graphics look good, but also kind of inconsistent with the rest of the graphics. It may just take some getting used to.


I've done a little questing as a Resto Druid, and it isn't any easier or any more difficult than it has been before, except for the introduction of Insect Swarm to all builds. Yes, I have leveled as Resto since level 60 and I'm not changing for this expansion.

I also ran around and did a few levels of Worgen and Goblin. This has to be my favorite point of incompleteness so far:


If the stars align soon and we're able to go five man running on a relatively stable server, I'll have more information for you. Until then!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Druid Goodies

I know this blog has been really sparse lately, but I have been super busy. Fear not, however, as I have not completely neglected you all, and soon I may have a super surprise for you. But right now I have a different surprise, no less super!

I've mentioned before that I'm BRK's Executive Assistant. And as part of my job, I created this cute design:



Which BRK then put on a shirt, added a tagline, and threw up for sale. I'm super excited about it, and you should be, too!

If interested, head to BRK's website and check them out. He'll ship them anywhere in the world you can get mail, so don't think it's limited to just US kids. But, remember, these shirts are only available until July 19th, one week from today, so don't think about it too long!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Contest Winner and Technical Problems

I'm so sorry this announcement came late. I have an excuse, but first: The winner!

This took forever. You guys had such amazing suggestions and it took me quite a while to sort through. But, in the end, the winner was Bittersweet, suggested by commenter Grizadams.

So, Grizadams, if you wish to collect your prize, send me an e-mail at 4haelz AT gmail DOT com (remember to spell it h-a-e-l-z) and specify whether you want me to mail you the card (with a stamp and everything) or you want me to just scratch it off and type the code out for you!

Now, for the reason this is so late:

A week ago, in the middle of a raid, my WoW randomly dropped from ~20 fps to 4 fps, and never got higher than 12 fps again. After checking my firewalls, shutting down all auxiliary programs, running virus scans, finding out my WoW repair wouldn't even connect to the server, shutting off addons...well, nothing worked. I finally had to uninstall and reinstall WoW, and delete all my addons. I'm in the process of redoing my Healbot bindings through muscle memory, and it's just...such a pain.

So, yeah, that was what I was doing this weekend.

Congratulations to Grizadams! And thank you to everyone who participated.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Omigosh Contest Time!

Some of you may have not read/were too excited about his return to bother with such trivial details/etc., but I am BRK's personal assistant. What does this mean? Well, besides jokes about having finally tamed a druid, it means I do his grunt work.

At the moment there isn't much grunt work so I do as much as my salary; that is to say, nothing.

However, I'm needing some help on something of my own, and I have something to give you for it!

You see, not long before BRK told me in secret to start spreading rumors about his return, I was ordered to get on my hunter and fly out to Storm Peaks by the awesome Druid Sonicoom. Apparently, there was a Skoll! And I tamed him and I was so pleased (he will tell you that I was so over-excited I forgot to put down a Freezing Trap and that I nearly died and we had to play an aggro game but anyway).

Now, the problem is...what do I name it? And I had a thought...

I'll ask you guys. 'Cause you're super awesome and I have never done a contest before.

So here's the rules and information!

1) Leave a comment with your entry for Skoll's name
2) Only one suggestion per person.
3) It needs to follow a theme. My hunter's name is "Sugarcake" and all my pets are some sugary treat or addition.
4) I do not repeat pet names. My previous pets have been named: Sprinkles (wolf), Frosting (bear), Coconut (warpstalker), Blueberries (blue plainstrider), Strawberries (silithid), Mint (chimaera), Marmalade (moth), Zebracake (hyena), Licorice (JORMUNGAR), Tart (raptor), Gumdrop (crocolisk, named by BRK himself!).
5) Read the other comments before posting. Do not repeat a suggestion! Think of something else or be faster, sorry!

The person who gives me the name I like best (yeah, you can't really impartially judge this sort of thing) will win a Slashdance loot card! I can scratch it and give you the code or mail it, your preference.

Good luck, have fun, and wrack those noggins!

EDIT: Forgot to say - you have until Thursday at 11:59 PM EST! I'll announce my favorite, and the winner, Friday.

UPDATE: Commenting closed, and now I have the difficult job of choosing the winner. Answer will be up tonight!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ICC 25 HM Resto Tips - Frost Wing

These tips assume you have a basic idea of how the fights themselves work. They are not complete overviews of the fights, but rather hints, tricks, reminders and ideas.

Valithria Dreamwalker
Portal Healer
Keep a HoT on yourself and nearby healers. You're going to start taking more and more damage from your stacks. Luckily you heal for more, you just have to remember to keep yourself up. Other healers without HoTs will appreciate the help as well.

Stack your HoTs, roll your Lifeblooms, spam your Nourish. Make sure you hit Swiftmend on cooldown, and don't clip your Rejuvenation. The only time you should clip your HoTs is right before you're going to hop back into the Nightmare. Your powerful HoTs are all that Dreamwalker has to mitigate her slow health drain while you're inside.

Raid Healer
Manage your mana like a champ. Use your innervate as early as possible, and make deals before the start to get the feral druids to give you innervates and sneak into the Resto Shaman groups to drop totems on command. As your gear gets better, it's not as daunting, but in the beginning you'll really need some help.

Throw HoTs on Valithria when you have a chance, but remember that it isn't your job. The raid, for you, takes more priority than the dragon.

Throw some HoTs on portal healers. They sometimes forget to heal themselves.

Be hyper-aware of your surroundings. Avoid crap on the floor, and watch out for wayward undead. Make sure your Shadowmeld (if you're a Night Elf) is ready, and your Barkskin as well. A heroic Blistering Zombie can destroy you in one hit, so don't be afraid to GTFO.


Sindragosa
Pre-pull, HoT with Regrowth. It ticks for a long time and provides a nice buffer. Watch Sindragosa; as she moves towards you to land, begin HoTing with Rejuv and hitting WG on cooldown.

Watch your timers. If Unchained Magic is about to go out, stop healing for just a second. If you get it, continue to not cast. If you don't get it, go back about your business until the next time it is about to go out, and repeat.

Always HoT those about to get frozen (unless you have the debuff). Help them live through the hit. Save Barkskin for when you're about to get blocked.

Monitor which healers get debuffed. If you see two or more tank healers suddenly get the debuff, take a moment to HoT up the tank. Otherwise, stay on your job. You can and will wipe if your raid dips too low and dies because raid healers are too busy with other things.

DO NOT CAST WITH THE DEBUFF. If people die while you have the debuff, that is not your fault. It is much worse, and more likely to wipe the raid, if you start gaining stacks and exploding on their face, especially during phase three. Just trust your other healers and take a breather.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

ICC 25 HM Resto Tips - Blood Wing

These tips assume you have a basic idea of how the fights themselves work. They are not complete overviews of the fights, but rather hints, tricks, reminders and ideas.

Blood Council
HoT yourself up before or while moving and you shouldn't even feel the debuff. At the same time, don't take it as a license to run around without a care; your debuff will still stack.

Save Dash for being chased by the augmented fireball. Pop Barkskin if necessary, but book it through and out of the group. Through the group so they diminish its size, and out of the group so you don't hit others with the explosion. Do not just soak it with Barkskin and not move; you can kill others around you.

Be wary of last-second Empowered Shock Vortex invaders. Hover over your Barkskin button (provided it's not on cooldown) and if someone invades your space, hit it. It could save your life from the domino effect of adjusting people.

Be aware of your surroundings. It is easy to get killed by not paying attention to the stationary shock vortex about to spawn (that you're about to run into). Do not be afraid to shift out and hit a Kinetic Bomb with a Moonfire if it gets close to the ground. Be adaptable and adjustable.

Blood Queen
Pre-HoT before the pull with Regrowth. Weaker ticks, but longer duration, will ensure that a large amount of your raid will have a good buffer heading into the fight.

Do not tunnel-vision health bars. It is very easy to do this since the basic heal strategy for BQ is Rejuvenation, Wild Growth on cooldown, Swiftmend if necessary. You still need to be aware of your surroundings, especially if you have to drop dark fire around the outside or run to the center for Pact.

When the person with Swarming Shadows is announced, give them a Rejuvenation, and a Lifebloom. This is a little extra buffer against increased damage they are taking, but much more is a waste since other healers are likely picking up slack on them as well. If not, Swiftmend them.

During Blood Bolt Whirl, Barkskin. Make sure not to use it too early so you have it for the entire duration.

When your Wild Growth is ready to be spammed again, hit it on a tank. This should ensure the greatest amount of people receive it.

Always HoT Bite targets. They will take damage, and it is often a large amount for clothies especially. If you are using an addon like Vamp, your bite targets should be marked. If not, have people call them out or warn you if their target is low health.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

ICC 25 HM Resto Tips - Plague Wing

These tips assume you have a basic idea of how the fights themselves work. They are not complete overviews of the fights, but rather hints, tricks, reminders and ideas.

Festergut
Do not get hit by the Malleable Goo. However, if you do (because the floor mechanic was covered up by bodies or you were just slow), use your instant casts (Rejuvenation, Swiftmend, Lifebloom, Nature's Swiftness) so as to remain unaffected by the casting debuff. Watch carefully for green ooze on the ground.

As the raid starts taking less damage, you can slowly wean them off of your HoTs and begin stacking more on the tank. Still remember that unless the tank is your main assignment/you have been reassigned to the tank after a healer death, tank is not your priority and to switch to the raid immediately as they need it.

Always pop Barkskin on Pungent Blight. There is absolutely no reason not to further reduce incoming damage before it happens, especially as the raid is going to start taking large amounts of damage all around, and Barkskin should further reduce your need for healing (so you can focus on others).

Make sure you pre-HoT for Pungent Blight so you are not playing "catch up" after the fact.

Rotface
Hold onto your Barkskin for Slime Spray, especially if you are one of the ranged. This can help reduce damage if Rotface turns the spray on you and you do not have a quick exit for the damage cone. Barkskin, HoT yourself and run for the closest edge of the damage cone.

Always have an escape plan, especially in the ranged groups. Know where to go if the ooze is being kited by you, know where to go if the person next to you is spewing Vile Gas, know where to go for Ooze Explosion, if the pipes behind you start leaking, and so on.

Damage on the raid is unpredictable; damage on at least one tank will always be constant. Roll Rejuv on the tanks after taking care of damage on the raid. Sometimes your tank healers have to run, and that powerful (and usually hasted) HoT will help relieve even a small bit of pressure. If your raid is particularly adept at not taking damage, throw a few Lifeblooms up, too.

When Unstable Ooze Explosion is announced, count to three before moving. Use this time to see where no one else was standing, and move there. If Barkskin is off cooldown, pop it now in case of Explosion + Slime Spray.


Professor Putricide
Request prior to the start of the fight to be placed in the tank or a DPS group. During phase 3, you will want to pop Barkskin and Tranquility at three stacks on the tank. The entire raid will be dipping low, so each group should have a contingency heal/cooldown such as Tranquility.

This is another fight to have an escape plan. In Phase 1 and 2, you need to know who you are passing Unbound Plague to. Know who is around you, and pay attention to where the plague has been passed before. Don't build too many stacks up on a person, and have a contingency plan should the person you want to give it to become targeted by another ability such as Malleable Goo or an experiment.

Save Barkskin for RNG gibs. There is the distinct possibility of getting targeted by an experiment, gaining the plague and having goo thrown at you. Pop Barkskin and pray for a miracle.

So long as there are enough ranged at a proper distance, there are three good ways to avoid Malleable Goo: watch the Goo spawn from Putricide and track their trajectories, move to where no one was standing previously, or run into melee. If you choose to run into melee, be sure there were enough ranged out to keep the goo from going into melee, and move out as soon as the goos land.

Keep Rejuv on the Abom as much as possible. S/he needs the replenishment help and sometimes even the healing. Do not worry about other HoTs; if they are really starving for energy, throw Wild Growth on them as well.

Save Dash for when the kiting experiment (Gas Cloud) gets close. Dashing too early helps nothing; the experiment does not follow your path but rather takes the shortest possible distance (straight line). Do not kite it through Choking Gas Bombs.

Take advantage of your mobility and HoT on the move.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ICC 25 HM Resto Tips - First Wing

These tips assume you have a basic idea of how the fights themselves work. They are not complete overviews of the fights, but rather hints, tricks, reminders and ideas.

Marrowgar
Make sure you and the other healers have evenly distributed points to run to during Bonestorm.

Do not be afraid to pop Barkskin; you cannot use it while on a spike anyway. If Marrowgar heads towards you, pop it and run.

Watch your timers. Start throwing out Regrowths on the raid 10 to 15 seconds before he starts spinning around. Though the HoT portion is weaker than Rejuvenation, it will last much longer. You can cast Rejuvenation as you are running around the room since you do not have to stand still.

Don't be afraid to stack full HoTs on someone spiked during Bonestorm. Try to do this especially if Marrowgar is spinning on top of them, and there is no Hand of Protection available.

Lady Deathwhisper
Have Cyclone bound in Tree Form. Unless your guild has given you a priority mark, your main goal should be to cyclone mind controlled raid members who head into melee. They stand a good chance of being cleaved to death, with no other CC able to save them by granting them immunity.

After her mana barrier drops, the easiest way to avoid ghosts is to switch sides whenever she pops them out. Since you are a Druid, you are a mobile healer. A ghost will always target a person and chase them down. No matter where you are, if a ghost pops down and you immediately run to the other side of the room, you will not get hit by a ghost.

Curses and MC's are priority. Healing Damage is important, and you will spend most of your time doing that. But never ignore an MC running loose, and never ignore a curse on someone.

Macro Nature's Swiftness and Cyclone together. This could save someone's life.

Gunship
LOL DON'T GET HIT BY ROCKETS LOL

HoT up the tank before he goes over and keep him HoT'd. HoT up the tank on deck. Play some catch up with the other raid members on board, but their damage is unpredictable and HoTs are often overwritten by Chain Heals and the like. If axe throwers are levelling up, though, buffer with HoTs anyway. They can get nasty (and are one of the few ways to wipe on Gunship).

Saurfang
Make sure you set up healer assignments for each mark. Have a plan for up to six marks. Paladins, then Priests, then Druids, then Shamans.

Make your Paladins call out when they are off the tanks (i.e. healing two marks). As a Druid, you should be able to help by adding HoTs to the current tank while still buffering Marked targets, also with at least one HoT.

If you are just starting HMs and your gear is on the lower end, manage your heals wisely. Your Paladins, especially, may need your Innervate more than you, and if a Mark goes down it's a wipe. It is unfortunate, but at this point your Innervate is likely no longer your own, unless you have a fair supply of Feral DPS and Moonkins.

If you are marked, move to melee range. This allows you to gain maximum benefit from AoE healing. If you are able, stand behind the boss and right click him so you begin to punch between heals. Even a small amount of Judgment of Light healing helps. Only do this behind the boss so as not to parry-gib your tanks.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Game Should Change for ME

I get really tired of seeing the phrase "I pay my $15, I should get __________." There is a sense of entitlement that comes with paying money, the idea that "the customer is always right." If something is wrong, then it should be changed to suit you and should keep changing until you are happy. Because, seriously, you're the customer! There's no way what makes you happy could be a bad thing, right?

I touched (very) briefly upon this in the podcast I participated in a few weeks ago, but there are some things that are not Blizzard's job to fix, but are rather self-created problems that people need to take responsibility for fixing on their own, and not try to make Blizzard create policies and mechanics that fix them for you.

The obvious one that I am going to focus on is social control in guilds. This came up in the podcast, how some see the raid lockout change as an attempt to remove social pressures within guilds to run 10 mans and 25 mans, to gear up alts, to do this or that above and beyond the simple prospect of bringing your main to raids with proper consumables and gear. This creates a great amount of pressure upon an individual to do a large amount of playing they may or may not wish to do. By changing around the raid structure, Blizzard will possibly eliminate this sort of pressure.

In actuality, it is Blizzard treating its players like children. Don't think so? Let me explain.

The idea that all guilds have these same pressures is, of course, a sweeping generalization. With millions of players across the world, there are a myriad of guilds out there, and they are always recruiting. When you find a guild that is doing what you want to do, and you find the social pressures to not be of your liking, it is not time for the game to change for you to remove those social pressures. It is time for you, as an individual, to weigh the pros and the cons and decide, for yourself, if the pros outweigh the cons, and, if not, to find a new guild with pressures you can live with.

But what about being in a guild with people for forever! They're my friends, I can't just abandon them because I'm unhappy!
  1. If they are your friends, they will want you to be where you are happy.
  2. If they are your friends, and the pressures they are putting on you make you miserable, you should be able to have a frank and honest discussion about what is troubling you and try to fix it so that you do not have to leave.
  3. If they are your friends, and you are not a jerk about it, you should still be able to remain friends after you leave.
  4. If these don't happen? They are not very good friends, or you left in a bad way (or both).

I'm on a small server and there aren't a lot of guild choices! What do I do?
  1. Weigh your pros and cons. Is transferring off server or being guildless more of a con than staying in a guild where you are unhappy?
  2. Can you not communicate your unhappiness to the guild leaders in a way that is not whining or accusatory, or are they hostile to your politely worded suggestions or problems?
  3. Have you considered starting your own guild?
  4. Was the guild always this way (i.e. is this what you signed up for), or did it change while you were a member?

You're awful preachy, Bell. What do you think about joining and leaving guilds, smarty pants?
  1. Know what you're signing up for. Joining a guild only to complain about policies already in place just shows the "15 dollars" mentality. In a guild, it's not just your money. It's the money of everyone there, and your fifteen bucks pales in comparison.
  2. Be reasonable. Joining a guild, especially a raiding guild, and being unhappy with having to actually work for your gear, or pay attention, or being coddled through content when that is clearly not what the guild wants to do, is unreasonable. Expecting respect and reasonable consideration of (new) issues you may have (i.e. not ones they have dealt with before and have policies already in place for) is not unreasonable. Not getting it? Then you shouldn't stick around in an abusive relationship, Bella, no matter how sparkly the vamp--er, epics, are in the sun.
  3. Understand that rules change when you're working with a team. Yes, WoW is a game. Yes, you shouldn't play when it stops being totally fun. But joining a guild means it is not just about your fun anymore. What? Preposterous. No, it's true. You have to care about other people's fun, maybe to the detriment of your own. Don't like it? Don't stay.
  4. Leave when you are ready to leave. If you are unhappy, explore your options, and then leave (appropriately). Making excuses, waffling about, or server transferring in the middle of the night (like a coward /cough) are all bad choices. Just do it right and do it well and do it when you're starting to get unhappy, not when you're frustrated and strung out because you've given them just one more chance ten times.
  5. Be a constructive, active part in shaping your guild social dynamic Don't be a whiner, don't be a complainer, don't be a [expletive deleted]. Be a helpful guild member, who sets standards and works with others to identify, adjust and remedy problems. It is much easier to be happy when you have a hand in the process. And if you can't and this makes you unhappy? See point number 4.

When Blizzard tries to remove possible social control problems in their guilds, they treat their players like children who cannot handle their own problems or networking. Ignoring them just making new problems they'll have to handle, they are teaching their players that social control is not their responsibility, that complaining for a band-aid is more effective than working under their own power. They teach the "power" of the $15 is more effective than simply allowing their players to adapt to like adults.

I have been in a great many guilds. I have been in guilds stuck on Lich King, in casual guilds, in guilds that have achieved faction first status and then fallen apart. I have been in PvP guilds, in friends and family guilds, and been guildless. My current guild is a hardmode guild with no stringent requirements on alts or ten mans, and is top Alliance-side. I lead/co-lead raids on Saturdays for people's alts and mains without 25 man raiding guilds and am relatively successful. There are options out there; you just have to find them.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Are You Scheming, BRK?

So, since the day I caught my hunter's Skoll, I've been hopping over to BigRedKitty's old site in the hopes of re-reading all those stories from hunters just so excited to pick up Loque.

Except...the site is gone?

At first, there was just this black image, with a barely detectable outline of BRK's old logo. Then that disappeared, and there was a black image with what looked like a spotlight shining down on the middle. And now...

Now the spotlight is surrounded by four speech bubbles. "Hey Hobbes, what does 'NDA' mean?" "No Dwarves Allowed." "Why, that's an outrage!" "That's Cataclysm."

NDA? Cataclysm? Dwarves? Could the most famous hunter of all time be finding his way back to the scene? What is he hiding? Is he (gasp!) race changing to Worgen? Why is he such a tease? Will he be using the BRK-1000?

Gah! I'm too curious; I need to know.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

To Keep You Occupied...

It's finals week, and then I'm graduating from my University! So, yeah, I'm a little busy. However, I like to keep you distracted and happy, so I am now providing you with entertainment!

I was on a podcast!

Yep, last minute thing, where I was invited to Twisted Nether Blogcast for their 86th episode! It also had Lissanna from Restokin and Stop from Stoppable Force (who are quite more awesome than me) and we got to rant about that thing that I hate, i.e. raid lockout changes.

So while I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off, follow this link and make sure you have about two and a half hours free to listen. It is really that long.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

4Haelz LFM for ICC Fun Times PST

"...those who serve -- who serve wholly, unquestioningly, with utter devotion of mind and soul -- elevated to heights beyond your ken."

Interested in doing ICC 25 Hardmodes? Interested in doing them with me? Yeah, you're listening now. I can tell.

Without going too much into it, I'm in a guild called OverWhelming now, and it's a pretty kickass group of people. We're 11/12 HMs with some good progress on HM LK, and recruitment is opening up for, well, just about everything.

If you're doing so well, why do you need so much?

Well, it's getting to the point in the year where many people get busy. As well, you always lose people to Real Life and other sorts of attrition. The guild itself still runs every week, still does raid all three of its nights and has not canceled a raid in the month I have been here. They like to cycle people in and out a lot, too.

Specifically, OverWhelming is looking for Hunters, Ret Paladins and Elemental Shamans. But all are encouraged to apply. I would, however, suggest talking to one of the officers first if you are a Resto Druid, Enhance Shaman or Death Knight, as there seem to be a good amount of those who are generally reliable/dependable.

Basic Guild Information:
Guild: OverWhelming
Server: Dark Iron (US) - PvP
Faction: Alliance
Progression: 11/12 ICC 25 HMs, all Faction Firsts
Raid Times: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 4:30-9:00 PM PST (server time)
Loot System: EP/GP
Main Website----Recruitment Forums


Understand that this guild is choc-full of young adults (think 20's). Vent and guild chat will contain profanity, political incorrectness, and other "questionable" behavior. If this is not your cup of tea, I would not suggest applying. Also if your feelings are easily hurt, you have no raid awareness, or you think GearScore is an actual raiding addon, please save yourself the pain.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Obligatory disclaimer: My involvement with actual recruitment decisions is none. I will not be making any decisions on your application should you choose to apply.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Know More Than Just Your Job

It's very easy to fall into the "I know my role, and that's all I need to know" trap. I do it a lot. I could tell you the role of a healer in any non-heroic (and most heroic) ICC 25/10 fights, where they should stand, and what mechanics they have to worry about. But up until recently, the DPS and tanks were a mystery. I knew you needed 2-3 tanks depending on fight, and about an even smattering of melee and ranged.

Well, it's not your job, Bell. Why do you care what they have to do?

To be honest, it is a healer's job to know what the other roles have to deal with. Please notice, I said know, not micromanage. Keep that in mind.

It was once said to me by the Paladin Sharlet: "Good tanks make great healers; good healers make mediocre tanks." Though you can debate it until you're blue in the face, the fact is that healers who understand tanks and their mechanics are better at their jobs than healers who react to damage whack-a-mole style or blinder-zoom on their raid frames. Do you know when your tanks have to routinely pop cooldowns? I am not talking about dangerous, near-death experiences, I'm talking about boss fights in which they need a regular cooldown rotation.

Yes, I am a mediocre tank. I admit it; I tried it on Bellbell and I was just semi-competent in heroics. However, to compensate for that, I've started paying much more attention to boss abilities and cooldowns, understanding when a good tank pops cooldowns and when a mediocre or bad tank would forget to. ToC 25 is a snoozefest for many people in this game, yet on Bellwether my anxiety can shoot up if the PUG DPS is slow and the PUG tanks don't know how to use their cooldowns. That is responsible for more phase 1 tank deaths than shoddy healing, though if a healer with a cooldown had used it, it could have covered for the tank's forgetfulness.

I have never tanked ICC, but I know that tanks need to cycle cooldowns through Festergut's triple stack buff.

Knowing when the melee is all going to get hit, or understanding mechanics like Sindragosa's stacking debuff, can only help you pre-HoT or anticipate health loss for a quick chunk. Is Healbot or Grid set up to tell you who has Unchained Magic so you can pre-HoT them in preparation for the chunk of life disappearing?

It seems like pretty average stuff. Life goes down, I heal it up. Why do I need to know more? As the fights become more involved, as the battles get harder, you will need to know who is standing where, who is heading in what direction, and when tanks are powering through cooldowns so you are able to compensate.

After all, this is, in essence, no different than timing your HoTs to boss mechanics. It is understanding on a deeper level, however, than just "damage happens now." It is "damage happens now and I understand why, so I already have the best possible spell ready."

Again, I'm not telling you to micromanage everyone. Do not be a backseat raider. Just be a smarter healer!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Low Tech Raiding


This is the visual I used during hardmode Sindragosa to ensure I placed my beacon properly. Actually, it was originally just quickly scribbled in pencil 10 seconds before the first pull as the heal lead whispered me instructions, as everyone else had downed her before and I was the new kid, expected to kill someone with an ice block or do something else stupid.

For the record, we one shot her and I didn't die until the very end due to too many stacks (it was the last-few-HP-push and I was out of ice blocks to duck behind). Literally, I died then she died. /preen

So, what about you guys? What's your "low tech" raiding gear look like?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

From Leaves to Light

A long-time reader/commenter/friend Kayeri recently had a dilemma; her guild asked her to do something she'd never done before. Normally a Tree, they requested that she switch her main to her Holy Paladin (as they seem to be becoming some sort of endangered species). She agreed to give it a shot, and then came to me to talk about it.

I wrote a while ago about some differences I noticed immediately when starting a Paladin after only healing with a Druid. Cast times, mobility loss, no HoTs, AoE issues...it all hit rather hard, to the point where I was stressed whenever I tried to heal on Bellbell. It was so different, and at the time, it felt weaker.

This, unfortunately, was due to me not playing to, nor understanding, its strengths.

Druids are HoT healers. Anyone spamming Nourish is almost certainly doing it wrong. We blanket raids, we roll stacks of various HoTs, we run around and hop side to side. We shift out of snares, dispells curses and poisons, and we Cyclone, on the rare occasion it is necessary. But what makes a Paladin?

Paladins are direct damage healers. Except for their HoT on targets effected by Sacred Shield, they do not have any skills that continue healing after the initial burst has landed. With a Paladin, what you get hit with is what you get. This takes a lot of habit breaking from playing a Druid. You can't just pop a heal on someone and leave them alone if they're low; their health won't continue to rise on its own.

A Paladin's strengths are in big (costly) heals and cooldowns. This class has cooldowns for everything. Increase healing. Regen Mana (at the cost of healing). Reduce Mana cost. Take damage for another. Take damage for the raid. Make another player immune to physical damage. Make yourself immune to all damage. Drop someone's threat. Remove and prevent snares. Heal to full in an instant. A sudden boost to any aura you're wearing to weather practically any elemental storm or, since it's usable while mounted, burst your entire raid from teleport pad to Gunship in six seconds.

It is very easy for people to say "All Paladins do is Holy/Flash of Light." That is the really boring, really narrow, mediocre, annotated, TL;DR, lazy version of Paladin healing. And it may seem like, wow, next to a Druid, there seem to be so few spells...

Well, that's because most of the spells aren't about directly healing, even if the ones you use for the majority of the time are.

Druids are about rolling HoTs, right? Well, then you should already be familiar with the concepts needed to maintain, and transfer, Sacred Shield and Beacon of Light to appropriate targets. They are, in application, like extended HoTs in that you do not want them to fall off. If they fall off, your tank starts taking more damage or your heals around the raid are not going to your Beacon target. I'm not sure about you, but if my HoTs ticked on the tank every time they ticked on someone else, I'd make sure that Beacon never disappeared. The same holds true for the Haste buff that comes from Judging on an enemy target. Without it, your heals are slower and less effective.

Oh yeah, and Holy Shock is like Swiftmend without the need to heal them with something else first. Very pro.

Holy Paladins are highly mana-dependent, especially when going into a Holy Light spec (this is the Holy spec that delves into the Devo tree for improved shields and the ability to absorb damage on the raid). There are very good reasons why Paladins gem as much Intellect as possible; Holy Light is expensive to "spam," and Divine Plea will restore a quarter of your mana (usually used in conjunction with Avenging Wrath to buffer the loss in healing output). Think of it like an Innervate with some penalties, and that needs to be managed well. You can also use it along with Divine Illumination, and with 2-piece T10, Divine Illumination buffers your healing as well, making it a good candidate to use in combination with Divine Plea, allowing you to stagger the cooldowns and have more options to gain mana.

Paladins should have sharp raid awareness. You should be ready to switch auras for situational damage just like you would be ready to shift forms out of a snare. People will call for a lot of things you never had to worry about before as a Tree. Freedom through ooze, Salvation for a tank on Festergut or an over-eager DPS on any fight, a Hand of Protection for a Warlock about to pull every Vengeful Fleshreaper on his face on the way through Plague Wing trash, an iceblock breaking too early on Sindragosa and needing to Aura Mastery + Ice Resist Aura through a Frost Bomb...you get the idea.

But really, until you've lived it, you don't. Druids aren't cooldown based classes at the moment, because we don't mesh well with them. Paladins do. They open their magic toolbox and throw their toys around and they have a magic toy for almost any situation. If all you are doing is spamming Holy Light, then you are doing as poorly as a Restoration Druid who only hits Rejuv or Nourish.

Remember how Resto Druids have a sort of "bastard cousin," the Dreamstate Druid? How, at one point, Dreamstate was where the hip kids were at, and then it changed?

All right, now I'm sure you've heard about Flash of Light and Holy Light Paladins. There is a difference. Astounding, I know! Flash of Light is less bastard, however, and is more the spec that is just not bad but not as good when it comes to a raiding situation. Flash of Light goes into the Ret tree instead of the Devo, upping personal crit instead of gaining a raid cooldown. They are about quick, high-hitting Flashes of Light on as many people as possible. They go for Crit gear and Spellpower gems, when a Holy Light Paladin would prefer Haste and Intellect gems.

Do you guys know that belt off of Gunship 25 man? That belt every Paladin seems reluctant to take?

It's because it sucks. You're better off with a mail belt than that thing. The Mp5 is okay (did you know Crit was devalued and Mp5 revalued for mana regen?) but the crit just destroys the belt. Most Paladins get their crit from combined haste and crit pieces; solely crit pieces are a bit of a sacrifice.

So if you've ever wondered why that belt goes for so low in your GDKP run, to an offspec Paladin at min price, it's because it's just not something that great to wear. Sure if it's a huge upgrade, you'd put it on, but it's about as great as an Intellect Trinkett with a Spellpower cooldown would be for a Druid, and looks just as pro to any Paladin who knows what they're doing.

Oh yeah, and, 2 piece T10 is awesome! 4 piece isn't worth your time; find better off pieces for the other slots.

This has been my extremely nutshell'd version of Paladin healing, with some Druid analogies and comparisons thrown in to help ease the way. I hope this helps a bit with the drastic class shock of switching between the two types of healers, for Kayeri and anyone else attempting the switch. I'm happy to answer any questions in the comments, and if I don't know the answer I'll probably just go whine to Sharlet (my mentor in the ways of Paladin'ing) until I get it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Regemming Haste Redux

A while ago I posted an article about regemming Haste and how I recommended not doing it. I've had a lot of time since then to think about it, and I know now what the issues and problems with the post were.

First of all, it's good to get a reminder of Haste caps. Since I don't trust my ability to do math, I did the research instead. Druid Heal! has a very easy chart to read that gives the various Haste "caps" for a Resto Druid to hit the 1-second GCD. I highly recommend looking at it before continuing on. It's what I personally use for a quick reference when I need a mental refresher as I plan out my gear.

The first thing you will notice is that the Haste cap is rather high right now. Without raid buffs and proper talent specialization into the Balance tree, it is nearly impossible to reach the cap (except for Lifebloom, which has remained at the relatively low requirements of pre 3.3). At this point in time I am running with two weapons: Trauma ,for the majority of fights in 25 man, and Mag'hari Chieftain's Staff, which is both my Mana Regen staff for extended/intensive hardmodes in 25 (with no possible downtime) and my 10 man staff, to help me reach GCD cap in a non-optimal buff environment. Unless my Haste situation improves past any possibility of raider death or 10 man non-optimization of Haste buffs, I will likely not spec out of Celestial Focus.

Some important questions one must take into account before moving any gems is: Can I reach the Haste cap? And not just any cap, but a cap that is right for my situation (10 mans, 25 mans)? Will I be able to even get reasonably close? What shape will my Mana Regen and Spellpower be in after the regemming process?

If you cannot come even close to being within the range of your cap (determined by your regular raiding composition and gear availability), all you will succeed in through regemming is gimping your Spellpower and Regen with only a marginal decrease in your GCD downtime. It takes far more Haste to make a noticeable decrease in GCD time than it does Spellpower to create a noticeable boost in a HoT tick.

If you decide that you can reach the Haste cap through regemming, do it very carefully (unless, you know, you can just throw gold around, deep pockets). It is time to start thinking ahead. These are the questions you should ask yourself:

How much Haste do I need?

What pieces of new gear do I know I will be picking up soon?

These two questions do not exist apart from each other. You must look at both in conjunction with each other. Whereas gemming for Spellpower was incredibly easy because Spellpower has no soft or hard cap for a Resto Druid, Haste does have a cap for GCD and too much extra haste is wasteful.

A main issue tends to be Druids not planning their gear out well or looking at their options. With only 2/5 pieces of t10 supplying Haste and it seeming as if a lot of drops in ICC are geared towards making the choice somewhat difficult, it's important to try to plan your purchases out and, when available to you, take extra gear. Also staying on top of the T10 bugging issue (where first Rejuvs are barely proc'ing, then being erased by other Druid's Rejuvs, then not refreshing if you HoT over it on accident but still taking your mana...it's a glitchy 4 piece) is helpful when you're deciding between Lasherweave Pauldrons and Vestments of Spruce and Fir for your next Emblem purchase (and don't be afraid to wear cloth, either! Circle of Ossus from Emblems can only be improved upon by a 25-Man Professor Putricide Hardmode drop).

So, in summary -- there is no magic answer for Haste gemming past "can I reach the cap I need?" If you can, without filling up your entire set of gear with Haste gems, then it is acceptable, and even valuable to. It is not impossible to heal without being Haste capped (I've done it before and even recently, as my staff is a new acquisition and I've been lacking my Haste buffs in 10 man) but optimally you want to be hitting a manageable, raid-appropriate cap. If you aren't there yet, you'll be okay, though. Just keep working towards it! If you cannot reach it comfortably in the gear you are in, then don't do it. But if you can, and you're raiding even somewhat seriously, you should invest.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Deforestation into Homogenization



Keeva's reaction to class changes plus an overview.


My reaction to the ToL Cooldown
Point number one: To decide something should be a cooldown without even knowing what it can do is rather stupid. What the cooldown would be should go hand in hand with the decision to make it a cooldown. Fundamental change to a class standard should not be done blindly; the announcement was too early and the details too vague.

Point number two: One of the themes of Cataclysm has been announced to be mana conservation. Therefore, a healer should have absolutely no desire towards DPSing during a fight and reducing their precious mana. The idea that Restoration Druids are losing "too much" by being locked out of damage spells is ridiculous in alignment with their overall change.

Point number three: If the cooldown becomes a simple healing boost, as a mentioned option (that would arguably be easiest to implement), the cooldown will become rather useless. Healing-boost/Spellpower-boost cooldowns do not help with HoT-based healing over much; there is a reason Druids do not have an Avenging Wrath type cooldown nor do they use Spellpower-increasing-cooldown trinkets. If the cooldown is somewhere in this category, it will overall be useless to anyone who is not Nourish-spamming.

Point number four: Restoration Druids are not the singular Druid form which cannot see their armor, yet it is the one singled out to force into showcasing the armor. I have never been concerned with armor aesthetics while in combat, and I spend a large amount of time outside a raid instance in caster form, riding mounts, running around Dalaran, etc. I have plenty of time to view my green-and-brown attire at that point in time and do not care for it within the contexts of a raid. My mind is focused on other things.

Point number five: Shapeshifting for a Restoration Druid is no more clunky or unusable than other forms. Auto-shapeshift saw to the streamlining of shifting out if needed to cast a cyclone or other non-Resto skill. We are not even one GCD away from using an offensive maneuver, and one GCD of a switch back to Tree Form (which should not kill anyone in the vast majority of cases). Not having to switch into Cat or Bear form in order to escape snares, but rather to switch out of Tree Form into caster, and still be able to heal during this, is rather essential.

Point number six: Removal of Tree of Life form will make Druids into a more homogenized caster. Many people rolled a Druid to play in and out of forms; it is the iconic class ability. Shamans have Totems, Paladins have Auras, Druids have Forms. Remove the form, and we are just another caster. Not even "just another caster," we are less than the other Hybrids.

Point number seven: Tree Form is not broken in any way, other than perhaps some arguments against Druids in PvP. WotLK finally brought Tree of Life into a usable, useful, dynamic talent and ability. It has even been said by Ghost Crawler himself; Restoration Druids are in a good place right now, we have found our niche. Taking away an iconic and core part of our playstyle is not a way to encourage our continued effectiveness.

Closing statement: I am reserving full and final judgment until they announce what the cooldown will be, but at this point I am staunchly against the homogenization and deflowering of the Druid class. I feel I will be losing a lot of constant utility for something entirely situational (that is the point of a cooldown, to be situational) and find the reasoning behind the change (so Restos can still DPS, while managing our mana even more closely than before, and so we can see our armor while still no other Druid can) to be ridiculous and empty. The very fact that it has been decided it will be a cooldown with no obvious plan as to how or what it will do furthers my stance against it; the decision should come hand-in-hand with a function, not before. Druids are made to be in Forms; it is iconic. If I did not want to be in a Form, I would have levelled my Priest or made my Paladin my main.

I will respond to comments. I will not be talking about this or any other Druid Cataclysm change any more in blog posts until either Beta opens or until they announce the type of cooldown this will be.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Restos Bad at Tank Healing?

On one of my recent posts, I received a comment from Pixielated. They asked,

...I'd like to get your opinion on something if you don't mind. I was recently “informed” that resto druids are “Dead Last” in effectiveness of tank healing. I realize our raid heals are kick ass, but to have someone tell me we suck as tank healers struck a nerve. I’m curious as to what your thoughts are!

Here's the thing: Restoration Druids do not "suck as tank healers." However, we are lacking as compared to other classes in some ways. Any healing class can tank heal, it's just that Discipline Priests and Paladins are the best at it.

Why aren't Restoration Druids just as good?

Well, first of all, we lack OSHI- cooldowns. Nature's Swiftness and Healing Touch/Nourish are effective, per se, but they are not as sustainable as Hand of Sacrifice, Guardian Spirit (Holy Priest only, which are arguably less effective at tank healing as per Juz's comment), or Pain Suppression. You have no prolonged cooldowns, nothing that either improves your effectiveness for a while (such as a Paladin popping Avenging Wrath) or the tank's survivability.

We have no mitigation skills, such as Sacred Shield or Power Word: Shield. Every hit that hits the tank has no extra mitigation besides what our HoTs can tick back up, after the blow has landed. We also cannot heal two tanks at once as effectively as a Paladin can.

Does this mean we are not good tank healers? No. I was on tank healing duty for a Lich King 25 man when we had no Paladin healers, and no wipes came about because of tank death. Restoration Druids are not the best option for tanking, and it is probably a toss up between Shamans, Holy Priests and Druids on who is the less effective one, but by no means are we bad or incapable.

So, how do you tank heal?

The best way to tank heal is to stack all your HoTs. That includes Lifebloom. Now, you have to be a bit more careful about it as Tank healing can be a bit of a mana drain. Manage your Lifebloom stack, refreshing it on OoC procs and allowing it to bloom when the tank could use a chunk of health. Monitor your HoTs and keep them stacked, then Nourish in-between. If there are two tanks, focus on the one you're assigned to and give a couple helper-HoTs to the other when your tank isn't being punched in the face.

So, in summary: yes, you can tank heal. All things being equal, Resto Druids should not be first-choice tank healers, but they are competent and will not fail at the job (mechanically; personally is another issue entirely).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How to Ace Your App

So you want to be in a serious/high-end raiding guild, eh? But there's this pesky "application process" standing in your way, filling your screen with question upon question that let the guild you're applying to know if they're worth your time.

Besides the basics, what can you do to get in, to make your application really shine?

Understanding your class is of utmost importance. Know your weaknesses, know your strengths, both mechanically and personally. Restoration Druids are obviously strong raid healers; but can you say why and how (the answer is not "spam Rejuv lololol")? Do you know what to do should you need to cover for a tank healer?

You'll often get specific questions about stats and their priority. Do you know your haste caps? Are you reaching them? You don't need to just know that high end Restoration Druids should prioritize Haste to cap, followed by Spellpower, Spirit, Mp5, Int and then Crit, you need to know why. When you want to get into an end-game raiding guild, it isn't enough to just regurgitate, you have to understand what you're saying. Reading Elitist Jerks and then memorizing the data is okay, but it doesn't really do anything for you if you can't apply it naturally and easily.

Have a reason for your glyphs, talents and gems. You may be asked about them. "Because I didn't know where else to put the points" shows a lack of understanding. It is okay to admit you're wrong; it is not okay to make up an answer that everyone can tell is bull. Why? Because you will be called on it.

The best way to show that you understand what you're doing? Throw in extras. If they ask how you would heal for Dreamwalker, give them examples of healing outside of portals and being a portal healer. If there are two strats for a fight, don't just pick one; understand your role in both. If they ask to see your keybinds, go one step further and detail which macros are which so they don't have to ask. If you use a Healbot or Grid equivalent, give them the specific mouse binds.

Possibly the most important part of the application is the general final question. It usually goes along the lines of "anything else you would like to add?" This is your chance to head off any possible questions that you either recognize as weaknesses (or undiscovered strengths) yourself, or that you have seen them ask other applicants. For instance, I applied to a top Alliance guild on the server, and they tend to ask Druid healers if they have a geared offspec during follow-up questioning after the official application is submitted. To save time for both people, I created a quick WoWHead profile of my Moonkin gear and explained my limited experience with it, as well as plans to improve. In the end, the amount of extra information I gave allowed them to almost entirely skip the forum question process and request a vent interview.

Write as much as you need to. Be clear and concise as well as thorough. Utilize everything you know about your class and its role (you know you can increase overall raid DPS by keeping Rejuv/WG on other classes, especially DKs, for Revitalize procs, right?) to impress the people whose guild you want to join. Take your time filling out an application, too. I usually write my application and then come back to it a day later to make sure it all seems right before actually posting it.

Keep all this in mind and, so long as you haven't done something to tarnish your reputation, you stand a good chance of getting into the guild you're looking at.

Good luck!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Art Break!

I've gotten three pretty big requests for stuff to cover on my blog. So while I work on them, I'll show you what I've been doing. It's all pretty simple and very small.

PhotobucketPhotobucket

These are two Tree of Life symbol icons. I made them for my Twitter account, but they're free for anyone to use.

Photobucket

Ohgawdmyeyes. This was my first attempt at Druid-related pixel art and as you can see I am terrible. Don't try to argue.

PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

As you can see, it eventually morphed into something a little better. Still not entirely happy with it, but I'll have to keep working on it. Again, free to use!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kingslayer








First title I've worn, ever, that was not "Corporal." Also, for those of you who don't know, that floating tree body is me. I didn't get enough heals through the Lich King's Harvest Soul ability, and when I died my soul floated outside my body. After Tirion raised us up, it was still there.

I wonder if this is how a Death Knight feels?

I can't wait for 10 man hardmodes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Guest Post: ULTIMATE WARRIOR

Hey everyone, it's Bell here. This is a post written by one of my friends, who thinks he knows a thing or two about healers. Or, well, how you should heal him, I guess. So, enjoy! Remember, I'm always open for guest posters who want to flex their writing muscles.

Hi. I am a Fury Warrior, and I stand in things.

I stand in fire, I stand in void zones, I stand in poison, and I stand in pretty much every other thing I can possibly stand in.

I don’t do this because I hate you. I do this because I love RAGE. I do this because every little bit of red stuff counts towards me hitting that something just a bit harder. I do this because I love to see a full bar of anger under my portrait. I want to unleash every bit of that on that poor bosses face.

When you see me standing in that nasty cloud, it’s not because I’m not too bright (well, not completely). It’s not because I didn’t see it. I might say I turned my effects down, but I didn’t. I saw it. I ran to it. Oh yes, I ran right there. I’m there because I hate that guy we’re fighting, and I want him dead. I want to kill him dead faster, harder, and with more love, baby! And I’m gonna stand in that fire over there to do it.

Think of it as a spotlight. I’m in center stage and I am ready to rock.

So next time you see that Fury Warrior’s green bar drop, do him a favor. Don’t ignore him. Don’t scoff at him. Don’t turn your head and pretend like he “dropped too fast.” Throw him a heal. Give him that little bit of your mana bar, the part that says, “I love you and your ridiculous oversized weapons.”





DISCLAIMER: This article was written in satire. I don’t really stand in stuff. That’s just silly. But all the same, don’t forget to heal us, because sometimes we do die in fires, and that makes us sad.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Soundtrack for ICC Challenge

Who likes to listen to music while raiding? I do! Of course I have to keep my WMP set at a volume no higher than "7" so I can hear what people are saying in Vent, but I do still like to have that background noise.

My favorite, though, is when you find those songs that so perfectly match a boss you can't help but laugh and enjoy the kill that much more. Unfortunately, I haven't found the songs for all of the bosses. Just Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper, Gunship Battle, Rotface, Blood Queen, Dreamwalker and the Lich King. The other bosses? Well, that's where you come in.

What song do you think has the perfect lyrics, is just funny as all get out, or has epic timing for these bosses? Heck, if you have better ones than I picked for some bosses already, feel free to let me know about those, too! Every suggestion I get, I'll find a link to post under the boss, so we can make the ultimate Icecrown playlist.

Ready? Let's go!

(Songs may or may not be NSFW; use your best judgment)

Marrowgar



(Suggested by Pixelated Executioner via Twitter!)

Lady Deathwhisper



(Suggested by Pixelated Executioner via Twitter!)

Gunship Battle



(Suggested by Pixelated Executioner via Twitter!)


(Suggested by Fricassee in the comments!)


(Suggested by Rades in the comments!)

Deathbringer Saurfang

(Suggested by Krizzlybear via Twitter!)


(Suggested by Forreststump in the comments!)

Festergut

(Suggested by Krizzlybear via Twitter!)

Rotface


Professor Putricide

(Suggested by Forreststump in the comments!)

Blood Council

(Suggested by Forreststump in the comments!)

Blood Queen


Valithria Dreamwalker


"Sustain You" - Greenwheel
Video Unavailable
(Suggested by StoppableForce via IM!)

Sindragosa

(Suggested by Iliana via IM!)

Lich King

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Social Differences in Raiding

The following occurred as I was talking with a friend about raiding and how there's a difficult balance between doing necessary content and content people want to do. It's a balance of needs, wants and social structure that's much different than just playing the game by yourself.
(1:41:43 AM) Paradox: It's a game. If you don't want to go on that raid, why not just not go?

(1:43:28 AM) Bellwether: it's kind of different once you're in a raiding guild

(1:44:10 AM) Bellwether: it's like being on a sports team. People depend on you. If you decide to just up and not come because, for one night, it doesn't benefit you, what incentive does the guild as a whole have to do things that do benefit you?

(1:44:27 AM) Bellwether: After all, you've just proven you're only in it for yourself, and the hell with the other people.

It's easier when you're just playing by yourself or with a few other people. It ends faster, and you have a lot more control over what you do, who you play with and how long you play. When you get into the more complicated area of guild play, however, there's much more to it than that.

In a twenty five man guild, twenty four (or more) other people depend on you to be there not just for yourself, but for the group as a whole. People want to be able to rely on you and trust you'll be there for them like they were for you. Show you're just there for that sweet trinket or weapon, and they'll be less inclined to give it to you. In fact, you're more liable to be replaced or phased out for someone new.

(1:44:53 AM) Paradox: There's a difference between "not going because there's no incentive for you" and "not going because it's not enjoyable for you."

(1:45:15 AM) Paradox: I'd be willing to go on a raid I didn't need just for kicks if that's what my friends were doing.

(1:45:48 AM) Paradox: I ran a few people I met in PUGs through low level instances for the hell of it on Duranon a few times.

(1:45:57 AM) Paradox: If you're bitching about it, you do not need to be there.

(1:46:46 AM) Bellwether: Like I said; it's different when you're in a raiding guild. And we have incentives that make people want to be valuable to us. Our most valuable players are the ones who do things for the good of everyone, even if maybe on that particular raid night we are not doing the bosses they like.

(1:47:16 AM) Bellwether: You cannot cater to the desires of 25+ people and have a functional raid.


Raiding guilds can get a lot of flak in this area for taking a game too seriously. If you aren't enjoying a game, you need to leave, stop playing, go do something else, right? Well, in a raiding guild, that's not always an option.

As mentioned previously, a guild wants to know you are valuable to them. The guild is already valuable to you; unless you can find another guild of similar or greater progression, you need the guild, as a working entity, to get to the content you want to see, to get the gear you want to wear, and to play the game where you've said you want to play.

Except on first boss kills (and sometimes not even then) you will probably never find a raid group of 25 people who are completely chill and totally happy about what's happening. The main goal is to maximize the enjoyment of the most raiders possible; when the amount not enjoying it exceeds the amount enjoying it, it is time to switch. If only one or two are upset...well, it is tough luck for them.

Sounds pretty mercenary, doesn't it? Mercenary, maybe, but necessary.

(1:47:43 AM) Paradox: Mmm. Sounds to me like raiding guilds just aren't where I wanna be.

(1:47:56 AM) Bellwether: It isn't for everyone.

(1:48:04 AM) Paradox: I'd like to do raids when I get back in, but the idea of being obligated to play a game just boggles my mind a bit.

(1:48:45 AM) Paradox: When you get to the point that you're complaining about what you're doing in the game beyond an occasional bitch about this or that minor thing, it's time to reevaluate things I think.

(1:49:03 AM) Bellwether: You're not obligated. You do exactly how much you want to/feel the need to -- and the guild makes a decision on whether or not you're the kind of person they want around.

(1:49:17 AM) Paradox: //shrug

(1:50:09 AM) Bellwether: There's no forcing. There are incentives, such as "if you prove you're unreliable, we will replace you." or "we can't trust you to show up when we need you so there isn't a real incentive for us to want to give you gear over the person who is always here when we need them."

(1:50:38 AM) Bellwether: Raiding doesn't work without synergy and people moving together towards a goal.

(1:50:57 AM) Bellwether: Sometimes, to get to the things you really want, you have to kill the boss you hate.

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need.


(1:51:33 AM) Paradox: Mmm. When/if I get back into it, I might give it a try. I do want to check out more endgame content.

(1:51:40 AM) Bellwether: You can pug a lot of it.

(1:51:50 AM) Bellwether: But you won't get as far as a real, organized guild.

(1:52:26 AM) Bellwether: (with good players; there are "real, organized" guilds who do not get as far as pugs because their player base is lacking)

(1:53:21 AM) Bellwether: Raiding guilds aren't for everyone, by any means. But if you want to try one, understanding the social difference is important.

WoW has admittedly gotten easier. But some things do not change, and that is the fact that to get as far as possible, as soon as possible, you need a dedicated, working group of good players who know how to play and who work together. And this means that, sometimes, you have to sacrifice what you want to do and get done what others need.

In a perfect world, everyone would love all the content, would love all the encounters, the trash, the grind. But that's never going to happen, so you have to seek the proper balance in your raiding. If it eventually turns out that the cons out weigh the pros, then raiding is not for you.