Sunday, June 29, 2008

Why so Silent, Bell?

When Summer comes along, so does the sunshine and the need to do things other than WoW. When I don't have homework to procrastinate on, playing on WoW holds a bit less appeal (if you know what I mean). However, I haven't stopped playing!

My mother's house, where I spend a lot of my weekdays, has no internet at the moment. Her current provider was giving her the run-around, so she cancelled service, and is working on getting the new service worked up. So, needless to say, weekdays if I'm on the 'net, I've just gotten home to quick jump on and prepare for a raid.

Our raids haven't gone through, much, either; Many people are finishing up college or have summer vacations and the like. I'm not disheartened or discouraged, and in fact it's giving me more time to work on my surprise and save up a little money...

...which I promptly spent on gemming my Moonkin set. With the creation of a second "ZA Bear Run" group, our first foray into Zul'Aman ended with us just short of attaining a Bear Mount, but yielded a staff and pants for my Moonkin set, as well as a tanking cloak for my Bear set, a dps chest for my Cat set, and a healing neck for my haste set. I cleaned house, I tell you. But, when no one else needs it...

Don't worry, I have a few articles in the works. I need a bit of raiding to get enthusiastic about some again, but never fear.

Bell is still here!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"Fun" with Ahune

I have not yet had a good run at Ahune, and I've downed him only twice. Never on Heroic. Let's see what we have...

Too much melee dps, and most under-geared.

A moonkin who socketed blue gear with spell haste (for a total of +16 haste, woo!) and melee'd the rock elemental mob (the one with the stacking AoE debuff?) to get mana back.

A rogue who wanted the paladin to run back and rez him on a complete wipe so he could talk to a guildmate for a strategy, when we had already stated the strategy. And everyone else was running back.

A group just running in and summoning without clearing any of the packs of trash that roam through the area.

A group asking multiple times what the strategy was, while in combat, while I was trying to heal everyone and everything and get them to move away from the giant earth elemental mob and keep the trash off of me and stay out of the shiny ice (because it's totally cool to get shot in the air, guys!) and dps the boss when he's just a core.

At this point I don't think my luck will let me have a good Ahune run. I think he could be an amazingly fun boss. If my group is never at least 2/5ths full of stupid.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Sunder is Recruiting!

That's right, my guild needs people! A certain type of people, actually.

Sunder is Recruiting:

Healers: 2 Resto Shamans, 1 Resto Druid
Ranged DPS: 1 Mage, 1 Shadow Priest, 1 Warlock
Melee DPS: 1 Enhancement Shaman

So, if you're a HoT-Healer, Brain-Bouncer, Fire-Flinger, Malefic-Melter, Demon-Dancer or Totem-Twister, Sunder would like to hear from you. We play Alliance-side, Dark Iron (US), which is a PvP server.

For more information, the website is found here, the forums here, and the application forums here. Please, please, please read all of the information and follow the guidelines when submitting your application. For tips on what to do when applying to a guild, check Chick GM's blog. She has great articles on the Anatomy of an Application and Examples of Good/Bad/WTF Applications. Since she's not affiliated with Sunder, not everything is the same, but she gives many great tips.

Sunder is currently only interested in regularly working T6 content (5/5 Hyjal, 7/9 BT), so please keep that in mind when considering to apply. SSC and TK are largely ignored. Kara is still run, but only when people throw a group together.

Thank you for your time, have fun, and don't die. Too much.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Illidari Council: Notes from a First Try

To know more about the mobs and their abilities, check the guide found here.

The AoE's are ridiculously easy to avoid. I have my spell effects on medium and I play with 6 fps; the only time I died to an AoE was when another unfortunate combination occurred, such as Deadly Poison.

I would really like a mod that pings the map to let me know where someone who is affected by Deadly Poison is located.

The room is just big enough and the steps just awkward enough that LoS is deadly.

I was put on helping heal people who have the Deadly Poison debuff; I'm still debating if this is a good choice. My HoTs can't seem to stack fast enough and my other heals are too slow on the cast. I'm thinking I should request a tank assignment in lieu of raid healing.

If the WWS Report ever stops erroring, I'll be able to explore my effective healing a bit better.

I need more runs to decide if I should be out of tree form constantly or simply shift out when I need to run from an AoE. In some of the guide videos, I saw tree druids running out of the AoE without shifting forms; with the two second delay in damage taken it may be possible, if not the safest.

Tonight it is back to Black Temple to clear it all over again! Hopefully we'll just steamroll right on through so our next raid night will have more than an hour and a half for Council trash and attempts.

In other news, Part One of the Pre-Kara Resto Druid Guide is up! Thanks, Bear!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bang Head Here

Every once in a while, I hit a wall of frustration with WoW. This is a normal occurrence for me in anything I engage in, whether it’s school, employment or recreation. Lately, though, due to high gas prices, I’ve spent much more time on WoW (less expensive than trying to go out, especially as, where I live, everything is very spread out and you need a car to get anywhere), and have thus found a lot more to be frustrated about.

Right at this moment, I have two unenchanted pairs of gloves sitting in my inventory. One is Botanist’s Gloves of Growth as a step towards a haste set, and the other is Thunderheart Gloves. Yes, I can has T6! The only problem here are that the enchants are very expensive. Each Enchant Gloves – Major Healing costs six Greater Planar Essences, six Large Prismatic Shards, and six Primal Lives. Since I need two enchants, double that. Add to that I need to gather the mats for Boar’s Speed and I’m now up to needing 20 Large Prismatic Shards, 12 Primal Lives, 12 Greater Planar Essences and 8 Primal Earths.

But the fun doesn’t stop there!

Remember that list from before about things I needed to do-slash-get? Let’s see what I’ve accomplished:

Made two Primal Mights (out of five) and gotten Exalted with SSO. I had made one Earthstorm Diamond, but then my new helm dropped and I needed it for a meta socket. So, now my shopping list is 20 Large Prismatic Shards, 18 Primal Lives, 12 Greater Planar Essences, 8 Primal Earths, 1 Earthstorm Diamond, 1 Skyfire Diamond, 2 Fel Lotus, 3 Primal Mights, and 2 Nether Vortex.

Now if that isn’t daunting enough, mix in my small, small gold pile of about…1.2k gold. Across all my characters. I do not have epic flight, and I do not foresee myself getting it anytime soon. I cannot commit too much time to doing dailies; and when I do them I am horribly slow at any of them that require something to die. Though I’m an herbalist, farming is the same way; things die much too slowly and I have to have help, which means I have to drag someone out of the way to kill things for me, split the profits with them (I don’t mind doing this), and then feel guilty about bringing them to do something which is, inherently, really, really, boring. It doesn’t matter if they want to do it; I don’t like asking.

Besides all of that up there, I need to work on my honor situation. I am, irresponsibly, not in possession of a 2 minute PvP trinket, and therefore gimp myself on a few fights such as Rage and Archimonde. Season 4 is coming out; my three pieces of Gladiator are going to be woefully obsolete. I don’t even have all of the Vindicator’s set; I still need my boots and my rings.

I could do this if I respec’d, possibly, but my money is so low and my play time (though relatively plentiful) is so sporadic it becomes difficult to simply recover what I lost by respec’ing, let alone make extra gold. And since I need to spend time farming, I can’t really do many dailies. The flip side of the coin is trying to do dailies to buy what I intended to farm, but it seems like since everyone can do 25 dailies a day, inflation has gone out of control.

Then I have this…other problem? People keep trying to offer to give me gold. Which is a lovely gesture in itself, but I cannot accept. One, because I will never, ever be able to pay it back, and two, I have the “if they can do it, so can I” mentality. When I was fresh at level 40, I made the money for my riding mount in three days, and this was Pre-BC where that was (at level 40, anyway) a feat. Or it felt like one. When epic riding came around, I scrounged for gold again and got a PvP mount so I could get a Ram and not have to spend that chunk on a Saber Mount I didn’t want. Regular Flying was easy; Druids do have it made with that. But after all that, I can’t stand the thought of asking for someone else’s gold to pay for my epic skill. I want to be able to do it myself, to know that I can do it. Only problem is, it’s almost looking like I can’t.

Did I mention I’m power-levelling cooking? 245 skill at the time of writing this.

I know I can’t get everything done, but it does feel like I’m gaining no headway. Illidari Council is, hopefully, tonight, and I’m all prepared for that, but otherwise, I’m starting to fall behind. It’s starting to look like the only solution is to get my paladin to 70 so she can smack mobs around for me.


Saturday, June 14, 2008


Sorry about the small bit of radio silence lately; this is always a busy weekend for me. I just turned twenty (ding!) and also Father's Day is tomorrow. But don't worry; I'll return with a brand new and shiny post on Monday, promise!

Have a great weekend, and a terrific Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thunderstorms are Made of Fail

A thunderstorm swept through my area last night and knocked out the power for three hours, which was just long enough to allow me to miss the invites and first hour of a raid. My guild understood; a couple other people had power outages and connection issues over it. I was at first unconcerned; I thought we were going to Hyjal. I really don't need too much out of Hyjal, as I don't have enough DKP to compete for tier, should it happen to drop.

Then I found out they were going to BT instead, and died a little inside. I need two things from BT! Shade of Akama is holding my [Kilt of Immortal Nature] hostage, while Bloodboil has the amazingly beautiful (and slightly disturbing) [Staff of Immaculate Recovery], also known as "Priest-on-a-Stick." The latter would have been the first piece of gear I would have actually been able to participate in a bidding war over; I was cursing the thunderstorm with every breath in my body.

Well, luckily for my sanity, neither dropped, though I felt bad that one of our other priests, who had graciously offered not to bid me up too much should the staff ever drop while we were togetehr, did not get his shot at the staff.

This morning, I got my fishing to 375! Score. Still no croc pet, but I can be patient. I should hope so, at least, since I was patient enough to level fishing without too much complaining!

I am also progressing slowly with a secret project. I will, unfortunately, have to wait until it's done to tell you about it, because two of my guildmembers actually read this blog, and I don't want to give the surprise away.

Which brings up the subject: Sharlet, a holy paladin in Sunder, has officially begun posting on his Paladin blog, Hammer Hurling. He is insanely knowledgeable about the Paladin class (and just about every other one), so I highly recommend checking him out.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Fresh Look at Healing Meters

Once upon a time I wrote a very near-sighted post on healing meters. While some parts of it are fundamentally true, I've come to find that, like most things, situation is key. The instances and fights which a resto druid comes out on top widely varies due to group make-up, healing assignment, and encounter. Resto druids, though always maintaining least overheal (hopefully), will move up and down the healing charts based on those items. If you're wondering if you're at the proper place on the healing charts for an encounter, ask yourself a few questions:

1) Which part of the WWS am I looking at?
Are you looking at overall? A certain boss? Trash mobs? Did you have the same assignment for overall? If you look at the entire WWS report, it may not reflect your actual healing prowess, especially if your healing assignment changes throughout the raid. A change in healing assignment almost always changes effective healing.

2) Which instance were you in?
Some raids just work better at letting resto druids shine than others. Mount Hyjal, for example, will always have at least three tanks taking damage during trash pulls, and the pulls are much longer fights than the bosses. With multiple Lifebloom stacks rolling, it's easier to get seen on the healing meters, especially as other healers won't be able to focus-fire the main tank an overwrite your HoT ticks as much. Unlike in fights that have only one tank and minimal/predictable raid damage; your HoTs will more often be overwritten than not.

3) How big was the raid group?
In a ten-man, it is easier to shine than in a 25. Besides the amount of people you have to compare to, the tasks in a ten-man are much more focused and reliant on people doing their specific jobs. That priest may not have time to raid heal; that shaman may be too busy with chains to snag the tank except through bounces. Also, in a ten-man, the damage is such that it is easier for a full stack of HoTs on the MT to make the other healers' jobs much easier.

4) What was your assignment?
Druids are good at raid-healing in tens, but not very efficient in 25's. With five/six/seven other healers besides yourself AoE healing and assigned to certain groups, your HoTs get overwritten. And sometimes, there's only one tank to stack HoTs on. Other times, you'll have duties such as decursing, removing poisons, or you'll have to stop your HoT rotation to hunt down a dead body and breathe new life into them. Take into account what you were assigned to do and how well that assignment meshes with what your class was designed to do.

5) What were the other healers' assignments?
Just like how AoE dps shoots off the charts, AoE healing is going to have you beat. CoH and Chain Heal are, in some encounters where everyone is tightly clustered and taking continuous damage, going to kick everyone else off of the charts. With only one MT and little raid damage, Paladins should "beat" everyone else.

6) What other healers did you bring with you?
Do you have a deluge of druids? A plethora of paladins? A surfeit of shamans? A profusion of priests? This may not seem to matter at the moment, but as each healing type has different strengths and weaknesses, bringing different healers to different settings will change the outcome of any healing meter. Combine this with the different styles needed for different fights, and your place on the WWS will fluctuate.

7) How does your gear match up?
Most of this has been assumed with equal or close-to gear. However, gear will make a difference if the gulf is wide enough, so keep that in mind if you feel like you are "not where you should be" on the meters but are doing everything right.

Please, however, do not take this as a guide to how to get to the top of the meters all the time. Trying to "win" at healing meters is almost as bad as doing everything you can to top the DPS meters. A healthy sense of competition is fine, but make sure you examine your reasons for trying to get to the top. There's nothing wrong with being proud when you get there, but stay humble; next week you may not be so lucky. Just work with, and trust, your other healers. And remember: all these charts mean little to nothing if you don't have fun, your raid members and friends don't have fun, and the boss doesn't go down.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Touch of New Paint

I haven't done too much work on the blog, but there's some new things I want to point out.

There are more blogs added to both the Druid Blogs and Other WoW Blogs section. I am sure that all of them properly display their titles when hovered over; however if there is one missing or broken I'd love if you let me know!

I reinstated the "Guild Member" blogs section, as a holy paladin (warlock/rogue/balance druid) in Sunder has decided he'll step up to the plate and give you all a taste of what he knows. I, myself, am eternally grateful for this, as my baby Paladin Bellbell is finally climbing in levels again, and I know for sure I could use the help. It's under construction at the moment, but when he gets started it's going to be a doozy.

At the bottom of the blog I'm going to be embedding one machinima at a time. I'm not putting these on any sort of update schedule, I'm just doing it because I feel like it! And I feel there's no better reason than that, right?

Also, to close, everyone should toddle on over here to Witch Doctor and check out her awesome comic about healers!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Age, Gender and WoW

Not too many of you know this, but I am a soon-to-be 20 female who plays WoW. This isn’t overly special in and of itself; there are many women in my guild and in my old guilds, and I am friends with many more of all age groups. This isn’t actually, well, not completely, about being a young woman playing video games. This is more about being a young woman playing video games with older men.

Sounds awkward, doesn’t it? Say it out loud. Sounds even more awkward.

Personally, I’ve not had a problem with it. Thanks to the great interaction the WoW blogging community has experienced lately, I’ve met so many wonderful and amazing people, and age is just something I rarely think about when I’m on the internet, as little as I think about it in real life. I’m more focused on playing the game and having fun with people who want to play with me and enjoy my company.

Reality, however, is a cold, harsh mistress.

I still live with my parents, and sometimes I forget my headphones at one of their houses and then they’ll hear Vent, and the deep, masculine voices on the other end. And they start to ask questions. The obvious, concerned parent questions. Who is that? Who are you playing with? They sound…older.

Now, I was raised a little sheltered, a little protected. I was warned every single time I went online about giving out information and watching who I talked to and if I was going on that myspace thing to not use any personal pictures. I never did, and to this day I am very leery about putting my picture online. I’m a bit more open than before, but most of my “internet is an unsafe place” training is still locked in.

Besides this, a lot of modern cultures have an element of female paranoia (understandably) pervading the rearing of children. You’re taught not to trust strangers, especially men. Women do not walk alone, especially not at night. We need pepper spray and knives, and we have to watch our drinks constantly lest someone slip us something. We have to be careful and make sure someone is really being a nice guy, not just trying to trick us into going down a dark alley never to be seen again. Men can’t play with little children not their own without being seen as “too friendly.”

So, where does this leave me?

I can’t lie to my parents, I refuse to. I’m still in awe that, even with the whole generation gap, these people find me interesting and worth their time. I’ve been to plenty of social events where I’ve been stuck in an awkward place, too young to talk with the adults and too old to chill with the angsty preteens. My only recourse is generally to play make-believe with the small children and run around being dragons and care bears (though, honestly, I do really enjoy that). Needless to say, though, when you answer “he’s a something year old man living in such and such a place” it can set off warning bells in any parent’s mind. After all, it is difficult to imagine what interest a man over a decade or so a girl’s senior can have in her.

Even writing this post is awkward. I look over it and wonder how I can say this without offending my friends or putting people on their guard. Yes, the internet is a dangerous place, you have to be careful. You can get taken advantage of and hurt and tricked and fooled. But at the same time, the internet is changing the world. I can play WoW with a twelve year old girl and organize a raid with a 40 year old man. I can chat about blogging with a grandfather and help a 15 year old spec their druid. The internet becomes a sort of equalizer, and WoW moreso. Most people just want to play the game, and they find friends who are good players and just go from there. You find things in common, chat about interests, have a good time and get your goretusk livers along the way.

Times, they are a-changin’. I’m still going to be careful when I’m online, and I don’t just hang out with anyone who comes along. But I’m not going to let something silly like age dictate who I play with. That would lock me out of meeting and hanging out with some of the coolest people I’ve known to date.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Proud of your Misdeeds

Once upon a time, Bear wrote about a tree-thief. Or, as it were, several tree-thieves. I personally have never had a tree herbed from underneath me, but I have had them pulled from me before I could slam a Moonfire down on them. It's frustrating, yeah, but it's even worse when those trees are stolen out from under you after a rightful kill. Especially since they drop basically nothing until herbed.

Well, recently, Sunder got an application from a Restoration druid, and we took him to Mount Hyjal on trial. He did very well, despite having low mp5 and a weird spec. However, during conversation on Vent, one of our raiders called him by his original character name, and our shadow priest's immediate response was "Wait...he's that guy?"

That guy who ganks Skettis trees, yeah.

Well, after the run, the guild leader lets him know that our guild does not approve of this behavior and he will not be receiving, at this time, an invite to continue raiding with us. His friend in our guild speaks up and has this to say:

hey hey C___, i can assure you if [he] is accepted as a raider, i can assure you 100% that he will NOT be ninja'ing trees in skettis. From what hes told me the only real reason hes been doing it is because he couldnt find a good raiding guild, which is why I think if he gets a spot, hed obviously quit

T6 fights > primal lifes

Now, I am not an officer of Sunder, so I have no say in the recruitment decisions. But there are several reasons I think I wouldn't want him to come back.

First, he didn't defend himself. His friend did it for him. His friend is a great mage, nice guy, and an asset to our raid. I have no problem with him, just with the resto druid he's advocating.

Second, his reasons behind being an herb ninja. He's been doing it because he couldn't find a good raiding guild. T6 > Primal Lives. You know, we need Primal Lives for our SR gear. Will he be able to resist the temptation to ninja trees when he needs 13 of them for his gear set?

Will he ninja loot in Hyjal when group loot is rolling during trash waves? Will he push up DKP bids just so people will lose out, will he take his loot and run? It's a risk you take with anyone you invite new into the guild, but it's much higher with someone who has known ninja actions.

My third and final reason for really not recommending inviting him into the guild...

He changed his name to "Thnxforherbs."

Not kidding.

I'll let you all draw your own conclusions from there.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mother Down!

Lacking SR pants and only having 24 members in the raid, along with being under-equipped with healers (we had two holy pallies, three holy priests and me), we took on Mother Shahraz for the first time tonight, and downed her after only about an hour and a half.

*happy sigh*

EDIT: I had most healing done and least overheal on the kill of Mother Shahraz. /flex

Monday, June 2, 2008

Incoherency and Updates

I'm featured on Twisted Nether, a great blogcast by two great bloggers, Fimlys from Asleep at the WoW and Bre from Gun Loving Dwarf Chick. They have a lot of great news and talk and it's not completely ruined by me babbling on in the middle. Which, in my book, is a win. I talk about Bellwether the character, how my blog got started, my inspirations for starting my blog (such as BRK, Bear and Phae), tree movement and why I am resto. If you're interested, check it out! Click on the little pic to go see.

Tonight, if we have the Hearts, Sunder will be attempting Mother Shahraz after RoS (who will hopefully go down quickly). I'm a little nervous; I'm lacking my SR neck. We don't run SSC but once in a blue moon anymore, and so I'm going to have to make up my resist in some other way.

I got exalted with SSO finally, so I'm also gathering mats to make my Redeemer's Alchemist Stone. I don't even have the original Alchemist's Stone made, so I still have that list from earlier to finish up. Aside from that, I have gloves to enchant. Everything these days takes Primal Lives. Thank goodness for being an Herbalist.

I've found that when I'm freezing, my computer feels just ducky, so I play in the basement whenever possible.

And, finally, I require an opinion of my readers. I recently acquired the Dead-Bird-On-Head Helm (and that is it's official name), and I'm having trouble deciding whether to show it or hide it. It looks quite nice from the side, but straight on my head looks enormous. So, I took some pictures for your viewing pleasure, and you can all tell me whether or not I should sport it or conceal it.