Monday, August 31, 2009

For Your Entertainment...

So, while I try to prepare for Anub'arak and the rigors of Hardmode 25 man Coliseum, I thought I'd share a little bit of my WoW life via pictures and probably not very witty captions.

You've been warned.

We're all assembled, and the call goes out. Deploy mini trees! Too bad they have no tactical advantage. Usually the lazy little buggers just go right to sleep.

If you've never seen a devilsaur swim, I recommend it. One of the most adorable animations in WoW. Lookit his little arms go!

Yes, in this picture, I am dead in fire. To be fair, the fire spawned on my corpse after I died. /grumble

It was the normal daily, we wanted to get badges and an achievement or two. No one could zone in, despite the instance being completely empty and being able to zone right into Nexus. Honestly...WTF, Blizz?

I logged in one day, with super lag and latency. I could barely move in Dalaran, and that never happens to me. But, I had an egg. After a full minute of waiting for the damnable egg to open, I received the best friend a druid can have (until they put in a green drake mount, of course).

I wonder where the other antler went.

And this is what happens every night I'm not doing a raid. Or I am trying to raid old content, but NO, that's not allowed.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Flame Proof

Vigilant has been going through some changes. GM changes, officer changes, people leaving and coming's been a roller-coaster ride, and it hasn't helped that people both in and out of the guild were counting us out, airing our dirty laundry on the boards and predicting our disband.

Yeah, things were tough. For a week.

Our new GM and officers picked us up, dusted us off, and kicked our asses into high gear. We went back into hardmodes, and on a whim we said "Let's do Firefighter."

The guild had been working on him for a while. Nights of wipes, problems with disconnects and replacements kept the nasty machine from going down like he should have. I wasn't involved; at the time, I was still an applicant and they wanted to keep it to the main group that had been pounding him.

Then, we lost people, including healers. I was promoted to main raider (I guess I forgot to mention that, huh?), and we hopped in. We spent a couple hours on Mimi on Wednesday, pushing the button and teaching all us nubs what to do to dodge fire and stay alive. I learned how to kite my fires and stick with my group, and though my HPS tanked in the first few attempts, it steadily climbed with each try. We were improving. We packed it up at the end of the raid time, Mimiron saved for the next scheduled date.

Last night, we were worried. We had a few no-shows, and so we brought in some applicants, one of which had only ever seen Mimiron once on 10-man. We had to re-explain the fight, and set up new groups. We were also down a healer. So, what happened?

Second pull. That's it. It only took one pull to acclimate the people who had never done it before, and the next try he went down. It was a harrowing adventure, with a badly-placed Frost Bomb taking out around 8 people in the last phase. Yet we refused to call the wipe, and with fifteen seconds left, we gained the Alliance first, server second Firefighter kill. I am so happy for everyone involved, and proud of my guild for weathering the storm.

And to you brats who think it's cute to trash us, keep flaming. I've gotten pretty good at kiting those fires.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Let the Time Management Begin!

I'm going back to college.

Not all that exciting, I know. But it's true. I have to go back and get some silly degree so I can pay more people to give me a better degree and get some sort of job. This seems to be the process, anyway.

But what's that really mean? Well, I'll be a senior Psychology/Asian Studies (don't ask) double major. It means labs, which means work, which means time. I need to apply to grad schools, which means time. I need to get a job so I can afford books and save money because long-distance relationships devour it, which means time. And, you know, all the fun things like seeing friends, sleeping, eating, relaxing, writing, and I'll be damned if I quit raiding now.

It all means time.

I've already pulled up my schedule. I've already started planning out where I have free time, what time to set aside for certain things, what time I need to sleep by and what times I need to be up. These will obviously have to be adjusted once I find out some course loads (and I'm hopefully going to be switching some classes), but it's important to have a foundation to start, especially as I move back into my dorm on Sunday.

Yes, I'm a senior and YES I'm still living in the dorms. And I have a freshman roommate. I'm perfectly cool with this. It's cheaper, I don't pay for my internet, I don't need a car and I don't have to worry so much about idiot frat boys smashing my windows or burning my car just because the Steelers won.

It's going to be tricky. I'm going to get it wrong some, I think, at first, which may make me a tad sleep deprived. But that's what the weekends are for, right?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Healing the Val'kyr Twins (10/25)

Have you ever played Ikaruga? It's a pretty intense, if somewhat old, game, and this fight is based off the same mechanics. It is pretty simple in execution, and extremely light in healing so long as everyone does their job.

To begin with, split the raid in half (as well as you can for having 25 people) and start opposite the large entry doors. Those tanking/attacking/healing the white Val'kyr (Fjola Lightbane) should have dark auras, and those tanking/attacking/healing the black Val'kyr (Eydis Darkbane) should have light auras. At the beginning, like most fights, the only one who should need healing is the tank you are assigned to (though there are no penalties for scooting near the middle and being able to hit both tanks). Make sure each tank has their focus in between the portals of the right or left side.

The only time the fight becomes healing intensive is during the "bullet hell time" and that is only if you and your raid members are not careful to avoid balls of light/dark, as you only absorb those of your own type and those of the wrong type cause damage. As a healer, you should avoid all balls as they are much more beneficial to the DPS than you, and they will need them for the shield portion of the fight.

Otherwise, your only other job is to watch for Vortexes and change your color if it is appropriate. Blizzard has generously provided a warning for you, all you have to do is read it. If you are "dark" and light is being channeled, you need to click a light portal, and vice-versa. There is no healing through this. If someone is wrong, they are dead.

Since you're a healer, you don't have to worry about shields other than to know that once a shield is up, the DPS needs to burn it down so they can interrupt the heal. If you have the spare time and can pop up some damage on it, it wouldn't hurt. As was mentioned before, this fight is very undemanding of healers so long as everyone avoids the wrong color orbs.

My guild downed the Twins first try with six healers (25 man), and we're considering doing it next week with only three. For most of the fight, our healers had very little to do. So, this will really depend on a few things: how much DPS you can output to burn shields, how reliable everyone is in avoiding balls of the wrong color, and how aware everyone is in switching auras. If you can coordinate healer population with this information, then the fight should be a snap.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tee-Ball Mentality

This is going to be a very rough topic, both in subject and presentation, as there is a lot to say and it does not always flow well from one point to another. "Elitism" is a rather touchy subject, and perceptions of what makes someone an elitist vary from person to person and situation to situation. So, in truth, what makes someone "elitist"?

My step-father often talks about the "tee-ball mentality.” Everyone gets a turn at bat, everyone gets a hit, and everyone gets to be told they're special, no matter how well they do. I experienced this first hand growing up. I have absolutely terrible hand-eye coordination. I never could hit the ball off the tee. Yet it took about ten minutes of me swinging and missing or swinging and hitting the tee instead of the ball for them to take me off the field, making the whole team wait for their turn.

How does this translate to the discussion of elitism? It's the idea that there is no "wrong" or "bad," which makes being an elitist (or even being perceived as elitist) equivalent to being scum. I was very, very bad at tee ball, but no one would say anything because I was five or six years old and it would have made me cry. Instead, they just let me embarrass myself every game until I was allowed to stop playing.

When I join a group, I expect that the people I am grouped with are spec'd and geared appropriately for their class and have an idea of what they're doing. If they're new to the encounter, that's fine. Boss strats and trash pulls can be explained during the course of the instance. However, you cannot "fix" someone's gear/gem/talent choices in the middle of a raid. And how often must you die to the same thing, receive the same warnings, and be coached through a process before it is determined that there is something wrong?

Some people may say expecting a certain talent setup is elitist. It goes with asking for "cookie cutter" specs and setups. However, cookie cutters tend to be cookie cutters for a reason; they are the most optimal build (with some leeway depending on gear and focus). Messing with a cookie cutter can be innovative, possibly, and if you can prove there is value behind it in both words and performance, then you are set and fine. And there is some truth to the knowledge that it isn’t all a DPS or healing race, but it can be a marker of how well you’re contributing. As well, cookie cutters tend to make more allowances for mistakes, as generally a mistake in an optimal build will not be as much of a detriment in a build already lacking optimization.

For certain classes, there are one or two trees optimized for PvE and one that, while doing well, is not the best choice. For example, the Hunter class. While Beast Mastery used to output the highest DPS, now higher-end guilds expect their hunters to be either MM or Survival, with possibly a dual spec so they can have both. Beast Mastery has been relegated to a sort of gimmick fight, like Yogg-Saron without keepers, where your pet is doing more steady DPS than your hunter (who must constantly be turning away), and burst DPS shines. So, when accepting an applicant for a serious raiding guild, the BM hunter would be turned down in favor of a Survival or Marksman. This could seem "elitist," but guilds pushing hardmodes, server firsts and progression races want their groups to be min-maxed to the extreme.

But if it's a PUG raid or instance, or a less rigidly defined guild? The BM hunter can happily take a ranged DPS spot and do well. But, if they have not optimized their build, it almost counts as two strikes against them. PUGs are not the smoothest of runs, historically, and having along a non-hit capped MM hunter wearing Spellpower mail is much more likely to get the boot than a BM hunter whose pet didn't aggro the next trash wave because it was on passive. Is this elitist? No. If you're not contributing, you're dragging everyone down with you.

Now we should probably talk about “what right do other people have to critique my gear/spec/gemming?” And it kind of depends, really. Are you standing around in Dalaran minding your own business, when someone randomly whispers you to tell you that your gem choices are wrong and it would be most optimal to go this way? Well, it would depend on your mood and whether they’re right or not. That one is your affair. But in an instance or guild? I feel every member has every right to discuss another’s spec or gear or spell choices (in a non-aggressive, non-insulting manner), or their boss strategy. Why? Because if you are “doing it wrong,” then you are not just hurting your own performance. You’re hurting the performance of others. PUGs would run a whole lot smoother, bosses would die a lot faster, and people would get a lot more loot if everyone was a bit better at doing what they signed up to do. And, yes, when you accept an invite into a group or raid as a certain spec, you are signing up for a role, and it is expected you should perform.

I could possibly be considered "elitist," in some ways. I try to take things in stride, but I cringe when I see weird or incorrect specs. Like the 0/71/0 Frost DK who tried to tank Sartharion and couldn’t hold a lick of threat, my tolerance has a limit, and there becomes a point where it is possible for you to just be bad. Inexperience, I can handle. I have gently coached both friends and strangers through encounters they had never seen before, helped people with rotations and spec choices, made them glyphs and directed them to websites for more information. But willful ignorance or stupid choices that are repeated consistently, with perhaps a glaring lack of insight of class mechanics at 80? Ouch.

Everyone has their limit. When the Resto Druid who is running Nexus with you stands in front of the dragon in multiple attempts (after being informed that this is a Bad Idea), and does not shift out of chains so they don't stack their debuff, and pulls trash multiple times during the instance because instead of staying in already cleared hallways, they find it more prudent to run into the uncleared room to heal from a distance, there comes a point where you just break and you mentally categorize these people as "bad." Whether it's bad at situational awareness, bad at gear choice, bad at optimization or bad at understanding "this is your role, please play it," there are, in actuality, people bad at the game. Whether or not they can improve is not the issue, it is that they are, at that point, bad. And if you point it out...

This seems to instantly make you the bad guy, if you bring this up. It’s a game, bro. Chillax. We’re all here to have fun. I, personally, cannot have fun with more than a few wipes on content that should not be being wiped on. I can understand a learning curve. But at what point am I allowed to tell someone “What you are doing is wrong. What you have been doing is wrong. Stop. Being. Wrong.” without being a nerd-raging jerk who takes the game way too seriously? My gaming enjoyment is being affected by your terrible choices, yet me imposing a more correct, studied, optimal way is often seen as much more diabolical. This is the “tee-ball mentality.” Everyone gets their chance to hold up the team by swinging the bat awkwardly and wildly, and how dare you make any insinuations that perhaps they are not doing it right.

Do not misunderstand me, there is true elitism. When you exclude people because of inexperience, or because their gear makes the requirements but does not exceed them (so you’ll have to slow this Naxx down just a bit), or when you laugh at their lack of achievements, then that’s elitism. When someone isn't given the chance to show you why they chose a certain spec or why that they can succeed despite their detriments is elitism. Expecting someone to come to a raid in a spec appropriate for what they will be doing, in gear properly itemized and gemmed and a decent understanding of their class mechanics is not being elitist.

As well, "casual" has nothing to do with being "bad." There are plenty of serious raiders who do things badly. A person can be a casual and still optimize themselves during their time of play. Saying "hey man, I only play this game two hours a day" is no excuse to hop into a pug and pull 900 DPS at level 80, just the same as "my main's in the top guild on the server" is no excuse, either. If you cannot contribute properly, you are hurting other people's game time and enjoyment, and you are probably being carried. Though I tend not to speak like this generally as it sounds conceited, I have carried groups through instances and helped carry in raids. It is Not Fun. Not at all. It is frustrating and stressful.

Sometimes there are circumstances that actually necessitate elitism. Le gasp! But it's true. If you're working on One Light in the Darkness, it's probable you won't include anyone, no matter how epic they are, that has not at the very least killed Yogg before. It's perfectly acceptable to turn away someone who is, perhaps, geared enough for the encounter because they lack experience. That person may have contributed well, they may have been able to pick it up, but it's not worth it for those who have taken the time to learn the mechanics to bring them in and hope they can catch up.

Recently, on Vigilant's application forums, there was a rogue applicant. He was given a set of questions about certain choices for gear he had made. He itemized in an odd way, and suggestions were made that could increase his DPS by increments of 20 to 70 DPS. He adamantly refused to go with what he saw as "minimal" upgrades so he could play his way, while stating that this was the way he did max DPS on the boss. Our guild rogues run multiple spreadsheets constantly to check gear and DPS outputs, experiment with specs and gem choices. They are open to suggestion, but when someone is saying something wrong (did you know, you can be wrong in playing the game!), and there is intense melee competition in a guild, they will get turned down. And so he was, both for his insistence on gimping his own DPS as well as his attitude. No, we'd never seen him play, but he showed to us he wasn't worth the investing the time to do so.

Is my guild elitist? Definitely. Do we have to be at times? Definitely. Do we exclude people without experience or gear? Definitely not. If we did, I never would have gotten in. But we require the min-maxing and research necessary for downing hardmodes, and it is clearly stated that this is necessary for invitation. If we were a casual guild, the guy probably would have gotten in. He had epic gems and was fully enchanted, had good DPS (by his admission, anyway) and was available at raid times. But the top end raiding guilds have to be elitist to continue pushing server firsts and hardmodes. It is what their guild is designed to do, it's what the members want to do, and so the elitism is warranted.

WoW is, all things considered, a highly social game. You have to realize that when you interact with a group, your gaming enjoyment is not an isolated entity. By interacting with others, you become connected to their enjoyment. Low or slow DPS, inefficient healing, lack of awareness, or a chaotic spec can quickly irritate or stress the people around you because they have to pick up the slack. WoW is not tee-ball, and I don't expect people to wait around while I swing futilely at a ball I can't hit for hours on end. Is it fair that I should have to wait for others?

Elitism has its place, even if you may not necessarily like it. It isn't always good, and can be wielded inappropriately. But many things would be impossible without it. Without it, would there be any incentive to stop walloping the tee instead of the ball?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Healing the Faction Champions

I would kid myself if I thought this was a truly proper healing guide, but this is not a "proper" fight. There are no aggro tables, so you will, most likely, be being focused by one of your enemies at one point or another. You need to be mobile, adaptive, and have a fast reaction time. It's time to start loving PvP, because that is what this fight is; one extremely long arena fight. I personally find this to be the most enjoyable and exciting fight so far!

What I can provide are tips on what to do when facing these champions.

Communication is key.

First of all, make sure you start facing the right way. The champions do NOT enter from the double doors. They jump directly down from the stands where their faction leader is located. If you are Alliance, then you will be facing Horde Champions, and if you are Horde, then you will be facing Alliance Champions.

Communication is key.

Be prepared to break out of your intended role. When CC is needed, don't be afraid to add a couple Cyclones to the mix. Pop Nature's Grasp when someone is on you. This is a perfectly acceptable use of your role. Be careful with your Cyclone, though. Cycloning someone that your raid is about to unload on can be disastrous. So, no pressure, right?

Communication is key.

Be aware of your surroundings. You have to know what's going on. When there's a warrior near you, you have to run away. You have to know who is focusing you and who is being focused. This requires a large amount of focus for the important things. There is a lot to keep track of. If you waste your time thinking about your Recount meters or what have you, you or somebody else will die.

Communication is key.

Okay, why do I keep repeating that? Because IT IS IMPORTANT. You cannot win in this fight if you do not report that which is pertinent, and nothing else. People will get focused down and will need Rebirths. CC will break, and even if it doesn't it's on PvP lengths and will be less effective each time you chain it. You have to communicate. You just have to.

If you keep this all in mind, you should kill them. Not the first time, but soon. And if you do kill them on the first pull, I salute you.

For a list of all Champions, go to this post from MMO Champion. Note that, in the case of the Champions of the same class, the one listed first is a healing spec, and the one listed second is the DPS spec. The exception is the Druids; the first is Moonkin and the second is Resto.

Good luck!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Glowwy Finger Wiggling is Hard

'Sup, guys, Bellbell here. I know a lot of the time I rag on healing because, well, I signed up to be a face-wrecker. I have this wonderful new polearm that's put my Crit through the roof, but I never get to use it because everyone is always "OMG WHERE ARE TEH HAELZ" followed by one rogue-ish fellow asking me why there were two healers in Bellwether's crew. Frustrating, no?

Still, if I'm going to do it, I might as well do it well, right? So, knowing Bellwether's beau is a rather pro Holy Paladin (and Paladin in general), I went to him with a question: How do you know when to use Divine Favor?

The following was the conversation:

Poise: It's an instinct for me, all I could categorize it as.
Poise: Just kind-of triggers every so often and I pull out a huge crit that heals for full without overheal.
Poise: Always the DF+HS+FL combo
Poise: Double instant cast, and if you're paying attention to SS, you can roll off the FoL as a 50%(+your holy crit) chance to crit.
Poise: Trigger on SS is static to an internal cooldown and swing timers of the units attacking the target so it's relatively easy to time.

My response to this?


I have a long way to go before I can pull this combo out without thinking, that's for sure...though I'd still love to see the day when my healing gear isn't outstripping my DPS gear by a mile.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Proc'ing Over and Over and Over...

There is a new idol out, able to be purchased with 25 badges of Triumph. With the heroic daily and running Trial of the Crusader, both 10 and 25 modes, now would be the time that many people are starting to get it. What is it?

Idol of Flaring Growth

At first glance, it looks good. A nice 234 Spellpower for casting our most commonly-utilized raid heal? Definitely delicious. But there's something even more amazing about this Idol.

It has no internal cooldown, and has a high proc rate.

With one Rejuvenation ticking (and overhealing) on myself, I had no downtime from the first proc til I finally let Rejuvenation die. The idol might as well read "Here's a free 234 Spellpower so long as Rejuvenation is up! LOVE ME!!!" This is basically what it does. This makes it an amazing Idol, even if you're generally a tank healer. With just one Rejuvenation running, your Spellpower gains a huge boost.

Due to this mechanic, there is absolutely no reason not to grab this Idol before deciding to spend your Triumph Badges on anything else before it. The only instance I can see not using this Idol is during General Vezax, where you will need the cost reduction from Idol of Awakening.

In short: grab this Idol as soon as you can, and enjoy the boost.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Healing Lord Jaraxxus (10/25)

This fight may seem complicated due to the randomness of it. However, with a bit of coordination and communication, it's very controllable and doable.

To begin, my raid arranged itself in a circle around the middle, using the points of the star as markers. The areas directly in front of the instance door and directly in front of the boss entrance were left open. After that, two ranged each sat on points of a star to minimize spreading damage, like the chain lightning ability or the fire drops. Every person who became affected by Legion Flame then had an area to run straight backwards to drop their fire (Legion Flame does a DoT and causes you to drop patches of fire where you are standing that do heavy damage once every second for six seconds). We kept the spread of healers even, and monitored people for Incinerate Flesh.

Incinerate Flesh is a little bit of a weird mechanic in that your target will not noticeably be taking damage. The debuff absorbs 60k healing and decreases attack speed by 50%, and persists either until 60k healing is absorbed or fifteen seconds pass. If you don't heal enough, then the person will gain a raid-wide DoT for 3K+ every second for five seconds. And while this may not seem too bad, there is a lot of incidental damage going out, and this is so completely avoidable as to have no excuse for the person not to gain heals.

During the encounter, Jaraxxus will summon an infernal volcano. You should have one or two OT's responsible for managing these brutes. They have an AoE just for standing near them, so ranged should nuke them down and you should get out of their way. Try to recover quickly from any charges they get off and heal any people affected.

Jaraxxus will also summon Mistresses of Pain during the encounter. When he opens the Nether Portal, he'll gain Nether Power, a 20-stack buff that needs to be dispelled and purged and spell-stolen as quickly as possible, and at this time you need to watch the tank as he'll be taking more damage. The Mistresses of Pain need to be controlled as well as possible and kept away from melee. Ranged should power her down, as they can keep clear of her armor-ignoring attacks. The reason she is so hard to control, however, is the Spinning Pain Spike. This causes her to leap upon a player (kind of like the snobolds in the first part of the Beasts) and, well, hurt them. These people need to be called out quickly, as she'll pick them up and slam them into the ground for a percentage of their maximum health.

It certainly sounds like a chaotic fight, and it certainly can be. However, with a little bit of coordination, the chaotic, random side of the encounter is diminished greatly, and a win is much easier to obtain.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Call for Inquiries

I guess I must be doing something right, because The Elitists Podcast wants me as a guest! Shocking, I know. I'll be there to talk about tree druids and whatever else comes up, so it should definitely be interesting.

So, what do I need from you? Anything and everything you ever wanted to ask about resto druids or if you're curious about my opinions or just anything, send the questions in to Elitistpodcast AT gmail DOT com and I'll do my best to not bungle my way through the answers! We're planning on recording on Friday night, so get them in before then!

Thanks for your help!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Healing The Beasts of Northrend (25/10)

If you haven't seen the Beasts yet, don't worry! Healing the fights is extremely simple, and with just a little bit of coordination, you'll have them down in no time. For the Heroic Strategy, follow this link.

Gormok the Impaler
To start this fight off, pre-stack HoTs on the tank. There's not much else to do until he starts shooting off fire, so just keep HoTs rolling on the tank. The fire he shoots out is completely unavoidable, so be prepared for people to take a tick of damage when it lands. As long as they move out immediately, however, they should be fine. The fire sits in one place and doesn't move or follow you, so stepping out is simple. Stay at max range away from Gormok so as to avoid the silence from his Staggering Stomp, keep everyone topped off from fire damage, stomp aoe and face-eating snobolds (they quite literally seem to latch on like a face-hugger), and you'll have him down in no time. Tanks will be switching off with every Impale, but this shouldn't be too difficult to heal through. However, you will want to stack HoTs on the tank who still has impale going into the next fight.

Acidmaw and Dreadscale
This fight is like a tease to all who can remove poison. There's two poison types, a burning and a paralyzing, and the only thing that can remove the paralyzing is someone running past who is afflicted with burning to "burn" it off, or they'll be stuck in place, unable to move or act and taking ticking damage for quite a while. Since you can still move some while afflicted with the paralyzing poison, my guild had everyone afflicted run into the center, and the tank with burning would run over when Dreadscale was being range-tanked by our warlock (while he was sitting in the ground). Keep relatively spread out to avoid too many people being affected by the poison at once, and the rest of the fight is a snap. Roll Rejuvenations and Wild Growths on anyone taking damage, and they should go down quite easily. This is, in my opinion, the part of the fight that needs the most coordination.

This fight is pretty unique, yet still intensely simple. This is another fight you want to stay spread out for, since his breath attack can freeze whole sections of raiders in place. You can't control the direction, it's just something that happens. It doesn't hit too hard, so you should be fine. Keep people topped off from Whirl, and when he knocks everyone to the side of the ring and stuns them, look at the boss model. See where he is facing, and when your stun wears off, run away from that area. You'll have a speed boost, so for no reason should you not be able to get out of the way. If you don't, you die, simple as that. When he charges into the wall, he becomes stunned, so use this time wisely to top everyone off. Other than that, just keep people up from incidental damage and you should win this one easy. Also, watch out for Frothing Rage, though your hunters should smash that off right quick. If not, just heal, heal, heal the main tank!

That's it! That's all it takes. With only a few tries to coordinate poison, you should have them down in no time at all.

Epic Expectations

I have developed a little pre-raid ritual since joining Vigilant. If I am invited to go, it goes along the lines of panicking until the encounter starts, doing fine on the encounter, feeling better, and then starting all over again for the next one. I can't help it; I just get nervous about screwing up or not doing well. Managing to focus through the encounter despite being jittery is apparently a strong point of mine.

So, as I logged on and got a surprise invite into the raid forming for Trial of the Crusdar (25), I was definitely feeling a few butterflies. Brand new content, not a ton known about it, and here we were about to jump in headfirst. The raid had been formed early to give as much time as necessary to completing the bosses. We were stocked up on items and had our repair allowances increased in preparation for those learning wipes.

...And then we completed it in two or three tries, and went back to OS drake selling and Ulduar hardmodes. XT was more difficult than this with his massive (bugged) spawn packs. What's up with that? In ten man, it took maybe 20 minutes with only one wipe while we tweaked poison mechanics for a smaller group.

I understand it's going to be released week by week with new and more bosses. I also know the guild I'm in is top on Alliance side. I know, too, that this was normal 25 man, and heroic will be tougher. Still, it seemed rather lackluster. The yeti's mechanics, while interesting, were incredibly simple. The toughest part about the fight could be poison management, yet even that only took one wipe to coordinate into something workable.

On the other hand, I agree with Bellezza, one of my guildmates. She stated she preferred doing one boss (with only one loot drop, we tend to refer to the beasts as "one boss") without lag or crashes to having a whole instance that froze and died on top of us. In truth, that is really nice.

I suppose I will just have to wait for more bosses and heroic mode before passing final judgment. But so far, I am finding it to be a little disappointing. I can only hope when I venture into the new five man and vault, it perks up a bit.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Some Family Time

It was late at night, and my family and I were waiting for my grandparents to arrive from driving halfway across the country. My step brother was bored but didn't want to go to bed, and I was playing my hunter. He had a made an Undead Warrior with a broken jaw a year ago, and it was time to dust him off.

Yet, in the end, it was a half hour of learning to use the mouse. My little brother is not a big computer player. He likes console games and bike riding, and he gripped the mouse in what could only be called an awkward claw. I spent five minutes getting him to smooth out his grip time and time again so that he could move the mouse freely.

Most of the other time was teaching him to adjust the camera angle while running so he didn't keep running into objects and walls, and so he could see where he was going. In his over-excitement, I had to remind him to slow down, take his time, and readjust the camera angle until he could get used to the mouse buttons and what they did.

We had just gotten down "click right mouse button to interact with almost everything" and were going to start on keybinds when my grandparents finally arrived. His warrior immediately abandoned, I moved him to a safe spot to await the next time in the next year. It was a refreshing little break from split-second decisions and health bar watching, boss encounters and number crunching. It reduced the game to something infinitely more simple, and enjoyable in a different way.

Plus, it's fun to be able to play with one of my little brothers now and then without having to play a racing game.