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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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).

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.