Monthly Archives: November 2010

Sindragosa Down

After months of stalled-out raiding with my guild, a few of us banded together one night and pulled in super-pro friends from two other guilds for a night in ICC. We started at Sindragosa and took her down on the first try as if we’d been doing it for ages. It’s an excellent feeling to finally accomplish something you always knew you could, but were unable to. It’s not that we didn’t know how or that tanks/healers/dps weren’t on the ball. It’s a combination of not having enough people at any given raid night and having to fill those spots with undergeared people and just simply not raiding anymore due to frustration with numbers.

We recruited a few people to soften the blow of losing our two main tanks, but one of the tanks quit the game entirely shortly after joining (nice timing…thanks a lot…) and the other is not on very often. It’s a frustrating time to attempt to recruit end-game raiders. I think most people are either burned out on raiding entirely, don’t care anymore, or are taking a break until Cataclysm. I don’t blame them really, but it makes searching for prime guildies a daunting task.

We marched on to the Lich King and spent several hours making good progress on him. Most of the raid had the Kingslayer title, and all but two people had seen the fight before. Myself and a boomkin druid friend were the only real “newbies” to the fight, but I have to say we picked it up fast and it’s surprisingly simple to understand once you see it. I swear to God we had it once, but a really unlucky Defile placement caused us to wipe. We are slotted to go back in on Monday, and I know we’ll get it then. It’s the last thing I really want from this expansion to feel truly like I got the most for my time investment in this game.

Until then I am leveling various alts, working on various school projects, and attempting not to lose my mind before the semester ends.

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The Name Game

You ever notice how no one refers to each other by character name in-game? In all my time spent in random dungeon groups, never has someone called me by my character name. It’s always either been by my class or my role.

I think it falls under the blanket of “extremely poor etiquette”. In the real world, you would never address someone as “girl” or “person” or some other meaningless personal descriptor. Yes, very good. I am a girl. But by god, if you try to get my attention by calling “hey, girl!” I will find the nearest blunt instrument and jam it in your eye socket. No one likes being addressed like that. It’s rude. It’s demeaning. It says, “I have no idea what your name is and instead of caring enough to find out, I’m just going to throw random titles at you until you respond.” If someone tries that, I usually respond with a cold, “I have a name” and refuse to respond otherwise until they politely ask for my name. I guess I’m stuck up, but I have never believed that such discourteous behavior was ever acceptable in the social world.

Or in WoW!

So why do we do it? More interestingly, why do we tolerate it? It’s not like we dont know everyone’s names. They are written on our screen right in front of us, as plain as day. So we have no excuses, really, for addressing people as “healer” or “druid”. If that is the only name I’m going to ever go by, then why the heck did I create a personalized name on the creation of my characters? I didn’t name my priest Cass so she could be simply called “healer”.

I think it has something to do with the informality of online interaction, and the severe lack of not only kindness, but of civility that goes around in communities like WoW. We’ve all heard that anonymity is the bane of decency online, and I think that’s exactly right. With so very few measures in place to punish people for acting like ass clowns, there’s no real reason for them to behave like mature adults. Part of that could be instigating the trend of addressing people by their class/role in a group environment. A way of keeping people at arm’s length, if you will, or keeping them impersonal so you can treat them however you want and not feel guilty for cussing out another human being.

I would assume you are less likely to behave poorly towards someone you feel like you kind of “know” as opposed to someone you don’t. I am also going to assume that addressing someone by their character’s name as opposed to their class or role is part of that “knowing”. The random dungeon finder is a very impersonal process. You join the queue, you get assigned to a group of people you have likely never met before and will never meet again, and you plow through a dungeon – often times without ever saying hello to one another. I guess in a sad way it makes sense then that you wouldn’t bother to address your fellows by their character names.

It’s one of those things about (online) society I notice. It rankles me to be addressed in such a way, but I don’t recall ever actually saying anything about it. Because, again, I’ll likely never be in another group with that person. But is it really so hard to call people by name? Cass is four letters long. Sylvestris is commonly shortened to Sylv, as are most character names I think. If it’s longer than four letters it gets shortened anyway. Calling me Sylv is shorter than calling me “druid” or “healer”…so what gives?

 

Teaching People to Stand in the Bubble-Dome of Awesome

I have been leveling a long-neglected priest lately. Cass used to get some Karazhan time back in the day. She was my third character to ever hit the level cap but once Wrath launched she sat forlornly on the character selection screen, begging me with her wee dwarfness to be played again. Every other character saw their way into Northrend, even coming from so far behind as their 50’s to surpass her. I finally felt bad and decided the least I could do for her was level her to 80 so I could transfer her off the server to make room for my worgen come Cataclysm.

Who, I have decided, will not be a priest.

I love to heal. I usually end up taking over the healing role on any character capable of healing, despite how hard I try not to. I tell myself I will spec to DPS and I get about three levels that way before I am volunteering myself to heal in the healer’s absence…then queuing as a healer…then respeccing…it’s a harsh cycle that preys upon my willingness to be helpful and useful and heal. But Cass was different, at least during BC. She was a shadow priest. I never healed on her. I never did great DPS either, but that’s besides the point.

For some stupid reason though, with the free respec that came with the recent patch, I decided that discipline was a good spec for her. And don’t get me wrong, it is. I enjoy healing and so no healing spec can do me wrong. But it’s kind of boring. Bubble. Renew. Repeat. I get excited when I get to use Greater Heal or Flash Heal or Penance. Most tanks only require a bubble or two to take down trash, and maybe a renew to top them off after. It’s horridly dull. The only real benefit is the lightning fast queue time for dungeons. I always choose DPS and healer…I don’t know why I bother. I’m always cast as a healer.

Since dual-spec now is stupidly cheap (as I feel it should have been from its inception, damnit) I decided to try out my old love for shadowy damage. Sure the queue takes forever when I queue as DPS, but the end result is something a tad more engaging than the worn out old “bubble renew” routine. Now it’s DoT DoT DoT cast a few spells DoT DoT DoT. The only thing about shadow that truly engages me are the presence of my exploding shadow clones. I have far too much fun casting SW:P on everything in sight and then bouncing around while exploding clones do my work for me. No idea if that’s an efficient use of my mana, but oh well. It’s fun.

Still, I remember shadow being so much more fun than its current incarnation. Cast a few DoTs, your choice of one of two spells, refresh DoTs…it is for this reason I have decided leveling another priest from scratch is a bad idea. I want to enjoy my adventures through the new world and it likely isnt to be done as a priest. My goal was to have a level 80 character of all classes on my realm. I guess I will have to broaden that to just one of every class at 80 anywhere.

I am at least enjoying my time in the dungeon finder enough to justify spending all my time there. Most groups power through the content so effortlessly that I literally have nothing to do but pop up a bubble or two. I find myself hanging back behind everyone else so I can DPS a little without being seen.

Leveling another healer did not come without some trepidation. After plowing through countless dungeons with a priest friend leveling, I saw how many people are so keen to blame the healer for every wipe. I have come up with a laundry list of defenses, most of which revolve around pointing out that no healer regardless of skill or gear can save a tank when they die in .5 seconds. Reasons for this include pulling an entire room, standing with your back to the entire room, etc. I can heal a lot of things, but folks, I cannot heal stupid.

And, just like I struggled for a while to get people to stand in the green druid puddle, I am struggling now to get people to stand under my golden awesome dome of awesome. I don’t use it often, but when I do it is very disheartening to see the tank quickly maneuver the mobs out from beneath it. No no! It’s a good bubble, I promise! I feel like I need a macro:

/cast Awesome Bubble Thing
/s Anyone standing outside this bubble will not be healed!

And watch people finally understand the concept. It’s like when I soulstone people on my warlock, and watch them release their corpse after a wipe and run all the way back. I feel the need for a really obnoxious macro to school them:

/cast Soulstone on Stupid Person
/w Hey, I just cast a Soulstone on you! Grats. This means that if you die, you can resurrect yourself in order to resurrect the party after a wipe. It has a 15 minute cooldown on my end, so if you waste this opportunity to be awesome, I will let the mobs that respawned behind us take care of your dumb, unobservant ass and put the soulstone on someone less idiotic. 🙂

So maybe that’s a bit more vindictive than is necessary. It still accurately reflects my frustrations on the matter.

A Lot of Random Crap

The end of Wrath is really coming down upon us now. We have about a month left to finish up our Wrath-oriented goals and get our affairs in order for the end of all things we once knew and loved. I’m so stoked for the sundering of the world. I’m really excited to see all of the changes fleshed out and complete. The beta has been fantastic, even if I have only played a wee bit.

I havent met any of me pre-Cataclysm goals. Truth be told, I haven’t played much over the last month plus. The semester is close to an end and between two separate projects (one of which is an experiment) I havent had a lot of free time. What time I do have is spent raiding a few nights a week, which brings me to my next point.

<Dragons Call> of Bloodhoof US (Alliance) is recruiting! In the epic off chance that someone actually reads this blog (and they don’t, haha), we are looking for people of all classes and specs for our final Lich King push. We have lost a ton of people to real life: school, work, relationships, financial issues…everything you can think of. We have been struggling for a while to simply get the numbers to raid on any given night, and we more often than not end up calling the raid before it ever begins. This has been a huge setback for us. Prior to this, we had been making excellent progress through the earlier bosses and had been poking Sindragosa. We would really like to make the final push into the Lich King’s room and become Kingslayers before the end of the expansion. We have the skill; we lack the numbers. So if you’re at all interested, please don’t hesitate to contact me in-game or visit our website to apply: http://dragonscall.guildomatic.com/  We are a small guild with a focus on 10 man content, though it is not unheard of for us to throw together a 25-man raid with friends from other guilds. We do not use DKP or any other system. We are PvE oriented and when we aren’t raiding most of us are running heroics or leveling alts or any number of other casual activities. We only ask that you are mature, respectful, positive and willing to be patient and sensible. We’re willing to help with gear, but if you’re not at least geared for ICC it is unlikely you will ever make it to the Lich King.

Anyway.

I’ve been doing very little with myself lately. I have been slowly leveling an old priest alt that has been abandoned since BC. I used to raid Karazhan on her, believe it or not. She never won any gear, but it was fun. She was shadow then but in the interest of leveling quickly through the dungeon finder I respec’d discipline. It’s more fun than I thought it would be, but shadow has really shaped up over the years. Hard-core shadow priests may disagree, but in my opinion the rotation used to be so boring and dull. It’s not much different now, but the addition of little exploding shadow clones makes me giggle stupidly every time they spawn.

I have been participating in the pre-Cataclysm world events, too. I remember the time just before Wrath came out. I ran around killing zombies and it was a blast. I’m not so thrilled so far this event, but it’s in the early stages and I have no doubt it will kick into high gear soon. I highly recommend everyone participate in the events. It will never happen again, so if you miss out, you miss out forever. Head to Stormwind or Orgrimmar to begin the quest chain. You get to kill elementals and pretend to be a doomsday cultist. The chain also nets you a ton of experience at low levels, so it’s worth at least that much.

You can also get a Feat of Strength for killing elemental rifts all over the world. They spawn in every zone, even in Outland and Northrend, so characters of all levels should be able to participate. You can only gain credit for rifts of your level, however, so if you kill a rift that is much lower level than you, you will gain nothing. A location of all rifts can be found here: http://www.wowwiki.com/Tripping_the_Rifts  You only need to kill one elemental per rift (I think) to gain credit for its demise. No need for kill stealing. Once per day, you can collect an object from a dead rift to turn in. Aside from gold and/or experience, I’m not sure what else this daily awards. Closing one of each elemental rift types (earth, fire, wind and water) will award you a Feat of Strength.

On an un-Cataclysm-related note, Word of Glory (I think that’s what it is) is the most annoying thing as a healer. It goes something like this: Oh, the tank is taking damage! Oh, I’m casting a heal. Oh, suddenly the tank healed themself. Oh, I just wasted mana. Oh, damn. I can see it’s usefulness as an oh shit button: healer died and the tank needs to heal NOW or death is imminent. But in a five-man environment it’s just superfluous and annoying. Then again, I get way pissy when someone steps on my toes as a healer. Like the druid who keeps popping out of kitty to “help” heal? I appreciate the concern and the forward thinking, dude, but I promise you…I got this. The only person taking damage is the tank and the mobs are way under control. No need to play hero.

This post digressed into rambling. I’m gong to work hard once the expansion hits to get back to the druid focus and cover useful topics. My goal is to cover the leveling experience from the perspective of a restoration druid (with a bit of tanking thrown in) as well as gear guides from instances and early raids and strategies for bosses. If you haven’t figured it out already, instances are my major focus so expect to see a lot of posts pertaining to those.