Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pugging TotC25

So, my guildlings have been pretty bored. I've considered doing an Open 25 man Ulduar run but recently I've attended a few pug TotC25 runs.

I began last week writing rules (and loot rules) that would be applied to such a run. I was planning on doing it next week because people were out of town for the holiday.

Then my guildmates decided we were going to do TotC25 last night and pugged up a team out of trade... at 2am est.

We got a surprisingly good mix of people, several people who were alts of raiders in other guilds, including several from the guild I /gquit due to eight months of poor treatment and being driven insane by a rabid e-skank who flirted her way to healing lead despite having no understanding of any class but holy priest.

We were oversubscribed on holy paladins (four) and shaman, having about 5 of each. While I wanted to bring my Paladin, we were also oversubscribed on healers so I got on... my Huntard. One of the other Healadins got on her resto Shaman.

I had FPS trouble. I am beginning to believe the problem is shaman totems, where more than one shaman is dropping the same totem and the auras trying to overwrite each other constantly. Mental note: Coordinate totems before the raid starts.

We downed the Northrend Beasts, I think on the first attempt. It was a slightly messy kill but it went through alright.

We did ok on Lord J. Got him down on the first attempt.

We downed Faction Champions on the second try. We had to alter our kill order to do it correctly. Priest - Shaman - Holy Paladin - Warrior - Rogue - Shadow Priest - Warlock - Hunter - Mage wound up being the kill order.

We had some difficulty on the twins. I think it took three attempts. We found best results having everyone attack the white one with black auras, and bringing the black one over to the white one, tanking them both on the black portal on the right hand side by the door. I shot the opposite one, misdirecting onto the other tank and soaking up white orbs as much as possible.

We discovered, by chance, that three tanks were ideal on Anub. (haha)
I shot ice out of the sky. It was kinda hard, I need more practice.
Our DPS was really really slow. We went through three submerges before enrage.

Some of the people from my ex-guild were being negative Nancies, eventually we called it because it was like 4:30am server time and people were tired.

We had good healers and tanks, we just needed some stronger DPS. I'll try to get better dps for the planned run, but doing 4/5 from a trade pug at 2am isn't bad at all.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cranky Open Letters: Part 2

In this addition of Cranky Open Letters the subject is healing, cleansing, and Altoholic's growing prejudice against PUG Discipline Priests.

Dear TotC25 Raid Leaderess,

I attended your open raid on my hunter. Thank you for giving me a chance after I gave you a honest answer regarding my DPS (it's a little low). Thanks for giving me a crown so I could set up targets in oRA2.

You're a healer priest and that's pretty cool. The run was a little rough, especially faction champions, and I think you may be a little lacking on the knowledge of how to properly assign, balance, and utilize your healing core.

There was a healadin or two, a resto shaman, some priests, and I think a resto druid. People left and were replaced with others. Such is the nature of PUG raids. When one of the raid healers left, a discipline priest was invited to the raid, making four priests... and so you changed healing assignments in a way that made me nearly have an aneurysm. I bit my tongue instead.

You told the holy paladin to switch to raid healing.



Seriously, WTF? Why would you do that?
Paladins can only predictably heal single targets. One heal per GCD. They may have a glyph that will let a small splash heal people near the target for holy light, but, really, this isn't good. This isn't the most ideal way to utilize your poor little healadin.

So we got to Faction Champions and were having a miserable time killing the priest/shaman/paladin healer combo. People were dying, a lot, and worse, the enemy healers weren't dying.

I kept shooting the priest on my hunter and noticed that renew and earth shield were on it near constantly. Being a good little huntard I began to shoot the buffs off of the priest every time my tranq shot was up but it wasn't enough.

We wiped and while your guild's MT started yelling incoherently through his muffled mic at people for dying (claiming everyone who died did so because they were not running away from the the enemy team's physical dps) I started doing diagnostics. Adding the occasional snark to point out I was killed by the mage's frostbolts and the warlock's spells that weren't being cleansed from me, I noticed something very interesting.

The disc priest assigned to be mass dispel bitch was first on the cleanses.
My hunter was second with about 35.
Then there was everyone else, 20-30 or so less than me.

The elemental shaman wasn't purging.
The priests weren't dispelling offensively.

I noticed something else: All four priests in raid were Discipline (and you made the paladin raid heal instead of having one of the priests switch to holy, again wtf).

Maybe what your MT's blame-gaming people on vent for not running away wasn't the right diagnostic. Maybe people were dying because there was only one person casting group heals, the lone resto shaman. Maybe if you and two other of those disc priests went and respecced holy, or threw prayer of mending, or made yourself useful by dispeling stuff we wouldn't have wiped until the raid gave up.

There is no excuse for a hunter to beat you on of dispels. That's just fucking shameful.
My guild's DPS DK (who sustained 9k+ dps on that fight) didn't even know hunters could dispel. His jaw went through the floor.

In the end, you asked how many people my guild had that were ready for TotC25 and if we wanted to make a joint effort. I said no thanks, that I'd had bad experiences with guild alliances in the past (the MT in that run pissed off several of my raiders with his blame throwing), but that several of my raiders had more than one character geared if she ever needed a few extra competent people.

Learn how to utilize your healers and tell your MT to keep his maw shut.

Dear Carried Discipline Priest,

You know me, you got pissed off and gquit on your paladin over this bit of drama.

You were in a pug 25 man Onyxia and maybe a Vault with some of my guildlings after your drama unfolded.

My guildlings told me how they were in this raid with 2-3 holy paladins and you were there. You were asked to heal raid and you refused and complained loudly. How dare the raid leader tell you, the priest, to heal raid when the paladins can do it.

I mean a discipline priest can only heal one person and gave up their ability to change targets or heal more than one person when they specced Discipline, those blasted Holy Paladins should use their AOE helaing buttons.

Oh wait! Nevermind!

Newsflash, princess, you have buttons that allow you to heal parties. Prayer of healing can be targeted on a member in a party and heal them and those around them in that party. You can renew, prayer of mending, holy nova, you can proactively bubble people before predictable bursts of damage come out.

Paladins can play whack a mole with beacon on the tank, however, they still can only reliably heal one target per button press. They are inferior group healers in every regard.

So you have three choices.

You can stop being bad and use your entire toolbox.
You can respec holy and make yourself useful if you can't dump the tankhealer mindset when there are other tank healers who can't do anything but tank heal.
Or you can ask your guild to carry your paladin instead of your priest.

Stop being bad.

Dear TotC10 Pug Raid Leader,

I attended your run on my hunter. We had to start on the second boss as one of your other friends was already saved, and that was fine.

I got some keen boots, thanks.

Your rules were that we roll random 100, when we win a piece of loot we go down to /random 99.

So we get to Anub and Anguish drops.
I roll a /random 99 and get 97
A DPS DK rolls and gets a 20 something.
A DPS warrior rolls and gets something less than 10.

You give it to the DK because he hasn't won anything yet, even though I rolled higher. What's the point of even letting someone roll if they have no chance of winning? Why not have just said, "One epic per run"?

My guildmates were prying on what dropped, so I linked the loots. I told them that Anguish dropped and that I lost the roll to a DPS dk.

The guildmates were pretty unhappy that I lost due to the weird math thing. Edge of Agony is superior to Anguish for a DPS DK (and other weapons are superior to both. As I understand it, the top DPS DK spec right now is dual wield unholy).

I'm told the weapon is not all that great for a DK and the Agi isn't as beneficial as it would be if the stats on said stick were strength and that it probably would have been a pretty helpful for my little hunter.

I hope the DK gets good use out of the item.

RL, in the future please explain loot clearly. If you're going to ignore rolls once someone has won something, just tell us not to roll and don't get my hopes up.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Confessions of a Gender Bender

My first experience with an 'online game' was about ten years ago, the game was but a crude graphical chat with androgynous sprites. People could set their flag as 'male' or 'female' but there was no way without actually checking to see what gender someone identified themselves as.

I identified myself as female, and socialized as many others did. I enjoy a good debate, good logical conversation, and I'm a really blunt, honest person. Blunt, honest, and openly female on the interwebs world translates to 'bitch' and 'outspoken'... as well as being the target of "get back in the kitchen" jokes. I became infamous on the chat, loved by some, hated by others, mimicked by preteens, harassed by insecure guys, stalked by some staff member's creeper boyfriend, you name it.

After a few years I decided to slip under the radar and hang out only with my friends and totally ignore the rest of the population. I've had a much better time since then, but I can't help but wonder if a blunt and honest guy persona would have been received better than my female persona?

When I got WOW, classic, my friends and I all selected a server to seriously level on and began our adventures in the world of Azeroth, I had a decision to make, a very important one: Gender.

I had heard that on games where there was a visual difference between male and female that female avatars were treated differently than their male counterparts, and that people of both genders would choose to play the fairer sex to take advantage of young guys trying to interact with wimmenz on the interwebs.

I chose to make my first character a male troll mage. Only my friends knew my actual gender. I never got onto voice chat. I never told strangers of my gender. I blended in using a male persona. A majority of the people I raided with didn't even realize which character the female voice on vent belonged to when I finally did start talking. When they discovered "cute girl on vent" was ugly male troll mage, they asked me, "Why?"

I answered that I wanted to level and experience the game without handouts or help. That I wanted to do things on my own. I wanted to be viewed as a good player and a cool person before being viewed as female.

As time passed, I discovered that I hated my mage. Mages at the time had to spec into instant arcane explosion and could only create four of the newest type of water per cast. I hated showing up for raids a half hour early to make water for 40 people.

I eventually transitioned to a female troll warrior and a female troll priest.
Though I preferred the warrior, the priest was often used more as healers are a bit more rare than tanks are.

I received mixed reactions. Other female players, friends, and a few open minded people were very supportive of me tanking, while the more gender blinded, and the male tanks of whom I wounded the egos and epeens of... were not so supportive.

While the other tanks would scream and freak out over vent, I'd remain calm when tanking. My first moment to really shine was what appeared to be a wipe on Ony40 where all the other tanks had died, the pickup at the beginning of phase three had gone terribly wrong. I had happened to convince the raid leader to let me take my warrior. With only myself and a fury warrior standing, I picked the dragon up and tanked her.

I calmly requested my warlock friend hand me a healthstone after she does her happy deep breath. As our loud main tank screamed that you can't trade and tank at the same time I received my heathstone just fine. I rocked the stance dance to avoid fears and we fifteen manned the dragon with my warrior, wearing no fire resist and some blues, tanking. The dragon died, I got positive tells saying "You should be our MT, not _", life went on.

In BC my priest became my main, as I'd mentioned before, because healers were more needed and I'm a team player type of person. I played a female troll priest.

People who'd never seen me shine as a tank had little faith or respect for me when tanking, while they seemed to treat me like some sort of delicate (and stupid) flower when healing. I got no respect from anyone outside of my own guild of people, the people that knew me and had some small amount of respect for me as a player.

Our guild's healing core was all priests so I rerolled Paladin. Sick of being patronized by people who could only view me as the fair little healer girl, I opted for my paladin to be male (well, as male as a blood elf can be). I didn't like blood elves. In fact, I've always hated fantasy elves but the wonderful Cam Clarke's voice acting, the flawed nature of Belves, and the amazingly swishy animations hooked me. I wasfabulous!

After having played WOW for five years, I have to say I prefer being one of the guys to being 'that girl'. While some of my female characters get playtime I greatly prefer playing a male.

I put a male persona forward, I use male pronouns when talking about myself in text. I try to be one of the guys. Many people that pug with me get to know me as "that guy who does ___ well", or "that guy who makes bad puns", or "that guy who seems to know all the strategies".

If I talk on vent, I'm not always specific about who I am and people have to tab out and check their vent to connect male character with female voice. If I'm interviewing people from offserver, I encourage them to sit in vent during one of our raids--they meet me as 'leader' rather than 'boobs'.

I'm Altoholic and I'm a closet girl gamer.
I gender bend the other direction.

PS: I'm not interested in you.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saronite Shuffle and then some!

Markco posted a brief article about something called the Saronite Shuffle on his blog, which in turn pointed me to an entry written by Carbon, over at A Gnome's Conquest.

The Saronite Shuffle, apparently, is the act of taking and prospecting Saronite, using the green quality gems (red, orange, yellow, and blue) plus bits of crystallized earth to make many shardable green quality rings and necklaces. This is something I've been doing for months, in fact, I blogged about it back in may, particularly about trying to fill up the (now three) guild banks with ore. If you do the Saronite shuffle regularly you might find the macros in it useful.

I had noticed on my last roll through the shuffle that I was getting more dust per disenchant. These other blog entries confirm it, and that makes me happy.

I haven't seen an increase of profit because I don't usually do the Saronite Shuffle to make gold, though it might be a good idea to try and do so occasionally, I do the Saronite Shuffle to keep a well stocked guild bank with enchanting materials and gems.

I have a feeling that Gelvon would probably advise that selling the materials and putting gold in the bank would probably be more helpful, but I'm a packrat and I've found a well stocked guildbank to be pretty helpful.

Since I started keeping a well stocked Guildbank, others have joined in the cause. It's not uncommon to see the bank full of ore, leather, herbs or meat. The end result has been mostly awesome for the guild, everyone is gemmed and enchanted, everyone has potions and flasks and their repair bills subsidized. They have to spend less time doing things they don't want for gold that'll be wasted away on raid costs, and more time hanging out with friends, having fun, playing the AH for profit, etc.

Managing the bank:
Sometimes I open the bank up and I look inside and my head starts to hurt... in a totally awesome way.

Holy fucking meat!
One of our guildlings has been trying to farm Arctic Fur. He's trying to get a business in it going and is fairly unsuccessful. The result is large amounts of Borean Leather flooding one of the bank tabs, and an even larger supply of meat. Delicious meat. As the supply started to increase I began sending it to the overflow bank and it now takes up most of the third tab of the overflow bank. That's a ton of meat!

Between him and me leveling my hunter's gun skills from 0 to 450 in one day, we've committed massive Rhino genocide. Our Rhino Meat count is about 800. Our Chilled Meat supply is somewhere in the 1500s. We've also got a healthy amount of mammoth meat, maybe 500.

The rate at which we acquire meat is faster than the rate we consume said meat for cooking dailies. Something must be done else we'll be consumed by delicious meatstuff. Telling the player to stop contributing would be looking a gift horse in the mouth and is not an option. I appreciate everyone's contributions and the contribution for cooking dailies are great and will assure that our spice will flow for the rest of the expansion.

I've decided to sell it, not vend it, sell it. To do so, I've created a female blood elf hunter with dark skin, big hoop earrings, a slightly stern face, a diamond tipped cane, black hair and pigtails. She wears a lovely black dress. Her name? "Thebutcher". Her game? Providing the meat for your cooking dailies right when they roll over as well as the occasional raiding buff food or pet food.

I'm on a RP server and expect the name to be reported (though it could be played off as a RP nickname so I could win an argument with a gm about it), but I've set her FlagRSP title to say, "Seller of meat." Any RP naming Nazi who tries to give me shit will be roleplayed at... by the Gothic lolita meat vendor from hell offering them four-packs of rhino dogs for 5g.

The meat costs me nothing. I've taken 10g from the overflow bank to use to start my business with. Once I reach 20 I'll put that 10 back and from then start taking gold made and throwing it in the guild bank, which can be redirected to other materials and repair costs.

All that leather:
We acquire a large amount of Borean Leather from the above arctic fur farmer.

I struggle to figure out what to do with it. Sometimes I make it into cheap dust, but with the buff to the Saronite Shuffle we've had a healthy amount of dust.

I've settled on two things:
Our tanks seem to like Heavy Borean Armor Kits, mostly for their gloves. I try to keep a stack of these around.
Dream Shards: Dark Nerubian Leggings and Dark Frostscale Leggings take 4 heavy borean leather and 5 crystalized water. I can't get rid of our eternal water, this will help keep the supply from becoming overboard and replenish our thin supply of Dream Shards (we powerleveled an enchanter and she's been buying all the patterns with our dream shards).

For now, though, I think I'm going to start stashing borean leather in its heavy form to pick up arctic fur from the vendor next patch. I want a healthy full stack of each epic leg kit.

We acquire Saronite in bar and ore form, both types are useful. With this ore we usually get eternals and titanium.

Things made from Saronite:
The Shuffle: Prospect. Save blue gems. Turn green gems into bling, and bling into dust.
Belt Buckles: I like to keep a stack of belt buckles laying around.
Dream Shards: Combine seven saronite bars with two crystalized air and get a dreamshard thanks to Deadly Saronite Dirk.

I also keep some bullets laying around using a saronite bar and some of the tons Volatile Blasting Triggers we have from killing salvagable bosses in Ulduar. The number of bow weapons in Wrath is dishearteningly low (I love bows and hate guns due to the noise element) so there's no point in making arrows at this time.

We rarely prospect titanium! Titanium is usually made into Titansteel if there is not at least a stack of 20. Only if we have a stack of 20 Titansteel and 20 Titanium bars might we prospect. We can transmute epic gems and be sure the item we get is the one we want when we want it. With the new patterns coming out, we may stock up to 40 or 60 titansteel so our plate team may get items crafted faster.

All those rare gems?
I distribute rare gems and eternals to an assortment of alchemists who happily make epic gems for the bank. I also give cut gems out to guests on our runs who win gear in our runs and they go to use on alts.

I make the herbs from the bank into potions and flasks with my respective masters.
I rarely make elixirs as most of my raiders wind up using flasks instead, so I don't make them unless they're needed.

Occasionally we end up with too many herbs, or herbs that aren't useful for making endgame related stuff. Those eat the mash of my scribe and become inks which are made into vellums and fortitude buff items.

Enchanting Materials:
All items that are earned in our runs, regardless of the guild tag someone wears, is enchanted by us. (We also provide free rare gems, and may provide epics in trade for an eternal of the appropriate type, depending on our supply.)

I try to keep one stack of Bolts Imbued Frostweave laying around and one stack of normal Frostweave Bolts.

Frostweave, which we get a lot of, winds up being recycled into more dust, into bags to help our new people / alts, or made into Spellweave, Ebonweave, and/or Moonshroud, all of which I am trying to complete a full stack of.

The bank has a lot of assets.

Perhaps someday we'll decide to try and use those assets to make some gold and start us up a biker gang. It could be a fun treat for everyone for working so hard. I already have a bike so... 24.

960 Cobalt Bolts
48 Arctic Fur = 480 Heavy Borean Leather post patch
288 Titansteel Bars = 864 Titanium Bars + 288 Fire/Shadow/Earth eternals
300,000 gold

This might motivate me to really work on working the AH. I can du it, right?

Friday, November 20, 2009

What's Wrong with this picture? Survey Says?

The recently race changed Blood Elf Rogue seems to have retained its PVP rank -- First Sergeant (rank 5).

This is unusual because Blood Elves weren't around for the time when you could get said titles and cross faction switches to Belf from an Alliance race do not carry over titles for that reason.

It's neat that my character has it, but it's inconsistent and not terribly fair to others.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?

After depositing Ye Olde paycheck, I got a race change to my female troll rogue to a female blood elf.

My reason? Almost all of my female trolls look the same. There's only one pretty face and few attractive hairstyles. Oh, and the amazingly catlike female belf stealth animation is amazing.

But here's a screenshot of her armory entry.
What's wrong with this picture (aside from the obvious bluring)? I'll tell you later.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dualboxing Deathknights

The words "Dualboxing Deathknights" make this scene pop into my head. It's not the most logical idea, melee classes don't lend themselves well to dualboxing due to positioning problems and follow breaking upon melee combat.

Until recently I settled on the idea of simply playing one and /following on the other and just having that extra be useless dead weight. Combine with the fact that they're leveling in tank specs because I'm too cheap to buy them dualspecs and the fact that leveling multiple toons at once is slower than soloing they've been a total drag.

Two days ago I fired up Keyclone just for the sake of making them talk in unison, because what's worse than creepy twin DKs? Creepy twin DKs saying the same thing at the same time. I decided to give playing them both at once with the help of Keyclone another shot.

Think inside the box.
When I pull something with the leader character, the mob's hitbox is usually out of range of the follower character.

The problem is I need to get follower into range of the mob in order to use him correctly, this would require me moving him into position for each pull, something that can become very tedious very quickly. It won't work.

I realized my leader was in frost presence, not blood presence. He should regen health in blood presence as a blood DK so I shifted him. The other twin is frost specced, his icy touch and crap is improved. After pondering a moment I set him to frost presence--making him more threatening than his blood brother.

I set up a macro to /assist [target=focus] /cast Death Grip and affixed it to my - key then shoved my 'follow focus' macro on my = key. I put empty macros on the leader's - and = key just so I had visual icons to remind me what is there.

With this, my follower gets the mob, gets threat, and maintains it. My leader attacks the mob while standing well in the hitbox.

I found that when Death Grip was down I could have both of them icy touch a mob and it'd usually land on the follower. It was really quite simple, I just had to put two and two together. Now I just have to refine the art.

The creepy twins:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Altoholism Ahoy!

The author of The Angry Alt spent a little time blogging about Alotholism to which I responded to. I wanted to take a few minutes to share my thoughts on alting.

The benefits of alting:
I believe there are six perspectives to PVE raiding in WOW. Main Tanking, Offtanking, Melee DPSing, Ranged DPSing, Raid Healing, and Tank Healing.

In my years of playing I've raided from every one of the six perspectives and I honestly think I'm a better player and a good raid leader because of it.

I can tell people in the proper language what they should do. I know what rogue poisons do what and where they're applied, I know what stats benefit what class roles the best and how to utilize everyone in a manner that will make them shine the most. I know that hunters don't need expertise so that pug hunter wanting an expertise dagger over a rogue can get a kick in the shin.

I've been the main tank. I've been the offtank. I've been the tank that has to chase after the mob that just got pulled by the DPS who's not attacking the right target. I've had the other tank taunt off of me with tank envy.
I've been the bored ranged DPS in classic waiting for the warrior tank to get his sunders up.
I've been the melee dps having to interrupt the casters and run out of the whirlwind.
I've been the group healer throwing my chainheals, wild growths, circle of healing, and even prayer of healing around. I've been the tank healer. I've endured "OMG HEAL ME" from tanks untrusting tanks and bad DPS.

I try not to yell for heals (though I may be like, 'omg altoholic is frost blasted' because I know people zone out sometimes), I try not to pull agro, if I do pull agro I run to the tank, I try to hurry up and threat faster and harder so the DPS doesn't have to wait, I get out of the stupid. I don't taunt off of other tanks.

I've found that other players have had changes in their playstyle after playing multiple classes. People that pull agro frequently getting to try being a tank and dealing with the other side of things curbs such issues. People yelling for heals learning to play healers has a similar effect. It's made my players far more patient and capable of stepping up their game without stepping on people's toes.

And thanks to badge gear (doubly so come next patch), there is icing on the altoholic cake in the form of flexibility. A pack of altoholics have the flexibility to mix it up and keep it fresh by changing up roles. If a key member of the pack is missing, someone else can fill in and a person can be pugged.

I don't want to be that guy:
Several of the players on my Ventrilo server speak less than kind words about a particular member of one of the top raiding guilds on my server. This member has a variety number of level 80 characters, just like me and the members of my guild.

Word is, that this guy is a jack of all trades, master of none. He's got a lot of characters but he sucks at playing most of them, but they're all geared because he's an officer in his guild.

I don't want to be that guy. I don't want to be viewed as someone who sucks or who's using his guild for gearing out a personal army. Because of this, I focus on gearing one character out at a time and I'm generally not insistent on which character I take. I take what's needed to help the group progress.

People tell me I'm not like that guy, and my guildmates tell me to not feel bad for going on heroics with them on characters other than my main (or secondary main), but I still worry about being viewed as greedy.

My shaman is pretty much done with badges, 13 more then all I need is triumph stuff and raid stuff. I'm reluctant to switch to my druid or hunter for badges because I feel greedy.

I decided I wanted to get my DKs, who have been sitting at 74 for a very long time, up to 75. I succeeded in doing so last night and am starting to get my leveling groove back once again, I've figured out how to effectively dualbox DKs, which I will probably explain later.

But I'm left unsettled from a remark from a member of my guild's left ringing in my brain: "Do you really need more 80s?"

Solitary Activity:
Alting is a solitary activity. I mean, I can group with other people, but I spend a lot of time just grouped with myself. I may spend quiet time letting my mind wander as I zone out and watch my eyecandy twin belf DKs kill things while smashing my 'assist focus deathgrip' button (-) then pounding 123345123345 until the mob is dead then pounding follow focus (=). I may listen to whatever really obnoxious song is stuck in my head on repeat over and over again.

The content we can clear at this time is being cleared in under 2 hours. People groan at the idea of Ulduar10, a series of unfortunate (in one case) and dickish (in another) circumstances will prevent us from TotGC this week. What can I really do?

I need things to keep me busy and alting is something I can use to keep busy while working towards a clearly visible goal (leveling). I need something to do when I need a break from cat herding and being the defacto leader for everything.

Alting is that thing.

Now's the time:
If you want to get one or several alts to 80, now's the time.
I'm leveling my DKs to 80 and then I may shift to push the other four (Priest, Mage, Warrior, Rogue) to 80 as well.

Get alts to 80.
Stockpile crafting materials.

Here's why:
With the next patch Blizzard is doing the following:
  • Shifting all badges in heroics and raids to Triumph.
  • Adding a better LFG system that will build groups.
  • Enabling cross server LFG.
  • Giving achievement awards and non-combat pets for people who group with 100 different random people.
This means you can take your fresh 80 alt, provided it's got tolerable gear (craft some stuff), throw yourself into the random heroic system, and get heroics. With several servers for each battlegroup, the likelihood that there'll be heroics running at any time of day or night is pretty high. If your character is capable of being a tank and a healer, put on your tanking/healing pants and you'll likely have a never-ending supply of heroics.

This will be especially true in the first few weeks where people running heroics will be trying to get their non-combat pets.

People probably won't mind your lack of gear if you:
  • Are polite.
  • Don't stand in the stupid.
  • Know basic game mechanics/the instances.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of playing your class.
When I go into an instance on a character that I'm new to playing, I tell people that my character is new with sub par gear, I tell them I'm a "long time player, fairly new to this character." I ask them to evaluate me, to give me feedback. Constructive criticism is how you learn. (I usually get positive feedback.)

Skill and knowledge is greater than gear. Someone with 245 gear will still die if they stand in the stupid.

Good times ahead.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Two useless addons the Altoholic can't live without

The following addons are completely useless for PVE, PVP, raiding, etc. They're memoryhogs with no real functional function except for fun.

Comix: This is a cornucopia of useless awesome!

What Comix does:
  • It shows comicbook style BAMs and POWs on your screen while you're playing. Iron Man has been known to make an appearance to tell you when you chain an impressive amount of crits.
  • It plays sounds from assorted sources. A boing when you jump, sounds from other sources such a'la Unreal Tournament and Mortal Kombat.
  • Keeps track of useless things such as how many times your character has jumped since you've installed the addon. It also tracks hugs to some degree.
  • Newer versions allow players to link to the spell Supermassive Fail.
  • Newer versions also allow players to /object a'la Phoenix Wright, complete with face-speech bubbles and voices saying "Objection!" for which all players running the addon will see.
  • You can add your own images and sounds to Comix.
  • You can turn off annoying features or change how often something goes off.
Using Comix and sharing it with your friends may result in:
  • Players freaking out and laughing hysterically when going into combat / raid for the first time without configuring their Comix.
  • A notable increase in bounciness from raiders when using instant-cast abilities.
  • Jump counter epeening.
  • An increased amount of laughter in vent and general mood of the collective. It's hard to feel down or dramatic when you've got "Boing boing boing! Excellent! Killing spree! BAM! Pow! Impressive! Finish him! Yeeehaw!" going on.

Gryphonheart Items: Create fake items for RP.

What Gryphonheart Items does:
  • Create ingame items that you can give to others. Articles of clothing, items that give fake buffs others running the addon can see, etc.
  • Transcribe in game mails and in game books to items in your Gryphonheart bag for later reference.
  • Create books, letters, gift certificates for goods and services, whatever you can think of.
While this is mostly a RP addon, I've found some non-RP uses for it that amuse my friends.

I've created a net called "Interwebs" and I give copies of it to other addon users when they say or do something awesome. It's an ingame manifestation of "You win one internet." It has comments on it like "A Winrar is you!"

I can give my raiders coupons for things: Trade this back to Altoholic for one free epic gem, or one free heroic marathon on the alt of your choice.

And finally, I can create in-game books. I'm writing one called "They call me fearless leader. Chronicles of a guild leader." It has my character's name and flavor text reading "Help! I'm losing my mind!" If ever I wanted to explain the past, where I came from, why I do what I do, and a record of the group's history, I can ask the person to get said addon and trade them said in-game book.

I may also create one that just contains a general jotting of notes about what we're doing as we raid and go back to look at them later. I could write "So and so could benefit from this" and then be able to look back and be reminded.

Made for RP, but can be applied in both useful and fun ways. It just takes a little imagination. The possibilities are endless... well... within limits of the addon and game.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I was reading Former WoW Widow's Journal: Rise of the Warlock, giving some positive encouragement towards the author talking about raiding. I linked unto the author the Tankspot Youtube Channel, which is an excellent resource of videos explaining assorted raid encounters.

I happened to notice Tankspot has healing guide videos now.

The guides seem to cover classes I don't currently play much. My holy/disc disc/holy priest currently sits at a 70ish level and my druid is currently set as my PVP toy. I'm hoping for a Resto Shaman and Paladin guide.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cranky Open Letters: Part 1

Dear 25 Man Pug Raid Leader,

Because my guild is a bit smaller and we aren't scheduling 25 man content I attended your 25 man Onyxia pug. Big mistake.

After wiping for several hours with you I finally decided to throw in the towel, take my 75g repair bill and ditch you like you were going out of style.

It's plainly apparent you do not comprehend raid composition, the six perspectives of raiding, how to utilize healers properly, basic game mechanics, and the mechanics of the fight.

Please please please please please go watch a Tankspot video, learn the fights, go lean about each of the six perspectives of raiding (tanking, offtanking, melee dps, ranged dps, tank healing, raid healing) and who does what and how to utilize people properly. As a raid leader, it is your responsibility to understand EVERYTHING, your knowledge must exceed that of your raiders else following you and respecting you becomes very difficult.

Sticking all the tanks in one group, all the healers in one group, all the melee in groups together, and all the casters in groups together does heaps for organization. Your resto shaman throwing down a manatide totem does little for other healers if they're in a group with a bunch of melee. We can go straight down our lists and heal who we've been assigned to with little issue, it's even easier when you've grouped everyone together. I know you're trying to make it easier by sticking one healer in each group, but we have healing addons and raid frames, we're capable of healing out of group. Stop treating us like idiots, we're not.

Stop trying to put together raids until you understand the fights, the game mechanics, and how to articulate them to others. All you're doing is wasting people's time and gold, many of us are adults, we take our fun and use of our time seriously.

Please stop trying to stack things to keep certain items within your guild, take the best people to do the job regardless of their guild tag or recruit more. Turning away both of my tanks, who outgear and outskill your two offtanks was an amazingly stupid move.

What were you thinking stacking your raid with four tank heals leaving a lone resto shaman to do all your raid healing? I left because I was about ready to beat you with a clue-by-four.

Get a clue and stop being bad.
-Your server's not so friendly Anonymous Altoholic

Dear other healers in aforementioned raid,

Hey, you two other Holy Paladins, you should try judging occasionally! The 15% haste buff does wonders for throughput and helps make sure your heal will hit the proper target in a timely manner.

When someone gives you a healing assignment, pay attention! You're a tank healer, your job is simple: Heal who I say to heal. Put your beacon up on who I say to put it up on, if I emphasize to keep it up then keep it up, and don't die to the stupid. I set up the healing assignments in a manner that meant there was one paladin and one beacon on each tank. One of you put the beacon on yourself, I track beacon on my grid, I see what you did there, don't try to tell me otherwise. One of the tanks died and we wiped because of your inability to follow directions. If I had been raid lead you would have been booted.

Hey, healers? Listen to my directions. I said everyone should go stack up on the whelp tanks so that the whelps would go to them. This is especially true for you, healers. Go learn the basic mechanics of the game. When a mob spawns it'll agro on the first thing it sees, if you heal that thing it'll agro on you. Your healing is going to naturally draw the whelps to you. Go stand next to your tank and they'll pick it up off of you.

Altoholic is switching to tank mindset now: Don't cry and say the tanks aren't doing their job when you're not where you're supposed to be. You hate when people cry out for heals, well tanks hate when people cry out about having agro from mobs. "Tank this!" Yeah, we're doing that, it's our job. If you want something taken off of you, bring that something over to me. Don't sit there in a wipe and play the blame game, it just serves to piss people off.

Why is it that I managed to be one of the last people standing (along with the tank I was assigned to heal) on almost every attempt. Why? Because I was in the right place (with my whelp tank) at the right time (when whelps were coming into the room) and I'm capable of avoiding the stupid (blastwave, deep breath).

This isn't rocket science!
-Your server's not so friendly Anonymous Altoholic

Getting Disciplined

When I created premades for the PTR, among ones I sent over were a few that I used to play but have not played seriously in quite a while: A priest and a warrior.

I answered in the not-so-meme-healing-meme thing that I don't really understand Disc priests all that much. So last night I asked an old raid buddy of mine who plays Disc to get on the PTR and help me not suck.

I'm still not 100% clear on gem choices, but I understand the basics now.

I lasoed our bored tank and had him hop on his premade prot paladin (which is only slightly better geared than his real prot paladin) and tank some heroics.

Lots of bubbling and prayers of mending and penance all over people's faces each time the spell was up.

We did the heroics decently, wound up four-manning some of it. We lost our DPS to "The Stupid™" on the second boss of the forge of souls. On the first boss we found that one of our DPS was doing 1.3k or something terrible like that on a premade character. The fight was extremely slow.

The tank and I had a little conversation to fill the time. I can only imagine what the pugs were thinking.

"So. How about that local sports team?"
"They beat some other local sports team. Hook'em horns."


Disc seems to be all about absorption. When evaluating discipline, it's important healing leads not only consider healing done, but absorbs as well.

I will have to get Power Auras and Grid running on the PTR so I can mess with some indicators and other fun things.