Monday, May 3, 2010

Reading is a good idea

Notice: I've moved my blog to
If you're using my feedburner feed the transition should be flawless. If you're not, you may want to feed through this link or mosy on over:

I've been mirroring my posts but at some point I'll probably change completely.


So Altoholic was sitting around talking about religion and comedians on vent, reading trade chat. The Altoholic struck up a conversation with a hunter who wound up complaining about the School of Hard Knocks achievement.

Having been a terror in the lowbie levels on my Survival Hunter, I gave them a couple of simple pointers. The conversation that followed made me want to repeatedly slam my head against my desk.

02:45 [Hunter]: i hate that blizz making me for stupid childrens week
02:45 [Hunter]: 2 years i only got [School of Hard Knocks]
02:47 [Altoholic]: It’s not hard
02:48 [Hunter]: sure tried for everyday
02:48 [Hunter]: but i suck at pvping
02:48 [Hunter]: why i dont
02:48 [Altoholic]: Are you survival?
02:48 [Hunter]: yea
02:48 [Altoholic]: Traps. Scatter shot. Wyvern sting.
02:48 [Altoholic]: Scare beast, deterrence, disengage.
02:49 [Altoholic]: Bring a pocket healer. Outgimmick.
02:49 [Hunter]: [Wyvern Sting] only if u pvp lol i surv but ui dont got that
02:49 [Altoholic]: ._. But you have to get it to get the talent beneath it which is a major pve talent.
02:49 [Altoholic]: Noxious stings.
02:50 [Altoholic]: 3% increased damage when you have a sting up.
02:50 [Hunter]: eh not that major,
02:51 [Altoholic]: I don’t remember the details of it exactly, I’m not on my hunter, but I believe it’s considered something one gets for pve.
02:51 [Hunter]: only time i see anyone have that is if they pvp
02:51 [Altoholic]: I put serpent sting on pretty much everything when I’m on my hunter.
02:52 [Hunter]: yea i do too, but i’d lose 4 point somewhere else, and i’d never use wyv
02:52 [Altoholic]: Sometimes you have to think outside the box.
02:54 [Hunter]: [Noxious Stings] lol reading that kinda makes me think only if its disspelled
02:54 [Altoholic]: Increases all damage done by you on targets afflicted by your serpent sting by 1/2/3%.

I was flabbergasted at the player’s inability to read. I’d hoped that with the sudden pause that followed they simply realized the error of their ways and were shying away, embarrassed over a Mage telling them how to play their class.

Then the tells continued.

02:58 [Hunter]: yes but would i have to waste a slot to cast wyvern?
02:58 [Altoholic]: Is 3% damage worth more than 1 talent point?
02:58 [Hunter]: its 4 talent point
02:59 [Altoholic]: But 3% damage for 3 of those points.

See see? 3% damage increase. Point delivered?

03:00 [Hunter]: if i dont have to use [Wyvern Sting] and have someone dispell it if they could just to use [Noxious Stings] is kinda stupid
03:00 [Altoholic]: No no no.
03:00 [Altoholic]: Any time you use serpent sting, which is a dot that you should be putting on your targets anyhow, you’ll be doing 3% more damage.

Come on, come on.

03:02 [Hunter]: will have to check it out
03:02 [Altoholic]: Go hit up wowpopular. Usually specs that are most widely used are widely used for a reason.

Maybe, just maybe, this morning I’ve made a difference.
… probably not.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Flex Playing

So, the other night my 10 man raid downed Dreamwalker for the very first time. We had our Shaman go in and get all the orbs while our Druid and That Priest healed the raid.

Read that again: 10 man, Shaman goes into the dreamworld. Priest and Druid heal the raid. My main is a Holy Paladin. I was not on him for the progression kill, nor was The Tank on his Paladin.

No, Altoholic was on his Mage, you know, the one that hit 80 on the 10th?

It all started when our Druid was moving. That Priest filled in for me, one of our other raiders played his Shaman to fill in for That Priest, and I played my Druid to fill in for our regular druid.

The next week the druid was back and the Shaman was actually enjoying his shaman a lot more than his other toon. I've been planning on setting up a second run and my main doesn't need much, if anything, from ICC10 so I went ahead and played something else.

I went to get on my hunter but we had two Hunters in the raid already so I got on my Mage. To keep consistent, I kept my Mage in raid for this second week.

I found that I was adequate at kiting mobs for Dreamwalker. I used Arcane Barrage a lot, jump kiting, something I learned while doing the Rohk'delar quest on my Hunter. I'm probably a better Mage now than I've been in the past thanks to my alting.

Honestly, I'd rather play my Hunter or my Paladin but I'm a flex player--My paladin is still my main, but I play what's needed. It's not greed that motivates me to run endless heroics and pug raids on every character I have, no, it's quite the opposite. I want to be the best support player I can, and by having one of everything, being geared and being adequate in everything, I am able to provide whatever is needed to make something work.

I'm not as flexible right now as I could be. When other Altoholics in my guild had toons of certain classes hit 80, such as a Resto Shaman, I put my member of that class/spec on the backburner so they wouldn't have someone else trying to take stuff from their pie. Said players aren't part of my social circle anymore so I should most definitely finish gearing out my alts sometime, at least to the point where they need nothing more from loltriumph.

I know many Altoholics have a bunch of toons, but none that are really great in terms of gear.
Are there a quiet minority of other folks out there who are like me among the sea of folks with mass amounts of undergeared toons?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bad or Smart?

Gevlon's post here has got me thinking so now it's storytime... about some things I used to do that makes me think I used to be bad and me now having second thoughts about said judgement. Thanks Mr. Goblin.

Long long ago in the age known as "Classic" and in the places of "Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, Zul'Gurub, and Ahn'Qiraj", I raided on a Mage, a Warrior, and a Priest.

My Mage wasn't the best DPS but I had something special about me: I was frequently the last man standing. Sometimes I passed on items that others thought were upgrades and people asked me why.

I told them point blank my reason:
Me: It doesn't have any stamina on it.
Raid Leader: Why do you need stamina?
Me: Because a dead Mage does no damage and is useless.
Raid Leader: You don't need stamina, you're a Mage. You shouldn't be getting hit if you don't pull agro.
Me: I like having hit points.
Raid Leader: Well ok, suit yourself.

I actually had stamina enchants in classic because a little extra int felt useless as I already had so much of it.

A little raid discipline (don't pull agro), getting out of the stupid, and the extra health kept me alive much longer than the other Mages who died from incidental AOE before a healer could get them, the stupid, or because they pulled agro.

So in BC, during the very early Karazhan era my Priest wore the Primal Mooncloth set, as did our other Priests. I ran into a problem that the set had no stamina.

Some of the first mobs in Kara were ghost ponies known as "Chargers", and they would charge a random person and deal them some damage before returning to the tank. We would CC them and deal with them last, but sometimes CC broke, or even when the tank grabbed them they'd charge, and if they charged our all Primal Mooncloth clad Priest healing core, angels would suddenly appear.

I jammed stamina in the slots of my crafted Primal Mooncloth gear, which prompted lots of questions from people. But when Chargers charged, I didn't die and I kept on healing the tanks and the raid.

People asked me why I was using stamina gems.
I said I wanted to be able to take a hit.
They said I didn't need to take a hit, that if everyone is doing their job right and everything goes right I shouldn't need to take a hit.
I simply said: Things don't always go right, I'd rather be prepared than wipe.

Even through Wrath I wouldn't pick up the starter gear that didn't have Stamina on it and still look upon such pieces with scrutiny and only gem for stamina on my tanky alts.

I've always felt it was a bit of an irrational behavior until now, that I was just simply "bad" in that regard. Looking again, I don't think I was bad, I think I was smart but unable to eloquently explain my thoughts.

What I've always been concerned with is what tanks now call effective health.

From what I understand, effective health is a combination of health and armor which add up to how much damage (physical) you can take without heals before you die. It's constant, not RNG based like avoidance is. Tanks want to be able to take a few swings and not die in situations where things go awry.

For a non-tank, having enough health to survive a tick or two of incidental AOE while a healer is incapacitated or to survive an add from a boss fight taking a two swings (in fights like Thorim, Mimiron, Lady Deathwhisper) may mean the difference between success and a wipe.

Stamina is important for every class, it usually comes on your gear but sometimes our inner min-maxers get tempted gear that skips out on the Stamina, this is especially true for some of the Wrath crafted gear. For someone starting out, a little more stamina may mean the difference between staying up the entire Toravon fight in a VOA pug. For a young healer this may mean the difference between a wipe and success.

Min-maxing is great, but remember that a character who is dead is not doing their job.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Problem was the tank...

Dear Readers,

Look closely at the following screenshot. It features Myself on my Mage, Gear Score: Zero on her alt Priest, and The Tank on his Rogue getting an achievement for clearing the escape from the Lich King in HoR under 6 minutes.

There's a story to tell here about a Tankadin of the naughty sister of faith variety whom, before we even began, complained about GS0's GearScore while still wearing sub-par gear herself.

Our initial conversation went a little something like this:
We zoned into our random - H-HoR and........
01:55:56 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: not with these heals
01:56:04 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: sry folks
01:56:07 [GS0]: Hey.
01:56:09 [GS0]: Stop.
01:56:12 [GS0]: I bet I can do it.
01:56:12 [Altoholic-Ivi]: Oh mang.
01:56:15 [Altoholic-Ivi]: Gearscore lol.
01:56:24 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: damn right
01:56:26 [GS0]: Your gear + my skill = Win.
01:56:29 [Altoholic-Ivi]: You can put gear on a bad.
01:56:32 [Altoholic-Ivi]: You'll still have a bad.
01:56:35 [GS0]: Look up Alp**** of twisting nether. My main. I can do this.
01:56:37 [Altoholic-Ivi]: GS0's healed totc25 in his gear.
01:56:50 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: my main is a priest and I knew when I was able to do this place
01:56:57 [TheTank-Dim]: She only has 46k buffed
01:57:00 [Altoholic-Ivi]: Bring the player not the gear.
01:57:02 [GS0]: I randomed into this - it says I'm good enough.
01:57:08 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: okie dokey
01:57:11 [Altoholic-Ivi]: GS0's main is like...
01:57:13 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: I have faith in you
01:57:16 [Altoholic-Ivi]: GotUR.
01:57:24 [Altoholic-Ivi]: When it was relevant.

We tore through the first part of the encounter like it was a joke. We kept pulling agro off the Failtankadin, the rogue would lose agro right after he finished his ToT over and over again.

During the second part of the encounter adds went wild and caused a wipe, again, the tank wasn't holding very good agro, focusing only on the footmen and not on anything else. At the beginning of the second boss the warlock pulled agro and denied (while the Paladin denied losing agro).

Then we got to the escort phase and wiped... and wiped and wiped. GS0 was getting healing agro, I was getting AOE agro when waiting for the tank to get Agro, TT was getting agro like wild, and Failtankadin was not doing very basic things that tanks do.

You see, long ago in a land far away, in the mystical land of Molten Core there were little doggies called "Corehounds" which breathed fire and did other not-cool things. To prevent the nasty doggies from hurting the raid, tanks were smart and turned the doggies away from the raid.

Failtankadin complained about us not attacking the right target and said that's why we were getting agro. Nevermind GS0 was getting healing agro doing her job and mobs just weren't being picked up before trying to eat her face. Failtankadin wasn't using Holy Wrath, evar, and was failing to turn the abominations away, making it even harder for her to heal.

Yes, we've learned from Gevlon and the guild Undergeared-EU that we can do these instances in blues, but it does require people play intelligently and this Failadin wasn't... at all.

I suggested that Failtankadin binds skull to her Y key like I do so she may easily mark the kill target for everyone and even tried to walk her through it. GS0 suggested Holy Wrath to which they argued but all three of us pointed out that we have Paladins of our own and know what we're talking about. After eating a few more abomination spews I suggested turning them around. Oh boy. GS0 got out the "OMG THINGS ARE HITTING ME!!!11" macro.

02:38:20 [Altoholic-Ivi]: You should turn around the fatties
02:38:25 [PoorPugWarlock-Durotan]: docs first?
02:38:31 [Altoholic-Ivi]: So they don't spew shit on the group.
02:38:34 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: you should stfu
02:39:01 [Altoholic-Ivi]: My main's a healer. Having to heal through extra shit is not fun.
02:40:07 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: you should go back to your main
02:40:15 [Altoholic-Ivi]: I ain't talking to pick on you. I'm making suggestions as a player who's an experienced tank on paladin, dk, warrior, and an experienced healer on all 4 healing classes and all 5 specs.

At this point we're on the last pull of the escort and we get a ton of mobs, several abominations, which don't get turned and spew all over us and wipe the group.

02:40:31 [GS0]: AGGRO ON HEALER!
02:40:57 [GS0]: AGGRO ON HEALER!
02:41:48 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: YOU ALL HAVE AGGRO YOU FUCKING IDIOTS
02:41:54 [GS0]: Lr2Tank
02:41:56 [Altoholic-Ivi]: You... spewed shit on us.
02:42:05 [Altoholic-Ivi]: I asked you to turn the fatties around for a reason.
02:42:08 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: LOOK AT YOUR WEAK ASS DPS
02:42:09 [TheTank-Dim]: i didnt have agro and died
02:42:13 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: YOUR WEAK ASS HEALS
02:42:15 [Altoholic-Ivi]: We can't do more DPS.
02:42:32 [Failtankadin-Stormrage]: i CAN HEAL THIS EATING
02:42:33 [GS0]: Stop being bad, bro.

The Failtankadin blamed the DPS, blamed the heals, blamed everyone but herself... and raged.
At this point we vote-kicked the tank and got a new one. Now it takes three to vote-kick. I did not vote because I was busy typing in response to the nerd rage, meaning the poor Warlock who'd died repeatedly to the Failtankadin's lack of agro voted to kick.

We continued and did decently until our new tank... fell off the cliff in an epic oops causing the most hysterical wipe ever (except the time in Molten Core when the orange cat from a below post thought the ceiling fan would be a great place to sit).

In the end we got serious and not only did we get through the fight just fine but we did it in less than six minutes. We must have some really crappy DPS and some really crappy heals. All it took was the new tank actually picking up the adds and turning the abominations away from the party.

I think the Stormraging Failtankadin was concerned about GearScore because their own gear and experience were sub-par and they wanted to be carried. As an afterthought, I question if the Failtankadin even had Righteous Fury up.

The bottom line was the GearScore Nazi was the problem.

And thus concludes my tale of once again setting sail for win on the failboat of adventure.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earthday Recycled Post: The Gearscore Fallacy

For Earthday I'm revisiting and recycling an old blog post, it's one I still feel is somewhat relevant and needs to be said over and over and over again: Bring the player not the gear.

Since the original post (found here) I've also done some sillyness such as...
Running heroics in a mishmash of Judgement (Paladin T2) and normal gear with an average ilevel of 200 (naxx10 level gear) for the lulz.
Healing TotC25 while still wearing blues on my Priest. (Not yet published because I fail.)
DPSing TotC10 and 25 on my Mage for which WOW its self said my gear wasn't good enough for.


One of my guildlings put together an ICC25 just for the sake of killing stuff last week. We, unfortunately, had a gearscore whore who spammed his recount gearscore meter to point out he was in the top 10.

This player spoke up on vent in awe at the number of female voices speaking on vent, saying his previous server didn't have many girls and he was shocked. I monotoned at him, "I'm really a guy, I just have a hormone disorder."

The guy made a lot of noise in vent about how awesome he was and was trying to tell me (who had a greater gearscore than him) how to properly utilize him. He carried on, this resto shaman, explaining the mechanics of a shaman healing. My dear readers, you can see the bar on the lefthand side of this blog. You see that dark blue 80? That's my resto shaman. I informed him that I had a resto shaman and that he should shut up, that he was jumping up and down on my very last nerve.

Of the seven healers, I scored dead last on the meter, with a 77% activity time. My reason? I disconnected for a good minute of combat. The tanks didn't die so we paladins did our jobs. The shaman? He was 5th below people who had inferior gear scores to him.

Why did these players beat him? Skill > Gear.

I publicly denounced gearscore in the raid, I'll share what I think straight up after this mini-story:

Right before TotC came out, a guild on my server got crit by the summer boss and called it quits. In the beginning they were a guild competing on a worldwide scale, top 100 US guild, priding its self in having some of the strongest DPS around.

Recently they came back to the game, back to our server and our faction.
Their guild leader, another holy paladin who's amazingly good, is a friend of mine and last night he came to me and said, "Dude. Fix your gems. Stop being bad. Use this and this instead of what you're doing now." I did so, knowing that he's not someone who's saying anything to be mean spirited.

From there, we got to chattering and ran a daily heroic with our tank retting, me tanking, and the him healing. He's still in 226ish gear with a few crafted and purchased items, he's been away from the game for about 5 months. He asks us, "What is this 'gearscore' thing everyone keeps talking about?"

We explained that it's an addon people use that somehow calculates the quality of people's gear and gives them a numerical score. It has no actual correlation to gameplay skills, especially when people can farm triumph badges so easily.

He'd taken a group of people into TotGC25 for the first time and got Anub to 1%. Some of his raiders in 226 Uld gear outdps people in full 245s. Why is this? Skill.

Why can I heal timed HCoS runs in a mix of modern and Judgement while my tank pushes 4k dps while in a mix of his ret gear and Judgement? Gear's a fallacy.

I've said it over and over and over again: Putting gear on a bad player is like putting lipstick on a pig. No amount of gear will help a player who refuses to learn what buttons to push or move out of the fire. Likewise, a pig will always be a pig even if it's wearing lipstick.

Gearscore you say?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What did you say about my Gearscore?

After several failed attempts to get into a TotC25 run on my Mage I finally managed to get into one. Once I got an invite I sat in the raid for quite a while before it actually happened but I'm an amazingly patient Altoholic and browsed the auction house and sat around reading blogs and doodling and wishing I'd get unlazy enough to dig up the tablet that the feline in the photo in my previous entry ate the cable of so I could repair it and digitally doodle.

A player in raid spoke up, saying someone wasn't well geared enough for the instance and that person was removed. Then, an Unguilded Mage went on to target me and try to get me kicked... well as well as he could while writing like a lobotomized brat pack reject would speak if it had a hole through its tongue.

This is the conversation:
UnguildedMage: neither is ivia no ofence
Altoholic (Ivi): This is my 8th toon.
Altoholic (Ivi): I know the fights and how to avoid the stupid.
Altoholic (Ivi): I can link you the achievement on my main if you have any questions.
Someshaman: dont fail
Somepriest: Mage dps is easymode anyway :p
UnguildedMage: i dont care as long as loot is fair that you are not aloud to roll on everything cause you prolly would like to lol
Altoholic (Ivi): Nah.
Altoholic (Ivi): My gear's decent, the raid browser says I'm good for TotC25. :)

So we get into the instance and I inspect this mage. He's wearing iLevel 232 gear with a sprinkle of Conquest badge 226 gear. Like me, he was full of welfare epics. Sure, I had four blues, but they were minor pieces.

I did observe a Holy Paladin in mostly blues with no enchants in the raid, which thankfully managed to become a bigger focus of attention than my "undergeared" Mage. I opted to trade Focus Magic with a Mage who was not the douchemage.

So we did the Beasts and I did ok. I got out of the fire and attacked the right thing (I might have done low due to switching to adds instead of staying on the boss, I was one of the only DPS who switched to kill the adds), I used blink to get out of the obnoxious yeti's iceblocks and continued to lay on the deeps, and in the end the bosses died and I didn't.

I decided to roll on loot just to piss off the douchemage. For shits and giggles I rolled on a Trophy of the Crusade... and rolled a 99. I'm sure douchemage was raging that my welfared out ass won it instead of his far more worthy welfared out ass.

We got to Lord J and the fight began. Lord J got his Nether Power buff and I hesitated a moment before starting to spellsteal, giving time for the other Mages to get some too. None of the other Mages were spellstealing, they were too caught up on killing the boss and doing high deeps. With ten stacks of netherpower plus Arcane Power plus Mirror Image my DPS was pretty wild.

Unfortunately our healers were sub-par when it came to healing awareness and they weren't healing people with Incinerate Flesh and the burning folks were exploding and damaging the raid. Lucky for me, I've got some pretty keen situational awareness and understanding of what Incinerate Flesh does and simply made it a point to get far far away from people who got Incinerate Flesh. As a result, while most of the DPS died I was one of the few still standing when the boss died while sustaining ridiculous DPS.

My experience and my knowledge of the fight shined through despite my gear while others with higher gearscore but less knowledge of the fight from multiple perspectives were screwed by their inexperience. Bring the player not the gear.

So I send a tell to Unguilded Mage.
Altoholic (Ivi): So how am I doing?
UnguildedMage: pretty darn good

Open mouth, insert foot. Having earned some peer respect despite my gearscore, we talked about playing Mages and how it's changed since classic. Turns out the Mage is the retired main of a now Prot Paladin. I commented on the derpyness of the master looter who gave a spirit cloak from the first boss to the Paladin in blues.

At about that time the master looter looted Solace of the Fallen to his friend without offering to roll for the item. It was not announced during the raid (before we started) or at invite time that the item was reserved. There were a lot of upset people, especially healers, and the raid fell apart.

Someday I'll finish TotC25 and get the happy patterns.

Tonight we hit ICC10. We had four healers and two hunters show up. For the first time in a long time I had the opprotunity to switch to DPS, but there were already two others of the class my main DPS toon is: Hunter. The result? Thanks to the awesome that is the AA guild, Mr. Suckmage now has several pieces of iLevel251 gear, is hitcapped without me having to gem for hit (and without cloak), and can boggle people's minds by having some ICC achievements while still wearing an iLevel187 blue cloak.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair

Since the WOW forums got class roles forums, I've been occasionally following threads there. The threads are often rife with complaints and crying about other classes being overpowered and the class of the complainer being underpowered or unviable.

While some players complain because they fear for their raid spots, or they're worried what top guilds use. Some have simply have convinced themselves that the grass is always greener on the other side, this could be partially attributed to a general lack of understanding how other classes work an obsession with the numbers on meters or parses without understanding exactly what someone's looking at.

For example: An untrained eye may see a Holy Paladin topping the meter and having amazing throughput and not factor in the meter padding that is Judgement of Light and Glyph of Holy Light. Someone with a firm grip on the class could tell you that the throughput everyone complains about isn't as big as folks say it is.

Healing meters can show someone doing well, but if they aren't doing the right thing at the right time a wipe can still happen and that means that the person, despite their high placement on the precious meters, failed.

This Alotholic has had the luxury of being able to play on and raid on all four healing classes and all five healing specs. This gives me a perspective that others might not have developed due to their sitting in one or two camps instead of looking at a problem from all camps.

These are some examples of what folks are saying about their classes. I'm likely missing some complaints, I may have actually blown them off as being senseless QQ.
  • Discipline Priests feel that they can't heal as much as Holy Paladins and aren't as viable as Holy Paladins for tank healing.
  • Holy Paladins are slightly annoyed by having very little, if any, mobile heals. They're also annoyed at not having a real group heal, that our solution is a crappy nerfed glyph.
  • Resto Druids feel like weak tank healers, they supposedly have limited "oh sh.." buttons, and in situations where there are too many other people with direct healing aoe spells (like a lot of holy priests) they may show as ineffective on meters due to others sniping heals from their hotted targets.
  • Holy Priests feel their throughput isn't as good as a Resto Druid's. They also claim to have mana problems.
  • Resto Shamans aren't terribly mobile in comparison to Holy Priests and Resto Druids. They don't have any defensive cooldowns.
There's also the complaint that X world ranking guild doesn't use Y healing class therefore that class is unviable.

I think a lot of this attitude seems to stem from meters and the concept that healing is a competition. This is not true at all. Healing is teamwork. It's not us vs them, it's all of us supplementing and complimenting each others' strengths and weaknesses to be a well oiled machine.

My viewpoint in general regarding healer QQ is: The grass is not always greener on the other side. Every healing class has good tools and a good player can utilize said class to be amazing regardless of perceived or actual pitfalls.

When I'm healing and there's a wipe that I feel is on me, I sit back and evaluate what happened.

It's rare that I can actually blame a wipe on the shortcomings of a class. The only time I could do this while feeling truthful is when I get stuck with my co-healer (or co-healers) dying and I get stuck solo healing a raid on my Paladin. (Example: Solo-healing Mimiron with a group that's learning the fight.)

Sometimes these wipes come from not having enough gear (like taking a druid barely geared enough for TotC10 into ICC10), but I try to manage my regen cooldowns, pop potions, and trust my fellow healers to heal while I'm regenning.

Usually, I can look back on wipes in my state of healing hyperawareness and say, "If only I would have done this, we wouldn't have wiped." I didn't use a cooldown, didn't throw a clutch heal, didn't maneuver, predict, or react fast enough to save the raid. I make a mental note of it and try to do better next time.

Reiterating: I failed not because of class, and probably not because of gear, but because I'm a human and humans are flawed. My failure, my problem is simply one that exists between keyboard and chair. To correct this failure, I simply need more experience, more practice, and more research.

Before you accuse your class of having problems, perhaps you should take a look at yourself. (Which is, incidentally a very catchy song.) Figure out your own weaknesses and get better.

If you think winning at the healing meter matters then you should probably go back to being DPS.

If you're so unhappy playing what you're playing after trying to get better then you should reroll. Just don't be surprised when you find out the grass isn't actually greener on the other side.

If you're just fine and having fun chasing bars, killing bosses and looting epics, I salute you.
Here. Have a kitten.

A little late... And then there were eight.

And not long after my Priest hits 80 and I've leveled my Mage, he hit 80 on April 10th. The Mage and Priest were neck in neck, which is weird because they were on the same account.

I immediately put on my new (ungemmed) crafted epics, finished the normal I was in, changed specs from my trusty Frostfire to the Arcane spec. Glyphed, gemmed up for hit until I'm capped, figured out my rotation, set up my power auras accordingly then queued up for my first heroic.

My first 80 heroic was Oculus.
My first time clearing Oculus and I get the blue drake... on a toon that doesn't have epic flying instead of on my main who likes to collect all flavors of mounts.

In the time that followed I ran TotC10 and Onyxia10 without issue. The little Mage got the achievement "Not one but two Jormungars". I tried to get into a TotC25 at 1am but was told my gear was pretty bad and I wasn't geared enough. I did note that I knew the fights and I'd cleared TotC10 a little earlier.

I figured, it's 1am, you really can't be that picky. Sure enough, the raid leader came back to me and said if I could pull 4k then I'd be ok. My problem is I don't run meters so I politely declined the invite and said "I don't run meters and my combat log is disabled to improve my computer's performance so I can't guarantee I can do that much". I don't know how hard my Mage hits, and honestly, having a warm body in a spot that would otherwise remain empty wouldn't hurt, at least not if the person running in that spot knows the fights and how to stay out of the stupid.

Bring the player not the gear. This week I'll try to weasel my way into the raid.

My impression of Arcane Mage thus far is: Powerful but boring as hell.

Here are my Power Auras:

Missile Barrage:
Version:st3.0.0E; gcd:bofalse; b:nu1; anim1:nu1; g:nu0.4; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterface\Icons\Ability_Mage_MissileBarrage; size:nu1.1899999380112; torsion:nu1; r:nu0.56862745098039; y:nu-30; x:nu0; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu1; stacks:nu0; focus:bofalse; raid:bofalse; texture:nu1; alpha:nu1; aurastext:st; symetrie:nu0; owntex:bofalse; isResting:nu0; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; anim2:nu0; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; buffname:stMissile Barrage; InactiveDueToState:botrue; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; spec2:botrue; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:nu0; id:nu6; inParty:nu0; HideRequest:bofalse; Active:bofalse; aurastextfont:nu1; inRaid:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; customtex:bofalse; stance:nu10; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; spec1:botrue; Debug:bofalse; beginSpin:bofalse; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; begin:nu0; off:bofalse; party:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; randomcolor:bofalse; sound:nu0; finish:nu1

Tell me when I have 4x Arcane Blast debuffs:
Version:st3.0.0E; gcd:bofalse; b:nu1; anim1:nu1; g:nu0.42745098039216; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterface\Icons\Spell_Arcane_Blast; size:nu1.75; torsion:nu1; r:nu0.4156862745098; y:nu-31; x:nu5; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu2; stacks:nu4; focus:bofalse; raid:bofalse; texture:nu2; alpha:nu1; aurastext:st; symetrie:nu0; owntex:bofalse; isResting:nu0; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; anim2:nu0; buffname:stArcane Blast; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; InactiveDueToState:bofalse; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; spec2:botrue; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:nu0; id:nu7; inParty:nu0; HideRequest:bofalse; Active:bofalse; aurastextfont:nu1; inRaid:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; customtex:bofalse; stance:nu10; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; spec1:botrue; Debug:bofalse; beginSpin:bofalse; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; begin:nu0; off:bofalse; party:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; randomcolor:bofalse; sound:nu0; finish:nu1

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My god, it's full of stars!

Don't Fear the Premium Items

In the winter, Blizzard released two vanity pet items in game that are purchasable by real cash. In the months that followed it created a few more. And then, today, Ghostcrawler finally came through and delivered the pony he promised me.

Of course, there are players on the game that are probably flipping out right now about the availability of such items. To them, and anyone raising a brow I just want to say: Don't panic.

Selling in game items for real money is not new. Other game development companies have been doing this for many many years with reasonable success. In many cases, these services provide access to their games for free but support themselves entirely with these microtransactions and impulse buys and in some cases they do let people get ahead in those games.

Blizzard is cool in that the items it is selling give no real major advantage in the game. The items they are selling are simply cute little fun vanity items. People could be naughty or take risks and trade the code entered on the battlenet redemption page for in game gold, however, this is risky business and I can't find a clear notation as to if it's prohibited or not (it's probably not prohibited but 'do at your own risk, we can't enforce these trades'). The number of people who do this is going to be slim and it's not going to harm the game economy like people buying gold and hacking would.

If a reputable person in a reputable guild wants to trade a unicorn for the gold for epic flying on their alt with another reputable person in a reputable guild I'm willing to bet Blizzard doesn't care.

Some players enjoy cool cute little extras and won't think much of paying a little money for it. If someone decides to get a pony on WOW instead of ordering pizza (the WOW item will probably be enjoyed more in the long run), that's their prerogative. It's not hurting anyone, and even if you don't want what's being offered, if these sales are successful (it looks like they are) more will come and that cool useless thing you want might just pop up.

I definitely prefer this idea over the hoping you get something in the TCG or buying TCG cards off of ebay.

Don't fear the microtransactions and don't QQ. Your tears won't change anything. These things here to stay, they aren't hurting anything, they're completely optional, and lots of people actually enjoy them.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Trees? In my Icecrown? It's more likely than you think.

So it was Tuesday. One of my raiders is MIA, another whom will be henceforth called "That Tree" (our comic relief) is without net due to sudden emergency moving through no fault of his own. It certainly felt like things weren't going to go well.

Regardless, I put on my best smile and my raid leader wig, hopped onto the game and started making things happen. Our weekly was Noth. I quickly had a 10 man group filled out and quickly polled if we should do the weekly in 25 man. The decision was made for and I called out for 2 healers and "a whole lot of DPS". Wound up with about 23 people in total, ran in, and busted Noth's kneecaps all quick like then put together an ICC10.

One of our long-time members who rarely gets to run with us wanted to go along. Said player's been proven to do extremely high DPS and is regarded as being very good with very fast reaction times. Our DPS warrior offered to sit out for him, however, what instead wound up happening was a number of us hopped on alts and mixed it up.

We grabbed one of our regular guests, a shadow Priest, to fill in for the MIA laserturkey.
The Tank got on his Rogue.
The DPS Warrior got on his fresh 80 resto Shaman (who honestly has hit tons of heroics and is probably ready).
The Mage got on his DPS Warrior.
The Hunter got on his DPS DK.
The Altoholic set the fabulous Zan aside and asked which healer to bring. The raiders chose: My Druid.
That (Disc) Priest got to be the lone tank healer instead of the offtank healer raid bubbler hybrid of awesome.

Now my Druid, according to wowheroes is not ready for ICC10. The Druid is still wearing spatterings of crafted iLevel200 gear with a PVP resto spec. I was pretty unsure about playing the Druid but if it was a Druid they wanted then a Druid they would have.

I'm vehemently against silliness like Gearscore and believe in "Bring the player not the gear". If Gevlon could clear Ulduar10 in blues, my slightly undergeared Druid could be a healer in ICC10. Right? Right?

Our final team looked like this:
DK Tank
Disc Priest
Resto Shaman
Resto Druid

As we began to pull, I joked that I was filling in for That Tree and That Priest was filling in for me. Next thing you know, half of the raiders were trying to 'roleplay' others. Myself and The Tank took on the almost offensive obscene tactless comic relief, though slightly toned down. At points during the raid I simply said, "Insert totally uncalled for -ist joke here."

The change of pace was fun and much needed.

We had a few pitfalls, but for the most part I did better than I thought I would at Resto Druiding. I spent a good deal of time proactively hotting people before things such as "BOOOOONE STOOOOORM!" This came in really handy on the two dog mini-bosses in the plague wing, putting up a wild growth right before decimate on Stinky assured that people got some heals before they got hit with the obnoxious green damage aura.

We only had two ranged DPS. This proved to be slightly problematic when it came to Saurfang. Luckily I found that I could sit back and let the Shaman and the Disc Priest heal while I assisted the two lone ranged DPS with the beasts. I used a combination of root spam and shifting into bear and taunting the beasts away from the DPS helped prevent that orc from gaining too much blood power.

The Hunter, who was infamous for his one-man Stormwind raids and being a melee Hunter in Classic and BC, who rarely gets to run with us really amazed me as I watched him kite the blood beasts. He pulled one into a frost trap, turned his back to it, then disengaged past it with deterrence up so it wouldn't hit him as he went. Altoholic is impressed, he's no Huntard.

In the end my Druid got Boned, Made a Mess, got a new staff, the friendly rep ring, and I realized I was stupid and had iLevel232 gear sitting in my bags waiting to be enchanted and used. According to wowheroes now, said Druid is ready for ICC10. I am still feeling very uncomfortable playing the Druid in ICC10, because while the Druid may be ready, I don't feel practiced enough on the toon to be ready. I learn very quickly and it probably won't be long before I can rock the Druid like I rock the Paladin and the Priest.

One of my goals for this week is to finish getting the Druid all her Triumph badge gear this week along side getting my Mage to the point where I can weasel my way into a TotC25 pug for a chance at delicious patterns, badges, and achievements. My other goal is to practice with the Druid and the Mage to the point where I feel really confident in playing them.

Here's That Priest penance pewpewing while my Druid shows off her shiny new staff... and her wispcloak. Somewhere someone is crying and it's all my fault.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wintergrasp and the Ruined Ruin

Some of my friends are transferring alts to the Alliance side of my server. Others are talking about going that side on their mains.

Their reason?
Horde always loses Wintergrasp.

Because Horde always loses, no one queues because we're just going to lose anyhow so why bother?

Even I don't queue for Wintergrasp and my healing career started in PVP. PVP healing is my roots. I dislike queuing for Wintergrasp more than I dislike arenas.

Problem 1: Simply outnumbered (WG)
In the beginning, Wintergrasp had no player cap and was rife with lag. Severely outnumbered (I think our server population is 3-1), it wasn't uncommon for us to have stacks of tenacity but still lose to the other team over and over again.

Once WG was capped, we still would lose. Albeit, we actually had a chance but this wasn't an amazingly great chance.

Problem 2: Skill and Caring wealth (WG and BGs)
Limiting the number of players with a hard number doesn't work because it's not just the quantity of players that count but the quality as well.

If 10% of the players on X server are good at PVP and one faction has 3000 active members during peak time and the other has 1000, there's going to be 30 vs 10. Let's say 20% of the population on each side are casual PVPers or PVErs who are dabbling in PVP but do like to win. Suddenly our numbers are 90 vs 30 players who actually care.

Fill out the rest of those raids with people who are there for the free token, some honor to buy a gem, afk bots, and keyturning players who couldn't navigate their way out of a wet paper bag, and suddenly we have a one faction with a raid that's 75% skilled/caring vs a raid that's 25% skilled/caring.

The group with the minority population on a server is still going to lose more.

Problem 3: Gear deficit and slow gratification (WG and BGs)
The team who wins all the time gets more honor. This means the rate at which they get gear is faster. More geared people means a higher chance to win, but it also means that the whole thing is more attractive. Folks get more gratification from getting their rewards faster.

It may take 3-5 times as long for a player on the losing faction (especially if that's both doomed to lose on both server and on battlegroup). That's a really long grind... just to get geared up to lose more.

Problem 4: The Lag Monster (WG)
When I was making attempts in Wintergrasp and doing so with guildmates, we'd take an organized stance to win. We'd work very hard against poor odds. In fights where the battle was close, we mysteriously were subject to extreme lag. Our FPS and game response time would crawl to nearly nothing then lifts as soon as "Alliance has captured / defended Wintergrasp" sprawls across our screen.

By lag, I'm talking a 20-30 second delay on abilities actually being cast, jerky movement. Etc. Our latency and FPS remained normal levels, we could talk in vent and do other things on our connections fine. The problem wasn't on our ends, the problem was with Blizzard's end.

It's a common belief that it's being caused by players of the other faction intentionally by doing things like encouraging everyone to use their AOEs / aura applying abilities. An example would be having all the DKs in their side spam path of frost.

This was disheartening and one of the main reasons why I gave up. If we did well and got the upper hand, the other side would cheat to win.

Problem 5: AFK Bots and AFK players
Since Burning Crusade, if not longer, battlegrounds have had people "AFKing for Honor". Blizzard has put in several ways to attempt and fix this problem, such as letting players mark the person who is botting as a leech and preventing them from getting further honor and marks. The response to this has simply been bots who will run paths around a battleground in hopes of getting attacked (getting PVP combat) and leeching honor from battles.

From my Storm Peaks adventures with my hunter and his moth named Seething, I've discovered that the bots react a lot like real players and will fight back when attacked (albeit stupidly). I would assume this may make them harder to catch in PVP.

Now, in BC I wound up in AVs late at night which were 40 to 40, however, there real numbers active players was very few, though there were typically many more players on the other side (the always wins side).

The cause of this, I figure, is simply that bots run (in theory) all the time. They do a game, they requeue, unlike humans they do not get tired and go take a break / go do something else / sleep. As the number of active players go down at non-peak times, the bot-to-human proportion goes up.

If the number of real players queueing is less than the maximum supported for a BG, the remaining amount will be filled with bots. The less people there are, the more bots will fill in.

If the number of real players queueing is greater than the maximum supported for a BG, there is going to be a chance that each person getting into the BG will be a bot or a human depending on the bot to human ratio.

The problem pretty much fomes from the idea that the less active humans queuing for a battleground, the more room there is going to be for bots, and those bots are being counted as 'players' by the server, spawning more BGs and bringing in a full 40 from each side instead of 20 or whatever the real active number is.

Result: Hurry up and lose!
The end result of all of this is simply that players have given up on trying because no matter what we do (short of using Preform AV Enabler to run premades while bypassing the 'match premade against premade' thing), we're going to lose. The gear wealth, the skill wealth, the number of active players, the lag tricks, and the incredibly slow rate of reward simply make PVP for the minority side not fun or rewarding.

I still I zone in to win in BGs when I play. I still give it my all but I'm constantly getting a "hurry up and lose" attitude from Horde players. In AV, where there is a perceived bias in favor of the Alliance, people just sit in the tunnel and wait to collect their loser honor or go deathmatch in the center of the field while the Alliance blitzes six minute wins over and over again.

The Solution:
Blizzard can do a few things to fix this, though I fear the damage has probably already done and PVP for minority side in Wrath is just tanked.

Rated battlegrounds is a good start. I fear they're going to do it based on guild, which may make it less successful and cause grief for guilds.

Players need the ability to vote kick deadweight from BGs like we can from heroics: Let everyone have the ability to vote to kick with reason. X number of participants in a BG must vote with a reason. When X votekicks with reason are presented an interface comes up for everyone asking if they want to kick with reason (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and options of "Yes. No. Ask later." This would allow folks to say, "Hey this is a bot." but would also let players say "I'm not sure yet" and be prompted again later. If the vote kick is yet, the reasons are logged.

Someone who is vote kicked excessively could be reviewed by whoever looks into bots botting in BGs as it is. They can decide to watch the player and deliver a banhammer. Yes. Botting in BGs needs to be a bannable offence and it needs to be very pronounced and scare people or this madness will continue.

Blizzard should make honor gains for premades for the minority winning side be higher, particularly the honor from doing things (objectives, killing things). This would make it worth it for folks to grab a few friends and hit the BGs. Even if you and your friends with a partial premade wind up going up against the highest tier of gear full premade, it would make fighting back worth it and speed up people who want to PVP catching up to the gear gap and making them feel more rewarded faster (keeping interest).

Unfortunately these changes alone won't solve the problems.
Players on minority sides have to choose to change their attitude towards PVP and actually go out there and do it.

Not only do minority faction changes need to change their attitudes, they need to spread that positivity among their communities and build a pvp community.

My server had a player who was doing the battlemaster grind. We ran over 100 AV blitzes. By the time we were nearing the end of his grind, the rest of the players in the battlegroup that wound up with us would cheer at the presence of the roleplay server because a large number of players from my home server meant that we had a fighting chance of winning.

We can't wait for Blizzard to fix the bot and balance problems, but we can start nurturing our PVP communities, kicking the defeatist attitude in the face and spreading the positive message of "we can".

If a RP server can be the BG heroes so can your server.

What do you say?

I think it's time for me to finish my WSG and AB rep grinds, get my rep title and get enough HKs to become Zan of the Horde.

Monday, March 29, 2010

And then there were seven.

I've long since had the psudo-credibility to say that I've played and raided on every healing class in the game. Recently, with the help of friends, my mental leveling game, and a little work, my Priest is now level 80.

Now I have the luxury of saying that I have a level 80 of each of the four healing classes.

At the moment I have a holy spec and a disc spec because I feel I'd suck at shadow. This may change.

The healer forums seem to be very saturated with QQ. A while ago it was crying from Discipline Priests about not being able to heal as much as a Paladin, and how their throughput causes them to not have tank healer spots over Paladins. (If Discipline Priests had throughput equal to a Paladin while sporting the versatile priest toolbox, why would anyone bring a Healadin?)

More recently, there have been complaints about Holy Priests not having throughput to compete with others. Wake up, healing is not a competition. Honestly, I've seen Holy Priests who sustain 10k hps in TotC25 gear, I don't think they're nearly as bad off as people are complaining that they are. Holy Priests are actually really amazing, they just seem to be overshadowed by the more trendy Discipline spec.

According to the last time I checked WOW Popular, the most popular spec of Priest is Discipline. Mind you, I was disc before it was cool and trendy, back in classic and early BC before people like Matticus suggested folks give Circle of Healing a try. I even remained disc until I wound up solo dualbox healing Vael in BWL. Two mostly single target healers just wasn't going to cut it.

I've decided to go against the trend and stay Holy, as it was my spec through the second half of BC. As I gear up, I'll go ahead and report in on how I'm feeling about healing as a holy priest as well as little tricks I've used along the way.

I honestly think the complaining from Priests on the healing forums comes from folks thinking the grass is greener on the other side. I've been on all four sides and the grass isn't greener. In general Priests are really amazing, they have a fantastically versatile toolbox, though it seems a lot of Priests just don't seem to realize exactly how powerful their toolbox is. Perhaps it takes playing other classes to really appreciate Priest's versatility.

I've utilized one of my favorite addons "Power Auras" to give myself a few notifiers for when certain abilities are upon my Holy Priest.

This code assures I am always aware of a surge of light proc. I can cash it in for an instant cast flash heal or a smite:
Version:st3.0.0E; gcd:bofalse; b:nu0.33725490196078; anim1:nu3; g:nu0.62745098039216; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterface\Icons\Spell_Holy_SurgeOfLight; size:nu0.95999997854233; torsion:nu1; r:nu1; y:nu-94; x:nu0; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu1; stacks:nu0; focus:bofalse; raid:bofalse; texture:nu6; alpha:nu1; aurastext:st; symetrie:nu0; owntex:bofalse; isResting:bofalse; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; anim2:nu4; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; InactiveDueToState:botrue; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; sound:nu0; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:nu0; id:nu1; inParty:nu0; HideRequest:bofalse; Active:bofalse; aurastextfont:nu1; buffname:stSurge of Light; inRaid:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; customtex:bofalse; stance:nu10; spec2:botrue; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; spec1:botrue; Debug:bofalse; beginSpin:bofalse; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; begin:nu2; off:bofalse; party:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; randomcolor:bofalse; finish:nu1

This code notifies me when I have three stacks of Serendipity. With this, I can cast a really fast greater heal, or more likely a prayer of healing:
Version:st3.0.0E; gcd:bofalse; b:nu1; anim1:nu3; g:nu0.71372549019608; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterface\Icons\Spell_Holy_Serendipity; size:nu1.3600000143051; torsion:nu1; r:nu0.28235294117647; y:nu-94; x:nu0; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu1; stacks:nu3; focus:bofalse; raid:bofalse; texture:nu59; alpha:nu1; aurastext:st; symetrie:nu0; owntex:bofalse; isResting:nu0; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; anim2:nu4; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; InactiveDueToState:bofalse; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; sound:nu0; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:nu0; id:nu2; inParty:nu0; HideRequest:bofalse; Active:bofalse; aurastextfont:nu1; buffname:stSerendipity; inRaid:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; customtex:bofalse; stance:nu10; spec2:botrue; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; spec1:botrue; Debug:bofalse; beginSpin:bofalse; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; begin:nu2; off:bofalse; party:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; randomcolor:bofalse; finish:nu1

Hymn of Hope:
I wanted to use lyrics from this song as my Hymn of Hope macro but it was too long/spammy so I settled for "Set sail for win!" The song is actually, literally, a song about not giving up hope.
(It's from a fantastic, virtually unknown, nerdy as hell, and totally unappreciated musical called "Starmites!" If you like musicals, comicbooks, and other nerdy things you might want to hunt down a local production.)

Now I'm gonna go heal some heroics.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Roleplay: A modest proposal for the immodest.

No, I'm not going to propose the devouring of level one humanoids, but I am going to make a proposal that would, in a perfect world, make life a little more tolerable for the WOW RPer who isn't interested in ERP (Cybersex).

It's not uncommon for me to be approached by individuals of ill-repute on a regular basis while sitting in Silvermoon, it happens on a daily basis. They typically don't get the responses they like and storm off in a fuss. Some even get on their high horses and say they're ignoring me for disrupting their RP (... of trying to coerce me into cybersex).

Now, folks who ERP are really not that bad, the problem is that on the server I play on they're very overt. They're out there, shameless, public, are tasteless, and target just about anyone without any sort of prompting. This is probably part of why the non-RPers on the server dislike the RPers.

I know that folks aren't going to stop despite the fact that such interactions are likely against the TOS and being caught doing so with a minor could mean a world of trouble if mom and dad find out and press charges.

I don't think it's too much to ask for folks to target their sexual propositions with educated guesses instead of trying to grind on anything that moves.

I would like to suggest that those who enjoy Erotic Roleplay download and use an addon called FlagRSP2. I've observed that most of the ERPers trolling around Silvermoon are not running an addon like FRSP2.

FlagRSP2 allows users to create character descriptions as well as to classify (flag) themselves as a roleplayer. In character, out of character, casual roleplayer, roleplayer, storyteller, mature roleplayer, looking for contact, etc.

You can hide the descriptions and still see notes on tooltips.
It looks a bit like this:

Now, an ERPer could make it so the words circled above clearly spelled out the type of play they're looking for.

The following options would be ideal:

The resulting tooltip would say "Mature Roleplayer, Looking for Contact" which could (easily) be considered synonymous to "Wanna fuck?"

RPers that don't have "Wanna fuck?" spelled out in their tooltip and those who have no RSP at all are probably not interested and should be left alone.

By installing this or another addon and flagging yourself and looking at other's flags, an ERPer can keep the streets decent, save dealing with those who do not want, and eliminate accidentally propositioning minors.

This would likely also reduce the chance of getting reported, banned, vanned, or winding up face to face someone like Chris Hansen.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Altoholic Progress Bars

Occasionally I get asked how I do those progress bars. I modified some code someone else posted.

The code with names.
Without names.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I don't agree with Anna.

The blogsphere recently rolled on the wrong side of my home server with their "Single Abstract Noun". I warned of two things: AD is FULL and stay away from Goldshire. It wasn't a joke. I also suggested those with RP interest contact reputable groups like Agency.

Now Cranky suggested on the SAN boards that folks ICly do things to confuse or disrupt the bads, and to screenshot and share. Her suggestions were stuff like "Azeroth Vice, here to break up prostitution." She did suggest censoring names to hide people's identities. It's not terrible and AD-US sees much worse with the fact that we get invaded by Blackrock any time it's down. I've considered doing similar things with my return to Silvermoon as my hangout (sans the screenshot/public mocking thing), it's really not that bad.

Now Anna is over in her corner of the blogsphere, not even a member of SAN, totally flipping out over the idea. Anna takes a strong stance that you're never supposed to ever disrupt people's RP no matter how bad it is even if it's through RP, even if that bad is godmoding your character. I don't agree.

If my raid core is having a fun time in the Cybermoon tavern, trashing the town, drinking and brawling like some sort of Buck-o-Nine or Flogging Molly song, and we're disrupting some people having text sex upstairs, great, so be it! They can go download Second Life or some other free MMOSG or even a game made specifically for cybersex and get their jollies there and stop rubbing it in the faces of us decent folks.

There is nothing wrong with mocking the stupid.
In fact, stupid is stressful. Bad RP is stressful. Retarded Twlight vamptards raping canon is stressful and unfun. People telling me that my characters are madly in love with them and we should go cyber is not fun.

Letting off steam is healthy!

Why should I afford any decency or respect to bad rpers propositioning my guildmates and I for sex as we hang around our bench in Silvermoon minding our own business? Is it wrong for my character to look at such cyberwhore in the face and say, disdainfully, "Begone from my sights, whore." How about him looking at the troll, the one breaking canon preaching about Elune and claiming to be an honorary Blood Knight, and hushing him, warning him that if the sentries hear him speaking such heresy that they might throw him out, or worse, kill him. (Which is probably a canon reaction, seeing as how Silvermoon is like a very pretty 1984 with pointy ears. Belves are also kinda racist and I could not see a troll being made a 'honorary Blood Knight'.)

If my circle of friends and I decide we're sick of being propositioned for text sex (and believe me we are) and we start up a group that walks around in runecloth robes, with offhand books and maces or priestly looking staves and preach about the Naaru and the light and telling folks dressed like women of ill-repute that they should cast off their unclean ways and redeem themselves for the lulz, is it really wrong? It might create conflict and *gasp* roleplay beyond text sex!

If people can RP Twilight vamps, werewolves, prostitutes, and break canon, why can't I RP a very devout Paladin with a very religious social circle trying to purify his homeland from women of loose morals? It's my $30/mo.

Again Anna, it's ok to mock the stupid!
Gevlon did it, didn't he?

BUT I do feel that there's a time and a place for mocking the stupid. Single Abstract Noun is not that place. SAN folks are guests on AD. In SAN, you represent a whole community, mocking the stupid is a bit against the spirit of SAN, fucking with the stupid wearing the SAN tag is a Bad Idea™, it makes folks look bad.

Honestly, I don't think people realized that when the idea was first posted it could be considered bad and griefing. I don't think malice was intended. Anna and whoever else going wild with self-righteous preaching on her blog and creating a massive drama shit-fest and driving Cranky out of the blogshere when this could have been handled privately like adults just made this worse.

Why not report the forum post and let SAN deal with it instead of causing a stink? This feels like bullying, a total witch hunt, and like you're whoring yourself out for attention, Anna. I disagree with all of it and with your point of view.

To those who think the lulz would be funny? Make a new alt if you want to mess with the stupid.

Need to vent? Here are some appropriate places.
Go. Vent. Don't give SAN a bad name.

Cranky made a tiny mistake that could have been handled privately.
Anna turned it into witch hunt against Cranky and SAN and drove Cranky from the blogsphere and SAN.
Anna used obnoxious, self-righteous speech in it, making points I disagree with.

I agree with Soph and to a not so extreme way with Rivs on this.

I think Cranky should come back, if anything, she could just say, "Oops, my bad" and let bygones be bygones.

I think Anna owes Cranky and SAN an apology for her self-righteous witch hunt and smear campaign.
I feel Anna should make that post go byebye and mind her own damn business.
If she wanted to tell people to play nice she could have done so in a much less aggressive and much more elegant way. (Very sappy personal example.)

I'm not afraid of you and I do disagree with you, and since everyone is saying their peace, I'll say mine.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Babelfish, oh how I love you.

I play on a battlegroup with a server called Warsong. This is an unoffiical Brazilian server, the result is trips into randoms with players who don't understand English. To make matters worse, these players have a reputation for being "bad" players.

So we're in a random normal on our 75 priests, it's brought up to me that the frost mage from Warsong isn't giving replenishment. I look at her talents, she has 0 points in Enduring Winter. She also has 3 unallocated talent points.

So, I decide to send her a tell and point out that she has talent points to spend.

The conversation looked like this.

19:22 [Altoholic]: You have some unallocated talent points. Gonna pick up [Enduring Winter]?
19:22 [Ammaster-Warsong]: nao falo ingles sorry
19:23 [Altoholic]: Hold on. Babelfish.
19:24 [Altoholic]: VocĂȘ tem 3 pontos unspent do talento.
19:24 [Ammaster-Warsong]: nao sei onde coloco
19:25 [Altoholic]: Enduring Winter.

Thanks to Babelfish, I know that "nao sei onde coloco" roughly means, "I don't know where to put them."

Babelfish is actually pretty horrible at translating, especially when it comes to grammar, but it's enough to penetrate the language barrier. For that reason I have it bookmarked and often open when I run randoms. If only there was a Babelfish addon for wow.

The mage placed the talent points appropriately, accepting my advice without hassle, whining, complaining, or attitude. To me, this is someone who is a good player, for that, I salute you, Oh Ammaster of Warsong.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Frostfire... from someone without a clue.

The new random dungeon system has brought out the leveling beast in me once more and I've begun leveling my alts again.

Among the leveled is my Mage, who I race changed from a troll to a belf several months ago. I got him from 70-74 so I can portal folks to Dalaran. Boredom and curiosity drove me to level 75 so I might try out Frostfire bolt.

I decided to give a Frostfire spec (with imp scorch) a try, dropping my Frost survivability spec. I haven't played a Mage seriously since Classic, I don't have a clue what I'm doing. I only leveled him to 70 so I could drop tables for myself. After shooting a few bears I took what knowledge I have from playing my Hunter (priority go!) and Warrior (don't forget your slam procs!) and made some power auras to notify me of useful things--like Living Bomb not being on my target, and Hot Streak 'Pyroblast now' procs. (I do the same with Shadow Trance on my Warlocks.)

From what I understand, Arcane is amazing DPS, but it also sounds kinda boring, much like BM always sounded boring. Frostfire feels like it has a priority rotation, more like Survival.

I haven't seriously researched Frostfire rotation or gemming at all. In fact, I can't tell you what procs the hot streaks offhand because I honestly haven't been paying attention. It feels like the ability procs more when there are things like Ignite up on the target.

I vaguely recall that Frostfire Mages stack spellpower/crit, while Arcane Mages stack haste. I think there might be a point where a Frostfire Mage has enough crit that their ignites are always up. At that point, I might see a FFB Mage stacking haste to increase the number of FFBs that can be cast between higher priority spells.

This is, without seriously researching, what I think a FFB rotation looks like:
Scorch (unless someone else is casting a spell that does the same thing), Living Bomb (I've been using it as an extra dot even on single targets), Fireblast, FFB until Fireblast is off cooldown / living bomb needs to be recast / scorch needs to be recast. Pyroblast when Hot Streak procs.

I'm going in blind and making educated guesses based on a combination of my knowledge of OTHER classes and what little I remember from having played a Mage back in MC. (I still have my ToEP!)

So far, I'm doing ok in normal randoms.
I do more damage than the tanks.
I often top the sustained dps meter.
I go from 1600-2000dps as a level 77, that's more than a lag-blaming T9-9.5 geared warlock did on a particular Marrowgar kill. Thankfully, they're no longer in my guild.

At 80 I'll actually go research things, specs, rotation, consider attainable gear, and spec choose accordingly.

It'll be neat to see if I came close to proper rotation priority or not.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Analyzing Healadins

One of my raiders has friends in another guild, I'm talking RL friends or whatever. He has alts in that guild and raids with them on one of the alts. Guild leader of said guild is an ex-raider and friend of a Holy Paladin in some hardcore guild on another server. Said Holy Paladin believes that flash of light spec is superior and that all Paladins should use it. Of course, this idea is instilled upon GL of my raider's alts guild.

So we go into VOA25 and this guild leader and a Healadin from that guild are in the raid with me. I start to get tells after the first boss about how our healing core sucks and that I should be topping the meters (after the heavy aoe of some of the boss fights) because of my gear. This other Healadin, whose gear is not nearly as good as mine did more healing with his 'beacon the tank, heal the raid with flash of light) strategy.

During these attempts fights, I found myself struggling to keep both tanks up. The beacon had fallen off of my focus target so I didn't have my beloved redundancy safety net. In actuality, the paladin beaconed my beacon target and flashed the raid. So, I was healing his tank and mine and he was healing his tank and the raid and sniping heals from our group healers.

It pissed me off to be told that I suck because my meter numbers weren't as high, despite the fact that I was probably carrying more weight than this other paladin.

I'd use my computer being old and having low FPS as an excuse, but it's not a valid excuse. I'm usually one of the top healers and several of my top DPS top out in 25 man raids at 5fps or less.

So what was it? This other healadin was judging light, which is usually what our tankadin does. (Tankadin informed me that tanks no longer get the threat boost from light so they're judging wisdom and I should judge light.)

Judging Light = Padding the Meters.

Who was actually pulling their weight? Really.

A closer look:
Well last night the paladin (Dar) got invited to our run. He had been tanking for us the previous week but we had already had a tank on our first night so he wound up heals. Luckily I was running a World of Logs parse, which informed me that despite his gear, he beat me in healing done (and did a few percent less overhealing).

I know that I'm going to hear, through my one raider, the trash talking of Dar's guild leader who will continue to say I suck, as the numbers say so and clearly the numbers are everything.

Here's the healing done for all boss fights:

Slow is a top notch resto shaman. Tri is a resto druid with ADHD who can kick ass when push comes to shove, but will tend to slack on farm content and pick up the slack when shit gets real. Chi is a disc priest. Bacon is a lesser geared resto shaman alt who probably needs some guidance, but he isn't far behind everyone else. Most of us are shouldering equal burden. If you're wondering where the rest of the healing is? We had four shadow priests (one is a top notch holy priest who went shadow for moar deeps), some non-resto shaman, a ret, two protadins, and some blood DKs that did small amounts of healing.

But let's take a closer look at the Paladin healing:

We see two things:
First, I need to remember to Divine Sacrifice (the green outline... I should also keep sacred shield up better). That is poor performance on my part and I realize I need to stop being bad and utilize my tools. I mean, I thought to hit it but I felt that if I skipped a GCD to pop it, the tanks (or raid) would die. (My Flashes of Light and Holy Shocks were mostly on the raid not the tanks.)

More importantly: A whole 26% of this other Paladin's heals were Judgement of Light.

Compare healing done via Holy Light--I healed a million more than he did (of course we both overhealed like mad, but still.

What happens if we remove the JoL padding?
Dar: 4633901 - 1241990: 3391911
Zan: 4523016 - 19732: 4503284

What happens if we shave off the Glyph of Holy Light padding?
Dar: 3391911 - 1003275: 2388636
Zan: 4503284 - 1100705: 3402579

The real numbers show two things:
  • I shouldered more weight than Dar did... at least where it really counts--on our tanks.
  • We're both pretty close to dead last, Dar is even behind the freshmen resto shaman alt.
We're focusing a majority of our heals on one/two/three targets.
We should be dead last.

What conclusions can be drawn from this information?
  • A lot of Holy Paladin's throughput is, in the words of Pen Jillette, "bullshit!" It's not nearly as high as it looks once you actually break it down.
  • Dar's GL, should he start up with his dissing, should be succinctly informed of the facts and instructed to eat a dick.
And that's that.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Good and Bad of Lowbie Randoms

I guess this (and this other post, the one that I got the idea for) could kinda-sorta be considered part of the Blog Azeroth shared topic of sharing some positive dungeon stories.

Now that the Altoholic has settled into her new apartment it's time to write some more.

This weekend I decided to try out the random dungeon tool on my lower level characters. I have two priest/warlock teams and they've fallen out of sync with the level 30 warlock quests, so I'm pushing them all to 35 using the random dungeon tool.

They're not all horror stories. Here's a few good positive stories.

Helping the Lowbie Warrior Tank
In SM Graveyard, I found myself grouped with a Warrior tank who was having a terrible time holding agro on multiple mobs.

He mentioned he was having trouble so I politely suggested he try using 'jumpystomp' and shouts to at least get the attention of things with his initial pulls. This worked out very well and the results were immediately visible. He confidently pulled a good half dozen mobs at once and held them all.

Helping the terribly confused Priest
In RFD, I had the misfortune of being grouped with a shadow priest who's healing. I mean, I heal as shadow on my little lowbies with no issue but this poor guy doesn't have a clue. He struggles to do his job and the result is wipes. He's having trouble peeling off Debuffs that would have turned the tide in some of the battles--such as the silencing disease on my warlock and the Mage.

I suggested, half frustrated, that he get decursive. As the instance pressed on, he wound up asking myself and the other person whose main is a healer for advice on how to heal, about addons and other tools that would help him do his job better.

When the instance was over he said he'd go get those addons right away so he could do better next time. *thumbs up*

The Focus on Meters
I've noticed a huge focus on meters in lowbie (level 30ish) instances on the US Ruin (Battlegroup 3). I know very little about warlocks, but I do know that even at top levels, affliction warlocks tend to not do very highly on trash (in heroics), nor do they manage to get their rotation off on mobs that die too fast. As such, I don't expect to top the meters, I simply throw up my dots, rain of fire, and throw my instant shadowbolts when shadow trance procs.

At this point, I'm not sure how classes damage lines up at the low levels and where I should be preformance-wise. I don't really care that much. I'm there to push buttons, get experience, get my loot, and leave.

I'm stuck in a state of disbelief... People actually care about the total damage done on trash in the SM Graveyard and feel it's a way to measure skill?

I keep getting told that I suck because of my damage done numbers. Apparently while I'm sitting there hitting searing pain on a ranged mob that's nuking the healer so I may have it nuke me instead to prevent a wipe, I'm less skilled of a player than the mage spamming arcane explosion on just one mob because they have higher deeps.

It really makes me want to not instance as a DPS because of the meter pressure. Particularly, that the pressure to do well on the meter is pressure for me to foresake playing well (waiting for agro, preventing wipes, getting out of the stupid) for the sake of big numbers. The reason I forbid meter linking (and to a lesser extent discussion) in my raids is because I'd rather have people worry about doing what they need to do to get the job done instead of having them get reckless for the sake of competition.

This stupidity just hurts my head.

The Reluctant Warrior Tank
I've been traumatized by bad DPS when it comes to tanking using the random dungeon system. The first few times I tanked on my warrior I found the entire thing to be hell. Jerks DPSing before I could get agro on mobs with my tiny DKs didn't help either.

I took my warrior (level 70 currently dps fury in crap outlands pvp blues and boa pieces (dw arcanite reapers, ho!)) into randoms with my Tank's holy priest alt healing. I'm afraid of tanking so I go Fury. We get UK with a paladin tank and a DPS DK.

The tank makes the first pull and almost immediately starts taking huge spikes of damage. My tank is going "OMG" on vent at the spikes. The second pull, the DK autoruns into the two pulls + patrol, getting a good 8 or 9 mobs. My tank goes "OMG" again as the little Tankadin facetanks the floor faster than a heal could be cast.

At this point, the paladin starts playing the blamegame at the healer, my tank. He says, "WTF healer? Why did I die?" My tank told him, "You got two pulls." I said, "You took more damage than you had health." He asked why he didn't get enough heals. We repeated.

I walk over and inspect him and get this sinking feeling, "..." I ask him what his defense is. No answer. I ask him again, he readychecks, I say no, he pulls anyhow. So I go armory him, my tank's still complaining over vent on how squishy this guy is. Bingo!

Our tank has something like 380 defense. I announce it in vent. I "..." he "..."s.

He also has a ret spec, so I throw on my tank gear (Mostly T4ish stuff), switch to my prot spec, and started tanking. I told him he needed somewhere around 490 defense. He didn't put on his DPS gear, instead he left the instance, demanding to know my defense.

I handled things much better with my charging, jumpystomping, and defense capped gear.

I'm still reluctant to tank... though I think I'll wind up being one of those people who offers to do it if I wind up with someone who's not ready.