Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Title Well Earned

I usually don't use my "The Patient" title on my characters. It feels like superscrubville.

Last night, right before bed, I hit up a random dungeon on my resto druid.

There was a warlock, a rogue, a mage, myself, and a dk tank in heroic Nexus.

The warlock pulled agro and died. To my glee, he was running rankwatch and notified me that my res wasn't the right rank. (I had hit 80 in my other spec and wow didn't update my spells on the resto spec, so I'd been using downranked spells. I had fixed all of them but the res.)

The rogue died to agro and/or stupid.
The warlock repeatedly pulled agro and began to complain.

After the first boss, the tank got iceblocked and the locke got instagibbed and nerdraged more. He went on to say he had multiple tanks and how the guy should l2tank and hold agro better. I noted I had several tanks as well and suggested waiting for the tank to get threat.

The mage left group, probably sick of the raging. I queued up and we got a ret paladin.
Meanwhile, the tank ragequit and the rogue went linkdead shortly after, leaving me alone with the raging warlock and the newly added ret. I couldn't add a new tank because of the offline person preventing it.

I initiated a vote kick but it failed. The warlock cursed the tank, saying they were bad. The ret reached us. I got out of treeform and sat my healery cow ass down and told the warlock point blank that he was doin' it wrong. I told him he would have made a better impact in the other player's gameplay if he had been constructive and polite with his feedback instead of attacking. The locke continued to be a jerk, not liking that I told him he was wrong.

I initiated another vote kick to remove the warlock and this time the ret, having seen the warlock be an ass, quickly agreed and we punted him. We then punted the offline person and queued up.

The ret said to me that he agreed with the idea of giving positive constructive useful information and said that he himself had bad dps and he didn't know why, that he was on his first 80 and needed help.

I told him some spec tweaks he could do (with the ret only seal that acts as a cleave now for trash and the other seal for bosses). I told him to get some more hit (8%) and to get rid of his agi gems (why he had agi gems I don't know) in favor of strength gems and strength/hit gems (until at 8%) and then str/crit gems. I told him to stay in group after the instance was done and I'd help him more.

In the middle of my talking we got new people and went back to playing to finish the instance. There was an elemental shaman in group who had made note of me explaining ret stuff to the new ret paladin and started asking me questions too. The elemental shaman was also a new 80 and wanted to go resto but didn't feel geared enough yet. They asked me where I got this item and that item. I happily answered their questions, gave them some gemming tips, and tips about healy addons.

After the instance I scrambled to an AH while the ret was still in the group. From there I suggested (linked) which enchants to get for his gear (+hit to gloves, icewalker to boots), told him about sons of hodir and what to search the webs for to find out how to open the ebon blade faction. Suggested a meta and what gem to use to activate it. Linked him those gems along with the str/strcrit/strhit gems.

Finally, I told him about Elitist Jerks forum for gem/rotation/spec reading and sites like wowpopular to look at specs at. He thanked me and logged off for the night.

I hearthed back to Dalaran and looked at my character paperdoll, noted I had no title selected, and clicked my title dropdown. Sure enough the "The Patient" title was there, it's been there for a while, I remember turning it off. I selected it and turned it on because it felt like I actually earned the title.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Altoholic's Guide to running PUG and Open raids

What you need:
You MUST have:
  • Working knowledge of bosses and strategies behind them.
  • Working knowledge of what various classes bring to the table and how to best utilize them.
  • The ability to communicate clearly, simply, and effectively.
  • Understanding of raid composition.
  • A strong sense of fairness.
  • The patience of a saint.
Strongly recommended:
  • A working mic.
  • Access to a voice chat server where you can speak. (This is my affiliate link for the service I use. A 60 man server costs about 20/mo and the site lets you give a link to others if they want to pitch in. I have a larger server to support two 25 man raids and a 10 man raid in tandem, most groups won't need that much space unless they're huge.)
  • A small group of friends who are strong, good, patient players to set the pace and back you up.
  • WIM or some other addon that gives you tell windows. You will be in tell hell and people will get upset if you miss what they're saying.
  • If you don't already have one, make a channel in game and give it to your friends in and out of guild. Invite good players to it. In essence, build your own looking for group channel with good people.
  • oRA2 or an addon that lets you have a magical invite codeword.
  • Get a World of Logs account and run some parses. You may want to create a second account if you already use one and make a fake guild if you don't want the parses to show up in the guild info. (I don't care.)
  • Discourage meter spam. Tell people that you'll post a log parse at the end of the raid and people can see how they did. Meter spam is annoying.

Setting Up:
Figure out your loot system:
Before anything else, you must decide a way to handle loot, that's what people are there for, to kill bosses and loot epics. How will you deal with patterns? BOEs? Main set? Offset? Stuff no one wants? I'd strongly recommend that you, as raid leader and loot master have final say, you can explain that your reason is not malicious, but simply that paladins don't use spirit, hunters don't use expertise, etc.

I'd strongly suggest banning players selling loot to others, that they should only roll on items that are an upgrade. Make it clear that there will be consequences for such behavior: Having a chat with the players' guild leader. Public blacklisting.

Ask your backup to keep an eye on the gear of people winning rolls, if someone is winning but has better you have the right responsibility to question it.

Write it down somewhere. Put it in a macro and use the macro to post the rules. This way Blizzard has a record of it should someone baw. You must explain how the loot will word before you begin the raid. This will give people an opportunity to leave if they don't agree before drama happens.

I've used several different psudo loot systems over the years. You can read about a few of them here.

I often use "no vent, no loot" to get people on the voice chat.

Invite friends and family:
  • Tell your guild you're putting together a run and for people to send you a tell with their preferred spec and other specs they are willing to play.
  • If you already have your friends and family channel populated, send out a call asking for the same as in guild.
  • If you have one or two people in your social circle who're really cool, ask them to go to the summoning stone and lead up summons with an occasional "type 1 for summon."
  • Designate someone to link the vent info periodically to herd cats into the voice server info for you.
Sort your resources:
  • For 10 man runs, you need 2 tanks (one with a dps offset), 2.5 healers, and 5.5 dps, half range, half melee. (Having a healer with a dps offset can be that extra .5 healer .5 dps.)
  • For 10 mans I put melee and tanks in group 1 and ranged/casters in group 2. My 10 mans usually have 2 melee and 3 ranged, a hunter usually winds up in group 1 because of the imbalance.
  • For 10 mans, I like 1 tank healer and 2 group healers, one of which can be relied on to top off the tanks if the tank healer gets mezzed. A tank healer is usually paladin or a disc priest, but a strong druid or shaman that you trust can also tank heal if needed.
  • For 25 mans, you'll need 3 tanks (two with offset), 5-7 healers, and a 15-17 DPS. An even split between melee and ranged is generally a good idea but sometimes you have to roll with what you got. I like to do 3 tanks / 6-7 healers (can have some switch to deeps if we're doing ok) / 7 melee, and the rest ranged.
  • For 25 mans, I put all three tanks in group 1, all the healers in group 5, with overflow going in group 4. I put ranged casters in groups 3 and 4. If I have two resto shaman, one will be in group 4 and I'll put mages, elemental shaman, moonkin, and shadowpriests in with them so those casters can take advantage of the mana tide. Warlocks can lifetap, hunters can viper, so they're low priority on getting the extra mana tide.
  • For 25 mans I like bringing 2 holy paladins for tank healing, a disc priest to help heal the tanks and bubble the raid. I like the rest to be group healers. (There are lots of bad disc priests on my server who refuse to do anything but tank heal. For this reason I don't take pug disc priests to my open runs. We have one already and that's enough.)
Hit the Raid Finder:
  • Check the raid finder first. If there are people in there, send them a polite tell and see if they want to go. You can ask them if they've done it before, if you feel people have to do X DPS (4k?), ask them if they think they can pull their weight. I like to ask people if they can follow directions, get on vent, and get out of the stupid.
  • You may get responses like the one I give on my alts: My dps is a little lower than what you're asking but I follow directions well and don't stand in the fire.
  • Gearscore is a fallacy. Just because someone has gear doesn't make them good. Check for gems / enchants. You can put gear on a bad, they'll still be a bad. A good player will do decently regardless. Give your friendly neighborhood underdog a chance, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Hit the Looking for Group channel / Trade:
  • Fill out your tanks and healers first. They will be the hardest to find, trying to get different classes of each type is ideal but not always necessary.
  • Examine what you still need. Are you missing a class? Ask for it.
  • Send out a call saying you're seeking what you need last.
  • Don't be afraid to start a few short if after asking a few times you get no nibbles. If you're missing 2 or 3 dps in a 25 man, it's not really a huge deal. People will ask, "Is that spot taken? I have a friend."
Getting Started:
Introductions, Behavior Expectations, and Raid Rules:
  • Once everyone is in the instance, spam your voice chat macro. Either you or someone you've delegated should count your vent channel to count everyone.
  • You could say on your voice chat, "Click no please" and do a ready check. Call out people who said yes, often times it's just "I wasn't paying attention" and you can just say "hey, pay attention". Make people who actually aren't on voice get on voice.
  • If someone refuses without good reason (such as being deaf), boot them. "No vent no loot."

  • Introduce yourself (outloud and in text, if you've written stuff out in macros, you can use those). "Hi, I'm X, I'll be your raid leader and master looter tonight. If at any time you have questions or comments feel free to send me a tell. I might not respond immediately but I do run an addon that saves all the tells for me to read and respond to."
  • Explain expected behaviors and the purpose of the run, "We're here to kill bosses, loot epics, and have a good time regardless of guild tag. Please leave the attitude and drama at the door. No spamming meters ore gearscores please, I'm running a World of Logs parse and would be happy to give you a link so you can see how you did after the run." "You're free to talk on vent during trash pulls but please hush during loot cycle, when I'm explaining boss fights, and when the tanks need to communicate." "We don't play the blame game here. Please refrain." "Please don't do fake rolls, they make my job really hard." If you're paranoid you may screenshot it all.
  • Explain the loot rules and let people know if they don't agree they're welcome to leave with no hard feelings.
  • Set your tank windows in oRA2, set your main assists, set them in the basic wow interface too, and put lucky charms on the tanks for the people using healbot.
  • Say who your tanks and who are people you should assist off of are.
  • Put lucky charms on people you know will be in the right place at the right time.
Once you've done your speech and setup then you're ready to begin.

  • Explain the fight as simply as possible. ("Kill boss, kill adds, kill boss, kill adds, get out of the fire, win." ) If you have a friend in raid who's good at targeting adds to die (Snowbolds in northrend beasts) tell everyone to assist off of them.
  • Warn people there may not be a wipe or two.
  • Give healing assignments.
  • Say things like, "If you don't know where to go, stand near _."
  • Engage the boss.
  • If you can, call out the names of people who need heals or dps to help them. Being bonespiked or having a snowbold on them, if you see someone standing in the stupid, very calmly say "Hey _ you're standing in the fire, move."
  • If things go awry, stay calm. It's up to no you to keep a cool head no matter what.
  • If you wipe, laugh it off. "Let's try this again with feeling and more add killing and less standing in the fire this time!" "Hahaha now that we have that out of our system let's try it again!"
Distribute Loot:
  • Distribute your loot using the method detailed earlier and follow your own rules. You must stick to your word, your credibility is on the line.
  • If someone wins multiple things you may consider asking them if they'd graciously pass to the next person. Most people can be fair, especially when treated fairly and positively.
  • If there's a dispute or question about loot, say you'll go back to it and move on to the next item then go back to the trouble item.
  • Do a countdown, if people don't respond within countdown time, they don't get to have a chance at loot. Doing /rw Itemlink Roll. (wait a while) /rw 3 /rw 2 / rw1
  • If you're doing rolls, say who you see as the highest roll. People will let you know if there's a higher roll you missed.
  • I use the Comix addon which will make a Phoenix Wright-esque "OBJECTION" sound, word bubble thing on my screen if someone objects. My raiders can /object at me to get my attention and say privately to me, "That dagger has expertise on it, it's no good for a hunter."
When the raid is done:
  • Thank people for attending.
  • Invite them to join your channel if they'd like to attend again.
  • If you have to call it because people are leaving because of wipes / being tired, say sorry to everyone. Consider coming back the next day.
  • If you've offered to help with gems / enchants, say where you'll be and follow through.
  • If someone wasn't doing well and seem to be confused on gear/gems/enchants/etc consider investing some time on them after the raid. I strongly encourage it, you can turn non-raiders into raiders with a little guidance. You may want to read this if you're proceeding with helping confused players.
  • Be firm.
  • Be fair.
  • Be honest.
  • Be patient.
  • Be generous.
  • Lead by example.
  • Give second chances.
  • Let bygones be bygones.
  • Let people know where they stand.
  • Be Positive - Rather than yelling at people for getting knocked into the whelp cave, say "hey, stand on _ symbol if you don't know where to go." People respond better to positivity than negativity.
  • Give people a chance to save face and attempt correct issues in private. (If they make a public stink after you've tried conflict resolution in private, you may find it necessary to calmly put your foot down. Just don't run wild expressing your irritation)

  • Yell.
  • Blame.
  • Shame.
  • Get angry.
  • Change your own loot rules in the middle of the run.

Good luck and happy raiding!

Altoholic's Pug Raid Loot Systems

I've used a few different loot system variations with my pug raids.

How Altoholic Handles...

People are allowed to acquire BOEs for their main spec only. If there is no one who needs the items, they go into the raid bank. Banked items are not sold but are given out for free to people who can use them later on regardless of guild tag.

If you're a cool, nice, skilled but ungeared person and you happen to wind up grouped with Altoholic or associates, you might find yourself being handed phat loot just because you deserve a reward for being awesome.

One recipient of such sharing was later revealed to be the alt of a guild leader on the server US-Misha who thanked us for our help and offered to pay us back, which I declined. In return, he offered an open ended invite to his guild, which I won't take because I love my server and my guild, but telling someone they're always welcome in your home is kind and meaningfulgesture. The player was a resto druid in blues and greens, a fresh 80, healed me through a timed HCoS run without issue. This was before the new LFG system and easy triumph badges.

While watching them, I noticed them do things that indicate a smart, good player. A lot of them were little things that I'm not sure most players would notice. I noticed them because I have a resto druid as well as everything else, and I do the same things he was doing. An example of the things this player was doing was they stood with me in the consecrate during the gauntlet so the healing agro from their hots would just bring the mobs to me. It's common sense, but common sense isn't very common, and sometimes it separates a moron from a good player.

All the items given had been sitting in the raid bank for several months, they could have rotted there longer or they could have been used to really make someone's day. In the end, our random acts of kindness may wind up inspiring others to do the same.

Enchanting Materials:
Enchanting Materials go to the raid bank. The raid bank provides enchants to participants in raids who have won loot. This is considered payment for services rendered.

We also offer free rare quality gems to go in said gear. We'd offer epic but we don't have huge supplies. We will trade an epic for an eternal of the type required to transmute rare to epic if we have an epic gem in stock.

People respond very positively to this, a lot of them are like, "Wow. That's really generous."

It's a good boost to reputation.

As usual, we don't sell enchanting mats gained from raids.

Patterns are open rolled but must be learned immediately. If no one can learn a pattern it goes in the raid bank and will be given to someone who can learn it. These are not sold.

Other Things:
Crusader Orbs, Runed Orbs, etc are opened for random rolls when I'm in open groups. If it's a mostly internal group we simply bank them. If the items are banked they're used to craft people gear... for free.

"Loot System" - Carriers and Soaks
One of the loot systems I employ uses /random 100 with main spec coming before offspec, with a few exceptions.

  • You are considered the spec you are invited as with a few exceptions.
  • In essence, if you are invited as DPS and you try to roll against tanks on tank loot claiming your main spec is tank isn't acceptable.
  • The exception is if someone who wants to come as DPS to get gear for their offset and we ask them to run their main spec (tank/heals) to make the raid work.
  • If you're running as an offset, that set is considered your main set and you won't be able to roll against main set healers against healing loots if you're DPS. People have to choose wisely.

There are people who need gear. They wind up soaking it up, possibly winning many items in one run and getting geared out pretty fast.

There are raiders who have almost everything and are just coming along to get that one special piece they really want. These people are carrying the raid and we appreciate them a lot. I welcome them to express to me that they're in the raid for a particular item they really really want.

If it drops, I ask the people who have been soaking to graciously pass the item to the carrier. Typically they do and the people who are helping carry the raid have a really good shot at that item they really want (though sometimes more than one carrier wants something, but a 50% chance is better than a 10% chance).

Everyone gets what they want. Everyone's happy. The system works.

The biggest downside is that sometimes someone might get lucky and get more stuff than others.

"Loot System" - Categorized Loots
I use a loot system for TotC25 that splits loot into categories and operates under more of a 'one phat loot' type of style... with a big of luck.

Unlike a normal one phat loot, it's possible to win more than once and you don't screw yourself out of that awesome trinket or weapon that drops later in the instance if you take something that's only good for you and would otherwise just be sharded.

The Loot Categories are:
[Armor] - Armor and Armor Tokens, Shields, Offhands.
[Weapons] - Weapons, wands, maces, etc.
[Bling] - Rings, Necklaces, Trinkets, Cloaks

You roll 100.
When you win an item of that category you reduce your roll by X number.
I chose 25, so if you've won something you roll out of 75. Then 50. Then 25. If you've won four items of a category type you can't roll anymore on that. :p

It's possible to beat other people out with a roll of 75 if everyone rolls real low (bad luck) and you don't.

You can win a weapon, a ring, and a piece of armor before you reduce your rolls.

The advantage of doing this instead of "one phat loot" makes it so people who've already won something don't just leave because they have no hope of getting anything else.

Other Rules:
In both systems, the loot master has final say on everything. This assures that people get loot that's good for them. No spirit for paladins unless no one else wants it, no expertise for hunters, etc.

Trying to sell loot to others will result in removal/blacklisting.

People who cause loot drama typically aren't invited back. If someone is a jackass, they may forefit their right to loot.

In some cases, I may demand certain things for people to be eligible for loot, but they're pretty rare and exist to motivate people to do things like prevent a wipe.

"No vent no loot." "If you don't kick on faction champions you get no loot." "If you die to the stupid, no loot."

Good luck and happy raiding.

Altoholic's Guide to giving someone "The Talk"

So you just got out of running a PUG raid... and there was this guy or girl with crap that isn't gemmed or enchanted. He or she won an item that would have been great for one of your regulars and the regulars are pretty upset.

You gave it to them because you follow through with your loot rules. The person seems nice enough but they haven't got a clue. You've decided to try talking to them, that they just mind wind up being ok if someone actually pointed them in the right direction.

You've got your clue-by-four clenched in your fist.
You send them a tell.

The Approach:
Approach the clueless person with a "Can I help you with these problems you're having" approach rather than attacking them. If someone feels they're being attacked they're going to put up a defensive wall and not listen (and thusly continue to be bad).

Do: Hey, I saw you were having some trouble with the raid today, could I talk to you about it and see if I can't help you out?
Don't: You really sucked in raid. L2Enchant your gear, scrub.

Private Help:
Sit down and camly talk to the person, privately. No shaming, no insults. Just helping and explaining.

Pay close attention to their responses, if they're like "fuck you, it's my 15 dollars, rar" don't bother. If the person is actually open to information, they're worth spending time and resources on.

If they don't have gems/enchants, encourage them to get them. I often sit down and provide rare gems for people. I have 100+ of each type of rare gem and tons of enchanting mats laying around gathering dust.

Ask them questions: Are you hit capped?
If they say they don't know, tell them what the cap is. Tell them if they're not at cap they should get some stuff (ench/gems) targeted towards hit.

Offer them gem/enchant/spec advice or ask someone in your circle of friends who's good at the class to come down and calmly help you.

Help them with spec/rotation/etc. Tell them about resources and tools that can help them better their gameplay. (Elitist Jerks, class blogs, tankspot videos, power auras, dbm, decursive, etc.)

Do a before and after on a target dummy. Praise an immediate improvement.

Once you've put them on the right track, leave them with a few thoughts.

The Language of Gear:
Use conflict resluiton speech and tell them they should keep their gear gemmed and enchanted.

Say, "when you don't do ___ it makes people feel like ____, and this upsets them."

You can check out this blog entry for a way of how to explain how people feel when others don't enchant their stuff.

In Closing:
Congratulations. You've just put a clueless player that may have been considered on the path to being a good raider.

In a few months you might just find the person you helped having a great time raiding because you were willing to spend a little time to point them in the right direction.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Silly Psychological Personality Types

I've always thought of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator as a silly fun pseudoscience not really to be taken seriously. The fact that my test results have varied wildly over the years, including getting tied scores on several occasions has definitely added to that viewpoint.

Recent observations of my guildlings indicate they don't quite understand my methods, my thinking, and why I lead and do what I do, and my timing in doing so. I began writing a post that might share some insight into what is driving me to do what I do. Some of the ideas and ethics I have as a leader would be things I'd require people who'd be formal officers to follow.

In compiling my post I went back and revisited my very first MBTI result, a result I got when I was in a 'leadership' class in high school, which was INTJ. I was one of the only introverts in the class of about 60, after all it was leadership training for class officers and club leaders.

I skimmed the wikipedia page on INTJ and noticed the Keirsey Temperament designation of "Mastermind" which immediately invoked images of Pinky and the Brain in my nerdy pop-culture flooded brain. I went and read the article and found it to be a pretty eerie resemblance.

The idea of being the reluctant leader, the person who steps up to the plate when a leader is needed and no one else will step up, has always been how I am. The mastermind's feature of taking up leadership when the current leaders are, well, doin' it wrong. My experiences in being part of WOW guilds run by others is that most leaders are doing it wrong, they make the same mistakes over and over again and ignore people saying, "Hey, don't do that, watch out for this". I tire of people making the same mistakes over and over again and that's probably why I've stepped up to the plate.

Later MBTI tests have resulted in ties of INTJ and INFJ. The difference is if someone values hard thought or personal consideration. The world is not black and white, both people and logic matter, isn't that a logical conclusion. (You see what I did there.)

More recently, I've been ESTJ and just today ENTJ. I'm like WTF Mate?

I went back and read through things again and went back and paid more attention to the INTJ article, particularly to the cognitive functions, particularly the shadow functions.

My conclusion is that I'm INTJ "Mastermind" personality, I'm currently operating as 'leader' and as part of getting the job done I operate as other personality types. I'm putting on and taking off hats as needed to. I wear the INFJ "Counselor", ENTJ "Fieldmarshal", and ESTJ "Supervisor" hats as needed.

With this theory at least it's sensible silly psudoscience.

I did see something in INTJ that reminded me of the writings of a certain goblin.
"They generally withhold strong emotion and do not like to waste time with what they consider irrational social rituals. This may cause non-INTJs to perceive them as distant and reserved."

Regardless, I may have to make my vent phonetic, "Are you pondering what I'm pondering?"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Heroics Gone Fabulous!

In a bout of late night insanity, my tank and I decided that we'd go and run a heroic... in our tier 2, Judgement, the most awesome looking armor set evar in wow, considered the iconic gear of Paladins.

With a little bit of enchanting, gemming, trinket juggling, and gear swapping we managed to make it happen. The tank flasked and I elixired up and we both used buff food for the duration of the instance to help with the 'gear curve'. I opted to use a few more of my normal pieces and a few less Judgement to help compensate the tank's slight drop in effective health and avoidance. We both ran with 4 pieces.

After we were done we went and installed the darnfangled Gearscore to see what it said about us:

Before Awesomization:
My Gearscore: 5505
My Average iLevel: 247
Tank's Gearscore: 5362
Tank's Average iLevel: 244

After Awesomeization:
My Gearscore: 4024
My Average iLevel: 200
Tank's Gearscore: 3796
Tank's Average iLevel: 198

In essence, we put ourselves to be right at about the right level to do heroics.

We queued ourselves for a Nexus and three unlucky individuals (one from Zul'jin, one from Shattered Hand, and one from Warsong) were stuck with us. We did not explain why we were in the gear, we said very little, and no one asked WTF. They may have inspected us and found some other gear that indicated we were actually raiders with some experience. I found myself being on a heightened level of awareness of stuff going on around me, the mistakes of other players.

The rogue was impatient, kept running off ahead to pull. He was in some guild on Warsong, my addon that lets me see people's ranks in guilds showed me he had an alt rank and a lot of the text related to his guild was Brazilian. English skills were probably lacking. I noticed the rogue not kick a near dead dragonkin that he was attacking when it tried to heal. Said dragonkin healed almost all the way up. Come on, even I can time that kick on my alt. Fail. The rogue also had a habit of attacking the mob that wasn't the tank's focus. The tank and I both took a moment to switch up our hand of salv macros for the occasion.

The elemental shaman was wearing some Naxx gear and BOE gear. Probably a freshish 80, I figured he knew some of his class (he did have a tremor totem down when appropriate) but might make some novice mistakes (like occasionally shooting the wrong target or doing that AOE knockback and sending things away from the tank).

The shadowpriest was no trouble at all. I did notice her apply PW:S to herself, though I stopped paying attention to my grid indicator. I'm not sure if she stopped bothering when she realized the heroic was going to go OK or if she was doing it the whole time.

The first and second boss went without a hitch.

The third boss we ran into people not switching to the sparky portals, which made the fight slightly annoying to heal.

At that point the rogue got testy and started running ahead and attempting to TOT+FOK stuff onto the tank (but forgetting the TOT before doing so).

By the time we were heading up to the final boss, the rogue ran off into the next room and tried to kill one of the adds. We dillydallied on a piece of trash just to piss the rogue off before pressing on. The rogue died and the add came to us. Much to the rogue's dismay, we handled the add and resurrected the rogue.

I announced I needed to drink before we engaged the boss but someone (probably the rogue) started the event when I was at 80%. The fight went fine and we won. Most of the party left without ceremony but the priest did thank us for the run. Tonight we may have given a few people a story to tell.

This last image has some photoshoppery: I edited out a large green number and the name of the party member I had selected. You can view the full version (1024x768) here, I may have to make it my wallpaper.

Gear Used:
Helm: Judgement Helm (iLevel 232) ~ 37 sta + 20 def enchant ~ 20 def 5% block meta ~ 10 dodge 10 def gem
Neck: Nexus War Champion Beads (iLevel 226) ~ 10 dodge 10 def gem
Shoulders: Judgement Spaulders (iLevel 76) ~ 20 dodge 15 def shoulder enchant (sons of hodir exalted)
Back: Pride of the Demon Lord (iLevel 245) ~ 16 def enchant
Chest: Judgement Breastplate (iLevel 76) ~ 22 def enchant
Wrists: Armguards of the Shield Maiden (iLevel 245) ~ 40 sta enchant
Hands: Judgement Gauntlets (iLevel 76) ~ Armsman (2% theat + 10 parry)
Waist: Shieldwarder Girdle (iLevel 226) ~ 51 sta JC gem
Legs: Judgement Legplates (iLevel 76) ~ 55 sta 22 agi (epic leg armor kit)
Feet: Dawnbreaker Sabatons (iLevel 245) ~ 30 sta ~ 22 sta enchant
Ring 1: Harbinger's Bone Band (iLevel 264) ~ 30 sta
Ring 2: Ashen Band of Greater Courage (iLevel 259)
Trinket 1: Figurine - Monarch Crab (iLevel 200) ~ 51 sta ~ 34 def
Trinket 2: Bubbling Brightbrew Charm (iLevel 200)
Main Hand: Bonebreaker Scepter (iLevel 251) ~ Bladeward
Offhand: Royal Crest of Lordaeron (iLevel 200) ~ 20 def enchant
Libram: Libram of the Eternal Tower (iLevel 264)

Me (Healer):
Helm: Liadrin's Headpiece of Trimph (iLevel 245) ~ 21 int + Mana Restore Chance ~ 34 int ~ 30 SP 20 Crit
Neck: Arcane Loops of Anger (iLevel 232)
Shoulders: Judgement Spaulders (iLevel 76) ~ 24 spellpower 15 crit
Back: Kharmaa's Shroud of Hope (iLevel 136) ~ 23 haste
Chest: Judgement Breastplate (iLevel 76) ~ 8 to stats
Wrists: Sunforged Bracers (iLevel 245) ~ 20 int ~ 16 int enchant
Hands: Judgement Gauntlets (iLevel 76) ~ 28 spellpower
Belt: Belt of the Lonely Noble (iLevel 264) ~ 20 int x3
Legs: Judgement Legplates (iLevel 76) ~ 50 spellpower + 30 stam
Feet: Protectors of Life (iLevel 264) ~ 10 to stats ~ 20 int ~ Nitro Boots (24 crit)
Ring 1: Ashen Band of Unmatched Wisdom (iLevel 268)
Ring 2: Heartmender Circle (iLevel 245)
Trinket 1: Solace of the Fallen (iLevel 245)
Trinket 2: Talisman of Resurgence (iLevel 245)
Weapon: Quel'Delar, Lens of the Mind (iLevel 251) ~ 63 Spellpower
Offhand: Bastion of Resolve (iLevel 245) ~ 25 int enchant
Libram: Libram of Renewal (iLevel 200)

There will probably be more of this to come.

Heroics are boring, but at least we can put ourselves on their gear level and look awesome (and maybe raise a few eyebrows) while doing it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Gearscore Fallacy

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?

Chronicles of the Tiny Tank

I'm still working on gearing out my tiny DK for tanking.

I got to tank a Totc10 for my guild, where we were trying to get a few people who could use the upgrades in to the raid so they can get them. We attempted to bring one 'baby tank' to each raid to tank beside one of our main tanks. I decided to save my main for a later run that night (which wound up not happening).

I took a spike on the first boss of Northrend Beasts and hit my oh-shit buttons. I worried that my gear wasn't enough but I did wind up surviving and we downed Beasts.

I handled the adds on Lord J, which was mostly easy except for one of the infernal volcanoes which I had trouble rounding them all up. No one died, so it's all good.

The faction champs were interesting, we had a horrible combination, one that would cockblock us back when we were trying it in 10 mans with our first team. But with three DKs we wound up turning out ok. I tried my hardest to keep the ret paladin and the warrior controlled. My taunts were on cooldown the entire time.

The twins went fine, a few of us got the salt and pepper achievement (the others already had it).

I handled the adds on Anub and it went without a hitch except for one of the DKs blew their army of the dead and it taunted one of adds which proceeded to go underground. We hit phase 3 and I decided if I couldn't beat them I should join them. My army dealt with the add when it came back up and we killed the boss.

I got boots and a nice weapon.

Hit a random heroic after that and wound up tanking for two horrible mages in some raiding guild from Warsong (a server which seems to be the unofficial Brazilian server). It went far less smoothly than the hour TotC10 I tanked. The first pull happened and the mages opened up before I could gather all the mobs solidly. One of them screamed at me and told me to turn frost presence on (it was).

Warsong has a few strong progression guilds but most players from Warsong I've met are horrible in both play and attitude. They're hotshot dps who do not display discipline that would be expected from good raiders. Oddly enough, the hotshot bads usually come from lower ranked raiding guilds, while the few people from Warsong's top 3 guilds have been amazingly polite and demonstrated proper raid discipline. All I can figure is the hotshots are wannabes that want to prove themselves, people that couldn't cut it for the top guilds so they're angry and bitter and in a lesser guild. It might have been their attitudes.

The mages wound up dying a lot, if they pulled something instead of me I let them die they taunted the mobs back before they killed the healer. If they were single target attacking the wrong target, I let them get beaten on by that target.

Counter to this, I wound up in a heroic HoL last night with a group of raiders from assorted servers. The DPS was wonderful, the instance was cleared in record time, agro pulling from others was minimal, I pulled a pack and the first boss at the same time after the healer gave me a go-ahead. Our healer? It was a druid in some sort of caster gear. The healer a moonkin and helped DPS when heals weren't needed. I definitely want to tank more groups like this.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Paws off, bub!

I'm going to now take a moment to talk about something completely different.

Long long ago in a world far far away, I used to RP. I used to RP a lot (and still do on occasion, but not as much). From the place I roleplayed I learn a lot about fairness, character development, and other good things. Some of the things I brought with me to the RP server I play on stem from my roleplay elsewhere and are concepts that would possibly be beneficial for the RP community as a whole to consider.

Some Acronyms
IC - In Character
OOC - Out of Character
ICA = ICC - In Character Actions yield In Character Consequences

IC and OOC
In Character is when you are pretending to be your character. Consider your character to be a completely different person from you. They may share one or two elements that make you who you are, but they may have completely different likes, dislikes, goals, and ethnics.

Out of Character is you, the player.

It's important to remember that you are not your character and your character is not you. Your character can completely hate another character but you could be best friends with that character's player.

I saw players driven off of the server I'm on because people didn't like those people's characters, thought the were annoying and therefore thought the people behind the mask were annoying. These people also assumed any time a male and female character were talking that the players were a couple and gossip flew like wild. This is part of why I shun most of the RP community on the server I play.

Thou Shall Not Control Another Person's Character!
I hate when people emote or write RSPs saying that their character is amazing and using language like "you find yourself attracted to her." No! Stop! Don't do that.

As a RPer, you know your character better than anyone else. Just because someone emotes that you fall madly in love with their sexiness doesn't mean you have to play along. You can disregard it and play your character the way they'd actually react. Maybe your character has a different idea of beauty, maybe he or she only has eyes for one person and no others are even attractive to them.

If you don't go along with something, you simply don't consent to it, and you don't have to.
There's nothing wrong with this. (You can handle people breaking canon the same way.)

You should not make major changes to others' characters without permission.
If someone poses something that would cause a major change to your character, you don't have to play along. Someone trying to use their character's abilities to share the thoughts of a character I've played as silent for the past twenty months would cheapen and potentially break the character. My character's silence is a major character hook, removing it is something that will happen very slowly and be extremely meaningful to those who've been following his story since the beginning.

Major changes should be meaningful for the character, the player, and all involved in the storyline. Some new person who's never played with your character suddenly forcing a major change will receive very little meaningful appreciation for stuff you've been slowly building up to for months or even years.

Don't acknowledge it, or politely comment (Hey. I'd appreciate if you didn't do that, it'd change my character and I want that change to be really meaningful). (RPers on the other place I roleplay declare, "I do not consent!" Several players from that other place raid with me, so the declaration is a meme in our vent server.)

Every character deserves his or her fair due.
It's polite to pause after making a pose that you're leaving a scene to get any posts from people before you go on your way. (If you really have to go due to IRL or a raid, say so OOCly so people know.) A character might have something to say or may try to stop your character from departing.

Someone was ICly spying on my hunter, paladin, and others in Silvermoon while we sat on a park bench. The hunter, in his paranoia, notices the spy and I emote that he does so. I emote my character getting up and walking towards the spy. Think HoR style walking forward with purpose. The spy moved his character without any emote and ran the character away.

I was denied chance to say that my character bolted after, or that, when seeing the spy tried to run, he readied his bow and attempted to shoot the spy in the shoulder with a wyvern sting, something that is completely within my characters' scope and ability to do.

I attempted to find the player again, reasoning that my hunter has good tracking skills, but I couldn't find the player, who zipped off into hiding or kept running. Again, my character was not given his fair due. What's worse is the other player had an opprotunity to actually interact with others and ran from it.

I gave up and returned to my RP, eventually the spy came back and it was a total repeat. This time I OOCly scolded the other player about RP form and my hunter managed to catch him by the arm. The hunter, having gone into his Hyde state, actually spoke to the spy, very darkly and seriously. He asked why the spy was spying and told him to stop before letting the spy run away.

In Character Actions yield (fair) In Character Consequences.
If my character gets up in your characters' space, I expect my character to get shoved away.

Don't pose something if you are unprepared for the consequences.
Don't go overboard with consequences.

Someone spilling their drink on your new boots isn't something that warrants killing another person's character. (And killing someone else's character should get you jailed / killed by the lolnpc guards in most towns as a consequence for that action, so it's a real bad idea.)

It's not about you, it's about us!
Roleplay is a multi-writer story. Everyone's characters are important. Roleplay isn't the you show, your character is not the only character, the hero, and probably won't be the center of attention all the time. Consider writing a novel about your character if you want it to be the sole center of attention.

Take some time to give other players' characters some attention too. Learn about someone else's story. This will make your collective time more fun and more interesting!

Be most Excellent to each other!
Behind each and every little avatar on your screen is a real person with real feelings. It's easy to forget this sometimes but do try to be decent to each other OOCly and don't forget that others are people too.

Remember, Roleplay is for fun!
In the end, it's just a game. This is for fun. Don't take everything so seriously.

Don't hang yourself on the tree of roleplaying. If you wind up in a situation that makes you unhappy, work with others OOCly to get out of it.

Roleplay can and does cause chemicals in our bodies to surge. Stuff that happens in your RP can make you really feel sad or happy or excited. This is normal, if it starts to have a negative impact you in meatspace you should consider taking a break.

Off the soapbox.
And that's it for my soapboxing for now. Have fun and happy gaming.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Shared Topic - After Arthas

This is a shared topic from Blog Azeroth.

What happens to the world of Azeroth after Arthas falls? What do you think happens to people, factions, etc. What do my characters think happen next? How do I feel?

What I think?
I always hated Arthas. From the moment I played him in the human campaign I hated the character. He was lawful stupid and extremely whiny (and I personally think he's a Stu right up there with Varian and Garrosh), I actually cheated playing through the Undead campaign of Warcraft III because I didn't want to deal with him anymore. I got to the Horde campaign of Warcraft III and had to stop in fear of having the horde ruined to me.

I'm looking forward to kicking Arthas' ass. It'll be great. Finally we'll be able to move onto other storylines instead of the one centered around a whiny emoprince.

My characters?
What my characters think, however, is something completely different. I do play on a RP server and I have put some thought into my characters and their feelings.

My Paladin, my main character, is mild-mannered. He does what he does, the guild I run only pseudo-exists ICly, they're not terribly strictly IC, though some of us RP sometimes. The paladin would likely view it as all in a day's work. There'd be little reveling, simply moving on to the next issue at hand. He's more concerned with the care and protecting of those under his watch. The fall of Arthas is not nearly as important to the paladin as, say, the Sunwell related storyline was, where it was implied that the Blood Knights were the turkey all along, and that their 'stealing' of the light was wanted / intended.

My Deathknights were written as a pair of priests, brothers, members of the Argent Dawn who died in the original Naxx back when it was in the Plaguelands. They will probably find themselves feeling a bit more outgoing, no longer having the weight of the past on their shoulders, getting closure by knowing the force that brought them back and corrupted them. They'll probably go on pretending to be priests on a righteous path, but using their Deathknight skills to do good instead of evil.

Most of my other characters are pretty indifferent with the exception of one, my hunter.

My hunter being a raiding character actually has a good chance of actually seeing Arthas fall in one of our alt runs. He's a character who, for the most part, does not speak at all. I've been playing the silent act with him since late April of 2008 when I created him. He was leveled without having him ever speak outloud ICly or OOCly. I spoke outloud on him in a raid once due to fail (but raids are ooc so it doesn't count) and in three situations where I felt it necessary for him to speak... proving that he can but chooses not to.

One of those occasions the little hunter has spoken was driven by my own OOC ire. When someone said "Oh? He doesn't talk? I'll just read his mind." Having someone read his mind would have really cheapened the whole character being silent. I've spent twenty months without speaking on this character, I wasn't about to cooperate with someone demanding I tell them what's going on in my characters head, especially not a Death Knight. I could see a priest, but not a DK. I don't consent to this random player I don't even know casually forcing a major change to my character as if it were nothing. (WOW Rpers could benefit from adopting Furcadia's Consent Rule.)

The hunter witnessed first hand the razing of Silvermoon as a young elfthing hiding in a tree. He saw the terrible massacre, the carnage, and it broke him inside. He spends some of his time as a mentally regressed coward, he goes between being afraid of undead and something snapping inside of him, causing him to rise up to kick them in the face. It's like Jekyll and Hyde. Cowering hunter hidden badass. So my hunter looked this DK right in the face and very softly spoke words akin to, "If you get in my head I'm going to rip your throat out."

By facing off against Arthas, and seeing him defeated, my hunter shall have faced the source of his greatest fears, the leader of the things that ruined him and shattered him. For just a few moments, he'll go from being a coward trying to fix himself to a pinnacle of badass bravery.

I foresee that in the aftermath he'll heal some from his old mental wounds, that his Jekyll and Hyde sides may merge to form a single being, that he'll go from being a coward to being normal. Most importantly, the silent character may finally speak in moments other than a handful of dark critical ones where something absolutely must be said. The hunter might just come out of his shell.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

More Pug Booting

And now, I give you the tale of two pugs... booted.
Warning: This article contains the word 'bitch', if you are offended by said word do not read this article.

The DPS Warrior in HFoS
HFoS - I accidentally queued us up for a random heroic instead of normal FoS and wound up in HFoS on my tiny DK tank. I'm trying to get a happy ball on a stick. The character has an average iLevel of 211, gear isn't great but is good enough for most heroics, and I wouldn't have gotten HFoS if WOW's internal gear thing didn't think I had enough gear / experience.

Immediately the warrior starts in with a "pfft good luck holding agro over me" type of dealio. In the first two pulls or so, you know the ones with the four or five casters that don't all like to come together and are not terribly easy to round up for AOE tanking? He runs into those and pulls agro before I've managed to round them all up. I taunt and grab things as I can, he winds up attacking a target that I wasn't attacking (assist fail) and died.

The warrior complained and told me to go DPS and he'd tank. I told him I didn't have a DPS spec. He told me to go get one. Myself or my guildlings told him to learn to assist. As we ran back I inspected him and noted his TotC25 weapon and asked how much he paid for it. He can't really be a raider, he lacks the discipline. He's probably in triumph welfare epics and went to a GDKP run or something.

I did go on a little rant about DPS warriors because it seems every DPS warrior except for the ones in my guild have the same problem: Charge in and aoe. Die. Complain about how my character isn't geared enough (most heroics are designed for people in blues). Demand I DPS because they lack discipline.

I go to make another pull and he runs in and aoes, gets agro on things, and I decide not to pick them up immediately. I was content on letting him die but hte healer healed him, got agro, got gibbed, and we wiped.

The healer left and the douche warrior wound up party lead. He refused to queue us for a new healer until I changed to a DPS spec or left or something. He was holding the party hostage, trying to force us to submit to his bad self. We had six minutes left before we could vote kick.

I told him, "I have all night."

He said he'd go out and farm/do dailies while we were waiting for me to submit to his whims and ported out. Apparently when you port out you lose your immunity to vote-kicking and I called for a vote kick. It passed. I got lead, queued us up, we got a new healer and DPS and the rest of the run was smooth.

I got screenshots of this and have considered sending it to Gevlon for his mean guy of the week thing but I think my rhetorical grumbling about DPS warriors lacking tank respect would be considered a no-no to his rules for the thing.

The rogue who cried bitch!
So my guildlings wanted to run TotC25 last night, so cats were herded internally and a few pugs from elsewhere were herded and we threw it together.

There was a rogue one of our new recruits swore was horrible, the new recruit being an ex-guildmate of this guy. A rogue who refused to kick in a 10 man with us on The Twin Vs.

For whatever reason we kept him, I think some of his other guildmates were good and the folks who put the run together thought if we booted him the rest of his guildlings would go and then we'd have to find more DPS. Pugging DPS isn't hard, but doing so at 1am can be challenging.

I was thrown leader, explained the usual things, and he kept complaining. Wanting to go go go, give him buffs, blah blah blah. He managed to piss off several of the natives but for the most part we paid it no mind and went about killing bosses and looting epics.

We got to Anub, did our thing, and wiped at about 3% to an enrage. The trouble rogue wasn't switching targets when I called everyone to switch. I said, "If you're still on the boss you're wrong. You, _, get on the adds." He responded with, "I'm _, I'm never wrong."

We had lost a few people to the stupid, which hurt our DPS, which in turn made it so we couldn't down the boss. I did my usual, "Let's do it again with feeling this time.. and less dying to stupid."

This rogue then sent me a tell to tell me how his guild does it. He said we shoud bloodlust before the submerge... This made little sense to me because if you blow bloodlust three seconds before he goes under and there's not enough deeps on him to take him into P3 then you waste your BL.

I questioned this suggestion and he called me a bitch then went on to tell me that I shouldn't argue with him and so on. Meanwhile everyone else is pestering me to pull. I pull up my handy WIM log and copy-paste what he said in guild.

Now, I can go from zero to bitch in .5 seconds but I wasn't really trying to be a bitch to the guy to begin with. His suggestion seemed illogical and I was like, "Dude, wha?" If I was being a bitch to him, he'd know it.

The AA were pretty pissed at him speaking to me that way and wanted to boot him, said we could 24 man it. I said no, that booting him would make his guildmates leave pissed, and I just wanted to get the boss done.

I had an idea. I gave every member of AA assist in the raid and gave instructions: Boot him at 1%. I'm master looter so he can't ninja things.

We pulled, people didn't die to the stupid, at 1% someone booted him, the boss died, and I get a tell from him. He's saying stuff like, "Really? Wow." I responded with, "You wanted a bitch? You got one." The tells actually lead me to believe that he was amused by the booting and laughing.

Someone said we used him to kill the boss and booted him and asked why. I said that he called me a bitch in tells, and while I can be a bitch, I wasn't being one at the time. The rogue started talking in vent so I kickbanned him and distributed loot to the rightful winners regardless of guild tag.

By the time I was done with loot an officer from the guild was talking to me about him. She said he and one other were their guild's troublemakers, asked how they behaved and if they caused any trouble. I reported the shaman was well behaved but the rogue was misbehaving, but I dealt with it and could send her the log.

As it turns out, the officer had run with us in ICC25 on her alt hunter and had a positive experience. I told her he called me a bitch in tells, that it upset my guildlings, and that I allowed them to boot him. I told her it was a dick move but that he wanted a bitch so I gave him one. The consensus I got back was that it was a suitable (and kinda comedic) consequence for his behavior.

The rogue gave me an apology. The officer probably forced him it out of him. I accepted the apology and agreed to let bygones be bygones. I said, "Nice to meet you. Perhaps we'll meet again under better circumstances" and we went our separate ways.

I feel somewhat bad and immature for having him booted, but I really try hard to be nice, patient and respectful to everyone. My guildlings tell me that they think some people don't respect me and take advantage of my niceness. Sometimes actions yield consequences and sometimes one needs to put their foot down, and this may be an episode that rogue never forgets.

There has been no forum drama, so, all is well.

Let's talk about 'bitch', shall we?
The word "bitch" seems to be the word people fall back on whenever they're dealing with an assertive female in a leadership position. A "bitch" is strong and willful, not some submissive girlygirl with no backbone.

This is part of why I often pretend to be a guy:
A guy leading is a strong figure worthy of respect, a man's man.
A girl leading is a filthy bitch.

I wasn't terribly offended at being called a bitch, in fact it's a bit of a compliment, but I was annoyed he assumed I was being a bitch just because I wasn't agreeing with him.

I released my real inner bitch and after I did it I wanted to just blurt out "The bitch is back!"

Hopefully the message that I do have limits to what I'll put up with got across.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Shared Topic - Looking Back at Wrath

This is my response to a shared topic over at Blog Azeroth, though it strays from just my feelings from the beginning of wrath and goes on to tell how things started until now.

Very long storytime!

I went into Wrath with a pirate-named guild I was completely miserable with. I'd already been thinking about quitting and secretly had some friends help me charter a guild for myself on an alt just in case I wanted to move during a bout of the now former GL treating some of our raiders badly. Said raiders transfered off the server. At the time, there were no other options, it was raid with this one late night group, transfer, or don't raid.

It was unfortunate that at the time Wrath of the Lich King dropped I was in the middle of working six weeks of mandatory overtime. I escaped from work a few hours early the night Wrath dropped to collect my copy at the midnight release.

My roommate and I were some of the first DKs out of starting zone. I didn't tell anyone in my guild who my DKs were and spent that first night hiding, not wanting my guild leader, who had called the slot as DK in the guild, to know that I had a DK. (I actually beat my GL out of the DK area.) After that first night I banished myself back to overtime and spent two more weeks working and only playing minimally.

When I got my freedom back, several players had already gotten close to or had broken 80 and were acquiring achievements from running normal runs. I was somewhat discontent to be behind and left out. I turned off achievement spam and usually had guild chat turned off on my main chat tab. I was really unhappy in the guild and didn't want to read what people were saying.

I hit 80 on my two toons in good time and the day my Paladin hit 80 some old friends I did retro raids with took me into heroics. These players were already progressing through clearing Naxx25, their healers were burnt out, and they knew I was a good player.

Funny faces were made at me from guildmates after I got heroic gimmick achievements and geared rapidly that day. These friends took me to my first Naxx10 clear, making myself be one of if not the first person in my guild to clear Naxx. These friends were much better to me than my guildmates at the time. Sadly they xfered off the server when we had bad queues.

The next week the raid leader split the raid team into two ten man teams and I got stuck with the "b team" with a slow witted older holy priest who really just wasn't very good. We got further than the other team.

I went on said guild's first Naxx10 clear and two-healed it with a holy priest the next week. We wiped several times on KT--If I got iceblocked it was a wipe. The guild transitioned into 25 mans after that and thus began the long struggle.

The GL had asked people to nominate new officers and leads for the new expansion. I wanted to be Paladin class lead but the other holy paladin was already officer so I had no chance at that--but healing lead was a possibility. But honestly I'm a bit shy and I sometimes feel I think I'm a better healer than I really am. If I figured that if I was worthy, someone else would nominate me, no one did.

We wound up with the holy priest I two-healed Naxx10 with as our lead. She was a super nice and sugary older woman from the west coast and a fairly good healing priest. A cougar and an eskank who ingratiated herself with all the male members of the core. She insisted upon things like spammy res macros that say who you're resurrecting and giving us healing assignments in a channel. These assignments were horribly spammy, hard to read, and easy to forget. I opted to not res because if folks are concerned about who is ressing who they could use a mod for that.

On Heigan she did disease removal assignments based on party (hey, we have decursive, we don't need party assignments, just hit the little boxes). It was then that I lost all respect for her as a healing lead: She gave my druid friend an assignment to remove diseases from one of the groups. The druid swore at me in tells about the stupid healing lead and I pointed out that druids couldn't remove diseases and that we have decursive. She wasn't pleased with me.

I was assigned to beacon our Ret Paladin on trash so he wouldn't kill himself with seal of blood. At the time, beacon didn't transfer heals that weren't effective. I found people were sniping heals from me on my assigned tank and the poor Ret was dying as a result. I tried to talk to the healing lead about this but she didn't understand.

Meanwhile, I'd been pugging heroics on my hunter and came across people starting another guild that had playtimes that were a little earlier but still doable. They had offered me an invite to their guild, finding me (including my quirky puns and humor) to their liking, then I told them my main was in a bigger raiding guild. The offer still stood, but they weren't counting on actually getting me.

The derpy healing lead made a post on the guild forums, saying nice happy things about some of the healers (who also secretly hated her), saying snide remarks to me about begrudging sharing heal targets with other people (not understanding my issue with the ret dying due to other healers sniping), and telling my druid friend that she doesn't understand how to utilize him and that he makes he want to rip her hair out.

I can't follow a healing lead that knows less about the healing classes and how to utilize them than I do. This woman hadn't bothered so much as to even go look at wowwiki and learn the very basics about her healers. Assigning druids to remove diseases? REALLY?!?

I tried talking out the guild leader about her calling people out on the forums, and why she was behaving poorly for a leader, but he was unreceptive, probably because she had him by the balls. I had attempted to get into vent with the healing lead and talk like adults but she didn't want to.

I decided it was time to move on and played hookie for a Malygos raid. I didn't want to log in and gquit in the middle of a raid, I just wanted to see myself out with as little impact as possible. They wiped on Maly until 5am so I didn't get to pull the trigger and logged in logged early the next morning before work, looked around, saw five people online, most of whom I didn't know, and in and quoted Jerry Seinfeld, "But I don't want to be a pirate!" /gquit.

My druid friend gquit later that evening. Our former GL tried to get us to come back by trash talking me behind my back to the druid. He called me a "maverick" which I turned into a meme.

We began life in a new guild, the one who had opened an invite to me earlier. I did this against my gut feeling that said to go start my own guild. I figured I'd try being an Indian some more.


The new guild started out great, I made a lot of new friends, but eventually a girl returned to the server who was a level 70 holy paladin. She began trying to get all the tanks to help her level. She wanted to raid as holy despite us having three holy paladins already.

She made drama when my tank refused to help her and then when my GL broke up with his GF she started to e-date him and my tank was driven out of the guild by the guild leader. The e-skank was level 79.

My tank and I had made connections across the game, friends in top raiding guilds across the server. We did spend time hanging out with those outside friends too so the tank's moving on wasn't entirely detrimental. Those external friends would come in very handy later.

We started Ulduar on a low note, the person I enjoyed playing with and healing was gone, but I kept it together and healed my assigned tank on Razorscale but my heart wasn't in it.

My computer was somewhat laggy so I moved myself away from the rest of the raid to reduce the chance that I'd die to fire, and despite my tank being the last to die I was confronted by the guild leader about my "poor performance".

He was using his meter to look at how healers did. I'm fairly sure that my hanging out somewhat farther away from the rest of the group made me appear lower on the meters just by being out of range. He claimed I was inactive during the fights for long periods of time when in actuality I didn't stop casting the entire time I was up. (I even got complimented from the guest tank for doing an amazing job.)

He said I didn't cast as many flashes of light as the other paladins.
I told him that I use holy light and holy shock more than I use flashes of light and that he should probably use an online log parser instead of meters like World of Logs or WWS, as they're more accurate.

I was gkicked for not casting enough flashes of light. I said, "Sorry it didn't work out.", took a screenshot of our conversation and posted it.

I logged out of my character, onto an alt, powered up my other account, made an alt, transfered gl of my own guild to the alt, logged back to my main, ginvited myself, made myself leader. My druid buddy followed later, and the e-skank hit 80 and quickly replaced me.

Over the following days I got many tells from friends asking why I wasn't in guild anymore, and why my tank wasn't, and what was going on. I told no stories, I just gave them a link to see what happened and what was said. The general response was, "omg, what a jerk!"

The guild leader quit the game / guild a short while later and passed lead to an easily-worked up junior officer and in the week that followed my removal the guild bled out. The e-skank pillaged the guildbank on the way out.


My tank, the druid, and I embarked on our own journey. It was time for us to go our own way. The two have been amazing assets to the team. We began to collect new people and our tiny guild began to grow, I started setting up open Naxx10 runs. Our friends from top guilds clearing Ulduar already came along with us on our early runs.

It was about this time that an old friend from BC returned to the game. He had gotten me to co-lead 25 man open raids in BC on the server, this had been fairly successful. He was good at finding people so he got onboard. He had the confidence I didn't, to go out there and ask people, strangers, spam trade, and do things I don't feel comfortable with.

I started up a Naxx25 open raid that ran for a few weeks, he slowly began to help with recruiting. (He invited the eskank that had gotten involved with my previous guild which others didn't like at all, I politely asked her to leave.)

People didn't like the priest, who tried to be raid leader while yelling and being a jerk. The people who were regulars told me privately they didn't want to raid if he was leading. The priest was a good person deep down but was acting like a jerk and everyone, even his best friend, agreed.

He got further and further out of control. He became pretty abusive to me in tells, and I told him the kindest way possible that he needed to get help for his RL problems, that I knew there was a good person deep inside, and that he needed to find that person... then I booted him and stopped talking to him.

Reardless, he left us messages of positive support in our recruitment thread, and has since contacted me and told me how he took my advice, turned his life around, and is moving in a positive direction, that in the end I had been a positive influence in his life. He thanked me, for being a friend, for being patient of his badside and seeing his good side. It meant a lot.

We pushed on and acquired a lot of interesting personalities, some grew to be assets, others grew to be obnoxious, some went their separate ways, a few ex-members trash-talk us behind our backs.

We cleared Ulduar10.
We cleared TotC10, ran pugs for TotC25.
Now we're in Icecrown25 working on Lady D.

We may just hit critical mass and succeed.

And maybe, just maybe, with Cataclysm will come us starting on time and giving other groups and our critics a run for their money. Maybe...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Out of the fryingpan into the fail... kinda.

With great reluctance and immense stage fright, I herded 20+ members of AA, Altoholics, Not-So-Altoholics, Friends and Family and a few fillins into ICC25 for our first official 25 man raid.

We were missing three strong DPS.
  • One's net has been FUBAR. It should be fixed in a few days.
  • One's traveling and won't be back for a few more days.
  • One got deployed or shipped off to bootcamp suddenly.

After throwing ourselves at Marrowgar once to get a grip on the mechanics we did manage to hand him his ass with minimal casualties.

We then made four attempts on Lady Deathwhisper. There was a lot of downtime inbetween fights as I was trying to analyze and troubleshoot what to do next. I'm working towards reducing that downtime.

The farthest we got her was into Phase 2.

I called it, instructed everyone to do their homework, go watch a tankspot video, whatever so we can skull-fuck her when we resume.

At the end one of our guests, a friend of one of our new members' girlfriend, who had a highly distorted microphone, told us point blank that our DPS sucked. Our comic relief druid informed him that his mic sucked. The guildlings snickered and made light of the inappropriate comment in /g, which of course upset new member's girlfriend (thinking it was drama) which upset new member. I told everyone to cool it and let it go.

I spoke privately with him and let him know that such behavior was not appropriate conduct. He did give an apology, said that being nice about things never got anyone anywhere, that sometimes things need to be said and he didn't want to call anyone out. He did express respect for my patience and willingness to herd 25 people and did thank us for having him, but that some of our folks may want to get back to the basics and refresh their knowledge of their respective classes.

If anything, it's my fault for not expressing proper code of conduct to guests before we begin.

Maybe the comment will light fires under a few asses, though our native Lady of Lag (henceforth referred to as LoL) parroted agreement with the comment in /g from her rogue alt who, like her main, often does less dps than the tanks.

All things considered, it didn't go too badly.

  • For deathwhisper I need to do better healing assignments.
  • Melee dps was laying into the Adherents before the prot paladins could grab them and were getting roflstomped.
  • Setting up main assists for each side for melee and range would be good.
  • Starting everyone full throttle on the boss with a blood lust to start may help us get through the shield faster may greatly increase our chances of success. Why start people on the boss?
  • This would let the tanks call for DPS as needed when they have control of the mobs so people don't get roflstomped.
  • Tanks clearly communicating stuff like "Melee to left" "Range to back" "Range to right" may also reduce roflstomping. Even better. "Melee on Square, left" "Range on Circle, right."
  • I forget who go on Fanatics and who go on Adherents every frecking time. Assigning leaders for people to assist off of may make this easier, as the leaders only have to remember "Kill Adherents" and everyone assigned to assist off of them go, "Kill whatever Leader is killing".

I think we'll do ok once we get the execution right.

Agro at Lag
We did wind up going in to finish the ICC10 from last week. LoL was there and very patronizingly explained the fights to the few people who were filling in for those that were absent. One of the two people filling in was me, the other was the alt of our MT. We know the fights. We're only the raid leader and the tank. >:(

The LoL was doing poorly on one of her alts so our raider of that class attempted to help her out. The end result was one very discouraged A Team raider.

Mr. Raider suggested she go do some reading at places like Elitist Jerks, you know, to learn a bit more about her class. LoL vehemently refuses to research or learn about her classes, she's got five eighties, four on hordeside, and is working on a sixth. :/

She has an excuse for every poor performance.
Her most recent? Her time of the month.

The last excuse pisses me off, being a female gamer, I frown upon others using their gender issues as an excuse to suck. For fucks' sake! Take a Midol and suck it up princess.

Several of our raiders have endured much worse because of their passion and dedication towards the team. Going "Baaaaaaaw I have girlycramps!" is a real slap in the face to them.
  • One of our female raiders, a near 100% attender healer, has something wrong with her brain and very quietly doesn't suck while fending off killer migraines from hell.
  • One of our male raiders, another near 100% attender dps with offtank offset, raided on two different occasions, TotC25 and offtanked ICC10, despite being sick. I'm talking about bleeding out the face and having to go worship the porcelain god due to some sort of flu or food poisoning or something.
I've got several other tales of dedication, the point is the people in the guild have shit ton of dedication and really deserve a bit more respect.

Lag because of a bad computer? I raid at 4FPS on an 8 year old computer. I can still get out of the stupid and carry my own weight to some extent. My hunter alt, with gear that's not as good as hers, can go neck and neck with her in a raid, switch targets when I need to, etc... and I'm still beating myself up for sucking on him.

When LoL blamed gear, I pointed out that Gevlon cleared Ulduar in blues, she responded that she wasn't that hardcore. I think she has something going on in her head, an aversion to putting effort into not sucking, or rising above mediocrity. Perhaps she got bullied by M&Ses in school and she fell into their mindset, desperate to fit in. At this point I'm not sure if I should try to break this mentality or if I should just throw in the towel on trying.

I honestly truly believe every single member of AA reasonably bright, if they were outright fucking morons I wouldn't have /ginvited them, or I would have already booted them. I know they're all capable of doing really well. I know that if they put their minds to it, they can accomplish great things.

I think there just needs to be a little cat herding in that direction.

While it's the LoL's prerogative, her 15 dollars a month, to not learn to play, it's everyone else's 360 dollars a month. If she isn't willing to allocate enough respect for others time to go learn the basics of class then she needs to not use my auto-invite to invite herself to raids and leave the spot for someone who does respect others and care.

The more we progress, the more interest we're going to get, the less we're going to have to carry people who don't care. It's only a matter of time before someone who cares enough to earn that raid spot comes along, and I'm going to give it to that newcomer.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Alt Night at AA.

After spending most of my day off (monday) cleaning I logged in to ye olde WOWcraft to find a majority of my players messing around on alts. Some of our regular guests even put a lowbie in the guild. Everyone was paired up and leveling at different levels.

I went and bought the BOA cloth chest piece on my secondary account and hopped on my little priest to try priest healing out again. I wound up in a normal Nexus. Our tank was a ret paladin who was going to attempt to tank with his two hander and dps gear. I asked him where his tank gear was and he left.

We spent about 20 minutes waiting for another tank. I decided to log in my warrior and respec her back to prot. When I was nearly done we got a tank for the Nexus.

We had a little paladin tank, he was wearing defense gear. He said he hadn't seen some of the gear my priest was wearing in a long while. My priest was wearing a spattering of tier 4 and crafted gear with a weapon from the last boss of Karazhan.

I PoM, Renewed, Flash Healed, CoHed my way to victory with little issue.

My warrior was ready to go (sans glyphs). Honestly I was pretty sad when setting up my bars. As I began to put my abilities on my bars I found things to be quite different from the warrior I grew up tanking on. Jumpystomp (thunderclap) and berserker rage were now usable in defensive stance, as was mocking blow. I frowned at ctrl a, s, d.

One of my raiders, a disc priest, has been playing her level 70 Paladin. She wanted to try healing as holy so she grabbed herself a dualspec and we looked around to try and find her some holy gear.

We wound up with a horrible mishmash of cloth, leather, mail, and plate. Much of it was off the AH. We couldn't find a shield so we made an offhand book with inscription. Most crafted Northrend starter gear from professions doesn't have good stuff for holy, our best bet came from moonkin leather gear.

I gave the little healadin my handy paladin macros (judge focus target, cast beacon on focus target last target) and told her how to make Grid's borders change color when beacon is up as an indicator that it's up.

(And here it is:
Version:st3.0.0E; gcd:bofalse; b:nu1; anim1:nu2; g:nu1; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterface\Icons\Ability_Paladin_BeaconofLight; size:nu0.19999998807907; torsion:nu1; r:nu1; y:nu-257; x:nu3; customname:stbeacon of light; groupany:bofalse; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:stOnly for raid/group.; bufftype:nu1; stacks:nu0; focus:botrue; raid:bofalse; texture:nu1; alpha:nu0.85000002384186; aurastext:st; symetrie:nu0; owntex:bofalse; isResting:bofalse; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1.8000000715256; anim2:nu4; CurrentMatch:stBeacon of Light; buffname:stBeacon of Light; stacksOperator:st=; realaura:nu1; spec2:botrue; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; InactiveDueToState:botrue; textaura:bofalse; sound:nu0; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:botrue; id:nu9; inParty:nu0; HideRequest:bofalse; Active:bofalse; aurastextfont:nu1; CurrentSlot:nu6; inRaid:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; customtex:botrue; stance:nu10; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; spec1:botrue; Debug:bofalse; beginSpin:bofalse; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; begin:nu2; off:bofalse; party:bofalse; texmode:nu2; inverse:botrue; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; randomcolor:bofalse; finish:nu1

I made a "omg I'm your tank, I haven't played this character since early BC so plx be patient while I learn to play again." macro, two power auras to nag me (you have a full rage bar and omg needs moar sunders) and we were ready to roll.

I sucked a lot as a warrior tank. I was thrashing around trying to figure out where I put the buttons, where was the most convenient place to put my rage dumps and when to weave them.

The priest sent me amusing tells from her microscopic healadin throughout the run. she mentioned missing her group heal buttons. In hindsight, she said she actually had a lot of fun.

I don't know if I'm going to bother to level the warrior and the priest, but it's tempting to do so using the daily normal run for a few triumph badges. Imagine hitting 80 and immediately putting on a piece or two of T9.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Giving a pug the boot.

A handful of AA folks have been pretty crispy and the group that usually puts together totgc last night didn't actually have it go, so with my approval some of them tried ot put together an ICC relaxed pug with the intention of farming rep, and if we felt comfortable with the group, trying to kill the first boss.

So they invited an assortment of players, including two other holy paladins (a recipe for fail). So we got in there and I gave the holy paladins healing assignments. It worked a little something like this:

Paladin 1: Heal tank A - > beacon Tank B
Paladin 2: Heal tank B - > beacon Tank C
Paladin 3: Heal tank C - > beacon Tank A

Tank C was not as well geared as the other tanks so I definitely wanted to put a dedicated healer and beacon on that tank to compensate for the bigger damage.

The idea of doing this was more focused on having it so that none of the tanks should die for any reason on the actual boss, and if one of the paladins (like me) decided to heal off assignment to save someone else at the wrong time, the beacon would act as a safety net. I also wanted to have trusted the responsibility of keeping a key tank up to a certain healer so there was some feeling of personal accountability.

Paladin 3 was a friend of the group and had to run AFK for the first few pulls, he was trying to fix his net or something. He's over in the land down under and was having wild 2k latency.

Paladin 2 wanted to beacon tank B and heal the raid, so deliberately disobeyed and ignored my healing assignment to do that. Of course, I can see that there's only one person with beacon on them instead of two because I have Grid set up to show me this, so it's no secret he's doing this.

So here I am healing A with B beaconed, healing all three tanks plus the raid, including B directly because their health kept dropping wildly. Paladin 2 wasn't keeping beacon up and/or wasn't healing with big heals at the right time.

I'm sitting there running myself out of mana healing eveything and paladin 2 is arguing with me in tells. This went on for some ten or fifteen minutes before I got fed up.

He said that I was telling him to heal badly, and that it shouldn't matter who he beacons, and that the tank I had assigned him to had lower threat due to gear and therefore would be taking less damage. (Actually, they'd have lower threat but also take higher damage as their gear isn't as strong so their mitigation is extra-low. The lower threat just means that they probably will tank less trash.)

After explaining my reasoning, he linked me his meter. Showing him as top heals because healing on trash matters. I told him I didn't care about his meter, and that I was the raid leader and I was giving out healing assignments and if he was unwilling or unable to follow simple directions that perhaps he should take his leave.

Looking at his wow-heroes profile, he seems to be a main spec prot paladin with sub-par holy gear gemmed for spellpower and mana/5 with the occasional spellpower and int gem. He was probably a flash of light holy paladin (which explains why his tank was taking so much damage despite my beacon and his being on his primary target). He's sitting there casting flash of light on the raid. His being 'on top' of the meters despite him not pulling his own weight? He was padding the ever-important meter with Judgement of Light.

He kept arguing at me. I said, "You know what?" and just booted him.

Someone asked in vent why he left and I said point blank, "I booted him. He's spent the last 15 minutes arguing with me about his healing assignment."

He spoke up and tried to argue with me in vent, saying I was telling him to heal stupidly.
I very calmly and very assertively reamed him in vent. I told him that I'm the raid leader (I'm the boss ya hear?) and I gave him a simple healing assignment. That I removed him because he was incapable of following simple directions and wasn't a team player. He then left vent.

No one else left the raid. Several of the pug folks from other guilds were like, "Whoever that angry chick was on vent, will you marry me?" (Totally do not want.) The alt of another raid leader who was rolling as a shadow priest happily switched to heals and filled the vacant spot and we grabbed another DPS.

My raiders who were there were a little shocked. I'm sure there were a few jaws on the floor. They know me for having like this saint-like patience, perhaps even Buddha-like. They rarely get to see me put my foot down in a raid and lay the smack down.

I try not to be aggressive, argumentative, or assertive when leading raids. I politely tell people what they should be doing and they follow it because they want to, not because they're afraid of the raid leader's wrath.

If someone does jump up and down on my very last nerve long enough I am capable of going from zero to bitch in .5 seconds.

We had trouble on the first boss, we had someone go link-dead, the ranged dps wasn't listening (get people off of bone spikes), and I was struggling to keep spiked people up (I'm assigned to heal the tanks, there's a problem there).

We had some accidental trash pulls that turned out pretty messy.
Pro-tip: Don't use mirror image when close to another group, your spawning mirrors may agro them.
Pro-tip: Don't use multi-shot in close quarters to another pull.