Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shared Topic - Like a boss!

This is a shared topic from Ye Olde Blog Azeroth.

If I were a boss, what would I be? What would my encounter be like?

I should just say "Faction Champions" and endpost right there, but Faction Champions isn't really my style of encounter despite the fact that I play just about everything. I don't find it fun at all.

For this, I'll merge a few of my character designs with my own personality and design an encounter.

Basic Idea Concepts:
As I recently blogged in an offtopic post that my very first Myers Briggs personality result was INTJ and that the Keirsey Temperment was "Mastermind". The idea of making a 'boss' that is a manical 'mastermind' amuses me a lot.

My Paladin was created with a mini-theme when I picked his professions--(Goblin) Engineering and Jewelcrafting. The theme? "All the coolest toys." My paladin is a wacky inventor with cool devices that do occasionally backfire, backfiring is something very WOW engineering, unfortunately I couldn't really figure out ways for things to backfire. =(

You can't be an evil mastermind without henchmen or minions!

My hunter is also an Engineer (Gnomish). He's something of an assistant to my paladin so it's logical that he'd be the minion. As a hunter, he'd likely have a pet, or several pets, at his side assisting him. As an engineering themed encounter, and taking some ideas from the mechanical pet by a stable master in a iron dwarf camp near Ulduar and from all the little critter pets of old (mechanical whelplings anyone), the hunter would likely have mechanical pets.

My hunter is a bow hunter, personality-wise, he wouldn't be using a gun, which is counter to the idea of an engineering encounter. Hunters already have shots that do cool things, why not take it one step further? As a nod to the DC character Green Arrow, a gnomish engineer hunter could very possibly have a bunch of cool trick arrows he's invented.

The Setup
Why would my characters somehow become raid bosses?

They're working on an invention that's either caused chaos or that will cause great chaos. Perhaps the Bronze Dragonflight feels may interfere with the time stream and that the invention must be destroyed before things get screwy. A time machine would be a good reason for the Bronze Dragonflight to go pwn some screwy elf inventors. You know if there was a time machine I'd have to make a bad Dr. Who / TARDIS reference.

The Heroes have been sent to trash my lab before I make a mess.

Mechanics: It's kinda like...
Nefarian - BWL (Class calls. Omg I'm blasting you and you can't hit me, lolol. Oh, and minions!)
Mimiron - Ulduar ( Lots of cool devices, stupid to avoid)
Mr. Smite - Deadmines (I'll have to improvise!)
Teron Gorefiend - Black Temple (Individuals having to do gimmicks, requiring everyone to do what they're supposed to at random.)
High Priest Thekal - Zul'Gurub (Having to kill 2 or more targets at the same time or they'll revive, defeat minions to piss off the boss and make him engage.)
Thaddius - Naxxramis (Do gimmicks to increase dps or hard enrage will eat your face)
Halazzi - Zul'Aman (Saber Lash)
Leo the Blind - Serpent Shrine Caverns (One portion of the fight tanked by ranged class, others in range will eat damage.)
Auriaya - Ulduar (Kitties!)
Illadari Council - Interrupts and moving out of the lolconsecrate.

The encounter would be pretty easy, annoyingly long, gimmicky as hell, placing stress not on tanks and healers so much as everyone doing the right thing at the right time. There would be a hard enrage that would wipe the raid if the encounter is not completed in time.

The Encounter: Boys and their Toys:
The heroes enter the scene.

The Paladin and Hunter are going about their business, tinkering with things, occasionally working on a metal box, tall enough for someone to stand in, with a door.

Moving forward into the room prompts a lolRP skit. The two walk over and admire the box.
Paladin (imagine Cam Clarke (male belf) voice): It's just about done but... *sigh* gray just isn't a good color for it. I think we should paint it!
Hunter: ...
Hunter turns around and looks at the heroes.
Paladin: I know, we'll paint it blue!
Hunter taps Paladin on shoulder then points at the heroes.
Paladin turns around: Who are you? What are you doing in my lab?
Paladin says to hunter: You, remove these fools immediately.
Paladin goes back to tinkering.

Hunter summons a mechanical lion pet and engages.

Phase 1:
Mecha-Cat - Abilities:
  • Saber Lash - Requires two tanks. Managable damage, but could eat the face of a non-tank who happens to get in the way.
  • Headbutt - Occasionally charges a random member of the group, stunning them for 3 seconds before returning to the tanks. Will not headbutt the person tanking Hunter.
  • Note on Agro - Mecha-Cat won't return to the tanks if it runs into the ranged and one of them has greater threat than the tank. This means that players may have to watch their threat, the ability to go to 30% above the tank's threat is not acceptable.
  • Mecha-cat has 40% more health than Hunter.

Hunter - Abilities:
  • Disengage - Entering melee will cause the hunter to disengage, he cannot be killed or tanked by melee.
  • Rocket Arrow - Occasionally launches a rocket at his range tank, reducing their health to 30% and applying a dot that ticks for a few thousand fire damage per tick, will also apply to anyone within 10 yards of the tank. Target must be healed to full or the dot will remain. This means that DPS must stay beneath the range tank on threat, or there's a chance the entire raid may get hit by the rocket. It's manageable to heal the ranged tank through this, but it can be quickly out of control if others are eating it too.
  • Flame Trap Arrow - Occasionally launches a trap which creates fire on the ground at a random raid member (can throw at tanks). Deals a mild but annoying amount of damage. Applies a stacking debuff that cannot be removed which reduces damage done by 1%, can stack up to 100 times. Let's punish DPS instead of healers for DPS standing in the stupid for once.
  • Serpent Sting - Applies a dot that ticks for a few hundred per tick. Can be removed.
Every 30 seconds the hunter uses a gimmicky trick arrow of some sort, stuff to avoid:
  • Ice Trap Arrow - Occasionally launches an ice trap at a random raid member. The ice block can be dispelled (magic effect) - or DPSed down.
  • Wyvern Sting - Puts a random raid member to sleep.
  • Poultry Arrow - Polymorphs someone into a turkey. You were the turkey all along!
  • Adhesive Arrow - Puts a pool of glue on the ground which freezes someone in place for 30 seconds or until cleansed.
Defeating Phase 1:
Both Hunter and Mecha-Cat must be 'killed' within 10 seconds of each other or one will revive the other with 50% health. The cat can be destroyed, the hunter will kneel down, injured.

Paladin will cast a protective bubble around the Hunter when he has 100 health remaining then engage the raid... kinda. More LOLRP

Paladin throws a bomb at the raid which stuns everyone for X seconds (for lolRP purposes) and deals 1000 damage.

Paladin: How dare you hurt my assistant! Who do you think you are?

Phase 2:
Paladin is bubbled and cannot be attacked. He activates assorted machinery and randomly starts one of somenumber of events.

Paladin's Abilities for Phase 2:
  • Spanner of Justice - Paladin throws an arclight spanner at a random raid member, stunning them. It's hammer of justice, but ranged with an engineering twist. Can be dispelled.
  • Alteration Ray - Paladin will use a device on a random raid member, turning their abilities against them. Consecrate will heal enemies, threat building abilities of tank classes will act as threat reducing abilities. Heals will do damage, damage will heal. If a class is hit with the ray, players will find they can attack allies (to heal them) and heal enemies (to damage them) or do threat building abilities on others (to boost their threat) or threat reduction abilities (hand of salvation, cower, feint) to boost their targets threat.

The Mini Gimmicks:
The Paladin will activate three weaves of Mini Gimmicks via a handy remote control. Gimmicks can only occur once per attempt.
(Special thanks to Tombstone for making a few suggestions to get my wheels turning again. I wanted to do more than three and have them be random choices but coming up with more miniboss gimmick fights is harder than I thought.)

Option 1: Lasers and Clockwork Robots:
Paladin summons a mechanical device that creates clockwork robots.
  • The robots come at a near constant rate.
  • One type of robots will pick a random raid member and walk towards them. If they reach their target they will explode and banish that player from combat for 10 seconds.
  • Another type hit very hard and must be tanked and do an annoying pulse ability that deals damage to the entire raid from time to time.
  • The device has a laser mounted on top of it and a barrier that prevents the device from being targeted directly with hostile attacks.
  • Laser will target a random player in the raid and follow them wherever they go.
  • The bots do not fade immediately when they die.
To defeat the miniboss one must kill the adds then have the player who's focused with the laser kite it so that the beam hits the dead trash. When it does, it reflects back at the source, taking away 5% of the machine's health. When the laser has been kited into shooting its-self to death the device will explode and conveniently stun the raid to buy time for the next gimmick or Phase 3 to start.

Option 2: Whelps! Left side!
Paladin summons a mechanical dragon, it flies down from the upper level of the lab.
  • Mechanical Dragon does all typical dragon things: Tail swipe. Breath. Cleave. Fear (any one within 30 yards).
  • Mechanical dragon creates electrified spots on the ground that gives a debuff that increases damage done by targets standing in it by 10% and but reduces healing/threat by the same amount. Stacks. The debuff lasts 15 seconds. Also deals an increasing amount of damage which quickly goes out of control if folks stand in it for too long.
  • Summons mechanical whelps from around the room. If whelps reach the raid they will explode and deal massive damage to folks nearby and likely cause a wipe and must be gunned down by range.
Obligatory destruction stun occurs when the device is destroyed.

Option 3: The Hatebunnies and Doomkittens:
Paladin summons a creature spawning device.
  • The device has its power core on top. There's a cone that prevents it from being in line of sight of range. The device is destroyed when the power core is destroyed.
  • The device summons bunnies. Cute little pastel bunnies.
  • These bunnies explode when they reach a target.
  • The damage they do is mild but increases by the number of people in range when they explode.
  • When the bunnies explode they put a temporary gravity reduction aura on their targets. These people can jump into the air and pew pew the power core.
  • When the aura fades, if they're within melee range of the power core, it'll knock them back off of the device.
  • The device also summons little mechanical kittens of doom. They come in assorted feline colors.
  • Like the bunnies, they explode but their damage works opposite of the bunnies, the more people in range (3 yards) the less damage they do. They'll hit someone for 100% of their health, hit two people for 50%, 3 for 33%, etc.
  • The mechanical kittens give players an aura that doubles the damage they do.
  • The device pulses an aura which increases over time. The sooner the power core dies, the sooner the fight is over.
Obligatory destruction stun occurs when the device is destroyed.

Phase 3:
After defeating four of the Paladin's inventions, the Hunter has been healed to full and is ready to go again. This time the two have a shared health pool and it's not very big.

The Hunter has all the same abilities from Phase 1 but lacks his pet.

The Paladin continues his abilities from Phase 2, though uses his alteration ray less often.

New Paladin Abilities:
  • Consecrate - increases the threat of people standing in it and reduces damage done by them by 20%.
  • Holy Light - Paladin heals himself (and the hunter too). This can and should be interrupted. He only has one spell school so it's possible to keep him locked out.
  • Hammer of Justice - Paladin hits the person that has threat on him. He switches to whoever is second in threat. Stun lasts 20 seconds and can't be removed.

Once the Paladin / Hunter have been reduced to 100 health the Paladin bubbles the duo.
At this point, the device the Bronze Dragonflight sent you to destroy becomes attackable. When it's burnt down to 75% (then 50, 25) the duo are back on their feet again and you start again.

After the device is destroyed and you've burnt the duo down they bubble-hearth out.

Chromie appears, breathes fire all over the paperwork in the lab, destroying blueprints and other information required to recreate the device, presents a chest-o-phat-loot, and you win.

Of course, I can't dream this up without thrashing around with what my characters would wear if they were bosses. I already had tinkerer costumes for them, however, I thought it might be fun to add some extra armor for them. This is what I came up with:

In closing:
To Blizzard's encounter designers. I salute you, what you do isn't easy.
Please keep coming up with cool, fun, and awesome encounters for us to explore.


Friday, February 12, 2010


I'll take a moment to feed my lurkers, entertain the rest of the readers, and perhaps share some media that a majority of you are probably not familiar with.

It's been a rough but relieving week over here at the AA guild. The folks that I felt would become upset and leave if I tried to flush Ms. Lag really stepped in it Tuesday. The side of me that doesn't assume malice sees it as a miscommunication getting blown up to the extreme, but other evidence supports that this has been a long time coming. The end result was some folks leaving.

Some of the folks had been people I had considered making officers before their bad behavior started. Some of them had become pretty unreliable, passive aggressive, or petty. One of them was the person I was going to have get the primordial saronite for Shadowmourne. Some of them were recipients of our TotC25 patterns, one was given our first battered hilt. Oh well. It's only pixels.

Others were new, who I really haven't had a chance to work with. They weren't really raiding with us much. Some were on friends and family invites and weren't really briefed on issues like how we handle loot. One or two were folks whom I felt were assets and actually liked having around. They seemed pretty upset and a little hesitant about leaving (as if they were being bullied into it).

Ms. Lag left on her own accord. I booted her friend Wants to Raid and took the opportunity to reorder ranks. And with the departures, a majority of the drama has gone away. A huge weight of tiptoeing around people's feelings has been lifted from my shoulders and we can go back to being awesome again.

The old crew that founded AA, our friends that we brought in, some of the been around awhile folks whom I didn't integrate into the other team, and some of the newest members who've been watching from the sidelines in a fairly objective manner, still remain. In fact, in the middle of it all we gained a new member who'd come over to our faction to escape drama... when I'd warned him about the drama. He was still happy to be with us.

Some of the former members seemed to be lingering on the forums. I nipped that at the bud and did some maintenance, they'll get bored and move along soon enough. I've told my folks to not partake in drama, troll, or anything silly like that.

I wish them well in whatever they're doing. I'm not going to pay them any mind or any further attention. I'm too busy working, blogging, and having fun with my guild to care.

In the end, this is merely a setback, a minor one, and change for the better. In the end I haven't invested eight months of my time to give up so easily. The dust is settling and we're still standing.

My next entry is a Blog Azeroth shared topic about being a raid boss.
I wound up designing an actual boss fight, complete with reasons to support why my characters would be a raid boss as well as game-twisting mechanics and silly roleplay skits.

Stay tuned.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Revisiting the Circle of Healers

Miss Medicina asks some additional questions related to the original Circle of Healers non-meme.

These were my original answers, I answered only from a holy paladin perspective, though I do have a druid, shaman, and a leveling (73) priest. In the recent months I've begun playing the shaman and the druid more, healing a Malygos run on my druid in mostly iLevel200 gear as well as TotC10 in some 219s.

1. Reread your original answers to the questions. With the benefit of hindsight, score your own work in terms of its cringeworthiness.

Looking back in hindsight, very little has changed from my original post, except for now I'm running two holy specs and using them situationally. One is a 53/0/18 and one is a 51/20/0 build.

2. Has your class's healing improved in the area you identified as its weakest?

Holy Paladins still don't have a group heal aside from judging light (which our protadins do) and the glyphed holy light splash.

3. Have you changed your "least favoured class to heal with"?

My dislike of playing with other holy paladins has faded some, having two in a 25 man is very helpful, especially when the other paladin is capable of preforming at the same level as I do. The number of deaths our tanks have in 25 man content is super low because we just don't let them die.

I now greatly detest healing with most Discipline priests. I absolutely abhor it.

While I understand the benefits of the disc build there are some major flaws and issues with every single priest succumbing to the nauseating discmania that the priest blogger community and who knows who else has been making noise about for months now. It's starting to feel like priests are going to disc just because they want to be radical and different, a rebel. ... Yet everyone is doing it.

I guess a bad holy priest still carries their weight better than a bad discipline priest and it's pretty rare for me to find a discipline priest that actually carries their own weight on my server despite the discipline spec being at epidemic levels. The disc priests are the "omg I own't heal anyone but the tank" types. (My priest was a disc tank healer before it was cool, way back before Horde had Paladins. Y'dern young disc whippersnappers, it's my lawn, get off of it!)

At this point, I refuse to recruit any more discipline priests for raiding. It may be the player's 15 dollars a month, but it's the raid's 360 and we have a priority of getting things done over how 'fun' penance is. For new recruits it's go holy or go home. One disc priest is enough (or even too much when we have all three holy paladins present in raid).

4. Did you read the entries from others in the webring, especially your class?

Yes I did. I read a lot of the entries for all the healing classes. As a healing lead and a person who has all four classes covered it's very relevant to my interests.

5. If Yes to #4, did you learn anything that made you a better healer?

Honestly, I don't really remember at this point. *nervous laugh*

6. What tools/resources or information do you think you would need to improve as a healer and how could that help the community at large?

The resource right now that would improve me as a healer would be a computer that runs at higher than 8FPS in raids.

I'd love the ability to broadcast settings and information to other healers in a fast, useful way. I'd love to broadcast my grid status indicators to other healers while in game--I can say, "Hey, send this setting" and give the rest of my healers bits of my setup without having to sit down and instruct them (or remind them) how to configure their grids.

This would make more of my healing core respond quickly to debuffs that require quick healing responses from players and may alleviate stress from me trying to heal two tanks plus the bone-spiked people on Marrowgar.

7. What did you identify as your worst habit as a healer? Have you improved in this area?

I identified my worst habit as a healer to be being too lazy to do a jump stop-cast to curb overhealing. As my haste has continued to skyrocket, I've actually gotten worse, not better, at this. At this point it's virtually impossible for me to do a stopcast in the tiny window where I can. I flip between being methodical and waiting for damage before dropping bombs and just spamhealing proactively. I'd rather overheal than lose a tank in a sudden damage spike.

8. What did you list as your favorite healing spell and your least used healing spell for your class? Are these answers still true?

My favorite spell is still holy shock and it's only going to get better when I approach my 4 piece T10 bonus that will give me back my super fast holy lights (possibly near instant) when holy shock crits.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Must... cast... faster!

As a Paladin healer, I find myself with an urge to stack haste. Must. Cast. Faster.

Raid buffed, my itty bitty healadin sits at:
38.5k mana
2700 spellpower
53% haste (895ish from my gear and food buff (33%), 15% from judging, 5% from wrath of air totem)

The only way I can increase my mana is more gear or changing my weapon enchant from spellpower over to the wowclassic int to weapon (and I'm tempted to).

My problem is that when I'm playing, it feels like my heals just aren't fast enough. But my holy lights are coming so fast that I can't even jump and stop cast, because they'll go anyways. So I'm casting fast enough, it just doesn't feel like it.

When I'm in a boss fight, the type that are fast and furious, my heals feel like they take forever. When Naxx was the only raid content out there, I recall fighting Patchwerk and having such a sensation. I've had similar sensations on Hodir, Mimiron, Yogg, Festergut, Rotface, etc. Some of these fights feel like they take forever. Festergut has a very unforgiving enrage timer, but it feels like the fight takes forever. I keep thinking, "Is it dead yet? Oh man kill it quick." I've had similar feelings when playing toons, including non-healers, as far back as Molten Core. I recall having such feelings on the salamander bosses (where I played decurse bitch on my mage) as well as on Rags, Vael, Broodlord, Hakkar, Jindo, Mandokir, Arlokk, and Thekal.

I've figured out what it is that happens that makes me feel like everything is 'too slow'. When I'm really really focused I seem to go into a heightened state of awareness or something. It's like time slows down to a crawl and I'm thinking critically and casting each heal methodically. It's like that scene in The Matrix where Neo slows down time and dodges a bunch of bullets, but with gaming. (Humorously enough, I drive a Matrix.) A few months ago I decided to call the phenomenon my 'healer trance'. I can't really control when it happens, when I do go into it, stuff gets done something fierce.

Dear readers, do you ever experience similar states of mind when playing or does the Altoholic need to step into a sanity well?