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Archive for the ‘rant’ Category

Last night we get on, hoping to have Tol Barad so we can do BH. Alliance doesn’t do well at holding TB but we do seem to take it Tuesdays just long enough to get runs in. Well, we didn’t have it, so we went off to run heroics.

Got two runs in with two sets of alts (and my brother) when TB  changed hands. We found out because a guildie started trying to put together a 25 man.  Well, I hate 25 mans, so we stayed quiet, planning to build a ten man out of alts once they’d done 25.

Only it took them a while to get things together and they started asking us to go – and then, Reversion was changing characters from an alt to his main, and on logging in, had a group invite that he thought was from us but was actually to the 25 man. And once he was inside, we felt stuck. we didn’t want to be rude to guildies, and come on, it’s just BH, how bad can it be?

So my brother got in (last week, he tried to go during the afternoon because he usually has class at night. This same person told him he couldn’t tank it because he didn’t have 150k health unbuffed. We told him later that was garbage) and I reluctantly switched off of Invariant, where I’d been working on excavating my epic purple archeology ring, and onto Analogue. The raid was about half full and more trickled in.

Our friend Repgrind was wisely staying out. Until I mentioned that there were no holy paladins yet, and how bad could it really be, right? And she reluctantly joined. A few more people, three or four pugs, and we were almost ready. I asked Falahla if she wanted to go, thinking hey, quick free epics and points. Right?

So there we are getting ready. I’d forgotten how much of my UI a 25 man Vuhdo setup takes.  Five healers; I started whispering Kerick and Elia to try to set up a dispell priority between us, since I expected us to be dispelling and not so sure what the other two healers would do. Elia pointed out we had  a priest and surely, he would mass dispel and save us a lot of mana. Right? And Kerick’s UI, being not set up for 25s because she doesn’t do them, as I well knew,  doesn’t lend itself well to things like “You cover Group 3″.  Oh well.

First attempt, I notice things aren’t getting cleansed, start cleansing. People die. Fell firestorm hits. The flames hit really freaking hard. We wipe. Ugh. I die some time before the wipe which means Elia wins the dispel meter  with 9 to my 5. The priest is saying he managed to get off mass dispel 2 or 3 times and then he got distracted with heals. I check. He cleansed two people. So either he dispelled once, or we were dispelling people before he could, or he had terrible aim. Sigh. We go back, try again. Wipe. Go back again.

This time on the meter I see 25 dispels each for me, Elia, and Kerick, with the next healer at 16 and the priest at… 5. Ouch.

Finally I speak up and say “Look, we need to all cover a group”. I hand out assignments, specify who is in those groups for those who don’t have their UI set up like that, and finally just say “if you can’t tell who is in your group just cleanse someone”.

It seemed to help. Even if just three of us could see “assigned” groups easily, it seemed to focus us enough that cleanses were going off, not missing them, or wasting mana cleansing people someone else had just sniped. A couple people die but we’re doing ok mostly – and then suddenly people start dropping. Oh. We hit enrage with 5% to go. Ouch.

Now, Baradin Hold drops pvp gear and so we had a couple people who are more focused on pvp than pve. Mostly they were doing fine, but there was one mage… he’s a guildie, a nice guy but totally into PVP. We took him on a heroic last week and he kept dying to puddles of poison, water spouts, etc, because he just isn’t expecting environmental damage to be an issue.  His dps was under 5k. PVP gear for the win, I suppose. But he was the one doing the most “oh we should have had that” moaning! And he…. well, we said as we were running back that “if we’d had a few more people we would have done that” meaning a few more people alive longer. He was confused and thought we needed more people in the raid. It’s funny how you can play the same game with someone, someone who is good even, but be talking different languages.

Finally we get back, do things the same way again, and this time the guy dies. In all it’s been close to an hour and a half, between trying to find people, trying to get them there, trying to get them all at their keyboards and not sniping at each other, trying to get them to do the right thing, trying to recover from wipes…. ugh. NOT worth the extra points, or loot. The loot was all pvp garbage anyway. I won a cape and gave it to Elia because she pvps a lot more than I do (and again. Things that piss me off. Warlocks rolling on capes with spirit. Come on).

Half the raid is people I don’t mind running heroics with sometimes but won’t raid with. In only a few weeks I’ve gotten used to having raid vent be friendly and cheerful and professional. Last night it was noisy, people talking over each other, people being obnoxious, and people inspecting gear and calling each other out over Vent, which is…. inexcusable to my mind. If we’re trying to get ready to go and you see a minor issue with someone, whisper them. It’s wasting 23 other peoples’ time to do it over vent, it’s disrespectful and annoying to the person being examined. And this happened not once but twice with two different sets of people, although one case was way more egregious.

We could have run that place 10 man twice as fast. Easily. Probably more than that because we don’t wipe in 10 mans. I’m not making that same mistake again. I’ll be rude; the annoyance is not worth it to me.

I’m really glad Blizzard made 10 and 25 mans exclusive in Cataclysm. I don’t want to be forced to do 25s for gear or to farm points. I love my ten man raid, I have fun with a couple close friends. In 25 mans you’re a cog in the wheel, and the other 24 cogs may or may not be people you like, at all.

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I was cautiously optimistic when Blizzard introduced their plans for healing in the new expansion. The idea that we’d have to heal intelligently, put thought into our heal choices, and once again be something more than bubble-bots or Rejuv-spammers sounded appealing.

As I watched the implementation, I was a bit concerned; all the changes that would make healing “interesting” and content “hard” seemed to boil down to “If anyone screws up, they die”. Fine but…. how to tell the difference between “that mage screwed up” and “the healer screwed up”? I was worried we’d start in on the blame-the-healer game.

And truth be told there’s been less of that than I’d feared. I hear healers being harder on ourselves than most tanks or dps are hard on the healer.  I also hear of a lot of us taking abuse, not directed at us or probably intended for us at all, but abuse. If a tank refuses to cc, well honestly it’s not him who shoulders the responsibility of the more difficult pull, but the healer. And so healers need to speak up and tell them to bloody well use sheep.

But as I’ve started to do raid fights, and getting raid geared, I’m noticing what I feared most; healing in this expansion has no in between setting. It’s either “oh god oh god we’re all going to die”, or “Oops, sorry, I forgot to jump on the dragon there because I was alt tabbed out reading blogs, yawn, wake me up at a real fight”. Honestly my healing experiences have been vacillating back and forth between utter boredom and I-just-can’t-do-it, depending on how geared my party was. Healing for Reversion? I’m /afk on Facebook. Healing for Reversion’s undergeared second bear? A full stack of HOTs and rolling Nourish and I can barely keep him alive between Swiftmend cooldowns. And that’s someone who knows every cooldown his class has, uses them, uses crowd control, and is hands down the best tank to heal that I’ve ever played with. Ok I may be biased but it’s still true.

There just isn’t a way to make healing a moderate challenge. I’d like to go in and have a heroic run where I have to work, yes, but it’s not “execute this perfectly, don’t get unlucky, or wipe” level. I want “Let’s practice being really mana efficient, a few moments where I have to use the right spell at the right time” level challenge.

Making me run out of stuff doesn’t give this level of challenge, although parenthetically I noticed I was asked to step in on a Magmaw fight this weekend for another guild raid, as a boomkin, and while my dps was bad, my situational awareness was incredible; I was the first to move out of fire, the first on the worms, got my knockbacks in at just the right time and place – not to toot my horn but when I was the first to switch sides of the room by a good two seconds that says something. I’m biased as a healer toward thinking the meter that matters most is not “damage done” but “damage taken”, and on that meter I did really darn well.

Anyway. Back to what I was saying. Another option I have is to dps while healing. I’ve actually enjoyed my priest’s Smite spec; but it feels more organic than hurling Wraths on my druid. I would have to ditch my boomkin spec for one with free Wraths, and that would make life harder for me while I’m trying to do dailies.  I am considering it, but, gosh darn it, if I want to dps I have a mage that I like very much. I want to heal on my druid, thanks, and I’d like a proper challenge for my chosen role.

At least I have an interesting job in raids. That keeps me going, keeps me doing my daily heroic or helping gear up friends. Because in there I really do have to work. It’s incredible; I love it. Halfus is going down, this weekend, he’d better. And I’ll be challenged there – picking the perfect time to pop tree (actually on Halfus it’s a no brainer; I do it almost on pull to get through the first dragon, then when it’s back up it’s usually a good time to get people topped back off) – managing my mana, working with my team to keep people from the brink of death. Even the trash in Bastion  is a good challenge, mostly because of the silences. Maybe you can’t have that level of challenge without redundant healers.  I’m not sure.

I love healing; my brief stint as raid dps the other night taught me that. In end game, that’s my role. But I wish I didn’t feel burnt out on heroics already.

I’ll blame it on Lost City. I’ve done that place a hundred times, it seems like. I hear there’s this place called Deadmines that’s a lot of fun, but apparently it’s not in my random dungeon queue…

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Dear Melee DPS

Dear Melee DPS,

This just isn’t working out. I think we need to stop seeing so much of each other. At least in dungeons. We can still raid together. Well, twenty five mans. Ten mans are tricky to work out too.

It’s not you; it’s me. I really love how you’re all up in the boss’s butt, bravely backstabbing him and slicing off his knees. That’s awesome. I really, really love your ten-second-cooldown interrupts and my friend the tank would like to ask you to keep using those every time a boss tries something, please.

But there’s just too many of you. I can maybe handle one of you in a heroic. Two, in a ten man. It’s not your fault at all. It’s just all the encounters out there seem to have splash damage around the boss, short range AOEs, debuffs from hitting things, things you have to run away from. And you guys try so hard, most of you (I’m looking at you, XXArthaassXX. You totally refuse to run away from anything and then wonder why you die. Have fun with the repair bills bud).

And let’s face it; my AOE heals are not what they should be. I know you guys try to stand in the puddle of green…. but Efflorescence and I have just agreed to a trial separation. I fell so hard for that shiny green circle, but it just couldn’t deliver.

But fight after fight, night after night, the mage and warlock are lowest on the “damage taken” meter. How is this even right? Mages are supposed to die in the first ten seconds of the fight, and locks are emo self-hurting goth punk kids. Why are they so much better at not taking damage?

Well, they aren’t. It’s that damn splash damage. Oh, and of course some of you like to stand in front of the boss, where you can get cleaved and parried and stuff. But most of you are better than that. It just seems like, right now, standing near the bad guys is a bad thing.  Should be left to the tank.

And the aggro. Tanks are doing awesome at holding aggro these days – but every now and then they lose their grip and someone else gets nommed. And it’s always you guys. You’re right there, so close, so inviting. No time to react. Boom. Dead. At least if someone goes after the mage, the tank has time to taunt it right as the mage frost novas it next to me and blinks away. You guys don’t have that luxury.

So let’s try cooling things down for a while. Maybe seeing each other as friends. We can work out a schedule for doing things. Or if you bring your friend, that hunter we were talking about. Maybe we could work things out like that.

Or you can roll a mage. Let me know if you want to try that. I’ll even help you gear up.

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Loving the expansion. The dungeons are hard. Nicely hard. So far the only person I have heard saying how easy they were is a cocksure tank whose boast were not quite loud enough to drowned out the whimpering that was his healer, over in the corner, rocking back and forth moaning ‘oom… oom’.

FYI to all tanks, if you think you are doing great but your healer is a nervous wreck then you are not as good a tank as you think you are.

But this one is not about tanks… or rather it is not ONLY about tanks.  I just read another blog that had a nice description of some of the trials of these new runs. It mentioned that they wiped a lot due to OOM but that she thought they had actually covered for some lesser experienced players. No offense to the other blogger but those statements are a contradiction.

The healer’s mana is everyone responsibility

There is a lot of damage in these runs. LOTS of it… however, a huge proportion of it is avoidable. It is up to every single person in the run to do their part in avoiding it. Anything less and you get OOM heals and a graveyard run. These new runs will require everyone to learn all the little tricks of their class that they never had to learn before. Everyone should recite this mantra, ‘there is ALWAYS something more that I PERSONALLY can do to make the run better’.

Breaking the habit

I have now done every run on non-heroic and many of them several times. I have done all my runs with good players. They were mostly long time players with alts and varied experience. But even running with high class players I STILL see things they are not doing or not doing well enough. For example there are lots of things mobs do to us that are interruptible casts but very few people are interrupting them. The attitude of ‘just DPS as hard as you can’ is very very hard to shake. I know we did not really need CC in the last expansion, but it is much more than that. We needed almost none of the extra tricks DPSers could do and hence no one remembers they have them.

Learning the true meaning of Christmas helping the party

I always found discussions ironic and funny about ‘tanks versus dps’ or when people were whining about DPS not getting respect. I lost count of how many times some mage would say something like, ‘I do more than just dps, when at add comes after the healer I frost nova it and blink away.’ I just wanted to pound my head on the table and shout ‘That is not helping!’ I didn’t usually because it took too long to explain the reasons why that was a bad idea.

There are things DPS can do to help. Lots of things. Very few dps seem to know what they are or when to use them or how. This is not surprising. We have not really needed those tricks. How many druids here know where your hibernate button is and that it works on dragonkin? Just yesterday a VERY solid kingslayer boomkin had to go find it in her spell book because she had never used it. How many hunters here know that distracting shot is a ‘forced attack’ and works VERY well with frost trap to CC stuff by pulling it out of the melee? A couple runs back I taught that trick to an outstanding hunter that had played one since vanilla beta. This is not to toot my horn. I only know a few tricks, mostly from classes I have played a lot. There are lots out there.

I find myself in runs where over half the classes have spell interrupts or silences but I seem to be the only one using them. I probably missed seeing some of them, but that is not my point. My point is that even very good players need to be racking their brains and burning up the internet for more tricks and tips on what THEY can do to make the fights better. Learn more CC tricks. Dig through your spellbooks for long forgotten abilities and see what they can do. And…

DON’T STAND IN THE FIRE!

As I said above most of the damage is avoidable. Some of it is only BARELY avoidable so you have to move fast. We need to hit ourselves in the head every time we find ourselves doing our rotation while standing in the bad.

Speak up

I have said in the past that more people need to be willing to point out the mistakes of others. I really believe that you don’t learn to play better until something pushes you or someone gives you a tip. I have learned plenty that way and I like to think I have offered a lot of helpful advice that way. And now is truly the time for it. There are so very many things in these instances that need to be pointed out to people. If you see someone doing something wrong please tell them. It is not being a jerk, it is being helpful (if you say it nicely). If someone can’t handle being told not to stand in that stuff then you should not be running with them anyway. And don’t assume because someone is a good player that they don’t have room for improvement.

Listen

This goes for all of us. There are always more tricks to learn and more skills to get. There are always new ways to use the skills we already have. If you think you can do more, ask. If someone makes a suggestion, listen.

Earn it

Some DPS whine that tanks and heals don’t give them enough respect… Time to go earn it. I don’t care what your meter looks like. If you are standing in the flaming whirlwind while not using your interrupts, mitigation moves, stuns, et cetera then trust me, it is not the healer’s fault she has no mana.

Do you die a lot? Maybe swap in a tanking trinket for a mitigation cooldown. Or grind some first aid. If the healer is leaving your health low he might have decided you are too expensive and expendable to heal up. So pop a bandage and a potion and help him out. Above all you should be focusing on getting your skill at avoiding damage up. In fact you should be focusing on that concept more than you focus on getting better gear.

Now tanks and dps say it with me all together, “The healer’s mana is my responsibility.” Put it on a post-it note and stick it to your screen. Tattoo it on the back of your mouse hand. Learn it, know it, love it.

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Warning: the following post is full of broad, sweeping generalizations that are only true of me, and maybe not even then.

Imagine this as one of those “tell-all” articles featured prominently on the cover of Cosmopolitan, “Things Your Healer Won’t Tell You”, or “The Things You Think You Know (but don’t)”. Actually, don’t imagine it that way. I’ve never actually read one of those articles and they might be really lame.

I’ve been reading some blogs about what healing is going to be like in Cataclysm, posts about what Blizzard wants it to be like, and that has me wondering; are we healers all just plain nuts? There are things I do, things I think, and I’m not sure how they’ll match with our new healing methods.

  • When you die, I feel guilty – no ifs, ands, or buts.

There’s a reason why we joke about “Oh, no heals for you” – because we can’t do it. Once you’re a healer, in that mode, it’s almost impossible to let someone’s health bar drop low without trying to heal him. Often, we don’t really recognize any health bar as a particular person. We know which ones represent the tanks, we have things organized so we sort of know who is where  – but when I’m in the thick of things, I don’t ever think “Oh yeah I was going to let xxArthaaasxxx die, he’s a jerk”.

In Cataclysm, we’re going to have to let people sit at less-than-max health and that is going to be really really hard. All my instincts say “Heal that bar!”

  • Healing is my thing

The same pleasure a rogue in super-epic-ilvl277 gear gets in topping a dps meter, I get in ending a fight with everyone alive. I like healing, I find it fun and challenging and the only job in the game that reaches out and grabs me by the throat. I’ve dpsed and tanked 11/12 fights in ICC – meh. I just don’t care to do that regularly. But I’ll heal ICC over and over and over again, because when I’m healing, every fight is different every time. You are fighting a boss and his minions: I am fighting death itself. Your scorecard is the amount of damage you put out; mine is the number of people I saved. If we wipe, you get upset with other people for screwing up; I get mad at myself for not saving them anyway.

  • I find healing fun even as it is

But I do see their points – because I find healing fun in 10 mans and not so much in 25s. Spamming Rejuv on groups 3-5 is not really super fun. Spamming rejuv on the whole raid, looking where to place Efflorescence, rolling Lifebloom on a tank, checking to see if I need to spend a whole two seconds casting a single Nourish – that is fun, and I get to do that in ten mans. I’m worried that they will be crippling me by making me worry about mana. I’m going to give it a try, and learn how to roll with the punches. I mean, I was concerned that I wouldn’t like druid healing after the changes and now, other than missing my tree, I’m ok with it.

  • I don’t really want to dps

I’ll qualify this. When I outgear the content, sure, dropping Hurricane is fun. But I want encounters to be hard and expect me to focus on healing, not hard and expect me to focus on both healing and dps. Maybe some people like this, but please, Blizzard, give us a way to avoid it. I have an off spec, I use my off spec, let me dps in that.

  • My toolset is awesome! All except for the wonky egg seperator…

Blizzard has given all the healing classes a range of tools to use. Some classes have a billion, like Holy Priests. Druids have about 9 and that’s more manageable. Still, I eye them a little suspiciously. It’s like my utensil drawer. There’s my trusty spatula and a good knife, and then a whisk, and I guess I use that peeler sometimes if I’m using my knife for something else, but what is that weird plastic doodad anyway? And why does anyone need an asparagus trimmer?

My heals are like that. I love how Mastery works with druid hots. I love, love the way Efflorescence triggers off Swiftmend – it just feels right, like you’re blooming the heal and causing life to grow. But we have these nice fast or instant cast hots – and then we have long, comparatively slow casts of Nourish and Healing Touch and they just don’t feel right. I feel like one of them should be shorter, and one longer. Then we could really pick and choose what to use. As it is, I still am not using HT; if I have to cast anything, it’s Nourish because I almost always have a hot on the target already (and thus, get my mastery bonus plus the backed in bonus to Nourish). Healing Touch is that egg separator – it’s just taking up room in my drawer, I feel a bit embarrassed about it, and maybe one day I’ll use it but I won’t be bragging about it to my friends.

  • We’re gossipy little backbiters

If your raid has more than two healers, I guarantee you at least two of them whisper each other multiple times during the raid. It’s like a rule. “That tank had four stacks of X””. “Healer Y is using THAT spell, can you believe it?” “Why won’t the mage decurse? Ok we’ll work around that”. I’m getting worse, too. I used to just gripe at my husband; now it’s whispers. Why don’t we say these things out loud? Well, sometimes it’s a healer-related FYI kinda thing. Sometimes it’s because we don’t want to sound accusatory. Also I think healers have a bit of an inferiority complex and we’re afraid that if we say “X did Y” that what the raid hears is “I’m a lousy healer and I can’t deal with this”.

(Someone please tell me this is really universal. It has to be, right? I’m not always the first one to start whispering…)

  • I’ve played games that are like spreadsheets. Healing isn’t like playing a spreadsheet

Yes, there are bars on your screen and you spend a lot of time looking at them. No, this does not make WoW into “Excel with sound effects”. If you want that, go play EVE Online. If you think we have that, go play EVE Online. Now there is a game that has spreadsheets. Yeah, so sometimes I miss cool effects or visuals. Tough. I like my little squares of healing. They are the source of my power.

  • I don’t want to worry about mana

But I will. I get that. I’ll learn. I just don’t want to – I’m terrified that every wipe in Cataclysm will be twice my fault – once because I let people die, once because I ran out of mana. That if I were  a better healer my mana would stay full even when the dps is not doing their job. I want more enrage timers on bosses. Make it obvious why we failed. Don’t blame it on me! There is nothing worse than staring at people dying, and your empty mana bar.

  • I’m still going to heal

Even if I do have to use my egg separator, worry about mana, deal with guilt complexes, whatever. Because that’s what I love in this game.

Bring it on.

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EDIT: Larisa (yeah, like you guys need me to give the url for Larisa) pointed me to a commenter on her Angry Tree Post, who linked this thread: in which Ghostcrawler says:

Art is very subjective. We’re very used to the phenomenon of half of a class loving say their tier set art and the other half thinking they are the worst thing ever.

Messing with player models is always risky and we know the current Tree of Life model is one of those things that is either loved or hated. That is why, as promised, we are offering a minor glyph if you just prefer the older, treant-based, version of ToL.

So, kudos Blizzard. Restos only have two useful minor glyphs anyway. Ok, I’m glad you thought about this and for once didn’t just ignore us. I’ll glyph my old tree, and use the cooldown. I do wish there was a way to make it permanent though.

 

THIS is our new tree form?

The one they took our permanent, happy little tree away for? Yeah, sure, our tree was scrawny. And a bit sickly looking. It’s an uprooted tree that spends all its time in dungeons. But it was mine, and I loved it.

This… this is an abomination. Where to start? The size? The ugly face? The hunchbacked effect? The fact that it is somehow terribly terribly masculine? Look, Blizzard, I’m a girl. I play female toons and I like it that way. I don’t want to turn into this abominable, obviously male thing.

I hate this tree. Hate, hate, hate. I do not EVER want to see it on my screen. Ever. I’m boycotting new tree cooldown. If I can’t raid in Cata as a resto without it? Fine. I’ll level a priest, dammit. This – thing – no. Just no.

I’m going to start calling it Pedo-Tree. Because it looks like a molester. The kind that lives down at the bus station. This tree has to register with the cops every time it changes addresses. This tree tells long, meandering stories while you try to edge away without making eye contact. It is not, in fact, a healy tree. It is a tree of ugh.

Zelmaru at Murloc Parliament is giving up resto druiding entirely. I’m not ready for that yet – but I do refuse to use this tree. Call me a conscientious objector, if you like.

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Dearest Pug,

To the heirloomed out warrior in the Dead Mines,
Thank you for your critical analysis of my tanking ability. For future reference a lvl 16 paladin does not have many tools to work with. Also note that if you are in the next room spamming thunder clap while the tank and heals are both drinking there is a chance the tank will not be able to ‘hold aggro for sh**’ as you so helpfully put it. You might also note that you did a lot better job tanking for us in the second half. I respectfully submit this had more to do with your party including the formerly tanking paladin that switched to backup healing you… a lot. On the other hand the party I had to work with included all the same characters except in place of the paladin (me) I had a warrior running ahead and pulling things the whole time (you). In light of this I am doubtful the difference in outcomes was related to your tanking ability (non-existent). My healer informs me she spent the second half of the instance healing herself, a lot.

To the gogogo hunter in SM graveyard,

I appreciate your eagerness to take a very short instance and turn it into a slightly shorter one by running ahead and soloing things. I was flattered by the request to run another instance after that one. I am sorry if you did not understand my response of ‘not with you’ followed by dropping group. Allow me to clarify. Yes I was talking to you and I would rather solo the place than run anything you ever again. Hope that clears up any confusion.

To the party in SM library who I ran with over lunch,
I know I directed my ‘you suck’ before I dropped at the druid who was pulling 9.7% of the overall damage. To be fair you all sucked. Yes, even the Lock who was ‘topping the meters’ at 25% of the damage done. You were all agroing things I was not on, running away from the tank, pulling things while the healer and I were drinking and generally playing like idiots. My Shaman I know it is very impressive that you can climb the bookshelves there near the end. I respectfully submit your chain lightnings work just as well from the ground floor and you have time to get more of them off if you don’t climb things. Mister Lock I would like to suggest that calling out ‘heal my pet’ when it is around the corner in the next room and the healer is out of mana is probably not going to get much of a response. I noticed you changed pets to a voidwalker after that and it stopped dying. I also noticed you continued to target your pet for things I was clearly not attacking. Nice try but you fail. I hope you all don’t think me arrogant to say that as a tank specced paladin with no heirlooms and being the second to lowest level in the party I probably should not have been doing 48% of the damage. No mister druid, the final boss sheeping you twice did not explain your 9.7% of the overall damage.

To the other 5 parties I played with in the last 24 hours,
Thanks. You killed things, mostly were not jerks, and generally played like you had a couple brain cells. Thanks.

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Value to the Consumer

I got a comment from a user named Bristal about my last post. I wanted to reply more in depth so I made it a new post. Here is the comment:

Clearly it is a move toward the (incredibly successful) trend of social networking sites to create a usable member community that represents value.

The case that it’s in all ways BAD is what I’m not clear about.

Isn’t it inevitable that playing an MMO-type game on the computer will be associated with some type of social/community network? Companies like Blizzard with millions of subscribers and a near-monopoly on a quality MMO cannot afford not to attempt something like this.

The Facebook database is worth BILLIONS. Much of it potential earnings, much like the early dot com years of creating nearly useless websites and selling them for millions. Most of us wondered what all that was about, too.

It seems to me that a social network functionality would obviously improve player organization, allow fansites for players, help police idiotism, in short, do some of the things Blizzard has been criticized for not doing.

Not to say that Blizzard is doing it right way, at the right time, or that there isn’t significant risk in pissing many of us off.

But it certainly seems inevitable.

It has to have value to the user. The value of Bliz selling our identities to Facebook does not move us as consumers. It is only the value that they provide to US, the users. In the end that is what will make or break them.

Value in anonymity

And this is what they lost sight of. They forgot that for a large number of us players there is value in insulation. I don’t play WOW to be known as myself. Anonymity has value. Having an alternate persona also has value. In many realms of life we have insulation. We might not talk about politics with our prayer group or religion at work, We might not talk about sports with our spouse or what we do in the bedroom with anyone outside of it. There are many aspects of life we like to keep segregated into their own channels. For example I don’t want to know how my guild-mates voted in the last election because knowing that might make it harder for me to respect them. In game I respect them for their in game activities. I have played MMOs with a wide variety of people and the level of anonymity they provide has allowed me to make a connection with them that is deeper than what I might have made had I known more. Good or bad people make judgments about others. Removing the veil of secrets does not make that go away.

Some people seem to want a vast experiment where no one has secrets from anyone. Personally I want no part of that. People need their spaces and their outlets. How many times have you heard someone lament that someone found their blog that they did not want to see it. Or someone read their email, or someone’s parents got on facebook and wanted to be their friend.

Value in connection

There is a fine line between too much connection and too little. In WOW since launch there has been too little. Server populations are not that high compared to the population of the game. So the chance of you meeting a fellow WOWite in real life and being on the same server was very low. And there was no way to change servers. Then they added ways to do that but you have to pay money and leave everyone you know in game behind. So there is simply no way to play with people you know unless they deliberately sacrifice for you (or you for them) by rerolling (and leveling for weeks) or by leaving all their old friends.

That has not changed. There is still very little way to keep with IRL peopled or to go play with them in game if you did not level together.

But they have added tools. For example anyone can see your armory and see what you are up to online… SO? That is not a connection that is a window. They provided a window whereby strangers could see what you were doing like a bug under glass.

They also added cross sever BG and instances. Very cool! Except… no connections there either. You have no control over who you get from another server. You only have a limited server pool and you have no way to keep in contact with someone after the run. Connection made. Connection instantly broken.

Doing it wrong

Then came Real ID. We can monitor and talk to friends. So we can see what they are up to but we still can’t PLAY with them unless one of us server transfers or rerolls. So the VALUE, to the actual USER is very limited. Personally the only use I have for it is to see if the ONE IRL friend I have in game is online. Then I have to log over to a different server if I want to play with that friend. Of course a quick loggin over there would have told me the same thing. And the PRICE of this limited utility was that I have to give up my identity to anyone I want to connect with. So to gain a small utility I have to give up all that. Which means I can only use it for IRL friends. And that means the pool of people I can connect with through Real ID goes from dozens to just one. And the ‘value’ all but evaporates.

What we WANTED and the player base was asking for was cross server friends list. That and some way to party up with them and dungeon together. Not with real names, with character names. Sometimes people want space even from their guild. Maybe they have a secret alt they go to when drama shows up. There is nothing wrong with that. So why is Bliz making it harder to do? They dangle a carrot of utility before us and then demand the price of total privacy loss. “We will install a telephone in your house if you agree to move to a house of glass.”

Cross server friends and parties. That was the next logical and useful step. Selling their and our souls to Facebook was NOT it. Hanging the privacy of their player base out for all the scammers, hackers and stalkers to see was NOT the next logical inevitable answer.

What makes me mad they are doing it based on their (some Executive’s) ideas of what the internet social scene should be and completely ignoring what the players want.

Yeah I would not mind checking if someone of my FB friends play WOW. But since I can’t actually play with them without a server transfer then it does not matter. So there is very little VALUE to me there. But on the other hand since I have a unique name and the industry I work for DOES discriminate against gamers…. There is a LOT of value for me in anonymity.

So Bliz making deals does not impress me. Selling my identity does not impress me. Yeah who I am has value to other companies (ads and what not) but I am not interested in participating. It does not give value to ME, the playing customer. If you piss off your customers to make a buck you are doomed. I seriously think they are jumping the shark on this one.

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Just because you don’t see me tanking it does not mean I am not tanking it.

Just because stuff pulls off of me does not mean I don’t have it under control.

Look. I am a Bear. Bears have not ranged silences. That means I can’t move all those casters spread all over FoS around where I would rather have them. I have to leave them standing over there. No don’t send your pet to off tank it leave it the *** alone. No don’t you go off tank it. **** ****! No, don’t start shooting it, just LEAVE IT ALONE.

See there is something bears CAN do with those casters. I call it ranged tanking. It works like this. Wait for the caster to pull off of you and then fire Growl followed instantly by Feral Feairy Fire. Yeah, that is it. Now it is on me again. So get your ***ing pet the ****** off of it! And don’t think you are ‘helping the tank’. You did not even know to stop dps during the ‘mirror’ so you clearly don’t know *****.

Oh, and one more thing. If you pull agro off me, CHANGE YOU FRIKIN TARGET. I have one taunt and just one. And it only works once every 8 seconds and you ain’t the only one doing high threat. If I have to taunt off you more than twice in a fight chances are I will not bother to the third time. Yeah, that repair bill? Your welcome. Learn the lesson.

Just in case you are still confused let me spell it out.

Don’t

Attack

Something

No

One

Else

Is

On.

I know I change targets a lot. You probably can’t tell which one I am on. But if you shoot at one in the melee pack you are probably ok. No, that guy over there in the corner is not in the melee pack. Look if you have not figured out ‘tab’ or ‘assist’ or just plain randomly clicking on stuff near the tank, do me a favor and never queue for a heroic again.

I drew this great picture of a bear in a witch’s hat saying ‘and ur lil dog too!’ but I forgot my iphone. Just pretend it is here.

Ug. Maybe my next tank will be a pally. No, not for the range silence. So I can DI *%@#$^&*ers that @#$&()&% my damn pulls.

In cata can I pay a priest to follow me around and life grip people into the fire? Oh I so want that. Of course blizzard will probably mess up my plan by adding a built in bubble effect to lifegrip. Can I tank as a priest? Then I could lifegrip them into cleaves. That would be nice. I think I will sit here and dream of how nice that would be…

Aaah

:D

So I have been waiting all day for someone I ran a raid with last night to post an update. What is up with that? Some people are so slow at updating their blog.

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Friday night is Reversion and my’s “ICC Pug Roulette” night. Some weeks we join someone else’s pug, some weeks we build our own. Sometimes we steamroll through six bosses and look at new content, sometimes we… don’t. Last night was, well…

First problem was that none of the people we’ve pugged with recently were online and available. The few I did whisper had real life obligations. So other than one guild member’s alt, this was going to be a total pug.

I started asking in Trade. Got whispers too. One was  a DK I checked out on the Armory. When I saw he had no experience in ICC and a bunch of slots that had 200 gear, I turned him down. He kept whispering me: “Cmon, I’ll be good”, “Please please take me”. Finally I told him we were full on melee (more or less true) and he gave up. Then he started spamming Trade himself, finally including “4500 gearscore” in his message, at which point I had to tell him flat out that nobody was going to take him with that gear and he should go run the new heroics for more gear. Gearscore may be overrated, but it does tell you when someone does not know what content is appropriate to their gear.

Anyhow, we slowly build up. Get a pally tank who looks solid, says he’s good, and then adds, “I know the fights up to Marrowgar”. Reversion laughs, and then it quickly turns to “…” as we realize he’s serious. Well, everyone learns somewhere so Reversion starts whispering to him while I keep building. No healers, anywhere. Finally I take a solid shaman – we wanted one of those anyway – and an undergeared tree and we start.

Trash isn’t bad, except when I pop out to fill the tenth slow (we had someone who said they were coming and then wouldn’t) and they activated a trap and half the raid wiped. Ooops. Someone dropped after that so I grabbed two dps out of trade and we went back.

First bad sign: clearing the Deathbound Wards, the pugged tank refused to stand on Reversion (instead Reversion had to eat the whole cleave) and stood to one side, ….casting Exorcism. I called him on it. “But it automatically crits!” he says. “Don’t ever use anything with a cast time when you’re tanking!” I told him, and he meekly agreed. Reversion explains what “stack” means, why it’s important, and how to do the Marrowgar fight. The guy says he understand and we start.

It’s a disaster. Right from the start, the tank is nowhere near Reversion. Because he’s not there, a melee guy bites the dust, right off. “Stack on Reversion!” I yell as I frantically heal the Cleaves. Fortunately Reversion’s got enough health to eat them but since we don’t have a ‘real’ tank healer, I’m having to work hard to keep him up. The undergeared tree was down, leaving me and the shaman to keep people alive. Then the shaman drops – a bone spike, fire, and me working on Reversion were the end of her. But! She pops back up by the power of Reincarnate and we’re back at work. I Brez the other tree, heal her, and look away; she’s down again almost immediately, I have no idea how.

For the next eight minutes Reversion and I experience a sense of “how bad can this get… how awesome can we be” as we dodge fire, stay alive, and marvel at the Other Tank. Picture this:

Marrowgar at the door, hitting a sad lonely bear. Most of the dps and heals behind him. One mage off way to the other side, on a bone spike. And the Other Tank… standing at the bone spike… hitting it with his mace.

About five minutes in Reversion and I are talking about how we are going to kick this tank and that we’re going to intentionally wipe if it looks like we might somehow pull this off so we can be fair to whoever we get to replace him. Not that there’s much chance of this; we’re down to 6 players left alive and that means only 2 dps are up. Marrowgar’s health is going down very… very… slowly.

One of the dead guys, a hunter, say, “Well thanks for the invite guys” and drops group. I didn’t have time to say anything to him but I thought that was pretty rude behavior when we hadn’t even finished wiping, so I didn’t bother to whisper him and tell him we were getting a new tank. DPS are a dime a dozen on Friday nights.

Finally with a minute left on the enrage timer the other healer goes down, and then me, and it’s over. The Other Tank says something like “Urgh” and I kick him. Maybe it was vindictive, but we had shouted multiple times in the raid “[Tank] stack on Reversion!” “Stand on the bear!” “Get over here!”, etcetera. He had claimed to understand the strategy, had failed, and that was it. So I told the raid I was going to Dalaran and asking for “1 dps any type if you can pull 2.5k and not stand in fire, 1 tank who knows the first four fights”. In three seconds in trade I had a tank, Dwarfpally, whisper me. And then another hunter and we were off – not so fast; the undergeared tree decided to leave without a word. I sighed and picked up another dps; there were just no focus healers to be had and we really didn’t need another raid healer.Ms. Shaman Healer and I would just have to work it out.

Marrowgar went down so fast it wasn’t funny. Nobody died. Bone spikes were nuked down. People stood in the right place. This tank actually got in Vent, discussed strategies with Reversion, and knew what he was doing. The other healer was awesome and I told her so.  We moved on, cleared out Deathwhisper’s adds, and started on her.

Well, the mage starts whispering me during the trash “What time is it?”

“8:30″, I whisper back, puzzled over what he means.

“Lol thanks watch broke. AM?”

“Um, pm,” I reply. I have no idea what he’s on about. Surely you can tell the difference between AM and PM? Even if he was from some different time zone, why would he ask me?

I’m pretty sure that this was related to why, thirty seconds into the pull, he dc’d.

So we’re 9-manning it. Goes well until someone doesn’t listen when we shout (vent and raid) “STOP DPS” because we don’t want Deathwhisper down while there are adds up… and it happens anyway. The other healer gets cursed, I was too slow to dispell it, and we wipe.

I kick the dc’d mage and we get a friend who had just come online to come. Deathwhisper goes down this time. Head for lootship, no comment on that fight. Is there ever? Except Reversion mistimed his last jump and went down with the ship. Heh.

And now we faced Saurfang, Destroyer of Pugs. I don’t even know where to start. Punchline first; he didn’t die. Not the first time, not the eighth time. One attempt, we had 5 blood beasts running around. I didn’t know that was possible. Once I look over and see the shaman healing herself as a blood beast hits her. “KITE IT!” I yell. She didn’t know that you had to not get hit; she said every time she’d done this fight, the dps killed them before they got to her.

It was largely an issue of dps not burning down and controlling adds, with a side of not enough heals. A shaman and a druid just have trouble keeping up two tanks plus one or more marks during that fight. I was constantly kiting adds around and mis-timing heals. I know I contributed to the fails but am convinced it was largely a dps coordination issue.

It ended up being a frustrating end to the night. I’m still optimistic about once a week pugged raids, though. The more people we pug with, the more I have stored in friends to ask. One of these days the buff will go up again and we’ll get farther. These days we can usually get past Saurfang.

Anyway from now on I will be advertising:

“LFM ICC10 need tank who knows what ‘stack’ means”. I didn’t think it was that hard…

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