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Sunday afternoon, I logged onto my not quite baby shaman. She was only a couple frames from 79 and Rev had been raving about how fast Northrend levels are now. “Run two dungeons, ding” is about how he put it.

We did a couple together – Oculus, where we got in halfway and had the rest of the party die because their dragons disappeared on them. Which takes an hour. They were a bit slow…. but said their real problem had been a healer not healing them. Oh boy. I hadn’t played Anastrophe in ages. Still, I had Vuhdo all set up so random mouse clicks would do something.

I only had to heal one trash fight and a boss, then it was dragons time. Cool! I was always good at that! I was on a green and we started and I learned that…. you can’t target the other dragons through Vuhdo any more. You used to be able to. Oops. Well, everyone else (except Rev) was bad on that pull and we wiped. Came back, I activated “friendly name plates”, and targeted them manually.

Then we ran an Utgarde Pinnacle. That was fun! Only as soon as we entered the dungeon, one of the dps turned in quests, got a “20 Dungeon Quests Completed!” achievement, and dropped group, all without saying anything. Huh…

Later I queued up solo – Rev’s hunter was 80 and I had some catching up to do! I got Halls of Lightning and this happened:

And then we were off. The tank started by heading the wrong direction around the big square: I asked what his plan was and he said “lol” and headed the other way. Hmm…. good sign. And then he pulled the boss. Fully charged up. With a full trash pack. I said some special words and healed my butt off. I yelled at him. “Don’t DO that!”

“Do what?” he asked. I explained what. He then linked every vaguely cooldown like paladin ability he had and said “lol I got it.” I asked which he’d used. He said: “All of them at once, they stack.”

Every healer who reads this is now in the corner pounding their heads on a wall. I started explaining why this is a terrible, terrible strategy and he ran…. around the square more and killed packs we don’t ever have to kill. After we’d already said “run in there and past all the little guys” because it was clear he didn’t know what he was doing. I managed to get caught up to them in time to save the dps and he got a repair bill.

We kept going. I don’t think any of them knew the place, so I tossed out little pieces of advice. The dps said things like “thanks!” and “great heals!” The tank said “lol I have three paladin tanks”. I said “I have four healers” and the dps agreed that trumped him.

We keep going, he pulls all sorts of trash he doesn’t have to, nearly dies to the lightning boss because nobody listened when I said “run away all the way to here”. And then he gets to the room of trash. You remember that room. Planetarium sort of place with way too much trash way too close with way too many stuns. He says “Pull the room?” and runs in.

We wipe. I do it in a safe spot, pop, rez, and tell them how nasty this trash is, how we need to pull one group at a time. I mark a patrolling pack. He waits til they’re walking through another group and throws his shield…

The whole room is like this, two and three packs instead of one and he can’t take it. Finally he dies and we kill the trash that killed him and the whole dead/rez/heal cycle is long enough that we can get a vote to kick out. It passes.

Whew. We get a dk who does two pulls and drops. Then another paladin who does two pulls, the second being Loken, we get our points, I complete quests, ding, and am 80. Bye Northrend! The baby shaman is ready to get wet!

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Last night Rev and I took some alts to a guild raid that’s trying to get itself established. I went along as a paladin healer and he brought his hunter.

This raid has had ups and downs. It had a more stable roster a month ago and now it’s struggling. At this point there’s basically 5-6 guildies who raid on their mains, coming on alts; one or two guildies who only run this raid; and then they fill in where they can get it.

Last night, we had a role swap  – one of the tanks really wanted to heal instead, and the raid leader, who had been one of the healers, agreed to bring her new tank. So we had two people in roles they don’t usually do.  But we also had one long term tank, and all three of us healers heal on our mains in other raids.

We were short three dps though so the raid leader went to trade and picked us up two mages (making a total of three) and a shaman.  Then we got started.

When Magmaw took a few tries I knew it was going to be a long night. First we had to teach the new tank how to do it. Even when you’ve done Magmaw dozens of times as a healer or dps, learning how to tank him takes trial and error. Then we had people standing in the wrong place. After one bad try where we got three pillars of flame right by the raid, the pugged shaman started saying we should change our strategy to the everyone stay out at range strategy. Unfortunately, there were a couple problems. First, he was the one who had dropped the pillars in the wrong place by not standing in melee. Second, he wasn’t in Vent. He’d insisted he knew the fight and could manage without it, and we’d agreed to let him try. Third, this wasn’t his raid and here he was firmly stating that we needed to change our strategy.

And his final straw came when, as the raid leader was inspecting him and realizing he had no gems and enchants, he started calling out the frost mage for not having redeployed his pet after the wipe yet.

We removed him, and just then a guildie showed up, an enhancement shaman who had run with us before. She’s a good player and I felt good about her coming.

We finally killed Magmaw then moved over to Omnitron. Same thing. It took some learning.  The healer team was not communicating and I feel like our heals were not spread around quite right. We had me on a paladin, a druid, and a holy priest. I was doing way too much raid healing and letting tanks drop. But when I switched to just tank healing it seemed like the raid died.

One attempt we got to under 2% before the last person died. So exasperating! But we healers just had gone out of mana. That attempt took over 11 minutes. The dps was just not there… Reversion was pulling something like 17k and was at least 4.5k higher than anyone else there.

And there were other issues. One of our pugged mages could not seem to switch targets; I had to cleanse her every time Toxitron was up because she didn’t switch fast enough. People didn’t run away from slimes. People didn’t run away when they had Lightning Conductor. Yes, guild members and myself were making mistakes but the puggers were way worse than we were.  It felt to me like most of our mistakes – mine and my guildies – were due to knowing the fight but not being on our main. Whereas the puggers just didn’t know the fight.

On the other hand, even those who know the fights don’t always know every bit. One of my guildies whispered me saying that she wished the green cloud wouldn’t get dropped on the mana puddle all the time. I asked if she knew that the green cloud doesn’t CAUSE damage, it just increases damage taken. She said no, she always ran away right away because her GTFO addon was yelling at her.

I bit my tongue. That’s the number one reason I won’t use an addon like GTFO. It tries to substitute for knowing the mechanics of the fight with a simple “get out of this” when there’s way more to it than that. There are many times in Omnitron where you can quite safely stand in that green cloud. And many times when you can’t. Knowing the difference is really key.

Anyway, we finally killed them, went downstairs, and pulled Maloriak. We executed the fight perfectly, stacked up, spread out, killed adds, interrupted stuff. And we hit the enrage timer with 15% still to go on the boss. Ouch.

One of the dps – one of the pugged mages – wanted to try again even after we explained that this wasn’t happening. I’m not sure how he expected to pull that much more dps out. But it was quitting time anyway and most of us could do the math.

Anyway the whole thing confirmed to me that A. I really really like my Fri/Sat raid group. They’re a great group of people, fast learners, and actually listen. And B. I would rather bring someone’s alt, who knows the  fight but maybe isn’t great with the class, than someone who doesn’t know the fight at all.

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Whew, long weekend over! I played lots of WoW. Since the two times we did leave the house for any length of time we went and spent lots of money, or planned on spending lots of money, that’s probably a good thing. (We’re thinking about buying a kayak. With peddles and a sail. It’s kind of more of a boat).

Anyway most of the weekend that I wasn’t raiding I played my little shaman, Anastrophe. Raid went great – we downed 10 bosses this weekend. Nobody new but it was a record number of kills in a single weekend. But this post is about the shaman.

Friday morning she was level 48 and hanging out in Searing Gorge. I blasted through a bunch of zones and got  her to 58 Sunday. Did a few quests in Hellfire and started queueing for dungeons. She’s got an Ele spec for questing and a Resto for dungeons. The first time I queued, I signed up for “random Classic dungeon” and got Upper Blackrock Spire; I zoned in, planning to change specs and drink, to find my party halfway through fighting the big corehound. Ooops. And Vuhdo wasn’t updating because I was in combat and I have my other raid frames disabled (yes Reversion mocked me for that but – eh) so I hit “ctrl-v” a few times until I could see friendly unit frames, found the tank, and threw heals at him. We lived, I switched specs, we killed the final boss in there and dropped group.

That was fun.

Well I kept queuing between questing and by Monday was over 60. That’s when  I started doing BC dungeons. And we all know what comes with BC dungeons… Death Knights! Woot!

They  were all worgen, and about 2/3rds of them did not suck. 50% of the tank dks did not suck. There was one I tried to kick but he dc’d first. And then there was Shaaler.

I’m level 63 ish and I queue and get Underbog. Cool. I even have the quest for here. Three dks, all from the same server, two with complimentary names. No problem. The tank is very competent and the one dk is putting out great numbers, but Shaaler is…. not so good. His damage looks terrible and then – he rolls on intellect mail. Well, he rolls greed and complains that the game won’t let him roll need.

The other two dks start explaining to him, very reasonably I thought, that he doesn’t want that, and why.

This is the start of the exchange. It goes on for some time with them explaining what stats he wants, and him insisting that it’s ok that he wants intellect.

I decide to inspect him. Sure enough…

 

Sigh.

We get to the end of the instance. Now he’s pulling out the “I just came back to the game after two years” card. I point out that DKs didn’t use intellect two years ago either, and the tank claims to have only been playing for a month and HE knows how to gear so that’s just not a valid excuse.

We finish the run, I thank everyone and drop out. About five minutes later I decide to queue again. In the meantime I’m telling Repgrind this story.

I zone in. Slave Pens, cool! I can finish the quest to find all the missing druids. And then I notice Shaaler is back again. Ugh. And then…

Maybe I was rude but – seriously he though he was going to tank? Wearing intellect gear? This I have to see.

He runs in and kills trash. He has no idea where he’s going, so we try to guide him. We head up the ramp toward the first boss. This boss is a Bog Lord dude, and just before him there’s a pair of Bog Lord trash adds. They hit fairly hard but aren’t that big a deal, really.

The first clue I have that this is going to go badly is Shaaler putting a skull on the boss. And then he runs in. Without killing the trash first. They aggro on him and kill him in about a second.

I try to run away, die. Reincarnate too early and die again.

We run back in – by “we” I mean “me and the dps”. Shaaler doesn’t see fit to release. One of the dps starts telling him just how stupid he is.  As we’re running back, I start to put a reason into the vote kick box – when he drops group.

Well that saves us the trouble. We get back and his body is still there.

We get another dk tank. This one knows what he’s doing and the instance is a breeze.

Honestly I don’t mind dks, or dk tanks, even at that level, but this guy takes the cake for me.  He spends an entire run being told he’s wearing the wrong gear, that he needs to go and read up on his class, and then – he requeues as a tank. Unbelievable.

Anastrophe is 64 now! Watch out world, she’s coming up fast!

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Interest was  a bit nervous about queuing up for her first dungeon.  “What if the healer doesn’t like me? What if the dps don’t respect my threat?” she worried. “Everyone says death knights just faceroll. I don’t want to faceroll. I want to do a good job.”

She decided to seek out a friend of hers, as much as she had friends. She wasn’t one of Interest’s clients, but she’d heard of her a few times. Another death knight, but a Worgen. She didn’t have very clear memories of her time under Arthas’ command, but she really hadn’t remembered any worgen. But in the last few months she’d seen dozens just sort of pop up. It was kind of strange, actually.

“Hi Adverse,” she said when she found the other death knight, who was just lounging around Stormwind. Interest really didn’t like this town much. Everyone here was too tall and she still had memories of coming here to talk to the King after the battle at Light’s Hope. Even now she expected guards to throw rotten fruit.

Adverse was lounging in a tavern in the Dwarven District. “Hey Interest. What’s going on?”

“I’m embarking on a stretch of leveling,” Interest explained. “Going to queue for dungeons. I thought perhaps you’d like to come along? I’m tanking.”

Adverse set down her glass. She was in human form. It made her look less scary. “I might be interested,” she agreed. “Though at our level the dungeon finder is full of death knights.”

“Yes, but still, I know what I’m doing. I think.”

Adverse looked down at her and nodded. “Sure. It’s worth a try.”

Interest had to wait while Adverse got ready. She hadn’t been doing much adventuring either. The problem of underemployed Death Knights had been an article in the Azeroth Business Times just last month.  At the time Interest had just been glad she was a banker, instead of a layabout in a gutter like a lot of her fellow ex-minions of the Lich King seemed to be. Oh, there were the shining stars of the Death Knight lifestyle who had made it to level cap – twice – and tanked for elite raids. But for every one of those there were three more who were still wearing their starter gear, sitting around in Stormwind’s Trade District.

“Ok, I’m ready,” Adverse said, startling Interest out of her reverie. Interest closed her eyes, screwed up her courage, and queued as a tank.

Nothing happened. She opened her eyes slowly. Still in Stormwind. “What happened?” she asked. “I thought tank queues were fast?”

“Not at this level.” Adverse rolled her eyes. “Every dk fresh out of the Plaguelands thinks he can tank, and queues that way. It’s healers who get fast queues at 58.”

“Oh.” She felt a bit foolish. “I see.”

“Don’t worry, the queue doesn’t seem so bad. Have a drink. Calm down.” Adverse sat back at the bar, leaning her giant sword up next to her.

Interest couldn’t relax though. She paced up and down – and then suddenly the room dissolved and was replaced. She was standing on a rampart, a doorway behind her, a bridge in front of her, and an Orc moving toward her across the bridge.

“Don’t worry, he won’t pull yet,” Adverse said. Interest looked around. Who were her companions?

Well, there was Adverse. And a Night Elf… Death Knight. And another worgen… Death Knight. And one very, very lonely looking gnome priest.

“Oh dear,” Interest said. “This will be interesting.”

“Hurry up or they’ll pull for you,” Adverse warned.

“Gogogo,” said the Night Elf, bouncing on her toes.

“Ok, I’m going.” Interest pulled her sword off her back, took a deep breath, and charged.

The next few minutes were  a rush of blood and disease and death. She knew she wasn’t working her rotation in the most optimal fashion. She kept letting orcs get behind her to strike at her back. And her health bounced alarmingly. But she fought the other three DKs for aggro, kept mobs off the healer, and they left a pile of corpses in their wake.

They got upstairs and found a huge demon lurking. She’d never faced anything like this before! She charged in. The demon lord taunted her as she attacked, but she didn’t hesitate until he fell.

Whoosh! Something almost hit her in the face. She stepped back, puzzled.

“That’s just an achievement,” Adverse said. “Come on, you must have got them before.”

“Maybe,” she said. “It’s been a while. And why does it come up n ow? We still have a boss to kill, we haven’t finished this place.”

“Dunno. Guess they made a mistake.” Adverse shrugged. “Let’s go get that dragon guy.”

They chased over to the other platform. Interest killed the last two guards and that seemed to alert the guy flying around on the dragon. You had to give him credit for alertness, Interest mused. All the people she’d slaughtered, but he was finally taking notice.

“You have faced many challenges!” he roared, circling on his dragon. “Pity they were all in vain!”

She ignored his words and waited until he was off his dragon, then charged him as he raced toward her party. He roared in anger, and she roared back, chopping at his knees. He seemed to be at a distinct disadvantage in striking back; her small size made her a hard target to hit. Meanwhile the other DKs gathered around and hammered on him. With a groan, he dropped to the ground.

And now his dragon landed. She turned to face the new threat, and the dragon breathed fire at her. It hurt. A lot. Being small was no protection against dragonflames! She felt like she was roasting inside her beautiful heirloom plate.

Behind her she could hear the healer frantically chanting. At her side, Adverse  swung her own blade ferociously. Interest managed to turn the dragon away from their healer and desperately popped a cooldown.

Then, suddenly the dragon collapsed. She stepped back, dropped her sword, and took a deep breath of clean air.

“Nice job,” Adverse said. “Oh, darn, he didn’t drop anything good. Well maybe the Satchel of Annoying Goods will be ….” she grimaced. “Intellect plate. Again. Do I look like a paladin?”

Interest gazed up at her tall friend, clad in the same golden heirlooms that she herself wore. Maybe just a bit,” she said cautiously “Only from the waist up though. You look like a Death Knight to me.”

Adverse grumbled something she didn’t quite catch. “I’m off for a pint,” the Worgen announced, and disappeared.

Interest looked again at the body of her fallen foes, and grinned. This is more fun than I thought.

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Analogue notes: Reversion wrote this companion piece to my post earlier in the week about the launching of my Death Knight’s career.

“Hey there.” A voice spoke from the nearby alley. “I hear you got a guild bank to unload.”

Interest looked up at the stranger and then looked up again. He was hunched over but he was still very tall…. And hairy. ‘Oh great,’ she thought, ‘one of those dog/humans.’ Still, she had always felt a pang of kinship toward the other outcasts and refugees that the Alliance had taken in. And she was DEAD, so she could hardly complain about their smell.

The rogue’s shoulder pads were almost as wide as he was tall. They looked like hand-me-downs and his pants looked as if they had been stolen, from a hobo…. A dead hobo… a re-killed undead hobo… that someone’s dog had slept in. That last part made sense.

“Look, I won’t ask how you got it but I can give you a good deal on it.” The rogue flashed a disarming grin. It failed because she had no weapon equipped. She frowned in annoyance at the implication.

“I will have you know I built this guild myself and everything in that bank is mine via honest business transactions.”

“Yeah, yeah, sure.” The worgen growled something under his breath. It might have been ‘they all say that’ but she was not certain. “That is your business. Mine is to keep things safe for people. I will sit on your guild until you are done leveling or whatever you are doing.”

Her frown deepened. “How did you… I mean what makes you think I am leveling? Who ARE you?”

“A little birdie told me that you need to lose your guild for a bit. I told her I could keep it safe for you.”

“A little birdie?” she asked.

“Well it might have been a druid. Who can tell?” The Rogue grinned again. She wished he would stop doing that. He had a bit of murloc in his teeth.

‘That must have been Analogue,’ she thought. ‘So nice of her to get everything arranged for me.’

“Thanks!” She smiled genuinely. If Analogue trusted him then he must be reliable. “I will let you know when I need it back.” She hummed to herself as she Ginvited him. “Now how do I transfer… Oh there it is.”

“How much…” The worgen’s eyes widened as the guild leadership transferred. “You don’t wan… Eh…”

“Thanks so much!” Interested said. “Now I am off to level.” She turned to leave and then remembered something. “Oh my, I almost forgot to get your name..”

The rogue was standing there with a surprised look. Slowly it transformed into another toothy grin. He did seem in rather good spirits. She supposed he was a nice guy despite his looks. After all, Analogue trusted him.

“Abscond. My name is Abscond. Nice doing business with you.”

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The Tiny Tank – Intro

Once upon a time there was a Death Knight named Interest. She was a gnome who had escaped the Lich King’s thrall and made her way to Ironforge, where she set herself up as a businesswoman. Her contacts used her as a go between, to sell off the spoils of their adventures.

Day after day she’d handle Infinite Dust, Pyrite Ore, and Netherweave bags by the dozen. Every now and then she’d send a big pile of gold off to one of her contacts. Day after day she made the circuit between the Auction House, the bank, and the mailbox, her noble Deathcharger reduced to running the fifteen steps she was too lazy to walk. It wasn’t the most thrilling life, but it was a life, so there you go.

One day, one of her best customers came to talk. Invariant was a gnome like her, but a mage, and level 85 while Interest was a mere 58. But there’d always been a kind of kinship between them. They even looked similar. Interest wondered whether they had been distantly related, back when she was alive.

“So I just dug up this thing,” Invariant said.  “I’m a mage, I don’t use two handed strength swords.”

Interest examined it. “If I could sell this, we could make a lot of money.”

“But we can’t,” Invariant pointed out. “And nobody else wants it…”

Interest thought about her other clients. Analogue couldn’t use a sword. Elucidate, another gnome friend, was a priest and this was useless to her. “What about Divergent?” She’d always admired that  big Paladin. Paladins were shiny and clean and got respect. Not like Death Knights. Nobody actually likes Death Knights.

“She hit 85 and went Holy/Prot.” Invariant shrugged. “Said no way in hell is she going Ret. She’ll dual spec Holy first.”

So what, you want me to stash this away? I’m running out of space.”

“Silly!” Invariant grinned at her. “I want you to use it.”

“I can’t even equip it, I’m not high enough.”

“Right. So you’re going to have to level up.” With that, Invariant teleported away, off to whatever adventures she had these days. (Based on what she sent Interest to sell, Interest was pretty sure she spent most of her time in the city making Netherweave Bags, and the rest digging up old Night Elf underwear. Interest wasn’t entirely sure that Invariant was… normal.)

Just then Analogue stopped by. “Hey, I got these back from Divergent now that she’s done with them, and a couple more.” She tossed Interest a bag. “I heard you’re thinking of leveling. Ditch the bank guild and we’ll hook you up with some real guild perks, too. Gotta run. Raid in five. I’m still short one healer. Too bad you’re not one.”

Interest opened the bag. Inside… well, she didn’t know how Analogue had managed to get a sword that long into the bag. It looked far too big for her, but when she pulled it out, it felt just right. The breastplate fit beautifully – odd, that, considering it still had Divergent’s name written on the tag at the collar. How exactly does a gnome fit into a Draenei’s hand me downs? The helmet and back were entirely new. Analogue must have just bought them – for me! Interest thought excitedly. Ok! I can do this!

It had been so long since anyone noticed her. So long since she was anything but another banker. She summoned her Deathcharger, Pinky, who whinnied at her in excitement. “Let’s go,” she whispered. “I’ve got to get my talents redone.” They leapt through a Deathgate.

“You must choose your path,” her trainer announced when she reached him. “You must choose….”

“I’m going to be a tank,” Interest said confidently. “I want to be the center of attention. A whirling gnome of death, bringing vengeance on my enemies while protecting my friends. Also, I hear leveling in dungeons is fast and fun and the queue’s a lot shorter for a tank.”

The trainer eyed her. “Even shorter than you,” he confirmed. “Very well then. Now, we’ve made some changes to the tank trees since you came through here…”

“I know,” Interest said, and pulled out a note. “I want…. this spec. I found it on the internet. I’ll figure out what it does later.”

“Very well. Don’t forget to read Elitist Jerks.”

Thanks for indulging me. I don’t do fanfiction (anymore) (never did any for WoW anyway) but that was a fun little bit to write. But stripped of the fiction flourishes, last weekend I did have basically this happen. Dug up the troll sword BOA epic, had nothing to do with it, decided this required me to level my bank alt. I handed the bank guild over to one of Reversion’s alts and joined Crits. Fixed her up as a tank and queued for Hellfire.

Since I blog I can’t ever do a project without thinking of the blog. I remember Pugging Pally – those were always a great read – so I decided I’ll level Interest in pugs, as a tank, and tell what stories may come.

I’m not leveling her on a set schedule, or anything, but stay tuned for her adventures!

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I’m back! I realize I didn’t actually mention that I was going on a two week business trip and our blogging would be a bit scarce, but it’s true. I logged onto WoW a few times while I was gone but my setup was terrible, the internet was weak, and I just wasn’t feeling it. I missed three full weekends of raiding!

Got back late Saturday night, Sunday I logged in and decided to finish leveling my paladin, Divergent. I couldn’t remember how far I had to go – so I was pleasantly surprised to see she had two bars to fill. Six quests later, she was 85.

I flew back to Stormwind, dropped my ret spec, and respecced both my Holy and my Prot specs since I probably screwed up some of my Holy talents on the way up. Then I went through my gear… Divergent’s tank gear  is nonexistent, she doesn’t even have a shield and weapon. Well, she does; for her Holy set. Not exactly optimal. But her Holy set isn’t bad. Most of it was 333, a few weak slots here and there but not too bad. I only had to wear two pvp pieces to meet the minimum level requirement for heroics. And I thought briefly about running normals but – I was pretty sure with Reversion tanking for me I could manage. He decided to pull out his gnome warrior. Now the warrior is not as well geared as his two bear tanks but she’s respectably outfitted for heroics. And she’s a blacksmith who can make me gear with Chaos orbs. I thought about all the lovely plate in SFK and decided we’d queue for that. I asked in guild if anyone wanted to come and one guildie did, if we didn’t mind him rolling on plate. I warned him I would be rolling against him on tank gear and he was fine with that. So I was happy with how we’d stacked the deck.

Our random people were a mage and a hunter. Great, I love mage cookies. We started and had some roughness as I remembered how to heal on a paladin. Got to the first boss and I honestly wasn’t prepared for how fast the dps were killing him and didn’t have people really healed at the point where he goes Dark Archangel. Which resulted in, I think 2 of the 3 dps dying. But we downed him, I rezzed, and we went on.

Next boss, we get there, we’re killing trash, and we aggro him and wipe. Oops. Run back, do it right, he dies. Up the stairs to Commander Springvale who we haven’t killed since they changed it so you can’t kite him away from his adds. We decide to give it a try, and he dies. Again I lose some of the dps. I really am a little weak as far as gear goes. If I weren’t really good at healing this would be impossible.  And my mana pool is terribly small. If I’m not in melee range smacking the boss for regen, I run out fasst. Fortunately the awesome dps levels are making all the fights quite short.

I was still occasionally letting a dps, or myself, die, which was annoying but seemed reasonable. The hunter kept pulling aggro; he was doing about 12k and Reversion’s warrior was doing 5.5k and the hunter wasn’t using Misdirect or Feign Death. So my heart wept, really it did, when he died occasionally.

We get to the end boss and wipe. I just wasn’t able to get Reversion healed up fast enough. We go again, and our dk died really fast and we don’t have the dps to kill him before I’m out of mana. One more time, and this time I pop my cool downs one after another. A druid healer who plays another class of healer usually has great reflexes, good triage skills, and weak cooldown usage. Druids just don’t have cooldowns like priests and pallies do. I don’t even know which ones to use together, which to use separately… I’ll have to do some real research.

But at last, the boss dies, the instance is done, and I’m ready to check out. We’re saying the usual “thanks for the run” politeness, and then this:

 

 

This guy has said…. nothing, the whole run. Now when we’re safely done and can’t kick him, he feels like he should open up and tell us what for.

Two months back an SFK run with only three wipes would have been a great run. Now apparently it’s a “you suck”. No allowance for poor gear – I had mentioned my mana pool being small and why, earlier in the run, so yes, he knew I was under geared.

He made me laugh! I thought it was great. He clearly knows nothing at all about tanking and healing if he could say that. And he couldn’t even play his own class right; his dps might have been good but he didn’t, as I said before, use Misdirect; when we were doing the boss with the adds, he trapped the first one and then ignored traps like they were a plague; and at least once he had to rez his pet mid fight because he’d forgotten until then.

Ah yes. Welcome back to WoW, Analogue. Hope you missed it!

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I did a little work on leveling my paladin this weekend. She’s working through 84. Sunday she got the Twilight Highlands opened and joined a quest for Crucible of Carnage. Since she’s going to be holy at max level I’m picking up int gear as it drops. Not a fan of ret; I either have no buttons to push or too many. Ugh.

So now and then I heal an instances to work on her xp, instead of questing. Sunday it had been a while since I’d healed but I queued with some guildies and we got Stonecore. I think we had three guildies but the tank was a pugger.  I know Repgrind was along for sure.

First, the tank drops group. Ok. So we wait a bit and a minute or two later here comes another tank. He charges in. Thankfully Repgrind interrupts the guy who turns into a whirlwind because I don’t think the tank believed in interrupts. Or crowd control.

So we proceed through the dungeon. Now my standards for tanking are pretty high, because Reversion is an awesome tank, but even so this guy is not good.  He’s not terrible, he holds aggro, but that’s it. He doesn’t use CC and he doesn’t communicate with us. We kill the first few bosses and proceed to Orzuk while killing as little trash as possible – which wipes us once and nearly wipes us another time. Sigh.

And then he sets up to pull Orzuk… without killing either of the trash packs closest to him. I ask in guild if it’s for real but decide to let him try – because I want to laugh. We start. He fails about half of the time to run far enough away from the pound thing. Sigh.  And then it happens – the group we didn’t clear gets pulled, and we die.

We run back and kill that group and then Orzuk. Sigh. Why we couldn’t just do that at first…

The final fight I managed to kill a lot of the adds because I know how to make them stand in bad stuff. Not sure the tank did much of anything. Repgrind interrupted lots of Force Grips and it ended up being pretty easy to heal.

Fade to black.

Monday night Reversion was tanking for the other raid so Repgrind and I queued up together, again me on the baby holy pally and her on her warrior. This time we got Vortex Pinnacle. Once again the tank disappears almost as soon as we reach the instance – a dc this time. I was going to give him a  minute but someone started a “kick” vote immediately. Five minutes later a new tank appears and we start.

“Gogogo” says the mage. Why must it be a mage who always does this sort of thing? I love mages, I was a mage before I was a healer, but man they seem to be the worst. And I pride myself on keeping mages alive!

“Gogogo” was about all he said and he said it every few minutes. We were making good time too! Then we killed a boss and jumped platforms…. and the mage sat there on the other platform… and sat…. and sat. Finally he moves. “Back,” he says, not having said he was going afk in the first place. “Gogogo”.

We keep going. We clear the first of the groups by the lightning triangle things, you know where there’s a set of steps up after them with star balls at the top. Well we’re recovering after the fight…. and Mr. Mage says “gogogo” and runs up and starts. Well I saw a dot moving and followed, then realized it was the mage and the other three party members were still downstairs. So I stopped healing him. The rest of the party comes and starts joining in. I tell Repgrind “DPS slower!” as the mage’s health creeps down… and down…. and then he dies. Victory! We kill the stars and I rez him. He doesn’t say anything…

We finish the trash pulls, go down, kill the other stars, and are looking at the boss. Mr. Mage is still upstairs. Finally he comes down and says “Gogogo” so we pull.

I was trying so hard to see if I could get him killed that I…. let myself die. Fortunately at that point the boss was almost dead and they finished without me. I think it demonstrated pretty clearly, though, that I can’t heal stupid. Not stupid tanks, not stupid mages, and not even myself when I’m stupid.

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Switching Gears

How do you handle switching things up?

I’m not talking about major switches in your gaming, not the “now my main is a hunter” or “I just moved servers” thing. No, just the evenings where you look at the loading screen and say “I want to play this guy”. I know there’s some folks who only have a couple characters, or even a single main, but I’ve got 8 characters on Winterhoof. One bank alt, she doesn’t count. One main. One actively being levelled lowbie shaman, one “I logged into her a few weeks back” lowbie hunter. A paladin at 84 and two not-my-main 85s, my mage and my priest. Oh, and a worgen that hasn’t left the starting area.

In the last two weeks, I’ve spent several hours on my paladin, my shaman, my priest, and my mage. Invariant, the mage, had been getting plenty of fresh air anyway since she is my archeologist and I’m still looking for that flaming doll. The others, not so much. Every time I log in I have to reacquaint myself  with the way each operates.

One thing that helps is keep my UI fairly standard across characters. The action bars in the same places, Recount and Omen in one corner, Vuhdo frames in their proper spot, even on my non healer characters – Invariant has Remove Curse mapped in Vuhdo, no need for Decursive. For my healer characters, I assign similar spells to the same mouse click combos – right mouse click for a good HOT, shield, or fast cast, other combos for longer cast spells. That way I can let the muscle memory work for me.

Same with my action bars; I try to keep spells that do similar things in the same place across characters. Of course, this is subjective. Frost  Nova and Disengage do not do the same thing, at all, but they have the same spot on my action bars for their respective characters.  I tend to keep opener moves on 1 and 2, aoes toward 6  and 7, and emergency spells at the end.

ArcInventory is my bag addon of choice. I have it set up to use the “Rules” to sort things for me. So what I get when I hit my B key is a giant bag with everything I own, but visually seperated into containers by the rules I set. I can have all my crafting mats assigned to the two left hand columns, my spare armor set in the bottom right, and junk items at the very top, all by themselves. If I keep it the same across characters, any time I open my bags I know where things will be.

I have a quick routine when I get onto a  character that I’ve been resting up. Check my bags and gear to see if I need to sell and repair. Check my map and quest log, to see where I need to go. Check over my abilities and remind myself just what this character actually does. Takes about three minutes and then I’m ready to go. The first few pulls are uncomfortable as I search for the right abilities, remember critical things (“Oh, right, pet.” “Oh, right, totems”. “Oh, right, mage armor”).  After that I settle in.

That said right now my paladin is the hardest to get into. I’m leveling in ret by questing. I just am not comfortable with the spec at all. It doesn’t feel like me. I’m not really a melee player; I like standing at range and killing stuff. And things are always lighting up and I don’t know what to push. This goldenish swirly icon? That goldenish swirly icon? The one that looks like a shiny hand? Ack! I may just wait til she gets a whole level of rested and then heal dungeons the last bit of the way; I’m much better at that.

But I do think there’s value in switching characters. I’ve been working hard on learning all the raid fights as heals; when I switched and did a few fights on my mage, I was amazed at how much easier it was to pay attention to stuff on the ground I needed to move out of, target switching time, etc. Of course, I was focused on that somewhat at the expense of my dps but…. that wasn’t too shabby either.

I also find that switching around and not spending lots of time on any alt favors “simple” specs and rotation. Switching to Invariant and going arcane is easy. The fights where I’ve gone fire? Let’s not talk about that… fire is much much more complicated and while fun, would take time to master that I’m not spending.

Remember, the most important thing to do when you’re switching characters is always put your toys away – mom’s advice growing up works well now too. Even if you think you’re only logging into your main for a few minutes, stick your leveling alt in an inn, sell her junk, mail things you want to auction to your bank alt. There are far too many times I’ve gotten on a main to send something to an alt and found myself three hours later in a Stonecore run that just won’t die. Save yourself the headache and always leave in a way that makes it easy to come back.

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Alting Around

Analogue’s gear is looking good. I need to get more Valor points but I’m getting close enough to having the VP gear I want that I don’t always do a daily run. She does get her JC daily done religiously though. And I need to re-spec her tonight, I want to give Efflorescence another try, but I’ve been feeling the urge to play other characters again.

I played with my paladin some this weekend, getting her from just barely 83 to almost 84. Frustratingly I’d left her halfway through Deepholm and couldn’t figure out where, so I went and did a little Uldum until Reversion, leveling an alt through Deepholm, mentioned a spot where I might have broken the chain. Back I went and sure enough there was a quest, so I finished Deepholm, opening up the shoulder enchants, and then put Divergent back in storage. I’m starting to get the hang of Ret but I don’t like it. I’ll probably go Holy/Prot at max level.

And Tuesday, I went to Baradin Hold on Analogue, then when checking my Valor Points realized I’d maxed out my Justice Points, again. I went to look at what the JP goods vendor would sell and then noticed the Heirloom vendor. Hmm… never did buy that other Heirloom trinket. I picked it up and mailed it to my baby shaman. Who I knew had other heirlooms I’d mailed her…. and I hadn’t logged onto her in forever… ok, log on, grab heirlooms, equip. Hmm. She’s pretty shiny now, and halfway through 26. Let’s do a few quests.

An hour later I’d gained two levels and was remembering why I had liked this little dwarf shaman anyway. Cool. Plus I have been meaning forever to get a shaman up high enough to get a real feel for their healing. Sometimes I feel like I can’t diagnose why raid heals aren’t working right because I don’t know shaman or holy priests well enough, and I aim to fix that.

Anyway. Last night I went to work on her a bit more, got her past 30, and relocated her over to Desolace to check the place out. A guildie was trying to put together an alt run on Bastion of Twilight. So I thought I’d bring my priest. So did 3 other guildies. I determined that they wanted me to dps and we cleared the trash. I looked at my meters and was very disappointed with my performance, so when we were swapping some people anyway in order to have more stuns on Halfus, I swapped to my mage. Technically she has less gear but I knew I could pull out considerably more damage with her.

And I did. We wiped so many times, the trash respawned, and we cleared it again. In two clears we got three epics, the thrown weapon, the healer staff and the cloth bracers, and I won the bracers. Cool! Now, if I make all my dreamcloth this week I should have enough for a belt and pants for my mage… she’s so much fun, really she is. I am glad frost and fire are viable raid choices now but I love arcane. If I’m gonna pew-pew, let’s keep the pew-pew as simple and shiny as possible!

I have three pieces of green gear, no epics at all, and managed about 8.5k dps on the trash. My priest, with significantly better gear, was struggling to hit above 6k. I assume it’s just that I know exactly what to do on my mage, but…. yeah. It was satisfying. I’d been dithering about whether to gear the mage or the priest but I know if I gear the priest all I’ll ever do is heal. If I gear the mage maybe I’ll want to go blow things up. And she has all the shiny pets and archeology toys anyway.

 

OH! Last attempt of the night, we actually downed him. Three tanked, three healed, with Rev’s spare bear going cat after the drakes were down, and we beat the enrage timer handily. Woot! I expect the normal raid to have no problems. We’re going in there Friday so we can get lots of work on the Twins this weekend. Wish us luck! I want to be 6 or 7/12 by Sunday…

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