Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Auld Lang Syne

Since my blog hasn't been around for a full year, I thought I'd treat the obligatory Year's End post as more of a guild round up. After all, if you've stuck around this long, you've probably already noticed I talk about them more than how to play a Shaman anyway.

January
We started off the year with a bang by clearing Serpentshrine Cavern. We killed Lady Vashj [Laeedee Vae-eh-sh] (I just can't convey the correct nasal pronunciation no matter how hard I try), on January 7th. Unfortunately, we were unable to kill her hair, which caused some concern due to the creepy factor. I also got to experience the awesomeness that is having your healer sitting next to you during a raid. Mase came to visit for my birthday and we enjoyed being nerdy together by playing WoW side by side. Before you judge, let me remind you that my town pretty much sucks, so it's not like we were missing the night life or anything.

February
By the end of January we were working our way through Tempest Keep, killing Alar and Solarian for the first time on January 24th. We spent February working on Kael'thas and avoiding those annoying goblin cupids. After all, we didn't want a stray arrow to make anyone fall in love with a Blood Elf (they hog the mirrors).

March
In like a lion, out like a...really ugly Naga? March brought the demise of Kael (and our eardrums as people whooped on vent), our entrance into the battle for Mount Hyjal and an assault on Black Temple. We killed Rage Winterchill and High Warlord Naj'entus shortly after kicking Kael's ass back to where he belonged--Magister's Terrace. We killed our first boss in Black Temple prior to patch 2.4 which did away with the attunement. Although several people missed the quest chain (something we have just now--we hope-- heard the last of), we were able to get enough attuned prior to the change to be able to say we earned it.

April
Supremus, Shade of Akama, Anetheron, Kaz'rogal, Azgalor, and Teron Gorefiend showered us with loot during the month of April. Fun times were had by all, except the few that really sucked at the Teron Gorefiend flash game.

May
Who needs flowers when you can save a tree? Archimonde hit the dirt in May saving the World Tree (and our sanity). Who knew keeping 25 people from face-planting into the ground and running through fire would be so hard? I'm pretty sure small children learn to avoid falling on their face or touching an open flame. Needless to say, we had a few issues and frustrations (we don't really excel at the GTFO fight mechanic), but eventually we did beat him. I personally like the fight, I'd just rather not bring 24 other people who missed the day of pre-school dedicated to fire safety.

June
We focused on Black Temple after learning to kill Archimonde (and not ourselves) and defeated the Reliquary of Souls and Mother Shahraz in June. I also decided to be a blogger. Pretty much the only post really worth anything is the one about the Second Kill Curse (although I'm probably reaching to say any of my posts are worth anything).

July
I got to go home for the Fourth of July and squeezed in a small get-together for some Texan guildies. We raided a decrepit bowling alley, but didn't get to keep the shoes. In actual WoW news, we downed Bloodboil (worst fight ever for me) and the Illidari Council. Pre-nerf, Bloodboil was a disaster for me on my Shadow Priest. It was incredibly annoying to be on the verge of pulling aggro the entire time even after waiting a significant amount of time to start attacking. I also stopped blogging.

August
In August we beat Black Temple. Illidan never dropped his Glaives for our rogues making them sad-pandas, but the fight was a fun one. It was nice to get to be at the top of the meters for once on my priest.

September
Over Labor Day weekend, a number of guildies traveled to Toronto for what has become our annual xeno Meet. More than 20 of us showed up from around the US and Canada for our third annual Meet. It was a great time in the Great White North, that suprisingly in September, wasn't all that white. We did see a statue of a moose wearing a Mounty uniform, so I guess that was a win.

October
I think we raided in October. And apparently we talked about Wrath of the Lich King, a lot. Not too sure what else happened. And I started blogging, for real this time. It was also All Hallow's Eve. Ooh, and zombies. How could I forget the zombies?

November
We stood in line (or in my case waited for ethical people even though there wasn't a line) to buy Wrath of the Lich King. And we missed our last Black Temple raid because of server failure caused by a mailbox revolution. Wrath of the Lich King rocked our socks, and we had our first level 80 within four days. Yay Silver!

December
We cleared Naxxramas 10 and 25, Obsidian Sanctum 10 and 25, and Eye of Eternity 10 and 25. We kinda beat WoW. Marnas agreed to help me with the blog, and between us we managed to write enough to average a post a day. Not too bad for two WoW chicks with responsibilities.

Thanks for sticking around so far. I'd promise to bring you more awe inspiring posts in 2009, but we all know what I will actually do is share my thoughts and turn my frustrations into blog-fodder.


Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gold - Green

Several years ago, back when I was a fairly miserable teacher, I went to an in-service training where all the faculty took a quiz to determine our personality "color." The things I learned from this training both about my own outlook on life and how to deal with people of contrasting colors stuck with me. I remember taking the booklet home to my family and making them take the quiz as well. Everyone's color combination was spot on. And it gave me an insight into their minds that I had never had before.

For some reason, I started thinking about this in connection with my guild today. I searched around the internet until I found a site that gives a basic breakdown of the colors from that system. (Of course, the quiz booklet itself is not there because the trainers want to make money, too.)

There are four main color blocks: Blue, Orange, Gold and Green. Individuals can have traits from more than one color, but the dominant color will be apparent.

Here's a quick breakdown (the terms in parentheses are mine):

Blue: Nurturer (Touchy Feely)
  • A people person.
  • Sensitive to the needs of others.
  • Sincere. Cooperative. Caring.
  • Idealistic.
Orange: Adventurous (Rebel)
  • An action person.
  • Center of attention.
  • Risk taker. Creative. Bold. Energetic.
  • Spontaneous.
Gold: Traditional (Bossy)
  • A rules oriented person.
  • Sees things as right or wrong.
  • Practical. Punctual. Helpful.
  • Organized.
Green: Visionary (Smart Alec)
  • An inquisitive person.
  • Explores all angles before making a decision.
  • Logical. Persistent. Systematic.
  • Intellectual.
When I took the quiz, I was a combination of Gold and Green, so I guess I'm a bossy smart alec. Which, actually, isn't all that surprising.

What I like about the system is it helps me to remember that some actions aren't meant to infuriate me, but are simply part of the person's personality. When the raid leader becomes nitpicky about every little spellcast, he isn't really criticizing us, he's trying to understand what happened; he's just being Green. When the new girl feels the need to share intimate details about her life and all that is happening to her, she is just being Blue (too Blue...way too Blue). When I bug the other officers about scheduling or tweaking our Code of Conduct, I'm not being bossy, I'm being Gold (ok, Gold and bossy--I admit I'm bossy).

Remembering this doesn't always make the minor annoyances less annoying, but it can help me to deal with the people. I know that to motivate someone who is orange, I need to make it a challenge or a competition. I know that if someone is Blue, a smiley face may make their day, and being there to listen to them is important, even if I sometimes feel like I'd rather take a piece of sandpaper to my eye than chat about their latest love interest. The Green guy may be a number cruncher, and if he is, he'll be a great asset to have helping you plan out the attack. And the Gold people like me are worth our weight in, well gold, because a guild that lacks organization can't always meet its goals.

So the next time someone in my guild gets on my nerves, I'm going to try hard to just think of it in terms of color. They aren't really a jerk, they're just letting their Orange show.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Yays and Nays

Yay:
  • We downed Malygos in Heroic Eye of Eternity tonight. It took us more tries than it should have, but a few of our normal raiders were unavailable due to the holidays, so we were pulling in people even after raid time. We hit Obsidian Sanctum first, for an easy no-drake kill. We'll start working on leaving them up after the holidays I guess.
Nay:
  • Mr. I. R. Uberheal was joined tonight by his buddy Mr. Dinnae Lissen. It made for a fun raid with I.R. telling us that he alone was responsible for every heal and Dinnae disregarding Raid Leader instructions because his way made "logical sense." Good times.
Yay:
Nay:
  • Only item even remotely good for me that dropped was the Staff of Restraint, and I prefer one hand/shield combinations. Grats to Thren, though. :)
Yay:
  • Just one more day of work this week.
Nay:
  • Just two days until a day I'm not looking forward to this year. I really thought my life would be different by the time I hit this number. Guess not--unless something very drastic occurs within the next 54 hours...

Think About It!


So I really think that some people give little to no thought about what they say in vent. Unbelievable arrogance is quite common, but so is politeness I suppose. The arrogance just smashes the politeness into little pieces so it's hard to see mmm hear? I really hope it's more a matter of just being self absorbed and some people don't truly think they are "the bomb" as the kids put it. I don't talk much in raid vent because I'm too scared of making an ass of myself and really there's seldom a time I need to say anything.

Oh and for those of you tracking - my DPS was much better! Like I stated I will never top the meters, but I'm very happy with being in a comfy spot in the middle. Yay! Thanks my locky friend!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Need vs. Greed; or Why are Enchanters Lazy?

For a few weeks now, I've been participating in a late-night 10-man group of guildies that I've dubbed the Power Team (click here to read about the real Power Team--and quite possibly laugh. However, I would advise against laughing in the face of a Power Team member--these guys are BIG.). Despite the fact that I love to sleep and runs that last until at least 2:00 am make me tired, I love them. Every Friday and Saturday night, the same ten players (unless someone is out of town or otherwise unavailable) get together to speed through Naxxramas, Obsidian Sanctum, Eye of Eternity, and sometimes Archavon.

Our loot rules are simple, and we use the dice. If you are rolling for your main spec/role and it is an upgrade, you click need. If you are rolling for an off spec/role, you click greed. There is no limit to the number of need or greed rolls you may make, since it is a guild run (and we don't take loot whores). I know. What a concept, right? We use the in-game dice in the intended manner. It's strange, but it works.

The first run or two, the raid organizer (he doesn't like to be the raid leader, but he does the invites on the in-game calendar) and I made sure that everyone knew what the loot rules were. Since they follow our guild loot policies that are listed on our website, it didn't take long for everyone to get the hang of it. Well, almost everyone.

Tonight our resident Disenchanter made a fuss to the two of us because he wanted to hit greed for DE. We pointed out that that wouldn't work if someone wanted the item for an off spec. He still didn't seem to get it. He thought everyone should just hit need if they wanted it so he could just click a button instead of waiting by the corpse to see if he needed to pick up the item and disenchant it. He also argued that there really isn't much difference between the stats for items anymore, so there shouldn't be off spec issues. Although I got the feeling he was mostly being contrary because he likes to argue, it also made me shake my head in wonder. He plays a pure dps class, so the big decision when speccing for him is whether to do damage this way or that way. But the concept of hybrids isn't a new one. And I guarantee that if I rolled need on a piece with +hit on it, he would be the first to question me about it.

He is right that many stats have been homogenized, but not to the point that some discretion isn't necessary in deciding whether it is worth a need roll or a greed roll.

Here's my take on it:
  • Resto Shamans don't get a lot of use out of spirit, so anything that is heavy on spirit, like The Impossible Dream probably isn't worth a need roll, unless you are using something really bad.
  • Crit and Haste rating are good for us, so Hammer of the Astral Plane (damn you Mase) is totally need worthy.
  • Items with a lot of mp5 are also good. Water shield will keep your mana ticking, but a nice base of mp5 gives you more regen, and acts as a buffer if you are short on global cooldowns to refresh it.
  • Hit Rating is a greed, but I do not hesitate to roll on it. There are fights where I not only have time to dps, but I am also expected to (i.e. Thaddius in Heroic or Loatheb during the 17 seconds where I cannot heal). Having a few +hit pieces to toss on to minimize my misses makes my resto-dps more useful.
  • I am also contemplating creating a decent enhancement set (although I haven't decided for sure yet), so I may start greeding on attack power items that no one else wants.
It isn't that hard to look at a piece and decide if it will help me heal people harder, faster or more efficiently; or if it will let me quest or dps easier. But don't be a lazy disenchanter. If the rules are need for main role/greed for off, please don't think that disenchanting is an off spec.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

So maybe I won't quit

The last few weeks of raiding have been rather painful for me. Admittedly, I have not been able to commit the time to getting gear upgrades that I'd like to, but beyond that.... I've just felt lost since hitting 80. I'm not good at researching (and I do try.) I read several forums and such and tried several specs and spell rotations. All resulting in me be the the last or close to the last of the dpsers in raid. Now, don't get me wrong, I will never be topping the charts, but in BC I had pulled myself to a mid-ranged decent spot that I was proud of for me (mom of 2 little ones and works full time.)

Since hitting 80 blah - so I started questioning, should I quit raiding? Why do I raid? I'm not doing well and really feeling stressed. Well the simple answer is Tam and my husband. If I don't raid, I really don't play with them much at all and they are the reason I play WOW in the first place. Raiding with them is well worth rushing to feed and bathe my kids and get them ready for bed and then trying to put them to bed during a reset.

So I didn't get in the raid Monday and I was really, really ok with that. I logged on after my kids went to bed to just quest and mess around while everyone was raiding and lucky me, my old warlock friend/god logged on and asked how life was treating me. Now I could have asked him for help a long time ago, but I feel guilty like I'm using him or something. But I mention that my dps was the stink and he jumps right on helping me. He respecs me, replaces some glyphs, makes me a great cloak (I provide mats,) tells me what gems to replace, and tells me what to be working on getting from heroics and badges. Then we go hit the training dummies to work on rotations and see the improvements. I saw a huge improvement and I'm really excited to raid soon. If you raid with me, don't expect me to top the charts, that's won't happen, but maybe you won't be saying to yourself, "aww poor Marnas, she really sucks" or "why is Marnas here, she's no help." Maybe I will actually be helping.

So if you are reading this and you are one of those brilliant people that "gets" WOW, help us noobs out when you can. I honestly try and apply what I read and such, but sadly it takes a leet lock actually looking at me and telling me what to do to improve me. And for that - I could kiss him! Well a virtual kiss anyway. :) It was one of the best Christmas gifts someone could have given me.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

Happy Christmas Eve!

Straight No Chaser - 12 Days of Christmas

The original video from 10 years ago. There are new videos of current concerts on Youtube, but I think this one is the best.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Huh? He gave up?

Tonight I experienced one of those moments that make the game worthwhile. It wasn't clearing Naxx - 10 in 2.5 hours. It wasn't winning epic loot. It was a much simpler moment than that. It was picking a flower in Sholazar Basin...and living through it.

I play on a PvP server. I'm not here to cry about the ganking or anything, but to revel in one moment where I managed to get the better of the other player--because, as my friends would gladly tell you, I suck at PvP.
I was farming flowers in Sholazar tonight and I managed to pick a flower that a level 80 Tauren Druid was eyeing. To express his displeasure, he shifted out of flight form and proceeded to attack me in Moonkin form, even going so far as to release his trio of Treants (herd? gaggle? army?) on me. And all I did was heal. I threw on Earth Shield, hit myself with Riptide, cast a few Lesser Healing Waves (glyphed of course), and at one point popped a Nature's Swiftness/Tidal Force Healing Wave. To be fair, I did hit him with one Flame Shock, but not until he had finished fighting some mobs that had spawned behind him. I was getting close to running out of mana by the time he gave up. But the point is that he gave up. He bowed and clapped for me and allowed me to go on my way.

Maybe the Spirit of Christmas isn't totally dead after all. I hope Greatfather Winter brings him more spellpower this year.

Mixed Messages

Warning: this is another of those posts that has absolutely nothing to do with WoW.

So I wake up this morning (groggy as can be because even though I meant to go to bed directly after the raid, I didn't) and check the School/Business delays and closing on the website. I knew that there was a possibility that we might be delayed or closed today since I couldn't watch TV last night. (What the hell does that have to do with anything, you ask? No TV signal means the Directv dish has been covered with snow, which is an easier gauge than looking outside only because I'm lazy.) Even though I knew there was a possibility the weather would alter our schedule, I didn't really think it would because our Courts generally follow the School District, and school is already out for Christmas break. The Courts don't always think about that when we have bad weather on a day that kids are already home for other reasons, and usually don't cancel on their own.

So back to the website. I checked it and saw that District Court (where I had no cases for today) is on a 2 hour delay. Ok, not bad. Per "Office Policy," I'm still supposed to be at work at the normal time, but I don't have to be at Court until 10. Then I scroll down further and see that Magistrate Court (not-fondly-at-all referred to as Zoo Court) is canceled. Hmm. This means the two cases I inherited last minute yesterday will be postponed. And "Office Policy" states that when Courts are closed, I don't have to go into the office until 10. So District Court's 2 hour delay means: show up at 8. And Magistrate's closure means: show up at 10.

This situation has not been covered in our intraoffice e-mails. Whatever shall I do? I guess I should shoot for 9?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Trust Me?

“He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted.” Lao Tzu

Tonight we finished off Heroic Naxxramas, killing Kel'thuzad for the first time as a guild. Afterward, we headed to Heroic Eye of Eternity. It was my first time facing Malygos in a 25 man raid, and although we did not walk away victorious, it was a fun time and should set us up to kill him soon.

We ran with seven healers tonight, which is fairly standard for our guild. There were three Priests, two Holy and one Discipline; two Resto Druids; and two Resto Shamans. We managed phase one pretty well once we had figured out the positioning when returning to the platform after a vortex. Phase two was a little tricky for the tanks to reliably pick up all the Lords so they didn't kill DPS, but we'll get it next time. But our learning curve isn't what this post is about.

This post is about trust. (See the clever way I named it. Tricky I am.) Specifically trust among healers.

As I have stated before, I do not think that any one healing class is better than the others--at least not in all situations. I believe there is a synergy inherent in Blizzard's design of the classes and their respective skills that makes us strongest when we work together. I guess since I have leveled all four classes that have healing buttons (even though I've only raid healed as a Priest, Druid, and Shaman) I've always thought this concept was obvious.

I was wrong.

When WotLK came out we had several people change mains--including me. A few other people switched specs. A couple of these switches brought people who had never really raid healed before (and here I'm talking more than 10 mans with two-three healers) into our healing corps. One of those individuals was in the raid tonight. Before WotLK he had always played DPS classes, and he played those classes very well. In the expansion he chose to level his Holy Priest.

Tonight after one of the attempts on Malygos, he said in vent "I go OOM so fast in this fight." This comment prompted our raid leader, a Resto Druid, to ask what he was doing to run out of mana that fast--he was completely tapped before Phase 2 every attempt. His response was that he was hitting Circle of Healing constantly since the raid was taking so much damage. When we explored this further, we found that he was spamming CoH during the vortex and after a blast. I explained that Chain Heal is not an instant spell, but will help to top up the raid within a few seconds, and that with two Resto Shamans he needed to trust us to heal after a blast. His somewhat joking response was that there is only one healer he trusts...himself.

I blame his DPS background for this mentality. When you play a Warlock, your only job during most fights is to do damage, and to do the most damage you possibly can. You are not part of a "DPS Team." Most of the time you do not have to think about who else is also damaging that mob, you just have to hit the boss as often and as hard as you can with your spells (while also making sure to GTFO of any bad things).

Healing is a whole different ballgame, and I guess it takes longer to acquire the proper mentality. Healing is not about topping the meters. It isn't about healing harder, it's about healing smarter. And to be a smart healer, you have to be aware of a lot of different things: the mechanics of the fight, so you know who will be taking damage and when; the strengths and weaknesses of your raid members (like knowing which squishy mage is likely to forget to GTFO of the AoE and will need extra healing); and how your healing style meshes with the rest of the healers. The last requires trust. You have to trust that your healing corps isn't watching The Family Guy and not paying attention. You have to trust that your healers will manage their mana so that they can last to the end of the fight. You have to trust that they will follow the tank who has gone out of your range and keep him alive. You have to trust each other to know which spells to use to maximize the synergy. Without this trust, you turn into a one-man army that runs out of mana within the first 2 minutes of a 10 minute fight.

This individual was close to the top of the healing meters for the night, but, to me, this means nothing. The raid leader actually told him to stop worrying about the meters and to trust the rest of us. I don't know that it sunk in, but it's good advice for all of us. If topping the healing meters is all you care about, I can't trust you to heal smart. And if you aren't healing smart, why are you in my raid? Like the Chinese guy said, trust me or I can't trust you.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Zero-Sum with a Twist


I follow one of the premier WoW Healer blogs, World of Matticus (I think all healers should take a gander at his site frequently; it's not just about priests anymore). Lately Matt and Syd have been chatting about Loot Council and how it works in their newly formed guild. This got me thinking about my guild's loot distribution system and made me want to analyze what works and what doesn't with our Zero Sum DKP system.

Guild Background

My guild has been around since before WoW launched. The founders came from a first-person shooter background and have been clan/guild members since the 1990s. I lucked into the guild just about the time they started seriously running Molten Core in vanilla WoW. At the time they needed extra bodies to fill the 40 man raids, so they made an alliance with another guild. I was a noob Priest in the other guild, and I raided both Molten Core and Zul'Gurub with xeno before I actually defected and joined them. A few months later I became an Officer, and I've never really looked back.

We've had the same basic loot distribution policy since Zul'Gurub, although we have tweaked it as we've experienced new issues. We started out as a close-knit group of friends, and even though we have grown considerably with time, the core values haven't changed that much.

We strive:
  1. To be as fair and open with loot decisions as possible.
  2. To avoid even the appearance of bias.
  3. To reward the faithful without punishing the new.

Raid Points (RP): Origins

First of all, we use the term "RP" rather than "DKP" when discussing the intangible currency used to purchase all items that drop during a 25 man raid with our guild. Our RP is tracked on our website and recorded either during or after each raid, depending on who is running the auctions that night.

We have drawn from several different distribution systems to create our unique model. Zero-Sum DKP, Open Bidding, Escrow and Efficiency Rewards are all combined in our system.

Zero-Sum DKP + Bidding

WoWWiki states that "Zero-sum DKP means that DKP is distributed based on the value of items that drop. All members in a zero-sum DKP start with a score of 0. When an item is given to a raid member, they have to pay for it in DKP (going negative if necessary). These DKP spent are immediately distributed among all the raid members. Thus the amount of DKP, i.e. the sum of all members in the system, is always zero."

"Although 'zero-sum' describes only a method of earning DKP, and it would in theory be perfectly possible to combine this income method with bidding for finding the item prices, nearly no raids actually do that."

Except us. We do that. We have a modified zero-sum RP system (there are 1000 points per person in our system) but do not have fixed prices for items. Instead, we have a minimum bid amount of 100 and all subsequent bids must be increases of 50.

The points spent during the auction are distributed to the members of the raid present at the time of the kill, including the person who purchased the item. So if I spend 250 RP for an item, each person in the raid receives approximately 10 points, and my RP balance is decreased by about 240. (The lack of certainty is because of a small tax placed on all bids in an effort to reduce inflation in our system.)

Escrow, or Balancing New and Old

One of our concerns was creating a system that both protected us from guild-hopping leeches and allowed us to minimize the DKP gap between long-term guild members and quality new-comers. Our solution was to give everyone--recruits and members--1000 points to spend, but recruits points are locked in "escrow" for a period of time. Members unlock these points by attending raids where they also earn RP from purchases made by others and efficiency rewards. It takes a new raider 20 raids (usually 3-4 weeks) to fully unlock his 1000 points. But he is able to bid as soon as he has earned 100 points to cover the minimum bid. This system helps to protect us from people who only join to get geared up quickly, but also gives new people who intend to stay the opportunity to bid on more popular items after a few weeks.

Efficiency Rewards

Over time, we have searched for additional ways to encourage and motivate our raiders to be efficient. The most effective way (short of making them cookies) has been to award bonuses for being on-time and staying throughout the raid. This is where the majority of our inflation comes from, but we made the decision to depart from the true zero-sum approach in order to help our progression.

Currently we award bonus points to:
  1. Individuals who are in the zone 10 minutes before we start.
  2. Everyone, if all raiders are zoned in and ready to pull at raid time (this one rarely happens).
  3. Individuals who remain until the end of the raid.
  4. Everyone who is present the first time we kill a boss.
  5. Everyone who remains for three or more attempts on a new boss we have never killed before.
These were added to increase efficiency by having people show up early and stay late, as well as to reward those who push through all the wipes while we learn an encounter. We wanted to show our appreciation to those who are willing to suffer with us rather than wait for us to have everything on farm status before signing up for raids.

Musings

I know I'm biased since this is the only system I've ever used, but I like our system and think that over the years we have adjusted the original idea to suit our needs. Our open auctions do not allow us to handpick the recipient of gear, but they do make all loot decisions transparent to our members. It also places the responsibility on each raid member to know which drops are upgrades. Each of us is responsible for choosing our own gear and the method that we obtain it. We can bid the minimum or continue to bid as the price skyrockets, the choice is ours.

I'm convinced that there will always be the occasional "grr" moment in any loot distribution system, but we have made the choice to allow our members control over their own gear destiny (within the limitations of our loot rules, but that's another post) and that works for me.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Best Guild Application Ever...

As an officer in a raiding guild, I get to see many interesting approaches to our application form. Recently we had one with so little information that an officer asked, "Could he have put LESS information?" Here is another application that answers that question with a resounding "Yes."

Email: **********@yahoo.com [e-mail actually seemed normal enough]
Main char [name, class and level]: 80 [Seriously, I didn't delete anything.]
Current talent spec: RET [Ohhh, a Paladin. Why didn't you say so?]
Alts: *********/ROGUE LVL 70 *******/WARRIOR LVL 70
Armor level [e.g. T4/5/6, S1/2/3. Provide armory link if appropriate]: [I know we need to update our examples, but I guess he didn't think even the armory link was appropriate.]
Primary weapon(s): BLUE [I prefer pink weapons myself. It's nice to maintain a sense of femininity while slicing and dicing.]
List nights you are available to raid from 7pm-11pm server time: 10PM WEEKEND ANYTIME [So does that mean he can start at 10 pm or he has to end at 10 pm? My gut is saying his mom turns out the lights at 10:01.]
How often are you expecting or hoping to raid?:ANY TIME IF NEEDED [As long as it's before 10 pm.]
Current/previous guilds and reason(s) for leaving: THEY SUX NO RAID [Must be a server transfer because I'm not familiar with the guild "They Sux."]
Professions: ENCHANTER /SKINNER
Do you have speakers and microphone?: YES
How did you hear about xeno? [friend, recruitment channel?]: FROM MY FRIEND *****1,********2 [1 is a decent Holy Paladin in our guild. 2 is the Shaman we gkicked.]
Who do you know in xeno, and how?: *****1 ,********2 [Guess he didn't get the memo about 2's removal from our guild.]

Tell us a bit about yourself, and why you're interested in joining = WANNA BE PART OF THE TEAM ,HAVE FUN ENJOY FRIENDLY AND KILL THE HORDES AT ALL TIME LOL [I don't even know where to start...]

So to continue this awesome thread!

First love this concept.......

So lets continue on using Twilight, or more precisely, Breaking Dawn.

Edward - tough one, Death Knight I suppose - dark side but tries to do good

Bella - Pally of course with the awesome bubble hearth

Jasper - undead priest (mind control options)

Alice - so here's a tough one - maybe a druid since she can do such a variety of things but looks quite innocent

Esme - innkeeper - the cheery women ones

Carlise - holy priest

Rosalie - well night elf for the bod and I guess hunter for the damage

Emmett - Tank

Jacob - Shaman for the healing abilities, and of course "ghost wolf"

Charlie - the guards walking around IF "keepin' the peace"

Mike, Angela, Jessica etc - folks in inn looking oblivious and happy

Think that's it - I'm not as good at this as Tam - but I did try to add a picture. hehehe

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

If they played WoW...

When I first started Law School, I found that my new knowledge permeated into other areas of my life. I could no longer watch Without a Trace on TV without thinking about the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Law and Order became more about yelling "Hearsay!" at the prosecutors than watching the bad guy get taken down a peg. And, now that I am an ADA myself, I cringe whenever CSI comes up with another almost-instant technique for getting lab results from anything and everything.

World of Warcraft has also broken through into unexpected places. The people I've met through WoW have become very good friends--I talk to several of them outside the game (through gtalk, text messages, and even the occasional phone call) almost every day. But it isn't just the people that have invaded other aspects of my life. When I watch television, read books, or go to the movies I sometimes find myself thinking about what class or race the characters would be. Who would Phoebe from Friends play? A druid of course. A tree druid with a Silver Tabby.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel
  • Buffy Summers is obviously a Protection Warrior. She's the main tank, the one who charges into a situation determined to kill the bad guy and protect her friends. And her taunts kick ass.
  • Faith on the other hand is a Mortal Strike Warrior. She's more concerned with damage than survivability, and she's really into PvP.
  • Xander is a Paladin. Although he may not fight as well as others, he's always around to rez Buffy when she dies. And his Blessing of Wisdom keeps her on the right path...most of the time.
  • Willow is a Shadow Priest. She doesn't switch to Shadow Form often, but when she does, watch out for her Mind Flay.
  • Anya is a Warlock. She may not command demons to do her bidding, but she does invite them to her wedding. Just don't summon your Snowshoe Rabbit around her.
  • Oz is a Druid. He can only shift forms once a month, but he's quite the scrapper during the full moon.
  • Angel is a Death Knight. He's been evil, but now he chooses to do good. He feels protective of those he cares about, so he'll tank anything trying to hurt them. Plus, he looks good with a glowing sword.
Firefly/Serenity
  • Malcome Reynolds is a Protection Paladin. He's got a /bubble hearth macro, but when it's necessary he can tank whatever comes his way. Just expect him to try to find another way around the problem first.
  • River is a Rogue. She's kinda squishy until you put a big knife in her hand. Then she's just plain scary. Plus, she's all over the Shadow Dance.
  • Jayne is a Dwarf Hunter. He really only cares about where he can find treasure and the size of his gun. But every once in a while, he might do the right thing--probably by accident.
Friendly Contributions
  • MacGyver would be a Paladin. A Paladin with 450 Engineering to be specific. He doesn't have all the right tools, but he makes a hell of an attempt with what he's got. And in a scrap, you want him and his gizmos tanking for you. (Thanks Thren.)

  • Mr. Burns would be an undead warlock... The green slime in under city was caused by his power plant and the mutating energy of the nuclear power gave him his magical abilities. (Thanks Srom.)

Those are just a few of the beloved characters I can see as World of Warcraft toons. But I'm sure I'll continue to think of more.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yay for Snow!

Court is closed today because of the weather. So instead of handling my Tuesday cases at zoo court, I get to catch up on paperwork in my office. It also means I get to pretend I have a job that encourages the wearing of jeans.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cooldowns Coming Soon

The patch notes for Patch 3.0.8 are out and the big news in the healer world is the Druid/Priest "nerf." Circle of Healing and Wild Growth are being changed to add a 6 second cool down.

I have heard mostly negative responses to the change from the Druids and Priests in my guild, more from the Druids than the Priests. And the changes have brought about the resurgence of the "who is the best healer" debate.

The best healer is always going to be the healer that pays attention, knows their role, understands the encounter, reacts quickly, and uses all available tools. There are four classes that can heal for a reason, and in my opinion, no one class outshines the others in all situations.

Priests have the widest range of abilities, and a good priest will be able to use all (or at least most) of them. They can single target heal, AoE heal (and will still be able to, just not by spamming CoH), reduce damage taken, preemptively heal, and group heal. Only extreme pessimists expect this change to reduce the effectiveness of Holy Priests.

Likewise, Druids shine at healing multiple targets by stacking HoTs and are invaluable for helping absorb spiky damage. The sheer number of HoTs they have at their disposal didn't change; all that happened is that one of them received a cooldown.

Paladins are still excellent single-target healers, and with Beacon of Light, they are able to heal both the tank and others in the raid at the same time.

Shamans have always been known as Chain Heal spammers, but in WotLK we received some more tools for our arsenal. We are now effective in five man dungeons, can be excellent tank healers, can instantly heal someone with Riptide, and are still able to raid heal (when the raid cooperates by standing somewhat close together). I have heard grumbling that Chain Heal was not affected by the changes, but unlike Circle of Healing and Wild Growth, it is not an instant spell. The 2.5 second cast time may not be equivalent to a 6 second cooldown, but it is not something that can be used on the move, so in most encounters Shamans are unable to continually cast it with no interruption at all.

I don't think the changes in Patch 3.0.8 will affect the raid composition in my guild. Even before Blizzard announced their plans to make it more about bringing the player instead of the class, we tried to do that. I know our healers will adjust quickly and still be as awesome as ever. Doomsday is not coming soon to a Tuesday near you.

Normal Naxx Neutralized!

10 man Naxxramas cleared!

Our power team hit the Obsidian Sanctum (I won the sack with gold and an additional 5 Emblems of Heroism) and then flew over to Naxxramas. We cleared the Construct wing and then finished off the Frostwyrm Lair. It was a blast and I broke my losing streak by picking up the token for Heroes' Earthshatter Spaulders and Cloak of the Dying.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Generosity.

I received a gift from a new guild member today that is awesome. Another resto shaman had a friend who made a Titansteel Guardian by mistake. He sent it to me to replace my blue dagger. I don't usually accept gifts like this, because I try hard to avoid being the stereotypical girl who is showered with gifts by guys. But it's an excellent weapon, and it's really hard to give back something so awesome. I've enchanted it with +50 spellpower. And it's really sexy now.

Other progress updates:
We cleared up to Thaddius on Thursday night in Heroic Naxxramas. I picked up a few other upgrades, some big, some minor that I bid on to avoid sharding them.

I've spent some time this weekend doing 10-man Naxx. We cleared up to Gluth last night in a late-night run. We're heading to Obsidian Sanctum tonight, then we're planning to finish up Naxx. Last night was fun, but my dice were broken. I didn't win a single roll. I hope that means I'm due for some epics tonight. (See me not spelling that epix--that's for you Silver. Now stop winning my stuff!)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Late to the Party

So, you may have noticed by now that the majority of my posts are done late at night, generally after we finish our raid and I log off of WoW. The normal process is to log off of my desktop computer and get ready for bed. Then I fire up the laptop that lives on my nightstand and do a quick post before falling asleep. As someone pointed out, that didn't happen last night.

I logged out of WoW and made preparations to complete the nightly ritual, but the wireless connection was not cooperating and the laptop couldn't reach the internet. It had local access, but the wireless router was having issues. I reset it, but it still didn't really want to work. I decided that I'd wait it out (even though I should have been snoozing already) and took a gander at the games included on my laptop. I haven't really messed with the pre-loaded applications on the laptop much; it's fairly new and I mostly just use it for surfing the internet and playing WoW when I'm out of town.

If you're still caring at this point, I'll just let you know that I will be downloading the Bejeweled mod for WoW tonight. I've resisted up to this point mainly because I've never played Bejeweled before and didn't see the appeal. I spent over an hour matching up colors last night on the laptop instead of sleeping, posting, or researching--three things I should have been doing instead.

My name is Tam, and I'm a Bejeweled-aholic.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Professions


So I'm currently a JC and tailor. I guess I'm sticking with tailoring because I've already started leveling it and I would like to have the magic carpet. JC is another story. I remember now that when I leveled JC in the first place I was also a miner; now I'm not. This leaves me with the question: How on earth do I level JC without gems? Hmm..... So stick with JC or pick something new? Sadly, I'd love to be a miner again... but I'd have to give up JC to do it and that just seems wrong.

Oh as a side note.... I hate PROFESSIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Heroic Achievement? I'll Pass

Marnas and I ran a couple of heroics tonight with some guildies. We had a good time although things didn't always go smoothly.

I have decided that until I am completely decked out in at least 25 man Naxx gear, I am not letting someone talk me into attempting a boss on heroic in a specific way "for the achievement." I will cheer if I am pleasantly surprised by an achievement sneaking up on me, but I will not seek it out. I am not an achievement hater, and when I have time (read vacation) I will gladly go explore all the nooks and crannies of the old lands. I think it is cool that each heroic dungeon has more challenging ways it can be completed, and getting an achievement for being able to pull it off is something I support. However, every time someone convinces me to do something the hard way "for the achievement" we die--over and over. I don't get upset when we wipe, and I prefer having a good time to everything going perfectly. But I now have higher repair costs due to wearing mail armor instead of cloth, and even with the influx of gold, it hurts me to pay 50g in repairs for a heroic run. So, for now at least, please don't ask me to hold my mouth this way and jump up and down on one foot while hitting my healing buttons just because it's an achievement. You won't like my answer.

Who wins?

I listened to students read aloud A Doll's House four times today. Do I win for bad day?
Maybe not -no mud involved.

Terrible Tuesday?

I am having a day. I'm not sure what kind of day, yet. It may be merely a meh day complete with headshaking and sighing or it may be a horrible day with gnashing of teeth. To help me decide which it is, I am going to give live blogging a try.

5:00 AM Alarm clock begins tweeting. "Dum dum da dum dum da dum." Commence snoozing.

7:00 AM Actually wake up and check my e-mail, websites, and blog. See that court is delayed 2 hours because of snow. Yay.

8:00 AM Leave the house and walk to my car wearing my snuggly coat and new driving gloves. Clean my car windows with my plastic dust pan (best make-shift tool ever) and ice scraper. Drive to work.

9:45 AM Drive my car to Zoo Court. Look for a parking place but only find "Reserved for Court Employee" spaces on the pavement. Drive around the gravel area looking for one and find the one spot of mud thawed enough to get stuck in. Get stuck. Walk through the mud carrying my briefcase. Good thing I wore old boots today instead of nice shoes.

10:15 AM Finish cleaning the worst of the mud off my boots. Commence waiting for Defense Attorneys to arrive.

10:45 AM Defense Attorney arrives and starts talking to his clients. Doesn't start with my cases. Judge gets snippy with Defense Attorney because he interrupts him. Smile.

11:15 AM Discover that I forgot my pen. Borrow one from the court clerk that doesn't work. Sigh.

12:00 PM Continue waiting on my cases to be heard by the Judge because the Defense Attorney has disappeared into a conference area with a client.

1:30 PM Switch courtrooms for the afternoon docket after finally finishing the morning cases next door. Marvel that the Defense Attorney is still interrupting the Judge.

3:00 PM Finish court (finally--but at least it wasn't at 5:30 like last week) and smush my way to my car. My shoes are completely toast. I mean wow. They may have lasted for like 8 years before this, but one day at Zoo Court and bye bye old boots. But with the help of a handy cardboard box leftover from mailing Christmas presents I managed to get my car unstuck. It's really, really muddy, but no longer in the Zoo Court parking lot.

All in all, I'd say it was a Meh day. At least blogging about it kept me from getting into a bad mood and I mostly just laughed at the way things unfolded. Sorry to anyone who read all the way through. I promise not to subject you to another Terrible Tuesday any time soon.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Roadblock

Tonight we hit our first obstacle to guild progression. Patchwerk in Heroic Naxxramas is a gear check, and one we didn't pass. I think we were close to downing him, and if we weren't dealing with warlock soulshard issues, cranky raiders, and weather-induced internet crashes, I think we would have succeeded. But since we did have those issues, we didn't quite manage to walk away victorious. However, I'm proud of us. Our casual approach to semi-hardcore raiding allowed us to take 25 fairly new 80s into Heroic Naxx over three raiding days and down 9 bosses. We blew through the Arachnid, Plague and Military Quarters wearing mostly blues, and we did so while having fun.

We haven't finished putting together our steady group of raiders that we call the Progression Group, but we will soon. We're using these early weeks of raids to give both new and old members a chance to prove themselves to us, and, for the most part, they are doing well. We have a few that may not make it to a regular raiding spot due to scheduling issues, connection problems, or attitude, but most have shown promise. I can't wait to get back into Naxx on Wednesday, but I plan to use tomorrow night to heal a few heroics and pick up some more pieces so that my gear will help us succeed the next time we face Stiches's big brother.

Noob Blogger Reporting for Duty

So I'm excited to post my very first blog.

What am I not excited about? Well WOW at the moment, I feel like I'm lost. I have so many things I need to do and really don't know how to go about doing them. I'm also going to change my spec. I'm not so happy as a demo/affl lock. I think I may go more straight affliction.

So no cute pictures this time, mostly because I don't know how. But I will learn, because I like pretty pictures.

WoW Girls Unite

I'm back from Texas, where I had a blast watching my niece and meeting my nephew for the first time. The prima donna did an excellent job and I'm very glad I got to see her.

I brought back a souvenir for all of you, a demon-hugger mom to give us the dps, family-centric perspective.

Welcome Marnas!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

/dance


I'll be out of town this weekend "getting cultured" as my father would say. I could never decide whether that meant growing mold or being bored. One of my nieces (I have 4) is a ballerina dancing in The Nutcracker this weekend. I would be failing as an aunt if I didn't mention that she is Clara this year--which is one of the reasons why I an flying to Texas to see her dance. I'll be hanging out with most of my family and experiencing a once in a lifetime (probably) moment in my niece's life. I'll also be cuddling my new nephew as much as I can and playing with the toddler in the house. (My brother and his wife are all about the adorable children.) I'm looking forward to it, even if it is just a quick weekend trip and will be over way too soon.

Oh...and the picture is not my niece. My niece is much cuter.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Now With More Valor!

Tonight was our first trip into Heroic Naxxramas as a guild. It went very well, and was a lot of fun. I still LOVE my Shaman, and I didn't miss melting faces at all. (Possibly because if I were still a face melter, I'd have been in charge of Mind Control, and really, it isn't my favorite spell. It isn't even on the list of my favorite spells. Basically, I loathe having to MC mobs. MCing players is funny, MCing mobs just makes me die...a lot.)

I ended up pretty high on the healing meters, although I'm sure my overheal percentage was huge. I didn't have that many mana issues, although I went through a few potions, and used a flask for mana regen. I didn't feel gimped in my mix of heroic blues/purples (I still have non-heroic shoulders from Northrend and a trinket from ZA, but everything else is from a heroic, regular Naxx, or badges).

My stats self buffed:
  • 14k health
  • 17k mana
  • 1770 + healing
  • 25% crit
  • 5% haste
  • 300 mp5
I let another resto shaman in the run grab the Shield of Assimilation since my badge shield was better than what he had. And I lost the roll-off for the Valorous Earthshatter Spaulders. But I did pick up the Girdle of Recuperation, so I do have my first piece of 25 man gear.

Emblem of Valor Count: 7.

Not too shabby.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

For the Alliance!

We showed our loyalty to the Alliance (or at least to the Achievement system) tonight by raiding Orgrimmar, Thunderbluff, Silvermoon, and Undercity. Even our die-hard Achievement Hater joined in to help us kill the leaders of the Horde. It seems that a long-standing desire to kill Thrall trumped his wish to get as few achievements as possible. It was a fun event, and most importantly...I now have a bear mount.

Rather be...anything really

It's 4:10 where I live and I'm stuck in Magistrate Court for an afternoon docket. There's a good reason Mag Court is not so affectionately known as Zoo Court. The Judge looks vaguely like a confused walrus, the Officers chatter like a pack of hyenas, and the defense attorneys are slower than sloths. If you are trying to picture this superimposed on your knowledge of Courtrooms gained from Law and Order, you are thinking of the wrong show. We're much more Night Court.

As I sit here blogging on my BlackBerry (yay for SmartPhones), I can think of many things I'd rather be doing: questing, wiping repeatedly in a raid, researching for inscription recipes, even fishing would be better than this. I love being an Assistant District Attorney a lot of the time, but Tuesday afternoon dockets make getting a rootcanal look appealing.

Back to playing Breakout.

Edit:
4:45. Score was 1590. I suck at Breakout.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Healing (Normal) Naxxramas--Some Tips for Shamans


While waiting for enough guild members to hit level 80 for Heroic Naxx, a group of us ventured into the 10 man version. Here are my musings on the first two quarters.

Arachnid Quarter
First of all, why did it have to be spiders? Ask anyone that knows me--spiders freak me out. I jump a foot when even the tiniest spider gets near me. And I play a computer game that throws them at me every time it gets the chance. Don't ask me why.

Anub'Rekhan
Phase One: Heal the tank and people who get impaled. To avoid getting more than one person impaled at a time, don't stack up in a straight line.

Phase Two: Don't forget to heal the tank who is running around in a circle, especially during the transition. I would toss Riptide on him to help out the priest assigned to him. Keep everyone else alive.

Bottom Line: I don't remember too much about this fight from my first foray into it, except the awesomeness of seeing a giant beetle-like spider chasing a tiny gnome with a green mohawk. Be careful during transitions, and don't get too close to the tank running around in a circle. The de-buff silences you and with only 2-3 healers that is bad news.

Grand Widow Faerlina
Bottom Line: This is a fairly straightforward fight in normal mode. The adds are off-tanked and killed one by one to avoid the huge damage spikes caused by frenzy. Keep the tanks alive and chain heal the raid if needed. Stay out of the rain of fire. Might want to use a poison curing totem to help ease the strain during poison bolt volley, and keep a chain heal going on the melee.

Maexxna
Bottom Line: There is a lot of damage flying around during this fight, and you will be flying some yourself. Stay positioned near the wall to the left of the entrance so that when you get Web Wrapped you fly into the wall and not away from the raid. Help keep the poison off people, especially the tank since it reduces healing. Heal. Heal. Heal.

Plague Quarter

Noth the Plague Bringer

Phase One: Decurse players affected by Curse of the Plaguebringer so they don't damage themselves and others. Keep the tanks up during the berzerker enrage. Watch out for blink.

Phase Two: Heal the tanks on the skeletons.

Bottom Line: A slightly chaotic fight, but it isn't that bad. Just keep heals on the raid and the tanks and decurse.

Heigan the Unclean
Phase One: Chain heal. Chain heal. Chain heal. The melee will be running across the room in an organized fashion to avoid the lava spurts and taking damage from the boss's aura the entire time. This is a fight where chain heal spam shines. Just stand on the stage, keep a chain heal going on the melee, and don't get in the aura because it hurts and slows your cast times down by a ridiculous amount--300%. Don't worry too much about mana, you'll have a chance to regen a lot during Phase Two.

Phase Two: Your turn to run. Now, everyone runs across the room in an organized fashion to avoid lava spurts, since,
during this phase, the guy who needs a bath takes up residence on the stage. Stay with the group, but you alone are responsible for making sure you stop in the correct spots. You'll need to watch a video or look at positioning maps to get a feel for it, but even then you probably won't "get it" until you've seen the fight a few times and learned the timing of the spurts.

While you're running, top up the raid using Riptide and only Riptide. You do not want to take time to cast anything else. Instant heals are the only option during the lava dance. Make sure a mana spring totem is down to help you gain back the mana you blew through in Phase One.

Bottom Line: This is a very fun fight for Shaman healers. But if it is your first time to see it, expect to wipe at least once. The dance isn't difficult to master, but you probably won't get it until you see it for yourself at least one time. Be careful to avoid getting too close to Heigan during transitions so that you don't pick up the debuff. And cleanse anyone who still has the disease going into Phase Two or they'll probably die while running.

Loatheb
Bottom Line: This fight is all about timing your heals to land at exactly the right time. It isn't too difficult, and the damage isn't too much to keep up with, but you have to pay attention to the debuff at all times. Every 20 seconds the boss casts an aura that makes healing effects useless on everyone in the raid. It lasts for 17 seconds. Meaning you have 3 seconds to heal before the aura is cast again. You need to queue up a chain heal to land just as the debuff fades. The follow it up with either a riptide on a very low player or another chain heal if you are fast. You will probably have time to dps the boss between heals, but remember that timing the heals is more important than casting a lava burst.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shaman Shopping List

I've spent the Holiday weekend healing heroics and have picked up a few Emblems of Heroism. I hope that before I can make it through my shopping list some of the pieces will already be replaced by better gear out of Naxxramas, Obsidian Sanctum, and the Vault of Archavon. But until I see how the dice treat me in our raids, I plan to pick up pieces as I can afford them. Here's my shopping list of Emblem of Heroism Upgrades.

Neck
Lattice Choker of Light. 25 Emblems. Spell Power/Critical Strike Rating/mp5.

Shoulder
Heroes' Earthshatter Spaulders. 60 Emblems. Spell Power/Critical Strike Rating/mp5.

Chest
Heroes' Earthshatter Tunic. 80 Emblems. Spell Power/Haste Rating/mp5.

Hands
Heroes' Earthshatter Handguards. 60 Emblems. Spell Power/Critical Strike Rating/mp5.

Waist

Beadwork Belt of Shamanic Vision. 40 Emblems. Spell Power/Haste Rating/mp5.

Legs
Heroes' Earthshatter Legguards. 75 Emblems. Spell Power/Haste Rating/mp5.

Trinket
The Egg of Mortal Essence. 40 Emblems. Spell Power/Chance on Heal to increase Haste Rating.

Shield
*
Protective Barricade of the Light. 35 Emblems. Spell Power/Critical Strike Rating/mp5.

Totem
Totem of Forest Growth. 15 Emblems. Reduces mana cost of Chain Heal.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Heroic Gear for the Discriminating (resto) Shaman

I managed to get a few heroic dungeons under my belt today with other guild members. I picked up a few new pieces of gear, due more to luck than design. Other group members were calling the shots on where we headed (after much deliberating). After the fourth or fifth exchange of "I don't cares" which made me tempted to suggest rock, paper scissors as a decision making technique, I decided that I should do more research about what gear I should be trying to acquire. So here's my wish list of items that drop in Heroic Northrend Dungeons.

Head
Helm of Lightning Halls.* BOE Trash Drop, Halls of Lightning. Spell Power/mp5.
Brood Plague Helmet. Elder Nadox, Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom. Spell Power/Critical Strike Rating.

Neck
Amulet of Dazzling Light.* Anomalus, Nexus. Spell Power/mp5.

Shoulder
Mantle of Discarded Ways. King Ymiron, Utgarde Pinnacle. Spell Power/Critical Strike Rating.
Spaulders of the Violet Hold. Cyanigosa, The Violet Hold. Spell Power/Haste Rating.

Back
Shroud of Moorabi.* Moorabi, Gundrak. Spell Power.
Reanimator's Cloak. BOE Trash Drop, Drak'Tharon Keep. Spell Power.
Ancient Dragon Spirit Cape. Ley-Guardian Eregos, Oculus. Spell Power/Haste Rating.

Chest
Dalronn's Jerkin.* Skarvald the Constructor, Utgarde Keep. Spell Power/mp5.
Scaled Armor of Drakos. Drakos the Interrogator, Oculus. Spell Power/Critical Strike Rating.
Moragg's Chestguard. Moragg, The Violet Hold. Spell Power/Haste Rating.

Wrist
Bands of Channeled Energy.* Grand Magus Telestra, Nexus. Spell Power/mp5.
Bands of the Sky Ring. BOE Trash Drop, Oculus. Spell Power/Critical Strike Rating.

Hand
Lightning-Charged Gloves. Maiden of Grief, Halls of Stone. Spell Power/mp5.
Cracked Epoch Grasps. Chrono-Lord Epoch, The Culling of Stratholme. Spell Power/Critical Strike Rating.

Waist
Slad'ran's Coiled Cord.* Slad'ran, Gundrak. Spell Power/mp5.
Girdle of the Ethereal. Xevozz, The Violet Hold. Spell Power/Haste Rating.

Legs
Frozen Forest Kilt. Ormorok the Tree-Shaper, Nexus. Spell Power/mp5.
Patroller's War-Kilt. General Bjarngrim, Halls of Lightning. Spell Power/Critical Srike Rating.

Feet
Sabatons of the Ages. Tribunal Chest, Halls of Stone. Spell Power/Haste Rating.

Weapon
War Mace of Unrequited Love. Keristrasza, Nexus. Spell Power/mp5.
Gavel of the Fleshcrafter. Salramm the Fleshcrafter, The Culling of Stratholme. Spell Power/mp5.
Netherbreath Spellblade.* Skadi the Ruthless, Utgarde Pinnacle. Spell Power/Critical Strike Rating.

Offhand/Shield
Facade Shield of Glyphs. Krik'thir the Gatewatcher, Azjol-Nerub. Spell Power/mp5.
Frostrbridge Orb. BOE Trash Drop, Oculus. Spell Power/mp5.
Temple Crystal Fragment. Novos the Summoner, Drak'Tharon Keep. Spell Power/Haste Rating.
Prison Manifest. BOE Trash Drop, The Violet Hold. Spell Power.

* I have already acquired this piece.

I'll focus on rings and trinkets in a later post. I also intend to make a shopping list for Emblem of Valor Gear.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving. I will be celebrating with my family by phone this year, but it still counts. Enjoy the holiday and check back soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shadow Priest Love

My Shadow Priest, the character everyone in my guild knows simply as "Tam" received some love tonight, gaining a level and making steady progress through the next. I'm not usually a serial leveler, but now that the Shaman is 80, it's time to start working on the Priest--mostly for her professions, and as another option for groups when healing is covered. She won't be my raiding main this time around, but I still plan to level her tailoring (hello, flying carpet) and enchanting. The synergy between Inscription's Armor/Weapon Vellums and Enchanting will be incredibly useful. The introduction of a way for me to enchant all of my characters without having to bother other people has made me one happy girl.

Tomorrow night is our first "official" foray into Naxx 10. A spur of the moment guild PUG went in last night, but I was still working on hitting the big eight oh. Now that I am the only level 80 Shaman in our guild, I'm looking forward to chain healing my heart out (and pretending that I have a clue what I'm doing). I'm paired up with Mase as my healing partner, which will make us both pretty happy (or at least he better act happy). We used to be a pretty good team back when we were both healy priests, and I still feel comfortable working with him. I trust him to know his job and do it well (unless something interesting is on tv) and he knows my style as well. As soon as we get a few more level 80s (including some more healy types) we will be moving on to 25 man Naxx. But with two groups scheduled for tomorrow night, hopefully we can kick some evil ass and get back into the swing of things.

I'm excited.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ding!

Told you I'd hit 80 tonight.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

So Close...

Weekend Endnotes:
  • I finished Christmas shopping. Now I just have to ship everything to Texas.
  • I saw Bolt and Twilight (both were worth the popcorn).
  • I ate too much good food.
  • I hate big trucks on the Interstate.
  • I specced back to enhancement.
  • I'm 79.5.
  • I'm camped out in Icecrown in an inn with a Runeforge...not sure how I feel about that.
  • I will make it to 80 tomorrow night.
  • That is all.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Even a serious Death Knight needs a Baby Blizzard Bear. Happy 4th Anniversary, World of Warcraft!

There's a quest guy, right?


The Amphitheater of Anguish is a horrible experience. I've done it twice now. Once for me and once for some friends and people have been total idiots about it both times. They stand on the quest giver, kite the mobs out of the arena, and basically act like complete jerks. Why is it that people can stand in line for a venti mocha latte at Starbucks, but can't take turns in the virtual world?

Laptop = Lag?

I am out of town this weekend trying to finish up my Christmas shopping. Before you start thinking I'm one of those people who have to finish their Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving, you should probably know that my family is actually exchanging gifts on Thanksgiving. So, I'm not really ahead...I'm actually really, really behind.

I managed to hit level 79 tonight. I brought my laptop to the hotel (the nearest place to really Christmas shop is several hours away from my house) and specced resto for the weekend. I've now healed Nexus, Azjol-Nerub, Ahn'Kahet: The Old Kingdom, Drak'Tharon Keep, The Violet Hold and Gundrak. I think I will really like my resto spec when I can experiment with it without the massive amounts of lag the hotel wireless is giving me.

We're scheduled for our first venture into Naxx on Wednesday. I'll be 80 by then and ready to heal my way through my first raid in Wrath of the Lich King. I'm excited to return to healing with a fresh perspective after spending all of the Burning Crusade melting faces as a Shadow Priest.

My goal is to spend some time after I get home figuring out which gear I should be going after and reading up on guides to Naxx. I'll share anything I learn with my faithful readers. After all, the few friends I've conned into reading the blog need to know that I'm surfing the internets for info. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I wanna heal!

LF1M Healer. It's a common request in my guild chat lately. As more people venture into 5 man content, the demand for healers is going up. I want to heal, but I just can't bring myself to spend gold respeccing Resto for each of these runs (especially since I know some of them won't actually happen) and then speccing back to Enhancement for questing. I seriously contemplated respeccing last night as I hit 78, but I couldn't actually click the button...at least not yet. I will at 80. It's possible I will respec this weekend to heal some runs with my friends, especially since Mars asked for a few instance runs this weekend for things she needs to get done and I don't like roping Mase into everything we want to do. But mostly, I find myself missing Riptide and Cleanse Spirit and feeling useful. Enhancement has served me well on my way through the levels (still only halfway through 78 if you're keeping track--work really has gotten in the way lately), and I enjoy never having to stop to drink, but I hold no illusions that I am an expert at the play style. It's functional for soloing, but I don't think I'll be bashing my way through raids.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Middle of the Pack

The first person to hit 80 in my guild did so on Sunday night. He was not the first person to hit 80 on my server, or even the first druid, but it's still an accomplishment within our guild. Since then, a handful of others have had the big ding. For some reason many of our druids have reached 80 more quickly than the rest of us. A retribution paladin also joins their ranks.

I'm perfectly happy to be in the second wave. I don't feel like I've rushed and I'm enjoying the journey. I've started a Death Knight, gained almost a level on my Shadow Priest while helping my best friend in Borean Tundra, and even took a little time off last night. Despite all those distractions, I hit 78 tonight in The Storm Peaks (thanks for making me miss Colorado, Blizz). I do want to be the first Shaman in our guild to hit 80. And right now, I'm ahead by a couple of levels. I'm competitive, but I don't have to be first in this.

I have friends, though, who do. The first mage on our server is someone I met my first week playing WoW. Before I fully understood how to reply to whispers or use emotes, this male human /licked me and struck up a conversation. We spent hours that night questing together and getting to know each other. For the most part, we've been friends ever since. He's proud of his accomplishment, and I am glad for him. I understand why he wanted to rush through for the achievement and to be one of the first to step into the level 80 raids, but I don't want to emulate him. I'm pretty sure he doesn't understand why I am happy to be in the middle of the pack. But that's ok, too.

My guild will push into Naxx soon enough, and I will be ready to help lead the way. But for now, I'm enjoying my spot in the middle of the pack. Although if another shaman starts to edge ahead, I'll probably rethink that.

Resume Blogging!

I had promised myself that I would write a blog entry every day in November. I wanted to get into the habit of posting regularly, and doing something for a month is one way to create that kind of routine. I didn't make it. I didn't really intend to take the weekend off, but the expansion (and the two days I took off work to enjoy it) interrupted my normal schedule. Staying up until 4am questing for 3 days and then setting my alarm for the next morning to do it again wasn't conducive to writing a blog entry every night.

Things returned to semi-normal yesterday with the return to work. But then work backhanded me with an unexpected marathon docket day at zoo court that seemed to last forever. (Note to self: skipping breakfast on a day that you get stuck at court from 8:45 until 5:15 with no breaks is not such a bright idea.) Last night I didn't even play the shaman except to do her Minor Inscription Research and say hi to a few friends. Then it was off to bed with a book to keep my brain from exploding.

Tonight I intend to do my best to get to level 78. She hit 77 on Monday night at about 11:00. I promptly purchased her cold-weather flying skill and went zooming off into the wild blue (well purplish black) yonder. After a night off, I'm ready to glide around Sholazar Basin and complete some more quests.

And I promise that the regularly scheduled blog posts will resume immediately.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nothing Boring About Borean


I made it to 73 tonight before I called it quits. And I finished all but maybe a few obscure quests in Borean Tundra before heading to Howling Fjord. I know I could move on, and I might fairly early tomorrow, but both starting zones are very well done and I hate to miss anything.

Memorable Moments in Borean Tundra:
  • The murloc quest chain rocked. From freeing the murloc tadpoles (I want one, damnit!) to wearing the extra murloc suit, it was full of memorable and fun moments. I appreciate that instead of turning you into a murloc, the suit still shows seams and a zipper down the back. I laughed during the entire quest.
  • The Orc disguise was also awesome. Again, the realism is what made it work for me, I'm not actually an Orc in the screenshot; I'm still a Draenei, but wearing a green mask.
  • The quest to capture a sorcerer (mage on a rope--or is it rope a dope?) and question him for information was also memorable. I'm not real sure how I would have handled the torture part if I were into RP, but I guess we are at war....
  • I laughed at most of the D.E.H.T.A. quests, and I think it's hilarous that they have a wanted poster for Hemet Nesingwary in their camp. The quest to trap the hunters was...interesting. The scripting was hilarious, but I felt bad everytime a stupid hunter jumped into the trap. At least they weren't lingering deaths, since the death sounds happened immediately. (Bonus points for making me want to save up 20k for a Mammoth mount though).
Those are the ones that stick out the most, but I didn't really find a quest that I hated. Hopefully that continues for the next 7 levels.