Saturday, June 28, 2008

And the AoE Shadowbolt Goes To...


Of course. Of COURSE it goes to Warlocks. Why should Shadow Priests get an AoE spell in Wrath of the Lich King? Give it to Warlocks in Demon Form. Because Demon Form isn't a cool enough idea already. They need AoE Shadowbolts, too.

Deep breath. I'm reminding myself that I'm on vacation, and things could change between now and the actual release of the expansion, but the news reported by WoWInsider about the World Wide Invitational Q&A doesn't necessarily make me a happy camper. Oh well. We get Dispersion, which is pretty nice. But it's no AoE Shadow Volley.

Ok, back to vacation.

Friday, June 27, 2008


I'm going on vacation! I'm going on vacation! Ok, ok. I'll stop with the shouting.

It's almost time to pack up the gas-guzzler and head towards the airport, even though I don't actually fly out until tomorrow morning. I'm excited, as you can probably tell. I'm going to spend some time with my family at the lake and come back to work with an awesome tan. (Or, a really bad sunburn, but a girl can dream can't she?) I'm going to hang out with my best friend and see a funny show (Spamalot from Monty Python, it has to be hilarious). And I'm going to meet up with some Guildies. See, I knew you were waiting for the WoW tie-in.

I've mentioned that my guild is awesome. And one of the best things about it is that many of us have become very good friends. For the past couple of years we've had a big get-together where any member (or ex-member that we still like) is invited to hang out with us for a weekend. This year's is in Toronto and I'm sure I'll write more about it in the weeks leading up to it. But this weekend we're having a smaller gathering of people from the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I can't wait to see everyone. I've met some before, but there are about 4 (if everyone shows) that will be new faces. I'll post more about it after the fact, but for now, I'm heading out to finish packing (after picking up my laundry).

I'm going on vacation!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Now that's what I call dedication!

Swimsuit? check
Sunscreen? check
Camera? check

WoW WTF and AddOns folders? check

I'm leaving for a week-long vacation tomorrow. After work I will finish packing for my trip to Dallas, load up my car with all the things I cannot possibly live without for ten days, and drive two hours to the airport. This week I have found myself doing all the normal pre-trip activities: putting off loads of laundry (must take it to the laundromat tomorrow...cannot delay any longer), charging my iPod and digital camera, finishing up last minute preparations at work, and getting a haircut. Those activities are normal, right?

But tonight after our raid (I do not suck as a rogue, damnit! It is NOT my fault we cannot kill RoS when I'm not on my priest. ::stab stab::) I had to do one more thing before I was ready to leave. I disconnected my special keypad and saved my WTF and AddOns folder onto a new thumb drive purchased specifically for this purpose. And now I find myself asking whether that makes me dedicated...or addicted.

I plan to raid on Monday night from my best friend's house (and most likely on her computer since I cannot afford a laptop that can handle more than one window open at a time--much less run WoW). And rather than suffer through reconfiguring her mods to my satisfaction, or--shudder--using the default interface, I'm taking all of my settings on my snazzy red thumb drive. I think this just makes me dedicated, not addicted. But I also think I may be slightly delusional. Sigh.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Second Kill Curse

My guild is awesome. Granted that is my opinion, but it's still true. Although my guild is awesome, we do not excel at all things. We talk about pancakes too much. We place too much emphasis on boobs. Our guild chat occasionally drifts into the land of all things BSG. These things make us who we are, even if they don't necessarily add to our awesome factor.

We also suffer from the Second Kill Curse. For as long as I have been in my guild--actually longer as I raided with them as part of a raiding alliance before I joined--the second kill of a boss has usually been more difficult for us than the first. We often manage to kill a boss soon after we set our sights on it. Somehow everything comes together quickly--the right people, the right strategy, the right execution. We walk away thinking "That's it? That was too easy." Many times, we find out on our next attempts that we were right. It was too easy. We end up spending a night wiping repeatedly for various reasons. Maybe we don't have the same group of people. Maybe we get unlucky with the randomness of the mechanics. Whatever the cause, our struggles to win the second time are magnified by the fact that it seemed so easy before. The Second Kill Curse.

Reliquary of Souls was my most recent experience with the Curse. We stepped into the gauntlet for the first time during one of our regularly scheduled Monday raids. We'd read up on the strat and intended to be there the week before, but last minute cancellations had sent us to Mount Hyjal instead. On that particular night we didn't kill the three headed monster in one try, but we did walk away victorious before the end of our allotted raiding time. And it seemed simple. Nothing to it. Evasion tank. Interrupt. Kill. It was easy...that night. The next week we spent a full night and a half on the fight--continuously wiping. We didn't have the same people, in fact I was playing my rogue so interrupts weren't perfect. We kept pulling aggro off the tank in Phase 3, subjecting everyone to Seethe. Our healers couldn't keep up with the damage. Although we tried to keep from pointing fingers, everyone was secretly blaming everyone else. Why was this so hard?

Exactly a week after our first "easy-peasy" kill, we downed him for the second time just as everyone was about to give up. Don't get me wrong, that's not always the case. There are times when we read up on a fight, give it a couple of tries and experience the "Ah Ha!" moment where everything suddenly makes sense to even our slower players. The hardship on those fights is found in the struggle to down the boss the first time. The second kill will be easy because we can explain the one thing that makes the fight beatable.

But for the fights that don't have an "Ah Ha!" moment, we are often left with a second kill that makes us scream at the computer (hopefully not while hitting the push-to-talk button). I don't know how to break the Curse. I just know it's real.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


As the WoW community starts gearing up for Wrath of the Lich King, I find myself remembering the early days of the Burning Crusade. Here are some of my musings about the transition from Vanilla WoW to TBC.

I've been raiding on Tamlyn for over two years now. I started out as the quintessential healer. Zul'Gurub. Molten Core. Black Wing Lair. Ahn'Qiraj. I've healed them all. My guild was working on the Instructor in Naxxramas and some boss I have blocked from my mind in the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj when the Burning Crusade hit. We were a casual, family friendly raiding guild. We weren't on the cutting edge of progression, but we had steadily made our way through some end-game content. And, for most of that, I was the healer who's main job was keeping our tank alive. I'll leave the relationship between a tank and his healer for another post, but I had rubbed the paint off my "Heal D Button" by the time we entered the Outland.

The first few days of the expansion left a lot to be desired for me. I couldn't take time off work to play like some had done; I had to scrounge time to level around dispensing justice. And of course I held fast to my belief that the Shadow Tree was of the devil and should be avoided at all costs. I had leveled to 60 as a healer, I could manage 10 more measly levels.

I'll leave my frustrations with smiting things, replacing my old world raid epics with quest reward blues, and being left behind by almost everyone I knew to your imagination. Sprinkle in a bit of lag in Hellfire Peninsula (Tamlyn still has quests left undone there) and you can imagine my grumpiness over the first few days of the expansion. However, I still remember the fun of being one of the very first of my friends to enter a new instance and figuring out the place without outside help. We wiped some, but when we finished, we had done so using our own skills, not the knowledge of others.

I never imagined that 18 months later my holier than thou priest would be wearing Tier 6 DPS gear. The transition from Disc/Holy to Shadow happened soon after we started raiding Karazhan. To make our learning curve easier, we never ventured in without four healers. Usually a couple of priests for shackles and a couple of paladins for blessings. I quickly figured out that four healers in a ten man instance was way too many. I was bored. Really bored. Boss fights weren't that bad, but trash in Karazhan drove me batty. I was asking for people to be stupid and hurt themselves. Anything to give me a challenge.

About that time our Raid Leader (and main tank) started thinking about using a Shadow Priest to see what all the fuss was about. We had had a few pre-expansion, but no one had given it a serious try for raiding purposes. I volunteered. Partly out of boredom. Partly because none of our other priests were interested at the time. And partly because I didn't trust anyone else to do it "right."

I won't say I fell in love with it immediately. I won't say I rocked at it right off the bat. But I did enjoy it, and even though there was a period where I would flip back and forth, I have been a Shadow Priest ever since.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Valley of Shadow

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Psalm 23:4

I feel slightly sacreligious beginning a blog that will end up dealing with my love of a computer game with a quote from the King James Bible. After all, David was definitely not talking about Shadow Word: Death. His trials and tribulations were life and death--the kind of death you can't wisp away from. When he suffered from a Weakened Soul it wasn't a debuff lasting only 15 seconds, but a state of mind that put his entire existence, as well as that of his people, in danger. My Valley of Shadow isn't that deep. It's about playing a Shadow Priest in the World of Warcraft.

I'm an Officer in xeno, a raiding guild on the PvP server Thunderlord. I'm also one of our few raiding Shadow Priests. However, if you want to ask me about the best way to level a Shadow Priest, you've come to the wrong girl. I leveled to 70 the hard way. I was Holy/Discipline until my guild was raiding in Karazhan. Yes. I am crazy. You will figure this out eventually, so I might as well fess up now.

I hope you check back for more updates, although I'm not making any crazy promises about regular posts. I have a grown-up job that funds my WoW habit. It comes second (after my family and friends). And my guild comes third. Blathering about being a girl gamer, WoW aficionado, and Shadow Priest is a distant fourth. But I like to blather, so I'm sure you'll hear from me often.