I Find ALL the Winners in Pugs: Time To Reopen the Bee Pit

I haven’t pugged in forever, but I did ONE LOUSY PUG last night.  Hey look, I found a jerk, on my very first try.

Apparently I did not zone back in FAST ENOUGH for the tank (who, by the way, was already on my last nerve for failing to wait for mana, even after I reminded him in chat, repeatedly… at which point I was told to “calm down.”)

He’s such a winner, maybe he’s Charlie Sheen.  Oh right, Charlie Sheen is a Warlock.

Jin’do must die. Or Hakkar must be unchained. Something like that.

I am freakin UP TO HERE with stupid Jin’do.  I’ve done all the bosses in ZG like a bajillion times, but every time we get to Jin’do, we just DIE.

Now, this isn’t your basic shit-pug.  This is our crack team of all-guildies on their mains being HARD CORE.  I’m assigned a suicidal bodyguard to keep the spirits off me (Warlock).  The tank also attempts to keep me alive.  I blow all cooldowns (as Alas says, “Blow early, blow often”) and I STILL get my little gnome face gnawed off by evil spirits who are IMMUNE TO PSYCHIC SCREAM.

What. The. Hell.  I swear I need Chakra: Pwn and Holy Word: Win!

It’s not just when I’m healing.  It happens to ALL our guild groups.  All our healers, all our tanks.  OK, maybe Morehnai’s finished once, but other than that…. what the hell, right?

I need help.  WE need help.  It is crushing Alas’s SOUL not to have the achievement for finishing this damn instance.

Thank you for your time.

Test Drive: Aura Frames for Your Buffs and Debuffs

With Satrina Buff Frames looking for an addon updater, I went searching for something new.

Aura Frames is awesome for buffs and debuffs.

Why It is Awesome

1. You can do multiple “containers” for sorting buffs and debuffs. For example, sorting by time is not enough for me.  I created a new container for auras without a duration (pally auras), then buffs with a duration of 30 minutes or more, and then a third container for buffs with a duration of under 30 minutes.

2. You can do frames or bars or both.  I have my buffs in frames and debuffs in bars.

3. You can do junk with dot timers for your target.  I admit, I use another addon for this, so I’m only really focusing on the buff/debuff on self part.

Configuration

OK, getting to the config menu is easy.

General options allow you to hide the blizzard buffs (recommended) and your boss addon bars (DO NOT DO THAT).

Then… you create a container.  Bars or buttons.  Not sure what that third option does.

After creating the container, decide what it will show:

In what order the buffs/debuffs will display

And the layout… like how big the boxes are, etc, what kind of text, cooldown sweeps, and so on.

Move them around…

And set warnings (like expiration warnings)…

Advanced Lessons: Filters

Now comes the fun part.  Filters.  The default options are not that good.  You’re gonna need to go into expert mode.

First up, we’re going to look at my “buffs with a duration of over 30 mins” as an example.  I used the option of “original duration” because I don’t want the buffs to drop to a different category as they tick down.  But you can do it that way if you want and do your containers based on time left.

Now, let’s look at my options for the short buffs:

This one has 2 conditions, connected with an “and”.  You can also do conditions connected with “or.”  In this case, I put “under 30 mins”.  Simple enough…  However, persistent auras without a duration count as zero duration (which makes no sense to me, but whatever).  In order for these NOT to show up in my short-buff bar, I made sure that the original duration DOES NOT EQUAL ZERO.  Problem solved.

Parliamentary Papers

I am such a slacker.

Ok, getting to it…

What Your Raid Leader Really Thinks of You by Meloree at Sacred Duty. So true.  This could only be topped by Killing DPS for Fun and Profit which proves that letting people die is an art.

Chain Heal in 10s: Train your raid! by Rhee at Oh My, Kurenai.  Yes, she’s my guildie.  But she’s also right.  The DPS needs to do what they can to help the healers, including standing closer together when necessary and CLICKING THE LOLWELL.

Quick and Dirty Bullet Point Guide to Tanking the Troll Heroics by Lono at Screaming Monkeys.  He’s also a guildie.  Shut up about nepotism and go read it.

 

Raid Rostering: How to Give 12 People 10 Slots In a Raid

Don’t give us none of your aggravation
We had it with your discipline
Saturday night’s alright for fighting
Get a little action in

Get about as oiled as a diesel train
Gonna set this dance alight
‘Cause Saturday night’s the night I like
Saturday night’s alright, alright, alright

-Elton John Saturday Night’s Alright (for fighting

You worked all week, or went to class and now it is raid night! Oh yeah you are going to get your Raid Boss Punch In The Face on. But wait a second, there are twelve signups and you guys run ten mans. Here is the problem with being a raid leader sometimes, you need to ask some people who want to raid, not to because you don’t have the spots. So how do you tackle this problem?

In Eff the Ineffable we have hit an important milestone about two months ago, we have more raiders than raid spots and that means as a raid leader I realized we needed a system in place to make sure that everyone is treated fairly.  The system I devised with input was to do a “most recent to sit is guaranteed a spot” on content they are ready for. So to put it another way the longer you haven’t had to sit, the more likely you will sit.

The Benefits

If you are in a raid setting where you have conflicting schedules and more participants than spots it is important to make sure that any ten people who form a viable raid are prepared on fight mechanics and have had ample chances to gear up.  But to do that you need to spread the love.

In ICC before we switched servers we hit a point where we couldn’t bring new people because we needed to blow through the first half in one night, but that also meant people  couldn’t get the gear and experience they needed to make sure they could blow through the first half in one night.

By having as much as possible the “who sits” question shared among everyone you get a larger pool of qualified raiders when you start hitting harder and harder content. Obviously raid viability is paramount so if you need a healer take a healer, or if a certain raid night would not be possible without a class who can do a certain ability take that, but by and large you should strive to have attendance by role approximately equal.

That even includes raid leaders. Over the two months  Alas and I have both sat on nights we are available to raid because it is the fair thing to do. This has the added benefit of helping to train more people who are capable of leading raids.

The Takeaway

When I look at Eff the Ineffable’s raid team I don’t see 10 raiders, I see 17 at the moment. I know that not everybody is going to be available for every raid, but I have an obligation to make sure that none of the 17 raiders are left behind if they are willing and able to attend raids. Sharing bench time is just as important as sharing raid time. It makes people have to adjust to new class compositions, which makes them understand the fights in better detail. It makes raiders appreciate the raid time they do have that much more and I think we get better results from it. So if you are leading a program remember to rotate your raiders out and build up your raiding depth as a result.

The Biggest Loser (of Addons)

I run too many addons.  I have issues.  So I’m uh… minimalizing?  Is that a word?

BEFORE

AFTER (you gotta admit, that is a really cute piglet)

Find Out Which Ones Hog

Step one for me is finding out which ones are hoggy.  To do this, I use Addon Control Panel.  You can see usage by hovering over addons.  Maybe there’s a better way?  But this works for me.

Now, don’t be tempted to just toss your hoggiest addons and be done with it.  Remember, 4 addons that you don’t use much can easily add up to the memory usage of one hog.  So at this point you want to simply look at which ones are hoggy and look at these with a more critical eye – but don’t give the non-hoggy ones a free pass.

For me, Grid takes up a lot of memory with all the plugins I use.  However, healing is what I do, and Grid is QUITE important to that.  So, despite the hog factor, it stays.  But if Outfitter takes up just as much space, it goes. I can manage my outfits with the default interface, kthx.

Stuff You Can Live Without

If you’re thinking you can live without it, and it won’t be a hardship, toss it.  Remember, even the little ones add up.

When I say toss it, I don’t mean you have to uninstall.  Just disable it.  That way, if you decide you really DO need it, it’s still there with your settings intact.

Stuff You Use Situationally

When I’m picking flowers, I love Gatherer.  When I’m in a raid, it has no business running.  There are a lot of addons that you don’t want to ditch permanently, but can be turned off when you are in a situation of high lag.

This is where Addon Control Panel comes in.  You can create different sets for different activities.  I have a gathering and crafting setup, and auction house setup, an instance setup, and a raiding setup.  I tend to lock up in raids, so I turn off all unnecessary junk, including any bag addons, mailbox addons, wow instant messenger (surprisingly hoggy), and damage meters. (Just don’t ask me to find anything in my bags during a raid – I’m hopeless with the default setup.)

Trading In For The Smaller Model

Sometimes, I find that I have an addon that has a TON of features, and I don’t use half of them.  In that case, it makes sense to downsize to a less hoggy alternative.

For example: Ark Inventory.  I love that addon.  But it eats memory like nobody’s business.  At Rhii’s suggestion, I am using Combuctor, which uses far less memory, and does most of what I needed.

Another example: Ice HUD.  Incredibly hoggy, and rightly so, because it has a plethora of options.  However, due to bar overload, I ended up turning off a lot of the features.  Why should I pay the memory tax for features I don’t use?  Thanks to Grimm’s guide, I was able to find an alternative that had all the options I use and omitted the options that I never turn on anyway.  (Arc HUD, for those interested. It’s still a bit hoggier than I’d like, but I’m not willing to hack the lua instead of having a control panel for options.)

Invest in Multi-Function Addons

You may be able to use one addon to do the job currently done by two or more, thereby saving space, even if the one multi-function addon is a bit of a hog.  For example, Raven, as recently introduced to me by Leafie, can show dots on multiple targets, buffs and debuffs on yourself, your cooldowns, and procs – in either icon or bar form, as you prefer (for me, this replaced 3 addons).  Fortexorcist not only tracks spells (dots) and cooldowns but also has added functionality for warlocks.  And let’s not even freakin discuss power auras that can do, like, everything.

Can It Be Macroed Instead?

There are lots of (admittedly non-hoggy) addons for selling your grays.  But there’s also a macro that you can use to do the same thing.  Check out the Wowwiki page.  There’s even a macro to swap outfits with your spec (which is what I’m going to be using as an Outfitter substitute).

Further Reading: Our Addon Page for all classes (even stinky DPS) with Links To Guides

The Day Has Arrived for NEW PANDA MOVIE

As you might recall, Twig had a very long phase of obsessive, singleminded love for Kung Fu Panda (the original). So for MONTHS now I have been planning and plotting around the release weekend of… KUNG FU PANDA 2!

This weekend is the big weekend.  Ok, so we can’t go until Tuesday.  But on Tuesday, get psyched, because we will see THE PANDA.

Are you excited yet?

How about now?  There’s a lot of awesomeness going on.

I know you want to RUN to your local theater right now.  It’s ok.  The boss won’t mind.

Omg, it’s le awesomeness!

Holy crap guys, baby panda flashbacks!  Why are you not at the theater RIGHT NOW?

NO SPOILERS! Twig might see!

Adventures in Failtanking: The Troll Heroics

I am not going to lie to you. I have no real advice on how to be the best Troll Heroic tank. This article was written over the span of two weeks recounting my trials and tribulations of tanking the troll heroics. It is pretty self reflective. Consider yourself warned.

 

My Lack of Tanking Progression

Warrior tanks, and I’m going to guess all tanks, are very gear dependent. In a  way you don’t see reflected in other classes a slightly undergeared tank will sink a group in a way that an ungeared dps or healer won’t. This is pretty much a fact. This is such a fact that back in vanilla I heard of many many guilds that had loot systems that gave the guild’s main tank first pick on anything passing all other raiders.

So where am I on my failtanking sidetrack from the gnomish mage supremacy I exemplify? To be honest I’m not doing so great. When Cataclysm hit I leveled the mage and then to help out I leveled the warrior to help in gearing others to be raid ready. We were a bit shy on available tanks so this made logical sense. But as we transitioned from a heroics running guild to a raiding guild he just sort of sat. He ended up with an ilvl of 346 which is fine for heroics, but I must say that Heroic Shadowfang keep and a nasty pug shook my confidence badly and I’ve been hesitant to jump back in the saddle. My warrior is the heroic tank of last resort and I’m pretty much okay with that. Any attempt to tank must be in a  guild group and they must endure at least twenty apologies for poor tanking during the run.

Along comes the Troll Heroics. Since they have come out the demand for five mans has increased in Eff the Ineffable, but for a multitude of reasons I haven’t done many of them. In fact neitherof my 85  toons have completed ZG or ZA. I comfort myself with the knowledge that I have feats of strength for both on my mage, and my mage doesn’t need but one or two things from there anyway and I should be able to get better in raids in the next few weeks I’d imagine.

And then there is the warrior…sitting in his 346 gear, the heroic tank of last resort.

I’m Getting Too Old for this S**t

“Hey Gnoble would you be willing to tank the troll heroics?” I look at the clock I check how Twig is doing on her nightly resistance to sleep campaign. “Sure, but I must warn you I’m at 346 and it will be pretty bad.” “That’s okay.”

My first exposure to the revised and updated ZG was as a warrior. This is not a good place to start. I feel extremely squishy in these places. The fights hit hard and have complicated mechanics you are used to seeing in raids. Venoxis has a poison maze!? Really? Really? I have more than enough wipes on the Panther boss. I can’t in good conscience say it was crappy healing. And I don’t think in most cases it was subpar play on my part. Definitely not ideal, probably not great, but I thought I was doing solid. Yet attempt after attempt I felt like a mana sponge.

Zul Gurub is the hardest instance in the game at this point for me to tank. I cannot help but think that unless you already have a few epics and are heroiced out on all other gear, you have no business trying to tank this place. This places the occasional tank or the new tank in a bit of a bind, especially with pugs. The pressure on tanking in this kind of environment is going to be strong. A lot is going to ride on your shoulders, and groups will be both disappointed when you fail, and incredibly unlikely to let you give up. But at some point when you’ve reached your limit you need to just lay down the law and say “I don’t think I can do this” and be willing to walk away.

Just When I was Out They Pull Me Back In

So resigned that the Troll Heroics might not be tankable by yours truly for a while I loaded up my priest alt last week for some mindless grinding. “Hey Gnoble….would you mind tanking a troll heroic?” “Sure, but I must warn you I’m at 346 and it will be pretty bad.” “That’s okay.”

The guild group has part of Zel’s vaunted team Heal Laralsong getting my back and a pretty solid DPS lineup. And by fortune we got Zul Aman which I hadn’t seen since the revamp. To my surprise I did pretty well. I’m not going to lie, I made mistakes. I pulled extra mobs on trash, I stood in the bad, I wasn’t able to taunt quickly enough. But we got 5/6 towards completing before we hit the wall of the final boss. I got a few upgrades and maybe I’m just a little bit closer to being a serviceable tank again. But the lesson I’m taking from all this is that if you want to tank, if you are serious about tanking you need to continually work at it. You cannot slack off. It requires dedication to getting the best gear you can, practicing the staples of tanking, learning and studying fights, and really having awareness. These things really are non-negotiable.

Why do we fall sir?
So we might learn to pick ourselves up

Finally a few days ago I tanked ZG again. We didn’t finish, but I feel a lot better about my tanking. Rhii was on her Pally alt, we had the Lizard, Grimmtooth, and Laralsong on his warlock. The lesson I  learned is that while it might seem impossible at first, with patience and persistence you can overcome your personal challenges in whatever class you attempt. Read a blog, scour forums, but mostly have a positive attitude. Last night on farm night I was digging through the DBM records while we prepped for our last BWD boss of the night and I saw that Eff the Ineffable has wiped 50 times on Magmaw. Some of these were learning and some are a kill goes sideways, but Magmaw to me now is considered easy, but it was a useful reminder that we all have challenges, and we will fail many times before we succeed. And eventually it will be so easy we won’t remember that we were frustrated at one point at all.

Test Drive: Lightwell Geespot

This weekend, I tested out Lightwell Geespot.  Previously, I did not want to use this addon because it lacked a config menu, and I was not about to muck about in the LUA.

I’m going to say that this was a LIMITED test drive in the sense that I did not want to annoy my guildies with senseless blather.  For this reason, I primarily used the “announce to self” feature.

TL;DR

For announcing to the group, I would still recommend Raeli’s Spell Announcer.  However, for enhanced, detailed information for yourself, I recommend Lightwell Geespot.

Configuration

You hit /lwg to get the config up.  The first page is a weird stats page that has potential but doesn’t appear to be working properly.  Just hit the “configuration” button.

Here’s the config menu:

Channel Options

Now, here’s the problem with the channel options.  You can select self, group, raid, say etc – but unlike Raeli’s you cannot use “smart announce” that outputs to raid when you’re in a raid and outputs to a group when you’re in a group.

Announcement Options

About the above options, in order…

Whisper the player who used lightwell above the threshold. This option will send an annoying whisper to a lightwell clicker that they used the lightwell above the health threshold, and that some of it was overheal – and you know, overheal is bad.

However, I’m not going to be doing a damn thing to discourage lightwell use.  I’ll worry about overheal when all the charges are actually getting used.  See how there’s no screenie?  I’m not annoying my guildmates with this.

Verdict: Not recommended, unless reducing lightwell overheal is an important strategy for your raid team.

Announce who improperly used lightwell. This announces in a specific channel who clicked the lightwell when over the health threshold – unlike the above option where it whispers the clicker

Can you imagine this spamming in chat? Ew, annoying.  Your ass would be kicked out of the raid.

Verdict: You can use it as self-only if you want that information. Do not use for announcing publicly. If your raid values reducing lightwell overheal, use the whisper option, above.

Announce who used a lightwell.  Hells yes, this is what it’s GOOD FOR.  Now, Raeli’s Spell Announcer does tell you who used the lightwell, but it does NOT tell you how many charges are left.  Observe the comparison:

As you can see, RSA does the job but does NOT give you charges left.  Lightwell Geespot gives you charges left.  No contest for this!  (I turned off RSA for this and now only use Lightwell Geespot to show me who used the lolwell.)

Remember, folks, if you announce this to the raid, you will have your fingers broken by the raid leader.  Promise.

Verdict: Highly recommended for self-only. Do not use for announcing publicly.

Announce when lightwell has been placed.  On the upside, this announcement gives a lot of information (number of charges and average heal).  On the downside, it’s not customizable.  I am continuing to use Raeli’s Spell Announcer for lightwell placement.

I have it here set to announce to myself only.

Verdict: Recommended for announcement to raid, unless you have another announcer addon that you prefer.

Announce when lightwell has faded.  Sure, why not.  Again, I’d only announce this to self.  The raid does not need to know when the lightwell fades – only when it is placed.

Of course, there are plenty of ways of tracking lightwell expiration, but this is another reminder.

Verdict: Take it or leave it.  Use it if you find it helpful, but other addons are just as good for noting when lolwell fades.  Do not announce to the raid.

Effing Update

I know you guys are DYING to hear what’s happening in Eff…

Ranks

Charlie Sheen is No Longer Lowest

The lowest guild rank is now “Alashole.”

Raiding

9/12

Uh yeah, we’re 9/12.  The progress seemed glacial, with one new boss every couple of weeks, but lately it isn’t taking us very long to master a new one.  Of course, now we’re to the rly hard bosses…

Raid Rostering

Early on, we had to scrub raids pretty often if someone couldn’t make it.  Now we’re at a comfortable 13 regular people for 10 slots.  We created a “sit out” rotation that is hopefully fair to everyone.

I’m not going to go into the nitty-gritty details of this sit-out rotation because the sitting out is rarer than you’d think.  Once in a blue moon we have 2 people sit out at the same time.  More often it’s one person on rotation.  But it’s also likely that we have nobody sit out, because something “came up” at the last minute and our scheduled sit-out ends up subbing in.

I’m pretty happy with the scenario of sitting out once every few weeks rather than having to scrub a raid every time 2 raiders go on vacation together or so-and-so’s boss issues an irrational edict.

Team Heal Rules!!!

First, I am quite a vicious tyrant about the healer channel being ONLY for healers who are currently in the raid as a healer.  That limits the voices to 3, and makes it much easier to coordinate.  And snark.  But mostly coordinate.

We work with each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and have a fluid approach.  Each of us has done tank and raid heal duty, and we shift assignments every freakin fight based on what is best for that fight.

Lewts

Alas has imposed the master looter duty upon a few of us who were “volunteered” into it.  Nobody should have to raid lead AND administer the lewts.  While we flail a bit with KSK (despite Alas’s excellent guide), we muddle through.

Boring Banking

Flasks and Such

Props to Grimmtooth who is providing flowers which become flasks and go into the guild bank.  We’re maybe halfway to the cauldron achievement, and we’re not spending exorbitant AH prices.  (I almost threw up when I saw how much volatile lifes were going for.)

Now that Grimm’s switched to engineering for rocket boots or other such nonsense, I’ll have to get new farming minions.

BOE

The BOE thing was somewhat of a debate.  So, if you’re IN the raid and the BOE drops, you can get it same as any other BOP item that drops.  But what if you’re not in the raid?  There was discussion, and we ultimately decided that everyone had a week to request the item.  If you want it and it’s appropriate for your spec, you get “suicided” in the suicide kings rank, as if you had won it during a raid.  If nobody requests it, it gets sold to fund the gbank.

Bank Repairs

These are to be used ONLY for guild raiding purposes.  Alas will break the fingers of anyone who is caught repairing from guild funds at other times.  And except for accidental screwups, it works fine.

TL;DR

We rule, y’all are jealous.  Jealousy is natural.