Personal Responsibility and the Decision to Raid

I’ve heard a little rabbling lately about how burdensome it is to go through the crap needed to be raid-ready.  Which is true – it’s burdensome and annoying and a long-ass grind.  However, for your amusement, let me put it in flowchart form.

So… in case it’s not entirely obvious from the chart… raiding is optional. You can opt out at any time and not raid. Nobody is making you raid. But if you do choose to raid, you have to do the necessary prep. I’m not sure why rational humans fail to grasp this.

To a certain extent, beyond a few specifics, your guild is not creating the rules.  Most guild rules are shockingly similar because these are essential prerequisites to the activity for it to succeed.

If you joined a bowling league, could you refuse to wear bowling shoes?  “No thanks, I’m a special snowflake, so I’m going to wear my street shoes and scuff up the lanes for everyone else.” Of course not.

In real life, it’s not ok to think yourself above the rules that everyone else must follow in order for an activity to happen. But that’s exactly what people do when they refuse to become raid-ready and still expect to raid.

Do or do not. There is no whine.

I cannot believe how IRRESPONSIBLE Blizzard has been

I’m walking around the Mage District in Stormwind and I come across this floating sword, and it takes me a second to figure out it is an “ornament” on the Winter Veil tree.  Now maybe it is the parent in me, but that strikes me as unsafe. I trot over to Goldshire real quick and see this:

I mean that is GOLDSHIRE! Noobs hang out there, and they could hurt themselves. Blizzard should have known better than to place presents under a tree decorated with instruments of death. Come on Blizzard, some of you have to be parents. What none of you childproofed your house?

Anyway it got me thinking of an appropriate “Winter Veil” carol.

Deck your tree with axe and swords
Fa la la la la la la la la
We’re off to slay the evil Horde
Fa la la la la la la la la

Don we now our leet apparel
Fa la la la la la la la la
Trolls will fall in our Winter Veil Carol
Fa la la la la la la la la

See the blazing noobs before us
Fa la la la la la la la la
With Flamestrikes and Chuck Norris
Fa la la la la la la la la

Follow me in bloody measure
Fa la la la la la la la la
I hear this boss has epic treasure
Fa la la la la la la la la

Faster now I need the ‘chievement
Fa la la la la la la la la
I stood in fire to the healers aggrievement
Fa la la la la la la la la

Send some tells to the Raid leaders
Fa la la la la la la la la
“Look dude I topped the meters”
Fa la la la la la la la la

Have a happy Winter Veil from Murloc Parliament.

Cata Questing Content Review:(80-85) Hyjal

Mount Hyjal: Okay I get it I’m Special Just Like Everyone Else

So after admitting we are not a family of mer-gnomes, we set off for scenic Hyjal. Still had crowds, but this was more like what we were used to for joint questing. Kill this, gather that, kill this to gather these things they have, the usual stuff. The zone was really well done, but I did get a bit tired of all these ancient and powerful legendary forces look at me with curious wonderment on how awesome I am. I mean yes I did kill Arthas among many other dastardly evildoers, but your flattery is just bordering on embarrassing now. It is limit of the game genre, but it is pretty hard to believe the praise of being a unique and special force seriously when I see the same dialogue done for Zel right after.

The things that irked us were two quests. First was saving frightened critters from a burning forest. I get they are frightened, but they run away very quickly so clicking on them to gather them took some practice. Now I know there are plenty of WoW players who have various disabilities and I could see this quest in particular being a gateway towards getting all the quests in the zone done. I’m not sure if it acted as a gateway quest to unlock more stuff down the road, but I hope not. Second because they were friendly critters I couldn’t Slow, Polymorph or Frostnova (though that one probably would have killed them) to ease their gathering. When I do this on my warrior I think I’m gonna bring a stack of Critter Bites to see if that makes it easier.

Yo Dawg, I heard you like to FLAP, so we put a FLAP in your FLAP so you can FLAP while you FLAP

The second irk was the Joust mini-game quest line.  “Hey here is a flying mount that doesn’t work like any flying mount you’ve had since level 60! Just remember to flap the wings!” Now I didn’t find this that bad, but Zel and Wookiee were not amused. In fact we were a few quests ahead of the Wookiee when we were logging off for the night and one of the last things I read is “What is the Jousting Shit?!?” The Lizard by contrast can’t wait to do it.

The Twilight Cult Camps at the end were fun, but the minigame of the speech towards the end was not intuitive. We worked our way through it, but were never sure if we were selecting the right options. The zone felt a tad long compared to the other zones but not overly so.

Final Judgment: Overall I liked this zone a lot, but it did seem to go on forever until they refer you to Deepholm for the next quest area.  Good for groups, just remember to stay lock step on quests.

Cata Questing Content Review (levels 80-85): Vashj’ir

This is a first in a series to review the leveling experience from 80-85. By the time most of you have read this, you probably are 85 already, but that doesn’t mean we can’t sit back and talk about what we thought of the story, game mechanics, and experiences we had in leveling. The opinions expressed in this series are that of Arcanetinkertank unless attributed otherwise, and are sometimes unique from the perspective of a mage. This series is ordered to cover the lower zones of Vashj’ir and Hyjal first, followed by Deepholm, then finish with Uldum and Twilight Highlands.

Welcome to Vashj’ir: The Zone Where Your Group Will Grow to Hate Each Other

Cataclysm launches and I am strolling around Stormwind and POP a quest shows up out of nowhere summoning me to some little island near the keep. No doubt the pivotal role I had in defeating the Lich King has been making the rounds of NPCs so no doubt they thought my awesome abilities could help them with their tinsy little problem. I stroll on over and start a chain which in a short while gives me a vision of Thrall casting something near an awesome whirlpool, gets me on a boat only to be grabbed by a huge tentacle, drug underwater and left for dead, and then begin the nightmare of expansion day spawn camping with everyone else. Zel was quick to join me under the sea, which despite Sebastian’s claims to the contrary, is not better.

It is not better where it is wetter you dumb little crab!

So there are a few problems with groups questing in this zone. First, like most of the expansion, there is extensive phasing making helping friends catch up is kind of difficult. I am going to trust Blizzard’s metrics say this is fine based on how people actually play versus how they say they would like to play.

Second this is a three dimensional zone, so directing your group to where you are now has a whole new element of frustration. For example there is a quest where you have to find something that randomly spawns, this resulted in the following conversation a few times.

ATT: Hey Zel come over here, I found one.
Zel: Where?
ATT: Over here, no come down. No to your left. No Wait you are going the wrong way I’m over here. Look at my screen. Do you see where I am?
Zel: Yeah and I see that Tauren druid taking it.
ATT: Son of a bitch!

Which leads me to the third problem, the abundance of people fighting over things the first few days. This means either every named spawn is camped with people hovering their fingers over instant attacks to tag it, or there aren’t enough people in that particular area the spawn rate is still pretty fast so just as you down one mob another spawns and you are still in combat.

All of this made me realize that I can deal with questing underwater or I can deal with people, but I can’t deal with both. So we agreed this was too frustrating for us and went to Hyjal. Because I had some free time to play this last weekend I went back to Vashj’ir as a solo player. The crowd had thinned a bit and I didn’t have to worry about getting separated from Zel. It has been a much better experience.

With me going back to solo the remainder of the zone to get the achievement, I found the whole zone a lot more pleasurable when the crowds were gone. The visuals make the zone seem other worldly, but not in the way Outlands with the floating islands did. It will take some getting used to the 3D space in regards to quest objectives, generally if you stay close to the ocean floor you’ll do fine. If you don’t see what you need look up to check that it isn’t there. The final zone event for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was a nice final chapter on the Zone.

TL;DR:  my advice for Vashj’ir is do it solo if you do it at all. It is really pretty, and some of the quests are really fun. But if you are trying to run it as a group you need to have a system in place for three dimensional direction which most people don’t have by default, and to be fair the rest of the game rarely makes use of the Z axis before here. The story was well done and the restrained use of cut scenes made the zone quest progression feel natural. What annoyed me most at the start, in retrospect, was the over crowded zones, but by the time I finished this zone won me over as a fun place to level. (Pro tip – if you insist on leveling with a group, put raid symbols over everyone’s head. It will make it slightly easier to find your friends in the 3D space.)

Fixing your Out-of-Date Grid Plugins for the New Tabbed Grid

Remember how we talked about Grid’s New Menu Structure.  The new tabs are awesome!  And now the latest grid released on Curse (not just the Alphas in development) incorporates this menu structure.

However, if you use a lot of plugins, an un-updated plugin can make your “frame” menu look like this:

OMG EW!

Fear not, there is a solution:

1. Make sure all your plugins are the latest version available

This means looking for alphas and betas on WowAce or Curse Forge. Many addon authors have made a small fix to get the plugin to play nice with the new tabbed grid menus.

2. Find The Culprit(s)

All your plugins are the latest version out there and you’re still getting this icky menu glitch? It’s an un-updated plugin. Maybe more than one!

How do you find it?  Disable all plugins and then start enabling them one by one. Don’t just stop at the first culprit. There could be more than one plugin that is not playing nice.

Hint, this will be an INDICATOR plugin, not a STATUS plugin. It will be a plugin that modifies HOW information is displayed or adds an indicator. It will not be a plugin that allows you to show a new status.  Most plugins actually start with “GridIndicator” or “GridStatus”, so this should be fairly easy to spot.

I found that GridIndicatorCornerText, GridIndicatorSideText, and GridCooldownText needed fixing. If you use GridStatusHots with a countdown, these plugins are MUST-HAVE.

3. Fix It

Time to go mucking about in the code.  Are you ready?

Find the lua file. It should be the plugin name with .lua at the end, for example: GridIndicatorCornerText.lua. It would be found in the appropriate folder (in this case “GridIndicatorCornerText”) in your Addons folder (which is, of course, in your Interface folder). Not in your WTF folder.

Open the Lua file in notepad. OMG IT IS A MESS!!!  Haha.  At this point you are flailing around on the floor going OMGWTF.  It’s ok.

Now find

type = "group",

Remember, use your “find” tool for this.  It should be shortly after the plugin name .options – in our example GridIndicatorCornerText.options.

Replace it with:

type = "group", inline = true,

Then save the notepad document. Repeat for any other plugin that is fouling up your tabbed display.

4. Profit

Your tabbed display frame menu now looks like this:

See? All fixed.

What if it doesn’t work?

You might not have identified all the culprit plugins.  Try turning them off and on again.

If things are fouled up beyond that, you can always revert the plugins you modified by simply redownloading them from their respective sites.

Sources

Well yes, I did test this and didn’t just copy off the internet, but I didn’t pull the idea out of the sky either.

  • Comment on GridIndicatorSideText on Curse.
  • Comment on GridIndicatorCornerText on Curse Forge.

This post was brought to you by “OMFG I did srs bzns coder shit and didn’t fuck up my grid, my other addons, my wow install, my blog, or the entire fucking internet, woot!”

Mages Should Help Organize Pulls

If you have been playing WoW for a long time and can remember a pre-Wrath era, you no doubt remember that pulls were carefully dissected before executed. “Okay Mage you got moon, Hunter will ice trap Square, and I’ll tank Skull and X. Single Target only.”
“ArcaneTinkerTank”
“Huh?”
“My name is ArcaneTinkerTank, not ‘Mage'”
“Whatever. CHAAAAAAARGE!!!!”

This kill order was usually designated by the tank, and the party was just supposed to fall in line. The pull went well or it went badly, and there was a 50/50 chance your time was spent griping about the warlock dotting your sheep, or the warrior thunder clapping too close to your sheep.

Well mages, I have good news! We can make the stress of pulling a lot easier with Ring of Frost.

With Ring of Frost, you have this targetable mist that will freeze in an ice block anything that is within its circle for up to 10 seconds. This means for most pulls you can manage to give your team 10 whole seconds to properly pull their target out for CC.

TRAIN YOUR TANKS

The downsides are:

  1. a two minute cooldown, and
  2. you need to train your tanks to single target the mobs they want initially out of the ring and away from the remaining CC’d mobs.

Never should the two circles touch.

This can be done with ranged single target attacks like a warrior’s Heroic Throw, a paladin’s Judgement, a druid’s Faerie Fire, or a Death Knight’s Death Grip. I’m sure there are other things they can do, but they must bring the tanked mobs away from the CC mobs so they can do their normal AoE effects like Thunder Clap, Consecration, Swipe, or Death and Decay with no worry about breaking crowd control effects.

For more thoughts on Ring of Frost, check out Kiss My Alas who wrote on it before I had a chance. I assume she was reading my mind and may in fact be Mentok the Mind Taker.

Alas?

Healing: Stop. Breathe. Think.

You’re healing a level 83 normal dungeon… the tank takes damage.

OMG I MUST HEAL THE TANK RIGHT NAO!

Probably not.

OMG HE IS GOING TO DIEEEEE!

Not in the next 5 seconds, no.

Stop. Think. You do have the time for this.

How about a Hot followed by an efficient heal.

MAYBE? NO! HE WILL DIEEEEEE WHILE I AM CASTING IT.

Probably not.

IT DIDN’T HEAL HIM TO FULL RIGHT AWAY!!

Hit him again with it.

THE TANK IS AT 75%! I MUST TOP HIM OFF OR HE WILL DIEEEEE!

Oh geez, no. Quit it.

OMG NOW THE RAID IS TAKING DAMAGE!

Well, how much damage?

DOES IT MATTER? IN THE NEXT GCD THEY COULD BE DEAAAAD!

Probably not. Will topping them off cause a lot of overheal?

WELL YES BUT THEY MIGHT DIEEEEE!

No, stop that. They will not die.  Leave them alone for now.

BUT BUT BUT.

Seriously.

OMG, NOBODY IS TAKING ANY DAMAGE NOW, I SHOULD PRE-HOT EVERYONE AND REFRESH STUFF AND GET READY FOR ARMAGEDDON.

No. Stop that. Put down the renew and back away from the keybinding.

I MUST CAST! I AM TWITCHY! THINGS CAN GO WRONG IN A FRACTION OF A SECOND!

Well, if you truly have nothing to do, you can cast hymn of hope to regain mana….

OMG I HAVE TIME FOR THAT?

… or DPS…

HOORAY PEW PEWPEWPEW!!!

… if you have taken the appropriate talents so that it buffs your healing in some way…

DOH!

… and it doesn’t use up the mana that you need to otherwise heal through the rest of the fight…

BUZZKILL.

Just sit there until you’re needed.

BUT THAT IS BORING.

Think about puppies and kittens, then.

OH PUPPIES AND KITTENS ARE NICE.

Hunter Alt Bringing out the Girly Side

I have gone from practical to dumb and squealy in about 30 seconds. I blame the Hunter.

Oh, it started innocently enough. I started a human hunter (the rationale being that I’m very familiar with the human starting zones and wanted to see how they had changed). I started out just keeping my starter-pet (a wolf) figuring that in the absence of knowledge about what the pets actually do, I might as well keep what I have.

Then I saw the Redridge Fox. It was so freakin cute. Don’t ask me what foxes do. Don’t ask me the relative advantages or disadvantages over a wolf. I have no clue.  I started squealing “OMG IT’S SO CUTE I MUST HAVE ONE LIKE NOW!!!” and ATT just looked at me like I was a freak.

Fortunately, I was to get the ability to tame a second pet in one level. If it had been many levels, I might have broken something.

It’s named “Box“.

I swear, I’m going to be the worst hunter on earth because I will be picking pets based on cuteness and end up with an attack bunny

I have officially lost my damn mind.