Adventures in Alt-land

A Baby Pally is born…

Before we joined Alas’s guild becoming the awesome mage/druid combo that is quickly becoming the stuff of legend (in my own mind), we wanted to test out the guild culture to make sure it was a good fit before we paid the transfer fees. So we rolled alts on the server and started from scratch. No money, no bags, nothing. Until they offered us start up gold (10g I think) and some bags from the guild bank. But that was it. These be tough times and I had to walk to Ironforge uphill through the snow barefoot!

Now my choice for what was going to be a temporary goof-around character was a paladin, because it was easy, familiar (I had played a pally in Vanilla), and not a class I was likely to transfer over.  After we took the plunge and transferred the 80’s, this lil’ Pally sat in the Westfall Inn being rained on by the hole in the roof,1 while my awesome magery dazzled and delighted my new guildies. I even showed them how gnome warriors rock the free world, though not as often because unlike many guilds we seem to be swimming in tanks.

… and is joined by some merry idiots

The funny thing about online relationships is you begin to have people who tend to gravitate towards each other. On the old server we had a guildie from back in SWG who joined us. We will call him The Wookiee. He has been playing on-and-off for years, and recently resubbed and rolled a new alt on our server. Well, last week another old SWG guildie, whom we will call The Lizard,  let me know that after 5 years of EQ2 he finally had enough with how they were running the game and was switching to WoW. So now I’ve populated maybe polluted Alas’s lovely guild with folks from Socrates Wyld Stallions.

Let the Leveling Commence

This weekend was a leveling fest. The wookiee referred-a-friend the lizard and let’s just say that some pretty crazy stuff happens when you put two linked refer-a-friends in the stockades with a crazy cat(zel) pulling a John Fucking Madden on anything that moves. Now that the lil Pally has friends who are for now level appropriate, I took the time to trick him out in any and all heirloom I could. He has a ret, prot, and heals set (taking the cloth heirlooms that were intended for a priest at some point).

I ran some random dungeons without the Lizard or the Wookiee. And in these I realized a few things.

  • First, Paladin has changed a lot since 2005 (when I leveled up to 60).
  • Second, Cataclysm leveling pugs will make some people pine for the jerks they get now in heroic randoms.

I talked about this with Zel last night and she told me about Pugging Pally who leveled a pally to 80 using the random dungeon finder and blogged about it. I will be doing something similar (you can’t raid every night). I’m introducing a series of posts called Adventures in Alt-land where I throw out observations about the leveling process, who you meet along the way, how things probably will change in cataclysm when you are leveling your worgen druid or goblin shaman. My companions along the way will be the Wookiee (paladin like me and wow vet) and the Lizard (Enhancement Shaman) and I’m sure the occasional helping paw from Zelmaru’s kitty killing machine. Hopefully I can provide some amusing anecdotes and observations. Let the journey begin.

  1. Are they EVER going to finish fixing that?

Healing on the Run: Practice Makes Perfect

Once you get to raiding, you’re going to have to move out of the bad a lot. If you can toss heals while you’re doing it, you should.  Mostly this applies to druids and priests who have multiple useful insta-cast spells.  Sorry, Pallies and Shammies.1

Now, intellectually, you know which heals of yours are instant, and which should be thrown when you’re moving out of the bad… however, practice makes perfect!

The Challenge

Go into an instance that you can reasonably heal.  Not total EZ mode but don’t try this on HHOR.

Do not stop moving unless you totally have to. Unless someone is about to die and you have absolutely exhausted all of your spells that you can use while moving.  Once you cast the cast-time spell, start moving again.

Always be casting. Even if you don’t necessarily need to.  Top people off.  Throw preemptive hots.  Whatever.

Why?

Simply put, muscle memory. It’s one thing to “know” what spells you can cast while moving.  It’s another to be able to start running and not even waste a gcd thinking about what to do next.  Get it ingrained.

Not the “best” spells

We’re used to using the “best” spells for the occasion so often that we forget about other spells in our toolbox.  Many druids don’t use lifebloom much.  But if you’re on the run, you’ll use it and you’ll like it!  Practicing this means that you won’t have to fumble for your lifebloom button in an extremely mobile fight.  Hell, I even broke out ye olde holy nova which I hadn’t used in months.  And you know what?  Now I remember it and hit it during Booooonestormmmmm.

Watch where you’re driving

If you’re not used to steering and casting at the same time, you may well hop from one bad patch into another (tail swipe, anyone?).  Practicing steering around while casting will improve your navigation skills.

Keep Practicing!

I say this is a “challenge,” but I do this during most instances to keep my skills up.  I’m damn good at it on the tree and I’m getting much better on my disc priest.

  1. While this post was totally written but the site was down, wow.com did a piece on “healing on the run.”  I am forced to assume that they employ mind-readers. Actually, if you’re a pally, you should read the wow.com piece, since I don’t know crap about pallies.

We’re Cautiously Back

/wave

Seems like everything is working on the new web host.  You live, you learn, and you hope you get your money back, eh?

For those of you who want to learn from our tale of woe: the old web host is Justhost.com and I can honestly say, it sucks.  Do not use.  There was intermittent downtime almost every day for… eh 10 minutes at a time.  That wasn’t too bothersome, since this is a website that doesn’t exactly make money or do anything important.

But when this blog got slammed with spam, they cut us off our “unlimited transfer” plan.  Nice, right?  I’d hate to think if wow.com linked us or something.  Justhost’s “suggested fix” was to get a spam checker (already have one) and super cache (yes, already have).  Thanks, dorkfaces.  Oh, and get captcha, because that totally works on pingbacks…

The new host is 1&1 which was recommended by Grimmtooth and others, and we should have just used it from the beginning.  So far so good.  Honestly, their “how to” FAQ articles are AMAZING.  I feel like I can do just about anything, even complicated crap.

Anyhoo… will start posting for realsies next week.  Would hate to start doing real content and then have to wipe the site again.  Let’s not talk about how ArcaneTinkerTank “accidentally” dropped a file from his stupid site into THE PRECIOUS WORDPRESS DIRECTORY and borked everything up.  Men, can’t trust em with an FTP account, right?

And of course, let us know if anything is still broken or unfinished.  I had to manually redo the plugins, so I might have missed something.  Or my beloved spouse might have dropped an errant file in THE PRECIOUS again.

Parliamentary Papers

So much stuff I like!

Raiding

Malevica at Type H for Heals focuses on the healing team working together.

Lonomonkey at Screaming Monkeys gives a detailed list of ways to improve your raid awareness.

Strategery

Reversion at Looking for More instructs hunters how to jump-shot.  Awesome drawings, as usual.

Healing

Vrykerion at Oddcraft has a super-accurate flowchart for when to let the DPS die.

Magery

All mages!  Get over to Mana Obscura and weigh in on getting a mage-specific one-stop resource.  Warlocks not invited.

Warlockery

Cynwise writes a Belated Introduction to warlock PvP because “it €™s never too late to start being awesome.”

Lewt

Psynister lists the best enchants for heirlooms.

Addons

/Reloadui talks about Too Many Addons, an addon to manage your addons.

Enlynn at Bubblespec is unashamed to use Healbot.

Funsies

Aphroditi at Fel Fire shows off her photoshop skills…. mages, are you gonna take that?

Durkonell at Your Best Shot can’t help lamenting the horrible repetitive voice acting in ICC.

The Control Freak nature of healing.

With DPS, more is almost always better.  If you crit, yay!  More DPS!  If you proc something YAY!  More Spellpower!  Which leads to more DPS!

But we healers, we’re a different breed.  We grumble about trinkets with procs.  We rabble about crits (eh some of us anyway).  We moan mightily about random effects.  More is not necessarily better.

Why?  Because groups live and die by predictability, not random chance or by sheer volume (except when you heinously overgear the content).

nataliedee.com
nataliedee.com

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Tanking Persona

I was reading Tamarind’s post on tanking BRD and the observation was made that most tanks are dickheads. It got me thinking about how I project my tank onto other players both guild and pug. First let me start by saying by all normal measures I seem to be a decent to good tank. My gear is all ilvl 232 or higher save neck, bracers and the black heart trinket. And anyone gathering tank gear knows those are all pretty hard to come by. Skill wise I’ve tanked through Saurfang in ICC. The only glaring tanking hole I have is not finishing Heroic Halls of Reflection, but that is a horrible instance to tank, and quite frankly I don’t need the grief.

So what are the tanking personas?

Option One: Be the dickhead

This one is pretty common, and as Tamarind points out it is pretty understandable why. Tanks get the most abuse in the game. Well maybe healers get an equal amount. The point is tanks have to put up with hard hitting nasty bastards AND the mobs in the dungeon.

Listen here maggot!

Most common response from the rest of the group: Silence. They will suck it up because they have been waiting 20 minutes in the LFG queue and will just ride it out, get their badges, and hope for a better tank next hour.

Most common barb thrown: You’re a lousy tank.

Most fitting response: “Listen you little shit, while you are gearing up…what is this? Your 5th DPS toon? Some of us have been taking one for the fucking team, and been your meat shield, so how about you say thanks by not pulling aggro on mobs we have no god damn business pulling EVER. Oh and if you could be so kind as to do some CC instead of bitching about how I suck, maybe we wouldn’t have to waste time scraping your ass off the floor! And if that is gonna be a problem, have fun sitting in the queue for another hour because I know I sure as hell won’t!”

Most fitting response if the barb came from a healer: “I’m sorry.”

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Bee Pit: PUG edition.

Welcome to another edition of “people I want to toss into a pit of bees.”  Today we are going to be talking about the people in your neighborhood, the people that you meet, when you’re walking down the street…. erm I mean, Pug people.

Gogogogo Mage

“Ok,” you say, “they all say ‘gogogogo’.  The bee pit is getting awfully crowded!”

This is true, however this particular mage was worse than most.

The Scene: Heroic Pit of Saron.  The group has just finished the gauntlet and is healing/mana-ing up.

The Offense: Mageypoo1 makes a beeline toward the boss, hopping maniacally, and mid-jump tosses a bolt of something-or-other at the dragon.  The hopping continues as the rest of the group, in shock due to the extreme asshattery, scrambles to get into position.

The Reaction: Tank says: “Mageypoo, you’re fired.”  This was awesome.  He goes on to threaten Mageypoo with having to tank the boss, but this never materialized.  I think we were all afraid the damn encounter would bug out and we’d have to run back.  I, for one, was not particularly concerned that Mageypoo might perish trying to “tank” and we’d have to 4-man.

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  1. I don’t remember the real name, so we’re gonna say Mageypoo

Keeping your Battle.net and Facebook spheres separate

Here’s a little tidbit from the latest info on Real ID:

Q: How does the friend finder in StarCraft II work? What’s sent to Facebook?
A: When you use the Add a Friend feature in StarCraft II, one of the options you’ll see is to search your Facebook friends list for people who also have Battle.net accounts in order to quickly send them Real ID friend requests. When you click this button, you’ll be asked to enter your Facebook login information, and you’ll then see a list of your Facebook friends who also have Battle.net accounts. You’ll then have the option to send any of these Facebook friends a Real ID friend request in-game. (Keep in mind that for someone to appear on the list, their Battle.net account email address must match their Facebook email address. In addition, you’ll see the names of any Facebook friends who have registered Battle.net accounts, regardless of whether they have Blizzard games attached to their account or just, for example, created the Battle.net account to make a purchase on the online Blizzard Store.)

It’s important to note that Blizzard Entertainment does not share any personal information with Facebook as part of this process. Keep in mind that as with other Real ID features such as the “friends of friends” list, our goal with the friend finder feature is to create convenient options to help players easily find people they know in real life on Battle.net without having to remember email addresses or account names. We hope players will find the feature easy to use and convenient.

So my facebook friends with battle.net accounts will be able to see if I also have a battle.net account?  Hells no.

If you want to keep these spheres of your life separate, the obvious and quite easy solution is do not use the same e-mail address for facebook and battle.net.

As a side note, I’m sure the dude who doesn’t play Starcraft but bought something at the blizzard store for his nephew is going to be confused as shit when he walks into work and his coworkers whom he friended on facebook start yapping about how they sent him battle.net friend requests.