Mage Series: The Upcoming Mage Renaissance: Oh crap buttons

Let’s face facts. We can all attest that things do not always go according to plan. There will be times where the main tank’s internet cuts out mid fight, or aggro mechanics on a boss are a bit weird, or you just simply are in the wrong place at the wrong time (see polar bears with chainsaws). Today in the Mage Series we are going to look at what tools we have at our disposal to save our own mage skin and live to keep on fighting.But more importantly I’m going to point out which buttons are best for which kinds of situations. I will not however be covering the mechanics of kiting as we covered that last time. Remember if you have a situation where kiting or polymorph are viable options you should probably use those first. This includes simple maneuvers like Frost Nova and Blinking away to safety. Experience will guide you on whether or not these are truly viable.

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Grid For Druids (and Shaman): Swiftmend and Nature’s Swiftness

We’ve learned how to track your hots using numerical cooldowns.  If you want, you can track other people’s buffs/hots as well.  Now we’re going to talk about “tracking”  Swiftmend and Nature’s Swiftness.

What You Need to Know

Now, if you want to swiftmend a target, you have to know 2 pieces of data:

  1. Is swiftmend off cooldown? This can be handled by a non-grid addon that tracks cooldowns.
  2. Is there a swiftmendable hot on the target? If you’re running with another druid, tracking just your own hots is not enough.  This data point can be handled in grid by tracking all swiftmendable hots on the target using one indicator.  Healing Through Stupid has an amazing guide detailing this simple, elegant method that requires absolutely no plug-ins.

If you want to use Nature’s Swiftness, just make sure it’s off cooldown.  You can figure that out pretty easily, eh?

Using GridStatusSwiftmend

I am lazy, and for both Swiftmend and Nature’s Swiftness, I use  GridStatusSwiftmend.

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Awesome Anonymity: A defense of the Pseudonym

I realize that anonymity has been a hot topic lately, and while the Real ID on the forums issue has been resolved for the time being, the tension between your online persona and your real identity has been a consistent theme since people started to speak using internet “handles.”

Let me also apologize to any of our foreign readers off the bat. I will be making plenty of references to aspects of the American experience. I’m sure your country has great history and traditions as well, but I am an American. It is what I know and from where I speak. That said, the logic behind much of what I will say should be considered universal.

Recently the Supreme Court of the US has said that people who sign a petition for a ballot initiative don’t have an expectation of privacy, and their names may be divulged. Justice Scalia is quoted as saying “you can’t run a democracy this way, with everybody being afraid of having his political positions known.” During oral arguments for the case, it was noted that before the secret ballot was implemented, America had over  a century of “open ballot voting“: you show up at your local polling place and say out loud which candidates you support.  No doubt that influenced the outcome of the elections, just as voter intimidation still influences elections in other nations.

Historically many prominent and influential people have used the veil of a pseudonym to protect themselves either from hostile allies, or to divorce their message from prejudices (good and bad) attributed to the speaker. I think back to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. If you remember it (or just read the wiki) you’ll no doubt realize that when you see a speaker you will apply thoughts to them, these are the shadows on the cave wall distorting what the true message is. For example if a successful business person dressed in fine suits and wearing a fancy watch told you to invest heavily in this mortgage backed security, you might give it more weight that the Wu-Tang Clan telling you to diversify your bonds. The same message can be perceived and considered differently depending on the identity of the speaker.

Yo dawg, you need to diversify yo' bonds m*****f*****

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[Off-Topic] Kitten Update

As you may remember, we got a kitten!  At first she was tiny and fragile, but now she is two pounds, 13 ounces of terror, and runs about the house full speed with a scrabbling-whooshing sound.  At this point I’m not worried about Twig or the other cats accidentally hurting the kitten, so I feel a lot more relaxed that I don’t have to constantly “supervise.”

The kitten bites ankles.  A lot.  When you walk by.  When you’re trying to sleep.  Twig finds this very funny.

The kitten also will eat just about anything.  Stealing snacks from a baby!  You should be ashamed, kitten.

Demonstrating the New Druid Cataclysm Talent:  NOM NOM NOM

She will eat just about anything with milk in it, if I am not careful.  I caught her licking up blackberry yogurt.  WTF, kitten?

We won, but I hope we learned something too.

Did the prospect of Real ID on forums scare the shit out of you?  Yeah it scared the shit out of me too.  And man, I’m relieved that it’s gonna DIAF, for now.

However, it got us all to reevaluate what information about us is on the Internet, even under an alias. And how resourceful psychopaths might connect the dots between a casual mention of a home town and a casual mention of some other factor and – BAM!  You’re found.

I’m sorry to say, this escapade has shown us just how many psychos there are totally willing to connect those seemingly untraceable dots created by innocuous tidbits of information.  A lot of victims of stalking, mostly women, bravely stepped forth to tell their stories – stories of stalking that occurred in some instances without divulging a real name.

Your personal information is a valuable commodity, and you have the power to protect it. Maybe this incident caused you to rethink some of the stuff that you have in various places on the Internet, and to make some changes to be extra-sure.

To those who think anonymity is cowardly: Anonymity occupies an important place in our society, even dating back before the Internet, and has shaped who we are.  ArcaneTinkerTank will be talking about this in more depth next week.

Parliamentary Papers (Non-Real-ID edition)

And now for something mostly different… under my totally real name Drew P. Wang.


Larisa wrote a wonderful article on Coming Out as An Older Gamer.  This is a very interesting topic and it touches and several themes – Should age matter in a game?  Should it be anyone’s business how old we are?  Will “coming out” as an older gamer help others do the same?

Ruhtra questions whether we have the “right” to be disappointed in a blogger.  (And the follow-up.)

Mysterious Buttons instructs us on how to max out weapon skills (including unarmed).



Zal at Blessing of Fish shows off the Improved Cataclysm UI.

Pwnwear instructs all you beta testers How to Move the Blizzard Frames – without addons.

Drood Focus: Public Service Announcement

You use Drood Focus, don’t you?  I mean, why wouldn’t you?  It’s awesome.  Are you a commie or something?

Now, Drood Focus may be freaking out on you lately, either after a wow patch or after a patch to the addon.

Do not panic. And do not try to find another cat/bear addon, because Drood Focus is awesomer than everything else.1

What you need to do is delete your settings and then reinstall. Like it says on the download page.

Ugh, I know.  Setting it up again.  That sucks.  I might remind you, however, that there is a guide for just that very thing.  Written by a genius.  Ahem.

How do you delete your settings, you might ask?  A couple options.

1. If you use Curse Downloader, you can right click on the addon and hit delete.  There will be a check box asking if you want to delete the in-game settings as well.  Yes.

2. If you don’t use Curse Downloader, you will have to muck about and delete anything named “droodfocus” in your Addons folder and WTF folder – and possibly other folders like SavedVariables (which may or may not be within WTF).  This sounds like a pain in the ass to me.  I used Option 1.

Ok, go forth and fix your Drood Focus.

  1. yes, “awesomer” is a word.

Altered Deals: Yet another RealID Essay

I’ve stayed mostly quiet on the whole RealID business since Zel knows more about general privacy issues than I do. But if you’ll indulge me gentle reader on this topic, I do have some points I’d like to make.

We all know there are plenty of great reasons not to be excited about RealID. Most are about how it exposes possibly rare or unique names, how it could expose professionals who don’t want to be outed as gamers, or even endangers young gamers who may not realize the full extent of their online actions yet. But what I want to talk about is how it is a betrayal of an emotional investment. To better illustrate this I will need to go to a long, long time ago, in a mmorpg far far away.

Before I ever created my first WoW toon, spawned next to the Northshire Abbey and saw a NPC with a bright exclamation above his head inviting me to go whack something with my mace, I was a fairly involved Star Wars Galaxies player. As you might remember from the post about guild democracy I met my guild on the forums. Now when I initially was asked to play SWG by a friend I didn’t understand how any game could be so good as to justify a recurring payment to play. I was a mmo noob. We all were at some point. But pretty soon I came to accept that I pay $15/month and I get to play in their house. It was a pretty fair deal. But here is the twist, all the time you play is an investment into your game.

VADER: I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further

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