That’s right, we’re off to visit Papa Murloc in a few days.  See you after Labor Day!

Now, you ask, what is the difference between Papa Murloc and Mama Murloc?  Let me explain:

Mama Murloc says: “I hope they don’t stand in the fire.”

Papa Murloc would say: “Hey, shithead.  Get out of the goddamned fire.  Moron.”

I trust that Twig will pick up some exciting vocabulary.

(That is, if we get to go, due to hurricanes and whatnot…)

Walking the (Casual Raiding) Line in Firelands

Well you’ve heard me yabber on about VP and how I hate getting them, but how I don’t really have much of a choice in the matter.

Capping VP every week isn’t reasonable for my life as a casual raider.  But at the same time, we were very much struggling in the beginning without any T-12-equivalent gear.  Clearly some out-of-raiding work is required.

There once was an ex-guildie who strenuously objected that I did not do dailies.  To him, this omission meant that I was clearly not serious about raiding.  To me, dailies were lower priority than heroics to get gear.  He assumed I had time to do both – which of course was erroneous!  Based on the time I had, I chose to focus on heroics.

Right now, I’m doing some valor point grinding (not capping), and no dailies, because the dailies gear is not that good for my class/spec.  Maybe someone out there is incensed that I am not doing my dailies, or not capping vp.  I, on the other hand, may be irrationally stabby at someone who, after all this time, has not obtained a piece or two of VP or faction/dailies gear.

I clearly think that the person who expects me to do dailies is being a little too hardcore.  But am I being too hardcore in the (admittedly moderate) amount of work outside of raids that I expect?  At what point does “not being hardcore” morph into “not making the effort?”

Holy Priest Mana Management

I have mana issues.  A lot.  Looking at the upcoming spiritless cloth gear (bleh), I had to use some serious strategery for not going OOM as much…


My fellow members of Team Heal surprised me with Darkmoon Card Tsunami.  Apparently they love the lolwell so much, they want me to stay holy.  Awww.

I got the first piece of tier gear (chest).  In raiding I was already seeing a difference.  I just got the pants last night for the 2pc bonus.  It should be a pretty constant mana increase, since it will be kept up by my basic healing rotation.

And finally, I reforged down to the bare minimum of haste for 12.5% raid buffed and am relying on the mastery: echo of light.  In current content, because there’s SO much healing to be done, echo of light is not as much overheal.

Mana Cooldowns


So first, I tried those concentration potion doodads.  That doesn’t really work for me, since being out of pocket for 10 sec doesn’t work on most fights. I can barely have time for Hymn of Hope.  So I’m stuck with regular old mana pots.

Shadowfiend and Hymn of Hope

Now, you can get super extra mana if you cast shadowfiend then swing into hymn of hope.  But that would require being pretty low on mana to pay off… and I don’t want to wait that long for throwing the first fiend (so it can reset).  Plus, finding time to channel is something that is a challenge.  I decided that I’d be better off doing hymn of hope separately from shadowfiend at a predetermined time coordinated with the rest of the healers – while I toss shadowfiend as soon as feasible (i.e. at a mana level where I wouldn’t waste any mana returns) and toss it again right off cooldown.

Now on to using the fiend better.  See… I would wait too long to cast the damn thing.  And I might not cast him right when he got off cooldown.

First, I made a Power Aura to show when I’m at 70% mana, so I know to toss the first fiend then.  Well, I kinda stole it from Beru and then tweaked the mana level to one that I thought was appropriate for fiending.

Second, I used MSBT to create a more obnoxious noise for when fiend is off cooldown.  I had a noise already but it was clearly not annoying enough to get my attention.

Spell Choices

I’m not doing so hot here.  I’m trying to use Heal, though it pains me to do so.  I’m not sure why my fail here deserves its own heading, but there you go.

Lightwell Harassment

Toward the end of the last tier, we got a little complacent in our awesomeness and didn’t need to click the lightwell as much.  Now, I’m getting people back into the habit by harassing them over vent to CLICK IT during periods of intense AOE damage.  If my lightwell disappears before the cooldown is up, it means that all the charges are getting used up.  That makes me a happy camper.

Using Addon Sounds (Sparingly)

Last week, Wow Insider talked about using audio cues to help you raid.  However, add too many bleeps and blorps, and it just fades into the background.  So here is my handy guide.

When To Add A Sound

In order to prevent sound overload, figure out what things you normally forget, and then add a sound.  If it’s not something you forget, then you don’t need a sound.  Save the blings and beeps for things that are currently giving you problems.

And if, after adding a sound, you still forget it… add a more obnoxious sound.

1.  Something you are not supposed to be standing in.  If it’s something at your feet that you have trouble seeing and you need to get out ASAP, use noises!

2. Low Health.  This is extremely useful.  If you are focused on doing complex aspects of a fight, your health may drop and you might not even notice.  I usually pop a cooldown in response to this audio signal.  This noise can also be extremely annoying on fights where people are routinely kept at low health levels, such as Chimi.

3. Low Mana (or a specified level).  Don’t let OOM catch you off guard.  You might want to set the sound at a certain threshold, such as the mana level at which you want to pop a mana-regen cooldown or alter your rotation to a mana conserve phase.

4. Something that procs.  If something procs rather infrequently, and you need to do something to respond to the proc, a sound may help your reaction time.

5.  Something off cooldown.  Now, this is only if it’s an ability that you absolutely want to use the INSTANT it is off cooldown.  I don’t recommend this for cooldowns that are under a minute long, or it might drive you batty.

6. You pull aggro.  Then, you know to pop an aggro-shedding cooldown.  If you’re not the tank, that is. If you are the tank, you probably want to have a sound if you lose aggro.

Addons to Add a Sound

For shit you should not stand in, see if your boss mod has a setting.  Or get GTFO.  I use both Bigwigs and GTFO to make sure I’m totally aware of shit I should not be standing in.

For low health, low mana, procs, and cooldowns.  I use Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text primarily and Power Auras sometimes.  You can add a sound to a scrolling event on MSBT or to a visual aura on Power Auras.

The one reservation I have about Power Auras is that if you use a “noise when off cooldown”, Power Auras will ping you every time you get into combat because most people only have auras display while in combat.  You get into combat, your aura appears, and you get a PING.  It is quite annoying.  Whereas MSBT will only ping you once your cooldown is up – the disadvantage to that is that you will get pings out of combat when you might not care.

If I recall correctly, you can set up Omen Threat Meters to warn you if you have aggro.

Using GridStatusPriestAOE for Maximizing Priest AOE Spell Effectiveness

OK, this is the most embarrassing thing ever.  You see that Group 2 needs healing!  No problem, Prayer of Healing to the rescue!  You center it on someone and… it hits only that person.  Everyone else was out of range.  Waste of mana.  Waste of time.  And embarrassing.  (How do I tell whom the AOE hit?  GridStatusHealTrace.)

But seriously, you’re staring at bars.  How are you supposed to know who is in range of whom?

Enter GridStatusPriestAOE.  If you are using Vuhdo, TOO BAD!

How GridStatusPriestAOE Works

This lovely addon gives you a suggestion as to which person, if healed, would maximize the healing done by that spell.  You’re gonna cast POH on group 2 anyway, but on whom should it be centered?  GridStatusPriestAOE knows.

Now, this is best used as a range checker, not as a suggestion on which group to heal or where your circle of healing should be.  It is NOT good at telling you what to do.  You have a brain for that.

With that said, let’s get to the setup.

Configuring Status

Looky, here it is under your status tab.

I wouldn’t put “check only for first group”… well maybe if you’re in a BG.  But honestly, you need to know ALL THE GROUPS.

Here’s the config for circle of healing.  It has all sorts of nifty options, like hiding it when I’m not in holy spec or hiding when on cooldown.  Yes please.

Now, what is this heal threshold?  It’s so you don’t keep seeing the icons when nobody is hurt.  I would say, just TRY the defaults and then fiddle around from there.  The defaults are pretty good.

The priority is 99, which is higher than that of Prayer of Healing, because I don’t want to cast prayer of healing if COH will do the job.

Now the Prayer of Healing!  I don’t recommend “always show best target in each group”.  With that checked, it will have a dot for each group up ALL THE TIME regardless of whether anyone is hurt.  I unchecked the other options as well.  Do whatever you prefer on those.

The priority on this one is 97, lower than that of COH.

Put It Somewhere In the Grid Frame

Now, there are colors for these boxes, so you can tell which is POH and which is COH in your frames.  I opted to just use an icon plugin and reserve a spot for those two icons.


I took some screenies when I was in a srs bzns raid.

OK, now Ashe is the person you want to do POH on for group 1.  You don’t want to do POH in group 2.  However Kari in group 2 is the person on whom you want to center the COH.  Here’s the interesting part… Kari is not actually injured.  However, Circle of Healing is smart and will splash AROUND the central person.  I think you can even center it on a mob.  So, without this addon, never in a million years would I see these health bars and think the druid is the one I have to COH.

On this one, Group 1 and Group 2 are both injured enough to warrant a POH.  At least according to the threshold I set.  My threshold is probably too low.  And there’s the COH target (once again, not injured).

In which PUG Raiding returns Arcanetinkertank’s Confidence

I’ve been in a weird place since 4.2 mentally. It might be the unbearable summer heat or maybe frustration with trying to get a new set of progression bosses down, but I’ve been feeling like my mage DPS wasn’t up to par. I know that I am not a top guild progression mage, but in the guilds I’ve ran with I’ve always been near the top of the DPS meters. Lately it was slipping to fourth or fifth.  This is personally disappointing as I think of myself as reasonably geared to my Effing DPS peers. So a little over a week ago I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and get back into magery shape.

Finding a Spec

First thing I did was re-evaluate my specs. I had been going Fire spec primarily and decided to try out arcane as most people seem to be getting better parse results with that. I read up on Elitist Jerks and saw that Fire just wasn’t scaling as well into the new tier. Yes you can still do quality DPS, but there will not be the consistency you’d expect from Arcane. I toyed around with Frost which can be viable, but you sacrifice output for what you gain in control.

Tweaking my Gear

Next I downloaded Rawr and started getting my enchants, gems and reforging in line with where I should be for optimal DPS output. I followed the suggestions and regemmed and reforged my gear to maximize for my arcane spec. I kept fire as my second spec simply for AoE DPS situations. Arcane’s emphasis on mastery works well with Fire’s DoTs, though my gear is not optimized for Fire at this time.

Worked on My Rotation

I needed a baseline to figure out where my DPS should be. I figured I cannot control what buffs and debuffs will be in play from week to week with our revolving roster, so I should try and find what my self buffed (minus food and flask) should be. I downloaded Simulationcraft and played around with it to make sure I was getting an idea for how much damage I should be doing at teh practice dummies. Then I went there and practiced a lot. This led me to make an arcane burn phase macro. The core component of the Arcane burn cycle is timing your cooldowns to all stack when you have 4 stacks of the Arcane Blast debuff. You follow the burn phase with Evocation and go into conserve phase until they all line up again. My macro:

#showtooltip Arcane Power
/use 13
/use 14
/use Mana Gem
/cast Arcane Power

What this does is makes sure I use my on use trinkets as well as my mana gem for maximum DPS output. I also make sure I have the mana gem and DPS trinket visible on my bars as wellto make sure everything is off cooldown when I pop Arcane Power.

Take Myself Out for a Spin

On Saturday I was on standby for our Firelands raid. I felt pretty good about my DPS on Friday’s raid, but my situational awareness on Shannox was pretty bad. So while the Effers were off I ran some heroics, did my dailies, and got into a Baradin’s Hold 25 man raid PUG. I don’t pug raid often, but I find it kind of interesting because here is a group that has no knowledge of you, and in many ways you find yourself needing to prove yourself not an idiot by standing in the fire or they will verbally berate you and kick you from the group.

In the 25 man I didn’t stand in the fire. I stacked properly and I finished 6th on the recount I had running. I was significantly over similarly geared mages in the same spec, and the difference in the top 8 DPS was just a small amount. I didn’t get any loot, or recognition as a great player for anything. But I felt coming out of that thing that I had done really well. It was like going for a run and realizing you did 3 miles in 25 minutes. Yeah you could do better, but maybe you aren’t in suck bad shape as you thought.

I’m the best tank in the world! (And so can you)

Eff the Ineffable has a strict no alt policy on current content. T11 is about to get booted to farm night so alts are welcome and we will start to see some long time raiders wearing different shoes which will be a refreshing change. So with this no alt policy I’ve not done much raid tanking except the occasional Baradin Hold and a few wipes on Halfus one night when we had no geared tanks when we started raiding. So up to this point all of Gnoblerage’s tanking gear has been Reputation, Justice Point, Valor Point, Troll, Heroics, or crafted.

Last night a guildie wanted to finish a PUG BWD ID he had going. I was asked to tank, and three wipes later I am officially 1/12 on T11 content.

Yes this is post nerf obviously. And the troll heroics and addition of T11 to the Justice Vendor helps a lot in gearing choices. But that said I still had to maintain threat against T12 ready folks, and use my cooldowns properly. The point of this post is that by staying focused on what you want to do, you can catch up to progression ready people. I wouldn’t say Gnoblerage is ready for T12 yet. But he clearly is fine for anything in T11. With a few choice pieces he could be ready for T12 soon though.

Effing Officers

So, what happens when a guild without officers swells to almost 2 10-man groups?  All of a sudden, Alas has more than she can reasonably handle.  Every little QQ is ending up on her doorstep.

We had to help her out, so we collectively decided to have officers.  However, we’ve all been burned by officers before.  Specifically officers who do not do any jobs and cliquishness.

The discussion lasted for pages.  Since we’ve done everything by consensus until now, we dithered around with every aspect of officership back and forth until we hammered things out over the course of… 2 weeks?

So, in a nutshell, here is how a formerly officerless guild finds itself officer-ful, but manages to keep its vision and character.

Officer “Rules”

There are 4 officers.  They are meant to deal with a specific job, and handle the day-to-day regarding that job.

  1. Recruitment officer: To take care of new people, make sure they’re fitting in
  2. Raid Coordinator:  coordinates the raiding program.
  3. Banking officer: Organizes the bank, procures materials needed for guild items (fish feasts, flasks).  Sells extra stuff and deposits cash in the guild bank.
  4. Revelry officer: To plan non-raiding stuff for people.

We went back and forth as to whether they needed an officer rank, since really only the banker needs different permissions.  However, we decided that a different rank would help new people identify officers and prevent confusion.

Volunteer Underlings.  Each officer can have volunteer underlings.  For example, the raid coordinator is not going to lead all the raids.  The raid coordinator is going to work with the volunteer raid leaders (probably 2-3) to make sure that every raid has a leader, that rostering is done in a timely manner, that loot lists are synched up, and that the rotation system is being recorded accurately (i.e. writing down who sat and who went) and being followed.

How are Officers selected?  A vote.  People volunteer for the spots, we all vote on it.  It’s a secret ballot sent to 2 independent guildies who are not volunteering for any officer job.  (Why 2?  To make sure the count is accurate.)

Other Officer Constraints.  We were concerned about officer slacking or officer cliquishness, so we instituted the following safeguards.

  • Terms of 4 months.  People can be reelected for as many terms as people vote for them.
  • We’re going to prevent couples from being BOTH officers.  One of them is fine.  But we’re trying to get diversity in the officer group.
  • No officer forums.  No officer chat.  Well, there is an officer chat but everyone has access to it, so every once in a while we say “HAY GUZY IM TALKING IN DARK GREEN”
  • Decisionmaking will still be made by the guild at large.  The officers are only there to handle day-to-day crap.  So the officers will not be instituting a new loot system or any other such decree.

QQ Box.  Here’s how officers differ from your average people who volunteer to do specific jobs, like volunteer to be raid leaders.  They have to deal with the QQ box.  The QQ box is an email address to which we send complaints – and it is forwarded to all the officers.  Then it’s their problem.  I’m not entirely sure how they’re going to handle the QQ, but that’s not my problem.  (This is to prevent all QQ going to Alas.)

Recruiting.  Since we’re getting a bit bigger, we should probably, uh… have a system for recruiting.  What we decided is if a recruit can get 3 guild members to vouch for him/her, that’s good enough for us.  That way, it’s not really an application or a vent interview or anything that formal.  The recruit just needs to have conversations in some manner with 3 guildies, be it in-game, over IM, in vent, or on the forums.  (Note: if one member of a couple vouches for a member, the other one cannot.  It has to be 3 semi-independent members.)

And the Winner Is…

3 of the 4 spots went to people by default because of lack of competition or the no-couples rule.  We’re voting on the 4th spot now.  How anticlimactic.

A Holy Priest Raiding as Disc

After reading about Disc being soooo awesome (compared to Holy), I decided to give it a spin.

I ran a few heroics to train my muscle memory to the disc way and avoid the aforementioned holy habits. I reforged my gear to Disc stat priorities.

Then I went to a raid.

In the end, there was no noticeable advantage over Holy.  My numbers were basically the same as last week.  My mana STILL ran out, maybe I had a little more, but it wasn’t dramatic.

Now, you say, maybe I just fail at disc and the only reason that the healing was about the same was because I’m more practiced in Holy.  Looking at the logs, however, I didn’t see any execution or spell choice errors that, if fixed, would pump up my healing.  Grace uptime was good, cooldowns were used, spell choices were appropriate.  (Remember, toward the beginning of Cata, I did raid as disc until we got a full-time disc priest, so this is not foreign stuff to me.  Like riding a bike that has beams of holy light shooting out of it.)

So I reforged my gear back to Holy stat priorities.  However, because I know that I’m going to have to do some disc-ing, I went bare-minimum on haste and dumped the rest into mastery that works for both specs.  I’ll keep an eye out for some “sidegrades” that are better itemized for Disc among the t-11 stuff.

I’m definitely going to keep the Disc spec because, as I understand it, there are some fights that I have not seen yet where disc has an advantage.  Ok, I’ll bite.  But I’m still firmly Holy with a Disc OFF-spec.

Then I tried smiting, but that’s the subject of another post…

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