Narratives.

September 2, 2010 at 5:01 am (stories) (, , , )

Both of these stories are true. Even if they are not literally true accounts of events that transpired, they both express truth.
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Story one.

There once was a man, and in his house he threw a party. His friends came over, and times were good. Some of the neighbors nearby had become friends, and came to the party. Others came, and went, and the party rocked on and good times were had. There was the occasional awkward situation, vomiting in the planter or stumbling home drunk, but the music was kicking, the beer was cold, and good times were had.

And then a whole group of new people came by, because they saw the party from the street.

“Hey, can we join?” they asked. “It looks like fun.”

And the host replied, “Sure! More people’s more party!”

And so they came, and joined the party. Some of the older guests were making out in back rooms, or passed out under the couch, and in the front room, at the party proper, the new guests came to outnumber the old, and then they came with questions.

“We see you like beer! Cool. Hey, can we drink your beer? We’ve got a box of wine coolers, you can have it to replace the beer.”
“And hey, we don’t like techno. Can we play our jazz cds, instead? And, we’d like to turn it down so we can have a proper conversation.”
“It’s kind of chilly in here, we’re all cold. Can we turn up the thermostat?”

And the host, and those who had been at this party since it started, began to grow bitter. Who were these people who had come to this party? And why, when they wanted to change so much of it, did they stay in the house they had been invited to, that they chose to come, instead of finding their own?
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Story two.

Once there was a mural on the wall. This was the ongoing work of many artists, and it reflected them all. The mural was a living thing, and it was their soul, telling a tale of the past while also being a product of the present and growing towards the future. It was created by a group – it was them, and they were it -, and over time, the group had grown. The more brightly colorful and visible parts of the mural attracted many people who marveled at it, and many who wanted to join the artists creating it.

Many artists had joined before, and have contributed to this project. Some had grown the greater image and helped to shape what it was, others took their colors and moved somewhere else in time, others sort of fit in but never really became artists.

Everyone loved the mural.

Those who were the newest, however, began to feel as if those who had been drawing since the beginning, the old guard, was harrumphing and standing with a sheet of glass. The new artists felt that what they had seen that called them over was not what had been painted. They also felt as if they had been invited to a group project, only to discover that the project was at an end. They felt the Old Guard, even if they were some good people, people they could like, were… happy with the mural. And defensive of it.

They felt that that the whole image was not shown and that the visible parts told a completely different story, one they did not like, and felt lied to when the promise and beauty that they had seen seemed to be an illusion. They felt excluded, that the Old Guard was refusing to let the mural grow anymore, to change to incorporate their voices and their paints.

Why had they been invited, had they been welcomed, to this collaboration that did not want to add their voices to the choir and their paints to the wall?
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Both of these stories are true … and both of these stories tell the true history of the same incident.

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Lok’tar ogar!

August 29, 2010 at 4:25 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Let’s get down to business
To defeat the Scourge
Did they send me Murlocs
When I asked for Horde?

You’re the saddest bunch I’ve ever met
But you can bet, before we’re through,
Mister, I’ll make a raider out of you…

What do you know, I think I found my voice. I never know how to begin a blog post, I’m no good at a preamble that leads into my topics, so let’s just jump right in. I can’t figure out how to say what I wanted to say, so I’ll just talk about what I want to say.

I believe that in raiding, I have become a better person. I don’t mean that raiding makes me a better person than you, I mean that it has made me better than I was before. It demands, at least of me, certain skills which I have had to develop and to leverage to achieve the success I have and to believe I can achieve the successes I will get later. Skills that translate absolutely outside the game. My accomplishments in WoW should be able to go onto my resume.

I play my classes well. Why? Because I put thought into them, and because I seek out education. I gather extra information, and bring it together. I use tools, be they spreadsheets, or forum discussions, or math, or guides. But I don’t just blindly consume this information: I read the discussions and watch the objective science (or, at least, math) behind a lot of it, and from there formulate my ideas of what I’m going to do. And then, with all that information, I think I execute it… fairly well.

I raid well. Why? I pay attention to my surroundings and can juggle multiple task-components while still thinking about what’s going on and keeping my mind on something like my rotation. This is a skill that has developed as I played the game – I started out oblivious, but then I learned not to stand in bad, and then to keep moving out of bad while still doing what needed to be done. Going from dps to star dps in heroics to a raider, then a raid tank, and now working on heroic healing, it has all made me more aware and able to collate, process, and act upon, more and more information. As I move into tanking and healing, I am developing a cooler head even as things go pear-shaped.

But at the same time, raiding is a group effort at-level. I cannot succeed alone, and other cannot succeed if I am slacking off or performing poorly, both from an individual-component standpoint and from a group membership standpoint. And speaking of group membership, let us not forget that WoW is a social game, one we play with other people.

In raiding, I have developed greater skills to work as a member of a unit, both in a set group set to a purpose, and also a unit that has members rotate in and out of a bigger set. A lot of people, I find in life and in raids, cannot do this. This isn’t just working together by doing it, but two things that transcend merely being in the same zone and slamming on the same boss. Functioning with team happens on two factors: in the gestalt operation of a truly well-oiled group, which has worked well together, where they come together to play at a higher level than normal, to draw out the best and truly ‘work as one raid”… but also to function, socially, with people who I don’t necessarily always like – we are still able to focus on our task and to get it done. Skills that, again, I didn’t have as much as I did before I started raiding.

And what is a raid, especially in a group? It is a commitment of time and of energy. Dedication. As an accomplished, reliable, and skill raider, I have demonstrated my ability to dedicate my resources to a group effort that is both bigger me and, sometimes, not entirely perfectly reflective of what I want – but I still do my best to help it accomplish its goals. I can even set aside time out of my life fairly regularly to make a committment and to contribute.

There are more skills or ways of thinking that I already had, and that in raiding the way I do become apparent.

I have to be adaptable. And I have been flexible, as how to play my classes has changed, as I’ve needed to adapt to new fights, or to changes in a current fight either built-in or due to something going wrong or different. If I wasn’t already, I would have had to develop it, and if I wasn’t or didn’t, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am today.

I believe that being good enough to do something is not, usually, good enough. A sloppy kill is a bad kill, and it should be tightened up and cleaned up next time. A raid plan that eventually kills the boss but does so slower or at greater risk of failure or with artificially stricter fault tolerances is not a good plan. Even if we kill the boss and get loot. Even if I stay alive as a tank and hold agro. Even if bosses die to my arrows or players live via my heals, there is probably some way I could have done it better, made the raid go smoother. I actively look for ways to improve my performance above mere necessary thresholds of “good enough.” The ongoing process of this motivation is, surely, a factor that contributes largely to my skill now.

I have failed many times. I have failed personally. I have failed on the whole as part of a unit, even when it was nothing within my control or influence. It is frustrating, yes, but my response to these failures is not to get frustrated, or find something discouraging on its own. No: what I do is I believe that it is still something I can do. We can do. And so I ask: “why did we fail?” I seek those answers, and I use them to then answer the question, “how can we not fail next time?” When I fail, I learn why, and work to make sure it doesn’t happen again. When the group fails, I don’t try to blame or give up or get discouraged (until it seems a break must be taken, but it’s just a rest period, nto a surrender) – I try to figure out what to try differently (assuming it’s not bad RNG) so that next time it goes better. And better. And better. And then we will achieve victory. And then we will do it better. And better. And then we will achieve farm status.

Within WoW, I am a finely wrought sword. I have gone from a lump of newb ore to bars through the smelting proccess, and then come from the hammers and the temper of the forge, sharp and deadly and serving my purposes well. There has been fire and there has been blows, it has been forces from outside acting upon me and forces from within. Even outside of the game, what I have done and learned, I see how to generalize.

I leave this with two final notes: I believe these are all valuable tools. I said I would make a raider out of newbs, and this is part of how. I am not giving anyone a hand out. There are no handouts that will make you less a newb, only ones that will make you a newb with a high gear score. There ‘welfare epics’ and there is all the BoEs and crafteds you can buy and you know what? None of it teaches you not to stand in Defile or hug Spores or switch targets as the kill priority changes or how to deal with the grind of Progression. But this is a hand up: nothing I have done or do is really unique to me. Put my data together and figure out how to use it. Although this, I think, is wasted on many of my readers as most people who know about and follow this blog are as good or, even, better, than me.

Ultimately: there is one final component to being a good raider, that I keep taking to heart, and that I feel is, if not essential to a successful raid, or something proven by my personal ability as a player and raider, at least is vital to all of it: remember that everyone who plays WoW is a person. From my friends in my long list of guilds I’ve been in, to even the trade-trolls. Everyone I raid with, from the awesome people I meet in the random pug to the ninja looters, ninja loggers, jackasses, elitsits, and newbs both chill and angry, everyone is a person.

When I group with people, I don’t want my time wasted and my efforts to be put to naught, and as such, I also don’t want to waste their time and effort. When I raid, it’s anywhere from seven to twenty-four other people, and we’re all here to have fun. And to accomplish a shared goal. Part of dedicating myself to it is being mindful and dedicated to not fucking it up by being inconsiderate or stupid or wasting their time. When I show up, I bring it to win it, yes: but I also view the whole thing as a group of effort by people who depend, in part, on me, and do not want to let them down, or to make it an awful firestorm of anti-humanistic badness.

This game has made me a better person, and I rock at it because I am a good person.
This game has made me good friends outside of it, and beyond the context of playing a game.

Isn’t that cool?

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There Will Be Drama.

July 22, 2010 at 10:04 am (stories) (, , , , , , )

That was what I was going to call my blog when I had the first idea of blogging about WoW. Almost a year ago, now, when one guild was slowly falling apart as it was due to a lot of the core being somehow disillusioned with all the Cataclysm news, and leaning towards Aion.

“Hey, speaking of WoW-killers, what’s a one-word joke?” “Aion.”

I had no intention of going, especially because the beta left me thoroughly unimpressed and there was no endgame that I would appreciate. And so, knowing he and the other officers would leave the guild when we downed Arthas (at the very latest, when Cata came out), he said he would leave me to run the guild. Around the same time, the guild was splitting into two faction camps – ‘his people’, and ‘my people’, because our visions that we both founded the guild on, and the people they and we had attracted, weren’t working out together. And when eight of our members started spending no time in WoW except to raid and spent the rest playing the Aion beta or early release, those who remained began to feel disillusioned, that most of leadership was out of touch and just using those who remained to aggrandize their own raiding, it was suggested – and I began to consider – that really, he should step down now.

And when he did, there would have been changes. But that time never came, we just argued to the point that I couldn’t take what our guild had become, and then on the heels of a ridiculous argument, I finally gquit. I lurked for a bit getting my affairs in order, and then took Mathorvos to Alliance side and Azgalor.

I knew, though, that to run the show is to deal with drama. The blog was originally not going to be yet another Hunter blog, but rather a blog about picking up the gm hat to go with my officer’s stars and what that journey was like, and the drama that followed.

Why do I mention this, now?

Because I have left Brotherhood of Oblivion. The story is too much to tell here, because the story isn’t what happened in terms of who said or did what. The truth of the story is in how those involved perceived events that happened, and how those perceptions and mis/understandings colored their future perceptions and influenced those actions. And right now, there are two major stories who only agree on the most basic of facts and actors, mutually incompatible narratives about why it happened.

Ultimately, I left some friends behind. I left behind some people who’s company I enjoy. But I knew I did the right thing when, being sad that no one replied in farewell to my parting forum post, I was invited to Stands in Bad – and almost everyone whose reply would have meant a damn said in /g that it was nice to see me there.

I have been digging into the story and seen a relatively catastrophic clash of miscommunication and misunderstanding. I have learned a lot, both in the positive “this seems to have worked, albeit to little because it is far too late” and in the negative “this does not work.” My attitudes have grown and I have learned from these events.

I thought to use them, as I told the then-GM of BoO, and now-GM of Stands in Bad, to start my own guild. And that was when I learned that so much of what I wanted to do with a new guild was a part of Amber’s plan. Believing myself more to be an (excellent) officer than a commander, and not wanting to butt guilds on two very similar visions, I resigned my commission in BoO for a number of reasons I don’t desire to get into in public, and accepted a commission in Stands in Bad.

It is still Lieutenant Huntard. Just in a new guild. I am Mathorvos, and I Stand in Bad.

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Hey, Math, what do you want for Cataclysm?

February 9, 2010 at 8:17 pm (Hunter) (, , )

Well, Papa Winter Veil, since you asked …

0) Non-consumable Ammo: WE ACTUALLY GET THIS ONE. I am please.

1) The abilities we were almost given @80 in Wrath!Beta to come back @85: Camoflage and the awesome Trap Thrower. Maybe also Explosive Shot resetting the duration of Immolation Trap; though I’m not sure from the theorycrafting angle if that would ever eclipse Black Arrow’s functionality, epecially when well-timed / transitory buffs are intersecting.

2) Beast Mastery: The ability to dual-wield pets. “Because fuck yeah” is all the argument this needs at all.

3) A Hunter-specific quest chain. Class-specific quests and rewards in general, sure. I’d like to see Warlocks get a flying mount, and Hunters get at least a ground mount. Specifically, a quest where you go forge the saddle and the barding and then out into the wilds (of Un-Goro) and tame your personal mount of sheer win: an armored devilsaur. Pallies have their chargers, Warlocks have their felsteeds, but seriously, if any class in the history of ever had the most fitting flavor for a class-specific mount, it’s Hunters. Tame Beast, anyone? And if you could Tame a beast and ride it around, and you tell me you’d pick anything other than a devilsaur, you’re a dirty stinking liar. :P

4) Or how about an ability that you can ride an enlarged version of your pet (which granted might cause a lot more graphical work for just one class) which then shrinks when you ‘dismount’ by leaping off it to go on the offensive. Just because it’d be lulsome.

5) Gun models that are two pistols in terms of looks and models but mechanically are still a single item. An alternative is a talent to carry a second ranged weapon of our same ammo type in our normally-melee slot, but I’m not sure that the overall loss of stats on our stat-stick would be made up by a sort of Titan-Grip talent, unless it maybe doubled up on any shot we use instead of just auto-shot.

6) Some sort of functionality to hunter’s mark beyond a class-specific RAP-buff. Mark it on party/raid minimap, increase range / no deadzone (but see below) against the marked target, maybe – I don’t know what. Just that right now there’s no reason not to put it up but it’s not really anything beyond +lots of RAP.

7) Pet’s Wrath! – sort of like Raise Ally for Death Knights meets Eyes of the Beast. If a hunter dies, with his pet active, rather than the pet vanishing, the hunter can take control of his pet which gets some buffs and/or new abilities (making it in this form equal to a raised pc!ghoul in utility and damage regards) to keep fighting until the pet dies or a certain duration passes. REVENGE OF THE SPIFFYKITTY. Plus, I want to hear Amber go “Omnomnom! AVENGE ME!”, because it’d be awesomely hilarious.

8) Play Dead – srsly. When the Hunter FDs, the pet should, too! Also, being greedy, purely greedy, a 90% damage reduction of AoE damage like our pets’ ‘avoidance’ – ’cause I’m sick of FDing and not surviving because someone pulls over a cleave or whirlwind or nova or something. ^^;

9) Rapid Fire makes haste speed up our GCD while active. Yeah, it’d throw rotations a bit out of whack and, under focus, might make us a bit more focused-starved (unless it also slowed down focus consumption), but haste is fairly useless to hunters (less in Cata, but still!) – this would give us, a fairly purely sustained class, a 3m CD for burst (sorta) and make it a more useful talent for more than eking out a bit of White DPS.

10 and Finally: an end to this asinine new!deadzone. Some might argue it makes no flavor sense – which I don’t usually truck much with this argument as normally presented, fuck that! I want to redneck motherfuckers in my flying magic space goat game! Some might argue it’s for balance purposes, but I don’t really think it’s that bad. Might it make hunter pve too easy? I dunno, we still go squish. But I don’t really think of Arena as the best of balance points. Maybe I’m just a casual pvper who needs to LEARN TO KITE PLAYERS NEWB, but honestly I’d rather not have the be the ONLY class who has to worry about shooting range – and if it costs us Raptor Strike, Mongoose Bite, and Wing Clip to get it well then BOO HOO melee hunters are a myth and it’s a steal at twice the price. We’re not a melee class, and we’re the only ranged class who can’t pointblank. Either make us able to shoot at melee range OR cause a lot of QQ by forcing other ranged classes to need to dps at range.

Just some scattered hunter thoughts and a bit of content. Although we’d always all like New And Shiny things, the class is fairly fun and a bit diverse- but yeah. Gimmie shinneh.

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This is threatening to turn into a Newbie Tank Blog.

February 4, 2010 at 9:55 pm (althattery) (, , , , , )

Adventures In Babysitting Tanking! I guess I’ll have to write a bit on Being A Hunter … and I think I even found a niche. I’ve discovered that recently a lot of people talk about a lot of things on my mind and what I want to say, has been said (contra-DPS bias, people calling BS on people saying WoW Is Easy**) – the idea of “what to write” (other than just expressing myself on the subject for my own fun writing about it) is best answered by “what do I want to read, but am not finding elsewhere” (and unless I’m missing a blog or two, there’s some excellent theorycrafting FAQs on Huntering but not much in the way of middle ground. “This is what we found”, newbie help (which is immensely helpful – I’m half the hunter I am today because of the bestest hunter blogger evar, BRK. <3) – but when I was just digging into Huntering some moar explanation would have been nice. Maybe I can help someone else. Wow, digression.

What I'd really wanted to do, though, today, now, was a bit of an open letter to people in random dungeons:
*Dear Death Knights: Please, don't drop Death and Decay in front of mobs before I pull; please wait for me to at least hit them with my shield, taunt, or judgment, and especially please let them get into my Consecration. I'd like a leadup on threat, please. On the up side, I figured out what to do with you – you're gonna waste your runes because I'm going to just move to the side and pull them so they don't run through it.

*Dear Death Knights again: please, use Death Grip tactically, rather than "I want to dps you, you're not here, I'm not going to walk to where you are WHEN I HAVE DEATH GRIP WHY WOULD I DO THAT"? Death Gripping a stray mob, a runner, or especially a caster my shield missed into melee range (especially into my consecration) is a good use of Death Grip. When I'm running to the mob and you're behind me and you pull them past me and to you, that is a poor use. When you are standing three feet behind me and pull it into the space between us, this just makes me go WHAT THE FUCK. Also, I'm trying to tank them, which means I need to move so everyone is more or less in front of me again. So I can, and so they don't hit my weak point for massive damage.

*Dear Warriors: Kind of like with DKs and death grip… If I'm moving to attack, and haven't thrown my shield, please don't charge. If you go zooming past me before I stop and tank you have probably opened up too early. I know that charge gives you rage, and that's fine, but hold off on a second, okay? Which reminds me – popping Bloodrage before I even start MOVING? That's not time efficient. That's not going to poke me to go – I'm going to go when the healer is ready and some of the DPS is. Jumping the gun is just annoying. If I were a bitch I'd let it wait out THEN pull. But i'm not there, I'm not like that – yet. And like Healers have healing instinct, I have tanky instinct. Maybe I want to let you die, but while petty – and kinda fun! – it's not practical. We might need your dps. I want to have you live, stop making it so hard, and stop trying to tank by charging early and opening up with sunders or even a devestate. PLEASE.

*Dear AoE: At heart, I am Hunter. I love you. But please for the love of god wait to show up until I have agro! We don't get along like this. I know you love me, and I love you, but when I'm not Huntering we're a bad mix unless there's a bit of an aggro buffer! Let me get my dance in with every tank's girlfriend, and then I'll dance with my bestest friend, mmkay? I mean, yeah, there's a reason I'm a Paladin tank, lolaoethreat, but we can't just hop to the first dance of the night right away together.

*Dear everyone: let me share with you a good rule of thumb. Does it have a cast bar? Does this cast bar go down because it casts heals? Or does it make big glowy zones of hurtypain that call to you like sirens to stand in theMNOBESTRONGMOVE … ahem … yes? Chances are these people, even if they don't have the big glowy skull that is WoW's bash-them-with-a bat signal, they die first. Please kill the casters. Plus, sometimes they have AoE! They're threatening our precious AoE DPS monopoly! ATTTAAAAACK!

*Dear mage: YOU DROPPED A TABLE I LOVE YOU HAVE MY BLESSING BABIES. Oh? You didn't? BAH HERE HAVE KINGS ANYWAY but I will be glaring at you while I nom my Crusty Flatbread instead of Delicious Mana Manna. (do dooo doo do, mana manna…).

*Dear other paladins in the group besides me and probably Temnyi who's healing me: we like to hash out who's covering what. Usually, Tem has Imp. Wis, and I don't have Imp Might yet, so I kings, and he does Blessing of Wis/Might/Otters. If you've got Improved Might or something, let us know. Or you can do kings and I'll do him a favor and put Sanc on everyone. Don't just start dropping blessings! I mean, most of the time, buffing everyone is appreciated, but just because we're not running / configuring PallyPower for lol5mans doesn't mean we don't coordinate. Buffs are srsbzns! Well, they're at least practice.

Dear everyone: Nexus isn't Karazhan, UK isn't Icecrown, but five mans is where good group behavior is practiced and becomes habits! It's not srsbzns, but it's at least nice to have a veneer of professionalism and proper group etiquette!

Dear Tank: Is Righteous Defense up? Is Blessing of Sanctuary up? Is Seal of Shiny Holy Acid up if it’s a boss? Yes, yes, yes? THEN Pull! No, but you pulled? AGH CAST QUICKLY THEN RESUME TANKING. There’s an addon to help you, self, and it’s called brain. Stop being Paladumb! … Dear self: what? You’re the tank, self. ACK.

Dear Tanking: When do you ever stop being an adventure? When do you stop being fun? With Divine Bwee on the horizon I don’t see this being anytime soon. Heck, even all these people and all their frustrations are just dust in the wind.

**One thing I want to talk about, later, is that, talking to some people (former guildies) I realized that a lot of it isn’t that WoW Is Too Easy (how’s that ToGC 25 coming? Herald of the Titans? Mmm?) isn’t that there’s no challenge, but rather it’s ‘Too Accessable’ – what I, unkindly, refer to as “elitist prickery”. It’s not “too easy” in that there’s no challenge, it’s too easy in that it’s not “all challenge” and that, god forbid, Blizzard put in an optional “easy mode” and/or that the rewards for harder modes aren’t more distinct. Yeah, (WARNING: PSYCHOLOGY) a lot of the bitching is either a) people who’re tired of WoW and thus taking an indistinct phenomenon that might not even be wholly articulate to them, and/or just generalizing that into “WoW Is Too Easy” because encounter nerfs and ‘accessibility’ make it an easy target, or b) people who can’t stand the thought of their being similar but easier content because it somehow (yes, my sarcasm means I understand but have no sympathy for this viewpoint) diminishes their own accomplishments. Grevlon (I gather) and a few of my former guildmates, I’m looking at you. Wow, digression again!

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Pragmatism

February 1, 2010 at 7:40 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I am sure there’s a much longer and more interesting post here, but it escapes me. I’m sure I can edit, or just write a new one. ^^

disclaimer! my memory is like a goldfish made of swiss cheese and any info regarding officer stuff is secondhand and inference, so Amber/Mach/Atropus/Evisc (cognrats) / etc?, if I get something wroooong, just smack me.

So, first up, BoO needs peoples! I’m sure that most people right now reading this are either a) guildies, b) former guildies, or c) other friends, so not exactly a diverse and virile pool of recruitables, but if you want to join us for funs and lulz, come stop by the forum… just, please, don’t be a DK or a Hunter because we have so many. Besides then if you’re a hunter you need to compete with me for loot, and that makes Spiffykitty the Ghostsaber and Agincourt the Frostwolf sad. Please, think of the pets!

Anyway – I was talking to Atropus (who happens to be an officer, god help us all), about how the guild is trying to recruit, and what we need, and thinking of optimality, he lists what we could best use for tanks, healers, and even dps (yes, folks, we need dps – unthinkable!). My first question is how much recruitment is ironclad on only recruiting certain classes and specs for diversity, and how much it’s trying to recruit to fill one of the four/five/six main roles in a raid (tank – the MT/OT distinction seems a bit to have evaporated in Wrath, tank heals, raid heals, melee dps, ranged dps, magical dps – the distinctions being important in Wrath, though while it seems it’s either melee vs. ranged or physical vs. magical*, but I’m not sure if that’s really two distinctions or three – lol, Hunters).

(*which puts some classes, such as Survival Hunters in a bind, because *Cam Clarke voice* half of my dps is magical *beat* … and the other half is fabulous. */Cam Clarke voice*. :( Fuck you, dolphiiiiin Lady Deathwhispeeeeeer!)

… Holy crap, I digress. Anyway, it was about this time when I realized, when it comes to getting a lot done in life / WoW / what do you mean they’re not the same?, my guiding principle is Pragmatism. I’ve seen guilds choke on putting principle above pragmatism and getting nothing done to my mounting frustration, and I’ve seen guilds that claim pragmatism as a shroud bloat and topple because they’ve got no principles to hold it up.

I’ve been in, hrm – Green Mountain Militia, Omen of Faith, Hotuken Knights, Magnate, Infinium, Curse of Eminence, Pride of Victory, Brotherhood of Oblivion – holy crap, eight guilds over ~three or four years. And of the many things I’ve learned (besides, holy crap, I could write a book of studies on the psychology of Warcraft) is that, ultimately, for things to get done, things need to get done. Which is kind of a loltautology, but I don’t think a lot of people frame it like that (which I mean in general, BoO’s recruitment is a leaping point for this, not the point/target of this). And how do you get things done? Practicality!

You really need a tank to do something. You have two options in front of you – a Death Knight, and no tank. Now, if you go with the no tank, then nothing happens. Now, maybe you have an irrational mistrust of Death Knight tanks, or think “they can’t MT” despite all the contradictory evidence in front of you and your own misconceptions about the class, like “they don’t have a taunt except Death Grip” – so you might not want to go with the Death Knight. But he has a frost spec, and when asked what presence he tanks in, he says “Frost, duh” (seriously, ask – you’ll save a lot of time if you’re pugging a DK tank by asking that one question), so if you at least give him a try, then there’s a chance that, wham, you have made progress!

Similarly, going back to the example provided by BoO and then fictionalizing, if you have raid slots, going with your optimal choices for buff / ability / gear diversity is, well, optimal. However, ultimately, if you’re too specific you’re either not recruiting anyone or taking forever, and with the modern distribution of buffs the need for a specific class is pretty much largely gone (unlike the worst days of raid tuning that I know of, Ye Olde Sunwell Plateau), you can “bring the player, not the class” to fill most raid spots – be practical, and then your recruitment pool is a lot better … and then, wham, you’ve filled out the guild.

I’m sure there’s a lot more examples I’ll think of later, because sometimes, with some people, it seems like a foreign concept, and if it’s too foreign, the whole languishes in doing nothing, or just doing Ulduar 10 / undermanning 25 again.

Good luck in WoW and in life. /wave

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Well, it lasted for a month

January 29, 2010 at 10:24 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

And then today was a protracted reminder of what I loathe about PVP servers. You know, at-level World PvP I can understand. It’s not my bag – outside of the occasional Wintergrasp, I personally find no appeal in it but that’s just me, I prefer my pvp in bg form.

It’s the other shit – and yes I will call it shit – that gets my goat. Camping. Killing people worth no honor. Killing town npcs, especially ones who do jobs or are quest npcs. Oh yeah, and then there’s that special brand of special gamer who kills the lost npc mid-esocrt.

Maybe I’m just grumpy because my Paladin got camped by some teabagging twit Deathninny, and then Math did too – I chose a really bad BG, should have specced to my daily build as it’s at least BM, and forgot to put on my trinket* – though I had fun managing to rez and mount my Violet Protodrake, flying off with a few diseases to laugh and spend the next ten minutes leading him on a merry chase across HFP. /kiss /kiss, douchebag.

Er, back on topic. Maybe I’m just grumpy but I’m grumpy. It’s the pointless griefing of other people and messing with their game for no real purpose but lulz that annoys me, and the fact that people think it’s lulzworthy that kinda makes me sad. I guess I don’t have any brilliant psychology on it, or much to say – I just want to bitch that people are dicks, though also be a bit happy that it’s just been one day out of the month I’ve been on Azgalor that it’s really been a problem.

Time for some unkind and clear words, and I don’t really care if you’re some guy with a Deathninny teabagging me after scoring some uber l33t kill streak or whatever, or even anyone I like. Fuck you and bugger off. License is not the same thing as requirement. Kill me once and move on. What’s the point if I’m not fighting you? What do you get out of this? A sense of satisfaction? No. You’re a jackass. That’s it and it’s abundantly clear. Can you just fuck off now? The only thing I feel towards you is exasperation and a vague sense of sorrow.

( The one thing, I think, that bugs me more than this is the (understandable) tendency to blame the other faction. “Oh, yeah, Horde are assholes”, or “fucking Alliance.” I know a lot of people have anecdotes – but you know what? So do the people on the other side. I’ve witnessed and experienced it both as Horde and as Alliance, and neither more than the other. Until I see some serious evidence, it will continue to be almost impossible for me to accept that assholery in WoW is not normally distributed by faction. )

In tl;dr, I know this won’t move anyone, but seriously: please don’t be a dick to other players. This isn’t really “lol this is what pvp is”, it’s just using anonymity and petty power to be a jackass.

That’s it. I just wanted to bitchvent. Good night all :)

*Speaking of … The last thing I did on my hunter this afternoon was help battle back the siege in HH (which has been constant today, “Honor Hold Is Under Attack” has been spammed more than “The Icestone Has Melted!”), so he had his trinket on … and still had it on for the first two bosses of ICC 10 … though still made a good showing. Am I that good, are hunters that broken, or are trinkets overrated? You decide! :D

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Adjustment? Adjustment!

January 27, 2010 at 8:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

On the up side: I mostly no longer walk into Sunreaver’s Sanctuary, and I’ve actually avoided entirely going to Horde camps or trying to click on Horde flight points and thus getting horribly mauled by some wind riders. By the way, Paladin hit 60 last night and got her a griffin, and they’re much cooler than wind riders!

—-

On the down side: So far the hardest thing to adjust to is learning what goes where in the world. It seems to me like the world, in terms of quest hubs, cities, and city/town connections, is a lot less optimal than for the Alliance when compared to Horde, especially in eastern kingdoms. A Theramore / Auberdine boat would solve a lot of it, though.

The worst of it, though, speaking of Theramore. I was in Menethil, waiting for the boat to Theramore, when someone else on the dock whispers me that they forgot how to get into Darkshore. So I think for a moment and reply that the quickest way to get to Dustwallow is you go from Menethil to Stormwind, then down to Booty Bay and hop the boat to Ratchet, and run down The Barrens. As I finish saying it hits me – we’re WAITING for the BOAT TO THERAMORE, which, derp, is in DUSTWALLOW. I quickly fix – AS THE BOAT ARRIVES and apologize.

Of the things I miss from Winterhoof, among them is Quin’loki, my friend and the best damn priest (sorry, Amber!) I’ve ever had the bwee of running with, who also had the uncanny ability to generally find the quickest travel route between two nodes, thus earning her the nickname (from me) of Map’loki. WTB Alliance version?

On the “…” side, it’s still a trip seeing myself as a Drenny … Drenai … Drain-I. Chupathingie. Spacegoat. And a female! In fact all three toons I’m leveling right now are women; two spacegoats and a human. I’m sorry, I don’t like being INFINITE COMIC BARREL CHEST, itty bitty walking legs, or STEROID FOREARMS OF DEWM. I do roll Dwarf, Gnome, and Worgen male. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just weird to see. Farimu more than Math, actually (I miss the tusks), because once I found out the Pygmy Oil // Orb of the Sin’dorei / Orb of Deception / Savory Deviate Delight trick, I would play around with it (ah, hah @ trap!Math ).

But now that the Paladin is in Outland, we shall see, if she runs into Thrallmar. Or Falcon Watch. Or any of the other Horde-only towns. Garandar is calling to come sit at the bonfire…

On the “hey this is fun” side: I’ve now ret-tanked ST, prot-tanked Dire Maul East with a fairly good group after the Doucheknight left, and had a pretty abortive LBRS group. Seriously, WoW? LBRS? For a random group, when a bunch of us haven’t even ever been there? Well – I was there three times. When achievements first came out, so like a year and a half ago – achievement run. Then I found out about the pets. Then I found out about the UBRS key. I barely found my way through the maze then! I did alright, I think, even when someone pulled two additional groups – we killed the first boss, despite someone pressing me to “GO” if I took even ten seconds to type something in guild chat or sit to drink water – needs more Avoidance, for more Mana! Oooor, wtb Divine Plea, please? … and then the same impatient “oh I’m so leet” Paladin falls down a pit and pulls about 20 trolls. Yeah, we put up a valiant fight but even my kickass Pally healer (Temnyi of Conjured Food For Thought) can’t keep me alive through the whole thing, partially because I can’t pick them up fast enough, and we all die.

Which means we now need to find our way through Searing Gorge and back to Blackrock Spire, and then into UBRS. Someone leaves without a word. Paladin disconnects, and despite having jumped ship, I tell ya, it felt satisfying to kick him and ignore him. The last DPS leaves, and we decide – hey, I came here at 58, Tem hit 58 mid-instance, and it’d be much better to go to Outland.

A final thought: Ret Paladins are kind of like Enhancement Paladins – they’re boring as hell for ~40-50 levels, then they start getting a lot of fun. For Shamans, it’s Dual Wield and Stormstrike. For Paladins, its Crusader Strike (or Divine Storm), so you’re not spending half the time just auto-attacking. Paladin’s now become pretty fun, especially when I can pull mobs of undead or demons (VITALLY IMPORTANT: when they don’t have gobs of CC like knockdown and freeze. I’ve learned this the hard way – after a couple times x.x) – like in Plaguelands and Hellfire. :D

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Well, that was … an experience.

January 23, 2010 at 10:42 am (althattery) (, , , , , , , )

I am no longer pure DPS*. It figures, just yesterday, I was talking about talking about tanks vs. DPS, from a pure-DPS perspective, and now here I am a day later, having tanked**. Yes, if you go “wtf Math” you’re not the only one.
…It was also dealing with Looking For Dungeon people. Yes, if you go “oh, joy“, you’re not the only one.

So, it starts innocuously enough. My buddy Temnyi (no. I don’t know how to pronounce it, either) started playing WoW again; and I got him to roll on Azgalor. Wham, a two weeks later, he’s 49. Been levelling my Paladin, and she’s 53, so we decide to run the last chunk of Maraudon. Almost immediately I’m all but ripping off the bear, but he says my damage is easy to heal through. While this is going on, we’re talking in whispers, and I joke that I should ret tank the place. I ALMOST tossed on Righteous Wrath and was gonna rip everything to see how it went (Which happened anyway when we went balls out on the last boss) – but it felt like it’d’ve been rude to the bear, so I tried to watch my threat.

You know what my #1 thought on Ret Paladins in instances is? I. REALLY. Miss. Feign. Death.

Afterwards, I asked if he thought he could keep me alive ret tanking. Getting an affirmative, we queued for Sunken Temple, and I slapped on the higher-def, higher-stam helm that I got off a Mara boss. This … would be fun.

And you know? It was, and it wasn’t. I got a lot of what you’d expect from the LFD queue.

Plus, it was Sunken Temple. I’ve been here before ONCE. Eighteen months ago. Fuck, I could have sired two children and taught them to yell “ATTAAAAAACK” over vent in the time that’s past since I last set FOOT in The Temple Of Atal’Hakar. And it’s kind of a maze with some thing that needs to be done in VERY SPECIFIC ORDER.

We had one dps who knew the place, and Temnynol knew the place. They argued sometimes on which way to go like quibbling cats, but we got everything done.
That was the mage, and he was constantly riding me, the newbie tank, to go go go go go.
We had the warrior who would charge mobs, and me imagining him calling RAAAGH I ARE ARMS TANK.
We also had a dps randomly leave early on without a word, and then a replacement shaman. We spent about five, ten minutes trying to meet up because VANILLA DEVS LOEV MAZE, and then get back on the road.
Temnynol is fun, though, and a fine healer. :)

In fact, the warrior was pulling the minibosses. Or even packs of mobs. By charge. After running ahead of me (yes, I have Pursuit of Justice, but I was also being tentative). I wanted to let him die, I poked Tem that we should have let him die, but he said it would reflect badly on him and his professionalism, and y’know? I can understand and get behind that. I would have let him die, though. I’ll have to set some rules when I keep tanking.

After the lower half, Temn DCs, and we argue. Being my friend and guildie, I want to wait to see if he comes back, the rest of the group wants to gogogogo, eventually he gets kicked and we get a new healer. The three “dps” keep pushing ahead with no healer, I’m waiting on a healer. I have some cross words with the mage for rushing me, but I over-reacted – newbishness at work! – we hash it out, I apologize, we smooth things over.

We get a healer, we go through the MAZE AND DANCE of meeting up, and it turns out this healer … charges in faster than the warrior to attack mobs. Because they’re enhance. Queued as heals. Erhm. Yeah. Well, that was an experience! At least I didn’t die, and it was pretty quick – we were, after all, ALL FIVE OF US DPS SPEC.

After a lot of AoE pulls and mayhem we clear the upper level, I almost ding to 54, fun times are had, and I have tanked for the first time. It was certainly an experience. I think I need to look into some Tank UI mods, though; things like to know when someone else has agro, etc etc. Anyone who has newb tank UI and play advice, I would welcome it OH so very much. :)

Here’s to the adventure of tanking! Let’s hope I don’t get too many splats, and can even be half the tank I am a dps; I’d be happier with 95%, but even 50% would be good.

*Well … There’s Beardy. My first character ever was a warrior, in vanilla WoW. When they really were only tanks. He got to 22. I did not care for it. Though I love Beardy <3. I dunno if that counts or not, though.

**…Well, does ret tanking really count as tanking?

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Magic gremlins. The only explanation.

January 21, 2010 at 7:47 pm (althattery) (, , , , , )

Or the blogging wouldn’t continue. I guess I got kinda neglectful with my laptop dying and coming back to life. But I’m getting back into WoW, and now back over here.

So why are magic gremlins the explanation? Because after all the trouble I went with my dead computer, poking, prodding to no success, then popping out the hard drive and backing it up, I take it in to the Best Buy, the tech plugs it in, pokes the button, and it boots up.

… que.

Shuts it down, does it again. Takes it back, checks the battery, checks the RAM connections, dusts it out, and just hands it back. Apparently it’s some sort of battery problem from it dying or getting plugged in near the time it went into sleep mode, or something. Agh. But okay. Get it home, get everything restored, keep it plugged in while waiting for my replacement battery. New problems crop up, but what do you know, a bit of hassle and several reboots later, it’s working again.

… For now.

*eyes it warily* Magic curse goblins. Or witches. o.o

But WoW runs! So I’m back! My Shaman finally got his trinket, and somehow my alt has Frost gear before my Hunter, who’s -actually been inside Icecream Citadel-. This is is unacceptable, yet true. And I’ve started levelling the Paladin. 4.75 levels in two nights of a bit of levelling and reacquainting and messing with cast bars isn’t bad, just have to find a stride. And that stride is called THE PLAGUELANDS. I swear, Pallies were MEANT to level in this place. Nothing like running around in BoA gear with explosions of holy light going GWE HEE HEE and crumpling eight or ten at-level zombies and skellies all at once. Mr. Scourge, I am YOUR Scourge!

…Speaking of Paladins, a word to all my Hunta Brothas and Sistas: if you’re going to try and gank a paladin at equal level, don’t try when they’re at full hp and mana, haven’t seemed to pop any cooldowns, and know you’re there. Seriously. Or, you know, at least be good. Mr. Orc Hunter in Un’goro, I commend your balls and am sorry I had to hand them to you, but if you want to gank me with a hunter, try harder. I even gave you a chance. Next time I’ll Repentance you, kill your wolf in front of your stunned eyes, and then dismantle you at my leisure. Mmkay? You want to gank me with my class, you’re welcome to try.

Ha, this is fun. Plus, it seems next week is ICC25. This makes me and the hunter go bwee. Not sure how much the Hunter and Shaman will see play beyond the JC daily and getting them up to Crusader (AGAIN) for the Hunter and just a RED MECHANOSTRIDER (seriously, this is <4) for the Shaman right now. Too much fun in the plaguelands giggling with gleeful wrath as undead fall down go boom.

It is fun to be back and writing, and I'll get to something resembling a thoughtful and meaningful post, well … eventually. :)

But just watch. The last time or two I was in Plaguelands, it was coming in from / going out to The Undercity via the Bulwark. Bets on my Paladin getting killed at least once on autopilot? I … won't bet against you.

eta: Oh, Myssidia over at A Casual Encounter reminded me: sometimes, the most fun stuff isn’t the most challenging. Sometimes when you can’t down Marrowgar, it’s not doing Trial of the Grand Crusader, Firefighter, Sarth 28, or Yogg 0. It’s utterly owning regular ol’ Trial 10. It’s two tanks on Beasts and then one tank, two healers, and seven dps for the rest of the night (eight dps on Champs) – it’s figuring out the trick to mad un-Empowered dps on Twin Valkyrs (namely: light buff means the light one takes less damage, but she still TAKES DAMAGE, and with a shared health pool, abilities that hit both, like Multi Shot or that Rogue thing to hit both adjacent mobs or Magma Totem / Fire Nova, does significantly more damage, why did it take me so long to realize? Likely ’cause until now usually there’s two tanks and they’re not right on top of each other) and getting the speed kill with ~:45 seconds to spare. It’s one-shotting Champs 10 with, what, one death? It’s … and I still get this huge, ridiculous, almost manic grin from this – it’s burning Anub’arak so hard and so fast – with one tank, mind! – that he goes into Phase 3 before he even gets a chance to submerge once.

This, Anub’arak, is your Couch. This smoldering, ashen, kersplattered wreckage, is your Couch on BoO. Any questions?

Yeah. I thought not. Now, surrender your loot.

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