Monday, March 21, 2011

New Blog Site

Well I went and did it. A new main, new expac and a now a new blog to match.

Please come join me at my new location

The plan is for a more generally raid focused blog, with guides, tips and discussion.

I hope you all enjoy the new look and content. Posts here will clearly stop, but I hope you keep reading at the new location.  The new site is still in a bit of flux, so please be patient as the final look and feel is finalized in the coming weeks.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Getting raid ready - playing catch up

Where I am currently at in the game is playing catch up. All my guildies are geared out, working on alts, bging and otherwise resting on their epiced out asses. Being late to the cata dance I don't have this luxery.

As a healer I am getting raid invites, which is really nice, but as someone who takes raiding fairly seriously I dont want to be a hinderence to my team, so I am doing my best when outside of raids to gear up as fast as possible. What this means, I am sure you all can guess, is grinding heroics. Grinding for gear first, and now grinding for rep and valor points.

Some things I have noticed in the heroic grind 8.0:

1) Going as a dps is really relaxing compared to gonig as a healer. Relaxing does not mean you can play foolishly, nor does it mean good dps aren't vital, because they are. It just means that a run where you are not soley responsible for whether your group is successfull or not is more relaxing than one where everyone is counting on you to keep their asses virticle. As such, when I have a bunch of dailys to do I will often queu up as dps, and just get carried along through the instace as shadow.

2) The better I get at healing the less I like going as shadow. Whenever I go as dps and someone dies I get mad at myself for queueing as shadow. I don't know if this is normal or not, but it's true. As a healer, even one running as dps, I feel personally responsible for the lives of my group mates. I think this is a good trait, but it can be damn annoying.

3) Healing dumb people is part of a healers job. Here is a message to all healers who are "going to let the dumb ass dps die in the fire." You arent teaching anyone anything, and are activly hurting your run. In raids we never do this, and I would argue that a raid healers job on several fights is to help out those to dumb to move the hell out of the way (thankfully I am in a guild where this is very rare). Now healing them at the expense of healing the tank, yourself, or really anyone else is dumb too, but not healing someone out of spite just makes you a jerk.

4) Good tanks are not always well geared, and well geared tanks aren't always good. It's amazing how many people assume gear equals skill in this game, especially for tanks, when it simply isn't the case. A healer in our guild just leveled a DK tank alt and we basically started heroicing the day he hit 85, with truly terrible tanking gear. You know what? The runs wen great. Why? Because he is a smart player, used cooldowns effectivly, and knew the fights. Skill > gear, even for tanks. Tanks please think about this on occasion. A good tank makes a healers life a lot easier.

5) Gearing up is a grind. Obvious? Sure. Still true though. Gearing can be fun when doing it with guildies, chatting over vent, and doing your best to mix things up a bit. That being said, it's still a chore, and getting raid ready still takes a large time commitment and focus. I am enjoying it, and seeing your character improve day by day is nice. It's still a pain in the ass though. Putting in the effort to max out your character outside of raids is what really separates successful raiders from unsuccessful ones in my opinion. This is true for anything, not just raiding of course. Put in the time when no one is looking and it will show up when people are.

More observations to follow I'm sure. Thus far I have healed 4/5 BoT, and BWD up to chimera, which we are working on heroic (an odd fight to heal, but a fun challenge). Next raid is scheduled for Sunday, going to do heroic Mag, and then finish out BoT normal I think. I will have a post Monday detailing how it went.

On a blog related note, I think my posts need more pictures in general. And the color scheme, title and header are all very warrior focused. Looking back this blog has been more WoW in general, even before the main switch, and I am thinking of a new name and color scheme which will make more sense. Look for changes upcoming, though nothing has been decided yet.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A new expac a new main

Well, after a long break from WoW due to law school and work getting crazy, i returned a couple of weeks ago to a guild in need of healers and a long haul to get raid ready.

I chose to level my priest instead of my warrior.

I am still amazed by this too. I mean, my warrior was all set up! He had all his professions ready, mounts, random gear to teleport me to odd places, flasks and food. I mean hell, he had my high capacity bags! All this set up, wasted. I suppose wasted is a little strong, but at least the benifits will be delayed in the reaping.

My priest, the final toon i got to 80 before Cata, was my leased prepared character. Only one profession over 300, the other at about 100 and I dont even like it. Epic flying and dual spec, but thats about it. Not even heroic Wrath gear, much less full raid gear like my war.

So how has it been with a barely prepared toon and playing catchup? All i can say is thank god for guildies willing to help and an easier leveling expirience. My priest has been a ball to play actually, leveling as shadow and healing as holy (the character is destined to be a healer, so healing as I leveled was helpful).

Once i hit 85 the slog really began, working on factions and grinding out heroics. From not feeling comfortable healing my first few heroics to this weekend healing 4/5 BoT, it has ben a whirllwind couple of weeks. It was an altand mains who missed the raid run, but was nice to get taken along, shown the ropes, and get my first healing raid expirience since vinilla under my belt. Our priest class lead spent an hour pre raid talking me through holy raid healing and gave me tips for each fight. Invaluable help from a guild member is worth more than all the guides you can read in my opinion, and Cynthesis, I apretiate all the help.

Do I miss the warrior? Hell yes. Will i go back? Maybe, but probably not. Healing is oddly addictive, especuially raid healing. Unlike dps where you are in a race, healing feels more like a team sport. I am enjoying that aspect of it a great deal, and seeing as my guild is hoping i replace a pretty terrible healer, I dont want to let them down.

What do you all think about rerolling for your guild? Well worth it for a group you enjoy playing with, or is your class choice more than simply another aspect of an mmo for you, a more defining aspect of your game enjoyment?

Oh and I dont know if I am going to change the blog name. Maybe.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Slowing down

The calm before the storm so to speak.

Still raiding some ICC 25, but with some of our core members on a break until Cata we are basically doing 11/12 HM and regular RS, as we have for weeks, without any real progression. We are working on our 3rd Shadowmourne, for the guild leader no less, which is why we are still raiding weekly by my estimation. I am gathering a few remaining pieces, and some tank gear which is nice, but clearly a lot of the guild's drive has been lost. While expected given our proximity to the expansion, it's still a shame. With some concerted effort we could have clearly gotten LK 25 Hard Mode, but looks like it's not to be.

New PTR is up with huge changes, and while I want to discuss them I kind of want to let it all shake out a bit more before putting in my two cents. If you get a chance though, definitely play on the PTR. The changes are drastic and will take some real getting used to. Be on the lookout for a preview post next week after some more testing.

Oh and still no luck on ZG mounts (either one). Frustrating, but what can you do.

Hopefully things pick up in the near future, or I'm gonna have to do something drastic like play Call of Duty for a while.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back to Fun

Sorry for the dearth of posts lately. Law School started up and we just had a guy quit work leaving us short handed, so I have been swamped. But now that we are in week 3 and truly underway I can relax back into the rhythm of less free time and needing to maximize gaming time.

Unlike past years where I tried to maximize my play time based on efficiency of activity, this year I have been doing something novel (at least for me), I am trying to maximizing fun. This was spawned by a blog post (I forget where, i think World of Matticus) that discussed the odd stages in a game where progression stops mattering nearly as much; right before a big patch, right as servers are coming up or down and, as we find ourselves now, right before a major expansion.

How to maximize fun became the next logical question. My choice surprised me; I started pvping. But not as arms, or my beloved fury, but rather as Prot. I know, I know, prot is a viable pvp spec and puts fear into the heart of many a caster and melee alike. Sure sure, we can say this, but until you try it these are just words on a computer screen. Actually jumping into BGs shield in hand, spell reflecting, disarming, shield slamming (in the face of course) and charging all over the battle field, it's hard to imagine the unadulterated fun that prot pvp can be.

Why did this surprise me? Honestly I'm not sure. I like prot and have a very nice tanking set at this point (our guild tanks are very well geared, leaving a lot of pieces to us off spec tanks). I tank heroics all the time for daily frosties and friends, and even do WG as prot (because getting one shot by alliance with 20 tenacity is annoying). Even with those prot loving experiences under my belt I still wasn't prepared for rolling into a BG with 40k health and 500 resil (still working on gathering my pvp gear), 2 stuns, 3 combat charges, a ranged silence and a dispel.

The other thing I adore about prot pvp is the pace. It is both fast paced and tactical due to all your possible maneuvers, while being manageable due to survivability cool downs and large health pool.

So if I can recommend something before the expansion hits, while grinding out that last bit of pre-expac gold sounds like the most worth while thing to do, try to think of what is the most fun thing to do is instead. For me, finding prot pvp has revitalized my gaming time and made me look forward to logging in as much now as at any point this expansion.

So find what you think will be fun and give it a try, it may be just the thing you need to keep you interested.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Comfort in Raiding

So last night, being the start of our raiding week, we did ICC 25 as usual. Now as a guild it wasn't an amazing night. No wipes except on lady death whisperer (dumb people getting cleaved and not nearly enough interrupts on the boss) and all bosses except her done on heroic (Morrow, Lady D, Loot Ship, Saurfang, Fester, Rot, Princes, Blood Queen, Dreamwalker if you are curious). It just wasn't as smooth as our raids typically go. Bosses that normally go down easy we had near wipes on, people were making dumb mistakes and everything took longer than normal.

That being said, I actually had a pretty damn good raid (except on Princes, I seriously hate that fight). I didn't make any dumb mistakes, was anticipating boss abilities, using CDs at just the right time and my dps showed clear improvement (using CDs effectivly is super important as a fury warrior, i will be doing a post on them in the near future).

What changed? It seems like just 2 weeks ago, with very similar gear, I was struggling to be in the top 13 in dps. Last night I was sitting comfortably in top ten, usually between 6 and 8, boss after boss.

My theory is raiding comfort. Knowing how a boss works is all well and good; understanding their abilities is key in beating them and maximizing performance. That still only gets you half way there though. Until you not only know what the boss can do but can anticipate them without looking at DBM you just can't eek out every bit of dps. This was the first week I really felt like I had these heroic modes not just understood but down pat.

The thing that surprised me about this is that, while I knew getting more comfortable with boss mechanics makes raiding easier, I didn't expect to see such a dramatic impact in my personal dps. This may seem silly, but in a game governed by the GCD it made sense to me that while easier, your reaction time just can't get a lot faster than clicking the correct button right when it becomes available (proper rotations are pretty easy to learn after all).

This would hold if boss fights were static tank and spanks. They are not, which I consider very fortunate. This variability in positioning, random casting, adds, and debuffing makes comfort with the fight matter a great deal.

This comfort factor is the reason, I believe, that most guilds think new members and pugs often suck. The long time guild members instinctively know what to do, having downed the boss many times before. The new member has hopefully done it more than once, and even then it could have been using a different strategy. So, by no fault of their own, an otherwise great player is caught a bit flat footed, a bit out of sorts, and their dps (or healing, or agro as the case may be) suffers fairly dramatically.

While perhaps unfair, I think the speed at which a raider transitions from understanding a fight cerebraly to actually being comfortable with the fight is what separates good players from bad. My earlier post has several tips about trying to get a jump on this process, but I think even with the best of intentions it takes some time and boss attempts to really develop the level of familiarity that leads to mastery of a given fight.

This is nothing revolutionary. It's actually very familiar to anyone who has been in a guild pounding away on an encounter, steadily getting the boss closer and closer to death until, all at once it seems, everything clicks. I can honestly say that I have seen more first kills where everything went right and everyone was alive at the end than where there were 3 people left standing and even the healers were spam nuking the boss (these are more dramatic though, and inspire great nerd cheers in vent).

I was just surprised how clear the sensation was for me this week. Maybe it's because I'm playing catch up in my guild (who has been doing ICC for much longer than me due to my break from the game), but this time I really felt the transition from knowing what I should be doing to just doing it. I think that it's moments like these, moments of personal growth and advancement, that keep the game fresh even after killing the same boss for the hundredth time. Sure sure, loot too, but if that was the only thing then why aren't we all playing the Sims? We play a game where clearly loot isn't everything, and I think that feeling of getting better, more comfortable, is a big part of it.


Oh and tomorrow a really warrior specific post, i promise. This was just on my mind.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hi and Welcome

Hello and welcome to all the new visitors from Pugnacious Priest (

I hope you enjoy my little corner of the WoW blogosphere. Feel free to poke around, comment, and if you enjoy what you read visit as often as you like. If not feel free to post that too, everything can be improved upon and I look forward to your feedback.

Thanks again for the amazing banner Zahraah. It looks wonderful, as those of you here can plainly see.