Monday, February 28, 2011

Kill Shot (RIP Halfus)

3/12 BABY!
It took every mana cooldown I had (shadowfiend, Hymn of Hope, Concentration potion, mana tide (twice!), a spirit trinket) and then some, but Halfus has fallen!
GuildOx rankings

Also, yes that is me healing in a raid for the first time in quite a while. Our resto druid had Oscar aggro, so I had to go heals. Oddly enough I was at an Oscar get-together while raiding, and I have no idea who won anything, but I do know that Cate Blanchett's dress looked like a very badly designed WoW guild tabard.

It was a lot of fun to heal again, and I need to go through and revise some of my ui, macro shadowfiend so I can keep the tank targeted, and remember that I have more buttons than PW:S, Penance, Greater Heal, and bouncy healy spell. Also, is Archangel for mana regen worth it at all? I need to figure that out too.  I know I love it for shadow, but dark archangel is 5% mana return, not 1%.

Fight-wise, the healing got easier as the fight went on. That was good as by the end we were all healing on fumes. I healed a bear tank and threw around bubbles and such on raid/other tank when I had the GCDs and mana, our resto shaman got to raid-heal by their lonesome, and our pally healer had the pally tank. A pretty sub-optimal healing makeup, really, but we made it work.

And no, I have no idea what Raid Achievement Rank means, but I like that ranking better than the others, cause it makes us seem more awesome.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wish List: A Training Ground for Tanks

I'm learning how to tank on my druid (one raid needs a tank or they can't raid), and I so want the following...

Basic Tank Training: this would be a series of quests you'd be required to do before you queue as tank. You'd get teleported to a series of rooms. First off you'd either be able to talk to an NPC about the basics of tanking as your class (aka, a warrior uses a sword and shield. They use the following abilities to keep the mobs on them (thundershock, whatever else they use), and are in defensive stance. They like mail/plate gear with defense and whatever else warriors like) or skip the intro and jump into the first trial. All basic trials would have a NPC healer to keep you up, and who can pull healing aggro.
First trial: hold a boss mob's attention. You don't have to move. You would have a threat meter and you'd need to get it above a certain point in a certain amount of time.
Second trial: hold a boss's attention while periodically needing to move out of bad stuff.
Third trial: get and hold a trash pack of mobs. First group is all melee, second has a ranged/caster.
Just a very quick intro to tanking. You could always go back and redo any trial, even if you passed. The idea would be that experienced tanks could breeze through these in a few minutes, but that novice tanks would learn stuff.

Intermediate Tank Training:
Similar setup, but now we include NPC DPS. You'd repeat trial 2, then do trial 3 twice, once with suggested crowd control and once where you chose the NPC DPS group and tell them what to cc. Again, all trials can be repeated, so you can really experiment with different group makeups and crowd control options.

My guess would be that Advanced Tank Training would involve trigger-happy dps, tanking cooldowns, and switching tanks. Doing all three questlines would get you something, like a shield vanity pet or the title Tank.

I would kill to have this stuff in game, especially the ability to practice! DPS get target dummies, why can't tanks have practice scenarios?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ooh, another way to gain rep!

For those of you thinking about getting the Ambassador title, working towards the Exalted, or simply wanting to ride around on another race's mounts, I have news!

We all know the factions have tabards, and you can gain rep by running dungeons with them on. But did you know that you can wear the city tabards at 85 and go run Stockades and still get rep?

Best part about this, it should work no matter what your level. It's not a ton of rep per kill at 85, but if you're in the dungeon anyway, whether to get the achievement, farm enchanting mats, or just to see if you can solo it, you might as well get rep from it.

I checked the tooltip wording of the tabards, and the city ones (SW, Ironforge, Gnomer, ect.) are the only ones I could find without a level requirement, so I believe these are the only ones that will work. That's probably a good thing, as really the only incentive I have to run heroics on Lyl is to grind rep (or to help guildies). Yeah, I still have a gear upgrade available from jp (hat) and I could use new shoes, but that's about it except for purple rep rewards.

I just figured this trick out tonight and decided to share while I was thinking about it. Now go forth and get rep!

Friday, February 11, 2011

So there was this patch thing...and I made some gold

I've waited to comment on the patch because I wanted to give it a good trial, especially the priest changes.


Yes, the shadowpriest rotation has gone back to it's old complicated self, aka....
Dot. dot, dot, mind blast when available, mind sear as filler, which is a bit of a pain. For new shadow priests (and those that tend to raid tired, like me), I would recommend an addon called Spell Flash and then Spell Flash: Priest. It's basically a prompter, flashing the spell it suggests you use next. I don't believe it's been completely updated for 4.06, but I use it to prompt dot refreshes, and weave my blast and sear by hand.

Plus, mastery no longer stinks. My dps (with no changes in gear) has gone up by 2-4k because all that mastery on my shared gear is no longer a wasted stat in shadow. This is good, as I'm likely to be raiding as shadow for a bit. Our raid team's beloved main tank is taking a sanity break (much-deserved) so our shadow priest of awesome has stepped up a bear alt and we still have 4 healers, so I go shadow or the druid goes boomkin and the default seems to be me as shadow. Works for me.

The TB changes seem to be working. I'm seeing it change hands much more frequently. As an example, tonight I went in defending just before raid start and we lost it. Then while we were in raid squashing worm dude and working on the conclave, we got it back. Of course, once people adjust to the flag changes it may not switch so easily, but we'll see.

Oh, and in other news...
Remember the saronite shuffle? I've been experimenting with the elementium/obsidium shuffle. Basically you buy the ore, prospect it, then...
Green quality gems->
save blue, green, and purple for jcing dailies. Throw 3 on the AH early in the day and they'll sell for 25-30g apiece.
Use the other colors for crafting rings, the fist weapons, and necklaces. Sell the blue quality ones on the AH (200-400g apiece) and DE the green stuff, then sell the mats or turn them into enchant scrolls. Me, I've been selling the mats.
Blue quality gems-> cut and sell on AH

I invested 1k gold (elementium was at slightly under 4g apiece), and with a few gems left to sell I've made 6k. Now, there's some big ifs in this scheme, so check the Undermine Journal for your markets and make sure you understand what ore needs to be at for you to break even. Auction House Junkies is a good podcast for this sort of idea. I've been paying more attention to elementium, because the price is the same and the gems are better. More info available here at Cold's Gold Factory and here at WarcraftEcon.

Not much else going on, really. I'm gradually grinding rep on Lyl, got the rogue to 51 (I love heirlooms), and finally pinpointed the "WTF let me interact with my spells and bags" bug that's been showing up occasionally. That one was having Adobe Reader running, go figure. Monera's sadly neglected, mostly because going through the entire gearing process, yeah. Unless a guildie needs a healer for a normal, she's not running anything. Given the time investment for a heroic and the fact that Lyl still has rep and gear upgrades available from heroics, it doesn't make sense to bring in an alt.

Raiding-wise, we've got worm dude mostly on farm, and we're making really good progress on Conclave. I'm hoping that this Sunday we squish Conclave and then hit Halfus. I may even heal on Halfus, since disc is really good for that fight. We shall see what the raid needs.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Women in game: Source of drama or easy scapegoats?

I was wandering through the new Raid and Guild Leadership forums when I came across How to Deal with a Girl in my Guild. Obviously I started reading it, and thus started pondering where this idea of women as drama-makers comes from and is it Truth?

First off, no, I don't think it's Truth. I think some women, like some men, cause drama. There is a certain subset of the human population that causes and enjoys causing drama, and both men and women are part of this subset.  Most women I know, both in and out of game, do not like drama. I personally hate any conflict in groups I am a part of, and want everyone to get along and be happy. Obviously I cannot make the assumption that the majority of women in game are like me, BUT neither can I assume that I am abnormal in my desire for no drama. My best guesstimate is that I have some level of familiarity with about 100 players in game, of which a substantial minority are female. With 11 million players, 100 is nowhere near a decent sample size. In fact, I very much doubt that any player could manage to interact with enough people in game to form a decent sample, not to mention the fact that different servers have different norms and personalities (for lack of a better word).  So, please bear in mind that there is no Truth here, only individual truths. 

Now, where does this women cause drama idea come from? I'm not sure, but here's my guess...

In the early days of the Internet, it was male-dominated, and dominated by a particular type of male. We all know the stereotype. The geek/nerd who doesn't interact much with women, and whose higher brain functions tend to shut down in their presence. From what I have seen, these men tend to think of women as a weird and strange species and treat us differently.  Some women (and some men) took and still take advantage of this tendency. If you like drama, and you can use your sex to cause drama, well then you're probably going to do that. If you don't like drama, and don't like being treated differently because of your sex, then you're likely to just keep your mouth shut so no one finds out which sex you are. Can you see where this is going? Those most likely to be open about being female are also the most likely to use that fact to cause drama, thus creating the perception that all females cause drama.

Now, there is some female drama that the woman herself has nothing to do with. If player A finds out player B is female, and treats her differently from then on, then the fault lies with player A, not with player B. Any drama caused by this different (and likely preferential) treatment is player A's fault. But sadly, many will look at a scenario like this and say "See, girls in game cause drama!" and place blame on B instead of A. This is rather like introducing a minority person into a group and having drama because a member of the group reacted in a racially-insensitive fashion. Would you really blame the minority person? I doubt so.

If you look at the original post in the thread I linked, the scenario is not so cut and dried. You have a loot council member who is spending most of his time socializing with a female guildie, and his loot council decisions show favoritism towards this guildie. We have no way of knowing if the guildie has asked him to give her preference, or if she expects him to socialize almost exclusively with her. It is a fairly well-known phenomenon that people tend to want to spend time with the people they're dating, and many do take that to an extreme. Also, people tend to favor giving loot to people they like, a known problem with loot councils in general. So, if you remove the female guildie, would there still be drama? I'd say yes, sooner or later. The loot council member has shown that he has trouble removing his personal prejudices from his decisions. A woman may have brought that tendency to the forefront, but it's probably been there all along.

In closing, I would like to point something out that most of us forget in these kinds of discussions. When you generalize about women, or men, you are generalizing about 3 BILLION people. Even if you're saying something like "women get tetchy once a month", which may or may not be true for any woman who menstruates monthly. Assuming that statement is true for all women still means you're ignoring a substantial population of women who have passed menopause, are currently pregnant, or due to medical abnormalities do not menstruate or do not do so monthly.  It's a natural tendency of humans to generalize, it makes the world easier for us to deal with if we can put people in neat little boxes, but in real life, people don't always fit into those boxes and trying to force them to fit is harmful both to them and to you. Sometimes women cause drama, just like sometimes men cause drama. If you're not comfortable making the blanket statement "men cause drama", then why are you comfortable saying that women cause drama?