Tag: dps

Button Masher Mode

Conversation with husband yesterday:-

Husband: Just had a horrible time in a dungeon. Trying to get Nosda to 90.

(Nosda =  his 89 rogue)

Me: What happened?

Husband: One of the dps said my dps sucked. The exact terminology was “the rogue sux”.

Me: Aww, that’s not nice. What was your dps?

Husband: No idea.

Me: What did Recount say?

Husband: I don’t use it.

Me: Ok well were you doing the right rotation?

Husband (indignantly): Of course I was. I actually went to Icy Veins to check. I’m following it to the letter.

Me: Were you remembering to use all your cool downs?

Husband: What’s a cool down?

Me: … ?

Husband: What? Stop having a go!

Me: I’m not having a go! But you said you were following everything on Icy Veins and now you say you don’t know what a cool down is.

Husband: Grunt grunt grunt (or words to that effect).

Me (in very reasonable tones): If you go in a dungeon and you’re not doing the right rotation and putting out enough damage some people will have a go. They will think you’re coasting and relying on them to do all the work just so that you can level up quickly.

Husband: I’m doing my best but I don’t want use all the add ons you use. I just want to go in a dungeon and kill stuff.

And that’s pretty much where we left it. He did go off to Icy Veins later to double-check what he was doing. He admitted there were “some things he had to change”. He then went in another dungeon with a group that was much nicer and later that day he hit 90. So whoohoo. But the whole thing got me thinking. My husband objects to having to go on Wow websites to read about rotations & specs. He refuses to watch You Tube to learn tactics and will not download any add ons.  He basically wants to play WoW “out of the box”.  And while you could say “Yes but if you do that you should play solo and not go in dungeons inflicting your ineptitude on other innocent players”, shouldn’t he also be able to enjoy the social/multi player aspect of WoW?

In Hearthstone you can play Casual or Ranked. Both involve playing against real people. I play Ranked because I want to progress up the ladder. For me this also means researching decks on the internet, trying to understand card synergy & the meta etc. But for those in Casual I suspect much of that isn’t important. There is nothing at stake in Casual. You just play for the fun of it & some gold. That’s why you see the really crazy decks there – decks that make no sense, decks with no card synergy, decks where the mana curve is concave  – everything is just so wrong and just so right. They do it to have fun and to enjoy playing the game in a very different kind of way.

I’m not sure if LFR was intended to be that kind of casual mode for WoW raids but in reality its not. In my experience you get a lot of abuse in LFR if you don’t know the tactics or if your dps is poor. And for 5 mans such a mode doesn’t exist –  people expect you to know your stuff in a 5 man. And that’s not just heroics – that’s normal – from Deadmines on.

So I guess what I’m suggesting is a super super casual mode for 5 mans dungeons purely  for people who think Recount is something that only happens at election time & Icy Veins is something you get when you step out into the cold. It could be called Button Masher Mode – you go in, you hit buttons, you sometimes kill stuff and you die (I suspect this mode would have lots and lots of wipes!). Most importantly of all – you have fun playing the game the way you want to play it. And other players –  the ones who want to run dungeons efficiently with max dps and minimum time – well they would be “protected” from the Button Mashers. Never the twain shall meet. I guess this is what guild runs could be, in the right guild, but the Button Masher mode would allow people across servers to join together. It would be great. And if anyone even mentioned the word dps they’d be booted!

Thinking about this made me think about the Johari window & the four different stages you move through when learning something new.

Unconscious Incompetence – you’re crap but you don’t know it

Conscious Competence – you’re good but you have to try very very hard

Unconscious Competence- you’re awesome & you don’t even have to think about it


– and this is the one I’m interested in –  Conscious Incompetence – you’re not good but you know it.

The goal  is usually to move from Conscious Incompetence to Conscious Competence (& then later Unconscious Competence) but why should it be? Can you not have fun in the Conscious Incompetence mode (admittedly only in some activities/roles   – it would not be something you’d want your surgeon embracing) . And actually – although this would not be the primary motivation – being consciously incompetent & still doing something is often the way to move into full competency. In WoW terms eventually you’ll discover that this order of button mashing is better than that order of button mashing, and yes finally the penny will drop and you will step OUT of the fire (hallelujah). But you will have learnt this Conscious Competency purely through the act of playing and having fun, not through internet research and a bucket load of add ons.

So step forward Button Mashers. Take your rightful place in the WoW world. No not the “dead at the foot of the spirit healer” place, the other one, the … or forget it, just go mash some buttons.



It’s Magical

I did something momentous today. I paid for a realm transfer for my first ever character Terema (from Darkspear to my main server Defias Brotherhood). Terema is a Ret Paladin (although she did some levelling as Prot because she looked so cool with a shield & I liked to pretend I was tanking when I was on my own – once gave my non combat pet a stern row for pulling). She has been 4 blocks away from 85 for forever. When I  got Seashell my mage to 85 a few months ago I felt a huge stab of guilt for poor Terema over on Darkspear stuck in Uldum & wondering what on earth she had done wrong to make me leave her in that way. Then yesterday I got my elemental shaman Luxmi to 85. This was a particularly bitter blow to Terema (I think)  since Luxmi was my second ever character & had always been chasing Terema’s tail. But now she’d finally overtaken her. I could almost hear Terema railing at the heavens at the injustice of it all.  So today I took the plunge & finally paid for the transfer & within the hour there was Terema on Defias Brotherhood.

I immediately logged her in & asked for her to be invited to the guild. I feel very much alone these days if I don’t have that scrolling green text on the left hand side of my screen. Even if I’m not joining in the conversations because I’m somewhat occupied being beaten to a pulp somewhere I still like to read it (probably the reason I am being beaten to a pulp come to think of it) – it keeps me entertained.

But I also had work to do. Terema had let herself get into something of a state down in Uldum. She appeared to have spent all her money on fun camel rides since she only had about 150 gold to her name. Then I remembered one of the last things I did with her was upgrade her flying so she could get a swift gryphon (she hasn’t got any other fancy mounts – she still rides her old Pally horse – she’s a purist is Terema – plus the laziest mount farmer you’ll ever hope to meet). Profession wise she’s “capped” at  450 so needs some training. Her mining is in the 200s. Even when I was regularly playing her I got totally bored with mining and to my  husband’s horror would just run past sparkling nodes promising him I’d go back to them later. I never did. Yes she’s a lazy miner too. This is all starting to make me think she’s been perfectly happy doing nothing in Uldum. She’s probably hooked up with a Ramakhen priest or something.

I then checked out her achievements. Oh they brought a tear to my eye. The innocence of it all. The overall number is low (much lower than Seashell) but they’re in things like Exploration and Quests. Terema has explored most of the areas in Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor & Northrend. For some reason  the Outland ones are not showing as completed but most of them are. She has also done many more quests than Seashell. This is all because Terema levelled the old-fashioned way when I first started playing the game. She actually did all the quests in the area, and then diligently moved onto the next area & did all the quests there. I have not done this properly with any other character after  Luxmi – who got up to early Northrend that way, but then stopped there. The reason for the dramatic end to all questing on all my other characters (and Luxmi in Northrend) was my discovery of  dungeons – or at least discovering LFG and finding the nerve within myself  to enter dungeons. But Terema is almost a dungeon virgin (that sounds like something a masochist admits  on the phone when booking an S&M appointment doesn’t it?).

Terema’s first ever dungeon was Blackrock Caverns. Obviously I died at the chains right at the start. I had no clue what was going on. I found the whole experience mind boggling & terrifying.  It was during that dungeon  I also discovered how hard I personally find dungeon melee dps to be. All the way through I kept on losing my target & getting confused. This continued in other dungeon runs until  after one particularly bad performance in Throne of Tides (how the hell was I meant to know Ozumat was above me!!!!) I found myself on the receiving end of a ” L2P” & that was it. I decided Terema’d go back go being a quest only character (I tried to convince  myself there was nobility in that choice- not just me slinking away with my tail between my legs). I just didn’t have the confidence to do the dungeons at that level as melee.

But today I felt differently. It’s probably because I’m a bit quested out at the moment. I had to do all of Deepholm yesterday with Luxmi to get Therazane rep so I can get the shoulder enchant & I really didn’t fancy running all over the country again with Terema at everyone’s beck & call. But also I’m a lot more experienced  in level 80-85 dungeons now (not good of course – but experienced)- albeit at range. I felt like I could give it a go. I wanted to try again.

The first thing I did to prepare (see I do prepare sometimes – never works but I do try) was check out Icy Veins to remind me of the correct Ret rotation. I remember taking my first break from Terema awhile ago & when I came back discovering there was this whole new Holy Power system (I forget which patch that was). It changed the game for me dramatically & I never really got my head around it.  So today I tried again to familiarise myself with it all and of course with the stats I needed to prioritise. This in turn sent me off to the reforger to try & get my hit up to 8% – it’s still a little under  but I’m getting there. I finally looked at the AH for any gear upgrade I could afford. Shockingly there was nothing there for my remaining 10 gold so I gave up on that. And then I queued.

I was too scared to queue for a random Cata in case I got Grim Batol (pathetic I know- but that place is scary). So I decided to sacrifice the JPs and pick a dungeon. The one I picked was The Stonecore.  I have done that & Vortex so many times on both Seashell & Luxmi that I thought it would be a safe one to try

After a 20 minute queue I got in. Oh my god- the first pack was horrendous. And I hate Millhouse. Despite having tried to line my abilities up on the action bar in a way that mirrored the Icy Vein rotation I was absolutely baffled once in the heat of battle. I could not work out when to use Zealotry. Then there was Inquisition & Templar’s Verdict too. They all seemed to flash at the same time. I kept on quickly rereading the tooltips  but that meant I wasn’t fighting. It was awful. My dps was just over 3K. I used to do that with Seashell just by turning up and smiling (admittedly she has a very powerful smile – gets her teeth whitened every month). It was all so embarrassing.

As the dungeon progressed I got into it a bit more but I also kept on getting confused when I couldn’t find my totems. I had  played my  Shaman so much the previous day I was still in Shamanic mode. Indeed I lost a great deal of time trying to turn into a ghost wolf. Just didn’t happen for me. At the end I was last on the dps list –  4K ish while the next one up was 6k. But we hadn’t wiped. That was something. And they hadn’t booted me. That was even more.

I logged off when I had finished & immediately went to get a Pally add-on for rotations. I had used CLR before so I re-downloaded that. The next dungeon I tried was Vortex. This time I was being told what to do every step of the way by my CLR friend. Obviously this was easier and my dps got into the 5ks. Not great I know- but it was getting higher. Then amazingly I hit 85 (level not dps). Those 4 blocks were done! Finally finally Terema, my oldest character, was up there with Seashell & Luxmi. It was a good feeling and even though her dps was atrocious I felt proud of her.

My last dungeon today on Terema was Lost city of Tolvir. By now I had Guardian of Ancient Kings so had a little pal ready and willing to help me at all times (actually for 30 secs with a 5 min break in between – very good terms of employment there- would love to try negotiating that in work…). I put the ability with Zealotry & Avenging Wrath  & made a little vow to  myself that whenever available I’d remember to use my cool downs. I’d also finally got my head around the need to keep Inq up and to use TV on 3 holy powers etc. You know- the basics of playing a Ret Pally! It was all starting to click. I felt myself moving away from the range frame of mind to melee. I mean I was actually remembering I needed to fight alongside the tank as opposed to waving at him from the other side of the room. The dungeon went well & I started breathing again.

But I’m still finding it all very different of course. I so easily lose who I’m fighting. I’ve tried zooming out & it helps a bit but sometimes I find myself just mashing F to try to find something to hit. I also can’t quite see when Zealotry is off cooldown- sometimes it sparkles when it’s not available (great technical knowledge I’m showing here I know – I’m amazed Elitist Jerks haven’t come aknockin). So I’ve just had another add-on downloading spree – downloading ZOMGBuffs & Cooldowns to see if they can help. I’m just about to log in & try. It seems I need far more add-ons for melee than ranged. Everything seems to happen so much faster when I’m melee. When I’m ranged there’s time to observe & assess. But everything is a whirr as melee. Physically when playing melee I find I’m almost hunched over my keyboard. If I could climb in the screen and pummel the boss myself I would.

But god it’s exciting. It’s the best afternoon I’ve had on WoW in ages. I know people might disagree but it’s felt to me like there’s more to it than when I play ranged. I’ve had to think about the buttons & what to hit  (ok- I’m being told by CLR- but I am thinking about why it’s telling me that- before long we will be having healthy debates on the rotation I’m sure). I feel like I’ve had to really work at it today & every single increase in my dps has felt almost magical. And the fact this has happened with my most cherished of characters Terema, the first one to stand in Northshire Abbey & wonder what on earn this game could bring her, is the most magical thing of all.

A Tale of Two Dungeons: Part 1

As you know I’m a super cool and rock hard level 85 now and doing Heroics (struts stuff around keyboard).

Ok …that was totally for show – I might be doing them but as you’d expect I’m working myself up into a nervous frenzy before, throughout and after. I thought as range DPS I could just stand at the back and basically hit whatever the tank was hitting. It’s certainly what I’ve been doing up until now (although occasionally saving groups from wipes by some pretty dexterous blinking). However, Cataclysm heroics are a whole different ballgame.

It started with an embarrassing fail in Grim Batol heroic. I started halfway through just before the second boss which I somehow managed to survive  but then we faced Drahga and it all went wrong. I remembered from the ordinary version you had to kill the fire elemental thingies  but what I’d not realised was that there was this almighty flame breath thing from the dragon that try as I might I seemed to run into  (I was almost bathing myself in the stuff). And I have the Deadly Boss Mod so there really is no excuse. So I died.  Everyone must have (it’s a blur now)  because I had  to run back in. But I  got totally lost on my way back and nearly ran into a pack of mobs. Oh dear I thought. I need to go another way. I considered for half a second and then spied what looked like a molten lava river below the bridge. I flicked the map open and assessed the situation and then did the only sensible thing you can do in these circumstances. I hurled myself off the bridge into the  molten lava. Do not ask me why. I had a vague thought I could take a short cut through the lava….. Yes this is why husband and I no longer go on  walks together.

As you’d expect I died again. So I then did what all dignified people do at this point- I left group without saying a word. I was totally embarrassed. I sat in the corner licking my wounds for a bit until husband told me to stop as it was putting him off his tea.

“I’m going to read all the strats online & not go in again until I absolutely know what I need to do in every single Cataclysm heroic,” I announced. Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile will recognise these as classic Bravetank words – said after every failed embarrassing dungeon run. But I indeed started reading up on  Grim Batol. But all the reading did was make me more scared at how complicated it was. Groups will wipe if they don’t do blah blah. Remember to do blah blah. Ignore blah blah at your peril.  Oh my  goodness – instance strats are totally boring and complicated to read.

Ok another approach is needed I told myself. You will learn this by going in again and again, learning through your mistakes. Getting better by doing. It was a bit like Robert the Bruce and the spider – although to be honest if I had been in  Robert’s position and in a dark and dingy cave and  suddenly spotted a spider anywhere near me the English would have heard my screams from miles off and promptly come and killed me. So lucky for Scotland I wasn’t there then (thank me later Scotland – a free holiday in Edinburgh will do).

But of course in real life trying and failing and then trying again and succeeding is great.  Doing this in a dungeon is another thing. I mean you try and fail in real life and what happens … Well ok as a surgeon pretty bad stuff I expect. Ok what about a  hairdresser? Well yes that could get nasty too I bet. Ok as a teacher- well it’s only the entire next generation in your hands….

Ok I admit trying and failing in real life is pretty serious too. But in  Heroics it’s worse- I mean they call you noob and stuff.

But even as I ruminated on the issue I knew it was the only way – I had to get in there. Plus my  addiction to valor points needed feeding.  Since I’ve been able to shop at JP and VP quartermasters I have been unstoppable. Even though my JP firehawk set is annoying because I now have a renegade mirror image who appears when I don’t want her to appear and pulls stuff I’m scared of  I do love the gear. So I have to run Heroic  dungeons & I have to run randoms.

So with this in  mind I queued up again yesterday and to my “joy” (i.e. total dismay) I got Grim Batol again. But this time from the start.

I steeled myself. I could do it. The first trash mobs were easy & I found myself somewhat relaxing (by which I mean I unclenched my teeth by a millimetre and finally exhaled). We then had to jump on the dragons. First problem. It was telling me to free them from the net first. That wasn’t in the normal. Anything that takes me by surprise in an instance removes my  ability to think or move my character. This doesn’t make for great gaming skills. I sat there for a second and then attacked the net- feebly- with my staff  as a bludgeon. It didn’t work. I’ll have to use arcane barrage  I thought, but the logics of this bothered me. How could I arcane barrage the net without killing the dragon?  This would defeat the whole purpose surely. By now of course everyone else  was  flying & merrily bombing away- I was calculating the angle of my barrage. Finally  common sense took hold of me. I remembered how WoW actually worked  & shot the net. The dragon  survived (it’s a miracle!)  & I jumped on its back for the  bombing mission.

Once that was over (not sure how effective  I  was – I missed loads because I had my camera angle turned wrong) I landed back with the group. In  fairness they didn’t berate me for the length of time it had taken me to badly complete a relatively simple task and on we pressed.

The first boss as you know is General Umbriss. As we approached that area one of the group said, “Mage sheep the purple thing.'” I immediately froze. What bloody purple thing? I got ready to look up “purple thing Grim Batol” on the internet but there was no time. I searched around the dungeon panic stricken- shit I needed to sheep something. I didn’t know what, I couldn’t see it. I randomly targeted something that looked vaguely purple but luckily I hit my mouse wrong  (all fingers and thumbs by this stage). We hadn’t actually even started on the boss yet. There was no purple thing. Eventually I came to my senses and  typed  “What purple thing?” “The one that comes with the boss,” was the answer. Hmm. Ok. Still didn’t really know but I decided the only thing for it was to attack the boss with the others but keep my eyes peeled for anything purple. So we started on the boss and  I kept looking when suddenly lo and behold a purple trogg appeared. I have never been so happy to see a big purple thing in my life  (insert own lewd joke  if you like). I immediately sheeped it. I felt so proud. I had been given an instruction and had carried it out unquestioningly.  Never had I been so happy to act like a mindless drone.

The second boss was fine. I even avoided the cave ins. Amazing.

The third boss got me scared. This was the one I’d died on. But I remembered the adds. I remembered the flames. I remembered to blink into and past the flames. And amazingly I did not die. YES!! I yelled at my monitor – adrenaline now really  pumping. Was this Heroic actually doable?

We progressed onto the last boss. Slow down the add on the left I was told. Oh God it was purple thing type instruction all over again. What left? Whose left. What is this thing you call left? But eventually I saw the adds emerge and I slowed one on his way to the eggs. BUT THAT’S ALL I DID. I didn’t realise it was slow then kill. I just thought I had to cause him some inconvenient mobility difficulties. I then stood in the wrong place during shadow gale & died. The thing ended as a wipe.

To be fair though they all just patiently regrouped. I ran in and again almost got lost. It suddenly occurred to me though that they were already at the boss. How could this be? I was running past the dragons at this point. I noticed I could jump on them. I started to put 2 and 2 together (chimps would have picked this up quicker than me). Still not trusting my Columbo like deductive powers  I asked the group, “How do I get to you?” “Use the dragon and jog a bit,” they said. So I did and I got there. After that the tank gave us clear  instructions. Me & a pally DPS were to slow AND kill  leftie add and the other DPS was to do the other. Made sense to me & so we did it. I also stood in the right place during shadow gale (basically threw myself at the group figuring that wherever they were standing was ok- I was too stressed to be able to identify the safe spot myself) & we downed him!!!! Grim Batol Heroic was complete!

I was over the moon. I thanked them profusely for their patience and they were lovely in return. It was a really good experience looking back but absolutely terrifying throughout. Bit like life  🙂