First BfA Dungeon

So this evening I plucked up the courage and queued up for a random BfA dungeon. Don’t know what got into me. I feel so nervous and anxious before dungeons and have had so many bad experiences (either doing something stupid or being yelled at for poor DPS) that I have vowed time after time not to do any more dungeons.. But curiosity got the better of me. Ended up going into Waycrest Manor and loved every minute of it.

There were a couple of reasons why this was so:-

  1. While I queued randomly I ended up going in with 2 guildmates. I say guildmates but I don’t know them. I’m trying out a new guild and silently lurking there observing what is said in chat to decide if it will stick. But it still felt strangely comforting seeing the guild name in the dungeon.
  2. I turned pet growl off instantly, neurotically, terrified of pulling threat. It’s my first hunter at this sort of level but I’ve seen in other dungeon runs what happens when hunters pull threat. It ain’t pretty.
  3. The group was really good and actually turned around to go get someone who’d got stuck with adds. I thought that was nice.
  4. I was very careful to attack only what everyone else was attacking & I calmly(ish) obeyed everything DBM told me to do – moving away from the group when I had some weird effect on me, switching targets on command etc
  5. I never used multishot for fearing of pulling something by accident. This probably was a disaster for my dps but I thought I’d best play it safe. From looking at Icy Veins I now understand this might not have been the wisest course of action.
  6. I do not currently have a dps meter installed so I do not know how poor my dps was. This was somewhat liberating but I will install one and start reading up on the best rotation as I genuinely want to do a good job when I go in.
  7. There was no greed/need angst (some long time readers may remember this blog post from a zillion years ago – still my most read post). In fact I looted no gear just gold and Azerite
  8. There were no quests at the start so I wasn’t lagging behind everyone from the off as I picked them up (I always seem to be the slowest person in the group doing this).
  9. The place is a maze but someone in the group knew where we were going so yay for them
  10. Everyone said a nice hello and goodbye.

In short a very pleasant dungeon run – although I did forget how to exit a dungeon so hung around for ages after everyone left wondering how to get out (short of using my hearthstone). Husband then reminded me about right clicking my picture & finding the Leave Instance Group command. That worked and I escaped! But other than that it was event free. Now that’s a nice thing to type.


No one Died

After yesterday’s post I plucked up the courage to go into a 5 man as a healer. Went for Hellfire Ramparts – a straightforward dungeon with less risk of me getting lost. Completed it twice and both times no one died. Yay. Main challenge was keeping up with the group. My Chi Torpedo is on the left hand side of my 2nd bottom action bar. You would think it was lost at sea the way my mouse hand struggles to find it. I also had no time to loot – a problem I remember from earlier days trying to heal. Luckily everyone left the dungeon at the end so I could run around in peace, loot most of what I needed and actually complete some quests. But one of the mobs with a severed hand I needed (nice) must have despawned. So I went in and did it all again. If someone wants me to get them a severed hand I get them a severed hand. Both times the groups were fine – quiet, business like, just the way I like it. Both times I pulled a group of mobs right at the start by running too enthusiastically towards the quest giver. So I probably didn’t make the best of first impressions. But I kept them alive. Overhealed like crazy of course. Panic does that to me. But it all made a nice change from invasions which I am heartily sick of (even though I love the experience and so can’t stop doing them, or at least flying to the invasion spot and tabbing out to write this blog post).

But going back to the dungeon – one thing I noticed is that the default UI and what I’ve done with my raid frames is a mess. I need to sort things out. Every time a loot roll came up it blocked my raid frame which I had placed too close to my action bar. What is the best add on to sort out your UI and make it exactly as you want including moving action bars around? And can you sort out raid frames when you’re not actually in a raid? I find I only see what it all looks like when I’m actually in there and already feeling the pressure. Finding out that this or that doesn’t work does not help with the situation. I really want to be able to customise my UI when not in battle & get it all laid out exactly as I want it. What does everyone else use?

Slow, confused and fumbly

Yesterday my husband had to report three players for their behaviour in a timewalking dungeon. It’s the usual story. It was our 4th of the 5 timewalking dungeons we needed to do for the quest. The other three had been fine & we’d enjoyed seeing the older dungeons. In this one (Shattered Halls) the third Dps started by saying,”Let’s do a speed run yes?” Two trash mobs into the run and the same Dps was demanding “More Dps please”. I’ve never understood this. My husband & I were doing everything we could –  full rotations. It’s not like we were only using say half our spells and abilities for the fun of it. Anyway we carried on & the first two bosses were fine. The tank and dps talked non stop to each other during the run – about gear tiers and the hey day of vanilla etc. Husband & I kept silent – we were trying to focus on what we doing & in all honesty I probably didn’t want to draw any attention to ourselves. We are not high ilevel – I am 640, husband is 635. I know it’s scaled for Timewalking dungeons but possibly the rogue was wearing older sets from BC time & had set bonuses? I didn’t inspect him but he & tank were talking a lot about gear sets. Certainly he was doing a lot more damage than us. Maybe he was just better (perish the thought!)

Anyway during the third boss fight about three quarters through I pulled aggro & the boss started attacking me. The dps & tank started saying how useless I was. By this time my husband was typing a response to defend me. I begged him not to. I hate conflict. I just wanted us to get through the run. I somehow survived the boss’s onslaught (healing myself ) but by then they were calling out to me,  “Are you there, are you there?” I wouldn’t respond – I did not want to get drawn into a slanging match (plus I would be no good at it – I cannot fight & type). They then moved onto husband & accused him of being a bot. Again I wouldn’t let him respond (though now I wish I had). They kept on goading him & then booted him. At this point I did speak up – I said he was my husband (ie a real person) & I was going to report them. They laughed & called it a bot marriage & then said we should have spoken up. I said why should we when you have insulted us, we can’t all be as uber as you, we are just trying to gear up. At this point they booted me.

Husband immediately took down their names & submitted a ticket to Blizzard. I first tried to talk him out of it but he was insistent, saying this sort of behaviour is unacceptable. Blizzard have responded to the ticket to say they agree (that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable, not that I’m useless and husband’s a bot) & they are looking into it further. I assume from that they will check the logs? I don’t know what will happen next & suppose I never will.

I get that our Dps wasn’t good enough for this group but we were doing our best. We just wanted to run five dungeons, possibly get some gear and complete the quest. We did not speak because they were insulting us and we did not want to make it worse. I’ve seen these things degenerate into slanging matches in the past & it’s not nice. I know some people will say only do dungeons with friends/guildmates. But that’s not always an option & why should this be the case anyway? There should be a bare minimum of civility in all dungeons regardless of people’s skill and ability. Some runs will have people of different ability. Some runs will be slow. Some will have wipes. It happens. Why can’t we all just be patient with each other? Why has everything got to be a race? And in any case all this unnecessary drama usually slows the run down (the tank died shortly after booting husband and just before booting me). Surely it’s much quicker if we all just get on with it. And if someone really can’t tolerate the varying ability in LFG then perhaps they should group up with their friends/guildmates and do the run their way. Take their uberness out of the LFG gene pool for which they are clearly too good.

Or maybe there’s another way … Blizzard please please can there be an LFG box for poor dpsers like me & husband who just want some fun. This box would say “Tick here if you are slow/confused/low geared and and a tad fumbly but want to do a dungeon.” I would tick this box. There would be another box for other people to tick (kindly souls) that would say, “I am happy to be grouped up with someone slow, confused, low geared and fumbly.”  Then all us “fumbly box” tickers could play together in a slow, confused & fumbly way. Everyone in the group would know exactly what they had signed up for so there would be no judgement or rebuke, just patience, tolerance & fun. Please Blizzard – we need this box. I suspect there are many people in Azeroth who do not have a friend/guild network to draw on & end up missing out on the dungeon side of WoW because of experiences like the one I had yesterday. But if we could easily find each in the world by ticking a box then we might never feel harassed or bullied again (and added bonus for all the super duper awesome dpsers out there – they would never have to see us again).

I’m still shook up by what happened. What little confidence I was slowly rebuilding is gone again. I went to bed upset last night & that’s not what I want from this game. Just when I thought things were different I realise that nothing is different. Plus ca change and all that. I’m sad today.



The Golden Age of Dungeoning

I’ve been doing some more levelling via dungeons (still in my 20s so it’s Shadowfang Keep, Stockades, Gnomeregan etc). So far I have been amazed by the groups I’ve run with. They have all been pretty much great groups. Amazing right?

Indeed this is so noteworthy (to me) that in the interests of blog balance I had to write about it. You see when I first started this blog back in 2011 I wrote a lot about my bad dungeon experiences (look at the archives – dungeon angst galore (the ones where when I was a tank & husband a healer were the worst – these days I wouldn’t trust him to put a plaster on my finger)). But this time round I have nothing but good things to day about the groups I’ve run with (so far anyway).

One in particular really stands out. It was Shadowfang Keep and there happened to be a hunter in the group with her pet on growl. The rogue politely asked if the pet was growling (I thought the frothing mouth was giving it away but I kept quiet). The hunter checked then confessed yes it was growling and then said it was her first time as a hunter. The rogue said no problem, it just needs to be off, then advised that other less serene & zen like groups might rage at her. The hunter duly noted this & turned growl off. Then the tank spoke up and confessed (yes it was feeling a bit like a support group by now) that it was his first time tanking. He asked us if he was doing ok. I immediately wanted to give him a cwtch. We all told him he was doing great, wonderful, fab etc – it was quite the love in.

We continued fighting our way through the keep. Halfway through the tank lost his head and took a flying leap off one of the rooftops  (usually something I’d do – I’m amazed how much I’ve grown). I waited for the raging but none followed. Instead everyone lolled and said they had almost done it themselves and oh what a silly billy place it was to even put a rooftop. The tank apologised & suggested the hunter let her pet tank and growl for awhile and all was fine in the world. Once the tank had caught us up and done a bit more tanking (& a little less falling) he again asked for feedback. We all told him he was the very personification of super duper awesomeness. He then praised the healer and the healer then praised the dps and we all stood around clapping each other on the back & making ourselves feel great. I then said how lovely this group was (I was clearly a little overwhelmed by this point – my dps is rarely praised) & we all agreed that this was indeed the most splendid of groups. One of them then said with a sigh, “I miss Vanilla” and implied that it was always like this in Vanilla. This is is something I can neither confirm or deny (so point that bright light away from my face Sergeant). I joined in BC times & it took me until Wrath to pluck up the nerve to even venture into a dungeon – so maybe I missed this golden age of dungeoning? By the time I was in dungeons (& attempting to tank myself) it was all Gogogo and More Tanking Dungeon angst Anyway back in Shadowfang Keep one of the group replied, “Yes back in Vanilla you actually had to make friends and get to know people, you needed them to progress & everyone was super lovely and 40 man raids were the absolute dogs nethers”  (or words to that effect). Then we stopped all the chit chat to kill Lord Godfrey. Then it was time to go. We stifled our tears, said our farewells, promised to write and sadly signed off.

Oh my dream dream group. I miss you guys (although I already barely remember you – was the healer a priest or shaman, who knows). Part of me wonders if it was real (I am a little over tired these days).  So much kindness, support, praise. The stuff of dreams. The other groups I’ve been in since my return to WoW have not quite reached these heady heights but all have been good (maybe a tad business like – I note tanks do still like to round up 20 mobs while I’m still collecting my quests but hey ho). All have been non ragey. So who are all these lovely people doing level 15-30 dungeons?  Why did I not meet these guys first time round? Are we re-entering a new WoW Golden age or am I just having a lucky run of it? I guess I should go in as my level 100 and check out LFR to see what’s really going on but I don’t think I’m quite ready for that. I’ll just enjoy myself at these lower levels and hope and pray that this golden age is here to stay. (Fade out blog to tune of Abba’s “I Have a Dream”).

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.



The Rumpelstiltskin Approach

My guild is running a few old raids at the moment.  Last Friday we started BWD.I was quite surprised at how complex some of the fights were. I don’t know why I was surprised though. I don’t do ordinary Cata heroic dungeons because I find them harder than HoT dungeons, so why I thought BWD would be a straight forward tank & spank with no need for strategy, positional awareness or any sort of thought on my part  just because it’s not the most current raid I don’t know. Chalk it up to my naivety and/or stupidity – as with most things.

We had to call it quits last Friday, however, before we could get to Nefarian & this has thankfully given me chance to do some research on the guy in preparation for when we finally meet. As  Sun Tzu said-

“… if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles”

In other words if you know your rotation and faithfully read Icy Veins or some other strategy  guide then you may not find yourself visiting the spirit healer that often – unless like me you know these things but still do something stupid like blinking off the edge of Skyfire mid fight  (yes that was me in DS last Saturday ….sigh)

Sun Tzu also said

“…if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one”

Hmm I think he was being a tad generous there. In my experience  knowing  my class & rotation but not knowing the boss strategy never ends well. But there is always Deadly Boss Mods which can make up  a bit of the shortfall  (it’s my desert island add on – although since I wouldn’t have a computer on said island not really sure  what I’d do with it – but that’s how much I love it).

Finally he said,

“… if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”

Yes – if you think you are playing your mage when you’re actually on your warrior and think you’re fighting Ultraxion when actually it’s Yorsahj chances are it will not go well …and if the boss doesn’t kill you your guildees will.

So taking Sun Tzu’s advice (who am I to ignore it) I’ve been doing some research. I think if I keep the following in mind I will be showing Nefarian who’s boss when we finally do meet the next time the guild runs BWD (it won’t be me – I’ll just point at my raid leader and then hide behind a rock).

1. His sister is Onyxia & she will be in the fight too. Ooh goody. Two dragons for the price of one. I really wish Deathwing would come along too so we could take a photo and judge who takes after who (“they all look a bit..well…dragony really”).  And wouldn’t you just love to have been the babysitter responsible for putting them to bed when they were children…I mean whelps. Nefarian resurrects Onyxia at the start of the fight. Taking advantage of any old historical brother sister rivalry or animosity won’t work on this occasion (although apparently when they were younger he once set fire to her birthday cake – he claims he was trying to light the candles – and she’s never truly forgiven him for that). But in this fight they have decided blood is thicker than water. The strategy guides advises to tank them on opposite sides of the room – otherwise you’ll  be finding out if your own blood is thicker than water when you’re lying  in a pool of it.

2.Like some mad Mickey Mouse in Phantasia he will also summon some dancing bone warriors – ok they don’t dance but they are animated so it’s kind of the same. These can be CCd or kited but not feared – I  mean what would scare a skeleton bone warrior – xrays of broken bones set wrong perhaps?

3. Once Onyxia is gone (I’m hazy on how we actually do that – get Nefarian down as low as possible & then finish her off I think….?) the raid is filled with molten lava (is there any other kind?) and the chromatic prototypes. Now they’re the sort of thing that appear in WoW and – because I rarely read quest text – I have to nod & pretend to know what they are when really I don’t. But the shame of confessing this here has sent my scurrying over to WoW Wiki to find out – so now I know. They are prototypes of the chromatic kind. Obvious when you think about it. And there are three of them. Not having done this fight I’m struggling to visualise all this but it seems each of them is on a platform casting Blast Nova which has to be interrupted & the raid must jump onto the platform- to escape the lava presumably. I can say right now that this pretty spells the end of me in this encounter. I can never jump where I’m meant to jump – I lose all sense of direction. So I will be the one dying in the lava with my GTFO add on becoming  increasingly hysterical at my stupidity.

4.After the prototypes are gone you jump back down (or in my case maybe get a battle ress). We can then expect more dancing bone warriors – this time getting recharged with Nefarian’s shadowblaze spark. The bone warriors need to be kited while the rest of us burn Nefarian down I think.

And that seems to be it. Sounds horrendous to be frank – but I guess I’ve just got to experience it. And oh one other important thing – Nefarian is NEFARIAN (with an A) not NEFARION (with an O). This  is vitally important since Nefarian seems to have made a conscious choice to spell his name in this way – apparently proper black dragon flight naming convention means his name should end with an ION. I’m sure this fact is really a secret weapon – knowing something’s real name gives you power over them – as Rumpelstiltskin taught us all. So I strongly suspect that all that strategy stuff above is a red herring & if – instead of actually fighting him I stand completely still and repeatedly type Nefarion Nefarion Nefarion in raid chat we will much easily defeat him & my guild will love me forever. That’s the plan anyway. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Dr Tank or: How I learnt to stop worrying and kill my Healer

It’s too boring all this sensible dungeon running- you know where the Tank keeps aggro, the Dps understand their role and don’t pull and the Tank looks out for the Healer (even permitting mana breaks and checking that the Healer is remotely in the same vicinity before pulling). Yes that’s so booorring. Where’s the excitement? Where’s the risk? And more to the point playing this way keeps the Healer sane & alive. Who wants a sane and alive healer?  No one these days it seems. So here’s my top 8 tips to running Setthek Halls (just one dungeon chosen at random …not …I repeat not…because my Discipline Priest just emerged from there all dazed and confused) in such a way as to cause maximum mental and physical damage to your Healer (and come on admit it – you  know that’s what you really want to do. There’s no other explanation for the way this dungeon is run).

1. In general there are a number of enemies in Sethekk Halls that can fear party members including the Healer. Tank – if this happens and you end up dying please please quickly type  “FFS healer” into party chat – they deserve nothing less even though it was you who pulled several groups at once and even though every single party member was therefore taking an inordinate amount of damage. No – ensure the Healer knows that they should have been able to heal the group- indeed what sort of Healer can’t heal when feared?

2. The Time Lost Controller casts Charm Totems that can mind control members of the group. So definitely definitely don’t kill the totems & definitely definitely don’t kill the Controller before he can cast more totems – you want as many totems around  you as you can. Remember your goal is to turn the Healer into a gibbering wreck – preferably a DEAD gibbering wreck.

3. Don’t CC the Avian Darkhawks and Avian Rippers  no matter how many of them there are (in fact general dungeon tip: don’t CC anything – the developers put CC abilities in the game as an in-joke – only noobs use them). Gather up as many birds as you can (channel the Birdman of Alcatraz or something) and let them have at you.

4.  Some mobs cast  chain lightening – to get maximum effect from this ensure the Dps stands as tightly grouped together as possible and of course do not even think of turning the mob  around to avoid the Dps. Where’s the bloody fun in that? And if the healer tries to stand well back to avoid the chain lightening then teach him/her a lesson by running off as fast as you can in the opposite direction so that you go out of the reach of his/her heals. Do this well & anyone in the same house as the Healer will find themselves staring aghast at this monster at the computer who is using language so vulgar that even the fish look shocked (and fish can swear I tell you).

5. Time Lost Shadow Mage – seek them out, seek them out – they can destroy your health in seconds. If – happily – this happens just as the Healer is charmed or feared  then pat yourself on the back. All you need is a wipe & a “FFS healer” and it’s job well done.

6. Setthek Initiate – their magic reflection ability enables them to  reflect spells. This is a great chance to get the Dps in on the fun too. As a general rule Tank & Dps should try to coordinate all damage taken so that the health of the entire group drops as quickly and dramatically as possible (preferably when the Healer is taking a well signalled  mana break).

7. 1st boss – Darkweaver Syth. He summons elemental minions who can deal a great deal of damage but are easy to kill. So logically you must ignore them & focus only on Syth no matter how many of them appear. Indeed you want as many of them around as possible because the Healer will then have their work cut out keeping everyone up. This is great. Exactly what you want. As an added perk if you’re a Warlock repeatedly cast Hellfire to drive your health down. Then get your mana back by life tapping like there’s no tomorrow. Excellent work.

8. 2nd boss – Talon Ikiss. His arcane explosion does around 4000 damage. If he blinks to you you must stand right where you are to take as much damage as possible. Rebuke anyone trying to break line of sight by hiding behind a pillar – they are clearly  not on message (and remember the message is “We hate all Healers”).

And that’s it – 8 quick tips to destroy your Healer in one dungeon run. And you never know – seeing as I’m starting to think all Healers (myself included) are complete masochists – they’ll probably even agree to do another run with you when Sethekk Halls is finished. Then you can start all over again. Enjoy.

You want me to heal AND run

God –  and I thought tanking was scary. It’s a walk in the park compared to  healing. I’ve been healing Cata dungeons  quite a bit recently  – including one Cata heroic. What a nightmare. I really didn’t know my heart could remain in my mouth that long.

I started out with a few ordinary Cata dungeons using Luxmi my resto shaman. Just dipped my toe in the water as it were – didn’t realise it was water infested with poorly equipped tanks and dps with no situational awareness at all & a universal “what the hell is a cool down”  approach – but there you go.

I found it so  depressing  at the outset  when I realised at 85 you don’t see the health bars leap up in the same way you do when healing  the lower levels. Or am I just doing it wrong? Everyone says a good riptide and two healing waves is a great opener as a shaman- my tanks yesterday were on their knees at half health with that after just one blow from a trash mob. So I continually had to throw out much bigger heals (my original typo there said “I had to throw out much bigger head” which is an entirely different way of bringing tanks to their knees but frowned upon in game)  and then ran out of mana.

With my holy pally it was no better. By the time I remembered to also judge & use crusader strike to get mana back everyone was  dead. That might have been my fault. The mage in the group  also seemed to struggle unnecessarily. When I’m playing a mage I very rarely need healing.  Why then do other mages fight toe to toe with mobs and take lots of damage. Yes I know – they are idiots who think they rolled a Paladin. Simple really.

Is it me? I don’t know-  I follow Icy Vein tips regarding rotations & I think I’m doing the right thing with my gear & stats- I listen to Mr Robot’s advice more than I listen to my mother (not hard admittedly), although not when it comes to enchants – the day I have that sort of money is the day it turns out I’ve won Blizzard in a raffle.

It’s not all bad of course. In one Lost City run the group said “well done healer” and I blushed for four hours solid.

But I don’t help myself. I totally humiliated myself in Grim Batol –  not on the healing front as it happens. I was with a great group so the healing part was fine.  But  the bit at the beginning when you run to the dragons to go and bomb the crap out of everything – well I lost my sense of direction, ran in the opposite way  (yes I know…) and fell of the edge and died. We’d only been in the dungeon about five seconds. I confessed in party chat  – had no choice really since someone had an addon that had already flashed up “Luxmi dead-  cause unknown”  and the group  all lolled at me. I was totally humiliated.

It’s really not easy this healing lark – even when you’re not falling off edges. I did heroic Shadowfang Keep  the other day. The first boss – the one that asphyxiates everyone in sight and makes you cry if you’re the healer – was nervewracking enough but we survived it. The tank continually running out of line of sight to pull three rooms worth of mobs was hard too it has to be said. But that bloody boss that does that green poison thing that means you have to run around and heal at the same time!!!! How? When I’m running I have to concentrate on running or I fall over & die (as Grim Batol above showed). I can’t heal as well- even if I just cast instants – it’s just not happening. I am not in this game to multitask. I just want to stand there and cast pretty heals and see green bars fill up quickly and easily.

You know saying all that makes me realise what I should be playing – and I have got a real hankering at the moment to return to it. It’s The Sims. I should just start a new character- loosely based on me of course. Set  her up in a nice little house and just enjoy keeping all her green bars nice & full. No stress. No fuss. An ordinary life in an ordinary house. Maybe I’m just a bit burned out but more and more that appeals to me – in gaming and in life. With plenty of whoohoo too of course 🙂

Me and Warlock Down by the School Yard

Just had an interesting dungeon experience (and by interesting I don’t mean so annoying and frustrating it has turned me into a psychotic lunatic – that was yesterday). I am levelling a Discipline Priest –  Styleesh. She is currently 49 (but in the interests of an accurate record she was 48 when we entered the dungeon). The dungeon was Zul’Farrak. I used to be scared of this place when I was first levelling a healer (Androse my Pally Healer who is in her 50s on some godforsaken server somewhere  – she is unashamedly Horde which causes a problem given my current all Alliance girl group). But I felt ok at the thought of doing it as Disc. I really do love this Shield business. Allows me plenty of time to look around & appreciate the scenery. I’m not even doing that whole Disc Priests/DPS spec. I’ve gone for the purist (aka laziest) spec  – I just heal. But if a doctor said that you’d say that was more than enough- so I reckon the same should apply to me.

So anyway it was me, a cuddly Druid tank who coyly said it was his first time, a warlock, a rogue & A.N.Other DPS (left half way so can’t remember, but was then replaced by a mage). Off we trotted. The happy five. And we really were happy. The tank was excellent,  nice pull sizes – perfect for me to get by just bubbling him & casting the odd renew (occasionally I’d do a penance if I was feeling flush with the old mana). It was all good. But he went round the wrong way. Actually I didn’t think there was a wrong way in Zul Farrak as it’s  just a circle really – but there’s definitely a more efficient way which he didn’t pick.  The warlock kept saying it was the wrong way but not very assertively (sort of “Excuse me Sir but would you mind awfully if we, perhaps, just maybe, turned around and tried traversing these plains in the other direction?”). But the tank didn’t change direction. And I’m a tank lapdog when I heal so I didn’t leave his side (yes I would go with the tank over the edge of a cliff if he asked me – but I would sneakily cast levitate on myself first). So we went the wrong way- which meant Gahzrilla was the first  boss. All was fine there  though. In fact the boss was down before I realised it. Either the tank was excellent or I’m such a superb healer I’m actually doing it without even realising. I’m probably healing right now as I type this now I come to think of it.

Anyway the Pyramid  bit was fine too (that’s the bit I used to be scared of). The only sticky bit was when the tank ran round the corner after a mob & went out of my line of sight. This meant I actually had to go  after him (can you believe it- I had my lounger set out on the stairs and everything – Zul Farrak is a good naturist zone did you know -going by last week’s Bugle).

We then did  Chief Sandscalp & Ruuzlu. Again fine. The fight passed in a blink of an eye. This left us with  Theka, Zumrah & Antusul  because we’d gone the funny way round. But before we could go and finish it all off the bloody tank- old Cuddles himself- left without even saying goodbye …or thanks. I was  heartbroken but got myself a low carb treat & cheered right up (don’t get me started on low carb stuff- I won’t stop – it’s my new passion now that Glee has finished. No one can do more with a bit of protein powder and an egg than me – cooked a three course meal the other day.)

The mage left too (but I expected no more of the mage – they are fickle) so it was me, rogue & Warlock. Zumra was first. I really didn’t hold out much hope but I have to say we were awesome. I healed the pet, bubbled the warlock & rogue and screamed for my life when I was attacked. Classic noble fighting stuff. The spirit of the seven samurai is far from gone. We killed him dead (not like the other type of killing when they walk around and moan about their back hurting). We won the day.

We then hunted down Theka. Not so great. Every scarab on planet Azeroth was aggrod (I think I might have been  a bit too liberal with my heals) & we went down in a blaze of  ignominy. But plucky souls that we are we re-entered the dungeon, turned in the quests completed so far & rode on back to him, shaking in our saddles but determined nonetheless.

Once we got there we made mincemeat of him – literally (I turned my nose up as I’m a vegetarian) but then Roguey Boy (not his name but they’re all called something like that) said he had to leave. Warlock & I tried to persuade him to stay with promises of glory etc. Then when that failed we simply cried & begged him shamelessly (we were both females so some might say that came easy to us – but they’d only say it once). Nothing worked. His heart was stone and he too left us. We were both now chalking up enough abandonment issues to keep our therapists in work for years.

Anyway off we continued with an unspoken determination  not to let this beat us. I bubbled the minion as a sign of true commitment to the cause (wouldn’t normally dream of wasting my precious mana on a pet – I’ll barely use it on the dps- hehe). We were left with Antusul. The fight started but we were stood in the wrong place & he summoned a ton of basilisks. So for once I really had to earn my money as healer. I was healing the pet, the warlock, reducing my threat, healing them all again, healing myself (to hell with the threat) etc. Pretty sure the minion died at one point (or curled up in a foetal position for a joke) but in seconds he was back. The cycle continued until finally- finally – we did it. Me and the Warlock – truly awesome.

We rode back to the quest giver triumphant (ok teleported in & out) and then thanked each other for sticking with it to the end. Then we left. Probably never to see each other again. But it doesn’t matter – we’ll always have ZulFarrak. Our moment of glory.

It’s Getting Worse: A Tale of Two Dungeons Part 2

I wanted so much to be coming on here today to write about how things had improved for me in heroics (or HCs as I now professionally  call them). And I have had some small successes, i.e. did 6/7 of my VP runs this week, avoided pistol barrage by hiding at the top of the stairs, finally sussed out the ropes at the end of Deadmines etc. But all that is pretty irrelevant because I have a more fundamental problem – I still cannot  find my way back into dungeons after I’ve died. What was previously a slightly funny and occasional mishap is fast becoming a recurring nightmare. I get lost so easily.

It’s always been a bit of a joke between me and my husband about how bad my geography and spatial awareness is. I’ve asked him some odd geography questions in the past – a classic which he will never let me forget is, “How far away from Holland are the Netherlands?” And he loves to play the “If you were driving to town from here which way would you go?” game with me because he knows I would go via some ridiculous convoluted route (Scotland or Iceland or something).

And my  spatial awareness …well … it leaves a lot to be desired. In my head for e.g.  north is whichever direction I’m facing. This made for fun times when husband & I were  out geocaching (on a positive note it allowed us to discover some lovely rural communities of the sort made famous in Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Hollywood on our doorstep). I was lying in bed the other night half asleep when I realised I was visualising our bathroom  in the wrong place (why I was visualising any bathroom is a question for another day). I  think in my head I forgot which house I lived in and started thinking about the layout of my old house. It all could have had most unfortunate consequences had I needed to get  out of bed and  go to the toilet.

What’s the reason for all this? Well my theory is that it’s because I’m a “head” person (my husband suggests I substitute mental case here for head person).  Outside of work I am always thinking of the past or future, but never really the present. And I’m always somewhere  else – never really “in” my practical physical surroundings. My mind is always off on some tangent –   is the universe just a projection of my mind & in which case why have I projected George Osborne,  what did happen to my dog Blackie & why won’t my parents tell me, did I really once ride a camel or was that a dream (still no idea on that –  I remember a hump but that might have been the old lady with the poor posture who lived up the road- in which case it was mean of me to climb on her back), what are the chances of an “immortality and constant youthfulness pill” by the time I’m 60,  will the “future me” do wonderful world-changing things or will I be old, childless and regretful. It’s a constant swirl of stuff. It goes on in my dreams – every night I enter a rather skewed version of this current world with characters, narrative and even plot twists. And all this makes me less connected to  stuff around me than I should be. And because I’m not as mindful as I should be I think I’m a bit of a floater in dungeons too. If everyone is around me I just go in their direction, trusting they are right. But once I’ve lost everyone it’s game over- I’m left alone somewhere wondering how I got there and not sure what to do next.

I get help in game with my  situation awareness with the GTFO add on – I hear noise and I move. It’s Pavlovian training at its best. But as you know from some of the Bravetank posts finding my way as a tank around dungeons was a constant source of stress to me. That’s why I was so over the moon when I discovered Maps for Tanks. But I now know we  need another type of Maps website – a Maps for Returning to Instances when you are Dead – subtitled  Keep Calm and Look for a Swirly Thing.

It’s awful. I am constantly lost trying to find my way back in. Today I had to leave a HC  because of trying four times to find the entrance to End Time in Caverns of Time. It was totally mortifying.  I found several other entrances to other instances (wonderful), but not the one I was dead in. The game bluntly told me “Your corpse is not in that instance” but did not offer me so much as a hint as to where it was. The map was no use. It made me run into a tree. And all the while the group was waiting for me. Tick tock. They were lovely but I was so embarrassed I had to leave.

Afterwards I went out into the garden to find husband and tell him. I was really upset. My husband thought something had happened to a member of the family. “No,” I told him, “I couldn’t find my way back into the dungeon.” He laughed and said “It’s only a game.”

Well yes it is and it isn’t. I hate sticking out so much as the incompetent one. I like to think I’m competent in my job. I try hard to be good at what I do. But I’m not good in these dungeons – in fact I’m nowhere in the vicinity of good – I can’t even find my way into these dungeons. I’m like the charity case brought along for the ride. And each time it happens my self esteem plummets just that bit more.

I read all your comments of course and they’re all so reassuring  but when I’m in the dungeon it only ever seems to be me that’s lost, me that they’re all waiting for, me that doesn’t know the tactics. And it’s not fun then. I love the game but sometimes I suspect it is a masochistic type of love – because actually playing it is so stressful.

So what should I do? Everytime I log on I think I will just get on with things like my dailies, farming rep, doing all the Cooking Achievements etc. (but aaargh chocolate cake recipe- still not dropped), or just quietly making embersilk bags to sell on the AH. But once I’m on I find myself hitting that bloody dungeon button after about 5 secs  – always hoping it will be ok. And sometimes it is. But not when I die and there’s no res incoming – that’s when it all turns bleak. Again a bit like life I guess 🙂