Posted in World of Warcraft

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”).

Posted in World of Warcraft

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.

 

 

Posted in World of Warcraft

I can talk (sort of)

I was a guest on Sunday on the Girls gone Wow podcast. Girls Gone WoW

They were all so lovely- Sil, EJay, Raven & Rob – but I was so so nervous. My stress levels about the show had been building up for weeks & I think it’s fair to say I pretty much wrote off the weekend worrying about it – terrified that I’d forget how to speak and babble incoherently. And gratz to me – I pretty much did all of that! Who knew saying altholic could be so hard  or that I would start rambling so quickly – on question one I think. In  the end I even mispronounced Bravetank! Class act. But I got through it despite being so nervous and I’m happy about that. And thanks again to the team for having me on & making me feel so welcome – even though I did criticise Tauren females, rogues & pandas. WWF have marked my card.

Other news – did some raiding last week – the first with the guild in DS (final Deathwing fight – unfortunately we were not successful. I think my dps was half to blame – Deathwing at one point rolled on his back and begged me to tickle him some more) and the  next day in  LFR after deciding to be a conscientious guildee and  do some work on my gear. Everything is currently 397 apart from robes (384), leggings (378), one ring at 378, one trinket at 390 & a staff at 390. So I do indeed have some work to do.

LFR was as you’d expect. No scratch that. Something really weird happened. When we landed to fight the coloured blobs I landed right on top of a blob and died instantly. Everyone seemed to do the same  – apart from the tank who initially seemed to be ok, then went afk and was then slowly battered to death by one insistent blob.  Only those who waited until we’d wiped before flying down were ok. Once we were all ressed the tank came back & said “Let’s hope Seashell doesn’t pull again”. I couldn’t believe it. I had landed on a blob & died immediately. Others did the same. It couldn’t have been my fault could it? I said as much in raid chat & the tank said “ofc ;)” . I didn’t say anything after that. I was too busy  fretting that I had indeed landed wrong somehow – although I have no idea how you can. However, the tank was a nightmare so maybe he/she was just trying to stir things up & randomly selected me as the fall guy? He was criticised for not  have righteous fury on, he didn’t tank  some blobs properly etc. but he just kept lolling and criticising the healers. Great fun as you can imagine. And then he left- mid fight. So at least my critic had no real credibility- but still I worried.

And that gets on to my main point today. Why did I  care what those 24 people thought about me? I froze when he said “Let’s hope Seashell doesn’t pull again’. I felt so exposed & singled out, and the injustice of it all made it worse somehow. I just wanted everyone to know it wasn’t me (unless you think it was…in which case please let me know how so I never do it again!)

As anyone who has read this for awhile knows – I live in fear of criticism.  I had my first session with a coach yesterday to start work on some of this as I don’t like the way it makes me feel. I am scared of the opinion of 24 people I don’t know from Adam (and terrified of what Adam thinks!). I am scared of criticism in work. I read every single comment on my blog with my heart in my mouth in case it’s negative. And I won’t even listen to the interview I recorded on Sunday. Someone once told me that I have a certain vulnerability  – I think it was being said as a positive, but it’s only positive to the person saying it when they see themselves as the great protector. It then makes them feel good about themselves. For awhile. Which is nice for them but what about me- the vulnerable one – the one picked up, played with and then thrown back down. I feel like the woman in Hellraiser with all her tendons & nerves on the outside of her body –  I need to stuff them back in (they’re causing a mess on the couch for one thing). But my coach says I can’t even start doing that until I acknowledge how it makes me feel. Until I feel the feelings. He said I translate my feeling into thoughts (& here into words I guess) instead of really feeling them, acknowledging them & then perhaps letting them go. But how do you do that- how do you feel without thinking? I really don’t know if I ever have.

My coach also said I need to start exploring who I am and own my “I”. He said I have to start talking about what I feel, what I think, what I want to do and say. I found that very powerful because I know I live my life through the eyes of the Other. When I look at my face I see myself with the eyes of people I think would judge me harshly. When I hear myself speak I listen to myself with the ears of those who, I think, regard me with disdain. My mental audience is a negative one – they really don’t like how I look, what I do or what I say. Not dinner guests I’d really want, but it seems they’re already in the house & won’t leave. And they define me.

And I have no ownership of my I on WoW either. There all the power is in the groups or the raid – everyone that  knows more than me. So I think I’ll study more & learn more (about the tactics for e.g.) to become stronger. And  in work I vow to work harder than everyone else, to become more knowledgeable than everyone else, and get my power that way. And after looking in the mirror I rub on the creams and go to the gym to do the exercises in order to fend off the critical eye that’s always watching and judging my appearance. Nothing wrong with any of that if I was doing it for my I, but I’m not – I’m doing these things in the absence of an I and in the presence of an over powering critical Other.  I have given all my power to those that I think define, measure and judge me & find me wanting. I’m doing these things to please the them. That’s the story of my life.

How do you escape this? If you take on the fear and do the thing that risks the criticism and find it does indeed come (as they say just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean everyone’s not out to get me) what then? How do  own my I in my response to it? Is it by knowing that ultimately I  cannot be touched by anything anyone says or thinks? My I is  mine – maybe the only thing in this world that’s truly my own. But that’s a thought in words again, not a feeling. I need to feel it – and I don’t know how.

My coach said this journey  will be hard and challenging but I have promised him and myself that I will commit to it 100%. And I will. Because I don’t like feeling sick with fear. I don’t like my little band of  critical strangers (some wear the faces of people I once thought of as friends)  mentally following me everywhere. And I don’t like thinking so little off myself that a sarcastic word from a stranger can throw me in a tailspin. And WoW of course is full of these sarcastic words and critical strangers. For some people they see themselves as performing a public service by being this way  – shaming you into being a better tank, dps or healer, or failing that forcing you to give up the game for good. And I know some people have given up and walked away. But why should  we give them that power? What on earth have they done to earn it? Maybe I should think of WoW as my exposure therapy- I write because of it & so expose myself to feedback; I’ve now been interviewed because of it & found the courage somehow to let my voice be heard; and of course in game I often find myself playing with the mean kids. Sticks and stones and all that. Maybe this game can change me. Certainly  slowly my voice is being heard. Literally last  Sunday. Now if only I could  learn to pronounce altholic correctly!

Posted in World of Warcraft

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.

Posted in World of Warcraft

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 🙂

Posted in World of Warcraft

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.

Posted in World of Warcraft

The Tank and Healer contract

1. TANK

I [Insert NAME OF TANK – likely something like along the lines of Meatball, Toughnuts or Hardboy] hereby agree to the following:-

1.I will arrive in the dungeon with a working knowledge of my class, my abilities, my cooldowns and the way in which aggro works – a general tank shortage does not mean I am God on earth and can do whatever the hell I want.

2. I will say hello to the group including my healer since given he/she is going to be saving my ass throughout the entire run the least I can do  is acknowledge their existence (however pitiful I really find it to be).

3.I will make sure everybody (and I mean everybody) is ready before I start. However much I like to think I can do this dungeon on my own there is a reason they are called 5 mans and it is not because as a tank I have the strength and ability of 5 men (I don’t). This means being aware if the healer needs a mana break and listening if the healer requests a mana break.  I might have a name like Meatball but there must be some grey matter between my ears for even me to  understand that no mana=no healing=quick and painful death.

4.I will know what I can handle and I will check with my healer what they can handle before pulling as opposed to assuming we can both handle anything & everything & discovering pretty quickly (usually via a wry look and sarcastic comment from the spirit healer – “YOU again”) that this is not the case.

5. I will remember to buff myself and others appropriately (this means taking off Crusader Aura please pally tank). Just because I am the tank does not mean I am above all this.

6. I will drink my flask/potion, eat my buff food and make sure my healing potions and  bandages are quickly accessible if I need them.

7. I will HAVE flasks/potions, buff food, healing potions and bandages. A degree of self sufficiency is not just for New Age vegetable growers.

8. I will check the healer is nearby when I pull the next pack of trash or boss and if not I will not sarcastically type “…” – the healer is allowed to loot. Repeat after me – the healer is allowed to loot.

9.If we wipe  I will refrain from pointing the finger immediately at the healer (no cries of “HEALER!!!!” will be permitted- each exclamation point is a breach of the contract for which there will be serious penalties). I will consider my own actions first and reflect carefully where things might have gone wrong in the group &  offer constructive feedback/advice if appropriate (with proper and complete sentences and a noticeable lack of name calling & comments on the healer’s mother).

10. When the run is over I will thank my healer (& all the dps) and then say goodbye and generally act like a civilised human being. This might take practice.

If I as Tank fail to adhere to all of the above the Healer reserves the right to immediate cease and desist healing,  to write something bitter and sarcastic in party chat & then get the hell out of there.

2. HEALER

I [Insert NAME OF HEALER  – likely something like Florence, LittleMissPerfect  or simply DivineAngelofMercy] hereby agree to the following:-

1. I will arrive in the dungeon in the appropriate spec and gear that gives me a decent pool of mana to draw from. I will not expect to wear high ilevel gear without any intellect and spirit whatsoever and request mana breaks after every trash pull.

2. I will apply my buffs  and shields to the group in a timely and effective manner –  ideally before they are dead.

3.I will not go to the toilet/get a sandwich/feed the cat/visit my relatives in Australia without telling the group I will be afk. My very presence in a dungeon does not automatically heal people. I  actually have to do something.

4. I will not go all psycho if people new to the dungeon stand in the bad or do something wrong.

5. I will go all psycho if people who have been advised not to stand in the bad and how to do the fight continue to screw it up.

6. While the tank is my first priority, and then myself, I will also try to heal all dps regularly & efficiently. I will not tut/sigh/moan if a dps (innocent of serious wrongdoing) needs healing or, god forbid, actually resurrecting. As a healer I do have to heal. I might think this is unfair but it is actually the case.

7. I will ask for a mana break quickly & early and not sigh like a martyr if the entire group misses my obscure mistyped request i.e. “mwni bah”  does not suffice (and I think it means something rather offensive in Esperanto).

8. I will have mana food in my bag and will not expect every group I’m in to have a mage who can feed me. I am not a baby and mages are not my surrogate mothers. If any seem to want this role and offer to bathe and clothe me I should put them on ignore.

9.I will know what stages of the boss fight deals the most damage and plan accordingly. This means not panicking and freaking out when the boss stomps his foot down and causes immense AoE damage. I should be expecting it & know what to do. Running screaming from the dungeon is not the recommended reaction.

10.After the dungeon is over I will thank the group and say goodbye – reserving the right to vent freely in guild chat (or to my mother/husband/wife/goldfish)  when each of them disappears without a word of thanks back (the tank who does this is of course in serious breach of this contract).

If a Healer fails to carry out all of the above the Tank reserves the right to leave dungeon after a huge pull and laugh for a good hour or so afterwards at the thought of the messy wipe that then followed.

We [Insert NAMES OF TANK & HEALER] agree to adhere to these terms and conditions in every single dungeon run we take part in from here on out. Let the DPS rejoice. There is finally accord between tank & healer.

Posted in World of Warcraft

The Azeroth Rosetta Stone

The primitive language of the less evolved species you may encounter in groups and raids can be hard to understand. Inevitably this can lead to difficulties and confusion. However, fortunately for us an Azeroth academic (Professor O.P. Class) has  now unearthed an ancient stone tablet that sheds valuable light on the meaning of these archaic terms. I for one am convinced  that this will lead to far less frustration and wipes in dungeons and raids going forward as we will now finally be able to understand the grunts and basic utterances of a species that up until now has defied all understanding.

1. FFS–  Now this has long perplexed more sophisticated game players. For some time it has been taken as an expression of frustration and outrage. But oh dear. How wrong we were. It is actually a term of endearment- namely “Forever Friends Sweetheart” and if used directly at you it means you have done something for which you should be very proud indeed. You have performed well. The ideal response in this situation is to highlight the name of the person who said it & /hug them. It will go down a treat I assure you.

2. GTFO – We now know this means – “Go to fire opportunity.” It’s a shame we’re only just finding this out. It basically advises us to walk to any fire (or bubbling pool etc- the term has developed over time and now has a wider reference to any special surface area) that will be somewhere nearby and stand in it as long as possible. The Professor tells us that by doing so  you will receive a buff appropriate to your class or even – on occasion – a rare mount. Clearly this is an opportunity not to be ignored. From now on you need to start acting on this GTFO command as quickly as possible. Get in that fire and enjoy your reward.

3.Huntard – You are truly blessed if you have one of these in your group. In ancient times huntards were esteemed for their wisdom, strategic minds and military prowess. Only the truly gifted could ever hope to reach such heights. If you are called a huntard then you are playing your hunter class flawlessly. Do not be surprised if some people leave the group after calling you this –  it is simply that they do not feel deserving enough to be in your company. Forgive them.

4.l2p – This  one has puzzled many of us for some time. Its curious mixture of alpha and numeric characters has defied all explanation. But not anymore. We now know that l2p actually means “love to papa.” It is an odd colloquial term meant to compliment your family and heritage and to indicate that the speaker believes you are representing your ancestral line with skill and dignity. It is customary to bow in response to this (/bow) and then do a lap of honor around whichever room you are in – otherwise you will offend the speaker and bring bad luck onto your own descendants.

5.nOOb/nOObs/nOObz – This is a curious one. For some time we have wrongly assumed this referred to the object of the sentence  i.e. someone other than the speaker. However, we have now found out that the speaker is referring to him/herself when they use this term. Basically a player very unhappy with their own performance will exclaim “nOOB” (or some variant) in order to tell the group that they know they are playing badly, that they are deeply ashamed of themselves and they would very much like to be kicked from the group so that they can go to a remote forest and give themselves forty lashes. Oblige them please. It is cruelty to keep them in the group any longer.

So there you have it. An absolutely invaluable guide to several of the terms you will hear used in dungeons and raids. Understanding these terms and acting on the suggested responses will I assure you give you a dungeon run like never before.

Posted in World of Warcraft

Managing Expectations

As a little treat I’ve started levelling two new characters- actually one is brand new (a mere babe) & the other a respecced character.

The first is a human warlock. I already have a blood elf warlock in her 60s but I wanted one Alliance side so I could join the guild. Hence Welshshell was born. She’s only level 9 – hanging out with Guard Thomas at present (there’s definitely a vibe between those two – although he’s hiding it well by repeatedly sending her off to fight murlocs – but this is always a sign of a little crush  I find). She has all the marks of a great character- she achieved a stupendous level 8 before her first death. I judge them all by that (my stupid rogue Swedgin- name copyrighted – taken from the way Mr Wu said Swearengen’s name in Deadwood (I loved that show) – died at something stupid like level 1 – I think he was just picking up his first quest &  stabbed himself with his own dagger trying to be too clever. So he was deleted (I show no mercy when they fail me).

The second is Styleesh- she was a shadow priest but had mana problems (humiliated herself in Shadowfang Keep by needing more mana breaks than the healer). So she is now a Discipline Priest. I never knew it would be so enjoyable playing Disc. It so suits my personality- I’m all about control & forward planning. As a Disc Priest I can bubble & renew & leave the party just to get on with it, topping up when needed. I LOVE IT. There’s been the occasional frantic healer keyboard mash (when they’ve done something stupid of course….not when I got sidetracked in guild chat…oh no…never)  & I’ve once had  to advise a mage to try not to act like a tank (it simply wasn’t working) but on the whole it’s been awesome.

But alternating from Mage  to Healer is proving interesting. Not just because I’ve confused several people in Stormwind by offering portals as Styleesh. No actually it’s the whole expectations thing. I’ve discovered  that mine from the healer  when I’m dps are very different  from the dps’ from  me when I’m the healer. In a nutshell-  others expect far more than I ever would.  Now I’m not crazy here – I’m not all shocked that they expect me as healer to ACTUALLY HEAL THEM (the cheek of it!) I didn’t expect to go in and  occasionally bandage some light flesh wounds & leave the rest to the magic healing fairies. No I fully expect to heal. I want to heal and I want to heal well. But still ….the expectations of some dps (leaving the tanks out of this – so far so  good there – knock on wood) are different from my own when I’m dps.

I started thinking about this the other day in fact when  I was reading something written by a healer who was ranting (sorry writing) about how annoying all dps are – they stand in crap, expect you to heal through everything, don’t ever listen, caused every single war in the world and have destroyed the ozone layer etc. I got all affronted as someone whose main is a dps (sorry Bravetank sorry- please forgive me- now be quiet & get back in the  cupboard). As a mage I try very hard not to stand in bad (I’m like one of Pavlov’s dogs in my reactions to GTFO- I move quickly and then go to the kitchen and beg for a biscuit). I actually never ever expect healing!  As a mage I know I’m the lowest priority (although I draw the line at companions getting healing before me – that Pandaren monk can look after himself). I understand where I am in the hierarchy. So …I have my own potions, I have glyphed evocate to give me some healing when I use it, I maxxed first aid & always have bandages, I have and use (sometimes too much – I am a coward after all) Ice block & Invisibility. All the tools of the trade. While I’m showing what a model little mage I am can I also point out that I use Decursive to help the healer out whenever I can.  I see it as the added extra a mage can bring (as well as food of course & an ever ready pop band with my Mirror Images).  I know how to look after myself and so if I die I regard it as my fault (even when perhaps …dare I say it … it isn’t). And yet judging from what that healer wrote most healers would  assume I expect the world from them. I don’t.

The other day in LFR I was merrily blasting some trash away when all of a sudden I sailed into the air & found myself toe to toe with the mobs. Fearing some sort of clever mob ability that would now turn me into a bomb & then decimate everyone around me I immediately blinked back out. I thought I had done the right thing. But oh no. Of course not. After the fight it emerged (from scathing comments in raid chat) that the healer had grabbed me (which ones can do that –  hope it’s Disc?) to bring me close in (probably to a healing circle?) to minimise damage. But (a)I didn’t know that’s what he/she was doing (b)I did not see a healing circle & I do look for them (c)the assumption was the healer had to protect me not that I understand the healer’s main focus is the tank & that I know what damage I can/can’t take in an encounter without needing the healer & if I die (which I wouldn’t have  anyway – it was all under control- don’t let the empty green bar and the fact I’m crying on my knees fool you) it would have been my fault .

Again though maybe I’m wrong here (can you tell my middle names are “totally appeasing devil’s advocate fence sitter”). I do understand all deaths slow things up & cause problems & all unnecessary ones should be avoided (but I wasn’t going to die anyway so all that’s academic …grrr …I’m arguing with myself now). Anyway I apologised in raid chat & said I hadn’t realised & all was fine. We completed LFR, I got a great staff – all good.

Jump forward a week. Magic wavy hands – I am now a discipline healer. What am I finding in dungeons? Expectations galore!! Yesterday in Gnomeregan all of a sudden the tank & mage started taking lots of damage. Both standing in totally different places – all mobs on tank – I focused on the tank & then tried to save mage. But it was too late for the latter. No problem- just needed to be ressed. Not the end of the world. But within seconds the mage had typed “Heal…”. Oooh those three dots of rebuke. How they irritate the crap out of me. The thing is it was a mage – why was he taking damage when all the mobs were on the tank? It  suggests to me the mage was in the vicinity of one of those bombs they set – so whose fault is that? And yet obviously his expectation was that I would heal through that (& I nearly did- it was just the tank needed attention first). Now when I’m dps & die through standing in the bad I just apologise profusely & shamedfacedly run back in (or get lost on way back in of course- making everything feel 100 times worse) & feel (know)  I’ve let everyone down. But not this mage- no. He was entitled to be healed no matter what.

This has happened a few times (not much though – most of the runs have been straightforward -and while  I know they are at this level please let me enjoy the fact I was actually complimented  this morning by the entire group for my healing – we were a dps/healer only group (tank had left) blasting through a dungeon with no one dying- it was great!). But now I do understand why the healer in LFR did what he did to me – firstly he didn’t want to have to waste time ressing anyway (or waiting for a numbskull like me to run back in), but secondly for all he knew I’m a dps who expects it all from the healer. Why wouldn’t he think it? That’s how it seems.

I’ve also noticed (while I’m on my weekly soapbox) no awareness of healer line of sight (I know I should  stand in the right place & I do- but when someone falls somewhere random & expects me to be able to heal them…that’s just ridiculous). Also of course no awareness of healer mana (an obvious one this- won’t even dwell on it), a healer’s whereabouts & of course absolutely no attempt from other mages to use decursive (although maybe they can’t in their 30s – I should check but I’m in the flow right now). Anyway basically (just to restate my point) their expectations & behaviours as dps are different from mine.

Who is right? I know it’s not black & white but it just feels to me that everyone should first  play their class properly (all aspects of it – if you can do the occasional self heal do it, use your CDs wisely etc) and be prepared to do that little bit extra for the team and not automatically assume the world revolves around you. In real life I see the same problem all the time. We have such an entitlement culture now. People expect the world & are looking to sue or blame when things go wrong.  Fail your exams – teacher was crap. Lose your job- victimisation. Fall over – crack in the pavement. What about revising, working hard & looking where you are walking. I know I’m generalising. Sometimes people/organisations do things wrong & need to be brought to account. I understand that and I support that. But what happened to holding oneself to account? What happened to personal responsibility? Sometimes the fault lies closer to home and we should be big enough to deal with this.

God I feel old.

Posted in Uncategorized, World of Warcraft

The Kindness of Strangers

This is a  much happier post you’ll be pleased to know (unless you come here to have your nihilistic worldview reinforced…in which case I’ll caveat everything with a “But what’s it all about really …it’s all a pile of crap isn’t it?”‘ so you’ll still feel at home). But I can’t deny I actually have a positive  WoW experience to talk about!  And no I’ve not been visited by the three ghosts (although if I had they’d have been the Ghost of Vanilla WoW, Ghost of Cataclysm & Ghost of MoP). And no nothing dramatic on the road to Damascus (or the road up the Spar in my case). Rather I’ve just had a really nice couple of days in game because of the new guild I’m in

Yes – new guild!! Yes this means Seashell has defected from  her own Raggy Dolls guild …and don’t I have  sleepless nights about that  (although Bravetank is still there holding the fort with her one dungeon every two months). But I wanted to join an active guild to experience heroics and raids in. I can’t help it …I have needs. It would have been lovely if that could have been the Raggy Dolls but it would have needed more experience, knowledge and time from  me to be that type of guild. So instead I’ve joined ….duh duh duh….. Death Dealers of War!!!!!!!! (exclamation marks my own.)

The name is fearsome and scary so obviously I was concerned I wouldn’t fit in. What they asked for in the guild intro were people  prepared to talk and contribute and not just join for the perks (I read this as I was obsessively scrolling through the list looking for a level 25 guild just so I could have mass resurrection….!). But that’s a fair enough request I thought and I have been known to talk (just not while fighting – please don’t expect me to type in a dungeon – it will mean instant wipes for not just that dungeon but all others running at the same time the world over – it’s to do with something at the quantum level). I also worried  that when I did talk my contribution wouldn’t be good enough -that under pressure to say something in guild chat I’d ramble about  crazy things like cabbage patch doll funerals and road kill for vegetarians (yes honestly these topics were part of a recent conversational gambit of mine in work to impress  someone ……..!!). But I plucked up the courage anyway (mass resurrection!!), asked to join & was accepted.

And it’s the best thing ever. I am so glad I joined. Since being in the guild the following has happened:-

1. I have run a few HCs and one LFR raid with my guildees (as I  call them…in my head) – the latter after the events documented in my last post. They somehow convinced me to give it a go again (pretty purples)  and it was  100 times better.

2. They have given  me (so generously) enchants, Kavan’s Forsaken Treads (I was astounded- felt too guilty to put them on for ages …now I strut everywhere of course), various gems & helped me create a macro that has made my DPS quite simply awesome. Now please don’t think I only like people if they show me things or give me stuff – although that said  if you want to send me stuff don’t let me stop you…I like dark chocolate and Decleor and live at Bravetank Mansions, Scaredy Cat Lane 🙂 I didn’t ask for anything – I never would. They just gave it voluntarily, freely,  kindly. I felt embarrassed, overwhelmed, grateful – you name it.

3. They have also reassured me about my performance (as a woman I don’t often get to hear the, “Don’t worry it happens to everyone” line)  & advised me.

4. They have also celebrated my triumphs with me – for example, guess who made it back into End Time dungeon yesterday on her own….and without crying!!  Yes …I’m totally uber.

In short it’s all been lovely. Whereas my last post despaired about the people we meet online I really wanted to write this one to say that that is only part of the picture and maybe I was wrong to focus so much on it (although it can be therapeutic  to vent). There are some absolutely lovely people online  too who laugh when things go wrong (I was amazed in the beginning that in their HCs  nobody yells at anyone for dying, instead there is  humour …smiley faces and everything). These people  are to all intents and purposes  strangers to me yet have shown immense kindness and generosity and have conveyed in their virtual actions the real people they are behind the screens … and lovely people they are too. It’s been nice 🙂