Life in Azeroth

Archive for the tag “Wow”

Whack A Mole Healing

I decided to try doing some healing on my Druid now that I’m too scared to play Balance. Sometime ago I managed to get Proving Ground Silver in my Restoration spec & so I know I could go off & try to Florence Nightingale it up in a Heroics, but  I’m no fool – there’s no way I’m up to that. I need a safe and supportive atmosphere to practice my healing. Therefore I decided to venture into LFR….

Actually it was fine. You couldn’t say it was safe or supportive – no one actually spoke. But no speaking means no criticism or abuse,  no “Frip is the useless one” (yes last week still stings) and I didn’t feel quite as exposed as I’d feel in a 5 man (i.e. it would not be an immediate & catastrophic wipe if I fell off a cliff at the exact moment the tank pulled – this has happened to me in the past).

It did start off a bit shaky though. When I first entered I could only see a few people. There was this big Npc stood right in front of me begging me to click him of course, but I was too scared to approach him or click anything in case I did something wrong. But something didn’t seem right. The chat box said a mage had conjured refreshments but I couldn’t see anything (& I always like joining in with the refreshments). So eventually I plucked up the courage to approach the Npc & of course I was meant to do this all along because he is the guy that sends you to the arena where as it turns out everyone had already gathered to have a picnic.  Classic start!

But from then on it was fine. I was using the default UI raid frames in the middle/bottom of my screen – tanks separated out on the left, then the healer column, and then 4 dps columns. It all seemed straightforward. I life bloomed & rejuvenated like a master (or a deranged gardener – you choose). I suspect I overused Wild Growth, didn’t dispel as quickly as I should have & was overly keen on using Tranquility just to see a  sea of green numbers filling up my screen. Anyway I was so happy with the way the first wing had gone that I immediately queued for the next bit & by the end of yesterday I’d done it all. I think I must have missed the Brackenspore bit though. I didn’t see any friendly mushrooms throughout the run and the dungeon guide had said to heal them up to get some buff or another. I was a bit on edge in case I forgot to do this (my immediate reaction whe I see a mushroom is never to heal it I must say). But anyway I didn’t see any.

But actually seeing things in LFR is a bit of a problem for me. During the raid I’m so busy focusing on the all the green bars that I’m not really aware of anything else going on. When DBM tells me that some enemy spell is on such & such a person I first panic, then struggle in vain to find said person amongst all the names. I’ve now made the boxes a bit bigger & ticked the box to show dispellable buffs but not sure it will help. By the time I’ve found the person in need the crisis has passed and they’re either dead or best friends with another healer and I’m off the Christmas card list. Similarly as I’m so raid box focused I don’t actually know where anyone is standing. Therefore if I need to go  to someone I don’t know where they are. And if the tanks go out of range I end up just running crazily towards the boss in the hope that will help me get the tanks back in range. It usually works (although some LFR bosses now have a restraining order out on me) but I know this won’t always be the case. I’m sure there’s a way of configuring the default UI raid frames to give me more help here, or maybe I need to use Grid (just downloaded it from Curse as it happens) to make things clearer? I need something to help me understand better what’s going on & who needs what. Until I do that I’m basically standing where I hope it’s safe, staring unblinkingly at everyone’s green bars & banging out heals as quickly as possible. It’s like an intense whack a mole session – fun yes but very very bad for the eyes.


Rotation Madness

After the debacle of my last dungeon run I decided to revisit Icy Veins to try & get to grips with my Balance Druid. While I know the last run was particularly bad because of the individuals involved I am still uncomfortable with my reliance on Bitten’s Druid Spellflash to play my Druid. I want to better understand the rotation.

So fortified with a strong coffee & a sugary pop tart I earlier sat down to study the Icy Veins guide – specifically the rotation page that can be found here:-

It all started well enough. The intro reads:-

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Gapezilla, one of the best Balance Druids in the world, who raids in Encore, and whose stream you can watch on Twitch, and by Cyous, a high-end Balance Druid theorycrafter and retired raider, who raided in Promethean. You can follow him on Twitter.”

Well these guys must know what they’re doing. I’m clearly in safe paws here.

The guide begins:

Apply and maintain Moonfire and Sunfire on the target.

You should try to apply and refresh both DoTs when you are [at] their respective Peaks (Lunar Peak for Moonfire and Solar Peak for Sunfire), but this is not essential.

This end bit immediately troubles me. When job applications say something is desirable but not essential you know they’re using it to sort the wheat from the chaff. I don’t want to make the wrong call here. But on the whole it seems ok. I mean I know what a DoT is (and that group on Monday called me useless. Bah. Piffle.) Ok add me to the wheat pile sir.

Since Sunfire lasts considerably less than Moonfire and since it is only available when you are in a Solar Eclipse, you will have to refresh it before leaving Solar Eclipse (or right after entering it) in order to maintain full uptime on it.

Whoa there! You told me to apply & maintain both but are now telling me Sunfire isn’t available until I am in Solar Eclipse. This implies Moonfire is always available. But later on you say you can only apply each DoT when you are in its respective eclipse. So why are you singling out Sunfire here and giving me pause for thought (or is it Paws for though – heh heh)?

I digress. It goes onto say:-

Cast  Starsurge

You should cast Starsurge often enough to make sure that its charges are always rolling.

Rolling? Is this a technical term? I’m assuming it means always building up new charges rather than letting Starsurge sit back all maxed up with unspent charges? If so please say that. What’s with all this faddy “rolling” talk. I was born in the 70s. The only roll I know is Rock’n’Roll and even that was old school in my day.

Casting Starsurge in Lunar Eclipse will grant Lunar Empowerment, and casting it in Solar Eclipse will grant  Solar Empowerment (both buffs last 30 seconds).

30 seconds. Awesome. Note to self: must not waste it by dancing, however tempted.

You should always use up the charges provided by these buffs before re-casting Starsurge, so as not to waste any charges.”

Sorry I was dancing. What charges would that be then? Not Starsurge charges as you’ve said not to use Starsurge. Do you mean Lunar/Solar Peak charges? Is that even a thing? 

Later on it says:

…you will have to make sure to use up all the charges of the current buff before re-casting Starsurge in the same eclipse. For example, if you have 2 stacks of Solar Empowerment, you should not cast Starsurge again in Solar Eclipse, because the stacks will be overwritten. We cannot stress enough how vital it is never to overwrite an Empowerment buff.

Oh god I’m shaking. I never realised how dangerous this is. I might OVERWRITE AN EMPOWERMENT BUFF. Do you know what that means? No? Thank God. Not just me then. But it’s serious stuff. It’s in bold & everything.

You should cast Starsurge as you are approaching a Lunar or Solar Peak so that you can cast the buffed spells at (or close to) the Peak.

More bold. My nerves can’t take this. Even “Peak” is capitalised. Perhaps they’re over egging it though – like when they tell you not to use a mobile phone in intensive care (a bit of texting by the bedside never did anyone any harm my grandmother used to say – in fact she said it while she was in intensive care as it happens, but then her machine went all funny and they took away my phone).

IcyVeins continues:-

Thanks to Shooting Stars, you will sometimes get a free charge of Starsurge

Awww thanks Shooting Stars. You shouldn’t have. Really you shouldn’t have. Take it back. I don’t know what to do with the ones I already have.

Cast Wrath while you are in a Solar Eclipse

Cast Starfire while you are in a Lunar Eclipse.

Simple dimple. Even I can do this bit. On a good day. Perhaps I’ll just ignore the earlier stuff & spam these ones. Just kidding. I know I have to apply DoTs when available, use Starsurge to keep it rolling, don’t use Starsurge when Lunar & Solar empowerment buffs give me some other charge (I trust some icon will flash at this point), but do use it just before/after entering eclipse to get said buffs. And of course don’t stand in fire, try to be a bit social by typing in chat, grow 8 more hands and another pair of eyes. Easy peasy.

But then just as I’m getting confident Icy Veins blows it all by saying:

This is the basic rotation cycle. There are certain subtleties with regards to eclipses that you will need to understand. This is a very important aspect, which we discuss in our detailed rotation section.

Oh god. I need more cofffee. That was the simple stuff?

I look at their advice for the opening rotation:

The ideal opening rotation at the start of the fight is as follows:

Cast Incarnation: Chosen of Elune 3 seconds before the pull.

Note to self: tell PUG tank I need to be alerted 3 seconds before every boss pull. That’ll go down well.

Prepot and cast Starsurge 1.5 seconds before the pull.

Prepot? I’m assuming this is tech talk for swig a potion. I’ll stick to my coffee thanks. And 1.5 seconds – crikey that’s precise. Even heart surgeons allow for some flex in their timings (or Granny’s did – another reason for the intensive care machine mishap perhaps – so can I have my phone back now please? I have a funeral to arrange.)

Back to Ivy Veins:-

In case you are closer to the boss than maximum range when you begin the fight, use Starsurge 1 second before the pull, instead.

Whaa? Firstly comma overload. Secondly I never stand anywhere other than max range. Often in fact I’m out of range checking Recount & wondering why my DpS is so low. Thirdly – 1 second? Where did my 0.5 go? I’m just going to ignore this bit. This is balance rotation at a quantum level.

I skim further down.

Astral Communion spell … accelerates your Balance Energy cycle by 300% for 4 seconds. This ability is channeled, and it makes it easy to quickly get into a desired Eclipse, if for some reason you want to do this.

That last bit is vague isn’t it? Why would I want to pick one over the other? Until I’m advised differently my decision will be based on where I am in my monthly cycle (fits with the overall theme I think).

In order to keep up Sunfire, you need [to] refresh it shortly before leaving Solar Eclipse, or … sometimes you will need to refresh it immediately on re-entering Solar Eclipse to prevent it from dropping off. This is acceptable.

Thank god. I thought I’d made a major faux pas the last time I did that (like the time I ate my soup with a fish knife)

There no longer is any real restriction about when it is too soon to refresh a DoT.

Good stuff. Those restrictions were onerous. I’ll just spam away. I think I’m getting the hang of this balance stuff.

If you are using Euphoria as your Tier 7 talent, then there is a slight change in how your DoTs should be refreshed. Namely, Moonfire only needs to be refreshed every other  Lunar Peak, and  Sunfire only needs to be refreshed every  Solar Peak (instead of casting it twice per cycle).

What? No! Just shut up, shut up, shut up.  That’s it. It’s over. I’m out. I’ll never get the hang of this and I’m never looking at the sun or moon again. Cat form here I come. Clawing, ripping & shredding. I can do that (you should see me eat chicken). Just nobody mention combo points. I really don’t want to know.

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.



Mage Fever

I try not to regret too much in WoW – I already regret too much in real life. I try to stick to the onwards and upwards philosophy. Yes I wasted all that time trying to level a Paladin tank through PuG groups but it was character building. However, I’m increasingly struggling with my decision to turn my mage Seashell into a Horde.

Seashell was my main back in MoP and I loved playing her. I even did a couple of proper raids in Cataclysm (although by MoP time I was only comfortable – if you can call it that – doing LFR). But then news of WoS came & I decided I wanted a Horde character for the expansion. After much soul searching I decided to change factions – Seashell the Human became Seashell the Undead. I admit toon vanity meant I was a little uncomfortable with her new look (the hunch, the spine, the chain smoker voice ) but I figured I’d get used to it. I had my Horde. With the WoD level 90 boost I got my Night Elf Druid to level 90. There – two level 90s to play with.

But the problem was I never went back to Seashell the Horde. I levelled the druid to 100, did some garrison stuff, started the Khadgar ring questline and then pretty much stopped playing. I never went in with Seashell – she still hasn’t even visited Draenor.

And now I miss her. But I miss the human Seashell not the Undead stranger I currently have in my character menu. I miss how things were with us. “You’ve changed Seashell”, I say, when I look at her. “Damn right,” she croaks back, “And never forget who’s fault this is. You pushed the button.” Yes, our relationship is rather fractured to say the least. To try to appease her I logged in as Seashell during the pet battle bonus event (plus her teleport helps me lug the pets around more easily). But I spent ages studying my portals with a bemused look on my face. Where was Darnassus? Finally I remembered I was Horde (Bravetank the Clueless – new in game title). When I did remember I teleported to Orgirimmar but feared attack at every turn, Orgrimmar is not my home. Stormwind is. Seashell the Undead might as well be dead – I just can’t play her,

So I want Seashell back – the human Seashell. But £22.00 for a faction change. I changed her once, now I want to change her back. She also moved realms once (I started her on a PvP realm – not a good idea given my “bunny in the headlights” approach to PvP). I have already paid for this game and all its expansions and  of course I pay a monthly fee too. How much more am I going to throw at this game?

But hold on – just had a thought. I could realm change her (I would also like a high level character on Argent Dawn where some friends are) and faction change her at the same time. That’s £17.00 for a realm change and £22.00 for a faction change. Bargain. Not. Of course I could just level another Alliance Mage on AD but all of a sudden I really really want Seashell to be building up her Garrison NOW! Typical of today’s generation (although I’m from an older one) I want immediate gratification. I think I even want to start raiding. I don’t know where all this is coming from. I do have a virus that I can’t shake off so it could be the fever talking. But I am so tempted. First world problems I know. But they tell me I only have one life (or at least some people tell me that, others say I’m a reincarnated frog working out bad fly related karma)). Decisions, decisions. Wonder what the doctor would prescribe for mage fever? Probably a time out and some paracetemol before I press the button.

I have the flag – now what?

It’s been ages since I’ve done anything in PvP (and I’ve never done a lot – although my claim to fame is the fact  I do have the Matron title & not just because I’m old), so yesterday I decided to venture into Warsong Gulch. I vaguely remembered how it worked – I had to run across the field, help the team get the enemy’s flag  & then run back with it to the home base. I figured that was enough to get by  – I’d stay with the group & just try to be useful. I had no PVP gear on (of course) & was in my Elemental shaman spec, which with hindsight wasn’t ideal – turns out my shaman is a very slow caster and mispronounces the words of all her spells.

But anyway I queued, got in, waited for the gates to open (probably looking like a right party pooper by not joining in with the dancing – there’s a time and a place for all that I thought with my matron hat on). Once the gates were opened I mounted up & followed my team mates across the field. Of course about 90% of the group decided to stop and fight in the middle – I’m no pro but even I know that’s usually wrong. Nevertheless peer pressure got to me and I joined in (trying to make up for the lack of dancing probably). I had some wild idea of one shotting someone and getting a rousing cheer from my team mates but it was not to be. While my shaman had clearly mastered the simple flame strike, Lava Blast proved her undoing (she struggles distinguishing the “V” and “B” and kept saying “Bava Vlast” the silly sausage). Before too long she (I) was one of the first casuaties of war and waking up in the graveyard.

Undeterred though I ran back out onto the field & actually made it over to the Horde base. I ran up to the flag room –  it looked like only one Horde guy was on guard. I threw off another flame strike (I had it down pat by now) and then summoned one of my big totem guys (the fire one), hoping he could keep the Horde guy occupied while I stole the flag. All for nothing though as there was another Horde standing behind me chuckling. He proceeded to pummel me to death.

I awoke once more in the graveyard, waited to resurrect and then set off towards the enemy flag base with a pluckiness that can only be admired (not by my teammates though – one was already yelling at me not to go back there alone). “Nice of you to care,” I shouted back (in my head). In truth I did wait for a bit and was pleased to see a rogue and warrior turn up to support me (actually they run past me without acknowledging my presence despite the fact I was waving and Yoohooing like a fool). In ghost wolf form I followed them up to the flag room. They were busy fighting the Horde and the flag stood unattended. Oh no, I thought, this means I have to grab it. The pressure, the pressure. But I was not willing to let my side down so I squared my hairy shoulders (wolf form remember – no need to send me links to Gillette or something) and grabbed the flag & went off at a quick pace.

I was a nervous wreck. In all seriousness my hands were shaking. We had already captured one flag, this could seal the deal.I somehow made it across the field – screaming hysterically whenever I saw an enemy player but still managing to keep my finger firmly pressed on “W”. However, I had completely forgotten where to go and what you do with the flag once you have it. I ran up our ramp shouting to husband “Where do I go? Where do I go?” He thought I was planning a trip or something so helpfully suggested “London?” I finally got to what I think was our flag room & ran over to stand on the raised platform bit where I think our flag would have been (had it not been in the hands of a Horde player who was probably less confused than me at this point). Nothing happened. “What do I do?” I shouted to husband. “See a show?” he replied. I won’t go into what I said next. Suffice to say he realised the error of his ways and came to see what was going on. “Don’t you need to do something with that?” he said helpfully, pointing at the flag. I couldn’t speak (luckily for him), I just sat there gibbering at the keyboard, my shaman still holding onto the flag. By now there were a few of my team mates in the room but interestingly none of them yelled at me to click it, drop it, please leave and never darken this battleground again  etc. They said nothing. Their silence confused me. Maybe I need to stand here for the rest of the match, I thought to myself. Perhaps I’m doing it right. But that didn’t seem likely. I mean we’d captured one flag & our score had been updated. I was holding another flag –  how did I get it registered as a captured flag?

Inevitably some of the enemy team ran into the room, My team mates fended them off. I stood there waving the flag like a patriotic pacifist. My heart was hoping and praying I was doing the right thing, my head was wondering how easily it could separate from my heart and bugger off to the South of France. Then a second wave of Horde came in – this time they headed right for me. With hands full of flag I could not defend myself. The inevitable happened. We lost the flag and I woke up in the graveyard.

Amazingly I did not receive one word of rebuke in chat. I honestly think most of my teammates did not know what had happened & those in the flag room must have thought I was doing something devilishly clever. But this is me. Bravetank. There was nothing clever going on. I just didn’t know what to do. So someone please help me – should I have clicked something to get the flag properly captured? Everything on the internet just says run to your flag room. I did this (I think it was our flag room) but clearly I needed to do something else as well. What should I have done?

Amazingly though we did win. Thank goodness. I don’t know what I would have done if we’d lost because of me. Might have had to do a Cersei-like ghost wolf walk of shame through Stormwind  and then everyone would have seen my hairy shoulders.

Can the average WoW player please step up to the mike?

I’ve been reading some blog posts recently criticising WoW players for various things – flying angst, unfair criticism of stressed out developers, unrealistic expectations, the Volkswagon emissions scandal etc. I notice that some of these posts talk about the player base and often direct the comments at “you” (me?) the reader. However, although I’m reading these posts I don’t identify with anything they are criticising or advocating – I’m firmly in the “I just don’t care” camp. I can’t even say I’m sitting on the fence – for me there is no fence, I’m just off somewhere dancing in a field. It’s causing me to have a little existential crisis (just a small one while the kettle boils). Why do I feel totally & utterly disconnected with it all? Am I completely naive and disturbingly apathetic or am I typical of the average WoW player?

My husband plays WoW – has done since Burning Crusade. He does not read any blog except mine (I made that a condition of marriage).  He does not listen to WoW podcasts (he still thinks Randy is on The Instance). He never checks out specs/builds/rotations and when fighting in WoW pretty much just lines up all his abilities on the task bar & hits the ones not on cool down. He wanted flying in Draenor but after one rant about it said no more on the subject, accepted it & moved on. He is currently having a blast rediscovering pet battles because of the stone you get in the garrison that lets you level a pet to 25. He has no interest in the raiding end game or even 5 mans.  He likes levelling alts, making money on the auction house & doing World Events. Is he typical?

I have played WoW for the same amount of time. I listen to The Instance while I iron, read WoW blogs and miss WoW Insider. I did not care about flying in Draenor. I do read up on my class to optimise my DPS if I intend dungeoning or doing LFR and in Cataclysm I even did some proper raiding with the guild I was in (but not too much due to my chronic crapness). I like levelling alts, taking part in some World Events and the occasional pet battle (get in there little level 2 squirrel). I am not bored at Draenor end game because I’m not there yet – my level 100 still has a ton of things to do and even if I get there I’m probably going to be too nervous to do all the proper grown up stuff. Am I typical?

Then there are the players who have done everything now (including flying). Some are currently holed up in their garrison twiddling their thumbs waiting for Legion. A few of these players regularly offer up well thought out critiques of what went wrong with Draenor & what Legion must do to right these wrongs. In these critiques they talk pointedly about (and sometimes to) the general WoW playerbase. They speak of the playerbases’ justified or unjustified (depending on their personal view) frustrations with Draenor & end game. Are they typical?

I do know that the latter group are not speaking to my experience but what I don’t know is if other people feel like me or am I (& husband) in the minority? I’m assuming WoW developers want WoW to meet the main needs of its player base – but what are those “main needs”? What is the view of the majority of players on Draenor? Was it a failure, is everyone bored, or are there people like me and husband still doing stuff with their level 100s, still levelling alts, still pet battling and still having fun?

Some of these other blog posts and articles come across as very angry  – either at Blizzard or the playerbase in general. The anger surprises me. I’m not saying its wrong but personally I just cannot find that strength of feeling about anything either in or not in this game. I do not feel Blizzard owes me anything and they could never betray me – they are a games company making a game that I sometimes like to play. We have not exchanged fellowship rings or made heartfelt vows in some sacred space (although if they go F2P I will give them my heart forever!). I subscribe when I enjoy the game, I unsubscribe when I’m just not in the mood for it and I resubscribe when I miss it (I suspect Blizzard affectionately call me Bravetank the YoYo). Is there something wrong with me?  Is the situation more dire than I appreciate and am I merrily fiddling while flames fast approach my toes?

Are we there yet?

Yesterday I got lost on Azuremyst Isle. And someone was watching. The shame, the shame.

Just to explain – I was trying out some streaming on Twitch (Channel=Bravetank1), levelling my warlock. I’m curious about the whole Twitch thing & wanted to see what it would be like. I had a maximum of 3 viewers during my stream and one of them was me neurotically watching myself on my IPad as I played on the laptop just to see what it all looked like (& to check out just how Welsh I sounded).

And then I got lost. The trouble is I am a human levelling in Draenei land because I do not want to level in Elwynn Forest/Westfall again (one more time will tip me right over the edge and will surely result in me jibbering away in some corner with a candle on my head). I had intended travelling to Teldrassil by boat & flying from there to Azuremyst Isle. But on reaching Rutheran Village I found I did not have enough money to fly to Azuremyst Isle and so had to do a couple of quests in night elf land. I then proceeded to do all this arse backwards (literally – I walked backwards the entire way (kidding – although I suspect that would get more viewers on Twitch). When I arrived in Dolanaar  there was only one quest on offer (the dreamcatcher one) and that was red to me. So I travelled back to Shadowglen to do a few quests there, then back to Dolanaar to earn a few coin, then finally I flew to Azuremyst Isle only to find again most quests wouldn’t open for me until I’d levelled. So after a bit more faffing I decided the best course of action was to run back to the Draenei starting zone Ammen Vale and get to level 8 there. That’s when the trouble started.

By this point the one viewer who was amazingly sticking with me through all this must have wondered what the hell he’d stumbled upon  – some two year old who’d sneaked onto his parents’ WoW account perhaps (although actually a two year old would have been level 15 by this point and ruling it in Deadmines). In truth I wonder if the viewer was Twitch bot (do they exist?) because the only comment in chat was a suggestion to use some sort of advertising addon – any real viewer would have been typing “What the hell are you doing? L2P you noob!” or words to that effect.

So anyway I wanted to get back to the crash site but I couldn’t remember in which direction it was. I was convinced it was not the area off to the north east  – that was Bloodmyst Isle surely? Yes definitely, I remembered it well. I muted myself on Twitch & called husband over, asking “Where do I go?” He pointed to the area I had already categorically categorised as Bloomysyt Isle. I scoffed heartily (choking on a pear). He looked puzzled and then instructed me to “Try that blob there then”, pointing vaguely in the general direction of my laptop. Cheers for that I thought, heading off to what looked like a blob  (turned out to be a small pond). I looked at the other undiscovered areas on the map – ok bottom south west then, I’d try there. Silently and rather grimly I headed off in that direction. Now & again, remembering I was streaming, I chirpily announced things like “Oh nearly there” and “Not long now” (as if my viewer was a restless child in the back of the car). Turns out I was heading to Odesyus Landing  – oopsies, wrong again. I turned around and tried somewhere vaguely north – not a great idea – as usual the Bristlelimbs were not in the most friendly of moods. Now of course at any point I could have tabbed out & checked a map (any words to that effect in the comments gets the “Duh No Shit Sherlock Award”).  I know about maps. I’ve lived. But I wanted to figure this out myself. I mean come on – level 7, Azuremyst Isle – I knew I could do this. By now of course I really wanted to end the stream and go for a lie down but I knew I had to press on. The only area of land uncovered at this point was the area I had deemed Bloodmyst Isle. Yes you’ve guessed it (if not then you’re probably more like me than you’d care to admit and have got your own alt lost somewhere in the grounds of Northshire Abbey). I muttered to husband (so quietly only the dog could hear) “I think you may be right” and then cheerily announced to Twitch “Ohh I think it’s this way” (of course I was the only viewer at this point so it was all rather pointless and a tad disturbing). Anyway finally I got to the crash site, did a few quests, dinged 8 and breathed a sign of relief.

What a disaster.  I’m now Level 10. My next stream will undoubtedly show me getting lost again on my way to Bloodmyst Isle. Scintillating viewing I think you’ll agree.

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”).

Slow Down

I’ve been away from WoW for pretty much over a year. I did buy WoD but after levelling my druid Frip to 100 I did not do much else. I’ve had a lot going on in my life which I won’t get into here – on the whole good stuff but definitely hard stuff that has changed me in ways I could never imagine. I’m still in the throes of much of it but I miss my blog. I’ve tried to start a few others on other subjects but my heart is just not in them, I guess I’ll always be Bravetank.

And for various reasons I now seem to have found my way back to WoW – not playing anything like as much as before but still – I’m back in Azeroth. And it feels really good. I’m not doing anything with my level 100. Instead I’ve been levelling a new panda monk – primarily a healer but we’ll see how it goes. I’ve never really played a monk before but I’m enjoying it so far. It’s been great just to run through Deadmines & Shadowfang Keep again and enjoy the old content.

When I do have a look at my level 100 I just feel overwhelmed by the amount of quests I still have to complete and all the garrison stuff. It doesn’t seem to hold any attraction to me. I think I’ve always preferred the level 1-60 game. Also while one part of me wants to just get through all the remaining level 100 stuff & basically tidy it up, the other part wants to reach 100 again with a fresh new character & more organically build up to those quests. It makes me wonder how people who start as a level 90 now feel – dropped into the WoW world at such a high level with such a lot of stuff to learn and a huge range of spells and abilities to use.

So I’ve decided I’m going to take it slow when levelling my little panda. She is not on a fast track to end game. Instead she is stopping to smell every rose and to chew bamboo shoots until her jaw aches. It feels good to be back but I know how quickly I can get burnt out on WoW these days  (on anything these days). So as my panda brethren say I must learn to slow down.

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.



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