Moved!

It’s been pointed out to me that I am verbose and my last post was alarming. So here it is. All-caps, bolded! Flashing arrows!

PUGGING PALLY HAS MOVED. SAME INANITY, DIFFERENT NAME!

You can find me at Manalicious.

That’s http://manalicious.wordpress.com/

I’m not going very far! Being this brief hurt me, it really did.

 

Because I like Mana Berry Delight.

Last December, I started what was just going to be a  little side project. It’s one of those things that… Well, it snowballed. I thought a few people might read my funny little pug stories. More than a few people have done so! I’ll admit that the first time I wrote here after I knew people were actually reading it I had a bit of stage fright. I’d open up that new post screen and stare at it. Fortunately, the adventures of LFD provided ample material to keep pushing me to write and get over it.

Once Vidyala “came of age,” I had many people asking if I was going to stop blogging. But I had the blogging “bug” by then, I didn’t want to quit! I kept writing about various Warcraft-related topics, some of them (but most of them not) related to paladins at all. Naturally people tend to assume that I play a paladin… Why wouldn’t they? It’s in the blog title.

Having a “project” for a blog was a fantastic idea for me, but it didn’t make the blog very livable or sustainable. Nowadays when I am trying to think of topics I am stumped because I keep thinking – this has nothing to do with pugging, and this has nothing to do with paladins. I haven’t even specced or glyphed poor Vid post 4.0.

I love blogging. But my paladin is an alt. I realized it was time for a change. (You didn’t think this post was going someplace SAD, did you?)

So, Manalicious was born! The idea is that (with something of a mage flavour, but without “mage” in the name) it’ll give me a place where I can blog to my heart’s content about anything that strikes my fancy. I play casters. I like mana. I like cooking things (and am, at heart, a mage, monarch of the created pastry!). Manalicious was my favourite cooking daily (no kidding) and so… It’s all very logical, you see. It will have more silly mage recipes, caster talk, achievements, lore, quests, raiding – all of the things I like. It’ll probably also have a Pugging Pally feature when Cataclysm has been out for a bit. Yes, I’ll level Vid through pugs, I am clearly a glutton for punishment.

I hope if you enjoyed Pugging Pally you’ll forgive me the hassle of updating your RSS feed and/or any blogroll links to Manalicious. I’m not going to actually take Pugging Pally down – it will stand as a testament to the brief period of PUG insanity I endured in 2009-2010, but I do expect that my writing from now on will occur over there.

In short: I’m not going away, just moving, and will be more active when I don’t have the paladin thing hanging over my head. I see this as a positive change. I’ll post one last “Redirect” post after this one so that people looking for me don’t lose their way. I hope to see you at my new digs! There’ll be cake.

Gallery

The Rhino Dog Conundrum

This gallery contains 1 photos.

I’ve got a few other posts in the works (I’m not dead, I promise!) but they weren’t going anywhere today and so this was the best I could do. Credit to my guildies for the idea, which came to me … Continue reading

I’m Rolling Need on You (Lara)

This is a guest post from Lara at Root & Branch, the musings of an Azerothian healer. I saved it for last because it is poignant and lovely, but I’ll let you discover for yourself!

If anyone tells you it's foolish to run Magister's Terrace at level 68, well, they're probably right. But try it anyway.

 

You may not realize this, but every single time you run a dungeon using the dungeon-finder tool, regardless of your level, there’s a chance you might win epic or even legendary quality loot.  What’s more, such loot can potentially drop for every member of the party.

Now, some of you may shake your heads with disbelief when you read this; others may scramble to look up the loot tables on WoWHead to see what you’ve missed.  Don’t bother looking!  You won’t find it there.  But believe me, it’s true.  The kind of loot I’m talking about, however, isn’t something you’ll find on any boss’s loot table.  It’s not a funky trinket, a glowing sword, or a powerful belt.  The loot I’m talking about here is friendship, and it’s the very best loot you can possibly get.

Friends don’t drop in every single dungeon you run.  In fact, the drop rate on friends can often be very low, sometimes!  However, when a friendship does drop, it’s so much better than any other random item you could find.  Friendships are bind-on-player, they are transferable across servers, they scale with your level, they’re not specific to any class or race, and in some cases they will even work outside the game.

It’s my feeling that friends are the best and most important kind of loot you can find, and they’re what really makes this game of ours worth playing.  Without some friends around to share in the struggles, the victories, the defeats, and the puzzles, even the most epic drops can’t keep things fun; all the other rewards of the game can lose their meaning.  World of Warcraft isn’t meant to be played alone:  Compared to dedicated single-player games, it’s not all that engaging when you go it alone.  However, once you toss some friends into the mix, it has the potential to blow those other games out of the water — even the ones that have much nicer graphics.

There’s no doubt that the dungeon-finder has been a mixed blessing for this kind of friend-loot.  The ease of assembling a group of players has made it much easier to meet a diverse group of players from a variety of servers, and the time you save by teleporting straight to the dungeon helps you find more groups in the same amount of time.  This is great!  In the dark days before the dungeon-finder, you had to find people on your own server, and it could often be really hard to get a group together.

On the downside, however, the dungeon-finder has encouraged a kind of “dungeon tourism”, in which groups pop in, waltz through the place in a superficial way, and pop back out, sometimes without even speaking to each other!  Maybe you see a cool suit of armour a shiny weapon, and a pet?  I see a loud, red-faced, pushy American tourist in a loud floral-print shirt wearing a crappy instamatic camera on a lanyard around his neck, bellowing at a harried concessionaire over the price of a hot dog.  It’s a lot easier to understand why some groups behave as they do when you look at it this way.  The Hunter with Tourette’s Syndrome shouting “GO F*ING GO GODDAM GO” and pulling everything in sight?  That’s him.  And just like when you see this as you’re trying to peacefully experience the grandeur of some ancient wonder, it’s all right to be embarrassed for him.

Don’t lose hope, however.  Not everyone is like that.  I promise you, it’s true.  If you keep your heart light, and your eyes open, you can still find those polite, helpful, friendly, patient players who want more from the game than to blunder through the sacred sites snapping blurry Polaroids and bleating about how they wish they were at home.  It won’t happen every day, and sometimes it takes a little encouragement, but when you do meet them, it’s like a little moment of magic, something you may remember for years to come.

Right now, our friends-list doesn’t work across servers.  I hope they’ll fix that soon.  But even without that, and even if you don’t want to give people your RealID information, we can still keep in touch.  How?  One thing you could do is to use an IM account — something like AIM, Google Chat, or Jabber.  Sure, it’s not as convenient as an in-game whisper, but it’s better than losing track!  Are you worried about revealing your real identity for professional reasons?  No problem — it’s easy to create yourself an e-mail address you can use just for gaming purposes.

Whatever you do, though, please don’t click “Pass” on potential friends.  Before you leave your group, take a moment to look at the real loot window, otherwise known as your party interface:  Even a little friendly banter can sometimes lead, in time, to a wonderful and fun friendship, in this big and interesting game we all play.

Don’t believe me?  Well, dear Reader, if you’re reading this blog then you should know that what you’re reading is here because of how Vidyala and I met:  Through pugging.

 

Very few bears were harmed in the making of this picture.

 

Let’s Be Friends, When We’re Not Trying To Kill Each Other (Rades)

 

This is a guest post by Rades at Orcish Army Knife, where he records the observations of an orc beast mastery engineer hunter. Did I get that right? Anyway, he likes to blow things up and has tusks. It’s not technically about pugs but I relaxed the topic rules in his case because it’s still a very interesting read!

Vid says, "Some of us are apples, some of us are oranges, but in the end, we're all birds!...wait, no."

It’s always interesting to examine the cross-faction cultural bonds and alliances that exist in WoW, and see how and why they work. There’s many neutral parties that welcome both Horde & Alliance races into their fold, such as the Cenarion Circle/Expedition and the Argent Dawn/Crusade. And it’s always fun to find those oddball NPCs who are working for the wrong faction, like the great Mr. Smite (a Tauren), in the Alliance-centric Deadmines.

But what about between actual player races? Currently there are very few examples of cross-faction bonds, which is a shame – I think some races have such similar ambitions, motivations and character traits that they could strike up great friendships!

Druids have a unique kinship through their beliefs in nature, leading to a warm relationship between the Tauren and Night Elves, a unique bond amongst all Warcraft races. The fact that both races are very respectful of and attuned with nature certainly helps. The most fascinating thing about this friendship was that it even extended to players for a time – the unofficial “Druid Truce”, where opposing druids wouldn’t attack each other in battlegrounds and world PVP. Granted, some of this was because both druids were likely to be restoration (which would make for a thrilling battle, I’m sure) but there was definitely a degree of actual player camaraderie/respect involved, too.

I find this idea amazing, and really cool. I wasn’t playing yet when this was commonplace, but as a member of the much-maligned family of Beast Mastery hunters, I find I feel the same way towards other hunters who are also sporting a Devilsaur, Core Hound, or Spirit Beast. Instant love.

(However, I’ll still kill them in PVP. Love only goes so far.)

What other races have established cross-faction ties? Well, they’re not Horde yet, but the obvious rivalry/friendship between the Goblins and Gnomes comes to mind. Despite their ongoing competitions and efforts to outdo each other, you never get the sense that there’s any real malice or hatred behind it. It’s always good-natured and lighthearted. I can definitely imagine Goblins & Gnomes laughing and drinking side by side after a fun day out at the Mirace Raceway. Their rivalry is more like a sport than anything else – I’ve often said that a Goblins vs. Gnomes battleground (much like Warsong Gulch is Orcs vs. Night Elves, and Eye of the Storm is Blood Elves vs. Draenei) that focused on crazy engineering gadgets, vehicles and bombs would be the funnest thing ever. Both races probably don’t care at all about the so-called faction “war”, and only participate at all because of their friendships and allegiances to their more combative allies.

Speaking of more combative races, I believe Orcs and Dwarves could also be GREAT buddies, for a number of reasons. First things first – both races LOVE to fight. Nothing makes an Orc or Dwarf happier than a good old blood-pumping brawl. Not killing, mind you – just scrapping. Both races also dislike and distrust arcane magic (though this is changing in Cataclysm), deeply respect bravery and valor, and have strong familial clan hierarchies. The stiff-necked Bronzebeard Dwarves might cast a disapproving eye on prospective Orc allies, but I think the looser Wildhammers – with their more wild nature and deep respect for the shamanistic ways – would easily laugh, fight, and drink alongside Orcs with great gusto.

I also think the Dwarves would be willing to forgive the Orcs for the crimes and assaults committed by the Orcs of the past. Look at Muradin’s interaction with Varok Saurfang when Saurfang comes to collect the dead body of his son – Dwarves seem unblinded by petty things like grudges or racial hatred. They’re the most…down to earth, if you will. ;)  Unfortunately, the Dwarves are so closely allied with the Humans that the idea of making peace with Orcs would never be acceptable to Varian, despite that one moment of compassion towards Saurfang displayed in Icecrown Citadel. Silly Humans.

For an idea really out of left field, what about the Forsaken and the Draenei? At first glance, there’s not a lot of commonality – they seem completely opposed. But the Forsaken hate everyone for…not falling victim to the Scourge’s plague as they did? Or not saving them? Or maybe because they are despised by their former kin simply for existing. In any case, the Draenei weren’t even <i>on Azeroth</i> when Arthas’ murderous rampage through the Eastern Kingdoms took place, so Sylvanas’ people can’t really hate them for any past history.

The Draenei, on the other hand, are very familiar with racial tragedy, and after being hunted & chased by the Burning Legion for hundreds of years, know well the pain and hardship of being threatened with genocide for the “crime” of living. They are also extremely accepting, forgiving and trusting – if any race could find it in their hearts to treat the unsettling Forsaken fairly and without suspicion, it would be the space goats.

Finally, there is one overwhelming, common bond the two races share – an complete and utter hatred of the Burning Legion/Scourge. No other races have suffered at the hands of the Legion/Scourge as much as the Forsaken and Draenei, and their deeply personal ambitions of vengeance (Forsaken) and justice (Draenei) would likely be strong enough to overcome mundane concerns like faction allegiances.  Destroying the Legion would mean ending the driving power behind the Scourge, and destroying the Scourge would mean neutralizing one of the Legion’s strongest weapons. I could definitely picture Sylvanas and Velen working together wholeheartedly to end these threats and accomplish their mutual goals.

Plus, I hear the Forsaken really like to get down, which makes the Draenei a perfect match! After all, I hear the Exodar is a great disco…

 

Vid says, "I don't remember signing a release form for this image. THIS DIDN'T REALLY HAPPEN!"

 

A Brief Guide To Races In Pugs (Anea)

This is a guest post from Anea, formerly of Obeying the Muse. Her blog is on hiatus at the moment, that’s why you can’t click on it, but she is still awesome and was kind enough to write for me!

 

Vid says: "I just saw that someone's name ends in 'hemroid' here and blocked the rest out."

 

Have you ever been in a PuG with four Dwarves in it?
It’s an amazing run of speed an accuracy.  Have you ever had a run with three Gnomes in it?  Things can get pretty hairy.
With my highly extensive professional pugging experience, there are certain races that you should be wary of when pugging.  Those stereotypes that you always hear?  They have some basis in fact, not unlike some myths and old wives tales.  True, they do have some connections with race and class combos (Night Elf hunter, anyone?) but even in my experience, there are certain races that are cause for my mood to lighten and cause for worry when I first zone into a pug.
Firstly, let’s get the “obvious” out of the way.  Undead.  Bad.  News.  Yes, while a self-professed spacegoat at heart, I have done some pugging on the other side of the fence (the grass seems greener every so often) and my poor Troll knew she’d be in for some civilized conversation and focused gameplay whenever there was an Undead character in her group.
I’m sorry, that was a little deadpan, wasn’t it?  Did it show?  I apologize.
The other side of the spectrum though?  Dwarves.  Solid and always dependable.  Not many people do play Dwarves, of course, but it seems like you can always depend on a Dwarf with Dwarven qualities.  That PuG I mentioned with four Dwarves?  I was in it, as one of the Dwarves.  I had three other Dwarves with me and I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my groupmates after zoning in.  (I think if we’d had a fifth Dwarf pug the world might have imploded.)  And that run was the smoothest, most coordinated run I’ve ever been on, with everyone performing their roles as they should.  Which, in a leveling pug, can sometimes be hard to find.  But given the racial makeup of the group, I wasn’t surprised in the least.
Draenei are another “good” race that really has next to no worry when I’m grouped with them.  Most other Draenei I’ve grouped with have been quiet, sure, but they’ll focus with a minimum of fuss and they tend to be quite polite players.  *preens*
There are some races that really give too many mixed signals.  Night Elves as a whole, Blood Elves, Tauren.  Trolls?  Yes – they have the voodoo!  Humans?  … ergh.  With such a large volume of players as humans, it seems like bad apples take over the barrel now and again.  And now that I think about it, Orcs tend to be on the same tier as Dwarves – they know how to get down to business.
Gnomes.  Melee Gnomes tend to be hit or miss (mostly miss) but you’re not too badly off if you have a small caster in the group.  They can be quite silly though (in the best of ways) I notice.  Comedic relief, the Gnome!

 

"Push me."

 

Stupidity Filter In Grid (Zelmaru)

Zelmaru is a co-author of Murloc Parliament which talks about very Srs Bzns Murloc Government. And other stuff like healer addons.

In keeping with the series of Grid articles I’ve been doing lately, I’d like to draw your attention to a new plugin called GridStatusStupidity by Bee Pit Enterprises. The goal of this plugin is to remove or deemphasize the health frames of people who are stupid so you are not tempted to heal them and reward their stupidity.

Now, a similar addon exists called GridStatusIgnored, where you can dim out the grid frames of those people on your ignore list. However, you still have to evaluate the person’s stupidity manually and determine whether the person should be placed on the ignore list. You don’t need the aggravation of this extra step.

How The Plugin Works

This highly-configurable plugin allows you to set a “Stupidity Threshold” which is a numerical value of your choosing. When a person hits the threshold, his or her frame is dimmed or removed entirely, depending on your chosen settings.

A person reaches the Stupidity Threshold by his or her actions or choices (“Stupidity Factors”). You can set which Stupidity Factors will count toward the Stupidity Threshold and designate a value for each Stupidity Factor, although the addon comes with fairly workable defaults already programmed. The addon will actively scan your group in real time for such behaviors and, if the stupidity threshold is reached, make the UI change accordingly.

Stupid person is now invisible (yay)

Configuration

Opacity: You can determine whether reaching the stupidity threshold will dim the person’s grid frame, or remove it entirely (in which case, set the opacity to 0).  You can also use the “incremental opacity” feature which gradually dims the person’s grid frame as the person accumulates stupidity points.

Exemptions: The plugin comes with the following options for exempting people from the stupidity filter. Their frames will never be filtered even if they are incurably stupid.

  • Tank. By default, the tank (as designated by the dungeon finder or by a raid leader) is exempt. Turn off this exemption at your own peril.
  • Guildmates. This exemption is on by default. If you turn it off, you may have trouble with guild relations.
  • Friends List. This exemption is on by default
  • White List.  You may manually add people “on the fly” to the “do not filter” list through the grid interface or by right clicking on their name in an instance and using the drop-down menu.  This may be necessary if a person is flagged by mistake.

Stupidity Exemptions

Stupidity Threshold: The plugin has a default threshold of 50. I set it to 20 when I am feeling irritable.

Stupidity Factors: In general, the plugin’s authors have done an excellent job of identifying triggers (that can be enabled or disabled depending on your preferences) and assigning them appropriate weights. However, you can always fiddle with the settings depending on what pisses you off.

  • Improper Spec. Because of the vast array of acceptable specs, this factor only weeds out the most obviously bad specs, such as 71 points in the same tree.
  • Improper Gear. Again, because of the vast array of acceptable gear, this factor only triggers with obvious errors such as a priest wearing gear with high agility.
  • Naming Stupidity. A person may be filtered almost immediately if the person enters the instance and the plugin discovers a name that meets the stupidity criteria, which include:
    • Characteristically annoying names that suggest a person put almost no thought into the name.
    • Rude or offensive names. The plugin creators have plugged in an extensive list of rude names or parts of names, including those used to get around the filter, such as “bewb” and “cawk.”
    • The user may add specific names to this list in the interface.

Naming Stupidity.

  • Behavioral Stupidity – Chat.  A person’s stupidity rating will rise upon uttering certain trigger words or phrases in chat, including:
    • “gogogo” or a variation thereof
    • “FFS” or a variation thereof.
    • various obscenities
    • The user may add specific words or phrases through the interface.
  • Behavioral Stupidity – Actions.  A person’s stupidity rating will rise upon doing certain actions, including:
    • Taking a specific amount of damage from avoidable sources (amount of damage configurable)
    • Pulling aggro a certain percentage of the time if not the tank (percentage configurable)
    • Having the AFK flag appear
    • Breaking crowd control a certain number of times (configurable)

In Practice

In practice, I found this plugin extremely useful, though often my box and the tank’s were the only ones remaining (only because I have filtered tanks to always show).  I would recommend it to anyone who is having issues with stupid people.