Monthly Archives: June 2010

Wednesday Linking Love

This tiny Vid sits on my desk and grins her gormless grin at me when I'm staring into nowhere trying to think of something to write. She even had little engineering goggles... but they made her too top-heavy so they had to be left out.

I’m afraid I don’t have the time this morning to write very much of my own, but such times are great for pointing out posts I’ve enjoyed by other people in the last week or so. Here they are, conveniently in alphabetical order (I don’t think that matters, but even so).

Zal over at Blessing Of Fish wrote a good post about designing a tabard for your guild. It even has a colour wheel, which instantly wins my art nerd over. He points out that with the changes to guilds coming in Cataclysm, tabards are going to be gaining importance and prominence. You’ll want to make sure it looks good right now. Personally, I like the lobster – you know, the one who looks like he’s pinching…? Ah, nevermind.

Rhoelyn from Beneath Two Skies writes the story of poor Archavon the Stone Watcher’s diary. You know, it might be his vault, but I don’t see that it’s done him any good lately. “The Makers are gone. I have been left to watch.” Check it out, it made me laugh out loud.

Kae at Dreambound Druid has some strict ten perspective for folks who might be thinking of scaling down from twenty-fives to tens in Cataclysm. It’s about what ten man raiding is, isn’t, and will be, and whether the grass is greener after all. (Hint: When you’re not over-geared for it, it isn’t necessarily easier. Heroic Lich King, yet to be killed by any strict tens guilds in the world can attest to that.)

Windsoar at Jaded Alt writes about what it’s like to experience class prejudice towards her DK before she’s even been given a chance. I’ll admit, I met my fair share of clueless DKs, but I wasn’t even rude to those ones. You could boil this concept down to “just don’t be rude to people,” really, but it’s an interesting read. The universe isn’t doing much to convince me I should level that DK alt anytime soon!

For all you bloggers, Psynister’s Notebook had some great tips this week about leveling up your blog. You’re willing to grind everything else, right? Why not this?

Frequent commenter and my friend Redbeard from Parallel Context recently started leveling up his draenei paladin as a holy paladin in LFD. If you’ve been wishing for some lowbie pug antics, check out his first trip to Wailing Caverns. Oh, the memories.

Finally, last but certainly not least, Gameldar at WoW In An Hour wrote an article I thought was well worth noting: To Fish, Or Not To Fish? The question isn’t “Should you fish?” (The answer is always a resounding, “Yes,”) but rather, is the fish feast the best buff food for your raiding, or would you be better served to bring along your own? I like to think of it as “default fish.” But it’s always better to make an informed decision than just go the lazy route. Plus, it has a fish chart!

Now, because I can’t help myself. I’ve been sitting on these for a little while.

Search results!

leveling a holy paladin in lfd – Have as many heirlooms as you can, get cozy with your Flash of Light button once you get it, and most importantly bring your sense of humour.

do warlocks have any toes? – I thought this was funny because I just re-read “The Witches” by Roald Dahl last month or so, and one of the ways you are supposed to be able to identify witches is that they have no toes, and force their square feet into pointed shoes like “normal women,” (hah, not this one). Anyway, no word on whether or not warlocks have toes. When it comes to pug warlocks, it’s their lack of common sense that I found most alarming, but that could just be me.

paladin gear on draenei - Looks fabulous. There are a few exceptions, particularly for Male draenei. Here, let me show you.

"I'm a champion of the Light, I don't have time for cuddles."

You see, I see this, and I think:

Built like an armoured car.

I’m not quite sure why.

vuhdo paladin setup, vuhdo paladin, vidyala’s vuhdo, vidyala’s vuhdo post, vuhdo addon beacon of light not showing, make vuhdo show beacon of light, vuhdo beacon of light hot icons, showing beacon on vuhdo – Apparently, writing about how to make Vuhdo work for paladins filled a bit of a niche, if this week’s search results are any indication.

you are fools to have come to this place – I hear this a lot. If only I could remember who it is that screeches it in my ear…?

gnomeregan run time - Eternity. I’m sorry. It’s approximately, “Cancel all your appointments, give up your friends, forever, you’re never leaving.” I’m sure some version of Vid is still there, running in circles with leprous gnomes chasing her.

squishy rogue syndrome – Hehe. I’m not sure why this brought you here, but I’ve heard tell of it myself.

when its time to let your girlfriend go – This is a long shot here, but probably when you feel the need to Google it is a fair indicator. Just be nice, would you?

one light in the darkness pugged – Hah! Good luck with that. We went back to do this for some guildies who’d missed it the first go-round, and it was (if you’ll pardon the pun) a nightmare. You really do have to know what you’re doing and can so easily get screwed over by RNG stuff or people not running away from Malady or people going insane in the brain room or people not freeing people who are being choked by a vine or people brushing up against Giant Green Clouds of Death or killed by adds in the last phase…sorry, was I rambling? Anyway, a pug could do it if you had people experienced with the fight, but we basically had to learn it all over again when we went in with folks who’d never done Yogg before, let alone One Light. Try and do it with guildies or friends if at all possible. And make sure you take Thorim! Freya’s sanity wells might be tempting, but the adds in the last phase still pound hard enough that it’s really hard to just brute-force heal and DPS through them without the ability to take them out of commission entirely.

Knowing When It’s Time To Let Go

It'll make sense in a minute, I promise.

It was my brother’s 25th birthday party, over seven years ago. We had only a stay-at-home affair planned – my Mom had baked a cake and we’d had supper in. It was just myself, Mom, and my brother’s (current, this is important, trust me) girlfriend, and my brother. We hadn’t yet actually had the food, or the cake, when the doorbell rang.

The girl at the door was his ex girlfriend. She arrived without having phoned beforehand. With her, she brought three things:

  • a birthday card
  • a framed photograph of her and my brother
  • and a gigantic cookie she had baked for him.

Needless to say, the following hour was not a comfortable one. It was so uncomfortable, in fact, that my Mom likes to remind  me that I phoned up a friend on the sly and said, “Hey, want to go for coffee?” and then pretended that I’d planned to go out all along as I sped out the door with a breezy, “See you later!”

I remember leaving them all sitting at the kitchen table, current and ex girlfriend on either side, and my brother in the middle.

Say it with me now:

Awkwaaaard.

I don’t bring this up now because I’m the world’s meanest person, or I want to reflect on the feelings that would drive someone to come across as so, well, let’s face it…desperate. She knew my brother had a new girlfriend. They’d broken up over a year before, but she chose to drop by, hoping to…win him back? Remind him how awesome she was? I’m not sure. But I can relate to the feeling of clinging to something that’s probably run its course. In fact, when it comes to WoW it can be all too easy to do.

Friends

Very strong ties can be forged online, I think (I hope) we’ve all experienced how great it can be to play a game you enjoy with people you’ve met. But as Voss is constantly reminding me, the internet is a nebulous thing. In the two years that I’ve played WoW, I’ve had good friends, and they’ve gone on to do other things. Sometimes it’s harder when you don’t get any closure – someone just goes offline, or server transfers without a word. It’s not like there was a huge blow-up or fight, but they’ve clearly moved on. My unofficial rule is one point of contact, and then it’s over.

When we “split” with our former server and transferred to raid on another, not all of our friends were too happy about it. I hoped we could stay friends, but some reactions were pretty unpleasant. I did send an e-mail or two, before I realized that it was pointless to pursue something that really had no future. The biggest thing we had in common was the game – why belabor something that had run its course? It was better to just let it go. Even now I occasionally miss some of those people, and I think about e-mailing or dropping by their server to say “hi,” but I always stop myself. The friendship can’t exist the way that it did, and so it’s better for all of us to just not go there.

This isn’t to say you can’t stay friends with people if your server, guild or even faction affiliation changes. Sometimes you can, and sometimes it’s better if you just don’t. The trick is to learn to discern the difference between the two.

Guilds

This is somewhat related to the previous point, because naturally you often become good friends with the people in your guild. But the guild exists separately from the friendships, an entity unto itself. Whatever the guild’s focus is – PvP, PvE and raiding, or roleplay – people change, and so do their goals and wishes within the game. The casual, friendly guild you joined to level up when you first started playing may no longer fit your burning desire to raid end-game with like-minded people. It doesn’t mean you suddenly hate everyone in the other guild, but you may have to make a choice to change in order to do what you want to do.

It’s not an easy decision to make, but in the long run both you and your former guild mates will probably be happier for it. If you’re staying in a guild out of a sense of obligation or inertia, people around you can sense it. If you leave before things start to sour, there’s still a chance you can retain the friendships you value.

Activities

Maybe it’s that arena team you agreed to join, or the raiding you were really gung-ho about, and unfortunately you found out that you don’t enjoy it the way you thought you would. I don’t advocate leaving people in the lurch – if you’ve made a commitment, you should honour it. But your first priority should be yourself – if it’s not fun any more, set an end-date for it, or talk to the people your decision will affect, and try to come up with a compromise. Don’t keep making yourself do something you don’t want to do. It’s a game, and you should be having fun.

Naturally this can intersect with either of the previous topics; you joined a raiding guild, so you can’t really get too bent out of shape to realize that… it requires raiding commitments. But if it’s not working for you any more, most raiding guilds have some provisions in place for social members. You can always step down from the active roster but remain in the guild.

Blogs

Most people who write blogs are usually avid blog-readers. I’ve definitely heard an ongoing complaint from other bloggers about their massive, unwieldy blogrolls. What I have to say might sound a bit callous, but I’m going to say it anyway: cut that thing down to size! Feel no guilt. I think the problem is that we tend to associate a blog more with a person than content. So taking them off the blogroll might feel a bit like, “I don’t like you any more.” It isn’t, though.

I don’t know about you guys, but my work and other commitments can severely limit the amount of time I have available to read blogs in a given day. I have to be pretty ruthless about what I take the time to read, and it was an adjustment for me. When work wasn’t busy, I had all the time in the world, I could read any blog I liked. Nowadays, I’m pretty judicious about new blogs I add, and I do sometimes regretfully remove (usually inactive blogs) or blogs that aren’t speaking to me any more.

It’s cliche, but “It’s not you, it’s me,” really applies here. It could be a blog about a class I don’t play as avidly. Speaking from my own point of view, I’d rather someone not read my blog than feel they have to read it but it’s kind of boring to them. I get that you don’t hate me. It’s okay.

Even when I don’t actually remove a blog – I’ll admit, I use “Mark all as read” liberally. Some blogs update more often than I can keep up. I might skim to see if a topic really interests me and then read more in-depth and comment. I know everyone loves comments. But when there’s no time for that… there’s always Twitter, right? (140 characters is just right for small procrastination breaks).

No, Really

So whatever it is… if you feel you might be clinging to something that’s just over (or should be), take steps to rectify or change the situation so that you can have fun again. It might be something I didn’t cover here, I don’t know, but I suspect you will.

In the situation I described before I left a bad situation on my old server, the stress and drama was making me physically ill. I had recurring, painful migraines and bouts of inexplicable nausea. Yes, I know, it’s “just a game,” but it can have a way of making itself pervasive. We can all take this game pretty seriously sometimes. But your subconscious often knows what’s best  for you, and it’s telling you somehow or other. Don’t be a “quitter,” but don’t jeopardize your own health and well-being either.

And don’t drop by to visit any ex-girl or boyfriends. You’ll thank me later.

I'm so over you. But you don't know what you're missing!

When I Asked If You Had BG Experience…

Some of these built-in commenting system things always put my latest blog entry below my name, when I comment on another blog. I’ve enjoyed having my latest post there because I think it makes me sound combative and fearsome. I could be saying, “What a cute mini-pet you have!” but underneath my name it says, “I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your A*s,” so it’s, “Visit Pugging Pally! We have fearsome things here like swords that I can’t use properly.”

Having such an intimidating tagline did remind me, however, that I tried holy PvP for the first time last weekend! A key component of this story is 1) I did PvP with my paladin and also 2) you’ll notice it’s not my paladin I brought to kill the griefing guy while trying to level my hunter.

It was one of the rare occasions when I’ve gone to PvP with other people. It started when Dirtface (that’s actually his name now, though I feel vaguely guilty using it as an honest-to-goodness name) needed some honour points for… something he needed to buy, I’m not sure. He had never PvPed as a warlock and so he asked if anyone would go with him. Kayla (hunter) was game to go, as was Draos (feral druid) and Ulla (resto druid). I’d been meaning to put Vidyala in a situation where other people could hit her in the face, so I agreed too.

Absolutely ready for PvP. 100%. If you don't count all the PvE gear.

I considered her not altogether unprepared, because she has a few PvP pieces I am using for her PvE set. An aside, I know that Blizz said they wanted to take away the component of PvPing to get gear for PvE (ever since the days of PvPing on my mage to get that giant pink staff, the one that couldn’t be replaced by anything past Kara) but I think they failed. You can trade 30 Stonekeeper’s Shards to acquire 2000 honour points. If you’re like me and on a server where your faction often possesses Wintergrasp, you have a lot of these things. All of my characters had a lot of these things, so it was easy to get enough honour for Vid to buy a 264 cloak and necklace. Neither is as good as something intended for PvE would be, but having the cloak has allowed me to delay purchasing the emblem one in favour of other things. All of which is a long-winded way of saying, I had a little bit of resilience. I even have the Flash of Light PvP libram, which I purchased because I’d thought about trying a FoL build, and it’s nice for 5-mans when casting HL is usually overkill. I used Triumph emblems to buy another PvP piece and off we went, armed with very little knowledge of paladin PvP in general.

A bit of miscommunication landed Ulla and I (both of the two healers) in an Isle of Conquest match while our other three folks were in Arathi Basin. It didn’t take us long to botch the Isle completely; though the Arathi Basin took longer. When we queued up together again, I groaned inwardly to see the Warsong Gulch loading screen. I have not had happy times with Warsong Gulch. I don’t know if it’s because usually it’s just a random assemblage of people who don’t work together… I’ll be honest with you, I sort of like when there’s a bossy person who takes charge of a BG pug. Or even if people are just talking like Gnomeaggeddon was saying the other day. I tend to freeze up a little when it comes time to decide where I would be best employed, and typically (as a healer especially) I’ll find someone to follow into the thick of things and keep people alive. Fortunately for me there are worse strategies as a healer – obviously I’m not going to go off by myself and try to damage things. I am most useful where the fighting is happening. (Except when the fighting is on the road).

But this Warsong Gulch was different, possibly because at least two of the people I was with had extensive BG experience. “I don’t do this one ever,” I confessed in Vent, “So if you want to just tell me where we are going that would be great.”

“We’re going to get the flag, and you’re going to heal us,” was the calm reply. Between the hunter, feral druid, warlock, resto druid and myself, we were one-third of that WSG team and we annihilated them. I got these achievements: Warsong Gulch Perfection (Win with a score of 3 – 0), Warsong Gulch Expedience (Win Warsong Gulch in under 7 minutes), and plain old Warsong Gulch Victory – an achievement I’m not sure any of my other characters actually has (don’t laugh). Sticking close to my buddies for that encounter seemed to work out well. I don’t even think I died.

Our next BG was an Alterac Valley. I’m more confident here, because before “random” BGs were available I spent a great deal of time maging it up in the frosty north. I like the big, epic battle zerg and I actually know the names of strategic points etc. Our little strike team roamed the map reclaiming and defending places while the zerg people down South focused their energy on killing Drek. I still can’t say at this point that I was getting down to the nitty-gritty of healing as a paladin in BGs. I healed a bit, but we never got stuck in a chokehold with a great deal of fighting, it was more short skirmishes. The real combat began in our last match, Arathi Basin.

I think of all the battlegrounds this one’s my favourite because it’s fairly straightforward, the map isn’t too large (less opportunity to get lost) and a single player’s contribution can have more effect than in a huge place like AV. Again, we were ideally suited for this because we were on Vent and could talk to each other and decide which node we’d go to – and defend it against attackers, or move on to claim another if there were other people remaining behind. Here’s where I really started to actually PvP as a paladin. Random observations:

1) I love Beacon so very, very much.
Putting Beacon on myself and going to town healing everyone around me is so much fun. I’d be healing and a hunter would sent his pet after me… I could just flat out ignore it. It couldn’t interrupt me. It tickled a bit.

2) Wearing plate armour is OP.
All of my other healers have definitely been squishier than this. Granted, my priest was never Discipline, so take my opinion with a gigantic grain of salt. But I definitely felt more durable.

3) Interfering with the way other people are trying to hurt your team-mates is almost as much fun as just healing them.

With a nearby resto druid’s HoTs, I usually had ample time to make extensive use of my Cleanse button. Removing poisons, diseases, and magic is awesome. Living Bomb on someone? Whoops I’m sorry, ‘fraid not. There’s something immensely satisfying about removing something that was going to hurt – forcing whoever is attacking to either re-apply it and waste a GCD. But they usually didn’t have time at that point because someone would have killed them.

4) I’d rather be casting Flash of Light.
I can really see where different gear/gemming/spec would make a big difference here. In almost every situation, even with the haste I have – Holy Light takes too long. Having more oomph behind my fast little heals would make me more effective for this, I think. The Libram is nice but it can only go so far. I don’t really have the luxury of picking up a second Holy spec because when I do PvE stuff I’m often filling a DPS role (quick VoA which I choose to bring Vid to instead of my main, likewise for the raid weekly). But a PvP spec here would be pretty useful. Preferably something that reduces the duration I can be silenced for, which brings me to…

5) The sound of silence
This is like the kiss of death, and I’m not used to it at all. My only healing PvP experience prior has been as a resto druid – seldom casting anything long enough to be properly interrupted. Rejuv, rejuv, Wild Growth, Lifebloom, oh, are you hitting me? You didn’t notice the bark, right? Well, being a paladin wasn’t like that, but perhaps there’s something I’m missing here (like potentially a PvP spec). Silencing is very bad. Fortunately it never resulted in my death because I had my little posse with me, but even so. I always feel guilty when I’m silenced, and this may be a carryover from PvE content. Because if you get silenced casting when those big skeleton guards in front of Marrowgar do their shout thing? That’s your fault, that is avoidable. But I have the same feeling in PvP! “Oh god I’ve been silenced why what was I doing I must have been casting while the skeleton was shouting…wait.”

6) Blending into a crowd is nice.

Maybe I’m naive and I’m more visible than I think I am, but I definitely felt a bit more incognito as a holy paladin. I don’t have the pew pew green healing lasers of a shaman, although I do have the shield. I don’t have obvious bubbles like a priest, or the dress. More importantly to me, I’m not a giant walking tree, which always screams, “You know my HoTs are OP, try to kill me!” Many times attackers at our nodes would simply never start attacking me at all, which allowed me to focus on healing my people, and inevitably led to success. Obviously the success wasn’t just because of me, but at least I didn’t feel I was a hindrance.

7) Striking out on my own is dumb.
In fact, the only time I died where I died alone and felt that it was completely my fault was when I was heading from Lumber Mill to go with our hunter to a different node and I was lagging behind a bit. A rogue sapped me and my bubble was on CD and I kermitflailed. Probably a good paladin could have escaped it – but I never claimed to be a good paladin – and I died. I think if I had either stayed behind with the group or been RIGHT with the hunter it wouldn’t have happened. I have learned my lesson, just because I wear plate armour doesn’t make me invincible.

And so ended Vidyala’s PvP adventures. We won the Arathi Basin, I got an achievement for 100 HKs and some healing stuff and also Back Door Job which sounds incredibly wrong.

I did, belatedly, find this article about healing tips for holy paladins. It’s arena specific, but I assume many of the same principles apply to battlegrounds. Otherwise, if you’re looking for general PvP info, Cynwise has always got it covered. Please feel free to suggest links to any other paladin PvP resources you may know of, or otherwise elaborate in comments all the ways in which you are better at PvP than I am (really no huge feat, truthfully). I enjoyed it and I think I’ll do it again when the time and inclination hit me. Hitting me is okay, incidentally, silencing? Way below the belt.

What happens if the PvPing Paladin strays too far from her bodyguards, complete with dramatic death scene and anguished hand clasped to...uh. Right.

I Am Not Afraid of You And I Will Beat Your A*s

It’s a great time for alting. The ICC buff keeps going up, helping our merry band of Sunday raiders (alt nights, baby!) roll through ICC. Granted, familiarity with the fights doesn’t hurt. It also doesn’t keep us from going through there with a definite air of “herp derp derp,” but that’s a story for another time.

It’s always good to have alts. As I was telling Redbeard yesterday, a draenei hunter is just what I need to help complete my set. I have one at level thirty, but he’s male, and doesn’t really feel like mine – I also have no idea what to do or where to go with him to quest. So when Rades and I realized that Lara had a small warrior tank we could pug with – well naturally a new hunter alt was just the thing.

But I love them so, my precious.

Incidentally, it’s probably sad when you have so many draenei that you need to make a little diagram so that you can choose a hairstyle and colour that won’t duplicate any of your others. The diagram helped! Clearly what was missing was buns. It makes practical sense, they’re out-of-the-way, you can shoot your bow/gun/whatever without any of that annoying flyaway hair in your face thing. So my young hunter and her hair buns have been questing through the Draenei starting area happily. As you can well imagine, I know the quests here pretty well so it doesn’t take too long to speed through the zone. I dispersed some powder, inoculated some owlkin, and was soon merrily murdering the entire population of pretty white deer.

(I’m sure my younger Bambi-loving self had no idea what I’d enjoy later in life. The DEHTA folks would have a bird.) There’s something about hunters. I’m trying to get into the psychology of them. They’re very solitary people, and with good reason. They don’t need anyone else. The mobs see me coming and they just die. They don’t even try, it’s just, “Oh, game over, here comes that hunter and her fearsome pet.” Needless to say, leveling was going well, right up until the moment I hit a snag.

I was at Azure Watch to turn in a quest, when the sound of combat reached my ears. I’m a bit slow on the up-take sometimes, so I looked around in confusion. Why were things fighting? A golden shield flew by my head to strike the NPC behind me. My first instinct was BOLT FOR YOUR TRAINER and train the level you came here to train before the jocular hunter bites it. I just managed to train. The Blood Elf paladin, name of “Gleeka,” was decimating Azure Watch. (This is an aside; I’ve heard people who really like the show “Glee” calling themselves “Gleeks” but in MY day, “gleek” was a verb and it means something rather different. My older brother was particularly pro at this and it was especially disgusting.) So I don’t know which this paladin was thinking of, if any, but that was his name. And he targeted and then laughed at me. But I’d manage to conclude my business and so (I mentioned I have an older brother, right?) I knew that the best way to deal with him was to ignore him. Not receiving a reaction, he’d likely grow bored and wander off. I headed down to hang out with Admiral Odyseus and finish my next series of quests.

Something about me must have said “entertainment” to this blood elf though, because he followed me a little ways. He stopped, got on his big mammoth – and then began to speed ahead. Oh. Hell. No. He reached the mini quest hub far faster than I could on foot, of course, and was killing the last NPC just as I arrived. He waved at me. I did not wave back, but plopped my character down to wait out the twenty seconds before I could log out. He waved good-bye to me. I’m pretty sure he didn’t know what was coming next.

Moonrunner is not a PvP server. I don’t want to be on a PvP server. Not because I don’t enjoy PvP from time to time, but because I want to be able to choose the time and place that I will engage in it. This was the time. Millya, my mage, is my character with the best PvP gear and the most PvP experience. (Extreme top left in my diagram, if you’re curious.) Voss was online and he came along to have fun poking the Blood Elf. As far as I was concerned, this Belf had wasted his chance to stop being a jerk and move onto some other form of entertainment. The funny thing was that Voss got there before I did, and the Belf ran when he saw him coming. He just mounted up and headed for the hills. Voss kept following him at a safe distance. He did a “sorry” emote. (Too little, too late, buddy). So it was easy for me to track him down. Again, I didn’t feel too bad about tag-teaming him. Perhaps it’s not sporting, but he’s a paladin – your average paladin I’ve met can handle a prot warrior and a mage. I mean, really.

We chased him through the countryside – he headed for Ammen Vale, and this was the funny part. He dismounted and tried to hide in the bushes along the path. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, really. To say that we annihilated him would be an understatement. I stood a moment over his cooling corpse, thinking about whether or not I would kill him again. I thought for a moment before deciding, “Nah, he must have gotten the message.” The message being: Go away, or I will continue to kill you with my main character. I was so confident in this, I even teleported back to Dalaran before logging back over to my hunter.

The NPCs were alive once more, so I was able to turn in my quests. By this time Rades had logged in, and I told him about the guy who’d been killing NPCs, secure in the belief that he would have moved on. It was nearly supper time for me and I was about to log off – when a familiar golden animation sped by my head. The Belf was back in Azure Watch, killing all of the quest givers again. It didn’t take long for my mage-y self to speed back to Azure Watch, and this time I took on and killed him solo. (In the interests of posterity, I’ll confess that after I’d killed him once he came back and killed me while I was eating. Who knew the graveyard at Azure Watch is so very close? But I don’t think ganking someone who is still injured counts.) In any case, this back and forth went on for awhile – we killed him again and assumed he’d give up. Even if he didn’t, supper was ready and we had to go.

When I logged in again after supper (a good half-hour later at the least) I was heading merrily down the path, pet in tow, when, imagine my surprise – Mr. Gleeka on his mammoth. He followed me for a little ways and had me targeted; naturally I wasn’t flagged… and then he left. I’d like to think that he made the connection between my tiny, baby hunter and the frost mage who made him eat his own shield repeatedly. I find myself wondering – what do people who do this get out of it? I suppose it’s some kind of power trip. “I can kill your NPCs and stop you from questing, I am so powerful.” I’ve PvPed against paladins before; I am not the world’s greatest at PvP by any means, and they’re usually more than a match for me, so I know that this guy was not especially good, or especially geared. Heck, in the heyday of retribution paladin PvP, I had to check my combat log to see what killed me in a BG. It was like “ALL I SAW WAS GOLDEN LIGHT WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN.” I don’t think I’m better than I was then, so it was satisfying to kill this guy (again, and again). The story has a happy ending because he eventually did give up and go away – but what if he’d been there all night?

My next step would have been to make a lowbie Horde character and just ask him to leave or stop. I don’t know if that’s a wussy sort of thing to do or if it would have worked, but I suppose it can’t hurt to ask. After that, I’m pretty sure that murdering an entire low-level zone could constitute “griefing” and I would have opened a GM ticket for harassment. But on our server, tickets take hours, sometimes even days to be answered, so I don’t really consider that a viable solution. All of this is my roundabout way of saying: I liked having a PvP-geared 80 main to murder this guy, but what if you don’t have that recourse? Have you ever killed low-level NPCs this way (and if so, why?) you can comment anonymously if you think I’m looking to vilify someone. Otherwise, I’m sure most of us have encountered this kind of thing while trying to quest or level – how did you handle it?

p.s. Extra credit for anyone who recognizes where the title is from. Credit towards what, I don’t know. If someone would invent the transporter I would give you a cookie.

Vuhdo HoT Display for Holy Paladins

This is the first time I’ve ever set out to write something instructional here. If you aren’t a Holy paladin, and you aren’t interested in using Vuhdo, you probably won’t be very interested in this. Or perhaps you’re curious. Well, Vuhdo is an addon for healing much like Healbot or Grid. It’s my addon of choice as a resto druid because I love its user friendly configuration and HoT display options. Until today though, I realized that as a holy paladin I wasn’t using it to its fullest potential.

A paladin doesn’t need quite as many HoTs set up as a resto druid does, though. We’re primarily interested in our Sacred Shield, Beacon of Light, and Flash of Light HoTs for tracking. Vuhdo has a built-in option for this in the “Buffs” menu. It lets you know when Beacon of Light or Sacred Shield drop off a specified target. This has worked fine for me up until now, for 5-mans; when I realized that “when it drops off” just wasn’t cutting it. I needed to know when it was going to drop off so I could pre-empt it, and also be able to switch targets mid-fight. I set out to configure Vuhdo to show me. It’s actually quite easy to do once you know where to go.

First off, here is the Vuhdo menu that seems most intuitive for tracking Beacon and SS.

"Buffs" panel, with Config selected.

If you look at it, you can set up a colour for each buff. I go with orange for Beacon, yellow for SS. To the right, you can see how that looks on an actual health bar. The problem with this, as I mentioned above, is that the bars will only light up once the buff has dropped off. Not always such a good thing. It also can’t switch targets mid-fight – so while you may have dropped your beacon on another target because of fight mechanics, this bar will show orange to say “Hey, player X doesn’t have Beacon!” But by default, Vuhdo won’t show you who DOES have Beacon. Because of this, after configuring my HoTs I’ve actually turned it off so that it won’t try to tell me to put Beacon on someone who shouldn’t have it. It makes the tank swapping fights easier to do. But first you need to have this info displaying, and that’s where the next menu comes in.

Vuhdo's configuration menu, at the "Panels" tab.

Instead of going into the Buffs menu, along the bottom tabs, click on “Panels.” Then along the right hand-side, look for “HoT Icons.” This is the menu you will see. Make sure that “Own Hots” is checked off at the upper left hand corner there. Below that, you see what looks like a bewildering jumble of circles, but it’s actually pretty easy to understand when you start to mess around with them. In this example you can see that I have the far left red indicator checked off. At the bottom of the screen, you can see how the HoTs I have selected will display with that option. It puts them off the health bar, in a space to the left. That could work for you if you like that – I don’t prefer it, because it means my eyes have to move away from the health bar itself.

In the center of the menu, you can see the “HoT Order” box there. Each arrow points to a place where you can select the HoT you’d like displayed; from in-most to outer. (In my example above, the orange square is Beacon of Light, Yellow is Sacred Shield, and teal is the FoL HoT. I ordered them that way because I always want Beacon  (often on a solitary target) on the left. When you click the drop-down menu, this is what you’ll see:

You must choose, but choose wisely.

Yes, you can have it display your Gift of the Naaru if you’re a draenei like me (and why wouldn’t you be?!) You can also have it show the Sacred Shield, FoL, and Beacon of other paladins by selecting  the “Others” check boxes to the right. I didn’t bother with this because I was the only paladin in our raid tonight, which is pretty rare. Still, it’s potentially useful to avoid overwriting the shields and beacons of others. In this image you can see I have selected a location for my HoTs different from the first one. I want them inside the health bar, and in the upper half so that they don’t obscure the bar entirely. I’ve also opted to line them up along the left; that way when health is dropping I can see it easily without any boxes in the way, but this is a personal choice, and you’ll see it in action a bit later. Next, you’re going to set up your own colours, in case you hate teal.

Pretty colours.

Along the bottom tabs, click “Colors” right next to “Panels” and then go to “HoTs” along the right hand side. This is what you’ll see, more or less, except I’ve already set up my colours. To change the colour of a HoT, just click on the coloured bar along the left and you’ll get a colour selection menu. Here you can see the colours I’ve defined. The options along the right deal with the text of the icons themselves, and how they act as they tick down. Here the default options are shown, I haven’t changed any of this. You can opt to select “Full Duration” next to any HoT to show it ticking down the entire time it’s running, which could be handy if you need to know as much as possible. I might try this out for Beacon so I’ll always know approximately when the refresh is coming, but it might be information overload.

In raid.

Here’s what the above configuration looks like in an actual raid. You can see the orange button indicating that Vinius is my Beacon of Light target, and Beacon of Light is active on him at this time. Immediately below him is Wallofbricks, the main-tank. He has Sacred Shield on him, and you can see that my Flash of Light HoT is ticking down – it has only 6 seconds remaining. As it ticks the box will fade and then disappear entirely, unless I refresh it first. By default, the Beacon and SS indicators will also begin to show similar timers that can be configured, but that’s getting into more “Vuhdo” things and less “Vuhdo paladin” things.

I suppose it’s generally a “duh” but these simple configurations definitely helped with my healing tonight. I didn’t have any downtime on Beacon or SS, was better able to ensure my tank had the FoL heal, and I am a doofus for not doing this sooner. I know there are great addons for tracking these things, but where possible I like to work with the addons I’m already using and clearly Vuhdo knew how to do it, even if I hadn’t yet done it myself. So don’t be like me if you use Vuhdo, configure these things properly, you’ll be grateful later!

Hopefully that was easy to understand, if you have any questions I’ll be happy to answer them in comments if I know the answer, no guarantees!

Gallery

Counting the Reasons

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Back when there was much discussion going around about the changes to ten and twenty-five person raiding, I wrote a post detailing how excited I was about the changes and why they were a fabulous thing for my raid group. … Continue reading

Axe To The Face – Wait, no, Sword.

The problem with having a healing main spec and a tanking off spec is that you’re always taking up room or pushing someone out. Naturally, in five mans (what Vid does the most) I was either having to force a main-spec tank to play his off-DPS spec, or another main-spec healer to DPS, or in the case of heal/heal specced people, to either tank or not run with them at all. Since it happens that I rather like the people in my guild, and have no desire to tank heroic Halls of Reflection again (it went fine), I decided that I needed to buck up and give Ret another go. I liked the prot spec for soloing old instances and for sheer indestructibility, but it just wasn’t practical when I’m married to a tank anyhow. I really wasn’t having fun tanking random heroics. For the record, I did do a few. Impatient DPS barking at me to go faster, people pulling trash packs before I could even get there… It just wasn’t fun.

So I logged in to have a look at the off-spec Retribution gear I had picked it up. It looked pretty good! My tanking bracers had always been DPS bracers; I had crafted the ret goggles with a meta socket some time ago. I had a 219 necklace from the ToC 5-man, 232 shoulders. My trinkets were/are decent but nothing to write home about. My cape was pretty sucky as was at least one of my rings (I had the other 232 ring from heroic HoR). But it wasn’t bad. I dropped some change to buy a BoE cloak on the auction house, and spent some hard-earned Triumph emblems to replace my awful ring. The only piece I couldn’t immediately replace was the chest. I scraped up my engineering mats to enchant everything. I even have a decent PvP libram.

Things were looking good. I spied on my guild’s ret paladins and found a cookie cutter ret spec and glyphs. I even downloaded a retribution addon that was recommended to me. I put Berserking on my fancy new two-handed sword! I was ready. I asked if any guild folks needed to run a random heroic, surmising that they could deal with my noobish ret behaviour. We got a group together – Voss tanking, a hunter, shaman, resto druid and myself, and we went to Halls of Lightning.

I was excited. I was a RETRIBUTION paladin. An EYE for an EYE, baby. I don’t play melee DPS… you know, ever. I had a very, very brief stint as a cat druid and that’s pretty much it. So I was pretty focused on what lay before me – making sure I was close enough to trash packs, watching my rotation (yes, I get it, ret paladin rotation is to hit face somewhere in the proximity of the keyboard, har de har). So I was doing that, but was very anxious to not be utterly terrible. How was it, then, that I glanced over at Recount to…

Utter, abysmal and complete failure. Horrible. Terrible. Legendary, even. “To be later mocked behind my back,” kind of terrible. I was doing 800 DPS.

800. My level 63 Frost mage does better than that. I was ashamed and confused. “I don’t understand!” I said in Vent. “What am I doing so terribly wrong?”

We went down the list of things I might be failing at.
Was I hitting the shiny buttons in approximately the appropriate order?
Yes.
Was I wearing my healing gear?
No.
Did I have the right Seal?
Sort of.
Was I using the right Aura?
That much, at least, I had right. (It’s called Retribution aura, even I can’t mess that up).

I didn’t understand what was so wrong, and I struggled with the misery of fail and not understanding – right up until we were almost at Loken. In my excitement to crush the mobs with my mad engineering skills, I was left behind the group a little bit. As I ran, I had time to I look down at the chat log. Don’t ask me why I hadn’t looked at it before. The entire box, with a bit of loot spam on either side, was a sea of blue text. Can you guess what that blue text said?

Your skill in two-handed swords has increased to 172.
Your skill in two-handed swords has increased to 173.
Your skill in two-handed swords has increased to 174.
Your skill in two-handed swords has increased to 175.
Your skill in two-handed swords has increased to 176.

Yes, that’s right. Ms. I Always Play Casters fails again. My heirloom weapon, you understand, was a two-handed axe… or a one-handed mace, or sometimes a one-handed sword. So when I decided to try tanking, that wasn’t a problem. My previous ret weapon was also a two-handed axe. Even as a healer, I used to run up and smack things in melee range to keep my skill leveled as I went along). When I got the ICC weapon the other day I was so excited to have a great ret weapon that it completely slipped my mind that “leveling two-handed weapon skill” had been on my “to-do” list. I’m pretty sure I started that instance at zilch.

Yes, it took me the entire instance to see that my weapon skill was leveling as we went. The good news is that after I went and beat the snot out of half of Icecrown for hours, I’ve now maxed out the skill, and subsequent ret DPS has been at much more respectable levels. I wouldn’t say really great, especially not compared to our guild’s very skilled DPS… but more respectable. I’m just glad I decided to try it out with a group of friends and not random puggers. I don’t want to be the person someone else writes about in their blog.

Which brings me to another series of search results. I love them so.

ramparts corpse run – You’ve got the wrong person. But you’re in luck, because Shintar has got you covered.

what do you mean by massochism – It means “You pugged your way to 80,” or if you prefer, “When a man and a woman or a man and a man or a woman and a woman love to whip each other very much…”

scarlet monastery graveyard directions – Honey, if you got lost inside the instance there’s nothing I can do for you. I even went to look up Jame’s Scarlet Monastery Guide to see what he says and it doesn’t even have its own heading. It’s like, “As an afterthought, there’s this other instance. Just sort of go into it and see what happens because you cannot fail.” If you’re wondering how to get there… I think the Chillwind flight point is the closest – nip through the Bulwark and head North to the Monastery, you can’t miss it. As Horde it’s pretty easy because it’s right by Undercity. But why would you need to know that when everyone does LFD?

wow paladin healing new icc 5 mans – You’re going to force me to answer seriously! Anyone else, feel free to chime in with a comment if there’s something I’ve overlooked, or if you disagree or something.

Okay, for Forge of Souls, slap Beacon on the tank and don’t stop healing. No, really. The AoE damage in this instance is pretty heavy. Be ready to emergency heal yourself or bubble at Bronjahm if he fears you out into the Soulstorm. Make sure to move in for Soulstorm. Likewise be ready to bubble when all those ghosts come out at the last boss. And be sure to get behind when he does the OMG-it’s-a-wall-of-death-thing. Hilariously for a few runs I could never get the hang of which side was “behind,” continuously resulting in embarassing death.

For Pit of Saron, stick close to your tank. I hate Garfrost as a paladin healer. The LoS with the rocks, the overzealous DPS who don’t bother to go behind a rock… it’s aggravating. Just… make sure your tank doesn’t die, heal everyone else as much as you can, remember to LoS the debuff, and pray. Ick is pretty easy – your DPS may die to a poison nova or to not running when they’re being pursued, but don’t worry, you can’t heal stupid. You can BoP a pursued person if you’re feeling charitable though. Get ready to use all your “on the move” healing skills when the little magic bubbles start exploding from the ground. Holy shock someone, instant FoL someone else, lather, rinse, repeat, more or less, and that’s the whole fight! I even cast Gift of the Naaru. Shash, it’s useful! For the next bit, I like to mount up and run past those two packs of Vrykul but it can be hard to get a pug to understand it so you may end up just fighting them. Don’t stand in the Hellfire. Make sure your tank has prearranged places to pause in the frost hallway gauntlet – we usually run to the circle in the middle and pause there, then move on. You do have the speed enchant on your boots, right? The last guy is pretty easy; don’t stand in anything icy on the ground; stop healing as much as you can if you get the mark on you (I want to say “Overlord’s Brand,” is that right?). There’s a periodic enrage that will hit your tank pretty hard so be ready to heal heavy damage there, especially if your DPS don’t stop attacking when they have the mark on them. In a pug, that’s not outside the realm of possibility.

For HoR, it’s relatively simple. I tend to vary my Beacon target from instance to instance; not always putting it on the tank, but for this instance definitely do it. You’ll need to heal a lot of other people – including yourself, so it’s a lifesaver here. Dispel things as much as you can, but priority is keep everyone alive through all this silly trash. You fight Falric first – he’s a real pain. When I first started coming here with a lower gear score, the fear that he does (it hurts as you’re feared) would nearly kill me every time. You are your top priority – heal yourself, which will top off your tank, then heal everyone else as much as you can. The amount of healing and damage done decreases as the fight goes on, so heal as much as you can, but it’s important to get him down ASAP. More trash, then the other guy – he’s not nearly as tough. Don’t stand in wells of death on the ground. For the last part, the trash gauntlet – you really have to depend on your group’s competence. The tank will point nasty aboms away from you and keep things from eating your face. If he/she is doing that, then it’s cake. If not, be prepared to bubble and sprint something to a tank or whatever you have to do, and you are home free! Have fun in the ICC 5-mans, they are a happy loot-fest. Except if you sort of want the plate chest that Falric drops. I’m pretty sure it’s a myth.

dwarven eyes – Aren’t they purdy? This search came here no doubt because of Anea and her dwarf. Unless you were looking up some kind of creepy recipe alchemical dead dwarf recipe. What’s wrong with you?!

wow moonkin vs maraudon pristine waters – Aaaand in the right corner, we have the crit chicken, resplendent with feathers, fur, antlers, and socially awkward demeanor. In the left corner… Princess? My money is on the moonkin!

pants of the naaru – It’s a talking chandelier, it doesn’t wear pants.

does “zum’rah’s vexing cane” exist – This kind of search result always makes me laugh and feel a bit sad at the same time. Clearly, someone’s been chain-running Zul’Farrak. They hit google in a fit of frustration, furiously typing. They know very well that the thing exists. Maybe they want to find a Lootseeker’s support group? In any case, it does exist… my paladin has it in her bank…and I’m very sorry.

death knight tanking necessities – You want these folks, not me!

pally point – I think it’s the successor to Power Point, don’t you? Every time you go to a new “slide” there’s a brilliant flash of light that makes the audience go “AUGH” and you have to start every presentation with a warning about epilepsy because being this awesome can trigger envy and other harmful reactions.