Tag Archives: Violet Hold

Chowing down on a bit of stormcrow

I’ll admit it up-front and with absolute sincerity: you guys were right. I wrote a pretty bitter entry last week about how pugs were getting me down; but as with many things it’s usually a safe bet to look at your own actions and attitude before deciding the problem is somebody else.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – the quality of pugs at eighty has been variable. There are jerks out there, it’s just that sometimes they are me. Or more likely to be Voss (just sayin’). Anyway, experimentally the other night when I was having trouble sleeping, I started queuing up for pugs on each of my characters in quick succession. It went a little something like this:

Utgarde Keep: Forget the strudels, have some humble pie.

After writing that last blog post about my beloved characters, I’ve had renewed mage interest. I think It’d be nice for Millya to nab the luscious four-piece mage set bonus before the expansion ends. So I queued her up, and to my surprise the wait wasn’t even that long, soon I was alongside some other good folks in Utgarde Keep. I wasn’t off to a strong start when I found that I couldn’t cast Arcane Brilliance. What the heck, why not? No reagents. It didn’t even make sense, because I’m of the school of preparedness that never has me leave home without a stack of at least 100 of the things. No matter, I just cast the single buffs. But whoops, what’s this? I hadn’t realized I was in Frost spec. Well…Frost is nice for heroics, it won’t be a problem, right?

It wouldn’t have been a problem, except that I’d forgotten a key detail. Frost is my all-out, balls-to-the-wall PvP spec. I remembered this to my chagrin as the tank skirted by a pack of mobs to continue on to the next corridor… Speak (my beloved water elemental) was not so happy to do so. I saw him go charging by and my heart sank. Oh crap… he was set to aggressive. I like him to charge around and attack everybody, you know – when I’m in a battleground.

Wearing only a thin bit of cloth and whimpering, I blinked down the hallway hoping that the tank would notice the pack of angry Vrykul chasing us. Fortunately for me, he did, and we killed them amid my abject apologies. I don’t think the tank was too mad, because he just said “heh,” and that was all that was said the whole instance. The rest passed without incident; I switched back to Arcane mid-way through, actually did decent damage, and finished up. That’s not a knock against Frost mages, incidentally. It’s just that my Frost spec is very PvP-centric, so it can’t put out the kind of numbers I can with Arcane. It was only later when I went to check my mail, incidentally, that I found out what had happened to my arcane powder.

In a fit of summer inventory cleaning – I’d put it on the auction house. I’m still shocked that nobody wanted it!

This is my mage being fearsome.

Violet Hold: So you’re healing, right?

Next up I queued my super moonkin, Shae, for a heroic. I chose only DPS because it was late, and I didn’t really want the responsibility of healing. I joined the group happily as the load screen for Violet Hold came up. Great, Violet Hold! I love this place because my Starfall can’t accidentally pull extra mobs. Not that I would ever do that.

The only aberration as we zoned in was the night elf with the little plus sign next to his portrait. A priest, okay then. He looked sort of…shadowy, for a healing priest. I figured that he intended to drop shadow form and throw out a few heals when necessary, and so I didn’t question him. A few portals in, though, I was starting to wonder. Most of the group was at half health, the tank was even lower. I dropped moonkin form to HoT us all up, and then went back to DPSing. As the instance went on, I realized that he had absolutely no intention of throwing a direct heal, ever. (This was borne out by the stats at the end – all of his healing was Vampiric Embrace healing).

Granted, he still did quite a bit of Vampiric Embrace healing. More than I did with my direct healing. But as healers know, it’s not just how much you healed but rather when you healed that matters. I suppose I could have bitched at him. Frankly, I think queuing as a healer in order to nab a quick queue when you aren’t actually healing is pretty lame. But I wasn’t in the mood for an argument, so instead I took it as a personal challenge. I wanted to do the maximum amount of DPS, while still keeping the group alive. I managed both goals; as we finished Violet Hold a little while later. I mopped the floor with his DPS and I’d been healing. Nobody died, DPS was done, and Frost emblems were collected. It was actually one of the more fun heroics I’ve run in awhile.

This was the best moonkin screenshot I had in my folder: moonkin jousting. Because that's just how we roll.

Then for a final bit Reflection (Halls, that is).

Commonly accepted as the place where many pugs go to die, it’s the instance that Vidyala heals the most. I guess it’s because her gear is good enough (I’m not sure exactly how the LFD system works) and that many people queue for it specifically because of loot they want. So when I say “I’m willing to heal something at random,” someone else out there is saying, “HoR please.” I joined the group to heal (even though I just said that I hadn’t wanted to heal as my druid) primarily because I’m more comfortable healing with Vid than DPSing. The group consisted of another paladin tanking, a warrior and a mage in charge of the DPS. I’m sure there was another DPS there… but I can no longer remember who they were. They didn’t say a thing the whole time!

The pally tank, on the other hand, made sure we knew exactly what he wanted. “Get in the corner please,” he said. Obligingly, we all filed into the little alcove and crowded into the corner as we waited for the first trash. The trash continued with no problem. I’ll be honest here, I love healing HoR. I don’t think any amount of gear would make it boring. There’s never a time when I can sit back, relax, and stop healing. It was great! I even like fighting Falric. When I was first healing that fight at eighty it gave me hives. Now, I like to see that I can fill those green bars back up to 100% even though the healing/damage reduction debuff is increasing all the time. Even the fear that he does isn’t quite so nerve-wracking; it used to bring me within a hair’s breadth of death.

After we killed Falric, our intrepid tank said “CORNER,” and then “SORRY CAPS,” and I had to laugh. I told him, “Tank, you’re making me feel like my dog.” (“Go lie down! No, over there. Do it nowwww.”) The group laughed, but the tank remained firm. The corner was the place to be. After we’d killed more interminable trash waves and Marwyn, the tank paused to tell the mage (I think they were friends) what to expect from the next part. He concluded ambiguously with “experience a bitch.” As we were killing the next trash, the warrior yelled “BLADES OF LIGHT.” Again I laughed and asked him about it, and the ensuing conversation took us through the chase scene. He said, “It’s like Herod!” I asked him if it was a macro or did he just yell it when the mood struck him. He told me it was a macro with Bladestorm but only when he also popped his trinkets and some other ability, because he didn’t want to be spammy or anything. I only saw him yell it once during the instance, which means 1) he’s succeeding at not being spammy, but also 2) bad DPS! think of all of those wasted trinket opportunities.

Unfortunately there was no useful loot for either the mage or our warrior, but we parted with friendly exclamations on all sides.

I actually had this in my screenshots folder. I'm not sure why.

So, just a quick recap. In the first pug, I was the doofus. In the second, compensating for someone being something of a doofus was quite fun, and in the third everyone was nice, it went very smoothly, and no one was a doofus. Maybe it’s the difference in attitude (mine), maybe it’s that pugs are meant to be experienced purely as a “true” pug – no guildies, friends or relations, just you and four random strangers. All I know is that I had a good time, and I haven’t begrudged the time spent in LFD to pick up extra frost emblems for the past week or so at all.

I seem to have misplaced my pants.

A funny thing is happening with my pug runs lately. I haven’t been able to connect much with Lara so I’ve just been doing a few randoms on my own. But the strange thing is, they’re getting exceedingly…competent. Nothing funny is happening as a result of this, which is something of a relief but also leads to a strange feeling of… I’m not sure what to call the feeling. In any case, my guild’s two very vocal protection paladins have been badgering me about being Prot. One of them referred disparagingly to me in the manner of, “Well, what can you do with a pally who won’t tank, anyway?” and the other one insisted “But you could see things the way I see them!” I told him that:

1) I have little to no gear for this venture. Especially, no shield.
2) Learning to tank in pugs at nearly 80 would probably not go well. Learning to tank in heroics would be even worse, so conditionally I’ll only do it if I can drag some guildies along. Which is actually a terrible idea because they’re all ICC-geared and will pull from me casually and effortlessly, but at least they probably wouldn’t die. We had our ret paladin tank Oculus the other day without a single death. How does it make tanks feel to be superfluous? Probably the same way I feel when I’m “healing” my husband’s warrior tank.

Anyway, so I told our pally tank these things, and he said, “You have a shield, you have a healing shield!” and I laughed at him. Then my Violet Hold run came up, and this tanking shield dropped. The tank already had it. With an inward sigh, I piped up, “Does anyone mind if I take that for offspec?” Nobody minded. I have a tanking shield.

“The WoW gods!” pushy paladin proclaimed. “They’re trying to tell you!”

I queued for another random, this time winding up in Gundrak. The only remarkable thing about this Gundrak run was that, firstly, the paladin tank was pretty tough to heal. In an “OMG why is she taking so much damage it’s just trash”  kind of way. We went on like this for a little ways, myself not understanding, but not having time to look at her gear (can’ttalkhealingguys). I couldn’t even remark on it or ask her what was up because I just had to be continuously healing her. I can’t work in these conditions! Anyway, it dawned on me, long after the first boss and somewhere near the trash before the “I’m a purple mojo, no wait, I’m a construct” boss.

She was level 74. The trash in Gundrak is 77, and the bosses are 78. There’s a reason they were beating the everloving snot out of her. That she was even able to hold aggro on them was impressive to me, and I told her so. The whole group loved her, we made it through without any problems…and a tanking ring dropped. Everyone greeded on it. “Does anyone mind if I take that for offspec?” I asked again. Nobody did. If the loot gods have a message for me, I’m not listening.

Unfortunately, presently I’m conflicted. Actually I’m not conflicted at all, I’m decided. Experience gains from Northrend dungeons is the pits. There, I said it. I can do a whole instance like Gundrak, and it’ll net me two bars or something. I can do three quests and get the same. So I’ve quested in some strategic spots to creep my way to level 80 – Zul’drak, for a few quest rewards. These were necessary quest rewards, primarily because…

I disenchanted my pants. Yes. In an effort to make room, I said, “Oh, look at these crappy green pants,” crush, crush, sparkly magic dust, and then later I went to heal something. “…where are my pants?”

So I had to quest to find a new pair of pants. I also want the Argent Crusade folks to love me because they offer some good pants to wear at level 78, with a socket even. Things To Cover My Rear are a primary concern for me, you see. And they also have a ring I can wear once I’m Exalted with them and 80. I don’t know how much of this gear will be obsolete, but I’d really like to minimize the amount of ilevel 200 crafted gear I’ll need. I did buy some BoEs, but it seems that largely, the gear from normal instances is aimed at letting you move into heroics, if you have enough of it, right? This could be a misconception on my part, but I feel that with a solid tank I shouldn’t need too much in the way of additional fancy sparklies of the crafted variety. More on that when I get to eighty and get crushed.

And it will happen soon, oh yes. I quested through a bit of Icecrown yesterday (I wanted the Cannoneer’s Fuselighter, and also to hear Tirion shout “THE TIME OF THE ARGENT CRUSADE IS NOW. Fight them with the fire of a thousand burning suns in your heart!” or similar).

So, to make a long story short: I’d like to be 80! It would take a zillion pugs between 77 and 80 without any questing to do it. Shiny paladin heals are fun. Here are some search results from this week:

helmet dropped in scarlet monastery: This is a good thing, isn’t it? I’m not sure why you had to google it. Did you feel guilty? It dropped and then I ROLLED ON IT. That makes you, you know, someone who runs instances. It’s cool.

stuck outside maraudon of instance dead: You have to head towards the cave. Then run in circles awhile. Head towards the colour of crystals you were doing. In my case, this was usually purple.

scarlet monastery lost in graveyard: I’m really sorry, but you’re beyond help. You’re worse than I am, and I’m pretty bad.

underwear outside pants: You can thank Vid’s earlier, dubious fashion choices for this bizarre search result.

Oh, the shame.

ninja! shadowfang keep: I think this is my favourite search result, somewhat related to the one below it. I was talking about the sneaky orcs in Shattered Halls, but of course it would lead to people indignant about loot ninjas in their groups. It’s the exclamation point that makes it, I think. It conveys a sense of shock and resentment. There! Was! A! Ninja!

shattered halls ninjas: I’d say, “Don’t worry, you’ll run it again and get the same loot,” but even I only ran Shattered Halls once, so I’m very sorry for your troubles.

biggest ninja: It wasn’t me, I swear.

things you’re not supposed to notice
: In my case, it was a chipper rogue I wasn’t supposed to notice, but I like that it’s bringing conspiracy theorists here, maybe. There are so many things you aren’t supposed to notice! Thoughtcrime is death. “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they they have rebelled they cannot become conscious,” etc.

tank map of gnomer?
: Cassandri made a really spiffy one.

Even the patience of the Draenei has its limits

Vidyala has had ridiculously awesome luck with loot drops since beginning Northrend instances. It’s as if the Loot Gods look and say, “Lo, and it shall be healing plate,” and it is. I’ll admit something to you all here. This is what I envisioned when I rolled a holy Paladin. So many times I’d seen spellpower plate dropping and thought, “That stuff drops so often, and there’s no one here to take it. If only I had a holy paladin, she would be so well-dressed.” Yes, the motivating factor behind my alt-project, avarice, of course. It’s even working; she’s starting to be so well-dressed! I even had a fancy chestpiece drop, that I don’t wear but I was tempted. Losing 10% of my XP gain is bad, but the chestpiece itself has better stats than my heirloom.

Of the slots in which I am not wearing heirlooms, Vid has:

Head: Unbreakable Healing Amplifiers (an iLevel 200 I can wear at level 72, with a meta socket…thank you, Engineering!)
Neck: Mark of the Spider (BoE zone drop in Azjol-Nerub)
Back: Cloak of Azure Lights (OK, this one was a quest reward… the cloak from Jedoga in Old Kingdom dropped but I lost the roll to a warlock).
Wrist: Glowworm Cavern Bindings (BoE zone drop in Old Kingdom, mail, but it replaced wrists I had from a quest in Nagrand)
Off-hand: Tharon’ja’s Aegis (Tharon’ja in Drak’tharon Keep)
Hands: Aura Focused Gauntlets (Krik’thir the Gatewatcher in Azjol-Nerub)
Waist: Crawler-Emblem Belt (Elder Nadox, Old Kingdom)
Feet: Greaves of the Blue Flight (Ormorok the Tree Shaper, Nexus)

Basically, if Loot For A Paladin can drop, it has dropped, including BoE stuff that my group members were kind enough to let me have (even in one case of mail). I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I’m also a bit obsessive so I’m planning gear for 80.

For anyone else who might be gearing up a healing paladin sometime soon, here are the resources I’ve found. I welcome the addition of any I may have missed, in the comments! Some of them are unfortunately a bit outdated (e.g. Banana Shoulders, it’s a great guide but it was written before the current tier of emblems, and before the ICC and ToC instances).

Paladincraft.net’s Holy Paladin Gearing

Elitist Jerks Holy Paladin Thread

Banana Shoulders Pre-Raid Holy Paladin Gear List

Wowhead Forum topic someone else wrote about gearing their alt holy spec

Since I’ve hit Northrend with Vid, a funny thing is happening with my pugs. I’m awash in the sheer volume of them. It used to be easy to write an entry, “Oh, I went to this hour-long instance, I’ll write about that.” Now I’ve done Nexus something like six times.

One time was with a paladin tank who had apparently fallen from the sky, into Nexus, with little notion of how to use any of his tools and bad gear to match. He was incredibly hard to heal and I think still learning to tank – or had just queued as a tank for the fast queue times. He was slow. And I’m not of the “gogogo” school, I’d never pull for the tank, or be rude, but this guy was ponderously…just inching his way…through the instance. We could still be there, that’s all I’m saying.

I got dropped into Azjol-Nerub with a tank who was actually from my own server, and I remembered again what Veneretio said about how the dungeon tool is ruining your chances for raid tanking. I don’t know about that in this guy’s case, but I am surprised at the people who don’t seem interested in making connections even when they COULD. I mean, he seemed like a competent tank, I whispered him but he didn’t answer me (I’ll usually ask, “Hey, mind if I add you to my friends’ list?” This tank didn’t want to be my friend, which is fine, but really – how many people would pass up the opportunity to meet a decent enough healer, who isn’t a jerk and seems friendly? Before LFD, my friends list (on my old server) was crowded with tanks I’d met in pugs. I actually once logged over from one healer to another after running a pug with a tank, and he whispered me, “Hey, would you like to come heal xyz,” and I had to laugh because I’d just been running with him. He didn’t know they were both my characters, he’d just noted me as a healer on separate occasions. But nowadays, I guess people figure why bother to make friends on your server? Your next dungeon run is an instant queue away, and there’s a revolving merry-go-round of people willing to fill each role.

I know it’s ironic, coming from me, considering the name and focus of this blog so far, but I find this immensely disheartening. I said from the very beginning that my reason for pugging was that I enjoy the social and teamwork aspect of the game. I didn’t want to silently quest to 80 on yet another character, all by my lonesome. And for me, the experiment with Vidyala has been a smashing success, not the least of which is because a few people with stray characters have come to visit on Moonrunner. I’ve met great people, expanded my social circle – I’ve even met people on my server who happen to read here for some reason or other, which is really cool. But I’ve yet to meet more than a passing acquaintance through a pug. I used to meet people that way all the time.

Anyway, my failpug story for this entry comes to you from Azjol-Nerub, an instance so simple it’s hard to imagine that anyone could mess it up. Yet somehow, this DK tank did. We zoned in and pulled the first trash pack; everything was looking fine, we had no problems, and then the action ground to a halt. We looked back at the tank – he was just standing there. “Did he disconnect?” someone wondered. We did the WoW-equivalent of waving a hand in front of his face. We waited a few minutes, people grumbling. We tried to kick him (still had to wait 12 minutes before being able to kick him). We’d just started thinking about dropping group when miraculously, he moved! Without a word of apology or explanation, he ran in to aggro the next patrol (in Azjol-Nerub, one of the three-packs before the first boss).

The problem is, he was terrible. Aggro? He’d never heard of it. I know that the skirmisher has no aggro table, so that’s not his fault, but it wasn’t the only loose mob. I was web-wrapped and nobody freed me. I lost two DPSers on the first pull…and then we all started to panic as the next pack came towards us (I wasn’t able to get off a rez in time)… the tank had gone AFK. Again.

He came back and said, “Why is everyone dead!” I replied, “That’s what happens when you AFK in the middle of a pull,” while the shadow priest chimed in, “Seriously? You don’t know that these packs are all tied together?” It’s not rocket surgery to figure out when a pug is going south fast with no hope of recovery. I told the tank, “I will rez you, but then I’m out of here, this isn’t worth my time, sorry guys.” That’s what 59-odd levels of pugging have taught me – some pugs aren’t worth saving, it’s best to just put it down. I  have no guilt.

Somewhere in there I had my first Violet Hold run (uneventful). I’m starting to run into people whose 80 friends are running normals with them. It made healing the VH tank sort of a joke. I could have been retribution for that run I think, easily. When I’m not running pugs I’ve been doing a few other things – going back to do now-grey Hellfire quests for the Honor Hold rep. Do you know the quest where you have to assist the Draenei anchorite with an exorcism? He gives you the prayer beads that the dog stole and buried (I think Rades may have mentioned this…)

Anyway, I was doing that quest the other day, and you can target either the anchorite or the “released darkness” (floating skulls). I kept having to retarget the NPC to use the beads on him. Of course NPCs all do that oddly jarring “generic response” thing when you click them, which often leads to funny times:

Very angry human NPC in quest text! But you click him and he says, “Hey there!”

This Draenei was the opposite! I clicked on him the first time and he said, “You have other matters to attend to, yes?”

Sure, I’m helping you with the prayer bead thing. Look, see? I clicked him again.

“The Naaru frown upon such behaviour,” he admonished me.

But I’m just trying to help out! I target and click him again. He says, “Even the patience of the Draenei has its limits,” and then at another click, “I think I hear someone calling you…” This poor NPC just wants me to leave him alone so he can do his “Back, demon!” thing. I was really just being helpful.

It was the final one that broke me, though. In a tone of increasing irritation and despair, there in the midst of the exorcism, the Draenei demanded to know, “Who taught you to act like this?!” NPCs have it rough.

p.s. – I heard a little something about changes to the way that raids work. I’m sure you have too, unless you’re living under a rock. I’ll probably write about them sometime soon, maybe after the furor dies down a little. My unadulterated glee is having trouble expressing itself in 8000 words or less.

p.p.s. – The only funny search result that brought someone here this week was “Straight outta Gnomeregan.” The rest of them are variations of “I died in Blood Furnace,” “How do I get my corpse out of Blood Furnace,” and “Blood Furnace corpse run.” The answer? You came to the very, very wrong place, it took me at least twenty minutes.