Friday, 2 September 2011

Unfriendly Fire

What happens when you put an out of practice Holy Priest with ilvl359 gear, who has experience up to and NOT INCLUDING Nefarian in to 10-man Ragnaros? Click the Lightwell went in to find out!

Let me put it this way, I'm still patting the fire out on my robes, the embroidery is ruined.

Raid: Firelands 10 man Normal
Boss: Ragnaros

Comp: Tanks x2, Healers x3, DPS x5

Now I can't speak for those who have got to this stage normally, i.e. DOING ANY OTHER BOSS IN THE RAID EVER. So this is less raid analysis and more a hilarious (and painful) anecdote, and an interesting experience.

It's worth mentioning that:

In fact I was enjoying Deus Ex, which as you all know is effing superb (What? You don't? Go educate yourself.) when MiniMorvel kindly invited me to heal a 'bloggers Zulroic'. It was only when I got there and saw who else was in the group that I realised it was a group made almost entirely of the alts of healers. I'd tell you what happens when you fill a group with healers but what happens in Zul'Aman stays in Zul'Aman.

So, Raggy, it's worth mentioning that I was the only one in the group who hadn't been before. I was initially completely fail at avoiding the waves of lava caused by Sulfuras Smash. This surprised me as I rarely have an issue with slow-moving get Out Of The Way mechanics. I'm only playing WoW on and off at the moment though, much less raiding, much less raiding several bosses above my station. The result of which was severe tunnel-vision on my UI, in the end my raid leader (also a healer) suggested I pay more attention to the tactics for now and he'd pick up the slack. This was good advice, everyone else knew what to do so I had a little room to be slower on heals and quicker on getting out of the way of various forms of creatively entitled fire.

After a couple of wipes I was avoiding them completely and had P1-2 tactics pretty much down, between DBM and my raid leader's well-timed calls, wasn't missing a trick all the way in to phase 3. However, our set up and composition meant that losing any DPS made phase 3 a real struggle, in the end we didn't down him that night. Living Meteor gave me a hell of a run the one time it targeted me and I realised I had no instant offensive spell readily available to me, so I ran around screaming for a bit with my spellbook open all over my UI and slammed Shadow Word: Death. It was too late though. Lesson learned, SW:D is in one of my action bars.

The ability that really kept catching me out though was Engulfing Flames and this frustrated me. Maybe I was just too tired by this point but I could not react fast enough when I know that's not normally a problem. I'd like to see how I handle this on a second run through, hopefully it was just fluke spaziness.

The last point to mention is that I was surprised at how well my mana was holding up since this is still normally an issue in raids (not at all in HCs). We had two healing priests and a Shadow priest, so 3 Hymn of Hope potentials plus other class cooldowns at our disposal, but I found I could go for a good while without using it (I was popping Shadowfiend early though, around 70% mana).

I felt pretty guilty about the wipes that could be attributed, at least in part, to me but on the other hand I'm totally out of practice and the encounter is far above my gear level. I still managed to have a great time with good friends and guildies though, epic win.


Friday, 3 June 2011

Recent Raids Revisited

Thought I'd chime in on what it's like to revisit bosses after a short break from raiding. We did Maloriak and Atramedes, everyone was better geared and many of us have downed these two at least three or four times now.

Maloriak went down first time without a hitch. It's not surprising how much more you can notice when you're not tunnel-visioned on green bars suddenly dipping (better-geared tanks) or mana bar creeping towards empty (better geared me). From cosmetic things like getting a chance to watch player and boss animations and effects to being able to mitigate far more effectively because you can physically see something about to happen and start casting before the fact. This makes for a much more pleasant healing and raiding experience and fewer panic heals = more mana. Always nice.

Atramedes, never too much of a mana-problem fight due to the relatively heal-quiet air phase, took a few gos, mainly due to silly mistakes (one of which was mine, I made a poor directional decision to avoid a slinky and of course ended up being the one having to kite flame right across the tank, no-one died though) which made me realise how far the balance of tacs to gear was weighted more heavily on the tacs side, which is no bad thing.

I picked up Jar of Ancient Remedies which I haven't had much of a chance to use yet, would be interested to hear from anyone making use of it.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Blog watch: Maei's a Bastard Edition

So when I'm at work working where I work, I don't get a chance to eat nice food. My so-called 'friend' Maei, however, is still a small child who never goes to school and instead taunts me with stories of the delicious noms he has throughout the day. He's posted an (admittedly very funny) video about it that's completely not accurate.

Oh, he has a new WoW blog by the way.


PS. If he offers you a sandwich from under his shirt, avoid eye-contact and politely decline.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Tier 12 armour viewer: How shiny are YOU?

WoWhead has a really neat 3D model viewer for the tier 12 sets - you choose your class, race,gender and even colour of the set. I miss the high level armour sets tool that the official site used to have but this looks like a great alternative.


Click the Flamewell: 4.1 and 4.2 PTR impressions

Having had a bit more of a chance to play without as much danger of a RL sleep debuff wiping my group, I feel that I now can give some proper opinion on the latest live patch.


I like the Guild Finder, but it feels like it should still be on the test realms in it's current state. Not because it's buggy, but because it feels decidedly incomplete. An addition of specific weekday requirements as well as the ability to use it while guilded are, in my opinion, essential - with the addition of guild perks pretty much everyone's alts are guilded too, I had to make a new character to check out the guild finder. I also would make it not possible to leave the 'description' part of guild entries blank - the other information provided is as useful as seeing the guild plate above someone's head. Similarly I would like to be able to call up more information about a guild that looks interesting, such as an introduction and links to websites.

I have benefited from the Dungeon Finder's Call to Arms a couple of times, never with very good loot but nevertheless a good incentive. Queue times have been lightning but I'll be interested to see how they're affected once everyone's settled into the patch.

"A dead player can now be resurrected by targeting them using the Party or Raid Frame even if they have released. No more hunting for corpses." THANK YOU.

I''m thoroughly enjoying endless Chakra. Holy now feels like there's specs within specs as it's less of a Chakra dance, which promoted more swapping between them (or accidentally setting off Sanctuary in 5-mans because you forgot your Chakra was up when casting PoM pre-pull. Not that I ever, ever did that). Similarly the removal of another unnecessary refresh in the form of Inner Fire is welcome. I haven't had a chance to use the new and improved Sanctuary, but it's pretty.

It's good to finally get to run the Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub instances, I haven't been playing long enough to have done them at  70 so they were an entirely new experience to me. I feel they're a good addition to Heroics both visually and mechanically, but I think we'll see a some similar nerfing down the line. Most bosses are fine but I find the end bosses easier than a few of the others which doesn't feel right.

4.2 PTR

There's only one thing I really want to talk about in this early stage of the next patch's PTR presence: Cauterizing Flames; the healing priest 4-piece set bonus for tier 12.

Lightwell 2? Flamewell? I'm going to need more abusive macros. Lightwell remains a Holy priest's most theoretically effective ability, I'm sure you can guess what the operative word is there. In fairness I've seen more and more lightwell-aware players recently (Lightaware?) but do they need yet another thing to click on? Or will it encourage clicking good stuff ass a matter of course? We shall see.

It's an interesting addition for disc though, which reinforces my impression of disc (which I play as for dailies but not in groups and occasionally in raids) as a heavy utility spec with Inner Focus and Pain Suppression and talents which proc. It's no bad thing, in fact these little tricks are what give disc it's charm, especially now they're (slightly) less of a bubble-bot.


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Saga's 20 days of WoW challenge: Day 9

I'm back! But still not over the jet-lag. So it's just as well the next installment of Saga's challenge is an easy one! And apt, in fact, as it was to do with the 4.0.6 PTR patch notes.

I intend to give my impressions of the 4.1 patch at some point this week, because I have opinions. However, every time I've played WoW for more than an hour since I got back my head slams the keyboard and makes a loud snoring kind of noise, and I can't heal like that (I'm not a Paladin after all *snigger* *snort*)

Day 09 – Your first post

Click the tooltip to view the post. It was the first boss nerf we'd seen in Cata (after all the spouting about HCs meaning to be hard in Cata) and Holy priests got Chakra for 60 seconds up from 30 - I'm already used to endless Chakra so 60 seconds is laughable and 30 is just sadface.


Monday, 25 April 2011

Quiet 'round here

Because I forgot to mention I'm in holiday this week, I'm in Arizona, which is a stunningly beautiful state. So far I've been to Tempe, Scottsdale and I'm currently sitting in a café in Prescott with a stuffed croissant the size of your head. Good times, back at the weekend.


Monday, 18 April 2011

Best WoW-related present I ever got.

Keep meaning to put this up. My 25th birthday card, a couple of months before Cataclysm landed, from the best man I know <3


Good PUG gone bad

Saga's been celebrating her one year blogoversary by suggesting topics for anyone who wants one. It's a great idea and here's what she thought up for me:

"Okay, I’m a little bit uncertain about if you PUG a lot – or at all.. but if you do.. how about a post on how to save a bad PUG? (If there is a way!) Or how to save a bad raid. You know the kind.. the one where everyone seems to be in a funk and everything goes wrong. Be creative! It doesn’t have to be a serious take on it if you don’t want to. (Personally I’m all for lightening the mood by punting the gnome into the lava pit in BWD.)"

Last time I gnome-bashed I had a small pink pigtailed gnome, who shall remain nameless, tugging at my robe and giving me little gnome evils. So I'll save that for later when she's less likely to kick me in the ankle.

Saga suggested either PUGs or raids, dealing with a bad raid situation is harder to generalise because the likelihood is that you're in a guild group and the difficulties that arise are far more subjective, in my experience. PUGs, on the other hand, have a few recurring themes that can turn them as sour as a gnome in front of a 'You Must Be This Tall To Ride' chart at a theme park.

I PUG a fair bit, if there's no guildies available to run my daily HC I have no hesitation in hopping in the queue, my wait in Cata averages about 5 minutes. Of the many ways it can go horribly wrong, here are my top 5 good PUGs gone bad and how to deal with them:

Normally this is some tool who tops Recount simply because their ADHD means they are top-notch button spammers. Your tank and/or healer should deal with this otherwise progrssion will stall as an inter-DPS e-peen Recount happens. Either way, politely point out why you've stopped (mb/marking up) and if they continue to make a fuss then initiate a kick vote. I'm not in to being rude but I'm also not in to giving people in PUGs second chances.

There is reasonable and unreasonable ragequit. Reasonable would include a tank getting fed up of DPS pulling when he's repeatedly politely asked them to wait until he has solid aggro, or a healer not being waited for during mana breaks. If you're another member in a group like this; consider whether it's worth spending a whole dungeon with these douchebags too. If you choose to stay that's on your head and you're just going to provoke further douchebaggery by complaining further.

Know it all
As well-meaning as this may or may not be, nobody likes to feel that others are being condescending towards them. Whichever side of this you're on, consider the intentions of the other side, if it's clearly well-meant then try to be polite, which can be hard I know, but the group will have more respect for you than if you snap back. If it's clearly antagonistic then in my view it's up to you to either politely decline the advice, ignore it, or tell them where to stuff a Tirisfal pumpkin. 

Whichever way you look at it, it's better to whisper a person informing them they've 'forgotten' to take off their PvP gear than announce to the party that the 'nub tank iz in PvP gearz lol! ok is my bedtime nao bye'.

Reactions here are largely determined by at which point in the dungeon you are. If it's the first trash pull, try not to ragequit as everyone may not have been quite ready, any more than that though and I'll generally cut my losses and walk, instead of spending 40 minutes wishing I was being forced to chew glass instead.

More often, though, it'll be a certain boss and the issue will be with tactics rather than ability (if it's ability prepare to run screaming back to your home city of choice, because you have a problem 5 random people in a PUG can't fix). There will normally be at least one person willing to patiently explain the tactics in brief, but it's not reasonable to expect a bunch of randoms to wipe endlessly while trying to carry you through a PUG. That's what guilds are for. So come prepared or prepare to be kicked.

The Intolerable
Certain behaviours deserve an instant reaction in my opinion, wether that's vote-kick, walking, or reporting. These include anyone being racially/sexually abusive, ninjas, overuse of targetted swearing, AFKers.

The rule I personally use as a barometer for whether or not to stay in a PUG turning bad is by asking myself one simple question: "Would I rather chew the arse off a rabid murloc than drag these dickweeds through a full heroic run?" If the answer's 'yes' then you're better off leaving group. And getting help.


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Descendant Council

I'm still looking for a guild, but raided as backup the other day with group one of my current guild. We cleared the usual suspects in BWD to get them set up to face Nefarian, and then Bastion of Twilight to clear the way to Cho'Gall. This was my first time fighting Ascendant Council, in which I learned the more subtle advantages of watching tactic videos beforehand.

Raid composition: x2 tanks, x2 healers (Holy priest, Holy priest), x6 DPS

I was late back from work and the guild leader rang me as I was stuffing half a Kinder bunny into my face, asking if I could come to raid like, right now. This meant that I had no time to watch a TankSpot tactics video before going in, which I've never  done before as I like to be as prepared as possible for a new encounter. Everyone else had killed this boss and he's good at explaining tactics, so I didn't worry too much about it.

Tacs seemed very simple, and they are, but I managed to wipe us almost immediately by not appreciating that, not only will the fire/water/wind/earth elemental graphics buff you, but going near them drags you in. Thus if you're strafing and healing (i.e. slightly tunnel-visioned) then you can get too close to some quaking earth when you're meant to have the tornado buff and get increasingly embarrassed as, one-by-one, your raid goes down and you can feel the nine facepalms from behind screens. Once that was sorted out they went down in good time.

It's an easy fight for healers, so if it's not checked with a green tick in your achievement yet go and do it!


Thursday, 7 April 2011

Saga's 20 days of WoW challenge: Day 8

Slack updating! Some bits and bobs have been going on with other my other online projects, and since I'm still in a position of no raiding I haven't been playing WoW much. Many thanks to those who commented and emailed me their guild offers, I will certainly be considering my position carefully.

When you get down to it though, I'm so far behind in Saga's challenge!

Day 08 – 10 things we don’t know about you

I haven't really been around long enough for anyone to know the first thing about me, I thought this would be easy! It wasn't. Nevertheless:

1. I use a Razer Naga. I wrote this before I wrote my review on them. It still counts.

2. I use a combination of Bagnon and Mr Plow to organise my bags and bank. I nearly went spare when Mr Plow wasn't working on a recent patch, my OCD knows no bounds.

3. My favourite coffee is Illy, I don't raid without being under the influence.

4. Reala's name is from one of my favourite video games NiGHTS into Dreams which was released on the doomed SEGA Saturn in 1996.

5. My other favourite games through time are Sonic & Knuckles with Sonic the Hedgehog 3 plugged in to the top (Knuckles ftw!), Pokemon Yellow (I liked having Pikachu around ok), Rainbow Six Vegas and Bioshock.

6. I'm a graphic designer by day, illustrator by night.

7. My favourite armour set is tier 9 (for Horde priests anyway) and Reala always wears it for 'publicity shots' (see above). It was the first full set I acquired but, and I feel this is almost more important, it's beautiful. Tier sets since have really, REALLY missed the mark for me since, they're homogeneous and gimmicky and I find myself unable to identify classes easily by their armour when standing around Orgrimmar, which is bad design imo.

8. I live on a farm with three horses, three cats, two dogs and intermittently sheep and chickens. I have been known to bolt during the middle of a raid to chase down an escaped pony. We have better fences now.

9. In old Orgrimmar I sat in the Valley of Strength on a roof near the Auction House. In new Orgrimmar I sit in the Valley of Wisdom on the ledge behind the totem.

10. Undead male casting is my favourite animation.


Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Sad news stacks

Sad news 1:

Sad news 3: It is unfortunate that I'm once again in the process of looking for a guild. Despite all that I've heard regarding guilds finding it difficult to recruit, no-one has responded to my LF guild postings in trade chat, and the few I've approached don't have the right raiding days for me.

So if anyone knows of a guild looking for a Holy priest (Disc offspec) with a good attitude then let me know either in the comments or via email. My constrictions are as follows:

- 10-man raiding preferred.
- I will move server for the right guild, must be stable.
- I will not change faction. (I can't heal gnomes I just.... I just can't).
- I can raid Tuesday and Thursday evenings, I will be online at other times for out-of-the-blue raiding or backup but can not guarantee other days.


Saturday, 19 March 2011

Call to Arms: Certify your blog a RIFT Free Zone Vol 2.

UPDATE: Time to put this thing to bed I think. Thanks to those who commented constructively and politely this week, trolls can crawl back in to their holes.

It's been an interesting evening here at CtL but the time has come to clarify a few things. Less for the benefit of those who can't think of anything better to say than 'stupid shit', but for the reasonable people who just didn't quite get what my last post was about. Shall we start with some pictures? Yeah lets do that.

UPDATE: (which has a really nice background at the moment) has picked up on it and also used the Starship Troopers thing below, nice touch even if they confuse my gender even more than most.

UPDATE: Massively: Picks out the most emo line in the post to feature. I do feel a bit emo about that whole thing. Thanks chaps!

PC Gamer: Who thought I may have been on the Rift marketing team and that I was demanding things. I'm not doing either but Dan eventually established that I could still be described as 'subtly brilliant'.

Quarter to Three: I hadn't even heard of these guys but I love this blog! Great name too, read why it's called that in the About section. They take the title for My Favourite Headline Ever. But Tom did end up coercing me into confessing that I know who Justin Bieber is even though I don't want to.

I just... this just might be my new Favourite Thing. A Starship Troopers reference masterfully crafted into Art:

No pictures here but of course Larísa at PPI had some insightful things to say and mentioned it.

I get that it's great fodder for WoW vs Rift rant-fests, so can't blame people too much (you're all wrong). And of course there were a few more feckless and derogatory comments on the post itself you can amuse yourselves with below.

A lot of misunderstanding stems from not appreciating how light-hearted I am in all my posts here. I don't expect people to pour through the archives to get to know my tone (but there's cake in it for you if you do) and end up thinking I hate Rift's guts and I'm trying to start a flame-war, or I'm having some serious nerd-rage, or I don't get enough fresh air.

I hold absolutely no disdain for Rift. I love games, I love it when good games get backing and do well because that can be a feat in itself when so many great games don't get to see the light of day. The computer and video game industry is in a  pretty bad place for smaller developers, especially here in the UK where they don't even get tax relief any more and smaller companies are shutting down. It's pretty heartbreaking. So when a good game from a relatively unknown developer rises up and has success I'm completely thrilled for it, I want Rift to succeed and stand as strong competition, it'll keep both WoW and Rift on their toes and I think we'll get some great gaming out of it. I especially like the thought of cross-game guilds which I've seen a bit about. I wish I had time for both, but alas.

So I don't want Rift's face to catch fire and then have the fire doused by sand and the sand to be full of scorpions. Nor do I blame Rift for my guildies leaving and breaking the guild, they were disillusioned already by then, it could have been *any* new shiny thing, they were done with WoW but there wasn't anything new for them to get excited over, so they logged in like they always have, until Rift. I'm pretty mad at the way they handled the situation but I'm not mad at Rift and if players have had enough of WoW I'm grateful that there's somewhere they can go enjoy themselves instead of feeling like they're stuck in Azeroth.

It's worth remembering that Rift brought WoW comparison on itself. Using 'We're not in Azeroth anymore' as a marketing tagline means you will always be compared and contrasted for better or worse. They've tied themselves to the WoW community for a reason. Rift ads are all over WoWhead and Tankspot. I'm fine with that, we're used to seeing that sort of thing, and it does interest me and I would like to read about it and know more. But I don't want to go to Apple's site and read all about the latest Samsung, do you see? Yes we can ignore it, yes we can skip over that post, yes we can unsubscribe if we feel that strongly about it, but it's still a little frustrating and I decided to have a bit of fun with it because that's what I'm like. Plus no kittens will be harmed.

And finally (phew) I'm British, mostly, and my humour is stereotypically so in that there's a lot of irony and sarcasm. In the words of Reginald D Hunter "Y'all like subtext and irony and tongue-in-cheek, you know, clever ways to be indirect about what you think", here look, it's hilarious:

- I’m not on Rift’s marketing team.
- I don't want there to be fire and/or scorpions on Rift's face.
- I would play both if I had time.
- I'm officially 'subtly brilliant'.
- I’m not a terrible, bitter, dungeon-dwelling individual.
- There's cake in the archives.
- I wouldn't go to Apple's website expecting to read Samsung news.
- I like sarcasm, irony and above all; humour. With a 'u'.
- I feel greatly ashamed that I know who Justin Bieber is.

Oh one final thing before you go; if you've used the badge or want to use it but are worried about angry people hitting it with sticks, I've done an amended version with a disclaimer, as seen above, code here:

<a href=""><img src="" border=0></a>


PS. The irony of talking about Rift and getting traffic because of it isn't lost on me. My little British brain might explode with joy.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Call to Arms: Certify your blog a RIFT Free Zone

UPDATE: Time to put this thing to bed I think so i can get on with normal posting. Thanks to those who commented constructively and politely this week, trolls can crawl back in to their holes.

UPDATE: Right, I'm getting a bit bored of the same old comments coming up, and because I don't want to censor the internet more than necessary or turn comments off, and EVEN THOUGH I WROTE A WHOLE FOLLOW UP POST CLEARING UP EVERY POSSIBLE MISUNDERSTANDING, people are too wrapped up in their own opinions to actually look at. Which is why this bit is at the top of the original post. Those of who who have commented constructively; I thank you. You give me hope for the internet. I've used small sentences and stripped out as much sarcasm as I can so the matter can come to a close. Also, for those who don't understand irony (or humour for that matter) educate yourselves here.

Anonymous said...
I for one don't get this whole "We hate RIFT, because it's not WoW"-mentality that some people are exhibiting.

I've reiterated that I don't hate Rift more times than I can be bothered to count. Hey internet! I don't hate Rift! Ok? Ok.

Anonymous said...
was that the best argument you could come up with reala? honestly? come on man, i know it's getting harder to defend world of warcraft, i used to be a wow player, even i don't want to see wow posts even in wow forums and blogs.

WoW is a all grown up now and doesn't need anyone, least of all me, to 'defend' it. I keep coming across comments about me 'fighting' for a cause. I'm not fighting or defending anything.

Agozyen said...
I certainly do feel for what you guys are going through, and I am not gloating, but this does have an element of Karma about it.

There are a lot of these 'it's about time WoW got payback for all the WoW talk invading other games over the years' comments.  I started playing in early Wrath, I didn't come from any other MMO, I keep all my interests and hobbies on their own blogs. There are others in the same position as me. I am one person, I don't represent the WoW community and there's nothing karmic about this for me.

Reddicker said...
No offense, but bloggers getting insulted because of Rift-related posts? Terrible, bloggers aren't important enough that this should even matter.

Protip: Prefixing your insult with 'no offense' doesn't justify being offensive. This made me LOL. An MMO *is* it's players, it's *especially* it's players that give a damn and constructively debate it's content and surrounding influences, whether that's on forums, blogs or irl. It gives developers a taste for what's working, what's not, where they need to step up their game and what matters to their players. If you can't appreciate that then your ignorance is worthy of some sort of medal.

Anonymous said...
yea im with you, this dude is a major faggot. he is QQing cuz people are insulting his video game. Hes probly a fat nerd who lives at home or some shit.

Firstly, I don't recommend a syntax-free lifestyle. Apart from everything else that's horribly wrong with this kind of comment, it highlights the severe gender confusion most people, including those who reference this elsewhere, are having. I started off not correcting people because it doesn't matter and no-one should give a shit. But it's a pretty fundamental thing to get wrong so let's clear it up once and for all; I'm a girl.

So this means painfully banal comments can stop now yes? I don't expect much change from the plebs who bravely post anonymously, but I hope this will help those who have commented meaningfully but with misunderstanding.

Original post starts now:

For fun (but also I mean it) I've made a little badge you can put on your blog to certify it a RIFT Free Zone, as seen above. I know there are a few bloggers getting pretty frustrated with the amount of Rift talk on WoW blogs lately, only this morning I read Zinn's well-put thoughts on the matter.

WoW may be the lumbering behemoth of the MMORPG sphere but we bloggers are not, damnit. Many of us are experiencing tough times in WoW, we have lost friends, guildies, entire guilds have crumbed and fallen. I don't begrudge Rift the shelf-space, but when there are more Rift posts on a WoW blog than WoW posts... well... I don't like it.

So what do you say? Want to show some solidarity? Copy and paste the code below wherever you want the badge to appear. It's got a transparent background so should sit well in any blog style.

<a href=""><img src="" border=0></a>


Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Conclave of Win

I signed up for an alt raid night with my new guild as they still need a few more bodies for a fixed secondary raid group. A few people actually remember me from an old guild I was in briefly, so there are a few more friendly faces around than I thought. Unless, of course, they hate me.

Raid composition: x2 tanks, x3 healers, x5 DPS

Our raid leader is my priest friend I keep mentioning, who, it turns out, is a great raid leader as well. It was the first time in Throne of the Four Winds for many of us and so he took the time to set up coloured flares on the first platform, representing each of the boss platforms. He assigned everyone to a platform and got us to practice the movement we'd need to perform by going from one flare to another and back when percentages of energy were called, which was a great way to get people listening and engaged with the tactics.

I was originally assigned to Nezir's (middle) platform so I had some switching to do, which was no problem as he would call 'get ready to move' with about 5 seconds in hand and 'switch' when we were to run off the platform. However some people weren't moving in time and so I switched with him so he could be in the middle and have a better idea of what was going on. This placed me on Rohash's platform (right) and meant that I didn't move at all, which meant I was tanking this boss a lot of the time.

This is a lot less scary than it sounds! After being left all alone on the platform for the first time I was quaking in my slippers, but he really doesn't hit hard and this fight is resplendent with opportunity for mana regen. I even got up the courage to occasionally run up and whale on him with my new staff (for good measure. And because it's new and I wanted to use it.)

You all know where to find tactics, but here are my Top Priesty-Type Tips for Rohash's platform in the Conclave of Wind encounter:

- LEVITATE! If you have it glyphed then great, if not bring a stack of Light Feathers and hit Levitate when close to the ground towards the end of his Hurricane ability. Don't do it too soon or it'll get cancelled. This negates a good 70% of the fall damage.

- My technique for near-total damage mitigation during this ability was: Power Word: Shield > Renew > Holy Word: Serenity > another PW:S as Hurricane ends > Levitate just before you hit the floor. If you leave The second PW:S nice and late and have the Body & Soul talent, you can even get a couple of increased speed as you hit the ground, which can be handy if there's an awkwardly-timed Wind Blast.

- Learn your way around the platforms, the rushing wind graphic is not easy to see when you're moving and I was knocked so far off the ledge once that I ended up on Al'Akir's platform and had to open my map to get my bearings and know which side to run off. This costs valuable seconds if you're a tank or healer.

All-in-all this is an extremely easy fight for most people, especially on this platform. We had a few wipes due to slow DPS switching but this isn't a fight that's going to give many raids too much trouble.


Saturday, 5 March 2011

A Tale of Two (Razer) Nagas

I bought my first Razer Naga over a year ago, not long after I'd started playing WoW and wasn't having an easy job of converting from a clicker > keybind method. I haven't looked back since and, as of this week, am now the proud owner of an Epic version as well. I don't want to drone on endlessly about it, there are plenty of thorough reviews out there that will do that. What I want to do is briefly give my opinion of the new Razer Naga Epic but also compare the two and tell you a bit about how I use them.

Ooooh shiny (and matte)

The Naga is an aesthetically spectacular thing. I often find gaming peripherals, even high-end ones, quite tacky (sorry Logitech) but this mouse, resembling the Batmobile when off, is beautiful in it's form and tight in it's manufacture. The regular Naga glows blue, which is pretty but can not be changed, the Epic will default to phasing through several colours, which can be customised to your taste with the software. I'm thinking of leaving it blue until I have all epics and then changing it to purple. Because simple things please me.


Having experimented with Grid, Clique and Healbot in the early days of my original Naga (oh, and the AddOn that comes with it, which I don't recommend over conventional mods) I felt most comfortable with Healbot and have used it since. I keep my actionbars in rectangular blocks of 12, reflecting the 12-button layout on the Naga's side:

Really you can find a way of making it work with most exisiting addons and, unless you have a definite preference already, I recommend trying the 'big three' in turn to see what suits you.

Grips and Gripes

Once I'd swapped out the side panel to my preferred one (matching the old Naga, which doesn't have an interchangeable side) there was very little difference in terms of feel. The epic is heavier but unless you're severely limp-wristed it's no bother and in fact you may feel more rooted.

I have three gripes with the new Epic Naga.

1) What is noticeable is that the two little buttons that were on the side of the left-click on the old Naga have been moved centrally to just under the scroll-wheel like so:

I found this out by running off the edge of a cliff and pulling a load of Apprehensive Workers in Tol Barad as my autorun wasn't where I'd left it. After an evening of use I still prefer the old positioning, my hands are small so I hold the mouse quite high up, and I can't comfortably curl my index finger to those buttons without moving my hand down. I will have to acclimatise or change my autorun bind before our hunter's mad pet has to save me again (sorry Crispy).

Oh, for those that have noticed - the Epic doesn't have a backlit logo (the logo is there however, bad photo) probably to preserve battery life. I was a little disappointed at this to begin with, but then, when I was looking at it just sat there later, I realised how sleek it is and, unless you knew, I think you'd just assume it was a designer mouse. Beautiful.

2) The entire base stand and cord must be attached to your computer for it to receive signal and work. My setup is that my regular Naga lives with my home PC and my Epic comes with my laptop (and gets the most use). I was looking forward to not having to stuff the cord under my MacBook to stop it trailing everywhere.

I'm aware that most gaming mice don't have the 'on the go' gamer in mind, but if you're going to develop such a beautifully innovative device why not include unprecedented versatility? If I know that my mouse is fully charged and good for the evening, I want to be able to plug in a tiny USB receiver instead of the charging stand.

3) For my last gripe I have a story about a pugged HC I ran on the first day I had my Epic. All was going well, even if the tank was a bit of a tosser, and we got to the last boss. I've been looking at the mouse frequently over the past few days simply because I'm interested to see what it's doing and definitely NOT because I'm obsessed with my new shiny thing and its lights. I happened to see the scroll wheel light flashing, meaning it's low battery. During normal play I would never look at my mouse, especially since I'm entirely used to the Naga keypad from my original one. An on-screen visual warning would be better but not great as, with many gamers and especially those of WoW, our screens are so covered in bars and lights and things exploding that unless an all-singing, all-dancing effect like those of "GTFO of the FIRE" Deadly Boss Mods - a low-battery graphic would likely get lost in the chaos. What would be useful is if the mouse vibrated at a certain percentage of battery-life, determined in the settings dialogue. Hooray for tactile feedback!

So back to Shadowfang Keep; "wait a sec guys" popped the cord in and "ready". At about 50% my cursor started moving really slowly across the screen, unable to properly examine what may have been wrong I had to plough ahead as best I could. It died, we wiped, I got kicked. The Naga Epic requires you to TURN IT OFF underneath if you want to use it in wired mode. What?! For a bit of kit that's otherwise so intuitive this seems a terrible oversight.


- The new Razer Naga Epic is a beautiful, masterfully conceptualised and crafted device.
- It is comfortable and a pleasure to use.
- It works well with the popular AddOns.
- Lights are pretty.
- I would like a tiny receiver to replace the base stand at times, I wouldn't mind this as an accessory sold separately.
- I would like it to recognise and swap to wired mode on plug-in without having to switch it off.

The Razer Naga Epic has earned it's place alongside my regular Naga, but I will not be replacing my regular with another Epic as it's uncomplicated use and preferable button layout are valuable to me.


Friday, 4 March 2011

Saga's 20 days of WoW challenge: Day 7

Continuing Saga's challenge:

Day 07 - The reason behind your blog's name

It's pretty self explanatory to anyone who's been in a raid/dungeon with a Holy Priest!

I arrived to the name of my blog pretty quickly once I'd decided I wanted to start one. As the blog followed after my WoW Twitter, I considered using a name similar to it (@realakorgall) but decided I wanted to encompass more than just who was talking.

I went through the list of holy priest abilities and spells on WoWhead for inspiration, as I scrolled connotations and memories that attached themselves to spells floated to the front of my mind and, and when I saw Lightwell - that was it.

Memories of changing from Disc to Holy in early Cata flooded in, with me running around frantically trying to learn my new spec and needing people to help me out by clicking the Lightwell. But they didn't. Thus was born the macro that still pops up when I place a Lightwell:


It made groups laugh and, more importantly, it helped them remember to click the lightwell! (They still stand in shit).


Thursday, 3 March 2011

Saga's 20 days of WoW challenge: Day 6

Continuing Saga's challenge with a fun entry to make!

Day o6 - Your workplace/desk (photo and/or description)

Since I'm keeping these entries related to WoW (and because I work with a lot of licences who wouldn't be particularly happy for me to parade unfinished products all over the internet) I present to you my home desk, which is where raiding normally happens: (full view for maximum horror glory)


Wednesday, 2 March 2011


What started as a very frustrating raid (wiping 5 times on Artamedes to, uh, warm up) ended in a crescendo of gz's and hearty back-slapping as out first day on Chimaeron ended in a kill on our very last attempt of the night.

Chimaeron is All. About. Healing. I know I'm capable (if a little undergeared) and I know our other healers (resto druid and holy paladin) are very capable healers. Tankspot made this look easier than it is. I had been practicing my disc spec for a couple of days but found that it wasn't, in fact, Power Word: Shield that was the invaluable asset that I thought it would be, but rather Power Word: Barrier.

During Feud, there was a marked difference in getting everyone topped up if I had PW:B up or not (I was able to use it every other Feud with the 2 min cooldown). Chim casts Caustic Slime during this phase, and although the barrier didn't last long, people were almost topped up by the time it broke. Aside from a couple of raid members confusing my barrier breaking with the end of the Feud phase, and running off once it broke (LOL), it was an easy phase to get everyone healthy and restore mana.

It took a fair few wipes for the me just to find the best ability to use for keeping the raid above 10k health, requiring a departure from conventional thinking on economic healing and triage and I found the fibers making up my right hand reluctant to spam Flash Heal. In the end a combination of Renew, Prayer of mending and liberal Flash Heals when necessary did the job with Prayer of Healing used during Feud.

It's worth noting that Grid apparently marks players who dip below 10k health at a time when they shouldn't be, I use Healbot which does not have this functionality and just displays hp in numbers. Perfectly usable but marks would aid priority healing.

As the first phase of the encounter requires such concentrated and precise healing, the final phase involving Chim's Mortality ability was a welcome break. Having an empowered Smite as disc was great, but I missed the utility of Body & Soul for people to last a few seconds longer. We lost all but three by the end (myself being one of the survivors, which was not ideal as the more DPS that survive the better).

Good news in the end then, apart from Fraps did not save my screenshots so very pissed off about that.


PS. Chimaeron had two heads. Does he only have three on Heroic or something?

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Saga's 20 days of WoW challenge: Day 5

Continuing Saga's challenge:

Day 05 – Favourite item(s) in game

I'm going to break this down into categories since otherwise it's another inhumanly impossible choice Saga! I'm not going to go through every item type in the game because a) I don't necessarily have a strong preference in some areas and b) I don't want anyone's face to melt from bordeom. Additionally these are favourites from the things I have, not a wishlist to remind myself of all the beautiful things I can never have (I'm looking at you, pretty)

Favourite pet - Sinister Squashling
I started playing WoW just as Hallow's End came around and this dropped for me from a daily treat bag (when it was actually rare...) I had accumulated a few companion pets by then and never really kept them out, however it was love at first sight and I'm rarely out and about without my squashling now!

Favourite ground mount - Cobalt War Talbuk
An easy rep to grind but what reward! In fact I bought each variety of riding and war Talbuk but I usually end on my on this one. It's stately and majestic and undead look great on them!

Favourite flying mount - Vitreous Stone Drake
A very, VERY lucky drop from my first ever run through the Stonecore (normal mode). At the time it was rare to see anyone on this and I got a lot of whispers asking about it. With the new patch I actually get to ride it instead of being dragged about in it's claws too!
Protip: Activate your Chakra state and ride around on your drake; it looks like it's peeing all over Orgrimmar, lololololo-I need to get out more-lolololol!

Favourite weapon - Very Manly Staff
I don't actually have a favourite weapon but this deserves an honourable mention.

Favourite tabard - Tabard of Summer Flames
I don't know why, I used to wear it all the time and only changed in Cata for rep-boosting ones. I'm definitely a child of summer, in fact I think I might be solar powered judging by how pastey and lethargic I get just before summer; batteries running low you see.

Favourite spells - Prayer of Mending & Archangel
PoM: Specifically when it uses all it's charges one after the other jumping around the raid during AoE damage. Sparkly and nice sound effects.
Archangel: Wings. That is all.

I'm not very fickle, so generally something that's my favourite will stay my favourite for a long time, so tems like the pet I keep out and the mounts I always ride become synonymous with my toon.


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Saga's 20 days of WoW challenge: Day 4

Another entry for Saga's challenge:

Day 04 – Your best WoW memory

Tough one. Mostly due to the fact that I have the worst memory in the world, as my fellow guildie would attest to, having been recently led first into a side of a mountain and then into a dead end in RFC (yes, Ragefire Chasm, the first dungeon in WoW, designed to be easy, for nabs).

Of course though, there are the unforgettable, and the choice of 'best' is impossible to apply to just one - like your children, or chocolate. I therefore present you with the finest selection of chocolately children in no order of preference: (May contain nuts)

- Hitting level 80. This was actually on my DK as I was  levelling Reala alongside someone at the time and wanted something to do in my spare time. Nevertheless it was a joyous moment and the first realisation of how much there was to be beyond the level-cap.

- Downing the Lich King 3 days before Cata came out. I'm a Wrath baby so this was my first proper end-game kill. Even better is that I was surrounded by some of the best players I know, including my 'mentor priest' who taught me everything I knew up to that point. Even though he outgeared and outskilled me by a long-shot; it was a joy to heal beside him at end-game.

- My current guild, who I'm still all emo over because they're a great bunch.

- Sitting in Stormwind's tram station as if we owned the place before taking on more Alliance than you can shake a gnome on a stick at, ultimately resulting in me faceplanting on the steps of Stormwind's gates and getting lost on the ghost-walk back. Many laughs and screenshots were to be had.

There are many, many more fantastic memories I have of WoW, but these are a smattering from different aspects of the game. In truth, I like to think my best WoW memory has yet to be made.


Friday, 18 February 2011

Halfussed and the Fabulous Dragon

To be honest with you, I don't think I can give a meaningful account of our Halfus Wyrmbreaker encounter because it went way too quickly and so well that I'm not even sure what was really going on. If there's one thing to be said for endless wipes it's that you certainly learn the boss mechanics! It was a simple case of outgearing here.

We didn't have a mage or anyone else who could miss the third blast of Furious Roar and interrupt, which worried us setting out, but the damage was so miniscule it didn't bother anyone. Although an interesting note here is that, although you can slightly but not cast or use abilities, you CAN click the Lightwell. You can't do ANYTHING but click the Lightwell. CLICK THE DAMN LIGHTWELL!

Onwards to Valiona and Theralion.. ahh Theralion. Bless you for making endless swathes of heroes shift awkwardly as we're devoured by your Fabulous Flames. And your Dazzling Destruction yes, I hadn't forgotte-- Yes you're very pretty...

I was awful at this fight, I don't know if I was just having an off day or if I could have used my abilities at more opportune moments. Movement is a real pain during AoE damage phases even with the newly-buffed Circle of Healing; PoH is still an important follow up. I couldn't stand still long enough to cast it and others couldn't stand still long enough for Hw: Santucary to be effective. I was struggling to find time enough to stand still for Hymn of Hope as well.

However, this fight was one of the most useful to me for one key reason: I learned how to properly incorporate Prayer of Mending into my methods. I used it as a matter of course as disc pre-Cata, but I've been shamefully neglecting it when I switched to Holy, I don't really know why, there were so many shiny new toys... With the recent patch introducing a powerful buff to it in the form of a new glyph, it was thrown back onto my radar and the Valiona & Theralion encounter proved the perfect way to learn to use it again, and it has consistently been in my top healing abilities since. Plus it makes a very satisfying tinkly sound when it jumps from person to person!

Now... debating whether or not to switch to disc for Chimaeron on Tues....


Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Saga's 20 days of WoW challenge: Day 3

Continuing Saga's challenge I present:

Day 03 - Your first day playing WoW

I have always been a fan of stealth games like Thief, Splinter Cell and any other scenario where I could sneak around stealing stuff with a bit of premeditated murder into the bargain. The closest thing to an MMORPG I'd played was Oblivion of the Elder Scrolls franchise; where I was both a member of the thieves and assassin's guild (Kleps of Troll Racials Are Overpowered kept mentioning Oblivion in some recent posts, causing me to get all over-excited and reminiscent in the comments).

So I was naturally attracted to the rogue class, and as Blood Elf females were the smallest race at the time, and had an appropriately low crouch animation, I rolled one of those (and very quickly became entirely sick of the Barbie-doll preening). I have a friend who helped me understand the basics, gave me a few bags and some gold but (rightly) wanted me to mostly find my own way. In fact, shortly after, once I'd realised priest was the class for me, he became my mentor throughout WotLK and is still the best priest I know and my go-to guy for advice!

I'd played enough video games to pick up the idea of questing naturally, but I spent so much time that first day wandering about, zooming in and out of scenery for a better look, being elated at waving at someone and have them wave back. By the end of the day I was levelling skinning and leatherworking and had met a few people along the way to do group quests.

At the end of one of them someone said "Want to do RFC?" I had NO clue what this meant and didn't have time to look it up before they all started to run off and I followed (it should be noted that I didn't know how to type in any other channel apart from /say at this point so I was always trying to stay close enough that they could hear me ROFL). We ran to Orgrimmar, stepped through that swirly portal and I was in awe at this massive red cavernous place (I know!). I followed the others, I knew that the tank went in first but I was probably not even attacking what the tank was attacking (I didn't know what taunt meant. Judging by some early instances I ran neither did some of the tanks lololol etc).

We did the trash and normal sized bosses (I didn't realise they were bosses until I started thinking 'My, we've been beating on this guy for a while') and then we came to Taragaman the Hungerer and I was all "Woaahhhh he's huuuge!" in my head, even though I'd seen Onyxia videos. I stared at his knee for a minute, as is the wont of the melee class, and got a shiny new dagger (having thankfully been briefly explained the concept of stat priorities and Need before Greed by my friend so I wouldn't noobinja my way through instances).

I didn't level my rogue past 32. Once I had a basic understanding of what it really meant to be each class I rolled a healing priest and never looked back.


Thursday, 10 February 2011

Saga's 20 days of WoW challenge: Day 2

Continuing Saga's challenge I present:

Day 02 - Why you decided to start a blog

I've had a Twitter account for Reala for quite a while longer than this blog, but I quickly found myself wanting to make points and expand on my tweets, and not being able to do so meant I'd normally just end up posting links to other people's interesting or funny posts.

I'm not a writer in any respect, professionally I'm in a different creative industry and have no draw to creative writing. However, I enjoyed analytic writing at school and have always had a fascination with language. I took English Language and History in college among the IT and design subjects I knew I wanted a career in, simply because I really enjoyed the type of written discussion those subjects entailed.

I took creative subjects at uni but to be honest my dissertation was probably the module I enjoyed the most (chiefly because my tutors were so archaic in their ways that they near enough failed me every time I took up a stylus to paint instead of a brush). I wrote about the merits of video games as art, and I found zest and vim in writing about a subject that I felt strongly and very passionately about on a personal level (I loved writing about WWII propaganda posters, but it didn't quite light a fire in my belly like comparing Caravaggio to Resident Evil did).

I find it very easy and enjoyable to write about WoW, and am encouraged by the rich blogosphere surrounding it.


Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Interrupt Progression

No raid report today as unfortunately three of our number couldn't make it. I understand there are going to be legitimate reasons people have to suddenly cancel, but it did make me think about these types of situations on a more general level.

Progression, especially in a small guild, is dependent on everyone doing their utmost to attend. But, more importantly (in my mind), each individual has a duty to not let the others down. There are always going to be those with a more casual attitude towards raiding than others, but there must be a mutual understanding of several factors:

The difference between your dedicated and casual raiders. 
I avoid the word 'hardcore' purposefully here as it's a term open to interpretation these days. By 'dedicated' I mean those that will move things around and have set days where raiding is the priority. It might even be an idea, if you have a large enough guild, to separate these members out into different raids thus ensuring the casuals don't piss off the dedicated and vice-versa.

The differing value of game/raid time. 
For some, any time on WoW at all is precious and must be spent wisely, especially for raiders who must account for their consumables, professions, gold etc as well as show up to raid - all within an often limited timeframe. It is natural that those with full-time jobs/families are going to place a higher value on the time they're online than those who are students/on flexible schedules, and raid members need to be considerate of the value others place on being there.

Knock on effects..
It's also important for raiders to realise that people may have moved things around, left work early, declined a social invitation on raid days in order to attend. For example, I told my boss to his face that I would have to be back by a certain time yesterday, he was fine with it but it's still not an easy thing to do. We were at a tradeshow and myself my boss plus two other colleagues left at an earlier time to suit me and my schedule which is based on the fact I said I would be somewhere at a certain time. I take my word seriously, in-game and out, because we are dealing with other real people with other real responsibilities, be it work, family or socially related.

I am very fortunate, my guild ran a couple of HCs with me instead last night with the priority on getting a couple of upgrades for me, which we did and I'm very appreciative of. But I still sense in some (by no means the majority) a blasé attitude towards raid cancellation, which isn't right or fair if you consider what some people have to do in order to attend.


Monday, 7 February 2011

Saga's 20 days of WoW challenge: Day 1

Saga of Spellbound recently completed a 20 day WoW challenge and has posted her own, which I've been encouraged to take part in and will be posting in addition to my usual. Here's an overview:

Day 01 – Introduce yourself
Day 02
– Why you decided to start a blog
Day 03
– Your first day playing WoW
Day 04
– Your best WoW memory
Day 05
– Favourite item(s) in game
Day 06
– Your workplace/desk (photo and/or description)
Day 07 – The reason behind your blog’s name
Day 08
– 10 things we don’t know about you
Day 09
– Your first blog post
Day 10
– Blog/Website favourites
Day 11
– Bad habits and flaws
Day 12
– A usual day in your life/online time
Day 13
– People (players/bloggers) that you admire
Day 14
– This upsets you
Day 15
– Your desktop background (on your computer) and why you chose it
Day 16
– Things you miss (post Cataclysm)
Day 17
– Your favourite spot (in game or outside it)
Day 18
– Your favourite outfit
Day 19
– In your bags/bank
Day 20
– If this was your last day playing WoW, what would you do?

I'm going to keep all the answers chiefly WoW related as I don't want to bore everyone to tears with tedious details from my life (for those interested: contact me to be posted a laminated list of everything I'm good and shit at as well as a Judgement Poll).

So, off we go: Day 01 – Introduce yourself

Good afternoon inter-neds, I'm Reala, holy priest of the Kor'Gall EU server. I have played WoW since September 2009, which technically makes me a Wrath baby (oh the horror) but I like to think my attitude and play style suggest otherwise. I levelled as disc, healed through WotLK raids as disc and switched to Holy during early Cata. I have no DPS off-spec.

Before the days of the cross-server LFD tool, levelling as a disc priest exclusively was long and arduous. Shadow never held interest for me, although I have a level-capped Warlock I'm very fond of now, DPS isn't really my thing. I enjoy the uniqueness of the healing role in 5-mans and the dynamic of the healing team in raids. As someone completely lacking a maternal instinct it seems odd that my desire to protect and heal is one of my strongest attributes, manifesting itself in a love for animals IRL and in a draw to healing roles in-game (my preference for the young of other species over my own is an issue all on it's own I'm sure). The satisfaction I feel pulling a group through a  tricky heroic boss is far above and beyond the satisfaction I get from topping DPS meters.

Reala has always been my main and amongst a few lowbie alts and a lv80 DK, I have one level-capped alt, a warlock, who's main purpose in life is to go herbing and make gold for Reala to spend on her professions. I feel a bit bad about this.


Azeroth's Blogs: Sad goodbyes and blogger insights.

Every now and then I'm going to put up a post linking to other blogs I've most recently commented on or particularly enjoyed. It's fresh in my mind now as I've just read the sad news that Tam and Chas of Righteous Orbs are going to be making room on the internet for new bloggers, only recently Owen of WoW Philosophized too. Sad times. So without further ado:

Righteous Orbs discuss... something. There's a hilarious bit about Tam's broken foot, read it!

This was a little while ago, but Kleps of Troll Racials Are Overpowered did a couple of TL;DR posts about his evolution as a blogger, fascinatin' read if you haven't yet seen it.

Saga moved into a bit of the internet with a lot of purple and posted her very own 20 Days of WoW challenge on Spellbound in a similar vein to the one she's been doing for a few weeks. She's come up with some interesting and fun questions and I intend to give them a go amongst other posts!

Krisps of Death To Questing had some interesting things to say on the subjects of whether or not levelling is still necessary (no prizes for guessing his opinion!) and the ever-confusing term 'casual raider'.

Sandra at Elder Game talks about the need for more women developers and, I agree, but point out the problems of the tendency for female only clans and 'games for girls' to rear their ugly heads.

Gronthe of Deuwowlity gives us some insight into his fear of failure and how Cataclysm healing has unfortunately fuelled this for him. His disposition is eerily similar to my own and yet we have reacted in completely different ways to the dramatically increased difficulty of healing; he logging out of his priest for the forseeable and me feeling empowered and determined to succeed.


Friday, 4 February 2011

Incinerate Pride

Artramedes is a fun encounter. The two phases are quick-fire and engaging despite their repetition, and the concept of a blind dragon is as entertaining as the mechanics.

I felt quite sorry watching the tiny little whelp version of Artra flapping about, blind and aimless in the opening sequence, I pouted when his little body fell to the floor, "Why does it have to be this way?" I implored as he re-emerged as a giant with armour masking his useless eyes....


I bellowed as I hurled our rogue at Dwarven Shields using Body and Soul on our 6th attempt. The short version is we wiped all evening and had tremendous fun doing it. In terms of healing I'll make a couple of quick points so I can get to the funny stories:

- It's very simple indeed as long as everyone does what they're meant to.
- The air phase is great for mana regen.
- Longer cast heals can be tricky after a few phases because so much movement is required. I found Prayer of Healing especially hard to get off sometimes, I think this encounter will be a little easier once Circle of Healing receives it's patch buff.
- The sound mechanic is fun, as Matthew McCurley at WoWInsider put it: "It's like that T. rex in Jurassic Park with the lawyer on the toilet -- except with sound instead of movement, so it's really nothing like that at all."

I think the use of gongs (Dwarven Shields) was proving difficult to figure out since there's a balance of clearing sound so that AoE can be healed through, using it when Searing Flames is up without choice, and saving them for desperate need/mistakes. There's not a lot of margin for error with the use of gongs so once we get this nailed it'll be a breeze. Now:

Snot-inducing laughter cause 1: Dugong
Simply tasking a raider with 'doing the gongs' caused him to emit a nasal exclaimation of "DUGONNGG" every time he hit one. At least we knew when he hit one, but it didn't matter much since we were all giggling like children by then. I think we were giddy from the wiping.

Snot-inducing laughter cause 2: Lolgong
Our hunter had to leave and we got our shaman in on standby, who didn't know the fight. We explained the gong mechanism and invited him to walk near and around them so he could get a feel for the range he'd have to stay in. The shiny interact cog proved too appealing and 'GONNNGGG' Artramedes has a 10 course dinner.

In the end a few people got tired and it was hard to get them to focus, since the fight is so dependent on timely movement and proper positioning we called it a night. By the end of it hardly anyone was stacking Sound apart from the unavoidable and kiting the flame was spot-on.

So. Tuesday. Bring it on.


Thursday, 3 February 2011

Maloriak's Flash

Quick progression update: First attempt on Maloriak went similarly to Omnotron; from failraid to a few percent off a kill with a couple of unlucky wipes at the end.

Raid composition: 2 tanks, 3 healers, 5 DPS

Red Vial
Scorching Blast was never a problem, everyone stacked up (healers at the back) and afflicted raiders ran out of the group perfectly. Vent communication meant quick reactions all round, I was grateful for it on one occasion where I got caught by tunnel-vision on my healbot.

Blue Vial
Flash Freeze - people were WAY too slow on releasing trapped raid members to begin with. But once we decided to assign two DPS to be in charge of breaking them blue phases were perfect. Maintaining a 6 yard range was easy, especially on the understanding that healers were not expected to move. I don't think Biting Chill hit anyone but the targeted person.

Green Vial
Definitely where the difficulty lay for most attempts. Our OT was taking a lot of damage, which seemed to spike which was a difficulty even with both healers watching him carefully and me keeping Renew up. Perhaps the rate at which adds were released was the problem.

Phase 2
After the first few attempts we were getting to P2 easily, however Prime Subjects hit hard. I had started to manage my mana well during P1 and but was still using Shadowfiend + Hymn of Hope at the tail end of P1 or start of P2 and there's so much AoE damage in that I can still oom. However we'd normally lose a healer or OT this phase and that would be that.

The guys one-shotted Magmaw and Omno last night so tonight I jump in where we left off on Tuesday, feeling very, very confident. Which is handy because the MT is going to need therapy if he has to spend any more time looking up Maloriak's skirt.


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Power Word: Meow

The other day my guild did something wonderful for one of it's number. I've been there for less three weeks and as far as I can tell there are 4 or 5 core members who seem to have known each other for a long while and, judging by their matching accents, come from the same place too!

The day before yesterday, our GM whispered me asking if I had any gold on a low level Alliance character on our server, what an odd question, I replied that I didn't and asked why. One of our officers had a 16 year old cat, who had died that morning. The guild was trying to get some gold together to get a cat companion pet from the Alliance AH for him. My heart melted.

We pooled our resources and in the end we got lucky and one became available on the neutral AH, our GM snapped it up, tied a red ribbon around it and five of us hunted our officer down as he did some archaeology. This was no small feat! Our GM (rogue) skulked around near him and gave us location updates as we flew from all over Azeroth and congregated high in the air to ensure we didn't cast a collective enormous shadow and make him think he was about to get an achi.

We swooped, set a beacon on him and danced and cheered as his new little feline pixel companion appeared at his side. Teary and choked up he thanked us.

Not since my very earliest days of WoW have I seen such a wonderful in-game event between players and I am honoured and thrilled to have been a part of it.


My other experience, by the way, involved a murloc, Swedish pop music and a dance video that would melt your face, and is a story best kept for another time. Preferably once we're all dead.

Friday, 28 January 2011


Following up to my post yesterday, the question of my gender came up before the raid even started, sitting around at he bottom of the steps in BWD I had vent on but wasn't speaking as I was busy pushing broccoli and paella into my face before we got going. But it was asked out of interest in /ra and I just made no big deal of saying that I'm female. There was about half a minute of "Oh... OH...." and "A girl in the guild... and she's got skills..." but they quickly settled and we got on with the raid as any bunch of raiders should do. In fact better than most, the raid leader was firm but kind and encouraging, everyone picked up the tactic very quickly and I didn't have to tell anyone to not stand with a flamethrower in their face even once.

Saga commented that she sometimes feels wary of speaking on vent, especially if they have pugs in the group. I completely empathise with this and was very nervous of speaking, but knew that it's something I want to do increasingly and freely. So when /ra was getting spammed and I wanted clarification on something I piped up, to my delight my question was answered and we moved on, simple as that. I spoke a couple of times after that, but mostly resign myself to /ra for now.

Afterwards one of the officers asked if he could have a word, we chatted about mechanics and  mana regen for a while and then he let me know that he expects I will integrate fully into the guild and the banter and everyone's very pleased to have me as a positive and effective raider, but should there be any aggro because of my gender then the officers will step in unless I've handled it myself. I appreciated the thought and I also took the opportunity to let him know that my only concern with the matter, as I spoke about yesterday, is to ensure that I will not get treated any differently or let off lightly or helped more because I'm a girl. He and the other officers respected that.

Actual stuff about the actual game, actually:

The raid itself was fantastic, it was our first run at the Omnitron Defence System and, although we didn't down him, the difference in performance at the beginning and end of the raid was night and day.

Raid composition: x2 tank, x2 healers, x6 DPS

From a Hpriest perspective:

- Mana, mana, mana. We had myself and a Spriest using Hymn of Hope, mine at half way and his at about 20% and I was still running into trouble if aoe hit at a point when everyone wasn't topped off. Will be working on some new gear this weekend as by the end of the night I couldn't have been doing much of a better job of mana management and on the best run didn't cast FH once and still ran in to trouble.

- I'll also be respeccing into Surge of Light, I didn't take it when I was only thinking of HC runs but now it looks like a couple of free Flash Heals might be the difference between that last 10% and wiping, at my current gear level anyway.

- Electron was sometimes tanked too close to where ranged & heal were standing in Arcanotron's Power Generator, so although DPS and mana regen was up, so Electrical Discharge was hitting a few people frequently and was hurting my mana management as, if it was followed up by Incineration, I had to spam Flash Heal 3 or 4 times, which isn't really an option for me at the moment. This Electrical Discharge issue wasn't actually realised until after the raid, the thing about this encounter is that there are so many obvious things to be watching out for as the constructs rotate, that an ability sapping health more discreetly was being overlooked.

- Slightly squishy Warrior tank. I don't know much about warrior tanking but I know they've nerfed something in warrior talent trees that might have been tuned down a little too much by the sounds of things because he's a very good tank who outgeared that fight.

- Heal gearing discrepancy. There's a real gap that needs bridging doing this fight with two healers. In terms of the power of the heals going out I'm almost matching our Hpala, but when I start to get into a pinch with mana it plummets and I feel this is a real spirit gear issue on my part.

So the plan is I upgrade another item, use spirit flask from the word go and carry on fine-tuning my mana management. With a little luck on the construct rotations Tuesday I will be fussing about taking a kill screenshot.


Thursday, 27 January 2011


I've spent a few days wanting to say something about feminism and the couple of issues that have come up since Cataclysm's release. With Gevlon's recent post, a few threads on the official forums (search not working again, you'll have to source those yourself if interested) and even the Sky Sports incident,  it seems that awareness is heightened. Don't worry though, you're not going to be ducking any projectile flaming bras.

Growing up, I looked upon sexism in a similar way as I did racism; because I didn't posses the feeling of inferiority or superiority I couldn't really understand people who did or what the fuss was about. But of course getting a little older and being of a tomboyish nature it became an inevitable part of my life. I don't want to harp on about my own personal experience and history, but I gather it's unusual and I'm unusual.

What I want to talk about is a recent event that's come about in-game that I'm having a little bit of a dilemma over. Remember that great guild I talked about in my last post? Well for one reason or another, completely understandably, they have assumed I'm male. This is not a new experience, in every forum and online game I've played almost everyone has assumed the same because:

a) They assume it for everyone, which is fine,
b) I don't speak in a particularly 'girly' way,
c) I don't emote much and,
d) I say 'mate' a lot.

Now in the past I've just let that lie and, let me make something clear, it's not because I was offended by it nor because I thought I would get more respect if they thought I was male. In fact I'm pleased if people know I'm a girl because I'm a very capable player and it helps to break down prejudice. I just wasn't bothered to correct them.

However, my new guild is small and seems close-knit; there are always a few of them sitting in vent chatting even if they're all doing their own thing, which I think is great, and they're very keen for me to join in. We have our first raid together this evening and I almost wish I could do it without vent. Don't get me wrong, if I need to shout someone out of the fire then I will, but I'm worried about how they'll react to me. It's a strange feeling considering how I feel about the matter and my confidence in myself as a woman and as a player, but I think I've worked it out.

My anxiety comes from not wanting to be given any leeway because I'm a girl. I don't want to not be told off for making a stupid mistake 'because she's a girl', I don't want to be given loot preference 'because she's a girl'.

I don't want to be a good healer 'for a girl'. I want to be a good healer.

I'm thankful for the society I live in, less and less these worries are an issue as more and more men and women alike become enlightened people who've not had to cast off prejudices, because they never had them in the first place.

But for now, they are still there, in enough people to make a difference and stifle me before I've had a chance to show them what I'm made of. I've run a few HCs with my guild, they complimented me and the pugs we were with complimented me on my healing, I hope that's enough that when they hear me this evening no opinions will change.

In a perfect world they won't care either way, as long as I place a Lightwell.