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.