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.