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Dragon Lords on Chamber of Aspects is now my home. And, as I mentioned in my previous post, I even spent money realm and faction transferring a character just to be here. I just couldn’t abandon my character I started the game with so many years ago to dust and mothballs. Meet Krunial:

From being a Night Elf to a Blood Elf. Can’t get more .. traitorous than that. I am sniggering slightly here at the thought. But at least now I can actually play this character when I am not tanking. And doesn’t she just look .. bad ass? That helm on a Night Elf just looked incredibly weird so it was always hidden on him, but with Krunial I think it adds a certain devilishness.

One of the funnest times I had since the switch was a quick PUG when I got into work yesterday morning. I really didn’t have much time (boss was immanently arriving), and so I asked the Bear Butt Tank to make it a quick run.

What I didn’t ask him was to blow my mind and make it a suicide run! Halls of Stone, chain pulling three to four packs at a time, and I am spamming Flash Heal’s, Circle of Healing, Serendipity hasted Greater Heals, Prayer of Mending, going totally bat-shit insane. Then we get to Bran.

Now that things have paused ever so slightly I look over to my mana bar. 92%. I hadn’t even popped a cooldown or a pot for mana regen and yet I was still perfectly capable of continuing chain pulls. Did Blizzard buff mana regen on Priests while I had my levelling/tanking hiatus on Kruntak? To say I was shocked was an understatement. I clearly remember having mana regen issues on this little priest. Or is the Blood Elf racial with increased base intellect really that OP?

Regardless, it was fun, exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Now I would love to try that kind of run on Kruntak, my tank:

He isn’t anywhere nearly as well geared as Krunial above, but perhaps on the easier instances I can actually start blowing other people’s minds and turn a Nexus run into a 5 minute affair. I guess I will have to experiment on that.

One barometer to measure my lack of experience with end game gearing, thanks to my affiliation with so many characters all at once, is the fact that I had no idea that the smithy “Tanks for Everything” actually sold emblem gear. Yup! I had no idea. I tried to scrounge gear that I could get from the quartermasters above the Horde inn with nary a clue that just down the road a bit was a bunch more waiting for purchase. Suffice it to say I ran a ton of HC’s to start grabbing some of the yummy Triumph gear so willingly provided by those vendors and he’s getting there just that much quicker now.

Looking forward to adding another 80 to this list in the near future too. The altaholic has not reverted his ways quite yet. There are a couple other characters slowly inching their way up the level mountain (a hunter, druid and mage to be precise). I think I might focus on a DPS first to 80 though. Sometimes its nice to not have the responsibilities of a tank or healer in an HC and (comparatively) slum it in a run.

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Vidyala’s Allegiance

Vidyala, who author’s the Pugging Pally blog (in my blog roll), wrote a rather interesting article on the allegiance of you as a player to a specific faction in World of Warcraft. This made me wonder really which faction I “ally” myself to.

I started playing WoW as an Alliance Night Elf Priest, Dranok. Then I went to a new realm about 6 months ago and decided to try out Horde on this realm (I am a sucker for trying out something I haven’t before, hence the altohlism I find myself perpetually perpetrating) and rolled a Tauren Warrior, Kruntak. Anyone who has read my blog before surely would have seen some posts on my efforts at getting this little cow levelled and geared, and I can now report that he has Main Tanked Naxxramas with my guild on Chamber of Aspects (CoA).

There is just something about the rough-and-ready style of Horde locations that pleases me. Comparing Stormwind, Daranassus, Exodar and even Ironforge to the likes of Orgrimmar, Thunder Bluff and Undercity, you get the distinct impression that the Horde really are the underdogs, struggling to eke out an existence in a world that doesn’t really accept them. Blood Elves? Hrm. I don’t know. Slightly flip-flop in their allegiances maybe? A bit of an identity crisis? Personally I just think Blizzard got sick of all the complaining that Horde has no “pretty” races. But the pretty boys aside, I have always been a sucker for the underdog (even the occasional sports match I watch which has no team I support I root for the guy with all the odds stacked against him), and so I found I liked this idea of a genuine struggle in every sense of the word. No fancy towers, glittery crystals or mountain fortresses, just a valley turned city thanks to natural processes, a collection of teepees on the safety of some mesa’s or a fallen human city’s sewers turned to use by the Undead.

And my guild on CoA is also the biggest factor that decided me on a switch of faction. They are the first bunch of people I really feel … what can I say to describe them without sounding to emotionally wishy-washy? At home with? I know it sounds silly, but other guilds on Aerie Peak as an Alliance character I never truly felt as if I could relax with them.  Maybe it was the pre-conception that Alliance tends to house more of the younger, drama seeking players so I was always on edge waiting for infantile outbursts? As a kid, you always want to play the “good guys”. The impression does exists that Horde tends to be more mature than Alliance as far as players are concerned, and it was possibly this that allowed to find a better bunch of folks to hang out with. Honestly, I am still not entirely sure why it took me THIS long to find a good guild that just fits.

This all ended up with me using Blizzard’s additional services. Dranok, the Night Elf Priest, is no more. A server and faction transfer later, Krunial the Blood Elf Priest was born. The decision was not lightly made (firstly cos it isn’t all that cheap; 45 Euro in South Africa is a fair wad of cash to be spending on something as transient as a game like WoW), but I had spent a fair amount of time on Priestly healy goodness and he was just stagnating on the other realm and faction.

Making the switch from Alliance to Horde was a bit of a challenge. Going from the spangly, glittery, fluffyness of most of the Alliances cities and settlements to the more hardcore, build-it-out-of-whatever-you-can-find Horde locales is an eye opener. A Horde NPC will never tell you they are the underdogs but the feeling is there. “We are surviving, no matter the odds stacked against us”. And that is kind of … inspiring. “Lok’tar Ogar” just seems more impactful than “For the Alliance”. Not to mention hearing Sylvanas for the first time in Forge of Souls .. well lets just say that was far more gut wrenching than more Jaina tears (boy that woman needs to learn to control her emotions).

I am now fully dedicated to the Horde it seems. With a great bunch of people in a guild willing to trust me to tank them through raids, even considering there are far better geared people to do the job. I wouldn’t want to change factions again as it stands.

Worgen. Hrm. That may throw a spanner in the works, but we will have to wait and see…

Raiding is on the horizon

In all this time since I last posted I have had some issues actually getting into WoW. Everything from Internet connection issues, sickness, lots of work to do, visits all over and a bunch more. Its at times like these I wish that WoW was either light enough to run on, say, a netbook and/or have an offline mode. Not realistic I know, but one is allowed to dream and ponder the possibilities when one has bugger all else to do.

That reverted recently, over the last week or so, and I have been able to spend a lot more time on my not-so-baby tank Kruntak. In fact I have joined a pretty awesome guild on Chamber of Aspects; Dragon Lords. Defining this guild is slightly tricky, and makes me question why we always need definitions, but in essence this is a casual (hate that word but its the most “understood”), friendly guild of people who just play WoW. But over the past two weeks the guild has been showing signs of wanting to do a bit of raiding. Not hard-core progression, and not even necessarily getting Arthas down before the next expansion. Just doing some raiding maybe once or twice a week to see the content.

Why is this guild awesome? This is the funnest and most helpful bunch of guildies I’ve ever had the opportunity to play with. When I was still in Nagrand and had all those group quests and the Ring of Blood group of quests, I decided to see if there was anyone in the guild that might be willing to take a few minutes to help me out.

Now, ALL other guilds, a request like “I have a few group quests to do , would anyone be able to help” would often produce  a silence crickets are eager to fill. But not this one. After the text had hit guild chat, I had 5 people all immediately respond, and within 10 minutes I had a large group of people all flying around with me in Nagrand, finding those elite mobs, burning them down (sometimes so eagerly we had to wait for a respawn for one because I wasn’t in range yet to get the quest completion for it) and then off to the Ring of Blood. Even now, questing in Dragonblight, asking for help brought out 2 people to come help.  Every single time I have asked for help with group quests, someone has come to help. No exceptions.

The guild does find itself in a bit of a quandary, however. They want to start raiding, predominantly, as I said before, just for something to do and to see the content. Personally I have never been a big raider, but I think the single biggest part of this was that I could never find a guild I really felt like I fit in with. And also due to my own predilection to want to progress through all content and not just fire straight into the latest progression stuff.

I want to see and experience Naxxramas, Eye of Eternity, Ulduar, etc. And now Dragon Lords is looking at getting started with raiding in Naxxramas. Perfect for me. After we get that content down we will move onto the next most difficult raid. This is the way I like to play, to progress through content in sequence and experience as much as I can.

Which is also why, on my advancement to 80 for my Warrior, I am questing in Northrend (currently parked in Grizzly Hills) so that I can experience that content in sequence too, which is something I didn’t do on my 80 Priest, he was levelled through LFD exclusively.

The quandary for Dragon Lords comes from the fact that the guild doesn’t really have that many raid-capable players, not even for a full 10-man yet. The legacy of being a friendly, social, levelling guild is that anyone that was after raiding content had left. We do have a few people ready and keen but we need more. And recruiting for entry-level raiding in these days of “downing Arthas”, is actually pretty tricky. For one, once my Warrior hits 80 he will be PUGging HC’s a ton (when fellow guildies aren’t available to help run them) to gear up ASAP. He will be the guilds main tank for the raids. We also have a paladin (the GM) ready to be off-tank, a few DPS and one healer.

This is the first time ever in WoW I am actually looking forward to end-game content. To do it with a bunch of fun, helpful people who kind of have the same goals I do (raiding for experience of content rather than willy-waving on progression). The next couple of months, if the guild can sort out its lack of raid-ready player woes, looks to be very interesting indeed.

Altaholic is going on a detox and choosing a new “main” for a little while.

Where is my WoW going?

You know what? I don’t know what I am doing in WoW anymore! Seriously. I have alts I play, some healer, some DPS, some tank. My main is a Holy Priest, yet I am enjoying playing my Tauren tank at the same time (who is know at 62 and in Outland).

But more and more I find myself logging in, looking at my character selection screen and just … staring. Heal? Tank? Maybe some mindless DPS for a bit? Then I wonder if I should focus on one character and start raiding with him, but I know I will eventually get bored and mess people around because the way most guilds are you need to fulfil your raid commitments else you leave people in the lurch counting on you being there on time.

I could, of course, just PUG raid, but holy crap, thats another can of worms. The last PUG raid I did was for my first weekly quest I ever tried to do. Yes, I am not a big raider and I guess I have just provided evidence how much love my “main” actually gets. But that PUG just about put me off PUGging raids at all. It was  for the Lord Marrowgar Must Die Weekly, an ICC weekly, and it was simply abominable. 30 minutes to clear trash in the first section due to over-excited tanks “accidentally” pulling too much. Then the trap was fired off early while healers were still drinking after a wipe res and buff session. I abandoned it. It was going nowhere.

I’m wondering if what I need for my main is a change of scenery. Either change my main to the Tauren Warrior tank and start raiding on him or switch my Priests spec entirely to Discipline and try that out. Perhaps even make my priest a Shadow Priest as my main spec instead of healing?

One of my problems with raiding in WoW is that real life doesn’t necessarily allow me to commit to too much. Not to mention the fact that living in South Africa means that when most guilds start a raid for the night, I am 1-2 hours ahead of them and the raids are during the week. I work! Going to bed 2-3 nights a week at 1 am will not make my boss all that happy, and turn me into an uncommunicative git in the office the next day.

Not to mention that I have a fiance and we live together. I’d like to spend some time with her. For me the perfect raiding guild to join would have the following characteristics:

  • Raids are run on Fridays and/or Saturdays. I am not a social butterfly, so I spend most Fridays or Saturdays at home. Plus, late night raiding those nights would not piss my boss off.
  • Failing weekend raiding, weekday raids end at 11pm my time. Going to bed around 11 I can cope with. That still gives me 6-7 hours worth of sleep.

Funny thing is, the closest guild I have found that does this is a guild run by Greedy Goblins Gevlon. They only runs raids Saturday nights and thats only if they have enough players online to form a raid. Seems to suit me perfectly. No schedule that I absolutely have to meet and a time I am more capable of meeting. There is one additional aspect to this as well that sort of appeals to me.

I have never been a gear-whore. The latest spangly bit of epic gear really doesn’t mean much to me. I am in WoW to the play the game, not show off my Gearscore. Unfortunately, most people base your skill on your GS not on your actual skill.

Where Gevlon’s guild is different, is that they raid, but only in blue gear, which is why the guild is called “Undergeared”. No raider is allowed to participate wearing epics. “lolwut?” you might be asking, but I kind of like this idea. Putting aside all the crap he discusses about teaching M&S something (Morons and Slackers for those who have not read his blog), I simply like it in that its an interesting challenge. I don’t like the way WoW has gone to simplify everything for all the players and make content easy. Gearing a character is a joke and done easily (got my Priest from a GS of 3000 to 4500 in two days for example), and most guilds just overgear encounters as their tactic to win it. So this idea, to me at least, seems like a heap of fun.

Look at it this way. What better way to improve your skill in raids than not allow players to just overgear it? I’m not one to go into Ulduar and just face-roll my way through, thats not fun. From his project, I can have fun trying my best to ensure that the way I play is fully optimised and not just the gear my character wears.

So maybe I’ll do that? Transfer my Tauren tank to that realm and join Undergeared. Perhaps I’ll finally find my niche I enjoy so much with a guild that still raids but allows me the time to live my life and do everything else I like to do in WoW at the same time … like play all my alts.

Healer compliments. A rarity

I was reading a very interesting post on the World of Matticus blog titled “10 Reasons People Don’t Heal“, and one of the points mentioned about healer recognition and the almost automatic blame laid on healers when a PUG group wipes can drive people away from the role as a healer. My main is a Holy Priest, and I really do love the responsibility of having these peoples virtual lives in my hands, but thinking back there was only one single instance where I was complimented for my healing.

One of the reasons I don’t think this happens is that a healers role in a group is not immediately visible. If a tank does not perform you know all about it because the mob aggro goes all over the place. If DPS aren’t bringing their abilities to bear then each pull takes forever and mobs don’t get burnt down very quickly. But a healer? We might be keeping everyone permanently topped off health-wise but its never really noticed. People don’t tend to watch their health bars as they play because they have other things to worry about.

That one time I got a compliment is simply because my healing was in the spotlight for a moment. It was a PUG run earlier this year, an Utgarde Keep HC run. We were running that gauntlet down to Skadi the Ruthless, the warrior tank picking up the mobs easily as we were running. Then Skadi did his whole frost breath thing, coating one half of the pathway in ice. Unfortunately, the Mage in the group didn’t move fast enough, and even though I tried to save him he fell in the first few seconds.

As the Warrior is picking up all the new mobs that spawn, Skadi breaths ice again, and this time it was the Warlock’s turn to go down. 2 DPS down and we hadn’t even got Skadi off his drake yet. Finally, the Rogue of the group gets to harpoon the bugger down, and we engage him … until the first whirlwind. The Rogue failed to run away and got picked off.

Skadi is only at 70% health with just me and the Warrior tanking. The three dead corpses start discussing the run back and how they need to get out of the ice faster so that they can make sure the second attempt at him is succesful and I thought “Bugger you lot, I am keeping this tank up no matter what!”

Skadi is down to 60%. Sudden spike damage and I hit the Warrior with a Guardian Spirit. Trying my best to use my most efficient spells (3x Flash Heal and a Serendipity hasted Greater Heal). I OOM. Shadow Beast crawls out of hiding and starts sending some more mana my way. I OOM again. Runic Mana Potion. I carry on. I OOM again.

Now I am left in a quandary. I have Hymn of Hope. I can cast it on myself. But it means I won’t be able to heal the Warrior while I channel it. But I have no mana to heal him with anyways. I hit the spell and begin channeling. Thankfully, the Warrior is on his game. His Shield Wall is off cooldown, and he sees me channeling for mana, and hits his avoidance abilities while I get some mana back.

The game continues, until I OOM once more. Shadowbeast is still on cooldown. I hurriedly rush into my spellbook to get a down ranked healing spell I can carry on spamming as my mana naturally regenerates.

Skadi finally goes down. I fall back into my chair, sweating, breathless, massive shit-eating grin all over my face. The DPS that were discussing how best to tackle Skadi on the second attempt explode in text-based jubilations. The compliments come flowing in.

After sipping s0me calming Honeymint Tea, I res them all, rebuff and off we go. The rest of the run went smoothly. But since that incident I have never recieved a compliment for healing. Mostly because I have never had an incident like that again.

When I am playing on my other characters, I consciously make an effort to compliment the healer if he is doing a good job. But, to be honest, it is rather difficult to tell. If my compliment can make that person want to carry on healing the further they level, then its worthwhile. Just like “Gogogogo” can kill a baby tank, so silence regarding the impact a healer has had in your group can kill a baby healer.

Last night I decided to play around on Dranok, my Holy Priest main. Decided to get going with a bit of AH management, some bag clean up and then … “DUN DUN DUN” … queue for a random HC to get my daily 2x Frost Emblems. I do have a serious problem with PUG runs as a healer though. Why is it there is always one -insert name of phallic object here- in the group? Or more than one, which seems to happen quite often too. The type of guys that aren’t bad per se, but do all those minor annoyances that piss healers off. What minor annoyances you ask? Lets describe them quick.

Rez plox

What the fuck is “plox”? And don’t give me that “It means please” response, I KNOW that. What I don’t understand, how is it any harder to type “please”, or even “plz”? Cos that three-letter variety is an actual understandable abbreviation.

Symantics aside, after a pull, and your decorating the ground with your slowly decaying carcass, do you really need to ask to get ressed? Really? Its my job for god’s sake! Me not ressing you is like me not healing the tank. If I didn’t do it feel free to kick my ass. Don’t go asking. We just had an encounter so intense that I couldn’t keep your squishy ass alive and had to focus on healing myself and tank to such an intense degree that afterwards I may just need a few seconds to myself to ensure there’s no collateral damage (DOT’s don’t stop ticking with the fall of the last mob), readjust my dress, and then see who needs ressing. I will get there, I will do my job, give me chance!

If you constantly bug the healer for ressing, you may as well, everytime you take damage, shout for heals. Not the most efficient way to handle an instance but hell if thats how you prefer to roll, I’ll oblige by only healing you on request.

Heals plox

This is the bigger daddy of the issue above. Its rarer but still happens. And I can’t fathom why. If you are the tank and you are not recieving healing there may be a few reasons why:

  • You don’t stop running. Healers cannot heal you out of range or if they are LoS’ed.
  • You don’t stop … at all. Not giving your healer a chance to get mana back means you won’t get heals.
  • Your healer is inept: And this does happen. Full mana bar, clear LoS, 5 feet behind you and … well I don’t know what he could be doing that he just is not healing you. Its never happened to me as a healer. I heal. And if your healer is the inept kind, you still don’t need to ask for heals, just kick him already.

If, however, you are DPS, there is only one additional reason you don’t get heals. If the tank is taking huge amounts of spike damage, and the healer has to focus every iota of healing clout he has at the tank, I’m afraid you’re not going to get much. It’s called a healing priority. Tank > Healer > DPS. And I know some DPS guys will come back with “But if there is no DPS the boss won’t go down”. But look at it this way. One DPS goes down, we slow down the kills. Two DPS go down, it is now tough, but as long as healer doesn’t OOM we are ok. All DPS down, now its incredibly hard with only a slim chance of doing it, using every mana regen ability and mana pot I can kinda hard. But, the tank goes down, wipe! See what I mean about priority?

In summary, don’t ask for heals. If your healer is really that bad, the tank can initiate a vote kick. Otherwise get used to decorating the floor with your corpse.

Then came the run from heaven

Zoning into an already underway PUG run is always a little scary. Why did the other healer leave? Was he kicked? Was the group so bad that he just decided to go? Or is it something as mundane as he needed to go eat supper? You never really know. Pit of Saron, just before Ick. I hit the three mass-buff spells, top everyone off health-wise and drink. The other four are waiting. With a quick swap of “Hi” between us, I PW:S the tank, and he’s off.

No problems whatsoever.  Everyone is doing everything they can to avoid obviously avoidable stuff. That poison patch that lands on the ground? They move before it lands. The pursuit? They keep out of range. The Poison Nova? Everyone scatters. In short, these guys are acting as if this is a full on raid where you need to respond and none of that “Just heals through it lolz” crap I hate so much. Ick goes down.

Jaina tells us how awesome we are and off we go to climb that hill to the cavern of falling ice. We had just finished Ick, I’m too low on mana, I say in party chat “Need mana”, but the Paladin tank goes on in anyways. With 21% mana and Shadowbeast on CD, I oom, we wipe.

During the corpse run the Paladin says, verbatim, “Dranok, what happened to the healing?”. He may be accusing me. He may just simply making a simple request. But the fact that he used my name and asked in a coherent fashion instead of the usual “what happend thr heals?” endears me to him a little and I feel a little bad responding with “I was low on mana before you pulled and was drinking”.

I wait. A few seconds go past. I wait some more for the inevitable tirade of abuse that follows a statement where the responsible and at-fault party tries to deflect the blame.

“Sorry about that, my bad. I see you did tell me that. I’ll watch better”

The thud of jaw striking table-top could be felt as tremors throughout the quiet neighbourhood. I was in shock. Speechless. A considerate tank willing to take the blame for his fault. Holy crap! But it doesn’t end there.

We get back, buffs, drinks, bubble, etc and pull the next pack. Unfortunately this time round the DOT’s were stacking far quicker than I could dispel them, and the tank was taking a pounding, as well as everyone else in the group. I have no idea why this next pack was so damned tough. We eventually get them down, but the mage was a crumpled pile of robes and staff. As I am busy ressing him (note: he didn’t ask), “Sorry I couldn’t keep you up there mate”.

“No worries. The tank was taking a pounding. Good job on keeping him up”.

I nearly collapsed in a heap. I was in love (and I don’t swing that way). Could this really be a DPS understanding the concept of healing priority? I let him DIE and he’s COMPLIMENTING me?!?! Holy Crap number 2!

Unfortunately it was not to last. And it was nothing they did or didn’t do. It was something my Internet provider decided to stop doing. Run through the cavern with no problem, drinking before pulling the last boss, I bubble paladin and off we g…… aaaaahhhh crap! My Internet had died. It took a full 20 minutes to get back online again. I was going to pester them after the last kill for another random run. I didn’t want to let go. THIS is what a PUG run should be like. Not some group of “gogogog” DPS and inconsiderate tanks who seem to make “LoS the Healer” a game to be played. And I couldn’t friend them. I couldn’t run another random with them. I was severed from them brutally and savagely by the vagaries of Internet technology.

There are too many blogs out there telling the bad stories. I was so pleased I had a good one to tell. I really hope I can bump into those folks again.

Usually in WoW, I play either my tank or healer characters. For me being either in control of a group or responsible for the groups well-being has appealed. DPS has always been a little side interest and doesn’t feel as compelling to me for some reason. Hey, everyone has their preferences, and that happens to be one of mine.

Just as a change of pace I logged onto one of my DPS characters, Tyrandus, my little hunter. Now, she only had one pet, a bear, and was at level 27. I know that for maximum DPS in an instance a better pet would be something like a wolf. So I decided to queue for an instance because I know long they can take as DPS (another reason I prefer tanking or healing) while I flew from Darnassus to Astranaar to go tame me a wolf.

As luck would have it, the “Enter Dungeon” button pops just as I land in Astranaar so wolf I have not. I go in anyway, because at this level, it probably doesn’t make that big a difference.

Zoning in we end up in Blackfathom Deeps. Not my favourite instance but what the hell. We seem to have an ok group looking at the class structure; a Shaman Healer, a Pally tank, a Rogue and a Warlock. Nice diverse group. That was until I took a look at the Paladin more intently.

What role would you expect a Holy Specced Paladin with a two-handed mace to play? You might not be able to decide between healer, because of the talent spec, or DPS because of the great big hammer he was swinging round, but tank? Someone comments on this, the Warlock in fact, that he has no shield and is specced Holy.

“But I can keep myself alive with heals” is his response. Way to go and throw that into the healers face, but the Shammy didn’t seem to mind. I pretty much kept my mouth shut at this point. But by god he was slow. As one example we had just killed the Murloc boss and are standing outside the little Murloc cavern. My Hunter’s Mark goes up over the next Naga I am assuming we are going to attack … and we wait. We wait some more. I am just about to type something (not “gogogogo’ because I so hate that when DPS do it) when the paladin healer/dps/tank pipes up with “So shall we do this?”

“Yes please, we’re all waiting for you!” I think he forgot he was tanking.

So we carry on. With interminably long pauses between each pull, waiting for who knows what. Totally frustrated by now, seeing as we had been in this instance for over an hour, I kinda snapped and got my fluffy little bear to run all the way down one corridor to a mob right at the very end, aggroing everything along the way. Naughty I know.

We were fine, we DPS’ed them down, Shaman had Heirloom gear so could keep up the heals with no problem and we cleared what would have taken us another 10 minutes in 1. Then its time to enter that hall filled with Warlock type adds right before the second-to-last boss. Due to some serious mismanagement by the tank, my bear’s growl had to be turned back on in order to peal mobs off of me, the healer and pretty much everyone else.

The boss, standing in front of that shrine goes down. So I go ahead and light one of the braziers.

“Noooooooo … don’t! If we light them all at once then no mobs come out!” comes the shriek from the paladin. Unfortunately he was wrong. We kill the mobs that spawned because of my brazier lighting, then they proceed to light all three others, all at once. Needless to say that fight was interesting but we do it.

At this point though, running to the last boss, the paladin berates me.

Him: “Damn huntard! If we had lit them all at once we would have had nothing spawn”
Me: “I don’t know where you get your info from but all that would have happened was that we would have been swamped with mobs as they would ALL come out at once”
Him: “You are wrong. We would have had nothing. I know, I been playing WoW since day one”
Me: “-Raises eyebrow- When was day one exactly?”
Him: “2008, when else? Now listen to me cos I am tanking and you are ONLY DPS”
Me: “So are you with that mace idiot. Or are you a healer with Holy talents. But no you want to tank. Without a shield. Without Protection talents”

We got that last boss down, I got my satchel. I looked over at the DPS meter. Tyrandus wears no Heirloom gear. “Oh, by the way, this ONLY DPS out DPS’ed everyone that came into this group by about 10%, with no special gear using a BEAR pet”. I posted the DPS meter. “And FYI, WoW celebrated 5 years this year … day one was 2005!” and left.

So all you DPS guys and gals out there, unless you’re ability to hurt the enemy is really bad, I have a new found respect for you and will never ever knock that role in a group again. Seriously. There is enough “only DPS loz” from tanks and healers around and I won’t do it anymore.

The Celestial Steed Furor

And in the strict sense of the word “furor” this is good or bad. The Celestial Steed, available from the Blizzard.net store, was released a few days ago to a very mixed reception from the community. For myself, I did spend the 25 Euros on it, but to me its actually incredibly useful. Seeing as its account-wide, and I am a serious altaholic, I now have a mount available, both flying and ground based, for all my characters to use as soon as they get trained.

Tyrandus, the Night Elf Hunter, with the starry steed

Epeens R Us

After buying my mount and logging onto Shandrys, my druid alt, I was perusing the Auction House when a comment was popped onto trade channel:

“Anyone who has the Celestial Steed is an idiot!”

Ok. So if you think that, and you don’t particularly want one, why make a comment like that? As the chat progressed and the initial commenter expounded on how it sucked and in-game items bought for real cash was soooo stupid, a realisation dawned on me which I tested by whispering the guy:

Me: “If you really want I can gift one to you. 25 Euro’s isn’t really that much”.
Him: “Really? Why would you send a gift like that to someone?”
Me: “Because, it really isn’t that expensive. Would you like me too?”
Him: “It would be nice but I my guild hates them too much”

Tada. My evidence had been granted. The only reason he made the initial comment was that he is probably reliant on someone else, probably his parents, for paying his WoW subscription. To him, it is important to have all the willy-waving accouterments he can get his little paws on, but because the latest and greatest Epeen item was only available out of game and he knew the people paying his subscription would never pay for the mount, he felt he had to denigrate everyone else with one just to make himself feel better about not being able to get one.

I work hard everyday of my life. I earn that pay check at the end of the month. One of the rare, selfish things I spend my cash on after paying all the bills is my WoW subscription. If I choose to purchase a spangly bunch of pixels with my cash, thats my prerogative. There really is no need to try and belittle everyone else just because you are not able to do the same thing. In all honesty if I had only one or two characters and already had all the mounts I need, I wouldn’t have bothered with it.

As I said before, for me the mount was a worthwhile investment. Having as many alts as I do and the purchase being account-wide, its handy for me. Other bloggers I have read have also purchased the sparkly little creature and love it. It does, to me at least, have a pretty interesting look. Uniqueness though is not an attribute this little critter bears. It seems everyone and their uncle has bought one (naysayers aside). This is, in and of itself, probably one of the causes for the QQ I mentioned above. (“Why can’t I have one? WAH!”)

Another funny comment that cropped up on that chat in Trade channel:

“So, to all the 80’s that own the Celestial Mount … How does it feel that a level 20 can ride around on it as well? lolz”

I fail to see the point. In fact, that IS the point. That anyone and all the alts can ride it as well. I guess for someone like me who isn’t an Epeen waver, I don’t care that everyone has one. I tend to value items on their usefulness (be that the fun they provide or the utility the serve) and not on bragging rights. I’ll probably never own a Mechano Hog, simply because it doesn’t do anything none of my other mounts do. As a last resort if I decided to try and collect all the mounts available in game as a fun thing to do to complete a collection, then maybe. Otherwise I can’t be bothered.

But I am not about to go mock others who have the Hog just to make myself feel better. I am not that insecure in my own worth, in game and out.

What should/n’t Blizzard sell in its store

One thing I would warn Blizzard against is selling anything that is related to allowing progression on its store. Anything from gear to materials to any other item (including gold) that has a much broader use than just getting around or cosmetic. There are already games out there that use that business model. Games where there are no subs to pay but make their money by selling items for players to use in game.

Why? Doing that would cause a serious rift in the game’s demographic. The rich kids would be the ones with the latest uber gear from the Blizzard store, able to get right through all the latest content and only accept other rich kids into their guilds.

Thankfully Blizzard have stated many times that they would never sell gold or other items required to progress the game further. Anything essential to playing the game will only ever be available in-game so that anyone that pays their subscription can attain it with enough effort and/or practice. Hopefully that always stays the same.

One last comment to sign off on. Someone else said in that now infamous Trade channel spat that we pay subs, and buying the Celestial Steed is just money in Blizzards back pocket that won’t help in improving the game. Really? I didn’t know that Blizzard had published their budget plans for the next quarter and specifically pointed out that “Celestial Steed Sales” where pre-allocated to director bonuses or some-such. Do people really think that your small subscription fee per month can keep Blizzard going as strong as they want to go with all the competition out there and all the changes they want to make? Sure, multiplied by 11 million subscribers, it sounds like a lot, but working in the IT industry I can tell you that maintaining enough servers and services (remember there are support sites, support personal, developers, forums and a host of other things we don’t see that add to the running costs) cost enough that not a very large percentage can actually be counted as profit. Sales of in-game items like the Celestial Steed help add to the bottom line that can then be ear marked for things like hiring more developers, artists, or whatever else they might need to help produce a better gave for ALL of us.

I don’t think Blizzard is stupid enough to squander its financial resources, no matter the source, when there is so much that we as players are constantly demanding from them.

Ahhh, the PUG. Definitely a WoW bloggers canon fodder. There are some blogs dedicated to the topic, like Pugging Pally (a fun read, you should give it a try). Needless to say, being the altaholic that I am, I tend to run one or two PUG’s. From the Hunter that refused to get Aspect of the Viper to the Druid healer that took control of giving directions and then running the wrong way all the way to the ubiquitous “Gogogogogo”, yup, I seem to enjoy abuse.

But I have come to a decision. When I am on my Warrior tanking away and I know the instance well enough, I am in charge. Don’t go pull extra mobs because you think we can handle it or you are in a hurry. I will note that the healer is having no problem and start doing bigger pulls adjusting the size of the pulls according to what we can handle. And don’t “Gogogog” me. If I am not rushing to the next mob there is a reason, like healer mana, ressing and so no.

In fact, I am goign to create a macro to announce this to the party when I zone into an instance because by god its frustrating. Something along the lines of:

“Guys, I will pull mobs and will pull bigger if I see we can handle it. Do not pull extra because it can cause more problems than help. If I am waiting after a pull its for a reason. If you Gogogo me or decide you know better and do pull you will end up waiting for another tank!”

Sounds cocky right? Well its not! I have had a couple of instances where a pull was made by a DPS to another group of mobs and it resulted in a wipe. The reason is simple. I am focussed on what I have to tank right now. If you decide to pull another group over, I might not see. Even if I do, I then have to fight the aggro off of you and my primary group aggro ability as a warrior, namely Thunder Clap, may be on cooldown.

What happened to make us wipe this weekend was exactly that combined with the fact that I am currently getting clobbered, so heals are incoming. One guess who ends up getting aggro then! Thats right, my squishy healer suddenly has a ton of mobs on him and I can do very little except bring the group that is already on me closer to the squishy healer in an attempt to pull the new lot off him, losing threat on the rest cos I am no longer tanking I am now doing damage control.

1. Death Grip is the best spell “EVVA!”

So where to start with recollecting all the “fun” I had this weekend. One that immediately springs to mind is the group that consisted of me tanking, a Priest healer, a Mage and two Death Knights. Seems ok except for the fact that the Mage was level 63 where I was only at 57. Now this doesn’t sound like a problem at face value, except for the fact that the Mage in question was Blizzard-spamming constantly. And being 6 levels above your tank means that, you guessed it, aggro is bound to be incoming. At first I just couldn’t understand why the damned mobs were peeling off me as if I was insignificant. I was following my usual tanking priority/rotation mechanic (Thunder Clap > Revenge > Tab+Devestate > Shield Slam > etc), but still they kept running off of me to the Mage, scoffing at my lowly DPS and rightly realising that that squishy guy in a dress was the real threat and a much easier target!

It took me a while to figure that out simply because I was being frustrated by both Death Knights deciding Death Grip was the awesomest spell “EVVA!”. Both were constantly Death Gripping mobs off me. Then there was the one DK who was trying to make a fashion statement by running around naked. Yup, I guess he thought that the Death Knight plate armour look just wasn’t working for him darling!

Combine all that really frustrating stuff with a Priest who didn’t seem to have the throughput. Or it may have been that he thought Greater Heal was the only spell he had, cos that was all he seemed to be casting. When he got desperate, a bit of Holy Nova also made its way out. Now, Holy Nova is a great spell now that they have removed any threat generation from it, but I know from experience that a Priest standing in the middle of all the crap going on on my end isn’t always a good thing, and boy does that spell OOM you quick.

All that in ONE group. After we wiped twice I left. It was not going to work. You cannot tank an instance where everything you’re tanking either gets forcefully ripped away from you or people just don’t watch their threat generation.

2. Back to my Priest and some sanity

After that I logged out of my baby Warrior and back onto my Priest main. I needed something where people knew what they were doing.

So it was with a certain amount of frustration that I go from being the tank to relying on one. And got the tank from hell. You know the type. The one that thinks hes uber and turn a Halls of Stone Heroic run into a healing nightmare. My Shadowbeast was on permanent cool down as I desperately tried to keep up the mana because the guy would not stop, even after shouting at him to do so. Repeatedly. Over and over again. I am oom and he decides that first part of the instance running through those rocky, dug out halls to the rock boss (forget his name) is a great place to pull EVERY MOB IN THE CAVERN.

He runs off. Vanishes into the distance while I am drinking. DPS go trundling after but I already knew the outcome, so I stay seated. My ass stayed firmly attached to ground, sipping my Honeymint Tea, as he starts shouting “HEALS!”. I calmy replied: “Oh sorry, I told you I was out of mana and I needed to drink. Maybe if you had waited 20 seconds it would saved the 2 minutes it will take me to res all of you”.

That was the one saving grace. Because I was so far away the mobs didn’t aggro me. Unfortunately, because the tank had run so far away, there were some mobs between me and the groups corpses. Thankfully the corpse run for HoS is short, so they were back soon. After that the tank was just a leetle more considerate.

Oh and after, I found out that he was actually specced DPS. Great job Mr PewPew … tank you are not.

There were just far too many other PUG groups this weekend that detailing them all would take all day. Like the level 55 DPS Warrior with 1 green item, 1 blue item (from the satchel) and the rest of his gear was white. Don’t ask me how he achieved getting to 55 without at least getting all green but hey, who am I to question. Needless to say, he was dead at the end of EVERY pull.

Much fun was had. Some frustration and quite a few laughs. Wonder what I am going to get in future.

Hello world!

Yes! Hello world! Default post with default title. I guess I had to keep it cos … you know … HELLO WORLD!

-cough-

So after that rather inconsequential start, my new blog is called Altaholics Diary. I make no excuses for the fact that I love my alts. And I just realised I may need to define some terms used here for those people that came along not realising what this funny titled blog is all about.

  • This Blog = A World of Warcraft blog (Oh no not another one!)
  • Alt = An alternative character to a players main character.
  • Altaholic = A person who likes to play many different alt’s and not always his main character.

I have been on the WoW scene for going on three years. I remember the heady days of logging in as a fresh faced noob just after Burning Crusade was released, just breathlessly taken away by all the purply, swirly, mystical goodness that is Teldrassil (yes, I started as a Night Elf) and getting frustrated with the fact that my newly minted Priest seemed to die more than anything else. (“I Smite you heathenous creature of the… oh crap!”)

Call my Altohlism an attempt at recapturing those “glory” days when everything was so fantastic and new and shiny .. and stuff. I don’t care. I’m one of those people that paid for the box set, pays a monthly subs and wants to max out every little iota of contenty goodness I can from these lower levels cos I damn well paid for it. Gimme!

Which begs the question. What about all that lovely, shiny, end game stuff?

End game! Why call it end game for gods sake? Why not make it sound totally like you have finished the game by calling it “End Game”. Its almost as if the fact that killing mobs and doing quests no longer gives you experience is enough indication so lets highlight the fact that you reached level 9873498734 by actually calling it “This is the End of The Game!”.

Seriously though, I have never really felt the draw to pretty much do the same thing day in and day out. Its kind of like your reward for “Ending The Game” is an endless loop of “Run HC’s”->”Get Emblems”->”Get Gear”->”Run HC’s”->repeat… Thats an awesome way to really make someone aspire to reaching level cap by doing what amounts to menial labour day in and day out.

Sure if you’re an Epeen-waving M&S (as Gavlon at GreedyGoblin likes to call them), then the end game grind is for you. Go you! Me? Meh!

As some kind of Justification for my altaholic nature I present the list of my (current) characters. Expect it to change over time:

  • Dranok: Night Elf Holy Priest – Aerie’s Peak (If anything was going to be my main, then this would be it)
  • Kruntak: Tauren Protection Warrior – Chamber of Aspects
  • Shandrys: Night Elf Druid – Aerie’s Peak
  • Jenita: Human Mage – Aerie’s Peak
  • Trianul: Troll Shaman – Chamber of Aspects
  • Filura: Gnome Protection Warrior (cos the only thing better than one warrior is TWO) – Aerie’s Peak
  • Enumerable other characters of certain race/class combinations that are scattered across realms or been deleted that I cannot for the life of me remember.

So expect me to blog here about my fancies and adventures on Azeroth with a motley cast of characters, most of which I flip between and around and amongst and I will stop the tautologous speak right now. I am not going to promise a post schedule as I will post when I see fit or have something to share. Suffice it to say, this blog will remain ugly and “default” until I have learnt how to customise it better.

If anyone at this early stage may be reading this first post (woo to me if they are) then feel free to post your thoughts on alts and neglect of mains. Me? Time to sort out how this WordPress blog UI works.