Selling instances, and GH3

Its 9 in the morning and I’m sitting at school and what do I see? Someone dressed as Borat walked right by me holding a mini flag. I think I need to get me some coffee.

Oh, there goes a power ranger.

I wonder if I’ll see any WoW themed characters today at school.

Anyway, on to today’s piece.

I think what we’re about to see is a trend towards selling instances to higher progressed Guilds. Carnage has begun such a practice.

Allow me to explain.

Carnage has cleared out 5/6 SSC and 3/4 TK. It’s only going to be a matter of time before we take down Vashj and Kael. Our last raiding day in the week is on Sunday. If we don’t get Vashj down, that still leaves a Monday free for other Guilds to come and take Vashj. There are a number of high end Guilds DOING Mt. Hyjal and Black Temple. Those two instances require attunement via killing Vashj and Kael. Since Carnage isn’t in position to kill them yet, we may as well allow other Guilds to take over the instance since they can’t be bothered to clear it out themselves. But as with every business deal, there is always conditions:

Holy crap, Optimus Prime just walked by.

  • The Guild must take one of our members in
    • Said members will be handpicked by Officers to fulfill a variety of roles (Healing, DPS, tanking, kiting, etc.)
  • Of the loot that drops, at least ONE piece must go to our players
    • That member will be docked DKP accordingly

Personally I think that’s a fair deal to make. This guarantees that our Guildies continue to get gear and learn the fight in a manner suited to their individual roles (while having to pay DKP accordingly). Likewise, the OP Guild that comes in can get any stragglers attuned without having to waste a raid night in SSC clearing out trash and bosses and focusing purely on the boss that matters: Vashj herself.

I’ve counted at least 15 witches so far. There goes a girl dressed as that lady matron from Adams Family.

Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock

I walked into EB Games (Gamestop for the rest of you) with the intent of purchasing Guitar Hero 3. To my horror, I was informed they were sold out. Luckily, there was a Walmart but 60 ft away. Strolled in there empty handed, walked out with Guitar Hero. After yesterday night’s raid, I rushed out to my Wii and started jamming away. What an AWESOME GAME (“Schooooool’s out… for… summer”)!

Borat did another lap around the school. Good grief.

Any other Guitar Heroes out there? Help me out here! When’s the best time for me to use my Star Power?

After class, I’m going to go pick me up a copy of Hellgate: London. With Guitar Hero in one hand, and Hellgate in the other, my WoW Burnout countermeasures are in full force.

Hmm, a girl dressed as a cat. Cute. Sadly, no Night Elves yet. WILL I EVER SEE A NIGHT ELF IRL?!

How to: Manage New Players and Loot

I think it’s a fair assessment to say that most raiding Guilds have some kind of a trial procedure before a new player truly gets accepted. Complications arise when they raid begin to raid. Oh sure they’ve got the right to loot and all, but what about the guys that have worked on the boss for three weeks? Let’s back up for a second here and talk about trialing.

From the new player perspective

So you’re the new guy who is eager to prove yourself to the other members in the Guild. You might experience some difficulty breaking into the atmosphere. You’re a little shy and intimidated. After all here’s a Guild that doesn’t run Karazhan anymore, crushes Solarian, mops the floor with Leo, rides Al’ar like a pony, and turns Lurker into sushi. The only raiding experience you have is to your fridge at midnight. The first thing you need to do is relax. The second thing you need to do is to prove yourself worthy of being in such a Guild.

Different Guilds will have different methods of evaluating you as a player and as a person. A PvP Guild examines players based on how well they PvP. A raiding Guild examines players on their raiding performance. When you join a Guild initially, chances are you’re not “technically” in the Guild yet. But at the same time, you’re kind of “in” the Guild. It’s similar to hockey. Some players who don’t have contracts with various clubs will start by trying out with the clubs and seeing how well they fit in. That’s where you, the new guy, will be: in the Guild but not quite yet. Now the time period could range from a day to a month. Most tryouts would not involve you running in a five man or a heroic. Five man instances are vastly different from raid instances. If there happens to be a roster slot open for you, you’ll get thrown into the frying pan. The first time you raid with a new Guild will make or break your application. Because if you’re inactive or heaven forbid that you some how screw up somewhere, you will always be labelled as such a player. When I started doing Lurker a few months ago (gosh it’s been so long), I would consistently get blasted by his Spout because my computer’s frame rate was not high enough for me to compensate. It didn’t take long before other players old and new alike were told to not “pull a Mallet”.

Usually on first raids, most players will be quite forgiving. They’ll understand that it’s your first raid with them and they’ll be extra patient. But that extra patience will begin to wear thin. You need to stay extra focused and on your toes. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for clarification. Better a raid to spend an extra five minutes on explanations then thirty on wiping and dealing with trash respawns.

My trial experiences went something along the lines of this:

During my period with Angelic Advocates, I did not have the ability to speak in Guild chat (quite a nuisance by the way, don’t do that to new people). My trial run consisted of being thrown into a 40 man Raid group and completing BWL from start to finish. I was immediately promoted (with speaking privileges) the moment we downed Nefarion. Oddly enough, it was a Guild first (Six Priests and I was the only fear ward).

When I was trying out for Aurora, I was asked to step in and raid Karazhan at 11 PM. We downed Attumen on the first try and I was signed within days.

After a lengthy 20 minute interview with the recruiting officer for Carnage, I was invited on a trial basis. It took me several Gruul runs and a Magtheridon death before I was finally accepted with open arms.

My experiences all have one thing in common: perseverance. I’ve run into my share of players who would leave the Guild immediately if they wipe 12 times in Karazhan on a single night. If you can’t handle wiping in a minor instance like Karazhan, then there is not a chance you can handle raiding in a 25 man instance where raid wipes in the 20s are not uncommon. People seem to expect a free ride from high end raiding Guilds. I think that is one facet of the game that really annoys me.

The worse possible thing that can happen is that you and your potential new Guild just don’t mesh. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Nothing will stop you from hopping over to a new Guild and beginning the process anew.

From the Guild perspective

Here is one possible method for handling loot and new players. It’s going to work if you use a DKP system to help manage all the purples that drop. You can set a period of two or three weeks where players allowed to accumulate points but are not eligible to bid for or spend their points on loot. This is plausible if some players are in the negatives. However, if no one in the Raid needs that particular item, then the new player can exercise his option and ask for it. If you think about it, it’s kind of like a big giant “need before greed” situation. The rest of the Guild has option before it is then passed to the new player.

It’s up to every Guild member to make the new player at home and help him out a little bit if needed. You don’t need to give him your 30 Uber Fires and Uber Nethers for his Ubercloth set, but do help him out if he wants a small quest done or needs a mob killed. The point here is to encourage participation. If you’re doing dailies, ask him if they’ve done it yet. If you need an extra spot in a five man instance, go to the new player FIRST and see if they want in. Not only do you make the new player welcome, but you can subliminally see how that player performs and interacts with the Guild. All it takes is for one Guild member to say “Ubernoob said this to me and wouldn’t do this because he didn’t want to do it” and he is placed on the scrutiny list. I’ve seen cases where new players ask for help in running an instance and some Guild members say “sure, just a sec” and Ubernoob drops off the face of the planet leaving the Guild members hanging and scratching their heads wondering where he went (twice from what I’ve seen :O).

With this additional examination process, it allows more opportunities for Guild members to check out the Ubernoob. Guild Leaders who may not be around as often or don’t have the time to play with the Ubernoob can ask players who have had experience with him to report their thoughts. Leaders can then make judgments based on the type of information they receive which leads to one or two directions: Ubernoob is considered an asset and receives a nod or Ubernoob is a liability and is not what the Guild is looking for.

Finally, whatever decision that is made by the Officers should be respected and should not be second guessed. They usually have more information then Tony Raider and should be trusted to make the right decisions.

My First Date with Vashj

As with most of my past dates, it didn’t turn out so well =(.

It all started after we cleared out the keep. We slept through the Voidreaver job and took him down without breaking a sweat. Solarian took a bit more effort but she was down after the fourth try. People still weren’t realizing that they had received the explosion debuffs even with people screaming at them to move. Therefore, the third attempt we took a page from operant conditioning and punished people with DKP removal if they didn’t move. It generated immediate results. She went down thereafter.

There were another three hours to kill in the sunday evening. Instead of going after Mag, we took a jaunt towards SSC and gave the Lady herself a few tries. The DPS’ing down to 70% was not a problem. Phase 2 is a whole new story. She put up this shield around her which can only be removed when an item called a Tainted Core is placed in one of four shield generators. But all four generators need to be deactivated before her shield goes down. Tainted Cores drop randomly from spawning Tainted Elementals (Theres a Tainted and an Enchanted Elemental). Not only that, when you pick up a Core, you cannot run with it. It’s a giant game of European Handball which involves players passing from one another until it reaches a person within range of a shield generator who can then deactivate it.

Now how’s that for a PvP sport?

Unfortunately I had to leave part way through the encounter. I had family over for dinner and I could no longer stretch the playing limit.

Anyways, keep an eye here during the next few days…

How To: Properly Pickup Raid

I just had the pleasure of finishing a pickup raid with Fallen Heroes (Locks and Mages are in need for them by the way) in Karazhan. I was one of several pickup players that needed for their semi-Guild run. Several minor events happened throughout the evening that I wanted to share with everyone and I think it’s good practice for these general rules to be observed. We’re now in a stage of WoW where it’s possible for Karazhan pickup raids and Gruul’s Lair raids to be formed with ease. Many higher tier Guilds no longer have these instances on their raid rotation and new members tend to be forced to gear up via their own means. Sometimes, this means joining various Guild runs that need 1 or 2 spots filled because they don’t have enough players around.

1: Determine loot rules: I think this should always be the first step before you step in on a run. Figure out if it’s a free roll. In most cases, some Guilds want to gear up specific players which sets certain pieces of loot off limits. A typical example would be an item like a King’s Defender being reserved for the MT. Today I had some random scrub Paladin who joined the raid. We weren’t able take down Shade due to a plethora of reasons (I’ll explain in a second) so we opted to skip right to Chess. He asked if he could roll on the Defender as well as other pieces that he could wear after he zoned in. He was flatly denied and tried to argue for option to roll. This is a case of asking for too much, I think. Chess is free loot. He could’ve had a shot at the Healing Shield that might’ve dropped. But after much private harassment to the raid leader, he said enough, was removed. It’s impolite to accuse someone of being a bad leader in WoW and not knowing how to do encounters when that player is completely epic’d out and the arguing player’s dressed in blues.

But regardless, my point is that loot rules should be firmly established to players who are attending even if they’re in the Guild or if they’re not.

2: Watch Threat: There was no Paladin around for Salvation buffs. The raid had to pay extra careful attention to the amount of DPS they were doing. It’s not difficult to ease off the trigger for a few seconds as the Tanks are doing their thing. Some people are just trigger happy for no reason. What happens next? They die. Most players would learn. But not all of them. When we first zoned in and began to work our way towards Opera, there were the skeleton pulls that flank that corridor leading to the stage. The first thing I barked out was that there was no Paladin, which means no threat reduction so pay attention to your aggro. Sure enough, a Shadow Priest pulls aggro and gets nuked. A Hunter pulls aggro and gets nuked (FD was on cooldown). After we clean up and res, we move on to the next bunch. I reiterated the fact that we had no Paladin. I made a mental wager that the same Shadow Priest would pull aggro again. Sure enough, he died yet again. This time I caved in and dropped Tranquil Air Totem instead of Grace.

In a case like this, it would be made even more embarrassing if you as the outside player were to make such sloppy mistakes. Since the Guild doesn’t know you and the kind of player you are, there’s going to be an automatic assumption that you have no idea what you’re doing. If you DO know what you’re doing, then you’re just an idiot. Remember that you are a guest and that you want to make a fairly good impression to the people you are running with the side outcome of running with them again in the future. Even if it was the worst run ever and the Guild isn’t capable of doing, you never know when you could use their services. Maybe a player in that Guild has a super rare enchant or crafting recipe that you can use. Chances are, they’ll remember you as a stand out player and they just might waive their nether fee.

3: Do Your Job: Come on, don’t insult our intelligence. Just because a raid isn’t able to completely outright destroy a boss does not mean they’re not aware of what’s going. With today’s tools, breaking down and analyzing raids has never been more easier. Leaders can determine what went wrong, why, and whose fault it was.

Take the following example from Shade. I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a spell interrupt fight. Our raid makeup consisted of 2 Warriors (pummels), 1 Rogue (kick), 1 Mage (counterspell), and 1 Resto Shaman (me and my rank 1 earthshock goodness). I daresay that’s plenty of spell interrupts to go around. Some players were tasked to certain schools, other players were told to FFA it to avoid cooldown issues and the like. Unfortunately, we could not kill Shade. But I think I know why:

Our mage did absolutely nothing. At least no spellcasters got within range of Shade for HIM to counterspell us.

4: Leave for the Right Reasons: Sometimes certain raids will carry on fairly late. It’s understandable that some players need to step out because of it. Maybe they have to work the next day, or they’re students like myself who are cursed with 9 AM classes. Here’s a BAD reason to leave:

“I died 9 times. I’m tired of wiping. Bye.”

Sorry, but you can’t expect loot handed to you on a platter. No one in this game owes you anything. If you can’t handle dying 20 times a night, then you’re obviously not ready for raiding. A simple test like Karazhan helps determines those that aren’t ready for raiding and those who will flourish. If you’re one of those players who have float from Guild to Guild wondering why, perhaps you should take a step back and examine yourself. I do not expect the Shadow Priest to remain in the Guild for much longer with an attitude like that.

Oddly enough, the Shadow Priest bolted after the 2nd attempt on Shade just as we were in the process of skipping over him and moving straight to the Chess event. We were able to flawlessly execute the dreaded “Battle Ressing Druid and Hellfiring Warlock” combination to bypass all of those mobs. Our Holy Priest received his Headdress and I think the Rogue got that neckpiece which had a lot of stats on it.

Follow the above steps, and you will have an enjoyable time with the game no matter who you play with.

[Special thanks to Adino for his assistance in compiling this column.]

Matt’s Three Stars: Week Ending October 26

[Matt's Note: I finished this yesterday. I didn't hit the publish button. Fired.]

Ten Commandments for Casual Groups: Kestrel’s Ten Commandments deserved first star honors this week. I think that they are excellent principles to abide by for all players. I daresay that it would stretch outside of most instances and can be applicable to other activities in game as well. Breaking CC’s is especially fatal during the 25′s (wretched sporebats).

Trusting the Leadership: I’ve been on both sides of the officer wall. I’ve served my time as a class lead, an officer, an adviser, and a raid leader. It is not easy at all to execute those types of leadership roles. My hats off to those who are able to handle the pressure and flourish under the conditions. Galadria’s post on recognizing and respecting the leaders in Guild for a reason earns her the second star. It’s not always possible nor is it practical to keep everyone informed about everything that goes on. Sometimes, it’s best if certain information was best left within the upper tiers of the organization. Leaders need to think in a certain fashion and faced with tough decisions. It is not a position to be envied.

There IS No Tanking Shortage: The last star goes to newcomer (to me anyway) Galo who supplies a list of reasons about the seeming shortage of tanks. Even on a server as large as Ner’Zhul, tanks can be hard to find. Personally, I think the reason it’s so hard to find them is because they simply choose not to make themselves available for various reasons. Maybe Paul Tankiya’s forming up for a raid. Maybe Joe Hallentank doesn’t have time to last a full instance so they don’t bother. Jarome Tankginla’s possible undergeared. They want to spend their time efficiently and going into that particular instance is inefficient because they have everything needed.

Or they’re just lazy bastards =).

My blogroll is slowly expanding. You can notice a few new names here and there. I don’t typically announce it. But I will subtly link to them in my posts when I find something of interest. Link’s to me merit a link back provided that the source is updated a reasonable number of times a week.

Thanksgiving Comes Early for Carnage

We’re all having a big giant turkey. Al’ar down after 3 hours, and much frustration (Picture on Flickr on the right). But we managed to get the job done despite the random fracturing in the raid tonight for some reason. It seemed like everyone had a rough day. The Carnage that showed up on Tuesday one shotting all bosses throughout SSC was seemingly non-existent today. Error after error was committed. Most of them were minor, but they all contributed to the various wipes in some fashion. It took two trash clears, but it was worth it. It’s like that last bit of adrenaline that kicks in. Wipes will always happen. It’s best to maintain a positive attitude as much as possible regardless. If you’re feeling negative or snappy, stifle it. Sometimes if you get called out, it’s best to bite your tongue and say “Yup, won’t happen again.” as opposed to arguing. It’s important to maintain that professional demeanor otherwise you’re going to waste a lot of time. Every person in a raid is important as the next. If somethings not working right, isolate it, then see what you can do to fix it. There was a healing issue where a tank would die on the upper platforms. A different healer was assigned and the problem was fixed. Warlocks were pulling aggro at the beginning of phase 2. They switched the timing of their shatters. Problem solved. Don’t forget that there’s always going to be criticism doled out. Not every Guild is perfect and it takes real courage to admit that as a player you made a mistake. Even then, this applies to life. I think everybody owes it to themselves to be the best they can be. Sometimes you need to listen to some constructive criticism to help you attain that goal. But no matter what you do, always keep your chin up and keep trying.

“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.”

Anyone recognize that quote? I believe it was said by Winston Churchill during World War II.

With SSC now 5/6 and TK now 3/4, let’s see what Colbert has to say…

Avoiding Burnout

I have one of the heaviest raid schedules in WoW. Case in point:

Sunday: 4 PM – 9 PM (Carnage)
Monday: 7 PM – 10 PM (Sinful Intent Karazhan)
Tuesday: 6 PM – 9 PM (Carnage)
Wednesday: 7 PM – 10 PM (Sinful Intent)
Thursday: 6 PM – 9 PM (Carnage)
Friday: None
Saturday: None

That’s a good solid 17 hours of raiding per week. My recent midterm results were less than stellar. It doesn’t take a Gnomish scientist to figure out that WoW just might have a factor with that in some fashion. So I’m making the pledge right now that for every hour of raiding I do, I will match it with one hour of reading and/or studying.

My entire time on WoW is virtually spent raiding. I might do one or two five man dungeons in a week. PvP is no longer something I’m interested in for the moment (wretched AV fixes!). But I really enjoy raiding. I relish the thrill of taking down big giant voidwalkers and roasting the largest fish known to man (or dwarf). Raiding on a scale like this is very taxing. It’s important to balance this gaming life style with other activities to avoid burning out from WoW.

A few years ago, they broadcasted those Anti-Drug commercials. You know, the one where it shows a kid on TV saying something like “Friends: My Anti-Drug”. I think that should be applied to WoW to some extent. Otherwise, you will get burned out from the game and will no longer find it enjoyable. I play a little poker with my friends once a month or so. There’s nothing like a little get together with your high school friends and having a good time. Nothing in the world could beat that feeling of comradeship and entertaining experience (always stay in touch with friends, I say). I pre-ordered Hellgate London from EB Games. It seems like it’s going to be another Diablo-esque MMO with first person shooting elements involved.

If I’m not busy playing WoW, I’m keeping myself busy with online shooters. CS: Source, TF2, Call of Duty 2, DoD: Source are among the few games that I come back to when I’m not in WoW. Sometimes, nothing relieves frustration more then shooting Nazis. In the summer, I would always play games of pickup street hockey in the local lacrosse rink. Now that fall’s starting to set in and the weather is turning horrible, that option becomes less and less attractive.

What’s your Anti-Burnout?

20 year old pretends to be woman to go after 16 year old high schooler in WoW

Now this story merits a double post today. Judging by the source, it occurred down south in Tacoma, Washington (not far from Vancouver, I don’t think). Allow me to provide you with a shortened version. If you have time to read, here is the long version.
This guy travels across the US/Canadian border to go to a high school to meet this 16 year old girl. What she doesn’t realize is that they’re Guild mates in the game (A Guild is like a recognized group of players who play together like a team).

When the student arrived at school that Monday morning, she was called to the front office and told a man was waiting to talk to her about college. It was Gregory-MacIntyre. The girl had no idea who he was.

“ustin introduced himself as Greg, and told her he was Vera’s best friend, the affidavit states.

The student knew Vera. Vera was the Canadian college student she’d met on Warcraft and MySpace, the social networking Web site. Vera was in her Warcraft guild. She was the friend who talked about fashion and Calgary College and how much fun it was to party there.

So the guy hands her a bunch of gifts which includes his car keys, a tank top,”The OC” season one DVD box set and a brand new laptop computer.

It turns out the guy masqueraded as his friend Vera. His Myspace picture is that of a woman. That’s a pretty stark deception right there, if you ask me. It was one hell of an elaborate deception. It’s been done before in the past in various stats involving IRC, chatrooms, and other forms of sociality.

Furthermore, Vera had problems with someone pretending to be her on such social web sites. Go figure, eh?

My Response

I don’t think there would’ve been a problem if the guy comes out in the open and says who he was honestly. If they wanted to meet, that’s okay as long as it’s in a public area with a lot of people (like a shopping mall). It would have been even better if the girl went to meet the guy with a few of her own friends who might be football players or wrestlers.

Hell, if I wanted to meet a female player in real life, I’d say lets go get some coffee then hit up a LAN center or something. But that’s just me.

But to pretend to be a girl? What the hell is wrong with you? Is he really that desperate? Way to make us all look bad. By us I mean Canadians and WoW Players. No, not just WoW Players, ALL GAMERS. The media already seems to have a negative stereotype of gamers. NOT ALL OF US ARE TWENTY YEAR OLD GUYS WHO PRETEND TO BE GIRLS TO PICK UP OTHER GIRLS.

Two years, less a day, in my opinion. But honestly, society has some serious wackos out there. There’s a reason why I’m studying Criminology. There’s a reason why I chose the path I did. I could’ve gone into sciences or business. There are three things in the world that seriously piss me off:

  • Sex predators
  • Child stalkers
  • Pathological liars

A few days ago, I read a few posts by Kestrel about girls existing on the internet. That’s fine and dandy. We live in an age where male dominance over the IT sector is slowly beginning to dwindle. Dungeons and Dragons just ain’t for guys anymore. But even if you have a picture of yourself on the internet, I will still cast serious doubt. With the existence of social networks such as Myspace and Facebook, it is no longer difficult to rip off a friend’s picture and use that in a deceptive fashion.

In my Criminal Justice courses, we learned about the concept of the presumption of innocence. In a nutshell, you are innocent until proven guilty. It’s one of the few foundational principles in most western democracies. Similarly, I operate under a gaming doctrine of the presumption of masculinity. You are male until proven otherwise. Unless I can HEAR your voice and compare it with your actions in game, you’re still a man. I think most people can tell the difference between an 8 year old kid and a 22 year old female gamer. If you want more credibility, put it on your facebook profile or Myspace that you’re a WoW Player along with your character information. Frankly, the more evidence that leads to your femininity, the more likely skeptics will be convinced.

Why is gender such a big deal anyway?

I think it’s because of this dominant belief that not a whole lot of gamers are women. Ten years ago, games used to be the domain of men. Arcades would be flooded with male gamers playing street fighter. Counterstrike and Quake 3 public servers would be filled with guys fragging each other.

Until a girl would say something in game.

Then it seemed that the world stopped. Guns dropped to the ground. That all of a sudden, there was this goddess that was sent by the heavens to help light the way for all geeks in their never ending quest for supreme nerditude.

Then some guy would walk up to a female gamer, open trade, put in 20 Large Prismatic Shards, and hand it over free of charge.

Why?

Cause he wants some.
That stuff (Prismatic Shades) doesn’t come cheap anymore. To offer it so freely, I think, is akin to buying love. Even when I played Guild Wars, I’d get whispers saying “Hi, I’m a girl, can I have some Platinum?”

I don’t care if your reproductive organs are on the inside or the outside. You’re not getting my gold. I don’t think there should be any special treatment allowed of anyone because of their gender.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against girl gamers. I absolutely LOVE girl gamers. I think it’s great that girls are getting into gaming. But what I DO have a problem with is girl gamers who use their sexuality to exploit other players and Guilds. I can see why Nihilium doesn’t allow women into their Guild because it would cause too much drama. Hmm, guess that wasn’t true after all. Thanks for the correction MK.

Look, I treat all my friends and guild mates equally with respect and dignity. Treatment should never be based on gender because it’s not fair. Why does she get her repair bill paid for when she was AFK for half the fight while I have to some how come up with 35 Gold on my own busting my ass for flasks, pots, and ensuring the MT was alive? If I were to show favoritism or special treatment of any kind, I would base it solely on performance. Nothing more and nothing less.

Thanks for reading, and I know that this sounds a lot more aggressive than usual, but nothing gets me more riled up than reading stories like this. I also want to reiterate that not all female gamers act in such a manner. I’m in no way trying to paint them with a bad brush.

Raiding with an Alt character

I just received clearance from my GM to raid in SSC with Saphfira. I know the last couple of posts had me express disappointment in my class, but that’s not the case. Mallet is my favourite character out of all of them. Let me explain the situation here. It only recently occurred to me that Carnage raids with four active Priests. Three of them are Holy and one is Shadow. I’ve never really played a DPS class at all throughout my WoW career. Even right now, Saphfira is Restoration specced. We only have one Shaman and she’s Enhancement. We’ve been sharding a ridiculous amount of mail healing gear. Last night in SSC, 3 mail healing items dropped (also 5 of 6 SSC bosses dropped within 3 hours which is a big plus in terms of progression).

Luckily, Maeve understood the point I was trying to make so I didn’t have to waste my breath explaining my situation. But here was the argument I was going to make: Three Holy Priests means theres going to be more competition for gear. Having a Resto Shaman would increase the diversity of the raid and not allow healing loot to be wasted. It’s basically another group getting totem buffs. Healing power isn’t going to go down a whole lot. It’s not like I’m requesting to swap Mallet for an Elemental Shaman. So it’s a pound for pound trade of healer for healer.

Is this something I really want? No, because I absolutely love playing my Priest. But having three Holy priests in the raid means its going to take three times as long for us of them to get geared up.

But we spent so much time gearing up Mallet and he’ll be wasted

Well no, it’s not an either/or situation. Mallet is clearly a superior healer in comparison to Saphfira in every respect. I think there may be certain encounters where having a Wrath of Air totem and a Mana Spring might provide some extra punch. It’s not like I’m going to stop raiding with both of them. Healing has always been my calling. Even back when I played Guild Wars, I had a Monk/Elemental (In PvP, I’d make an E/Mo which still cracks me up every time I see it). It’s also not like I’m going to be competing with another Resto Shaman in raids for gear either. There isn’t that much of a loss that’s occurring. It will be a huge benefit for everyone else because then I will be spending my DKP twice as much.

That’s another interesting ethical question that I’ve also had to wrestle with. How do I deal with gear? I’ve always been for progression. There will be mace and shield drops and that there is direct competition against Paladins. I’m fairly certain that I have more DKP then they do. But it wouldn’t be right for me to exercise option and bid. Damn all of these morals and ethics courses they make us take for Criminology.

I’m worried that there might be some contempt or that raiding with Saphfira would raise a few eyebrows here and there. I sincerely hope not. Really though, I’d rather prefer to raid with Mallet if I could. But raiding with four Priests made me think that could I not be utilized better if I brought a Resto Shaman instead.

In any case, it will still take some time before she’s up to SSC status. Here’s the highlights of her gear right now:

  • 3/5 T4 (head, gloves, shoulders)
  • Nightbane’s Healing Staff and Neck
  • 5/5 S2 Gear (Just for the pants)
  • Netherspite’s Mail Chestpiece
  • Gruul’s healing trinket

Saphfira presently sports approximately 1550 +healing. That is nowhere near high enough for Mag+ raids. There are some improvements that can be made:

  • A better mace to go with the Chess Shield (Essence Focuser)
  • Honor Hold head enchant
  • 81 Healing enchant to weapon

That should shoot her + healing to around 1660 and should last against encounters such as Mag, and VR.

Has anyone else had similar cases where they wanted to raid with alts? Did your guild shoot you down or guilt you into not using your alt? I’m lucky to be playing two support classes. I’m also lucky to be in such an awesome Guild where the leadership can understand what it is that I’m offering.

This brings up another question. How do Guilds handle alts for loot? Do they draw from the same character (IE, both Mallet’s and Saphfira’s DKP are cumulative) or are they separate (Both Mallet and Saphfira earn separate DKP and are exclusive from one another).

Not… really a nightmare?

Turns out my response to Leiandra’s post garnered a whole slew of responses of my own. I remain vigilantly aware of Blizzard’s upcoming changes to our class. Our class evolution has gone from Grand Master Healer to a support medic on the front lines. That’s all we are really… a support class. Sure we’ve got all of our awesome tools at our disposal. When’s the last time anyone’s really used Holy Nova on a tactically beneficial level? Last time I spammed Holy Nova was against a certain red dragon in Blackwing Lair. But that’s when mana was infinite. Pwyff’s comments were bang on when summarizing the strength of each healing class.

If we truly were the end all and be all of all healers, there would be no need for hybrid healers like Paladins, Shamans, and Druids. All raids would be filled with nothing but Priests. The reason why there is a sort of parity along the healing classes is because Blizzard wanted to make raiding flexible for a large amount of players. If all a raid needed were Priests, then the other healers would sit out and be unused. There had to be some kind of equality so that classes could be kind of interchangeable.

Anyone like problem solving? I love problem solving. Chances are, if you’re playing WoW, you like problem solving. If you think about it, WoW is a big giant puzzle that’s meant to be solved. This is one of the assignments I had for homework in my cognitive science class. So here’s a puzzle for you:

The scenario

Three Human Priests and three Orcs arrive at Menethil Harbor, and they all wish to cross to Kalimdor. Fortunately, there is a boat, but unfortunately, the boat can only hold two creatures at one time. Orcs are vicious creatures, and whenever there are more orcs than Priests on one side of the river, the orcs will immediately attack the Priests and slaughter them. You must be certain that you never leave more orcs than Priests on any side of the maelstrom. How should the problem be solved? The foul orcs can be trusted to bring the boat back safely. There must be one creature in the boat to pilot it. If the Kalimdor shore has an Orc, and there is an inbound Orc and a Priest, the Priest will be ripped to shreds even though they’re on the boat.

Note: Each time you cross the river, it is considered one step.

The problem is solvable with a minimum of 11 steps. I’ll post a solution later. If you solve it, don’t spit out the solution in comments yet, but DO say that you figured it out.