My WoW Insider Column Debuts Today

And here it is. I got home three hours after it went live, and there’s a plethora of comments in my email. I’m too scared to read them. 13 Do’s and Don’ts of Raiding Holy Priests, GO! I already have an idea of what to write next week, but I’ve been slotted in for their Sundays from what I see here.

I’m almost too scared to read said comments. But that’s okay! Because feedback is good!

Finish this Sentence

I have one more exam remaining before I am free from the clutches of academia (for two weeks). My posts have been getting sparser and a little irregular and I apologize. The past few weeks have been fairly rough. Carnage lost a Druid, a Mage, and a Shaman to real life. I’m waiting for the word from the boss to see if I should go out headhunting for any of those three classes. Both the Druid and Shamans were resto. If there are any disgruntled resto druids, resto shamans, or mages who want to progress in the game and see the world before wrath hits, we do have openings. Feel free to drop me a line.

Now that my plug has finished, here’s a "finish the sentence" question I want to post to everyone.

Raiding is like…

For me, raiding is like writing a test. There’s an unbelievable amount of pressure to do well in front of your peers.

Random Thoughts for Thursday

  • Guild bank infiltrated. 80 hearts taken and many epic gems lost
  • Our bank was not the only one
  • Mages need another rank of conjured water
  • 1 healer means the difference between doing Black Temple or Mount Hyjal
  • Warlocks have something which allows them to increase healing done on them by some percentage
  • The feeling of dread is universal be it an exam the next day or a deadline to face
  • My Spiritual Guidance column is almost done and will be ready over the course of the weekend
  • I need to find more free stock photo websites
  • Freedom happens after 6 PM
  • Learning is not about regurgitating what is taught to you, it is about applying what you learn
  • Profs make more sense when you speak to them one on one than in lecture
  • How did Kael’s forces take over Quel’Danas?
  • Raiding on an empty stomach is not fun
  • Running Hyjal with 6.5 healers with the .5 being a Prot Paladin
  • Bocelli helps a lot with stress relief
  • Contemplating writing another RP post on a slightly larger scale
  • Dirty D is liveblogging tonight’s raid. Go check it out!

Clicker or Keyboarder? [New Poll]

I had a quick conservation about play styles with my friends which got me wondering. They were talking about players who used their mouse more often to click on their buttons instead of having their keys bound and using that to control their actions.

I’ve played my shared of real time strategy games and first person shooters in the past. Using only one the mouse to issue commands on your character on what spells to cast and what items to use is a strange and bizarre concept to me. Many of the players in my guild are prone to using the keyboard when they turn their characters. We call them "keyboard turners". I’ve done this myself so call me a hypocrite. But, urgh, keyboard turning is bad!

So call me curious! What device do you use most often when using your spells and abilities?

Are you a clicker or keyboarder?

  • Keyboarder (55%, 487 Votes)
  • Clicker (40%, 348 Votes)
  • Some other device-er (5%, 43 Votes)

Total Voters: 878

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Secret’s Out – Matticus a Part of WoW Insider

Secret’s Out – Matticus a Part of WoW Insider


Image courtesy of musya

I’ve joined ranks with one of the top WoW blogs in the community: WoW Insider. Their Spiritual Guidance section had been inactive for a while. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the least bit nervous. I think the team also needs more Canadian representation! But you long time readers know me well enough to know that I never give anything less than 110 %. As I write this, I have a lot of ideas written down on my whiteboard. But that doesn’t mean I’m not open to anything else.

I will try to focus my columns around three central concepts:

  • Specific Priest roles in raid encounters
  • Priestly tips and techniques
  • Being the best Priest possible

Who am I?

To all the newcomers who have never heard of me or what I stand for, understand that I am first and foremost a raiding healing Priest. It’s who I am and it’s what I want to do. Therefore, a majority of the columns I intend to write will end up in that subject area. If you look around my blog, you can see I write about a variety of topics such as guild management and raid leading in addition to being a Holy Priest. My current guild is up to Gurtogg Bloodboil in Black Temple and Hyjal is on farm.

Now that you know a little about me, I have to ask you one question. What do you want to read about?

Brooding Over Bloodboil

For once, I’m at a loss here and I’m hoping to garner some insight or advice from the readers. My Guild had started to work on Gurtogg Bloodboil. We were working on Bloodboil for a few hours on Sunday. I used to think that Najentus was considered a heavy healing fight.

Boy was I wrong.

I won’t go too much into an explanation, but here’s the WoWWiki link for the strategy.

Loadout

  • 4 Holy Paladins
  • 2 Holy Priests
  • 1 Discipline Priest
  • 1 Resto Shaman
  • 1 Resto Druid

Directions

Phase 1

3 Paladins on each tank. We use 3 to rotate aggro on the boss. I, the Holy Priest, heal the tank who is actively being attacked by the boss. The rest of the healers are assigned to the bloodboil groups healing (Resto Shaman, Priest, Paladin) or raid healing.

Phase 2

This is where things get dicey. The 3 Paladins that were on the tanks immediately jump the player with Fel Rage. I heal up the melee before switching to tanks and then raid healing. The Resto Druid covers the 3 tanks. 1 Paladin and 1 Resto Shaman are raid healing. The other Holy Priest and Discipline Priest are also on the player with Fel Rage.

If the player is a clothie, Pain Suppression gets applied.

Problems

A player with Fel Rage has the following effects:

  • increases armour by 15,000
  • increases health by 30,000
  • increases healing done by 100%
  • increases damage done by 300%
  • increases size by 100%

The raid gains a buff called Insignificance where every spell they cast has no threat. One problem is that if a clothie gets hit with Fel Rage and Pain Suppression is applied, the player dies just as Fel Rage is about to wear off. Gurtogg gets progressively stronger during this phase. I can’t help but wonder if it would be a better idea to delay Pain Suppression for about 5 seconds before it becomes applied.

In our case, it’s not just the person with Fel Rage who is dying. Other members of the raid seem to be dying from a lack of heals or other miscellaneous reasons.

I can’t help but wonder if it would be better to stack all four of the Paladins on the Fel Rage’d player immediately along with the Discipline Priest and then have the Holy Priest switch to raid healing instead. This would essentially give us a picture of something like this:

  1. 4 Paladins and a Disc. Priest on Fel Rage
  2. 2 Holy Priests, a Resto Shaman, and a Resto Druid on the raid divided up accordingly

By switching the Holy Priest to the raid, this opens up a lot more options that the healer can use other then Flash of Light spamming.

Another problem that isn’t so urgent is our DPS output. Gurtogg has a 10 minute enrage encounter. I notice that when we hit the ~50% mark, the timer is around 4:45 or less. Granted we did lose 1 or 2 players at this point.

I seriously hope the Recount Death meter gets fixed as soon as possible. With that tool being down, we have no way of ascertaining the cause of death when players die. As a result, healer blame has increased in recent weeks and has gotten me irritated. Most of the time, it’s never justified. It tends to be the result of a fight mechanic that players seem to forget about (some raiders mysteriously forget that Najentus’ spines can be removed). Therefore, the "blame healers" catch all is used. I’m afraid that I might one day lash out if I see another "healers fault for wiping" comment in the raid.

6 Ways to Stay Inspired in Your Guild by Dr Randy Pausch

6 Ways to Stay Inspired in Your Guild by Dr Randy Pausch

I watched the most touching presentation the other day on Presentation Zen. It was delivered by Dr. Randy Pausch. You see, the professor was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. His doctors informed him that he would only have a few months left before his condition would deteriorate. At Carnegie Mellon University, he gave a presentation that generated an impact worldwide on how he has approached his life.

Here’s the ABC promo on the special of the "Last Lecture".

 

The professor offers a lot of insight into how a person should live their life. But that doesn’t mean that his lessons can’t be translated into World of Warcraft. The actual presentation can be found at the bottom of the post.

Inspiration

We cannot change the cards we are dealt; only how we play the hand

Item drops in the game are completely random. There is nothing you or I or anyone can do to influence what item drops. If your weapon drops and you want it really badly but it ends up going to someone else, are you going to be thrilled for them or brood in a corner? I know that when Archimonde dropped his staff, the first thing that came to my mind was sweet! Why? Because I’d have less competition for it! When it dropped again, I was ecstatic. But then my feral tank just HAD to go and set the bar for 30 DKP effectively forcing me to spend almost double to ensure that I received it.

When you’re screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they gave up

Whether or not you have just started your raiding career or consider yourself a veteran, criticism will come in many shapes and in many forms. I’m notorious for occasionally lapsing in attention during raids every so often (because there is generally a game going on) and I’ve heard about it several times. I can also deliver words of my own. But I don’t do it for the sake of putting them down. I do it because I want them to get better. Like Dr Pausch says, your critics are the ones who still love you and care.

Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls aren’t there to stop you. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough

Do you remember when WoW had attunements? They were usually there for a reason. Blizzard has slowly but surely lowered the barriers. Experienced raiders know that a free ride is not expected. Loot is earned not given. You can’t show up to a raid and go AFK. Raiders have to actively contribute. The same thing applies with DKP. If you really want an item badly enough, then start spending those points. All too often, I’ve seen items drop and have seen people complain when they were unable to get it. A quick look verified that they had more than enough DKP to bid.

Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you

This goes for any new players that I pick up for the guild. I have no say over who goes to the raid, but I do a majority of the filtering and the handling of potential recruits. I ran a pickup Kara group with a few of my friends many months ago and looked for a healer. A certain Resto Druid whispered me and asked to come. After the successful run, we parted ways but kept in contact. Fast forward a few months later, and he is now an active healing contributor in our raids. You never know when you’re going to find good people. Sometimes it will take days, other times it will take weeks.

Guys that was pretty good, but you can do better

These are words every raid leader should say after they kill a boss. There will always be room for improvement. Never set a bar because in doing so, your raid will only do that much and nothing more. That’s when they get complacent. It’s better off if the raid has no idea where the bar is so they can still keep pushing themselves to become better.

Don’t bail; the best gold is at the bottom of the crap

Truer words have never been spoken. This applies to anything from new players, new guilds, or new instances. There’s a lot of coal to filter through if you hope to find diamonds.

The Last Lecture

If you have time, I highly recommend watching the clip. It’s about 60 minutes long but I found it to be an inspiration for me.

 

Matt’s Mailbag: Aldor or Scryer? Hunter for Priest?

love reading you blog, thank you very much for such insight into the World of Priests. I’m an Alliance 63 Shadow Priest and leveling as quickly as possible. At 70 I want to go the Holy route though. I don’t want to take a mass of your time, but should I go Aldor or Scryer?

Many thanks for you time,
Anonymous

Thanks or the kind words. I won’t tell you which faction to go but I will tell you what faction I chose and my thought process behind it. Check out WoW Wiki’s Aldor or Scryer Comparison page. Its a detailed list of the rewards and items each side offers.

Let’s examine the items first. You get a great healing staff that you can go into dungeons with if you choose Scryer. But if you end up Exalted with the Aldor and you’re not packing anything but a blue neck piece, take a good hard look at the neck offered by the indigo skinned ones.

Shoulder enchants will continue to go a long way. You have a choice between 33 healing and 4 mp5 or 22 healing and 6 mp5. I took the extra 11 healing. I didn’t think the 2 mp5 was going to make that big of an impact. I’d like my heals to have a bit more “oomph” to them, so to speak.

Lastly, I am also a tailor. Scryer tailors can create spell damage leg patches and Aldor tailors can make healing leg patches. By picking out Aldor, I did not have to shell out copious amounts of gold for a Golden Spellthread. I can simply grab the mats and create them myself at my leisure.

I tend to be a “big picture” thinker. I like to think about where my character will be 3 months for now and how much replacement my gear and such will need. In the long run, Aldor was the route to go for me.

I was wondering if I should trade my main, 70 Nelf Hunt, for a 70 full merc shadow priest. I have just really gotten bored with my hunter as it turns into the same tactics with raiding and PvP so I would like to try something new. If I did do this would it be fair I would be trading my WHOLE account which is a 64 pally 70 Nelf hunter and various alts 20-. My hunter is decently geared has 2 peices of glad, 3 vindicators, and veng war axe, rest misc. blues from instances and T4 gloves. I am just really confused about this and did not know anyone else to ask but a priest. I will not get jipped off or anything since I know this person in IRL. I would just like to know your opinion on this matter and if it will be worth it in the long run.

P.S. I am only 14 so my grammer and writing sucks really bad I know.

– Anonymous

First off, I want to point out that your grammar and writing are a lot better than many people I know my age.

Second, you should know that I am a holy priest not a shadow priest. I have never played my priest as shadow so I cannot offer any thing close to advice about this.

Third, I believe you are asking the wrong question. You have just told me the reason why you feel like trading your account. You are bored of playing your hunter. I think the real question you need to ask yourself is why you are bored of playing your hunter. I’ve played WoW for almost 3 years and a majority of my time is spent healing. But it’s what I do that keeps me busy and interested. If you pick up the shadow priest, I suspect you will get bored of that eventually because you’re acting as a mana battery for the other casters (VE, VT, mind flay, etc). If you think trading accounts will help ignite your interest in the game again, then by all means go for it. But it sounds to be like a short term solution to a potentially long term problem. A lot of players I know have a case of altitis. Perhaps you should see them and get infected?

Readers, feel free to chime in on either of the questions. Have I forgotten to mention something? Am I clearly deluded?

Guild Link Love

Wanted to highlight a few of the blogs that my fellow guildmates have started.

  • Bladed Requiem: This blog belongs to one of our close quarters combat specialists. Deidrich (I coined the name "Dirty D" just for him) is a Rogue who started blogging a few weeks ago. Dirty D has been an incredible asset to the Guild and I hope he continues this way.
  • Light’s Grace: An Enhancement Shaman that has converted from the Light, she signed a deal with Carnage to provide Windfury Totems and Brain Heals as needed. She was once known as Kulrayk but is now known as Aylii. This promising recruit will work her way up to the top line in no time.

20 Questions with Anna

 

Every week, Matt gets a chance to sit down with a WoW Blogger chosen this week by his Piccolo of the Flaming Fire. Find out a little more about your favourite bloggers as he tries to get to know them a little more!

This week, Anna of TooManyAnnas ran out of mana  and had time to answer a few questions.

As an avid RPer, how did you come up with the history of your characters and which one would you consider your most favourite or most like you in some way?

Wow. Well, I don’t really have “favourites”, so much as there are specific things that I like about all of my characters. Each one of them has a little bit of me thrown in there — though they’re all different from me as well. Annalira, the human priest, is the one that is most like Anna the real person, and Aleydis, Berylla, and Brietta are could compete for the silliest, but I feel close to all of my characters.

As to how I came up with their histories, well, that’s a little more complicated. Probably some combination of inspiration, random experiments, planning, and pure dumb luck.

Angoleth has changed the most through these last few years because she was my first character and my first real foray into RP. Her personality has been the same for the most part, but after a few failed stories I learned to let her tell me about her history as she wants to come forward with it. Annalira was a bit of an experiment — can I create a character with a happy family and a happy childhood and still have her be believable and real in WoW’s universe. The answer is, of course, yes, and she’s become a very “real” character that’s easy for me to RP with.

Annorah had, by far, the most research before I created her. Draenei lore is rather sparse, so I actually went to out-of-game lore sources, particularly the novels Rise of the Horde and Lord of the Clans, to learn about Draenei and Shaman lore. Even after all that, she doesn’t have a concrete backstory so much as a basic framework of a history, but I had that background set up before I pushed the Create Character button.

I’ll stop now, since I’m pretty sure you don’t want me going on (and on) about my characters — but this is one of those topics I could probably write several pages about!

How did you get suckered into playing World of Warcraft?

I started playing the spring after release — the guy I was dating had just started playing and set me up with the trial account, which I really enjoyed. I was playing, ironically, a human priest and a troll shaman, but on a PVP server. A few weeks later my best friend and her (now) husband told me they were playing on Feathermoon, and I created Angoleth there, and the rest was, as they say, history!

Let’s talk about Resto Shamans for a bit. Brain Heal has often been cited as the spell that will ruin the careers of holy priests, holy paladins and resto druids. In fact, many of the major cities have suffered riots and strikes. How would you respond to people who suggest that brain heal is far too great a weapon to be used alone?

Try to heal a heroic with it without being overgeared (that is: in pre-Kara and Karazhan gear). Chain heal is *incredibly* powerful in a group, but in solo-healing situations, especially where the tank is taking a lot of damage, it falls behind as I go OOM droping max rank healing wave. My Priest does considerably better in those situations because she has more tricks and the Shaman is not built to be a “bomb” style healer, to the point where, until I was healing tier5 geared groups, I would avoid healing heroics because I knew it’d be a huge headache and very stressful.

And the other side of that coin — I could never do the job that the priests in my raid do. Yes, I can keep a group of scrub rogues and warriors and ret pallies alive until kingdom come, but when it comes to tank healing, there are other classes that just do it better. As a Resto shaman, I can do a few things incredibly well. Group healing? You got it. But successful healing is about balance and working as a team, and the strongest healing teams are the ones that utilize ALL the available classes and tools.

You’re not technically in a Guild per se. Rather, you raid with a set group of people from various other Guilds, is that right? How exactly is this different from a normal Guild and what would some of its strengths and weaknesses be?

Totally Raids, Incorporated is a group of roleplayers that got together back in the earlier days of Warcraft when their guilds were too small to raid or weren’t interested in raiding progression. There are members of all different guilds in the group, at all different “levels” of RP — from avid, active, in-game RP to forum writers to people that are in character simply by not acting in a way that is counter to the Warcraft world. As a rule, our /raid chat is in character. Ventrilo is, of course, out of character. And yes, we do get boss fight explanations IC.

In a lot of ways it’s very similar to a guild: we have a leader, officers in charge of various things (healing lead, loot-master, roster setup, etc) and if there’s a problem we have a chain of command. We have an active forum, sign up threads, strategy posts, and a very active in game chat channel.

One of the biggest advantages to this style of raiding is that you get to have your cake and eat it too. You love your guild — they’re awesome, but they’re a small (in this case, most often roleplaying) guild that doesn’t have the manpower or the desire to do the work and set up a raid. *YOU* want to raid, but you don’t want to leave your guild. With Totally Raids — that’s the norm. There are a few of us that are unguilded (like me, though I am trying a new guild with Annalira right now — shhh!), but the vast majority are people from various guilds.

And at the end of the day, if you have a bad night, are angry with someone, and feel like mashing your face into your keyboard repeatedly… when you leave the raid — you leave the raid. Until next week, you don’t have to have any real interaction with the raid group unless you want to; you’re back in your guild doing what you’ve always done.

The disadvantage is, of course, that we rely heavily on a forum to keep everyone coordinated. Fortunately everyone (at this point) is extremely good about signing up from week to week, and the board has our Karazhan, Zul’Aman, and “etc” signups as well. But if you can’t get people to organize in some way, this kind of a raid corps Just. Won’t. Work. Guilds have the advantage of a message of the day and periodic spam — we don’t have that. But we’ve made it work through a combination of active forum participation and an active chat channel (that’s also a really great way to find 5man groups during the week). I could see how, in another situation you might get people who were more loyal to their guilds and not actually loyal to the raid, but by and large our group is very dedicated to the raid as an entity of itself.

How are you enjoying (or hating) 2.4?

Honestly, I’m doing a little bit of both enjoying and hating.

1 second Totem Global Cooldown = Awesomesauce
New Earthshield = can I have the old one back please?
New dailies = Yay money! Yay badge gear! Boo competition. Boo realm crashes. Double boo to griefing asshats.

I know this is going to be very hard for you. But tell me 1 (one) thing that you think all Resto Shamans should know.

Be flexible. While chain heal is incredibly powerful, other classes can heal (ok — so maybe not as well on groups, but the Alliance was quite successful without Shamans for a long time) — but not every class has the ability to so dramatically alter the groups you’re in. Keep your totems handy, keep an eye on the fight, and be situationally aware. Flexibility is what makes a great Shaman — of any flavor, resto or otherwise.

By sheer luck and awesomeness, you’ve been awarded the ability to create a new spell or ability for the Shaman in Wrath of the Lich King. What nefarious idea would you put into play?

If I’m selfish and think only about resto shaman, a HOT spell, deep in the Resto tree. If we’re talking about shaman in general, the ability to summon a spirit wolf pet. Or that HOT spell… that’d be pretty hawt.

Or maybe the ability, since we’re all into the Elements, to fish without fishing skill. I mean seriously — water = element. Fish in the water. Master of the Elements. Instant fish! Heeeeeeere fishy fishy fishy fishy.

Care to tell us a bit more about the blogger behind the gamer? (IE what you do when not playing WoW)

I’m a girl in real life (OMG no gurlz on teh interweb!), married, with two cats and a balcony garden. I love music and history and am quite passionate about both, as well as about teaching in general.

My career is in a bit of a transition because where I live right now doesn’t have a place that I can do my advanced degrees. Eventually I want to be a professor of (medieval) cultural history. In that vein, I’m learning some living-history activities, including calligraphy and illumination — those really cool paintings in medieval books. In the meantime I’m a substitute teacher and getting ready to start on a Masters of Education. Hopefully I’ll either be teaching history or music.

Spare time wise (lol!) I love to cook, read, and knit, though I don’t get as much time for most of these as I’d like. Except cooking. I do a lot of that.

What inspired you to begin blogging?

I stumbled across BigRedKitty one day and was blown away by the idea of someone actually writing about Warcraft — especially hunters! Yay! Followed a long link train and ended up in BlogAzeroth. Curiosity was piqued, and I started a wordpress.com blog that transitioned to Too Many Annas about a month later. Turns out I rather like writing about Warcraft!

Just how many Annas is considered too many?

When I have to take off my shoes and socks so I have enough digits to count them, it’s too many.  For the record, I’ve not reached too many yet (though I’ve been told by others that I have), and I do have characters whose names are *not* Anna. …if they were all Annas, I’d definitely have too many.

Speed Questions

Have you ever found Waldo?

No, but if you find him, let me know. He’s been undercutting me on the AH all week.

Most annoying aspect of World of Warcraft

u wanna join my new riad gild were starting kara and hav a bank and tabard?
u run me thru SM?

Can’t raid without my _____:

Annorah: Chain Heal!
Annalira: Icefin Bluefish, Golden Fishsticks, and Zangarian Sporefish
Angoleth: 24 slot quiver.
TheRealAnna: Something to drink. Depending on the night, adult additives may be necessary.

*Chain* Healing is like ______:

A monkey flinging poo. You never know for sure who it’s going to hit, but so long as you get someone, it’s ok. And it splatters.

Favourite encounter in the game:

Any meeting that leads to an in character conversation, particularly if it’s just two people chatting and going about their daily business.

Any fight where I get to put my full arsenal of abilities to use. Karathress, Tidewalker, and Vashj are coming to mind (though I also hate Vashj with much hating because she refuses to die).

3 pieces of advice for new raiders:

Know your stuff.
Pay attention.
Don’t be a dick.

Favourite in game holiday: 

Hallows End.

What kills you the most?

Going OOM.

Matt needs to ____:

QQ less about shamans. It’s not our fault that the raid encounters have the entire raid taking damage ALL THE TIME. Or that we’re, you know, designed for that kind of healing. (Editor’s note: The QQness will never stop!)

Shout outs to:

  • All the folks at Blog Azeroth, especially the gang in the BA Chat, for keeping me motivated and always being a source of inspiration.

  • My fellow Feathermooninites, for being post fodder for me without complaining… or without knowing about it.

  • Totally Raids, Incorporated, for giving me a chance to raid and being an awesome group of creative people that I love to hang out with even when we’re not raiding.

Thanks again to Anna for participating this week! Don’t forget to subscribe to her blog!