20 + 2 Questions with Auzara (Chick GM)

20 + 2 Questions with Auzara (Chick GM)

Every week, Matt gets a chance to sit down with a WoW Blogger chosen this week by a Stormpike Battle Standard. Find out a little more about your favourite bloggers as he tries to get to know them a little more!

This week, Auzara of Chick GM has been conned into to being my blogger of choice this week.

Who are you? Where did you come from? Why am I not in your guild?

Technically this is 3 questions, but I’ll answer them while simultaneously shooting you a disapproving look.

I’m Sara. In my online gaming career I have been LdyMaria (don’t laugh I was 16 and didn’t know better), Essa and Auzara as well as a handful quieter names.

Sometimes when two people love each other very much, or get VERY drunk a man and a woman engage in a special kind of hug and an Auzara is born.

Because I believe Carnage would hunt me down and corpse camp me if I tried to steal you away. Also we’ve met our quota of Canadians. But Wyn, maybe we could steal Wyn!

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From our various conversations and your blog, it’s a no brainer that your Guild puts the “pro” in progression. What’s your secret to driving your guild hard without it collapsing under its own weight, so to speak?

I’m not sure I want to claim that much pro, for our ‘gression. According to WoWProgress, we currently sit at 2079th in the world and 795th in the US. We came a little late to the raiding party in TBC, as we will be celebrating our 1 year anniversary on June 26th. Since our inception we’ve hovered between 750 and 800 in the US for our raiding career.
Our guild is very accepting and supportive of having a real life and making sure raiding is part of a BALANCE of multiple priorities. We’ve supported each other through; marriage, becoming a new parent, breaking up, losing a job, getting a new job, moving across the country, moving back in with their parents, losing a pet, car crashes, hospital stays and many other life events. That might sound “carebearish,” but I think having a stable supportive online community makes us a tool for helping to manage real life stress, rather than a trigger for real life stress to become overwhelming.

Beyond that I have an AMAZING team of officers, whose varied personalities and dedication to being available to our members makes it very easy for a member who is feeling burned out or frustrated to find someone they identify with in the leadership core to hear them out and help find a solution.

When all else fails, I’m not above bribing them with cookies.

No one learns to be a GM overnight. A lot about leadership is instinctive. I’ve worn those sneakers before and they didn’t fit well for me. What’s the story behind your path to being a leader? Have you been in other executive roles in your life?

auz-2 I’ve been gaming online for about 10 years, for 6 of those I’ve held some sort of leadership position in the organization I’ve been a part of. My first position was after about a year of gaming. I was promoted Morale Officer because the leader of that guild found that I had an instinct for listening to people, diffusing their frustration, and summing up the problems that needed to be addressed to that leader. Since then I’ve held various positions in several games and several guilds. Leading when I was asked to and following when I wasn’t.
In that scary place without the internet, I’ve been a leader or officer of several volunteer organizations, the re-charter president of my school’s ACM chapter, a section chair in my college choir, and headed up some projects in my professional career as a web programmer/designer.  To answer the question you didn’t ask, I find it a lot easier to lead in the real world than online.

How about your WoW career? Tell us some more about your characters in WoW, what they are and what role they play in the game.

Auzara – This character is the GM of a certain unnamed guild. She’s a holy priest who’s never had a point in shadow and the the first wow character I ever rolled.

Essa – I leveled Essa because I was having trouble recruiting a good restoration druid. I’d done a lot of research into the class but I wanted to actually play one to get a feel for managing the global cooldown and how to best utilize their “Oh No” tank saving options. The name is also my preferred name, I switched to Auzara for WoW because Essa is a name that’s only appropriate for an Elf.

Gunnorra – A baby hunter being leveled for Operation Shock Monkey. I could tell you more, but then I’d have to kill you.

[Name withheld to protect the weary] – I’m leveling a shaman that is unguilded on my server. This character allows me to maintain contact with my officers while, temporarily making myself unavailable to the multitude of applicants, and other people who may want my attention. Sometimes a girl needs to kill things in peace.

Blizzard has gradually given GMs additional tools to manage various day to day affairs of their respective organizations (IE, Guild banks). If there’s another feature you’d like to see Blizzard add to the game specifically for Guild use, what would you like to see? (Pick 1).

I’d really like guild housing. In the other games I’ve played having a “physical” gathering point really made a difference in helping to build a community. It helps to add to your sense of accomplishment, to see housing grow from a simple one room place to some of the more amazing, impressive homes that can be created online. I think including perks in this housing, like maybe reduced repair costs, putting the BoP patterns on a guild only crafter in the hall rather than a player character, might help bring some stability to what I see as a very transitive culture.

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It’s a severe time investment in order to run a Guild and lead raids. One of the quotes you’ve always said to me is that the raid is never over for a GM until an hour after the raid ends. Care to capitalize and elaborate on that a little bit more?

Certainly, the raid ends and half my raiders log off or onto an alt. The other half want my attention. The first step is getting gems to the raiders who won gear that night, as the only member of the leadership team who is ALSO a Jewelcrafter this task falls on me more often than not. Though on really busy nights, my co-gm recruits a Jewelcrafter and the two of them take on the task together. The second step is to address individual concerns, inevitably during the night, someone has a thought that comes up, or someone needs feedback about how they played that night. My guild is mostly disciplined about recognizing that it’s not fair to take 23 other people’s raid time to address these matters. In order to maintain that discipline, they need to know I’m available after raids to hear what’s on their mind. After the gems and individual feedback, it’s time to check with the officer core about what they thought about the night and what we’re going to work on the next raid night. I promoted these people because they are awesome, but to take full advantage of their level of awesome, I have to make time to hear them. Finally, I go restock my consumables, reagents and repair to make 100% sure that if something comes up during the day tomorrow, I’m able to log in and be instantly ready to raid.

Obviously a progression oriented Guild such as yours has performance standards that need to be upheld by its members. New players undoubtedly need to be stress tested. After they’ve passed the gauntlet that is your application process and your interviews, I’m assuming they undergo a trial by fire before being granted either a starting position or bench position on the roster. What goes through your mind at this point? How are these guys evaluated? Does it vary much by class or role?

No fair, you know I’m writing about this for my next post!

The actual game play evaluation is done by our role leaders and overseen by myself if it’s a caster or healer or my co-GM if it’s a melee or tank. Our guild believes very much in investing time in people who are willing to invest time in themselves. We don’t require that our initiates come in as masters of their class. We do require that they make progress on the feedback we give them and that they come in with a healthy understanding of their class. To be quite honest because of the level of autonomy we give our role leaders, the evaluation process is very different for each of the different raiding roles.

The other aspect of the initiation period is integration and is the topic of the next post I’ll be making on Chick GM.

I know some of our esteemed readers might not be aware of your interesting hardware setup. Would you be interested in sharing what your raiding machine of choice is? And how on earth you’re able to pull that off? If I buy you a mouse, will you use it?
Don’t mock the laptop! As someone whose professional career and hobbies are internet related, having the portability of a laptop is very important to me. I pull it off by using the base of my hand to navigate with the touch pad. No I wouldn’t use a mouse if you bought it, but I am considering investing in a game pad.

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Your funniest raid story.

Editor’s note: Hey! This is a family show!

You decided to gear your blog more toward guild leadership rather than end-game Priesting. I’m sure you thought about it; how did you make that decision? Why?

When I was brought into a leadership position because of instincts, I was fortunate enough to have a strong leader who helped me develop those instincts. I’ve found most leaders of online organizations have it fall into their lap and aren’t given a lot of preparation or guidance. My goal was to help share what I’ve learned through success and failure over the past 6 years. It’s also had the fortunate side effect of drawing other leaders to comment on my topics. I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned from my peers and apply that to my leadership. I’m also working on book, that has less of “Auz’s Opinions” and more data about what exactly a Guild or Clan leader is expected to do.

Also there are several great blogs that have covered the concepts of priesting; this blog, A Dwarf Priest, The Egotistical Priest, etc. Having looked over them, I didn’t feel like I had anything to add to this community.

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Raid consumables of choice? If you have any odd choices, why?

I carry a stack of Bloodberry Elixir, Elixir of Healing Power, Adept’s Elixir, Elixir of Major Mageblood, Elixir of Draenic Wisdom, Elixir of Major Fortitude, Flask of Mighty Restoration, Flask of Distilled Wisdom, Blackened Sporefish, Golden Fish Sticks, and a stack of any Spirit & Stam food (i.e. Clam Bars)

I will say I carry excessive amounts of consumables because I’ve taught my healers not to be afraid to speak up if they’ve forgotten something. If it becomes a habit, we have a problem, but every once in a while we all have an off night.

I don’t think anything is too unusual but:

Adept’s Elixir: For spike damage fights and physical damage fights the inspiration proc in addition to the increased crit rate has a higher impact on my healing than +50 to heal. Plus I have pallys on my healing team who may need them.

Flasks of Distilled Wisdom: With the 2.4 changes that make Wisdom affect your spirit regen these flasks got a buff. In my current gear, my wisdom is below the optimal levels for maximizing my spirit regen. I use this flask for learning short fights, like right now working on Brutalus.

Any Spirit/Stam food: This may seem like a cheap way out but it’s actually better than Blackened Sporefish. 20 spirit equates to 8.69 mp5 for me and +7 to heal. In fights where I expect to take damage this is key.

Blackened Sporefish: Given what I just said about the Spirit/Stam food why do I carry this? Did I mention I have Pallys and Shaman? Also the mana regen from the 20 spirit is determined by my average time in the five second rule, if I expect to be chain casting then Blackened Sporefish regains its edge.

Have you ever spec’d CoH? What would you say are the major differences, from a task-perspective? What gear or gemming differences do you notice as an imp. Spirit Priest?

When I first started TBC I was an early adopter of CoH. For five mans and Kara at a lower gear level it had a larger impact on healing success than possibly giving up the Imp DS buff. I switched over when my spirit levels became high enough that I gained more plus healing from the Imp DS buff than I lost from the points in Empowered healing AND my Imp DS buddy wanted to switch roles. From a gear and gemming point of view, I found I put more weight on spirit vs mp5 than my CoH brethren, even before 2.4 came out and all the cool kids switched to spirit. Having a guaranteed additional 10% more plus healing from my spirit and having the Human Spirit buff made it more desirable to me than other Priests. Also, having the ability to spam an instant spell like CoH put my CoH brethren in the five second rule more often than I was.

WotLK is coming soon – what are you looking forward to most, judging from what you’ve heard about WotLK raiding? Do you think your guild will focus primarily on the 10-man set-up or the 25?

I’m most looking forward a chance to see how my guild will do with a fresh start relative to our peers. Coming to the scene a few months later than other guilds on our server had us playing catch up. It’ll be nice to have a chance to see if our organization and teamwork can give us an edge in leveling and trying out new zones BEFORE everyone has a strategy available online. And allowing some of my members a chance to try out a new role that doesn’t make sense to try now with our current gear needs.

I am keeping an eye on the Alpha leaks, but I think at this point the data is too unreliable to make serious guild plans in one direction or the other. I remember the wide speculations that occurred when TBC was in alpha and how some people got themselves all worked up over things that didn’t end up happening. When WotLK comes out, we’ll take a look at our guild members and their needs and we’ll make the decisions that make the most sense for our guild. I’m willing to bet we end up accommodating both types of raiding either by maintaining a 25 man raid force and running a few smaller 10 man groups on the weekends or by focusing on 10 mans and allying with another guild on the server for 25 mans on the weekends.

auz-8 You’re in a raid that has just wiped. Typically, the healers got the blame. But you check your stats, and KNOW that it was MageX and TankZ’s fault(s). How do you diplomatically explain what happened without sounding like you’re making excuses? (oh, yeah, and you’re not the GM.)

Each leader has a different personality and method of approach that works best for them. Some GMs respond perfectly well to “Check the death report and quit yelling at the healers, jerk.” in vent.

You’re probably safest with using your data gathering tools report feature and sending the data you have to the GM (or healing lead). If you don’t have stats something like “I really am trying my best to heal MageZ but I think it’s going to be hard for me to heal through him standing in the fire.” From there, rather than point fingers, ask what you can do to help, “I’m looking over these stats and I’m having trouble understanding what I can do differently heal through this incoming damage. Do you have any ideas about how we can keep this from wiping us again?”

Remember, unless you have hard data to prove it (like a corpse in a fire patch or a death report), what you KNOW and what your GM knows might not be the same thing. We’re not perfect people and it’s difficult to know exactly what 24 other people are doing at once.

You’re very comfortable with broadcasting your gender on teh interwebz, but you’ve mentioned that you don’t advertise it on your server. That seems a little contradictory – what gives?

auz-3 The role of female gamers has come a long way over the past 10 years. When I first started gaming, I referred to my boyfriend in a public channel and got swarmed with a lot of unwanted attention. It was so bad that I rerolled (from LdyMaria to Essa) and didn’t volunteer that I was a girl for a long time.

In WoW I’m not as cautious as I’ve been in previous games. Plus popping into vent makes it very hard to be ambiguous about your gender, but out of respect for my guild I don’t wander around shouting from the rooftops that I’m a girl. I don’t want it to become a gimmick or something that effects our reputation on our server. “Zomg if you join Auz’s guild you get raid instructions from a GURL LolZ”

I advertise it on the intarwebz because I honestly think it affects how I approach leadership. Certainly men and women are capable of existing outside of gender lines and I would never want to use gender lines to paint someone into a corner. That being said, there are things I can say to a male player that if he heard from another male player might make him more defensive and there are things that I believe my femininity brings to my leadership style that are significant.

What do your guildies think of your blog?

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I haven’t really advertised my blog to my guildmates. My Co-GM reads it so I have a second opinion that what I’m saying IF associated with my guild wouldn’t prove to be embarrassing or damaging to our guild’s reputation. I have a few members I shared it with because I wanted their feedback, and a few of them have stumbled upon it in their own internet wanderings.
My concern with sharing it with them directly is I think some of my leadership style loses it’s potency if my guildmates realize they while I do care about them and their needs, when they come to me with a concern there are basic facts I need to know and over time I’ve built for lack of a better term formulas for these conversations. Also, these guys HAVE to raid with me about 20 hours a week AND they have to read the forum posts I make; I’m not sure they really need to spend another few hours reading my blog too. If I shared it with them directly, they might feel obligated to do so.

That being said, the few that have found it or read it own their own like it for the most part. When I wrote about applications one of them was pleasantly surpised to recognize an except from his own application in the good section. Another generally engages me in a 30 to 45 minute conversation after each entry. One of my guildmates reads the blog and likes to complain to me about the “carebear” nature of what I write. I’ve noticed that despite these complaints, he still reads it and still remains in the guild.

When taking a break from being a total badass, what are your hobbies inside WoW? Do you have any favorite things to do outside raids and running the guild?

I collect non-combat pets, I level alts that can heal, and I hang out in this vent with a crazy broad and some Canasians.

Same question, different perspective: what’s fun enough to pry you away from your computer?

I have an amazing sister who’s moving to California in a few weeks, whenever I can I spend time with her.

I love volunteer work. Nothing makes me feel better than to look at a habitat for humanity house I helped to build, or spending some time delivering meals or organizing cans for the local food bank and realize I’ve had a positive impact in someone’s life.

Making music, while I’m not a professional by any stretch of the imagination, I have a brother who likes to play the guitar while I sing and a local pub where if I stop by I end up getting dragged on stage to sing a song or two.

Matticus and Wynthea are Burn Victims on Brutalus. Since you can’t AoE heal, who do you save?

I instruct them to cast binding heal and prayer of mending on each other and I go back to my tank healing job. Silly priests expecting me to heal them.

Any other nerdy past times we can mock you about mercilessly?

In high school I was in show choir. I wore a dress with purple taffeta and sequins.
In college I starred in a play that was entirely in Spanish and I was a back stage techie for many productions.

Also, see the ACM link in answer 3 and you may proceed mocking.
Did I mention that not only do I play wow, I lead a guild AND write about it in my spare time. You could probably look up Nerd in the dictionary and find my picture.

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With your background in statistics, you take a very mathematical approach to healing raids. Where do you get your data? Walk me through the process for independent testing. (Note: Wyn’s question, not mine).

Deciding to Test:
The most recent test I did was when I needed to know what the max rank I could chain cast greater heal for 6 minutes was (well chain cast and keep renew up). I test when I’m building a healing theory for a healing team or on the fence about a piece of gear, trinket or talent spec.

Data Gathering:
My primary source of data is WWS reports. I also use the following mods
RegenFu – to monitor my personal time in the five second rule
WoWEquip – to compare different gear, gemming and enchanting combinations in game
Healpoints – not for the gear comparison but for the data about how long you can chain cast certain spells, how down ranking impacts your longevity and how proposed stat adjustments impact your spells.

Independent Testing:
I generally prefer to do my testing IN raids wherever possible because I feel like healing modeling depends largely on how the damage is taken and the pace of the fight. For personal tests I switch the item, talent, trinket etc and go into a fight and cast my normal spells. I do this for 2 weeks to allows for personal variants and then switch back to the old set up for 1 week. I then compare that two weeks worth of WWS reports with the WWS reports for the week before and the week after I switched. I look at my personal performance over that time period, if it’s a proc based system I look at the frequency of the procs of the item.
I research formulas on EJ forums and other blogs that I respect and I make sure I understand how THEY got those formulas. If I can’t find a formula I make one up and double check it with a math nerd friend or two.

What I can’t do in raids, I do by simply spam healing myself, running a combat log and running that log through WWS.

When I’m testing a healing strategy in general I first check who heals whom to make sure my healing strategy is being followed. (You can’t test what isn’t happening) Then I check out the raid members death reports (pre wipe deaths only.) I look at the break down of spells being cast by each healer and the consumables used.

I do this frequently and  share it with the guild/raid/friends etc when they ask for clarification. I think it’s good for them to know and understand that there is math to support it, but I think they get confused when I go off into math talk.

House, Grissom, or Bauer?

House

Shouts and all that?

My leadership crew

Billdabutcha/Mikedabutcha – Co-GM and best friend, wouldn’t enjoy the game without him. (No he’s not my boyfriend, but thanks for asking)

Hogun “The Vent God” – Healing officer and recruitment dude, melting women with his voice since day one.

Fiz “The Hole” Widget – Raid Leader and caster officer, has found every hole a gnome can fall into and get stuck in from Kara to Sunwell.

Stop “The Furious” – Melee officer and WWS dude, best damn fury warrior in the game

Siga “The Details guy” – Raid assistant and DKP dude, nothing escapes his notice.

Silversong “The Actress” – When she retired from raiding she stayed on and continues to contribute as our friend officer and mistress of fun.

BA Chat

Too numerous to name individually, but you guys really took me under your wing and helped me grow. I was very blessed to find such a supportive and knowledgeable community.

At the risk of sounding too cheesy Wyn and Matt, it’s been really cool to have a place to step away from being a GM and two great people to act as a sounding board and proofread my stuff.

Thanks again to Auzara for agreeing to do the interview! Don’t forget to subscribe to her blog!

You Did WHAT?!?

After a while, you may play your class for so long that you may think you know all the tricks there are to know. Use SW: Death to bounce Prayer of Mending? yawn. Use Inner Focus before a mana-free spell to get the crit benefit to TWO spells? Yeah, Blizzard figured that one out, too. Fixed in 2.3 . For me especially, it can feel like I know everything there is to know about Holy Priests. But even after leveling two of them, the class still manages to surprise me. Here are a few of my favorite odd-ball ideas. Feel free to share your own!

Unusual uses for spells:

Mind Vision:
Can’t find someone that needs a heal and is out-of-range in a spread-out venue like Mt. Hyjal? Mind vision them really fast to find them, and you can run over and patch them up.

MV also works great when someone is lost running back through the instance. This way you can give them first-hand directions!

If you can MV a Rogue in a PvP situation before they stealth, you’ll be able to see them. Personally, I just like to throw Pain on them and keep them from stealthing in the first place, but that only works if they’ve burned Cloak.

Got an opposing faction flag-carrier hiding somewhere in the BG? Check their name at the top of your screen, target them manually, and Mind Vision away. Suddenly, they’re not so sneaky anymore.

Wonder if it’s worth getting an epic flyer? (It is.) MV a buddy while they’re riding theirs. Zoom!

Holy Nova:
Priests either hate this talent (Matt) or love it (Me) – but once you get used to pain-pulling 6 or 7 mobs and Nova-ing them down, it’s hard to do without it.

Don’t have an AoE DPS in Magister’s Terrace? Shield, Renew, and ProM yourself, and let someone pull the Mana Wyrms to you before the 2nd boss. You can Nova the whole room in two pulls. (remind your group that it won’t cause any threat, so they should just sit tight and let you handle it.)

Rank 1 Nova is WIN for finding stealthies before they’re ready. When I re-rolled from my Human to my Troll, I missed Perception at first: now I know better!

Okay, so the output isn’t that great, but Nova HEALS and DAMAGES with NO THREAT. If you’re pulling aggro, but about to die, and you have to run (i.e. you can’t binding heal, which is low-threat) pop a couple Novas. It’ll burn some serious mana, but it’ll get you a bit of health back, too, without getting you skewered. And anything burns less mana than DYING.

PW:Fortitude:
Everyone has someone same-faction that they can’t stand. (or is that just me?) If you ever have the opportunity, this can be really fun:
When your good buddy is about to jump off a high ledge (high, but not deadly. Think Scryer Tier or the Zepplin tower in UC) throw them a Fort right after they leap. Since fall damage is a % of total health, increasing their health pool causes them to take MORE damage when they hit the ground. Max-rank Fort is usually enough to make them go splat, just don’t forget to Levitate down yourself!

Mind-control
Most of us know that you can MC someone from the opposing faction, and buff them with anything insta-cast. This means a Fort, S.Prot, Renew, or PW:Shield. You can also let your buddies buff them. Did you know you can toss them a leather ball?

You may know this already, but in many instances, you can MC the mobs, and BUFF your own party. Try it with the Physicians in the Mechannar.

Shadow Fiend

The little guy takes a lot of crap for only lasting 15 seconds. If you find you’ve pulled more than you can handle (even with Nova!), DON’T DPS one of the targets – just set your fiend on him, and watch the little guy tank. He doesn’t generate a lot of threat, so be careful, but he might just buy you enough time to get yourself healed up.

If you have a Pally that’s open to it, get him to throw a might on your Fiend. He gets a lot of mileage (and you get a lot of mana!) out of buffs. Those scrolls of strength or agility you may randomly get and vendor? keep ‘em. He likes those, too.

Fade:
Fade is pretty misunderstood mechanically. It’s not a threat-dump, it simply reduces your threat on the aggro table by 1,500 for 15 seconds. Anything you do in those 15 seconds adds threat normally, (be nice if it was threat-free, wouldn’t it? HEY BLIZZARD!!!) and at the end of the time, the 1,500 you lost comes right back. What you might not know is that if you fade and don’t do anything else…. the mobs won’t pay attention to you again until you DO something, even after the 15 sec are up. If you’re running for your life on a boss reset, pop a holy nova or two to get a little no-threat healing in, and then Fade. THEN DON’T DO ANYTHING UNTIL YOU’RE SAFE. It won’t save you the repair bill every time, but it works often enough to be worth trying.

SW:D
This one is pretty well-known, but bears repeating: a well-timed SW:D can break you out of some types of CC (like Polymorph). Make sure you cast it right as they’re finishing up their cast – the backlash damage will knock you out of sheep!


Racial: Hex of Weakness (Troll)

Okay, so reducing damage dealt by 35 is pretty worthless. But reducing healing taken by 20% is pretty win. ANY boss that gets healed should have this thrown on them. Because it’s a curse, I especially like to toss it on arena teams with a Paladin or Priest healer. Just another reason Troll Priests are more than a pretty face.

Levitate
Sure, Shamans can walk on water, but we don’t even get our toes wet. You can fish, summon your flying mount, eat or drink, and do just about anything but jump this way. Very handy when wanting to fish deep water or farm Primal Waters uninterrupted.

Everyone Needs More Wyn in Their Life

Everyone Needs More Wyn in Their Life

Surely by now you’ll have realized that the world has expanded. I made an offer to Wynthea weeks ago that she literally could not refuse. World of Matticus will now officially have two Priest bloggers for your consumption. I didn’t introduce her at first because I figured it’d be better if she did it. I’ve enjoyed the posts she’s written thus far and I hope you guys have as well.

Why is she here?

I’ve updated the About page and included her illustrious history there, but I’ll post a brief excerpt here on what the story is and how (she thinks) we met:

Matticus and I met via this very blog, and began collaborating almost immediately. Matt pointed out that with so many ideas and a passion for the class, I may as well have my own blog. I countered that between editing his posts and raiding, I didn’t have time for all the set-up and nurturing a new blog requires. Once he realized that he could trick me into giving him a day off without taking a break from providing content, he invited me to begin my career as Deputy-Matticus.

(What really happened is that she kept bugging me on GTalk about all the errors in spelling and grammar I was making to the point where I just handed her the keys to my blog and told her to run wild. Yes, I’m that easy.)

If you’ve followed me from the beginning, you’ll know that I have never done any sort of post regarding formulas, spreadsheets, mathematics, graphs, or any of that stuff. Reason?

I don’t do math stuff. I’m not very good at it. I’ve read math stuff from other bloggers and I lose them after the second sentence. But I know there are a lot of players that are interested in the hard evidence and the logic to support certain priest theories and I firmly believe that she can provide the information better than anyone else (after consultations at least).

In other words, she does the actual math and theorycrafting. I translate it and “sell” it so that the rest of the us can understand it.

What else do I get out of all this?

A precious day off.
Someone that can proofread all this stuff.
Cookies.

What’s Different

We’re different on so many levels that I believe we’d actually complement each other effectively on the perspectives that we’d bring.


 

What’s Similar

On the other hand, we’re not so different to the point where I think we’d alienate each other.

We’re both CoH (pronounced coe) Priests
We’re at similar levels of progression
We both like pandas
We are both committed to improving our gameplay

Who is the better Priest?

I’m sure this is a question that people are dying to know. Unfortunately, there is no possible way to prove who is better than the other. We play on different servers in different factions. We both claim that we’re better than the other so I guess we’ll never know who the better Priest really is.

Edit: I forgot to mention. All emails sent on the contact page utilizing the form will be sent to her in addition to myself.

Breaking the 2000 Heals Per Second Barrier

Breaking the 2000 Heals Per Second Barrier

2000hps

The time: 2230
The place: Tempest Keep
The objective: Infiltrate, search and destroy the Voidreaver prototype
The crew: Fallen Heroes lead joint operation

I had finished an excursion into Botanic in the hopes of procuring me a Bangle. Boy did that not work out. Shortly after I finished, I received a tell from a mission commander in Fallen Heroes.

Apparently, one of their heroes had… fallen.

Since I happened to be in the area, I agreed to lend what assistance I could. I entered the area and the entire complex was picked clean. All the Elven guards were dead or no where to be seen. Halfway in and a glance upwards showed that the team inside had a giant roast turkey for dinner at some point.

In any case, we’ve cleared out the room in Voidreaver and a new strategy was devised. I didn’t know what was up but when I heard ranged won’t have to move I straightened my back and listened.

The idea

A group of hunters would run laps around Voidreaver while the rest of the group stayed directly underneath him.

All that’s necessary for me to do is spam CoH (pronounced Coe, like toe. None of this See Oh Aech business) and PRoH (pronounced Prow). Yes, I’m setting a precedent.

The execution

Oh it was glorious! That’s all I did the entire fight! I sat directly beneath him and did nothing but spam those two AoE spells the entire night. If the pounding timers are on the mark, I can time my prayer down to the split millisecond that it begins and it’s as if no one loses any health at all.

And after the dust settled and the smoke cleared, there were only 5 or so casualties. I got nothing but a Fel Reaver’s Piston for my effort. No one rolled on it and I wasn’t about to just leave empty handed. At least I have a void crystal now.

Obviously in order to sustain that kind of healing output, you’re going to need gas and lots of it. If you ain’t outta gas, you ain’t tryin’! Resto Shamans have good mileage there’s no doubt about that. I guess you could call them hybrids. But what does Tim Taylor need? More power! Therefore, I take pride in being the suburban SUV of healers everywhere with Druids as my mobile gas stations.

*ducks*

The World is Not Ready

The World is Not Ready

Do not let the others mislead you. This is not the case. The first rule of BA chat is whatever is said in BA chat stays in BA chat. And this is for good reason, I assure you.

Why?

Because the world isn’t ready. The public isn’t ready. What about the kids? They’re not ready! The discussion, the drama, the stories, the tales, the classified information, the pictures are shared in an isolated and contained environment. Should it be publicized, the chaos and damage that would ensue would reach proportions of an epic scale rivaled only by the Sundering itself! I have always considered BA Chat “Off the record” where anything could be said at any time for any reason. Now I’ll have to self censor what I say under fear that it could be used against me at any time without notice.

How many casualties have we suffered? How many eyes have been gouged? Oh the humanity!

How to Successfully Pick up a GM

How to Successfully Pick up a GM

Image courtesy of dbking

Making the first move and first impression counts when you’re looking to join a Guild. Excellent Guildmasters (I prefer General Managers) have a way of cutting through the random crap that applicants throw at them. They’re able to translate what applicants say and interpret them in a more precise way. As my Guild’s first line of defense against “R-Tards”, I’ve seen my share of bad opening introductions from players that were interested. Here’s 10:

  1. You say: “I can maintain 100% attendance.” GM thinks: “Even if he does make 100% of the raids, he’ll probably afk for a good portion of them.”
  2. You say: “I am willing to listen and pay attention all the time.” GM thinks: “Good, because my guild is full of players who do whatever the heck it is that they want at will.”
  3. You say: “I’m not quite sure what level your Guild is at in terms of progression, but… ” GM thinks: “No homework or research done and you’re applying for our Guild blindly? If you can’t research Guilds then we can’t expect you to research boss strategies.”
  4. You say: “I can lead PvP battlegrounds and form a top notch arena team within the Guild.” GM thinks: “We’re a frackin’ progression guild, not a PvP guild! Besides, this Guild can’t handle more than 1 emo BG leader.”
  5. You say: “I’d like to see end game raiding and experience it.” GM thinks: “You willing to die for it?”
  6. You say: “I don’t think my gear is good enough, however…” GM thinks: “Nope, probably not.”
  7. You say: “There’s not much time left before the expansion comes out, so…” GM thinks: “We’re not a sightseeing operation.”
  8. You say: “I’m willing to sit on the bench for a while and stay as a trial if you’re full.” GM thinks: “Great, someone whose not even going to try and compete for a raid spot.”
  9. You say: “You’ve made these mods mandatory for use in the Guild, but I don’t think I need them because…” GM thinks: “You can’t even pass a simple test of just downloading and installing mods. How will I know you will do as I instruct during a raid?”
  10. You say: “The only way for me to get better as a player is to get better gear.” GM thinks: “A million dollars to anyone who invents a device that allows for strangulation across the internet

The best opening lines to make to a GM or their representative is to say something similar to:

Hi, my name is __________, I would like to raid as a __________ spec and I have experience up to this encounter in the game.

For a much better insight into the application and mental thought processes of GMs, I strongly advise you read Chick GM’s post about the very same subject in more detail.

Post inspired by Guy Kawasaki

Addon: Instant Health is Pants Crappingly Awesome

During this weeks Twisted Nether blogcast, one of the questions posed by Fimlys was what addons I currently favor the most. I said to him that I favoured Pitbull the most but there was another addon called Instant Health that was beginning to grow on me. I touched about it in some details on the blogcast and promised a blog post specifically on the addon and here it is.

The problem

WoW servers don’t update health bars instantaneously. The information is sent from a player to the server, then from the server to your UI. There are two interaction points where lag due to hardware or ISP issues can cause problems, and although this typically happens in regular intervals, it can take as long as 3 seconds to complete.

All healers have been in situations where their heals have gone off, yet the target still died. Cooldowns and trinkets were blown at the last possible moment to add more “oomph” to their heals. Our efforts were futile because even though it showed that we did cast our instants, it did not appear to have been tracked or anything.

The solution

I acted on a tip from Aylii and Lang, my main tank. They both advised me to take a hard look at an addon called Instant Health. The beta was released a little over a week ago. So what’s it about?

This addon updates the health of player/party/raid members and pets much faster than normal by using your local combat log data rather than waiting for the server to send updated health information to you.

It works with Blizzard’s default UI as well as ANY custom addon you might have installed. All you need to do is put it in your addons folder and enable it!
Notice, this addon only speeds up health updates for player/party/raid members and pets. (People that are recorded in your combat log.) Players/mobs that are not in your group will have their health updated normally.

The trial

Intrigued, I had to get a copy of the addon quickly and stress-test the sucker. I forwarded a copy to Wynthea as well, so we could compare notes afterward. So how did Instant Health stack up to our combined play?

In a word, scary. This mod updates health lightning fast. You’ll get a better idea by observing a protection Paladin tanking waves of trash in Mount Hyjal. By updating health on a much faster scale, I’ve found that I’ve been able to make decisions even quicker. Information is life for healers and the faster we get it the faster we can make choices. It’s an awesome addon for us twitch healers that rely on quick reactions. Non healers might think that it’s redundant for an addon that updates heath only a fraction of a second sooner than server updates but they wouldn’t understand. 9 out of 10 Matts agree that this addon is an absolute must have for any raiding healer (the other Matt passed out in shock and stress of watching health bars drop too fast).

-Matticus

I’m very impressed with the potential of this add-on. Personally, I heal less Whack-a-mole style, and more proactively – paying attention primarily to those with aggro – so the benefit to my reaction time on MT healing is negligible. Where this mod really shines is with tough decision-making: you can see which player’s health is dropping fastest and react with better information. The biggest drawback to Instant Health is that when it acesses the information, it somehow changes what is reported to any other combat log parser you may use. Recount, SWstats, WWS, and Recap will all be so dramatically skewed that they become unusable. If you feel like rolling up your sleeves, you CAN fix it yourself – rename the addon’s directory, LUA file, and TOC to ZZZ_Instant_Health, so that the order-of-access is properly aligned. (If you don’t feel completely comfortable doing this, DON’T!) There is also a minor issue affecting default UI Target-of-Target frames that cannot be corrected. Other raid-frames do not have this problem. These relatively minor issues aside, I think this is a great tool. Spell Haste is becoming more and more important as a stat, and anything else that can decrease the time it takes to get a heal on someone that needs it is huge.

-Wyn

The Voice Behind the Pen: Matt’s Podcasts Available for Download

If for whatever reason you’re interested in hearing what sick Canadians sound like, be sure to check out the following two podcasts which I’ve participated in over the weekend:

I felt more relaxed on TN then the WI show, to be honest heh. When I first started blogging, I never expected of doing any kind of podcasting all with other people and players and I had a lot of fun doing it! Maybe I’ll do it again at some point in the future!

I completely missed the shoutouts on both podcasts. Ugh. I feel so terrible. If you listen carefully enough to the WI show early on, you might catch the sounds of GMail in the background. You can blame Wyn for embarrassing me live on the air =).

One more thing, on Twisted Nether I said something about there being snow at the end of May. I might’ve forgot to mention that my University is on top of a mountain and my sarcasm/jokingness may not have transmitted properly.

It’s my first foray into podcasting. With that in mind, I’d love to get some feedback and some grades on my performance. How did I do?

Wyn’s UI – Part Four (The Macro Problem)

Wyn’s UI – Part Four (The Macro Problem)

Part four of a series. Part One , Part Two , Part Three.

Hot Keys

One of the add-ons that has the biggest impact on my UI and gameplay is Bartender. As I’ve mentioned before, I navigate and target with my mouse. If I need to move and target or cast at the same time, I use auto run – it’s on my 4th mouse button. Nearly all of my spells and abilities are Hot Keyed to my Keyboard. Here’s how that looks:

This is what my keybinds look like when I’m out running around solo. Most of the icons should look pretty familiar, and you can see that my offensive spells are on the top line. That blank spot is for my Disc buffs when I respec for the weekend. I do not hotkey my consumables, to avoid hitting them when I type. The bottom row is non-sensical, but it’s also not bound… it’s where I throw things when I need them once, then I don’t move them out ’til I need to put something else there. When we get into macros, you’ll see that the single-buff of Fort is redundant… my first row of buttons scrolls away when I have someone Mind Controlled, and I sometimes like to play nice with the allies and toss them a buff. Again, the numbers on the bottom of the icons are from Dr. Damage. One thing about Bartender is that you can use your standard keybinds from the stock bars, but if you want the numerals to show up on the icons you have to use the slots specifically labeled in the menu for Bartender. It’s in the same window, just scroll down.

Dr. Damage also gives you super-nifty Tool Tips on mouseover. Like this:

 Dr Damage ToolTip - Smite  Dr Damage ToolTip - Heal

I think I may have mentioned that I’m an information junkie… this just feeds the problem.

 

offensive with alt

This is still my offensive set-up, but I’m holding down the Alt button. See how the icons change? That’s a product of using macros with the “?” icon. I’ll get to that in a second. Notice, too, that the healing coefficients change on ProH and Nova’s icons.

When I’m raiding, a quick Shift+Scroll Up gives me this:

Greater Heals normal

Holding Alt will make the same changes that happened to the offensive set-up.

My Super-Secret Macros

I may be crazy for deciding to discuss macros. They can be very simple or complicated, and I use a mixture of both. This is not intended to be a macro tutorial. These are simply a few I’ve cooked up, cobbled together, or flat-out stolen. I wanted to show you what those extra buttons on my bars do, and this seemed to be the best way. PLEASE feel free to ask questions about the ones I list, but understand that I probably won’t be able to help you troubleshoot one that you’ve written. If you DO want a how-to, the best one I’ve ever read is over at Priestly Endeavors. A few notes before we begin:

  • I’m Horde. If it’s a macro that sends a whisper, and you’re an Ally, your buddies won’t speak Orcish, so change that to Common.
  • Nearly all of these use the #showtooltip command. That makes the tooltip show up on mouseover, even though it’s a macro.
  • When I’m setting these up, I almost always pick the “?” icon that shows up first. That way, if it’s a button that does more than one thing, the icon on my bars will change when I press the modifier.
  • LINES are very important to a macro. If you keep typing without hitting [enter] it will read all as one line. New commands MUST be started on a new line, so make sure they match up to the line-breaks here if you copy/paste.

 

Since none of my offensive spells involve macros, I’m going to assume you’re looking at the raiding picture with all the G-heals. I’ll go from left to right.

Gheal macroStopcasting saves lives. Even after 2.3, being able to stop a heal on one target, change targets, and instantly start casting your new heal is an excellent skill if someone is spiking. Also, you can keep hitting this when targeting the MT, and just let it land when they actually need a heal. That way, you can drop out of the 5-Second-rule, without abandoning your job. (yes, you could jump or step forward, but jumping wastes time, and so does hitting multiple buttons.)

#showtooltip Greater Heal(Rank 7)
/stopcasting
/cast Greater Heal(Rank 7)

 

 FW Macro Now that all priests have Fear Ward, it’s nice to be able to let your tank know you’ve got their back. This one casts FW on your target, and whispers them.

#showtooltip
/cast fear ward
/script SendChatMessage(“Fear Ward on YOU”, “WHISPER”, “Orcish”, UnitName(“target”));

 

Prayer Macro AltThese three all do pretty much the same thing, and I just wrote it as another space-saver. Hit the macro, and it’ll cast Prayer of (whatever) on your target and their party. Hold Shift, hit the  macro, and it’ll cast a single-buff on your target. Hold Alt, hit the macro, and it’ll cast a single buff on you. Neat, huh? (You can tell it’s not a raid night because of how few candles I have on me….)

For Shadow Protection:
#showtooltip
/cast [modifier:shift] Shadow Protection(Rank 4); [modifier:alt, target=player] Shadow Protection(Rank 4); Prayer of Shadow Protection(Rank 2)

For Fortitude:
#showtooltip
/cast [modifier:shift] Power Word: Fortitude(Rank 7); [modifier:alt, target=player] Power Word: Fortitude(Rank 7); Prayer of Fortitude(Rank 3)

Divine Spirit:
#showtooltip
/cast [modifier:shift] Divine Spirit(Rank 5); [modifier:alt, target=player] Divine Spirit(Rank 5); Prayer of Spirit(Rank 2)

Flash Heal Macro Normal Because my UI set up has either my offensive spells or my Greater Heals visible, but not both, I wanted the option to toss a G.Heal on myself when I’m solo without too much effort. So I made this. Generally, it’s the same as my stopcasting macro for Greater Heal, only for Flash. The difference comes in that if I hold Alt, it’ll interrupt whatever and start a max-ranked G.Heal on me, without changing my target. Handy, right?

#showtooltip
/stopcasting
/cast [modifier:alt, target=player] Greater heal(rank 7); Flash Heal(Rank 9)

 

I would feed my Shadow Fiend cookies if I could. I love the little guy. But sometimes, he gets lazy. This macro will keep him attacking non-cc’d mobs if his current target dies, and toss a scroll on him (if I have one) to boost his mana-return. Just spam it for a second.

#showtooltip
/cast Shadowfiend
/petaggressive
/petattack
/use [target=pet] Scroll of Strength
/use [target=pet] Scroll of Agility

 

Most of us have been in a situation with lots of people rezzing at the same time. Just save time, and have your macro type in your healing channel who your target is. Mine also whispers the person that’s getting a rez.

#showtooltip
/cast Resurrection(Rank 6)
/6 Saving %t the run back, but not the repair bill
/script SendChatMessage(“Rezzing you”, “WHISPER”, “Orcish”,UnitName(“target”))

Focus Macro This is really simple. It just sets my focus to whatever I’ve got targeted. No muss, no fuss.

/focus

There are some really nifty things you can do with focus macros, like this one I stole from Priestly Endeavors

/focus [noexists,target=target][exists,dead,target=target][modifier:alt,target=target]
/stopmacro [modifier:alt]
/cast [target=focus] Shackle Undead

The first line says: [make my current target the focus if I don’t have one] or [make my target my focus if my current focus is dead] but [if I’m holding Alt, make my target my focus no matter what].
The second line says:[if I’m holding Alt to re-set my focus, ignore the rest of the macro]
The third line says: [whatever I’m targeting, cast shackle undead on my focus]

Down-ranking macros are fun! Here’s one for Prayer of Healing. Hold Alt to cast rank 3.

#showtooltip
/cast [modifier:alt] Prayer of Healing(Rank 3); Prayer of Healing(Rank 6)

P4 Random Not a macro, but sometimes in a quest or a fight there’s a random item you need to use regularly. I drag mine over to “J” and just hit it whenever I need it. This is from when I had the daily quest in Nagrand.

Nova NormalNova Alt I always heard it was good to keep Rank 1 Nova on your bars for PvP purposes, but where to put it? On the same button, naturally. Hold Alt to use Rank 1, hold nothing for max-rank.

#showtooltip
/cast [modifier:alt] Holy Nova(Rank 1); Holy Nova(Rank 7)

Lifetap We all know Warlocks Life Tap at the WORST time… this was my solution to train my ‘Locks to know when it was okay. For this one, I didn’t use the “?” icon, since that would just look like a normal Renew. Dr. Damage still catches the heal, though. (True story: one of my Warlocks actually macro’d his LifeTap to whisper me that he was going to do it in response to this macro. I was so proud!)

/script SendChatMessage(“Lifetap if you need to”, “WHISPER”, “Orcish”, UnitName(“target”));
/cast Renew

OhShit Sometimes, you have to keep yourself alive ’til your fellow heal-bots can help you out. EVERYONE must have an “Oh, Shit” button. This one can keep me up through over 20k damage. The [combat] modifiers keep reagents from being used up accidentally.

/target player
/cast [combat] Power Word: Shield
/use Master Healthstone
/cast Prayer of Mending
/use Fel blossom
/use [combat] Super Rejuvenation Potion
/use [combat] Nightmare Seed
/use Battlemaster’s Perseverance
/use Vial of the Sunwell
/cast Renew

Trink 1 Trink These are both really simple, but helpful. No matter what trinkets you have equipped, each of these macros will use one of them. Use the “?” icon, and you can see which trinkets you have equipped at the moment.

#showtooltip
/use 13

#showtooltip
/use 14

P4 Berserking If my heals have to come faster, they may as well come bigger. This trips Berserking, my OP-as-hell Racial, and my +healing trinket at the same time. (Does not trip GCD)
You can macro all kinds of things together – multiple trinkets, other abilities. Go nuts!

#showtooltip
/cast Berserking(Racial)
/use Tome of Diabolic Remedy

 

I wrote this last one just to save space on my bars. It gets out my Puppy and my Nether Drake. If I hold Alt, it gets out my Puppy and my Raptor.

#showtooltip
/use Worg Carrier
/cast [modifier:alt] Swift Blue Raptor
/use Reins of the Azure Netherwing Drake

Add
/equip Riding Crop
as the last line, if you want, but remember to replace your trinkets when you get where you’re going!

To Be Continued. . .

Saturday Random Thoughts

Saturday Random Thoughts

  • Always stretch before working out on the Wii Fit or engaging in any kind of physical activity. My abs cramped up trying to do some of them plank exercises.
  • Halls: The official cough drop of World of Matticus. Helped reduce my cough on the WI show.
  • Close GMail when podcasting.
  • Note to self to ask for feedback on podcast (both WI and Twisted Nether) when they’re mp3’d.
  • Relax more. Too jittery. Too nervous. Think happy thoughts. Stare at Jessica Alba posters more.
  • Publicly give a shout out to Wyn the next time I go on the air.
  • Epic gem vendor in Shattrath City, too.

epic-gem-vendor-shat

  • Acquiring Thorium Brotherhood reputation is a royal pain in the derriere.
  • But it can be worth it for a straight up mana regen staff:

 

  • Saying yes to friends is hard. Saying no to friends is even harder.
  • Clearly people aren’t aware of the rules. What is said in BA chat stays in BA chat ;).
  • In need of a new banner. Need to shop around for a design service.