Announcing Plusheal dot com

Announcing Plusheal dot com

A blog can only do so much. A blog is a virtual canvas for an author to paint their thoughts onto. A few weeks ago, I asked if you were interested in taking part in a community with other like minded healers. An overwhelming number of you said yes.
Today, I’d like to introduce Plusheal as a new place for you to get acquainted with other healers and healing bloggers, with the goal of sharing information to make us all better healers.

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You might wonder why I’m starting a healing community when I already have this blog?

Well, a blog:
* Presents topics guided by the original author
* Is an outlet for one voice

Whereas a forum forum:
* Empowers readers to create and participate in their own discussions
* Is a potential outlet for multiple voices

conversashun

At Plusheal, we’re hoping to foster discussions among groups of players, beyond the scope of the limits offered by blog conversations. I’ll be joined there by other healing bloggers like Anna, Siha, Auzara, Lume, Pat, and of course, Wyn who’ll be helping me with the community as it grows and sharing their expertise with the rest of us. I hope to see a lot of you over there, too.

Special thanks to my speechwriter. You know who you are!

In Five Hours, the World Will End. What Will You Do?

I’ve inadvertently inspired several bloggers when I interviewed Phaelia many months ago. Herein lies the scenario:

Let’s hypothetically assume Blizzard goes out of business and decides to shut down their servers and WoW for good. You have 5 hours before the server shutdown is permanent. What would you do in 5 hours?

It’s reached the shared topic of the week for Blog Azeroth and I’ve inkling it might be discussed in this weeks Twisted Nether Blogcast.

What others have said:

(Don’t mind if I borrow the list from the TNB post, Fim ;))

What would Matt do?

Simple. I’d make like Madonna and try to save it. Matt ain’t no quitter.

EDIT: In pure blogging irresponsibility, I forgot to link to the original post by Larisa.

DKP is the Devil

DKP is the Devil

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Image courtesy of andehans 

Sure, it’s all about killing the boss. It’s a group effort, a bonding experience, and a hell of a lot of fun. The problems start right after the screenshots are taken and the congratulations are over – loot dropped. What was it, and who should get it?

There are two common systems for deciding who, of the 10 or 25 people standing over the body, should get the gear upgrades: Loot Council, and DKP. Both systems function well on a day-to-day basis. Like most governing systems, the issues come in at the extremes, when a piece is wanted by more than one player, and especially if it’s a rare item. My guild used a pure DKP system when I first joined, and has slowly migrated to a full-blown Loot Council. I think it’s brilliant.

Basic Overview

In a Loot Council system, the Raid Leader, Officers, Class Leaders, or a combination decide which player in the raid has earned the gear. Ideally, their decision is made based on attendance, viability, available upgrades, and the individual’s contributions to the raid and to the guild.

DKP, or Dragon Kill Points, is much less arbitrary on the surface. Guild members are awarded points for raid attendance, presence at kills, and sometimes other contributions to the guild (donations to the Gbank, for example.) This is usually tracked on the guild website. Then, when the gear drops, players are either allowed to bid, auction style, or simply purchase the piece for a set price. The raider with the most DKP has priority, and unless they choose to pass, wins the item. The price is then deducted from their DKP balance.

The Problems

For a Loot Council system to work, the people making the decisions have to have a working knowledge of the needs of each class (knowing that Spirit is nearly useless for Paladins helps when awarding healing loot), and the strengths and weaknesses of each of their raiders. It helps a lot to have class-leaders involved in the decision-making process, since they’re usually the most familiar with both. Most importantly, the raiders have to trust their officers. If favoritism or greed are real issues among your guild leadership, Loot Council won’t cause the collapse of your guild – but it will definitely speed it up.

For a DKP system to work, every individual raider has to know their gear, possible upgrades, and playstyle. Each raider spends their points on the items that will make the biggest impact for them. If players buy an okay item, without knowing that a better item for the same slot, or for the cost, drops one or two bosses later, it’s their loss. Supposedly. The best and worst thing about DKP is that it is completely objective. You raid, you earn your points, the bosses die, and each raider spends their points as they see fit. It’s the ultimate self-actualizing system. The problem? Raiding is a group-effort.

Why I Personally Hate DKP

The system doesn’t care if a raider played their heart out, and has no other viable upgrades. A more-tenured player has first dibs on anything that drops, regardless of benefit to the guild as a whole. DKP, by its very nature, focuses exclusively on the measurable contributions of the individual. It objectively tracks how often they’ve shown up, how many boss-kills they attended, and how much money they paid. DKP is, essentially, an attendance grade in what should be a meritocracy.

Not that attendance is trivial. Being willing to show up and throw down day after day is part of what makes a top-notch raiding core. And those who show up every day SHOULD by all means be rewarded. There’s a marked difference, though, between playing your guts out and just showing up, and DKP can’t differentiate. On the other hand, any good officer knows who their key players are.

As a byproduct of this individualistic focus, participants in a DKP system tend to build up an entitlement mentality. “This gear is mine, because I earned it and paid for it,” is dangerous when the whole point is to continue progressing, not as 25 individuals, but as a guild. I’ve seen it get nasty when passing is suggested to a more-tenured player – it’s not that they really need a piece, it’s that they want it; regardless of the fact that the increase to their own swollen stats would have a significantly smaller impact on the group than would helping a guildie get rid of one of several sub-par items. Obviously, even in a DKP system, responsible raiders do pass to other players – but then the recipient of the gear has just been granted a “favor” by a more-tenured player. And there’s absolutely zero back-up if the veteran isn’t feeling generous.

Raiding in a Loot Council guild, you haven’t done your job by showing up. You haven’t done your job if the boss merely dies on schedule, either. You are constantly auditioning, pushing yourself and your teammates, you are forever earning not only the gear that might drop that night, but the gear you’ve been awarded each night of your membership, and your very raid spot. Yeah, it can be stressful. But I prefer the shared stress of 25 people pushing to do their absolute best over the stress of 25 people trying to figure out whose fault that 3rd wipe was – on farm content.

I have yet to be in any run where the raiders weren’t congratulated on their shiny new purples. In a pure DKP system, I’ve never understood this practice. Congratulating a player on gear that was essentially defaulted to them based on their accumulated points rings very hollow in comparison to congratulating a guildie who was awarded gear for their contribution to the latest group effort. The difference is the same as that of receiving a gift or buying the damn thing yourself. There’s a bonding experience with the former that isn’t replicated in the latter. And friendships and guilds – long term relationships – are built upon multiples of those small bonding experiences.

In fact, I’ve seen DKP systems actively erode those bonds. If you’ve ever calculated your own DKP vs. another raider’s, found yourself wishing they just wouldn’t show so you can beat them out, or quietly tried to convince them not to bid, you’ve had some of those same anti-group effort sentiments that underscore the kind of bickering and jealousy that tear guilds apart. Doing your best and proving you’ve earned a piece is a world away from hoping that your talented teammate is a no-show. But, if there’s no Council that will hear your case, you don’t really have any other recourse in a DKP system. Even if you KNOW that a Druid won’t get the same benefit from the Crystal Spire of Karabor, you can’t argue with the points. A good Loot Council will listen to your case in the bids, and make their reasons known when they award the upgrade. It’s hard to have sour grapes when you know the other guy deserved the reward they got, but easy to grumble if their major contribution was signing the guild charter before you did.

Which leads to a more long-term tricky situation – certain gear was designed to be optimal for certain classes. Not things as clear-cut as a heavy-spirit cloth healing helm, but truly questionable items – rings, weapons, necks, and trinkets. Some of them are just better for some classes than they are for others, especially given available upgrades. DKP absolutely cannot account for class-optimization without some pretty strategic loot-master intervention. I’m not saying Paladins should never equip a Light Fathom Scepter or Coral Ring of the Revived, I’m just saying an equivalently geared Druid or Priest would get a LOT more bang for the Guild’s collective buck. Not only will the player keep the piece longer, which frees up more gear for more upgrades for other players down the line, but the raid will get more benefit from it while they wear it. And as heart-wrenching as 1% wipes are, they are much easier to avoid when every player in the lineup is optimized.

Switching from DKP to Loot Council is not a panacea for everything that afflicts your guild. You won’t miraculously find that all the gear goes to the exact-right player, or that no one gets their feelings hurt. And if you don’t trust your leaders to award gear, you have problems no loot system will patch up for long. Similarly, raiders that grumble about deserving players being rewarded are likely not the players you want to keep around – and they’ll remove themselves from your guild long before they have a chance to leech hard-won purples that can’t be recovered. A good Loot Council provides a level of deliberation, thoughtfulness, and a bias in favor of hard work and team effort that DKP can’t replicate. And if there ever really is a tie in terms of overall contribution and deservedness, a good ol’ fashioned /random will end most disputes.

Luv,
Wyn

TED: You a One Buttock Player? And a Goodbye to Priestly Endeavors

 

I love TED. I really do. Every year, there’s some great people with great ideas who give awesome talks. Benjamin Zander is no exception. Although the talk here is mostly about classical music, the underlying themes involve embracing new possibilities, new experiences, and new connections.

What can you take here and apply to WoW?

I picked out a few select quotes that and modified them slightly:

“Most of you have heard the story of two salesmen who went down to Africa in the early 1900s to find if there was any opportunity to sell shoes.”

Situation hopeless, stop. They don’t wear shoes, stop, one of them wrote.

The other wrote:

Glorious opportunity, they don’t have shoes yet, stop.

Warcraftized:

“Most of you have heard of the story of two Guild recruiters who were trying to attract Priests into their Guild and they managed to find one.”

Player hopeless, stop. No enchants or gems, stop, one of them wrote.

Glorious opportunity, he hasn’t properly optimized his gear yet and we can help him, stop.

Here’s another one:

You notice that there is not the slightest doubt in mind that this is going to work. It’s one of the chararacteristics of the leader that he not doubt for one moment the capacity of the people he’s leading to realize whatever he’s dreaming.

Imagine if Martin Luther King said “I have a dream!”, but of course I’m not sure if they’ll up to it.

To GM’s:

“The conductor of an orchestra does not make a sound… He depends for his power on other people to make them powerful… I realized my job was to awaken possibility in other people.”

But enough, go check out the video above.

On another sad note, long time Priest and Hunter blogger Kirk from Priestly Endeavors has decided to call it.

Some highlight reel posts:

Today’s Drama Advisory Level: High

Today’s Drama Advisory Level: High

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Although it isn’t exactly a typical drama thread per se, it is still some pretty damn good cheap entertainment. The screenshots reveal all (literally).

hmm

EDIT: Might help to have a link to the post, wouldn’t it?

Your Warcraft Identity vs Your Blog Identity

Your Warcraft Identity vs Your Blog Identity

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Image courtesy of ijsendoorn

Here’s a sight that I’m starting to see more often around the WoW blogosphere. Bloggers are shifting the focus of their blog onto something else entirely. Incidentally enough, a post on the Blog Azeroth forums asked this very question:

Does anyone have any experience of changing the focus of their blog? I like being the Feather Duster, but would it be a bit dishonest of me to keep going like that, when a large proportion of my posts will be about alts?

Those of you just starting blogging have time to think and to plan ahead. The blogs that are already established have problems doing a 180 shift and writing about other topics on a full time basis.

Why is that?

When you brand your blog, brand it as you

Whether you’re aware of it or not, the moment you start a blog it is considered your image. You have to pick your face and your brand accordingly. Many WoW bloggers blog from the perspective of their class. Some solid examples here are dwarfpriest and resto4life. Instantly by looking at their web addresses, you already know what they’re going to be about.

By that same token, when you look at a blog url like worldofmatticus.com, www.groupsofwords.com or toomanyannas.com, you don’t have that same feeling of knowing what you’re getting yourself into. Heck, you might not even be aware that they’re WoW blogs. But this gives us an advantage further down the road.

ChickGM asked me  a good question a while ago:

Why World of Matticus? Why not World of Mallet?

When I started my blog, I did not know how far I wanted to go with it. I didn’t know if I would be changing the focus of my blog in the future. I didn’t know if I would still be playing and writing about my Priest 8 months down the line or if I’d be bored. That’s why the blog is named after me and not any of my toons so that I have the flexibility to change.

Another possibility is if I decided to change servers and the name of the toon was already used. Wouldn’t be cool now, would it?

What’s wrong with changing focus?

Nothing.

Imagine what would happen if:

  • Coke stopped selling drinks and sold cars
  • Nike stopped selling athletic wear and sold desktop computers
  • Amazon became a lingerie and womens wear company instead of being an online shopping powerhouse

It’d be weird at first, right? It would take time to get used to the fact that your favourite companies aren’t selling the products you wanted from them in the first place. The end result is that you turn to their competition to get the stuff that you want.

Let’s apply this perspective to WoW blogs. I have a Shaman kicking around that I use if muscle is needed anywhere. There’s a few select blogs that I go to in order to catch up on Shaman related stuff.

What were to happen if they were to one day stop writing about their Shaman and decide to write about Mages instead?

And this right here is a big pet peeve of mine. If I go to a Shaman blog, I want to read about Shaman stuff. I’m in for a surprise if I go to Warlock blog to read about Warlocks and find out that the author has shifted his focus to Hunters even though everything about the name, the layout, and the posts just scream “WARLOCK STUFF”.

What would happen if Phaelia decided to just write about Rogues one day and switch her mains? It would suck massively :(.

So for all of you potential bloggers out there, keep these ideas in mind when you first start writing. If you pick a brand and a name that’s distinctly associated with a class, you will find it hard to shift later on down the road when you’ve already established yourself as an authority in said class. If you don’t have a problem with that, then by all means feel free to continue.

I just want to repeat myself and say that there is nothing wrong with changing your focus if you can plan for it accordingly.

But if you do plan to change, expect a pretty hefty uphill battle as you may lose some readers. It could take some time to re-establish your audience numbers to what it was before the swap.

2 Things: LF Rogue and More Horde Read Matticus than Alliance

2 Things: LF Rogue and More Horde Read Matticus than Alliance

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A few weeks ago, Wyn published a poll asking to whom you owed your allegiance to in WoW. I know most of you play alts on both sides, but I figured most players would favor one over the other.

To my astonishment, the readers of World of Matticus seem to be fairly split in terms of which faction. I’m an Alliance Priest. What’s with the Horde readers outnumbering the Alliance? Trying to figure out all of our Alliance secrets, are we? Well, you’ll never discover the fact that Theramore is to be a future staging ground we grind Orgrimmar to a pulp!

Second item of interest, although I doubt how useful it would be here since I’m assuming most of you are Priests, healers, or are already in established Guilds.

My raiding Guild is looking for a Rogue!

I won’t repost the ad or anything like that here again. But we lost one of our Rogues a few weeks ago and we’re running a backup at the moment. He’s not the most consistent player in terms of attendance and such. So if you feel that you’re up for the challenge, you can definitely compete for a full time spot. Although they say we don’t need a Rogue, we need a Rogue.

Requirements

  1. Must be able to smash 2 keys repeatedly
  2. Must be able to survive as long as possible
  3. Must be able to out DPS a Protection Paladin
  4. Must not be some kind of non-raid performance spec
  5. Must be able to put up with crap Guildies throw your way about lack of DPS because they want you to DPS more
  6. Must be able to stand with the melee group
  7. Must know when to run out of whirlwinds
  8. Must be able to endure 30 minute boss briefings

BONUS POINTS: Out DPSing Blori (Resident fury warrior) is a guaranteed invite. To tip the scales, you will be given an Enhancement Shaman and your own personal healer.

WARNING: Beta Scams Prevalent

WARNING: Beta Scams Prevalent

With the release of Blizzard’s Beta opt in program, players should be much more alert to the various scams that are making their way around the Internet. I just received an email moments ago informing me that I got selected for the Wrath beta.

Unfortunately, the email address that it got sent to is not linked to my Warcraft account in any way.

Note that the URL is something akin to *.byethost5.com.

I gotta admit, it’s a pretty good looking fake.

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A Note on Joining Guilds on a PvP Server

Join a Guild that loves to PvP even if their focus is raiding. It’s nice to know that when someone in in the guild is being ganked that fire support is but minutes away. It’s one heck of a sight to see 5 players on epic mounts streaking to your corpse and then fanning out around it. Once the culprit’s identified and located, massive firepower is brought to bear until the threat is neutralized.

…But it’s not over.

That’s when they call their friends and their backup. The domino effect continues until one side has had enough.

This is why I love this Guild. If you mess with one, you really mess with all. I guess you could say we’re a PvP Guild disguised as a raiding Guild.

Looking for PvP Elemental Shaman Videos

With the summer here, I wanted to spend some extra time and get better at the Arenas. Last night I signed with a 3v3 team makeup consisting of a Hunter, Priest, and Elemental Shaman (me).

To further increase my chance of success, I respecced to snap up Instant Ghost Wolf an Nature’s Swiftness. This means I don’t get the extra damage nuke of Lightning Overload but my survivability and utility should increase (in theory).

The first 4 games were great. We started working together well and called the traps, the targets, and such. But after that, we dropped the next 5 decisions to bad luck and bad decisions. I know one thing I need to work on myself is to manage my totems better.

But I do want to get better and I learn best by observing and doing. So if anyone knows of any great PvP elemental shaman videos or names of players that I can watch, that would be terrific!