Repetitive Stress Injury

It’s my wrist. For the past few days, there’s been a sharp pain that continues to flare itself. As a result, I may need to cut down my blogging a bit. I picked up a wrist brace for it. It’s got these metal rods and plates along the side designed to keep my wrist in one position.

With the brace on, it makes it extremely difficult for me to play. Any key combination involving shift, ctrl or alt is impossible for me to hit. Accidentally brushing across the windows key is also bad.

A possible scratch in the days ahead.

Anyone have any extra advice or tips on how to deal with or prevent it in the future?

A Fond Farewell to Phaelia of Resto4Life

A Fond Farewell to Phaelia of Resto4Life

i-miss-phae-banner

It is a time for change for the druids of Azeroth. Patch 3.1 is at last on the horizon, tantalizing us all with thoughts of new raid bosses and daily quests to entertain our hours of sloth. However, despite the lure of the new, this is a sad day in the forests and wilds. Phaelia of Resto4Life, the greatest of all druid bloggers, has decided to retire for the happiest of reasons. I’ll let you read her big news in her own words here, but I will add my very public congratulations in this post.

A Tribute to Phaelia

Now that I sit down to try it, it is difficult to find words to express how profound Phaelia’s influence has been on me and my blogging work. I found Resto4Life when I had just started to raid seriously in BC. I had been toying with the idea of starting a druid blog myself, and gradually, reading Phaelia’s work helped me gain the confidence I needed to try writing. She exemplifies everything I love about the WoW community. Let me try, however inarticulately, to account for some of her contributions.

1. Phaelia showed us all that the blogosphere can be friendly. I know that I have experienced hateful and mean-spirited comments, both on my own posts and on others’ work. Somehow, Phaelia presents the content on her site with such grace that civil discussions have always flourished on her pages (pun intended). It has to do with Phaelia herself, I think. Phaelia’s tone exudes warmth and friendliness, and the druid community is a better place because of it. If new bloggers are looking for a style and tone to imitate, they should go to Resto4Life and start reading.

2. Phaelia helped us realize that we could be proud to be druids. In other places, I see more whining about class particularities than celebration of them. Through her wonderful artwork, both her own and the contributions from Andrige, Eggo, and other wonderful artists, druids have been able to represent themselves and witness themselves being represented in a positive way. I am personally going to buy a few more tree shirts. The one I had unfortunately got a big dribble of bleach on it the last time I cleaned. The artwork from Resto4Life is not fluffy content–in fact, it’s what I’ll miss most. I believe that symbols are important, and I don’t think being a druid would have felt as special without the artwork to remind me of it.

3. Phaelia instilled in us all a belief in the WoW blogging community. Through Blog Azeroth and meta-blogging posts on her own site, she helped many would-be bloggers, including me, get a start. I’m not always chatty myself (kind of a solitary walnut), but Phaelia reached out over google chat when I had first started posting. It meant a lot to me early on that she liked my work. I think she’s helped out very many druid bloggers and given us the confidence we needed to keep going. I think she realizes that the hardest thing to do, as a blogger, is put fingers to keys and write. Her site and the tools she gave us make that just a little bit easier.

And so, Phae, you will be much missed. I don’t think anyone will ever fill your particular shoes–and on that topic, you should all go look at Keeva’s delightful new comic. Please drop by from time to time as a reader and let us know how you and the little sprout are doing. This is an exciting time in your life!

As Pike said better than I could, we all know that our time as WoW bloggers is limited. I can see myself blogging–in some form, about something–for the rest of my life, but specific hobbies like WoW come and go. However, friendships and memories can stick with us. If the writing bug ever bites again, Phae, let us know about your new project. My experience tells me that truly talented writers like Phaelia always end up writing for publication, in some form or other.

3.1 Priest Opinion and Analysis and PTR Guild

My wrist is killing me so I’ll keep this brief. The PTR just got loaded and greenlit last night at around 9 PM PST. You can find the patch notes here.

I stayed up most of last night burning the midnight oil with the rest of the WoW Insider staff. My analysis and opinion on the Priest changes are live right now.

Plus Heal PTR Guild

I mentioned that I would be forming a PTR team to go in and explore Ulduar. I doubt I’ll be able to get my entire guild involved so I will need a few extras.

I’ve opened a new forum on Plusheal for PTR Discussion.

In addition, I’ll be organizing my guild building efforts on the PTR in this thread. Siha has signed on. This will be a lot of fun! So if you’re interested and if you’re looking for a group to join, post on that thread!

What Would Your Fountain Coin Say?

Check out this great post by community MVP Palehoof:

I saw a thread over on my realm forum which I really enjoyed, thought I’d mention the same over here.

High level fishermen (or fisherorcs, fisherbulls, etc) can fish in the Dalaran Eventide fountain and catch, occasionally, coins that figures from WoW history have thrown in, complete with the wish they made when they did so etched on the coin. My favorite is Landro Longshot, who wished "I wish i still had that coin." Amusing from the purveyor of TCG loot items.
With that in mind, if someone caught your coin from the fountain in Dalaran, what would it say on it? I’ll start.

Palehoof Geargrinder’s Shiny Silver Coin:
"I wish I knew how to make a Mechanostrider!"

Here’s Bornakk’s:

Bornakk’s copper coin: There are so many cool coins and you got mine, poor you!

And I felt this was simply too good not to share. So I ask you dear readers (and bloggers), what would your fountain coin say? Here’s mine:

Matticus’ Shiny Gold Coin:

“I can’t heal damage of that magnitude! That’s inconceivable!”

What’s yours?

Remember Rule Number 6

Remember Rule Number 6

Ben Zander

Lighten up, Matt. Stop taking things so seriously. Relax once in a while.

I hear that too often.

General managers face the brunt of many things. Mislooted items, irritated players, you name it. Their frustration inevitably transfers over to me. Aside from that, I put up with random ribbing, name calling, insults and all sorts of flak that rolls in. On a day to day basis, my stress levels are being constantly tested. To the raid, it’s like a game. How shall we pop one of Matt’s veins today? Trains are dropped just to set me off.

“My love for someone is directly proportional to how much I make fun of them.” Says an officer.

Of course, at this point, I’m thinking the guild must really like me.

I have a history of being uptight. My friends are always telling me to calm down and relax. I hardly take any time to rest or relax (probably because my idea of relaxing is doing work). Have a glass of wine, they say. Except, I haven’t quite acquired the test of it. White wine I can handle. Red? Not so much.

A guildie recommended me a book by Benjamin Zander. I blogged about him before. His book’s called The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life.

Rule number 6: Don’t take yourself seriously. Lighten the mood up.

Humor helps. Laughing can unite everyone’s personality, flaws, and mistakes. Especially when we feel like we are entitled to something, insulting someone, or just wanting to wring that other guy’s neck.

Here’s a funny story from the book that inspired the title of this post.

Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him: “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws. The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by an hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: “Marie, please remember Rule Number 6.” Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology. When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague: “My dear friend, I’ve seen many things in my life, but never anything remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?” “Very simple,” replies the resident prime minister. “Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so g—damn seriously.” “Ah,” says his visitor, “that is a fine rule.” After a moment of pondering, he inquires, “And what, may I ask are the other rules?”

“There aren’t any.”

Now I just need to remember this rule myself. In the end, it’s a game with real people people behind the avatars that you’re playing with. I can’t always approach problems with a scowl on my face.

Watch this other video by Ben about leadership. It’s a talk he conducted in 2008 in the World Economic Forum. It’s only 9 minutes long. Some if it overlaps with the TED talk I linked above.

How fascinating!

And he got a whole room to sing Ode to Joy. I think. Is that in German? I wonder if I can get my guild to pull that off.

What GMs Want to See on Your Guild App

What GMs Want to See on Your Guild App

 application

Every day, thousands of players are released from guilds. Thousands more leave them voluntarily. Some are looking to take things easier. Others want more out of their gaming experience. What do they all have in common? A desire for a change of scenery. Yeah, it’s the same old Azeroth. But the guild atmosphere is hardly similar.

When I was 15, I landed my first job as a high school computer tech. In the weekends, the school was commandeered by an older generation of adults learning how to “make millions of dollars via Ebay and “how to use windows  (I still remember vividly the longest possible method to create a folder on the desktop).

The experiences during those times taught me the extraordinary value of patience. Because I tell you, nothing in this world prepares you for patience more than trying to teach a bunch of senior citizens where the any key is.

I was the first among my friends to have a real paying job. “Wow, they would say, “A real paying job with real money! 

You see, it’s around that time in a youth ‘s life where the desire to become independent from their parents begins to kick in. Of course, the inverse is also true. I ‘m almost positive parents want to spend less on their kids. My friends starting feeling the same way. They wanted their own CD players (that ‘s metallic discs that held around 18 songs). That‘s the stuff my generation was into as MP3 players didn’t kick in until the year later since they weren‘t affordable yet.

My advice and consult was frequently sought after. My friends all wanted jobs of their own. I was the only one among them that went through the entire stage from resume to interview. I tried to coach them with what little I knew from my own experience. I helped them prep for their interviews after proofreading their resumes.

Nothing makes mom and dad happier more than knowing that some sucker hired their son after all, right?

And now I speak to you as a raider, officer, and GM who has sifted through hundreds upon hundreds of guild applications over the past several years.

What Matticus likes

  1. Simplicity: Don ‘t use 7 words when 4 will work. I scan most of my apps unless something catches my eye. Be blunt and straight to the point.
  2. Formatting: I hate my room. It’s a mess. I don‘t want to see a reflection of my room in your guild app. Put some effort in your punctuation and capitalization.
  3. Goal: What you want to do. Make sure it ‘s something that you actually want. The successful applicants into Conquest were the ones who said “I want to raid.”
  4. Past tense: Raided Molten Core. Killed Illidan. Acquired Twilight Drake. Achieved “Gotta Go!” .
  5. Contributions: Organized sheeps. Set up main tank targets. Lit up Warlock summons without being asked. Made healing assignments. Took care of DKP.
  6. Essential stats without having to armory: 2240 spellpower. 950 MP5. Important information that‘s included without me having to click the armory right away. If I‘m really interested, I‘ll do it after the fact to make sure you‘re not giving me a plate full of bull-shiitake.
  7. Guildie endorsements: These can make or break your chances. Make sure the player actually knows you and has good things to say since it can backfire.
  8. Link to blog: Not everyone has one. Bonus points if you do. It made the difference for Amava since it lent him extra credibility (but he doesn‘t know that, so don‘t tell him ;))
  9. Hobbies: This is what gives your digital avatar a little extra personality. Whether you‘re big into sports or an avid poker player, it‘s something I ‘m curious to know. Still waiting for the day where I see “Modeled for this agency.
  10. Extra: Whatever else you did that shows your ability to think critically. I‘m not here to hold your hand. The GM isn‘t supposed to be the chessmaster that instructs where every piece is supposed to attack. They‘re the conductor who controls the rhythm, beat, and sound that an orchestra plays for a standing ovation.
  11. PM to the GM: Rarely happens. But it takes energy and ingenuity to go straight to the boss. Sometimes a private message adds a nice touch.
  12. Customize: I‘ve seen cut and paste application jobs. Sometimes applicants forget to change the name of the guild or player name.

I can‘t speak for all GM ‘s or recruiting officers. There‘s always someone out there who has more experience. I ‘m going to toss a shoutout to Kreeoni, Veneretio, and Siha as they‘re all well respected GMs in my book, and ask them what they like to see in an app (Ceruleagos, I know you‘re out there reading, too!)

As always, reader thoughts are always welcome.

Being the Shaman Behind the Meat Shield

Being the Shaman Behind the Meat Shield

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Back on the 13th, Mera asked a question that I felt deserved a post to fully answer it.

“Can shamans make good MT or OT healers, as in to the same standard of other healing classes?”

I provided a short answer of yes on the 13th, but I’m going to try to flesh it out a bit more here.

Shaman have been given a lot of tools when Patch 3.0 was brought live. These tools allow us to be competitive with other healers in single target healing. Really we can break this down into a few sections – Spec (talents), Glyphs and Strategy.

Spec/Talents:

There are three very popular specs out there right now:

  • 0/16/55 This has been referred to as the cookie cutter spec.
  • 0/14/57 This spec. This spec moves points out of Elemental weapons to buff ancestral healing.
  • 0/14/57 A build which takes a few points out of Thundering Strikes in order to have a maxed Healing Way and Ancestral Healing while forsaking Improved Water Shield.

Each has different strengths they bring to the healing fight so to speak so lets take a quick peak at some of the choice talents.

Let’s take a look at the talents we pick up in enhancement first.

Thundering Strikes: This talent is five points of wonderful. It boosts your crit by a solid 5%. This is great because when you are on a Tank there can often times be spikes in damage. Having a higher crit ensures a better chance of being able to top off the tank with one healing wave instead of two or three.

Improved Shields:  This talent increases the bang for the buck you get out of your Earth Shield. That 15% counts for a lot in the long run, and your tank will thank you for picking it up.

Elemental Weapons: More spell power is always good.  This gives you an additional 45 spell power, no reason not to take it.

Now, those are very straight forward. One can argue the same about the next set but I’ll highlight the talents in the restoration tree that, in my opinion are great main tank healer abilities, or have been updated recently and can fill that role.

Healing Way: I’ll start with Healing Way, which is second only to Earth Shield in my book when one thinks of Shaman healing a tank.  This talent recently underwent a change that make it a very useful talent once again. The full affect of the talent is applied when you use the spell once. This means that you no longer have to spam the ability 3 times to get it rolling. Front loading the effect means that you can toss a Healing Wave on the tank, and then burn another 15 seconds worth of spells and Global Cool Downs until the ability expires. Tossing another healing wave on the tank will immediately receive an 18% boost and keeping this in mind it’s very very easy to net 20k crit heals and higher. I personally feel this is a must for shaman doing tank healing.

Earth Shield / Improved Earth Shield: These are pretty self explanatory. Earth Shield is a bread and butter talent. For as long as we’ve had it, we’ve been using it and rightly so. You toss this up on the main tank and it can help to create a very nice reactive buffer for health loss. This talent also underwent a fix recently. Previously the chance for the shield to crit heal was based on the person you put it on. Meaning a fire mage was more likely to get crit heals then a prot warrior. They’ve fixed it now so that it has a chance to crit based on your crit at the time of casting. Looking at your talents you have 14% built in before gear and INT are calculated. This just helps improve something that was already golden.

Ancestral Awakening: A lot of people don’t like this talent, but I personally love it. Taking a look at it, Ancestral Awakening really fits well with a main tank shaman healer. It procs off of Lesser Healing Wave, Healing Wave and Riptide. If you are on a tank, you’re going to be using a lot more Healing Wave then you usually do, and as a result this will proc more often. It heals for 30% of the amount healed. Lets say it procs off of a nice Healing Wave crit for 20,000 hp. The talent (like beacon of light) only spreads around the part that’s effective healing. Lets say 10,000hp of that heal is actually healing. That’s still a 3k heal that lands on someone who needs it.

Tidal Force: Again, pretty self explanatory. Having something that boosts your crit for Healing Wave is always a good thing

Tidal Waves: This talent is also very nice. It procs off Chain Heal and Riptide. We can assume that you’ll be using Riptide pretty liberally as it’s an instant cast hot with a flash heal at the front (so yes you should be using it if you’re not), and so this should be up all the time. It reduces the casting time of your Healing Wave spells by 30%. That extra little bit of haste helps to deliver your big heal faster.

Glyphs:

For Glyphs it might be a bit hard to choose for tank healing duty but we do have some good ones to choose from.

  • Glyph of Water Mastery: More mana! I hope I never hear anyone complain about more mana =D
  • Glyph of Mana Tide Totem: Again more mana, in this case taking full advantage of all the INT you have.
  • Glyph of Healing Wave: This takes advantage of your Healing Wave casts by returning 20% of the effective healing done, ignoring overheal amounts. Great glyph for AoE bosses and fights where you might not be able to heal yourself.
  • Glyph of Lesser Healing Wave: Less mana to cast, and faster then it’s big brother, this glyph lets LHW strike an Earth Shielded target for a respectable amount on par with non crit Healing Waves.
  • Glyph of Earthliving: This helps make sure you have a HoT up as much as possible. 5% more Earthliving procs can help cushion your healing a bit.
  • Glyph of Chain Heal: Even though you’re going to be casting more heals then Chain Heal, it still remains our most efficient heal. Casting it in between Healing Waves can help keep Tidal Waves up, and if you happen to catch any low melee in the process, so much the better.

Pick glyphs that help fill in gaps in what you need. If you need more mana, two glyphs will go along way to help that. If you find yourself taking damage and not being able to peel away from the tank, there is a glyph that help you keep standing long into the fight. Now these are just the Resto ones, I’ve heard people using ones to finagle more crit and such.  Take a look Here and find ones that work for you.

Strategy

Lets face it, loling around and chain healing a raid isn’t rocket science. Using our tools to their full potential while raid healing take much more finesse. Switching gears from Raid Healing to Tank Healing takes a different mindset. First thing to remember is Resto Shaman don’t really have any preventative measures to help mitigate incoming damage beyond Stoneskin Totem and Strength of Earth Totem to add armor or STR/AGI for mitigation. Our healing is all reactive aside from maybe our two HoTs, and even then we only have full control over one of them. Earth Shield requires the person you put it on to be hit before it goes off. As a result we spend a lot of time overhealing when we’re on a tank in an attempt to keep them topped off. With the amounts of mana regen we usually have, it’s not hard to keep the spells constantly streaming while keeping up on mana. You will also make full use of all your healing spells as a tank healer. Be adaptive to the situation and be ready to move with your tank. With raid healing it’s easy to sit put and plug away but a lot of times with the tank you’ll have to move with them to keep them in healing range or line of sight.

Conclusion

With all this in mind my answer to the question is Yes, I feel that shaman are more then capable Tank Healers, on par with other classes. We have all the tools necessary to fill both roles of the Raid Healer and Tank Healer effectively. There may be fights were a certain type of healer is better for the job (like a Discipline Priest healing the Sartharion Tank on Sarth 3D) but that doesn’t mean it’s the case every time. We can keep up with the Priests, Paladins and Druids in single target healing just fine.

Image courtesy of www.plan59.com

Syd’s Response to the Screenshot Challenge

Syd’s Response to the Screenshot Challenge

syd-pic-61

Following Phaelia’s lead, I’m going to participate in the Screenshot Challenge as outlined in this post on Maiara’s Voodoo Ventures. The idea is to find your 6th screen shot and blog about it. Well, I have the world’s least organized image system, but I do delete them frequently. I had two candidates, both labeled “Picture 6″ in their different folders.

In the image at the top of the page, I am standing at the edge of Scryer’s Tier, dressed in my all-time favorite outfit, the Thunderheart Raiment. I’m looking wistfully off into the distant treetops of Terokkar. This photo actually makes me nostalgic for Outland.

the-other-picture-6

In this second shot, I’ve just eaten some Small Feast, and I’m impressing Briolante with my miniature cuteness. My minipet, Jeremy the kitty, is similarly thrilled by my mini-cheetah form. He’s my favorite because, well, he looks just like the real Jeremy the kitty, minus the fat belly and pitiful meow.

I’m not sure who to challenge! Hopefully Matticus, Wyn, and Lodur have some screenshots hanging around their computers.

Holy Light Spam – Less Calories than the Original

Holy Light Spam – Less Calories than the Original

holy-spam

This is a guest post by Sientina, a Holy Paladin

I’ve been reading a few (okay, a bit more than a few) paladin threads lately, sifting through the arguments about what to gem and what is the premiere paladin stat. It never fails that in every single thread at least one or more people comment how ‘I have X amount of Y and I spam Holy Light for the entire boss fight’.  With how healers mana is in the current content, I can understand why they would just spam Holy Light, and if glyphed, AoE five melee around that particular tank.  But with the exception of Patchwerk or Instructor Razuvious (on the Understudies if your priests were a bit off their game) I can’t think of a single boss fight in the current content that would warrant Holy Light spam.

There’s always a defensive reply from the paladins who spam the light when they’re confronted.

“My overhealing meters don’t count if no one dies!”

No, but unless you’re healing a five man, there are others healing with you.  Are your raid healers going low on mana?  Think about helping them out.  Why not spread some Flash of Light throughout the raid? If the tank needs a heal bomb, Divine Favor + Holy Shock + Instant Flash of Light at the cost of two global cooldowns for about the same healing as one Holy Light will work just fine.  Perhaps you’ve been working on the 6 minute Malygos achievement but haven’t gotten it yet. If more healers were being mindful of who else is taking damage and taking care of it instead of mindlessly spamming, maybe you could run it with one less healer. Who’s pulling the healing weight in your raid?

“If I have the mana to support spamming Holy Light, why shouldn’t I?”

If you have the mana, you’re overgeared for the content. Plain and simple. If you are overgeared, your overhealing is through the roof and into outer space assuming your tanks are overgeared as well. If you don’t need the extra healing, why do it? DPS a little, judge a bit more often.  Of course, keep an eye on your tank but watch everything else around you.  Get in the mindset of watching what happens to the raid. Warlocks that get high up on threat and need a Hand of Salvation. That mage that tends to pull aggro at the wrong time and needs a BoP.  We are currently in Kara-like content, people.  This is easy mode.  Ulduar will not let you get away with just pressing 2-2-2-2-2,. Getting healer tunnel vision will screw you over later.

Ask yourself this question. Why would Blizzard change the paladin class from spamming Flash of Light to spamming Holy Light?

Back in vanilla wow, Flash of Light was a paladin’s bread and butter spell.  All one did was hit FoL over and over and over again while refreshing 5 minute blessings.  In Burning Crusade, we were gifted with Holy Shock, a very mana inefficient spell with a long cool down, but it was great when everything went to hell.  Once Wrath came, we were reworked into a healing machine. Holy Shock got a longer range, critting with it made our Flash of Light instant or our Holy Light faster.  On top of that, we got Sacred Shield and while it was active, our Flash of Light gets an extra 50% to crit.

Blizzard made our spells to be synergistic. Use the mechanics to make the best out of the paladin class. Play with your spells. We are still the healers of the main tank more than any other class, but we are not limited to just that.  Sure we don’t have a chain heal, a wild growth, or a circle of healing, but who cares? With the mana regen changes coming in 3.1, Shamans, Druids and Priests will have to be more mindful of mana. I know I’ll be there backing them up.

So please, lay off the canned meat. Its just not healthy for you or for your raid.

Matt Guest Speaks on the Rawrcast

I joined the Rawrcast crew last week for their Episode 6 podcast. Check it out when you have time!

Things discussed:

  • Dual specs
  • Patch 3.1
  • Blogging

I haven’t heard it yet (I have an aversion to hearing myself on podcasts). It was certainly a rather interesting experience to record with them! Seems I was cut off at a few points here and there!

In any case, enjoy!