My Newfound Respect for Melee

My Newfound Respect for Melee

melee_is_hard

Remember how I told you all, on April Fool’s Day, no less, that I was going to run off and play Ret Paladin? Well, it wasn’t entirely a joke. Yes, I’m still raiding on Syd, and still healing, but I’ve been playing my paladin this weekend as both Ret and Holy. I have a lot more confidence when I’m healing, and I have a few amusing stories about that stemming from a Naxx-10 PuG that I healed last night, but today I’m mostly here to talk to you about the special challenge of melee.

Not many healers have a melee class as their alt, and now I can see why. I’ve done ranged DPS before in group settings. I’d say it’s more of a challenge to me than healing at this point, but I can see how it could be done well. However, I was determined to take my Ret Paladin to some heroics. As I’m in a confessional mood, here’s a list of the Melee Failures I’ve indulged in over the last five days.

Failure #1

Accidentally taunting off the tank. Sorry, Brio. I’m still not sure how I managed to hit Shift 1 with the back of my hand, but I certainly did it.

Failure #2

Pulling mobs by accident . . . with my butt. You know, when you’re a melee class, you have to get behind the mobs. I think that my time as a healer has made me scared of them, and I tend to stay at max range, which can be rather dangerous with patrols around.

Failure #3

Hanging out in the green stuff. I was so happy when we defeated the first boss of Heroic Gundrak. So happy, in fact, that I stood there doing the Macarena as the poison slowly killed me. As always, I was suprised when Marfi hit the floor.

Failure #4

Staying in for whirlwind. I realized belatedly that the last boss of Heroic Gundrak was doing his little spinny thing. By the time I strafed out, I was low on health, and a ghost rhino charge made me go splat.

Failure #5

Standing in front of the boss. Now, I know I’m not supposed to stand next to Brio. I’ve made many jokes in my life about melee humping the hind legs of bosses. I’m not sure why I ended up in front of Heroic Anub’arak, but I do know what happened to me when he cast pound. Pound equals splat, for something like 10,000 overkill.

Failure #6

Getting ahead of the tank. In Utgarde Keep, I was getting antsy. Guess what happened when I edged in front of Brio? More pulling mobs. I’m glad Brio and I have a stable relationship, because I know exactly what he would have said if any other melee did that. Oh well, at least I can bubble and save myself.

Failure #7

Getting too far behind. Also Utgarde Keep. I have no excuse this time, only that I had to pee, and that turned into rather poor dps for a minute there. It turns out that you have to keep up, all the time, as a melee player.

Failure #8

Ignoring the kill order. Skull is for decoration, right? I’m issuing an apology to Amava, who was tanking Violet Hold on his cleverly-named druid Moodyswinger.

Failure #9

Panicking about my own health instead of trusting the healer. No, I didn’t say, heal me please, but I definitely used my Art of War procs whenever they were up, mostly on the tank, but also on myself. I have also bubbled a record number of times during the weekend.

Failure #10

Incomplete gear switch. I’m sure both Ret Paladins and Feral Druids face this one all the time. I don’t use any inventory manager addons, because my laptop’s poor performance means that I can only run necessary addons–nothing extra. This Sunday I DPS’d about seven heroics wearing my Holy libram. . . from Karazhan.

That’s my list of spectacular melee failures. The only one I didn’t check off this week was Die in a Fire. In my defense, Sartharion was the first instance I did with Marfi as DPS. I didn’t realize at that point I was making a checklist. I did die in that fight, not to a void zone or lava wave, but to a stray add. I also did about 1000 dps in my full suit of greens, but hey, I’d just dinged 80 10 minutes before. My dps has improved a bit now, but the failures keep mounting.

The Value of Failure

I’ve always told my students that failure is instructive. Errors are acceptable–even a good thing–while you’re learning a language, and they’re acceptable when you’re learning a new class role as well. If you never allow yourself to make mistakes, you’ll never learn. You’ll just continue doing what is comfortable and never branch out. However, I know my limits. I’m practicing in Heroics because they’re the minor leagues. The next time I see the green stuff, I’ll be running away.

There’s a very good reason that I haven’t let myself DPS in Naxx yet. Even though the paladin is different from my resto druid, it’s the same raid role, and I have a wealth of experience healing on both toons from Classic to current. In a raid, I owe more to my group members, so I have to know what I’m doing to some degree. Sure, I messed up my Holy spec last night and forgot to even get Bacon of Light, but it didn’t matter. I still beat the other healer, a better-geared Holy priest, on the meters. It is true that I only pulled ahead because she died on the first pass of the Heigan dance, which then continued for 10 more minutes with about five players alive, but I was proud of myself nonetheless. It’s absolutely amazing how much energy playing a new character can give me on this very, very stale content. However, the Flash of Light spam nearly killed me. Syd uses such a variety of spells, which I have mapped for both hands (left hand for direct heals, mouse for hots), that I never feel stress in my wrists. This morning my left wrist is killing me from repeatedly hitting the C key. I don’t know how full-time paladins do it.

Account security

31 Day Challenge: The Elevator Pitch

On Saturday, I made a quick note that I would be participating in this year’s 31 days to building a better blog.

Earlier readers will remember the previous tagline I use was Knowledge through Logic and Reason. That wasn’t the best of taglines to use on a healing related blog.

Anna suggested World of Matticus – Where Leadership and Healing Collide (without the train wreck). I know if I the blog had a business card of some sort it would read something like: "Problems with healing? Guild issues got you down? Matt can help!”

For most WoW bloggers, I suspect their elevator pitch would be something related to their character (The adventures of ____ or the musings of a <race> <class>). I have yet to think of the perfect pitch. This blog isn’t just mine anymore. It’s Wyns, Syds, Lodurs and everyone that’s ever contributed via comments or guest posts or emails.

When people discover that I’m a blogger, they always ask “Oh, what do you write about?”. I admit that it’s a bit frustrating to come up with an answer. I usually have different ones on standby depending on the what I know about the person. If they’re my age, they’ve heard of World of Warcraft. If they’re of a different generation or not as fluent with video games, I’ll tell them I write about gaming strategy and advice.

So here’s the short form of what I would use across the network.

World of Matticus: Improving Today’s Healers and Tomorrow’s Leaders
PlusHeal: The Universal Healing Community for all Specs and Skills
No Stock UI: A Different Playing Experience

The elevator pitch is a great way for you to really buckle down and figure out who you are and what you want to do.

Apping for Guilds

This works the same way. When you’re applying for a guild and you’re speaking to an officer or a GM, most of them get a good handle on the type of player they’re dealing with in a few minutes. So you should take the time to develop a small pitch for yourself if you’re in between guilds.

Example – I’m a progression raiding oriented Discipline Priest

I’m about to head out and do some progression oriented studying and then some more volleyball!

For the bloggers out there, what would your tagline be and what is your blog about?

Lodur’s Final Thoughts Before 3.1

Lodur’s Final Thoughts Before 3.1

ulduar_phixr1

I’d like to condense my final thoughts on the Restoration Shaman Changes so far, since the patch is imminent at this point and shouldn’t be too far off.

The hottest topic for Shamans as of late has been the Blessing of Wisdom and Mana Spring Totem stacking change.  Understandably we were all a bit shocked by this change. This is pretty much taking the stars out of alignment for us. I know I reacted harshly to it first in my post Shaman and Paladins Mana Buff Get Hit! . This was before I got a chance to actually test it out as well as sit down and think about it.

Lets talk about mana regeneration from an encounter design standpoint. In a raid how often do you run out of mana now? For me I know it’s never unless a lot of other healers bite the dust and I have to pick up the slack. How often do you have to use mana potions? I think I’ve used 5 total in about 8 weeks, and those were on heroics. That’s with moderate gearing, not even a heavy MP5 set. That’s honestly not good for designers. In order to compensate for ungodly amounts of healer mana developers tend to make encounters with more widespread raid damage instead of other much more fun mechanics. Personally I’d rather have fun mechanics, I like variety! (read as less Whack-a-Mole plx!)

Raid wide we lose 109.2 MP5 from this change and I can tell you from testing it, it’s not that bad. I’ve spent a lot of time on various iterations of Lodur on the PTR testing the changes out, doing raids, seeing how regen was affected… and to be honest it really wasn’t affected as majorly as many people think. Right now on live I can end a fight like Kel’thuzad or even Sartharion with drakes with around 50% mana, and that’s with chain casting. On the PTR I was ending with about 35%. Honestly it’s the difference of a mana potion.  We’re not really going to see a shift too dramatically. Rejoice! We are the mana base line!

There is also another great part of this for Shaman in general that I’d like to take a moment to point out. There was a discussion about totems and macros and such on PlusHeal and a very interesting point came up. A lot of shaman over there refer to our water totem as our swing totem, and I agree with this. The water totem slot is our most versatile of the lot and tends to get the most use. By changing the way mana regen stacks it allows us to take a Blessing of Wisdom, and then use our water slot for something other then just Mana Spring. Healing Stream totem is getting a buff through talents that makes it a very attractive choice (AoE hot? yes plz!) and lets not forget our brand new Cleansing Totem that will take care of both poisons and diseases. With the new change we wont have to sit and worry about taking away mana regen by dropping a poison cleansing totem or what have you. I found the ability to not have to worry about having Mana Spring down all the time was like a weight lifting from my shoulders. I have a feeling once you guys see it in action you’ll feel the same =D

Here’s a recap of the Patch Notes relevant to restoration Shamans.

Restoration

  • Ancestral Awakening: This talent now accounts for your ineffective healing, rather than effective.
  • Ancestral Healing and Healing Grace have swapped places in the Restoration talent tree.
  • Cleanse Spirit now has a new icon.
  • Mana Tide Totem: This spell no longer costs mana.
  • Restorative Totems: Reduced to 3 points, down from 5. Increases the effect of your Mana Spring Totem by 7/12/20%, and increases the amount healed by your Healing Stream Totem by 15/30/45%.
  • Riptide: This spell has a new icon.
  • Tidal Force: Now has a new spell effect.

General Shaman Changes

  • Bloodlust/Heroism: Cooldown reduced to 5 minutes, but Sated and Exhausted now last 10 minutes.
  • New! Earth Elemental Totem: The summoned Earth Elemental should now have significantly more health and slightly more armor.
  • New! Fire Elemental Totem: The summoned Fire Elemental should now have moderately more health and mana, and its damage scaling has been increased. In addition, the Fire Elemental’s spells now cost less mana.
  • Flametongue Weapon: Bonus damage from spell power now based on weapon speed. Slower weapons will benefit more from spell power.
  • Frostbrand Weapon: Damage increased by approximately 20%.
  • Mana Spring Totem: This totem has been redesigned. It now provides the same mana benefit as Blessing of Wisdom to the entire party or raid, but is exclusive with that effect.
  • Poison Cleansing Totem and Disease Cleansing Totem have been merged into “Cleansing Totem.” Cleansing Totem pulses every 3 sec, down from 5.

Another item was the change to Heroism / Bloodlust. The change is that the debuff and the cooldown are being flipped around. Cooldown has been changed to 5 minutes and debuff has been changed to 10 minutes. At first this seems like a big hit from the nerf bat, and at first I thought so too, until Matt and I had a great conversation about it. Heroism / Bloodlust is an optional raid buff, unlike replenishment which Blizz feels is a mandatory buff. Encounters are not tuned with you having one every try in mind. It’s a raid leaders shot gun buff, on Sarth 3D we use it to burst down the second drake for an example. It’s something you use when you really need to have something dead and fast. The change allows for you to use it more inline with progression fights. Lets say you pop it, and you die. Dying clears the debuff but if the ability is down and you don’t have another Shaman, fat lot of good it’s going to do you. This will allow groups that only have 1 Shaman to always have this buff available when learning fights. I think this is actually a good thing.

Elementals are getting buffed, which is long overdue. This will bring them back up to something a little more useful then were they currently are. I know my Fire Elemental when I break him out on Sarth adds doesn’t really do a whole lot and tends to run out of mana fast. Which his damage scaling more and cheaper spells he’ll just be that much more useful. Earth Elemental getting a health increase is also really good. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dropped him to make a get away only to have him die so fast it doesn’t matter that I dropped him at all.

Bottom line here is we really made out this patch. We didn’t get godly buffs, but we avoided the nerf bat and remained largely unchanged. The changes we did get will actually help our utility to a raid, and can be looked at as buffs in a way. The Mana Spring totem change really benefits us more then it hurts us. It gives us a bit more freedom to roll around totems. I am looking forward to this patch for many reasons, not least among them Ulduar.

What about you? How do you feel about the imminent patch?

Till next time, Happy Healing.
~Lodur

As always feel free to follow on twitter http://twitter.com/LodurZJ And don’t be afraid to ask questions using direct message there or the contact form here on the site!

Your Saturday Thoughts and Links

In case you’ve missed it, here’s a few blue posts you may wish to check out regarding us Priests. Check out the some of the comments below here and I’ll post my thoughts.

We do want a lot of Power Word: Shields to be getting tossed out. You can use it on multiple people throughout the raid for additional regeneration if needed. We are still a little weary of where mana regeneration is at, we aren’t sure it is really going to be hit that bad with the changes in patch 3.1.

That definitely explains the set bonuses on the healing Priest class. The emphasis is shifting slightly towards damage prevention – no matter what spec you are.

The talents requested are relatively far down in the holy tree with the goal of improving overall healing, the thing is that we don’t feel discipline healing will really need these buffs as it could be fairly competitive as it stands. We feel the issue is the need to track the effectiveness of shields, since these don’t show up on healing meters it looks like the disc healing is low, but overall it should work out well if you add in the data from the shields.

Well said. That is what we need. I know there is a modified version of Recount that has tried to do this.

We agree that how grace works feels a little awkward, we are looking into this and may change it in the future, no guarantees though.

Personally I think they should increase the amount of targets Grace can be applied on. Maybe to 2 or 3. It would just be nothing more than a constant 9% healing increase (when fully stacked) on multiple targets.

We are still okay with how the weakened soul debuff works in a raid setting. If raids only allow 1 disc priest and it becomes a plaguing problem, we’ll look into it, but at the same time we don’t really want to see raids running around with only disc priests (this applies to any class).

This is true. Many raids still do not have any Discipline Priests at all.

Like I mentioned above, we feel the overall effectiveness of disc should be pretty good in 3.1 if you consider not just the healing but the shielding aspect of it as well. We will see how it plays out. (Source)

I didn’t feel severely handicapped during my time healing as Disc in the PTRs. But this was just on the normal setting. I haven’t been able to get into any 25s.

Discipline Priest in Ulduar
Will raids want Disc priests? We are honestly not too worried about that. We’d estimate about half of the healing priests we’ve watched in Ulduar are Disc, at least for the guilds that are making boss kills. Consider, that when you have a tank with 45,000 health and a boss is hitting for 25,000 health (which is not the kind of thing we did in Naxx, but is in Ulduar), none of the healing you can do will let that tank survive two hits in a row. But Power Word: Shield will. (Source)

Very true. So if you’re a Priest that is against using PW: Shield and relying more on healing instead, think hard about this comment.

Blogging

I’m always on the lookout for blogs about blogging or writing. Problogger is starting another 31 Days to a Better Blog project. It’s been delayed by a few days. If you do have your own WoW blog and want to get better and to learn, I’d suggest participating. I know I’m not the only one as I’ll be joined by Anna as well.

The idea behind this is simply to have a group of bloggers setting aside a month of their time to work at improving their blogs. While we all want to have better blogs sometimes it becomes one of those things that we’re going to do…. one day.

If you’ve got the time and the will, I’d give it a shot and see what you can learn.

The challenge starts Monday.

Saturday Links

  • Canadianaconnection interview with me: @cletch sent me an interview request. Most of the questions revolve around my life and the balance I have between WoW and school. Don’t expect to read a whole lot about healing. The interview here is a little more personal then that. It offers you a bit of a behind the scenes look at World of Matticus.
  • Which of these 5 Bag Addons is Right for You?: A great post by my co-blogger Lilth over on No Stock UI. If you’re looking for ways to sort and handle your inventory, check out some of the addons she’s listed.
  • 6 Useful Addons for Forgetful People: Another one from NSUI. My memory is terrible. I suspect some of you have experienced episodes where you’ve forgotten to do something like take a screenshot when a certain achievement happens. Little did I know there was an addon that managed to do this. Check out the rest!
  • Fine art of Decision-Making – 7 Tips for Getting Decisions Made Easier: Post from Zen Habits. A great read for any officer or GM who has to make choices.
  • Emotional Intelligence – How to Get It: Courtesy of Leadership Now. This is something that will benefit from every player.
  • Is Any comment a good comment?: This is a question for the bloggers and the readers. It’s inspired by TyphoonAndrew. For me, I’ll try to comment if I think I have something to add. Even something simple as encouragement can go a long way. I know when I started blogging, it felt good to me when I read little comments like “nice post” or “good read”. If it’s something I enjoy, I’ll respond as well. If it’s a question that hasn’t been answered, I’ll do my best to provide one.
  • Wordy Warrior: Managed to catch my eye on Twitter that someone was starting a new blog. Say hi to @cristyen!

I’ve respecced tanking for the weekend. It’s been a long time.

In fact, it’s street hockey time. The Weekend Warriors are returning!

5 Phases in the Cycle of Drama

5 Phases in the Cycle of Drama

on-a-boat

I am not happy.

To be frank, I’m really annoyed.

There’s a player I know who is distraught with another player. They’re both able to work together, but that’s not the issue at hand. The behavior of one player irritates the other.

There are two problems. Those of you who are or who have been in guilds will recognize it. I’ll give you a quick excerpt of the conversation in a second. For the first time, I face palmed.

“What were the problems?” I asked.

“I can’t tell you.” He responded.

“How am I supposed to fix the problems if I don’t know what they are?” I questioned.

“I don’t know, man.” He squawked.

“Can you at least tell me who they are so I can try to talk to them and get to the bottom of it?” I urged.

“No because I don’t want to rat them out or they’ll be mad at me.” He wailed.

“So let me get this straight. There’s people in our guild who are slightly disgruntled. You can’t tell me why or who because you don’t want to rat them out.” I observed.

“Yes.” He croaked.

Note: I was reading a PDF with over 300 ways to say “said” and decided to try some to break into the habit.

Can you see how toxic this type of behavior can be?

I don’t even know who the other dissatisfied players are because he doesn’t want to tattle. This isn’t grade school. We’re supposed to be civilized and mature people with the ability to talk to each other.

If they can’t trust their GM, then maybe they should shop around until they find a guild and a GM that can be trusted.

Now I know everyone has a tolerance meter. Some players are able to put up with and deal with a lot more crap than other people. It’s not something that can be taught. As a side note, GMs must have an amazingly high tolerance meter.

Here’s a look at what I deem the cycle of drama:

cycle2.001

Join a new guild. This is the stage where low drama player has just entered a new guild after being promised an environment where they can flourish and share goals with their new found guild mates. Things are generally good as a new guild functions like a breath of fresh of air.

Experience discomfort. Now that the new player has grown familiar with the players and atmosphere, they start noticing some aspects of the guild that they don’t like. Perhaps they find a certain player coming on too strong. Perhaps the style of looting isn’t done how they prefer. Maybe the leadership isn’t all that great. Whatever it is, the problem is significant enough to disturb them.

Code of silence. The new player vows to not let themselves be the cause of any dramatic events. They will try their best to deal with it and move on. Meanwhile, the rest of the leadership proceeds onward with the belief that everything is okay. This is the really critical stage and it could span days, weeks or even months.

Climatic triggering event. Enough is enough. It has gone too far. The guild member has reached breaking point. After a long period of time trying to keep it in, the guild member discovers he has reached the limit of his tolerance. An even triggers and months of frustration pour out possibly causing serious damage to the integrity of the guild.

Guild quitting. Once step 4 happens, step 5 happens pretty soon thereafter. The player has made a mess of themselves and an embarrassment. They’re so unhappy that leaving and starting fresh somewhere is the only logical course of action remaining.

And then the cycle starts a new.

It’s time to break the cycle. Veer away from step 3 and talk to someone. Otherwise you know what will happen next.

Next, there are two statements here that irritate me to no end.

“I don’t want to rock the boat.”

Before I became a GM, I agreed with this sentiment. I didn’t want to cause any problems. I didn’t want to force anyone’s hand. Confrontation is something I didn’t want to deal with. I’ll just grit my teeth and deal with it as best as I can. The GM’s already got a ton of Talbuk dung to deal with. No sense in giving him any more.

And I’m sure most of you would agree. Your GM’s are harried as they struggle to go from raid to raid trying to make sure everything’s running as smooth as possible.

Until one day, you (the exasperated player) decided that you have had enough. You are done putting up with the kind of crap that you have had to endure. You set your alarm for 2 AM before going to bed. Hours later, you wake up to the sound of Wham’s Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, log into WoW, and quietly leave the guild while everyone is asleep.

“I’m not the only one who feels this way.”

That just expands the problem even more. Now it’s a trust issue. Loyalties here are torn between the players who said something in confidence versus the GM trying to salvage and remedy the situation.

Everyone wants to be a rebel. No one seems to like or respect authority. At the end of the day, the GM’s just a regular player as well. It’s a shame. It really is. It’s a thankless job that’s hard enough already without having players that conspire by passively resisting. It’s making management difficult.

I wish people weren’t as shy. I wish they’d be willing to stand up and grow a spine. Normal and sane GM’s aren’t going to kick you out or feed you to the sharks if you rock the boat. The ones that do aren’t the ones you want to play with anyway.

Snap out of it!

I am begging you. If you have a problem with someone or something, talk to your GM. They are the last line of defense. If there’s nothing you can do, then you are free to go. But until you as a respectable person can take that step to explore every possible option to resolve your differences, then you’re going to continue to be handcuffed. The cycle will repeat itself. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t have the capabilities of the NSA or the FBI. We can’t wire tap your computer. We’re not psychics.

If your GM doesn’t know what the problem is, he can’t solve it. By with holding it now, it’s going to be made even more catastrophic later. If you respect your GM that much, then you should go have a talk with them in private. If a resolution can’t be reached, at least you tried.

But the fact remains, it begins with the guild members. Once the guild member speaks up, the ball can get rolling. Someone has to open a dialog. Too often, silence is interpreted as nothing wrong. But it could also mean nothing is right.

Whatever happens, happens. It’s the actions and choices that people make which matter. Sometimes there really is nothing that can be done. I accept and I understand that. What kills me is when no one ever tries to cooperate.

It’s disappointing.

Story of a Textbook Gquit

Story of a Textbook Gquit

goodbye

I had an opportunity today to work through my RSS reader and I spotted this post from Herding Cats. It was about how to quit your guild. The first part of this post contains a story. The second part contains a breakdown of what happened during the departure process that I liked.

I’d like to share an example of a gquit. There was a Warlock in my guild who is a top quality player in my books. We rewarded him well and he repaid us in kind by performing well. He was instrumental throughout many of our raiding first kills.

It was a quiet Sunday night. I was at my desk curled up with my copy of Watchmen. My character was logged in flying from one side of the world to the other. It was an estimated time of seven minutes.  My speakers were piping in random music from iTunes. I think it was Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield. I heard a distinctive beep. I glanced up and realized I had an ingame instant message from one of my Warlocks.

“Hey, can we talk?”

My hands turned cold. And it had nothing to do with the fact that I live in Canada. Something I learned very quickly on the job here as a GM is that whenever someone asks for your permission to talk to you, it’s generally bad news.

The song ended and another one started.

*Tiffany – Think We’re Alone Now starts playing*

I sat up and placed a bookmark. Laurie just called up Dan for dinner with the permission of Dr. Manhattan. I took off my glasses and sat up straight and reached for the keyboard.

“Yeah, what’s up?”

“I’m leaving the guild.”

Seeing those words no longer phase me anymore. I used to feel a twinge of sadness. I’ve grown accustomed to seeing people come and go. Yeah they’re people. Yeah I’ve played with them. But I never really knew them. I never took the time to appreciate what their other interests were. What kind of drink do they prefer? How do they like their coffee? Is their toilet paper dispensed over or under the roll? It’s as if I’ve set up up a subconscious defensive mechanism where I keep everyone at arms length to reduce any pain that might happen. The less I know and the less close I get, the easier I can shrug it off and move on.

Ex girlfriends are a good lesson.

“Okay. It’s going to suck without you. Good luck. Anything I can do to change your mind?”

“No. The raiding schedule just doesn’t fit anymore. I know you plan on ramping the raid days to four. I can no longer commit to that and I’d rather take the time now to look around to find myself a guild that I can.”

*The Rolling Stones – Paint it Black starts playing*

“I understand. Thank you for taking the time to do this. I know you have a few alts. You’re more than welcome to keep a couple around to hang out with us from time to time.”

“Thanks. I’ll take you up on that.”

Exit strategy. Two words that came to mind. I watched Ocean’s 13 earlier that day. With every heist, there is an exit strategy. How do you plan to leave? It can be done via stealth. Slip away when no one’s looking around. Alternatively, you could hide in broad day light and in plain sight when everyone is present. It’s one thing to break into the vault. It’s a whole new ball game entirely when trying to break out.

“I’d like you to at least leave a message. The others will want to know about your departure. How and when you want to leave is entirely up to you.”

“I should leave now. I don’t want to cause a big commotion. I’ll put up a forum post.”

And with that, he is Conquest no longer. The first thing that comes to mind is that I’m going to have to go look for another Warlock. It seems cold, doesn’t it? It’s like misplacing your favourite pen and looking for another one right away without giving any thought or care to what happened to your favourite pen.

*Young MC – Bust a Move*

Minimizing drama requires the understanding of both parties. This is a textbook example of a player leaving and a GM not escalating. Here’s why:

An acceptable reason was provided. It doesn’t matter if a player is getting married or if he’s going on vacation to Cancun (which I hear is nice this time of year). The fact that he provided an answer to the “Why?” question is always a plus. I know most GMs can accept and move on if a player leaves suddenly out of the blue. But deep inside, we all want to know why. We want to know what went wrong and if it was preventable. The first thing that comes to mind is that it was our fault.

He came to me at a non-peak hour. No raids were scheduled that night. I wasn’t doing much of anything else. I was idle. As opposed to talking to me during a raid or during an important event like a team huddle with my healers, he came to me at an acceptable time when I wasn’t otherwise engaged with anything else.

He left quietly and decisively. There was no hesitation or second thoughts or doubts. The quiet part doesn’t bother me as much. I don’t mind it so much if someone leaves during the middle of the day when there’s a lot of players on. I personally don’t think that’s dramatic. I know some GMs prefer otherwise. It really depends on the player in question and how they conduct themselves when they leave.

No hard feelings. Strictly business. It was nothing personal. Events become dramatic only if a party escalates it to such a level. You keep dramatic events to a minimum by keeping a cool head and staying calm. Drama only happens if players let it happen. Even then, some people would still consider this a dramatic event. That’s just a difference of opinion.

The door was not completely closed. He was a valued member of the team. I allowed his alts to remain if he so wished so he could still hang out with some of the friends during his off time. If his situation changes, he’s welcome to apply again.

Image courtesy of Spiralz

Shamanism Part Deux

Shamanism Part Deux

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Lodur here again, this time with the second installment of Shamanism. This week I’d like to talk about my favorite area of Shamanism, Norse Shamanism. To give you a bit of background before we start, my love of Norse mythology was born in college in my classics class. The epic stories always seemed to resonate with me. I carried this over in the naming of my Characters

Here’s a little background on the name Lodur

Lodur, (Icelandic, Scandinavian) In the Norse Edda, one of the creative divine trinity who endowed nascent humanity with their own properties, thus creating a thinking kingdom of beings out of the ashtree and the alder. Lodurr’s gifts were la and laeti (skill and manner, also translated as blood and keen senses), while his brother deities Odin and Honer gave them respectively spirit and discernment.

The name Lodur is also an obscure reference to the first shaman of Odin, who carried the burden of Odin by tearing out one of his own eyes in ritualistic fashion to become closer to the god and earn his favor.

My other toon Sigrdrifa is named after one of the Valkyre’s, the one which acted as mentor to Sigurd, who is one of the Norse heroes. As you can start to see that my interest in norse mythology goes a long way.

Norse spiritual leaders had two schools. Shamanism was practiced mainly by females, a group known as the Völva. You can find reference to them in many of the texts of Norse mythology. The Völva practiced a form of magic called seiðr. This magic involved the invocation of spells to invoke spirts, manipulate the environment and seek visions.

They could work on the spirits of the wild animals and were responsible for the good luck in the hunt, executed the correct rituals in order to ensure the fertility of the earth, knew how to tune the spirits of their ancestors benevolently an more. In trances they contacted the ancestors, could be possessed by them, giving their body and their voice to the spirits in order to let them act in the world of the living . They knew how to cure diseases on a spiritual, psychological and physical level. Long before modern medicine, they had a broad knowledge about the interactions between body, soul and spirit. They also had a commanding knowledge of the available herbs and how to use them to great effect in both rituals and healing.

You can see this in Northrend in Warcraft. Lets take a gander at the Howling Fjord. You travel into the spirit world in the Quest chain that starts with Into the World of Spirits. The chain has you bring a shaman his goodies and then he sends you into the spirit world to gleam information from the spirits past. The chain follows up with The Echo of Ymiron and  finishes with the Anguish of Nifflevar.I think this is pretty darn cool. (and a little cookie if you didnt already know, when you’re in the spirit world if you head over to Utgarde Keep where the ramp leads up and in you’ll be treated to a visit from the Lich King and a discussion of Shaman magic. )

You can also see this particular item in some of the NPC’s. Dragonflayer Seer’s are female magic users, throwing lightning and healing their party members, Dragonflayer Spiritualist is another form of this NPC. (You can also see Valkrye type NPCs like Annhylde the Caller and Svala Sorrowgrave.) Take a look around Northrend and see what you find. You’ll see a ton of Norse spiritualist influence there.

Until next time, Happy Healing.
~Lodur

P.S. At the goading of Matticus I’ve reinstated my twitter, Feel free to check it out

http://twitter.com/LodurZJ

No More Healing, Ever!

No More Healing, Ever!

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Well, here it is folks. Phaelia’s left the World Tree behind to go tend to her sprout, and BRK is likewise taking a break from WoW to spend time with family. And now me–I’m announcing today that I am changing my main character to my ret paladin Marfisa. I regret to inform you all that I will no longer be healing, ever. This blog is now exclusively about my determination to hit things upside the kneecap with a blunt instrument.

The Top Ten Reasons to Switch to Ret Paladin

10. Sure, I’m good at healing. But I’ve got a lot more room for improvement in the dps department.

9. I absolutely love regular 5-mans. I haven’t been to one on Marfi since Scholomance, but that’s not about to stop me.

8. I adore PuGs. No one ever, ever hears me complaining about fail PuGs. In fact, I love it when people play badly on purpose. As soon as I finish this post, I’m going to join a regular Nexus group and jump off all the ledges to my death, repeatedly. Bonus points if I can aggro some stuff onto my group while I’m at it.

7. Ret paladins are good at ganking people (or, at least, they’re better at it than resto druids). From now on I’m going to harass innocent people trying to do their Hodir dailies. I’ll be watching for someone to pull a couple of mobs, and when their health’s at 50%, bam! paladin burst damage, right to the face.

6. Crusader aura makes my gryphon fly faster and thus helps him burn calories. Everyone hates fat gryphons, so I’m doing the world a public service.

5. I really love the Macarena. It’s so much better than the Night Elf pole dance. Watching Marfi do her /dance emote brings back fond memories of that Carnival cruise I went on in 1997. . .

4. No more unit frames, no more mouseover macros. Just me and the numbers 1-6. I now have a free hand for gin and tonics while raiding.

3. I can pop wings every time I take a screenshot of myself. I am the angel of death!

2. Using Seal of the Martyr makes me feel superior to all the other dps. Look what I sacrificed to kill this boss! I deserve a medal. Whenever I have Seal of the Martyr up, I can throw my self-sacrifice in the faces of my selfish guild members and make them hate themselves for being such indulgent slackers.

1. With her new haircut, Marfi could be singer Lady GaGa’s twin. Don’t believe me? Check out the photo below. They were separated at birth, I swear. Maybe if hitting things doesn’t work out, Marfi can have a career as a pop singer. Half psychotic, sick hypnotic, indeed.

marfi_and_gaga

Oh and, by the way, happy April Fools Day kiddos.