Focus Casting: Macros And You

Focus Casting: Macros And You

I had a revelation last week. It’s one I’m not afraid to share because I suspect there are a lot of players in the same position as me.

That position is peering out from round a corner with a bemused grin and crimson cheeks, watching the macro users of our raid do ten things at once while showering the raid in light and laughing at the boss. We’re cautious because they’re clearly performing some kind of common folklore which all players should know, right? And we shouldn’t even consider asking about macros?

Wrong.

If you’re in that position of knowing nothing about healing macros then we have something in common, you and I. Maybe you’ve just started a new healing class and know nothing about it. Maybe you’re looking to improve your WoW playing generally. Maybe you’re a raid leader, like me, and have been getting into macros via raid leading and now want to see if this macro malarky can do anything for your healing. Whatever the case, read on.

If you do know something about macros then have a read anyway – some of these might be basic to you, but you might pick up something that saves your skin, bark or cow-printed hide.

Paladins

1. Buffs up quicksmart

/castsequence [target=focus] Beacon of Light, Sacred Shield

  • This macro will put both of your essential healing buffs up on your focus, which is likely to be the tank.
  • TIP: you can use the addon Need To Know in conjunction with this setup. It’ll give you permanent timer bars for those buffs regardless of whom you’re targetting.

 

2. Easy judging

/cast [target=focustarget] Judgement of Light

  • Casts your judgement of light which both does healing and gives you a powerful haste buff
  • It won’t cause you to overaggro when casting your judgement as you’re using it on the tank’s target
  • Means you don’t have to mess around with tab or mouse targetting a mob to cast it on. You may need to re-target your tank but that’s less trouble than having to target everything manually.
  • TIP: you could use the addon Clique, which will allow you to set up mouse and key bindings for anything you could wish. Want to heal the tank? Sure, click the <insert mouse button here> and you needn’t retarget them after using your JoL macro.

 

3. Catch-all Holy Shock

/cast [mod,target=player] [nogroup,target=player] [target=mouseover,help,nodead] [target=targettarget,help,nodead] [] Holy Shock

  • If you have an enemy targetted it will automatically holy shock you
  • If you have *anything* else as target and a friendly unit as mouseover (or target) then it will holy shock that friendly unit

 

Priests – holy and discpline

1. “oh noes” button

/console Sound_EnableSFX 0
/cast [combat,@player] Power Infusion
/cast [combat] Inner Focus
/cast [spec:1,@mouseover] Penance; [spec:2,@mouseover] Greater Heal
/console Sound_EnableSFX 1

  • It works for priesties of both healing flavours. Yep, you read right, It’ll work by casting one of the spells, based on whichever spec you’re in. This saves you having two separate macros for holy and discipline
  • You could also add commands to pop your trinkets (/use 13 and /use 14) but be careful of the macro character limit.

 

2. Holy single target “oh noes” button

/cast [target=focus] Guardian Spirit

  • For you holy priesties. This is an “oh noes” button if you’ve been focussing on the raid and see that your focus, probably a tank, is wilting a bit and needs help now.

 

3. Discy Pain Suppression management

/cast [target=mouseover] Pain Suppression
/sw 8
/script Stopwatch_Play();
/say Pain Suppression Up!
/in 8 /s ***Pain Suppression depleted***

  • This is most useful for keeping track of PS cooldown and alerting you when it’s ready again – useful in fights where you need to time cooldowns and don’t have time to keep an eye out for them ticking down
  • TIP: this one may not work off the bat for you. The ‘in’ command is said to be provided through an addon, possibly the Ace3 library, though various people with various addon setups have got the macro working.

 

4. Discy raid-healing insta-bomb

#showtooltip Divine Hymn
/cast [target=player] Power Infusion
/cast Inner Focus
/cast Divine Hymn

You’re a discy priest so you’re probably healing tanks most of the time, right? That might be so, but sometimes you’ll be on raid anyway, and sometimes you’ll be on tanks watching the raid take heavy damage – and we all know how comfortable that isn’t. This macro will help you help the raid recover and soak up damage.

  • Try to have Borrowed Time proc’ed too for the (extra) haste
  • You’ve just given yourself power infusion which both reduces your cast time and mana costs
  • Bubbles! Bubbles everywhere! Your increased critical effect chance from inner Focus should mean more chance of divine aegis’ popping up.

 

Druids

1. Rolling Lifebloom
/target TankName/cast [modifier:shift] Rejuvenation ; [modifier:alt] Regrowth ; Lifebloom
  • Make a macro for each tank in the raid and you’ll be able to keep them all rolling on 3 stacks of Lifebloom, lag and catastrophe notwithstanding
  • This particular macro also has modifiers which give you flexibility in HoTs. Got a bit of extra time? Throw Tank1 a Rejuv. by pressing shift. Everything refreshed and got a couple of seconds? Stick Regrowth up by holding down alt

 

2. Quick response to tank death

#showtooltip Rebirth

/castsequence reset=600 Nature’s Swiftness, Rebirth

/run c=”Don’t release! I got ya.”if UnitInRaid(“player”)then SendChatMessage(c, “RAID”)elseif GetNumPartyMembers()>0 then SendChatMessage(c, “PARTY”)end

  • This is your “oh noes tank’s dead!” macro
  • It’ll immediately get him back on his feet and announce what you’re doing.

2a. Intuitive-res macro

#show Rebirth

/cast [@mouseover, combat, dead] [@target, combat, dead] Rebirth; [@mouseover, dead] [@target, dead] Revive

  • This is a similar one for other “oh noes” times – specifically when key people have dropped like lightbulbed flies. If you’re in combat it’ll try to use combat res, if you’re not it’ll use revive
  • Just be sure you’re out of combat after a fight’s ended before you use this, for fear of wasting your combat res.

3. Easy poison cleanse

#showtooltip

/cast [target=mouseover, help] [] Abolish Poison

  • This is a time saver anywhere there is a lot of poison kicking around. Its utility is simple: it allows you to cleanse your mouseover target without having to target them then retarget your healing target
  • TIP: I reckon this one works for all healing classes for their various cleansing duties.

Shaman

1. Earth Shield ease

/cast [target=focus] Earth Shield

  • Very, very simple way of refreshing earth shield on the tank, providing that your tank is your focus.
  • TIP: you can also get the addon Shaman Friend to support this macro by playing a sound when ES runs down. Alternatively you could have it in place of the macro: it can be setup to provide a focus button for earth shield refreshing, and a box which visually tracks ES stacks so you don’t miss it falling off.

 

2a. “Oh noes” button version 1

#showtooltip Healing Wave

/cast Nature’s Swiftness

/cast Tidal Force

/cast Healing Wave

  • Any resto shaman worth his salt has some form of this macro. Some shamans prefer not to attach a healing spell to it so they can choose whether to fire off a single target spell or a chain heal after nature’s swiftness. You could make both of those options achievable by altering the macro slightly, to this:

2b. “Oh noes” button version 2

#showtooltip Nature’s Swiftness

/stopcasting

/use 13
/use 14

/cast Nature’s Swiftness

/Cast Tidal Force
/cast [mod, help] [mod:shift, target=mouseover, help] Chain Heal; [help] [target=mouseover] Healing Wave

  • This version will cast healing wave after blowing your cooldowns or, if you hold down shift, it will cast chain heal. It also uses your trinkets (/use 13 and /use 14) for extra “oh noes” aversion value.

In both of these you could also add a command to tell party chat or a specific target that you’re averting catastrophe this time by blowing all your cooldowns, and so won’t necessarily be able to save the day again. At least for a few minutes.

 

External links:

There look to be quite a few sites out there with musings and help on macros, ranging from forums to class-specific blogs to macro specific-all class sites. Some of them are better than others. Here are the ones I found to be either most useful for digging these macros up or, in the case of the third link, just a Very Good Idea:

  • Arena Junkies – Arena Junkies macro forum – for your PvP macro needs
  • Elitist Jerks’ various guides, forums and threads have some useful macros squirreled away.
  • Macro Explain – does what it says on the tin. You paste in a macro, it explains each line of the macro. The website also has links to other macro resources and addons.
  • PlusHeal – plusheal’s macro forum – you’ll find good discussions and very helpful folks here.
  • WoWWiki – WoWwiki’s section on macros has links to class specific macro pages.

 

Most of these macros have been tested but let me know if any of them make things go boom. Or worse still, make nothing happen at all. I hope these do work and help you have more fun healing. Perhaps it’ll even bring about that myth us healers have heard whispered about – less stress while healing.

What do you think? Are you a macro-newbie and had been afraid to admit it? Feel free to do so! Share your tales of macro learning experiences. Also let me know if any of these prove really useful or otherwise. Likewise, if you’ve been hit by inspiration and have just spent thirty minutes writing some new healing macros or perfecting existing ones, do share them!

This is a post by Mimetir, an oversized owl of a raid leader on The Venture Co (EU). You can find my twitter feed here.

(Macro image created by Emrank @Flickr, used under CC)

Thespius and Matticus featured on “Power Word: Fail”

Thespius and Matticus featured on “Power Word: Fail”

Image is courtesy of Brian Hough.

Kind of a fun title, no?  I’m ready to let the “fail” jokes ensue!  Mwa-ha-ha-ha!

In all seriousness, the folks over at Raid Warning (xSeven and Epiphanize) have assembled this special podcast (scheduled to be released March 1st) – a roundtable of some of the community’s most prominent priests.

Raid Warning’s last roundtable, Wild Shots, was a huge hit.  It was a roundtable of some very well-known hunters in the community.  You can follow links on their site to listen.

As for Power Word: Fail, I cannot be more excited for this event.  I’ve been recording with these guys for a while, and it’s always a blast.  If Wild Shots is any indication of the level of discussion we’ll have, then you’re sure to get some detailed insight into “The State of the Priest”.

Here’s who you’ll have the pleasure of hearing:

This podcast is going to center around questions you provide by emailing Raid Warning here.  We take your questions and discuss them throughout the podcast, as well as current news and speculation. 

I hope you’ll all submit questions, and check it out on March 1st!

Email: Elder.Thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

Heroic Entitlement?

Heroic Entitlement?

The place: Utgarde Keep.  The time: I don’t know, there are no windows in the beginning.  The people:  Me, the Resto Shaman.  A Mage, a Death Knight, a Ret Paladin, and a Prot Warrior.  Five players with an intertwined fate.  The goal: Frost Emblems.  The affliction: a tank’s self-appointed sense of entitlement.  Follow me now as I walk you through not one, not two, but three tanks that made this potentially 15-minute run a one-hour nightmare.

Chapter One – Prot Warrior

Everyone steps into the entrance.  Utgarde Keep.  Relatively easy, right?  Of course.  This is a cake-walk, even for a newly-minted 80.  Speaking of which, the Mage was brand new.  Supposedly, he also has a fully-geared main, which I could tell by the way he was talking.  We start to buff.

I obviously put up Earth Shield on the Prot Warrior, and set up my totems for a mostly-melee group with a DK.  I always try to be more conscious of totem selection with regard to group composition.  The Mage throws up Arcane Brilliance, and the Paladin starts putting Blessing of Kings on everyone.  The 10-minute version, not Greater Blessing of Kings.  Cue the temper tantrum from the Warrior:

Warrior: “What the fuck, dude? Give me 30min Kings”

Paladin: “Sorry, I’m out of reagents.  When the 10min falls off, I’ll rebuff.”

Warrior: “No, I’m not pulling until you give me 30min Kings.”

Mage: “It’s no big deal, he’ll just rebuff.”

Warrior: “STFU noob, GIVE ME 30 NAO, OR YOU CAN WAIT FOR ANUTHR 30 MINUTES 4 A NEW TANK.”

Me: “Hey hey, let’s all get along.  We’ll be done with this whole instance in 10 minutes.  No need to get uppity there, Mr. Tank.”

{Warrior pulls the first 4 groups, then teleports out of the dungeon.  Paladin throws up Righteous Fury, I spam Healing Wave, and we survive.}

To the Warrior: Congratulations! Your two-year-old temper tantrum just earned you a 15-minute Deserter Buff.  In the upcoming patch, it’ll cost you 30-minutes.  Beggers can’t be choosers.  We would all rather wait in the queue than put up with immaturity.

Chapter Two – Feral Druid

The four of us sit around and chat for a while, waiting for a new tank.  All four of us are actively engaged in conversation about alts, specs, our raiding experience.  All-in-all, a very nice group of people.  A Feral Druid joins the group and zones in.  We all send our greetings.  No words, he/she just starts pulling.  It’s fine.  I can keep up.

We get to the room with all the drakes.  The Druid proceeds to pull every mob in the whole room.  Now, my Resto Shaman is pretty decently geared.  I’ve two-healed 10man Marrowgar before.  A chain-pulling Druid is the least of my worries.  However, these mobs do a knockback, which puts a dent in everyone’s DPS when there’s multiple of them.  Melee are constantly running back in to get one hit on a mob before they’re knocked back by another.  My two cents about this:

  1. No need to pull each and every mob if we’re all here for Frosties.
  2. The constant combined knockbacks add more time than just pulling them in packs of 2s.

Also, in the Druid’s mastubatory aggro bath, everyone’s getting flame-breath’d.  I’m confident in my skills as a healer, so everyone lived, but is that chest-thumping display of “tanking” really necessary?  Are we all supposed to fawn over his/her amazing “skills”?  (Don’t you all like my “quotes”?)

 My issue comes with fighting the first boss, Prince Keleseth.  During the Love is in the Air event, Prince Keleseth drops the Bouquet of Red Roses, necessary for the Meta Achievement, Fool for Love.  The roses drop, and the Druid clicks Need, promptly followed by this jewel of a phrase:

“If you guys want me to keep tanking, you’ll pass on the roses.”

Now, I’m not sure if the Mage didn’t see that or decided to click Need anyways, but the Mage won and got his achievement.  Not two seconds later, the Druid drops the group without saying a word.

To the Druid: Dude, there are plenty of other places to get the roses.  This was the second day of the event.  Plenty of time left.  You don’t get any bonuses for speed (insert: “That’s what she said”).

Chapter Three – Prot Paladin

Well, we wait for another unimportant length of time, laughing about how ridiculous people are being today.  Our new tank is a Prot Paladin, and zones in to join us.  We let him know right off the bat that the first boss is down, and our first two tanks had attitude problems.  He/She asks what happened.  We give the whole truth, and the Prot Pally laughs.  Pulls incoming.

Things go swimmingly.  No aggro issues, and very considerate.  Only thing I notice is that as a Resto Shaman, I have more health than this Prot Paladin (~23k Health).  No big deal.  Everyone started somewhere, right?

We get to the final boss, and the fight goes along really well.  Let me just say that one point, way before the final boss, the Mage says, “I really hope Annhylde’s Ring drops.”  Sure enough, the ring drops.  We all congratulate the mage, seeing as he’s the only spell-caster there that could use the ring.  The DK, the Ret Pally, and I all pass.  The Mage clicks Need, and we wait.  The Prot Pally has yet to (we hope) pass on the loot.

Nope.  After about 15 seconds of silence, the Prot Pally clicks Need and wins the ring.  In my experience, it’s usually polite to ask permission to roll on something that’s not your main spec.  I’m sure that if the Prot Pally had mentioned something about wanting the ring for a Holy spec (I don’t know if that ring would be good or not), we would’ve had little issue.  When the Mage confronted the Paladin, this was the reply:

“u shud be lucky i tankd 4 u at all”

And promptly left the group. 

To the Paladin: If I would’ve known you were a d-bag, then ‘u shud be lucky i heald u at all.’  A simple, “Hey, can I roll Need for my off-spec?” or “Hey, Holy is actually my main spec, so if it’s alright, I’d like to click Need.” would’ve saved you some trouble, and saved me the trouble of writing your chapter.

Epilogue

I know that as a healer, it’s relatively easy for me to get groups, but that doesn’t give me the right to go flaunt my “huevos” as God’s gift to LFG.  It could very well be that I just got a really bad sample of the community within one Heroic Dungeon, but it got me thinking.  Do we, as healers, feel a sense of entitlement with regard to our role in a dungeon?  Do we feel more entitled to certain benefits because we are one of two roles in short supply?  How about this:

  • If there’s no tank, the healer dies.
  • If there’s no healer, the tank dies.
  • If there’s no DPS, the mob never dies.

Granted, that’s very generally speaking, but everyone in that group deserves every chance at what drops.  No need for anyone to feel “holier than thou.”

Email: Elder.Thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

It Came From The P.U.G.!: It’s all new again

It Came From The P.U.G.!: It’s all new again

For those who might not know yet, my gluttony for abuse knows no bounds. As a result I find myself in a rather large number of P.U.G. groups. At the end of the day I bring you, my readers, the stories of my travels in the random grouping of Azerothian adventure in It Came From The P.U.G.!

Love is in the air and the Lunar Festival has begun, and the P.U.G.s keep rolling.  This week I have two very distinct stories to tell you of my travels. The first is a story of an interesting origin. Last Thursday my first article went up on WoW.com (and yes there will be further explanation of it in upcoming posts for those asking), that night I got home from playing Mekton with friends and hoped online. My random of the night? Heroic Culling of Stratholme. First thing I see when we’re done loading in?

Seems I had made a fan. At first I wasn’t sure where it was directed at because this is the second time this has happened in this instance in the same week that someone has opened up with “I hate you” but the first time was towards the instance.  The next set of comments involved the phrases “you suck as a shaman and a healer.” and “I might as well drop this group now!” so I’m pretty sure it was directed towards me there. You might ask yourself why I didn’t just initiate a vote kick right? Well if you didn’t know, you can no longer vote kick someone as long as they have the random debuff up. Not that it would matter since two of the other people in the run were from this persons guild. Second question you’re probably asking why didn’t they just kick me when my timer was up? Well my guess is they wanted to bash me on the back end and show me how bad I actually am. The reason I say this? While the majority of the instance is timed, the end right after the third boss can be pulled at the pace of the tank. That tank who told me he hates me? Pulls everything from the bottom of the stairs all the way through to the first rest area. I manage to heal through all the mobs piled on the tank and then sit down to drink. I ask if they are still so certain that I am a horrible healer. We finished the run with them pulling the last section of street in it’s entirety and then the last boss. The offending party then quickly left group and I got my frost badges.

Directly after that I queue back up into a random but this time I hoped on my Disc priest. I’ll freely admit I’ve never played her as discipline and leveled her from 1 to 45 as shadow. I decided to give healing a try and see how it was, leveling her through the LFD system. What do I find in this group? First of all I get Maraudon, which is one of those instances I’m loathe to run. Secondly I pipe up and say “this is my first time healing on this character and I’m trying out discipline, so I’m sorry if there’s any complications while I figure it out.” The mage in the group pipes up and tells me his main is a discipline priest. He helps me get setup with a priority and rotation and we’re off running. The tank pulls at a reasonable pace and continues to check my mana and make sure I’m good before pulls. It was honestly one of the greatest dungeon runs I’ve ever had. Everyone was understanding and talkative and nice. Everyone was helpful and what started out as a purple crystals run turned into the entirety of the instance. I left that run feeling better than I have in a long, long time, and a run like that proves that even late night, you can still find one hell of a group.

Any stories to share this week about your LFD groups? Good? Bad? Ugly?

Until next time, Happy Healing!

How to Master Priest Tier 10, Ruby Sanctum Thoughts

Granted, if you’re just aiming for the bonuses, the Priest healing set just doesn’t look as hot. That being said though, I picked up the four set a week and some change ago with the determination to try to master it. In terms of stats, the tier 10 is better than the tier 9 (Intellect, stamina, and all that fun stuff).

But how do you pursue the bonuses?

(2) Set: Your Flash Heal has a 33% chance to cause the target to heal for 33% of the healed amount over 9 sec.
(4) Set: Your Circle of Healing and Penance spells have a 20% chance to cause your next Flash Heal cast within 6 sec to reset the cooldown on your Circle of Healing and Penance spells.

For one thing, you can’t rely on the Renew spec that Holy Priests are using. If you’re a Renew Priest, then I think you’re better off switching out to non-set pieces. The bonuses aren’t even worth it since Flash Heal isn’t the dominant heal for you.

Another eye needs to be kept on the cooldown timer in regards to the 4 piece. 1 in 5 of your Penances or Circle of Healings will trigger the reset.

I feel like I’m playing a Rogue healer. It’s a lot to take in. Some fights, it doesn’t go off when its needed and in other fights it’s a godsend.

At the same time, it’s also dependent on who needs healing. If the bonus triggers, and the cooldown resets and no one needs healing, not much can be done.

My cast sequence doesn’t change very often in either spec.

As Discipline

Power Word: Shield, Penance, and a lot of Flash Heals. If I get the Penance reset, great! I’m also doing my best to maximize the 2 piece Flash Heal HoT. If it’s already on one tank, I’ll drop it on another tank to try to get it going.

As Holy

Circle of Healing followed by (you guessed it) lots of Flash Heals. I find I don’t Renew as often because I’d rather use the GCD on more Flash Heals. I’ll keep a Renew on myself and the tanks going at the very least.

In order to best utilize the tier 10 Priest set pieces, your style of play is going to revolve around Flash Heal as the main healing spell. If it isn’t, then that’s going to be an issue. If that isn’t your cup of tea, then you’re better off passing on tier loot entirely and gunning for non-tier sets like I mentioned earlier.

Why?

1) It lets the Priest who does play that style gear up quicker and more efficiently. The sooner their bonus gets activated, the better your raid will be. Again, it’s all about loot maximization.

2) I’m not entirely sure of this (and I know someone out there will correct or confirm either way), I think that pound for pound, non-tier items have a slight edge on stats.

Sanctified Crimson Acolyte RobeSanguine Silk Robes
Sanctified Crimson Acolyte GlovesSan’layn Ritualist Gloves
Sanctified Crimson Acolyte LeggingsLightweave Leggings

On second thought, maybe it’s just the extra gem socket.

In other news, the Ruby Sanctum is going to be in the next minor content patch. Sounds like it’s going to be a small-ish instance, possibly ToC or Malygos sized. It looks like it will contain about four raid bosses in a “Defense” type encounter, akin to Hyjal.

Bet there’s going to be a Ruby mount! Possibly a title involved? The last boss is named Halion the Twlight Destroyer (I guess he hates vampires too). “Matticus, Destroyer of Twilight”? Too much to hope for.

Casual 101: Knowing Is Half The Battle

Casual 101: Knowing Is Half The Battle

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the “Hardcore Casual” mentality.  In my 3 years of playing World of Warcraft, I’ve cut my teeth against some of the best in the game (well, my server or battlegroup).  I’ve seen some of the strongest players, and I’ve seen some of the weakest players.  The first thing I’ve noticed is a fundemental difference between the two extremes.  The strongest possess it.  The weakest lack it.  By “IT”, I’m talking about knowledge.  Yes, there are casuals that are some of the strongest players I know.  What separates them from a smattering of hardcores is their level of knowledge.

The Usual Scenario

A small guild consists of a tight-knit circle of friends.  All of them have made the necessary adjustments or rolled toons to fill all the roles that a 10man raid needs.  2-3 tanks, 2-3 Healers, and a slew of DPS, both ranged and melee.  When this guild gets together, there’s rarely a duplicate class, let alone spec.  Each player wants to benefit the raid as much as possible.  However, scheduling is always the issue.

Everyone’s got their own lives.  Everyone’s constantly juggling families, kids, jobs, school, friends, and of course, this game.  Each person constantly tries to get a raid together when they see that 8th or 9th person on.  Phone calls fly, text messages flow, and everyone is scouring their friends list to fill the final spots.  On the lucky nights, they can get together ten of their own.  A certain sense of pride swells.  “We got a guild run going,” they all contently utter.

The time is ticking.  One of the healers works the overnight shift on the weekends.  He/she has to be out the door in just over two hours.  The raid gets together surprisingly fast.  Even though ICC is the hot topic, they decide to do ToC since one of the paladins is saved to ICC.  It doesn’t matter, because they derive more joy from the simple act that those ten raiders share the same guild tag.

Buffs ensue, and right before the pull, the off-tank druid confesses his ignorance.  He doesn’t know the fight.  During Acidscale and Dreadmaw, the rogue gets the Burning Bile and runs away, but doesn’t come back to free the tanks with Paralytic Toxin.  This counts for two wipes.  On Lord Jaraxxus, the hunter gets inflicted with Incinerate Flesh and runs to kite it, as though it was Legion Flame.  He runs out of range of the healers, it ticks to zero, and wipes the raid.

We took the time to explain the fights.  The differences in the Wyrms and Jaraxxus’s two flames.  It seemed as though it was in one ear and out the other.  Although they’re all friends, tension is rising, and time is running out.  The healer with the upcoming overnight shift starts to get impatient.  Before they all realize what has happened, he has to leave.  They’ve barely downed Jaraxxus, and he/she is out the door to go to work. 

A reasonably short raid has turned into a long, frustrating endeavour. 

Things to learn as a casual player:

Take a little time to research – Even with my busy schedule, I have the time to watch a video, read a strat, or email a friend that knows.  I download a text-only strategy, copy it into an email, then read it on my phone on the train to work.  Before taking my lunch break, I take 10 minutes to watch a Tankspot video.  I’ve even, yes, downloaded a video to my iPod and watch it while I’m on the can.  (That’s right, I went there).

Listen to what’s being explained – Too often do I see people goofing off in guild chat, making random comments in /say, or participating in /general banter.  I never mind if it’s someone that I’ve done the fight with before, but if a casual player is consistently not listening because they’re engaged in other activities, I have no problem calling them out on it.

My main issue with all of this is the “talk, no walk” scenario.  All of these people will constantly ask, “Hey Thes, do you think we’re raiding tonight?” My constant response is: “I certainly hope so.  Start reading up on the fights.”  They never do.  Oh, they want to raid.  They salivate when the letters ‘I-C-C’ are called out.  Yet, when it comes down to doing a little bit of legwork, they falter.  I dont’ mind explaining the fights, but if after the explanation I hear “I’m sorry, so what am I supposed to do?” from our warlock, I wanna /logout.

Sidenote: Since drafting this blog, we’ve downed new bosses in ICC for us, so I *am* proud of my friends.  I just get agitated sometimes the lack of initiative. 

ANYWAYS….

If you want to make yourself valuable as as casual raider, just take an extra step or two to be prepared.  If not, you’re wasting your own time.  The less a raid has to “nuture” you, the more appealing you’ll be to bring along.  Personally, I love that our guild, though small, is comprised mostly of people that can fill in for any guild’s raid that may need us.  Kind of like hired mercenaries.  Need a healer?  See if Thespean or Discotheque are on.  Need a tank?  See if Dralo or Naryamas are around.  How about a good DPS?  Ask Arcas or Wolfin.  That means, however, that we do our little bit of homework to make that possible.  You don’t have to be hardcore, but if you know your stuff, you are just as skilled (if not more), than someone who devotes most of their time to raiding.

Are you a player that can’t be on as much as they’d like?  How do you make yourself appealing to be pulled into a raid?

Email: Elder.Thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

Will you Lend Me Your Brain?

Will you Lend Me Your Brain?

Torch-and-pitch

 

Halloa folks! Just a brief post from me today. Today, I’m appealing for your braaaaaaaaaaaains.

No no, I’m not trying to get you to come after me with pitchforks blazing and braziers sharpened (or something). Instead I’d like you pitch in your thoughts to a brainstorming session I’m running at the moment. I’m looking for all sorts of people: bloggers, blog readers, forum users, theorycrafters – anyone. All you need is to play WoW and have some passing interest in the World of WoW blogs.

I have already spent some time recently visiting some forums and poking a few select folks first. You folks know who you are – you’re being most helpful and a pleasure to work with, so thank you – I really appreciate it. I have a few more on the ‘to poke’ list, whom I’ll be contacting soon.

But anyone who is interested in participating in a spot of research about the news and blog scene for our collective hobby is welcome to do so.  Be assured that I don’t want any information about your personal life and that the research has no-one’s, and no blog or company’s, interests at heart. The only interests at heart here are those of the community and, well, me, because this is an interesting topic.

So if you’re interested and you feel you fit the bill as described above – great.  Wave a hand, jump up and down, bedazzle me with chocolate chip cookies, anything you fancy. Put that pitchforks down before you set the cookies on fire and let me know you’re interested.

Other methods you could use to contact me (which might work better) include commenting on this post and dropping me a line at Mimetir @ googlemail. com, sending in a contact form or poking me on twitter. Send in a hail, let me know who you are, and we’ll go from there. If you don’t feel this is your cup of tea but you know someone who might like this flavour of research, feel free to spread the word.

Dear Lodur, Answering Azeroth’s Questions

Dear Lodur, Answering Azeroth’s Questions

Another year has come and gone and still you can feel that Love is in the air! It is around this time I receive a plethora of mail asking for my Shamanic advice and so I present to you this year’s Dear Lodur!

Dear Lodur,

I have been studying the Draenei for months and have come to no clear conclusion, so I turn to you for help.

We of the Shieldwall family of Gnomes have been attempting to quantify the relationship between Draenei tails and bizarre behaviour of members of various races when exposed to these otherwise innocent-looking appendages. We have yet to be able to get our hands on one for proper diagnosis, but have come to the following hypothesi:

1. Draenei tails emit radiation that renders observers helpless and causes them to drool.

2. Draenei are really robots bent on brainwashing and enslaving the races of Azeroth (and only Gnomes are immune and can stop them). The tail is their most fearsome weapon.

3. Draenei themselves are radioactive and the reaction to their tails is simply a warning sign of radiation poisoning in the observer, thus, Draenei could be very useful in warfare against the enemies of Gnomekind.

4. Draenei emit radio frequencies at such a pitch that only Night Elves, Humans and the occasional Dwarf and Troll can hear.

I thank you for your insight, it is truly valuable to all of Gnomekind.

Scientifically Yours,

Studious in Ironforge

Dear Studious,

I… well…hmm. I can assure you we are not robots bent on brainwashing and enslaving the races of Azeroth and I’m pretty sure we’re not radioactive. I’ve seen Gnomeregan and we are most certainly not glowing green! I have however observed the same behavior though and have come to the conclusion that it is a hypnotic effect caused by the rhythmic swaying of our tails. We can’t help it we just like to shake the junk in our trunk as we walk!  I hope that answers your question!

Sincerely,

Lodur

Dear Lodur,

Lately I have been feeling a bit down, looks like my guild is slowly but surely falling apart. I raid late, so it is difficult at best to find a guild to call home. This has given me a surplus of time to do some soul searching, and get back to who and what I am. Lately I have begun to think that being a blue space goat shaman is not all its cracked up to be, and I have heard about this new procedure that has been tested, where a blue space goat shaman can undergo an operation to become a dwarven shaman. I have always felt like I have an inner dwarf, and it is time to set my inner dwarf free, but I wanted to see what a highly respected shaman like yourself thinks about this idea.

As a Shaman, what are the risks of losing contact with the elements by undergoing such a transformation? Will I still be able to heal just as effectively, and occasionally hurl lightning bolts at any whim?

Since space goats are so much bigger than dwarves, what happens with all that extra “left over” material after the transformation?

Since as a blue space goat I already enjoy my fair share of dwarven stout, and teasing the serving wenches, how much worse could this get after freeing my inner dwarf?

Respectfully,

“Touching my Inner Dwarf, in Dalaran”

Dear Inner Dwarf,

I understand your plight all too well my friend! There is actually a support group that meets weekly in Ironforge’s Mystic District. We discuss our desire to live among and be accepted by the hearty mountain folk. During this time we encourage members to participate in Dwarf customs and holidays as well as participate in their daily lives. To see if it is the life you really want! The procedure is painful, but it does leave you able to communicate with the spirits. Healing waves and Lightning will flow from your fingers just like before! I’ve heard stories though of some who have undergone the transformation being dubbed too rowdy for the ale houses! It’s not widely available and still highly experimental but those that have undergone the change speak fondly of the end results.

As far as what happens with all the left over bits… Have you heard of the Paper Street Soap company in Stormwind? They’ve expressed a lot of interest in disposing of our… leftovers.

Sincerely,

Lodur

Dear Lodur,

I have been seeing my girlfriend  for a little more than a year. We’ve both just hit 80 and have started gathering gear and badges from heroics with the intention of casual raiding. The problem is we are both in different guilds.

We’ve been having problems because I’m not willing to join her guild to raid. I’ve told her that I’m concerned about getting lost in the shuffle of her guild’s focus on raiding. I’ve seen many friends of mine leave guilds to join with their significant other only to be separated by different goals. Conversely she has friends who joined guilds together and raid happily ever after.

I admit, I’d like to take things slow (call me old-fashioned), but she doesn’t know if she can wait until I feel ready to take this step.

We acknowledge that we love each other. Our guilds are not exactly rooting for us, so we’re taking another break from things. I suggested that we both find our own places for the time being. Hillary has never raided by herself. We don’t know what to do, and I’d like some advice from someone who doesn’t have a stake in this

Forever in your debt,

Reluctant Raider

Dear RR,

This is a very sticky situation to be in for sure. The best answer I can give you is this. Sit and talk to her. Find out what you both want and try to reach a mutual understanding. There are guilds where couples are part of and one will go of to foray into the halls of death itself while the other part maintains the hearth flames. Guilds do exist that will take both partners and allow them to thrive. See if this is something you both might like, maybe find another guild entirely to join together that will suit both of your needs. Again I urge you to talk to her about it, while it may not sound great with losing the friends you have now in your respective guilds, it might be best in the long run. Your real friends will keep in touch! I hope that helps!

Sincerely,

Lodur

Dear Lodur,

I am in desperate need of advice. I think my boyfriend has been cheating on me! You see, he’s always trying to “raid” Silvermoon city. Every other night he shifts into cat form and prowls off. The other night while we were in Arathi Basin, I swear I saw him sneak off behind the blacksmith with some Blood Elf hussy! He came back and I swear I saw lip marks on his collar. He told me it was nothing just smudges from battle! Lodur, how can I confront him on this? How can I bring it up to him?  What if I’m wrong and it’s nothing? I love him so much but enough is enough, I need to know! PLEASE HELP!

Sincerely,

Distressed in Dragonblight.

Dear Distressed,

There is no easy way to go about this. It’s a tricky situation to be sure. My suggestion is to be completely upfront about it, confront the problem head on. Tell him what you suspect and tell him you’ve had enough. Let him know your limits and set those limits in stone! The only way you can survive this is to try and communicate. It’s better to know now than thirty levels down the line that you are with someone who betrayed you so much, if he did even betray you. If he tells you he did cheat on you, leave. You’ll find someone else I hear there is 11.8 million people in the world out there to choose from.

Sincerely,

Lodur

 

That’s it for this years Valentines edition of Dear Lodur. Hope everyone enjoys the day!

Until next time!

 

So, What’s Up?

It has been a long time since my last decent sized post. I’ve never been a fan of blog posts where bloggers try to justify their absences. The pattern I see that ends up happening is that a blogger disappears for a time, comes back and apologizes, goes hard for a few posts, then disappears again before coming back and apologizing while promising never to leave again and then disappearing for good. But I am still here.

For the past month I was busy saving the galaxy, the citadel council and getting into a relationship with a really cute sounding Quarian.

So there. That’s where I’ve been. But I’m all done now. I’m done saving the galaxy. Given the choice between destroying Undead monarchies and surgically striking aliens, I much prefer the former.

The guild

How’s Conquest doing? It’s doing okay for the most part. It’s not quite excellent and it’s not at the level of super crappy yet either. I am not a happy Dwarf. Attendance has been gradually declining and we’ve been able to scramble replacements and other socials to cover the empty spots. But tonight was the first night where the raid was immediately called due to a lack of players.

I had 2 spots open and it was already 10 minutes past first pull time.

That doesn’t make me happy at all.

If you’re looking for a raiding guild to join, do check mine out and get in touch with me if you have any questions or concerns. I should say that I make no promises nor guarantees on raid spots. Ideally, I’m looking for people that play a lot and can keep themselves occupied or entertained.

For example, I don’t want the guy who logs in and sits around Dalaran for 3 hours while waiting for an invite.

I want the guy who logs in and manages to farm herbs, do some quests, engage in BGs/PvP, runs random dungeons or whatever while waiting for a raid spot. If someone lags out, a simple whisper, invite, and summon and they can fill the gap at a moment’s notice. At least this way, their time won’t be a lost cause entirely.

The future

3.3 is to be the last major raid patch before Cataclysm. This is where I get a bit scared.

What the hell can I possibly write about between now and Cataclysm?

It’s going to take some serious digging deep in order to fill that time. I guess I’m a little concerned and worried about it. I did recall there being another content patch that will be inserted between now and Cataclysm. I suspect it will be something akin to Isle of Quel’danas (not necessarily a Sunwell type raid, but just quests and such to do).

Actually, while I’m on the topic, any ideas or guesses as to what it might be? Maybe the Troll city out in Zul’Drak will open up. We went by this entire expansion without a Troll raid instance.

A whole expansion with no killing of Trolls in a raid.

Vanilla brought in Zul’Gurub. Burning Crusade had Zul’Aman. Wrath? Zip.

I want to kill me some freakin’ Trolls.

With the Olympic break starting soon, perhaps I can find the time (and most importantly, the motivation) to engage in writing again. I still have some blogging assignments sitting here that are partially complete. In any case, how have you been?

What To Do When You Meet Lady D.

What To Do When You Meet Lady D.

So you’ve just met a charismatic, high-powered woman. You know the type. Legions of admirers. A woman capable of raising her followers up and empowering them on to great strengths. The sort of woman who reduces her enemies to insignificance with one touch. And then leaves them for dead on the floor. Oh, yes. You’ve just met Lady Deathwhisper. Want to take her down a peg or two? Here’s what you need to know.

This isn’t just hints and tips to help you get by. If you’ve met Deathwhisper and, more pointedly, the cobblestones in her lair, you’re the embittered adversary. You need a full guide on how to handle it. You need to know everything from basics to tricks for every role of your team. This guide is your friend. It’s going to walk you through the basic tactic for either 10 or 25 mans, and as a bonus I’ll throw in the alternative tactic for 25 mans and a note on the quest you may find yourself on to save Darnavan. It doesn’t matter if you’re there with a PUG group rather than a guild run. In fact, all the better if you are, because this guide assumes it’s not a given that your team know what to do. Just that they – and you – have a grudge against her Ladyship.

So an encounter with Deathwhisper follows a basic two-phase pattern. In the first phase the Lady will, like any leader-with-minions, stay at the back hiding behind a barrier while calling forth waves of minions to attack your group and doing some damage to random players with frostbolts and death and decay. You need to burn down her barrier – which is actually a mana shield – before phase 2 will kick in. Phase 2 is mostly a tank and spank affair, in which you just need to burn her down while she throws frostbolts, death and decay and angry ghosts at your party.

Tanks:

Left side will be 2 melee (fanatic) and 1 ranged (adherent) mobs. Any tanking class should be able to deal with this.

Right side will be 2 ranged (adherent) and 1 melee (fanatic) mobs. Ideally you want a DK or warrior on this side as they have more tricks for annoying ranged types.

  • Be aware that the fanatics cleave: don’t move them around any more than you have to unless you want withering glances from your enhancement shaman.
  • On 10 man the left and right side mobs appear alternately. On 25 man they appear at the same time, as well as an extra wave at the back, which consists of one random mob. You want to put your best kiting tank on the back wave: they tank that mob and take responsibility for kiting any deformed fanatics that spawn in the room.
  • When Deathwhisper’s mana shield goes down your tanks need to tank the Lady herself. She stacks a debuff called Touch of Insignificance on the current tank. It reduces their threat generation by 20% and stacks to five; have your tanks taunt to swap on three stacks.

Healers:

This largely depends on what classes your healing team consists of, and that may or may not change the more times you bounce. The basics apply – if you have a holy paladin he should be able to take care of two tanks, using beacon. Otherwise, put your disc priest, or if they’re confident to do so, resto shaman on tanks.

Healers should just be ready for a lot of damage. More than the fight merits, probably. People will stand in death and decay, probably for a jot longer than they should. Melee might get cleaved in their own rush to get stabbing things. Got a reanimated adherent loose? Oh yep, he’s going to merrily throw deathchill bolts around until someone notices him. Not to mention frostbolt volleys and some rather unhappy ghosts thrown into the mix.

  • Any healer who can cleanse curses – should. Everyone should drop what they’re doing and cleanse Curse of Torpor as soon as anyone in the raid is afflicted by it.
  • Priests can help out by mass dispelling Adherents when they put up the spell reflect shield called Shield of the Occult.
  • Watch your range – this room is just big enough to get out of range of your healing targets or them to outrange you. Be on your toes.

DPS:

Basic kill order:

Deformed Fanatic > Empowered Adherent > normal Fanatic/Adherent > Reanimated Fanatic Adherent > Deathwhisper

  • Some people place reanimated as a higher priority than normals – I don’t, because the less normal adds you have running around the less reanimated adds you might get.
  • Deformed/reanimated fanatics are mostly immune to physical damage: ranged DPS need to kill them. Empowered/reanimated Adherents are mostly immune to magical damage, so they’re meleers’ priority.
  • Normal adherents can be interrupted when casting Deathchill Bolt. They can also be deathgripped. Just be careful not to interrupt or deathgrip them while they have Shroud of the Occult up because it’ll bounce and you’ll be interrupted or, as our unlucky DK found, deathgripped to them. Adherents’ Curse of Torpor should be removed from the party by anyone who can (mages, boomkins, we’re looking at you).
  • Melee should watch out for Reanimated Adherents – we find it can be easy to miss them by assuming that adherents that drop dead are dead, rather than the actual case of the Lady about to reanimate them
  • Normal fanatics cleave. Melee: be sure to stand behind them, eh? Fanatics also have an ability called Vampiric Might, which can be spell stolen by mages.
  • Deathwhisper also mind controls party members on 25 man, one on normal, more on Heroic. DPSers should be ready to CC and snare/slow them before they cause havoc.
  • We also generally find it useful to have some pre-arranged DPS focus solely on the boss in order to get her mana shield down and phase 2 started. In 10 man we have one DPS do this (our enhancement shammy due to her mixture of magical and physical damage making neither add type overly suited to her). In 25 man, at least three should stay on the boss.
  • We’ve found that if you’re a DPS class with a pet it’s generally worth leaving the pet to DPS Deathwhisper unless your pet has an ability that makes him move quicksmart. Otherwise the travel time dragging him around the room will significantly reduce his overall DPS. And give him aching legs.
  • As a last tip and trick, our DK has also found that anti-magic shield is your friend in phase 2. It helps the healers and takes a bit of pressure off all round – and you get free runic power. Win.

The above are exact tactics for 10 man version and extra explanations for 25 mans where necessary. There is an alternative 25 man tactic:

The entire group stands behind Deathwhisper. You can get into position before the fight starts. Melee adds will come towards healers and should be taken down on the way to them in a snare-and-AoE heavy zone created by the ranged DPS. The tanks draw ranged adds in by line of sighting them using the pillars. This tactic has the benefit of reducing run distances for melee and switching times for everyone: the entire group will get more time nuking through Deathwhisper’s mana shield. It’s not so great when everyone’s bunched together and a death and decay patch hits, though.

Oh, and if you find yourself charged with rescuing Darnavan from Deathwhisper’s charms in return for a Sack of Frosty Treasures, the following are all viable tactics when he spawns (usually in the first wave of adds):

  • Have a plate meleer (preferably with some tank kit) tank him off to the side. Be careful not to do too much damage to him as he doesn’t have that much health.
  • Have a hunter pet do the same. It may be difficult for the pet to get it away from the tank. Our hunter solved this with a distracting shot and a bit of kiting to a safe spot where his pet could taunt and tank
  • Have a druid root him, continually. Other CCs don’t work

So, that should be all. Follow these tactics and you should suitably reduce Deathwhisper – that is, to nothing more than a pile of gaudy wrappings under your boots. Ah, justice. Oh, and the elevator will likely land on your head. Don’t be alarmed, elevators aren’t nearly as painful as Deathwhisper laying you low.

How about you? Do you think I’ve forgotten anything glaringly obvious, or have any small tips and tricks to share? This fight is still one of those that can turn from peachy fine to disaster in seconds – do you regularly have problems with this fight?  Do you think there are any particular group setups which work better for this fight – or make it all the more challenging?