Special Delivery: Roundup Of This Week’s Best WoW Posts

Time for a look at the week that’s passed, before Wrath passes and we’re all sat waiting for the servers to come up or freezing our branches off in queues on Monday night. Ayup, this is the last roundup I’ll be doing before Cataclysm hits and while this week’s posts are all really interesting reads and useful for the coming Cataclysm, I’ve got a twinge of sadness. Everything will be a bit different come this time next week when the long wait’s over and I’m posting a roundup of blog posts talking about a new world.

Mind you, that’s what I’ll be doing over at MMO Melting Pot from the moment Cataclysm hits and people can tear themselves away from playing long enough to write. So come next weekend I’ll be used to the new, excitable blog posts about people doing rather than planning. Y’know, actually going out there and slaying them thar fish people/dragons/unfortunate critters caught in AoE. And then I can send you on to the ones more healery, more leaderish, more guild related.

This week’s bound to be an exciting time. But before we get there, have a read of last week’s healing and guild related blog posts. And talking of healing – don’t forget: if you want to join the new World of Matticus podcast, today is the last day for applications. C’mon, join us… we don’t bite.

  • Cataclysm Faction Rewards For Priests – this one kind of does what it says on the tin, but let me clarify a bit. Oestrus is guest posting at Ecclesiastical Discipline and has narrowed down the Cataclysm factions to the top three most useful to grind for your holy priesties out there. In each of her top three she goes into detail about the items you can pick up and why they’d be worth it. Great post, I wish there were more like it popping up for other classes/roles.
  • Be Prepared / Looking At Pre Raid Gear – two different posts from two excellent bloggers catering for the resto druids among us. Both Angelya and Rank4HealingTouch. The first post is Angelya’s: her guide is an extensive list of options to up for every slot including weapon slots. She’s given the items stat weightings for how useful they are and included the stat formula she’s based the list on. Looks like a great resource. Same can be said of the one from Rank4HealingTouch, though he says his post is a direct repasting of Elitist Jerks’ recommendations. This list has less options on it, which might suit indecisive folk (like me!)
  • Comparison of Healing Spells – this is a really interesting read given that we’re just going in to new content. Jasyla’s been looking in to how many spells each healing class has and has presented her findings in a combination of easily referenced tables followed by written analysis of each section. She’s gone through single target spells, AoE heals, cooldowns and extras. I’ve played all the healing classes and always wondered at the sheer amount of baggage my priest had to carry around with him in comparison to my druid, so Jasyla’s curiosity here is something I can really relate to.
  • Paladin Raid Healing – Porkchop (great name, right?) has an argument for paladins being just as capable in the raid healing department in any other class – especially come Cataclysm. He covers the holy paladin toolkit from hands to the shiny new AoE holy paladin spells and gives examples of how they can be used. Being completely honest here, holy paladin is my least played healer class so I’d be really interested to know if you agree with Porkchop or are inspired by his enthusiasm to the role. I’m not saying he’s wrong, I just don’t know as I lack the expertise for this class – what do you think?
  • The Hybrid’s Dilemma – Vidyala’s guild is preparing for Cataclysm and some of their members are changing characters for raiding. That includes Vidyala, who’s changing from a hybrid-capable druid to a single focus mage. She’s thought long and hard about it and recounts tales from her Wrath raiding experience of how being a hybrid has affected both her group and her own playing fun. She discusses with us why she’s made the choice to move away from the flexibility of being a hybrid character and is comfortable with that – great read.
  • Reunited With My Holy Half – Shintar over at Priest With A Cause disliked what happened to holy in the Big Spec Changes in patch 4.0 a few weeks ago. But since 4.0.3a hit and along with it some extra tweaks to the holy spec, she’s been looking at holy priesting again. And she’s found she quite likes how things are balanced now. She takes us through the major holy priest abilities as they are post-4.0.3a, talking about why she likes them and how they sync together. She also gives a sample spec right at the end which might be good reference for any priests out there.
  • Int regen mechanics – Velidra over at Emberstorm has been drawn towards healers recently and has some musings on how intellect will play out for healer classes. He’s mostly looking ahead at Cataclysm based on what we know already but for anyone who’s not sure on what intellect does or how mana regeneration will work, this is a great introduction to the new concepts. His look at intellect as a healer stat is particularly clear – he also lists each of the ways that healing classes will be able to regen mana and has a brief analysis of how strong each class is in this respect.

There we go. Pre-Cataclysm roundups… that’s the last one. ONWARD, to our first ever Cataclysm-live roundup – I’m expecting the blogosphere to be full of juicy posts next week, so check back. I’ll be letting you know where and what those posts are so you’ve got somethiing to do in your offline time, or even in your in-flight times. I’ll even have a new header picture by then!

Meanwhile, what do you think – what sort of posts are you hoping to see ASAP in the blogosphere? Theory on a particular class, gearing lists for a particular spec? Folks recounting their adventures of a class you’ve not yet got round to playing?

Friends and Raiders: Saying goodbye to guildies

How to properly leave a guild has been a topic often talked about, and even more so as of late with the imminent expansion. It’s that time of year when some folks try to find a better fit than the guild there in, others are taking the opportunity to step away from the game and focus on real life more and some are just out-right quitting the game. No matter the reason, it’s never an easy choice to make. You’re effectively stepping back from one thing you love to focus on something else that you likely care about equally.

Let’s be honest here for a minute. It is incredibly rare for someone to play a game contractually, and in the case of an MMO until the servers go dark. I said incredibly rare because even though you hear of players (or you may very well be one) that still play EQ, for the most part that is a small cross-section of the modern gamer totals. Entering into an MMO you have to have an expectation that people have the potential to leave. Yes, making friends in an MMO can be an extremely rewarding experience, but if you aren’t prepared for the possibility that the person may walk away from the game, you can be left quite devastated.

Minimizing impact

People leaving the game  can be tough on a guild as well, especially if it is a person in a leadership position or someone who has become a person that others depend on in a raid. It’s even harder when it’s someone you consider a close friend.

Let us say that an officer is leaving the game in any serious capacity for what may very well be forever to pursue activities in the real world. Let us also say that said officer is an integral part in the running of the guild, like recruitment, raid leadership or any of the various other administration tasks. That leaves a gap in leadership that has to be filled, and in most cases, pretty quickly. The same holds true for a raider, let’s say the top DPS in the raid decides it’s time to leave. Depending on the rest of the guild and group composition it can leave you with a hell of a damage gap to fill. That affects the rest of the guild’s progression through content later on. This becomes compounded when the departures are unannounced or rather sudden. If people think others are leaving out of the blue, it can sometimes cause a panic attack and cause enough of a stir to leave lasting ripples with other members.

If you are considering leaving a guild or quitting the game, the most important thing to keep in mind is communication. This is especially true if you are in any position of power, or importance, within the structure of a guild. You should never feel you have no choice but to play the game. While some of us have chosen to make a profession out of gaming, for most people it is a source of relaxation and venting. A safe haven if you will. That said, if a game becomes no longer fun, or if you need to find a better place in order to have that fun you should be allowed to do so. The same goes for real life. Anything that happens out of the game should take precedence over any obligations in game. One of the key things when even considering breaking off from a guild or the game in general is communication. Letting key people know ahead of time can help lessen the impact of your departure, and it can afford you some much needed piece of mind in making your decision. Talk to your GM about it, if there is a morale officer in the guild talk to them about it as well, maybe even your class lead if your guild has implemented those ranks.

The point is talking about it, even if you’re just considering it, will not only give people a heads up, but give you an outlet to talk things out. It may help to make you feel a lot better about your choice if you decide to move on. If your guild has forums set up, it is advisable to make a going away or stepping down/back post just to let people know where you’re going. You may be surprised how your leaving affects people around you in game on a personal level, and how much just knowing ahead of time that you’re leaving can help them cope.

Story time

I’ve made a lot of friends in game over the years. On several of those occasions it has turned into a real life friendship. In my previous installments of Friends and Raiders I’ve discussed making lasting friendships, walking the balance between friends and leadership and I’ve even introduced you to my healing team. One of my best friends, Eromon, I met through the game, and found out we lived in the same city. He has since left the game mostly but we still remain in touch. Before he left, we talked about his departure in great detail before anything was said to the guild. It helped him know he was making the right decision, and helped with being able to answer guildie question.

So about a month ago, Unpossible decided it was time to take a break from raiding. We’ve been hitting ICC pretty hard since it was released with little to now time off. Officers gathered and decided that a break before Cataclysm was a good idea and would give people a chance to unwind, relax and have fun doing random things like achievements or *gasp* play other games and maybe leave the house! ( I kid, I kid.) Before this break, one of our top DPS and an officer expressed that he felt it was time to leave the game behind, or at least step back from it. He felt that it was time to focus on other things in his life. We showed him how much we loved him at BlizzCon this year by playing one hell of a prank on him. For the last two weeks, he has been true to his word and hasn’t logged in. Not only is he a big chunk of our DPS and an officer, he is a really good friend of mine. He was one of the first people I met in Unpossible 6 years ago, and was always someone I had great respect for and someone I’ve grown to call a friend. Him leaving marks a hole in our DPS, our leadership structure, and our guild. We’ll still keep in touch over media like facebook and email, so at least on a personal level I’ll still have contact with him.

A few days ago, another two members of our guild announced that they too would be stepping back. One, a rogue who was consistently in our top 3 slots for DPS for as long as I can remember. The second is his wife, and a core member of my healing team. She is also an officer in our guild. Losing him is another big hit on our DPS, and honestly he’s one heck of a guildie and a great guy. His wife, for me, puts a very large hole in my healing team that I will need to fill as well as marking the falling of another tree from my “Forest of Win™”. On a personal level, I will miss them both in game dearly but will try to keep in touch with them via other media.

When I heard that these three were leaving, to be honest I was a bit devastated. It took a little bit for me to work it all out. With Zabos I at least had time to let it sink in and get used to the idea. Because we talked about it before hand. With our rogue and his wife, I had zero warning. These are people that I had come to rely on in raids, in guild structure and honestly were people that I had grown so accustomed to talking to during raids I couldn’t imagine not having them around. When I saw their post declaring that they were essentially stepping back that day,  it hit me all at once and in between personal feelings about their departure, I had to start planning to replace at least my lost healer to make my raiding heal team whole again. It’s something I’m still a little at odds with, just because it blindsided me. Thankfully their posts were very comprehensive, so there are no questions as to why they are stepping down. I know a lot of people in the guild are sad at their leaving, and many have already started asking how we are going to fill those gaps in our raid team.

The difference between the two really is simply that Zabos talked to me about it well before coming to a decision. It didn’t hit nearly as hard, and I was better prepared to deal with it. The other two really hit hard especially on a personal level. I had no idea they were even considering stepping back from the game. Both however communicated why they were leaving so that when guildies found out, there was not mass panic, and no jumping off the proverbial cliff.

Endings are just new beginnings

The world still turns and the server hamsters are still, hopefully, running. Cataclysm is less than a week away, and everyone is getting excited to have new quests, new dungeons and to have that fresh new game smell. Unpossible will still be there. We’ve survived since the game was brand-spanking-new, and we’ll likely be around until the server go dark. Sure, we’ll lose members along the way, but we’ll gain more friends as well. We’ll promote new people to officer as it’s needed and continue to thrive. People are already beginning to step up to try to take the place of those that left, and we’ll be able to fill the raid rolls and keep the ball rolling. That’s the nature of the game after all. We’re going to go ahead and punch Deathwing in the face, and chew through whatever the game throws at us. We’ll miss those that have left, and we’ll tell new guildies all the awesome stories about those that came before them. It’s like keeping an oral tradition alive, their stories will live on. For me though,  I know this newly minted Dwarf Shaman is a lifer. I’m in until the world goes dark.

So how about you? Have you lost any important members to your guild? Did they let you know they were leaving before hand? Have you left a guild and let them know?

Well that’s it for this week. Until next time, Happy Healing!

Second Thoughts about the Collector’s Edition

Ugh man, I’m so torn. On the one hand, I’d love to have the in game pet and the soundtrack. But I live on the west coast. The servers come online right at 12 AM. However, the stores on the west coast open their doors at 12 AM. I already put down a small deposit for my copies at the major mall out here in BC. Do we get to line up inside the mall or do we have to wait outside in the cold? Otherwise, I might just go for the digital copy.

Gosh, I have no idea what to do.

What did you guys do for the expansion?