What’s in a Name, Pt. 2

Who's that rogue?

Some of you who’ve followed the blog for a while (and remember when I posted regularly enough to qualify as earning the spot down there on the footer…..) may remember that my guild transferred from a vewwy, vewwy small server to one that had an actual population. When that happened, there were some…. sour grapes, shall we say, from the #2 guild on our old server. (I’ll make a long story short: to read the longer version, please check out my QQ post.) As a result, I had to use the name “Wynthia.” A small change, to be sure, but given my association with this blog, my twitter account, and my email address….not to mention my VERY IDENTITY, I was upset.

Enter my savior, a WoM reader named Corgii. (Shout out!!!) Corgii let me know that I could ticket a GM, tell them about the never-logged-on lvl 1 bogarting my name, and take it back. This had honestly never occurred to me. Oh, sure, I had the little usurper on my friends list… I even sent them 1 gold in the mail to see if they ever, EVER logged on… (they didn’t. My gold came back twice.) But actually asking Blizz to fix it? Hadn’t crossed my mind.

So I did.

And it worked!!!!

I got a free name-change back to my old self. The GM even stayed on to make sure it all worked properly. (Say what you will about Blizz customer service, I’ve only ever had STELLAR experiences with my GM’s. One even gave me a cookie!)

The only downside? Since UI settings are stored by character name, my UI ‘sploded a little, and took a few minutes to sort out.

But now I have a question: I used to be the only Wynthea on the armory. (There was a lvl 11 druid, but that was one of my alts.) Now there’s a rogue. Troll Female. Where did she come from?

Luv,
Wyn

Blizzcon Bound!

Matticus, Lodur, and Wynthea will all be attending Blizzcon ’09! We’ll be divvying up the con to make sure we get to see and hear everything, so here’s what we need from you:

1. Will you be there? We want to meet you!

2. If you won’t, but you have questions for us to ask on your behalf, we’d love to know!

3. There may be some schwag-related giveaways, so keep your eyes on WoM for upcoming contests!!

See you there!

Luv,
Wyn

Breaking News: Internet Cables cut

Via EnGadget

There are 4 cables that run under the Mediterranean Sea to connect the internet servers in Europe and Asia. 3 of them have been severed – we don’t know how or why, although it’s probably a shipping accident. There are a couple of impacts to this:

  • The three cables involved carry about 75% of telecom traffic to the region. A lot of the traffic between Europe and Asia is being re-routed through the US.

  • This means your guildies playing from New Zealand and Australia may have connection issues until this is resolved, and anyone playing on Asian servers from North America will have similar issues.
  • Heavily loaded US servers may run more slowly

Thought you’d like to know – I’ll update as more information is available.

Luv,
Wyn

Reader Request: Wyn’s Guide to Northrend Reputation

Reader Request: Wyn’s Guide to Northrend Reputation

Rep

Thanks for voting in the Poll. I still can’t believe this won, but since it did, I’ll do my best to give you the best information available.

Once you hit 80, and the xp grind is over, a new grind starts – this time for reputation and gear. There are really only 3 reasons to grind rep: Gear upgrades, Profession needs, and vanity items. The best way to start churning out rep for ANY faction is to start doing quests in the zone where you find the majority of their NPC’s. After that, some factions will allow you to wear their tabbard into heroic dungeons and gain rep for them, regardless of the zone-location of the instance, while for others you’ll have to diligently knock out daily quests. Either way, it takes some planning to know which factions are worth it. I’m not listing EVERYTHING that’s available for each rep-level with each faction. I doubt you, as a healer, care much about non-spellpower shields and 2H axes.

Wyn’s Guide to Northrend Reputation

Horde Expedition

  • The Hand of Vengeance
  • The Sunreavers
  • The Taunka
  • Warsong Offensive

Alliance Vanguard

  • Explorer’s League
  • The Frostborn
  • The Silver Covenant
  • Valiance Expedition

This is a group of factions, and your rep with the umbrella faction will depend directly on your rep within each of the sub-factions. As you do quests for the sub-factions, 1/2 of the rep is also counted toward the main faction – WoWwiki explains it well: “For example, doing a quest for the Valiance Expedition, earning you 250 reputation with the Valiance Expedition, also gives 125 reputation with the Alliance Vanguard. Therefore, you must have two of the four sub-factions at Exalted in order to be exalted with the Alliance Vanguard, or the equivalent amount of reputation spread across all four.” Got it? Additionally, most dungeons will give you Rep for this faction as default when you’re not wearing the tabard of another faction.

For Horde, you can purchase these items from either Gara Skullcrush in Warsong Hold or Sebastian Crane in Vengeance Landing.
Allies, do your shopping with Logistics Officer Silverstone at Valiance Keep or Logistics Officer Brighton at Valgarde.

Revered:

Exalted

Wyn’s Verdict: The truth is, by the time you’re revered with these factions, you’ll probably have had access to better equipment in both slots, either from non-heroics, heroics, or quest-rewards. However, if you PvP, that head glyph* is going to be a MUST. If you are an engineer, you will almost certainly want to be able to make the motorcycles. If you are an engineer that PvP’s, you got lucky – since you don’t have to farm an otherwise useless faction for only one item. *Note: These slot-enchants USED to be called “glyphs” in Classic and BC. To avoid confusion with stuff made via Inscription, they’re now called Arcanums. I’m still calling them Glyphs, because it was going to be confusing either way.

Argent Crusade

The new and improved version of the Argent Dawn, the Crusade has a few bases around Northrend:

  • Argent Vanguard, on the borders of Icecrown and Storm Peaks
  • Dawn’s Reach, in Dragonblight
  • Light’s Breach, in Zul’Drak
  • The Argent Stand, in Zul’Drak

I found quite a few quests for AC rep in Zul’Drak – so that’s probably where you’ll want to start. There are also two daily quests: Slaves to Saronite and Pa’Troll.

There’s a small bug with Pa’Troll that is worth noting: Pa’Troll is a quest that requires you to go to 4 individuals around the zone, and do a quest for each of them, so it’s kind of 5-quests-in-one. The first time you get the quest (when it’s NOT a daily), go to Alchemist Finklestein and complete The Alchemist’s Apprentice. This involves you picking up 4 random things off the shelves in his lab – very easy. Turn in The Alchemist’s Apprentice for an easy 250 rep, and abandon Pa’Troll. Go back to the Argent Stand, re-accept Pa’Troll, and go back to the Alchemist. Lather, rinse, repeat until you’re exalted. I had a few people in my guild grind to exalted in a few hours, just repeating the Alchemist’s Apprentice.

When you’re ready to make your purchases, you’ll find Quartermaster Aliocha Segard at the Argent Vanguard in Icecrown. (Be aware, she’s stuck under a tent, in the back. It’s kind of a pain to find at first.)

Friendly

Honored

Revered

Exalted

Wyn’s Verdict: You’ll probably want to farm Exalted with this one, since that ring is pretty nifty. The gear in the Honored range is really just gravy – I’m sure you can get better from running the dungeons it’ll take you to finish out to Exalted. The JC pattern is a tanking pattern, but the Spellthread is one tailors wil be able to sell for cash. (You won’t use it yourself, since it’s on-par with the trainable tailor-only thread.)

Kirin Tor

The ruling mages of Dalaran. This faction is related to BC’s Violet Eye – but all those Kara runs won’t help you get any of their rewards in this xpac. Most of the rep gains will be from doing quests in Borean Tundra, around Amber Ledge and in Coldarra, and wearing the Tabard. The Daily cooking and dungeon quests also give Kirin Tor rep.

Friendly

Honored

Revered

Exalted

Wyn’s Verdict: You can’t get around needing a helm-enchant. It’s a gotta-do. And if you want the one with Crit, here’s your faction. JC’ers will definitely want the Exalted gem pattern – it’ll be a big money-maker on the AH, and all the casters in your guild will want it. Tailors will have guildies asking them for the spellthread, mostly for PvP gear, but maybe for some Shammies.

Knights of the Ebon Blade

These are your Death-Knights-turned-good-guys. They do have a base in good ol’ EPL, but for Northrend purposes, you’ll first meet them at Ebon Watch in Zul’Drak. Their main quest hub and Quartermaster, Duchess Mynx, are in Icecrown at the Shadow Vault. You cannot access the Quartermaster until you take back the Vault – a phased quest line which starts with It’s All Fun and Games and is available at lvl 77.
Friendly

Honored

Revered

Exalted

Wyn’s Verdict: Again, Jewel Crafters are going to want to farm this, for completion’s sake, and to fill special orders. The gloves at Revered are really quite nice, especially if you prefer questing to instancing. Tailors will want to make the Warlocks in their lives happy, and most casters will be very impressed with that belt (even without any regen.)

The Kalu’ak
These rather loveable Walrus-people have quest hubs on the southern coasts of Borean Tundra, Dragonblight, and Howling Fjord. Each zone has one daily quest for the faction. The quartermaster, Sairuk, is southeast of the inn at Moa’ki Harbor.
Friendly

Honored

Revered

Exalted

Wyn’s Verdict: Ask all of your JC’s VERY NICELY to pick up that gem pattern at Friendly. Buy them cookies, if necessary. Those of us that fish will want the fishing pole – it’s now the best in the game. Those that collect pets will definitely want the penguin- he’s adorable. For raiders, I would say this is a faction that can wait, since you’ll replace the gear from Honored rather quickly, and none of it is essential for boss-killing.
The Sons of Hodir

Based at Dun Niffelem in the Storm Peaks, this is a cool, lore-based faction, tying into a war with Loken and the titans. These ice giants start out aggressive to you, and you have to do a quest chain starting with They Took Our Men! in K3 to be able to talk to them. Once you’ve completed the quest chain, there are only two ways to earn rep: dailys, and turning in rather hard-to-find items called Everfrost Chips. If you don’t find any chips, it’ll take you 8 days from Friendly to Honored, 8 more for Honored to Revered, and 11 from Revered to Exalted. The Quartermaster, Lillehoff, is inside Dun Niffelem. He’s the big ice giant. Heh.
Honored

Revered

Exalted

Wyn’s Verdict: If you’re not a Scribe (Inscriber? Inscriptionist?) farming this to exalted is essential. JCs and Tailors will will want the patterns anyway, and the mounts are a nice money-sink if you swing that way. Also, this faction has some pretty cool dalies – you don’t have to run all over the place like you did with Ogri’la, and killing the Wild Wyrm is really pretty exciting.

The Wyrmrest Accord

Another example of Blizzard using the lore much earlier in the levelling experience, you’ll find the Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight. Joined together against Malygos’ perversion of the Blue Dragonflight, the other Dragon-factions have decided to enlist your help. Quests throughout Dragonblight will give you Wyrmrest rep (say that 3x fast), but there are also 3 daily quests and a tabard to wear in heroic dungeons. Rep rewards can be purchased from Cielstrasza, who is on the very top level of the temple, along with the queen.

Friendly

Honored

Revered

Exalted

Wyn’s Verdict: Your other helm-enchant option comes from this faction. Depending on the rest of your gear, you’ll probably want the Mp5 option over the Crit from the Kirin Tor, but that’s pretty much personal preference. Tailors who are enchanters will certainly want the bag, and this is going to be another long slog for JCers. The gear is relatively meh compared to what you’ll pick up in heroics as you grind the rep, but I know a lot of people will want the Mount. And it DOES look pretty cool.

These last two factions are a little different, in that their rep gains are inversely linked. Once you choose one, you’ll be hated by the other. I’ll go over how you choose between them at the bottom – it can be a little confusing.

The Frenzyheart Tribe

These little badger people are not as cuddly as they look, since they tend to ask you to do mean things to The Oracles – who lived in Sholazar basin first. Once you’re affiliated with the Frenzyhearts (see below), you’ll have to do daily quests to farm the rest. The dailies It takes about 8 days to hit Revered from Honored, and 12 or so more for Exalted. Buy your loot from Tanak.

Friendly

Revered

Exalted

Wyn’s Verdict: I’m never really as impressed with the gear from rep factions as I am with the gear from instance-grinding. But, again, if you’re a solo player, there are some solid choices here. Of course, if you’re a solo player, I’ll need to ask you why you’re healy-spec’d. The haste trinket seems pretty useless for casters. A word on the Pet-jar: The one you buy has to ferment for 7 days before it becomes a pet… it’s kind of like letting your fridge marinate long enough to spawn intelligent life. It also has a small chance to give you a reusable Wolvar costume, so once you hit Revered, you can buy one of those suckers every week for your chance.

The Oracles

The Oracles are a sort of super-murloc. I find them rather endearing, what with their naive devotion to the relics of the Titans, quickness to forgive you for fraternizing with the Frenzyheart, and love for “shinies.” Friendly

Revered

Exalted

Wyn’s Verdict: I think this exalted trinket is better for casters than the Frenzyheart one, but that’s not to say it’s a particularly good trinket. If you’re grinding this rep, it’s more than likely for the Egg, which is even MORE special than the jar of ooze. Like the jar, you have to hold onto the egg for 7 days before it will give you a pet. The egg can give you one of FOUR pets, and has a VERY RARE chance to give a Green Proto-Drake mount.

Okay, both the Frenzyheart and the Oracles are located in Sholazar Basin. As you quest through the Nessingwary lines, you’ll eventually meet up with the Frenzyhearts – who will have you do some rather disrespectful things to the Oracles. Eventually, you’ll be given a quest to kill an Oracle caught in a trap… but the only option presented to your character is to talk to the Oracle, and let him go free. This doesn’t sit well with the Frenzyheart, who are watching your every move for signs of disloyalty. You are then forgiven by the Oracles, and start doing quests for them. Eventually, clearing out the zone will lead you to another, seemingly unrelated, chain: A Hero’s Burden. The final quest here has you fighting Artruis the Heartless in a cave – and this nasy piece of work has enslaved both an Oracle and a Frenzyheart. In order to kill him, you must choose which one of them to save, and which to kill. The one you save is the faction you choose, starting you at honored rep – so don’t let it catch you off guard. If you make a mistake, it’s okay – the quest to kill Artruis is a repeatable daily, so you can always go back tomorrow and kill the other one. Now, if you’re a title or achievement collector, you should know that farming to exalted with the Frenzyheart will give you the title Frenzyheart Tribe, while exalted with the Oracles gives you THe Oracles. If you do first one, then the other (the order doesn’t matter), you can also call yourself a Mercenary of Sholazar.

The Bottom Line

The majority of raiding healers will need to farm their Sons of Hodir dailies every day for their shoulder enchants, and will need to pick either the Kirin Tor or Wyrmrest tabards to wear in heroics untill they get their helm-glyph. You’ll also probaby want to toss in Argent Crusade for the ring.

Scribes don’t have to farm Sons of Hodir, since their profession-only shoulder enchants are better. Jewel crafters, tailors, and leatherworkers will have a pleasant boredom-free time in the xpac, since they need revered or exalted with nearly every faction (and sometimes conflicting factions) to complete their pattern-lists.

People who like mounts and pets will want to farm Kalu’ak, Wyrmrest, Sons of Hodir, and both Sholazar Basin factions.

Update as I went to publish: Check out the lovely Seri’s perspective at Snarkcraft.

Luv,
Wyn

What’s In a Name

What’s In a Name

Wynthia copy

 

My guild made the decision to transfer to a larger server – seems like the opposite of the trend right now, what with all the free transfers to small servers, but we’ve found that recruiting and raiding at an end-game level are infinitely more difficult when your ONLY recruiting source is off-server, and you have to do all your own farming due to artificially high AH prices.

A few days ago, our officers told us they had narrowed it down to two servers, and the idea was bandied around that we may want to reserve our names.

“Silly. I’m the only Wynthea on the armory, and have been for years. The level 11 is my alt. No one will have my name.”

I’m sure you can guess where this is going.

Someone – either in my own guild as a joke, or, more likely, from our rival guild on our old server – registered my name.

I am not amused.

(before you ask why I think it might’ve been the other guild, quite a few of our more prominent members’ names were also registered. Uncommon, not found on a cool t.v. show or book names.)

Aside from my identity as associated with World of Matticus, I have an email address, a twitter, and a close affinity with this name. I know many people *cough*Matt*Cough* are perfectly comfortable hitting the “random” button, and wearing whatever comes out of it for the rest of their toon’s life.

I am not. I spend, quite literally, hours naming a character that I plan to play extensively. Hours.

I research the meanings, the language of origin, and imbue the name with a personality before the character selection screen even comes up.

Trivia, for the interested: Wynthea, meaning “healer” is a Welsh-spelling of a Hebrew name. My mother’s family is Welsh, and my own real name is Hebrew. The name holds quite a bit of significance for me.

My character is currently named “Wynthia.” Not a huge distinction, I suppose………. and one that I will remedy as soon as possible. But it bothers me. A lot.

Anyway, if you’re looking for me, I’m currently Wynthia *wince* on Firetree.

Oh, wait, I guess I should make this more than a Rant-post.

If you are considering creating a character, for RP purposes or not, but you want a name that actually carries weight, and means something – “noobpwnerx” I’m looking at you – there are some really great resources on the vast interweb. First, though, you need to have an idea of what you want.

Wyn’s character-naming guide

1. Start thinking about what you want the character to be, and to do. Before I name a character, I come up with an attribute I’d like the name to mean.

For example, if you’re creating a character to PvP, you may think about words like “Victorious” or “War-like”

For a bank alt, you may want something meaning “Wealthy.”

Just think about words that mean something you’d like the character to embody.

Whatever you do, do NOT name your character after something you really liked in a currently-popular book or movie. Old books are fine – for example, Renwein (my Human Priest) is named after a relatively obscure character in Arthurian Literature. It’s also possible it wasn’t even her name, but just a generic word for “maiden.” Bonus points if you go look it up.

2. Pull up a baby-name website.

This one freaked my last boyfriend out when he found it in my internet-history. One of my favorites is Baby Names World, because it allows you to search by meaning, and create lots of fun filters.

It also allows you to filter by gender and language of origin.

3. Google a search like “Names meaning….”

If you don’t like anything on a standard baby-site, just give Google a shot. This is actually how I found Wynthea.

4. Refine your choices.

You need to pick a couple. If you’re creating a Female Human Prot-Warrior, and like Irish names, be aware that “Bridget” (means Strong) will probably already be taken.

Say them out loud a few times. People will be trying this on vent, so don’t spend all this time creating a name just to hear it butchered every day.

See what abbreviations you come up with. Wynthea shortens rather handily to Wyn, which is an awesome nickname. (Full of wyn, for the wyn… it’s an unexpected thing I really love about the name.)  

Make sure it’s relatively easy to type. Elves especially seem to have a hard time with this one. I had a friend named Randirardhon who a) hated to be called Randi, and b) couldn’t figure out why people had such a hard time typing it out.

5. Name your new best friend.

Or alter-ego. However it works for you.

Then get really upset when some Jerk steals your name. (Yes, I know that reaction is probably exactly what they wanted….. )

 

My next post(s) are coming, as promised. I just can’t believe you guys wanna read about REP FACTIONS. That’s not one I had 1/2 prepared. That was “no one will choose this” poll-filler. Argh!

 

Luv,
Wyn

New Poll: Decide Wyn’s Next Topic

You know you want to. I’ll write all of these posts, eventually, but tell me which one I should work on for this week. I’ll have it up over the weekend:

Which site hosting does your guild use?

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The Return of the Gangsta

I always wanted to use that in a relevant context…. my apologies to Coolio, but I hear Outkast in my head….

Hi. How are you?

Yes… I’ve been gone for a few months. I know, I know.

It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about you – I have. It’s just that I work in the finance industry, and things got a little crazy for a while. Then there was the election, the expansion, the Turkey…..

And the whole time, Matt kept quietly hinting that maybe he’d like me to come back and write some content. Maybe the Horde is under-represented… maybe… maybe the world needs a little more Troll to brighten it up.

And it hits me like a ton of Twitter-requested messages:

You have to make time for things that are important to you. Whether it’s WoW in general, working out, your relationships, or blogging. If you wait until inspiration strikes to be productive, you’ll at best limit yourself to spurts of creativity and at worst, end up slowly not doing anything at all.

(See: Inertia)

So, my apologies. To Matt, for not being the disciplined buddy he’s always been to me. (And for not taking the time to put a headline image on this – i figured better to get it posted than to procrastinate further.) To Syd, for recruiting her and then running-running-running away. (Hey! She’s an amazing and therefore intimidating co-blogger!) To all of you, for leaving you in a world devoid of fabulous Red Mohawks. And mostly to myself, for burning out and giving up on my passion for so long.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for writing.

Some things I’ve been working on:

  • My gear upgrade spreadsheet. (it’s as laborious as it sounds. Thanks to DwarfPriest for the starting point.)

  • My rep-faction grind
  • Achievements (Yes, they’re mostly frivolous….but some aren’t.)
  • Professions
  • Updating my UI

Drop me a line in the comments and let me know what you’d like to hear about first, and I’ll make that the subject of my next post. And it will come out by the end of the weekend – I promise. (I’m very good with deadlines.)

Thanks again, to all of you that wrote to say you missed me…. it really did mean a lot.

Luv,

Wyn

20 + 3 Myths about Women Who Play WoW

20 + 3 Myths about Women Who Play WoW

unicorn 

So Matt and I were goofing off one day, and in one of those conversations where you’re not quite sure how it got onto that topic… we started talking about some of the myths around being a female gamer. Like all stereotypes, some have a base in reality, some are pretty funny, and some nag at my feminist sensibilities. Here’s 20 myths about female WoW-ers that I’ve encountered:  

  • We don’t exist
  • We’re super-hot asian women
  • We’re all crushingly obese in real life
  • We can’t Tank
  • We can’t Melee
  • We can’t PvP
  • Actually, we can’t play
  • We must want to be your girlfriend (or cyber you)
  • We’re sleeping with our Guild leader/Raid leader and that’s why we get raid invites/gear
  • We only play healing classes
  • We cause 100% of all guild/server drama
  • We get given gold, mats, and items for free
  • or, if not for free, in exchange for non-monetary favors
  • All female ‘toons are really guys trying to cash in on the above myths (especially Elves)
  • We don’t play Horde
  • We’re only playing to spend time with our boyfriend/husband
  • We care more about how gear looks than its stats
  • We only tame cuddly, cute pets
  • We don’t theorycraft (‘cuz math is HARD!)
  • We all hate each other
  • Female GMs are all married to a co-GM and not really leading the guild
  • We fly into hysterics if given negative feedback
  • We aren’t allowed to raid when we’re on our period

Image credits: Sacredart

Thanks Auz & Joveta!!

Priests, WotLK, and Wyn’s Thoughts

Priests, WotLK, and Wyn’s Thoughts

crying-woman 

My first reaction to the news was utter, stunned silence. Anyone who’s ever been on vent with me (or listened to a certain blogcast) knows how rare that is. There were no words to encompass my shock and depression.

“Why?” I will be asked. “Racials were so stupid. We were the only class that had to worry about what race to roll to THAT extent. This will make things much easier.” Perhaps. But I am a Priest-class enthusiast. I have two level 70 Priests. One Human, one Troll. I have a handful of Priest alts just to experience the flavor that their new spells give. (Starshards is so Pretty!!) I am not a role-player, but I would find it impossible to not spend so much time with someone without learning a little about their personality, and I somehow don’t think any of my Priests will be the same without abilities shaped so directly by the life-experiences they had before I met them. How can you be a faith-leader for your faction, a student of the Light and Shadow, without developing a few personal opinions?

And so it is with a desperately heavy heart, a crinkle in my nose, and tears in my eyes that I say farewell to Hex of Weakness and Shadowguard. Admittedly, Renwein will not miss Feedback – we didn’t use it much – but Wynthea will no longer mock Paladins and less-gifted Priests as they attempt to dispel the curse preventing their heals’ full value. No more will I have a funny little purple satellite for company, which had a clever habit of proc’ing Shadow Weaving and Blackout when I was Shadow-spec’d. Maybe I’m taking it too hard. I probably am. I just looked forward to levels 10 and 20 so much with each new race…. and now it won’t matter. My lowbie Priests will be deleted, since they serve no purpose.

Frankly, this latest blow to my class-pride hits a little harder because of how I feel about Priests’ role in general. Go dig up your classic-wow handbook. The one that hasn’t been updated, that still comes with the game. See where it describes the classes? It talks about Priests being the premiere healers in WoW. That’s why I rolled my first one 3 years ago. It’s why I’ve stayed with the class for so long. Other classes can do other things – Paladins and Druids can also tank, all the other healing classes can Melee DPS, and Shammies and Druids both can caster-DPS as well. Sure you can go Shadow – but Blizz has pigeonholed Shadow Priests into raid utility and mana-return. (In my opinion, if Shadow Priests were supposed to be competitive on DPS, Mind Flay would have a 40 yd. range like everyone else’s bread-and-butter spells. Among other things.) Shadow Priests have to fight tooth-and-nail for every scrap of damage and respect they get. Holy Priests…. well, we were what the class was originally designed to be. That’s why classic Tier sets were all Holy-based. Priest was synonymous with healer.

But now, Druids are gaining a circle-of-renew. Paladins if glyphed properly will be able to AoE heal. Shamans have raid-wide utility, in addition to the original work-horse AoE heal. And Priests? The spell we and our raids have come to depend on is being given a 6-second cooldown. (That’s right, all the new patch notes show that that abominable nerf that went away on the Beta realms is BACK and going LIVE.) Take a look at the new Priest Healing spells: we get TWO.

Divine Hymn – You recite a Holy hymn, causing the closest 10 enemies within 0 yards to become incapacitated for 20 sec., and heals the closest friendly targets within 0 yards for 4506 over 6 sec. 20% of base mana, 1.5 sec cast, 3 min cooldown.

and our 80-point talent: Guardian Spirit – Calls upon a guardian spirit to watch over the friendly target. The spirit increases the healing received by the target by 40%, and also prevents the target from dying by sacrificing itself. This sacrifice terminates the effect but heals the target of 10% of their maximum health. Lasts 10 sec.

All our other talents are focused on increasing the amount healed by spells we already have, or the speed with which they are delivered. (oh, wait, that got nerfed a bit, too.)

In the rush to make every spec viable, and to homogenize the capabilities of the classes to avoid any specific requirements for any given raid…. Blizzard hadn’t stripped Priests of what made us special – our flexibility as healers – but added those utility spells to the other healers. This latest news goes further – rather than leaving us with our level 70 spells in a level 80 world, it actively takes away MORE of what makes us unique.

I will continue on. I am still very excited about a lot of things coming up in Wrath. The scenery continues to be beautiful, and Dalaran is the best-developed capital city ever. But now, my unbridled enthusiasm for the xpac is tempered by a sense of loss. I reveled in being the strongest, most adaptable healing class, and the class which, in my opinion, required the most fore-thought, planning, and knowledge of game-mechanics of all. I’m sad that both of the sources of my loyalty to the class are eroding. Perhaps it’s a good thing I’ve familiarized myself with Death Knight mechanics.

Luv,
A very depressed Wyn

The Care and Keeping of Recruits

Welcome mat

One of the best bosses I ever had was fond of saying:

“Expectations without support erode trust.”

My beloved guild lets me handle pretty much anything to do with Priests, without making me be an actual officer. I do the recruiting and the interviews, I give input on Priest-related loot council and raid spots, and make the recommendation for full membership. I appreciate the respect and autonomy my Raid Leader and Officers have given me, and in return I make sure that our Priest-corps is always prepared to do the best we can.

Sydera recently wrote a great article on how to recruit a healer, and the 10th step hit home: Follow up:

Your guild has a new healer, and you are the person she knows best. Serve as her mentor, and check in with her often. If the guild isn’t happy with your recruit’s performance, be the one to explain why. If it seems that the guild is a good fit, be her champion when the officers vote on whether she should be promoted to full member.

This is so unbelievably true, and I think is a huge reason that some guilds experience high amounts of recruit turn-over. They can get players in the door, but one or two epics later, they’re gone again. The reason seems to be that the new raiders never really found a warm welcome, or a sense of belonging – just a lot of high-pressure to perform with little feedback and even less help. Here’s how I avoid turnover with my recruits, and help them realize their Priestly potential.

Set Clear Expectations

This process starts in the interview. Be explicit with your expectations – gear, consumables, punctuality, and attendance. I tell Holy recruits that I’m looking for a Priest to take my place. I want them to out-heal me, to be more familiar with the class and fights than I am, and to teach me a thing or two. If they accept that challenge, I tell them I will help them gear up, adjust their UI’s and learn the fights – and invite them to my guild.

Give A Sense of Structure

Tell them what the Raid schedule typically is. Sure, they may know that you raid M-Th 6-10 server, but if you know that Monday is guaranteed to be a progression boss with no Trials in attendance, tell them. If you don’t know exactly what’s on the menu, at least give them the options for the next day. It could go something like this: “We’ll probably raid Sunwell tomorrow, so be prepared for that. If [Paladin] can’t come, it’ll be BT. You’ll be required for BT, but may have the night off if it’s Sunwell.” That way, they can plan ahead – they may need time to farm shadow resist gear, or different consumables. They may need to adjust their dailies for more repair bill or respec money. Be courteous, and give them the information they’l need to make a good impression.

Make Yourself Available

Let the recruit know when you’ll be available for last minute questions before the raid. Seek them out, and ask them what assistance they need – not if they need assistance. (A subtle but important difference.) Remember, you’re the recruiting officer of the big, scary progression guild – and that can be intimidating, even if the night before you told them to seek you out.

Make Sure They’re Really Prepared

At this point, you know their gear is okay from the interview. But raid-prep can get glossed over. Typically, I ask specific questions about a few things:

  • Do you have enough elixirs, flasks, and mana pots?
  • Do you have enough food?
  • Do you have enough cash for repairs and/or respecs?
  • Do you have enough reagents?
  • I also make sure that I’m clear about my definition of “enough”. Their old guild might have been okay with 10 elixirs and 20 candles. I carry full stacks of 3 kinds of elixirs and 200 candles. Don’t get me started on food, pots, oils, and flasks. The idea is to avoid any lack of communication that could result in your recruit being singled out as unprepared. You know what the expectations are, but they do not. Help them. Personally, I always bring enough consumables to a recruit’s first raid for both of us. If they forget anything or need anything, I want them to ask ME in a whisper, not the raid in vent. These small things matter, and a recruit who is nervous over something as minor as reagents will not perform at their best. Help them make the best first impression they can.

    Raid Mechanics

    Most guilds are pretty good about making sure recruits get a run-down of how the fight is done – even with a basically similar strat, most guilds have a few quirks that should be explained to avoid confusion. What gets missed are the details of how your Raid works overall. Make sure your new player knows any extra channels they should join (class channel, healer channel, etc.), what officer gives out the target-assignments, and how to bid for loot (& whether they’re eligible.) It’s not as big an issue with DPSers, but for healers, give specific healing assignments. “Heal Joe”  may mean something to you, but if it is really Joeblaze, the Warlock tank in Group 4, that could make a difference. Also, if you’re in a situation where tanks are passing aggro – think Netherspite, Hydross, BloodBoil, or Kalecgos – and calling on vent, make sure players know to say their names.”I’ve got it!” wastes time, but “Stefizzle, taunting” means new healers don’t have to guess whose voice goes with what .

    Give Feedback

    I’ve made my position on meters pretty clear. They’re a very visible part of my UI. One of the biggest reasons is that I’ve noticed the best way to improve performance is to give timely feedback, whether positive or negative. With Recount open at all times, I can tell if my new CoH Priest is using CoH 84% of the time, and not using ProM at all. More importantly, I can tell him how to modify his style to improve, right now. I can also quicky find out how much overhealing is going on, whether the right targets are being healed, what was responsible for killing someone, and any other information that allows me to analyse my recruits’ performances. (Personally, I also set the recruit as my focus – I pay attention to their casting bar, spell rank, timing, target, health and mana levels.) Creepy? Sure. Relevant? Absolutely. Telling a DPSer that they need 10k more output to catch up with the mage above them, or a healer that another 3k will top that Shammy gets results. They work harder and faster. When they do well, I’ll also link the meter in the appropriate channel. Nothing makes someone’s day like showing them in the #1 spot to the whole raid. (I usually just link the first or second spots to avoid high amounts of spam.)

    Back Them Up

    Sometimes, bad things happen. Players die, raids wipe – and in the spirit of fixing it, we all look for the cause. Be an advocate for your recruit. It’s easy to blame the new healer for the Tank’s death, but if you know the real problem was something else, speak up. What are sound reasons coming from you may sound like excuses coming from them. On the other hand, If the problem really WAS the recruit, you can help them fix it.

    When They Struggle

    Even the best applicants can turn out to be lackluster players. Be prepared to talk to them, either 1:1 or with your Raid Leader, about their perspective on the problem, and possible solutions. Provide resources outside the game for them to peruse and soak up information. In the end, if they’re not a good fit, or not talented enough to keep up with the content, you’ll both be able to make the best decision – no waiting to “see if they get better or whether they just need a little more experience”.

    If you’ve given them the help, environment, and resources they need to be successful, you can part company on good terms – and they, with a full understanding of your expectations, may even be able to refer other players who would be a better fit.

    And you thought the hardest part of recruiting was finding good players! The thing to remember is that different personality types thrive in different environments. Personally, nothing will make me perform better than a situation where I have to fight to prove that I’m the best – provided that once I’ve done so, the achievement is recognized. Others seem to need a bit more coaching, and relatively well-defined requirements and goals. Tailor your leadership style to their needs; don’t force them to conform to you. Just remember that although their job is to impress you, your job is to make sure that they know how to do theirs.

    Luv,
    Wyn