10 Tips for Extreme Leveling to 80 (without denting your wallet)

10 Tips for Extreme Leveling to 80 (without denting your wallet)

extreme

I hit level 80 last night around 8:45 PM. Most of the player curve is around the 74-75 area so I’m considered “ahead” of the curve. Although I could credit my leveling speed to my “Asian racial (25% extra stamina when really focused on a goal, cooldown: once every 365 days)”, there’s a few things to keep in mind if you really want to get to 80 as fast as possible.

Note, you’ll miss out on a lot of the lore and the story. But I’m proceeding on the assumption that it is not a primary concern.

  1. Accept all quests in the area without reading the backstory. 4 out of 5 times, the quest involves you killing something or picking something up. Read what you have to do, and go do it. You don’t need to know about the circumstances behind the objective.
  2. On quests where you need to pick up items off the ground, keep looking for others. It takes a few seconds to loot one anyway. Use the time to spot.
  3. Forget professions. Worry about them when you’re 80.
  4. Train at every 2nd level. Unless there is a specific spell that you feel you really need, it takes a lot of effort to fly down to the port and boat or zepp back to your capital cities.
  5. Keep the autorun handy. Read up on WoWhead or your favourite leveling guide to find out what you need to dow hen you get to your destination.
  6. Chunking. Just like how I sometimes write my posts in massive chunks or blocks, do all the quests in an area. I’ll usually do 7 or 8 quests at a time per hub and do a gigantic turn in.
  7. Know your damage rotations. Find out the fastest way to kill things even if it means being inefficient. You’re trading efficiency for speed. Find out what the “execute” range is. A typical Smite and Shadow Word:Death will kill any mob with around 3000 health remaining. Holy Nova will clean it up.
  8. Blow your cooldowns. You’re not fighting a raidboss. Everytime Heroism is up and you have to level an entire camp of Gnolls, do it. If Power Infusion is available and you get to blow up Murlocs, use it. Maximize the useage. If it involves you killing 60 Rhinos for Nessingwary, it’s a green light to pop trinkets and just nuke the place.
  9. Consumables. Chances are, you still have still have some Mana Potions and food or flasks left. Use them as you’re leveling. They’ll provide a slight edge.
  10. Know how much resource it takes you to kill a mob. For example, I know it takes me ~3000 mana to bring a whelp down to its knees. For most mobs, its around 3000 – 3500 mana. If I can squeeze off one more kill before drinking, I’ll do it.

What other tips would you suggest for players that want to level fast?

Q&A: How Do I Break Into Raiding?

Q&A: How Do I Break Into Raiding?

Copra, a priest from Thunderhorn EU, asked the writers of Matticus such a great question that I thought I would share it with all of you. In his words:

The question is, how on Earth (or on Azeroth, depends on your preferance) are we newcomers going to learn the group dynamics, the class or the requirements of Boss fights? By cutting us out of the instanced content that is the tutorial to raiding 60s, 70s and later 80s instances, there is little hope that the burned out raiders will get replaced by players who are as skilled or as motivated.

Any hints on how to gain that experience early on and how to ‘impress’ the raiding guild leadership before you hit the cap and start making a fool of yourself with your gear and skill?

To share a bit more background, Copra is coming into Wrath of the Lich King with a bit of a disadvantage. He’s a fairly new player who is not yet at the level cap. And yet, Copra, you must take heart! Even brand-new players can break into raiding. However, you can’t really get into a raiding guild before the level cap–the game starts at max level for a raider. Yet, people can, and frequently do, level up new toons and join raiding guilds with them. Here’s my suggestions for getting yourself ready to raid in a few short weeks.

Tip #1: Level fast.

The content of Azeroth and Outlands is enjoyable in its own right. If you had a different in-game goal in mind, I’d say go slow and enjoy the scenery. However, if you want to raid seriously, the first and most important thing you must do is reach the level cap. In order to do this most efficiently, I suggest taking on the kind of quests you can solo. No instances, no group quests, no stopping. When you hit 58, go to Outlands. When you hit 68, go to Northrend.

If you join a guild during the leveling period, understand that you’re teaming up for company rather than instance runs or old-school raids. It might seem like a good idea to have higher-level players run you through stuff, but the XP gain per hour is not nearly what you could achieve with the same time spent questing on your own. The best type of guild to join pre-80 is what’s called a leveling guild. Essentially, these organizations are fun, casual associations of people who like to share the same guild chat.

Tip #2: Save your money.

You can reach level 80 in your underwear–no really! It’s not recommended, but I’m sure there are players who will do it for kicks. It is important, however, not to spend your time or resources acquiring gear at 60 or 70, particularly the craftables. Once the content goes by, its craftables and BoE items quickly become obsolete. You’ll spend days tracking down Frozen Shadowweave, and the return will be negligible. Your gear from quest rewards will be enough.

Tip #3: Hold off on crafting professions.

Most of the gathering professions, with the possible exception of mining, can be raised to the cap while you level without any inconvenience whatsoever. However, the crafting professions are an enormous pain in the booty. My advice is to take either herbalism or mining and skinning as your professions and sell all the proceeds. Bank and bag space are at a premium when you’re leveling fast. At max level, you can decide what your crafting profession(s) need to be and worry about it then.

Tip #4: Respec for success

Research your class a bit, and as soon as you hit max level, spec into the role that is most desirable for raiders. Sometimes there’s one right answer for a class, but most often, you have multiple viable options. I suggest a dps or healing spec. While a tank finds all the pickup heroics he wants, raiding guilds always have too many. I do not recommend a tanking spec if you’re looking to break into raiding on the late side. Healing, however, tends to be in demand, and most guilds can sneak in one more dps. For a class that would be attractive to raiding guilds, my money is on Alliance Resto Shaman. In contrast, rogues and warriors would probably have a more difficult time breaking into raiding late.

Tip #5: Once you hit max level, PuG, PuG, PuG

Many people hate pickup groups. Don’t be one of those players! Sometimes you will meet nice people and great players. At the worst, you’ll learn a lot, because you’ll be working hard to compensate for other people’s mistakes. These max-level PuGs are where you will do your learning. There will be growing pains, but it’s worth it. PuG for 5-mans, heroics, and Naxx-10 if you can. If you’re lucky, someone will recruit you for their guild.

Tip #6: Research your class

Read voraciously about your class and spec. There are a lot of places with good information. Read WoW blogs! If you’re here on Matticus, you’ve made a good start. I predict that in a couple of months there will be a rash of “gearing up for Naxx” posts. Read them and follow the advice. When I recruit, one of the things I check for on someone’s armory is class knowledge. Have the right gems, enchants and spec–it will open doors.

Tip #7: Spend your gold

You’ve been using those gathering professions to make money, right? Now is the time to spend it. Improve your gear by buying BoE blues (that you will then fully gem and enchant). If you’re rich enough, now is the time to level a crafting profession. Make sure it’s one that gives your class a special advantage.

Tip #8: Apply to a Naxx-10 guild

By the time you hit 80, the first wave of raiders will have moved past the first tier. However, my experience with TBC tells me that there are always guilds out there that focus on the first instance. There are still active Kara guilds now! Find a Naxx-10 guild that’s no more than halfway through the instance. That way you will get to do all the learning with them. What you don’t want is a more experienced guild. You want to be there for a lot of the first kills so you can have the experience that goes along with all the wipes.

Tip #9: Apply to a Raiding Guild

With Naxx-10 cleared a few times, you have probably gained the basic skills of a raider. Now is the moment to apply for the next tier. This likely means switching guilds. Of course, you’re going to be quitting your Naxx-10 guild respectfully, right? Part of that means not taking uber loot if you know you’re leaving soon. Apply to guilds on and off the server. Look for an organization that has the chops to do 25-mans but isn’t too far beyond Naxx. You might even move laterally, over to a Naxx-25 guild. Alternately, if your Naxx-10 guild has the skills to move on in the 10-man bracket, just stick around and progress with the same group! 10-man progression provides a real alternative in Wrath to the mega-guilds.

Tip# 10: App to Impress

If you do decide to change guilds, make sure that, in your written application and/or your interview, you communicate your enthusiasm for raiding and for the new guild. Nothing impresses me more than effort–make that guild application shine. Note: monosyllabic answers bad, demonstrated knowledge of class good.

And just remember–nothing is impossible. If you have the will to work toward a goal, you will succeed. I bet a player could start today and be ready for raiding in a couple of months. The other lesson is this–the World of Warcraft is immense. If you’re willing to spend time looking, there is always a guild to suit your needs.

How to Be Evil in 5 Easy Steps

How to Be Evil in 5 Easy Steps

Hello World of Matticus readers! I’m Sydera’s warlock alt, Isidora, and for today only, I’ve locked her in a box in my basement (in case you were wondering, I put her on a shelf next to my collection of Bat Eyes and Gelatinous Goo). While Syd’s out of commission, I’m going to teach you all how to be an eeeeeeevil warlock alt.

There are other guides out there to initiate you into the ways of Evil. For example, I cackled in sheer dastardly joy when I read V’ming’s post on WowInsider a while back on how to cause grief and destruction for others. However, it seems to me that some of his advice is counter-productive. If other players realize how black and rotten my twisted little heart is, they’re not going to want to run me through dungeons any more. And yes, in the depths of my dark little soul, I’m all about the acquisition of shiny new purples, particularly evil ones.

Here are some ways to express your inner demon and take out your frustrations on the PvE world. Be careful! Some of the creatures you’ll be torturing like to bite. The trick is to make sure they bite someone else.

Tip #1: Keep Lots of Jars Full of Nasty Things

Any evil warlock worth her salt will comb through Azeroth’s flora and fauna for the most foul, most hideous creatures to hide in her pockets. I personally find the Imp in a Jar to be quite a hoot at eeevil cocktail parties. I’ve left J’eevee in there so long that he smells a little ripe, and let me tell you, he’s always a crowd pleaser. I’m also rather fond of my Pet Cockroach. Any time I stop by the Pig N Whistle for a cold beer and a grilled chicken caesar salad (it’s the signature food of eeevil), I like to take out Roachybuttons and sit him by the side of my plate. Then I jump up and down and start screaming–I’ve never yet had to pay for my lunch. Other disgustingly evil things in my pocketses include a rabid Worg Pup and a rotten Carrot on a Stick, which I never let my mount so much as nibble.

Tip #2: Always Add Insult to Injury

It’s not enough to blast your enemies into smithereens. The eeevil warlock always does so in style! Terrify the innocents you’ll be slaughtering with razor-sharp wit. For example, you might consider macro-ing a few choice quips to your most destructive spells. With my shadowbolt, I like to use: “Take that, you lily-livered bamboo-snorkeling piddle-drinker!” Don’t be afraid to change it up though. Since you’re an evil warlock alt, you certainly don’t need your macros interface for that cowardly cooperation session known as “raiding.”

Tip #3: Get in Touch with Your Greedy Side

Gold. Your main has it, and you don’t. Every eeevil warlock alt must practice the “I want” speech. This is best delivered while stamping your foot and wringing your main’s arm. Here’s a good example: “But Auntie Syd, everyone else has a pony! I NEED A PONY NOW! And it has to be on fire!” Rinse and repeat for your birdie, that rare minipet you’ve been eyeing, your hawt orange midriff top from the Deadmines, or anything else that catches your evil little eye. Your main will call in favors and get you whatever it is. If she’s anything like Syd, your main is a sucker. Which reminds me…some of my gear doesn’t have epic gems yet. As soon as I let her out of that box, she’s going to make a little trip to the gem vendor.

Tip #4: Pick on the Innocent and the Helpless


Repeat after me: “critters are for killing.” None of this /love stuff. If you see a huggable skunk or a fuzzy widdle bunny, you know what to do. A well-timed Corruption will never go amiss, and you’ll have the added bonus of listening to the poor creature scream in agony as the DoT slowly ticks away. As you grow in eeevil power, take on larger game. Any time you see a majestic animal going about its own business, it’s time to introduce it to the circle of life, demonology-style. As for me, I enjoy helping the polar bears of Winterspring earn their place on the endangered species list. For extra credit, don’t ever skin or eat what you kill. Leave its rotting carcass there to pollute the ground water.

Tip #5: Bite the Hand that Feeds You

Being an eeevil warlock means never having to say thank you. Sure, your main begged all his friends and guildmates to take you to Dire Maul to get your flaming horsie. Just be sure you are never, ever in a position to help them out! That’s your main’s job. Also, take care not to let your legion of demonic fiends get too comfortable in your presence. Yes, they take hits in the face so you don’t have to, but that doesn’t mean you should be nice! Practice kicking them while they’re down and jabbing them in their soft metaphorical underbellies (I’m not certain that demons have underbellies, and if they do, they might be covered in Fel Scales). For example, I like to “compliment” my succubus on her appearance. Every time I need her services, I like to say to her: “Hey Lynva, your butt looks really big in that outfit. Have you put on weight since the last time we did a dungeon together?” Let me assure you that the tears of demons are every bit as delicious as those of mages. They taste like cherry kool-aid.

Follow these five tips, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the terror of Azeroth, or at least of your main’s character screen. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to selling 400 individual pieces of Felweed at the Auction House for ridiculously high prices.

SYTYCB: The Humble Checklist

SYTYCB: The Humble Checklist

veleda-post

This is Veleda’s SYTYCB week 2 entry.

This post is about lists. Yes, don’t worry, Matt, there’ll be an actual list in here, too. But first, I want to sell you on the virtues of a particular type of list — the checklist.

You’ve got a flying mount, right?

In flight training, pilots have the use of checklists drilled into us from the beginning. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student pilot who has yet to solo, or an airline pilot with thousands of hours logged. Almost any repetitive series of tasks is done with a checklist. You might think that after doing the same sequence every time we fly, we’d be familiar enough with the routine that we wouldn’t need the list to remind us. But it’s that very familiarity that is in some ways the problem!

Huh? What? Where was I?

Flying, like WoW, can have many things interrupting you as you try to do something. Sometimes, you just need to talk to someone else, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s Air Traffic Control on the radio, or the whisper you just got from a friend in game that you need to respond to. You’ve paused your tasks, and when you pick them back up, where were you? You have many memories of doing these tasks previously. But did you just do it?! Have you marked it as complete on the checklist? If so, you’ve done it, and if not, you haven’t.

But… But…

Okay, you say, but WoW is just a game. Why would we need checklists there? Because there are many times we, too, have to go through a number of repetitive tasks, and we sometimes do them when we’re bored or tired or dealing with several other things at the same time. The most useful place in WoW that I’ve found checklists is in post raid restocking.

Are you the weakest link?

I suspect most people have been in a raid when someone has indicated they’re out of some consumable they need to continue to contribute effectively to the raid. Perhaps they want to borrow mana potions from others in the raid. Or, they might need a portal to a city and a summons back, so they can buy some reagents, or ammunition. This interrupts the raid and makes everyone else wait for the person that isn’t prepared, at best. At worst, they might not have noticed the lack until the pull, and have just wiped the raid because they didn’t have something that they needed.

I sleep now?

If, however, you have a checklist of everything you consume during a raid, you can use that to restock right after a raid, so that you’re always ready to go. You might be tempted to wait until just before you’re next scheduled to raid to take care of this, but I’d caution against that. Some consumables might not be available at all times, so it’s better watch for them early. And there are the opportunities that arise unexpectedly. Do your restocking right after a raid, and your character is ready for anything the next time you log in.

Making the list

So, here’s a generic restocking checklist, that you can use to build a list customized to each of your characters.

  • Repair your gear

    It’d be awkward to charge into battle in the future only to have your armour fail you because a strap that was on it’s last legs broke.

  • Replace ammo

    Particularly for hunters, who should always completely refill the largest quiver or ammo pouch they can carry. Other classes that use a ranged weapon to pull, check your ammo level to make sure that will still be useful.

  • Replace reagents

    Many classes need reagents for the abilities they bring to a raid. My shaman only has to deal with Ankhs, but other classes will want various other things for the abilities they’re counted on for while raiding. Figure out how many you might need on a bad night, and set that as the minimum.

  • Buff food

    No matter what you do, there’s probably a food that gives you a buff that helps you do it better. For my hunter, that’s warpburgers or grilled mudfish. For my shaman, it’s golden fishsticks. If you’re a hunter, don’t forget to add Kibler’s Bits, either, to buff your pet.

  • Replenishment food and drink

    Food for health, and drinks for mana, between fights. Many raids will have a mage make a table that provides conjured mana biscuits, but you shouldn’t depend on those. If you find yourself in a raid without mages, have enough to keep you going. Naruu rations are the best way to go, once you have SSO rep for them. Again, hunters also need pet food, to keep their pet happy through the raid.

  • Healing potions

    Sometimes, the healers are busy working on others. If you can use a potion to stave off death until the healers get around to you, that’ll keep you in the fight longer.

  • Bandages

    The biggest bandages you can use, which should be the biggest ones in the game. Same rationale as healing potions, but with a different cooldown timer, so they can be used if you recently used a potion.

  • Mana potions

    If doing your job requires that you have mana, you probably are going to be carrying some of these to help you out when your mana gets low before the end of the fight is in sight.

  • Elixirs and/or Flasks

    Which of these you prefer will depend on your specific needs. Sometimes, it makes sense to use one or two elixirs, and other times, the right flask. Elixirs are generally much cheaper, but they don’t persist through party wipes, so if you’re working new content, they might end up being more expensive than flasks. Make sure you have enough to get through a raid.

  • Weapon buffs

    This can be something that buffs the weapon, such as sharpening stones or poisons, or it can be another way to give you an unrelated buff, such as with superior mana oil.

  • Scrolls

    These can be pricey, but unlike an elixir, you can use a scroll to boost a stat while using a flask. Figure out if any scrolls are worthwhile to you, and make sure you have them stocked.

Checking it twice

vrc

Once you’ve got the list made, find a handy way to go through it after each raid. Ideally, you should have a way of keeping track of where you are on the list. You can print it out, and either check or cross off completed items, or follow while sliding a ruler down the list. You can use a to-do program on your computer to build and check off the lists as you go. I’ve recently taken to using one of the free to-do programs available for the iPhone to go through my restocking lists.

Are we there, yet?

Well, now that you’ve got raid restocking checklists for your characters, you can checklist other things. You might have a ready checklist for any given raid. It’s embarrassing to be on Nightbane’s terrace only to realize that you all left your summoning urns in the bank. Once you’ve harnessed the power of the humble checklist, such moments can be a thing of the past.

Part 5: Ways to Promote Your Blog

WoW Blogging 101

Due to Chinese New Year festivities, I’ve had to run on a reduced schedule today. Therefore, the only piece I could get up was non WoW related! Those of you that have just started blogging and are wondering how to promote your blog won’t have to look any further!

How to Get Started Blogging: Parts 1 and 3

WoW Blogging 101

Since my University is on a mountain and it’s snowing like crazy in BC, my classes were canceled due to treacherous road conditions. Over at the Blog Azeroth forums, Rhoeyln asked a series of questions about blogging:

Hi, all. I’m going to follow past precedent and make a little request, here. I’m very new to the blogosphere, but I’ve been wanting an avenue in which to collect my long list of WoW thoughts. I want to start writing a blog. However, I feel like a very fat fish in very shallow waters. I don’t know how to move or breathe.

Could someone put together a list of steps to get started? What do you need? What should you have prepared before you publish? What does a successful schedule have to hold to keep the readers interested? What did you have put in place before you got started with the meaty-meat of writing?

Advice or resources to get the ball rolling would really be useful. Also, if anyone has thoughts about what the blogosphere hates or loves, needs or absolutely doesn’t need, I’d love to hear those, too.

Thank you,
~Rhoelyn

I started writing up a large response but then I realized it would be a lot larger then a simple forum post. With that in mind, I’m going to start writing a series of posts on WoW Blogging 101.

It will cover:

  • Part 1: Before You Start
  • Elements of a WoW Blog (features and such)
  • Part 3: How I Write my Posts
  • Writing and ideas in general
  • Promoting your blog
  • Commenting etiquette and ethics
  • Statistics
  • Extra resources and reading
  • Conclusions and Final Thoughts

I don’t know when I’ll finish. But knowing me and my work ethic, I’ll probably finish within the week. Yes, I’m also aware I wrote this out of order. It’s how I roll! =)

How to: Manage New Players and Loot

I think it’s a fair assessment to say that most raiding Guilds have some kind of a trial procedure before a new player truly gets accepted. Complications arise when they raid begin to raid. Oh sure they’ve got the right to loot and all, but what about the guys that have worked on the boss for three weeks? Let’s back up for a second here and talk about trialing.

From the new player perspective

So you’re the new guy who is eager to prove yourself to the other members in the Guild. You might experience some difficulty breaking into the atmosphere. You’re a little shy and intimidated. After all here’s a Guild that doesn’t run Karazhan anymore, crushes Solarian, mops the floor with Leo, rides Al’ar like a pony, and turns Lurker into sushi. The only raiding experience you have is to your fridge at midnight. The first thing you need to do is relax. The second thing you need to do is to prove yourself worthy of being in such a Guild.

Different Guilds will have different methods of evaluating you as a player and as a person. A PvP Guild examines players based on how well they PvP. A raiding Guild examines players on their raiding performance. When you join a Guild initially, chances are you’re not “technically” in the Guild yet. But at the same time, you’re kind of “in” the Guild. It’s similar to hockey. Some players who don’t have contracts with various clubs will start by trying out with the clubs and seeing how well they fit in. That’s where you, the new guy, will be: in the Guild but not quite yet. Now the time period could range from a day to a month. Most tryouts would not involve you running in a five man or a heroic. Five man instances are vastly different from raid instances. If there happens to be a roster slot open for you, you’ll get thrown into the frying pan. The first time you raid with a new Guild will make or break your application. Because if you’re inactive or heaven forbid that you some how screw up somewhere, you will always be labelled as such a player. When I started doing Lurker a few months ago (gosh it’s been so long), I would consistently get blasted by his Spout because my computer’s frame rate was not high enough for me to compensate. It didn’t take long before other players old and new alike were told to not “pull a Mallet”.

Usually on first raids, most players will be quite forgiving. They’ll understand that it’s your first raid with them and they’ll be extra patient. But that extra patience will begin to wear thin. You need to stay extra focused and on your toes. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for clarification. Better a raid to spend an extra five minutes on explanations then thirty on wiping and dealing with trash respawns.

My trial experiences went something along the lines of this:

During my period with Angelic Advocates, I did not have the ability to speak in Guild chat (quite a nuisance by the way, don’t do that to new people). My trial run consisted of being thrown into a 40 man Raid group and completing BWL from start to finish. I was immediately promoted (with speaking privileges) the moment we downed Nefarion. Oddly enough, it was a Guild first (Six Priests and I was the only fear ward).

When I was trying out for Aurora, I was asked to step in and raid Karazhan at 11 PM. We downed Attumen on the first try and I was signed within days.

After a lengthy 20 minute interview with the recruiting officer for Carnage, I was invited on a trial basis. It took me several Gruul runs and a Magtheridon death before I was finally accepted with open arms.

My experiences all have one thing in common: perseverance. I’ve run into my share of players who would leave the Guild immediately if they wipe 12 times in Karazhan on a single night. If you can’t handle wiping in a minor instance like Karazhan, then there is not a chance you can handle raiding in a 25 man instance where raid wipes in the 20s are not uncommon. People seem to expect a free ride from high end raiding Guilds. I think that is one facet of the game that really annoys me.

The worse possible thing that can happen is that you and your potential new Guild just don’t mesh. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Nothing will stop you from hopping over to a new Guild and beginning the process anew.

From the Guild perspective

Here is one possible method for handling loot and new players. It’s going to work if you use a DKP system to help manage all the purples that drop. You can set a period of two or three weeks where players allowed to accumulate points but are not eligible to bid for or spend their points on loot. This is plausible if some players are in the negatives. However, if no one in the Raid needs that particular item, then the new player can exercise his option and ask for it. If you think about it, it’s kind of like a big giant “need before greed” situation. The rest of the Guild has option before it is then passed to the new player.

It’s up to every Guild member to make the new player at home and help him out a little bit if needed. You don’t need to give him your 30 Uber Fires and Uber Nethers for his Ubercloth set, but do help him out if he wants a small quest done or needs a mob killed. The point here is to encourage participation. If you’re doing dailies, ask him if they’ve done it yet. If you need an extra spot in a five man instance, go to the new player FIRST and see if they want in. Not only do you make the new player welcome, but you can subliminally see how that player performs and interacts with the Guild. All it takes is for one Guild member to say “Ubernoob said this to me and wouldn’t do this because he didn’t want to do it” and he is placed on the scrutiny list. I’ve seen cases where new players ask for help in running an instance and some Guild members say “sure, just a sec” and Ubernoob drops off the face of the planet leaving the Guild members hanging and scratching their heads wondering where he went (twice from what I’ve seen :O).

With this additional examination process, it allows more opportunities for Guild members to check out the Ubernoob. Guild Leaders who may not be around as often or don’t have the time to play with the Ubernoob can ask players who have had experience with him to report their thoughts. Leaders can then make judgments based on the type of information they receive which leads to one or two directions: Ubernoob is considered an asset and receives a nod or Ubernoob is a liability and is not what the Guild is looking for.

Finally, whatever decision that is made by the Officers should be respected and should not be second guessed. They usually have more information then Tony Raider and should be trusted to make the right decisions.

How To: Properly Pickup Raid

I just had the pleasure of finishing a pickup raid with Fallen Heroes (Locks and Mages are in need for them by the way) in Karazhan. I was one of several pickup players that needed for their semi-Guild run. Several minor events happened throughout the evening that I wanted to share with everyone and I think it’s good practice for these general rules to be observed. We’re now in a stage of WoW where it’s possible for Karazhan pickup raids and Gruul’s Lair raids to be formed with ease. Many higher tier Guilds no longer have these instances on their raid rotation and new members tend to be forced to gear up via their own means. Sometimes, this means joining various Guild runs that need 1 or 2 spots filled because they don’t have enough players around.

1: Determine loot rules: I think this should always be the first step before you step in on a run. Figure out if it’s a free roll. In most cases, some Guilds want to gear up specific players which sets certain pieces of loot off limits. A typical example would be an item like a King’s Defender being reserved for the MT. Today I had some random scrub Paladin who joined the raid. We weren’t able take down Shade due to a plethora of reasons (I’ll explain in a second) so we opted to skip right to Chess. He asked if he could roll on the Defender as well as other pieces that he could wear after he zoned in. He was flatly denied and tried to argue for option to roll. This is a case of asking for too much, I think. Chess is free loot. He could’ve had a shot at the Healing Shield that might’ve dropped. But after much private harassment to the raid leader, he said enough, was removed. It’s impolite to accuse someone of being a bad leader in WoW and not knowing how to do encounters when that player is completely epic’d out and the arguing player’s dressed in blues.

But regardless, my point is that loot rules should be firmly established to players who are attending even if they’re in the Guild or if they’re not.

2: Watch Threat: There was no Paladin around for Salvation buffs. The raid had to pay extra careful attention to the amount of DPS they were doing. It’s not difficult to ease off the trigger for a few seconds as the Tanks are doing their thing. Some people are just trigger happy for no reason. What happens next? They die. Most players would learn. But not all of them. When we first zoned in and began to work our way towards Opera, there were the skeleton pulls that flank that corridor leading to the stage. The first thing I barked out was that there was no Paladin, which means no threat reduction so pay attention to your aggro. Sure enough, a Shadow Priest pulls aggro and gets nuked. A Hunter pulls aggro and gets nuked (FD was on cooldown). After we clean up and res, we move on to the next bunch. I reiterated the fact that we had no Paladin. I made a mental wager that the same Shadow Priest would pull aggro again. Sure enough, he died yet again. This time I caved in and dropped Tranquil Air Totem instead of Grace.

In a case like this, it would be made even more embarrassing if you as the outside player were to make such sloppy mistakes. Since the Guild doesn’t know you and the kind of player you are, there’s going to be an automatic assumption that you have no idea what you’re doing. If you DO know what you’re doing, then you’re just an idiot. Remember that you are a guest and that you want to make a fairly good impression to the people you are running with the side outcome of running with them again in the future. Even if it was the worst run ever and the Guild isn’t capable of doing, you never know when you could use their services. Maybe a player in that Guild has a super rare enchant or crafting recipe that you can use. Chances are, they’ll remember you as a stand out player and they just might waive their nether fee.

3: Do Your Job: Come on, don’t insult our intelligence. Just because a raid isn’t able to completely outright destroy a boss does not mean they’re not aware of what’s going. With today’s tools, breaking down and analyzing raids has never been more easier. Leaders can determine what went wrong, why, and whose fault it was.

Take the following example from Shade. I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a spell interrupt fight. Our raid makeup consisted of 2 Warriors (pummels), 1 Rogue (kick), 1 Mage (counterspell), and 1 Resto Shaman (me and my rank 1 earthshock goodness). I daresay that’s plenty of spell interrupts to go around. Some players were tasked to certain schools, other players were told to FFA it to avoid cooldown issues and the like. Unfortunately, we could not kill Shade. But I think I know why:

Our mage did absolutely nothing. At least no spellcasters got within range of Shade for HIM to counterspell us.

4: Leave for the Right Reasons: Sometimes certain raids will carry on fairly late. It’s understandable that some players need to step out because of it. Maybe they have to work the next day, or they’re students like myself who are cursed with 9 AM classes. Here’s a BAD reason to leave:

“I died 9 times. I’m tired of wiping. Bye.”

Sorry, but you can’t expect loot handed to you on a platter. No one in this game owes you anything. If you can’t handle dying 20 times a night, then you’re obviously not ready for raiding. A simple test like Karazhan helps determines those that aren’t ready for raiding and those who will flourish. If you’re one of those players who have float from Guild to Guild wondering why, perhaps you should take a step back and examine yourself. I do not expect the Shadow Priest to remain in the Guild for much longer with an attitude like that.

Oddly enough, the Shadow Priest bolted after the 2nd attempt on Shade just as we were in the process of skipping over him and moving straight to the Chess event. We were able to flawlessly execute the dreaded “Battle Ressing Druid and Hellfiring Warlock” combination to bypass all of those mobs. Our Holy Priest received his Headdress and I think the Rogue got that neckpiece which had a lot of stats on it.

Follow the above steps, and you will have an enjoyable time with the game no matter who you play with.

[Special thanks to Adino for his assistance in compiling this column.]

How to: Maximize Your Raid’s Potential with Special Teams

WOW! What a way to end Thanksgiving Weekend. I managed the catch the Cowboys vs Bills game on TSN. I have a whole newfound respect for the sport. I’m amazed at all the plays by both teams. Five interceptions? I figure that’s a lot. That’s the best game of football I’ve seen since Remember the Titans. A wiseass would then remark “Well what football games have you seen since Remember the Titans?”. To which I would respond “None!”. But the literally down-to-the-wire win by Dallas is an attitude that should be adopted by everyone. Two seconds can be all it takes to from a humiliating wipe to a resounding boss kill (along with special teams play which we’ll get to in a moment).

Today’s piece is about organizing your raid. You’ve got your 25 members ready to go. You’re excited for Gruul’s because it’s the first time you’ve ever done a 25 man. You’re pumped and and the adrenaline rush hits you as you take down the first Ogre showing him whose the man: You. Then you come up against the High King and his goons and now you’re left gaping in awe because you’re not sure how to set up your groups, right? Face it. With the many different races and classes available, there are multiple auras and passive racials to take into account.

Enter Special Teams

Your raid consists of five separate parties. Special teams are important in Hockey and other sports. You want the Power Play units to generate and capitalize on scoring chances. You want your Penalty Killers to fend off the opposing team out numbered. I’m sure Football has numerous cases of special teams but I don’t know the names of them yet (That’s my goal for the end of the year). How you set up your parties in your raid can make the difference between a 1% wipe and a Guild first down.

What follows is a unit-by-unit break down of a hypothetical raid. This will be your standard, generic, default, 1st unit raid set up against trash and some bosses which assumes the following:

You’re using four tanks (Two Druids and Two Warriors)
7 healers (3 Paladins, 3 Priests, a Resto. Shaman)
14 DPS (3 mages, 3 warlocks, 2 hunters, 2 rogues, 1 warrior, 1 enhancement shaman, and 2 shadow priests)

Unit 1: Tanking Unit

This is the group your Main Tank (Henceforth known as MT) is in. What you are concerned here with isn’t damage dealing, nor mana regenerating, or the like. The main objective of this unit is to survive as best as possible which means loading up with Stamina, Armor, and whatever else the MT needs to do to stay alive.

Warrior (Prot)
Warrior (Hybrid with Commanding Shout)
Druid (Feral Tank)
Paladin (For Devotion Aura)
Warlock (Imp Health Increase)

Seems simple enough, right? Your MT here is bolstered by Devo. Aura (for the little armor it provides), the second warrior that has Commanding Shout (for temporary health increase), the Warlock’s Imp (health increase), and the Druid’s Leader of the Pack (What they hey, this bear’s tanking and should benefit from all this stuff too, plus he adds extra crit percent).

Unit 2: Secondary Tanking Unit

This is your second Tanking unit. It’ll mainly be deployed against trash pulls of 3+ or against certain bosses that have multiple parts (Fathom-Lord, High King are good examples).

Paladin
Druid (Feral)
Paladin (Holy)
Warlock (Imp Buff)
Hunter (BM Hunter)

At first glance, this unit seems like a mish-mash of left overs combined together (which it is). It’s the same principle as above except this unit has one feral druid tanking. The Imp buff provided by the warlock is a staple, and the Ferocious Inspiration from the Hunter is an on crit effect by the hunter’s pet which increases damage done by everyone in the party by 3%. Two Paladins means two different auras (Retribution Aura and Devo. Aura). In a nutshell, this is a mishmash of left over classes combined together. As you read on about the final three units, you’ll find out why.

Unit 3: Healing and Mana Regeneration Unit

Shaman (Restoration)
Priest (Shadow)
Priest (Holy)
Priest (Holy)
Priest (Holy)

This unit is your next important group to set up. You want to maximize the return on mana to your healers so they can sustain the rest of the raid. With that objective in mind, we task the Restoration Shaman here (His spell crit racial is a plus along with mana spring AND mana tide on emergency). We’ll use one of our Shadow Priests here for the mana and health returns from VE/VT. The rest of the group is rounded out with 3 Holy Priests. Note that we still have a Paladin kicking around. I would throw him in this group, but Paladins hardly ever run out of gas anyway so he doesn’t need the mana regeneration.

Unit 4: Close Quarters Combat Unit

Enhancement Shaman (Windfury is a no brainer)
Warrior (Hybrid, capable of tanking and dishing out punishment)
Rogue
Rogue (Kind of a given)
Hunter (BM Hunter)

This unit contains the Melee DPS of the group. The Enhancement shaman will rocket this unit’s DPS sky high with Windfury alone. In addition to WF, the Shaman should drop Strength of Earth and Healing Stream totems. Your Warrior is the last tank available in the event there’s an extra trash mob running around. At the very least, he’s a good OH $#%@ tank who can slap on a sword and a shield and taunt. Two rogues are in here, enough said. Our second Hunter is in here as well. I don’t know a lot about Hunters but I think the norm is BM hunters now? I’m not quite sure since I’ve been noticing more Hunter pets in raids. Ferocious Inspiration is an on crit by the hunter’s pet which increases damage done by everyone in the party by 3%. It’ll be up for the majority of the raid. [Thanks Melanne]

Unit 5: Caster Sustained Siege Unit

Priest (Shadow)
Mage
Mage
Mage
Warlock

This is your nuking group. The extra Shadow Priest again is for the VE/VT combination to fuel the firepower of the Mage and the Warlocks. Extra mana return helps to further extend the length of time that your casters can use. Shadow Vulnerability from the Shadow Priest helps the Warlock add a bit more extra punch.

I know this hypothetical raid group did not cover all possible classes or races (Sorry Horde players, I don’t know what kind of benefits your racials get). Obviously moonkin druids get no love at all (Carnage does not utilize any). There’s multiple ways to establish your Special Teams and they will consist of a variety of players and skill sets. You as the Raid leader needs to decide what is best overall for your raid Group. It’s a never ending game of balancing the pros and cons of races and classes with one another. Today’s piece was just a minor example of how to pull it off. Different bosses will yield different looking Special Teams. Bosses like Hydross will scatter your Paladins in different groups for Frost Resistance aura. Sometimes there is a particularly hard 5 pull that has all of your warriors and druids tanking and you’ll need to substitute players from your Close Quarters Unit with your Secondary Tanking Unit. Just remember to always use your discretion. Your Guild and raid makeup will obviously be far different then the one used in my Guild. Use this guide as just that: a guide.

Things I learned from my office (qualities, degree importance, salary)

Friday was my last day of full time work at Pacnet. The company had a hiring frenzy during the past few weeks. As the director of human resources, my boss was quite busy calling and interviewing various candidates. But on the last day, I had an opportunity to sit down with my boss and ask her a few questions about the hiring process and the qualities in candidates that she looks for. I figured I’d put some down here on my blog to help you and so that I would not forget (If you don’t write it down, it never happened). I know some of you business majors will definitely benefit from some of this. I can’t remember exactly word for word, but I can relay the general idea of it.

Matt: When you were going through the hiring process, what qualities do you look for in a person?

HR: Seeing as our environment is extremely interactive, I pay a lot of attention to a person’s social ability. I want to see if a candidate will fit in well with our team. To determine that, I’ll ask them a few hypothetical scenario questions. I’m not interested in the answer they provide. I’m interested in how they answer it. Hiring people is an instinctual thing for me since I’ve done it for so long. So if a person dodges or deflects the question, chances are they will not get the second call back. They may take a moment or two to reflect on it (ie, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your last job? If your friends could describe you in 3 words, what would it be?). That’s perfectly alright so long as they answer it.

For example, I know many human resource managers, and 4 out of 5 of them are not suited for the job. Human resources is a field where success depends on your social skills and soft skills. You need to know how to deal with people.

Technical skills are also especially important. In the world of business, you need to have a certain degree of mathematical competency. You need to know how to use a calculator (adding machine). There’s a minimum keystrokes per hour that needs to be maintained. This is tested on after the 2nd interview. English is also a must. Our office is very diverse with employees from multiple cultures. It doesn’t matter what their level of education is, if they’re not able to understand what I’m asking them, then it will be difficult in their working environment.

Show interest in the position you’re applying for but do not appear desperate. Do not beg or plead for the job. Show a strong healthy interest. How would I determine that? Simple really. I ask if they’ve been to our website and if they can tell me what our company does. I don’t expect them to be able to tell me from start to finish how our company operates. What I do expect from them is an answer along the lines of this: “I understand your company processes various foreign currencies from cheques, cash and credit cards for different clients around the world.” An answer that simple tells me that they have visited our website and is familiar with our services. Again, interest must be shown.

Matt: Do you place much emphasis on educational degrees?

HR: Actually, I don’t. Remember that the academic world and the business world are different from one another. Because one candidate has a degree in finance management and another one doesn’t would not rank one higher then the other. I look at the experience they bring to the position as well as other potential assets. But, it also depends on the position they apply for. Something like cheque processing does not require a certificate or a piece of paper that says “I’m qualified for processing cheques”. But a position in our marketing department faces slightly higher demands. While you may not need a degree in marketing, you must show some sort of interest. A certificate would help. But even saying that you’re still studying marketing would be a boon. Marketing is a field where you need to have the experience and the interest in order to be successful.

Matt: One more question, and it’s something that’s stumped me for a while. When do you discuss salary?

HR: Don’t ever discuss salary on the first interview. Allow salary to be brought up by the interviewer. Young people often go into interviews without any idea of what their salary should be. Don’t make that mistake. Do some research. There are lots of websites on the internet with what the average person doing this job makes. So you should have two figures in mind when you’re going in: The absolute minimum salary you’re willing to work for, and your ideal or dream salary. Then you pick two figures in between that. For example, you want to make $60000 a year, but you’re also willing to work for $30000 a year. If the interviewer asks you how much you’re willing to work for, be flexible and give them a range between $32000 – $35000. This way, you don’t overprice yourself out of their reach and you still get a decent wage. You do not ever reveal to them your minimum. Don’t tell them you’re willing to work for $30000.

One more thing, when I placed ads out for our position, I added a note that applicants should specify their salary. Many of them do not. My belief is that I don’t want to waste their time, and they should not waste my time. If a job placement asks you to specify what your salary is, put it down. Surprisingly, many applicants fail to do it. Many times when I phone them, I inform them that they did not place a salary expectancy down.

That’s as much information I was able to glean from my boss, but all of it was useful. Hope it helps!