It Came from the P.U.G.: The Lodur Abides

It Came from the P.U.G.: The Lodur Abides

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

So we’ve had one hell of a couple weeks haven’t we? I know I was busy with talk of addons and macros but more importantly, last week we had the Shaman class changes. Don’t worry I won’t gush about it, there will be plenty of time for that later.  For today I’d like to share with you the latest in my P.U.G stories.

Tuesday I logged back in a couple hours after the raid to get my auction house items up and then do my daily heroic. It is about 2 am est at this point which is my normal heroic time. That night however I get Heroic Culling of Stratholme. Now I haven’t done CoS since they updated it with the fast forward button. We start out and I take a look at the group, bear tank decently geared, shadow priest and warlock ok geared and a fury warrior. To give you an idea the sp and lock were hovering around a 4k gear score, the fury warrior was just about 5k and the bear was almost at 6k.

It should be a quick run right? I forgot that you could talk to Chromie and port right there now, so the tank and twoDPS start before I get there (D’oh!), but they don’t die. I show up and we blow through the first two bosses and their respective waves, and head into the town hall. We down the first wave and head upstairs, the next group spawns and the fury warrior goes down. I look around and notice that the tank was still sitting downstairs. I heal the hell out of the priest and lock and eventually the tank comes upstairs and wrangles everything. I quickly rest the warrior and the tank apologizes and says hit a massive lag spike. It’s ok it happens so no harm no foul. We get through the hallway and kill the third boss, and then the tank DC’s. The warrior freaks out “should we wait? the timer’s running out”

The priest pipes up “we can probably 4 man it, the healer’s good. As long as he’s ok with it that is. “

I say sure, set my focus macros and head off careening for the gauntlet. What happens is the fury warrior and I both wind up tanking. I just keep getting aggro from healing and apparently he only had dps specs (fury and arms caught me off guard). We tear through the gauntlet and make it to the corrupter. I frost shock and start healing. Corrupter goes down and chat starts up again.

Priest ” told you we’d be fine.”

Warrior “wow, that was cool, but shouldn’t we find a tank for the last boss?”

Me “pfft, I got this we’ll be fine”

I run in aggro Mal’ganis and immediately drop Earth Elemental. Toss an earth shield on the elemental and start healing. The group manages their aggro and the elemental tanks Mal’ganis for the entire fight. We end successfully and there are three very excited people in party with me

Warrior “that was seriously awesome, I don’t think I’ve seen something like that before”

Priest “thank you for that, most fun I’ve had in a while”

Warrior “yeah never realized shaman could do that”

Me “np, had a blast myself. “

Everyone parts ways and I have a huge shit-eating-grin on my face. Late night tanks are still hard to find, getting one to stick around when the instance is almost over is even tougher. Being able to finish the run, and have people have a blast while doing it is priceless to me. I play this game to have fun and honestly nights like this are some of my favorite moments. I get to do something out of the ordinary, and get to make some people happy. All in all a good night I’d say.

As some of you know, I’m big on community. I like helping members of the community out, so when someone approaches me and asks for a shout out, I’ll look it over and if it doesn’t seem bad I’ll go ahead and give it a push. So a moment of your time if you please. This one is a favor for a friend’s friend. Ginny who did the lovely artwork for my Dwarf Shaman and the artwork featured in my spells and totems article on wow.com asked if I would be so kind as to help spread word of her friend’s attempt to raise money for charity. This is from will draw 4 food who is attempting to raise money to donate to the Jake Wetchler foundation. The foundation’s focus is the research and treatment of pediatric cancer.  Their main site should be done in may so feel free to stop by and take a gander.

That’s it for today folks.

Do you have any interesting pug stories? Anything fun you did this week?

Until next time, Happy Healing!

Image courtesy of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment Gramercy Pictures and the Cohen brothers.

The thought process of Lodur

The thought process of Lodur

Recently a comment on of my latest posts over at wow.com brought into question a bit of my integrity. Normally I do my best to ignore the bad comments but this one stuck with me a little bit. My last piece was talking about restoration shaman and haste. People seem to be under the impression that I didn’t like haste and was jumping on the band wagon to appease readers. Well as I’m certain most of you know I’m not really into the whole appeasement thing. It was questioned my “flopping” in stat priority, so I figured I’d take a few minutes and explain a little bit more how I view things like stats, spec and strategies.

First I don’t think there is a wrong way to do it. Not saying if you’re a healer and go afk because your HoTs are still active is ok, but rather everyone has their own style of game play. Some people love to tank heal, other people love to raid heal some float between these roles. Others still like the idea of being pure utility, not caring about topping the charts but rather lessening the burden of their fellow raid healers. The thing is all of this is valid, each is a unique way to play the game. We each play the game to have fun right? An easy way to do that is to find something you enjoy doing and making it yours.

I’ve seen healers stack Int above all else (recently) and still do fantastic jobs. I’ve seen players with more MP5 than I think even they knew what to do with but they still did fine. I saw a healer with SP coming out of every pore. I’ve seen healers and players doing all sorts of wacky things that work for them. But that’s the point it works for them. I acknowledge the fact that sometimes there are things more optimal to a situation, better ways of doing things based on the encounter alone. I accept that and I am not above admitting sometimes certain things are better than others in those situations. I like telling people different ways of doing things because it sparks creativity and offers an alternative way to do things that someone might not have thought about before. I like it even better when someone shows me something I hadn’t thought of before and I can say that I learned something from it.

So, there I am, in the middle. I try to see everything from the point of view of “how would this work?” rather than “oh that is just out right wrong! When it comes to things like stat priority my firm belief is that it will always be custom tailored to the role you choose and you as a player.

I mean we play in a game with a rather large population of players right? Eventually we’re going to run across something that might not be how we’re used to doing things but somehow works. Me I’d rather keep an open mind and take a look at it and try to understand how it works. I’d rather understand it rather than just dismiss it out of hand. Who knows I might learn something from one of those wacky situations. I know there’s been a few boss fights I heard of some strange way of doing it that worked, as well as the fact my guild routinely does things in a very odd fashion, but it works for us.

So what about you? In your travels have you encountered anything cool or odd that you didn’t expect to see but worked? Melee hunter? holy pally dps? Maybe some odd stat stacking?

That’s it for today, until next time Happy Healing!

 

Done!

Alright, so you all may have noticed that I’ve been a little absent as of late.  Believe me, it’s no fault of my own.  I love to blog.  Throughout my tenure here, I’ve been able to start some great conversations.  Seems like everything is going fine, right?  Yeah, F*** that.

Everything’s all fine and dandy until you’re not allowed to write anything.  I wrote a post debating one of Matticus’s points (actually, I’ve done a couple counter-point posts).  Have you seen it?? No.  Why?  Well we have a system:

I write a post.  I edit the post.  I schedule the post according to the rules.  I’ve learned that this is when posts get “approved.”  Most of the time, totally fine, but this time, no.  Matt goes in and just stops the post , simply because he doesn’t like that it disagrees with his.  I thought I was supposed to be able to write what I wanted?  Yeah, it’s f***ing bull****.  Ask me to join your blog and then I can’t even debate you.  Just write my f***ing posts for me, then.

I ORIGINALLY was going to start my own blog.  That way, who gets to “approve” my posts?  Me.  I don’t have to get cutoff by some douchebag.  Seems like I had the right godd*** idea the whole time.  If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s poor management like that.  And I’m not the only one.

Call the cops because I’ve been robbed. Robbed of my right to be treated like a decent respectable blogger. I mean I put in my dues! I sweat and pour over my writing as much as everyone here! Why am *I* the one that get’s shafted? I hope your editors read this Matt and learn just how much of a jerk you really are!

I’m not supposed to put this up here, but you all read this blog, so you should know what happens.  Lodur, as you know, is now writing for WoW.com.  Know who’s NOT writing for WoW.com as much anymore?  Matt.  Guess who’s pissed!!  Matt.  Lodur has told me countless times how much he still loves writing for this blog, but you’ve seen him less and less, too.  My personal thought is that someone is holding a f***ing grudge cause they’re a little butt hurt.  Not our f***ing fault you’re a reject, Matt.

So, F*** the schedule, F*** the censoring, F*** this blog, and F*** you, Matt.

Yeah I said it.  /rant off

Mixing it up a bit, musings of a mad shaman

Mixing it up a bit, musings of a mad shaman

The question was thrown out there a long time ago about how to re-invent the healing wheel so to speak. Right now the way healers work is the way they have always worked in pretty much every game I can think of (There are exceptions but they are far and few between). Healing has mostly been centered around the consumption, preservation and regeneration of mana or a similar in concept consumable resource. Since DnD (magic points), Magic the Gathering (mana from lands) etc, when you wanted to heal something you used your resources to cast the spell to heal the target. The concept of mana at this point is quite pedestrian.

The idea though is something that you can’t really change. Its is a rock solid equation. Spend x to get y, changing some form of consumable resource into healing or health. So my thought is this, why try to reinvent the wheel when you can just paint it a different color?

So how do you change things up? Well to be honest it would not be that hard to implement different ways to heal.

Change resources

One of the simplest ways to change the healing game is to change the resource with which a healer spends to heal. Like we said, mana has been done to death in about every way possible. Altering the source of ones power makes perfect sense.

Lets take for example a Paladin. Paladins in tradition mythology are bastions of willpower and determination. Characters in stories that lead in martial prowess in the protection of others while channeling divine gifts to heal the weak or cow the masses of the enemy horde before them. These cavaliers could very easily be represented by that very concept, willpower. A diminishing resource that regenerates on it’s own. It can easily be done similar to how a rogue’s focus works now in WoW. It would make things a bit more interesting I think, and it would eliminate the need for mana pots, replenishment and MP/5. More importantly it changes the flavor of the class making it more interesting to some. This change could also facilitate further role playing opportunities.

You can see why this would be desirable for many people and the mechanics would be easy to work out.

Please also understand paladin was just a random choice here it could work for many other classes.

Change the way you earn those resources

Another way you can mix things up for healers is change the way they earn their consumable resource. Think of it this way, right now you just have mana right? You replenish it over time (and it is never really explained how which honestly I think it should be, but that is a post for another time.) you can regen it through MP/5, through the replenishment ability or various other class abilities. But you don’t really earn them right? What if you change the model to include having to perform certain actions to generate the power to heal. This concept is not anything new and can be found in various other games such as Warhammer Online and Lord of the Rings Online. In both games you perform various tasks that supply you with the power to heal.

Joe’s solution and example

The fundamental problem with any class that uses mana or any consumable resource in any game is that eventually that resource runs out. When the resource runs out two things happen.

  1. The class functionality essentially ceases to exist. Without that resource there is nothing left for you to do.  You have to either use an external source to replenish that resource or wait for natural regeneration to give you enough of the resource to continue on. In WoW think of going OOM and having to drink, use mana gaining abilities such as mana tide totem or evocation, potions or innervates.  MP/5 also counts as an external factor.
  2. When a support classes functionality ceases, it factors towards the termination of the groups momentum. In WoW terms this is akin to waiting for the healer to have mana before being able to continue on with whatever group task is.

What some people don’t know is that I am an amateur game designer by desire. It is what I want to do with my life, I want to make games. Currently I am in the middle of making one game, with another planned after. If you’re interested in details on it. I will be updating about it more frequently on For The Lore’s website . What this means is I think about these things a lot. I am a gamer after all and I want other gamers to like my games when I make them right? So balance and renovation are always at the forefront when I’m making decisions.

In one of the games there are a couple healing classes. And I thought back on all the games I have played and participated in and thought about how I could mix it up and I came up with a couple answers.

To me the overarching answer is hybrids. I’m not saying you should get rid of pure healing classes but hybrid classes are an easy way to eliminate class functionality black holes. They are a pain to balance, but the reward is always worth it. Now I know when you think hybrid probably the first thing that comes to mind is the various classes considered hybrids in WoW (Paladin, shaman, priest, druid and DK). Truth is while those are hybrids, they are not true hybrids. To maintain full functionality for hybridization you need to completely respec. While this is more true in some cases than others it is what keeps them from being “true hybrids”.

To me a hybrid class is one that can flow between multiple roles seamlessly and without respeccing. Perfect examples of this can be found in Warhammer Online (Battle Priest) and Lord of the Rings Online (Rune Keeper). Both games have hybrids that fill both roles period. No respeccing, no hassle. The mechanics of these vary, but you get the idea.  So I’m going to share with you a little bit about two of the healer hybrid classes I have come up with for one of  my games.

These will be short descriptions of each just to give you an idea, more in depth write-ups will be available on for the lore in class descriptions as I complete them.

Monks of zhi bde

The monks of zhi bde are peaceful in nature, tending to the weak and sick with care and gentleness. Their monasteries can be found throughout the land and all who seek shelter or enlightenment are welcome. The monks of zhi bde are however not blind to the world and know that daemons and men can often be found lurking in the shadow wishing to cause harm to those weaker than themselves. The monks have honed their fighting skills to defend innocents from both arcane and mundane threats.

Monks of zhi bde are tireless defenders of the weak. Through use of their sigils and martial arts  they are able to take the fight to those that threaten the innocent while still supporting those they fight along side and those they protect. As they focus, they generate Ki that can then be released to heal the wounded.

In game:

This is a Healer/ DPS hybrid. The class revolves around a basic mechanic. As the monk buffs party members or attacks enemies through use of sigils and chants (a definable resource) they generate Ki(a second definable resource). That Ki can then be used to cast various support spells.

The sigils and chants are renewable and regenerate over time as they are used, Ki that is generated from the use of sigils and chants does decay over time if not used.

The idea is to keep the class mobile, always able to do something, whether it is buffing the party, attacking an enemy or healing the idea is to reduce downtime and keep the game moving allowing players to experience more of the game without having to stop and recuperate.  There are non combat uses for the sigils for those that wish to purely heal in group environments.

This is similar to the model WoW has put in place with DK’s  runes and runic power. Honestly it’s a great idea that I feel would benefit well the hybrid healer.

Field Medic

Where there is conflict and war there is suffering and death. For every army there are those that seek to mend the broken and save lives. Trained in both the arts of healing and the ways of war they stalk the battle field attempting to make their way towards the wounded, often fighting through enemies to get to their target. When confronted by an enemy they will fight with a martial prowess of a seasoned soldier in both melee and at range.

Each action is a measure of control that feeds into the field medics movements as they build momentum.  Every army boasts a slew of field medics, but some serve no nation preferring to sell their services to the highest paying adventuring party or seeking glory.

In game:

This is a DPS / Healer hybrid and it is a true hybrid. They earn momentum which can shift from offense to defense. For example the more healing they do, the better that healing becomes but their damage dealing abilities are reduced. The more damage they do the better that damage becomes but the weaker their support and healing becomes. When the player shifts gears their momentum swings to the other extreme. When they stop casting all together their momentum is reduced to a state of equilibrium.

Instead of traditional consumable resource, the effectiveness of the class abilities is the commodity payed along with the cool-down of abilities. This is also used as a balancing point for the class as peak performance for either role is back loaded.  This gives players free choice in the middle of an encounter to switch gears as needed and creates a more dynamic game play. While a field medic fully engaged in combat may be keeping up on DPS they are not removed from their ability to heal. It simply doesn’t heal for as much as it would if momentum was in full heal mode.

This is similar to how rune keepers function in LotRO

Again these are rough ideas that will change as I work on the game, but you can see that my intention is to spice things up a bit for healers, and give some options to hybrid players. Again I’m not advocating the removal of pure healers, just offering up ideas on how to shake things up a bit and maybe make things a bit more interesting. It ultimately is still spend x to get y, but x is sometimes time and cool-downs, sometimes another resource entirely.

How would you mix it up if you were tasked with changing the way healing was done?

That’s it for today, hope you enjoyed my musings. Until next time Happy Healing!

Death of the Niche Healer

Death of the Niche Healer

Recently a topic has sprung up among many healers. There are lots of blog posts popping up about it so I figured since I’ve been going on about it for a while now, I’ll add my two copper to the public domain here, but first a story.

In the days of vanilla World of Warcraft, each faction had access to 3 healing classes. Priests and druids on both sides and paladins for alliance balanced by shaman for the horde. The lines between the roles of the healing classes was not as defined as it could be, but raids stacked healers and slogged through 40 man content with two simple commandments;

“Heal thy group! Keep thine tanks alive!

Then along came Burning Crusade. The developers evened out the sides and gave everyone access to paladins and shamans despite faction. The developers then looked at the classes and said,

“LET THERE BE HEALER SPECIALTY NICHES!”

Thus healer niches were born. In Burning Crusade each healing class had something it excelled at. Shaman healers fought with priests for the title of group healer supreme, Paladins ruled the tank healer slot and druids were perfect healers to roll between targets. The roles however got a bit too specific. Restoration shaman spent the vast majority of BC casting nothing but Chain Heal, priests spammed Circle of Healing,  paladins Flash of Light and Holy Light spammed and druids just put a hot on everything they could. As healers our jobs could be boiled down to one button push in many cases. Players geared for it and played accordingly. Needless to say this got boring. As a person who cast nothing but Chain Heal through all of Black Temple I can vouch for this.

With Wrath of the Lich King on the horizon, the devs looked upon their world and saw that groups were picking healers based on class and not skill. So from on high they spoke out their voices echoing from the heavens

“LET THERE BE EQUALITY AMONGST HEALERS!”

Thus each healing class was gifted with new tools to help them fill various healing roles in the group. Shaman gained the ability to heal on the move and gained even stronger single target healing, druids joined the ranks of an accomplished swing healer. Priests rejoiced as discipline became an accepted way of life and paladins embraced their bacon. Raid leaders reveled in the choice of skill versus class and the land was truly flowing with milk and honey.

I hope you liked my little story there, I know I enjoyed it. It is however a true story. In the early days of the game no one really cared what the healers were doing as long as everything stayed alive long enough for the boss to drop. In BC everyone had a specific role or at least a lot more so than the one we had in vanilla. As a shaman I personally cast down-ranked chain heal more times in one night raiding than most people blink. Point was people began to take very specific healing classes for encounters as the healing strengths were specifically needed for that encounter. This is largely how BC ended with each healer falling into the category  of raid healing, tank healing and then the specifics of which flavor of each. To be honest it got a little out of hand. There were several points where shaman for example would claim they couldn’t heal Magisters Terrace, and unless they woefully out-geared the place, they were right. Some healers could walk into a 5 man heroic and not break a sweat while others had to work and work hard in even some of the simplest dungeons. It simply wasn’t balanced.

When Wrath came along all of that changed. The game devs actually went out of their way to make sure tools were put in place to allow each healer to fill each role. Whether it was a glyph, a new spell or tweaking talents and abilities, they went all out in trying to sure up healer equality. It has been a balancing act since that’s for sure, and if anyone remembers back in may when I got on my soap box about the State of Chain Heal, in some cases healers were tweaked too much to the point they were way too far homogenized. However even with the hard mode debacle, for the most part there was healer equality. Each of the classes could heal a tank, or heal a group and each could walk into a 5 man heroic and as long as the player was on their feet and paying attention they were capable of doing it. After the last set of tweaks from the devs this became even more the case. As it stands now each of the classes and in the case of priests, each healing spec, is capable of healing a tank or raid healing effectively. While some excel slightly better than others in those varying situations, the truth is they can still perform in the role and that is what evening out the healing lines is all about.

With all the options we have, I for one am very happy. Recently however there has been a new, for lack of a better term here, healer subculture emerging within the community. Players of each of the healing classes / specs are starting to demand their niches again. Whether it’s a shaman demanding to be the king of chain heal once more or a paladin begging to be only useful on tank heals, the proof is out there. People are actively trying to secure a niche in raid groups. This honestly strikes me as odd. Why would you want to go back to a way of doing things that honestly people complained bout incessantly. Why try to cling to a system that forces you to cast only one spell when you have an entire arsenal of heals available to you for any task you could be handed?

That’s the part I don’t get. I’m ok with wanted to be the best at something or even better than someone else but to actively shoe-horn yourself into a single role seems counter productive. As a healer I love being versatile, being able to sling chain heals until I’m blue in the face or swap out and lay some nukes on a tank, I like having the option. As a raid officer and healing lead I enjoy this versatility even more. I love being able to take a disc priest and tear them off of tank healing to make them raid heal. Same goes for shuffling priests and healers. I like being able to give my healers a little variety so they aren’t doing the same thing every day. I like to think they appreciate it as well. What I love most about it though is not having to rely on specific classes to be present to proceed through content like it was back in BC. So after many players struggling for so long to have this amount of versatility, why try to limit yourself. This subgroup centers around the idea that a healer should perform one function incredibly well, but not much else. A perfect example would be shaman who feel that they should only focus on casting and buffing chain heal, while ignoring all other spells.

So after clawing your way out of the niche market to be viable in all circumstances, why try to go back?

That’s it for today folks, until next time Happy Healing!~

What do you think? Do you think healers should focus on their specialty and nothing more? Do you think healer versatility is key?

Dear Lodur, Answering Azeroth’s Questions

Dear Lodur, Answering Azeroth’s Questions

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

Dear Lodur,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scientifically Yours,

Studious in Ironforge

Dear Studious,

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

Sincerely,

Lodur

Dear Lodur,

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

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

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

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

Respectfully,

“Touching my Inner Dwarf, in Dalaran”

Dear Inner Dwarf,

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

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

Sincerely,

Lodur

Dear Lodur,

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

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

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

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

Forever in your debt,

Reluctant Raider

Dear RR,

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

Sincerely,

Lodur

Dear Lodur,

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

Sincerely,

Distressed in Dragonblight.

Dear Distressed,

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

Sincerely,

Lodur

 

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

Until next time!

 

Where in the Blog is Lodur?

Where in the Blog is Lodur?

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now I’ve had the good luck to join the team over at WoW.com. Today I was originally going to post another installment of It Came From The P.U.G. but instead I’d like to take this morning and do a few things.

First I want to thank everyone! Honestly I wouldn’t be where I am without your support and your readership. It really drove it home last night when I was reading through some comments and email I received where people who applied for the Resto Shaman position informed me they put a caveat in their applications that should I apply, I should be hired instead of them. I mean really, how often do you hear someone say that? “You should totally hire me… unless this other person applies!”. Let me tell you, it doesn’t happen often if ever. All the well wishes I received (and still am receiving) all the congrats and good lucks, it’s overwhelming and really drove home how many truly amazing people I’ve met since I started blogging. I’ve gone from Lodur to Joe and I just want to thank you guys so much for everything.

Second, I went out for some delicious Poutine (yes it’s a food thank you Canada for it!) after my raid last night with a guildie and friend. We were sitting around talking about various things from healing assignments to loot to what I was doing for my birthday this year. He asked a question “So, For The Lore, World of Matticus, Way of the Totem and now WoW.com. What are you going to do with all that?”. It’s a question I’ve received at least a couple times over the last 24 hours. So for those of you asking about what Lodur will be doing now here’s some information.

  • I’ll still be posting here on WoM. It might not be as frequent as before but it will be there. Besides Thespius and Mimetier have been doing a great job and you’ll have plenty to read :)
  • The posts here will be less Resto centric. More pug stories, more raid strategies. For all things restoration specific I’ll be posting them over at WoW.com
  • I’ll still be doing my weekly podcast ForTheLore. Make sure to listen to this weeks episode as my Warcraft section pretty much convinced two people who quit the game to come back.(Or close to it)
  • I will still be posting on Way of The Totem with my story pieces for Lodur.
  • I’m not going to get an ego about it. I love writing, when I started blogging it was to help provide information to people and offer other opinions than what was out there already. I am going to continue to do that, but I wont forget who my friends are.
  • I’m sorry to say that contrary to popular belief this does not allow me to hand out ponies. I wish it did =(
  • Yes I’ll still be looking for reader input. Both here on WoM and for WoW.com. I write for you guys after all is said and done and knowing what you want to read helps a lot
  • Yes I’m still working on my own video game and hope to have a beta test soon for you all to enjoy!

With that you can see I’m not going anywhere, I have plans to be around for a long time here and elsewhere. I just hope I can keep pumping out the quality for you guys.!

Now for some reader input. Ladies and gents it’s that time of year for Dear Lodur. This is your time to shine folks. Send me some questions either here through the contact form or DM me on Twitter and I’ll pick some to showcase.

Once again thank you everyone! Look later in the week for another P.U.G. story and keep on rocking out!

Until next time!

 

(p.s.that picture at the top for the article, yeap that’s me with my metal face :) )

 

 

Friends and Raiders: My Healing Team

Friends and Raiders: My Healing Team

As a healing lead, it’s my job to keep my healers informed and assigned to positions where they will have maximum effect. I organize, strategize and when necessary discipline the healers. Sounds like all work and no play right? Well the truth of the matter is these people are some of the best friends that I’ve ever made in and out of the game. It’s virtually impossible to spend as much time together as we do weekly and not talk about things other than the game. We laugh and joke together, talk about real life frustrations and triumphs  and when meeting up at places like Blizzcon we raise a toast and throw back some shots in the name of camaraderie.

Another truth is that I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for these folks. When I started as Healing Lead, and then moved into Raid Officer it was these folks who helped make the transition easier on me. They are my think tank, my support group and they were the ones that let me know I was doing a good job and helped me find my feet . They were my first inspiration to start blogging and lead to me writing here, as well as being a co-host of my very own podcast and if all goes well, much much more.

I can’t sing the praises of my healing team nearly enough, and as we know healers don’t often get a thank you. Today I’d like to take a moment and introduce you to the healing team of <Unpossible> as well as give them all a great big thank you for all the hard work they put in!

This terror on a motorbike is Wistoovern. A Discipline Priest. Strong of heart and stubborn of mind he has been a stalwart companion of mine both in and out of game for several years. We might not always see eye to eye (he’s almost a foot and a half taller than I am) but when asked to do something he dives right in.

Some interesting facts about Wist here

  • He’s hugged Felicia Day (saw it with my own eyes)
  • He’s “Raid Buffed” his car (if you got the raid buff bumper sticker at Blizzcon you can thank this man, he made them)
  • He innovated the “lowbie chaff” decoy maneuver (where one brings a lowbie to a city raid and then ejects them from the passenger seat while running in for boss kills)
  • He’s a twitch healing shield monkey

 

This is Shammyx the second Restoration Shaman for unpossible. Shammyx was the literal inspiration behind my first blog Way of The Totem. I needed a good place to consolidate Shaman specific raid information without cluttering the guild forums with it, and thus that blog was born. Shammy is a quiet guy with a good sense of humor. A fantastic healer with a large array of alts ranging from Mages, and Hunters up through a DK and Pally. His healing output is always fantastic and he is just awesome to have in any run we do. I can’t see going into battle without his Chain Heal chiming a chorus to my own.

This tantalizing trio of trees is my forest of win! My three ladies Dianarah, Shenweh and Bellabeast. Collectively they are my healing rock. I know I can count on them in a pinch to do everything and anything they can to keep the raid alive. Our guild leader I think said it best:

Let me introduce you to each

Dianarah is my right-hand tree. She is my second in command, my number one well.. you get the picture. Anything I miss, she catches. I know she’s got my back and isn’t afraid to call me out on anything that might be just a little too wacky. In times of need she also carries a Crit Chicken spec to help increase DPS in the raid. You can see her in Boomkin form in the article image at the top here. She is also one of our membership officers and helps make sure our guild is full of amazing people to play with. She also has great taste in tequila!

Shenweh is my left-hand tree. Modest almost to a fault, Shen is the one that will often times play down the praise she receives. She has proven herself time and time again to be just amazing both in heals and personality. She is also the Morale Officer for our guild, and her husband is the Rogue Class leader. She makes sure that our guildies are all having a good time. Thanks to her we now have the tradition of every new boss kill we kick Zabos from the guild. (If you’re on Zul’jin you know who Zabos is then you’ll understand. If you aren’t and don’t know who he is, you’re better off ;) )

Bellabeast is a recent addition to our guild. Her and her husband (Prot Pally raider) joined our ranks not too long ago but have already become members of our family. Bella is also one of those quiet types not saying much in the raid, but goes about her job with focus and determination. She rounds our the trio of Arboreal Awesomeness

 

Next up is Kaylestera our resident Holy Priest. Kay and I actually met through Twitter of all places. I had made a call out looking for new recruits during our summer raider lull. Kay responded asking some very very good questions. Eventually our conversation bled over to Google talk. Kay originally was from the Firetree server. After talking for a few weeks she took a leap of faith and transferred over to Zul’jin. She brought with her a multitude of people and the ranks of Unpossible swelled. Since then she has solidified herself as one our our key healers in the group. She brings with her Raid Leading experience, her wonderful personality and a great sense of humor. I know during our raids and in between I can count on her to offer information and solutions to encounters and problems that the guild faces.

 

This fellow you might have seen around once or twice, Thespius here is the guilds second Discipline Priest. Again another person introduced to me through that wonderful social media tool Twitter. I was looking for another healer to round out my team and a mutual acquaintance of ours suggested we talk to one another. We hit it off right away and it seemed that Unpossible was just what Thes was looking for. A fun family type atmosphere where we still progress in content but have fun doing it. He transferred servers and was welcomed into the guild very quickly. In game I know I can count on Thes to do everything and anything he can to help the raid succeed, whether it’s going along with a wacky raid strategy or switching specs so we don’t have Shield collision on certain fights. Out of game Thes has also become a fantastic addition to Team Matticus here, as well as appearing as a co-host on the podcast Raid Warning. His personality meshes perfectly with that of the guild and he’s quickly been assimilated as one of us. He wears his <Unpossible> tag proudly.

Last but not least we have an honorary member of the Unpossible Healing team. Archaan is the Priest Class lead and ranks among my oldest friends in the guild. He used to be our resident Holy Priest and eventually moved to shadow for a change of pace and to help out guild needs. Archaan will always be a member of the Unpossible Heal team in whatever form he decided to take. He pitches in and heals when we need him to, he organizes our Priest’s Divine Hymn Rotations and he is a card carrying member of the Dwarven Mafia Mechano Biker gang. Archaan is one of those people I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I can turn to both in game and out of game for advice and conversation. Oh, and he’s actually taller IRL than Wist. Which is a site to see when him and I are walking around Blizzcon. He also has amazing taste in beer!

There they are folks, the healing pulse of <Unpossible>, and a group of friends that anyone would be proud to have. I want to once again thank every single one of them for their contributions to the guild, as well as my own personal sanity. You guys are the best group of healbots this Shaman could ever ask for. You rock so hard!!!

With that I declare today Thank Your Healers Day!! You know who they are, show them a little love, it does go a long way.  From this Shaman blogger I’d also like to issue a thanks to the healing community out there. Between here, Plusheal and the various other blogs and sites the passion for the job is obvious. Thank you our readers because the truth of it is, if there wasn’t such a strong healing community we wouldn’t be here!

(Don’t worry Tanks and DPS You’ll each have a day soon too!)

Have anyone you want to say thanks to? Want to give props to the pugger who pulled off some amazing heals? Lets hear it!

Until next time, Happy Healing!

I Will Not Carry You

I Will Not Carry You

My good buddy Matt just wrote an article likening himself to “Samwise the Brave”.  The noble friend, no matter the circumstances, who is willing to swallow his pride to bring up the team.  It’s admirable.  It’s considerate.  It’s exactly what I would do…

…for certain people.

A friend, alt or no alt, who needs some help getting geared.  Maybe it’s his/her first 80.  It’s all good, because I know this person.  I understand that he/she is not trying to take advantage of the time and effort that I’ve put into the game for selfish benefit.  I’m more than willing to lend my knowledge to help make them a better player.  Because let’s be honest, you’re training a new class of raider/gamer when you do this.  I, myself, have 2 friends that I’m leveling alts with.  I teach them about kill orders, focus-firing, and CCing.  My hope is to get them ready for hitting 80 so they can come into raids with us.

Likewise, a new 80 who lays it all out up front.  Totally honest about their gear or their skill, and isn’t a jackass about it.  Someone who is looking to the veterans for guidance.  An under-cap tank that wants me to heal them through the early heroics to get some basic gear.  A dps or two that may need the fight to go on longer than usual because they can’t quite pull their weight yet.  I have no problem taking longer on a fight because they’re working on their rotation and getting numbers up (though that’s also what Target Dummies are for).

However, I can’t heal stupidity. 

I’m serious.  I may try to throw heals, but my finger goes numb and can’t press the hotkey.  I could try to shield, but the mouse button turns to stone.  It’s immovable.  I won’t hear that “click”.

Flash Heal won’t work on a tank that tells me he’s Defense-capped, but admits later that he’s only at 510 Defense while trying to tank the upper-level heroics.  “I needed a healer to carry me through so I can get PhAT lEwtZ”, they may say.

Prayer of Mending just refuses to bounce to that one DPS player that ignores the “Targeting You!” over the mob’s head, or dismisses Omen because it’s too distracting.  With all of the “aggro drop” skills that are available, utilizing them might break the healing immunity that seems to have plagued my heal targets.  Assisting the tank takes 1.5 seconds.

My new battle is trying to Shield the player that constantly hollers out “GO” while the tank is marking targets, or while the healer is drinking, or the other DPS are figuring out any CC that may be needed.  It’s especially difficult when that player has the “Patient” title next to their name.  Apprently that’s just a front, like a pub is a front for the Dwarven Mafia.  My PW:Shield is simply answered with “Invalid Target”.

I always try to be a great player to run with.  I’m always willing to help, if needed.  If you need a fight explained, sure.  If you need some advice on a talent or gear choice, no problem.  However, if you find yourself a version of any of the latter three examples, then I have to apologize for the ineffectiveness of my heals.  I can’t control them!  =D

Cheers,

Little Things of Joy

Little Things of Joy

BigHeader

Those that have followed my posts here since I started writing know that I’m a two-faced WoW player.  =)  I don’t mean two-faced in that way.  I mean it in another sense.

I belong to two guilds.  Unpossible, and Team Sport.  Both guilds are fantastic, and I’m so proud to be in both of them.  I always consider myself a multi-faceted player.  I like progression, and I also like casual.  Each guild provides me with a different part of that.

We’re all in the mood to pound our heads against the new content.  Whether you’re struggling or conquering, it’s always exciting to battle new bosses and collect your new rewards.  It’s something we’ve all come to love about raiding or just gaming in general.  What about some of the little things that bring you joy?

Unpossible

Lodur and I have definitely bonded since we started talking.  I had been looking for a new place to send my priest, since my last guild wasn’t working out.  I wanted a place that was progression-oriented but had the same “family” feel that Team Sport does.  When we started talking about Unpossible, my eyes lit up.  It seemed (on the surface) like everything I was looking for.  It wasn’t brow-beating its members into submission.  Family and real life always came first, but they were all there to conquer the endgame content.

The application process was complex but well worth it.  I was being asked to join raids, main nights as well as off-nights.  This is one of the oldest surviving guilds on the server.  Most of this team had cleared Vanilla WoW content together.  Needless to say, I felt like an outsider.

There were two moments that absolutely solidified my feeling of being a member of Unpossible.

The first, was our first walk into Icecrown.  No one had seen the..

Instance not found.

Our palms were sweaty with anticipat…

Instance not found.

Okay, let’s at least try to get a warlock inside so we…

Instance not found.

Sweet, we’re all in!  We manage to get the first couple of mobs down until the huge Skele on the wall spawns.  Almost reminiscent of the terror that the Statue of Liberty spreads in Ghostbusters II, we lose a couple healers and a couple DPS.  It’s okay, let’s have them rez and run back.  Everyone rebuff…

Instance not found.

You get the point.  All joking aside, stepping into Icecrown and figuring things out from scratch made me feel like I was truly an Unpossible member, even if we only got one attempt in on Marrowgar.

The second solidifying moment came a week later.  Now that the initial instance server issues had been somewhat resolved, it was easy to actually get our whole team in there.  We cleared Marrowgar with little difficulty, and it was time for Deathwhisper.  With our raid leader hollering out orders, demanding we step it up and get the hell out of Death and Decay, Deathwhisper’s health dwindled.  People died to the invincible ghosts.  Healers started to drop.  We were seconds away from the enrage timer.  Then, she enraged.  Tanks were one-shotted.  Healers were brushed into non-existence.  Two people remained, and the DoTs were ticking away.  1%.  0.7%.  100k Health. 47k Health.  6k Health.  The final raid member at 4,000 health.  “You have defeated Lady Deathwhisper.”  Screams echoed through Ventrilo.  It was the first time I had been there for a guild first.  So satisfying.  I’m truly a member of Unpossible now.  Killing a tough boss is one thing, but bleeding and sweating for that first kill with a new guild is amazing.

Team Sport

I’ve been gaming with most of these guys since early BC, when my warlock was 40 and had just gotten my first mount.  We’re a rag-tag group of knockarounds, but we love the game, and we love trying to do our best at it.  There may be people that disagree, but people generally really enjoy adding us to their raid.  We’ve got about 18 members with varying schedules, so it’s tough to get our own raid together.  We don’t mind.  We all knew this signing up.  Anyone that applies to Team Sport (yes, we even had someone server transfer to play with us) knows this as well.  This doesn’t mean we’re lackluster about raiding.  When we can get enough people on, we jump all over it.

Is each and every member totally top notch?  No.  No team is totally perfect.  Even I’m not completely on my game (I’ve had a few too many “Diet Cokes”).  Personally, I was a little worried about some of the coordination needed for some of the ToC fights.  After initial struggles with tanking Northrend Beasts, we made it through Icehowl, and one-shotted Jaraxxus. 

Here’s where it got interesting. 

A lot of guilds have CC rotations and full-on strategies for Faction Champions.  Druids, Warlocks and Mages alternating their crowd control.  Rogues and Warriors locking up healers.  I initially tried to craft a CC plan.  We tried it, and we failed.  So we did it the Team Sport way.

Team Sport is known for our love of PvP.  We have various Arena Teams, and we do Battlegrounds galore.  Our pally tank, Dralo, is one achievement away from his Battlemaster title.

“Everyone go into your PvP spec, and let’s just kill Horde”.

And we did.  In one shot, and it was easier than any Faction Champs fight I’ve ever done.

This, was my moment of pride with Team Sport.  We’re still struggling on Twins, but we annihilated the Faction Champions with ease.  Yes, I know this was after the nerf.  Yes, I know that overall it’s easier.  Still, we got such a kick out of doing that fight, because we did it the Team Sport way.  We trusted all 10 of us to know what to do, and we came through.  THAT is some group synergy right there.

How about you?  Is there a little thing about the game or your guild that makes you happy or brings you pride?

ThespiusSig

“Big” image courtesy of 20th Century Fox