It Came From the P.U.G.! Good Surprises.

It Came From the P.U.G.! Good Surprises.

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

Last night something awesome happened, something I completely didn’t expect. I’ve never been an achievement monger. I’ve never gone out of the way to try to get them and as a result I’m missing just a few from getting my Red Protodrake. I queued up for my daily random and waltzed into Azjol-Nerub. Oddly enough the LFD system had queued up multiple healers for one group. A quick laugh and a decision of who was going to DPS and who was going to heal and we were on our way. We blow through the first boss and make our way down to the second boss when the druid of the group doesn’t even ask if I need the achievement for Hadonox (which I did), but just goes for it anyways. We complete Hadronox Denied and my achievement pops up. I say thank you and the druid makes a comment about how he saw I needed it so he just went for it.

That right there absolutely floored me. I didn’t ask for the achievement, I didn’t have to beg or cajole. The just did it because they saw I needed it and wanted to help. The entire group was excited I got the achievement and we came together at that moment, five complete strangers. Moments like that truly show off how amazing the community of gamers can be!

This is also the same way I earned the Less-rabi achievement. Someone just saw I needed it and went for it making sure to hit each interrupt.

With all the horror stories in pick up groups (my own tales included!) it is often times hard to keep sight on the good that you come across. Those times where something honestly nice and unexpected happens. This past week has been very cool on that front each night for my dailies.

Two nights ago my queue found me in Oculus. Two of the party members just freshly dinged 80 and happened to find their way into my group. One of the members was complaining about carrying fresh 80s and I piped up. It was actually really fun, and watching a fresh 80 warrior tank and a fresh 80 warlock having a blast in an instance most people hate was refreshing. They both got some good upgrades and the run was fast and smooth. We spent the entire time just talking and having a blast. It was just a fun healthy run. And at the end of the day that is why we play the game right? To have fun. Most of my runs this week have been like that. Lots of conversation, friendly and enjoyable. I’m very pleased by this and hope I get to see this more often. No one telling someone they hate them or how they fail at life, but rather just getting along and having a good time together.

So what about you? How have your P.U.G.s been this week? Anything fun or exciting happen? Any good news from the LFD system?

That is it for today, until next time Happy Healing!

Advice on Blogging Safely Without Fear of a Gkick

I sensed a disturbance in the force. As if millions of unsatisfied WoW bloggers cried out in terror before being silenced.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t as dramatic but I wanted to offer up some advice to both bloggers and guildmasters about guild stuff that gets blogged. I’ve been on both sides of the coin and I’d gladly share my experiences with those that are a little nervous about coming out to their guild that they’re a closet blogger.

So in this post, I want to expand on a few aspects of blogging about your guild.

  • What spawned this post
  • The guild master’s perspective on the blogger
  • The blogger’s perspective versus the guild
  • Why blogging is good for the application
  • The negative side effects
  • My personal limits
  • How to “out” yourself

A quick background

There was a question on Twitter asked a few nights ago regarding the revealing of your blog to your guild. It eventually turned into this post by anea. I responded that I had no problem with it and that I encouraged it. After a bit more reading and research, I came across a rather disappointing story of a blogger who got the boot over their blog Whoops, factual error. I misread. He didn’t actually get canned. He left of his own accord. Larisa detailed her own thoughts regarding the situation. The folks at Hots & Dots listed their stance on it too.

As a guild master

I go out of my way to remind the bloggers in my guild that they are free to write about whatever they wish, but have some tact. If it’s a problem with myself, a situation, conflicts, or policy issues, that it be brought up with myself or an officer first to see if it can be resolved. After that, they’re free to blog their experiences and what not free of reprisal. It’s not fair to me if I am told that there is no problem only to find out minutes later on their blog that they got treated poorly or had some really bad experience somewhere. It becomes even worse if it’s something that I could have fixed.

Again, I stress that I would never gkick anyone over their comments on their blog. I might be a little hurt but it comes with the territory. I’ll gladly remove players for attitude reasons or what not, but their blog is their territory. It is their personal haven for their thoughts. I don’t exactly pay these guys unless it’s in epics. I would never dream of with holding Holy Paladin loot for the Bossy Pally (especially now that she’s our only one).

Besides, have bloggers in your guild can be a positive thing. They’re ambassadors of your guild to the public and to potential applicants. Bloggers can offer an idea of what raiding or day-to-day guild life is like. This helps applicants reach a better conclusion on whether or not your guild is a good fit for them.

Note: I mentioned this in Anea’s post, but I am most likely the exception as opposed to the norm. Guild masters have take a variety of stances and perspectives when it comes to stuff like this. Some will embrace it and others will feel threatened by it. Not every person is willing to have guild business on the internet and will view it as a private and internal affair. I guess you could say I lead one of the rare few blogger-safe guilds in existence!

As a blogger

In previous guilds, I’ve been just a raider who blogged. So I definitely get that whole feeling of wariness and caution. But you know, I figured I didn’t have much to lose. I knew I was a fairly decent Priest and that raiding guilds love Priests. If I was going to get booted for having a published opinion, then I didn’t want to be in that guild anyway.

The trick though is to write without being utterly spiteful. Don’t come out with guns blazing when you face a problem. Write about it with a sense of style. Write it calmly. Write your drama posts as you would an objective news reporter: The facts. Add your opinion, your feelings, your thoughts afterward.

My blog has always been my personal outlet when I was frustrated with different aspects, proud of various achievements, or if I simply wanted to get my thoughts organized somewhere.

It can also act as a thermometer.

When you notice your blog starts to have more negative posts about your guild, it’s time to re-evaluate the guild you’re in. In the past, I’ve read blog posts centered around dissatisfaction with certain policies or actions. Then I think to myself, “Man, that player and that guild certainly did not make a good fit”.

The story of the bossy pally and how she conquered

I’m going to pick on the bossy pally here just because I’m her GM.

Ophelie was not the first blogger to apply to the guild. A while ago, there was a hunter by the name of Amava who applied. You may remember that hunter blogger from a long time ago. But I knew the name, I knew the blog, and I already made up my mind to pick him up. I only skimmed his application. If memory serves, he actually did list his blog in it. Amava has since retired from blogging and is now a social and casual player.

Now the bossy pally on the other hand, did not. She merely mentioned that she had a blog without listing her URL. When I saw that, my eyes narrowed, my knuckles cracked, and my brain turned full tilt.

Here was a supposed blogger who applied without listing their URL.

First, the thought on my mind was that came up was “Why?”.

Why would anyone withhold their blog URL and from me of all people?

Maybe they’re shy. Maybe they’re a little intimidated that what content they have on their blog isn’t good enough. Are they embarrassed? But why be embarrassed? There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Unless you have a terrible blog layout with really bad eye gouging colors and the inability to type properly, I’ll definitely give applicants that chance.

But, I will absolutely deny an applicant if I find their blog aesthetically vomit worthy. Comic Sans MS?! Fuchsia (I hope I spelled that color right)?! Really obnoxious ads that obscure everything?! Not in Matt’s guild!

Regardless, I was determined to find her blog. I’ll walk you through what I was thinking.

How does showcasing your blog help your application?

  • Demonstrates your knowledge: I want to know what you know. If it’s about raiding? Great. Class knowledge and posts? Perfect. Even if your blog has nothing to do with the game, I’ll still hunt it down anyway because it offers me an insight into your personality. I have this theory that when it comes to writing, people unconsciously imprint a part of their soul or essence into their work. It offers a glimmer or a window into what makes that person who they are. Thankfully, when I saw her blog, I was satisfied with what I saw. Here was a person who was young and new to the world of blogging but had a solid grasp of their class. Her blog layout? Passed with flying colors.

How might showcasing your blog work against you?

  • Content censorship: I think this is something that bloggers wrestle with internally. There is a political aspect to this. “If I write about this, will the leadership get mad? If they get mad, does that jeopardize my status in the guild?” Bloggers, especially those new to the guild or who aren’t as “established” in their organization tend to be a little cautious. No one wants to piss off their boss intentionally. No one wants to screw up their raid spot or have that epic drop accidentally mislooted. As a result, you’re not quite as free as you think you are because you’re subconsciously trying to put up a positive image of not rocking the boat.

Writing about guildies and my limits

Unless my guildies already blog, I’ll never list them by name. It’s more of a protective measure. Every day, I get various tells and emails and such. Most are positive and some aren’t. The last thing I want to have happen is for that sort of publicity spillover to the rest of my guild when that flak is undeserved and unnecessary. I’m a little paranoid about it, I’ll admit. It might be unjustified even so.

All the same, it allows me to blog about certain… finer, humorous moments in the guild without opening them up for exposure. I would never shy away from writing about the positive outcomes. At the same time, while I may be reluctant to write about the negative experiences, I won’t be afraid to dish that out either. If someone in the guild epically failed and took 18.63 seconds to shake of the Pact of the Darkfallen on Blood Queen, I’ll write about it but withhold their name. The primary purpose of the blog has always been to teach and to get you readers to think. Readers can learn from my successes. But they can just as easily learn from my failures. As long as someone out there is getting some kind of value from what they’re reading, then our job here is done.

Be careful about the dirty laundry you decide to air. It could very well come back and bite you in the ass.

Again, you have to remember to be tactful about how you come across. This is the internet. It’s a little difficult to convey tone. Saying “You moron!” like House is vastly different saying “You moron!” in a playfully, teasing manner.

Various ways  to “out” yourself

  • Forum post: Create a simple forum post announcing your blog’s URL and what it’s about. Solicit some advice and feedback about what they like, didn’t like, and what they’d want to read more about.
  • Stealth: Insert it in your forum signature. See how long it takes for people to notice.
  • Announce in guild chat: Maybe log on late or early when there’s a few people around. Subtly leak it to the players that are online. Say that you’re working on a little WoW project.
  • Scavenger hunt: Just say that you have a blog. Leave no URL. Leave no clues. Leave no other indications. Make them work for it and lose sleep until they find it.

So how has Ophelie turned out so far? In about 2-3 months, she’s come a long way. When she was first in the guild, she had a tough time speaking at all or saying hi. Now she actually speaks and has even taken the initiative to lead a 10 man.

Lastly, I’m not saying you have to out yourself. That’s your personal move. You shouldn’t be afraid to though.

Let this be a warning! No applicant’s blog will ever be safe from the super blog stalker! Of course, you could just also not say anything and I wouldn’t have a clue (unless I recognized your name like I did with Amava’s).

Ugh, I’m losing my touch. I look at this post and it seems like I’m all over the place. I suppose that’s just blogger rust. The formatting looks weird! Where’s my coherency? Where’d my flow go? I’ve lost my blogging mojo! Sigh! But whatever, I want to get this post out.

Heroic Entitlement?

Heroic Entitlement?

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

Chapter One – Prot Warrior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Two – Feral Druid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Three – Prot Paladin

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

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

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

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

“u shud be lucky i tankd 4 u at all”

And promptly left the group. 

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

Epilogue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, Happy Healing!

It Came From The P.U.G.: GearScore Edition.

It Came From The P.U.G.: GearScore Edition.

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!

This week I’m going to focus on a mod that’s been getting a lot of attention for a while now, (both good and bad) Gearscore. The irony of this event is it comes right after listening to a podcast (no not mine) but the resident gentleman Dorf himself Brigwn over at The Hunting Lodge podcast. They had the creator of the addon as a guest and asked him all sorts of questions about the mod. Why it was created, if this was it’s intended use and where it’s going from here. Gearscore is a quick comparison of gear assigning a number based roughly on stat allocation per class / role on the item. It does not, in any way shape or form reflect skill. Simply put it tracks maximum potential for a role, the higher the number the better potential healing, dps or tankage you can do. You’re probably why I’m bringing this up. Well here’s why…

Last weekend I got bored and didn’t feel like doing heroics on my Shaman, and my Hunter needed a night off. So I did something I haven’t done since Naxx was THE place to be, I broke out my Death Knight Tank. She was the bomb when Naxx was the raid zone of choice and as a result has Naxx level tanking gear. Not the best, but not the worst. More than enough for heroics, which I can then convert the badges into T9 tanking gear. So I put on my tanking gear, change my specs, and hop into the queue to tank. 20 seconds later I find myself in AN with similarly geared people, everyone sitting there in Naxx (25) level gear, and seemingly good attitudes. So we buff, and I head down and start making pulls. First pull, no problem. Second pull, no problem. Then we get to the watchers. I pull the first group and pull them wayyyy back. I Deathgrip the caster onto me and drop Death and Decay. All of a sudden the healer leaves group! Not a word, not a disconnect, not lag and no vote kicking. Just up and leaves. One of the people in the P.U.G. Happened to be on the same realm as the person, so he shot them a tell asking what happened. The response he got back sort of shocked me.

“I looked at the Gearscore for the tank, too low I can’t heal that.”

I had a good chuckle at that. My DK might not be ready to storm into ICC at all, but she tanked Naxx 25 and is more than adequately geared to handle some measly heroics. So as me and the rogue are laughing about this the Warrior of the group drops, for the same reason as the priest. So what remains is a rogue and a mage and myself, all laughing about it. You would think that the story would end there, but it doesn’t. People joined and dropped the group 4 or 5 times before eventually a healer and a dps stuck. The kicker? The healer was in full tier 9, the DPS was another DK, in full heroic ToGC / ICC gear. I jokingly asked

“I have a low gear score you guys sure you want to stick around? already lost a handful of healers an dps”

Healer looks me over says

“Nope you’re fine, just keep shit off me”

the new DK pipes up.

“If I can’t manage my aggro on you, then that’s on me, no worries let get some badges”

Finally, after waiting for nearly 30 minutes we start really pulling, and blow through the instance, I don’t lose any mobs to the healer, there are no close calls there. And the DK ganked once, stopped attacking so I could taunt and then didn’t gank again. The run was smooth, and quick. With my badges in hand I hearthed back to Dala and logged for the night.

The funny thing is that was my first hands on experience with Gearscore ever, and I do mean ever.  I heard about it when it was created at the beginning of wrath and wrote it off as something I didn’t need. Eventually as people kept talking about it and how it ranked gear and assigned a value, I pushed it aside from my thoughts. When I started seeing requirement levels in gear score for easy content, I got a little bit angry at it’s creation, but I had never run across it in all my travels in Azeroth.

Thanks to The Hunting Lodge, I now know the mod was created at the release of Wrath and it’s original goal was to show that the heroic blues (ilvl 200) were on par with the 70 purples (ilvl 154ish) so that people weren’t excluded from Naxx runs. It has since become this oddity that has people calling for 5k Gearscore for heroic runs. Without listening to that I probably would have looked on the above chain of events with a much heavier heart, and some abject hatred to the mod.

To put this in perspective, I installed the mod and had a look-see at all my characters and even the members of my raid. Lodur, my main who is decked out in T9.5 and Tier 10 / 10.5 only ranks about 5795 on gear score. My alt hunter Abigail, in T9 with heroic level trinkets ranks 4900. My tank, in Naxx gear is somewhere around 3799. Most of my raiders are in the 5500 – 5700 score mark and we’re clearing ICC25. It just seems odd to me to cling so hard to a scoring system that only appraises gear, and not skill or personality.

In other P.U.G. related news, I hit a random up last night with my main Lodur, wound up getting Gundrak. I’ve done this place a million times, yet somehow never managed to get Less Rabi achievement . We stacked a group from guild one day to try for it but for some reason it just fell out of reach each time. So we get to Moorabi and the tank pulls I instinctively wind shear the first transformation, and I notice his health is dropping like a rock. I wind shear the second and pop heroism and drop my elemental. he goes for the third transformation, the DK pounds him with a mind freeze and he dies. I see the achievement pop up and I’m one happppppppy Shaman. The hate tells roll in from some of the guildies yet to get it and I log off to go to bed one contented man.

So, how about you guys? Any interesting stories from the P.U.G.-Verse? Have any run ins with Gearscore? Good or bad?

Until next time, Happy Healing

Five Misconceptions About Healers

Five Misconceptions About Healers

Sometimes there is nothing more frustrating in a raid than watching your raid wipe. I feel that the only thing more frustrating than the wipe itself, is watching the healers get blamed right away. As a raid officer and healing lead seldom do I let things really truly get under my skin. But when I see a wipe and I hear the question in vent

“healers, what happened there?”

It raises my ire. I understand that healing is something that quickly comes under the analytical scope when an encounter fails. But when you have someone assigned to lead the healers it’s their job to find out what happened, and on the off chance they do find something wrong it is their job to address and resolve the issue. When a tank or dps starts berating healers about what happened it gets on everyone’s nerves. We’re going to use the term Healer Rage here. Healer rage can take many forms, quiet determination, outright aggression, passive aggressive behavior (such as “missing” a heal on a target) all the way up to outright quitting. You might remember my first post here on World of Matticus where I talked about the 5 Archetypes of the Healer. I broke down what makes a person choose to be a healer in a game like World of Warcraft. Each of those healers are still around and kicking and always will be.

Today I’m going to talk about some general misconceptions about healers, as well as what triggers Healer Rage and how different healers deal with it.

5. All healers are created equal

There are a lot of people who seem to think you can equally exchange Healer A for Healer B and see no difference in the performance of the raid as a whole. I’m not talking classes here, purely about the player. This might seem like it doesn’t happen but it does, and quite frequently.

“Why not bring Dude B, he’s just as good as Dude A?”

Now I’m not trying to be elitist and talk about difference in skill, but the truth is we all have our strengths. Some healers are better at tank healing, they understand it better. Others are better topping off a raid. Some know the intricacies of a short burst fight and intensive healing, while others still are built for longevity fights. We all have our specialties our niche. The idea that you can take any healer and slap them anywhere and get the same performance is not a good one to have.

Why this causes Healer Rage

Dude B is a tank healer, he revels in it. It is his specialty without question. Dude A is a raid healer, he knows the in and out of everything there is to know about keeping the raid at peak health. Raid officer decides to switch their assignments. Dude A is now on tanks and Dude B is healing the raid. When you take a healer out of a comfort zone it is akin to dumping a bucket of cold water on a sleeping person. While some people can handle a shifting role like that, we all tend to have our preferences. Moving  us from those preferences tends to make us just a tad bit grumpy.

4. All healing capable classes are built equal

Some people think that all classes are equitable. What I mean is that a Resto Shaman is the same as a Holy Paladin as a Resto Druid as a Priest. Lets be honest, while this has become closer to the truth over the many years that we’ve been playing this game, it is still a ways off. Sure my Shaman is capable of healing a single target quite well, But an equally geared Discipline Priest or a Holy Pally will beat me every time and vice-versa for raid healing. Sure you can stick them in that roll, but results might not be optimal. This is considering the merits of the classes and talents without accounting for player skill.

Why this causes Healer Rage

Just like above, when you take someone out of their safe spot people’s nerves are on edge and performance can often times suffer. Over the years I’ve come to realize as healers, we tend to like our niche. When Shaman were usurped as the kings of raid healing, there was quite a loud outcry on the forums and through the WoW universe. This is very much the same as the reasoning behind the rage of number 5. I’ve also noticed in both 5, and 4 here that healers thrust out of their comfort zone tend to be quieter and deal with their rage about it more internally.

3. Healing is Easy!

There are some people out there who feel that healing is the easiest job in the game. I’ll be honest, there was a point where I felt that way. That was when I was playing a hunter in 40 man raids and before I had ever touched the healing side of a Shaman. Nothing could be further from the truth. Healing is one of the most stressful aspects of the game. You are responsible to heal any damage taken in a raid, people look at you to stave off that wipe or to keep them up no matter what, because they think all you do is sit there and spam a few buttons.

Why this causes Healer Rage

Healing can be one of the most challenging roles in the game! Not only do we have to effectively manage our own resources such as mana our own health and consumables, but we also have the privilege of playing broker with yo ur health totals! What people often don’t realize is that as a healer we often have to play triage. Prioritizing heals is more than just making sure the tank is topped off and then spilling over into your group or raid. We have to decide sometimes who lives and who dies! That is a heavy burden and one that we often times have to make as snap decisions. When a healer gets criticized for this, it’s not exactly fair, and can cause not only rage but an added level of stress. This is normally when you’ll find healers raging openly either through comments or possibly even over voice.

2. A healer has to carry those who are under-geared / unprepared

While a healer is capable of carrying an under geared tank or healing through a certain amount of damage from players not moving fast enough out of area damage, it should not be expected of us. There seems to be a large amount of players that believe a healer is obligated to heal the tank that isn’t even trying to mitigate their damage or are woefully under geared for the content. Some people think it is OK for them to stand in the middle of a raging fire on the floor because the healer will heal them through it. You may think I’m making this up, but I’ve seen enough dps actually do this and then when asked about why they would say “because the healer has to heal me!”. This also holds true for people who don’t know the mechanics of a fight, yet insist to pull and bring much unnecessary damage on themselves.

Why this causes Healer Rage

Much for the same reason as number 3. Healing is already challenging enough in some cases. Doing things that while funny, are disruptive and unnecessary can really alienate you from your healer. Tanks don’t randomly go into your dps spec and pull the groups in HoR, it just isn’t happening. If you’re a dps and you’re purposely standing in Rotfaces’s slime quadrant just to get your extra couple hits in, that’s completely unnecessary and honestly it’s rude. It is every raid members job to mitigate as much damage as they can, you can’t rely solely on the healers. Eventually you’ll get healers that will respond to this but ceasing to heal you, or openly being aggressive about your actions.

1. Whenever there is a wipe, blame healers first

There is this mentality that every time there is a wipe, you need to yell at or blame the healers first. After all it’s their job to heal you through anything right? (see number 2.) There are few things more frustrating than seeing the group wipe and to hear someone immediately ask “so what happened there healers?”. What boggles my mind is when this happens despite things like mortuary, big brother, raid buff system or several other mods that people may use that announce who dies and to what. We’ll use one of the new ICC trash mobs for an example, Stinky. Stinky and it’s twin Precious are the pets of Festergut and Rotface. They are also mini bosses very much like the trash pulls leading up to the Twin Emps were back in AQ40. Each has an unique ability, but in Stinky’s case I’ve seen this mini boss / trash pull wipe more groups than some of the bosses! Stinky has three abilities

Decimate: aoe that knocks everyone to 15% health
Mortal Wound: 10% reduced healing done to you stacks up to 100%, placed on tanks
Plague Stench: raid wide aoe that ticks for about 3k every 2-3 seconds

He’s pretty much setup to really mess with healers. If you get an ill timed Decimate followed by a quick Plague Stench it is possible to have multiple people in the raid die in one stroke. Every time I’ve seen a group wipe on it, the first thing I hear asked is why the healers didn’t heal through it. Sometimes I’ve seen it expected of healers to time their group heals perfectly to go off when decimate does! I’m not saying healers shouldn’t be prepared for it, but latency spikes and lag can cause heals to not exactly be spot on, and that should be kept in mind.

Why this causes healer rage

When a boss goes down smoothly you almost never hear anyone say; “That was awesome! Great job healers! That was all you!”, but when a wipe happens you will hear the phrase “what happened healers?” way too often. Not everything is within a healers control. Sometimes things happen that stretch our abilities so thin there is no recovery. Random mob abilities chaining together can cause a group to wipe before a healer even has a chance to react. When someone places this burden on the healers, it’s a short trip to off the rage deep end. Healers are already shouldering enough weight in a run, keeping a group topped off, playing healer triage and managing our resources to keep the group going. Looking at the healers after every wipe can cause healers to snap. I’ve seen healers rage quit raids, I’ve seen them rage quit guilds, I’ve seen them completely stop healing on the next pull just to watch the person who blamed the wipe on them die. I’ve heard stories of even worse events that have gone as far as an entire healing team leaving a guild in one swoop, leaving a raiding guild effectively healer-less.

Healers carry large burdens in a raid or group. Sure sometimes we might make comments about something being so easy because a tank out-gears an instance, but those are welcome breaks. We are not omniscient,we are not gods, we are not capable of predicting what is going to happen and when. We are just playing our role in a group, doing what we can to make things go smoothly. Remember, our job is a stressful one and one vital to the raid. Trust in your healing leads if you have one to make sure healers are doing what they need to be, and trust your healers a bit. Basically cut us a little slack, it’s often times a thankless job.

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

 

Images courtesy of Icanhazcheesburger.com and staples

It Came From The P.U.G. : The Val’anyr Curse!

It Came From The P.U.G. : The Val’anyr Curse!

Every night at 3am server time I log back into game and queue up for my daily random heroic. Normally it’s amusing when people inspect me as the healer and see that I have Val’anyr equipped. They normally make comments about feeling more at ease especially when the random is heroic Halls of Reflection.

But recently two events have occurred and seem to be reoccurring since. I’m referring to it as the Val’anyr curse.

About two weeks ago I was doing a PUG heroic on a Monday in the early afternoon. A decent chunk of my guildies were on, and it was a rather enjoyable day. I queue up to do my random of the day and like any healer will tell you 20 seconds went by before there was a group ready and waiting. The random instance it selected was Halls of Lightning. Not a bad instance, all things considered it’s fairly easy. I look at the people in my group, Full i245 lock, hunter mage and paladin. We all inspect each other which seems to be the custom of the pug tool when the paladin exclaims;

“HOLY SHIT! Wet got ourselves a [Val'anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings] !!!! That means I can do this!”

and then he takes off running. He hits the first group, tags them both, and keeps going down the ramp for the second group. Ok, that’s pretty normal, I’ve had a lot of tanks do that no big deal. After a couple seconds of Consecrate being down he moves on to the group on the right, dragging everything with him. Ok healing gets a little more difficult but still bearable, dudes got some good gear and can take the abuse. Again though after a  couple seconds he drags EVERYTHING with him to the next set of adds. Oh, and the boss was there fully lightning charged too. At this point healing is ridiculous. To the tanks credit he manages to hold aggro on it all and the mage and lock are happily AEing to their hearts content, meanwhile I’m playing Yo-Yo with the tanks health as he’s taking a ton of hits all at once. We get through it somehow and he goes

“That was awesome! Lets do that again!”

and before I can even sit to drink he’s off pulling mobs leading up to the gauntlet room and through. At this point I sit down and drink. The dps is smart enough to stay with me and when the tank does die I see in chat from the tank

“too much huh?…. sorry =( I’ll be good now”

the rest of the run was smooth but I’ve seen this behavior become more and more common in the last couple weeks. I’ve had 9 out of 14 tanks see the hammer and just go careening off. I know it’s the hammer because they ALL said something about the hammer before trying to pull half the instance. I asked in guild chat and none of the other healers had seen this behavior either.

The second event was just a few nights ago. I was in a pug Forge of Souls rolling heroic, we were going to do FoS, PoS and finish with HoR, after the first boss is down the tank gives me a compliment on heals, one of the DPS in the group, a Feral Druid, says

“He’s only good because of the hammer, Shaman can’t heal this shit otherwise”

I laughed at first but then the following statement was uttered

“I’m not kidding, I have a Resto Shaman, I know you can’t heal this shit without that mace”

obviously I’m using better grammar than he did but you get the point. So I relay this to guild, I get a tell from one of the newbies

“So… un-equip the hammer, do it without it you got another caster weapon right? Maybe just do it without a weapon I know you can do it and that will stick in his craw for sure.”

I thought it over for a second, and then off came the mace. Second boss went down, the druid made another comment about

“you must be really thankful for that mace”

I casually reply,

“Oh, that. I haven’t had it equipped since you made the first comment. Don’t plan on putting it back on either, matter of fact bet I can do all the rest of the two without a weapon at all.”

Druid tried to call bullshit, but kept inspecting me. A successful (and flawless) PoS and HoR run later the Druid apologizes and leaves the group. So I asked around to some of my friends on the server that have the mace, and sure enough they all said they had similar experiences. The mace is a fantastic healing weapon, it really is. It’s a great lore piece and a sign that a guild is willing to put in the work necessary to construct it, but the general mentality of non healers that it is a godly healing weapon seems to be rather prevalent. So my New Years resolution in wow has been born as a result of this. When using the LFG tool I will no longer equip the mace. I’ve dubbed this the Val’anyr curse, it gives some people false expectations of your abilities.

So how about you out there? Have you noticed people being treated different in PUGs when they have the mace? Do you have the mace and noticed it as well?

well, that’s it for today, Until next time, Happy Healing

Image courtesy of MMO-Champion

Highlight Posts of 2009

Highlight Posts of 2009

2010

You didn’t think I was going to finish out the year without the traditional “Best of 2009” post, did you? Here’s the top posts of 2009 based on your views, comments, and tweets.

On healing
On gaming and society
On guild management
On recruiting
On raiding
On blogging

To other WoW bloggers, I’d love to see you compile a list of your favourite posts that you have written over the past year and don’t be afraid to post a link in the comments to it below.

Have a safe and happy new year! I would share my New Years party stories, but chances are, this Dwarf would not remember. There was that one year where I woke up half naked with a Tauren beside me and a banana…

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

A Friday Geek Moment

I’ve come into the habit of walking into work, sitting down at my desk and getting ready for the day.  The trick is, how I get ready for my day. 

I go through my morning routine: some coffee, a bagel or muffin.  I wipe down my desk from the overnight guy’s late-night snack.  I shoot the sh** with my co-workers about random stuff.  After making sure the database is updated, I open up my browser, and I type www.mmo-champion.com.

I find some good stuff there.  I like laughing at the Blue responses to all the forum QQ.  I see how we’re all getting nerfed or buffed.  I’m “in the know” about which guild got the newest World First. 

Today, however, I saw something that significantly raised my geek factor.  I love movie trailers.  Big epic scenes with climactic music underneath.  Awesome voiceovers and sweet editing.  I gotta hand it to Kinaesthesia from the Vodka guild (US-Alterac Mountains) for some awesome work.  Enjoy!!

WARNING!! SPOILERS ARE IN THIS VIDEO!!!

Coming soon!!  =)

ThespiusSig