I took the liberty of running the Flex Mode version of Immerseus over the weekend. Did manage to kill it within a few attempts. Our gear was scaled to 506 item level. Our group consisted of 10 players so we didn’t get a chance to check out the dynamic scaling in action. Players that are deep in the normal mode of Throne of Thunder shouldn’t have much difficulty with this boss. Check out the video and make note of the healing tips.
“Players win games. Teams win championships.”
Think about those the next time you enter a new progression raid. individual player skill will help you defeat dragons. But it’s the effort of the whole team that brings the glory of victory.
Here, watch this video of me in my first ever effort on the new healer Proving Grounds.
In other news, I spent money buying Spirit Guard Udyr in League of Legends this morning. Then the new transmog helms were available and I bought all three of those (I like the Crystal Skull helm one the best). Looks kind of odd on a Pandaren though, don’t you think? Luckily, there’s a guild transmog contest happening this upcoming Tuesday. The theme is blue! Now I need to find the rest of my transmog pieces I want to match up with the theme. Any ideas?
You know, I used to be that guy who scoffed at buying cosmetic and aesthetic gear. Who’d want to buy mounts? Why bother buying skins? What’s the point of battle pets? None of this stuff is used in the betterment of my character in anyway shape or form other than in looks, and even then, that’s subjective.
Five years later, I’ve sunk over a grand into League of Legends skins (alone).
Free to play game, they said.
In other words
What a rush. We finally hit 2/13 with a Ji-Kun kill that I never would’ve anticipated.
We had just hit 39% remaining. Our nest tank was dead and there was no point sending in groups up to the nests which had guardians because they were going to die. It would end up being a race between our DPS and Ji-Kun’s pools or other abilities. We managed to get it with DoTs ticking and a handful of survivors still remaining alive. Now that I know Ji-Kun can be taken down like that, I’m inclined to try that again and see if we can ignore and brute force our way through it. We definitely need to shore up a few things. I’m always worried about the second kill as it always ends up being the hardest. All I know is that Ji-Kun kill really took a huge toll out of me. Need a new raid leader, stat.
Iron Qon was next on the list. I think the progression order for Throne of Thunder pits either Horridon and Iron Qon in similar levels of difficulty. Our furthest Iron Qon attempt actually allowed us to see phase 4. Many of the strategies I read called for Dam’ren to be killed first in phase 4. I guess it’s something to do with the DPS loss from allowing the other two Quilen to land. We also need to become more consistent at running those Windstorms. I’m beginning to get a little antsy about them. Can’t afford to lose even three players on that first run out. I’m going to have to put that bench to use if the team doesn’t show any marked improvement in them. We’re doing what we can in dropping cooldowns to buy time. But all the cooldowns in the world aren’t going to save anyone if they get caught by tornadoes. I just don’t know what to do. It’s like Teron Gorefiend all over again.
As we get further and further into heroic modes, that bar is going to rise up. My only concern is what happens if the players aren’t able to skill up with it? I’m going to have to make some difficult choices. How long can I really afford to wait for people to nail that run? How much time do I have before tempers eventually flare or my patience expires?
Reminds me a little bit of League of Legends. I entered four promotion series going from Bronze 1 into Silver 5. I lost every single one of those on game 5. Maybe I have to accept the fact that I’m in the league that I’m in. Maybe some people just aren’t able to get any better. Maybe I hit my skill cap.
I’m at a bit of a crossroads now. Once the week resets and we knock over Jin’Rokh, we can start heroic attempts on Horridon. But we’ll have already committed 5 hours of learning attempts to Iron Qon instead. This is the issue with linear instances. I kind of like having winged instances. Firelands gave us quite the flexibility and how to plan our raid paths.
For now, time to enjoy the weekend and figure out what our long term game plan is.
Today we talk to MMO veteran Liore. She’s been around the block when it comes to MMOs (WoW, SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, Rift, you name it). Her blog has been around for a long time and she’s still going strong (Since at least 2009?). She has since started contributing to Rift Junkies and WildStar Junkies.
So who exactly are you and what do you do?
I’m Liore! By day I write user manuals and banner ads, and by night I make stuff for the internet about video games.
What do you feel are your strongest post types as a blogger?
I mostly write opinion pieces. I have a lot of opinions.
Where can we find your work?
Art of Productivity
How much time do you spend on a weekly basis just reading and researching for blog posts?
I don’t do a lot of research specifically for posts although I do read a lot. I listen to podcasts on my work commute, and watch Let’s Plays instead of television. My Twitter feed is full of game stuff, and I hang out on IRC all day with smart people who are also gamers. I guess you could say it’s kind of an organic research process.
How do you prepare yourself before blogging?
My mantra is basically, “Why am I writing this?” and if I can’t answer that in a sentence then I know the post needs to roll around in my head more.
How would you advise a blogger to beat procrastination?
Routine! Try to set a realistic routine, and accept that writing X times a week is just what you do now.
When is the best time of day for you to blog?
I do the actual writing at the office during lunch. It’s a good time for me — I’ve had coffee, I’m sitting in front of a computer, and I’ve warmed up my brain with work stuff.
How many hours a week do you spend actually blogging?
I don’t spend that much time actually writing. Maybe 20 minutes per post, with 20 minutes of editing. I spend way more time editing than writing.
How many days a week?
Ideally 3 times a week, or twice plus a podcast.
Who are your favorite inspirations and authors?
It feels silly to say my “inspirations” because, like, I write nonsense about video games, but the works of Hunter S. Thompson, Molly Ivins, and David Sedaris have strongly influenced my writing style.
What quote best defines you?
“And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.” – The Beatles
What type of music do you like to listen to when you write (or none at all)?
For the most part I can’t listen to music when I write. I find the lyrics distracting. If I’m listening to anything it’s probably Daft Punk’s Tron soundtrack because there are only a few words and it’s a hell of an album.
Are there any areas you’re looking to expand into as a blogger?
I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening? Video. Seriously, I love the written word like crazy but I think in 10 years time we’ll all be watching videos instead of reading blogs.. which sucks because one of the best parts of blogging is that you can do it in your underwear while wearing a ridiculous hat.
How do you crush writer’s block (if you believe in it)?
Remember that not every post has to be a masterpiece. Sometimes it’s perfectly okay to just write 25 words and post a great video you found.
Follow up: Where do you go when you’re drawing a blank on ideas?
I only recommend this if you are in the direst of straits, but if I’m totally out of ideas I’ll go start reading some big MMO’s official forum. It usually doesn’t take long before I see something that irritates me so much I want to write a post about it.
Are you a risk taker or do you play it safe when it comes to broaching potentially controversial topics?
Ooooh. You know, I try to not shy away from topics because it feels intellectually dishonest to me to not talk about something that I strongly believe, and I like to think that adding my voice to controversial topics contributes in some small fashion. That being said I try to write about them in an approachable way because that’s kind of why I blog — to participate in conversations about stuff.
Art of Blogging
How would you define a truly great blogger?
Consistent, opinionated, interested, and great with a turn of phrase.
What platform do you blog on?
Which blogs do you try to keep up with the most and why?
Kurn mentioned Blessing of Kings in her interview, and I think Rohan has been hugely influential in the MMO blogging community. The Ancient Gaming Noob (tagn.wordpress.com/) is not only an interesting read but also Wilhelm posts more frequently than the rest of us put together. Right now the blog I’m most excited to see update is In An Age (inanage.com). Azuriel plays totally different games than I do for the most part, but he always has interesting things to say and I like his style.
Is there a specific program you use for blogging?
Not really. I write into Notepad++ or EditPlus and then copy it into WordPress.
Other than using a focus macro, how do you stay focused on your task?
Honestly, I don’t. Hell, I’m watching a movie and playing Candy Crush while I answer this question! I just really enjoy writing and podcasting, so somehow it gets done.
What challenges or problems have you run into when blogging?
I’m too Canadian! Seriously, I have a hard time being forceful when I want to. It feels like I’m writing, “I think it’s really stupid when games do X” and then I read it later and it’s more like, “I’m sorry, I kind of don’t like X but it’s okay if you do because games are fun yay!”
Have any strategies on staying organized?
Inbox Zero. Love it. Live it.
How do you unwind after your day is over?
Foreign reality shows on YouTube! MasterChef Australia, Project Catwalk — everyone is always so nice and I like watching talented people do their thing.
Art of fun
What is your biggest annoyance right now (blogging or otherwise)?
Under otherwise: the lack of empathy in “internet culture”.
What has been your proudest achievement?
This is more “most recent” than “proudest”, but I just got confirmed for a Media Pass at PAX Prime. Putting aside for a moment the many complaints that people have about Penny Arcade (and I wouldn’t disagree with them), getting in a position to apply for the pass took good effort and I’m proud of it. They’re letting me interview developers! How crazy is that?!
Choose a celebrity (alive or dead) that you would like to have dinner with.
Geoffrey Chaucer and Francis Bean Cobain.
What do you wish to do more of (or get started doing) this year?
I love doing the podcast, so I want to play with that some more. Also video! I have plans to do my first full-on Let’s Play in August with a partner (Saint’s Row IV, aw yiss) which should be a lot of fun.
You travel back in time to meet your younger self when you started blogging. What piece of advice would you offer?
I started my first blog in 2000, but I’d tell myself to start blogging about games sooner. I came in at the tail end of WotLK, and I’m perpetually sorry that I missed the glory days of monolithic WoW blogs.
Where can readers find you online?
What else would you like readers to know?
I once killed 24 of my guild’s finest raiders by starting the Magtheridon fight early and locking them in. And I regret nothing.
Thanks for sharing your battlestation with us, Liore!
Mayron UI is a fully fledged interface compilation for DPS, tanks, and healers. You can grab the whole package on WoW Interface. It centers around Grid and ShadowedUnitFrames.
I chose the MayronUI because of the way it looks. Everything is centralized. It allows me to easily switch modes between Shadow and healing at anytime. It even has it’s own custom installer. Mayron UI is really easy to install. The instructions involve you extracting the addons into your addons folder. There’s another set of files that you have to load within your WTF folder as well. Once you fire it up in game, you’ll get an installation screen. Veterans that are already familiar with custom UIs will have an easier time with it. Newer players just getting started with custom UI elements need not worry as the instructions are detailed enough.
As for memory usage, it comes in at around 40MB+ for me (but will spike upwards to about 60ish due to Recount).
It’s built for widescreen resolutions (1920 x 1080, 1680 x 1050, 1600 x 900, 1440 x 900, and 1366 x 768). You need to play at full screen out of the box. I typically play in windowed mode and sometimes there’s a slight disruption on the bottom right with Recount (see third image below) but that can be solved by simply unlocking and moving it over slightly.
5 man view
Not much really changes between healing and DPS mode. The above screenshot shows what it looks like when I’m healing. Frames are nice and centralized and they go horizontal. Those three circles in the middle are a different addon (NugComboBar for Archangel stacks or Shadow Orbs). Buff and debuff tracking on you appear in the top right next to your map. Action bars can be shown or hidden based on your needs. There’s some nifty tabs in the top left that allow you to access various panes (Spellbook, character stuff, etc). There’s a convenient area in the top left where the chatbox can go. I added another chat pane to mine and placed it on the bottom right to help filter and sort through the various channels.
This is what the healer side of things looks like. The Grid raid frames are slightly off center. It might take some getting used to for players though as the bottom row is considered group 1 while the top row is group 5. I know many players prefer columns instead of rows for their groups. It continues to stretch upwards in order to accommodate 40 man raid groups. Your target’s buffs and debuffs appear just to the side of the action bars below. Raid debuffs continue to appear on Grid itself and you can customize and add certain ones as needed. Your peripheral vision will come in handy in case any offensive dispels need to be cast.
There’s a slight catch with the healing frames. The focus frame is the larger frame on the right. The target frame is the smaller one in the middle. You can keep the tank focused while healing other players in the raid. Let’s be real here, I don’t think many of us actually look at the target frame when we’re raid healing anyway. We can eyeball health bars and percentages off our raid frames fairly easily. Having that focus frame in such a prominent area is handy because it becomes plainly obvious if our tank is afflicted by something or has suffered a large amount of damage coming in.
Switching between modes is simple. There’s a little button on the left side of the chat box that lets you toggle your views.
This is what DPS mode looks like. Raid frames are in the bottom left. Unlike healer mode, your target of target appears in the middle between your unit frame and your target unit frame. I don’t have anyone focused but they would appear just above them. Like healer mode, notable buffs and debuffs for your target appear just to the right side of your bottom action bars. One of my concerns as a Shadow Priest is ensuring that all my DoTs stay up. Tidy Plates helps with that here as there’s no other addon that lets me track multiple DoTs on multiple targets (ClassTimer is included and helps with timers from target to target but doesn’t do well with multiple targets like Council f ights). Activate nameplates and track them manually.
All in all, Mayron’s is certainly a clean UI to work with as a base. I customized mine slightly by adding other raid related addons like TellMeWhen to alert me when certain abilities were available.
There’s no “master” window to configure addons from. It would’ve been nice to have a central panel but it’s easy enough to access the options you need to get to anyway.
/install – Opens up the Mayron Setup Window
/bonus – Opens up the Bonus Features Window
/rl - Reloads the UI
/ltp – This opens up Leatrix Plus which contains very useful general settings. Worth looking through.
/suf – Settings for the Unit Frames (Shadowed Unit Frames)
/bar – Bartender Settings (Action Bars)
/kgpanels config – Settings for all the graphical art panels being used – Can become very technical.
/classtimer – Settings for the timers on the top of the palyer and target frame – You can remove and add additional timers through this.
/align – Places a Grid over the screen so that you can align UI elements easily.
Full list of addons
- Broker + Plugins
- ButtonFacade + Masque
- Simple Power Bar
- Tidy Plates
- Who Framed Watcher Wabbit
You need to get your own boss mods. It won’t come with DBM or BigWigs. Pick the one you like. In addition, certain classes may want to pick up additional class specific addons. All in all, I think it’ll help provide many solutions for players looking for a clean UI that’s universal across multiple characters and roles.
It’s the first post I’ve done in a while that looks specifically at compilations. Leave any questions below, and I’ll answer them as best I can (and incorporate them in future UI compilation review posts and notes).
In the latest build of the PTR, a mysterious Enduring Elixir of Wisdom was discovered. Increased XP gain but for a price! Who knows what that price would be? Such varied opinions when word of this was released.
I admit that I am the world’s worst person when it comes to micro transactions. New mount? Sure. New pet? Yeah, let me whip out my credit card. Don’t even get started with me on League of Legends. I’m fairly certain I’ve redeemed over $1000 in Riot points just for new skins and champions the day they’re released. I’m pretty sure I spend more money on virtual vanity items than I do on real life ones.
But this ain’t exactly a vanity item.
When I was leveling my Monk to 90, I repeatedly stacked that daily quest XP buff. I think I built up a nice 13 hour stack at one point because I was unable to devote any meaningful time to it except for the periodic weekend or late night binge.
Years ago, if Blizzard had said they were developing an item like this and putting it up for sale, I would’ve been annoyed. But now that I’m working on my umpteenth alt, I have a slightly different perspective. I despise the leveling game. I love the end game. If I had an opportunity to pick up an 85 character, I’d do it and level it up the rest of the way. There comes a point where you’ve killed Hogger more than enough times. You’ve saved Redridge over and over. You’re tired of bailing out Corki infinitely from his own stupidity in Outland.
Anyway, maybe we’re just making a huge mess out of nothing and it’s going to be a region locked item of sorts.
Time to work on the ret pally! Almost 87!
The original Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clockface that first originated in 1947 by some really smart people (directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists). The closer the clock is to midnight, the closer the entire world gets to a global catastrophe. Right now, the clock is at 5 minutes to midnight. As nations attempt to find ways to secure nuclear weapons, time gets added. If they’re unable to agree or if additional nations become nuclear capable, time gets removed.
Have you heard of the guild doomsday clock?
It’s this internal timer that GMs have. When it hits zero, the guild collapses in spectacular bits. The progression clock is naturally about raiding. If you recruit new players or get progression kills, time is added. If you lose players for any reason or wipe continually to bosses, time is subtracted.
This is not going to be apparent to most people. But every guild leader has that internal pressure on them whether they realize it or not. They have a mandate to uphold and goals to achieve. Every failure adds more pressure until they can’t take it anymore and disband. I’ve seen it to happen to guilds that I never would have expected to shut down. I run this organization everyday wondering if it’ll be the last and it’s been like that for the better part of a year. Fear is an exceptionally powerful motivator.
How does time get added and removed from the doomsday clock?
- Losing players
- Losing officers
- Excessive wiping on normal mode
- Suspending progression
- Missed raids
- Drama issues resulting in splintering
- Gaining players
- Officers who are stable and not burning out
- Farming bosses in one shot
- Meaningful, visible progression
- Positive attendance
- Overall satisfaction and happiness
Over the past year, I’ve seen the clock hands gradually tick forward to midnight. Officers have become burned out. Players schedules and their lives have changed. I’m not able to adjust fast enough. I still have no viable raid leader I can pass some of this load to. That alone is my biggest need and there’s no job board or recruiting forum I can go to for something like this. It’s hard to grow a raid leader if no one has the time, desire, or skillsets to do it. Stable raid leaders are a premium.
Thankfully, wee were able to raid with the bare minimum with 25. The fact is that there are still people here who wish to raid and see more of the game. I’ve almost all but written off this tier and am in the process of retooling for Siege of Orgrimmar. This is the time of year where it’s so hard to recruit because players are firmly entrenched in their raiding guilds or they’re taking a break to enjoy the sun. Thankfully, we’ve picked up a few more players in the past week and added some time to it but we’re still extremely close to midnight.
It’s like cutting grass with garden shears, isn’t it?
Our current roster is just not quite there for hard modes. Some of the players don’t have the experience. Others don’t have the gear. I’ve had to make the unpopular decision to temporarily suspend hard mode progression until the bottom end can catch up appropriately. Everyone who has been here has been farming normal modes for months. We’ve been able to 22 man our way through most bosses past even Dark Animus. We took a player’s alt Ret Paladin which started off with a 460 ilevel and ended the night at 502. They didn’t really do much DPS, but they were a body and and an Aura Mastery. The fear? That people at the top grow impatient and have no desire to stick around waiting for the bottom end to catch up and repeating the cycle.
It’s pretty damn sad.
I’ve been in similar situations before in the past. But there was always a clear, well lit path forward. I had a large and familiar group of officers more experienced than I was at the time who helped steer me the right way (like Syd). But man, it’s super lonely right now. But like any true leader, you can’t show weakness. It’s easy to repeat that everything’s going to be okay. In the back of mind, I don’t like that because I like having actionable steps and plans to move up.
The best I can really do is recruit and pray.
A stable and sizable raid roster needs to be the first fix. But it’s going to be for naught if I can’t get a raid leader somewhere. Throne of Thunder may very well be the most disastrous showing for this organization since Ulduar. We’re an above average normal mode guild. But this roster has much to learn about heroic raiding. It’s the difference between the regular season and playoffs. Have to find that ON switch.