Syd’s Guide to Blogging Part 2: Getting Started

Syd’s Guide to Blogging Part 2: Getting Started

As I tell my students, Dame Inspiration is a fickle mistress. One of the hardest challenges any writer faces is knowing what to write about and then having the gumption to go through with it. Let me tell you, I face my own struggle with writer’s block every day. Sure, it doesn’t hurt me much in the blogging department, but in my professional life? My own anxiety about the quality of my writing keeps me from publishing as many articles as I’d like. As such, I’m writing this blog entry to coax both my readers and myself into happy, healthy writing habits.

My theory on creativity is that almost all writers or would be writers have a mountain of content locked somewhere in the furthest corner of their brain, just waiting to be set free. I know I’ve spent countless hours over the last year explaining to people (and myself) the entire plot of a vampire series I intend to write. . . someday. I’ve developed it enough in my mind to have first and last names for all the characters, an opening paragraph that I’ve now memorized, a good number of chapter titles, and a plan for every major scene in books one and two. I even dream about the heroine on a surprising number of occasions. Did I mention that the actual writing on this project comes to a sum of two pages? Why is that, do you think? I have absolutely nothing to lose by writing my thoughts down, right? Well, that’s not entirely true.

The Lure of the Possible

Four years ago, at the beginning of writing my dissertation, I took a seminar on how to begin. Yes, I’m the type of person who takes a class every time I need to know how to do something–I can’t help it, I suffer from academophilia. In that particular class, I learned something startling. Most cases of writer’s block are not caused by a lack of material or a lack of interest on the part of the writer. They are the result of fear and anxiety. One would think that a writer would feel better the moment that words finally hit the page–but it’s just the opposite. You see, any time I’ve actually written something down, I have to deal with my actual, real blog entry or short story, not the ideal one that I might have written under the most favorable of conditions. The truth is that the ideal is always better–it is a dream, a thing of cobwebs and shadow, to which the real cannot possibly compare. The major insight of this seminar was that writers actually feel more unhappy, not less, once their work has been started. How does one overcome the anxiety? I’ll tell you what I tell myself, and what I tell my students. It must have worked to some degree, because I actually did finish my dissertation on schedule. Recognize that first drafts are always bad. That is their purpose in life–to be utter, total crap that you can then toy with, rearrange, dismember and, if necessary, discard as you revise. I am sure there are some writers who publish their first drafts, but it takes a great deal of experience and expertise (and probably a mountain of past failed drafts) to get to that point.

For those writers who would like to get from the possible to the actual, the following strategies can help you come to see writing as a process, mostly mechanical, that has a lot more to do with hard work than inspiration.

Control Your Environment

The second thing that prevents many writers from producing as much as they like has to do with the environment they work in–and by this, I mean both mental and the physical space. Ideally, we’d all like to write in a perfectly beautiful, solitary space, carried on to verbosity on a wave of euphoric inspiration. That doesn’t happen. Writers who seek that out every time end up as hermits or drug addicts–or worse, both. Some of us can, like writer Annie Dillard, build a writing studio in the back yard to escape the world. I’m sure this is quite effective, but writers starting out won’t generally have the capability to set themselves up as modern-day Thoreaus (or worse, modern-day Van Goghs, permanently high on absinthe and turpentine). Instead of lamenting your lack of a rustic, solitary cabin with an excellent internet connection, work on the environmental factors that you can change. Believe me when I tell you that college students with their myriad distractions can write brilliant papers–but most of them can’t do so in a dorm room while their drunk roommate plays Xbox. I suggest the following steps to improve your writing environment. Physical space, after all, helps create mental space.

1. Find out what level of noise and companionship you like. As an experiment, take your notebook or laptop to a fairly busy cafe. There should be noise all around you–the hum of conversation, the clink of spoons against glass, the high pitched squeal of the espresso machine–but none of it is directed at you specifically. Now, set yourself a very simple writing challenge. Write a long, involved email or letter to a friend explaining everything you’ve been doing for the last two weeks. As you know, every one of us is behind on our correspondence, so this will be a useful exercise. Note the time when you start and when you finish, and after you sign off, write down a few words about the difficulty of the exercise. Did you write a good letter? Were you often distracted? And if you were, did those distractions help you think, or did they chase the thoughts out of your head?

When you’ve completed your public writing exercise, it’s time to indulge in some private writing. Set an alarm for an hour early–preferably at a time when no one will be awake. Write in a room empty of clutter, noises, interest of any kind. If you’re a student, I suggest a study room at the library on Saturday morning. If you’re at home, write barefoot and in your pajamas–with or without a coffee cup. Now, write a letter or email of the same length and detail as the public one, and time yourself. When you finish, reflect on the experience and note whether it seemed easier or harder, more or less pleasant, than your exercise in public writing.

The results of this little experiment should give you a baseline reading on how you best like to write. I chose personal correspondence as the assignment because it’s a type of writing that causes little anxiety for anyone. After all, our friends love to hear from us, and they couldn’t care less if we use metaphors or not. The only factors causing possible anxiety should have been environmental. What did I learn from doing this exercise myself? That both types of locales have their advantages. For me, I’m faster at home, but I’m more likely to work on what I’m supposed to be doing in public. Experience tells me that while I’ll abandon my writing for lolcats after five minutes if I’m sitting barefoot at my breakfast table, I won’t do the same at Starbucks. I choose my different environments based on my goals for the day and how motivated I feel. If I’m less motivated and I need to write anyway, it’s off to the coffee shop. I find that I don’t hear the distractions after a while–it’s white noise to me, below the threshold of notice. But the mere fact of being in a public place keeps my butt in the seat and my hands on the keys more consistently. However, I’ve got to confess that I mostly blog at home in my pajamas. Why? Blogging, for some reason, doesn’t hit my anxiety buttons like literary criticism or novel writing do. I think it’s the informal, personal nature of the medium.

Have a Writing Ritual

The horrible affliction of writer’s block has a great deal in common with insomnia. In both cases, the mind and body are out of sync, and we just can’t manage to do the thing that we most need or want to do. Thus, it makes sense that the advise that helped me overcome my own insomnia also worked on my poor writing habits. Once you find something that works, keep certain elements the same every time. Here’s what you might do.
1. Write at the same time every day. The more writing becomes a part of your routine, the easier it will be to make yourself do it. It’s not a terrible bother to brush your teeth every morning, is it?
2. Go to your regular writing spot(s). It’s time to put the knowledge you gained from our earlier exercise into practice. If you have an office or a rustic cabin, this is quite easy. If you’re a laptop user like me with no actual desk, you’ll have to get creative. I have three spaces that I work in: my office at work (suitable for research and reading), the leftmost cushion on the couch (suitable for heavy writing), and the Barnes and Noble cafe (suitable for reading and taking notes). I have a feeling though, that if I really wanted to write that vampire novel, I’d take the laptop to Barnes and Noble. For writing with secondary sources, I’m stuck with the couch, because no one wants to drag an enormous bag of books to the bookstore (from, of course, is another story entirely.
3. Have the same drinks and snacks every time. For me, it’s coffee or diet coke. I don’t eat while I write on the computer, as my last laptop got irremediably sticky. If you do get the munchies, I suggest popcorn, edamame, apples, or carrots. Cheetos are a really, really bad idea. Granola bars are also surprisingly crumbly. It’s not that you need a drink or snacks, of course. It’s just that, as it becomes part of your routine, your favorite coffee cup will help you write. I, for example, love plain white cafe-style mugs. All my mugs from home look like they could have come from a cafe (and now it really irks me when cafes use oversize or glass mugs). Even seeing a white coffee mug makes me think of reading and writing–which is a very helpful association if you’re trying to get some words down. Caveat–as I write with a coffee mug on my lap desk next to my laptop, or in the best case scenario, precariously balanced beside me on the couch, I’m sure I’m headed for tragedy and nasty laptop death one day. Perhaps at some point I’ll buy a couch with a built-in cup holder.

Practice Pre-Writing and Post-Writing

I would not expect even the best novelist to produce her best sentence in the first fifteen seconds of a writing session. You have to work yourself into it. For pre-writing, I suggest that you keep a separate notebook or document purely for your feelings and anxiety about the writing process. I used this technique for my dissertation, and I can tell you, my pre-writing scrapbook is full of every curse word I know and dire proclamations written in all caps. Somehow, a few minutes of writing anything will reconcile me to doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
Post-writing is equally important. The idea is to leave yourself a plan for the next day’s work. Human beings write better in coherent chunks. If you can, it’s always ideal to write a whole blog entry or a whole chapter at one setting, but with lengthier projects, this just isn’t possible. For post-writing, I use my primary document. I append post-writing comments directly to the day’s work, and for me, it’s usually a one-to ten-step plan of what I need to accomplish in the next session. I know from experience that my maximum production in one sitting is somewhere around 4 pages double-spaced. This isn’t very much compared to the overall length of a dissertation (300 pages double-spaced) or a fantasy novel (up to 700 pages double-spaced). Like Hansel and Gretel, you have to leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind you. Now, sometimes I don’t follow the path I’ve laid for myself. Writing is a process of continual discovery, and when it takes a left turn, I like to follow it to its logical end. However, it’s comforting to have a to-do list. If I don’t accomplish a step in the plan, I save it until I do. At the end of chapter three of my dissertation I had five pages of excellent plans that just never came to fruition. I only deleted them when I was certain that I was done adding new material to the chapter.

Time to Write, Right Now

The techniques I’ve described have helped me tremendously. Even though I’m a “professional writer,” (it still feels odd to call myself that, though it’s in my job description) I still need them. I still wrestle with the angel every time I sit down to write–especially if my job is on the line. I urge all aspiring or current writers to see inspiration, and writing itself, as a mechanical process that obeys certain rules. If you put work in, you get results out. That work does not have to be brilliant–it just has to be present. A great second draft, after all, can be written from any sort of first draft, even the worst one possible. However, a great second draft cannot be produced with no first draft at all to support it. So, open up your word processor–today–and see what happens.
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Ensidia’s Holy Priest Guide and Monday Links

Ensidia’s Holy Priest Guide and Monday Links

For Holy Priests interested in capturing a glimpse of how and what top end players do push themselves to the limit, one of Ensidia’s Holy Priests has written a guide to specs, gems, gear, and spell casts.

book

Quick Notes

One of the suggested specs is a 13/58/0 build which does not have Mental Agility nor Inspiration. This is a more specialized build which relies on Test of Faith and Healing Prayers for short, high healing demand type of encounters where Priests can afford to blow through mana.

In regards to gems, Poptisse advocates any gems with Intellect in the various sockets but notes that other gems will work just as well based on your personal preference. While I knew Intellect gems were the go-to gems for Discipline, I didn’t know it would be prioritized as high for Holy Priests. It must be due to the result of the Spirit nerf. Intellect didn’t really get better. Spirit just got slightly hit.

Caution: The guide you’re reading is written by one of the top Priests in the world. She’s in Ensidia after all. That’s a guild that probably has a plethora of raiders and players to choose from based on varying roles that are needed by different encounters. Most of us do not have that luxury. We have to make do with what we have which means we have to be more “all around”. There is a ton of valuable information but that doesn’t mean you should go out of your way to copy everything exactly. This is just an insight as to what a top tier Priest does. Read it, learn from it, and find out what works best for you.

Monday links

  • Brigwyn is hosting a Child’s Play Charity Auction – All donations going to a good cause. Do check it out.
  • Kestrel wants to know if WoW is Losing Its Hold on you – I know Megan has called a retirement from blogging (not sure if that includes the game). A lot of bloggers have called it quits recently. Rest assured, retirement is far away for me right now (Hopefully for Syd and Lodur too).
  • Wrote to Done: Three Tips to Avoid Being a Boring Writer – Read it.
  • Leadership now: 5 Leadership Lessons: Ultimate Leadership – Leading in Context – Great and short read. I liked this line the best:
    • General P.X. Kelly: "Listen carefully to the principles of leadership we will teach you here at Quantico, but always apply them within the framework of your own personality. A successful leader never languishes in the comfort of a swivel chair. The most important of all troop-leading steps, yet the one most often neglected, is the last – to supervise. And you supervise by being out with and devoting the bulk of your time to our most important product – people. You can always catch up on what you thought was essential paperwork during the evenings or on weekends, but once neglected, you will find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to catch up on people."
  • Zen Habits: 5 Tiny Steps to Quit Being Such a Jerk

Other notes

  • Noblegarden sucks. Haven’t seen this level of spawn camping since the days of Halo and Day of Defeat.
  • Had a few questions about this. Yes I’m always interested in guest posts and promoting blogs of others. Just be sure to follow these guidelines.

Draft

31 Day Challenge: The Elevator Pitch

On Saturday, I made a quick note that I would be participating in this year’s 31 days to building a better blog.

Earlier readers will remember the previous tagline I use was Knowledge through Logic and Reason. That wasn’t the best of taglines to use on a healing related blog.

Anna suggested World of Matticus – Where Leadership and Healing Collide (without the train wreck). I know if I the blog had a business card of some sort it would read something like: "Problems with healing? Guild issues got you down? Matt can help!”

For most WoW bloggers, I suspect their elevator pitch would be something related to their character (The adventures of ____ or the musings of a <race> <class>). I have yet to think of the perfect pitch. This blog isn’t just mine anymore. It’s Wyns, Syds, Lodurs and everyone that’s ever contributed via comments or guest posts or emails.

When people discover that I’m a blogger, they always ask “Oh, what do you write about?”. I admit that it’s a bit frustrating to come up with an answer. I usually have different ones on standby depending on the what I know about the person. If they’re my age, they’ve heard of World of Warcraft. If they’re of a different generation or not as fluent with video games, I’ll tell them I write about gaming strategy and advice.

So here’s the short form of what I would use across the network.

World of Matticus: Improving Today’s Healers and Tomorrow’s Leaders
PlusHeal: The Universal Healing Community for all Specs and Skills
No Stock UI: A Different Playing Experience

The elevator pitch is a great way for you to really buckle down and figure out who you are and what you want to do.

Apping for Guilds

This works the same way. When you’re applying for a guild and you’re speaking to an officer or a GM, most of them get a good handle on the type of player they’re dealing with in a few minutes. So you should take the time to develop a small pitch for yourself if you’re in between guilds.

Example – I’m a progression raiding oriented Discipline Priest

I’m about to head out and do some progression oriented studying and then some more volleyball!

For the bloggers out there, what would your tagline be and what is your blog about?

Say Hi to No Stock UI!

Say Hi to No Stock UI!

nsui

During the summer of 2007, I started World of Matticus. In the summer of 2008, I opened the PlusHeal discussion community for healers to take part and actively contribute their ideas for other players to learn from.

It is now spring of 2009.

Enter No Stock UI.

This will be a magazine style blog with a few notable bloggers around the community:

You can find out more about us if you’re interested! You’re also certainly welcome to contribute! We’re all UI enthusiasts at heart.

What’s the big idea?

No doubt some of you are wondering what’s the point in a UI blog. But some of the most passionate and heated blog posts stem from bloggers who write about their UI and different addons. Often times these useful posts are scattered, buried and tossed aside never to be read again.

Here at No Stock UI, our goal is to deliver compelling and quality content centering around your gaming experience. Topics will range from:

  • Addons
  • Macros
  • User Interface
  • Design
  • Reviews
  • Comparisons

To start with, the blog will be updated every Tuesday and Thursday. Hopefully we can pick up the pace as time goes on. Eventually, I’d like to see it get to the point where readers can get a new post everyday. One step at a time, right?

Our posts

  • 4 Popular Heads Up Displays
  • Why Aesthetics are Important
  • 6 Nifty Addons You Might Not Know About
  • 30+ FuBar Plugins You Can’t Live Without
  • Where to Find Your New UI
  • Killer Combinations: AuctionLite + Skillet + LilSparksWorks
  • In Depth Analysis with Recount

Hope you’ll enjoy reading our posts as much as we loved writing them!

6 Ways to Reject a Guild App Without Sounding Like an Angry Ex

6 Ways to Reject a Guild App Without Sounding Like an Angry Ex

In the spirit of the blogger’s challenge I laid out last Saturday, I felt it was only fair to come up with a post of a similar theme.

I issued a question to the Twitterati asking them this:

On what grounds have you had to turn away guild apps?

Of the multiple responses I received, I was able to consolidate the majority into 6 real reasons guilds reject players.

Some of these reasons sound eerily familiar. Probably because I’ve been on the receiving end of all of them at some point.

It’s not you. It’s me.

@greyseer Attitude does not align with core purpose or ideals

This is the one of the more often used rejection reasons. Sometimes a player just does not fit in with the rest of the guild for whatever reason. Player personality plays a strong role in the minds of most GMs. If a personality clashes, then the door is closed. Perhaps the applicant is simply too liberal in their use of language which makes players uncomfortable. Maybe they’re looking to do nothing but PvP in a progression raiding guild. Whatever it is, the applicant just doesn’t have a place in the guild’s grand scheme of things.

You’re not open with me enough.

@asara_dragon Poor command of language on application
@cuppy Didn’t follow app instructions
@misskeli Didn’t fill app at all

First impressions matter. When GM’s are exposed to you for the first time, your language use plays an integral part in how you virtually “look and sound”. Take the time to put in the periods and capitals. Run it through a spellcheck. Come across as professional and intelligent. The guild app is your way of “selling” and marketing yourself to the guild. Even if you’re the best player around on the server, a crappy application will stone your efforts. Prove yourself out of the game or else you might not get the chance to prove yourself in the game.

Even worse than leaving a bad first impression is not following the instructions. If an applicant can’t follow instructions on a simple post, who is to say they can follow instructions in raids?

I think we need to go on a break.

@sylus Reputation for guild hopping
@Nightravyn Known drama llama
@dadexter Known to rob guild banks

These types of players are lone wolves. They travel from guild to guild exhausting their resources until they are no longer welcome. Fortunately, the names of such players spread quickly and far via trade chat and forums. It’s advisable for guilds to maintain their own blacklist for players that their guild should stay away from.

I’m just not interested in you right now.

@Threon We’ve got 4 Resto Druids
@Narayu People that app that are classes we’re full on.

Even outstanding apps have to get rejected. There are only 25 positions available in a raid. Some players already have cemented positions and it is extremely difficult to dislodge such people. It all boils down to having no room. Barring some kind of emergency, full time players who raid are full time for a reason. Their attendance is virtually flawless. This reason for rejecting players becomes more apparent in progressed guilds. They just can’t fit any more players, classes or roles into their raids. I’ve had to release some people over the past few weeks because I knew they wanted to raid and it wasn’t fair for them to be kept on retainer. They deserved to raid. There is still time for them to look for other guilds to join.

I’m too busy focusing on life and my career to get involved.

@siha You can’t make our raid times
@crazeigh Attendance and availability

Players apply with intentions to raid. Some guilds are okay with a 50% attendance rate or what have you. Other guilds expect raiders to be able to go at it from start to finish. Obviously it is not possible to expect flawless attendance. From experience, I can say that guilds I’ve been in, there is an expectation that players show up to a set amount (as a minimum). Given the choice between two identically geared and skilled players, I will always start with the player that can go from start to finish as opposed to the one that has to leave every night right before Patchwerk. From a management perspective, it just makes sense. A player that can only be available for a small amount of time is not going to be able to serve the guild well in a raid capacity.

You can’t afford me.

@Kreeoni Gear is lacking

Older friends have told me that companies generally don’t care what type of degree I have. I was freaking out because I was second guessing my program choices for school. Kimbo, an officer, explained to me that companies only care that you have the piece of paper that says you’ve got your 4 years or 120 credits. Whether it’s Psychology, Criminology, Sociology or Business Administration isn’t as big of a factor (in most cases but I know someone’s going to say “but yes it plays a HUGE factor”.

Having the degree shows you have the discipline and perseverance to work your way through school.

That mentality has some merit here. I’ve always held the belief that gear and skill are equally important. I need the weapons and armor to do my job. But I need the knowledge and skills to use my gear effectively.

Having your Sons of Hodir enchants or your exalted Rep faction gear demonstrates that you put a lot of time and effort into your character. Having high end heroic blues or a smattering of epics shows that you’re willing to grind through to get what you want. Appropriate gems and enchants show that you know how to best augment your character (unlike that one Priest I saw with nothing but agility gems. Hmm!

Finally, with raiding instances set to go up in difficulty, it becomes clear that minimum throughput of DPS and healing are only going to go up. For example, the gear requirement for pre-nerf Sunwell was much higher than a fray into Gruul’s Lair of Magtheridon’s cavern. The entire raid has to reach a certain minimum baseline performance in order to kill a boss. Otherwise the enrage timer hits or healers run out of mana and it’s game over.

Why have you or your guild rejected applicants? Do you have any good (or sad) stories you like to share?

Image courtesy of nyuszika

Blizzard Reads Kestrel’s Aerie (Priest Changes for 3.1)

I don’t have much time. I’m rushing a quick post before I head to school (Delivering a 10 minute presentation on Forensic sciences). I’ll publish a post later with my thoughts on it. I am absolutely creaming my pants right now. When I alerted Wyn, she was virtually speechless as well. In case you haven’t seen them, here they are on WoW Insider. I wanted to point your attention to something though. Last year, I had the opportunity to do an interview with Kestrel (of his self titled Aerie). In it, he asked me what I thought the 51 point talent would be.

 

kestrel-int

Turns out I was wrong. It would end up being Penance. But look at the recent blue posts for Priests!

blizz-pwbarrier

Well, well, well. Will you look at that! A talent named Power Word: Barrier that’s a shield effect! I’m predicting it’s going to be replacing the spot where Diving Spirit is. But Kestrel my man, this is proof that Blizzard reads your blog, eh?

7 Death Knight Blogs

7 Death Knight Blogs

There’s a distinct lack of Death Knight blogs out there at the moment. But with the combination of Google, Blog Azeroth, and the Twitterati, I’ve managed to scrounge up a few. If you just started a Death Knight and you’re looking for some pointers or if want to read up on some Death Knighty adventures, try these on for size.

Stoppable Force: He doesn’t always blog about Death Knights, but there is still some stuff for aspiring Lich Kings everywhere.

stoppable-force

Death Knight Tactics

deathknight-tactics

Deekow

deekow

Kova and Mortition’s Death Knight Travels: This blog hasn’t been updated in a few weeks.

dkhavok.com

Skeleton Jack

skeleton-jack

wotdk

wotdk

deathknight.info

deathknightdotinfo

Do you have any Death Knight blogs you’d like to add?

Epic Guest Posting Guidelines for the Matticus

Epic Guest Posting Guidelines for the Matticus

SONY DSC

Would the World of Matticus ever feature a guest post from you?

In a word, yes. The first thing you have to remember is that in the World of Matticus, there is but one god: Matticus himself. Guest posts usually happen when I put the word out that I needs help.

In the past year, I’ve opened up guest posting to bloggers and writers that were interested in getting their feet wet. Today, I’m officially announcing the green light for open guests posts as well as setting down guidelines and suggests for writing them. Here’s a few examples for you to consider.

While I admit that my standards are high, I’m not asking you to solo Illidan or do heroic Occulus. What I do want is to illustrate reasons and qualities for a World of Matticus guest post.

Why write a guest post?

Exposure - By writing compelling articles, stories or posts in general on other blogs (not just mine, mind you), you increase your own visibility and exposure. View it as a chance to promote yourself and your work! Now you be thinking to yourself "why write on someone else’s blog when I can augment my own?" I encourage you to think in a different direction. By writing an insanely awesome blog post for another blogger and having it published, that blogger’s audience will want to know more about you and what else you have to offer.

Trial – Not sure if blogging is the right thing for you? At the very fundamental core of blogging is to communicate. You are translating your ideas and visions from your mind onto the screen. Don’t spend time establishing a blog only to discover that writing is difficult for you or that your interest has waned. Do the writing first then build the blog. Try writing a sample post and determine if it’s something you think you’ll enjoy down the road. Web sites come in all sorts of designs and styles. The one thing that all blogs have in common is the display of information.

You’ve decided to write a guest post? Excellent! Here’s a few things you might wish to consider:

Consider the audience

In the beginning, this blog catered towards Holy Priests. As time went on, it slowly included aspects for the raiding Holy Priest. Guild business and leadership was mixed into the blog. A Resto Druid was added. Now it includes material that Guild leaders would be interested in reading.

The majority of readers on World of Matticus are primarily healers, raiders, and bloggers. That’s a pretty wide sphere of influence, if I do say so myself. Keep the audience in mind when you’re writing a post. For example, most healers may not understand certain tanking concepts and you may wish to elaborate more on terms that you’ll be using.

If you’re writing about the nature of Hunters, PvP skills for Warriors, or the latest fashion news on Death Knights, you’ll want to consider another blog unless you can make it relevant for the World of Matticus readers.

What makes this blog appealing for you? Chances are, your answer will be the same as the other many thousands of readers. Browse through the archives to find some of your favourite posts and you’ll get a handle for what works and what doesn’t.

Matticus is beneficial

The one thing I stress most from the team here is to make your information useful. Give the reader something to take with them when they finish.

How does a Discipline Priest react in this raid situation? Did your GM handle a particularly difficult problem in a smooth fashion? Topics like that would be right up the alley in the World of Matticus.

Content in the World of Matticus should help answer problems that players find in the World of Warcraft.

Matticus is professional

I don’t care if you’re on the top 5v5 team in the world, or the best ranked Ret Paladin on WWS. I’m not expecting you to be Dan Brown either.

Sydera, Wynthea and I are really picky. Syd’s a teacher (not high school, but the best one can professionally be). Wyn usually shreds my posts because they’re not technically correct or sound. I harp on the other two if their posts do not look good.

Keep the post as clean looking as possible. White space is good. If necessary, format the post and add images to help spice and liven it up more.

Check your tone. Have a unique style. Make sure what you write can be understood. This isn’t a journal or a computer operations manual. Be clear, be concise. Add some personality. Don’t be afraid to write as if you’re speaking. Be interesting and humorous. Feel free to tell a story to get your point across.

Most importantly, spend as much time on thinking of a title as you do on your post. No other WoW blogger puts as much thought, time or emphasis into post titles as Matticus.

Spell check it.

Fact check it. If you’re not sure about spells or abilities, use WoWHead.

Not all of us are blogging gods by any means (but that Matticus comes close). We’re not the best. We’re only human. Typos will creep in or lawn gnomes will occasionally break a few things. All of us invest a lot of time and care into making our post the best as possible.

Some guest bloggers in the past have been rejected and told to rewrite. Go through multiple drafts. Ask someone in your guild to look it over. World of Matticus does not involve writers who write drafts then immediately publish them. Posts will stew around for days or even weeks if they do’t feel right until a “Eureka” moment strikes.

Sounds great! How do I sign up?

Drop me a line on my contact form. You can include a post within the body of the form there or get in touch with me first and float an idea my way to see how it sounds. I’ll respond with a confirmation and a giant thank you! If I don’t respond within a week, I must’ve not received it or I completely forgot about it. Feel free to poke me with a gentle reminder!

If you have a blog, it’s a good idea to link to your best blog posts. Note that it’s not required that you have a blog.

Image courtesy of Cierpki

Guest Post: 3.0 Professions for the Priest (and Clothies)

This is a guest post written by Galadria.

Hello Matt’s Readers!  For those of you who remember me, I’m back playing WoW and writing my blog again.  For those of you who don’t, I’m Galadria and I write Galadria’s Corner (yes I renamed it… again) formerly The Light and The Dark formerly The Holy Light.  I’ve got raiding experience on 2 level 70 Priests, one Holy and one Shadow, and I’m now rolling new toons on a new server, another Priest and now a Warlock (they’re both 40ish at the moment).  Without further ado, here’s my thoughts on Professions in Wrath!

Professions have taken a slightly different flavor in WotLK. Each has its own unique benefits, even the gathering professions. It seems to me that Blizz decided to balance not only classes, but professions. Tailoring was so incredibly OP for casters that I felt I didn’t have a choice but to learn Tailoring or be horribly gimped in raid.  With each profession having something special, the selection of your professions requires a little more thought (especially if you’re leveling new toons like I am!). The information included is from the Beta and WoWHead’s WotLK site. Since WotLK isn’t live yet this data isn’t set in stone there are likely to be a few changes. When the expansion goes live I’ll let you know what changed and how (over at my blog, or course, so add me to your reader if you haven’t already!  /shameless plug off). With the disclaimers out of the way, here we go!

Alchemy

  • Double duration on Flasks and Elixirs
  • Increased effects of Flasks & Elixirs (it appears that the increased effects are 37 spellpower for flasks and 19 spellpower for Battle Elixirs, not sure about Guardian Elixirs)
  • BoP trinket (Mercurial Alchemist Stone) that will increase effects of Pots by 40%. The highest mana potion grants 4200 to 4400 and we’ll assume that the average is in the middle. Adding 40% gives 6020 mana.  Let’s assume for simplicity’s sake that boss fights are 5 mins (I’ve heard as low a 3 and up to 8).  Over a 5 min boss fight, the unbuffed mana pot gives 71.5 MP5, the buffed is 100.3 MP5.  Using the same logic for health pots, with the largest being about 3600 plus 40% gives 5040, giving 12 HPS unbuffed and 16.8 HPS buffed (I’m not sure how meaningful that statistic is, but there you go… I did the math for you!)
  • If PvP is your thing, there are also craftable Arena potions.

The Bottom Line: Alchemy can be a great profession for anyone. The double duration will save you money and I think the Alchemy stone will be very valuable with the potion changes (my gut is telling me that this is going to be one of the more powerful profession benefits available, but nothing is set in stone yet).  It can also be a money maker if you can get your hands on some of the rare or discovered recipes.  If you are going to be an Alchemist I highly recommend Herbalism to go with it so you don’t have to purchase Herbs.

Blacksmithing

  • Extra Socket for Bracers and Gloves
  • Entry level BoP Epic Weapon

The Bottom Line: I can’t recommend Blacksmithing for any caster since we can’t use the majority of the crafted products.

Enchanting

  • Enchanter only Ring enchants that give 19 spell power or 24 stamina

The Bottom Line: I think we’ll find Enchanting to be less tedious to level and make money off of than it used to be with the introduction of scrolls.  A friend told me that she was actually able to make a little money selling the enchanted scrolls that she made while leveling Enchanting.  While it’s a pain to level, Enchanting requires no gathering profession and therefore pairs well with Tailoring or any gathering profession for money making.  To me the ring enchants aren’t enough to make me level the profession, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good option for any caster (as it has always been!)

Engineering

  • Mounts
  • Utility enchants for gloves (rocket launcher, haste)
  • Portable Mailbox and Vendor
  • Epic Helmets – This is a level 72 helmet, I’m sure there will be a level 80 one but I can’t anything on WoWHead right now.

The Bottom Line: I’m not sure Engineering is a great choice for a caster… but I don’t think it’s a bad one either.  The Repair Bot brings a lot of utility to raid and there’s no denying the mounts are really cool.  If Engineering is your thing I can’t knock you for it.

Herbalism

  • Lifeblood: a self HoT that scales with Herbalism level, costs no mana, and does not trigger the GCD. At it’s current incarnation Rank 6, available at 450 Herbalism grants 2000 health over 5 seconds with a 3 min cooldown. If used every time it’s available it averages out to 11 HPS.
  • Fire Seed: increases spellpower by 200 for 10 seconds with a 1 min cooldown. It also increases damage taken by 10% and reduces all resistances to zero. Shares a cooldown with other crafted consumables (Drums and Grenades but not Pots, Healthstones, or Mana Gems)
  • Herbalism provides the raw materials for the crafting professions of Alchemy and Inscription

The Bottom Line: As far as gathering professions go, Herbalism is my favorite and the 2 crafting professions Herbalism benefits are both useful to a caster. If you need a profession to make money for you Herbalism can be a good choice, especially since there are now 2 crafting professions that benefit from it and therefore more demand.  Also, Lifeblood has saved my tail more than once!!

Inscription

  • Scroll of Recall – consumable hearthstone with a 20 min cooldown that is separate from regular hearthstone
  • BoP Off-Hands – There’s a PvP oriented one (or Lock tank) and a general caster one.  Both look to be pretty good.
  • Scribe only Shoulder enchants – these are MUCH better than the reputation versions
  • The extra Glyph slot was taken out.

The Bottom Line: I can tell you from personal experience that the Scroll of Recall is HIGHLY useful, but it’s not a raid benefit.  The shoulder enchants are much better than the reputation versions and don’t require a rep grind on top of it. I’m leveling Inscription on my Priest and really liking it!  If you are going to have Inscription for a profession I recommend Herbalism to go with it so you will have easy access to the raw materials for Milling.

Jewelcrafting

  • Slightly better epic gemsyou can equip up to 3 and they are prismatic to match any socket color.  The JC only gems have 7 crit, haste, or hit, 3 MP5, 11 sta, or 9 sp more than their counterparts.  These are epic gems so to see this benefit you’ll need gear you’re willing to put epic gems in!
  • Entry level BoP trinketsHealer, or Caster DPS

The Bottom Line: Jewelcrafting can be a money maker if you can get the high-end patterns, though it is very expensive to level (second only to Blacksmithing).  If you are going to have this as a profession I would recommend Mining to go with it so you have easy access to the ore for Prospecting.

Leatherworking

The Bottom Line: Leatherworking is like Blacksmithing, I can’t recommend it for a caster

Mining

  • Health bonus that scales with mining level
  • Mining provides the raw materials for the crafting professions of Blacksmithing and Jewlecrafting and is recommended for Engineering.

The Bottom Line: If you are a Jewelcrafter, Mining is a good choice for your second profession.  Also not a bad idea to accompany Engineering.  I also know several people that have paired it with Enchanting to make money

Skinning

  • Bonus to Crit rating (now that Crit is a uniform stat this will benefit melee as well as casters)
  • Skinning provides the raw materials for the crafting profession Leatherworking.

The Bottom Line: If you need money Mining or Herbalism will make you a lot more money and Leatherworking just doesn’t benefit us.  However, if you are going to have 2 gathering professions for leveling or on an alt skinning pairs well with the others since you can’t track herbs and mineral nodes at the same time.

Tailoring

The Bottom Line: It appears that Tailoring won’t be practically necessary for clothies this time around. Yay! I have never really liked Tailoring, the only reason I had it was to get the gear. That said, Tailoring is nice because it requires no gathering profession and can be easy to level while you level your toon since you are always picking up cloth. Bags can be a money maker on some servers (my experience is that it will be more profitable on low-pop servers).

There you have it!  You can look at the BOP benefits of each and see which suits your playstyle best.  I think we’ll see a lot more variety in professions this time around.  I’m really looking forward to seeing where the expansion takes us.

Space Goat Live (Shadow and Light): Another healer blog

Don’t have the time for a real coherent post right now since I’m in school (learning about the Youth Criminal Justice System). Got an email from Naelum shamlessly plugging a series of posts. Its an overview of all 4 healing classes at the end of Burning Crusade displaying their individual strengths and weaknesses.

Check it here.

Note: I don’t mind it when people send me links to read via EMail or otherwise. I’ve got so much stuff on my plate that I don’t have time to search things out or clean out my reader. With that being said, if someone goes through the trouble of EMailing or PMing or Morse Coding me a page or blogpost they thing is awesome, I’ll read it. Yes, that is right, I’ve started to outsource my blog reading :(.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll read everything eventually. If the title’s boring, I’ll mark as read. If the intro paragraph doesn’t hook me, I’ll pass. But the ones that catch my attention usually jump to the top of the line because a simple EMail makes all the difference. And if I like what I read, I’ll try to share it here. I know I don’t do a good enough job shining the spotlight on other starter blogs or even to the more established ones. Thats a failure and a mistake in my own right and I apologize for not recognizing the work and effort of my blogging colleagues.