Lodur on Twisted Nether

Well folks, looks like this Saturday I’ll be joining the folks over at Twisted Nether for fun and shenanigans. You should make sure you free up some time and come join us, I know I would appreciate it. Taken right from their website

 

  • When is it?: This live show is scheduled for Saturday, April 14th at 8pm PT (11pm ET). Not sure what time that is for you? Use this handy-dandy time converter!
  • Where do I go? To participate on the live show, you will need to go to the TNB Live Show page to connect with the stream. See, totally easy. If you are having issues then go to the Ustream page. Don’t forget to register/login to UStream so you can chat with us!
  • Some general ground rules:
    1. Be nice. If you say very inappropriate things be aware you will be kicked from the room. We are doing this to have a great time, come with a beer, come during a raid, come how you wish, just don’t come to cause trouble.
    2. You may ask questions to the participants during the show, but we reserve the right to use them if and when we can. We will be monitoring the chat room and if we can we will use the comments during the show. We love that you are with us, but we will have to weave them in. Even if it isn’t asked, we all appreciate your questions!

So be sure to stop by and spend some time with us!

Circle of Healing: Lodur version 4.2

Matt beat me too it, but I too felt it was about time to do one of these again.  A while ago, the circle of healing was started as a way of members of the community to share information about themselves will everyone else in the blog-o-sphere. It has been so long, in fact, that many updates and an expansion have come along since I last filled this out! So, I guess it’s time for an update, as many things have in fact changed for me. For example, I’m no longer on Zul’jin, instead now I’m on Ner’Zhul.

Name, class and spec: [A] Lodur, Restoration Shaman (Ner’zhul)

What is your primary group healing environment? 25 man progression raiding

What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?

If I had to pick one it would have to be Spirit Link Totem. If you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you’ll know that I’ve had a love affair with this spell since it was first conceptualized in the beta for Wrath of the Lich King. I’ve fawned over it, lamented it’s removal from the game, and celebrated (actually through a party IRL) the re-integration of this amazing spell back into our arsenal in Cataclsym. I’ve been finding new ways to use it and ways to combine it with other spells like Rallying Cry and Power Word: Barrier in various encounters for new and awesome results. I think though, that it really is my favorite not because of it’s versatility, but because I have been crusading for the spell to be brought back since it was removed. Funnily enough, putting it from a spell we cast into a totem to add a limitation to it was one of the very first things I ever fired off towards Blizzard years ago. I love me some totems.

What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?

If you asked me in the last tier of content I would have said Greater Healing Wave. Now though, I honestly don’t know. Every spell we have has a place in each encounter. It’s not like we have a huge toolkit (though it has been expanded over the years). If I had to just pick a spell that is classified under healing but I never use, it would probably be Totem of Tranquil Mind. It’s a water totem, water is the shaman element of healing, therefore I classify it as a healing spell. I just never use the damn thing. Compared to Mana Spring Totem or Healing Stream Totem, it’s just always outclassed. Honestly, give me back my damn Sentry Totem! At least I used that.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?

Versatility. Shaman are capable of going from single target healing to group healing without really having to worry about switching gear or stats. While some stats are preferable for each role, we are capable of swapping on the fly and that lends us a certain strength. Combine that with a new defensive cooldown that cuts through healing reducing effects and well, we’re just one awesome healing class.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?

Unlike other classes our mastery is good/bad in a cycle. Beginning of a tier, or at the start of hardmodes, shaman mastery is a champ. After that however, it sort of becomes the redheaded stepchild in lieu of throughput stats like haste and crit. Other classes benefit from their masteries pretty much all the time, where ours only really gets the lime light if someone messes up and takes a ton of damage, or the raid as a whole is failing. It actually gets worse as players skill and gear improve. What’s up with that?

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?

Raid healing. I’m a roll healer by desire, I love placing Healing Rains, rolling Riptide and Chain Heal and keeping up as many people as I can through some ridiculous damage. I do well at it and I enjoy it. I also think I excel at special assignment healing, such as healing the kiting team for heroic Magmaw, that was just a blast.

Which healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?

Toss up between Druid and Priest. There’s a lot of synergy there between the way druids and shaman heal together, as well as both flavors of priest. Hymns, barrier, Tranquility and crazy HoTs, they all seem to compliment shaman healing quite well.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?

Paladins, for the pure petty reason that they stole my Healing Stream mechanic! no honestly its just because of the difference in healing styles. I have a hard time working around paladins most of the time because they just feel like a brute force healing class where as the others feel more delicate or graceful.  No offense to any paladins out there, I know they are exciting to play, I just can’t get the image of a paladin busting his holy book over someone’s head while screaming “BE HEALED BY THE LIGHT” out of my mind.

What is your worst habit as a healer?

My worst habit? That’s a tough one. If I had to pick one it would be stopping healing on a wipe. I just can’t do it. I reflexively continue to heal until it finally clicks in my brain “oh, wait, wipe. Stop healing now!”. Partially this stems from a raid I was in years ago where the Raid Leader called a wipe and I told healers to keep going. We healed through a metric ton of damage and actually beat the boss. It was something that kind of defines me. Till the very last, I’m on the front lines healing your dudes. Whether it’s called for or not >.>

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?

Matt said it, and I’m going to echo it. Getting blamed for healing problems when it’s not a healing problem. There seems to be this mindset, recently even more so than before, that any problem can be solved by obtaining better healers. Sure, sometimes the healers are messing up or need to tighten up, but rarely is it actually a bad healer.  Too often are healers judged purely on meters and raw numbers. Sure World of Logs analysis plays a part in evaluating a healers performance, but unlike DPS being the top of the charts in healing isn’t always a good thing. There are always different factors to consider such as the fight, healing assignment , class of the healer as well as the healing team in the raid. Everyone is quick to blame healers, when DPS standing in the wrong spot can cause a wipe just as much as low healing.

I’ve been healing a long time. I’ve been writing here, my own blog and at WoW Insider now for quite sometime. I got to these places as a healer trying to explain healing to other healers. That’s tough enough some days, but try explaining it to non healers sometime. That’s a brick wall that’s hard to crack most of the time.

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?

Yes. Shaman were used as the “model for healing” this expansion, so we’ve always been a viable class / spec. Even when our numbers weren’t perfect we were still doing well. Now with recent adjustments we’re right about where we need to be and I think we are pretty well balanced.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer

To evaluate my own performance I’ll go through World of Logs and check to make sure my spell usage is consistent with the encounter and my assignment in the encounter. If it is not, then that’s usually my cue to change what I’m doing.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?

Honestly, I’m kind of tired of hearing the phrase “shaman can’t heal this”. I have yet to fail in any healing assignment. Just because I don’t top the meter doesn’t mean I can’t heal something. All the classes are capable of all the healing roles. True some may be better than others, but nothing quite gets under my skin like the statement that I CAN’T heal something because I’m a shaman.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?

Getting rid of healer tunnel vision. New healers are rarely aware of their own health totals, and you can usually tell how long a healer has been healing by how quickly they react to incoming damage. Whether it’s healing themselves or blowing a cooldown to survive it tends to be a tell-tale sign. That habit is hard to kick, and it’s because of that I love any addon that lets you put your own health in an easily visible place, or ones like GTFO which audibly alerts you to incoming damage or spell effects.

If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see?

That I tend to pace my healing for long fights. I’m a long sight healer. I try to make sure I’m using the most cost effective heal for the job. So my throughput might not be as high as some of the other healers in the group, but I make sure I have mana to continuously heal through a fight, unlike a certain dwarf priest. Also that I cast Lightning Bolt quite a bit!

Haste or Crit and why?

The new 4.2 crit giving 200% healing is nice, but I’ll still pick haste first every time. Haste is just so good when it comes to pumping out the healing, and getting to each haste plateau does nothing but improve my healing and help increase the effectiveness I bring to a raid. That’s right folks, I’m a haste junkie!

What addons or macros do you use to aid you in healing?

Aside from a focus macro for Earth Shield and ones to keep me from casting Heroism or Mana Tide when not in combat, the only really healer centric thing I use for myself is Grid. I have it completely configured to show me exactly what I need to know for every member of the raid.

Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats or do you stack some much higher than others and why?

I try to hit the haste caps (916 and now 2005) and then after that I maintain balance between my primary healing stats. Haste just gives me so much more throughput on pretty much everything that I can’t ignore it.  I then adjust the rest of my stats according to the tier of content or fight, but generally try to maintain a balance.

That’s it for me on this circle of healing patch 4.2 edition. Normally I would tag individuals, but instead I’m going to tag the entire restoration shaman community as well as anyone who follows me on twitter, or on google +. This also goes for any of the readers out there with blogs of their own! Consider yourselves tapped for this Circle of healing, and I completely expect posts from you guys!

It Came From the P.U.G.!: Why I Hate Gundrak

It Came From the P.U.G.!: Why I Hate Gundrak

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!

I really really hate heroic Gundrak. Not because it’s hard or that there is loot there I want but can’t seem to get to drop, but because it seems like every time I queue for a random, I get it. I’ve done it at least 40 times, and the vast majority of those times have been through the LFD tool. It’s not a bad instance I’m just tired of seeing the insides of it, and I think this last time my group was agitated as well.

It started out pretty normal, warrior tank, ret paladin, mage a boomkin and me. Pretty solid setup, everyone had gear that hovered around at least ICC10 so I figured it would be a nice, quick run. In and out of Gundrak, I’m all for that! Down the first boss like normal and we’re moving onto the second boss when something odd happens. The boomkin pulls threat off the tank on a trash pull. Tank re-establishes aggro and we move onto the next one. The boomkin pulls aggro once again but this time the tank doesn’t grab aggro. I heal the boomkin like crazy and keep him from dying and everyone stops after the trash is downed.

Boomkin: What the hell man? I wasn’t even doing anything to pull aggro! Did you forget how to tank?

Warrior: If you learned how to manage your aggro this wouldn’t be an issue.

Boomkin: Yeah but you just sat there while I was dying! WTF is wrong with you? Learn how to tank

The warrior runs forward and pulls ALL of the trash leading up to the second boss and then shadow melds as the boomkin is in the middle of AoE. All the mobs go hell for broke after the boomkin. I toss an Earth Shield on the druid and nuke heal until the pack is down.

Boomkin: Seriously? What the hell is wrong with you?

Warrior: Shouldn’t try telling me how to tank then

Me: Fine, fuck it. If you two are going to fight, I’ll just tank.

I switch to my PvP gear, run in and ES myself while frost-shocking the boss. I nuke heal myself and keep shocking and lava bursting on the boss.

the DPS starts in slowly and I’m holding aggro pretty well and eventually the tank runs in and grabs aggro off of me. I let him take it and switch back to healing. The boss is downed and we are all sitting there.

Me: So, we done fighting? I already hate this place, I just want to be done.

Ret Pally: Dunno, but watching a healer tanks was pretty funny. Think you could do that again?

Me: Sure, unless mr. tank and mr. boomkin want to play nice so we can just be done.

Warrior: Fine, proved your point.

Boomkin: Fine.

Rest of the run is done without any hiccups, no one is openly aggressive to each other and the rest goes smoothly.

The sad thing about this isn’t that the fight happened, but the fact that it is not the first time something like this has happened. I’ve seen players go at each other’s throats for seemingly small things or mistakes. It boggles my mind how people playing a GAME for FUN can have such a stick up their arse and be so aggressive. This has happened at least 3 times this past week, not me tanking (although I do threaten it from time to time), but the bickering. If you can’t play well with others, you shouldn’t be playing a game that relies on OTHER PEOPLE to do part of it, or just avoid that part of it.

So how about you? Any good pug stories this week? Any horror stories?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Priest ” told you we’d be fine.”

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

Me “pfft, I got this we’ll be fine”

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

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

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

Warrior “yeah never realized shaman could do that”

Me “np, had a blast myself. “

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

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

That’s it for today folks.

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

Until next time, Happy Healing!

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

Mixing it up a bit, musings of a mad shaman

Mixing it up a bit, musings of a mad shaman

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

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

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

Change resources

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

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

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

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

Change the way you earn those resources

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

Joe’s solution and example

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monks of zhi bde

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

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

In game:

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

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

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

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

Field Medic

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

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

In game:

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

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

This is similar to how rune keepers function in LotRO

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

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

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

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!

Dear Lodur, Answering Azeroth’s Questions

Dear Lodur, Answering Azeroth’s Questions

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

Dear Lodur,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scientifically Yours,

Studious in Ironforge

Dear Studious,

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

Sincerely,

Lodur

Dear Lodur,

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

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

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

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

Respectfully,

“Touching my Inner Dwarf, in Dalaran”

Dear Inner Dwarf,

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

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

Sincerely,

Lodur

Dear Lodur,

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

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

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

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

Forever in your debt,

Reluctant Raider

Dear RR,

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

Sincerely,

Lodur

Dear Lodur,

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

Sincerely,

Distressed in Dragonblight.

Dear Distressed,

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

Sincerely,

Lodur

 

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

Until next time!

 

It Came From The P.U.G.!:Voted Off The Island

It Came From The P.U.G.!:Voted Off The Island

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 bring you a story of a monumental event. Something so earth shattering that babies cried, women ushered their children home and men cowered before it’s terror inducing visage! You may need to sit down for this… ready? Lodur was vote kicked from a heroic group! Now I’m sure there are some questions about what happened and what was the build up. Here goes my tale of woe.

I’ll start by saying yes I was healing, and yes the mace was equipped. I was decked out in my shiny new T10 loot after freshly enchanting and gemifying them. I queue up and promptly my invite button pops up. I join the group and off I am to an adventure… or so I thought. The screen load shows the Pit of Saron and I’m a bit excited. I enjoy healing the place and it beats out Gundrak any day of the week! The instance loads and I’m looking around for the rest of the group. I notice that most of the mobs have been cleared. This is red flag number one. My immediate response, in a joking tone of course

“What did you guys do to the last healer?”

I get a response from the rogue of the group

“Horrible healer we vote kicked him.”

Ok, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Mainly DPS folks have been rolling in as healers to get quick frost badges so it wouldn’t surprise me too terribly if that’s what happened. I see they are over at the Ick and Krick encounter and make my way over. We buff up and pull. Things go smoothly until two things happen. First I notice the prot warrior is taking a whole lot more damage than he should be and his health is only at 29k total. Second thing that happens is the poison nova. The rogue tries to cast Cloak and run but instead becomes a stain in the ground. Not believing that you can release and come back while the encounter is happening , they wait dead. We’re doing fantastic though otherwise until the boss marks the hunter and chases after them. The hunter then proceeded to drag the boss back past it’s threshold point and the boss leashes… at 1%. Ok, stuff happens I’ll just res the rogue and we’ll get started again right? Wrong! As I’m sitting to drink so I can resurrect the rogue, and before the tank is ready, the hunter pulls, runs to us and then casts FD. Needless to say I got squashed with the rest of the group. We run back in and drink and buff and get ready for round two. I inspect the tank and see he’s in some pretty low tanking gear… and a bunch of dps gear. I make a mental note of the fact he’s not defense capped and look to see I still have 7 minutes left on my LFG debuff. Time to soldier on! Before we’re ready again the hunter pulls, this time the tank picks it up and we proceed as normal. The rogue dies again to poison nova but this time we kill the boss.

This happens two more times with various mobs on the ramp leading to the final leg of the instance until finally I say something

“Dude, stop pulling.  I need to drink and you’re wiping the group .”

It was then I noticed something I had not noticed before. All of them were in the same guild. Everyone stopped moving and there we were sitting at the base of the ramp leading to the collapsing tunnel. There’s this long, hanging silence while we sit there and then next thing I know I’m booted from the group!

Back in Dalaran I’m in shock at what just happened. Seriously I got kicked because I called the hunter out on pulling and doing stupid things! I look up at my buffs and notice the debuff was just wearing off and that I can re-queue, but still… wow just wow.

Luckily the next one I get is full of people who communicate and pull sensibly. All from different guilds but all with the same rough gear level. We plow through Halls of Lightning, I get my two Frost Emblems and we part ways.

Seriously I’m alright if you want to do wacky things in a guild run. One of our DPS raiders rolled a healer so when I’m on my tank I like to do silly things (within reason) to mess with her (Hi Jaha!) but we always laugh about it, and I never do it when it’s a non guild run. If there is even one pugger in the group I try my best to behave. But to be kicked for calling someone out on pulling and feigning while watching the group wipe, that dog just won’t hunt monseigneur!

Any interesting P.U.G. stories from this week? Good, bad, awesome or terrible? That’s it for today folks.

Until next time, Happy Healing!

 

Image courtesy of CBS

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

Your Winter Veil Gift, From Us

Winterveil

Winter Veil’s a’comin! The nights are closing in, the frost’s creeping over the tavern windows and yetis are Icehowl’ing in the snowy fields. It’s a magical time of year that we’d like to celebrate alongside you folks – what better time than to give you a gift? That gift is – a chat by the fireside with each of us. But we need your help to do it.

What we want from you is a topic of conversation. We want you to nominate a different topic to write on for each of us – that is, Matt, Wynthea, Lodur, Thespius and me, Mimetir (Syd is still AWOL being happy and busy, I believe). The topic can be anything at all you like – whatever you want that writer’s thoughts on. WoW related things are a good start for a WoW blog obviously, but as it’s Winter Veil – if you want us to write on something else, we might just do it.

You have until Monday 14th to reply to this article with your topic nominations for each writer. Of course we can’t write on every topic you guys nominate because if we try that we’ll miss Winter Veil ourselves! So once the five-day nomination time is over, Matt will make a list of the collected nominations for each WoM writer and make a secret santa roll to decide which topic we each write on. We’ll each then write an article on our individual topic, given by one of you, and post it up during the holidays.

Sound complicated? Sure, it does a bit. I’m a bird brain trying to explain something, been at the eggnog too much and all that. I’ll give you an example to clear things up.

  • Say six of you nominate different topics for Lodur to write on. That makes six potential topics for Lodur’s Winter Veil-time article
  • Matt takes a 1-6 list of those topics, ordered by when they chronologically appear in the comments on the article
  • He then does an independently adjudicated ‘Lodur roll (/roll 1-6)’ to decide which topic Lodur writes on (this does of course mean that RNG might decide it’s not your topic’s turn this year – but it might decide it is)
  • He does the same for the other four writers – me, Thespius, Wynthea and himself  – and announces the winning topics, along with details of when the articles will go up

Then you watch out over the holidays to read articles on the selection of topics you wanted to hear our deepest thoughts on. You then respond with what you think about your topic and our thoughts. Win.

So how about it? Help us give you something this Winter Veil. What do you want to talk about?