Thespius’s State of the Dungeon/Raid

There’s been a lot of great conversation about how things are tuned in regards to Cataclysm Heroics and Raids (meaning normal Raids, I haven’t seen Hardmodes yet). This is starting to dip into the usual “Casual vs. Hardcore” debate, which I think is not what this entire argument is about. This game has made leaps and bounds toward making the game challenging for all. There are definite challenges for the people at the edge of blistering progression as well as for the family man/woman that can only log on once/twice a week, if that. I’d like everyone to take a look at a few different things, including adapting to change, the nature of challenge within the game, and the mindset of the “average” WoW player.

Know Where You’re Going, Know Where You’ve Been

Vanilla WoW – I was never a Vanilla WoW player. I understand that there was a very clear delineation between the casual player (questing and alts) and the hardcore player (40-man guild raiding). It’s very daunting to play a game when you know you have no chance of getting into any of the endgame content, stocked full of lore and goodies. This definitely took things too far in segregating the community. Casual players wanted to see the content, and Hardcore players loved feeling entitled to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the Holy Grail of the game.

Burning CrusadeThis is where I stepped into the ring. I started as a very casual player, barely being able to throw a Karazhan run together with friends. It was ridiculously hard to climb up the progression ladder to see higher content, but it was doable. Sadly, I had to leave some friends behind because of it. Guilds operated as “stepping stones” to the next level. There existed the “KZ” guilds, the Gruul/Magtheridon guilds, the “SSC/TK” guilds, and the “BT/Sunwell” guilds, meaning the highest those guilds could accomplish. With the release of Zul’Aman, we now had harder 10-man content that my ~9 friends and I could hammer through. Granted, I was single and working as an actor at the time, so I had lots of extra time to play. That would definitely change soon. Still, not being able to see Illidan really sucked.

Wrath of the Lich King – Ahh, the release of 10- and 25-man raiding, but things got easy REALLY quick. So much so that I found multiple PuG 25-man ICC Hardmode Runs. Hardmodes were supposed to be the culmination of progression, really only reserved for the highest of raiders. I was fine with that. I wanted to give them a shot but didn’t have any grand visions of getting my HM Lich King kill. The gameplay was such that mechanics could be avoided. Phrases like “just heal through it” were peppered in boss explanations. DPS started to complain if they had to stop their rotation, tanks screamed at healers if they couldn’t/wouldn’t heal through a mechanic that wasn’t being interacted with properly. Entire mechanics were being glazed over, and the general WoW community got lazy (that’s right, I said it). Although PuG raiders were in Hardmodes, they really didn’t know what to do, and had forgotten entire pieces of their class/spec. Mages decursing? Druids CCing? Hunters trapping? Unheard of!! The bonus part: people got to see the content. My opinion, it became trivial too quickly.

Cataclysm – 10-man and 25-man raiding becomes equalized as much as it can be. 25’s only slightly hold the advantage of being the “truer form of raiding”. Blizzard realized that people were completely ignoring fight mechanics and made them less forgiving (if you let Dragha’s Invocation of Flame get to its target, you’re dead). Justice/Valor Points from your Daily Heroic are no longer things you’re “entitled to”. They must be earned and fought for. With changes to healing and fight mechanics, players are forced to actually look at their spellbooks once again (any Dwarves looking at Stoneform again?). Encounters now begin to feel like a group effort, rather than 5 individuals who wish they could just solo the content so they don’t have to be around other people. Raids feel more daunting for most of the player base, and guilds are back to trying to beef up their own team rather than PuG’ing from Trade Chat. It takes longer to gear up, but the gear is obtainable. Epic gear is actually epic again! Even without running Heroics, it’s possible to get 346 gear for your character. People don’t want to PuG, thus forcing the player base to look for guilds of people they get along with.

I look at all of these as good things. With my guild being called “Team Sport”, it’s no wonder that I long for a gaming world where it feels more team-oriented and not so individually cut throat. If I had the time to run things more, I’m sure I would be geared to the teeth at this point, but I’m not. It’s taking me a little while, but that’s always giving me something to strive for. A trinket I need from Archaeology, or the rep from Baradin’s Wardens, all of which give me something to shoot for that takes time and dedication. I don’t expect it to come easy.

Challenge Yourself

Ever work out? Ever have that great feeling when you finally get your jogging route under your target time? What about finally getting able to lift some weights heavier than the 5-lb ones you’d find in an aerobic class? It’s a good feeling, isn’t it? It’s a high, a rush of endorphins. Did it come easy? Probably not.

Think of any hobby the same way. If you start out knitting, don’t expect yourself to whip out a complicated Afghan in a day. You start out with ‘easy’, and when you’ve mastered ‘easy’, you move to the next level. Look at model building, sports, or anything you do for fun. You can’t expect to be the best at it before you even pick it up. Just about any hobby is worth putting the work in, because without the work the payoff isn’t as good.

Now look at dungeons and raids. If you can face-roll Heroic Stonecore, then that one piece of gear that drops off of Ozruk doesn’t mean as much. You don’t value it the same way you would if you had to work as a team to get it done. That piece you now wear has a story behind it. Working hard to defeat that Heroic Ozruk has brought you close to your gear, and to the 4 other people that help you beat him.

When you find yourself in a group that is struggling with a Heroic Dungeon, ask yourself if you’re using everything in your power to make it go smoothly. Do you have some ability that would make the rest of the team’s job easier? Maybe you can step out of your normal role to help someone that’s struggling. I’ve seen Hunters that have issue frost-trapping a mob. My DK friend Aaron loves to Death Grip that mob back to the frost trap. It’s something that in WotLK a DK wasn’t expected to do, but Aaron does it because it helps the group. Is it easy to do? No, but it’s certainly not back-breaking. However, it’s more rewarding when we down bosses after thinking outside the box. It becomes an accomplishment to finish the encounter, rather than the accomplishment being the addition of a few Justice/Valor Points to your pool. That should be the reward for the accomplishment, not the accomplishment itself. Again, you value the prize more when you worked for it.

The Average WoW Player

A lot of complaints have come from the community (especially on the Official Forums) about the quality of the average LFD group. Rogues get instantly kicked for “not having reliable CC”, a Tank gets kicked for “one pull going awry”. I’ve been kicked from a group as a Resto Shaman simply for suggesting CC be used in Grim Batol. The quote: “Only bads use CC.” The forums are cluttered with threads such as these, and it makes it a really bleak outlook.

As stated above, we come from a Wrath mentality. The population both surged and got lazy in the last expansion. Mass pulling and AOE fests were more plentiful than senseless slander in American politics. Now we’re changing in Cataclysm, and change doesn’t come easy to most. It’s difficult for people to adapt to having to do more to get the same results.

Look at Trade Chat. Outside of gold and profession spammers, Trade Chat is pretty gross. I rarely am ever in it. Same goes for the official forums. Those that are the most unhappy or feel “scammed” talk the loudest. Anyone trying to be a voice of reason is usually shouted down, and good productive discussions are few and far between. This is no different than the LFD situation. There are a lot of people in that system that are bitter, jaded, and hate change. Rather than encouraging a nurturing environment, they’ll curse up a storm and belittle everyone else around them.

Where are all the nice players? They run with their guild, or have a friends list of people they’ve found that value a fun environment over the prospect of running a “boot camp dungeon”. They are out there, I promise. You just have to be patient and look.

I know the 45-minute queues are unbearable. It’s how I built up my Resto set–by queuing as Enhancement. It’s a total roll of the dice, and you may completely bottom out with your luck if you queue alone. Lodur posted a great article about being a teacher within the LFD. Strongly recommend checking it out, as it may give you a glimmer of hope.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

If you’re one of the people who feels like you’ve been wronged by Blizzard, I ask you this: What is it you really want out of this game?

  • “I want to be able to log in, get my badges/epics, and log off.” I’m sorry, but those days are gone. People very quickly were behaving like drones. Those players in the game looked at dungeons and badges as “tasks” or “chores”, instead of events and rewards for those events.
  • “I want to see the lore and the content.” The normal dungeons provide all the same lore that the Heroics do, as far as I know. Heroic Deadmines and Heroic Shadowfang Keep offer their own lore but aren’t really in line with the Deathwing plot line. They’re great little side stories. As for raids, think of the storyline as Mt. Everest. I would love to see the top one day, however, I know that it will take work and dedication to get there. I don’t expect to just stroll up to the top.
  • “I want it to go faster! It takes too long!” You lose the journey this way. The struggle. Anything worth getting is worth the fight. Take Lord of the Rings for example. If Frodo just flew over the mountain and dropped the ring in from the start, it’d be a short movie, and not very gratifying.

If you want to find enjoyment in the game with people that are like-minded, you have to work for it. Blizzard stated before this expansion that they wanted to encourage more group- and community-oriented game play. It’s time for us as players to adjust to this shift in ideology.

Perhaps you’re in a guild that doesn’t really offer itself up to run dungeons with you. Maybe the group you’ve found yourself in isn’t really supportive when it comes to learning your class mechanics. Everyone starts somewhere, right? To me, both situations mean it’s time to start looking to surround yourself with people you share a mindset with. That’s what this particular MMO is built around, and that’s how Blizzard wants it. If you want to be solo and do your own thing, it’s going to be tougher and cause you more headaches. Start looking for a guild of people that you actually get along with. There are guilds out there that can get through the content and not belittle their members along the way. Whatever your schedule is, whatever your goals are, I promise there is a guild out there for you.

Focus on the journey and the challenge, rather than whining that you can’t have it all right here and right now.

I’m Thespius, and I approve this message.

Boss Explanations: A Lesson from Twitter

No lie, I’m a twitter enthusiast. I didn’t realize how much of an influence its had on me until I started taking over boss explanations to PuGs in heroic groups. I know healing PuGs isn’t for everyone, but I don’t mind it (much).

Now you see, I’m a pretty efficient guy. In fact, some would even argue I’m impatient. I’ll try to do two things at once if I can get away with it. I plan my travel routes thinking of the fastest way to get somewhere. When I get on the sky train, I choose the car and door closest to the exit at the station I want to get off at. My friends despise it when I move so quickly. But I just really don’t like wasting time. If there is something that needs to be done, then let’s go and get it over with.

In heroics especially, I get a little tired when another player in the group is explaining what abilities are there and what players need to do to counteract it. They leave nothing out at all.

Me, I’m different.

The Twitter Rule

If you need to explain it in more than 140 characters, they’re not going to get it

I’ve started challenging myself to really think about the player and the role that they are. Is it really necessary for a healer to know when they need to interrupt? Does the tank need to know about this random add that gets crushed by DPS players anyway? Ergo, in PuGs, I’ve tried to condense and compact the information into stuff that’s relevant to them.

Don’t use 7 words when 3 will work (Good rule to follow for you new bloggers).

For this to really work though, players need to have certain schemas in place. A schema is basically a concept that lets you understand information in your own way.

Examples of Schemas

  • Void zone: Some dark circle on the ground that’s bad.
  • Cleave: Some attack that destroys all melee.
  • Tail swipe: Stand anywhere else but on the butt of the boss.

I’ve found the results to be promising. Most players I’ve come across seem to instantly just “get it” without the need for further explanation unless it’s a completely new concept for them.

Anraphet (Halls of Origination): Spread out. Stay out of voids. Stack up on Omega Stance. Massive DPS.

Rom’ogg Bone Crusher (Blackrock Caverns): DPS chains. Run away when chains are dead. Watch for ads, AoE as you go.

Drahga Shadowburner (Grim Batol): Burn down fire elemental. Watch where dragon is facing, run through to avoid breath. Avoid big puddle.

General Husam (Lost City of the Tol’vir): Avoid yellow orbs. Stand out of dust on the ground (Shockwave).

High Priestess Azil (Stonecore): Avoid void zones. Kite ads into void zones. Watch for dust on the ground (she throws rocks). Interrupt Force Grip.

Asaad (Vortex Pinnacle): Keep jumping. Spread out. Stack up when he draws lightning on the ground.

Vanessa Vancleef (Deadmines): Avoid fire, ice. Nuke 1st then 2nd boss. Avoid spinning things, nuke 3rd boss. Kill worgen, nuke boss. Kill ads before Vanessa. Use ropes.

Okay, I think went over by 6 characters with Vanessa. Hopefully, my point stands. The reality is that not many players read the full quest text. Like it or not, they read the objectives. By condensing explanations, players unfamiliar to encounters might get a better handle on them.

For obvious reasons, you don’t want to use this approach when it comes to raid bosses. Although, now I’m curious to see if it is possible to condense each role duties to 140 characters or less for raid bosses.

Challenge laid.

Bah Humbug! PUGers, Use My Name

Bah Humbug! PUGers, Use My Name

Hello, my name’s druid and I’m a PUGger.

That might as well be my name – or yours. We’ve all been privvy to it: “Druid go tank” “warrior u nub pala tank” “priest dead other priest heal”. Addressing someone by their class rather than their character’s name is rude, it’s lazy, and it’s adding to the stagnation in WoW’s pond.

We give our characters names for a reason. It helps us differentiate our character from the millions of other blue-haired and glowy-eyed sacks of muscle. Everyone has a different method for choosing names – I know some people just mash the keyboard until something looks good. For me, choosing a character’s name is an involved process requiring an etymological dictionary, babynames sites and a chunk of time staring at the character creation screen.

A name is part of an identity. In WoW it’s the only thing that we can tailor to be completely unique. It’s more important for some players; for role players names are part of an entire personality. But we all name our characters and I’d bet it’s not just role players who agonize over hitting the Right Name. I do and it’s just because I like to give my lil’uns a starting point, like a header for a clean slate starting at level 1.

It’s disrespectful to not acknowledge the thought and identity we put into naming characters. Yet in WoW I rarely see people use names in social situations where they have no attachment to people. I’m talking about random groups; it’s painfully obvious that anyone inclined to call by class name will do so in a group full of strangers. But why?

Imagine a paladin named Spongebob. He runs 5 to 25 man PUGs and uses character names as little as possible. The first and most obvious reason is that he doesn’t have time to check a name. Things can get hairy in group content; if the death knight is about to become a bubbling heap on the floor it’s reasonable for Spongebob to yell “DK move out of fire”. But if the death knight is in no more imminent danger than getting toasty-warm toes, Spongebob doesn’t really have any excuse not to check and type his name.

Granted, the Death Knight might have a long and well considered name like “Enginescannae”. You know, one that’s a mile long. But that’s where just typing the first few letters of the name works wonders. Just a quick “Hey Takeitjim Engi, fire move!” acknowledges the death knight’s name and communicates clearly.

Ah, communication. That is why using names is practically crucial. If someone needs to do something right the nitwibble now then letting them know using their character name gets that across perfectly. Using a class name can come across as confusing, particularly if it’s spelt wrong – the amount of times I’ve read “durid do X” and thought “which one is durid? can’t see anyone by that nam… oh! Me!” Not to mention the fun to be had by saying “shaman go heal” when there are multiples of that class in the party.

Of course, at the dark, murky heart of the issue is the fact that PUGs mean strangers. Spongebob’ll probably never see the party or raid members again, particularly in 5 mans. He can afford to be lazy; why bother putting the effort in to be social? He might even occasionally look at other players like they’re the local armour repair vendor.

Being with strangers also means there can be what I call a Pecking Order Issue. Chaos can ensue unless boundaries and/or hierarchy are stated and accepted. The tank is traditionally top of the pecking order in 5 mans, but frankly that hierarchy is obselete and most players ignore it. In 10 and 25 man PUGs the hierarchy can be shaky or non-existent if the raid leader isn’t capable of holding things together or setting boundaries.

Now, Spongebob may be a player who needs a Pecking Order; perhaps that’s what he’s used to with his guild or in real life. He may also be a player who likes to be at the top of that Pecking Order and perhaps doesn’t feel he gets to be often enough. Telling the priest to “go heal” removes the priest’s choices in playstyle and identity, lumping them into a faceless group. It also asserts Spoongebob as the authority or arbiter. It’s like saying “oi black haired person go play the violin cos I say so.” Quite often it’s meant as a challenge, and if no-one speaks out against it then it becomes status-quo for the run. Spongebob will take it as freedom to act and talk how he likes – and no-one likes a bully.

I’m not going to spend hours saying that random dungeons or PUGs are a good or bad thing and they’re making the social aspect of the game worse. What I have said, and I stand by like a hairdresser with a maniacal glint and blue hairspray, is that making a statement using names wouldn’t kill us. It might just remove some of the ridiculous schoolyard-like standoffs and get WoW’s social pond flowing freely.

What do you think? Do you get annoyed by class names being used, and if so how do you react? Or do you think it’s fine, perhaps use class names often yourself? Do you think it matters in the name of ettiquette, or do you think it’s just an unimportant habit in a game?

This is an article by Mimetir, an owl (and resto shaman) of a raid leader on The Venture Co. (EU) You can find my twitter feed here.

Why It’s A Problem That Healers Don’t Communicate in PUGs

The end is nigh.

Healers don’t communicate properly in PUGs. It’s a can of worms waiting to explode in Cataclysm.

WotLK minted many new practices, including PUGing raids. While the level and quality of communication in PUGs has always been unpredictable, there’s been decline in healer communication since the LFD tool was introduced.

People don’t seem to want to engage in communication unless pushed. I rarely see anyone bring up the topic of healing assignments. I usually wait to see if anyone else will initiate communication to sort tank and raid assignments and then organise it myself. The favourite responses vary from “sure”, “just heal ffs” and the particularly fine “lol Apeorsa tht healing setup is so naxx”.

Considering how players might feel these days I’m not greatly surprised at this lack of communication. As the root of group play, random 5 mans are largely to blame. They tend towards brief and impersonal affairs at best and arenas for bullying at worst. Sure, nice runs do happen – but for some there’s little incentive to be nice with strangers they’ll see once. There are no seeds of trust and friendship, and that dearth puts cracks in the foundations we build bigger PUGs on.

I’m sure some healers think communication in PUGs is unnecessary. From their POV, they’re kinda right. Think of a tree – call him Furtree. He’s used to raiding with his guild. Perhaps PUGs just don’t feel the same – he doesn’t get the mutual comradeship and pride he does with his guild. Perhaps VoA25 isn’t the challenge he’s used to in his guild’s ICChardmode runs. He has no reason to show loyalty or effort; he’s only here for a handful of badges to put a minute edge on already spiffy gear.

As a seasoned raider he might have a lack of patience with less experienced healers, or anyone inclined to ‘overtalk’ the situation – he just wants to get through the fast content as fast as possible. Many of us – including me – have been guilty of these at times. We’re slightly bored by now. I’ve even seen healers hiring themselves out as one-man-band progression healers, effectively amputating dialogue and shared learning.

At the other end of the spectrum we have new, struggling, healers. Imagine Timmy the timid priest who’s hit 80 and has blues and 219s. He wants to PUG for kit and badges, but PUGs can be harsh. Timmy’s more likely to be laughed off than invited to PUGs. When he does get an invite to his first ToC25 and the raid wipes to Burning Inferno because the healers didn’t communicate on Incinerate Flesh, Timmy’s may well get the blame.

Healers not talking mean that new healers don’t learn their own versatility in encounters or specifics behind healer setup. Sure, Timmy can read and watch tactics, but there’s an equation for learning encounters you’ve never seen plus how to heal in the first place which doesn’t necessarily = 2, for new healers.

equation2

A lack of teaching and support from other healers could have several effects. Timmy might get bored because the other healers have it covered. Or Timmy may believe all wipes are his fault and he can’t heal. Or he’ll have been given the easiest job and will think he’s brilliant – then he joins a guild and his lack of knowledge sticks out like a sore thumb. All of these can turn a new healer off of healing. There aren’t many of us to start with!

It adds up to a vicious circle in which there’s no incentive to communicate in PUGs. As in random five mans you’re unlikely to see these people regularly. As in random five mans it’s easy to believe you needn’t be loyal to anything but your character’s gear, for various excuses from improving it for guildruns or because you have something to prove. As in random five mans the atmosphere can be of distrust, which increases the chances to wipe when no-one’s healing the tank, and then snipe at each other with Blame Bullets. Frankly, I’ve found that people are grateful and relaxed if you run groups saying there’ll be oodles of communication.

Communication is the foundation of relationships. By not engaging in it any more than necessary healers distance themselves from possible ‘relationships’ in game – be they new friendships or just networking for team members. We should never, ever forget how to socialise in a game we play with other people.

If that’s not incentive enough consider this. Cataclysm is going to challenge us in ways Wrath wasn’t meant to. Healers may face changes to mana and even role setup. We’re going to need to communicate. It may come as a shock; falling into apathetic and uncommunicative habits now is signing our characters’ – and WoW’s – death warrants.

Crucial tweaks to the LFD system – like cross-realm friends lists – would encourage us all to communicate better. Whether or not that happens we can all take responsibility now, in content we might be bored of. Take fresh interest in ‘healing’ the foundations – just by putting a bit more effort in. For The Cataclysm!

I’m not whining; there are positive cases and it’s not all bad. I’m genuinely concerned. Question is -what do you think? Have you noticed a difference in communication or has it not been too bad where you are? Do you think this could turn into a longterm problem or am I doomsaying? Do you think we’ll be flexible enough to adapt out of bad habits?

This is an article by Mimetir, an owl (and resto shaman) of a raid leader on The Venture Co. (EU) You can find my twitter feed here.

Article image2 originally by Tim Trueman @ Flickr

The thought process of Lodur

The thought process of Lodur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Heroic Entitlement?

Heroic Entitlement?

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

Chapter One – Prot Warrior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Two – Feral Druid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Three – Prot Paladin

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

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

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

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

“u shud be lucky i tankd 4 u at all”

And promptly left the group. 

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

Epilogue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That was awesome! Lets do that again!”

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

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

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

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

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

I laughed at first but then the following statement was uttered

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

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

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

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

“you must be really thankful for that mace”

I casually reply,

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

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

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

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

Image courtesy of MMO-Champion

It Came From The P.U.G. 3.3 Edition!

It Came From The P.U.G. 3.3 Edition!

forge of souls

Well on the off chance you missed it patch 3.3 is live! and with it comes the next installment of it came from the P.U.G., a column where I throw myself into random groups and the report the end results.

With the patch last night we got three new heroics, The forge of Souls, Pit of Saron, and Halls of Reflection. After much server raid instance stability issues, my guild decided to call it an early night, breaking off into heroic groups to knock out the three new heroics. I have things to take care of administration side so I bow out and take care of some behind the scenes guild maintenance. When I was done all the guildies had gone for the day, so it was time to open up the brand new LFG tool and get my rear in The Forge of Souls.

I open up the tool and put my check mark in The Forge of Souls and then sit and wait. After about 10 minutes the group fills up and I’m delighted to try to use the new port to instance function. I hit my button and the zone loads and one by one everyone pops into the instance. I myself am on the Zul’jin server, I get two people from Arthas a Gnome Warrior and a hunter, and then a rogue and a mage. Everyone is fitzing with their UI’s so we give them a few minutes and while we’re waiting around the Gnome Warrior notices I have a Val’anyr.

“well shit, guess I don’t have to worry about this pugging tool, that or I hit the konami code before I went in, this should be sweeeeeeeettttttt”

we go through and we do our pulls and things are going smoothly, then my earth shield tracking mod goes on the fritz. I type out in party that I need a minute to reload my UI and then hit the /RL to get it going. When I come back, all of the party is nearly dead! Apparently they missed my message and pulled not one, not two, but three groups. Before I can catch up to them the mage and the rogue explode. The hunter follows as soon as his deterrence drops, so it’s just me and the Gnome versus about 5 mobs. I’m dispelling curses and refreshing earth shield and dpsing when I can and eventually we stave off a wipe and down the mobs. I res up the dead, and the hunter asks

I point out that I had to reload my ui and we  carry on. The group goes on to finish the zone before the server explodes and dumps us all back in Dalaran. All in all a good run.

I decide to give the random tool another go and this time leave it completely on random. I wind up in a group with a mage, a warrior, a paladin and a DK. We wind up in heroic gundrak. First question I ask

“Ok, who’s the tank!?”

The paladin pipes up

“the one that’s got 45k health”

I look over the party list and see that the paladin, warrior, and dk all have roughly the same health and the paladin and war are in prot spec.

“well.. I’m just asking cause all of you are pretty much prot spec. That’s cool though at least we’ll never die!”

The paladin tries to reply but then must have looked and saw in face all three plate classes were in prot spec. We all have a good laugh about it and go on. The run goes smooth and we complete it and go our separate ways.

I dare say the smoothest pugs I’ve had in a while. Everyone was good natured and equally geared, and now that we can pull from other servers finding groups is much easier. There is no waiting to get to the instance you can just click on the tool and port in, and then when you’re done you can port out. It’s handy and I’ll be honest this was the highlight for me on the first day of patch 3.3. The tool works and works really well. Everyone in my groups was of comparable gear levels, the groups were actually fairly balanced and well… quite honestly it made me a little giddy. I know I’ve been eagerly awaiting this tool since I heard about it at Blizzcon and it was nice to see how it worked in a live environment. Good job Blizz I think you hit this one out of the park!

So have you guys gotten to try the new LFG tool? Any good stories to share? Any horrible stories to share?

Next time maybe I’ll have more drama to share but until then, happy healing!

Sig

It Came From the PUG: A Resto Shaman Story

It Came From the PUG: A Resto Shaman Story

dazed2

For those of you who are new to here as readers or are just tunning in, I have an addiction to PUGs. I think they are a fun and amazing animal to play with. It came from the PUG is my column where when something interesting happens when pugging, I can share it with you.

With the Tier 9 content requiring  badges for all gear, I find myself trying to do the heroic daily every day. My normal Modus operandi is to log back into the game around 2 am EST and hit trade chat / LFG and find a group that needs a healer. I’ve been doing this for weeks no problem. Log in, pop in LFG usually no more then 4 minutes go by before I’m scooped up and on my way to the instance of the day.

Thursday though something odd happened. Something that hasn’t happened to me in a long long time. I’m talking beginning of BC long time. I log in, 1:45 am EST. I pop into LFG add a comment about being Tier 9 geared. The daily is Heroic Culling. Easy mode for me, I never have to stop to drink I can roll Riptide and Lesser Healing Wave pretty much the entire time and then go home with some badges. After about 15 minutes I notice no one’s sent any invites out and that I haven’t recieved tells. I just think that maybe there’s a ton more healers on tonight pugging then normal. So I hop into trade chat.

“T9 Resto Shaman LFG Heroic CoS pst”

I don’t spam trade but I make sure it’s seen. After another 10 minutes of no response I see someone asking in trade chat for a healer for CoS. I wait to see if a second request goes out and after a few minutes don’t see any so I figure someone got scooped up quickly. So I toss into trade again

“T9 Resto Shaman LFG Heroic CoS pst”

No more than 2 minutes go by before I see the same person send out a request in trade for healers for CoS. I think to myself well this is silly I’ll just send them a tell and we’ll be off in no time. Still plenty of time before the reset at this point.

“Hey, I’ll come heal for you guys.”

I get no response. After a few minutes I send them

“If you found another healer it’s cool. “

Then I see in trade chat again the same person asking for healers for CoS. WTF!? Does this person have me on ignore? Maybe the tells are just getting lost in the sea of trade chat spam? I don’t know so I send him another tell.

“Hey, I see you keep posting in trade you’re looking for a healer for the daily. I’m willing and ready to go. Are you not receiving my tells?”

This time I get a response;

“no, I’m getting them. Just don’t want you healing.”

I scratch my head at this one a bit. What the hell did I do to this guy?

“I’m sorry that’s a rather ominous satement. Did I do something to offend you or something?”

At this point I’m not mad, I’m just ridiculously curious why.

“you’re a Shaman, you can’t heal a heroic.”

The reply was very matter of fact and that’s all I got.

“You can’t be serious. Really it’s because I’m a Shaman?”

“yeap, sorry.”

So, complete B.S. reason right? Maybe. Maybe this person had a really bad run in with an enhancement shaman who said “OH HI I’LL HEAL YOU” but didn’t actually spec into Resto or use any spell gear. Either way I had a good chuckle about it and I responded with the only thing I think I could at the time.

“Dude, I’m so blogging about this! Make sure you stop by and see it! www.worldofmatticus.com, Good luck and have a good night =D”.

At this point the daily was changing over, so I decided to call it a night without getting my two badges. Just goes to show you, sometimes you don’t even have to get it IN the group before something interesting happens.

So, how about you guys? Anything fun to report from any PUGs?

Until next time, Happy Healing.

Sig

It Came From the PuG!

It Came From the PuG!

Definition : PuG

Pickup Group; used commonly in WoW and other MMORPGs. Basically means a group that isn’t formed by people you know; instead, it’s formed up of random, possible noobs that can completely wreck whatever experience you are getting the group for.

Ex. “I was in a pug with Oversoul and that F#$*& ninjaed T7.5 glove what a dick !”

We’ve all had those moments where we’re really bored, or we have an alt that we want to run through an instance that that rest of the guild is done with or just isn’t in the mood to run. Others of us are professionals at this and stick exclusively to doing raids this way. The item I’m talking about is the PuG. or Pick Up Group. This is a random assortment of players taken from either Looking For Group or sometimes trade chat. The power of a PuG is quite amazing honestly. You’re taking players that most likely have never met, never played together before and you are taking them in one direction together.PuGs also have some amazing stories attached to them. They are terrible, awesome and often times hilarious.

Personally I’ll admit I’m a glutton for punishment. I love PuGs because they give me a certain amount of freedom I don’t have when we’re running a raid or when it’s an all guildies group. I can do and try zany and weird things I couldn’t otherwise get away with  and see if they work. I’ve had amazing PuGs and I’ve had ones so terrible you can’t help but laugh hysterically

Let me share a couple gems from my recent PuG experience

I often miss my guilds 10 man runs on Lodur due to real life popping up. Sometimes late night I’ll log in and park myself in Dalaran, grab a beer and sit around trade chat waiting for a Uld / VoA  10 group to need a healer. I dutifully send my tell and when they ask my gear level get to gleefully tell them “working on rounding out my T8.5″. Needless to say it is not long before the invite comes in.

A little over a week ago I found myself looking for an Emalon 10 group. I hadn’t killed him that week and badges with a chance at free pvp / pve loot is always welcomed. I get in the group and find my way down to the vault as the group is being filled up. They were looking for a second healer when someone noticed my name.

“wait… Lodur… Lodur from world of matticus Lodur? Guys stop looking for another healer just let this guy solo heal it!”

Obviously he was just yanking around and we all had a good laugh at that and found a nice restoration Druid to come along with us. The group went really well despite a couple wipes and things came together after everyone figured out where to stand. We had a warlock that kept cracking jokes about going healing spec and helping out. It was a good PuG, we all had a good time and a couple upgrades were found for members of the group. Everyone was even tempered and were having a blast making crude comments and bashing a few mobs in the face.

Before that on a late night for me a guildie asked if I wanted to come heal Iron Council for a PuG Uld10. I said sure and hopped a bird. Got there and got in, popped a couple elixirs and got ready for the pull. There was a green Resto Shaman and a paladin healing with me. This time I did step up and organized who was healing who and doing what and we began. About 45 seconds into the pull a tank goes down. I’m laughing because I immediately get 4 tells saying “sorry we’re normally better then this”  we dust ourselves off and go back in and at it. The druid tank was making all sorts of bad jokes in between and even though we never downed IC, it was fun and I made a couple new friends. I also helped a new resto shaman out with ideas and tips to help him become competitive for raids.

A little time before that I was on my Death Knight and I got a tell asking if I was DPS or Tanking spec. I replied with “both” and I got an invite right off. The group was for a Naxx 10 run so I figured why the hell not I’ll go along with it. 3 DKs, 1 Boomkin trying to heal, one Holy Priest and one Resto Druid with a couple hunters and rogues. We make our way in and do pretty good. The group had already cleared most of the wings and only had military and then Saph and Kel. 4 Horsemen took a while to get but we eventually did it, but that’s when things went south. We get to Saphiron and the guy tanking it starts explaining the fight… but he’s doing it wrong. I pipe up and correct him on some of the things. (like the fact you DO NOT want to stand behind big angry skeletal dragon…). He immediately gets pissy and throws a bit of a tantrum. Five minutes later he calms down and we do the pull… only to have him turn her towards the raid. Two dead healers later we wipe. Not only did this happen once, but two more times after. I asked him nicely to turn the dragon away but he kept doing it. So, I hop into my tank gear, switch to frost presence and sit where the dragon should be facing. I see the dragon start to turn, and I taunt keeping it where it should be. He taunts to get it to face him, I taunt back. Eventually I get kicked from the group and get a nasty tell. I personally thought it was hilarious.

Lately though I haven’t had to pug much. I’ve been spending more time doing guild only runs and even on my new DK over on Icecrown, Rhyane, Nytesong, Ezrii and the rest of the Black Powder Foundry crew make sure I don’t have to PuG. (thanks again guys!) But truth be told I feel the itch again. I think I might have to find my way to a couple late night PuGs to get my fix.

So how about you? Have any PuG stories to share? Do you love PuGs or hate them?

Until next time, Happy Healing

sig

Image courtesy of www.pugslife.org