Summer Fun!

Usually, I’d crank out a full-fledged post to tell you what to do, but I’m too busy having fun! So here’s the official press-release from Blizzard.

They’ve added a lot of fun stuff… so what are you waiting for?? Grab some matches, and GO PLAY!!

Update: There is neat stuff dropping off the new boss in Slave Pens – most notably, a very interesting new enchant: Deathfrost. That and the icy-theme of the gear drops seems to be a preview of things coming in WotLK.

Also, some people collect non-combat pets; I collect holliday outfits. I’m pretty pleased with myself this time around.

I decided not to go for the shoulders – I just don’t like how they look.

Luv,
Wyn

Rez Me First!

….Or at least another Priest.

It could be a Soulstone, a Divine Intervention, a vanished Rogue with a pair of cables, or a clever Druid with a well-timed battle rez taken once the coast is clear. The idea is to save the raid the lengthy corpse-run, and to pick up and move on as quickly as possible.

Wipe Prevention – (n.) – \?w?p\ \pri-?ven(t)-sh?n\ – the concept of having at least one raiding member with the ability to Resurrect other members still alive after all other raiders are dead, and the boss or mobs have reset.

Because the entire purpose of wipe-prevention is time-efficiency, it has always frustrated me when the player charged with reviving the raid seems to have no concept of whom to rez first, second, or last. It gets worse when no one else in the raid seems to know what to do, either. After my guild’s last efforts in Sunwell, I decided to write a quick tutorial:

Always resurrect other rezzers first

This is the most crucial point, but even within this simple concept, it makes the most sense to pick some rezzers over others. Three classes have out of combat resurrection spells. Priests have Resurrection, which costs 60% of our base mana. Shamans have Ancestral Spirit which costs 72% of their base mana, and Paladins have Redemption which costs 64% of their base mana. It makes sense to pick up your Priests first, since they will be able to resurrect the most people without having to stop and drink. Remember that HEALER doesn’t necessarily mean REZZER. Druids can obviously not help here, but non-healing Priests, Shamans, and Paladins should. Don’t let them be lazy.

Personally, 60% of my base mana is 1,500. My Shammie brothers-in-arms’ rezzes cost as much as 3,000. I only have to drink to the point where I have 3,000 of my mana back and my regen will allow me to chain-cast rezzes without stopping until the whole raid is up. It makes more sense to pick me up than to pick up an ele shaman with only 250 mp5 and a 9k mana pool.

Resurrect raiders who need to do extra prep second

This means warlocks who need to summon healthstones and demons, Hunters who have to revive their pets, and buff-classes who will need to fill their mana in order to buff. (Mages, Druids)

Last are classes with little prep

Rogues who may need to apply poisons, non-buffing (usually feral) Druids, and Warriors.

Other speed-recovery pointers
  • Once their summoning duties are over, warlocks should drink to replenish their mana, rather than distracting the healers by life-tapping.
  • Group-Buffs should be done as soon as a given party is fully rezzed.
  • If one raider is doing the bulk of the rezzing, another member of their class should take over their buff-assignment (where possible), so they can drink and be ready to go with the rest of the raid.
  • All raiders who are NOT rez classes should eat their buff food and replenish their own mana as soon as they have been revived – this is not the time to take a bio-break or grab a snack.
  • One of the macros I posted in my UI series is my Rez macro. It casts rez, whispers the recipient, and plants a message in my guild’s healer channel to let them know my target. This avoids wasting time while two or three people try to rez the same target.

That can sound like a whole bunch of rules, but the underlying principle is very simple: Rez the people who can help get the rest of the raid up as quickly as possible first. Rez the people who need time to get ready second. Rez the people who need the least time last. You can save enough time this way to get in more attempts, avoid re-clearing trash, or keep a night of farm content from drawing out much longer than it should.

Luv,
Wyn

This Is What Happens When Matticus Leaves Wyn In Charge…

This Is What Happens When Matticus Leaves Wyn In Charge…

Matt’s going to kill me for this one, but he’s off studying for mid-terms and left me with the keys. I have a couple of actually informative and opinionated posts in the making, but they’re not yet ready for public consumption – and most people wouldn’t read them on a Saturday, anyway. 

One of the really cool things about WoW is how much time and effort Blizzard put into making our virtual home visually stunning. Most of us probably have at least one screenshot of a sunset or moonrise. Here are a few of my favorite non-landscapes from over the years. If you decide to link to your own in the comments, or click on a link provided, please use caution.

 

I took my dog fishing with me. He’s good company

 

We nearly forgot to loot him!

We all got naked for the Illidan pics – There was a lot of reshuffling and “Can you hold this for me? My bags are full!!”

Very artistic, for a duel, don’t you think?

We Love You Mom

It was one of the other girls’ ideas….. The surprise was that the raid went along with it.

Azeroth from the Spire

That big moon you can see from places in Black Temple is actually Azeroth. You can see the Maelstrom in the middle, there. This is on Illidan’s spire.

 Contemplating Nagrand

Still one of my favorite shots – my human wasn’t 70 yet, and I was puttering around in Nagrand. Yes, I farmed the rep for a real Darnassus tiger.

Tree vs. Spaceman Spiff

There’s a better action shot of this duel… But the speech bubble makes the joke.

Epic PvP

Some back-story here: I met Tras while I was leveling through STV. He’s one of those 70′s that likes to gank all day. When I didn’t see him for a while, I got a little worried about him (I know, carebear.), so I asked a friend to roll hordeside and send him an in-game mail. We started talking on vent, and became good friends. One day, world defense was spamming about STV, and I thought I knew who it was. I showed up to watch the chaos, and a lowbie (no doubt tired of corpse-running) asked me to DO SOMETHING. Nevermind that a Holy Priest in full PvE gear is no match for a Fire Mage atop a yardarm, I went in swinging. I don’t think the lowbie thought it was very funny…..

So I was walking through Shat one day…. and saw this nonsense going on. Proof that Shamans are powerless under a full moon.

 

I raided with stock UI all the way up to Vashj and Kael. No lie. And this was on a 15” monitor. Yeah, I don’t know how I did it, either.

This appeals to my girly aesthetics.

It's a Wipe

Learning Archi is fun. Thankfully, fire doesn’t damage your armor.

 

And that’s pretty much a round-up. There are more, of course, but most of them are more meaningful to the people and guilds that they feature. If you haven’t done it in a while, I recommend flipping through your screenshots. The nostalgia factor is enough to make it worthwhile, and you just might find yourself some new wallpaper.

Why I Always Care About The Meters

You’ll frequently hear raiders knowingly make comments about “the meters.” DPSers who have to crowd-control or dispel have a bit of a case; it’s harder to be #1 if you have more to worry about than standing still, popping pots, and hitting your spells in the right order. Healers occasionally have a point, too: Purge, Dispel, Cure, BoP, PW: Shield, and buffs all take not only mana, but global cooldowns out of our resources to be the “best” healer on the charts.

Here’s the thing though: you will rarely, if ever, find someone complaining about the unfairness of the meters when their name is consistently at the top. Here are a few reasons why I never forget to check the meters:

Supervisory

Whether you think a player is afk’ing trash, throwing out the wrong heals, or making a serious contribution, it will show up on the meters. Add-ons like Recount or WWS allow you to access your players’ habits with an unbelievable level of detail. If you don’t know what’s wrong, you can’t make it better. If you don’t know what’s right, you can’t give meaningful encouragement. Especially when making quantum leaps in content, (10-mans to 25-mans, or jumping tiers) being able to coach your players effectively through the transition is important.

Consistency

This works a couple of ways. On a micro-level, some classes are better suited for certain fights than others. If your Druids typically own highly-mobile fights like Leotheras or Supremus, and a new Druid isn’t keeping up with their peers, it’s a good indication that they need some help. On a macro-level, if, week after week, no matter what the fight, a certain player is always dead-last or near to it, there’s either a gear, hardware, or player issue. The raid leaders need to be able to address underperformance quickly. Why give a raid spot to a 9th healer when you’re effectively only fielding 8? Bring in another DPS, and make the fight shorter instead.

Personal Benchmarks

The first time I consistently broke 1,000 HPS was on Illidan. At first I was proud, but then I realized that I should be pushing my limits that much on EVERY fight. The first screen shot of me breaking 2,000 HPS serves as a constant reminder of my capability, and pushes me to work, heal, and fight harder; every boss, every time. It’s also fun to have some small competition to wake you up when farm content gets boring. Personally, if my favorite resto Shaman gets within 1% of my heals, I start working harder to keep my #1 spot – and he’s not afraid to point it out when he’s gaining on me.

Comparative Benchmarks

I’ve heard the arguments that the meters are skewed: AoE healers always win, healers assigned to players taking the most damage always win, healers that can hold still always win, healers that don’t have to Dispel, Cure, etc. always win. It’s not about winning. It’s about proving to yourself and your raid that you’re doing the best you can. I’ve fought for the top spot with Shamans, Pallys, and Druids. Every guild and healing corps. is different, and the sooner people stop making excuses and start pushing themselves to be their absolute best, the faster the bosses all die.

Accuracy

No meter is perfect. Some of them don’t ascribe things like the last tick of Lifebloom, or the ping of a ProM to the caster. I haven’t seen one yet that records the absorption of PW:S as the life-saver it is. You can tweak some of them so that overhealing or out-of-combat heals show up as effective healing. They all have their quirks, but any data collected over time irons out a lot of the inaccuracies and shows you real trends. I would never chew a player out over one bad night. But if that same player has nothing but bad nights, it’s important to have specific concerns to address with either them, or their class leader.

Timing

Even if the quantity of healing going out is enough, if the timing is off, it doesn’t matter . A tank taking hits for 10k needs an 8k heal. Unless they’re already topped off. Or they’re already dead. Overhealing is sloppy and wasteful, sure, but it’s also unavoidable to an extent. And to be completely honest, if no one’s dying it doesn’t matter much. But if they ARE dying, you need to be able to identify the problem. Grim-meters let you know if poor timing (and inattentive healers) were the culprit, or if the tank needs to put Shieldwall on their bars and learn to move out of fires.

Fairness

Let’s face it. No one wants to be stuck working on the same boss for weeks on end. If the definition of insanity is performing the same action but expecting a different result, it can’t be far from madness to randomly change set-ups without any data behind the decision. If you need to replace a player, you have to know whom to replace. The last thing good leaders want to do is pull a player that’s really doing their best, and keep someone who’s not working hard. And if you’re the one on the cut list, having some data to back up your desire to stay is always a good idea.

No metric is perfect. You can nitpick any measurement of success as biased in any number of ways, and healing meters are no different. The meters are absolutely not the end-all, be-all identifier for the “best” healer – but they are an invaluable tool for improving overall raid performance. My bet is that if you watch them for yourself, and for your raid, and make some key decisions based on the information you learn, you and your guild will progress further, faster, and with better players.

Extreme Makeover – Matt’s UI: Part 2 (Addons that I use)

Extreme Makeover – Matt’s UI: Part 2 (Addons that I use)

Here’s the before post of my UI when I was in the process of tearing it down entirely. This is the after post of my UI in various stages throughout one of Sunday’s raids.

matt-ui2-tb
Clicking on the image takes you full screen. While you’re there, proceed to laugh at the 2 melee that died.

I’m extremely happy and satisfied with the way it looks now. Before I had to drag my eyes all over the screen to get information I needed. I sat down last week and spent a good, solid 3 hours asking for some advice from the lads in the BA Chatroom. Some of the modifications will be the same. But there are some brand new elements. I designed my interface with the goal of having important information towards the center of the screen because that’s where my eyes will be concentrated a majority of the time. All files are linked to either Curse Gaming or WoW Ace.

The Meat and Potatoes

matt-ui5 Here’s a cropped action shot of the force in Black Temple taking out the trash.

Metahud: I was inspired by Top Gun for this one. Instead of using the normal boxy frames to display my health and targets, I opted to use something called a HuD (Heads up Display). It has a nice graphical representation of my target’s health, my health, my target’s power bar (mana, energy, rage), and my mana. My information’s on the inner circle and my target’s are on the outer circle. Not only that, but it shows me the hard numbers of a person’s health and their percentage. On the top right, you can see the cast time remaining on a spell (Greater Heal which I just finished casting). Notice that I have an Ashtongue Primalist targetted (bad guy).

Metahud displays me the approximate range to that target (9 – 28 yards). It also tells me who it has targetted (Lang, our MT). I moved Pitbull’s Target of Target bars to the bottom right for the sake of contrast and easy selection (until I figure out how to change those colors).

DoTimer: Knowing when your cooldowns are up is integral to any healer as it allows us to time our trinket use and other "long CD" spells. I moved my cooldown window to the center of the screen below my HuD. In this case, by being aware of when Prayer of Mending is up, I can get ready to activate that on Lang instead of dropping a Greater Heal. Knowing your Cooldowns allows you to mentally adjust your spell process on the fly without having to constantly guess to see if you can cast a spell or not.

ScrollingCombatText: At the top, you can see the amount of mana I’m getting back. I believe it’s mana spring totem. I moved SCT above the HuD and set the transparency to 50%. Not only mana, but it displays other important information like health gain or damage done to and so forth.

NaturEnemyCastBar: I still like NECB. It tracks the cooldowns of other people around me. Never again will you have to ask when banish is up. I repositioned it slightly from where it was in the shot above. It’s now located towards the middle of the screen and is flush against the power bars on the right.

Elkano’s Buff Bars: Far right side. I like it better then the default Blizzard one. It shows me both buffs and debuffs and the time remaining.

Pitbull Unit Frames: Yes, I know a lot of people pressured me suggested to use Grid. It’s a lightweight raid frame, I got it. But I’m already married to Pitbull! I have this set up on the left side along with my own frame and my target’s frame right below. It’s slightly larger then the raid frames above (Refer to the first shot). The reason why I wanted two of them is so that there’s less eye movement for me to do. If I’m focusing on raid healing, I still have my target up on the left side. If I’m focused on tank healing, I can keep my eyes glued to the center. Each portion of the screen is set up for a different purpose. Also interfaces with Prat =).

Deadly Boss Mods: Raid requirement. Either use that or Bigwigs. But either way, it’s a must for raiding. I placed mine at the top with full opacity above SCT.

Quartz: It’s a graphical bar that shows cast times and stuff which adjusts for latency.

Visualheal: Displays in a bar the approximate amount of health they will gain when factoring in your heal so you can visually see it (hence the name?).

Bottom of the Barrel


Poison elementals are serious business. We made our Druid tank shift out and cleanse. 

My chat windows and other secondary information is located at the bottom of the screen. From left to right, it’s combat text/general chat, Omen, Bars, Recount, chat windows 1, and Guild/raid/healer chat.

Prat: It came highly recommended as thee chat frame of choice. Shows timestamp, colors the player name according to class, level, group number of person, and more importantly no annoying overlapping scroll arrows!

Big Brother: Raid Leaders – This is a must for you guys. Found out who broke that sheep! Also displays nifty stuff like flasked players, buffs that may or may not be missing, etc, etc.

Omen: The standard in threat meters now. Don’t enter a raid without it. You can have it minimized as long as it’s transmitting. Although 9 times out of 10 it won’t matter for healers, it’s still nice to have around.

Bongos2: I use Bongos2 for my bars. I shrank it as small as I could since I’ve mapped every option to a key at this point. Anything I need to click on is at the top anyway.

Recount: See previous post on this excellent measurement and raid diagnostic tool. Has meters for everything and you can output the information into raid. Warning: Can inflate ego.

Stuff you don’t see

All that stuff above was meant primarily for raiding and healing. Here’s all the addons that make other aspects of WoW a little easier to manage.

ATSW: It stands for Advance Trade Skills Window. I use it to keep track of and sort my various enchanting and tailoring recipes easily. Might be abandoning it soon due to lack of support. Exploring for some alternatives.

Cartographer: This handles my mapping functions. Shows my coordinates, and tracks herbs/mining nodes and the like.

 TipTac: This is a particularly useful addon. It’s a simple tooltip information window. In this case, all I did was mouse over Maeve and it displays information like his title, Guild, buffs, health, spec, and who else has him targetted. It sure as hell beats the default tooltip in the game.

Swatter: Do you have annoying UI error messages that seem to show up? I use Swatter mostly to debug the information and then close it afterwards. Doesn’t seem to be in active development as I can’t find a link.

XLoot: It’s a looting interface. It’s a simple remake of the default loot window.

XRS: It stands for X Raid Status. This raid leading addon echoes what buffs are missing from the raid. Make sure you have an A. Like Kilmster says, rain of fire is serious business. Full buffs should be granted before attempting to go into one.

Stinky Queue: Lets me group queue into Alterac Valley. Will be obsolete once 2.4 comes.

oRA2: I had to install this addon to please the brass. This is the Patriot Act for raid leaders. I give up my privacy so that I can raid. With it, they can see the durability of my armor, reagents, potions, underwear size and so on.

Itemrack: Lets me switch outfits with a click of a mouse button. I can go from suave and sophisticated to smooth and sexy in under a second. No more having to search through bags and equipping every piece of gear manually.

Caster Weapon Swapper: Automates the switching of weapons. I use it to manage my Spellsurge, mana regen, and healing staves. It switches them based on my mana pool and what I’m doing. I wrote a post about it a while ago.

Aloft: Replaces the default Blizzard name plates.

Atlasloot Enhanced: It’s a database of items obtainable from vendors and drops from bosses.

Proximo: If you plan on doing any kind of Arena PvP, you will want this addon. Helps you identify and coordinate your efforts on taking down players in PvP.

Class Specific

Serenity: It’s a priest specific addon, I believe. It just announces who I’m ressing and Shackling in chat.

Totemus: Similar to Serenity, Totemus is for my Resto. Shaman and shows me the time remaining on my totems.

Pally Power: This is a must have for any Paladin. Handles Blessings without you losing your mind.

Part 5: Ways to Promote Your Blog

WoW Blogging 101

Due to Chinese New Year festivities, I’ve had to run on a reduced schedule today. Therefore, the only piece I could get up was non WoW related! Those of you that have just started blogging and are wondering how to promote your blog won’t have to look any further!

How to Get Started Blogging: Parts 1 and 3

WoW Blogging 101

Since my University is on a mountain and it’s snowing like crazy in BC, my classes were canceled due to treacherous road conditions. Over at the Blog Azeroth forums, Rhoeyln asked a series of questions about blogging:

Hi, all. I’m going to follow past precedent and make a little request, here. I’m very new to the blogosphere, but I’ve been wanting an avenue in which to collect my long list of WoW thoughts. I want to start writing a blog. However, I feel like a very fat fish in very shallow waters. I don’t know how to move or breathe.

Could someone put together a list of steps to get started? What do you need? What should you have prepared before you publish? What does a successful schedule have to hold to keep the readers interested? What did you have put in place before you got started with the meaty-meat of writing?

Advice or resources to get the ball rolling would really be useful. Also, if anyone has thoughts about what the blogosphere hates or loves, needs or absolutely doesn’t need, I’d love to hear those, too.

Thank you,
~Rhoelyn

I started writing up a large response but then I realized it would be a lot larger then a simple forum post. With that in mind, I’m going to start writing a series of posts on WoW Blogging 101.

It will cover:

  • Part 1: Before You Start
  • Elements of a WoW Blog (features and such)
  • Part 3: How I Write my Posts
  • Writing and ideas in general
  • Promoting your blog
  • Commenting etiquette and ethics
  • Statistics
  • Extra resources and reading
  • Conclusions and Final Thoughts

I don’t know when I’ll finish. But knowing me and my work ethic, I’ll probably finish within the week. Yes, I’m also aware I wrote this out of order. It’s how I roll! =)

This is My Last Post

… of 2007.

Tomorrow I will be out and about celebrating and counting down to New Year and all that fun stuff! I’m going to use what little time I have left today and tomorrow to finish up my new layout. It’s going to be simpler yet more functional. I hate coding. I transferred out of this profession years ago and having to modify this theme extensively for the past two months has reminded me why.

With a New Year comes new resolutions! Much like Honors Code who recently published his goals, here’s my list of things to do for 2008.

World of Warcraft

Mallet

* Kill Illidan
* Kill Zul’Jin
* Obtain Epic Flying Mount
* Break the base 2000 +healing mark
* Break the 300 MP5 while casting with full buffs mark

Saphfira

* Obtain 5/5 Vengeful Gladiator’s set (Elemental)
* Finish out Vindicator’s pieces (Ring, Belt, Boots)
* Level fishing to 375
* Improve myself more in PvP

Valoray

* Acquire Thunder
* Become viable in PvE as retribution (pigs might as well fly)
* Acquire a Flying Mount
* Become keyed for Karazhan
* Level blacksmithing to 375
* Become elixir specced
* Get reputation with Sporregar so I can transmute these useless Primal Earths to Waters

Personal

Blogging

* Start and finish out example healing assignments in Mag/TK/SSC
* Write less, but frequent
* Write more, but less often
* Continue pushing myself to deliver quality, timeless references

Academic

* Studying smarter, not harder
* Studying instead of raiding
* Not suck

Those are my resolutions. What’s yours? I will see you all in 2008!

Have a Happy (and safe) New Year!

WoWosphere Weekend Warmup

I’m retiring my 3 stars. There’s simply too much blogging material and not enough stars to hand out! Starting on Saturdays, I’m going to be summarize what’s been happening here with me, my blog, and my other fellow bloggers out there.

In Game

We’ve had a wall with raiding recently. Last Thursday, one of our MT’s had DSL issues, our Paladin’s hard drive crashed, another healer has retired, and we’re losing a rogue to the US Army. I knew the holiday season was tough, but holy moly. As far as I know, we’re going back in on Sunday.

I’ve acquired a whole level of respect for Paladin tanks. We set up an on-the-fly run with a friend of mine and he literally tanked the whole instance by himself. We brought in a DPS Warrior for off tanking duty because we didn’t expect him to tank as much anyway. 3 hour Karazhan runs are ridiculously awesome. We downed every boss with the exception of Netherspite (due to execution, in my opinion).

World of Matticus

  • 5 Gaming Lessons from Matticus: I got tagged the other day by GMW. The concept here is one blogger comes up with a list, then “tags” other bloggers to come up with their own unique lists. It doesn’t even have to be a list! They’re just tagged to “do” something. In this case, it was a list of lessons that I’ve learned from WoW or gaming.
  • WoW Bloggers <3 WordPress: This is just something I noted last night. A lot of bloggers are switching platforms from Blogger to WordPress.
  • Why Do You Play WoW?: This is a guest post from Leiandra. I didn’t want to leave my blog completely dry so I sent out a plea for guest bloggers to help me out. Thanks again for responding!

I’ve got a larged sized to do list which I can’t get started on just yet. 1 exam down, but I still have 3 more to go.

  • Complete blog design overhaul
  • Mag strat and overview
  • Tips for WoW Bloggers who just moved to WordPress
  • Getting my other blog underway

The WoWosphere at a Glance

  • Veteran Hunter blogger BigRedKitty has switched! Be sure to update your bookmarks and RSS feeds accordingly. He’s also opened up some new forums! Fellow blogger Pike is also considering the switch.

    Matt’s Reaction: I love the forums! I’m even debating opening one of my own soon. I also think Pike should switch =).

  • Fate has a great post up effectively summarizing what the trends seem to be in class issues. You’ll remember a few days ago Blizzard put the call out for feedback on what players felt to be the problems with their class. They even created threads on every class forum.

    Matt’s Reaction: One of the points Fate made was that each class seemed to be complaining that every other class was imbalanced and should be nerfed. If that’s the case, then Blizzard should sit back and do nothing because if every class complains that other classes are overpowered, would that not then imply that every class IS balanced?

  • There’s been some recent blog discussion on the gender of your characters on WoW. Nothing’s wrong with players playing a character of the opposite gender. Some play it to express themselves. Others play it to avoid being cliche’d. The rest do it for the ass (or so they claim).

    Matt’s Reaction: I chose a Dranei and Human females purely for performance reasons. I need as much possible real estate as I can get on my screen. I’m not the only one who feels that way.

  • GMW and her Guild discovered a neat way of adding colour to your Guild MoTD’s and Guild Notes!

    Matt’s Reaction: Instead of the usual green text, now you can color code your messages for importance. I haven’t quite discovered a practical use for it yet, but I’m not an officer and I don’t have the authority to alter my own Guild Note. But, I think by color coding Guild Notes, it would be easy to tell at a glance what kind of specs certain players are in the Guild without having to repeatedly ask them. For example, tanks could be blue, healers would be white, and DPS would be red. This way, there would be no confusion as to whether Paladins were prot or holy (or Priests shadow or Holy).

  • Nibuca at Mystic Chicanery created an excellent list of fun Pally tricks to try!

    Matt’s Reaction: I like tip 3.

Blog Spotlight

  • I’ve spent a lot of time reading Rohan’s Blessing of Kings. One of his recent posts addressed the topic of welfare epics (AKA PvP purples). There’s been some discussion about the skinning differences between PvP and PvE. Another point that was brought up is the seeming lack of progression that the PvE aspect has. The only thing stopping alts from going into Hyjal/BT is attunement. That is a barried that PvP doesn’t really have except for rating brackets (even then, at 3 AM you might find a 1500 team playing a 2300 team and by sheer luck/disconnects steal 40 points off of them) In PvE, it’s possible to directly skip over T4 and go straight for T5 (Remember the attunements were lifted).

    In fact, several months ago on my resto shaman, I raided with a group of friends into Karazhan while wearing a combination of greens and blues. In June, I sported +600 healing! That number is far below my minimum recommended stats. But my friends were extremely geared and my lack of healing didn’t really hinder progress. In one run, I replaced my greens with purples (T4 gloves, Curator shoulders, Chess Shield, Netherspite’s Chest, Attument’s bracers, Moroes’ Belt, Opera trinket).Should I have to go through that chain of progression again? I don’t think so.

    My Priest did most of the work learning the encounters and helping my friends get gear as well. I had a good support network in place and good contacts. I think this debate sounds akin to having a level 70 running you through Scarlet Monastary. Different application but same principle.So in PvP, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with characters in blues getting epics. They’re still putting in time and effort to get it. An S2 geared player will acquire S3 gear far faster then a blue’d character with little resilience.

    My Shaman took six months to get the entire S2 set. This is just the armor alone. I did not purchase the weapon, shield, or totem. That’s a long time just to get the armor. Don’t forget the fact that this was during the summer before the AV changes. I had lots of time which I piled into the AV queues earning 7000+ honor per day. Obviously with school, it is no longer possible. But winter break is nearly here, and I’ve already picked up the Vindicator Bracers…About the visualizations of the gear, I think they should be kept the same way. I know I’m definitely a minority in this for sure, but hear me out for a moment.

    Most of us don’t have the time to armory other players to determine what they’re wearing or what spec they’re playing (having a macbook by your side lets you do that). But information and intelligence is key to any kind of warfare! The more information you have, the better off you’ll be!

    One of Sun Tzu’s famous quotes:

    So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will fight without danger in battles.
    If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
    If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself

    A key piece of information is the level of gear that your opponents are wearing. One glance at a Priest with dark wings, and what does that tell you? He’s wearing S2 shoulders. Like it or not, we rely on visual cues to inform of us what’s going on around the world. If PvP and PvE gear models were drastically changed, that’s more information we have to know. Out in PvE land if the models were to change, a new player with absolutely no idea of what PvP models look like could check out a player and find out the hard way that this is NOT a player they want to pick a fight with.

    Lastly, to change the models and textures would require more work to do on the part of Blizzard. I’d much rather have them work on new raiding content then armor which I will replace anyway. I’m paying 15 bucks a month to solve hard encounters, not appear on an Ironforge’s Secret fashion show.

Again, I wanted to apologize to everyone for my reduced blogload this week. It’s crunch time for many students. I’ve got 3 more next week so expect similar activity. Wish me luck =(.

I started this piece at 9 AM. It is now 1 PM.

Blame Canada. Again. Blame Blizz. Again.

Matticus’ Note: This a partially related WoW post which happens to tie into a current event. It’s also very lengthy.

I just checked out the video of that Polish guy who was killed in YVR (Vancouver International Airport) a few minutes ago. If you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to check it out. It’s a rare insight into possible law enforcement confrontations. It must be one of thousands of possible situations that they face yearly.

So in a nutshell, here we have a foreign immigrant who flies into our beloved country without a clue as to what he’s doing, where he’s going, or how to speak English. He sets up a wall of chairs, throws around some equipment, causes a big mess, and then the cavalry are called in. He gets shocked and subsequently dies.

Let’s make one thing clear. I’m not trying to condone what the police did was right. I think they acted as best as they could under the circumstances. Hindsight is always 50/50. It’s easier to see flaws in decisions that people make long after they’ve been made. With that being said, I could only imagine the call the police received.

“Hey, control?”
“Yeah?”
“Uhh, we have a problem here. We have an individual acting erratically.”
“On our way.”

Remember we’re at the airport. We’re in an era of post 9/11. Those events are still fresh on our mind. The police probably had no idea what level of a threat they’re dealing with. My guess is that when you get summoned to a problem situation, you’re initial reaction is to assume the worst case. The worst case would be someone carrying, you know… a bomb. Obviously this poor fellow wasn’t.

How Tasers work

In a nutshell, a Taser is a cattle prod. It has an active range of about 10 meters. When it’s fired, twin prongs shoot out with attached metal wires. Electricity is then sent down the wires with the aim of disrupting nerve and muscle functions. Don’t ask me the physics behind it. I’m sure you have science friends. Go ask them.

Anyway, electrical current then courses through your entire body, you become incapacitated.

At least, that’s the general idea.

Remember, most of these trials take place in controlled environments that involve strong and healthy test subjects. Typically, these are people who do not ingest any kind of alcohol, drug, or some other form of illicit drug abuse. When Tasers are used on them, they work absolutely great! No one dies and they get up five minutes later slightly singed and crispy.

Unfortunately, real life is not like that. The intended targets for Tasers are disorderly individuals who are not in the right state of mind whether it’s chemically induced or otherwise. As a result, the effects produced in a controlled, clinical environments will strongly differ from public areas when the weapons are put to practical use.

I don’t think the public would like it very much if the police simply pulled out their Glocks and shot people in the knee. That was back in the 30s when Al Capone was the law.

I don’t believe the Taser is non-lethal. It may be intended as non-lethal, but it has the potential to kill people. Anyone with a pacemaker would not last very long, I imagine. However, I do think it is less lethal. When you compare it to a firearm or even a baton, it will not provide as much fatal results (statistically speaking). You have a better chance to survive an injury from a taser then you would from a gunshot wound or a severe clubbing from a police baton.

So if Tasers are recalled, then police will have one less less lethal tool to rely on. Guns, batons and… pepper sprays, I believe. Even then, pepper spray is used mostly for riot police. I don’t think it’s part of the standard RCMP loadout. But you know what? Pepper spray is lethal too! When under the effects of pepper spray, people are prone to coughing, having a runny nose, having their eyes slam shut, and having difficulty breathing. Gee, if you have asthma, you’re kind of a goner too.

Next option? Tear gas. Dropping a gas grenade in the baggage claim area of YVR is just plain dumb.

Last option? Physical subjugation. The cops could’ve tried to man handle him to the ground or something as a last resort. However, that would then place cops at risk to being assaulted. I know, the video showed four police officers vs one guy. But I think they’re trained to bring down a subject as best as possible while minimizing damage to them and to him. There was no one any could’ve foreseen that a Taser would have killed him. Automobiles are rated as one of the top causes of death in North America. But we still drive them.

Then there’s waiting. Yeah that probably should have been the way to go. Hindsight. 50/50. Who knows why they weren’t waiting? Wait, what would they wait for? An interpreter? If you watch the footage, there’s someone clearing calling for an interpreter. But they made a wrong choice.

I do not for once believe that the police had any intent to kill. If they did, I think we would be at war with Poland right now or something over a bullet riddle corpse. The media already makes it out that way.

If it were me, I would not have known what to do in that kind of a situation. Clearly he looked agitated. Was he a threat to people near by? Tough call. He might’ve been. When you’re in a situation like that, you walk a very fine line. Let him be and he might randomly go after some innocent bystander. Cops lose for failing to do their job (Why wasn’t he subdued earlier?!) Contain him with the risk of death and he just happens to die. Cops lose for failing to do their job properly. In high pressure cases like that, it is very difficult to make the proper judgment call not knowing what the consequences will be. Obviously if I know my Taser was going to kill him, I wouldn’t use it. Would I try to subdue him hand to hand? Yeah. Press reports said that he’s been in there holed up for five or so hours. You can’t just leave a guy in there all by himself throwing junk around. So those guys who tasered him are now in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” kind of situation. I don’t even know if there is a right answer.

A taser, I believe, is meant as a less lethal response to a lethal situation. However, the police utilized it differently. They exercised a less lethal response to a non-lethal situation. Maybe the best thing to do was temporarily seal off the area until an interpreter was present. But cops are trained to act swiftly, because if they don’t, something bad might happen. It’s way too easy now to condemn them knowing everything that we do know.

If I tried a baton to the knee, people would cry out police brutality.

Another thing that occurred to me. Notice how theres four police swarming the body after it’s been shocked? The body behaves in an uncontrollable state. Would it not have been in his best interest to have been held down a bit to prevent him from biting his tongue or punching a wall or something else that might’ve damaged him? Obviously four cops holding him down is over kill. I’m not a medical student so I don’t know much about that. But I’ve generally seen him people going into some kind of get held down. Or something.

All of a sudden, I don’t want to go into law enforcement anymore knowing that my intentions (however noble) will always be looked down upon by the public. Isn’t that what an Ombudsman is for though? I can’t remember. Anyway, it would seem as if the same people that I want to protect would hate me. I guess I’ll try for that CRIM/PSYC dual major.

What does this have to do with WoW?

Sometimes the best of intentions of developers are not properly carried out. There might be an unforeseen consequence in a patch that is designed to fix problems. So even though there’s a feature added that causes a public outcry doesn’t mean that the idea’s necessarily bad. It just needs more testing and tweaking so it’s able to do what it’s designed to do without any unforeseen side effects.

Check out our Hunter friends for instance. They’re one of the best classes to have behind your back. Now the latest patch has applied all sorts of things that makes them not as overpowered as before. The whole “pet moving behind target” thing seems like a good idea. But there seems to be some problems and pathing and such.

There any problems for Priests? As of yet, I haven’t really discovered much. We had our one of our resist tanks go down awfully quickly for some reason during the Hydross encounter. I don’t know if downranking heals has been adjusted again or not, but endurance is a lot longer then before. Between potions, trinkets, flasks, mana oils, Sporefish, the two piece T5 set, and a Paladin with Spellsurge, I notice that my mana return is pretty damn good. Less drinking involved, that’s for sure. MP5 while casting has hit a number above 250 which is just sick.

Three Stars, later tonight. I didn’t get one in last week. This flu like symptom isn’t fun at all.