Friday, April 30, 2010

Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot...

So... the past couple of days were spent queuing up for random heroics. For the most part, I could care less what someone's gear score is in a heroic, but there really should be a limit. The other day, a guildie and I got stuck in a random heroic with a tank with a 2400 gear score. They politely stated in party chat that they literally just hit 80.

I give most people a chance. IMO, skill > gear for the most part... Well... I really should rethink that a little. There was no way in hell I should have stayed in that group. I was pulling healing aggro off this pally... well EVERYONE was pulling aggro off of him. I give him credit though.. he tried... but everyone in the group out geared him by at least 3k gear score...

I understand that after you ding 80, you wanna jump into heroics... but really... shouldn't ya just run some Normal Halls of Stone and Halls of Lightning to pick up some gear first? Or maybe queue up as a DPS and roll on tank gear... I guess that just requires too much logic.

I seem to forget that logic doesn't factor much in this game anymore.. if its logical then that would just be too easy. Lets just eff it up for some other people because I want to do it my way and my way only.

/facepalm

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What am I doing in Icecrown?

Well, this has been an interesting morning.

I login to get my early daily runs in around 5 AM, and I find Quint plummeting to his demise in the middle of Icecrown.

That's strange; I parked him in Undercity yesterday after (finally) completing Uldaman.

Hey, why's his gear score so low?

And where's my off spec stuff?

And where's my gold?

Crapola.

Yes, sometime overnight I was hacked.  Years of paying my bills online, and I've never had a problem.  On WoW for less than a year?  Hacked.  What that says about the popularity of WoW and gold miners is left as an exercise for the student.

I put in a call to Blizz to get my stuff recovered, but in the meantime I've been poking around to find the weak point in my laptop, not the desktop that I play on.  Why the laptop?  Two reasons:  I do all of my WoW related surfing on it (not the desktop), and I've a hunch that the default work settings for such things as Cookies are terrible.

(Update:  Yes, they were.  [expletive deleted] employer settings.  Since corrected.)

Oh, well.  Hopefully they didn't hit the guild bank using my account; that would suck.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Traitor? That's me!

Yep, that's right.

I started a Human Paladin the other day.

I feel so dirty.

Okay, I'm trying several classes, and he's one of them, but right now he's the one with the heirloom weapon.  Of course, since it's a 2H axe, he can't use it yet.  Figures.

Maybe it's because I'm so used to the "us against the world" and "nobody loves us so we all have to band together" aspect of the Horde, but I'm having real problems relating to a Human Alliance character.  I can't bring myself to appreciate the "oh, look at the poor humans, how they've lost so much" and "ooo, those MEANIE Horde people running around, they're all just vermin" that the Human NPCs radiate.

Excuse me? 

And you don't think that the Forsaken had it bad, losing their lives to the Scourge?  Or the Blood Elves, getting facerolled by Arthas and then accused of being traitors when they were left to their own devices?  Or the Tauren, who were getting beat up on by the centaurs?

Sheesh.

Now, it's possible -likely, even- that the other Alliance races aren't that bad.  Whenever I see a Draeneii around, Lorne Greene's voiceover from the 70's Battlestar Galactica pops into my head:  "Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, a rag tag fugitive fleet...."  And don't get me started on the Gnomes.  Way way WAY too much Polyanna in them.

What am I going to do?  Oh, I'll keep putzing around with Alliance characters for the moment, as the lure of seeing the questing from an Alliance angle would be very interesting.  Quint is less than 450 quests away from the Seeker, so the challenge of duplicating that feat from the Alliance side is tempting.

Hell hath frozen over

Last week was a very dramatic week...

There were a few things that all coincided. 
  1. My raiding guild fell apart due to a number of the players wanting to split off and do their own thing.
  2. My friend faction changed and transferred off the server to join up with RL friends of his.
It kinda left me with a hefty choice on my plate. 

I was offered a spot in the newly formed splinter guild, and they showed some promise towards progressing on a 10 man raid team.  However, I had a few reservations about joining them.  A few members of the splinter group I really enjoyed playing with, but there's a few I really didn't care for.  And I didn't really want to limit myself to seeing 10 man content with those few I didn't really care for.  Not to mention some inconsistencies with the splinter group.  They voiced some complaints about a few members.  And during my two days of trying to decide what to do, I notice the member they complained about is once again in their ranks.  This happened for two different people.  It just didn't make sense to me.  They basically reformed the same guild they were, just with new leadership and a new name and with out the previous leadership (who weren't bad players, just not strong leaders).

With that said, though, I still hold high regard for the friends I did make in the group.  One of which, is a contributing member to this blog, and I hope she will remain so.

One of my other choices was to help rebuild the current guild.  At this point in the expansion where the doldrums are hitting, I didn't feel that option would have much success.  And honestly, the other tank left in the guild I could NOT stand to be around.  So, I wished them the best, and chose my last option and best chance for overall success...  And I missed playing with my friend, who during our entire time in the past guild were not able to raid together because the group felt it was best to split us up.

To the Alliance I went.  I've been horde since day one.  Five years of it...  I was so anti- alliance.

Now?  Meh... It's all just about the same.  I dislike gnomes as much as I do blood elfs. 

The group I joined up with seems very nice so far.  They're all over 21, a good majority of the guild is in the military (or was), and there's quite a few husband /wife and father / son groups that play.  The guild has a STRICT no drama policy.  In fact, if you cause drama, you get removed from the guild.  AND, they have a structured loot system.  No more crying from others about losing a random roll on gear.  AND, they raid on the weekends, leaving quite a bit more time open during the week to relax and actually get some sleep - which also means, the wifey can join in raids now, seeing as she doesn't have to worry about staying up too late during the weekdays.

Yep... Souldat is now a human death knight...

I can't tell you how odd (but refreshing because it's all new) to watch the various attack animations and sounds of an alliance group.  A druid shapeshifts and an elf pops out... Uh....

The wife and I didn't want to leave our favorite paladin high and dry though, so he's got some mail waiting on him...

Even though I've joined the ranks of the good guys at level 80, I'd like to see some more of the quests, and plan on leveing an alt, now that I'll have time to do so during the week.

(I did one quest in the howling fjord where I had to test out a concoction a drunk gnome whipped up on a vyrkul prisoner... upon ingesting the vial, the vyrkul turned into a slime, to which the dozen guards or so standing at the ready were thoroughly grossed out by.  Asking what kind of a freak I was for doing that, and some getting sick - it was the first time I had actually laughed out loud because of a quest in a LONG time.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth day

Here's my list of things to do today:
  1. Take a moment today to fly about Northrend and apprecaite the landscape.
  2. Recycle something - I will apprecaite my recycled (heirloom) gear today
  3. Reduce / Reuse - Enjoy something that's been recycled - like armor graphics or the onyxia encounter
  4. Use my spring flower to plant some flowers
  5. Hug a tree druid

Note to Self

You can do Halls of Stone with four people.

Okay, we had five, but one was a bot.  The Healer picked him out after the first couple of trash pulls.  "Why is a Warrior with 5200 GS only doing 1000 DPS?" he asked in party chat.  Then, when I went to go tell Bran to get a move on, I suddenly realized I had a shadow.

"He's on follow for you," the Healer whispered me.

Unfortunately, we couldn't kick him at the time because we had the "protect Bran" event going on.

"No heals for the bot!" the call went out.

Amazingly enough, the bot died second.  We lost the Lock first, and then the bot.

For the last two minutes of the event, it was just the tank, myself, and the healer trying to keep threat off of Bran and keep ourselves upright.  Kudos to the Tree who did the job.

We kicked the bot -it was set to Need everything too- and then we finished up with the last boss.

Stupid bots.

The rise and fall...

Hello! I'm Satyana. I'm a new contributor to the blog. I hope that what I have to say is interesting or thought provoking...

I guess I'll just get straight into it. =P

Now, I've had a lot of experience dealing with different types of guilds - you'd know if you took the time to read the novel I wrote about myself >.< I've seen guilds fail and I've seen guilds succeed. The common denominator in guilds I've seen fail was disorganization and lack of strong leadership.

This isn't to say that is always the reason for a guild to fall apart... its just what I've seen. Tonight (or last night - however you want to look at it) I saw a guild fold. I felt absolutely terrible about it. After what seemed like weeks and weeks of not getting any progression done due to one reason or another, several people, myself included, felt that it was time for a change. Over the weeks, I had voiced my concerns... Made a post on the guild website, but I'm not so sure they were taken very seriously. They were talked about briefly but then they just seemed to fade away.

My intentions were not to watch a guild fall apart. I just felt that it was time for me to be with a group of people who seemed interested in what my concerns were and felt the same way I did. After speaking with the GM, I said my goodbye in guild chat and left the guild. On my way out, I was bombarded with whispers asking me what was wrong, what happened, etc. I told them why I left and then all of a sudden, people in the guild were leaving and asking for an invite to the newly formed guild. I was floored and felt awful. I did not think that by me and a few others choosing to leave would cause such an upheaval.

I truly care about the GM and the members of the guild. They took me in after I stopped raiding for a few months and I was given the opportunity to experience some of ICC.

BUT... to be honest, I felt this coming for awhile. The indecisiveness of whether or not someone should stay gkicked, the folding to a whiny raider about loot, the tolerance of people just not showing up to raid although they had gotten themselves locked to it and knowing it was going to be continued the next night, the constant uncertainty of who would be in which raid group and starting 45min later than what is scheduled... these issues not being properly addressed when brought up are what I believe lead to the falling of this guild.

Again, I feel awful about what happened. I really wanted them to succeed - even if I wasn't there to see a boss die for the first time with them. I feel like I let down a large number of people and for that I'm really sorry. I hope they do not have any ill feelings toward me. Each and every one of the members were a joy to be around and socialize with.

Whether they follow to the new guild, stay behind, or move onto different guilds, I wish nothing but the best for them.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Hardest Part of DPS

I've done Hall of Reflections three times now, and the last time was the first one I didn't die on.

Part of this is the benefit of experience.  You can read about an instance all you want online, but until you actually do it, you won't internalize the details. 

The first time HoR came up in my early morning runs, I was completely unprepared -hell, I didn't know I had the gear capable of it until the picture popped up- and I dropped almost as soon as possible.  It wasn't the proudest moment in my WoW career, bugging out of an encounter due to dread, but I knew I wasn't ready.  I spent the next lunch hour reading up on HoR online, and when it came up in the queue again, I told myself I'm going to try.

"Oh crap," said one DPS.  "@#$%!" said another.

The healer was unimpressed.  "It's not a big deal," said the Priest.  "You'll live through it." 

Of course he could say that; he had a 5900 GS filled to the brim with ICC gear.

The first trash mob, I wipe.  Everyone else is busy staying alive, so I figure that the trip is a short one so I release and fly back to the instance.  When I get there, I realize I'd forgotten one of the things I'd read online:  DON'T RELEASE AND RUN BACK!  THE DOORS REMAIN CLOSED!

Luckily, after the first boss the doors flew open and I came back inside.  The rest of the instance I didn't die, but it was a very near thing.  I'm used to making an impact of some sort, but about half of the time I was healing myself to keep up with the load the priest was handling.  I felt very out of place, kind of like the last time I tried my hand at healing an instance.

That brings me to another part of surviving as a melee DPS:  understand tanking.

Doesn't seem so hard, right?  You let the tank acquire threat, wait a couple of seconds for the tank to get a good lock, and then go behind and start supporting the tank.  If the tank directs you to a different target, you go to the different target.  If you see something bad getting ready to happen -like the tank standing way too close to the cliff in Pit of Saron that a simple knockback would turn the tank into a skydiver- you call out to let the tank know.

Well, the second HoR run gave me a different insight on tanking. 

The first two times the PuG tries, we wipe on the trash.  It was getting very frustrating, particularly so since I wasn't able to really get going before I watched in surprise as I pulled threat from something other than the tank's -and my- focus.

Time to reevaluate things.

The third trash attempt, I waited and watched.  Those first ten seconds of the trash pull were the hardest ten of my pugging career, as I itched to close the gap and start taking the pressure off the tank.  But as I watched, I saw something I hadn't before:  the speed of the trash closing in on the tank was incredibly slow, completely unlike the trash in any other instance.  The first one or two undead get there at the same time, but the last two or three are up to four or five seconds behind.  It was those latter two that were giving me trouble.  Therefore, I had to wait more than twice as long as I usually do before closing and starting combat.

Sure enough, that did the trick.  I didn't die and I contributed significant DPS to the cause.

This last time I ran HoR -with Souldat as the tank- I put my knowledge to use and waited.  Having run with him since the beginning, I knew Soul could handle the hits for a while.  That wasn't a hell of a lot of comfort, as I sat and waited like a bump on a log for that last straggler to zero in on him.  However, I knew my job was to a) keep myself upright so I could b) lay the smackdown on these undead.  You can't do part B if you're a smudge on the floor, and if you've got a warrior tank instead of a DK or Pally, you need to give him/her that extra time to lock down the trash or the instance will turn into a threat-fest.

Each pull is different, and you can't assume that what works one time will work in another.  When in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Anatomy of a Fail

I don't often leave an instance in progress.

Now, I do have limits, but I can tolerate quite a bit. Holding my nose while finishing the run is more like it, and if the offending party is on my server, they immediately go in my Ignore pile. I have been known to report real abuse -like racial epithets- as well.

Today's run in Ahna'khet, however, set a new standard for inanity. I port in and start doing the usual blessings. Also, as seems to be traditional, two people immediately drop. (What, The Old Kingdom not quick enough for you to get your Frost badges?) I, the tank and a DPS hung around waiting for the replacements to pop in, and we're immediately joined by a Holy Spec Pally and a Warlock.

Oho! Another Pally. The early morning runs have a plethora of Druids and Shamans, but few Priests or Pallys as healers. The Old Kingdom isn't a great instance for a Pally to heal, but it can be done. I ping the Pally to ask if he wanted Blessing of Kings or another one.

"KINGS IS GOOD"

Okay, fine.

"I'M HIGH"

Oh oh.

Well, I thought, as long as he actually pays attention, I'll be okay with that. About half the time such announcements are all BS anyway, so I decided to ignore ol' smokey.

So, everybody is squared away and we start the run. The first trash pull seems to be going okay.

"YOU SPIN ME RIGHT ROUND BABY LIKE A RECORD"

Crapola.

"I LIKE BIG BUTTZ AND I CANNOT LIE"

The trash pull ends, and we're moving forward. Nobody took any significant damage, so we hit the next couple of pulls and the only thing out of the ordinary is....

"HIT ME BABY ONE MORE TIME"

"TELL ME DID WIND SWEEP U OFFA YR FEET"

This is starting to get really annoying. I'm beginning to think this guy really is high. I don't know if I'm going to be able to handle this for upwards of the next half hour.

We get down the stairs to the pulls before the first boss. The tank pulls one of the mobs to him; I wait, rush in, and start hitting things. The previous pull I came close to yanking threat away from the tank, so I'm watching threat closely.

"A FRIEND WITH WEED IS A FRIEND INDEED"

Yeah, whatever. Then I hear the telltale boom of someone acquiring threat. Sonofa... I was WATCHING my threat!

I look over at the meter and I discover that no, I hadn't pulled threat. Then what...

I start getting hit from behind by another trash mob with the magical "On You!" message suddenly appearing on my screen.

"U NO THAT U GOT WHAT I NEED"

The Pally goes running by me from behind.

The tank hollers "WTF!"

I immediately die, followed almost as immediately by the tank and the Lock.

From my vantage point, I can finally see what's going on. The Pally Healer is bopping around to his own weird internal beat, throwing an occasional heal, and in general wandering all over the room, picking up the threat from everything nearby.

I release and start running back, and the Pally Healer drops group.

That's it, I've had enough. I drop group too. "Steamed" was not how I'd describe myself at this moment; more like "a towering inferno of fury."

WoW may be a game, but getting high and running instances isn't going to let everyone else share the love.

Friday, April 16, 2010

On tanking, responsibility, and maturity

On Tanks:
Tanks are a funny breed of player.  You have to be the one to charge in head first and thrust yourself between the bad guys and the rest of your group.  You have to be on top of your game and pay attention to not only what the current group of mobs are doing, but to what COULD happen.  It requires a pretty well developed sence of awareness to anticipate what will happen before it does, and propperly react.  You can see that type of behavior pretty readily when doing dungeons.  A veteran player will recognize "Ok, in the current set of mobs I'm fighting, the dragon has a knockback ability.  The hunter's pet is on the dragon, and the dragon's back is facing towards another group of mobs.  I need to reposition the dragon to avoid the possibilty of getting another group joining the fight"  versus the oh shit, we got another pack... what do I do now blank stare some of the newer tanks get.

Tanking gets repetative.  "hit me, hey you, your mamma's ugly, get back over here, leave the guy in the sissy robe alone."  And tanks don't get to see all the fancy large numbers the DPS players get.  In fact, you want to be focused on SMALL numbers.  I want to see that boss hit me like he's wielding a wet noodle.

To sum it up, tanking is a RESPONSIBILITY.

On responsibility:
Tanks have a large responsiblity to shoulder most times.  When is the most opportune time to blow your cooldowns to avoid the spike damage and stay alive?  How long exactly can you stand in the fire before you become toast at the same time the boss is hitting you?  How well can you coordiate properly executing your regular rotation of spells / abilities while watching for particular fight mechanics and helping to position the boss propperly for your raid?

It gets to be a bit much, and if you don't enjoy that role, the answer is simple.  You won't last.

On maturity:
Say you've decided tanking is not your thing anymore, however the guild currenly relies on you to fulfill that role?  What do you do?
  1. Not show up entirely even though you've been online all day, only to log off after you find out you cannot bring your grass is greener over here shiny new character, then log back in after the rest if your raid group cannot do anything for the night?  But hey, at least you didn't have to tank.
  2. Post up on the guild forums, realizing you have a responsibility to the group of players you choose to game with and let them know your predicament.  Tell them you're willing to continue fulfilling that role until a suitable replacement can be found and express gratitude to the guild for all of the now wasted loot you received.
The co-tank I've had the mis-fortune of running with for the last month or so chose to go route number 1.  I don't mind so much that he doesn't want to tank anymore, we've already established it's not for everybody.  It's the fact that he was selfish enough to screw the rest of the group over.

And me, being the hard head I am, called him out on it in guild chat last night.  Followed by a slew of emo behavior and threating to not tank again, ever.  Zoh noes....   anything but that!

This culture of instant gratification and self-entitlement needs to die...  In fact, I'll tank that fight for you.

Quintalan the Veteran

I've been running instances on an almost daily basis for a couple of months now, and the long road of questing to get to 80 seems a distant memory. Yes, I'm still doing quests for the Loremaster achievement, but it's not the same. The imminent threat of character death lent a different feel to that questing, and since I did my trip to 80 on a PvP server, there was always the "look over your shoulder, someone might be waiting to gank you" aspect to it.

Even the time I've spent running instances and doing heroics has changed my perception a bit. While I'm not a wily veteran like the long time players or the raiders are, I know my way around enough to know what I need to do to survive the instance and not look like an idiot. Although it may sure seem otherwise at times, I'm not a noob anymore. I was reminded of that last night during a run in The Nexus, and the day before in the Pit of Saron.

When I ported into The Nexus and began blessing people with Kings and Wisdom, the first thing one of the characters said after introductions was "does anyone need food?" Then the healer said that he needed to drink after buffing everybody. It had been ages since anyone had even mentioned those two in a heroic instance that I paused and checked out everyone's gear scores. In a bizarre case of turnabout, I had by far the highest gear score of the group.

I made a few mental adjustments and made a point of dialing back my attacks to keep from pulling threat on the first few trash pulls. The pulls went well, if a bit slower than what I'm now used to. Then the tank posted that he had to split; he'd just gotten paged and had to go into work.

No sweat. Real Life comes ahead of a game, and since I'm on a pager rotation I know what that's like. We put in a request for a new tank, and while we waited we chatted about the Stoutbeard encounter just up ahead. At least one party member hadn't heard of him, so I mentioned he's only in the Heroic mode and has a nasty whirlwind attack. A new tank popped in, we took out Stoutbeard after a couple of minutes, and the mage and priest had to drink. We loitered for a minute, let them get back their mana, and we went on to the next trash pull.

Then the second tank dropped out of the party without a word.

"What did I do wrong?" the healer asked. "I did everything I was supposed to, and nobody died."

"You did fine," I told him, and the others agreed. "He was just being a jerk."

"Well, this is my second Heroic instance. Ever."

"You're doing great; I've only been playing since August myself. Believe me, compared to my experience trying to heal Trial of the Champion at the same gear level you are, you're doing fine." I then explained my disaster trying to heal that instance, when we couldn't even get past Palestra; Souldat as the tank was taking so much damage at a pop that even while spamming Holy Light I couldn't keep up.

The story engendered a bunch of laughs. "That's a helluva place to heal for your first 80 instance," the hunter said.

"Yeah, and believe me, you're doing much better than that, Heals."

A third tank ported in, and we resumed the run. We finished with only one character death -due to the spike damage the boss gives in the elemental area- and before I left I complimented the group on the job. Compared to the times I've been in runs where the entire point is to "gogogo!", this was a pleasant experience.

The Pit of Saron also featured a healer new to the instance, and he had severe misgivings about it. "You'll do fine," the tank assured him.

"This instance is built with AoE heals in mind," I added. "I couldn't do it well as a Holy Spec Pally, but you as a shaman should be okay."

We did well, up until after Ick and Crick, when we started having problems staying alive in the vyrkul trash pulls heading up to Tyrannus. A couple of people in the instance had to go repair their gear, and the warlock dropped and was replaced by a mage. "This is getting to be too much for me to heal," the Shaman said.

"Don't worry about it," I replied. "We'll get through this and you'll see it's not a big deal."

We had one more wipe where we pulled too much trash at once, but once we reached the end of the tunnel things went much better with Tyrannus.

"Good job," I told the healer before I left. "Now that you've gotten this under your belt, you'll be that much better at it."

Perhaps I'm seeing myself in these characters, realizing that not very long ago it was me who was in their shoes. I'm taking the encouragement that Soul, Millalyn, and others have given me and am paying it forward. That's one of the best things that I like about the game: the support and camraderie you get from people you may not even know, and the unexpected kindness of strangers.*

Sure, people can be real jerks -or worse- just like in real life, but that doesn't mean that you have to be. I've seen terrible behavior on numerous occasions, but I take that as a "how not to act" and run with it. It might not help the signal to noise ratio in the long run, but it will have an impact on those you interact with.



*One time, when Quint was questing in Desolace, an 80 Pally came riding by. He stopped, a trade window opened, and he started dumping stuff in it. "What do want for this?" I asked, dumbfounded.

"Nothing," he replied. "I'm going to be suspending my account soon, and I'm giving all my stuff away. Do you have any other characters?"

"I priest," I said.

A few more items appeared in the trade window.

"Are you sure about this?"

"Quite sure. Have fun!"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Guardian of Ancient Kings

This little spell caught my eye in the new stuff in the works for Paladins:

Guardian of Ancient Kings (level 85): Summons a temporary guardian that looks like a winged creature of light armed with a sword. The visual is similar to that of the Resurrection spell used by the paladin in Warcraft III. The guardian has a different effect depending on the talent spec of the paladin. For Holy paladins, the guardian heals the most wounded ally in the area. For Protection paladins, the guardian absorbs some incoming damage. For Retribution paladins, it damages an enemy, similar to the death knight Gargoyle or the Nibelung staff. 3-minute cooldown. 30-second duration (this might vary depending on which guardian appears).

Do you know what this sounds to me? A Figurine of the Boar spell for Ret Pallys. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

WTH

The pursuit of Frosties has hit a new low.

I logged in for my lunchtime run, and the LFD tool spat out Utgarde Pinnacle. This should work out, I thought. I'll end up with six Emblems of Triumph, and I'll be that much closer to getting another heirloom piece for my mage.

We did the entire Pinnacle in 10 minutes. Tops.

The tank ported in, began running, and didn't stop. He just skipped right on by the first two bosses and most of the trash, and would have probably avoided Skadi too if he could have managed it. He then hot footed it straight up to Ymrion and, with the rest of us following, we downed him in record time.

Frosties gained, people began splitting even before the loot was divvied up.

And not a word was said. Not a single word. Except for the facepalm that another party member got because he aggroed some extra trash going down the stairs.

Sheesh.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Tale of Two Pugs

For all of the pugfail I've seen lately (mainly driven by Spring Break, I believe), it's also nice to know that when some bad things happen, some people can step up to the plate and deliver.

Take a Gundrak run a week or so ago. The initial pull started off okay, but then for some unknown reason the Rogue ran ahead of the group and into the snake area and managed to aggro all of the rest of the trash not on the tank. The Rogue, of course, proceeded to die very quickly. The tank was able to get everything else to aggro on him and between he, the Mage and I we were able to take care of the rest of the trash.

The tank then turned on the body of the Rogue and pointed.

"You!" he said. "If you EVER do that again, we're kicking you out."

Properly chastised, the Rogue was rezzed and slunk back into the back of the pack, behaving himself for the rest of the run.

On another run -Halls of Stone, this time- we lost the healer to the second trash mob. One minute he was there, the next we're all saying "Heals? Where'd you go?" Turns out another mob had aggroed on him and he was trying to avoid it. In the process, he ended up aggroing a couple more trash mobs, and he had this pile of Dark Iron dwarves trailing him as he was running away.

Straight. Into. Us.

My, what an ass-kicking that was.

After we all released and ran back into the instance, the healer apologized and for the rest of the run he stuck his tail-end right next to the tank's.

In both cases, we could have easily kicked out the person who screwed up, but after calling him out and giving him another chance, they turned out to be a valuable member of the pug.

No, you can't assume this will happen all the time (or even part of the time, for that matter), but I thought them notable enough that I wanted to mention that yes, it can actually happen.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Putting points in the IRL Subtlety tree

I enjoy playing pranks in real life, and especially at work.  A good prank can really lighten things up once in a while.

For instance, a fellow co-worker and I have been having a mini prank war for about the last 4 months.  He's done things such as steal my staples out of my stapler every day for a week straight, or completely tape up my office chair, or competley rearange my desk drawers.

I, on the other hand, have done things to him like stolen all of his pens every chance I get since the day he started here, applied superglue to a bar of staples every day for three days so a lump of solid glue was on the bottom and watch him get confused why the stapler wasn't working, to even applying glue boards (the kind you use to catch mice) to the underside of his desk and chair (it works GREAT if you put the board right about where you reach natrually to adjust your chair height... just put the glue board there, and lower the chair all the way).

Or adding a command in one of his imaging scripts to just echo a text line that states "dan is a douche."  And also adding a line to his local hosts file that redirects his favorite guitar website (he runs a heavy metal guitar forum) to guitarhero.com (which he HATES).  That one actually got him to call up his buddy and tell him they've been hacked, LOL!
And the more subtle you can get, the better.  For instance, I'm standing in line today buying my lunch and the gentleman ahead of me is acting rather jittery.  He's buying an energy drink, sugar, cigarettes, large bag of chips, and 5 hour energy pills.  The cashier asks him "do those pills really work?  They don't mess with you at all?"  To which jittery guy goes "Yeah, they don't make you jittery at all because there's no sugar."

I coudln't help but actually LOL.

So how does this tie into gaming?

Heroics can be rather boring, and bringing some levity to them can really be a fun change of pace. 

The setting:  Halls of Reflection (Heroic)
The setup:  My DK, A fellow guidee Pally tank, and a Fellow guildee on his DK Alt all que up as tank and dps for a random heroic.  We then proceed to argue who's going to tank through out the whole first half of the dungeon, complete with taunts flying all over the place, Armies of the dead going nuts, and a boss who's too busy ping-ponging everywhere to actually do much of anything.  We really put on a good show.

The truly funny thing though, that was the smoothest run I've ever had of that place.

So this week I'm challenging you to do something unique in a random dungeon.

**Edited in more co-worker pwnage.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tank Etiquette

Okay, this is a question to the tanks out there. (I guess that means Souldat, but you never know who else might be reading.)

When a monster drops an AoE on the floor -like the Reanimators in Drak or the Maiden of Grief in HoL- is it considered proper etiquette to pull the monster away from the middle of the floor? I've seen in several runs this past week where the tank just lets the monster or boss sit there while they wail away, but I have to split and then watch remotely after unloading my distance attacks.

I know Soul will pull them out of the center, and I've seen plenty of other tanks that do it too, but the batch I got this week either don't understand that melee DPS can't stand around in the black stuff on the floor or don't care. Or maybe they have tunnel vision and don't notice, which is something I've been guilty of when I've done healing.

Sloppy Sloppy

One drawback to improving my gear is that I've discovered an alarming tendency to get sloppy at the wrong times. The old mantra "gear is no substitute for skill" is still alive, and a Halls of Lightning run this morning (::checks clock:: okay, last morning) highlighted that.

Halls of Lightning = iron dwarves with whirlwind attack

I know it; I've sure lived it. But that didn't stop me from wiping on it.

For the first two or three pulls with the iron dwarves, our group obliterated them before they could whirlwind. So I got careless, thinking that we had these metal monstrosities down pat. The very next pull, we take a bit longer, and they whirlwind. No problem, I bubble and keep on wailing, and we take them out.

Then the next pull comes, and I don't have a bubble and the dwarves whirlwind. What do I do? Keep wailing just a bit too long.

I wipe.

::sigh::

I should have known that was coming.

The moral of the story is, you can't let your guard down. Internalize things. Don't be an uber-geek about them, but you have to be aware of your surroundings. Like not dying by standing in the green stuff.

And using the remote attacks like Exorcism while the Maiden of Grief is standing in the middle of the black stuff on the floor. Sure, you could go run and stand in it, but that's stupid and taxing to the Healer.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Seems Like Old Times

Last night was the first night in a couple of weeks that I was able to hook up with Soul for a good batch of runs. Although Soul's wife was unavailable, it was good to get back into the swing of running some instances with the old Death Knight again.

The runs this past night were very enjoyable; I'd snuck in a Culling of Stratholme run just prior to hooking up with Soul, and I discovered that I was pulling threat from the tank. I knew I outgeared the tank -a Warrior- by a minimal amount, but I suspect it was the boost that Paladins get from attacking undead and demons that was causing the problem. Therefore, I was in an uncomfortable position of having to slow down my attacks a bit and keep a careful eye on the threat meter.

You know one good thing about running instances with Soul? He doesn't lose threat much -I can't say "at all", since I've seen it happen with Boomkin every so often- but I don't have to worry so much about losing threat and can pay more attention to important things. Like, say, that puddle of green goo I'm standing in.

Our first run, through The Old Kingdom, turned out great. The early morning runs for some reason avoid two of the bosses and head straight for Ye Olde Herald, so it was refreshing (not to mention nice for the achievement) to actually hit all of the bosses in the instance. The PuG was great and worked well together, and when this run was over four of us stuck around for Violet Hold and Drak'Tharon. The Warlock, Mikaya (sp?), did a great job without overloading on threat, and the Priest Cezz was great too. There was one point in Ahn'kahet where I thought that Soul might have pulled too much at once as I saw his health teeter below 10K and heading rapidly in the wrong direction, but Cezz pulled him back. Having been a healer, I was impressed.

Mik split after the Drak run, but we ran an instance of Forge of Souls afterward. By mistake it was a non-Heroic run, and I had to split for bed before they queued up for a Heroic version.

All in all, an enjoyable night. I didn't wipe -always a good thing- and I got to see some real skill in action. Mik didn't talk too much, so I didn't get to tell her what a good job I thought she did, but Cezz was very chatty and easy to work with. As I told Soul afterward, it's too bad that she is on The Underbog server, because you can never have enough good healers.