Let’s Not Even Get Into the Tree Puns

January 13, 2011

So, on a recent heroic Vortex Pinnacle run, Altairus deigned to cough up his Axe of Ambiguity for me. I was thrilled, as it was a nice upgrade over the quested Twilight Highlands mace I’d been swinging around, which had always looked like nothing so much as a glorified meat tenderizer to me. (Not that there’s anything wrong with simple weapon designs- the swords I like best just look like swords- but Jujutan is a crusader for righteous sun worship, not a chef.) Since I deemed that worth enchanting, I looked up desirable tanking enchants. Since the good one costs six maelstrom crystals and I’m not likely to be able to afford that in a looong time, I figured mending was a reasonably cheap compromise, at least until I get something I can expect to be keeping so long windwalk is worth saving my gold for.

Which is how I came to look like this:

Ossifer Tree termed it “the place where particle effects go to die”. I think it looks like there’s a druid furiously masturbating in my pocket. Stingray wants to know if I’m going to go hang out in Moonglade and offer respecs. Caffeinated Kitty wanted to know if those are pot leaves. (NO THEY ARE NOT GOD DAMMIT.) Thing One and Thing Two simply cowered before me.

Dammit, I have nothing against druids, but I’m a paladin; they’re meant to be draped in bits of plantlife and animal parts, and I’m meant to be draped in holy vengeance. When I was still wearing my Wrath stuff, my upper body was on fire with righteousness and I was clad in black steel. Now I’m more or less metallic in appearance, but I’m also constantly covered in swirling leaves, which is by far the more visually arresting- especially if I’m mounted on the Sparklepony, in which case I’m constantly trailing a vigorous effects cloud of stars and leaves. I look like the Wizard of Cannabis.

I have never been more tempted to buy gold.

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I Over-Complicate My Life

May 13, 2010

Much to my surprise, now that our team rating has dropped us into something like our peers in Arenaland who also probably ponied up their tournament registration for schnitzengiggels and a pet, I find that I’m actually having a lot of fun with it. Now that I’m not guaranteed to die instantly in an explosion of fail, the teamwork and tactics are actually pretty enjoyable; it has much of what I enjoy about raiding, except it’s different every time, only requires three people instead of ten at the minimum, and only takes about three to four minutes per game instead of all night. (Although on the con side, when I wipe to a raid boss the raid boss has never, ever tried to teabag me afterward.) I think I might want to actually keep doing this after the tournament is over.

Problem: I hate PvP as a paladin. Healing gives me ulcers in a raid let alone in an arena setting, and ret, while having good burst damage, has the mobility of a ruptured cow. The hand abilities are nice, but most of ret arena is running around being kited while casting hand of freedom and protection and trying to die last. I enjoy the arms warrior I’m playing on the tournament server way, way more. In terms of crowd control and interrupts, warriors are light years ahead of paladins.

My warrior on my home server is only level 53 and not likely to get that much further while the tournament’s still going, since that’s eating up my usual non-raiding or preparing for raiding time. I really enjoy her both as a PvE class and as a character; that she’s going to be leveled to max and become either my new main come Cataclysm or my most favored alt is basically a given. I already know that I like arena as an arms warrior and it’s what I’ve been practicing so far. On the other hand, it’s not really likely that she’s going to get to 80 all that quickly; my time for playing alts is limited, especially with Stingray wrapping up Loremaster and not having any solo projects of his own anymore. If I want to keep playing arena with the team we have going now, I’d need to either create more time to level her faster or oblige us to take a break or run 2s.

My hunter, on the other hand, is 80 and doing absolutely nothing but gathering virtual dust. I do enjoy PvP as a hunter substantially more than I do as a paladin, and in any case it’d bring some range to our team, which currently relies on heavy crowd control to deal with being healer/melee/melee. I do still like the character even if the class has lost its charms for me in PvE, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him doing something useful again. On the other hand, that’d be a lot of time doing content I don’t much enjoy as a hunter anymore (dungeons for badges for starter gear, grinding up a PvP pet), and would be even more time not playing the character I’d rather play.

My life is filled with hardship, having to choose between several different activities in game that I find fun rather than going through end-of-expansion burnout…


I’m Doing Science And I’m Still Alive

March 28, 2010

Okay, not so much with the science, though I’ve been plenty buried in studying raid strats and theorycrafting my badge and gold spending as we spend more time in Progression Town and my frost badge choices get less obvious. Either way, between real life hecticness and a writer’s dry spell during which I prioritized my regular blog when it came to unwillingly choking up content, this blog hasn’t gotten much attention lately.

Schedule aggro continues to be far more of a boss than the actual bosses are. We’re doing wonderfully when we’re able to get in there with everyone; we one-shot Festergut on our first serious attempt on him, and after doing a few under-researched runs on Rotface that night, came back to drop him like a sack of very ugly potatoes on the very first try of our return with an extended raid ID. We had a couple of experimental wipes on Putricide, determined Crimson Halls would be a softer target (think we need more DPS to kill the adds faster, among various strategic and positioning issues), and then had some more experimental wipes on Crimson Halls trash and Blood Council. I posted a bunch of guides to Crimson Halls stuff from various perspectives, so I’m pretty optimistic about taking out the Council and perhaps Lana’thel tomorrow. On that note, if anyone has a solid strat on handling the trash in there, I haven’t found it yet. Obviously we cleared it, but not cleanly and it’s not fun to die on trash.

No-shows are rarer, but people also aren’t signing up as much if they’re not sure that they wouldn’t rather spend the night doing something else rather than showing up hoping for a call from the bench. We are trying to rotate people in as best we can, but people are hedging their bets on getting rotated and not signing up.

I’ve been bowing to the benefits of honor (I really want a spikey wolf to ride instead of a prissy horse with curtains or an insane chicken), and doing the random battlegrounds. I have the world’s *cheesiest* ret pally PvP rotation which is literally bound to a single button, but works horrifyingly well since it means all my emergency buttons are in easy, fast reach. I *am* the paladin everyone hates; I’m sure I’d be slaughtered in arena but in BGs I’m just That Bastard. I’ve also determined that while Mal’Ganis may have some very awesome people, it is also almost invariably the tag attached to the guy (or guys) initiating the following conversation in AV:

MGite: “ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!!”
Other servers: “We don’t seem to have a tank.”
MGite: “I’M TANK ZERG! ZERG! ZERG! I’M TANK! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!!”
OSites: “How does zerg work?”
MGite: “ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!!”
OSites: “We zerg, then we wipe horribly, usually.”
MGite: “ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!!”
*repeat theme of “zerg” with occasional voices of reason until boss*
*I’M TANK ZERG pulls boss*
*I’M TANK ZERG is chain cycloned by defending boomkin with nary a hint of PvP trinket or his own hand of freedom*
MGite: “OMFG NO ONE HEALED ME FAIL”
MGite: “ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!! ZERG!!”

I wish I were exaggerating. While I’ve run through several variants of this in AV, all of this is verbatim from today. If you’re interested, we ZERG’d uselessly until our horrible defeat while the Mal’Ganite’s (three of them) occasionally mixed up ZERG with verbal abuse about how fail the rest of us were and what useless asses anyone NOT DOING WHAT THE REST OF THE RAID IS DOING are.

I apologize to anyone from Mal’Ganis reading this, because it means that you can read. But if you reply with “U STFU”, then I’ll just wave hi to the PvP tank with no hand of freedom and no PvP trinket. You’re a real man of genius!


Attendance Blues

March 8, 2010

Well, we’re swinging around from having slightly too many people to people assuming that since raid signups are always overflowing, to the point where we mark some as “standby”, that means they can blow it off and someone will obviously be around to take their place. Which is only slightly annoying when one or two people do it, but when three or more people do it it completely scotches the raid and leaves a lot of frustration. We don’t demand 100% attendance on raid nights or even 50%, but it kind of screws us when we have no idea if people intend to show up or not.

All this really tells me is what I already knew before, except with putting a greater sense of urgency to it: we need to recruit more, not even to fill out two ten-mans, but to broaden our pool of raiders that we know we can almost certainly count on to be there, on time and not waiting on something else to happen, when they sign up. And that second ten-man will come in time; really I should never have let the realm recruiting thread drop to the point that I did in the first place.

So to all twenty or so of my readers: if you are looking for a raiding home where you aren’t racing for server firsts or even thirds, progression is limited to two nights a week of about three to three and a half hours max, but progression still happens steadily and with a relaxed and good-humored atmosphere, Reprisal of Steamwheedle Cartel is looking for more. Our shiny new recruitment thread lives here.

In other news, Single Abstract Noun and Steelspark the bitty little warrior have been marvelous as a break from raiding, preparing for raids, officering, and so forth. Poor Steel is only level 10 and broke as a very broke thing, mostly because /gchat is usually more interesting and entertaining than killing another Trogg. If you’re looking for a “vacation” server/guild, I can’t recommend it highly enough.


Puzzlement of the Day

March 7, 2010

DPS paladins and tank paladins have obligatory multi-target or AOE abilities as core parts of their rotation- Divine Storm, Hammer of the Righteous, Consecrate- and suffer significantly in either DPS output or threat when circumstances force them not to use them.

Holy paladins, on the other hand, only have one ability that can hit more than one target at all, and it’s not directly targetable or “smart” like a lot of heals the other healing classes get.

That ain’t right.


Growing Pains

March 3, 2010

I do love my guild, and I really love my raid team. I don’t think I ever want to do 25s, because what I enjoy most about progression raiding is not only the people, but having a small enough environment so that knowing and managing each person’s strengths, weaknesses, and quirks are as important to progression as gear is. It’s widely been observed that in 25s, you can afford to carry a few people who are undgeared, underskilled, undermotivated, or any combination; in a strict 10 man environment where you don’t have a flow of gear overtuned to the content from 25s, everybody must be on their game or success doesn’t happen. Leading the raid is therefore then less a matter of efficiently herding cats than it is effective coaching and intelligent assessment of the abilities and gear you’ve got to work with. (I’m not actually the leader for any raid so much as I am Ossifer Bear or Stingray’s squeaky assistant, but effectively speaking the entirety of the /o channel is handling half of it whenever there’s a raid going.)

At this point, in the category of people I know and can rely on, we have some fantastic melee DPS, awesome hunters who can do all the utility huntery things that seem to be so necessary whenever you’ve got one around, a pleasing selection of tank healers, raid healers, and at least one healer who can bring any of that plus DPS when asked, and overall all the ingredients needed to make some progression while keeping it fun rather than work. On top of that I like working with all of them and am pleased to see their names on signups and online at raid times.

Problem is, there are now more than nine of them. A not-insignificant number more, especially if and when we get our Death Nut back from the health-related leave of absence he’s on. Worse than that, we have several people who rarely seem to get the chance to go at all who aren’t so much bad as they are unlucky or diffident about signups when they see a full list of people, that fully deserve the chance to prove themselves that people who got in earlier and cemented themselves as regular did- them, AND a few people who are finishing their level/gearup process that want to raid when they finish this process, too.

Don’t get me wrong, I would have slashed throats to have this problem six months ago when we were in the process of falling apart or completely fallen apart and couldn’t *buy* puggers to fill out the growing number of holes in our roster. Right now we have all the elements we need for success, and are succeeding every week, we just have human resource complexities and sometimes decisions to make that we don’t want to and that aren’t as easy as we like.

The ultimate best solution, and our next tangible goal, is having two ten-man teams. We have the tanks for it and I *think* we have the healers for it though there are a few question marks there, and we have maybe half the DPS we need depending on how certain things work out, like getting our Death Nut back or not and whether we can find a way to schedule it so that two of our DPS with awkward, punishing work schedules can attend. So technically speaking, the solution is obvious: recruit a few more people, bang out the schedule, and move on to “everyone gets to raid and progression happens” nirvana.

It’s just that thanks to the question marks- like “are these people that I’m counting among those who would be in this team actually able to be”, “who’s going to raid lead this mother”, “when on earth can everybody go”, “how do we mess with our currently very successful tank and healer composition if we have to in order to make this second team viable and give it a good raid leader”, “how do we do this without breaking up committed couples that play together in order to raid together”- that leaves me with a really weaksauce recruiting message, which boils down to “Come join us and you might get to raid every week once we ever figure this shit out, and we have no idea when that’ll be. We promise our benches are made of very soft pine.”

Right now on the realm forums there are two DPS and a healer looking for a home, including a mage, which we currently lack and would very much like to have. We’ve had some good luck in the past recruiting in this fashion- Raid Array, Suicide Dotter, and Thing One and Thing Two are all very solid raiders who we picked up in this fashion. (And there was one disaster that ended in frayed tempers and a /gkick, but overall the ratio is good.) If the attitudes are sound, if the healer is happy raid healing rather than tank healing, they could actually fill out this hypothetical team quite nicely. If, if, if!

My life is SO FULL OF HARDSHIP, I know. QQ for me.


Chocolate Bar

February 21, 2010

Anyone use this thing? I’ve been a Titan Panel user since I started playing the game, but for some arcane reason it stopped working on the last patch and hasn’t resurrected since. It didn’t break Titan for Stingray or anyone else I know who used it, but it did for me, and now I’m after a replacement.

Chocolate Bar seemed perfect, but I can’t get it to display any of the information I was actually after. It works great as a LibDataBroker addon launcher- and would be even more great if I could figure out how to nuke my forty skillion minimap launchers that I no longer need- but it doesn’t do what Titan did and what I was given the impression it did, which was display information about gold, bag space, map coordinates, and so forth. The documentation is exceedingly unhelpful and seems to be along the Mac “just works” attitude.

Am I just missing another addon? Does it not display for the same arcane reason Titan stopped displaying? Am I missing something obvious? Can anyone reading this help me out or should I take my whinefest to EpicAdvice?