Posted by: Hooves | December 13, 2012

028: “Why Discipline Priests Are Sexy”

Place: Vortex Pinnacle (Regular)

Rainesage (Disc Priest) <–me
Bullet (Hunter)
Deathtonight (Blood Death Knight)
Cracon (Shadow Priest)
Axeslap (DPS Death Knight)

The tank continually, it seems, pulls more than he can handle. His gear isn't bad, and he's in the right presence, but…it's a lot of damage. We spend almost ten minutes fighting adepts/et cetera right before Asaad because they're in the lightning box/triangle and the tank isn't reading party chat. I had to finally let Axeslap die because I couldn't keep wasting my mana on him (I was nearly out) when he was afk.

Finally the tank notices (maybe the marked skull was a clue?) and pulls them out where the shadow priest, hunter and I can attack them.

We live…barely. Axeslap is unfortunately sacrificed.

I immediately sit to drink and the shadow priest and I run down the ramp together. The tank has already pulled the stars at the bottom of the ramp…and as I'm running down I hear the boss shout his joyful acknowledgement that he has…visitors.

I hurried down JUST in time to bubble the tank. It was just me and the tank. Two of us.

For the first lightning triangle phase, he doesn't get inside but I do manage to heal through it…somehow. I tell him to get in next time. The second time, he runs halfway there, but because I'm not going for the triangle (I assume this is why), he turns around and goes back to the boss. I run to the triangle, I bubble the tank to try and give him the run speed to GET to the triangle…but no, he dies. (And I don't try very hard to save him at this point.)

So then it's just me and Asaad.

Here is party chat. When someone whispers me on RealID (I have no idea what the Loveboat thing was about, by the way), they probably get the DBM message saying 4/5 are dead. LOL.

As you can see…we lived. Well…I did. I don’t know why people suggest Mindbender instead of From Darkness, Comes Light; the free Flash Heals were amazing and helped me puff up my spirit shell. Boss could take me down in three auto-attacks so I had to be on the ball. 😉

That said, I don’t believe the tank pulled the boss on accident…it was definitely on purpose. I don’t know that he was trying to be rude, or if he just overestimated his ability to, you know, not take damage.

Either way…

I lived.

This is why discipline priests are sexy. Or at least, their badass skills are. According to one guy, anyway.

Posted by: Hooves | July 8, 2012

027: “Addons, Part III– How to VuhDo”

For this part, I’ll explain the fast, easy way to set up VuhDo. But first, a quick explanation on how VuhDo works:

VuhDo is an addon that, like many others, lets you click-to-cast. Click-to-cast addons are very popular in MMOs, but they do bring a lot of mixed feelings to the table as far as players are concerned. Some feel they are “cheating” while most hardcore raid groups require you to have one. Addons bring a lot of controversy in, so where do you draw the line? In my not-so-humble opinion, anything that makes the game easier, that makes dealing with idiots and assholes less irritating, and anything that will assist you in the mundane tasks of the game are things that you might want to look into.

For example, if you’re a fire mage, you get a move called Combustion. It’s a fun move. It takes all of your current fire DoTs on the target and adds them up, dealing the total damage over 10 seconds. So, obviously, you want ALL available fire DoTs on the target before you use it, right? While you can manually look to make sure you have Pyroblast, Ignite, Living Bomb up, there is an addon called CombustionHelper that has a little grid with a button next to each DoT. The button turns green when that attack is on the target. If all buttons are green, you can use Combustion! It makes it easier. Is it necessary? No, but it’s definitely helpful!

VuhDo has other functions beside healing, but the biggest one is definitely healing. You can dispel with it, too.

Panels darken to show players who are out of range.

And of course, being able to click a panel to heal someone is the greatest thing ever.

This is what my UI looks like on a new character (on a new server):

Move Recount to the right lower-hand side, and make it the size you want. Get rid of the healers/players assisting panel.

Move wMarker out of the way.

Right-click the draenei head on the minimap and take off Buff Watch:

You should have four bars: Group1, a blank small bar, Main Tanks, and Private Tanks. You can see them all on the left-hand side, here.

You really only need Group1 and the blank box (blank box is for pets/minions), so left-click the draenei head and go to the “Move!” tab on the bottom. If you put Group1 up top and the others below it, it’ll look something like this:

Hit the “Remove” button to get rid of the two you don’t need:

Drag the panels over to a convenient place (I prefer sorta center/right/lowerish side) and there!

Now, for setting up your spells. This is pretty simple, but here we go! Left-click the draenei head, and hit the “spells” tab.

Modifier key refers to the button you press while clicking, so “none” means you are just using the indicated keys, in this case, as you can see, wheel up is Power Word: Shield, wheel down is Renew, etc and so on. This means that when I hover over someone’s name-panel on VuhDo, if I hit wheel up, I will use Power Word: Shield on them. If I left-click their panel, I will use Heal. If I right-click it, I will use Penance.

For another look, modifier key SHIFT. If I hit shift-right-click, then I will dispel my target. 😉 I usually use shift-left-click for my fast, expensive heal (Flash of Light, Flash Heal, Healing Surge, Regrowth), but on some alts, I will never, ever use that move– especially not on my shaman, because it’s just not worth it. It costs too much and heals too little, even if it is a little bit faster– so I’ve changed things up.

One last important thing re: setup, is this: There is an option called SmartCast. It’s really nice since you can click a dead person and if you’re in range/line of sight, it will rez them (or use a battle rez if you’re in combat). However, there is a dispel option. I find smart-casting dispels to be IRRITATING. It’s nice sometimes, but if people are running into the next trash pack, you don’t want to dispel them, YOU WANT THEIR HEALTH BACK AT 100%! So I suggest unchecking this box:

Other things to remember, re: VuhDo.

-If people drop combat or come into the party while you’re in combat, the bars will go a bit wonky, so make sure you have some healing spells out on your actual bars. You’ll notice that for the most part, my healers have very few heals on the bars– usually just heals that go on cooldown so I can see when they’re ready to use again. But you do want some heals there so that even if the bars go wonky you can still keep people alive.

-Try to keep things similar for all of your healers if you’re the type of person who plays all healing classes. This is for your own sanity, so that you’re not frantically hitting buttons trying to remember what combination does what.

For example, my original setups were like this:

Wheel up: Swiftmend
Wheel down: Lifebloom
Right: Rejuvenation
Shift-left: Regrowth
Shift-right: Dispel
Ctrl-left: Healing Touch
R: Wild Growth

Wheel up: Earth Shield
Wheel down: Riptide
Left: Healing Wave (CHEAP, SPAMMABLE HEAL!)
Right: Chain Heal
Shift-left: Unleash Elements (NOT Healing Surge because at cap I will NEVER use it!)
Shift-right: Dispel
Ctrl-left: Greater Healing Wave
R: Healing Rain

Wheel up: Power Word: Shield
Wheel down: Renew
Right: Penance
Shift-left: Binding Heal (OR: Flash Heal, but Binding right now since it’s essentially the same thing but heals two people.)
Shift-right: Dispel Magic
Alt-right: Dispel disease
Ctrl-left: Greater Heal

Wheel up: Beacon of Light
Wheel down: Holy Shock
Right: Word of Glory
Shift-left: Flash of Light (will probably be replaced with Holy Radiance)
Shift-right: Dispel
Ctrl-left: Divine Light
R: Light of Dawn

This way, even if you get confused and go, HURRRR I THOUGHT I WAS ON MY PALLY, not my shaman!, you won’t do too badly, because your basic healing rotation is laid out, well, similarly.

I won’t lie– it takes some serious getting used to. When you’re used to healing and/or dpsing/tanking with the default UI, getting used to using an addon to heal is…odd. But practice casting your spells until you get them right, and you can always hop into a battleground to better get the hang of things, because nobody really cares if they die in a battleground. (It’s kind of expected, especially at lower levels.)

Any questions, or suggestions for things I forgot to cover?

If you’d like tutorials on how to set up other addons I use, just let me know, and I’ll make one! 🙂

Posted by: Hooves | July 8, 2012

026: “Addons, Part II”

All right, so let’s talk about the User Interface, or UI. UI refers to how your screen looks to you.

Here’s my fairly fresh 85 paladin, Lucie. (Ignore the fact that Recount says she’s a druid– the name originally belonged to a druid until I deleted her and transferred this paladin over.)

Click to full-view.

Not bad, right? You can see just by glancing at this screenshot that I don’t use much of the default UI. I used to use addons like SexyMap, which are fun, but I found that I prefer to have less to deal with when I make new characters, and since I make a lot of characters, well…

Here are the visible addons, clearly labeled:

I’m not a huge fan of macros, but I always have a /focus macro. (That’s literally all it is, is a macro that says: /focus. I use this because I need to get focus on my tank on all of my alts (except my tanks…). I highly recommend focusing the tank. I don’t recommend doing stuff like macroing all of your heals to your focus target, but I do recommend putting a focus on the tank. This lets you see your focus’s target at all times, so that you can assist off of them and try your best to always be attacking their target.

Here’s a look at some of the less-noticable addons:

Clairey, my leveling priest, showing off her Quartz castbar, and also showing you that castbars appear noticeably for players on the party frames. (Note: I turn off X-Perl’s raid frames because I feel VuhDo is enough.) Also, let’s all ignore trade chat, shall we? 😐

Here’s a slightly better glimpse of Quartz. It’s a very helpful addon as it calculates latency in a way that is easy for someone to see. I always use it right there, lower-center of my screen. When the cast is in the red you can actually start your next cast! You can see my heal falling away on the left side also. (Heals = left side, damage/parrying/etc = right side.)

This is Jenevieve, my hunter, pew-pewing on a target dummy to help you get an idea of what DPSing looks like on my UI. Mik’s Scolling Battle Text can be tweaked to show more or less information. Sometimes less is more– it’s less distracting and anyway, Recount tells you if you’re failing as a DPSer or if you’re doing okay. You don’t need or want to constantly eyeball the damage you’re doing, because one 70k crit is honestly not that exciting. No, really. Remember when a 300 crit was a big deal? HAH.

For some reason, Black Arrow’s DoT has never shown up on my ClassTimer addon, but that’s the only trouble I’ve ever had with it, since it shows literally anything else you could ever want it to. As you can see in the screenshot(s) above, the damage done covers ClassTimer’s DoT timer bars, but that’s okay– at a glance I can still tell if I have Serpent Sting on the target. Something Mik’s does also, is, as you can also tell toward the bottom of the above screenshot, it tells you when things come off of cooldown with a weird POP! sound effect. This is helpful audio-wise and visually. You can also see what VuhDo’s pet bars look like.

The metal bar is an auto-attack/swing timer, I barely even notice it’s there anymore, but it gives you a rough idea of when your auto-attacks will go off.

Other things I do:

-I always keep my camera zoomed out.
-As you can see on those screenshots, I keybind a lot of stuff. Wheel-up, wheel-down, F, G, R, and sometimes H, plus B4 and B5 (mouse buttons). B4 and B5 are usually my mount buttons, though they are keybound on my priest for Prayer of Mending for VuhDo. As for what I do with my camera if my wheel is bound to attacks? I use the arrow up/down keys on the keyboard. I’ve found I’ve never EVER needed to zoom out/in within moments anyway, but I do need to be able to have FAST interrupt speed, so having my interrupts bound to wheel-up? Is amazing. (Hunter + Priest don’t have an interrupt.)
-I ALWAYS keep food/drink/mage’s mana cakes on my bars so that I don’t spend forever hunting for them. When I’m healing and I need to drink, I might have a douchey tank who isn’t paying attention or who runs ahead anyway. Even if it’s 5 seconds faster to click it on my bars (vs. hunting through bags), that at least helps me get back some mana!
-Cooldowns, potions– these things MUST be on your bars!
-Years ago I had professions on my bars, but I no longer do this. Leatherworking/etc don’t need to be there, they’re easily accessible via P –> Professions. However, I usually bind helpful profession things to =, like million, disenchanting, and fishing!
-My top bars are completely unnecessary but I like all that stuff out of my way where I won’t have to look at it. I will sometimes put spells like Levitate, Slowfall, etc there, and/or companion pets for RP purposes, or even super shiny mounts if I feel like jumping on a cool one without hunting through my bags.
-As you can see with my screenshots of some of my characters, I keep wMarker up on the screen. (It’s the addon that shows the colored circles/marks.) You click the circle to drop it on the ground, which I find incredibly helpful in dungeons where you need to explain where to go or where someone should be standing. The marking skull/x/sap/sheep/etc is done via clicking on the target and clicking the marking you want to put on it. If I already have my target selected it’s a little faster than right-clicking the portrait and selecting a mark that way, which can save you time which is helpful in places like Vortex Pinnacle, where the Adepts Must Die First.

Here’s a quick labeling of the minimap addon buttons I have:

How to fix Chatter so that you can move it around:

And, last but not least, the best-best-best thing about Quartz!

What, are you having trouble seeing what I am seeing? It lets you move your TARGET’S CAST BAR! Awesome, right? Wait, do you not see why this is awesome? First, it can help you see when to interrupt, and secondly, some bosses, like the final boss in Vortex Pinnacle, and some trash, like the giants in Stonecore, require you to jump right before they get Static Cling/Quake (respectively) completely cast. This addon will help you see when you need to jump so that you won’t have to look away from the fight to see those cast bars! Yay!

Posted by: Hooves | July 8, 2012

025: “Addons, Part I”

For Addons, Part I, I’ll talk about the types of addons I use, and then in Part II, I’ll mention how to set up the biggest one I use.

So, addons that are great, and what they do:

1.) Deadly Boss Mods— This addons tells you when you’re standing in bad, and it tells you what’s about to happen in a boss fight. While it’s not a replacement for reading up on the fights, it’s better than nothing at all, and it’s always great for a reminder if you’re a little rusty on a fight, or if your graphics card isn’t up to par, and you have a hard time telling if you’re standing in stuff.

2.) Chatter— This lets you move your chat box wherever you want. You can even have multiple chat windows across the screen. You can have names colored by class, and you can also click links in trade chat or whispers/party so that you can copy them to paste into your Internet browser.

3.) ClassTimer— I play a lot of roles– healers, ranged DPS, melee DPS, and tanks– and this addon is extremely helpful. You can set it up to show your Focus, your Target, your Pet, or You. Basically it displays buffs/debuffs, depending on what you want. I always set up buffs/heals for my FOCUS TARGET, and damage/DoTs for my TARGET.

4.) Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text— As much as I love seeing floating numbers all over the place, when you’re in a place like the Raid Finder, those numbers are a.) distracting, and b.) graphic-intensive. They’re big, they’re annoying, and they don’t actually tell you jack shit about how your healing is going. Sorry, but it’s true. Mik’s is an addon that lets your battle text–dodges, healing done, damage done, parries– fall away on either side of your character, instead of right over their head. You can be picky about what text is shown, and if you select “Sticky Crits”, your critical strikes will stay on the screen longer so that you can see them.

5.) X-Perl— X-Perl is an addon I’ve used for a long time. It makes your frames look really nice, and I prefer it to the default frames simply because they look a million times nicer.

6.) Recount— This addon lets you know the damage or healing you AND YOUR PARTY are doing. It’s invaluable. You need it. Always set to DAMAGE DONE–> CURRENT FIGHT.

7.) Dominos— Want more action bars? LOOK NO FURTHER!

8.) Quartz— I highly recommend Quartz simply because it makes cast bars bigger, prettier, and you can decide where you put them. You can also move your target’s castbar to a place where you can see it without looking away from the fire on the ground.

9.) HearKitty— This might sound silly, but HearKitty is really nice because it gives you audio cues for your attacks that require some form of “combo point” to use– Maelstrom Weapon x5, 5 points for kitty form/5 points for a rogue, holy power, stacks for archangel– so if you rely on audio cues well, then this addon is PERFECT. Beyond perfect. It’s amazing!

10.) wMarker— This lets you easily mark world targets or skull/X/trap/etc.

11.) TidyPlates— This is a MUST-HAVE addon for anyone who tanks, but it’s great for DPS or healers too, to see who each mob is attacking. Red plates mean you’re doing something wrong (you have aggro as heals/dps, or you don’t have aggro if you’re tanking), and blue means things are good. You can customize the color to your specific desire, but I just go with default since I’ve gotten used to it.

Best title or best title? Okay, maybe not.

Lady Erika, this post is for you. I honestly don’t know much about you, but I do know how to convince poor slobs random strangers and friends-of-friends to play a game.

But first, a story! Yayyyy! We all love stories, right! Pff, I lied, but every now and then a story helps you put things into perspective.

It was a dark and stormy night…

Actually, it was five o’clock in the afternoon, and I was hard at work “drawing”. (By “drawing” I mean, convincing myself that I wasn’t the worst thing that ever happened to deviantART.) I was probably drawing ponies, because that’s what I do. Suddenly, an urge struck me. To play World of Warcraft? Oh hell no. I did have a shiny laptop, but I was pretty anti-WoW at the time. No, the urge hit me to get a drink. So I trotted downstairs, probably slipping on the fifth step from the bottom, as socked feet are prone to doing, and I landed somewhere at the bottom before I crawled desperately into the kitchen, where my brother sat.

Crap, I thought. If I go in there, I’ll never escape. For all Doyle ever talked about was this strange game called World of Warcraft. And I had no idea what he was talking about when he blathered on and on about raids and Molten Core, and being DPS lead in his raid. I mean, what the ever-loving fuck is that all about, anyway? No clue. But I was thirsty. So I braved the kitchen.

Where I did get an earful of World of Warcraft-i-ness. Yay.

My brother unknowingly had joined forces with my coworkers, my former best friend from high school (and her husband-to-be), both of my other siblings, and my boss to convince me to play. All I heard all day at work was, “You should play. You should totally play. It’s fun.” But I was never convinced because honestly, I wasn’t sure how it was fun, why it was fun, or what made online gaming interesting anyway. I guess I thought it was like some convoluted version of Super Smash Brothers, but online. (I would have pissed myself with delight if there had been an online SSB game back then. Sadly, we were just getting out of the Era of Dial-Up, and I live in the country so…well, most people already had highspeed by then. Boo. Hiss.)

So my brother drags me and my glass of whatever-I-was-drinking (but probably sweet tea) into his room to check out the amazing World of Warcraft.

After hearing crap like, YOU WANNA PIECE O’ ME, BOI? from his computer, I was amazed not to have to hear that sound from WoW.

I looked down. There were people running around on his screen. He told me they were players. There were people riding horses. And standing around in the city. And out in the world. And then he said that in the next expansion, which would be coming out in two weeks, there would be a blue alien race with horns.

And I said, “With horns? They’d better have hooves, too, or I won’t play.”

He grinned. “They do,” he said.

And thus I was sucked into World of Warcraft.

My first character? Kesia, a draenei hunter. Isn’t she cute? (Who then became Candlelight, then Kenyon, then Kesia again, and is now named Jenevieve. Oh, server changes. You make me cry.)

But that’s my story. Everyone started playing for a different reason. I consider myself old hat at WoW, but I’ve never really played any other MMO, and I don’t really care to. I’m very stubborn and set in my ways, and I don’t like trying anything new. My brother and my coworkers worked on me pretty much since the beginning of Vanilla WoW (the original) until the release of The Burning Crusade (early 2007, I think). So while things like, “HOLY CRAP THAT’S REALLY ANOTHER PERSON? SOME RANDOM GUY? HIS CHARACTER?” were amazing to me (back when MMOs were still fresh and new), they’re probably not exciting for many people these days.

However, there are many great things about WoW. Here’s a list!

-Do you like gathering crap? Collecting useless shit like Materia (FFVII) or sucking up coins (Luigi’s Mansion)? You can collect cool mounts, companion pets, herbs, ore, and leather. You can get rich off of your collections, or you can use them to create stuff for your character to use/wear, or for friends to use/wear. Professions in WoW are beneficial to you and to friends. Heck, the other day, I put a bunch of items in the mail to totally random people! Why? Cause I do what I want! I even whispered some random level 1 and told her to send an in-game mail to my tailor so I could make her some bags. Aw yeah. I love giving people stuff and being helpful. And while you can’t always make someone’s day in real life by giving them stuff (because it’s expensive and we’re not all rich), it’s really rewarding to be able to give a friend something they want in-game, because sometimes that shiny thing that dropped that they want? Will totally make their day.

-Do you get irritated when people have obnoxious or douchey names? Roll the opposite faction and beat the shit out of them in PvP (player vs. player)! WIN. (You get to beat up people you don’t like! Repeatedly! YAY!)

-Do you like team sports but don’t actually want to have to sweat? Well, sometimes WoW can get your heart to pounding. But the best thing about it is that it encourages teamwork. Teamwork is an important part of everyday life for everyone all over the world, and learning that skill young? Is perfect. You’ll need it for schoolwork, for your job, and even for your relationships. And nothing is more thrilling than seeing people work as a team and WIN together! (Without even having to leave your desk! YAY!)

-Do you like to step into the shoes of a character for roleplay? You can do that! You can also roll on an open-world PvP server and get ganked repeatedly by assholes kill other players at will! Or you can just play to play with no roleplay and no PvP. Or, if you like PvP and roleplay, you can bounce onto an RP-PvP server and experience the joy of being ganked repeatedly in-character both at once!

-It can be educational. It teaches you to type fast, efficiently, and to say what is important first. If you’re in a dungeon and a patrol is behind you, you don’t say, “Watch out guys, a patrol is right behind us!” That’s too long and by the time you get it typed out, the group is dead or in serious trouble. “Pat behind us!” is what you’ll learn to say. And it carries into real life, too. Say what matters! It not only teaches you teamwork, it can help the socially awkward and/or shy and/or anxious. There’s a lot less pressure when you’re an anonymous nobody named Giggity in-game. Or Ilikecheese. Or whatever name you pick.

-Do you like dungeon crawling? Beating the crap out of other players for a challenge? There are random dungeons (which this blog is alll about!) and random battlegrounds (which I do occasionally, myself) where you can duke it out with other players instead of NPCs (non-playable characters). The RDF (Random Dungeon Finder) throws you against NPCs with a group of…you guessed it…random strangers! YAY! While this is room for asshattery about 30% of the time, it can also be a great way to make friends (sometimes these people play on the same server as you), or to hang out with friends you already have. Battlegrounds pit you against random players of the opposing faction. And you get to beat their faces in. Sometimes your face will get beat in, but it’s all in good fun. You learn to respect the other team after a tough match where you barely won or lost because the teamwork was just that good on both sides.

-Do you like to make your character look cool? Aw yeah. You can change the gear of your characters to look different! Which is awesome if the gear you have to wear (because it has great stats) is ugly.

-Do you like lightning? Kitties? Archery? Fireballs? Ice lances? Beating the shit out of someone with a giant sword? Protecting others? Keeping the group healed and well? Played a resurrected hero/heroine? Controlling demons from the nether? Shapeshifting? Being dark and mysterious? You can be any of those things. I love all classes and specs in WoW. All of them. They are all fun. HOW DO YOU PICK? Well, I’ll save that for my next post.

Personally, I like WoW because there’s so much that you can do. And it feels magical, at first, especially if you know previous lore. Because you’re questing, or doing dungeons, and you see Illidan, and Arthas, and Jaina– characters you already know and love and feel a connection to!– and you feel you’re part of the story. It’s about your character, but there is a bigger picture, there is more going on than just killing 7 wolves to make the villagers feel better about their safety.

I’ve been playing for years, but I still like the game. I feel an attachment to my characters. I feel an attachment to the world. It’s a place I’d love to visit, but I wouldn’t want to stay. (Too much, er…war. In World of Warcraft. Go figure!) I’m not much of a roleplayer, but I make up little stories about my characters. I make up stories about the NPCs I see, like Little Timmy in StormwindTWICE, or. Lieutenant Tomathren and Ranger Valanna, two random blood elf questgivers in the Ghostlands.

But at the end of the day, I like being able to play a game while being social at the same time. I don’t have time for socialization and I’m a loner. I like my time alone in person. Hearing people talk to me gives me a headache after a few hours. I like being able to respond when I want, be able to do nothing if I want, be able to log off when I want. And I can talk to my friends, play the game, watch television, listen to music– I can multitask!– and it’s fun. The older I’ve gotten, the more my friends and I have grown apart. They’ve got kids, spouses, jobs, too, and we can’t really find time to hang out. Some of them even live 10 hours away. But we can play WoW together, and that’s really nice. If there’s one thing better than taking down a raid boss with amazing teamwork, it’s taking down a raid boss with amazing teamwork and your friends.

(And making new friends is ALWAYS a blast!)

Now, I can’t rightfully tell you all of the GREAT AND WONDERFUL things about WoW without also dishing out the negatives. The biggest negative? Douchebags. They’re everywhere. They are in everything. Random dungeons? Check. Random battlegrounds? Check. In the open world? Check. Sadly, the anonymity that everyone else loves because it helps them feeds Internet trolls and douchecanoes. They douchewaffle their way into your group, force the group to wipe, laugh about it, teabag your corpse, call you disgusting sexist/racist/homophobic slurs, and then make you kick them so they don’t get in trouble for leaving the group early. OH JOY.

But while there are douchemuffins galore, there are just as many nice players.

Other negatives might be:

-You have to play the game right or you shouldn’t play it at all. Granted, not everyone knows everything about their class at first, but you should learn. Read up online, ask a friend– ask ME!–do whatever it takes to be good at the game. There is very little wiggle room in how you play. It’s pretty much always going to be I before E, except after C. Hunters should be using agility, healers should use intellect and spirit, tanks should use mitigation like mastery/dodge/parry. There isn’t “I do what I want” in a multiplayer game like WoW. But don’t let that discourage you. Once you get amazing at your chosen class, you can kick the ass of everyone else and then feel like a badass. That’s what I do.

-It can be hard to get used to. Using WAD to move? Weird. Using the mouse to help you move? Also weird. Using keybound moves? Weird. It took me forever to get over all that.

-Addons make everything easier. Some people are totally anti-addon, but I’ll be honest here: You can’t heal better than me if you don’t use an addon and I do. I will always be better if we’re at the same skill level. This is sad but true.

-You will get sucked in and you will think about this game a lot. You will imagine yourself creating new characters, you will be excited for questing in Northrend, in helping Arthas in Stratholme, in– well, you get the picture. It’s like looking forward to the next installment of a book series you love…but it never ends. Because there’s always more.

Those are really the only negatives I can think of.

I love WoW. I really do. It’s helped me through some hard times (old friends moving away, getting married, losing my job, getting hurt at my job, being on unemployment, helping me forget about my job being full of asshattery). I’d made a lot of friends in WoW.

Erika, you should try WoW. Just try it. One month. Play on Wyrmrest Accord because that’s where all the nice kids play. ONE OF US ONE OF US ONE OF US. I’ll help you get started with gold, bags– and if you ever have any questions, you can ask me. There is a 98% chance I will know the answer.

I will end this with:


The amount of people who go into End Time, yet have no clue how to fight the final boss? Astounds me. He’s just another dragon, right? No different from Valiona, right? Sure, his “breath” attack isn’t as visually obvious as most dragons, but it hurts just as much, and the tail whip, well…ouch.

Make no mistake, almost all dragons on Azeroth are just as irritating to fight.

Rules for fighting most dragons:

Even Shakespeare knew how to fight dragons in Azeroth!

1.) Don’t use Army of the Dead. We don’t need to play Spin the Dragon, because then their breath will be spewed out all over everyone. No thank you.
2.) Stand to the side!
3.) Stand between the back and front legs. Behind the front legs, but in front of the back.

If you’re a healer, do the same thing, but stand off out of the way for most fights.

However, for End Time’s Murozond, stand up there with the melee DPS. Trust me, the ranged can run out of the piss puddles if they’d just pay attention. And after they’re out of your range, they’re not your responsibility anymore. The hourglass should be hit way before they should be dead.

Posted by: Hooves | June 12, 2012

022: “PvE Healing 101”

Maybe someday I’ll get into more detailed “Guides” for healing/tanking/et cetera, broken up by class. Either way, this guide is nowhere near complete. It’s just a really simple basic guide on healing for every class. More detailed guides coming in the future, hopefully!

For those of you healing for the first time, I highly recommend rolling a baby healer somewhere to practice with. Healing at cap for the first time is usually anxiety-inducing and scary as all getout.

Part I: Addons and Macros
You don’t need to use addons or macros to heal, but they will save you a lot of time and effort, and using addons especially can help you save time. (Which can allow you to multitask while you play, or can afford you a moment of distraction should the dungeon go awry.)

The default frames are nice because you can just click them and press a button on your bar to heal people. But the default (game’s) way of healing is:
-Click a person’s panel.
-Click your heal.

If a group has been pulled and aggro is everywhere, then that’s a lot of clicking around to get people healed. It works, but it’s not as efficient as mouseover macros, which work like this:
-Hover over a person’s panel, press a heal.

Or an addon, which works like this:
-Click a person’s panel, and it heals them.

Generally speaking, some kind of addon or macro is going to make your job healing a lot easier. The less work you’re doing healing, the more time you have to look at the fight, the mechanics, the more attention you can pay to the ground (to make sure you’re not standing in fire).

I personally use VuhDo and I will get a guide out to using VuhDo soon. I don’t use it for everything, but I do like using it because I think it’s just PERFECT for my healing needs. It’s my favorite healing addon, and has never failed me in the past.

NOTE: One thing to remember about healing addons is this: When people drop/join the group in the middle of combat, it can bug out the bars until combat is dropped. This isn’t a big deal, really, you can throw out an AoE heal and/or click their portrait anyway to emergency heal if you have to.

The other addon I use on my healers is ClassTimer. It’s a great addon for tracking DoTs…and HoTs! You can set it to show heals on your Focus Target, and then you can easily see what heals are on them at any given time. This is especially useful for resto druids, but I like using it on all of my classes, especially my healers.

Part II: Your Job
Your job as a healer is to keep as many people alive as you can, to keep everyone’s health as full as you can, and to dispel magic/poisons/et cetera (as your class allows). Always spec into your dispel!

Your job is not to heal Stupid (there is no cure for it, I’ve tried to dispel it before, believe me, it does not work) or to heal through things no healer should be forced to heal through (like people pulling Scarlet Monastery Cathedral in its entirety, or healing through Jaina + two trash packs). Your job is also not to run a footrace, to play tag with the tank, or to heal assholes.

Your focus is the tank. When you zone into a group as a healer, find your tank, and put focus on him/her. If you use X-Perl and there is no right-click+focus option, you can target the tank and type /focus, or you can create a macro (that just says: /focus) and put it on your bars. (I do the latter on all of my characters.) This lets you easily see the tank, where they are on the minimap, and you can set up addons like ClassTimer to show you what HoTs/shields/buffs are on your Focus. That way you don’t have to hunt through the hundred buffs and debuffs on the tank to see if you need to refresh Riptide/Lifebloom/shields.

Part III: Communication
Keep up with the tank–within reason. Communicate with him or her. Tell them when you need mana (in all CAPS if you can’t manage a sentence, so that they can see it easier). Don’t wait until you type, “Mana!” before you sit your ass down. Sit down to drink, then type “mana break please” or something. This makes it easier on everyone. Most tanks who see you sit down know you’re doing it to drink. If you just stand there for a minute while you type, they are probably going to assume you don’t need a break and are ready to pull the next group. Keep lots of water with you in case you find yourself needing to drink!

Set up a warning system with strikes. If you tell people to stop standing in Stupid 1, 2, 3 times, and they continue to do it: stop healing them. Remember, you cannot dispel Stupid.

If the tank runs off without you, DO NOT CHASE HIM/HER DOWN. Stay back until you catch up on mana/to the group and then start healing. Lots of heirloom-geared tanks in lowbie instances barely need heals at all, and are more prone to dashing off to chainpull. This is not a big deal most of the time, but don’t feel you have to stress yourself out to keep up with them.

If you get aggro, drag the mobs to the tank. Don’t just type, “Get this off of me!” in party chat! If you’ve ever tanked, you probably understand the dreaded Tanking Tunnel Vision, which usually consists of ARRGGHHH /ROAR I HAVE THREAT and of not much else. Like noticing the healer over there is getting their face beat in.

Part IV: The Basics
All healers have lots of heals. Typically you have these:

-Medium fast heal (mana-expensive!) (Flash Heal, Flash of Light, Healing Surge, Regrowth)
-Medium slow heal (mana-expensive!) (Greater Heal, Divine Light, Greater Healing Wave, Healing Touch)
-Smaller slow heal (mana-friendly!) (Heal, Holy Light, Healing Wave, Nourish)
-AoE heal (usually medium-expensive!) (Prayer of Healing, Holy Radiance/Light of Dawn, Healing Rain/Chain Heal, Wild Growth)

Plus all healers have their specialty heals:
-Penance, Power Word: Shield (disc priests)
-Circle of Healing, Renew (holy priests)
-Holy Shock, Word of Glory, Beacon of Light (holy paladins)
-Riptide, Earth Shield, Unleash Elements (resto shaman)
-Lifebloom, Rejuvination, Swiftmend (resto druids)

The basic rule of healing is as follows:

You will use your class-specific heal, i.e., shaman always keep Riptide up, paladins always will use Holy Shock, Lifebloom for resto druids should always be ticking on the tank, and priests should be using their signature heals as well, depending on their spec.

At low levels you’re usually stuck with just a couple of heals. Your smaller, slow heal is cheap and so you should use this often. In fact, use it until you absolutely need to use a faster (more expensive) heal. Spamming your fast heal will run you out of mana quick, and as a healer, your goal is to keep everyone alive without having to drink very often. (Especially while leveling.)

Even at high levels, my healers use their cheap heal constantly. In fact, I spam it in five-mans. Someone takes a hit or two but won’t be taking heavy damage again for a while? Heal them to full with that slower, cheap heal! Tank takes constant damage but it’s not a lot of actual damage all at once? Just keep casting that slower, cheap heal!

Your expensive fast heal is one that, at level cap, you rarely use unless you play a class that gets “free” heals (resto druids proc a free heal and you can absolutely choose to use Regrowth as your free heal! And some specs of priests get a free Flash Heal), but usually, those heals are fast, expensive…but they don’t heal very much. So they’re really only useful if you DESPERATELY need that one extra second to boost someone’s health so that you can keep them up long enough to put a real heal on them. Usually I find at higher levels, if I need to use my fast heal to save people, it’s going to be a wipe.

Part V: Interlude
Okay, so one time I was on a healer in a DPS spec, and I ended up with a resto druid. Super nice player who actually lives in my area (we got to talking about the state we’re from at one point), but they kept running out of mana. So I looked at Healing Done on Recount and saw their top heal was Regrowth.

Regrowth is a great spell, but at high levels, it’s SO expensive and heals SO LITTLE (comparatively) that it’s just not worth using unless it procs as something you can use with no mana cost. (And even then, if you have the time to cast a Healing Touch for free instead, you’re better off going with it, since it heals more.) I explained to this healer that they should try using Nourish more, as it refreshes Lifebloom on the tank and honestly, it’s a very mana-friendly spell so you can pretty much spam it without running out of mana.

They thanked me for the advice and tried it, and later whispered me to let me know it was working much better! Yay!

That said, we might make it to cap and still be doing something terribly wrong. It can be really difficult to pick up healing for the first time without a clue as to what we’re looking for.

Part VI: Stats & Gear
Generally as a healer we want ten tons of Intellect and we also want plenty of Spirit. At cap, we might want to prioritize secondary stats (mastery, crit, haste) differently, but until you hit level 80, find as much int/spirit gear as you can. And don’t be afraid to wear the Wrong Gear, i.e., as a leveling paladin, you’ll probably be stuck wearing cloth/leather a lot because healing mail/plate is just not easy to find.

DO NOT need on gear with hit over a DPS who actually needs it.

Part VII: When to Exit Strategically
So you queue into the Random Dungeon Finder, and you get Stratholme. The tank is a bear in cloth intellect gear. Is this a good time to drop? Maybe. See if he switches specs/gear. Mention the gear–maybe he did switch specs but forgot to take off his gear and replace it with agility gear. Oh, he wants to tank as a bear in intellect gear?

That’s a good time to drop. Maybe you can heal him, but is it really worth the headache? You can try to heal him, see if it’s hard, if it is, sit down and refuse to heal until he drops. You can ask the DPS to pull for the tank because in their proper gear, the rogues will probably be easier to heal than an int-geared bear “tank”.

How about this: Tank went AFK to pay the pizza delivery guy. Hunter runs in, pulls a huge group, feigns death or drops group. Do you heal your two active DPS through this? Do you drop? Dropping will save your own skin, but everyone else will die. Personally, I’d try to heal through it. It’s not everyone else’s fault that the hunter was a douchebag, and maybe you can heal through it. If you do, everyone will think you’re awesome, and if you don’t, well, chances are nobody will blame you.

Or this: Tank is a douchebag. Has made fun of everyone for their dps/class/spec/race, has used racist/homophobic, and gendered insults, and has probably said pretty awful things to you and/or your other groupmates. Option #1: Kick him, Option #2: Drop group. Take Option #1 if nobody else in the group is his buddy/guildmate. Take Option #2 if #1 fails. You are a healer, NOT A PUNCHING BAG! You can drop with warning, without warning, whatever. If people are treating you badly, don’t sit around and take the abuse. Get out of there, or you will hate healing and you will lose faith in humanity. Quickly.

Part VIII: Finale
So, what does healing do for you? It’s a fun job. It’s rewarding. (Nothing is better than seeing tons of trash get pulled with Jaina and being able to heal through it. People gasping and patting you on the back and telling you how great you are? Feels amazing!) But what it really does it shows you the fight from a perspective you might not have thought about before. How people standing in Stupid for more than a few seconds makes your job 10x harder. How it helps to have DPS who will dispel if they can. How you appreciate getting Focus Magic from arcane mages, and how you love it when people stand by you to let you get mana while the rest of the team rushes off. How you appreciate the mage sacrificing themselves so that the mobs the tank lost aren’t killing you, and how AMAZING it is to heal a great tank who knows what they’re doing!

So when you hop onto your tanks or your DPS characters, you’ll pay a lot more attention to your healers. You’ll see things that you’ve never seen or noticed before– like why wipes are happening, what’s causing them, et cetera and so on.

But most importantly, it’s fun.

Posted by: Hooves | June 7, 2012

021: “Being a Good DPS/Tank for Your Healer”

I’m just talking good here, not great, or even amazing.

It usually involves a few things:

1.) Don’t stand in random stuff on the ground. This is really not that hard. And it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’d rather you run out of my Healing Rain than stand in every dumb thing on the ground. Don’t assume you’re so well-geared that your healer can just “heal through” the damage you take while standing in what I (and most other healers) call Stupid. Does it look painful? Don’t stand in it! It’s just more work for your healers.

2.) Interrupt. Are you playing a class with an interrupt? Use it! Save it for important things– like Summon Orb (final boss in Halls of Origination) or Greater Heal (Adepts in Vortex Pinnacle)– but definitely use it! Interrupt wimpy Shadow Bolts or Fireballs if you want to, but don’t just let your interrupt go to waste. (I’m looking pointedly at all of you shaman with a 5-sec interrupt, and all you non-raiding death knights who can spec into a free interrupt!)

3.) This:

Your healer’s mana = your health! Don’t forget it!

Even if your healer is geared, that doesn’t mean they can heal you through stupid stuff, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they won’t ever get low on mana. Don’t rush into a boss fight with your healer at half mana if they’re undergeared or simply not confident. Most healers know their limitations, but some let themselves get bullied into running after the tank/DPS. Some healers, like druids, have to shapeshift to interrupt– don’t forget this. They can’t always do your job for you. If a healer offers their interrupt (for, say, Azshara)? That’s fine! But don’t expect it.

4.) Last but not least, try rolling a healer. You’ll quickly learn all of the big pet peeves from a healer’s perspective. And if you think healing as you level up is easy? Well, just try it without heirlooms and see how your dungeon groups go.

I really enjoy healing, but sometimes I go into dungeons on my healers’ off-specs, and the fail I run into is just astounding. Tanks saying they don’t know the instance (yet they pull all the bosses before fights can be explained, pull when healer is out of mana, et cetera and so on), DPS who refuse to focus on the same target, refuse to interrupt, forget they have an interrupt, don’t CC even when asked, et cetera and so on.

Next up, a guide to healing! /o/

World of Warcraft has a huge playerbase. Tons of players. You can run the Random Dungeon Finder 100 times and meet 400 different people, never bumping into the same person twice.

Obviously we can’t censor everything on the Internet– if the word “idiot” bothers you, chances are that word will still be in existence 20 years from now, probably with the same meaning. I’m not saying “tough luck”, but I am saying, “I doubt that word will actually be omitted from English vocabulary.”

Obviously this post has possible triggers in it, so please read ahead with caution.

I ran into a hunter, “Magerize” from Drak’Tharon– the realm is known as Douche’Tharon to most of the people on Livejournal, because there are just so many terrible people from that server; I used to play there, notice that I don’t anymore?– who was your average RDF hunter. He shot things before I got there, pulled things I was skipping, et cetera and so on. But when I got to the final boss I noticed his pet cat’s name (“Rapey”), and the following discussion occurred in Gnomeregan:

I try really hard not to assume the worst in people, despite having lost most faith in humanity I’ve had over the last decade. I know a lot of kids throw around the word rape and use it as a synonym for “win” or “pwn” or whatever, and I don’t have time to lecture every insensitive being I come across. So I was just trying to warn the guy– hey, did you know that name can get you banned? His response basically told me exactly what he did– he doesn’t care, “that’s what [his pet] does– it rapes”. Okay then.

I know reading a book might be too difficult for someone like this guy, but seriously, everyone should stop and consider the people they’re grouping with for just a moment. Rape affects MEN AND WOMEN, not just women, not just men, but both. It affects children, adults, the elderly– don’t think for even a second that there is someone whom it doesn’t affect. Look around you– I bet someone you know has been affected by it, and by association it affects you, too.

Rape is not funny, or a joke. It does not mean “pwnd”, or “beatdown” or “win”.

Go out to the library, or Amazon, and go pick up a copy of One Night and Lucky.

And then come back to me and tell me how you would feel about rape if something like that happened to you or someone you cared about. Hell, I don’t even know the authors of these auto-biographies myself, and how I felt after reading those books was ab-so-fucking-lutely HORRIFIED that a human being would do something so terrible to another person. I had two close friends who were hurt by rape– for one, it was an isolated incident, and for the other, it was a long ongoing process that my friend didn’t think they could tell anyone about. When my friends confided in me, I realized how hurtful triggers are, how easily one can be triggered, how careless people can be because they don’t stop and think– or maybe they just don’t want to.

Rape is not doing a lot of DPS/damage, or beating the enemy mobs in a game.

Rape is real. It hurts people. It’s terrifying and it’s horrible and to name your pet “Rapey” thinking it’s an appropriate name “because that’s what [he] does” makes me sick. Please also know that I don’t appreciate guilds named anything triggery– especially the old, “Sapped Girls Can’t Say No”. They are NOT funny. Or even remotely amusing. They are sick and disgusting.

Empathy, sympathy, understanding, compassion, common fucking sense– LEARN SOME.

It’s not all about (general) you. Nobody should have to change so that you can feel justified in the way you choose to use a hurtful word.

To anyone who thinks triggering names are funny or amusing, up to and including mention of any disorder at all (no, naming your skeletal pet “Anorexic” is NOT FUNNY), abuse of any kind, and so on, I’d like to just remind you that you don’t know WHO you’re going to run into in an instance. These triggers aren’t something to be laughed off. You could literally be triggering someone right to tears, therapy, the ER, or even their own death. And while you’re at it, learn compassion and how to think your actions through before you perform them.

I don’t believe we should all be walking on our toes, skipping across thin ice all of the time. But how hard is it to stop and think before you do something so blatantly hurtful?

Posted by: Hooves | January 22, 2012

019: “The Importance of Pie”

Well, we all know how important pie is. I mean, I know I do! I spent my high school years doing tons of baking. I really loved being able to create stuff– good stuff, stuff people actually liked and appreciated. But I made so much shortbread and spice cake that my family wanted to defenestrate me, so I started baking pies to take to school to share with my computer practicum class. Basically, computer practicum was a period where 1-7 kids would be “on call” to fix computer/networking problems in the school. We only had one computer guy, so we were taught by him how to fix most of the basic stuff. And once a year we took every computer outside of the entire school to blow them out with an air compressor (K-12 school, every room had at least 2 computers, hoo boy). So on these days where we did inventory or…not much at all, I would bring in pies. Lemon meringue, butterscotch, peach, apple, cherry…whatever. My specialty was butterscotch pie. I pretty much mastered the technique of making not only the filling, but the crust, also. (Crust is important. The store-bought pies taste like crap. Pillsbury makes a pretty decent pre-made crust, though, finally.)

But this brings me to the next point. You don’t get between me and pie.

Place: Gnomeregan
My role: Protection Warrior Tank (capitalized for Awesome)
With Me: A friend healing on his druid, a server-mate on a hunter, a random fire mage, and a confused holy paladin in mostly prot gear DPSing

We zone in, I ask Confused Paladin to take off Righteous Fury. To my surprise, he does so immediately. (People usually argue with me about it for some reason. No really, kids, read the tooltip, it will tell you what it does.)

We’re nearing the last boss, when out of nowhere: Pie.

I will be left wondering forever what kind of pie he meant. What is pie-flavoured pie? Is it crust-flavoured pie filling in pie crust? Because that sounds a little bit awkward to me. What kind of pie does this random stranger like? What prompted him to suddenly remind us of the importance of pie? (A reminder is always good, it’d be horrible if we somehow forgot. But still. Why us? Why this random Gnomeregan group? Why right before the final boss? Did we ooze some sort of terrible anti-pie vibe? Was our aura freakishly pie-less? Could he not smell pie on our collective breath?)

I suppose I will have to continue to ponder this turn of events. But never fear, confused holy paladin in prot gear queueing as DPS– I will not ever forget pie.

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