There she stood, staff in hand, skimpy leather armor showing off fur-covered muscle. “Nalera,” I breathed, circling my camera to look at her horns and tail. “This is SO. FREAKING. COOL. Let’s see…Wrath, damage spell, Healing Touch, well, okay, that’s self-explanatory. First quest!”
I was 16 years old, I keyboard-turned, I read all the quest text and right-clickable scrolls, books, and monuments I could mouse over. I would appeal to other Tauren to help vanquish the growing Centaur threat – they would type out the title of the quest and I’d grudgingly say, “Yeah, that one.” I cast Mark of the Wild on anything that moved. I discovered Thottbot while pulling my hair out trying to figure out where on Azeroth the Half Pendant of Aquatic Endurance was hidden, because dammit, I neededto be able to shift into a malnourished sea lion form whenever I pleased. I desperately killed herds of non-aggroing Stags in Ashenvale trying to grind out that last bit of experience from 19 to 20 so I could gain the coveted Cat Form – back when questing alone wouldn’t cut it.
I also advised my warrior friend to “Just take the one with the highest Armor value” because he died a lot, even when this meant “upgrading” to a grey from a green – you know, a green with actual stats. Poor guy.
The point is, I was a newb, and looking back would cause some people to utterly /facepalm at this. I look back and just know I was having fun, even if I was “bad” at the game.
I was still struggling through the wilderness of Stranganklethorn Vale when the Scepter of the Shifting Sands opened the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj. The day I reached level 40 and learned how to ride my brown Kodo mount, Coconuts, is a day I still remember – it was the same day I got my driver’s license in real life. When the Scourge Invasion happened, I was already battling their forces in the Plaguelands, trying to reach 60 before Patch 2.0. The casual leveling guild I was a part of ran the occasional Molten Core with another guild, but all eyes were focused on the expansion, and I was only able to run it a few times as a fresh, bright-eyed Level 60 Elite Tauren Chieftan. Maybe not so Elite, either…the extent of my macro knowledge was “/yell Rezzing %t! /cast Rebirth”.
The Burning Crusade was released the day before my 17th birthday – the day before my grandfather died. My parents pulled me out of school for a week and we travelled across the country to Arizona. It didn’t really hit me until we got back home, though, and I started to play the game in all my free time, spurning friends and family alike. I devoured the new zones, learned the lore of the Blood Elves and Draenei and the Burning Legion, and generally stopped hanging out with anyone at school. I would go to bed at 10pm and wake up at 1am, after my parents were asleep, just to keep playing into the night when I wasn’t allowed. I raided in a very Kara guild, that same casual guild I’d been in for Classic, and did the best I could and had fun.
The blurry summer between high school and college makes you realize you’ll be living out on your own in just a short while, paying for your own food, managing your own time. It’s the great server transfer of life…
The day I hallucinated a kodo in the fields across the street from my house, I decided it was time to take a break, enjoy my summer and my first year of college without distractions. I would still have dreams about jumping off of floating rocks in Nagrand and popping Flight Form before I hit the ground; would still draw endless pictures of Tauren of various classes, but I wasn’t playing anymore. I discovered othervideogames, like Portal, and got back into Halo (which, admittedly, I was supremely casual about to begin with), and Rock Band, and met a lot of new friends at college. I even tried out the LotRO Beta, and a friend lent me his Guild Wars account so I could try it, too…but they didn’t really catch on. I couldn’t take a stroll through Ratchet and imagine myself back on the beaches of California where I grew up, couldn’t fly through Terokkar Forest dodging trees and Guard’s Marks and marvelling at the bloom effects of this cartoony, idealistic dream-world.
I didn’t get back into WoW until Wrath of the Lich King. It was released during the fall of my second year of college, and I decided that I could handle the stresses of a dual major – I wanted to see Nalera again and play with her and my <Merciless> friends. My guild had server transferred sometime during Black Temple / Sunwell, and I spent a little while at 70 getting to Exalted with SSO before popping a server transfer of my own, here, to Stormscale. Northrend consumed me during winter break, and I triumphantly finished all of Storm Peaks, witnessing the treachery of Loken and becoming Exalted with the Sons of Hodir as those crowning experience points bumped me up to Level 80.
Something changed, then.
Maybe it was the weeks of running Naxx and plowing through the Obsidian Sanctum killing all the drakes, only dreaming about one day defeating Malygos or Sartharion +3; maybe it was the Computer Science major in me wanting to know how the game workedmore than the Art major wanting to know how it sounded, looked, and felt; maybe it was the day someone linked Recount for Patchwerk and there I was on top.
I started doing research. I looked at my damage breakdowns on Recount, discovered it was really not that important to be even close to hit-capped as a druid. I started gemming for Strength, since back in those days Savage Roar was based on Attack Power, not damage. I splurged on enchants, getting Berserking for my Journey’s End, and started topping the meters by an even further and further margin, and loving it. I poured my heart and soul into my Valorous Dreamwalker Battlegear, and could finally be one of those purpled-out AFKers in Orgrimmar or Shattrath – except it was Dalaran, and lagged to hell if a Wintergrasp Battle was even close to occurring.
Simply put, I started caring more about being a player than being a character.
Finishing the Icecrown quests for Loremaster of Northrend fell to the wayside – I wouldn’t complete it until almost a year and a half later. When I started calling out (politely, of course) guildies for having ungemmed gear or trying to tank with just Taunt and auto-attack, there was…friction. A lot of my friends had left the game for the summer, and I was left with barely a 10-man group going into Ulduar. The day I did a full 30% of the damage on an XT-002 kill, I knew I had to leave.
That was the summer I spent $1000 on a new desktop – which I built myself – around the same time I had amassed enough gold to buy a Mechano-Hog (built by one of the guild engineers). No more lag in Dalaran! I could raid (and ride!) in style, and with a new guild tag: enter <MowToW>. A warlock named Yamaneko had left the guild I was in a while before to start this new progression-based guild. No, the name made absolutely no sense to me, but it kind of looked like MotW, so as a druid I figured I would start there.
I remember spending as much time on my application as I had on any college app two years before, checking and double-checking to make sure I answered the questions the right way and didn’t misspell anything. I was beyond nervous – this was the first time I had actually applied to a guild. I had no idea of the caliber of players in a competitive raiding guild, and it was all I could do to simply hope Yama had favorable memories of me. I would later curse my early purchase of a Mechano-Hog as I poured money into powerleveling Jewelcrafting to replace Skinning, but when I realized how massively overpowered Prismatic Dragon’s Eyes were, that became a moot point.
Surely Nalera herself had no reason to become a Jewelcrafter when she’d been a Skinner from level 10, but her player certainly had a reason to make her one. Farewell, Cat Form Skinning Animation – you were adorable, but now I get socket bonuses.
As we progressed into Ulduar, I got used to what it felt like to be part of a group of good players. No one would have Intercepted back to the Shade of Aran when he cast Flame Wreath (well, not more than once, anyway). Dying to rockets or Shock Blast on Mimiron? Please! We’re <MowToW>! Green clouds on Yogg-Saron? Hell yeah I can stay away from those green clouds!
…Alas, it was not quite that perfect. People still made mistakes – you’re not going to get 25 people from across the country together in one instance and have no disconnects, lag spikes, doorbells, burning pizza, injuries, or, my favorite, mothers turning on the microwave which conveniently cuts power to the router.
For me, summer continued without a hitch, until one Thursday before I went back up to college. I posted an AFK for our Yogg-Saron-minus-Keepers progression night (I would have rather missed Tuesday, but that’s not how the dates lined up, fortunately or unfortunately) so I could take my boyfriend out to dinner. I’d been dating him as long as I’d been playing WoW; slightly longer, even. It had been rough trying to keep a long-distance relationship up when we were 250+ miles away from each other at college, but we’d managed through the past two years by playing WoW together and I’d go visit him sometimes. He didn’t have a car (or a driver’s license, in fact), so he did very little visiting and it was always me driving us around over the summer.
While my guild was vanquishing tentacles and dodging clouds, I was eating dinner at a really fancy restaurant – and Kirk was vanquishing hopes and dodging questions. I’d bought him some Star Trek cologne (we’re all nerds here, right?) and even paid the $90 for the meals. We just talked about what the next year was going to be like, and overall it seemed like a really nice night to me. I dropped him off at his house, went home, and got on Vent to see how my guildies were doing.
Someone had just started crashing our vent using a comment-spamming script, effectively halting that night’s progression. I tried my best, my very best, to forget that Kirk had told me how to do exactly this same thing two weeks beforehand. We moved to a different Vent server only to have it crash again. So now we have a traitor in the guild, my boyfriend with a script, and likely a mess of people laughing at the whole situation.
I snapped. No one messes with Nalera’s guild, not on a progression night. I was an officer by then – I had to do something.
I confronted him about the entire thing – “I KNOW you’re the one who’s doing this, why would you ruin our night like that?!” – and he proceeded to break up with me. Through a World of Warcraft whisper. Never thought I’d see thatday. Was I heartbroken? Of course. Did any of what was happening to Kate matter to Nalera in the least? Absolutely not.
I sought refuge in my character again, tearing through boss after boss, playing with a kind of demonic fervor. Then the semester began. Patch 3.2 introduced Loot Piñata of the Crusader along with a mess of new dailies and achievements and mounts and pets – I overloaded on content for weeks until the weight of five classes started to hit me. I took a three-week hiatus from the game. 3.2 was a terrible raid patch, with four lockouts for one instance – 10, 10h, 25, 25h. There was no trash, sure, but seeing those same four or five encounters that many times a week is downright infuriating after a while. I kept up my grades while we climbed steadily to the top of the pile Horde-side, and came back strong with a few weeks until Patch 3.3, the Ice-Crown Jewel of the expansion.
<MowTow> was now comfortably on top, even when Reviction got that world-first kill – ICC normal mode Lower Spire was conquered the first week, no sweat, and as each new wing opened up, more bosses fell to our blades (and claws and magic and what have you). Even Arthas toppled, in what might have been the most loregasm-inducing fight of the expansion, complete with cutscene. I missed out on the loot council because I was watching it, but it made me realize…
Sometimes it’s best to just sit back and be a character again.
I sing the Lament of the Highborne in the shower sometimes. I can tell you, more or less, what the flavor text on the heroic Oathbinder, Charge of the Ranger General reads: “A grotesque skull now rests atop the blade. Etched in the bone, repeated ten times, is one word: SUFFER.” I can name more clans of Tauren than I have fingers, and one of these days I’ll get that blue hoofprint tattoo. Nalera is no longer the spry young thing she was at level 40, just as I’ve changed from 16 to 20. The trek into Cataclysm will coincide with my final year of college, and end with graduation and hopefully a new job, as Kalimdor crumbles and blooms around me – it is as much a home as anywhere else I’ve lived, and seeing it change as my own life does will only reinforce that, as do the friends I make through my guild and my travels, even if they are only characters.
Do math, down content, be the best…but in the end, just have fun and remember why you started playing the game.
Last article I wrote had a lot of stress over the point of knowing the instance/boss and memorizing abilities. Now I’m going to go more over the analysis of raids, as that is a huge part of making decisions; decisions that you as the raid leader have to make. What you as a raid leader need to know what to pay attention to.
What the hell happened to me?
Common question when asked, and easily answered, you simple read the combat log. Luckily, recount already has these death reports set up so you can look them up instantly. Simply go to the “Deaths” section, click on a name, and it will show you the last 10 seconds or so of damage taken and healing taken before the death. Very useful and required tool. Stops liars from making up bullshit or saying that it was just “RNG”, or simply lack of heals. Most of the time it was them standing the wrong spot. Combat logs don’t lie.
You will be wanting to be setting up different standards for guild runs and pug runs. For pug runs, I find that if they are double the tank’s DPS, they are doing fine, and you won’t need to replace them. For guild runs, it’s a bit different. There simply shouldn’t be a huge gap of difference; on recount it should be a smooth “curve” of DPS of players slowly getting lower as you go down the list. If you are not making a DPS checkpoint in a fight or instance (hitting an enrage or soft enrage), then you will need to make that known to the raid and hopefully next pull you will down it. The raid is not the place to be theorycrafting how to increase personal DPS.
A key concept of DPS in a raid: the more of it you have, faster the boss dies, the less time people have to make mistakes, the less damage that goes out on the raid and tank, the easier the encounter is (generally). Unless you’re ranked on World of Logs as #1 as a raid, you can always do better.
Being the top of the healing meters does not make you the best healer. The way I like to put it is that there is a “healing team” in a raid.
Healing will be stressful under three circumstances (That I can think of):
There is intense tank and raid damage occurring at the same time.
Algalon is a perfect example of this. Raid is constantly brought down to low health by Collapsing Star Explosions and random Living Constellations attacking randomly; with Algalon dual-wielding and hitting like a truck along with Quantum Strike bursts on the tank.
An ability of the boss disables healers or reduces healing.
This is only detrimental when you need the healers to be alive and healing due to other abilities of the fight. I am sure most healers would agree, Sindragosa Frost Tombs and Sindragosa Unchained Magic are the worst, as this can disable four healers all at the same time during a time of high raid damage, and burst tank damage.
High Tank Damage during high mobility.
Healers can’t spam bomb heals when they have to move. Lich King Phase 2 would be best example of this, because while collapsing for Valkyrs or spreading for Defile, the tank might simply die from not receiving big heals from his/her healer, with the risk of out ranging healers.
Of course, any combination of the three will make healing difficult. So, as assignments go, they are at best a guide to what to heal. Healing requires the most teamwork as DPS simply need to make sure buffs and debuffs match. You would be a fool to have your assignments healed and watch someone else die outside your assignment die (or the tank), as the reason for it may be due to abilities. You should communicate this however and ask “Why do I have to cover your assignment? What is causing me to need to heal your assignments?” The more healers talk, the better healing will be, especially calling out when you can’t heal so others can help out.
I do not play a healer as a main, but from the healing I’ve done on my alt, this is what I’ve experienced, and I would love to read opinions about healing assignments from a real healer to help me out so that I can become a better raid leader. :)
Of course this communication will be lacking if at all present in pugs. At that point, simply get more healers in a pug than you would in a guild run, and over-assign tank healers, and simply check the tank death report (if he happened to die) and blame which ever healer(s) were not spamming him.
Rebirth and Soulstones
If needed, you should assign soulstones, as many warlocks like to soulstone themselves. You shouldn’t be planning on deaths (unless it’s part of the encounter like Hard Mode Iron Council), but generally healers and/or tanks on tauntable boss fights are usually the most common choices. You do not want to soulstone someone who consistently died on a fight (as it’s most likely a waste); this may seem obvious, but I’ve seen many people soulstone people that usually die every fight. You want to remove them from your raid. I’ve personally have had poor foresight for soulstones, and they usually end up being used for wipe recovery (put it on a healer that ended up rezzing most of the raid).
Rebirths should be used if the fight is still viable and able to be downed. In a pug, you should be calling these assignments up. In a guild run, your druids should be talking to each other and doing it, but if not, do these yourself. You should have a cooldown tracker for this to know who’s rebirths are up and who’s are down.
You should never have to use Rebirth in first 15 seconds of a fight. The only exception I would make is where it takes a very long time to run back to the boss (more than 5 minutes) or you need that person to even do the encounter (especially if you are on a tight DPS timer).
This exception of “long run time back to the boss” leads to the next concept that escapes many guilds even. One minute of raid time = Twenty-five minutes of people’s time. Do not have your raid idly stand around while you do loot from the previous boss (this goes for guild and pug runs). Constantly pull.
Do not let a pug or a guildie hold up a raid (when they go back to re-spec or whatever). Not only is this disrespectful, it is wasting time at 25 times the normal rate.
This following blog is completely unrelated to World of Warcraft or this guild. This blog will also require some knowledge of higher level mathematics and/or science. If this blog goes well, I’ll be writing these non-WoW related blogs maybe monthly or every other week, and give a little more other than just WoW.
What is Chaos?
Chaos Theory, simply put is any “dynamical system that [is] highly sensitive to initial conditions.” The other property of Chaos that is much more intriguing is that “chaotic systems are deterministic, meaning that their future behaviour is fully determined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved.”
How can that be you ask? How can something be determined but unpredictable? One of the most famous examples of this would be the Mandelbrot Set. This set is simply a set of points. Nothing more complicated than that.
The “black” parts in the picture you see is in the set, and the colored parts are not in the set (you don’t need to worry what the colors mean). As you “zoom” into the edges of the set, it gets exceedingly more complex and does not simplify, unlike “zooming” to the edge of a triangle or a 500-sided shape that eventually becomes a line. You can watch some of these zooms on youtube (and enjoy the song! :D).
Determinism Without Predictability
Now, the rule (just one rule) that determines whether this point is in the plane or not is described here in more detail, but roughly: Take a point, ‘c’, and calculate zn+1 = zn2 + c, (the output of this equation is the new input), and does zn as n goes to infinity go to infinity? If it doesn’t, it’s in the set; if it does, it’s not in the set.
And that’s it! An infinitely complex set described in a few simple steps. (Crazy eh?)
This rule stays the same, so everyone is able to create the same set over and over with their own personal computers (deterministic), but if asked to predict whether a particular pixel will have a “mini-mandelbrot” set or not, without ever zooming there previously, no one will be able to answer you (unpredictable).
How is this related to life?
It does in a very profound way. Life is deterministic, yet unpredictable. It is the perfect description! Life is deterministic because of what science has shown, yet they can’t predict weather with 100% certainty. Weather, Economics, Physics, Biology, Society, and almost anything you can think of is chaotic.
Why do I bring this up?
I was watching physics documentaries on the meaning behind the universe on youtube (particularly Unification; having a set of equations the explain the very small, quantum physics, and the very large, general relativity, at the same time, since currently they are separate and create nonsense when combined).
The major issue I have the approach these scientist’s are taking is they are assuming there is a fundamental unit of matter (either it be quarks or strings). Why is this problematic philosophically? This would mean that given a powerful enough computer/calculator, you can predict the next steps of the universe indefinitely. (You have one full state of describing the world, you can calculate the next).
This is a very gloomy view on life, however, if we think of matter organized chaotically, which most of nature is, (DNA, Broccoli, Snowflakes, a Peacock’s Tail, Leaf Veins, Spider Webs, etc.), then this eliminates the issue previously given: there is no such thing as the smallest piece of matter. This idea I’ve searched around, and no one thinks that this is the case, which I find somewhat disappointing.
We Need to Change How We Think
This idea that you break down something into its smallest part and have a complete understanding of anything is foolish, because that is not how life is and nothing suggests that. I do not think that even if String Theory or Loop Quantum Gravity (two Unification Theories currently being researched) is proven to be true, it will not give you a full understanding of the world. It will simply give you a “higher resolution” of the set that we call life, but not what we are looking for (which, following the analogy, would be the “rule” that describes the Mandelbrot set).
I only bring up the issue with physics, but I can discuss how people in all the fields previously listed, but then I’ll end up writing way too much, but…
What do you think? Did this blog change your view on the world? Do you think I’m talking complete bullshit? Do you think I’m on to something? Do you need or want more explanation on the ideas here (since I tried to summarize complicated ideas in a mere matter of lines)? Share me your thoughts!
Many people get upset and nerd rage when they PvP in World of Warcraft, but should they really?
First of all, WoW is a game, and you should enjoy it.
Second, keep in mind WoW PvP is a team game; against comparable players, you can’t win outnumbered. So what should you do as a team member? Help each other out. Tell them what they could have done, what needed to be done, and come up with a strategy next time you go in to try.
Thirdly, and Blizzard acknowledges this, they are constantly attempting to balance classes when it comes to both PvE and PvP. It is not a perfected system, and simply will never be due to the dramatic changes occurring every major patch and expansion.
Don’t get mad, get glad!
Half of the game is in your mind. Being confident is half the battle; if you don’t think you can win, you probably won’t. Being angry doesn’t help either. Nerd-raging at your teammates won’t help them feel better either nor perform better.
When you’re low rating or with any new team, don’t expect to be 2000+ rating off the bat. Gear does play a role, but as most people will support, gear comes second to knowing how to fight. Until you reach 2000 or higher, you are going to be simply be playing the classes (different people, but same team compositions). It’s going to be a test of knowledge of PvP. Do you know how to beat a drain/beast cleave/wizard cleave/etc. team?
Eventually, you start playing against the players rather than playing against classes, since when you queue, all you get are the same people over and over. At that point, remaining calm is even more important, as you need to start dealing with psyching the other team out and coming up with unexpected strategies. Just like most competitive games.
What does a low rating mean?
It simply means you have quite a bit to learn or that it isn’t your type of game. Is this a bad thing? Maybe, but probably not. I’ll try to put it in perspective:
Many of us have played Super Smash Bros. (and it’s sequels: Melee and Brawl), but do you play that competitively? There’s a huge community dedicated to just Smash Bros. competitive play and casual play. There are also tournaments hosted by Major League Gaming for Super Smash Bros. So, if you are not able to rank competitively in Super Smash Bros, does that mean you shouldn’t play it at all or ridicule those who play poorly? I find that rather harsh, and unfortunately that’s what many people who play WoW PvP seem to do; ridicule those that can’t PvP as well as they can.
What does a high rating mean?
Owning in World of Warcraft PvP in your own battlegroup means as much as owning in your local 30-50 team tournament of any competitive game. Sure it’s an accomplishment, but it’s nothing compared to those competitions where you win thousands of dollars. So sure, you’re a big fish in your small pond, but that’s all you are.
So is WoW Competitive Play?
Many of you know the huge hype Starcraft is (at least in South Korea), and the pros in that game are treated as celebrities, and make almost as much as pro sports players in the USA. So how does that relate to WoW? Simple, popularity as a competitive sport.
Games are considered competitive when there’s a lot of people willing to compete and a lot of people willing to watch. If there’s no one willing to play, then there’s no competition, and if no one is willing to watch, no one will care.
I do not believe there will ever be enough (there will be some) people willing to play WoW competitively due to the fact I mentioned previously that the classes are constantly being changed and therefore balances must constantly be made. This inherently makes it so the game is unable to have a base skill that everyone can keep throughout the patches and expansions. This is enough to make WoW uncompetitive, but I will move on.
I do not believe there’s enough people to be willing to watch WoW PvP. It is very boring to see another player play the game. All you see is buttons being smashed and the cursor selecting name plates. There is very little in terms of action to see how one would play. Once you have your keys and binds set, there’s not much else to see.
That’s all for now. Check out Major League Gaming and see what games are actually popular competitively (a lot of Halo from my first glance). Also, take a look at this video I found of Kartrider (a Korean Mario Kart-like game) demonstrating no matter the genre or how the game looks, games can be played competitively.
Although I have no formal cooking experience, I always love to mess around in the kitchen and see what delicious concoction I can create. Homemade whipping cream, pizza dough, jambalaya, stews, soups, burgers, melts, pancakes, puff pastries, chocolate mousse, or just stove top mac n cheese with some flare thrown in. Making my own dish always seems more satisfying than just throwing some hot water on a cup o noodles, or heaven forbid opening a can of spaghettiOs and dumping them on a piece of bleached white bread.
I have run into a problem as a west coast raider with an east coast guild. Raid starts at 4:30 and runs till 9, but I want to eat from 6:30-7:30. Often times I forgo a meal or just munch on chips n dip, but living now at my girl friends place with her under the assumption that I will provide food every night has changed that idea. As I experiment with fast n easy mid raid meals, I feel there is the chance that other might be so inclined to try out some spiced up recipes that are either quick to fix on a raid night, or easy to microwave when made the day before.
Although not exactly a “quick fix” meal, this dish can easily be prepared either before the raid or on an off and microwaved to damn near perfection in 3 to 4 min.
I recently discovered that costco has Carnitas.
Carnitas are a food that must have been invented by Jeff Kaplan, or Tom Chilton because it is just god damn delicious. They are pulled, and they’re pork, and they’re delicious and … but I digress. Long story short, they are everything good that is mexican food. A quick and easy casserole.
Several Flour Tortillas
2 Can of Beans (black or pinto, or one of each)
1 Can Enchilada Sauce (green or red)
1 Can Stewed Tomatoes (do not drain)
½ Costco Carnitas Carton (if you use a full carton it tastes like your eating only carnitas)
1 Small can Green Chili’s
Shredded Mexican cheese blend.
Layer the bottom of a 13*9 casserole dish with one layer of Tortillas, tear them to fit the bottom. Add one can of beans and half of the carnitas. At this point you can either add the chili’s or the stewed tomatos. Add another layer of tortillas, the 2nd can of beans, and the 2nd half of the carnitas, the remaining can of either chili’s or stewed tomatos and top it all off with the enchilada sauce. Before you call it quits, load that sucker up with shredded Mexican cheese (more is better).
At this point its done, you can throw it in the oven and as all of the ingrediants are cooked, your only melting the cheese and blending the flavors. 375 for around 30 min is a good estimate. Bake it right away, but feel free to store the leftovers in the fridge and have it the following raid day as an awesome dinner by microwaving it for a few minutes.
Irial would of coures love this or fried chicken and watermelon, but I guarantee everyone else can enjoy this as well. The prep on this one is more time consuming, but just like the casserole can be heated up and enjoyed in minutes.
1 large yellow onion
1 lb chicken
1 spicy sausage (cooked works best)
3 bell peppers (green / red / orange / or a mix I tend to look for whats the cheapest)
5 jalapenos pepper
1 habanero (optional)
2 can diced tomatos
1 lb shrimp
Throw a little bit of oil in the bottom of a large stock pot on medium-high heat. Dice the onions / peppers / chicken / sausage / habanero (be careful not to get the juice on your fingers as you will inevitably end up touching your face and or eyes BAD NEWS). Toss in the chicken and let it start to cook before throwing in the peppers, onion, and habanero. Throw in a little bit of chicken stock once the onions and peppers have cooked down a bit. I eyeball the paprika, salt, and garlic so I don’t have accurate “measurements” but add to taste (Sampling is always encouraged when cooking). Sausage and tomatos go in next letting the whole thing come to a boil then reducing the heat and allowing it to simmer for about 20 minutes. During this time, if you’re cheap like me you get the unprepared shrimp from a market and spend these 20 minutes deveining and shelling the shrimp, if this doesn’t interest you you can always get the preshelled / deveined shrimp. Once the 20 minutes are up, you can toss the shrimp in for a few minutes at the end as they do cook quite quickly. (Alternatively you can cook them with some butter and garlic in a skillet separately to add just a little bit more flavor, and dirty yet another pan) Remove this sucker from the heat and serve over rice.
My best friend dragged me into WoW a few years ago. I was reluctant at first, but finally agreed to step into what seemed at the time as just another way to waste my time. My experience with MMORPGs hadn’t been too positive: I had played a few Free-to-play mumorpugers before, and while I liked the concept, the execution always left a pretty bad taste in my mouth. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to find WoW not only enjoyable, but actually pretty fun to play.
I have always liked the mages and wizard-like characters. The idea of the physically-weak, yet extremely powerful individual has always intrigued me. It was no surprise then that my first character was a Mage (undead male!).
I did not raid a lot on my Mage, but one thing did become clear: I was not meant to DPS. During raids, I would often feel inadequate. Every time we wiped I wished I could’ve done something to avoid it. Of course, every element of the RPG trifecta is very important, yet the tanks and healers seem to have a lot more weight on their shoulders.
So a few months before WotLK was released, I started playing a Paladin. Mind you, this was before the sweet buffs to Paladin leveling, plus…I made the unthinkable and leveled as Holy. Yet, despite how slow it was to level and mobs just plain refusing to die (Holy DPS is not very good :( ), I made my way to 70, and actually found enjoyment in healing as a Paladin. I raided on my Paladin the first two tiers of WotLK content, but eventually, the one-button smashing style of healing really got boring (plus my mouse’s right button was starting to wear off :( ).
I tried out the other healing classes and finally decided to level a Priest. To this day, I still find Priest healing extremely fun and engaging, as we’re one of the few classes in the game that still get to use more than a couple of abilities.
Why I heal:
I love helping people! But seriously: A healer has a lot of responsibility, and it takes a certain kind of people to truly excel at healing. Healing is also very rewarding; there are a few instances where DPS can make split second decisions and save his or her group, but healers get to do those kinds of decisions almost every single raid-night (or day for you Aussies!). I love the fact that my performance can truly impact the success or failure of a raid, and although I’ve made plenty of mistakes in the past, I like to think that I’ve made more good than harm for my raid buddies!
Overall, I enjoy healing because your performance isn’t just based on how well you mash your buttons in succession. Instead, healing is all about being engaged with the game, looking at raids as a whole. Similar to Yamaneko’s RTS analogy, a healer has more of a 3rd person view of the raid, often forced to make decisions on what ‘units’ need more attention (sorry Mages :( ).
I'm happy to say that Cataclysm looks like a lot of fun for all healers. All of us healbots are getting sweet new abilities, or new mechanics that promise to make healing even more fun and engaging. For my part, I simply cannot wait for Life Grip and Power Word: Barrier! If WotLK gave new breath to tanking, I honestly believe Cataclysm will take a similar approach to healing.
So, why do you heal or DPS / tank? Hit the comments!
I would have to say the largest factor that enabled me to catch up to <Meta> was my ability to read through Wowwebstats (the old World of Logs), effectively, catch mistakes, and learn encounters via abilities, not strategies I read online as most people I think do; using recount for death reports and damage taken, rather than damage done or healing done. The best way I can put it is: raids is basically a Starcraft or Warcraft game where everyone controls 1 character instead of me controlling all 25. So I did my very best to keep track of all of my “units” and make sure they’re all doing what they should be.
If you have never played a Real-Time Strategy Game, then go read the wikipedia article here.
Raid Leading does require a certain type of mind (one that is able to keep track of multiple things going on at the same time), but my goal in this blog is to attempt to come up with a general method of approaching new encounters and what you need to watch out for as a raid leader (or a raider!). This will hopefully help most players become better raiders. So here I go!
Every boss has abilities linked to them. Use reliable website sources to read the tooltip of their abilities. There are only two websites I use: www.wowhead.com and/or www.mmo-champion.com. I tend to use wowhead over mmo-champion just because I find it less cluttered.
Bad results when you don’t read abilities – “Twin Valkyrs will heal each other when they are too close to each other”
Believe it or not, people thought this was true, because Twin Emperors back from Vanilla WoW’s AQ40 healed each other when they were close to each other. The Twin Valkyrs from Trial of the (Grand) Crusader had an ability called Twin’s Pact; unlike the Twin Emperor’s Heal Brother. You can instantly tell the major difference between the two abilities is the range and cast time. Twin’s Pact has an unlimited range while Heal Brother only has a 60 yard range. Therefore, Twin Valkyrs distance from each other has nothing to do with their heal. Also with the 15 second cast time, one would assume you would have to interrupt it.
Remember: These spells and abilities are cast from the caster’s point of view (in this case the NPC’s point of view) and worded in such a way.
Good Results when you do read abilities.
Most people still don’t know this to this day: Malygo’s Breath leaves a debuff on the tank (or the unit that survives the breath). Here is the tooltip. So, the debuff has a “You are the bomb” mechanic. Since Malygos didn’t cleave nor have a tail swipe, most people could stand far away from the tank and not worry about it, but people were still dying, and using WWS (at the time) or WoL, if you search “Arcane Breath” using the Expression Editor, you will find that pets were being afflicted by this debuff (since they take 80%-90% less damage from aoe hits), thus exploding in the raid. In fact, blizzard had to fix this where the pets would not be receiving a debuff when breathed on (I can’t find the blue post >_<).
A Word of Caution – Abilities will not tell you the entire fight
The understanding the abilities of a boss, I would say is about 75% of a fight. It is only 75% because positioning (as combat logs will not record), will play an important role in a fight. Furthermore, some abilities may not even be listed. For example: Plague Sickness from Professor Putricide is not listed under his set of abilities, which would explain why the raid cannot simply stack and simply let Unbound Plague bounce around. However, it is extremely to look up Plague Sickness on wowhead or mmo-champion after encountering it. Also, Phase changes, Threat Resets, etc. are usually not listed as abilities and you should be aware of that as well.
So, it’s very important for you to read abilities and understand the exact wording of them. I cannot stress this enough. Memorize these abilities; know them by heart; recall them on command. Once you know these, the rest comes easy.
I Know What Bosses Do, Now What?
So this is where the generic plan for most bosses:
Can the raid stack up?
If there is no reason to spread out, don’t! It makes everything easier for healers, positioning, and teaching new players content. However, most boss abilities causes you to spread out. Some examples of these are: Defile (Lich King), Malleable Goo (Professor Putricide), Fire Bomb (Gormok the Impaler), etc. etc.
Now, this is new for Wrath of the Lich King, as I have never encountered it during the Burning Crusade, is that these AoE effects sometimes have the property of “Will only target ranged units, if there is no ranged unit it will cast it on the melee”. You must know which abilities this property applies to and which it doesn’t. Sometimes the ability will tell you it is only ranged, like Static Disruption, but most of the time it will not. So, from the spells listed previously, Malleable Goo and Fire Bomb both favor range, while Defile is indiscrete in choosing its targets.
Now that you know where you have to relatively stand, you should try to have set positions where you don’t need to move….ever. The less movement yields more DPS, more Healing, and an easier time for everyone. Sometimes there are abilities that affect only one person’s movement such as: Necrotic Plague, Unbound Plague, Mutated Infection, Frost Beacon, etc. These types of abilties, I like to call “You are the bomb” mechanic/abilities. You need to GTFO out of the raid, and go where no one cares about you (or to a designated area).
What If We Can’t Stay Still?
There are times where the raid can never stay still, or has very little time to stand still. These high mobility fights tend to be the most difficult (or equilavently, high mobility phases are the hardest phases). But what causes you to move so much? The abilities of the fight (going back to the beginning and importance of knowing the abilities). Some examples of this of where the entire raid has to move is:
The Lich King – Phase 2
This part of the fight forces the raid to spread out due to Defile, but at the same time, players are encouraged to stack for the three Valkyrs that spawn so they go in the same direction (and everyone is able to attack all 3). So you are constantly expanding for Defile, and collapsing for Valkyrs. And as most people would agree, Phase 2 of Lich King is the hardest part of this phase due to this high mobility aspect.
Yogg-Saron – Phase 2
His room is huge and tentacles are capable of spawning anywhere in the room (therefore the entire raid must move toward the tentacles as they spawn). Also, part of your raid must move around Yogg-Saron to enter his mind. This is not exactly a high mobility fight, but rather a “long travel time” effect, but causing the same issues as high mobility fights.
I Know What Bosses Do and Where to Stand/Move, Am I Done?
Nope, not by a long shot. We need to worry about healing. Since you know where tanks are going to stand, the melee DPS knows where to stand, the ranged DPS, and the healers know where to stand (you can have some healers stand in the melee if the boss just has “Range-Favoring Abilities”), then you need to split up the type of healers you need (Raid vs Tank), and assign them properly.
How Do I Go About Assigning Heals?
You assign heals to where the damage is being put out silly! And it truly is that simple. Sometimes you need to be more particular about assignment (as assigning raid healers to groups), but for the most part, you place the minimum about of healers on the raid to keep the raid alive from AoE abilities (oh look, going back to the beginning about knowing the boss abilities), and place the rest on the tank.
If people are dying, as a raid strategist simply look at the assigned person and ask them if they need more help, or what’s going on. I can go further into how to analyze healing meters and assess healers in general in a separate blog.
Now Am I Done?
Nope, last role I didn’t really talk about is the tank. Tanking is really simple in words: If you don’t have to move, don’t. There are times where you do have to move, such as Auriaya’s Void Zones, and if you don’t tell the raid you’re moving, you, not the raid, die. Which is the point of this entire section, you as a tank are responsible for keeping yourself alive. You are the most important person in the raid to keep alive, and knowing where you stand (so healers can follow, or the raid can react properly either it be melee dps following or everyone), whether you are taunting or not so that healers can properly react and heal you with pre-hots and shields, or whether you need an external cooldown to stay alive; the responsibility is on your shoulders to communicate, not the raid’s. When do you know when to move or when to pop a cooldown? From the abilities of the bosses! (Gee, who saw that coming :P).
Hopefully this helps everyone look at a raid as a whole a little bit more and how to go about raids in a new angle. I’ll go into healing assignments and analyzing heals next time, but for now, remember, memorize those abilities and know why your positions are where they are and what to look for.