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Archive for April, 2009

EPISODE I:
Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute. Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of deadly battleships, the greedy Trade Federation has stopped all shipping to the small planet of Naboo.

I hate Monopoly.  We played board games a lot in my family growing up, and while I was more than happy to show off my verbal skills in Scrabble or flaunt my pop culture, literary, historical knowledge in Trivial Pursuit, I loathed Monopoly — everyone else’s game-of-choice.  No matter what strategy I devised (buy up the yellow and green ones, cockblock my brother’s plans by buying Water Works, build hotels on the cheap-o properties), I’d end up broke, groveling at some family member’s feet so I didn’t have to mortgage everything in order to pay their rent.  My dad was a ruthless bastard, always the banker, and I swear to god, a cheat.  He’d laugh at my poverty, laugh at my bad luck with the dice, laugh at my second place in the beauty contest.  So in a fit of frustration and bankruptcy one night, I pitched the Monopoly board across the living room.  “I hate you all,” I screamed and stomped up to my room.

Needless to say, my family has never asked me to play Monopoly again.  But nor have they let me forget the episode.

EPISODE IV:
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. 

Aftermath was the definitive hardcore raiding guild:  the best players recruited from servers across the game, with best-in-slot gear and min-maxed raid composition.  They not only raided daily (as content and progression demanded), but members were “on call” for contested mobs.  The best loot in the game dropped from these contested raid mobs, and so these kills were important for gearing an elite raid force, but they also symbolized control of the server and effectively shut out other players and other guilds from these items.  From time-to-time, other guilds would try to challenge Aftermath by trying to kill a contested mob; but these upstarts almost always failed to assemble their raid, let alone kill the mob first, and as they gathered and as they wiped, they faced ridicule and harassment from Aftermath members.  (The classic example:  this video made by an Aftermath member after they’d tricked another guild, Strike, into thinking the Three Princes were about to spawn.   The guild waited 2 days at the spawn point, when in fact Aftermath had already killed them.  Strike transfered servers shortly after.)

Phantom was the guild leader of another raiding guild, Exodus.  Phantom had a good guild with good players in good gear.  Although Exodus was raiding end-game content, and attempting to get some server-firsts-seconds, they were not killing contested mobs, and as such were always reminded by Aftermath that they were very much the also-ran.  While Phantom’s guildmates were happy to log in in the evenings to raid instances, they weren’t willing or able to drop everything when the Avatar of War or the Pumpkin-Headed Horseman spawned.  But Phantom wanted to kill contested mobs.  He wanted Exodus to rival Aftermath.  And if he knew a mob had spawned or was about to spawn, he’d still try to assemble a raid to kill it, even if this meant pugging a sizeable portion of the team.  

Protocol dictates that whoever gets to a contested mob first, with a raid force that’s big enough to pull, can take a fair crack.  If you wipe, then anyone else ready and able gets their turn.  You don’t interfere (well, unless it’s a PVP server).  You don’t train nearby mobs onto the healers.  You sit and watch and wait your turn and discuss your strategy and ok admittedly, chuckle in vent when their tank gets one-shotted or their melee eat a face full of AOE or their casters get pwned by adds.

Protocol aside, neither Aftermath nor Phantom were on their best behavior under these circumstances.  Phantom would ask anyone online to join his raid then complain when people had no clue about strategies.  He would screech and splutter in vent (in that high-pitched voice that, sorry angry raid leader, makes you sound like a howler monkey not like a commanding presence).  And the members of Aftermath would mock and taunt and point and laugh.  Phantom didn’t handle this well, and following an embarrassing wipe to the Matron, quit his guild in a huff and deleted his toon.

“Rage quit!” became the most popular phrase on the Butcherblock server.  Aftermath renamed their alt guild “Rage Quit.”  Anytime someone left a group or a guild, anytime someone didn’t get their way:  “Rage quit!”

RAQE QUIT!!!111

EPISODE V:
It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although the Death Star has been destroyed, Imperial troops have driven the Rebel forces from their hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy.

I have very little respect for those who “rage quit” or for those who similarly “emo quit.”  (The former consists of “OMG FUCK YOU ALL.” /gquit.  The latter consists of “OMG IF THAT’S WHAT YOU THINK OF ME, FINE!  I GUESS YOU R BETTER OFF WITHOUT ME.” /gquit)  

Actually, no… I have no respect for them, and very very little respect for people who subsequently re-invite these poor sports to the game.

And yes, I threw a temper-tantrum once, threw the Monopoly board at my dad, and stormed off in a fury.  I was 10.  Should my parents have coaxed me out of my room, back to the coffee table and rewarded me with a few extra 20s and something shiny like St. Charles Place?  Um, no.  That’s not how you deal with children.  

So why, then, do we respond to juvenile bullshit in a guild that way then, eh?

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thorim

We managed to down Thorim last night, a boss that gave us quite a bit of grief last week.  As we were learning the fight, we seemed to always face problems in the arena (“tank down!”) or problems in the gauntlet (“tank down!”), and if we successfully made it past that phase, died to massive chain lightnings when fighting Thorim himself.  We also struggled with an undocumented ability:  Thorim’s tendency to DC one or two people on the pull. 

The thrill of downing a new boss was dimished by several things — that Kaleyen wasn’t invited to raid being the most important to me personally.  But the nerfs, omg, the nerfs.  The changes to the first few bosses in Ulduar have been discussed by several bloggers, and no surprise to any readers here I’m sure, the elitist jerk in me thinks it’s ludicrous that these have come so soon.   Honestly, I’d like to see the Disconnect, Lag, Latency, and Loading Screen bosses tweaked first.  But as we circled back around to Razorscale and Ignis last night — one shotting both while standing in the fire — I felt pretty sad that Blizzard wasn’t willing to give us time or incentive to improve.

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Nerf This!

nerf-bazookaThe other day, my fellow priest BobTurkey commented on my post “Gearing Your Discipline Priest (in 3.1)” that he gears for longevity.  As I’ve never had mana issues, I’ve never felt as though I had to really think much about ensuring Khaeli had enough juice to endure the lengthiest of encounters, even with the changes to Rapture.

Apparently Blizzard noticed that Disc Priests were still ending fights with plenty of mana and were able to cast almost mana-free shields.  So they nerfed us — a stealth nerf, the bastards:   “The Priest ability Soul Warding now only reduces the mana cost of Power Word: Shield by 15% instead of 30%. The tooltip for this spell will be updated at a later date.”

I noticed myself low on mana last night and was taken aback (I didn’t know about the nerf at the time), but thought that it was from rezzing folks right before we pulled a trash encounter.  Or from getting Gravity Bomb every goddamn time XT-002 cast it.  I do wonder if I’m too liberal with my shielding now that they’ve removed the cooldown.  

4_28

Certainly the increased mana cost of PW:S will give me pause.  And yes Bob, it might just make me think about gearing for longevity.

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One of the things I used to most despise about respeccing my talents was having to redo all my action bars and keybindings to accomodate the new spec.  Thankfully, the dual-spec option remembers one’s layout, so the switch from Spec 1 to Spec 2 doesn’t require one to open one’s spellbook and reposition everything.

For me, however, switching between specs isn’t merely a matter of having a different set of buttons to mash.  I utilize several add-ons as a healer and these too must be altered.  Many add-ons allow you to set a profile, and in some cases, this is might be the easiest way to quickly move between the settings you need for Spec 1 and Spec 2:  Khaeli_Disc and Khaeli_Holy, for example.  

TellMeWhen is an add-on I’ve come to love and rely on.  It notifies you when spells are off cooldown and when buffs and procs are active.  I find it very useful for monitoring the cooldowns on certain heals; for reminding me to reapply Inner Fire; for notifying me when I have Borrowed Time (ok, duh, that one’s obvious) or Heroism or Surge of Light.  However, TellMeWhen does not have the option of setting profiles.  I wrote about this add-on — briefly — when I first was asked to switch specs to Holy, and some commenters asked for more details on setting it up.  As I’ve had to fiddle with it somewhat lately so that I can easily switch between Holy and Disc, this seemed like a good time to revisit the “How To.”

Access to the addon’s configuration is available two ways:  under one’s interface screen (via the Menu) or via /tmw.

tmw_interface

I use two icon groups on Khaeli:  Icon group 1 reminds me when I have certain buffs active.  Icon group 2 reminds me when the cooldowns are up on certain spells.  As you can see, you can dictate how many icons you want in each group and if you want them in rows and or columns and if you want them only shown in combat.

You’ll have to pardon some of these screenshots, I should interject here.  These were taken while waiting for the raid to fill last night.  But you can see here where my eyes are focused during most fights.  On the left is my Belkin layout.  (I use Clique for the spells you don’t see there:  cures, Penance, Flash Heal, PW:S, PoM)  Above my main action bar is TellMeWhen’s Group 2, cooldown notifications.  Then Grid.  To the right of Grid (not visible in this picture) is my Prayer of Mending tracker.  Then Quartz above that (with my target to the left of Quartz (also not pictured here) and target’s target to the right).  Above Quartz, TellMeWhen’s Group 1, buff notifications (this screenshot is in setup mode.  When active and locked, the icons display the appropriate image, not the clock you see here).  

setup21

As you can see, I have cooldown notifications for three spells:  Prayer of Mending, Penance, and Circle of Healing.  (The latter is a “?” in the above screenshot as I am currently Disc.  When I’m Holy, Penance becomes a “?”  Once you’ve locked the add-on, this “?” will disappear, so don’t fret.)  

To setup your buffs and spells, type /tmw.  Choose the name of the spell/buff/debuff  you’d like monitored, and whether you want the add-on to monitor whether it’s active (in the case of something like Surge of Light) or when its cooldown is up (in the case of something like Penance) or when it’s absent (in the case of something like Inner Fire).

penance21

sol21

As you setup TellMeWhen, I recommend establishing the icons that you need for your main and your offspec.  As you can see in the images above, even though I’m specced Disc, I have Surge of Light notification waiting in the wings; it’s just not enabled.  When I switch to Holy, I disable the notifications for Disc — disabling the icons for Borrowed Time and Penance — and enable the notifications for Holy — Circle of Healing, Surge of Light, Serendipity.  

Although admittedly, it’s a bit of an annoyance to have these extra steps — it’s not a push-a-button switch — it’s worth setting up these notifications in advance.  And hell, if you’re asked to switch to your offspec for an encounter, everyone can bloody well wait while you get yourself situated.

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whydoesntanyonetakemesrsly1

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I should be raiding. It’s 7pm server time, but I’m not in-game.

I can’t raid tonight.  The stress from a variety of sources has taken its toll on me, and I woke up yesterday barely able to move.  Ugh, my back.  The pinched nerve there seems to be echoed in a pinched something-or-other in my network at home today.  Typically, I blame Comcast, but honestly I think it’s my router.

So, I’m watching old episodes of Firefly, chuckling as I’d forgotten all about Kaylee (not eponymous) and after some of the bullshit accusations I’ve faced in-game this weekend, making all sorts of connections about nice girls with no training and surprising skills.   Back pain aside, though, I’m feeling more like River.  Or rather, I wish I was feeling more like her.

serenity_06310-2

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secondaryAs a priest, one has three specs that are very viable and very desirable for raiding:  Discipline, Holy, and Shadow.  While some people might’ve been able to accumulate off-spec gear over the last few months and prior to the release of the dual-spec option (seriously, don’t all paladins have a full holy set?  Damn Naxx itemization), many players might now be faced with the expectation they “suddenly” have the gear to support another spec, should the need to switch arise.

Fortunately for priests, this isn’t a terrible challenge.  While switching from Feral Druid to Resto Druid requires completely different gear for every single slot, the requirements for the three priest talent trees aren’t so radically different, and in a lot of cases, you won’t have to swap that much around.  While you can find many sites with lots of math and lots of arguments on how best to gear for your main spec (check out my thoughts on the matterBobTurkey’s post on priest theorycrafting, Xeonio’s thoughts on stat weights, unholy holy’s assessmentsShadowpriest.com’s gear guide, or the priest forums at Elitist Jerks for example), you might not have the time, money, or opportunity to put as much care into accumulating off-spec gear.  

In general (very general), the different talent trees will privilege attributes like this:

Discipline
Spellpower > Haste = Crit.  Intellect > Spirit

Holy
Spellpower > Crit > Haste.  Spirit > Intellect

Shadow
Spell Hit > Spellpower > Crit > Haste.  Spirit = Intellect 

Skill aside, the gear requirements from switching from healer to Shadow Priest are more stringent than the switch from Shadow to healer.  This is because reaching the cap for hit is truly a requisite for raiding.  Assuming there’s no Draenei in your group and you have the full 6 points in Misery and Shadow Focus, you’ll need 290 hit to reach the cap.  Here are some places (outside of raid zones) where you can grab it:

Consumables:
Elixir of Accuracy (+45)
Snapper Extreme (+40)
Worg Tartare  (+40)

Enchants:
Enchant Boots:  Icewalker (+12)
Enchant Gloves:  Precision (+20) 

Tailoring BOE:
Ebonweave Robe (+68) 
Ebonweave Gloves (+51) 

Heroic Violet Hold:
Mark of the War Prisoner (+73) 

Badges of Heroism:
Plush Sash of Guzbah (+33) 
Ward of the Violet Citadel (+38) 

Gems:
Lambent Forest Emerald (+8) 
Rigid Autumn Glow (+16) 
Shining Forest Emerald (+8) 
Veiled Monarch Topaz (+8)

If you are switching to Holy from one of the other trees, particularly from Discipline, you might find your gear is lacking Spirit.  Again, here are some quick ways to boost that attribute.

Consumables:
Elixir of Spirit (+50)
Cuttlesteak (+40) 

Gems:
Intricate Forest Emerald (+8)
Misty Forest Emerald (+8) 
Seer’s Forest Emerald (+8) 
Sparkling Sky Sapphire (+16) 
Sparkling Dragon’s Eye (+27) 

Enchants:
Brilliant Spellthread (+20) 
Enchant Cloak:  Wisdom (+10) 
Enchant Bracers:  Major Spirit (+18) 
Enchant Weapon:  Exceptional Spirit (+45) 
Enchant Boots:  Major Spirit (+18) 

Getting a feel for playing your off-spec will take time, whether it’s mastering the refresh priorities of a Shadow Priest, making the most of SOL procs as a Holy Priest, or taking advantage of Borrowed Time procs as a Disc Priest.  But gearing for your off-spec needn’t be viewed as a huge hurdle.

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