Not much to say today, but I do have a picture of myself, starring as an enormous Pedo-Tree.
And then I have this gem via the good offices of the lovely and hilarious Elfi.
Not much to say today, but I do have a picture of myself, starring as an enormous Pedo-Tree.
And then I have this gem via the good offices of the lovely and hilarious Elfi.
I wrote recently about DPS utility. This is something I pride myself on in general: If something needs to stay locked down then it will stay locked down, barring the uncontrollable derp of party members. Effers are typically quite good at respecting CC targets and not breaking things prematurely. So I’ve been spoiled lately, not having to deal with the random carelessness of other people.
Cue the fact that Rhii needs some orbs for boot making, and I find myself in LFD with her.
We went for normal heroics, because we’re after orbs, nothing else. I don’t mind being over-geared in a regular heroic! So we zone in and meet up with a DK tank, a rogue and a hunter.
A few pulls in, I’m already asking in guild chat whether the hunter is dead because, well, we’re talking 4-6k dps on a given pull. The rogue is slightly ahead of that about half the time and the DK is the only one breaking 10k dps with any regularity.
Oh well, I shrug. Things are going fairly quickly, after all. We make it through all the elemental pulls and I’ve been doing my thing the whole time: stealing spells, interrupting casters and occasionally taking pressure off the tank with a Circle o’ Frost.
Then we get to the bit where there are humanoids to deal with. I sheep the healer without being asked. All is well for a few pulls and then this happened:
And I was instantly and violently irritated. What he said was sound in that I would need to sheep again because there was still one or two other mobs up, but I’d just spent the whole instance to that point spell stealing and silencing and pwning the meters. I didn’t need someone who apparently didn’t know how to sap or kick telling me how to do my job.
So we laughed at him in guild chat and kept on.
The next pull came and the hunter tried to trap one healer while I got the second sheeped. We kill all the things and then this happened:
Then came the real derp and I wish I could have captured it via text for you guys, but there was no real talking, only lots of swearing at my screen. We pulled a group from under the little anti-magic field. I sheeped my target. The hunter trapped the wrong one. The rogue still didn’t know how to do anything useful. So I switch to the healer who wasn’t getting locked down, but I’m the only one. I interrupt. Then, some idiot breaks my sheep, and I don’t even know how because it was all the way in the back. It gets knocked back under the shield and I cannot re-CC it. So now two healers are up and people are still focused on a melee unit that is getting the shit healed out of it.
So I pound out a message about how I cannot sheep the one because it’s under the field and would someone please help interrupt these healers. The rogue still fails to interrupt even once. Somehow, we finally get everything killed.
At that point, I was sorely tempted to just vote to kick the rogue from the party, but it wasn’t really as though any of them were being super stars of awesome and I knew part of it was that the rogue had me irritated from his earlier stint as Captain Obvious.
For the next orb we farmed, it was a pure guild group. I’m too easily annoyed by pugs.
Remember how I used to have contests and things? Remember how some of those included poetry? I miss those days, guys.
Related to this is that the fabulous Elfi sent me some codes for minipets. I have two: one for the Cenarion Hatchling and one for the Pandaren Monk. I told her she should run a contest with them rather then bestow them upon my not properly appreciative self (I never run with mini pets out if I’m paying attention due to them bothering me), but she sent them to me anyway saying that she didn’t have any ideas for contests.
Thanks to a stray comment from Pilfkin in Twitter this morning, an idea was hatched.
If you don’t know what Vogon Poetry is, then shame on you and I’ll be taking your geek card at the door. But I’m sure I won’t have to do that to anyone here, so here’s the fine print:
I’ll be the judge. All judging will be 100% arbitrary. I will award useless points for overuse of big words and the creation of made up words. Length and pointlessness will also be key factors. Topic is unimportant, but I’ll post the winning entry here for sure.
I’ll accept entries from now until the 27th – that’s two weeks to get a masterpiece to me. Plenty of time to come up some really bad poetry. Entries should be mailed to me at alas at kissmyalas dot com.
The winner will get their choice of the two pets I have available. I’ll reserve the second for an honorable mention, assuming they even need it. I suspect there may be some regional-related shenanigans to take into account (Blizz’s store is most definitely blocked from work so I can’t check until I get home), but for the best worst poem I may just pony up a few bucks so that I can include my non-US and Oceanic readers as well. Cause I love all you guys.
/hopes that this isn’t another case of my being amused and excited by things no one else is
Last time I wrote on the topic of being a GM, I closed with saying that I wanted to talk about guild requirements. In the intervening period of time, I thought: Self, don’t be such an effing windbag. You’re getting far from the point. And that was already covered in Part One where you said to really stop and think about all the structure a potential GM might want in their guild.
So, we’re not going to talk about that or anything else after this topic:
Officers. Do you need them? Do you want them?
Again, this is all going to be very dependent on your personal situation. Are you envisioning a big guild with a lot of people on at all hours of the day or night? Will you have really strict rules about your bank or raiding practices? Do you just feel that there are areas of guild management that you don’t have any particular skill or inclination to handle? In short, is there any area that you think you could really use a person that you can trust to fill in some gap or perform some specific role?
If you can think of something, then congratulations, you could probably use an officer or two.
Three rules of thumb that I’ve learned over the years are these:
I suspect there is a certain amount of people having officers in WoW because it’s the accepted paradigm. And officers can absolutely be valuable people to have, but I don’t feel they are a formal requirement.
I’ve talked a bit elsewhere on this site about my own guild and a bit about how we function without officers. We also just got away from a brief period where we did try to have officers, only to find that it didn’t really work out for our situation.
But this is not to say that we don’t have people doing important things in the guild and helping me out in various ways. One special rank we have is Short Changers. They help me out with the bank, mostly so that people can get things out of restricted tabs even when I am not online.
But then there are the people who don’t have titles of any sort but who perform invaluable service to me every day. Some of them are obvious, like the two fine gentlemen who raid lead. But there are less obvious roles out there as well so listen closely, because this is something every GM needs and shouldn’t live without.
A GM needs someone to support them in ways that don’t have hard definitions. I’ve always had one or two of these people, sometimes with titles and sometimes without. In my former guild, I had two Co-GM’s. And they kept me on track. I filtered everything through these two guys. I valued one of them for his obstinacy in challenging me on 95% of what I came up with, playing devil’s advocate until I could defend my idea well enough that he had run out of things to object over. The other was my voice of logic, the sane and reasonable one who anchored me when a situation would have me overwhelmed and thinking with my emotions rather than my brain. They were absolute treasures.
I think every GM needs at least one person who can be their sounding board. Someone to challenge whether they are making a decision in the heat of the moment that they will probably regret or to shed an impartial light on a situation that the GM is too close to. Or maybe even, sometimes, just a person who can listen to the incoherent rantings of an overstressed mind (not that I have ever ranted or been incoherent, of course) and volley back some sympathy and suggestions on what to do.
This person or people don’t need a title, though I do think Co-GM was a good one for someone involved in such a task, but either way, if you want to be a GM, you should have one. Or many. I’m always collecting such useful people to bounce my ideas and thoughts off of, and am so very grateful to each and every one of them. Particularly the ones who aren’t even in my guild, but who want to see me and my guild succeed.
If you want to be a GM, take some time and do some solid thinking and research about what might be entailed. There are plenty of other bloggers out there who are also GM’s and many of them far more experienced and wise than I am. Vidyala, in particular, is one that springs to mind when I think of other folks I know who sometimes blog about their leadership experiences.
Ask a lot of questions to people who are already doing it. I’m not shy about sharing my mistakes. I’ve made tons and I if I can help someone else not make the same ones, then mission effing accomplished. I’ve found great support from many other people around the blogosphere and no one has ever laughed at me to my face over some of my dumber questions and notions.
Go forth with confidence! Not because you’ve read these lame-ass guides, but because if you have a passion and a drive to do a thing well, you will see success!
I’ve been giving it a lot of thought lately. Like about 5 minute’s worth. And under the extreme and rigorous scientific conditions of some tests I’ve run (mostly in Portal 2, which is when I was doing the thinking about this), I’ve come to the conclusion that Blizzard loves mages best.
5. We have portals. Everyone knows from playing Portal 1 and 2 that portals are awesome.
4. Mirror Images. Where one mage is good, three or four more is exponentially more awesome.
3. Dalaran. Does your class have a magical, floating city that was the focus of the world for a few years? Didn’t think so.
2. We aren’t forced to rely on pets to do all the heavy lifting for us, unlike most other pure dps classes I could name.
1. We have a spell called Blizzard. If that doesn’t cinch it, I don’t know what would.
In conclusion, mages are awesome. Everyone else is merely okay.
But then I found some fun again.
Last Thursday, on a whim, I started up a new character. She’s a Forsaken hunter with a knack for picking flowers and a fetish for collecting any pet that comes in a shade of mostly white. I decided to try out the undead starting area and quest at least through Silverpine Forest because I had heard so many other people say how much fun they had with the revamped zones. Also, I’ve never really played an undead before. Like, I think I abandoned one somewhere around level 10 about four years ago and eventually deleted her.
Plainugly, I hardly knew thee.
Anyhow, I soon found myself very immersed in this new undead hunter, and the quests she was doing. They were mostly new to me so I took the time to read over the quest text before accepting them and, for the first time in a while, I caught a whiff of actual story being told.
By the time I got to the bit where I got to muck about in Gilneas, I was hooked. Half the time I wasn’t even questing, but was instead so immersed in the atmosphere of the place that I ran about dementedly taking screenshots of everything that caught my eye.
And when I wasn’t taking screenshots of the scenery, I was taking it of text and giggling to myself like the damn fool I totally am.
Somewhere along the point where I was nearly done questing through Hillsbrad, I was looking over my professions and reputation gains and generally basking in how awesome I’d been doing at leveling quickly (I was 28, nearing 29) and not falling behind on cooking or first aid or anything else I was doing in between quests, and then an idea struck me.
Self, I thought, you haven’t seen anything Horde side since Cataclysm hit. Your priest is languishing in Dalaran, likely never to see anything past 80, and there is an opportunity here I don’t think you want to miss. Why not level slowly, enjoy each zone, and finish out Loremaster of Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor before going to Outland? And then why not do the same thing in Outland? And why not see how far you can get by doing all the quests in each of those places?
So now I have a project. I’m sure other people have done something like it before, but I don’t care about that. I’m just happy to have something to turn some attention to (sorry, Kotakh, Alas 2.0 doesn’t really want to raid that much since I’ve already got that whole experience on Alas 1.0) when I want to play but don’t have anything I need to do on my main.
My plan of attack is to go back and do all the starting area zones I can, including the ones not part of the Loremaster achievement (because… I like rep?). I am working on Azshara now and have completed Ghostlands. I think it will be fun to see how much I’ll out-level Hellfire Peninsula by the time I arrive there and how well I will be able to keep up with professions along the way.
And while a small part of me always feels a bit guilty for not doing alty things in my own guild, I’m at least having some fun with this for now and it honestly makes me enjoy the time spent raiding on my main even more. I feel like some of the magic is back.
I just had to look for it.
Okay, possibly we don’t want you… or you… or that smelly guy over there in the corner, but we are looking to pick up another member for Team Heal. If you’ve been living under a rock, you can also read about this here and here. And I suggest you do, because all the explanation you’re going to get from me about my guild can be found here.
peons colleagues failed to mention in their posts are the many perks available to a member of those Effing Healers. So in case you require any more impetus to come join us (not that I can tell why you would because, hello, we’re the Effers), here are some selling points to persuade you in the proper direction:
And just to be fair, here are some cons about joining the Effing Heal Team
A few months ago, as you might recall, Eff the Ineffable moved to a structure where we brought in officer-type positions in order to help ease the burdens of a guild grown suddenly larger. Two months down the road, we are a little bit smaller and I broached the topic again on our forums.
One of the points of having the officer positions was to ease my workload. Another was to have a whole panel of people to whom concerns, questions and problems could be brought.
The bank management has certainly been well taken over and having a recruitment officer prompted us to have a discussion about the recruitment process – which is a democratic event, as most things in EtI are, and not dependant on any one person. But raiding was another thing altogether. In fact, the raid leader stepped down after a few weeks and the only other person who had volunteered for the job was out of pocket for a month.
So I took over the rostering and calendar end full time. Fortunately, I don’t have to actually lead every raid as there is a small handful of capable people who are willing to pitch in there. What looked like it was going to be a disaster actually ended up resolving itself into a decently parceled out sharing of duties.
The perspective of how little things have changed prompted me to ask whether the experiment of us having officers was a success. From my point of view, it actually failed. Which isn’t to say that anyone neccesarily performed badly or that I am overly bogged down again, but that the other half of the duties in the leadership structure we had set out wasn’t being exercised. In short, all the problems or concerns or spats between people were still all brought to me.
One could argue that I mishandled things by not telling people who came to me to
tell it to someone who cared take it to the whole panel of officers by sending an email as was discussed. I wouldn’t say anyone making that argument was entirely wrong, but neither would they be entirely right.
For most of the conflict that was happening at the time, it was right that I should have to deal with it because I’m the GM. I’m not sure I can put into words exactly what I mean by that. It’s more than just being the person in charge. It’s also that EtI is mine and I have a duty to everyone in it to make sure that there aren’t any broken areas where there is no structure and guidelines for how to behave in a certain situation. I can’t pass that buck. If I do, I have no right to be the GM.
So I had to fix some structural issues.
Being an emo whiner when I feel like it (which has been often lately, I’m ashamed to admit), I spent some time QQing that I was still not able to log in without getting slammed by other people’s QQ. It’s not fun, true, but if I am being honest, it was partly my fault because I hadn’t addressed certain areas as well as I should have done.
I wanted to run from that and I wanted to make other people deal with it, but instead pep talked myself into just laying some things on the line. I think I had more awkward and painful conversations with more people in those few weeks of turmoil than I had in a year in the old guild.
And now things are calmed down. Some people have moved on. Others have buried their hatchets. I’m not getting completely overloaded with complaints when I log on. Things are better.
But when I brought up getting rid of most of the officer positions (because my rule of thumb there is that if I can’t tell why someone is an officer they ought not to be one), someone suggested again that I might designate someone to deal with the QQ so I don’t have to. My first thought was that it wouldn’t be a very humane thing to do to someone else.
And now I’m thinking that I volunteered for this when I started the guild. I knew it going in that I would be the most obvious person to have to deal with any drama or problems that might arise. I still think there is a place and purpose for telling people to work minor crap out between themselves because one person cannot referee every relationship between every other person in the guild, but one person can step in when things are getting more intense.
All in all, I have a great group of people who are willing to talk and work things out like adults. Yeah, we had a rough patch a few months ago and it was rough indeed, but I took good lessons away from it and I hope other people did as well. And while I’ll more than likely never have this whole leadership thing even halfway figured out, I think that arriving at a better understanding of what it means to own EtI will have a majorly positive effect on my outlook the next time trouble rears its ugly head.
This letter comes to you from an average raider. My guild has never aspired to the bleeding edge of progression and we were, quite frankly, completely stonewalled on content at 3/7 in Firelands. When the nerfs were announced, I was pleased because it did seem the that content was overtuned for us. We could get the mechanics of a fight down just fine, but the enrage timers or the overwhelming damage output were things we were running hard up against.
We raid on the weekends, so I had several days to hear feedback from other gamers I know who were getting to see and judge the nerfs firsthand. The overwhelming message from them was that the nerfs were too much. The content went from being a challenge to being a roflstomp.
But I hadn’t seen it for myself so I tried to reserve judgment.
Now, having raided, I wanted to let you guys know that the nerfs were ridiculously overdone. My guild went from 3/7 to 6/7 in a single weekend. And it’s not a moment of triumph for us because you made it too easy and too cheap.
The real point of my letter, Blizzard, is to let you know that I think you’ve lost touch with what raiders actually want from their raiding experience. We don’t want to be handed loot on a silver platter for showing up with ten warm bodies and having at least half a clue of what is going on. We don’t want the lazy and the unskilled to be able to do what we do without putting in any effort. Conversely, we don’t want the fights to be so difficult that we have to choose to play without our friends just to see progression. We don’t want to be demoralized by an unforgiving mechanic that there is no chance for a recovery from.
We want something that falls between too damn hard and too damn easy. We want to feel like we’re overcoming obstacles but not facing insurmountable ones. We want to feel that our achievements are real achievements and not something any random collection of people gathered via pugging could do without breaking a sweat.
I get that creating balance is hard, but it seems like you’re missing the mark with some consistency.
I missed the boat on Vanilla raiding but I cut my teeth in Kara and a few more of the BC raids. Before Kara, I had no desire to raid at all, having heard stories about the insane dedication that was required to make a proper go of 40 man raiding. But when my husband got pulled in to a Kara raid to heal, I was so transfixed by what I saw on his screen that I desperately wanted a piece of it.
I went there the other night with a few friends in my guild, just because. We overpowered it to a ridiculous degree, of course, but I had so much fun wandering through those halls and reminiscing. Those were the adds that used to wipe our raids with some regularity. This was my least favorite opera fight. Remember the time we came through and one shot everything but nearly wiped on chess?
And more, it was beautiful and an immersive environment. One actually got the feeling that one was exploring some old, rambling wreck of a castle, encountering ghosts of days gone by and awakening old memories. The back ways, the rooms that no raiders ever cleared because they weren’t needed, the immensity of the place, the derelict furniture, that great abandoned library, the secret passage behind the bookcase, and the sheer soaring heights where a fall meant death…
Where is all that design and beauty and care for detail today? Did all the minds that brought us those twisting stairways abandon ship, leaving us with idiots who thought that a bunch of barren rock and a smattering of goddamned fire pools even qualifies as artistry?
I don’t, Blizzard, and it makes me so very sad that I can’t name one raid since Kara that I have been to that reeks of atmosphere or that gives the sense that this is really a place to be explored in the way that Kara did. I admit Hyjal was very pretty and Black Temple had its quirks, but what of the content in Wrath? Ulduar came the closest to being visually interesting. Everything in Cataclysm has been bland.
Maybe even worse than bland. It’s been ugly and uninspiring.
The thing I loved about WoW from the first times I set foot in it was that it really seemed like a world to explore. I would waste hours poking around places that were so far off the beaten path that I’ve never seen them again. But not only have the raid environments now become colorless backdrops to your gimmicky mechanics, you’ve also insisted on putting everyone on a conveyor belt of do A and then B and then C in that order to progress through the questing content out in the wider world. Once you’ve done that once or twice, there’s no point in getting on the ride again because you already know exactly what you’re going to be looking at and the exact point along the way you’ll see it.
You know what I call that? An unsatisfactory ride.
I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but to speak for my own feelings, I’d much rather wait two years between expansions and have each new release of content feel vibrant and rich and real than I would have a new expansion every year and feel as though you’re just regurgitating yesterday’s ideas and calling it new because you changed a model or the iLvl on the gear is higher.
I feel you are sacrificing quality for – not even quantity – but the illusion of quantity. All the while you reserve the little bit of artistry left for things you sell out of your store.
I feel like you care about getting the contents of my wallet into the interior of your wallet more than you do about delivering a quality world and a quality game to me and the millions of other people playing.
I’m not angry over this or over the Firelands nerfs. Mostly, I am just disappointed and wondering when the concern for the customer’s experiences is going to be completely subsumed by the concern for your bottom line.
Please prove me wrong when I think that this is only a matter of time and not just one of many possible outcomes. I want to love WoW, but you’re making that really hard these days.
Edit from Alas: I’m an idiot and forgot to include a link back to my guest poster. This comes from Lonomonkey at Screaming Monkeys.
I was asked (threatened) by the lovely (tyrannical) Alas to write a guest post for her wonderful blog (I lost a bet…). Specifically, she asked me to write about the class I hate the most and to be honest, this is something that took me about five seconds to figure out.
I hate Shamans!
Not the people who play them mind you. There’s some great shamans players like Rhee out there and I’d play with them any day but personaly, shamans are the one class I could never get and the one I hate facing in pvp.
Frost shock traumatized
I’ve always been a fan of melee classes and back in early Vanilla WoW I was playing a warrior. Back then, meeting a shaman was literally a death sentence for me because of a single little spell, Frost Shock! Nowadays it’s not as great as it used to be but back then, Frost shock was the only answer shamans needed to solve all life problems. They even made a video about it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbdC9_vMzHs).
So every time I would meet a shaman it would go like this. Frost shock… I’m slowed so I can’t get to damn shaman, then I blow all my cooldowns just to get to him and he frost shock me again… and again… and he uses a small heal and then I’m dead. If I was lucky I would surprise the shaman and kill him! But then he’d just self-raise and kill me with the frost shock spam.
Ok, I know the class has changed a lot since then but I still hate shamans in pvp. They always have a totem or a snare or something to mess with me. They just don’t fight fair!
And then I just don’t get them
I don’t get how to play a shaman and probably never will. Every time I tried to level one I would give up around level 20. I don’t get how you’re supposed to mesh it all together, the totems, the spells, the cooldowns and just everything. I just keep taking too much damage and dying way too often. I’ve read guides and even then… shamans remain this weird and mysterious class I just can’t understand.
So there you go. No real rational reason for me to hate shamans besides being traumatized back in Vanilla and not understanding them. It’s not really rational, I know, but sometimes, you just don’t like something and this is one of those cases.