Leveling is just like real life

I had a birthday recently and a cousin wished me happy by pointing out how many more “levels” I had to get until I hit the cap and, presumably, died. I found it funny, although my cousin was apologetic for how morbid it sounded. It also got me drawing comparisons because, as you might know, I am super lame.

I like sharing my lameness.

Leveling – just like real life*

Levels 1-10: Just like real life, these go by quickly – almost without your even realizing it. You don’t know much and things are easy.

Levels 11-20: These years are frittered away thinking you already know all there is to really know about who you are and what you want out of life. Namely, you want to drive. Once you start driving, you want to be able to drink. Once you start drinking, you want to get out and explore the world and pick up hot members of the other sex (I’m not sure how that last ties into the game but whatever).

Levels 21-30: These years are where you start to solidify your identity. You’ve chosen a career path and you’re pretty committed to it. All the things that used to seem grown up and exciting from a distance prove to be mostly another iteration of crap you’ve already done before.

Levels 31-40: You start to become somewhat jaded because life has become so routine. There is nothing new or exciting. Except a faster car mount. You have a midlife crises and get the shiniest model you can. You might also find yourself hemorrhaging money on other things you don’t really need but that you really want.

Levels 41-50: Once the excitement from the midlife crisis fades, you settle back into work. Every zone day is a challenge and things are starting to slow down. The glory days of your youth when everything was new and exciting seem very far away and you start to wonder if you’ll ever make it to the end.

Levels 51-60: More of the same from the last decade. Only as soon as you hit 58, you retire from the slog you’ve known all your life in order to pursue a new and exciting opportunity in a new environment. Things are looking up once again and in the fresh excitement of your new surroundings, you start to make some serious cash and begin pelting towards old age more quickly than ever.

Levels 61-70: You pretty much don’t even feel these years go by. You’re traveling a lot more and do a lot of flying. You’ve learned pretty much all you’re going to learn and are constantly honing and perfecting your skills. People much younger than you are always asking you for help and pretty much make you feel revered. Or annoyed. Whatever.

Levels 71-80: The analogy mostly crumbles here, but chances are you’re pretty wealthy and able to support the lifestyle and habits of the newer generations. You complain bitterly about how when you were 20, you had to scrimp and save for your first ride even as you mail off a sum to Junior so that they can have the latest model of horse, knowing full well that you’ll also be providing their midlife crisis money to them as well.

Then I guess you die. Or get bored of the dailies and stop playing until you get a chance to age five more levels. Like I said, whatever.

*Sort of. You know, in a way. Okay, not really.

Posted in Acts of Lameness, Leveling | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

My raid leader is a meanie poo poo head!

A few days back, I had someone find my blog by searching the following:

my raid leader is a jackass

While I find that – and similar search terms that have led people here over time – terribly funny from a juvenile point of view, I would hazard a guess that the raid leader in question is not the problem. Quite the opposite – I’m betting the raider who feels hard done by will most often be responsible for tensions existing between them and their raid leader.

Let’s look at some basics:

Raid leaders tend to be part of a leadership team, which means that they hopefully have some ability to lead people. I will allow that there is some rather startling frequency in guilds having their besties – their closest-knit BFF cliques – be the guild leadership. I am not talking about these people. Their guilds will inevitably topple. I am talking about established, been around for years, guilds.

Like all other officers and leadership in game, raid leaders do not get paid or receive any tangible perks for taking on the burden of leading raids. It’s a volunteer position, most likely done by the person doing it because they have some skill at organizing people and balancing a hundred details in their head about which classes can do what, more or less. They also remember the mechanics of numerous boss fights and are able to articulate those mechanics and what they mean and what to do in response to overcome the mechanic to the average raider who is, after all, hardly better than a drunken gnat in terms of attention span.

Oh, don’t look at me like that. If every raider out there were as good as they fancied themselves to be, even the most haphazardly thrown together pug would be downing the Lich King. Alack, the vast majority of raiders live in a sort of fantasy land of super-de-dooper awesomnity when it comes to their ability. I’ve seen it, time and again.

And I laugh when insufferably stuck-up players are the ones who end up dying because, even through the combined force of their awesomeness and a boss mod, they’re not actually aware of anything far enough past their Recount meters to stay out of the bad.

Stupid meter-humpers. Go find a dummy in Ironforge or Orgrimmar to have be a partner to your fantasies of topping the charts. Doing it in front of other real people is just gross.

However, a good raid leader often feels responsible for all their little raiders and will often call out reminders about what they ought to be doing. I imagine the average raid leader can be fairly patient about this for at least a few months. But when it comes down the same fucking idiot making the same fucking mistakes over and over and over again, your average raid leader is going to start calling the idiot out for it. Or replace them with someone who might be able to do better.

So don’t come here and tell me your raid leader is a meanie poo poo head for saying you made a mistake, it was your fault the raid wiped and you’re a hopeless noob who should learn to play before trying to raid. Because it’s probably all true and you, or people like you, wore out their willingness to address things calmly a long, long time ago.

Posted in Raiding, rant | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Raiding: A Newbie’s Guide, Part II

See here for the first in this series of how to start raiding. All the same disclaimers apply here as well.

Okay, you’ve theoretically done a lot of preparation at this point and you’re ready to head into a raid. I said before that a raid is different than a 5-man, an not just in terms of sheer numbers. I will focus mostly on 10-man raiding because it’s been ages since I did anything in a 25-man, so if any 25-man raiders out there want to anything unique about that raiding experience, please feel free to do so.

1. There’s going to be a raid leader

If you’re in any kind of organized raid, there should be at least one person (and possibly a few more than that) who will be leading the raid. For example, there might be a lead who handles healing assignments. Or someone who is not the raid leader might be the loot master. The raid leader will call the shots on what you’re doing, how you’re going to do it and when you may or may not go pee. When you’re in a raid, this person is your boss.

You’ll want to be able to hear whatever they say because they’re not likely to take time to type everything out for your benefit and if you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing, they just may get cranky enough that they remove you from the raid. If you’re a healer, there should be healing assignments. If you’re a tank, you’ll need to know which mobs you’re supposed to be keeping busy or how you need to work with the other tank on a boss fight. DPS frequently need to switch targets or focus on a problem – whether that’s a fight mechanic like burning down a bone spike on Lord Marrowgar or simply single targeting and killing a healing mob before switching back to general AoE.

Your listening and responding as quickly as possible will go a long way to the raid leader accepting you as a valuable member of the team and not some freeloader who wants to be carried through content.

2. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Now, I don’t know how hardcore raiding guilds feel about this, but I don’t suppose they’re taking people who have never raided before along to their raids, so I’m speaking from a more casual angle here. As a raid leader, few things drive me more up the wall than people who communicate ineffectively.

There’s a fine line on this between communicating too much and communicating too little. For example, the raid doesn’t need a play by play of what target you are attacking now or that you just used Circle of Healing and it’ll be a few seconds before you can do so again. They also don’t need anyone to verbally spam the raid with how much DPS they had on a particular fight. They certainly don’t need to know that your boss is such a jerk, man, he totally made you work today.

But there are things that ought to be communicated. Our tanks will notify each other when they are taunting off each other. I yell at anyone standing in the bad. If positioning is off for a healer, they will address it as needed. Before a boss fight, anyone who doesn’t understand a certain point of the strategy and how it affects them should ask for clarification.

Any raid leader worth their salt will not get frustrated or angry about these interjections. It takes less time to make sure everyone has a full understanding of their job than it does to recover from a wipe.

Also, if you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing, you might as well confess that in advance. You’re unlikely to fake your way through it and would most likely out yourself by doing something stupid that could cause you to die. Even worse, you might cause others to die.

Lastly, if a raid leader calls for something to happen and you’re meant to do it but can’t – whether it’s because you don’t have the spell on your bar or you don’t have the reagent (in which case you failed at preparing so do better next time) or it was on CD – don’t just not do it and say nothing. Explain why you can’t and be honest about it.

3. Awareness is key

Chances are you’ve probably messed up in a heroic 5-man and lived to tell about it with few to no repercussions. Maybe you stood in something you shouldn’t have but the healer was so laughably overgeared for the content they just healed you through it without comment. Or perhaps you failed to notice that the tank wasn’t ahead of you and you pulled a pack of trash with your face and while you might have gotten beat to death, that arms warrior was able to keep things busy long enough with the help of the healer to allow the tank time to take over and all you felt was sheepish because at least no one else paid for your folly.

You’re not likely to get away with too much of that in a raid. In my raids, people who get ahead of everyone else are people we let die. There are no heroic efforts for an idiot on autorun.

You should also be able to respond to fight mechanics without the raid leader needing to tell you that the mechanic is happening. There are several addons available (DBM and BigWigs spring to mind) that can tell you everything you need to know – from “stop casting” to “you have fiery poop on your feet!”

4. Awareness is key, part the second

I mentioned briefly in the last post that it was important to know all your tricks and tools and know when to use them. If you are able to cleanse magic or curses or diseases, you better be aware of fights that you’ll need to pay attention to whether or not a raid member has a debuff and you better take a break from whatever else you’re doing to help cleanse. Particularly if you’re a DPS or a paladin tank. A second of you stopping dps or not going through your rotation won’t impair your performance and it may be the difference between a wipe and a win.

A healer, on the other hand, might not be able to stop healing during a few critical seconds. Watching for and handling debuffs is a good way for DPS particularly to provide good support to their healers who are, after all, keeping the raid alive.

5. Your toolbox isn’t just yours

In a raid, there are some tools that certain classes can bring to a raid that the individual who has the ability nevertheless doesn’t get to decide when it’s used. This mostly pertains to heroism/bloodlust and rebirth. You should never use either of these abilities unless the raid leader specifically calls for it. And by “raid leader” I mean the raid leader, not some whiny-ass DPS who died on the trash before a boss fight and thinks they need to be brought back up now rather than once the rest of the raid gets done killing the trash. After all, if a healer goes down mid-boss fight, that is clearly a better use for a battle rez than the whiny DPS is.

Heroism/bloodlust should also be reserved for boss fights. There are many fights where a boss will soft enrage (which is to say they’ll usually start hitting harder and/or faster or some other mechanic that does a lot of damage to the raid will kick in) at 30%. Obviously when it comes to crunch time, your raid will want the most advantage they can have, so heroism will be reserved for that time. On other fights, it makes more sense to use it early when the whole raid is sure to be alive. In either case, you don’t use it until it’s called for.

To a lesser extent, paladins, mages and shamans will need to coordinate their buffs if there are multiple of either class in the raid. Paladins have to make sure everyone gets buffed appropriately and there are as many useful auras up as possible. Mages need to make sure that Focus Magic is being traded. Shamans should be coordinating which totems each will be using to allow for as many of those buffs to benefit the raid as possible.

Paladins should also reserve their Divine Interventions for when the raid leader decides something is a wipe and calls for it. When done right, a healer will be left alive and the paladin will save on a repair bill. Win/win!

6. Okay, but what about the lewts?

Every guild is likely to have their own ways of handling loot and they should have that explained somewhere on their forums. However, a few general words about loot go something like this:

  • Do not be a selfish bastard
  • Do not be an ignorant bastard
  • Do not be a whiny bastard

Everyone in your raid should have as much of a shot at getting loot as you do. No one likes the person who kicks up a fuss because they didn’t get that shiny purple they wanted. I’ve had people not roll for loot and then literally sob because they didn’t win it. I’ve had a guy get some gloves that someone else passed to him because they were a better upgrade for him turn around and throw a shit fit that they weren’t allowed to roll on an off spec trinket. I’ve had a boomkin get hysterical over a pair of cloth boots going to a mage because we favored the cloth-wearer getting cloth over the leather-wearer.

Going into a raid with the mindset that everyone else is there to help you gear up is pretty idiotic and no one will want to raid with you if you’re going to be constantly whining about loot.

On the flip side of this, if a decision about loot is made that you genuinely don’t understand, make a note to ask about it after the raid is over. It won’t serve you well to interrupt the raid with a 15-minute inquisition into why the loot rules are the way they are. In fact, if there’s something in the stated loot rules that doesn’t make sense, you might even ask about it before a raid, rather than waiting for it to come up as an issue.

7. OMG, I signed up and didn’t get to go, wtf man?

I wanted to touch on this because this is a part of raiding that some people genuinely don’t seem to understand. A raid leader cannot fit more than 10 people into a 10-man raid or more than 25 people into a 25-man raid. If more people signed up than can get in, someone is going to have to sit out. It might even be you.

Along with this, if your guild uses the in-game calendar to handle raids, or any other calendar, the appropriate way to find out whether or not you’ll be needed for a specific raid is not to harass whomever is leading it. Instead, you should go – wait for it – look at the calendar. Raid leaders generally will look over who they have signed up to go and will confirm the people they need for the raid and put any extras on standby.

If you’re confirmed, you should damn straight be on in a timely fashion, repaired, stocked up on whatever you need for the raid and ready to go.

If you’re on standby, you’ll have a better chance of getting in if they need someone if you’re on and ready to go. However, advertising that you are ready only makes you appear to be gunning for someone’s spot. Be on and take a look at where everyone is in your guild come raid time. If the raid leader hasn’t sent you a tell asking you to come or if you can count 10 or 25 people in the raid instance, then they don’t need you and you’re free to do something else. Anything else but whine about how you didn’t get to go.

The other side of this that some people don’t seem to understand is that a raid cannot be built out of a random 10 people. A 10-man raid needs two tanks, 2-3 healers and 5-6 dps. Heading in with 1 tank and 9 dps just won’t work, so do more than just look at how many people signed up, okay? I mean really.

8. Allow me to reiterate much of the above somewhat more concisely

Raiding is about the whole team. There are 9-24 other people involved in this exercise and so anything you can do to be a contributing member of the team is something you should do. Anything that’s only about you, whether it’s taking an unscheduled AFK to pee because you suck at planning, or showing up a few minutes late, or not having everything you need, or refusing to follow instructions from your raid leader because you think you know better is extremely rude and will not win you any friends. I’m not a harsh raid leader, but I have removed or replaced people from my raids for such things. Any raid leader who is the least bit serious about raiding would do the same.

I believe a raider’s mantra should be: Sign up, show up, shut up.

There are times and places to fully relax, kick back, chat and have a good time shooting the breeze. In a progression raid is not one of them.

Posted in Raiding | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Monday Haiku: Comments

So, IntenseDebate

Shouldn’t eat your comments now

At says he fix’d it

At least I hope he did because he fiddled with things for about an hour last night and each time he said “Look at it now,” I would have gone from, well, quite a few comments on a given post to, like, half that. And it’s not that the number of comments is all that is important to me (although I would be lying to say I didn’t care at all), but it was frustrating to be able to see on my main dashboard that someone had commented and not be able to see the whole comment or have it show up on the blog itself.

Anyway, things should be synced better. No, I haven’t been moderating comments in any way. If you ever commented and it didn’t show up that you could tell, it might be there now!

Now I’m going to go back to crossing my fingers and hoping that I don’t end up with anything worse. I’ve heard some horror stories about IntenseDebate and Disqus and I think right now I’d just start gibbering if I had one more thing on my overfull plate of stressful things.

Posted in Real Life | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

A totally scientific look at why mages rock

You may have to click to embiggen. But it’s totally scientific. And well-researched.

Posted in Acts of Lameness, Mage Related | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

Raiding: A Newbie’s Guide How To

Before I get into this, I want to note that this guide is for people who are new to raiding. By new, I mean they have never raided before or have only been yanked into a raid without the damndest idea what they were doing and carried through by everyone else. As a result of that, all of this will sound pretty elementary to more seasoned raiders. Still, if anyone wants to read and add anything I might have missed, I’d be happy to incorporate it into the guide. (And since I seem to get stray comments from people wanting to post my advice in their guild forums nearly every time I whip out a numbered list, I’ll go ahead and say up front that if you want to do so, please feel free. A link back would be awesome but I’m not going to demand it. And now I feel all vain.)

1. First things first

Here are some basics for a potential raider to pay attention to when starting down the raiding path. First and most obviously, you’ll need to be at the level cap. Despite all the posts on the official WoW forums begging for Vanilla and BC servers because those were the Golden Days of WoW, no one wants to go back to that content. Not really.

2. Know your class

Yeah, that character you’ve just leveled all the way from 1-80 and didn’t buy on ebay? You should hopefully have acquired some idea of what the basic play style is. I say this thinking it’s super obvious, but I’ve also encountered quite a few oddities along the way. Like a rogue who wanted to stand back and do all his damage through throwing axes or some damn thing. And a priest who thought she was meant to melee, happily swinging away with her mace. Don’t be those people.

In fact, your character is the most solid thing anyone else will have to judge about you to determine whether or not you should even be invited to raid. There are many tools out there for any person to look at how you gear and what you’ve achieved. The highlights to look for are:

a. Have the right spec

If you’re claiming to be a Prot Paladin and have half (or all) of your talents in Retribution, no one will take you seriously. Same thing if you have all your points in one tree! Read up on the “cookie cutter” specs at Elitist Jerks or wowpopular.

b. Use the right spells

I have seen a mage specced into deep frost casting nothing but fire spells. It hurt my head and their dps sucked.

c. Have the right glyphs

Just because you have glyphs that are appropriate for your class, doesn’t mean they are appropriate for your spec. Going back to the mage example, if you’re specced into Arcane, you’re going to get no use out of the glyph of living bomb.

d. Know the right stats to look for in gear

There are a few hard lines I look at when it comes to gearing and stats. If I don’t use mana, I never try to get anything that has intellect or spellpower on it. If I am not a tank, I don’t go for defense rating. MP5 is in the realm of healers and spirit mostly falls over there also, although it can be mildly helpful to many caster classes. Casters have no need for strength or agility.

Min/maxing might not be your thing. It certainly isn’t mine, but I dutifully slog through sites like Elitist Jerks and go out of my way to read up the lovely plain English blogs out there that give advice and tips on how to squeeze the most I can out of my spec and gear. There are also tools like Rawr that can help you easily compare a lot of things. Bottom line is that with all the tools and guides and programs readily available to you at the click of a Google search button, there is absolutely no excuse for being ignorant about any of this.

A few other places to start are: wowpopular, be.imba/wow-heroes, or wowwiki. wow.com can also turn up some helpful class advice.

3. Gearing up

I once pointed out to my guild that if gear had no bearing on our ability to perform in a raid, we would likely all raid naked. As it is, gear does matter. Yes, there are those gifted individuals who can pull off amazing feats in craptacular gear, but imagine how good they would be if they were geared.

The good news about gearing up is that it is stupid easy to do. Assuming you’ve run random dungeons as part of your leveling up grind, you’re going to hit 80 with badges and those badges can be used to buy tier 9 gear. That’s right. You can start earning your way to gear (that raiders would have killed for at the beginning of the expansion when they were raiding in Naxx) as soon as you start hitting up Northrend random dungeons.

If you are serious about wanting to raid and have recently hit 80, you should pretty much run random heroics until your eyes bleed. You’ll get two frost badges for the first heroic you do and will continue to gain triumph badges from every boss you kill, plus extras for every completed heroic after the first one. There are five pieces of tier 9 for every class, some with good set bonuses, some with mediocre ones. There are also other items to be had, like librams or wands or trinkets. There’s also the chance for loot off the bosses you are killing. In the newer 5-mans (ToC and the three ICC 5-mans), epics drop off every boss fight even on normal mode. Gear that makes characters of mine who have never stepped foot in a raid capable of walking in and roflstomping all the early xpac content.

One note about gear and upgrades is that something with a higher iLvl is not automatically an upgrade. You have to be able to compare a potential new item with what you already have and look at all the stats. Perhaps getting that trinket will put you under defense cap or that new bow actually has less agility than the one you have now. Make sure you’re looking at everything carefully, not just grabbing at something because it’s purple or the iLvl is higher.

4. Testing, testing

As you are gearing up, you’ll want to start testing your abilities. The best way to do this is to get into some of the more difficult 5-man heroics and see how to do in your chosen role. As a tank, are you surviving the hits and holding threat against well-geared dps? Healers – are you oom and panicking the entire time or are things comfortable? Do you have the ability to save a reckless dps from getting turned into a floor tank? DPS – are you comparable to the other DPS and you’re all beating the tank in DPS and damage done? (Note, dps throughput is part of your focus, so it’s good to have an addon like Recount or Skada so you can see how you’re doing. However, it is not the only focus and you should not spam the party with your numbers. No one cares.)

Do you watch for things in a five man that you’ll have to watch for in a raid? If you can decurse or cleanse poisons or magic, you should notice when someone else in the party could benefit from that ability and be able to get that debuff removed without missing a beat. You should also be aware of what is going on around you in the physical sense. One of Blizzard’s favorite mechanics this xpac has been to put all manner of nasty shit on the floor. If you can’t keep yourself out of it in a 5-man on a trash pull, even my casual self doesn’t want you in a raid.

Hopefully you’ll also understand that just because you have a certain role in a party, it doesn’t mean that you have that one focus and that’s it. DPS tend to be the worst about getting this tunnel-vision. It’s the tank’s job to gather up adds, they’ll think. I will just stand here and cast my spells. But a class that can interrupt and silence spell casters should take the tiny break from doing damage that can help bring in that add on the peripheral who is standing there casting shadow bolts with impunity. Or they’ll think that there’s no need to pay attention to their health bars because, after all, it’s the healer’s job to keep them alive. While that might be true to an extent, a healer can only do so much and might be engaged in trying to keep the tank alive – or even keep themselves alive from that ranged jerk throwing shadow bolts. Having a feel for what your health bar looks like will allow you to do one of several things to handle the problem yourself, whether that is popping a potion or using a threat-reducing ability to get a mob off you or using an ability that will keep you immune to damage long enough for a healer to have  moment to attend to you. Sometimes you might even consider using a bandaid if you’re not in the midst of taking damage. Overall, the more each player is aware of the rest of the team’s roles and is committed to doing everything they can to make the team successful, the more successful everyone will be.

What does this have to do with raiding? Everything. Raiding is all about effective teamwork. Raiding is not anything like questing.

5. Enhance that gear

Okay, you’re getting close to having good gear in all your slots. Hopefully you’re not a lazy peon and have been working on getting at least cheap enchants put on your items as you’ve leveled. When it comes to having gear you will need to raid to replace though, you’re going to want to go for the best. Fortunately, much of this has become easier as well. Even if you don’t have an enchanter, it’s extremely easy to gain enchanting materials for free by running randoms with an enchanter in the group. You’ll come by a lot of what you need fairly naturally. With less of a stranglehold on the market, these materials can also be pretty inexpensive on the Auction House, although you may have to look for a deal every now and again.

Even if you have to buy some materials, you should be doing dailies anyway. The only way to get shoulder enchants, other than by being a scribe, is to gain reputation with the Sons of Hodir. Dailies are nice in that they take place in a concentrated area so it’s easy to go from one to another, they’re typically soloable, and they give you rep and gold at the same time. Aside from the Sons of Hodir, you’ll also need to check into which helm enchant you’ll want and grind rep with the appropriate faction.

All the crafting professions do give special bonuses that can be used only by the crafter. Most of them will also give something that can be sold and used by someone who doesn’t have that profession. A few examples of these things are the leg enchants that come from tailors and leatherworkers. Casters want the ones from tailors and melee want the ones from leatherworkers. Blacksmiths can make an eternal belt buckle that allows anyone to add an extra gem socket to their belt. The non-armor-making professions (as I look at them) can be useful to anyone and you’ll be in great shape for raiding if you know an enchanter, jewelcrafter, alchemist and scribe.

One note about gemming is that for stat-stacking it may be worth it to ignore some of your socket bonuses. You’ll want to make sure the meta gem on your helm has the required number of differently colored gems for it to be active, but after that it’s more important to go for what will be most useful. For example, although I love me some haste, I get more use out of spellpower, so I will ignore a bonus that gives me +6 to haste if I waste stats on a blue socket and just put a +23 spellpower red gem in there instead.

6. Have or get a guild

I’ve talked before about how to go about finding a guild that will be a good fit for you, so I won’t even go into that here. Presumably, though, if you are in a guild that you like and that raids, you’ll just need to find out what the guild’s requirements are to be a raider and meet them. Chances are if this is the case you are in a casual guild. There’s an excellent post over here about how to app to a serious raiding guild, so I won’t reinvent that wheel either. I will say this – while it is possible to PUG your way through a raiding experience, a guild will be better in the long term. Especially if, like me, you value stability.

7. Be a boyscout

They’re supposed to always be prepared, or so I hear. In all seriousness, you have some homework to do before you head into an instance. Yeah, I’m talking about knowing the fights. Fortunately, there’s a TankSpot.com for that – great for more than just tanks! They have great videos and both audio and written explanations of fight mechanics and there is usually good discussion in the comments about other methods that other people have used successfully. If you want to be thorough, you might want to look at more than just TankSpot though. I usually do a Google search myself “[name of boss] strats” and then I’ll look at everything on the first page that looks interesting. It can be useful to add your class to that search in case you might be able to pick up helpful tips that will be specific to what you can contribute.

8. Get all the right peripherals

There aren’t a ton of specifics I can give here. Basically, you’ll want to make sure that you have all the addons you’ll need (many guilds require a threat meter, like Omen) to perform to your best ability. If you have difficulty knowing when something has procced an ability you need to use when it’s up, you might get something like Power Auras. If you’re a healer, you might find a healing addon like VuhDo or HealBot to be useful. I won’t raid without Quartz and Grid. Whatever you have, you’ll want to spend some time on your own (well before any raids) getting it configured and working how you need it to work. If you’re new to addons, go look here for getting started. Even though a lot of that is geared towards healers, I’ve found a lot of it useful for overall raid awareness.

In addition to addons, you’ll also likely need to download a VoIP client. Ventrilo (usually called Vent) is a common one. I’ve heard of others using Skype, Mumble and TeamSpeak. Having a headset and microphone is also a good idea. Even if you’re not planning on leading the raid, some people prefer to be able to have you reply instantly to a question during an encounter.

9. What? More preparedness? YES

When it comes to raiding, you typically want to have every last scrap of advantage you can. This means that you’ll want to make sure you have an adequate supply of consumables ready to go. This includes flasks (or both battle and guardian elixirs, although flasks are more practical), buff food (although guild runs may often be counted on to have fish feasts available you better have your own in case they don’t), any reagents you might need – and more than you think you might need in case you spend all night wiping (raid leaders will kill you for not being able to do something crucial at a critical moment, such as battle rezzing), and yes, have bandaids and healing and/or mana potions. If you can, bring items that will be useful to the whole raid. I always carry a full stack of all the ghetto buffs: drums of forgotten kings, drums of the wild and runescroll of fortitude.

10. Okay, I think we can let you in a raid now

But that doesn’t mean you’ve arrived. Hopefully you’ve picked up a lot of practical knowledge for how to behave as part of a team and how to be prepared as an individual, but raiding is just different than being in a 5 man. There’s a lot to delve into and I don’t want to completely overwhelm anyone with an even lengthier wall of text, so check back here later for part two of this guide, where I will talk more about some building blocks to effective teamwork.

Posted in Raiding | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Another reason I like having Zel in my guild?

If I mention that, in the light of a recent string of hacked accounts, that we’re thinking of finally acting like what is in our guild bank is important enough to make people prove they have authenticators, she responds with this:

I’m working on a large-ish post, but this was too funny not to share.

Posted in DinoTam | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Mind dump

I’ve been having a difficult time lately with maintaining my veneer of civilization.

Things have been so chaotic lately, that I’m honestly not sure where one thing begins and another ends. Real life problems are overlapping with WoW problems and whenever I start thinking about one thing it seems I am inevitably on a path that leads from one low point to another sore spot and then to something that makes me grieve before I hit some sort of freakish manic high and then next thing I know I am ranting again.

If I didn’t know better, I would think I had some sort of mental problem. Or maybe it’s just hormones. They make excellent scapegoats.

Read no further if you dislike incoherent mind dumps. However, if you like watching  train wrecks, this might be worth making some popcorn. I can wait.

So my job. God, can I tell you about my job?

Customer service and I do not get on well together. I hate dealing with people who don’t seem to have enough brain cells to rub together to understand simple things like that if they request a computer it just might take longer than five minutes to get it. Or that if they really wanted something yesterday, they should have put their request in as early as a few weeks ago. Lastly, I don’t see how I can be held accountable for shipping delays that are the fault of the vendor. What am I supposed to do? Hop on an airplane and fly to any one of Dell’s global locations to demand that I be given the next available laptop?

Yesterday I had a woman call up and bitch me out for some charges that were levied against her account that she didn’t understand. Which, okay, I can understand some consternation that she was charged $130 for something she wasn’t supposed to be, but it very clearly wasn’t my name on the entry. Unless I missed something in job training, I can’t read the mind of the person who did it, seeing as how they are gone and have been since like May and only now have decided that no, they are not coming back.

Let’s not even get into how since this person has been missing, I am stuck trying to do the work of two people. Two and a half if you count the fact that one of my managers won’t go to a weekly meeting and then do their communication job by writing up boring blog posts saying “Blah blah blah won’t be available, just like it isn’t available every third Monday every month.”

But Alas, you’re blogging. Should you be able to do that if you’re so busy?

No, I totally shouldn’t be doing this. But I hate my job and something like 99% of my customers. Getting that off my chest might help me cope with those facts for a while longer. Plus I have to do a lot of waiting for those pesky computers to get here. Can someone perfect instant transportation? I mean really this waiting is hard to understand for all these PhDs like super hard you don’t even know how hard harder than anything in the world except maybe fixing paper jams in copiers because that’s pretty fucking hard for mechanical engineers yo.

Then there’s my guild.

I’m actually too afraid to get into that here, because I just might end up naming names and saying things that I know are better left unsaid. Suffice it to say I most certainly do not understand how some people’s minds work. I’m not saying they’re not working, but I just cannot see any logic.

Also, the raiding scene has been so full of utter fail lately on nearly all fronts. I despair of getting the Lich King down any time soon. Woe is me. Woe, woe, woe.

(I’m totally laughing at myself by this point. Ahh, catharsis.)

Ending on that note

Because there is a lot more shit going on right now, mainly in real life. Many things are uncertain right now and it’s the uncertainty that wears on me. That being said, don’t be surprised if I fall off the face of the earth here and there in the near future.

Posted in rant, Real Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

More DinoTam Poetry!

I know you’ve all been eagerly awaiting this, scoffing at posts of killing pirates and wondering why I even bother to pretend I have anything to say that anyone wants to hear if it has nothing to do with DinoTam. Here are the other entries:

From Anea of Obeying the Muse, we have this untitled haiku:

lotiony orange scales
dignified tophat dino
EEP! surprise buttsecks

Eep! Forsooth.

From Angelya of Revive and Rejuvenate, we have this untitled DinoTam song:

DinoTam, DinoTam,
Does whatever a Dino can.
Pointy teeth, shiny scales,
Another pet beside him pales.

Look out! Here comes DinoTam…

Alas just cannot understand
What it’s like to be DinoTam.
He hates the north where cold winds blow –
He’d rather be in Un’goro.

He prefers the finest meat.
Look out if you pass him in the street!
He might pounce when you’ve turned your back
with his surprise buttsecks attack!

DinoTam, DinoTam,
Friendly neighbourhood DinoTam.
A Dino of enormous size!
He is ravishing to the eyes.

Look out! There goes DinoTam!

Name that tune!

From Elfindale (again!), another Dr. Suess-ish entry:


The dinosaur was huge,
Like “fuck off enormous” size
But the hunter was certain
She wanted him as her prize
So she tamed him and named him
And gave some commands
But it was soon very clear
He was full of demands
He had no time for mobs
He just wanted to play
But then he’d be tired
And would sunbathe all day
He soon became known
All through the land
As the dino with attitude
They call him Dino Tam
He likes skin rubs and steaks
He doesn’t play well with others
When he stays at daycare
They get complaints from the mothers
But the hunter, she loves him
And puts up with his shit
Because thanks to him
Her blog gets lots of hits

It’s true. I do get lots of hits for DinoTam-related stuff.

An untitled entry from the dapper dino himself, @DinoTam

DinoTam rocks
Thoughtful, benevolent and kind
DinoTam rocks
Dignified as a Dragonhawk
No matter how much Alas whined
Or joked about sex with behinds
DinoTam rocks

He is so damn modest.

And lastly, this untitled entry from Lara of Root and Branch, also seen in the comments section of Zelmaru’s DinoTam limerick post:

If DinoTam’s behind you, it were wise
To watch your backside closely as you may
Lest he should give you buttsecks by surprise

In Hellfire, there are demons of great size
Who cover up their rumps with sheets of clay
If DinoTam’s behind you, it were wise

In Howling Fjord a dragon roams the skies
But when he flies behind you, move away,
Lest he should give you buttsecks by surprise

I beg you, give no notice to his cries,
And flee the region when he says, “let’s play!”
If DinoTam’s behind you, it were wise

So do not heed Tam’s pleading or his lies,
But hide your tender derriere away;
If DinoTam’s behind you, it were wise –
Lest he should give you buttsecks by surprise

Buttsecks by surprise sounds like a cologne gone horribly wrong. My two cents.

That’s all the entries. Thanks again to all who entered and to all who love DinoTam as much as I don’t do!

Posted in DinoTam, Guest posts | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

My name is Alas and I kill pirates

No, really. For serious. I kill pirates. One might even say internet pirates. And I kill a lot of them.

And then after a loooooooooong time of running around Ice Lancing low level pirates to death, I get a full green bar. I love green bars when they are full. Except on internet pirates and internet bosses. Those should be empty as often as it can be contrived.

For variety, I sometimes stop killing Internet Pirates and work on those wintercat guys instead. I’m still neutral.

Hopefully they’ll let me keep blogging from my padded cell, but I think WoW will be taken away from me.

Posted in Acts of Lameness | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments