Monday magery (in which I try to actually be helpful)

Last week, I saw a cry for help in Twitter for good mage resources. Since I love mages, my immediate thought was: Ooh, I could help! But as it turns out, the only things I’ve really written about mages were either senseless lists encouraging other people to be jerks or angst at Blizz for consistently giving us crappy changes in the patches and trivializing us to the point of being good for int, focus magic and food.

Anyhow, Miss Bubbles found something else and mentioned it and I Googled it to see what she had discovered. As I started reading through the guide, my instant response was no no no nonononononononono!

Wherefore doth every mage advice giver say “Level frost!”? That advice is shit, so I figured it was up to me to provide an alternate viewpoint in the sea of frost-loving tards to say, bravely and with great conviction, don’t go frost. Go fire. Or arcane. But don’t go frost.

And here’s why – frost is lame. The only thing it is good for is survivability in PvP or PvP-esque encounters (looking at you faction champs!). Aside from that, it is painful and lame and I will mock you should I ever PUG an instance with you. Hard core and behind your back. Because that’s how I roll.

So here, from 10-80, is the way I would spend those precious talent points and why.

Levels 1-9

Ha! You don’t get talents! You do get the basics of your toolbox though.

Spells to watch for: You get all the bare basics here. Food, water, int, fireballs and frostbolts. You’ll also get your first armor, Frost Armor, and sorry, you’re stuck with it for a while. Polymorph also comes into play and both can be life savers so make sure they’re very available.

Level 10-20

This is going to sound a little ‘backards,’ but I strongly advise putting the first 11 points into the frost tree. This is because Blizz is making an obvious attempt to steer people into the frost tree and gives mostly frost-based spells for the first several levels. Like many other classes, mages aren’t actually any fun until about level 20 or so. Thank God they’ve tweaked the mana regen issues too, because the water they let you make is crap. Anyhow, you can’t go wrong with Precision and Icy Veins is an absolute must. So the first three points should go into Ice Floes to reduce that CD for when you get Icy Veins. As soon as you do, abandon the frost tree with all haste. Unless you want to go frostfire at end game, there’s never any good reason to put another point in there. Also as soon as you get Icy Veins, macro that sucker to whatever spell it is you choose to spam.

Spells to watch for: You get a few AoE abilities through here – Flamestrike and Arcane Explosion. Slow Fall is nice, especially when you glyph for it. Blink is your friend in sticky situations, use it with Frost Nova for a quick escape before following up with a Blizzard AoE. Evocation can cut down on drink time so use it whenever you can between pulls.

Level 21-30 Fire

I switched between arcane and fire while leveling Alas, and loved each one fairly equally. In this guide, I will focus on fire only since I do tend to recommend to guild-mates that they go fire just because it’s so damn much fun. There’s a lot of nice stuff to be had, even at the bottom of the tree (or top depending on how you like to look at it. I call it the bottom because it’s the first stuff you get…). In fact, there is so much nice stuff that I often have problems advising people on what to pick up first. I try to lean more towards what I feel would be useful for leveling, rather than what you’ll absolutely want to have for the raiding scene. Since the lower levels are pretty spammy with with the same spell over and over, I am recommending Improved Fireball, followed by Ignite for the DoT effect.

Spells to watch for: You get Scorch, Counterspell and Ice Block here. Use Scorch with wild abandon in your rotation and counterspell is great for bringing casters into melee range when running with a tank. Ice Block is another life saver if you overpull and there’s someone around to help you out. If you’re alone, you’re just postponing squishy, squishy death. ¬†Mana gems also start here and they are delightful to use during pulls so you don’t have to stop mid-fight for Evocation. ¬†

Level 31-40 Fire

This is about the level range you get to start picking up some more interesting stuff. Although I have filled out a few more things in the second tier, you’ll want to go ahead and pick up Pyroblast first. This is a terrific (long cast) spell to start a fight with, especially when it crits. World of Flames will improve that crit chance and then Flame Throwing will increase the distance the mob has to run to reach you. Improved Scorch is handy for having a nice quick spell to toss on a mob that will add an extra DoT. About this point, you should be able to effectively kill most single targets before they reach you.

Spells to watch for: You get Mage Armor! Yay! Start using it immediately. That’s it, unless you think portals are an exciting spell to watch for.

Level 41-50 Fire

If you’re having any sort of mana problems, you’ll want to drop your next few points immediately into Master of Elements to finish filling that out. Otherwise, I would start with Critical Mass and Blast Wave before going back and filling MoE in. You then have several options, all of them good, for where to drop the last four. I would pick up Improved Fire Blast from the bottom of the tree and then grab a few points in Incineration.

Spells to watch for: You get jack diddly through here. No really. More upranks of stuff you have but nothing new to speak of.

Level 51-60 Fire

As soon as you hit level 51, grab Combustion and then add that sucker to your macro with Icy Veins. Then fill out Pyromaniac before darting back up to fill out Incineration and then grab all 5 points in Fire Power. In many ways, this is where the points get harder to place because there is so much lovely stuff and so few points to actually spend.

Spells to watch for: You get jack diddly through here. Except that Arcane Brilliance is nice for having to mass buff parties/raids.

Level 61-70 Fire

There are lots of leveling goodies to pick up here. Start with filling up Hot Streak because there is nothing more wonderful than an instant cast Pyroblast after a pair of crits. Dragons Breath, Firestarter and Empowered Fire are all well worth the points, particularly if you are running a lot of dungeons with mass AoE pulls. Dragon’s Breath is a point I have a love/hate relationship with, because I strongly feel that mobs shouldn’t be close enough to have to use that. However, I have been known to pretend to be a melee mage so I could combine that with Firestarter and instant Flamestrike goodness. If you are doing a lot of AoE/close-to-the-mobs-damage, it is probably worth it to glyph to get rid of the knockback on on Blast Wave to keep everything in your flamestrikes. You’ll also want to backtrack again to pick up a point in Molten Shields. Molten Armor becomes available at very long last at level 62 and you will want to rock that like there’s no tomorrow as soon as you get it.

Spells to watch for: Molten Armor! Invisibility! Tables of food! Spellsteal can also be tons of fun – you’ll soon learn which mobs have nice things to take for your own.

Level 71-80 Fire (leveling)

There are two paths to take at this point. One is to keep the fun leveling talents that you’ll kiss goodbye come raiding because again, all of this has been a leveling spec and won’t net you much but anger from tanks come raid time (I myself nearly got killed back in TK: The Eye for using Blast Wave with the knockback because an irate tank thought he needed to have mobs close to hit them and get aggro). Anyhow, round out the rest of the tree by getting Burnout, Living Bomb (more AoE fun and happiness) and that last point in Molten Shields. After that, you have three points left. I’ve seen many mages put them into Arcane Focus for the +hit. But you might also consider dropping them in Playing with Fire.

Spells to watch for: You get to ditch making food and water separately through here, as well as pick up frostfire bolt at long last (that would be the time to switch to the raid spec, btw). At 80 you get Larry, Curly and Moe, your very own three stooges, who are pretty stupid but are a nice way to drop threat when some big ugly comes after you.

Level 71-80 (prep for raiding)

If you’re looking to raid, you’ll want to respec right around 75, although it could certainly be held off longer. However, you will likely want to give yourself a few levels to adjust to the different play style, because it is different. If you want the cookie-cutter spec, go hit up talentchic.com or something. If you want the Alas frostfire raiding spec, click the link above. Mine is basically the cookie cutter version with a tweak that I personally refuse to live without; namely, ditching Molten Fury in order to keep the two points in Molten Shields. I think I understand the mindset behind putting points into something that boosts damage against targets with less than 35% health given the many, many bosses that enrage or get really difficult towards the end of their life spans. However, increasing overall crit all the time makes more sense to me for a build that relies so heavily upon crit.

This is all turning out to be much longer than I anticipated, so I’ll add something else later about glyphs, stats and rotations in another post. In the meantime, enjoy and stay away from frost.

Posted in Mage Related | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

The fine line of douchebaggery: A How To

We had someone quit the guild the other day, taking his main to go heal for a family’s members guild. “No hard feelings,” he said.

And I don’t have hard feelings, per se. But I do find myself rather frustrated with him because this is something like the third or fourth time he’s quit. And I find myself frustrated with us as guild leadership because we’re the ones who kept allowing him to come back. Granted, the first few times he cycled out the door, it was during times of high stress and drama. I often want to quit the guild during those times too, so I can understand it to a point. Still, he’s burned his last bridge with us and here’s why:

I hate giving loot to people who prove to me over and over again that all they’re going to do is walk away later.

At this point, I wouldn’t invite him to a raid if we were a dps short and it was a choice between his skills and a new 80 who thinks that it’s a great idea to be a fire specced mage and only cast frost spells (saw that in a pug, trufax).

But rather than focusing on our own stupid for allowing him to use us over and over again, I present a short list of easy ways to ensure a guild will never want you back, not ever, but still have to say, “It’s not that he was a douche, really, but…”

1. Never shut up. Ever

The trick to this one, of course, is to make sure that you keep everything light and friendly and clean. That way no one can actually complain that you’re rude or crass, but your constant stream of chatter will make people want to put you on ignore at the very least. To carry this beyond a simple stream of chatter, consider carrying your chat over to vent, particularly when people are trying to raid or make it visually unappealing if you’re working only with text, like so:

hey gais!
so i waz wondrin
?
hav u evr liek
thot about bein liek
relly ur caracter
?

End result: When you move on, people will say “It’s not that he was a douche, really, but he wouldn’t ever shut up.”

2. Be just a little dim-witted

I don’t know about anyone else, but I personally despise that one person who asks the same questions over and over. Not because they’re not getting a response or a real answer, but because they can’t remember from one week to another what exactly they have to look out for on a certain encounter or just how to get from IF to SW without bugging a mage about it (yeah, that tram is so difficult to remember and even harder to find since you have push through a magic barrier to find Platform 9 and 3/4).

End result: When you move on, people will say “It’s not that he was a douche, really, but he was just so stupid.”

3. Offer unsolicited critiques on your guild-mates’ builds, rotations, glyphs and enchants

After all, your mage is a level one bank toon, surely you know more about to play that class then the level 80 who has been playing it for years, because you’re fairly certain that they’re not really literate and couldn’t possibly be smart enough to look at sites like Elitist Jerks on their own initiative. Even if they say they have, chances are they were overwhelmed by the math and big words and still don’t really know what’s going on. You’ve heard them button mashing often enough over vent to have a pretty good notion that all they do is slam their face against the keyboard. Give everyone your ideas on how they might improve and then talk loftily about fictitious alts of yours (on other servers and they’re maxed out on everything so you’re bored with them, lol ) and how much better DPS you’re able to pull using your ideas.

Caution: You have to make sure your tone comes across as friendly and helpful. Any hint of condescension will result in people thinking you’re a douche.

End result: When you move on, people will say “It’s not that he was a douche, really, but he was such a know-it-all.”

4. Be that guy above and still constantly be the first to die in raids because you’re too fucking stupid to get outta the fire!

‘Nuff said.

End result: When you move on, people will say “It’s not that he was a douche, really, but he thought he knew everything and was such a noob he couldn’t stay alive in raids for more than a minute.”

5. Give off the faint impression that you believe the rest of the guild is there to serve you

This one is perhaps the most tricky of all to master. As with the rest of these, the key is tone, but equally important is frequency. If you’re constantly spamming for help, hints, run-throughs or invitations to parties, your guild will clue in pretty quickly. There are a few ways to handle this. One is to just never say anything much, but whenever you do type in guild chat make it a request. Don’t be rude but don’t be too gracious either. You can get away with more frequent requests if you make sure to watch who is online and who is off and try to catch different segments of guild at different times.

The other way to finesse this is to offer help about once for every five to ten times you get a run through. Honestly, not many people will keep a running tally or anything, so just as long as you appear to be helpful they won’t notice that you’re really just sponging off the guild and have been for months. Times to offer help are right around when you know people are going to be logging off for the night or just before most of the guild is heading into a raid. Sure you might occasionally get burned by employing this method and end up having to actually give someone’s alt a run through SM, but you can also manufacture emergencies if this happens and get out of it early.

End result: When you move on, people will say “It’s not that he was a douche, really, but he was just so needy.”

Posted in Senseless Blah Blah | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Weekly raid and me

I love me some weekly raid, generally speaking. So far, everything that has come up has been excessively easy to get to and to pwn.

Then yesterday, the thing I had dreaded more than anything else happened.

The weekly raid was Malygos. Eee. Oh. Eee. Our nemesis.

I’ve mentioned before that it should be an easy fight but that people tend to want to give Malygos hugs while they’re on their dragon mounts or not give the tank time to grab aggro on the mobs at the start of phase two or assume that it’s everyone else’s responsibility to kill those nasty sparks o’ doom.

So when I heard from Noxy that the weekly raid was Maly, I started mentally drinking then and there. Had I been not at work, I might have started actually drinking.

Raid time rolled around and I sent out invites and we got everyone summoned out to Colderra. Then I kicked everyone out of the raid, yelled “psyche!” over vent and gquit.

Okay, not really. I did tell everyone to split into two teams though, and that we were going to practice our dragon skills while doing the daily quest Aces High! The healers practiced their healing and the dps practiced their button mashing and every now and again I would bark out “move!” and people would practice strafing to the right. It was delightful, sort of like being in Kindergarten and practicing drawing circles when you know you and all the people with you should be at least at a college equivalent level.

Once both teams had completed the daily we reformed into a raid group and headed in.

The first phase went well enough. Although we didn’t manage to actually stack any sparks and in fact killed one before it even reached the platform so that it fell uselessly into the abyss, at least we managed to kill them rather than let them reach Maly. The second phase also went well enough. The two hunter’s pets decided to kill the mob that the tank wasn’t working on but that was sorted out and no actual raiders were harmed in the process. We also saw our melee dps get up on the discs first, rather than some random healer.

We hit the third phase with just under 4 minutes before enrage and…

…everything worked like a dream. The healers healed and absolutely no one crashed and burned. When I told people to group back up, they did. When I told them to move, there was not a 5 second delay before they did. We one shot Maly with time to spare. Some people even managed to obtain the heart thinger they needed for the quest from the key from when they got that a year or so ago killing Saph. Other people finally obtained their “Champion of the Frozen Wastes” title.

Then we went and kicked Ony’s ass and it was very good.

It gives me hope that we’ll maybe someday manage to find the time to go finish out the back half of Ulduar. I know we’re all capable raiders. The trick is getting everyone to pay attention and understand what exactly they should be doing and when.

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

Low level PUGs can kiss my ass!

At and I have been ignoring our horde side lowbies for a while but decided to put them through their paces today. We decided to run a few instances, swapping out on toons so I could pally tank with his priest heals and he could druid tank with my shaman heals. We ran two different dungeons on each pair, making for a total of four less than awesome experiences.

On the first run, where we were in SFK and I was tanking, I pretty much right off the bat had to tell the hunter with us that he better let me pull because I would, by God, let him die. Just to prove it, I calmly sipped my water and told At not to heal the douche and oh, what do you know, he died. As soon as the 15 minute timer was up, he left before I could vote to kick. The other person from his guild followed. We managed to pick up one more DPS and 4-manned it the rest of the way through.

Next it was off to BFD, where I had yet another huntard pull without myself or the healer being there. I chastised him as well and, wow, as soon as the timer was up he was gone. Nothing else major happened as soon as our fresh mage caught up with us.

Swapping over to other pair, we ran Deadmines. The run was actually pretty smooth, right up until the end. We pulled Cookie and the healer bailed, along with one dps. I swapped over to healing and fortunately the good dps was still with us and we got Cookie down, plus the 5 or so mobs that got pulled by runners.

Then came WC, and a duo from Ysondre who in turn, insisted on trying to tank even though one was a huntard and one was a balance druid… pulled everything in sight whether I had mana or no… bitched at At if he switched into kitty form for single pulls… rolled need on everything… and eventually both left mid-pull.

Is it just horde that do this? Or is it the low levels? Or was it just bad luck? I’ve had a jerk or two running on my 40ish hunter and there has been the very occasional retard in the 75-80 range. I took my 60 warrior out for my first ever tanking experience just yesterday and received nothing but kindness from the others in my party.

But there has been nothing like what I experienced today from the randomly assorted dps in the 18-22 range. As much as I hate horde quests at that level, I just might slog though it rather than subject myself to pugging again. Or trade run-throughs with our DK’s. That might work, too.

Posted in Leveling | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Further incoherence

Random crap from a tired, hurty mage.
I’m not really into Role Playing. Every time I have logged onto a RP server, I have felt distinctly squicky. There are always far too many people in Goldshire and far too many of those people are wandering around with perfectly matching outfits. They also wander around at a walking speed and I am left wondering how that could be enjoyable in any way, shape or form.
However, if I ever were to take up the RP game, I would do so while at my folks’ house during the winter months. I would huddle next to whatever wan scraps of sunshine I could find, my laptop in front of me and putting off a small bit of heat and a lot of smoke, like a fire made from wet wood. I would shiver in the chilly air (the house is kept right around 30 degrees, honest) and pretend to be in Northrend. My character would spend all her time sitting in a snow drift and bitching about how cold it is all the time and damn, she should have just stayed in Goldshire for the holidays, even if it is a backwater little town with nothing to do and nowhere to go. At night, I would park her in a coffin somewhere to get some sleep so she, too, could complain about how horrible it is to be away from one’s bed and how much it makes one’s back hurt.
Gah. I think I am getting old.
In other news, I created a place to post excerpts of the aforementioned book. However, nothing is there yet because I keep erasing the first paragraph and mumbling incoherent words of rage at the keyboard and monitor, as though either of those things were responsible for the fact that I just can’t seem to get going.
And I am ignoring work, wondering why the clock seems to have stopped moving, and contemplating the idea of calling in “sick” tomorrow.
Anyone else bored yet? Yes? Welcome to my life.
Posted in Real Life, Senseless Blah Blah, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hi, my name is Alas

…and I am a WoW addict.

It’s been five days since the last time I logged in.

I miss my guildies and the game. Gotta get another fix here soon.

Posted in Acts of Lameness, Senseless Blah Blah | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

AFK for the holidays

Hope everyone has a very merry Christmas! Here is my gift to you:

Posted in Acts of Lameness | Tagged | 1 Comment

More actual google talk conversations that I was not in

Azzy:       Not raiding
                Oh that reminds me
                They were talking about a boobie run to naxx tonight
                Er
                Noobie run
 
Elfy:         lol, nice
 
Azzy:       N and b are the same key on this keyboard

Elfy:       right, or it was a Freudian slip

Azzy:      I would top honestly
               Lol
              Topless naxx woooooooo

Elfy:      i don’t want to go if it’s a noobie run, was interested in the boobie run
              i have no noobies that can go

 
____________________________________ 

 

Me:       Hahahaha
              boobie run
              Epic
Posted in Acts of Lameness | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Observation

It’s ridiculously difficult to start a novel that begins with a stormy night and not come across completely cliche all “It was a dark and stormy night.”
So, um… “It had been a long day, made longer by a heavy and persistent drizzle that trailed through [] Valley.”
Err, hum… buh?
Posted in Writing | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Random stuff

Today’s post brought to you by a combination of a poor night’s sleep and the fact that I often can’t focus on anything for more than a minute.
Open letter to guildies who read this blog

Hai guys:
I rant here. I blow off steam. It’s what I do to say a little more sane. Don’t take anything here too seriously or personally, mkay? If I have a specific problem with a specific person, I’ll put on my big girl panties and come talk to you directly. If I’m able to get the crazy out here in advance, well, that just means that it won’t be so bad for you if I should ever have to have that one-on-one talk. There’s a reason I didn’t just put an open link to here when I mentioned I was writing about y’all. This isn’t a formal place for me to talk like the forums are and should not be taken as omg srs bzns.
Love,
Alas
=====
On the flip side of that, if you want some tips on things to not do so you don’t irritate me into a rant, here’s a small list:
Alas gets irritated if you:
  • Freak out over vent because you’re dying
  • Attempt to call out instructions when you’re not the damned raid leader
  • Point out the bloody obvious like I’m too damn stupid to know that tanks need healing
    • I mean, seriously, no shit? I thought healers were there for looks
  • Decide to blow your special abilities or call for someone else to do so (see prior post)
  • Think you’re somehow more special than anyone else in the guild and can bring whatever alt you choose to a raid (see prior posts)
  • Don’t laugh at my stupid jokes
  • Talk over me when I am trying to distribute loot
  • Ask me hours before the raid starts what we’re doing on a quickie night. How would I know? There are factors that can throw the best laid plans into utter disarray
  • Settle. Guess what? No one ever reaches a point with their main character where they can shrug and stop trying to be better
  • Don’t sign up and then act offended when you don’t get to go
  • Sign up at the last minute and then act offended when you don’t get to go
  • Pretend to not understand the basic building blocks of raid composition and act offended if you don’t get to go
  • Tell me over and over that we need to get an alt run together for the weekly raid. What prevents you from organizing that?
  • Give me ultimatums. I piss on your ultimatums
I could go on, but I did say it would be a small list.
=====
I saw Avatar this weekend. It was awesome and you should go see it also. They have Nagrand! That is all.
=====
I’mma start work on Emergent, which will be a full length fantasy novel. I’ll prolly want readers for constructive feedback and I am considering making a whole other area on the interwebs to post excerpts. Thoughts?
Posted in Acts of Lameness, Raiding, Real Life, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments