I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for about five and a half years now. Over that time, I’ve noticed a few parallels between life in Azeroth and life in the Real World ™, and I’ve been thinking lately about a few of the things I’ve learned from WoW.

For one thing, WoW taught me the value of doing dailies. A naturally lazy person, I’ve always struggled somewhat with the monotony and redundancy of daily household chores. Five minutes after I do the dishes or finish the laundry, there are more dirty dishes and dirty clothes! Still, these things must be done. As I’m fond of saying, “We are all Sisyphus.”  But WoW taught me a good reason to do your dailies: Reputation.

See, I’m in a mixed marriage: I’m a geek, he isn’t. I was the only girl in our weekly Dungeons & Dragons group in high school; he’d never even heard of a 20-sided die. He doesn’t understand the appeal of video games at all; I play WoW 25 hours a week. If you’re married to a non-geek,  you know how hard it can be to balance your play time with the funny looks your spouse gives you. Doing my real life dailies and weeklies, whether it be Doing the Dishes or Hanging Up Hubby’s Shirts, earns me valuable Spousal Rep which I can leverage into extra WoW time. Sadly, there’s no gold reward for those dailies, but you can’t have it all.

WoW is teaching me how to be a boss. No, not the level 83 Elite kind… the other kind. I’m not necessarily a person comfortable with being in charge. Nevertheless, I founded and co-lead a raid team. Sometimes, this involves things I find unpleasant or uncomfortable. I have to deal with raid drama. Decide who to sit out for the night when we have too many raiders. Tell people what to do and how to do it. (In all fairness, I’ve delegated a good portion of the “telling people what to do” bit to my trustworthy and capable co-lead & main tank, but you take my meaning.)

Coincidentally, in the last year, I have also been learning how to be a manager/boss/co-owner of a business. I was laid off from a company about to go under, so I went to work at my husband’s small business. I’m new to his business, but as Mrs. Owner, I manage the shop in the afternoons. Sometimes, this involves things I find unpleasant or uncomfortable. I have to deal with employee drama. Decide who gets how many hours when we have too many employees for the current workload. Tell people what to do and how to do it. The job teaches me about raid leading, and raid leading has certainly taught me a lot about my job.

Warcraft has also taught me many useful analogies for dealing with the people around me. For example, I work with a frequently cranky, often unreasonable individual. If I tell you she has a huge aggro radius, and a nasty AOE temper that hits everyone regardless of who taunted her, you can understand my main strategy for dealing with her: I do my best to stay out of range. And I think we all can recognize the wisdom of “stay out of the fire.” Is your boyfriend an asshole? Does your job suck? Are your roommates intolerable? Don’t just stand there. Get out of it!

See? You do learn something every day! Even in Azeroth.

This Blog Azeroth Shared Topic was suggested by… me!

You’ve gotta love Beta season. You get all worked up about, oh, let’s say, a talent tree preview. But much QQ ensues! And then Blizzard changes everything.

One of the more common comments about the new trees was that they did not live up to Blizzcon promises. Blizzard said they were going to do away with passive required talents, like straight-up damage and healing buffs, but the preview trees were still full of them. I think that was a fair assessment. So Blizz shifted gears, and the changes will be introduced in a Beta build coming soon.

In brief:

  • Talent trees will get shorter. A lot shorter.
  • You’ll pick your spec at level 10 and be locked out of the other trees until you have spent at least 31 points in your chosen tree.
  • You’ll get a signature ability early: Penance for baby disc priests. Earth Shield for baby resto shamans.
  • Mastery bonuses — originally planned to scale according to how many points you spent in a given tree — will be granted when you pick a tree and will be a percentage that scales with your level. Er, the passive mastery bonuses anyway (such as Meditation, which all priests get). The unique Mastery bonuses (like shadow orbs for shadow priests and better shields for disc) will come as a trainable passive skill at 75 and will scale up as you acquire gear with the Mastery stat on it. At least that’s how I understood it.

Naturally, this all means that the world will likely end soon. No, really! Just check the official forums if you don’t believe me!

I think the changes sound intriguing. I’m not sure I like being locked out of the other two trees until level 40, but I’m keeping an open mind for now. Haters gonna hate and all, but personally, what I really want Blizzard to do is to keep the game interesting. I’m eager to hear how the changes are received once they hit Beta.

This week’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic–When Should a Healer Let Someone Die?–was suggested by Ecclesiastical Discipline:

Where do you draw the line on shifting the priority of someone’s heals down (or refusing to heal them all together)? Is it if they upset you personally? If they are consistently standing in the fire? If they have lame dps? If they aren’t managing their aggro? If they go afk for fifteen minutes in the middle of a boss fight? Is it only when it’s jeopardizing the entire group’s success? I believe there is a point for every healer, but where does the gray area fall? Does anyone really heal the jerk who is offensive and stands in fire when there is anyone else who needs healing?

I love this topic because I recently had my first experience of intentionally letting someone die.

I’m not a healer prone to letting people die. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but when it does, I feel pretty bad. You just can’t prevent some deaths, of course, but even when that squishy, AOE-spamming, aggro-pulling mage goes down despite my shields, despite my penance, I feel a little bad.

I once explained my healing priorities to my friends:

  1. Tanks
  2. Me
  3. Other Healers
  4. DPS I like
  5. DPS I don’t like

I take some ribbing about that from time to time. It is true that if I’m fond of you, you’ll rate a little better during triage. Honestly, though, I don’t really let the obnoxious die. I heal them last. I let them get low in hopes of alarming them. I don’t let them die.

Maybe I avoided healing for so long not just because I thought it was a stereotype that girls play healers, but because I actually fit that healer stereotype so well. I’m a mother. I’m the eldest child. I’m a caretaker type in many ways. Me wishing ill on someone is less like: “I hope you fall down the stairs,” and more like: “I hope you stumble and scare yourself!” So you have to really piss me off before I’m going to just let you die.

Sometimes, though, someone just deserves to die. I was running my daily random and got Violet Hold, which I like because it’s fast and easy. We got a bear tank — I love me some bear tanks. One of the three dps was a retribution paladin.  I like pallies. Nothing against pallies at all. Except this one kept pulling aggro.

“Dude, turn off Righteous Fury,” says the bear. For those who don’t know, Righteous Fury causes 80% more threat from a paladin’s holy spells. I don’t play a paladin, so I don’t know how many holy spells ret pallies use, but it must be a lot, because he was pulling aggro like crazy.

No reaction from the pally, but you know, the pulls keep coming. I feel like I’m healing two tanks. I’m crazy overgeared for VH, but still. The bear asks again. He’s not being a jerk, he’s just asking the paladin to turn off Righteous Fury. I don’t know if the paladin had his chat window off or didn’t understand what was being asked of him or what. I just know that after the third time the tank asked, I’d had enough.

Here, let me help you with that Righteous Fury. I believe it comes off when you are dead.

I rezzed him between waves, he didn’t turn RF back on, and we breezed through the rest of the instance. I didn’t even feel bad for letting him die. Well… maybe a little bit. It doesn’t matter though, because it was the right thing to do and I would do it again.

I’m a healer. I’m a good healer. I will do everything I can to keep you alive. But if you act like you want to die, I just might let you.

Everyone seems to have something to say about Blizzard’s new Real ID feature, so I suppose I’ll throw in my two coppers as well.

I’ve seen a variety of reactions to the Real ID feature. I’ve seen people state they were actually going to quit the game over the release of Real ID, which is a voluntary system. On the other side of things, I’ve seen a number of people openly giving out their email in guild chat to anyone who wants to be Real ID friends. I’m not in some cozy little guild either – I’m seeing this in one of the largest guilds in Warcraft, with more than 3000 members.

Me, I’m somewhere in between.

What I like: I love that I can see when my friends are on, no matter what toon I’m playing at the time. Even if I wander off to some other server to play a long-forgotten alt, if my friends come on, we can still chat or make game plans together. I like that I don’t have to try to keep track of all their alts anymore. Some of them have quite a few, let me tell you! Since I’m eagerly awaiting the release date for Starcraft II, it’s also nice to know we can reach each other cross-game.

What I don’t like: I can’t hide out on secret private toons that no one knows about. My bank alt’s name is no longer private. In reality, I never hide out like that anymore, and I’ve started to share my bank alt’s name with my friends so we don’t undercut each other too much at the Auction House. Still, I always knew I could have a private alt if I wanted to. I could change my bank alt if I needed to.

I really don’t like the Friend-of-a-Friend feature, and I know I’m not alone. Yes, I know this is the same thing as it is on Facebook. But on Facebook I don’t use my real legal name. Real ID gives your actual legal name to people you don’t even know. I’ll admit, my concern about this is general and vague. But I still don’t particularly like it.

Am I using Real ID? Yes, with a few select people. These are people I play with regularly; I’ve already given them my cell phone number and personal email, so I have no problem with being Real ID friends with them. I trust they are selective enough about who they have as Real ID friends that it quells my admittedly non-specific fears about the Friend-of-a-Friend feature.

I would like to see Blizz offer us privacy settings for the Friend of a Friend feature, as well as the choice to use a username instead of our actual Battle.net account email and our legal name. I plan to use Real ID sparingly, and I’m enjoying it so far, but I hope Blizzard will do some fine tuning on the privacy issues.

This week’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic was suggested by Spinks of Spinksville: Cataclysm is coming! The old world is going to be destroyed and remade.

Which town, quest, NPC, or zone really needs to be purged with fire, in your opinion? Will you enjoy dancing on the ashes of a particularly hated quest giver? Or is there some zone you avoid like the plague (Plaguelands excluded) where being nuked from orbit could only improve the experience? And why do you hate it/them so much?

What needs to die in a fire in Cataclysm? I’m not generally very big on complaining about the game. This is Blizzard’s world, and I usually think they are trying to do their best by its denizens. Will of the Forsaken nerf? It was overpowered! Change to the talent tree? Blizz is just trying to keep the playing field even. That said, I’m not a total fangirl. There are a few things that can go right ahead and die in Deathwing’s fire.

The shaman water totem quest: I suppose this quest could be viewed as a rite of passage. Want to be a shaman? You must suffer, grasshopper! Running all over the Barrens, Tarren Mill, Ashenvale and Silverpine–at level 20? And I had a mount when I did it! I shudder to think about doing it back when we didn’t get our mounts until 40. The consolation doesn’t come until you do your Air Totem quest, when you go to the questgiver and he just hands it to you. After all, you’ve been through enough.

Malygos: Can you hear the tears I cry when you are the weekly raid quest, Malygos? I hate you so much that I would actually skip the weekly if I didn’t have raiders who wanted the frost badges. For them, I go. I hate your 3-D space that I find so challenging to navigate. I hate the vehicle mechanic introduced in the third phase, so that if the raid doesn’t understand it and wipes, they have to start the whole damn thing over again. I hate the fact that we get a weekly raid quest that there’s a key for, so if no one present has the key, we have to do a separate boss in a separate instance to get the key. I know, we can port right to Sapphiron now. And I know, the fight’s not that hard anymore. I just think it’s unnecessary.

Azshara: Surely I am not alone in this. I avoid this zone at all costs. It’s too bad, because Azshara could be cool. The scenery is lovely. I like the hippogryphs and the dragonkin and hey — who doesn’t love to kill some naga? What I hate about this zone is how difficult it is to navigate. There’s no road system whatsoever. There are mountains blocking you at every turn. You fall off a cliff and never find your way back up.  There’s no inn; just some NPCs hanging out at a hardscrabble little camp without even a proper tent. I’m normally quite an environmentalist, but jeez! Let the goblins have at it with this place!

The idiot selling flasks in the auction house at a loss: I actually have no problem with healthy competition. If you’ve undercut me by 5g, well… fair play. But seriously, I was making a decent profit on flasks – nothing exorbitant, just a healthy little return on my investment. Then you come along and start selling below cost. Obviously Blizzard can’t do anything about this, but dude! You’re killing me! Knock it off, will you?

I sat down this morning to poke around at a Holy build, but since Holy is my offspec, I won’t drag you through a whole build the way I did with Discipline. Instead what I want to talk about is some of the new talents in Holy, and a few of the changes to the healing trees overall.

A number of spells have changed tiers, but I’m more interested in spells that have gone missing. Holy Specialization is gone, as I mentioned before, so your crit rating will be your crit rating. I enjoyed that extra five percent on my holy spells (i.e., everything I cared about), but no use crying over spilled crit.

Also gone:

Improved Power Word: Fortitude: Two points, Disc; increase the effect of Power Word: Fortitude by 30% and increase your stamina by 4%.

Meditation: Three points, Disc; increases your mana regen while casting by 50%.

Silent Resolve: Three points, Disc; reduces the threat of Holy and Discipline spells and and decreases the chance of your DoTs and healing spells to be dispelled.

Absolution: Three points, Disc; reduces the mana cost of Dispel, Mass Dispel, Cure Disease, and Abolish Disease.

Mental Strength: Three points, Disc; increases your Intellect by 15%.

Spiritual Guidance: Five points, Holy; increases your Spellpower by 25% of your spirit.

Spiritual Healing: Five points, Holy; increases your heals by 10%.

I’m bummed out about Improved Power Word: Fortitude and really bummed out about Meditation. I like not having to worry about my mana, but I know the devs want us to worry a little more about it. I get why, but I don’t have to like it. I’ll miss Mental Strength, Spiritual Guidance, and Spiritual Healing, but so it goes. Those straight-up buffs are exactly the sort of thing Blizz said they were going to get rid of. I never took Silent Resolve or Absolution, so I won’t miss them at all.

We’ve already talked about new talents in the Discipline tree, as well as Divine Accuracy and Deliverance (formerly Serendipity) in the Holy Tree, but there are other new talents in Holy as well:

Choir Leader: Two points; your Divine Hymn heals you for 10/20% of your total health during its duration, and the channeling time of your Hymn of Hope is reduced by 20%.

Improved Holy Nova: Two points; reduces global cooldown on Holy Nova by .25/.5 seconds and increases its chance to crit by 25/50%.

Chakra: Five points; When you use your Prayer of Healing, Renew, or Heal three times in a row, puts you in one of three Chakra states;

  • PoH: Increases your AOE healing by 10% and reduces the cooldown on Circle of Healing by 2.5 seconds
  • Renew: Increases the haste on Renew by 15% and reduces the global cooldown of Renew by .5 seconds
  • Heal: Increases the crit chance of your Heal by 5% and your Heal has a 100% chance of refreshing your Renew on the target
  • Smite: Increases the total damage done by your holy and shadow spells by 15%. (Smite is only mentioned in the second part of the tooltip)

I love Choir Leader.  I’m always nervous about the time I’m not healing when I need to use Hymn of Hope. I doubt I’d take Improved Holy Nova; maybe for AOE damage when soloing dailies or whatnot? The Chakra mechanic sounds like a lot of fun, and I think it will be really interesting to play with. It also sounds like it has some potential for being a pain in the neck, too, but I like that they are trying to make things more interesting.

As much as I’m sorry to see “required” talents like Meditation go, I do like how it opens up choices in the tree. Of course, the extra five talent points don’t hurt either, but it seems like there are really a lot of points to play with. So I don’t have to forgo anything important to me in order to take Body and Soul, for example. I can now grab Improved Power Word: Shield for a Holy Build.

The last two posts are really just my first takes on the new trees. For a complete listing of what exactly has been removed, added, changed or moved in the trees, check out Wowhead’s Priest Cataclysm Changes.

A real preview of a Disc Talent Tree this time

Not too long ago, I had some fun fooling around with leaked Cataclysm priest talents. But do you know what’s even more fun? Playing around with talents that Blizzard has actually released!

Actually, there seems to be a number of new damage buffs in both the Disc and Holy trees, which is interesting. Let’s go over my first swing at a Discipline build, shall we?

Tier 1 doesn’t look so different, and I keep what I currently have here: 5 points in Twin Disciplines.

In Tier 2, we have newcomer Penitence, which gives an increased crit chance for Smite and Penance.  I’m not too interested in Martyrdom or Focused Power (which decreases cast time on Mind Control and Mass Dispel), and after taking 3 points in Improved Inner Fire, I still need two points to get me to the next tier, so Penitence it is. I don’t much care about the improved crit on Smite, but who doesn’t like to see Penance crit?

Tier 3, now with more Smite in the form of Atonement: when you deal Smite damage, you get an instant heal on a nearby friendly, low health target. Three points in Improved Power Word: Shield and a point in Inner Focus leave me a point shy of the next tier, so Atonement it is. It’s beginning to look like Blizz wants me to do some damage.

Tier 4 has Improved Mana Burn, which I’m not interested in, and Mental Agility, which I am. That leaves Evangelism, which gives you a buff to Smite, Holy Nova, Holy Fire, and Penance when you cast… guess what? SMITE! Anyone else seeing a theme here? I take three points in Mental Agility, and then another two in Evangelism to get to the next tier.

Tier 5 brings us the much-awaited Power Word: Barrier, Enlightenment, and Archangel, which consumes Evangelism to restore mana and let you cast Penance on the fly. YES!

In Tier 6, Soul Warding is now three points, as alluded to in the leak. I take all three, naturally, but this leaves me two points shy of the next tier. I look back to see if there’s some Smite-related talent I’m supposed to take, and sure enough, I haven’t maxed out Atonement or Penitence. I take one more point in each.

Nothing new to see here in Tier 7: Divine Aegis, Power Infusion, and Improved Flash Heal. Same story in Tier 8: Renewed Hope, Aspiration, and Rapture.

For Tier 8, I take Pain Suppression and Grace, which now just two points. Five points in Borrowed Time in Tier 9 and a point in Penance for Tier 10 rounds out the Disc tree for this build.

Over in the Holy tree, I’ll start with five points in Divine Fury for reduced time on Greater Heal, which I seldom use; Heal, which is allegedly our new go-to heal; and Smite, which Blizzard clearly intends for me to use. As noted previously, Holy Specialization is gone.

In Tier 2, of course I’ll take Empowered Healing to buff Greater Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal, and the new go-to, Heal. The new talent in this tier is Divine Accuracy, which improves the chance to hit on Smite, Penance, Holy Fire, and Holy Nova. Accuracy might be nice if you’re going to also solo your dailies in this build, and may be a nice boost for all the Smite talents introduced in the Disc tree. But I’ll skip it for now, as well as Spell Warding.

I will, however, take everything in Tier 3: Desperate Prayer, Improved Renew, and Inspiration.

Tier 4 offers Improved Healing, Healing Prayers and Blessed Recovery. I’ll skip Blessed Recovery, since it requires at least one point in Spell Warding, which I didn’t take. It’s for PvP anyway, so I don’t want it. I’ll max out Improved Healing — moar buffs! — and take two points in Healing Prayers to reduce the cost of Prayer of Mending and Prayer of Healing.

Tier 5 gives me a couple of options I could take instead of Healing Prayers. I could take Holy Reach here to increase the range of my Holy Nova, Divine Hymn, and Prayer of Healing. But despite my recent threats to heal exclusively with Holy Nova, these really aren’t spells I use that much. Deliverance (the spell formerly known as Serendipity) could come in handy, and I could put points here to speed up Greater Heal enough to make it really useful. A Greater Heal cast with Deliverance and a Borrowed Time buff? That could be one big, fast heal!

My final point in this build will also be in Tier 5: Spirit of Redemption. I’m super excited to get this talent for Disc. First of all, spirit is actually going to be useful for Discipline priests come Cataclysm, so the buff will be great. Plus we’re losing the Divine Spirit buff, so maybe this will help out. Of course, what I’m most excited about is getting to turn into a Giant Angel of Free Haelz, valiantly saving the raid before finally accepting my battle rez. Not that I ever die in raid. I don’t care what the druids on my team told you!

Stay tuned for my try at a Holy build. I hear we’re going to have to take Lightwell.

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