July 2010


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.