Uncategorized


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.

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.

It’s clear that Blizzard loves me because the four talent previews they released today happen to be the only four classes I really care about: priest, shaman, druid, and even one for my poor abandoned rogue! Sweet!

A more detailed post about the Priest talent trees will be forthcoming, but I was just so darned excited about this news, I had to post a little something. Seriously, I cannot wait to play with these.

Play with the talent trees at Wowhead, or head to WoW.com for a talent rundown.

Jaedia at The Lazy Sniper suggested the current Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: What are you doing to conquer the pre-expansion slump?

So after saying just the other day that I wasn’t a victim of the pre-expansion slump, I realized it wasn’t true. Sure, I’m still working on progression in ICC, so I’m still seeing new fights, moving through content that’s fresh for me. An advantage of being slightly behind in progression is that while other raid teams and guilds have no new content to keep them motivated right now, my team is still excited about ICC.

But my team raids just six hours a week, and I play WoW around 25 hours a week. Which means I’m still seeing lots of content I’ve seen before. Which means I’m definitely feeling the pre-expansion slump. I’m ready for Azeroth to be new again. I want to roll new races, see new starting zones, revisit all the changed places in the Old World. I still love this game, but I’m ready for it to be new and exciting again.

In the meantime, though, I find myself with a little pre-Cataclysm to-do list to work on, so I do Ginnger’s dailies. I do Sindei’s dailies. I transmute something on Marsha. I’m not going to lie – it’s not that exciting.

So, what am I doing to keep my game going?

It’s always been my in-game goals that have kept me playing. Whether it’s a certain achievement I’m after, a piece of gear, or even a vanity pet, I enjoy working toward something. That certainly remains true with Ginnger, for whom I have plenty of goals. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been running regular Pit of Saron in hopes of getting a shield upgrade for Ginnger. PuG after PuG, the shield wouldn’t drop. When it did, a pally tank rolled against me and won it. Finally, I ran it with a few friends, and voila! The shield dropped. Clearly, friends are the key to success!

I’ve also been leveling my druid, Aless, though in a very casual way. I’m leveling her as boomkin. It’s not the fastest, I know, but I just wasn’t feeling it with the cat melee. Naturally, I want to try out druid healing — maybe it would teach me to trust druid HoTs in raid — but I’m not committed enough to leveling her to shell out for dual spec yet. Maybe around 60, if I stick with her.

The other thing I’ve been spending more time doing is playing the Auction House. Not in a super serious way or anything, but just to have more of a steady income. It’s really kind of entertaining, watching the prices, knowing what I’m willing to pay for materials, what kind of profit margin I’m getting. If prices on the items I’m selling drop too low, I hold off for another day and a better price.

I made some use of the remote Auction House feature during the Beta, but I haven’t subscribed to the pay service. Yet. It’s tempting, since I could then do some of my Auction House stuff from work. I like the remote Auction House interface, and whatever I do remotely means I spend less time in game doing business, and more time collecting Emblems of Triumph for Ginnger’s Elemental Tier 9 set. Of course, my Auctioneer data is all in-game, but I’m involved in only a few markets, so I pretty much know what I need to buy and sell for. Honestly, $2.99 is less than what I might spend on coffee on any given day, but we’ll see.

Next Page »