First to get de sugar…

September 17, 2009 at 5:32 am | Posted in healing, raiding, Shaman, World of Warcraft | 1 Comment
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Wotcha everyone,

I had an entertaining conversation the other day, which made me ponder the nature of online gaming, with reference mainly to World of Warcraft (but there is a certain resonance with other MMOs).

I was asked by a level 80 Shaman: Where do I get my level 80 gear?

Now, that’s a question isn’t it?  I was pootling around Dalaran wearing 4 out of 5 items of (I think) Tier 7.5 gear, which means Bright Orange! and somewhat over the top in the style stakes.  So I was an obvious person to ask.  I was someone obviously wearing a tier set.

In a nutshell, the conversation was this; chap wanted to know where to go to get the items, and then how to get into a raid to get the items.

I shall now leave the chap and conversation, and instead ponder some of the thoughts that slowly bubbled up through my brain in the couple of hours following…

Is it easier for healers to get into raids?  I think so.  Most people enjoy dishing out damage, so they play dps characters.  And I think some feel that healing is a chore.  It doesn’t help that when things go badly, it’s generally the healer that gets blamed.  So healers get the twin bonus of less people competing for the role, and the fact that without healers, no-one goes raiding.

Should a hybrid class with healing use that to get into raids?  In this respect, I think it’s something that World of Warcraft players brought upon themselves, so yes I’ll use it all I can.  I play a Shaman.  I can be melee dps, ranged dps, or healer.  So whilst the class is, effectively, two thirds dps, one third heal, most only see the one third heal.  So I can happily have a class that can solo with a minimum of effort, and raid in a role I enjoy.  Win for me!

Should hybrid healers be able to change to another role once in a raid?  That depends on your raid, but with most things being so gear-oriented, the only way to perform to required standards in a raid is to have good gear.  And that means having more than one outfit.  But once in a raid, it’s easy to get that second set of equipment, and once in a raid it’s a scary amount easier to swap roles, or even characters (with attendant class swapping).

Is raiding, or Tiered equipment, a right?  No, it’s not.  But it’s a real shame that so much of the focus of the game at maximum level (I hate the term “end-game”.  It has far too many negative connotations for my liking) is towards raiding, and grabbing hold of tiered armour sets.  It’s a powerful draw, and there is a remarkable amount of peer pressure when it comes to being decked out in purpz.

Cheers,
Hawley.

Peaks and Troughs

September 8, 2009 at 6:28 pm | Posted in healing, Shaman, World of Warcraft | Leave a comment
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Wotcha everyone,

I had a strange night’s raiding last night.  Herewerd got to finish off a Naxxaramas run by killing Sapphiron and Kel’Thuzad as part of a short-numbered run; 19 in total.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think we’d do it, so was remarkably surprised when we did.  Well done, our lot!  Then, to cap it all off, Voice of Reason rolled out of Kel’Thuzad’s frosty-cold bum, and I got it (I shall miss my Saronite Defender, but it was time it was upgraded).

After which we went to Osidian Sanctum, which I’d never been to, and after a short but bloody set of encounters, I got the gloves for my armour set.  Bonus!

Finally, we dropped down to a 10-man set for the Trial of the Champions.  Not been on the 10 man version before, along with most of the rest of the raid, so we just bounced off it for a while, at the same time as getting some experience of the place.

So, in Warcraft terms it was a good evening.  I stopped caring about epixxx and phat lewtz a long time ago, but I do care about how my little blue space-demon looks, and the Saronite Defender does look a lot like a combat-based ironing board.  Voice of Reason has a much more demented look to it…  As well as enhancing my frankly absurd “+Heal”, which in turn makes other people think I *must* be a great healer, and yes, I *should* be on the raid.

Yet all this was tinged with a heavy sense of regret that after this raid night, things would be changing.  A lot.

There are two main reasons that I’m in the raid community.  First is that a group of real life friends are in it.  And seeing as they all live in another city, it’s a great way of keeping in touch, and seeing how life is going.  THe second is that when I joined the community, they didn’t have a Shaman that signed regularly.

Well, over the last few weeks a few more Shamans joined the community.  So Herewerd’s less of a special snowflake than he was.  In the grand scheme of things, that’s nothing.  I’ve still been able to get the amount of raiding I want to get done, as due to various real-life obstructions, raid signups haven’t been so heavy (hence short-numbered runs to Naxxaramas and other sundry places).

But my friends leaving is another matter.  Someone they’ve raided with in the past is setting up a raid guild, and asked them for help.  So they’ve moved their raiding characters to this new guild, having left the community.

Now, don’t get me wrong here.  I’m not upset with them, as they’re off helping someone else, and from what they’ve said they’re moving to a guild-based raid.  Now that will allow them to shape it to the way that they like to play, which is informal but insanely progress based, as opposed to the sometimes warm and woolly anarchy that you can get with a community.

I’m just wondering what I should do now.  Not raiding means I get my Monday evening back, and I can do other things during that time, including getting to bed half an hour earlier.  A lot of the fun of raiding was being there with mates, so if my mates aren’t there there’s commensurately less fun.  But I also enjoy raiding, for many different reasons.

However, I have made a decision to PUG more, so maybe Monday could become my PUG night, and that way I can start having a look at all the instances I seem to have missed in the last few months.

Hmm.  This is all turning into an even more confused ramble than usual, so I think I’ll take my time, see what my options are, and welcome this opportunity for change.  A little chaos is good for the soul.

Cheers,
Hawley.

Totem-lovin’

August 30, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Posted in Shaman, World of Warcraft | 1 Comment
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Wotcha everyone,

A few weeks ago patch 3.2 was released.  Not exactly fresh news (more “news carrion”, I suppose) but something that was introduced in that patch still makes me smile when I use it.

The Totems Bar.  Or whatever its official name is.

Being a shaman of very little brain, it took me a while to realise that out of all the totems I could use, I tended to use the same four 90% of the time.  So in one of my infrequent UI tidying sessions, I set up those four totems in prime quickslot positions, with standby replacement totems nearby.  And then all the “Once a week, but they’re necessary for a particular fight” totems in slots further away.

Six months later, I marvelled at how much of a mess I’d made of my UI.

So I trimmed it a bit more, and removed all totem icons that I’d not had to click on in the past six months.  Yes, you, Sentry Totem.  I then also, in a break with established tradition, wrote a macro.  Well, copied a macro that someone else had written (I did modify it a little, though).

It was a cast sequence macro that would allow me to use one icon, clicked multiple times, to drop the four most used totems.  It freed up 3 of my quickslots that I really needed for useful things, like heals.  And whilst it felt like I was cheating (one button win!) it did make dropping the same four totems less annoying.

So, when patch 3.2 was released, I’m looking at this here new-fangled Totem Bar.  And felt it was a bit cheeky that we got to pay golds to actually get to use it.  However, it does mean that instead of taking 10 seconds at the start of a fight to drop totems, I can have all four drop at once.  And it’s set up in a way that makes selecting a particular totem very easy, even whilst in combat.  Add that to three separate pre-loads, and it’s a lovely little addition that just works.  And works nicely.

It’s meant that dropping totems, or moving totems, is now really easy.  It means that when I’m instancing or raiding, if the fight moves, so can the totems without taking a good few seconds out of healing.  It means that when soloing, I’m not going to spend longer than the fight itself will last dropping totems.

Blizzard, you got a winner that time.  Ta muchly.

Cheers,

Herewerd.

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