Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Farewell 2014! The year in review

Oh my goodness, has the year gone past already!  There have been some big moments this year in WoW, on this blog and in my guild!

As we were on the last legs of Pandaria, there wasn't really much happening except Siege of Orgrimmar raiding.  We had only killed Garrosh in January, and we didn't kill him in Heroic/Mythic until November, right when Warlords was about to hit.  Man, SoO was out for a loooong time...

We had our guildie meet up in July in Melbourne, that was rather awesome!  And I got this commissioned to remember it by...

Gamergate.  There was that.

The pre-WoD party in Sydney in October where I got to meet Ion Hazzikostas where there was the Australian servers being announced. I got to meet a ton of guildies (Neri, Exray, Lushen, Consti) as well as hang out with Cymre, Moogyver, Natanie and Dayani.  It was a great night!

If you look carefully you can see me and Aimei!
SEE I was there, with those two lovely ladies!
And then there was the release of Warlords of Draenor. And I'm still discovering things as I go.  It's been a good expansion so far, with a lot of things to do, and the dust of change has settled and people are getting used to it all.

What do I hope to do in 2015?

Well, in terms of the guild, the initial surge of guild numbers swelling is over. Hopefully everyone is more used to the others, and people are settling into whatever they feel they fit into best in the guild. Normal raiding will restart on 7 January and we will be doing Heroics Wednesday and Thursday, Sunday will be normals with everyone and Monday will be cleaning up the rest of normal Highmaul. We seem to have a paucity of hunters... I wonder where they all went.  I may have to look at recruitment, but I would rather not!

Minndy, will hopefully get a level 3 Garrison when I can be bothered to level her.  Poor thing, stuck at 92 for eternity...

I have been told that the storyline in Shadowmoon Valley is excellent and I should see that.  Not sure WHEN I have time to do that...

Challenge modes are still lurking out there, I should do them sometime but I just don't have time to do that.  Maybe I shall find the time next year.

With Shab back the PvP will be back in full swing so I can get back to my Friday PvP and see if we can make a dent with a caster 3s this season!

Happy new year everyone!  Thanks for reading the Daily Frostwolf this year - next year will be more exciting as I think it's time for some blog giveaways again! :D (was a bit lazy on that front this year!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Raiding - Butcher down and a breakdown of communication

We all make mistakes, and nobody likes being criticised.  Obviously how you take it, determines the calibre of person that you are.

And I want to be the right calibre person.

Raiding over this holiday period is a little frustrating to say the least.  I feel like precious time is lost, and more people get the opportunity to PuG so even LESS reason for them to want to raid as a guild. There are already a ton of people doing that at the moment, and I've always kept in my mind that they are casual raiders, but really, they do not reliably turn up to raid.

Both public holidays fell right on raid days, Wednesday and Thursday.  I really don't want to organise a raid on Christmas and Boxing day, nor New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, but I think that a fair number of people would have been free on Sunday/Monday to raid.

So what to do with those two days?  Sunday is designated casuals day, so we let most people come and so that should be set aside as normals day.  Monday we could either finish off normal or do some heroic.

So I thought about it, and without asking anyone's opinion, I set Sunday to normal and Monday to heroic.  That was probably the first mistake I made, not discussing with anyone what was going on in my head.

The next communication breakdown this week came from PuG raiding.  There were a number of people in the guild, myself included, who have friends in other guilds and servers who are happy to bring outside friends along for raids - I did a heroic Highmaul this week to help out my friends on Barthilas (they were short a healer).  Now that on its own caused its own issues, but in my own mind my heart was clear because

  1. Going to their raid did not mean I was not going to not go to my own raids because I had already done it
  2. I wasn't forming a group of people within the guild and excluding others, I was being specially invited by someone else
One that that I didn't want to do was loot anything.  I passed on all loots because really, I was being carried.  However, I did use my rolls and my lucky ass managed to roll a loot on every boss that was killed. I walked out of there with 4 heroic loots because I was yelled at for not taking loot (they had a one loot per person rule), and of those, one I had already, one I didn't want to use, but there wer stll two that I could use and that was rather cool.

What isn't cool about that, is that I got free loot and that means my EPGP would be higher because I wouldn't be looting from our kills. And people may have been a bit funny about that.  In fact, the whole run would have been better if I DIDN'T win any loot.  Nobody would have known I was there, and I could help without people thinking I was trying to get ahead on EPGP.

Someone saw me doing heroics and was surprised and told me that they didn't know it was ok to do that because they had friends who had wanted them to go but they thought they couldn't because I would be mad.  But I had never said that - I have never stopped people like Roshii or Chosenx or anyone really from PuGGing with others so why would I stop anyone else?  The only time I didn't like it was if a guild group was formed and they did heroics but did not invite others in the group because they thought they weren't good enough, and whether or not that is true, I didn't want that to occur because it would cause a split between players (and let's face it, nobody likes being thought of as being not good enough, especially if they are decent players).  We are supposed to raid together as ONE group, ONE guild.  So those who wanted some extra action - I told them to PuG on the condition that they would still come to guild raids. Because if they raided outside and then thought they were too good to raid with us... well then you might as well not be here and go somewhere else.

The next communication hiccup came when Sunday rolled around. I was a mite distracted as I didn't have Vent set up on my laptop, and I had no headset so I wasn't going to do any talking.  And of course, I had minimal addons and playing off wireless (which would get interrupted every time someone used the microwave) - I was pretty much being carried. I initially wanted to set the raid to personal loot and some officers agreed, some didn't care and then I had a few protests about loot saying it would be better to Master Loot so I changed my mind and set to that. I honestly didn't know if people who had done normal Highmaul already would alter the number of loots we got, and it was a test to see how many loots we would get.

It turned out Kargath dropped 5 loots, and we had less than 25 people, and I think some had done normal already, so I was quite pleased with that.  Then as we did more bosses I realised some people were rolling on loots all the time and getting multiple loots.

At that point I suggested we let everyone get one loot first and then let others get some loot.  And this made a rather unfortunate situation, because I don't think my intentions were ready correctly.  Suddenly people were trying to get rid of loot they had won because they thought they were only entitled to one loot.  As I was voiceless and on lousy internet, I couldn't actually communicate fast enough or clear enough to let them know that all I wanted was to make sure everyone got a loot.  But there was loot passed around as people wanted to be eligible for other loot from later bosses, and then people wouldn't roll because they thought they were only entitled to one loot... it wasn't what I had imagined or planned, and then even worse, those who had given up loot wanting to wait to be able to roll for loot later were disappointed when we didn't get to those bosses.

Changing the loot rules halfway was also another poor decision on my part on the premise that I was trying to be fair, when all it turned out to do was confuse people and make people angry.

I had some disgruntled people complain about how confusing it all was and though I understood, it was also a little bit irritating that people were complaining about loot - and free loot at that. But I was just happy to be raiding and doing something with the guild and people were picking up loot  so that was great, from my point of view.

Monday rolled around, and I had said on the guild message of the day (which apparently hardly anyone reads except Luxy, Dragonray and McTacky) that it would be heroics.

I was back in my own home, on my own computer with my wonderful internet and my 12 button mouse.  I was happy, I was ready to raid!  I wondered at what we would do after Kargath, and I went to look at Sunday's logs which showed that the main raiders who went on Sunday actually had the DPS to be able to do heroic Butcher.  So I told Exray that we were going to do that.  He seemed a little hesitant, especially when we were light on the melee DPS but we gave it a good go. We gave it a lot of good goes actually and it looked very doable, but the only thing was that healing was tight. With 18 in the raid, and 4 healers, you'd think that would be enough.  But three of those healers were druids and one was a disc priest and so a shaman would have been perfect as one of the other healers, but we don't have one of those (yet) and so we just made do with what we had.  Mana was tight, melee were dying and we were trying to figure out how best to use our cooldowns to give us the right amount of mana and also the right amount of oomph for the end.

We had a 150k wipe.  OMG that was exciting.  It was within our reach!

Eq was online and we asked him to come to raid.  He said that he could only do one attempt. Hopefully that was all we needed.  And it was a much more comfortable kill and we were very excited!  The melee still all died, however.  Hopefully we can improve on that!  Thanks again to Dragonray (bless the girl, what would I do without her and her remembering to screenshot stuff that I always forget).

After that there were some who wanted to go back to normals and do Ko'ragh, because we didn't finish that on Sunday.  I was more interested in looking at another heroic to see what we could do. There was still 35 minutes of raid left, enough time to get an attempt on another heroic boss and if it wasn't going to go well, then we could go back and do Ko'ragh.  That went against what I said in the MotD which said heroic, but I could see their reasons for wanting to do normal.  However, if we did not do one heroic attempt, we would not do it because then we would go onto Imperator and bypass that heroic look I wanted to do.

So we had one attempt at Brackenspore, which we got to 43% or so on our first attempt.  I had said that if we didn't get it below 50% then we would abandon it, but there was so much urging to do Ko'ragh that I said we will go and do that for the loot.  Weapons drop from the last two bosses, so there were a few who were keen.

So back we went to normal and down went Ko'ragh.  Easy!  Raid finished just after 11pm.  I was happy, I thought that was a really good night and everyone was working together quite well.  I thought that a heroic kill was a morale boost for those who thought we couldn't do things, and also for those who were keen to do things.  That 19k DPS benchmark had been hit and we were officially ready to start heroics!

At the end of the raid one of the raiders took me aside and wanted to let me know that there were a lot of people who were unhappy with raiding and what I thought had been morale boosting, was in fact, the opposite. They pointed out, correctly, that communication had been poor about how we were going to raid and handle loot, and that people were disgruntled.  Also, they criticised my choices as I overruled the other officers and ran ahead doing things on my own agenda, that was not clear to others, and perhaps if I had outlined that agenda more clearly, then people would have had a clear idea of what we were going to do and be happier to be involved a little in the decision making rather than being blindly lead in a direction that they wondered was in fact what was best for the guild.

It's not easy to hear these things (especially when I thought I was doing the right thing), and as I said earlier, you can't help but feel ashamed when you are criticised, but you have to know when what you did was wrong, or when that criticism should be accepted.  I expect that from everyone I speak to when they have done something wrong, and so I wouldn't expect any less from myself. However, it doesn't mean I can't get upset or be ashamed of myself, and sometimes that shame can be a little overwhelming.  I honestly had no idea that so  many people were unhappy with what I had done (well, except for the looting, that part I knew because that was a big stuff up on my part and I had already vowed to make it different) and so many people being upset but not saying anything to me was probably more hurtful than the one person telling me to my face, I think. Though I was glad that the raider was telling me these things, it still hurt and that bubble of indignation when you are misunderstood, threatened to burst as I tried to defend my actions. But arguing about it causes no positive outcome and I could see their point of view, but also harping on at me about my mistakes also has no positive outcome, so I had to interrupt them to stop the repeated outrage of my errors, and tell them I accepted their point of view, I could see where the mistakes were and that I would take all of what they said on board to do my best to ensure that it didn't happen again.

I am ashamed to say but knowing SO MANY thought so poorly was enough to bring tears to my eyes.  Impatiently I brushed them away, and thought how grateful I should be that someone told me. Others may have kept quiet to avoid hurting my feelings or upsetting me, but being upset is nothing, especially when I was doing something wrong. I need to know these things, and I want to improve and try to find a solution that is middle ground for most people. And I would hope that if I had been the one having to do the hard thing and telling someone they were doing something wrong and it needed to change, that they would take it on board, no matter how much it hurt or shamed them, and they would continue on.

Anyway the main thing I took away from this whole week, was that I need to be clearer on my plans, and also I should involve officers more in the decision making. They probably all felt this week that there was no benefit to being an officer when I just rode over the group decisions rough shod but it has been a while since I had officers with opinions - the few I had at the end of Pandaria just tended to go with the flow and follow what I would set out, with a bit of ribbing here and there for good measure.  But with the return of more officers who like having an active role in the decision making, the dictatorship is over and the democracy should return.

So I have great plans for the next few weeks of raiding, thanks to some great suggestions.  I can't wait to share them with everyone so that everyone will know what we're going to do, and hopefully be as excited about the direction we're going with raiding as I am.

And the next time I make some stupid decisions, I want everyone to slap me and TELL me.

Monday, December 29, 2014

How can I bear to be out of my comfort zone?

As my witless wording suggests, I have been venturing around in bear form as my offspec and it does it's job.  Like in early Pandaria, it helped me with my questing because I didn't die, though killing things wasn't as fast as cat form, but I could pull a few mobs and just whittle them down with a lot of self healing.

I also go bear form for Garrison invasions, but that's another post all together.  I like invasions by the way, they are fun and though I have never gotten anything cool out of the bags except for Apexis crystals, gold and Garrison resources, I still think they are fun.

A few weeks ago I did my first PuG as tank.  It wasn't a full PuG, I was with 2 guildies, but I had to show my tanking skills in front of others - or should I say, lack of tanking skills.  We went to queue for heroics when I realised I hadn't done silver tank so I had to do that first which I had to do a couple of times before I got it - boy does it make the sweat bead when you realise people are waiting for you to do your Proving Grounds before you can queue.

So what dungeon did I get first? It was Bloodmaul Slag mines (for some reason I have great difficulty saying that.  I often say Bloodslag Maul or Bloodmines Maul or Slagmaul... and yes, I did go look it up just now to make sure I got it right).  I don't know about you but I find that dungeon a little hard - my main difficulty is this section where there are 2 ovens on the side and fire adds pour out of it in intervals, and there are some ogres fighting fire mobs in the corridor just beyond those fire adds.  I had a guildie, Siness, healing me and he valiantly kept me alive during the dungeon but we had a woeful time on the last boss because the other 2 PuGs weren't killing the adds and I was running around like a crazy bear.  I hadn't been game to step foot into a dungeon as a tank since then.

However, good gear emboldens even the most timid of bears and with these lovely dual spec items I was looking a lot better than I was the last time I tanked.  We have been low on a healer variety, with 6 healers on our raid roster, 3 of them druids and the other 3 priests (2 disc, one holy). I asked Cptsars if he could do a healer offspec for me and he had been working on it and late one night, I asked him how it was going.  He said he was almost fully geared up, just missing some trinkets. I said I still had a green neck and my heirloom Garrosh weapon, and wouldn't it be a great idea if we did a dungeon and I tanked and he healed?  He jumped at that idea, and off we went to do a heroic dungeon.  Cptsars had selected a few of the dungeons that dropped things that we needed and we ended up with Iron Docks.  I opened up straight away by saying I had never tanked this dungeon before, just so they knew I was a noob tank.  Cptsars being the proud testosterone man that he is kept silent, confident in his leet healing skills, which were yet untested.

I like Iron Docks, but as a healer who always hangs back healing things, I never really pay attention to which way to go.  So I may have had a few moments of going the wrong way as the DPS raced ahead, so I decided after that to just stand still and wait for them to lead the way.

Fortunately the group I went with was very patient.  I made lots of mistakes - for example with the trio of Grimrail Enforcers the hunter told me I should be interrupting something - there was something to interrupt? Was it that red blood bubble thing?  So that fight took an exorbitantly long time.  Cptsars valiantly healed me as the fight stretched out but eventually we got it.

We also wiped on the Oshir leopard dude fight.  He opened the cages and I didn't realise I didn't see the rylak spitting green goo everywhere - I did wonder where the hell is all this green stuff coming from?  Then I saw the rylak and went to attack it but by then the next lots of adds were out and everyone was dying and splat! Dead.  Cptsars reassured me that it wasn't 100% my fault as the DPS should also switch to adds and the next go it was much better.

Then came Skulloc, that last Gronn boss who does that knockback and then starts firing missiles at you.  WELL. I THOUGHT I knew what I was supposed to do - knockback, hide behind the boxes, then when he pauses get the hell into melee and hit him to make him stop shooting.  So the first time I tried it I couldn't run fast enough and I died.  Cptsars laughed and we tried again and I did the same thing again.  I looked at what the others were doing - OH THAT'S RIGHT, hide behind the SECOND lot of boxes a little bit closer and THEN run out.  GOTCHA.

"Did you know any damage interrupts it?  Faerie fire too?" said Sars, amusedly.

I did not know that.  Though the range on Faerie Fire is about the same as charge I think so either option was ok to me, I thought.  So on the final attempt, I did it right, I hid behind the first box, then the second box and then charged my way in with no more firing from Skulloc and I was so pleased with myself.  Our PuGs were actually very kind - they thanked us for the run at the end of that heroic, even though I thought it was rather abyssmal.  Sars said he had fun - though what else is he going to say about the guild leader's tanking, really - and I was rewarded with a weapon to replace my Garrosh heirloom.

Now I don't know if I would be game to venture out as tank again in a full group of PuGs, but... at least I tried!  I'll just need someone to point me in the right direction.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Merry Winter Veil!

I was a slack bum this year and didn't give out many pressies, in real life or in game!  But I have lovely friends who gave me great gifts!

We oceanic players can't get our Winter Veil presents till Boxing day so off I went to see Great-father Winter on Boxing Day to collect my gift.

 I was happy to see a new toy this year - a Pineapple cushion!  However, my excitement was short lived as Dragonray told me there are FOUR to collect this year!  So off I went on every low level alt to go find all the cushions.

I now have a lot of Pineapple Cushions and a couple of Safari ones, but the Green cushion eluded me.

Now the tree in Orgrimmar may have been civilised as people rushed in to open their presents, but on Nagrand Alliance side, it was RIDICULOUS!  People were standing on the gifts on their mounts so it was nigh impossible to get my gifts but eventually I managed to randomly mouse over things and get what I needed.  Unfortunately, it was another Zhevra cushion.  I put up a random tell in trade chat offering to trade a Zhevra cushion for a green one and someone opened a trade window with me and did just that.  Yay!  All cushions down.

Tried to get another pet from the Grinch but so far no luck.  But I am not trying very hard - boy does that thing hit hard - only Navimie can take it on!

Hope you all had a lovely winter veil!  I'm still on holidays so posts will be sporadic but boy do I have a ton of rare pics in this quiet time - I will have to do a screenshot dump soon!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Guildleader chores - Casualties of raiding

When raiding started up again we had a massive number of people coming turning up to raid and people I had told that they could only come if there were spots started demanding raiding spots and I my usual calm meter was having spikes of irritation that often resulted in me unloading on some poor hapless WoW friend!

Complaints were NUMEROUS and varied
  • Too many people in raid who were not of the right skill level
  • Shouldn't be letting these people raid who weren't here in the last raid
  • New people shouldn't be allowed to raid over senior guild members
  • Didn't like some of the people in the raid because they were rude/obnoxious/elitist/bad players
  • People shouldn't have to sit out, a raid spot should mean a permanent raid spot
  • Highest DPS should be allowed to go
I just listened, thanked them for their opinions but continued on my path.  People will leave, I said, if they were not happy.  Some said that even good people would leave as well - but I knew that those who really were good would stay.  Patience and foresight are two things that I have in abundance and I waited to see what would happen.

Some of the issues solved themselves.  I am strongly against two teams raiding alongside one another as it leads to guild splits and elitism - people said that wasn't the case but many guilds have collapsed over less, and when we tried to do that ourselves in Dragon Soul it was a disaster which lead to a number of people stopping raiding because when there was a choice of two teams people had the perception that one was better than the other and they got upset when it.

One of the hardest things for people to swallow was progression. I made it clear to everyone that we are not one of those top end guilds who are all about progression. And sometimes I think it goes in one ear and out the other. There was heaps of concern about our lack of progression, but it was only 2 weeks into the expansion and we only raid 2 hours a night so we won't get a lot of progress. There was some tension as there as we tried to work a viable solution.  I was against a separate group within the guild doing progression without the others, because that would create elitism and cliquishness. However, I was not against them doing it with their friends in other guilds, and they did just that, and I think that assuaged their need for harder content that we weren't doing.

This may seem harsh but I encouraged them to leave the guild - not because I wanted them to leave, but because I had wondered if they had the feeling they had outgrown the guild.  And every child grows up and leaves home! I told them that what I wanted them to be happy, and if they stayed and weren't happy, their unhappiness would filter into the raid and ruin the good feelings we had in raid. It's their money they pay to Blizzard, and they should play how they want, and if the guild was too restricitve, then I really didn't mind if they left to go try it out for themselves.

However, looking at things that way, I realised that one of the unspoken guild rules that I used to firmly believe in, was really just me being prideful.  That unspoken rule was that of leaving the guild for greener pastures, and that being a one way door.  I used to dislike people who just came to the guild, got gear and then left for a "better" guild.  I valued loyalty and commitment, and for those who showed those things, I would go the extra miles for them. However, when I considered this situation with those who wanted to do something more within the guild, I realised that I wanted them to try it for themselves, but they were welcome to come back if it didn't work out - because they didn't want to leave the guild, they just wanted to do more with raiding and I wouldn't let them because I was trying very hard to foster the togetherness of raiding, rather than a separatist approach.  For those non believers, I can see where you are going to go - there are those raiders who are probably not as good as other raiders and they probably shouldn't be raiding.

Some people say it's easy to pick out those people from the first raid.  If this was a real life situation, like a job performance review, you'd have to give them a decent opportunity - they could have been having a bad day! So you collect evidence - a week or two of raiding would be enough - and then a lot of those people who found learning fights not really fun compared to what Flex raiding was in Siege of Orgrimmar, they would just filter out on their own.

So in our first few weeks we had a buttload of people turning up to raid and I had to sit people out. In the last few weeks we haven't had a full raid of 30 because we've had a few raiding casualties.  Jazz and Nath have had to stop raiding due to work reasons and personal reasons; Haevela has had to stop due to work hours; Kahrax decided he enjoyed PvP more; Ravzz and Bacon weren't enjoying the raiding environment; and Souglyy and Vexil are changing guilds. I guess it's also the holiday season and people have holidays, Christmas parties and whatnot on so that would think the numbers also.  I guess I'll see when the new year rolls in what it's like.

But the raid feeling has been a little bit more relaxed the last few raids, which has been great.  We also ran the casual raider Sunday run which was VERY different to the main raids - different players, and a different raiding atmosphere. We probably took on a little more than we could handle - we had a new tank, Arelion, and he was learning the fight so we did it on normal then we bashed at Heroic for the rest of the night as we had to get everyone used to the fight. Kaida was there, and Urami, as well as Zurajasti, Endos (Taxar), Sharne and Faulen.  The officers were well represented with Kyjenn, Hwired, Aimei, Moopie and myself and the healers we had were all from the main raid - Koda, myself, Siness and Bish - with Dragonray and Cptsars also offering DPS support too.  After the second go on heroic it felt like we could get this down - just needed people to be a little better on getting out of the melee for the chain hurl.  Yig was so bad at getting out of it that we gave up telling him to get out and just put him in the chain group. Considering this was Arelion's first tank we thought he did rather well, with only minor pointers for improvement (mainly positioning and doing the arena stands) but after our 1% wipe we decided to persist and we got it down close to the end of the night. The casual raid is not EPGP'd so I think that I'll set the loot to personal so that we don't have to worry about that stuff.  I expect in the new year we'll have alts come but not at this stage.  I was hoping Sabre would be there - but he must have been caught up.  I do miss Sabre, hopefully he'll be back soon.

Raiding break now over the Christmas and New year period, I guess it will be a good time for me to catch up on things like Molten Core, reputation farming, maybe even levelling Minndy so my Garrison will be vaguely useful. I can't wait to see what next year's raiding will be like!  I'll be dying to sink my teeth into some kills!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

PvP Fridays are back!

There's been tons of enthusiasm about PvP and I've been secretly happy about that - I've worried about Shab being bored with nobody to PvP with whilst we are raiding.

I did a couple of arenas on Thursday night with Sev to test the waters and double DPS teams were the only teams that we had a better chance of beating, as long as we survived the initial burst.  Melee healer combos were tough and I have to say that I really do like the 2 set PvP bonus with Barkskin activating a nature's grasp.

Unfortunately Sev was visiting his parents so no Friday PvP for him.  Brahski and Siness were waiting for Sunny to get on so they could do 3s but in the meantime we did random Battlegrounds.

BGs were good - Horde had a good night and we only lost one game.  Deepwind Gorge can be a bit hit or miss if people aren't playing well.  I keep hoping we do RBGs but we need to get 10 people together to be able to do that, and hopefully be able to play as a team.

Shab wanted to do some arenas so we did a few but as he's noted watching a lot of PvP streams, casters have been a little bit on the weaker side.  We did win a couple - I only really remember the double DK team we faced - and Shab was needing a ton of gear. I was yelling at Shab to use iceblock but he was a tunneling a bit.Duck was still around doing BGs, and so we went together and won a few more BGs.  Sars popped in and we grabbed him for BGs too, and it was a nice run.  We educated Duck on the how fun flag carrying BGs were - all you need is a pet healer and good teammates, and Duck did most of the flags and enjoyed himself whilst Shab and Sars went and did EFC smashing.

Shab, Duck and I had queued for Ashran at around 9pm after one of our BGs, and around 2 and half hours later we managed to all get into Ashran.  Shab was the last to get in and he was torn - 45 seconds till he won that BG, or should he take the Ashran queue?

There's no choice really. TAKE THE QUEUE!

The three of us then went around Ashran doing the mini objectives and doing the events as they popped up.  They had a great time and the mini objectives get finished so quickly but the honour and conquest is nice!  They also managed to get a Grand Marshal kill and were pretty chuffed at getting so many Ashmaul strongboxes and gear.

Molten Quarry - Collect Empowred Ore
Hopefully this is the start of a regular PvP Friday group so there will always be something to do!  I think Sev should ask Santa for a good internet connection for his parents - felt bad that he missed out on all the fun.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Chatting again with the girls gone WoW - topic: Pet Battles

Last week I was invited again to chat with the lovely ladies on Girls Gone WoW - Sil was having a break but EJ and Raven were still going strong and it was fun to be chatting to them and listening to their views on everything new in the expansion.

I won't spoil the episode, which you can hear here, and the topic was Pet Battles, which is one of those funny things - you can love it, never done it, or just do it very casually but there were a lot of strong feelings about the subject!

One of the biggest criticisms was that the pet battles were too hard.  I think what they would have liked was there to be some sort of heroic mode for the pet battle and a normal mode.  I don't blame them - pet battles has turned into one of those things where people just google other people's pet teams to find out the best way to fight a pet boss/team, and have the right pets levelled!  I however enjoy the challenge of it, but I do find it very difficult to filter through my pets, especially if I am looking for a particular ability - it would be great if Blizzard put in a search for ability in the pet journal because sometimes I just can't remember which pets do Mana surge, for example.

The Elekk Plushie adventure is a very challenging one and trying to find teams with just 2 pets that can take down other pet teams can be so hard!  Especially the celestial tournament!  I admit, I have spent ages trying to take down a pet as I experimented with all my teams, because I often didn't have the right pet levelled and then I thought, I have so many levelled surely I can substitute one!

I admit, I did cheat and look at other people's team choices.  Murloc Harbor, recommended to me by Nathus has an excellent post on Awfully Big Adventure.  Cymre has started hers, but hers are youtube videos of the battles, and I am waiting for Liopleurodon to do hers so I can see what she's got in her team comps.

One of the embarrassing things was that I got up a few hours too early for my interview, but the girls very kindly started early so I could make use of that time.  It was perfect IMO - I got up at 4am and we were done by 6am which meant no kiddie interruptions.  Slight awkward moment as they asked me to do my best roar - without waking the whole house I had to do a rather tame rawrrrr.

Anyway, I should stop talking about what I talked about and let you go listen to it if you have the time. Big thanks again to Girls gone WoW for letting me loose on their show again!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How the 10th anniversary and WoD reminds us the good old days really weren't

Count how many times you've heard any of these lines?
  • "Back in Vanilla it was better with 40 mans"
  • "You don't know hardcore until you raided in Vanilla."
  • "If you played Vanilla then X or Y and Z"
Well, Blizz brought back a whole bunch of Vanilla things.  Less abilities.  No reforging.  No flying. And they brought back Molten Core.

I think people had fond memories of Molten Core.  Or they had forgotten how many HOURS it took to do Molten Core.  Everyone is so used to being OP in it now as they farm MC for pets and legendaries that when they went back to see Molten Core as it was in it's glory days, they realised how fun was probably not the best word to describe it.

These days in LFR it takes a couple of hours to do Molten Core - in the first few days of MC LFR opening it took 3-4 hours and people just wanted it to be over.  The lure of pets and mounts kept people in till the end though but I bet I wasn't the only person wishing I could get in towards the end of the run.

On an interview with Convert to Raid, Hazzikostas and Zierhut said this about Molten Core:
  • The revised Molten Core experience was not meant to be done more than once.
  • They wanted to make sure it stayed faithful to the old experience. While 5 minute curses may not be added to the game today, it was an important part of experiencing MC.
  • Some mechanics were adjusted as it was near impossible for 40 random people to get through them. The aggro radius on Golemagg was one of them.
  • We probably won't see any other old school raids come into the LFR format.
Well, if you really want those rare drops you'll be doing MC more than once!

So, that killed any nostalgia for it.  Even Godmother said the same thing recently about her experience in Molten Core - I was fortunate to go in a guild group twice and a premade once, and I also did one random which was definitely not as fun as a preformed group.  There are a lot of people who never saw Vanilla WoW and their first time seeing MC in all it's glory, 5 min curses and magic debuffs (that instant reapplication of the damned debuffs, gotta love that), massive agro radiuses and all the other fun things we remember about the place.  I still haven't got the enchant but I have the pet (but would like to get a pet for a friend) so I am still going there but that's just once a week.

Tarren Mill vs Southshore is the other anniversary event, commemorating those days long ago before the multiple BGs of world PvP.  I don't think I ever did that in Vanilla and having only ventured once into the 10th anniversary BG and an abyssmal loss after a long battle, I felt like strangling people. It really does need team play, and people forget that throwing themselves against the enemy and dying actually makes them win faster as they rack up kills.  I shall have to try again some other time, but I felt like my evening in there had been a waste - unlike MC there is no mount or pet or special enchant, there is just honour and glory and ... yeah well that's about it, really.

And you know what, I have not heard anyone saying how wonderful Vanilla was ever since WoD was released.  One of my guildies said "The best thing about Vanilla was when they released Burning Crusade."

I can't even rustle up interest in MC on the weekend anymore - I think everyone is of the feeling "You only need to do MC once", just like the devs said.  I might run one on the last Saturday before it's gone for good, in case there's anyone that hasn't done it yet for whatever reason we can do it.  And have yet another chance at that pet.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Want to see Ashran? Better set aside 4 hours of play time

Ashran sounded so exciting when I first read about it, I couldn't wait to get in there. It sounded like an all day Alterac Valley which also had some side objectives you could do as well for bonus honour.  In the first few days, those who hit 100 quickly were in Ashran as it was a really fast place to level and gear.

That got nerfed recently and so now it seems like people who actually like to PvP are in there.  But, if you want to do Ashran, you'd better have 4 hours up your sleeve.

Yep, you heard me.  The queue to get INTO Ashran is almost 2-3 hours most days, and once you're in you might as well spend an hour there doing things anyway.  I'd say for people who have to AFK a lot, Ashran is not an ideal place to spend time - probably OK once you got in and then went AFK.

I've only done a couple of the mini objectives in there (mostly in Amphitheatre of Annihilation and Brute's rise because they are closest to the Horde starting area) and I find the mini events quite fun. The racing one (pictured above) is quite fun but that's probably because I have only done it when there are tons of Horde around and almost zero alliance.

The first thing you want to do is find a group. If you just type in general chat that you'd like an invite to group someone should pick you up pretty quickly.  I didn't know this at first and spent a lot of time just wandering around by myself thinking that everyone else was in some kind of premade.  Luxy quickly told me how silly I was and then finally when I was in a group it was so much better because at least now I had people to heal and objectives of sorts to follow and PvP is so much better in a group - better chances of survival.

Basically everyone is running down trying to get to the Alliance base to kill their leader (Grand Marshal Tremblade) and it's timed so Alliance can defend it and we can lose our objective.  Along the way we fight a whole lot of elite NPC captains as well as capture towers along the way defeating the elite NPC inside which awards you honour points and some conquest points.  You also loot Artifact Fragments from just about everything you kill in Ashran, and you hand these in to help summon captains and big boss NPC to help you fight (Fandral for us Hordies, a big rock dude) as well as portals and gateways and the like. Handing those fragments in also gives you a little bit of honour as well, so make sure you loot everything you kill in Ashran!

There is a chance at each objective to get an Ashmaul strongbox - killing the Alliance leader gives an epic one but green and blue ones can drop from all the other daily objectives.  There is a chance for cool loot inside these strongboxes which is PvP gear 600 or 620 ilvl but also a chance for epic loot (which lucky me got one item) which is the Conquest points gear.

The rares in there are not soloable by little old me, and it's a pretty dumb idea to solo anything remotely hard since all it takes is one alliance to come and start wailing on you and you're pretty much dead.  But, since they're pretty much left alone, it leaves me plenty of opportunity for screenshots of rares.

So how is it in terms of time efficiency, honour and conquest points and gear?  Well, I think if you're just wanting to start getting ready for arena and RBGs or even just random BGs, Ashran is a good place to get geared up quickly.  The gear may not be fantastic but it's passable and better than running around in your dungeon heroics.  Getting just a few pieces from those boxes and then supplementing with honour bought items has been good for me.  Then you feel a bit better about getting into BGs and having SOME survivability.

It's not a particularly great way of getting conquest points but I find that time passes very quickly in there and you can get a couple hundred in an hour or so if you do your objectives, per day.  But I would probably recommend doing random BGs after that to try to get at least the first BG win conquest bonus.

I think arena is probably the best way to conquest cap and RBGs if you can get in (you won't get in anyway unless you're geared) and so I did a few and got some conquest that way.  Well, that worked for me last week, because I had plenty of free time, but this week I haven't got as much time, so it may not work out as well. I foresee a lot of late nights... again.

Being in Ashran makes me wish I had a Gladiator's Sanctum building in my Garrison.  I see everyone looting Broken Bones and I want some too!  On a PvE server it's the only place you can get those bones anyway.

So that's me in Ashran.  I've been having fun in there, but it really needs a long period of timeplay since you should log on, queue for Ashran, then go and do whatever it was you wanted to do when you got on (raids, dungeons, BGs etc).  Once the queue pops you haven't got much time to accept so don't AFK too far or for too long (it wouldn't surprise me if someone had an addon for it that makes some loud yelling noise saying "YOUR ASHRAN QUEUE POPPED!!!") or you'll miss it.

But, I need to get back into proper arenas soon.  It's very melee heavy in there at the moment, and it seems casters aren't having much fun in there which means may not be very fun for Sev, Shab and myself.  But we shall see!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Raiding - Expelling Ko'ragh

Ko'ragh required a little more coordination than any of the previous bosses, and it took a little tweaking to our technique to get it down as well!

This boss does a lot of magic damage in different forms and also has a shield that needs magic damage to burn down.  Once that shield is down he runs into the middle and charges up again.  One of the DPS (we were using hunters) can run into there and get the shield too (but have to be healed massively to be able to do that) and then when they have the shield just like Ko'ragh they can run around and soak up bouncy balls (just like in Blood Prince Council in ICC).

The boss also does a bunch of other damage things.  Expel Magic: fire puts a debuff on everyone that does damage to others when it expires if they're close than 4 yards, so all the ranged need to spread out.  The melee however, need to be dispelled but they can spread, be dispelled then come back and hit the boss again.  Expel magic: Arcane is on the tank and they drop exploding arcane circles on the ground and take 100% more damage, so that's when they tank swap.  Expel Magic: Frost makes a frost orb that you have to get away from (it slows you as well - Stampeding roar is great for getting out of it) and Expel Magic: Shadow puts a debuff on everyone that absorbs healing, and so we're supposed to use healer cooldowns for that part of the fight.

Ko'ragh also runs at someone and smashed the ground where they were, leaving a supression field where anyone inside is silenced.  We use these to kill the adds that come when Ko'ragh runs to the middle to charge his Nullification Barrier.

Doesn't sound so bad, right?

It took a little bit of tweaking.  First, the melee had to get out of the middle when Ko'ragh runs to the middle so they don't accidentally get the Nullification barrier too.  Once you get it you can't get someone else to get it, and you can't step out of it.

Secondly, how we were handling the adds was also not quite right.  When Ko'ragh runs in to recharge, little ghosty adds come out which have to be killed but when they explode they do a lot of damage so you get them trapped in the suppression fields and kill them in there.  At first we had everyone stack up behind those zones, but we seemed to be having difficulty getting the damage out to get Ko'ragh's shield down.

So we made a slight adjustment after a few wipes, and only got the melee and the healers to stand behind that suppression zone whilst the ranged went all out on the boss.  That worked better.  Another tweak was to spread people right around the room instead of a little crescent close the starting area.  That was a lot better too.  And also telling people to get away from the walls so we could actually have room to stand behind the nullification zones was also very helpful LOL.

So yay, that was the 6th boss down on normal for us!  This time I managed to get a picture!

Imperator Mar'gok will be a doozy - watching that video looks so busy!  On Friday Exray, Aza, Alca and Una went with some friends and did it, and Sev's friend Scruff (who has cleared heroic Mar'gok) offered to run me and Sev through out so we can learn it, but Christmas parties are stuffing up my fight learning opportunities so I will have to take a raincheck on that!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

WoW and other computer games that my 6 year old daughter enjoys

I did a recruit a friend and was just leaving the account there to hit the 3 months so that I could get my pet, but my daughter kept wanting to play so I let her use that account and play on it.

Kyjenn's daughter who is a a similar age to my daughter but a little older also plays WoW sometmes and he proudly tells me how she is a mouseturner.  My daughter, however, is a keyboard turner, but then, I also use keyboard to move a lot, so I shouldn't really be surprised by that.  I did try to make her a mouse turner, but she'd have none of that.

What's interesting to me is how she likes to play.  She levels a toon doing a few quests and then decides she wants to make a new one.  She has done this about 5 times already.  I wondered if that was some kind of dreadful alt-itis that she had, because I know I DEFINITELY don't have alt-itis.  And it's not really surprising what she wants to play, she likes playing hunters because she likes having a pet.

She is always asking me to come and form a party with her in World of Warcraft.  I was particularly proud of her when she was sitting on my lap as I was loading up WoW, and she pointed at the picture of an orc with a wolf pelt coat on the loading screen and said "Hey, mama!  Look it's Durotan!"  I asked her how she knew that and she just shrugged and said "I don't know, but I know."  I have to admit, I grinned inside :)

But World of Warcraft wasn't the only thing my daughter was playing.  We got Injustice on the PS4 to play with and I really like fighting style games so I wanted to play that and my daughter wanted to as well.

And then, she found that she liked playing Hawkgirl and she beat ME, Aimei and my husband (though he claims he let her win, but I can't claim that!).  I was so affronted being beaten by a 6 year l demanded a rematch so I could trounce her, and I did.  But she put up a good fight!

The other game she plays, and this with her father, is Oddworld.  That game is a reboot of the same game my husband and I used to play, and she quite likes trying to figure out how to get Abe through the different sections and how to avoid the various dangers to reach his goal.  I don't know why but this game has never appealed to me.

Recently she was quite engrossed with Valiant Hearts, a WWI game.  This is an iPad game, and my husband thought it was good because it had a lot of history in it. Hoever, that didn't end up being the case, because she skipped all those bits.  She finished that game, but played it from start to finish a few times.  My husband thought it as good because there wasn't that much violence compared to other games, but it still had it's fair share of shooting and blood and being blown up by bombs.

But I think the best game my daughter and I played, was a few months ago and it was called Brothers: A tale of two sons. It was a puzzle solving kind of game and each brother was able to do different things. We sat down and played the game over a whole afternoon, and though the game was designed to be played with one person controlling both brothers, we played it so that she was holding the left side of the controller controlling the big brother, and I was on the right side controlling the little brother.  It was fun playing like that, and we had a great time that afternoon and when we finished...  I thought it was sad but my daughter didn't quite get the gist of why it was sad, and I didn't bother explaining it to her.

Are there any other good mother-daughter games to play out there?  Look forward to hearing some suggestions of games my daughter could be interested in!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Raiding - Highmaul first heroic (though just Kargath)

We were having a bash at Ko'ragh but weren't getting as far as we would like to on the mechanics that there was some thought to going back to Heroic Kargath and seeing if we could get some shinies.

I think we were doing decent progress on Ko'ragh anyway and it would be nice to come back to it next week.  I felt like Vanellope Von Schweetz (Wreck-it Ralph) because I kept having this bizarre displacement and I had no idea what it was from.

Una kept telling me it was from Alca... and it was from an Engineering thing, Swapblaster.

Anyway the fight was essentially the same, just had a few people dying to a couple of mechanics (which I myself died from as well).  One was the part where he targetted a ranged and then stomped off in that direction mowing down everything in his path.  You are supposed to kite him into one of the fire poles, and it is logical that you would stand near an active fire pole so that you could do that but of course that didn't occur to me - luckily, I was never targetted, but I did get mown down by Bish one time as he wasn't next to a pole.  Ultra said it looked like a horror movie from his side of the room, raid members being hoed down like wheat.  Another thing was to have no ranged standing behind the melee so that there was no chance of Kargath stopping towards the melee and killing them all.

Being chucked up in the crowd was another thing that was a bit funny. Even thought they were together they weren't getting thrown up and sometimes extra people would be thrown up.  They did a decent job up there but I know I still died from those nasty orcs throwing their crap at me.  I wasn't the only one though, even Dragonray complained about it.

It did take a few goes to get it all down pat and it was much better that final attempt, except that poor Luxy got disconnected and couldn't log back in and we had to bring Ultra in.  People were thrown up into the stand in the last bit but they jumped straight back down to burn the boss down.  A bum, coz I really wished she was there to get the kill!

I have had a rethink about how people can attend raids and it will depend on their survivability, raid awareness and damage/healing.  Filtering out because of that will be ugly, but it will probably be necessary and I'll see how people settle into what's left. I hope that people don't fight with me when they don't have any insight into their performance. It will be unpleasant!

People are still a bit lazy.  I had stern words to someone who wasn't gemmed (again!) and also to someone who had MoP gems in their gear.  I don't care if people don't gem appropriately if we're doing farm content but for progress?  BRING your best! Because we all are!

Which reminds me I need to update EP for people who sat out and were available to raid the whole night:

Thursday - 200 EP for ChosenX, Koda, Hwired (Wijji isn't really a raider)
Sunday - 200 EP for Kel, Siness, Brahski (Zura isn't really a raider, was going to make him a Sunday person)
Monday - 200 EP for Kyjenn, Disco

If you are being "chosen" to sit out for a raid, you will get bonus if you turn up for the raid and are available.  If you don't logon because you know you're not needed then that doesn't count because... what if I need you??

Monday, December 8, 2014

Raiding - Two more down in Highmaul

Tectus and Twin Ogron were defeated on Sunday night by Frostwolves but not before they defeated US a few times!

Tectus has some throwbacks to Morchok, with a big rock dude being broken down into multiple smaller dudes/boulders as you keep hitting him. I wonder how that would be on LFR!

Essentially they were hitting the big rock and running away from the red cloud (which targets a ranged).  There were a few issues in the beginning because DBM wasn't on for a few people and so they didn't realise they had the arrow on their head, but once they figured it out, it was much better. There were rock pillars spiking out of the ground which did damage but easily avoidable (but they also caused LOS issues) and then there was earthquake phenomenon which needed big healing cooldowns to get on top of.  When there were more little rock dudes they did MORE of the bad stuff (red clouds etc) so having so many of them REALLY sucked ass.

Mana sucked ass too.  Rejuv blanketing was not viable and I was very envious of the paladin and priests who had mana to spare at the end of that fight whereas all the druids were OOM.  However, tranquility was a big winner for that fight and I stopped my rejuv spams to focus more on Healing Touch for mana efficiency and NS Healing Touch trying to catch any lows.  Not great healing but it did make my mana last the distance.  That and drinking a pot and using my trinket's on use ability.

We got that down and that was a big relief!

Then it was onto Twin Ogron.  At first, the fire was really bad, killing all of us. Keeping them close to each other was important because when the two ogres were separated they got separation anxiety and hit faster.  Ugh.  So once we stopped worrying about DPSing during the fire phase and just ran and avoided stuff, the fight went MUCH better.  It was ugly for melee, but both those fights were very melee unfriendly.  There was also a charge as well which fortunately didn't kill you but it did do some damage, so I'll need to pay closer attention to that.

The first few attempts were abyssmal but the kill attempt was heaps better and people were recovering nicely after the fire phase as they learned how not to play with fire.

We had a one look at Ko-ragh but there was so much happening (magic debuff everywhere, nullification barriers and supression fields) that we didn't really have a good go at it.  Once again I forgot to take screenshots but my buddy Dragonray was there to do it for me!

It feels weird to raiding Sunday and Monday, but I suppose it's no different to a Wednesday and Thursday.  Raid composition will be different tonight so I will see how it goes.  I will be firm today, and I will not have a weak moment like I did yesterday.  Iron Fist of Navi, as CT says.  Make it so!

Guildleader chores - Excuse me waiter, this isn't what I ordered!

You know, I know exactly how people at Blizzard must have felt in the first few days of the expansion.

You'll remember those days because they weren’t that long ago. People were stuck and couldn’t get into their Garrisons – people couldn’t get into Draenor. Server queues and long wait times – waiting 4 hours just to play WoW? It was a horrible start to the expansion and there were complaints. You saw them on the forums, on social media, on blog posts. People had taken time off to play and couldn’t play at all, what a waste of a holiday. Why wasn’t Blizzard prepared for this? They should have known. They should make more servers.

Blizz did feel bad. Their baby, their golden egg, their masterpiece that they couldn’t wait to show everyone was met with anger, frustration, despair. They gave us a few days free to make up for those days lost which was a nice gesture, and to me, that was enough. I was just happy to see the new content, play the new game. To me, all the waiting was worth it. Sure, I could have been doing other things, but overall, I wanted to see the expansion, and I saw it, it just took me a bit longer to do what I had wanted to do.

And you know what, this week in Highmaul has felt like how those first few days in WoD must have been for Blizzard.

I knew there were a lot of people who wanted to raid. Everyone new that was recruited I told them there would be no raid spots. And yet, everyone was excited and turned up. People who were here in SoO should have guaranteed spots. Everyone else should be taking turns for the rest.
The first day was easy. The second day… it was hard.

I wanted people to take turns. The extra Sunday might have been a mistake, because it was a normal raid day substitute. I was hoping there would be less people, but there weren’t. And then I find people were not enchanted, not gemmed – some may have been honest mistakes, but I used that on Sunday as my culling points to try to get 5 or 6 people out of the raid, when I tried to filter out who was going to come.

One thing I was particularly NOT proud of was that a raider gave up his spot for a waiting in line raider, and I ended up sitting them out. The poor player had cancelled dinner with their partner for the raid and I ended up benching them. Not happy. And I totally get that, but again, I had not promised raid spots to anyone, I said I would TRY to get them in. If I had known that, I would
Others, who had come on Thursday wondered why they were sat. And another who was missing their chants said it was very unfair because they were there in SoO and should not have to give up spots for casuals.

And another one more who I’d had a drama with because of my own stupidity did not speak for the entire raid, probably because they didn’t want me to start in again on the incident that I was discussing, and also because they may have been grumpy.

This is NOT how I want to raid.

I wanted to make it easy for everyone and have a turn sitting out. But I have had objections to that too. I dislike looking like I am abusing my privilege as the GM by putting myself into every raid when other healers have to rotate, but I’ve been told by multiple guild members that the raid may degenerate into chaos if I am not there to reign in behaviour. People have the perception that the raid runs better when I am there, but I’m not sure if that’s true or just a perceived thing, like training wheels or a security blanket.

“You knew there were this many raiders, why didn’t you tell them to go away?”

Because some of these people, are actually really great people. Their attitudes to raiding are BETTER than some of the raiders I have raiding as full time raiders now. They know how to share and take turns, but even they reach the end of their rope when they don’t get a share. It bugs me that some people only see them as usurpers, when I see everyone for their potential and their strengths. I want them all to play together NICELY, and some people still feel like outsiders, trying to make friends. I hate this cliqueyness and I wish I had 2 of me so I could play with everyone and make them feel welcome, but I also need my own time to do my things that I need from game as well. Ugh, wouldn’t life be great if I was single with no kids and unemployed? I could then have all the time to do the game things I wanted to do and also help sort out this business of people not feeling played with. The longer I let it fester, the worse it will be.

I looked at the logs and saw mages and shamans not doing as well as hunters and rogues and monks. I am not about to start raid selection based upon raw number output, because that’s not what I do, but I will need to think of something. It also worries me because people who read this may say they want to sit out to avoid drama, but that isn’t fair either.

The fairest thing is a roster. I force everyone to take their turn and that’s it. You know it’s harder to be fairer than it is to be selfish. No wonder people prefer to be selfish! It’s way easier! If I was selfish I would make them all /roll and put them into the raid that way. Coz that would be bloody easy.
So I’ve decided that EVERY non SoO raider will raid 2 days out of the 3 if I can juggle it that way. And I think every raider will get to raid 5 days out of 6. And I also need to balance those days for the bosses as well, because it hardly seems fair that some people get 2 days of farm stuff and can get loot and others get one day of progress and wiping on a boss.

And I haven’t quite fixed the EP for those who sat out, but I think that will catch up eventually.  It's not hard to catch up and it's a new week next week with new donations.

So, that’s my ranty post done. Now time to get writing on that happy post where we got some boss kills in Highmaul!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Minipost: Using WoW as a pickup line

I was chatting to Sars on Skype and he was a little slow to respond.  I hadn't thought much of it, since he's on holiday and probably had lousy internet or something or was talking with Arelion, but then he said

"Sorry was talking to a love interest :D

I'm level 100 in World of Warcraft. I'm kind of a big deal.  I even have Ashes of Alar."

WUT?  I asked him who would REALLY fall for that sort of line! Does she even play WoW?

She does play, he said.  But to be impressed by those things.. I thought was a bit lame.  You couldn't pick me up with those lines.

Then he asked me what would someone have to say to impress me if WoW was being used as a pickup line.  Tough one.  I thought about it and figured that if someone mentioned they played WoW, and I responded positively and he decided to talk to me about WoW, I probably would be more impressed and likely to date them if they said they liked to PvP and got a Rival title the last two seasons or something.  Or if they were battle pet fanatics too.

After that we just started getting ridiculous.  We started making up things for what we thought people in the guild would be impressed by.  We started with Luxy.

"He'd have to have every achievement in the game," said Sars.

"No," I said. "He'd have to be super nice or something, like he would run 2200+ rated RBGs but was REALLY nice to everyone, even PuGs."

So I started extrapolating to OTHER people in the guild.

So for Sev:
"I think she would have to like PvP.  And not have an issue with Sev playing or try to stop him playing games."

Then onto Aimei:
"I think if a girl said she played WoW, that would be enough of a pickup line," I said.

And for Exray:
"Hmm.  I think perhaps someone who he could help.  He likes helping, and the damsel in distress thing?  I think he likes that."

And how about Aza....
"She would have to talk his language.  She'd have to be a good player.  I don't think he could tolerate an average player."  Sad but true!

So now I'm curious.  If you were single and met someone, what would they have to say about WoW to make you interested enough to ask them or go with them on a date?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Raiding - Our first look at Highmaul

It was raid day! I was excited, nervous and hopeful all at the same time - you know that's a little bit like taking chocolate, strawberry and a bit of caramel as a sundae and then swirling it all together until you get a uniform browny coloured concotion but somehow it still equals yum.  So basically, all those things mixed in still led me to be happy to be raiding.

I wondered how many people would be on.  I thought about what I wanted to say on our first raid. I wanted to be clear about how things were to run, how loot works and how I did not want to see loot drama, make sure people listen to the raid leader etc etc.

So we beat the first boss before the raid - the loading screen boss.  WE WERE ALL CONNECTED!

As predicted, we had too many turn up to raid.  It was stormy with thunder and lightning and Exray was worried because the storm was over his place.  However, it rapidly moved to Sydney where it became everyone EXCEPT Exray's problem!

So in the final 30 we had:
Tanks: Aimei, Bladewall (Exray)
Heals: Navi, Ama, Morz, Ravz, Bacon
DPS: Aza, Sev, Haevela, Disco, Vexil, Duck, Kahrax, Luxy, Crooked, Una, Jazz, Nath, Ultra, Kelthal, Souglyy, Raverager, Nok, Kyjenn, Roshii, Alca, Dragonray and Brahski.

Eq disconnected in the second boss fight so Lushen came in and took his place.

Koda, Hwired, Chosenx and Wijji sat out. I have to remember to give them EP when I get back online at home.  For those who are sat out but are available for the raid they will get half a raid's worth of EP.

I actually ran with one less healer than I wanted to (5 healers) to see how we went, and lovely darling Koda offered to sit out (since it was my turn to sit, but I hadn't made it to raid yesterday so I was a bit pooped that I wasn't going to be there on the first raid day) so that I could be there for the first raid.

These idiots started the event so I missed all the talking!  Lucky it didn't start the actual fight!

Exray explained the fight, I did my not so fun talk (which sounded more like a lecture) and had to tell poor Alca to stop with the naughty general chat talk and flopping his bits out and then we were ready to roll.  The first fight went very well, and it was actually so easy that people wanted to do heroic. But, we are doing normals and we're going to finish them before we get onto that.

I found it weird that Kargath was the first boss, as he was a Warlord, but I guess it's really an ogre arena, so an ogre should be the last boss.  He charges at clumps of people so there was a designated clump and he also chucked people up into the stands so those guys could kill a couple of those nasty haters who were throwing crap at us.  Oh, and guess which noob druid died from Kargath charging around... DUH.  "Navi, you're supposed to move out of that!" said Aza.  Whoops.  Boy did I feel silly.

There was SO MUCH LOOT to distribute, it took AGES. I was busy watching the cinematic but I thought OMG I need to stop watching this because I have loot to do!  And then, I was so busy doing loot that I forgot to take screenshots!  THANK THE EARTHMOTHER FOR DRAGONRAY!  But she didn't get good pics of the first boss, and neither did I.  But she did for the other fights!

The second fight, the Butcher, was a bit messy but we did manage to kill it in the end.  He turns and smashes groups of melee so there were two groups and they were supposed to take turns getting cleaved.  However, the groups were taking lots of damage - especially the one that was on the left (from our PoV it was left, but from tank PoV it was on right) and their health was REALLY bad and they ended up dying which was unfortunately a healing problem.  Even with Efflo under them and not much healing on tanks, it was a nightmare trying to keep them up, not sure if the hunters moving between groups was working properly or not, because I was pretty focussed on those green bars. Anyway, some of the ranged moved in and we eventually got it down.  I think that could go a lot better next time.

Then onto Brackenspore.  Roshii said it wasn't a hard fight, but it took a bit of coordination and we were all over the place with healing mushrooms and timing them to bloom and pulse.  I like the idea of healing a mushroom - very druidy!

The storm hit Sydney and Aimei lost internet a few times as well as had a brief interruption of power. He could get back on but it was suboptimal and he disconnected a few more times.

We all had a 5 min break to watch the video and then came back to the fight. Good mushies, bad mushies, spore spitting plants, creeping fungus, a big ass add... seemed like a lot to do!  I actually found it difficult to know what the mushies were at first coz I didn't recognise them but now I know the good and bad ones.  Love that Blue one - regenerates mana and health and with full mana back you can churn out a ton of heals with it!

We had the rogues running around with the fire extinguisher at first and then we switched it to the hunters. I am thinking that perhaps they should burn that creeping moss when it's in an area we need to be in.  Aimei disconnected a few times and we had to wait till he was on for our final go.  On our last attempt for the night we got it, and Aimei had disconnected too!  We were pouring heals into Exray and he died, got rezzed, then died again!  OMG so close!  And then it was WEIRD, because even though Aimei was offline he was somehow autoattacking the boss and Brackenspore was hitting him. "Heal on HK!" and we healed him as much as we could and we ended up getting it down.  Wewt!

And that's all of the inside bosses done and we got the achievement The Walled City.  I wonder what that fight would be like on LFR.... but the others seem rather easy to do on LFR so should be pretty easy I think.

I thought the raid went very well. There was no loot drama, but there was a little bit of people calling out things when I specifically said that you only call out if you're using a cooldown or doing a special function.  I will talk to them about that.  But I didn't feel like there was any finger pointing or blaming, and everyone was just happy to raid.

No bloody Warcraft logs to look at because of the disconnections which is a bit crap.  But I can tell you that hunters are doing great, and mages in general are not.  Heals were pretty even I thought, with fights with movement doing best for druids, and static ones best for the others.  Tank wise I didn't find either tank particular hard to heal but with 4 others healing as well, there would be green ticks going everywhere anyway.

Thinking of raiding on Sunday if possible.  That would be rather good since we lost Wednesday.  We shall see who is interested!  I think we'll get a decent turnout!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Minipost: EFF-YOO DDOS - no Oceanic servers for anyone!

Another night, another DDOS attack, which means no raid today you Piece of POOP.  Sitting here on the loading screen (at least I got to character screen) all my previous attempts at logging into Navimie were unsuccessful but logging into US servers didn't seem like a problem at all.

So I went to and took some pictures of these attacks which are actually rather hypnotic to watch!

So I stared at this for a better part of an hour or two...

And so decided to call it a night.  I'm sure I have a good trashy romance novel to read that would be far more entertaining than this.  Sigh, and it was my turn to sit out tomorrow.  SO UNFAIR!

Raidleader chores - Setting out a raiding roster

The number of people wanting to raid at the beginning of an expansion is always massive.  I knew this and expected this, but so many people seem worried about it.  I also made it a point of telling all new players that there are not raid spots at present in the main raid so that it will ease the anxieties of those who are confirmed raiders afraid of losing their spots.

At present, I have:
Tanks: Aimei, Exray
Healers: Navimie, Morzierz, Ravzz, Koda, Amayeti, Baconhoney (Swag), Biship
DPS: Sevrus, Luxygaga, Lushen, Nathamanz, Jazzbangers, Azadelta, Crooked, Kahrax, Haevela, Alca, Una, Duck, Brahski, Dragonray, Ultrapwn, Eq, Souglyy, Vexil, Kelthal

Sars is overseas at the moment but he should have a confirmed raid spot as he had been raiding in Siege of Orgrimmar.  We have too many healers at the moment as well. There will definitely be one rotating out from the raid every raid, and for the first week I'll make it druids.  The next week I will make it the priests and paladin.

There are a WHOLE HEAP of people who would like to raid but at this point in time are subs for main raid.

Disco, Raverager, James, Moopie, Kyjenn, Hwired, Roshii, ChosenX, Urami, Siness, Nokturn, Frostietute, Arelion

Bladewind/Yuda has come back to game and he's really busy these days but I think he might be able to make a once a week raid on Sunday.  That gives me another option for a healer.

As you can see, that's a lot of people.  And those are the ones I KNOW about.  That's a long line of people waiting to take turns...

At this stage, I've got a more casual once a week raid happening on Sunday.  With Kyjenn, Hwired, Roshii and Moopie assigned to that group, I know it can get off the ground.  Will probably offer that to some of the others who are in the sub group at the moment - except the problem is people seem to have this misconception that it's some kind of lesser raid.  I suppose if you look at time it is, but it will be running with some of our most skilled players (and two officers and two former officers confirmed in it) that I think it will be a really fun raid anyway, especially in the traditional Frostwolves raiding style.  I will probably go and heal there and force Bish or Morz as the other officers to help as well, which means a full officer group and some decently geared alts to go as well if need be.  I am looking forward to seeing how that will work on Sunday.

There are enough to run two teams, as many people mentioned to me.  But I am against two teams running at the same time for a number of reasons:
  • There will the temptation to stack a team with "good players".  That leaves one lot of people disgruntled or feeling like they're substandard.  Making two teams like that also encourages those people to think they are better than others, and the temptation to break away and form their own guild is a possibility.  The last time we tried two teams in Firelands and Dragon Soul, some players wanted to play with others and when they were separated they were unhappy, or when some players were constantly put with the not so good tanks, it sucked all the fun out of the game for them and they quit playing.  Also, if you have some missing from both teams, how do you decide which team will get to raid if you move players to form one new team?
  • I want everyone to learn to play with everyone else, not with just their select group of friends. This is a guild, and raiding is a team thing, where you have to learn to play with everyone. Learning tolerance, adapting to others and new people is part of growing and evolving.  We don't live in a bubble, unless of course you are a Sea pony or a Fishy.
  • "But you want to run two teams now!" I hear you say.  The Sunday raid team is different because it's made up of people who don't have the time to be able to raid 3 nights a week, so it's really for those people who still want to raid with good players but only have the time to play once a week.  Perfect for Kyjenn and Roshii and for anyone else who has a busy week where they're on late shifts and still would like to raid.
But look at the amount of melee DPS we have.  THERE IS SO MUCH!  No wonder I do so many heroics with 4 melee players because that's all there seem to be out there!

And then there is the question of Mythic.  How do I get this group down to 20? People have this expectation that we will get to Mythic quickly because we were doing Mythic in SoO.  I assure you, that is highly unlikely and if people are aiming for that as a goal, then they will be sorely disappointed. By the time we get to Mythic there will be some people who are sick of raiding already and numbers will go down by themselves, or more will become casual as we push for better attendance for the main raid. Christmas and New year will knock out a large chunk of raiders as people want to spend time with their families.  Then the school season will start and the players attending university may have to cut their play times with late classes.  By then we will be 4 months into the expansion and those players who played too hard in the early part of the WoD will be feeling the fatigue that comes after playing the same game for 4 months and will naturally peter out.  I would like to get to Mythic but we have never been that kind of guild before, so why would we start doing that now?  I may start having to sit down and plan a sitting out roster for Mythic, but I will do that the closer we get to that time.

There are players within the guild who feel like it is within their grasp to be doing high end Mythic raiding.  I will have to reiterate that is NOT what we are aiming for here. We want to do good progression with good players, not flog ourselves and push hard that people get burned or stressed out.  I want viable, sustainable raiding and not make raiding a chore or feel like a fulltime job and yet I want to keep the relaxed yet serious feel to it.  Geez that sounds like a hard ask. Maybe too much to ask.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was a great raid team.  I'll see how we go tonight.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Guildleader chores - A pinch of salt and a grain of truth

It is fortunate that I am a perpetual font of optimism and enthusiasm - as Sev often puts it, I can be sickeningly cheerful. I don't know how anyone can be a GM and not be thick-skinned, tolerant, patient and restrained.  Sounds a lot like being a parent, if you ask me. Of course I have some bad grumpy days but those are not as frequent as one would suppose.

With so many new people, there has been a lot of concern about people being cliquey and not playing outside their own groups. It's not hard to understand, because people will want to hang with people they feel comfortable with and not everyone will be as outgoing as I am. Hell, even the officers are as recalcitrant and almost afraid of getting to know new people, so you can imagine how the new people feel. I try my best to talk to everyone even if it's just a whisper to say hello, and I had wondered if people thought that overbearing or intrusive or just downright creepy.  Actually, half the time I whisper someone, they are afraid that I'm talking to them because I'm about to tell them off about something they had done. I'm not THAT scary.  Well, not that kind of scary.

Reigning in language has been a hard trot. People really do forget that you can't go around saying this stuff in real life, and so why do you think it's OK to say it in a game? On Saturday someone dropped a rule breaking comment which I immediately acted upon and that snuffed that unwelcome spark before everyone thought it was OK to talk like that. The person in question said to me "OMG I do not know why I said that, WTB 1 minute rewind and delete, sorry Navi" and it was a comment that was particularly out of character for that person anyway.  Perhaps they too were feeling like they were trying to fit in and their enthusiasm went a little astray.

Then yesterday I had some concerned tells from guildies who worried that people were overly sensitive and thus had resulted in people being afraid to talk in guild chat. It so happened that the incident that spawned this concern was one I had already dealt with and I had spoken to all parties involved with encouragement to think before you speak (and also there was some misunderstanding as someone had said a similar comment only seconds earlier and so they thought it was OK to say the offending line - another example of why a single incident should be dealt with before it becomes precedent).  I explained to the concerned people that I had sorted it out, and it was all fine now. They apologised to me for troubling me about the incident and I just grinned and said "Welcome to my everyday as a GM in Frostwolves!"

Don't get me wrong - I want to hear all the things that are going on when I'm not around.  I'm not on 24 hours a day and people tend to be more restrained when I'm on.  I don't think listening to the constant complaints really gets to me as much as people think it would. I would rather know than not know, no matter how bad it is.  I think people worry that I look at them as being a whiner but I actually prefer people to be upfront and tell me stuff. I am rarely offended when people are genuinely being honest (but of course I am irritated by people who are trying to be asshats) but I worry that my calm reassurance is mistaken for nonchalance or couldn't give a poop.  How do I tell people that this cycle has happened many times before without sounding like a know it all?  How do I reassure them that in the long run, it will settle down?

I think the biggest thing I am afraid of is that the essential spirit of the guild that I've tried hard to maintain will be washed away or diluted by the wave of new people who don't have the same passion for the values I hold dear. This "new Frostwolves" has people concerned - a loss of spirit, of unity, of togetherness that we had throughout out the last expansion. People can be resistant to change - players from Vanilla in the guild tell me how they miss those good old days in the guild and raiding, and then there are also those who miss what we had in Pandaria.  I look back on the guild dynamics over the years and in my mind (and perhaps I am biased) and I feel like the best times were had during Throne of Thunder and Siege of Orgrimmar.  Maybe it was because I had a more active role in the guild then - though as an long time officer in Frostwolves I was always involved to some extent. Hostile takeover Inheriting the guild gave me the freedom to set some ground rules in place that I thought the guild had been lacking. I sometimes wonder if I am the only one who wants these rules and everyone thinks I'm crazy or wrong.  What if the whole guild doesn't want this and I'm forcing my will on them like some kind of dictator?

A guild should not be a dictatorship, it should be a consensus. Am I being churlish for not allowing a consensus? I guess it seems a little unfair that I am trying to push the guild towards MY preference for raiding and general attitudes, but fortunately there are a few who also share my ideals, so it's not as if I am trying to shove unpalatable concepts down people's throats.  As long as there are those people in Frostwolves, I will always have a guild to call family.  And I guess I have always got the other officers around to ground me - though they may be quiet, they're not all yes-men, and they will usually give me a calm perspective n something that my single minded determination has ridden rough shod over.

Anyway it's server shutdown time and this brain expunge has lightened my soul somewhat.  I shall finish this post here and go look up some Highmaul fights before tomorrow!