Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Good Times

It seems like ages since I have been posting. I apologize for this, but I decided that this year I would not do the old "filler" posts that I did last year. That being said, means that if I do not have something interesting then I will not be posting. The second part of my absence is also the fact that this is tax season here in the States and that means the busiest time of year for me at work. I have actually had a lot of topics that I wanted to go over, but have just not had the availability to prepare them. The good news is that I have a lot of topics I want to touch on and so I am looking to start scheduling the posts in order to not go weeks without posting.

So now that I spent all the time on why I haven't been posting, let's get into some Paladin talk! (After all this is a Paladin blog!) I recently decided that I wanted two gear sets for my Holy build. I am going to start moving to a more Holy Light focused style of healing. I am doing this primarily because I feel that the guild is in a good spot as far as the variety of healers we have. This means I do not have to worry so much about being able to spot heal in raid situations. The second reason why I feel now is a good time, is because my wife's Paladin has a solid set of gear and is very capable of performing close to where my gear allows me to. With her gear being solid I do not feel that we would need two Paladins in the Flash build and the guild as a whole would benefit from the larger heals that can be brought down from a true Holy Light build. My second set of gear will be for my Flash of Light build. I find this build comfortable and fun. It has a lot of challenges to it and when my wife is not available for raids I feel that this gear set will probably see some use. I also prefer to use Flash of Light for heroics and so there is much merit to maintaining two sets of gear. I definitely plan to discuss this topic in a little more detail, but that will have to be for another time.

Something that has struck me rather odd lately is the fact that my Retribution gear set is currently superior to my Holy gear sets. Now part of this was by planning and the other part was by good old fashioned luck. The luck side came from runs like in Trial of the Crusader. I was picked up to heal one by a group that was just in need of a healer. It seemed that every piece of gear that would benefit a Retribution Paladin was handed to me without me asking for it. I am not sure if it was a recruitment ploy or simply that they had no use for it, but whatever the case it sat in my bank until I decided to take up Retribution as a main spec for a while. The planning portion of came from the decision to step away from healing so much and work on running instances in my Retribution spec. At first, I did not plan to stay with this. It was simply a sort of vacation from healing, but I soon found that I liked the challenge of melee DPS, and by challenge I mean becoming good at a class and really learning the little things that make people want you in the group (and not the facerolling style of play that most people demonstrate when playing Paladins and other melee classes). At first I struggled making sure I was in the right place and targeting the correct mobs (yes there is a way to target mobs and it requires either keen observation or really easy to create macros). The only part I really did not like (and continue to dislike) is how much gold I am spending on changing gems and enchants. One thing that you have to expect when really throwing yourself into a new spec or character, is to spend a ton of gold. I have spent a couple hundred gold on gems and then an hour later decided that I lost a little DPS overall and so had to regem the equipment. However, that is what makes a player become good and makes the juice worth the squeeze (bonus points if you can name the movie that I stole that juice line from).

I actually had so much fun as a melee class that I decided to finish leveling my Rogue! So late last weekend when every sane person in the house was sleeping I was going on a Killing Spree! Whoopy hit level 80 sometime around 5 AM on Saturday morning and I was so glad to have that experience over and done with. (On a side note, I think each time you level a character it becomes more tedious than the last.) I am actually happy that I leveled Whoopy so late in the game because there is just so much to learn about playing a Rogue effectively. Notice I used the phrase "playing a Rogue effectively"! To me, the Rogue class is one of the single most (if not the most) complicated yet simple class to play in WoW. There is so much math involved in figuring out what piece of gear will be an improvement. Litterally every piece of gear can dramatically change the effectiveness of this class and overall output of their DPS. I have tried several different specs while leveling and finally finished on a Combat build which I will probably talk about in another post. My advice to anyone who wants to become great with a Rogue is to learn how to use the spreadsheets that are out there, because they are the only thing that you will really be able to rely on. I have spent so much more on my Rogue than I have on my Paladin and it has only been one week. I definitely have a new found respect for the Rogues out there who are good and are putting it down the right way.

Well, time flys when you are having fun and unfortunately for me, I have to start heading off to do some other things. I wanted to touch a little bit on the state of raiding for me lately, but I guess we can save that for another time. I hope everyone is having a good new year!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rules of Healing

I am sure that everyone who has ever healed can quote us the three rules of healing. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. So these old rules, while they were good rules, have failed us in the modern age of the random PuG players who do not care about performing well. So I would like to present a new set of rules!

The three simple rules that we use to live by and die by:

1. If the tank dies, then it is the healer's fault.
2. If the healer dies, then it is the tank's fault.
3. If the DPS died, it is their own fault.

I am to the point where I think we can safely thow these rules out the window! These rules are only valid with people who care about their performance in a group. With the advent of the random PuG system, it is clearly plain to see that no one cares for anyone but theirself. So, what should the new rules of healing be?

1. If you die, it is your own fault.

Yeah, I think this sums it up pretty much. If you die, then it is your own fault. Basically Mr. Speed Demon Tank, if you charge into the big boss mob and your healer is busy regenerating mana (do healers struggle with that?), rezzing a party member, or whatever else; and you die, then it is your own damn falt. You better either slow down or check in with your healer to see if they feel like running at ninety miles an hour. Mr. Burst Crazy Mage and Paladin, if you draw aggro, I hope you have a good bank account to cover your repair cost. Mr. Underpeforming DPS, if you are low on the charts, it is nothing personal but it is better to try to keep someone up who can actually down the boss.

2. If you do not like the group, then leave.

This seems completely out of place for healer rules right? Well, not really. I have learned that when I tag myself as a healer I immediately get into groups. Upon entering the group I do a quick looksie over the group and if I notice that I am way overgeared I leave. I am not being elitest, but I am tired of carrying bad groups and getting aggrevated at their ignorance. Not everyone cares about performing well or understanding the game, and that is cool if you want to play that way. It does not mean that I have to tolerate you, especially if I do not know you. I have also seen so many horrible Druid tanks lately that I leave immediately when I see one. I do not want to waste my time trying to figure out if you are good or not. It is easier to go do something else and wait for the debuffs to fall off of me.

3. When you die, run back.

That is right, if you die, you need to run your ghost ass back to your corpse. I may or may not feel like rezzing you. If you drew aggro on yourself, then chances are you are running back. That way you have time to review your death and learn from the mistake. Mr. Bad Ass Tank, if you died, then you can run back because it signals that the only thing bad about your character is the play style.

Those look like three pretty damn good rules to me. Now I know that a lot of folks may think that this is kind of a dick way to play. I honestly do not care. Unfortunately, since I am stuck with random people, the rules have to change in order to offer me peace of mind. Now I am not saying that you need to stick with these rules. You may have additional rules or may wish to tweak these rules. Who knows, I may come up with more rules as I continue my healing expedition in PuGland. So what about you other healers? What rules do you now go by? Do you still use the three outdates rules or have you made some new rules as well?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ruhtra and the Holy New Year

Alright, so it is a new year and a new beginning of sorts. I have pretty much taken the last month off from healing. I needed a break of sorts. I have been healing non-stop since the beginning of the Burning Crusade and taking a break was a much needed thing. Of course during this time frame, the new patch landed and a lot of things have changed in the game. I do not think we need to review the overall changes, but I do want to take a look at the one thing that has changed that effects all of the healers overall. I am talking about the random group finder utility. Now I have made jokes about this in the past referring to it as "PuGland" and other such names, but I am going to be a little more serious for today (at least I am going to try).

See, unlike other people who may take a break from doing something by switching and running on an alt, I simply switched my specs around and started running in as a retribution Paladin. I would like to think I have done well with this, but my heart still lies with healing. While running a ton of PuGs lately, I have noticed a lot of healers are taking unneccesary abuse. If you do not believe me, then read up over at Righteous Orbs and see what Tamarind has encountered. If that is not good enough, then check out the time that Birdfalls had with their PuG. You can even check out what my wife, Eus, has dealt with in our last run together. All three of these blogs have stories in about the healers who are not being treated respectfully. Sure, there are some bad healers out there, I am sure of this. However, I have seen far more horrible tanks and we are not going to even discuss the number of sub-1,000 DPS that I have ran with.

Now I know I am biased as I am a healer, but let's be honest here and have the tanks admit that they cannot solo these instances. Yes, there are a few tanks who can probably run these instances without a large amount of healing, but the ones who can have stated they always check with their healers (unlike the three tanks in the blogs above) before running into mobs at ninety miles per hour. This brings me to the run that my wife spoke about in her blog (linked above) where the tank was wanting to run at a pace that his own abilities could not handle. He wanted to run the instance as if he was a tanking God, when in reality he had a good gear score (yes I check and have the mods to see) yet he did not have the skill that went with the gear score. He pulled mob after mob without regard to the healer's mana pool or checking to see if the healer felt comfortable running at the pace. When the tank pulled multiple mobs, he could not regain agro and I died. (I get pretty pissed if I die from a bad tank too!) He then pulls another mob and goes in to pull the boss. I knew my wife would not be able to rez me so I released and ran back. Having looked over to see that the moron pulled the boss without his healer present, I told my wife not to heal him. My wife told the guild members to feign death (love those Hunters). I make it back just in time for the tank to bring the boss right to me and my wife. I died again. One of our Hunters had bad lag and got a DC death. The other Hunter was able to feign and survived.

We come back in and our tank is just hanging out at his corpse. I know full well that he is just waiting for the timer to go off so he can queue back up for another instance. We have some words and he blames the healer for his dieing. In his own words, "when the healer is just sitting there while two group members....", we do not need the rest of that sentence. Look at his words, "two group"! That should tell you something right there. If only yourself and one DPS are fighting, perhaps you should wait for the rest of the group? I digress, as I can run off on a whole new topic there. The point I want to drive home is that a group needs to protect their healer and show them some respect.

Now healers, let me talk to you for a second. See I tend to pride myself on being a damn good healer. Hell, I would even say a great healer. I have trained a lot of healers. I have also worked with a lot of tanks. I understand speed runs. I love them. My mana regeneration is built for speed runs. However, we need to take control of these PuGs. If you are wondering how to take control of the PuG, then let me explain it. DO NOT HEAL! That is right, wipe an entire group if they do not show you respect by waiting on your mana or checking with you to see if you are comfortable with the pace of the run. It is not fun, nor is it easy for me to wipe a group; however, ask anyone that has ran with me for a while and they will confirm I will not heal your sorry ass if you are making life hard for me. You see, in the group last night that we were in. Had my wife charged in to heal the tank, sure he would of stayed up and the majority of the party would have survived, but he would have continued to be unbearable (pun intended) as a tank. However, by wiping the group, he had to sit out and wait just like the rest of us to requeue. Now I know this will not break him, unless more healers start stepping up to these half ass tanks.

Sure the tanks will leave a group and get right in another one as well. Guess what? Healers are getting in groups pretty damn fast too. When the guild group got done running, I decided to hop in queue for a random run, within seconds I was pulled into a group as the healer. So, my challenge to all of the healers out there, start controlling those tanks. You see, I proved something last night when I told my wife to stop healing. A Druid tank was not able to stay up against one of the weaker heroic bosses. A Druid tank who can pop out and self heal (which he tried), went down like a sack of potatoes. I have seen a lot of tank blogs talk about they do not need heals and can be at the top of all of the charts. Well, to those tanks that are in the Cyclone group, if you want to test that theory, then act like a half whitted ass clown with me healing and you will get to try out that theory. One Druid with a 5100+ gear score rating just bit the dust and made the Worst of the Worst list. Who's next?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cyclone (US) Worst of the Worst

Alright, so I am not going to go on about how horrible PuG groups are. I think we all know this and I also do not want Rather to show up at my door to pound me down for complaining. So instead I am going to do a service to anyone who is in the US Battlegroup of Cyclone. See this is where my server Daggerspine draws are PuGs from. Now I have had mostly good runs and only a few terrifyingly bad runs. However, today (Saturday), I encountered one of the worst of the worst players to date. So it got me thinking about how best to deal with this sort of thing. Now being a blogger naturally I have my own pulpit to preach from, but I want to make sure that these folks remain known for being complete failures at what they do. So to that end, I am going to roll out a new list somewhere on this blog, which will remain up showing us who the worst of the worst are.

Today's allstar comes to us from the Boulderfist (US) server. Allow me to introduce to you Nesh. Now this allstar here is a grand member of the healing team. He is clutch in all the wrong ways. Go ahead and check his stats from the Faction Champions in H ToC! Now look closely at our fine friend here. He decided that he wanted to rock Flash of Light, which I am completely fine with. I mean he cast a whopping 22 of them. He rounded out his impressive rotation with a little Beacon of Light action, a few Holy Shocks, one Holy Light, and an impressive use of his Lay on Hands! That is right, for one of the easiest fights in the game, he brought out the big guns. Too bad he completely failed and when he realized how bad he was failing, he decided to attempt to run for the door. Luckily, he did not make it and he completed the wipage that was his one shot at healing for me.
Now typically I am pretty forgiving of people, typically; however, our friend here had a higher gear score than Ruhtra's healing set and he was sporting some nice items from raids. If you looked at this guy (just a look at his gear that is recognizeable) you would right away see the shield from Ulduar and the nice emblem exchange gear. That alone should let him be able to sustain this first boss, but our champ here was utter failure and even by bringing out the "oh-shit" Lay on Hands was not able to keep anyone up, including himself.
The group was an experienced group too, so it was not lame DPS that was the issue. We had myself representing the real rets who are out there. We had the Hunters on lock down with Edyion and Zethux. What about the tank you say? Well, sure a bad tank could cause a group to wipe; however, our fuzzy bear tank did a great job of holding agro and even though he was learning about tanking, he hung in there like a champ. I felt a little sorry for him because he questioned if he was doing something wrong. So after letting fly with some f-bombs, I reassured him that all was well and switched over to my Holy gear and spec and proceeded to rock the light once more. No deaths, good loot for our fuzzy friend, and a new tank who now understands H ToC are the results of this day. So while Nesh makes history as the first member of my worst of the worst club, we hopefully sent a tank out into the PuGs who is confident and is well on his way to avoiding my list.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year!

I hope everyone has enjoyed the holidays. I know that I really had an enjoyable time, probably the first real time during the holidays where I truly felt at peace and content. However, that is not the focus of this post! This post is to wish everyone a happy new year!





Come on! That is a sweet looking New Year's Baby! So I hope everyone made it home safe and sound. I for one had to work and was just happy to get out early. Hard to believe that at 8 PM at night people were still concerned about their stocks. Oh well, over the next few days I am going to be conducting a series of where I am at with my toons. For right now, I am going to sit back and finish eating my bowl of chili and read everyone else's blogs!