Thursday, February 25, 2010

The idea of the first follower

An interesting Youtube video I came across on leadership:

The clip ends with some interesting lines, "Leadership is over-glorified... it was the first follower that transformed a lone nut into a leader... the best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow".

What an interesting thought, eh? Are there any applications to guilds where the GM is the leader? Would the officers be the courageous first followers? Though I would argue that sometimes it may be the officers making the decisions, with the GM just communicating it. Anyways, I thought it was an interesting concept:

"Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership".


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Arena Update

Arena Season 8 has been out for 3 weeks now. I have been involved in a 2v2, 3v3, and 5v5 team this season, which is interesting because I have to definitely alter not only my strategy, but my choice of trinkets based on the team. With 3 teams it sometimes gets crazy and I don't end up getting matches in for each team every week, but its been pretty fun so far. The fact that I entered this season having a decent chunk of last season's gear, plus a previous season of experience has been very valuable.

We've gotten in somewhat of a regular schedule by doing 2s and 3s on weekend mornings when we can, then getting in our 5s on Monday nights. Though I wonder if we should tweak this at all due to our biological clocks:

Apparently we should be getting in our arena matches between 2:30 and 3:30 pm! Hmmmm... Anyways, we probably had the most experience from last season on our 2s and 3s teams. We haven't done a ton of matches on either teams, but I am hopeful we can get more in (especially on our 3s team!). Though Wut, Muriel (Jess' disc priest), and I had an epic 3v3 match two weeks ago:

Yep, 23 freakin minutes... only to lose. Grrrr. I know their matchmaking value was higher than ours, but we should have won! Especially since their pally ended up rezing their priest after Wut already took the priest down. Double grrrrr!!!

Now I think our 5s team is just starting to get the hang of things this season. I remember the few matches we did last season... and they were just a painful bloody blur. But this season we are much more experienced and better geared. Last night we put our 5v5 team over the 1000 rating, so its been a great start.

I find that I get a good number of folks who land on this blog after searching for something like "resto druid arena" in Google. For those just starting out with arena, frustrated at your performance, it sucks, but the best advice I can give is to be patient. It really does take about a season of painful losses (and gearing up with arena level gear) to understand your abilities and how they mesh with your partners, how to communicate within your team, using line of sight, and how to quickly react to your opponents. I think a lot of teams give up too quickly in their first season, thinking they suck.

I've thought about trying to talk a bit about what I do in arena matches, and how my strategy may change in 2s vs 3s vs 5s. But there is so much of arena that is variable. A lot does depend on your partners. Are they melee? Casters? What kind of CC do they have? Then of course your tactics also are going to change based on the class composition of your opponents, then reacting to what they do.

But I can try to summarize a bit of what we do. In terms of our first choice targets, it seems to go priests, locks, rogues, then perhaps elemental shammys or hunters. I am so conscious of not leaving priests unattended. The ping sound of mana burns landing on me gives me nightmares.

Now in terms of what I do. In 2s (I play with Wut a ret pally), I am almost always the first target. So I typically throw up hots on myself, then get ready to trinket out of their first CC. If things get bad I cry out for Wut's bubble, but then work on cycloning the opposing healer so Wut can take their dps down. If we are against two dps, I try to root whatever melee dps there may be so they aren't beating on me. In 2s I tend to use trinkets with armor, stam, and resilience because its pretty likely they will be beating on me.

In our 3v3 team, we typically always run with a priest. And the priest is the first target almost all of the time. So I tend to switch out to pvp trinkets that max spell power here, but my first moves are a combination of keeping our priest healed up along with rooting and cycloning their healers.

And 5s? Well 5s are really a whirling dervish of craziness. But I tend to keep my spellpower pvp trinkets for our 5s team as well, and my first moves are typically focused on cycloning the opposing healer. Since we run our 5s team with at least two healers, its nice that I can spend a couple seconds getting the CC off knowing that the other healer will be healing as well.

How about you guys? How's Season 8 going for you so far?


Monday, February 22, 2010

When your toon influences real life

We were joking around on vent the other day about how our choice of toons may influence our real lives. Nikolai talked about how he has in fact strutted around his room just like his male draenei priest does. And you know what? I believe him. Then Jess then joked that while playing Makawee (a resto shammy), four paper mache or construction paper crafted totems surround the desk, thus creating an appropriate power center.

Now are there any things from my tree playing life that have spilled over into my real life? Well, its odd to have two fashion related posts in a row, but yes, there is one thing and it is around jewelry. I'm a bit of a jewelry nut (hahaha tree reference!) and my last couple of purchases have been heavily influenced by playing a tree in this game.

Some stunning examples that you can pick up from Jeunebugs, a seller on Etsy who takes real leaves, dries them, then dips them in silver, gold, or copper.

So there is how I show my tree pride in real life.

Anything spill over from your toons into your real lives?

Disclaimer: I have received nothing from this Etsy seller for this post. Heck, Jeunebugs doesn't even know who I am. I just think that she has incredibly stunning leaf jewelry (for a reasonable price) and wanted to share.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Helm inspirations from the fashion world

The British may be known for their awesome accents (well I think so), fish and chips, tea and biscuits, and soccer (er football). But another aspect of their culture that I have been fascinated by is their love of hats. Yes, hats. Now of our armor pieces, I think the craziest designs Blizz has come up with has been our helms. I guess if you think about it, there may be more latitude to go all out with helms compared to other pieces.

Well, if Blizz wants any inspiration in designing future tier helms, I think they should look at some of these amazing hats from the high end fashion world. They're less hats, and more headpieces perhaps. Some exquisite examples from Philip Treacy, an incredible British milliner.

This one below screams out priest to me for some reason:

Could this be for a warlock?

Or this one below for a pally or shammy?

Mage helm below?

I especially love the orchid and butterfly headpieces as options for druid helms. Maybe the male druids wouldn't be so crazy about them, but I love them!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dante's Internet

As fellow bloggers and avid blog readers, I think you all would agree with me that the internet is serious business, right? Of course, of course. Thus, I share with you today, Dante's Internet (click to enlarge) from Geekosystem (though I can't seem to find where it originated).

Next time you're dealing with trolls, attention whores, grammar nazis (though I have to admit I am guilty here... l2know the difference between your and you're!), or people who use leet speak seriously, use this chart to confirm which circle of internet hell you are in.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Guild update, K's birthday, and a lesson

It's been a while since I've talked about our guild's raiding adventures. Well to be honest, we had about 3 weeks in January where we were only able to pull together one raid night a week. There had been a number of positive life changes for guildies that cut down available raid nights. So while it was sort of frustrating to have such little raiding time, you couldn't help but be happy for such positive life changes in guildies' lives such as new jobs, moves, and family additions.

On a bad front, we've had to deal with absences due to technical difficulties. It just seems that the computing requirements to run WOW get greater and greater. Seriously, are we going to need super computers to run this game a year from now? Anyways, we've temporarily lost our cutest male gnome mage Nkm due to this. We miss ya Nkm! Sammy is so lost without you that he is running around Dalaran in a haze muttering "Nkm... battered hilt... cyber session..." Its really quite sad.

Back on a positive front, our pally healer extraordinaire Nicolause is back. And I am hopeful that our old friend Adamas is coming back to the game after a 6 month absence. Yes, this is the same Adamas who was the first guy I ever whispered or partied with in game. He randomly popped on our vent server the other night to say hello, which was awesome.

So recently things have finally turned around in terms of decent amount of raiding time. Here we are with Festergut last week. I was especially pleased that we were able to two heal it. It was tight (remember we are all in 10 man gear), and super mad crazy healing, but we did it.

Here we are with Blood Princes this past week. It was also a pretty tough healing fight but I have to give props to our hunter Kal for soloing the beach ball game so well.

Talking to Adamas on vent the other night made me think back fondly to K's start in this game. And it just so happens that today is the third birthday of me first playing this game, and the birth of Keredria as a toon! Is it odd that I remember this date? Hmmm. Oh and Jess put together a super cute post celebrating what I've spent the past 3 years doing in game and took along my sproutling. Way cute. Though I don't remember agreeing to Jess babysitting, but whatever. The sproutling even got bathed, so that's a bonus!

Finally, an important lesson for y'all. So I've recently realized that I've picked up a bit of a pooch, well bigger than I want or need, over the last year or so. So I think to myself:

Self, maybe you can try to combine playing WOW with doing some form of exercise! You can play the game you love while working on toning up!

This thought then had me making the brilliant decision that maybe I should play WOW while sitting/bouncing/doing some form of crunches on one of those large exercise bouncy balls. Now I would never ever raid on a bouncy ball, because I mean come on, I am a serius bzness raider right? But on a simple 5 man daily heroic? No problem! Right?

Well one of these days, I was doing the daily in Trial of the Champion with Wut and Jess. I think I started bouncing/doing crunches and kind of overdid it and bounced myself off the ball a bit. Oh and oops, Jess died. And the dps DK died. Though for the record, Wut was tanking and these two dps were grabbing some aggro off of Wut. So not totally my fault... though they probably would not have died if I was sitting on a stable surface.

Lesson here? Be careful if you decide to play WOW while exercising on a bouncing ball. (You heard it here first guys!) I ended up sort of sheepishly admitting this to Jess the next day.

It made me wonder though, are there any absolutely crazy things that you do while playing or raiding that would totally floor your guildies if they could see you?


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Complete armor set dance

Every now and then I wonder whether I have too much random humor on this blog. Though I think this blog morphed from being informational to entertainment a long long time ago, so what the heck. I mean, as Jess pointed out to me, I had the gall to put bewbs up on this blog yesterday.

Random comic to share today from Questionable Content:

I think its kind of cute and funny, though the only thing that perturbs (notice! not irritate! though it is a synonym... hmmm...) me a bit is that the girl is clearly pictured as having acne. So hmmm, WOW playing gamer geek girls have acne? Though maybe she plays a tank and has acne from all that facerolling.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


From The Luxury Spot here's a screenshot from their description and pic of a shirt:

"still plays video games even though he's 30?"
"whiny girlfriend"

Anyways, one of the comments was nice to see:

Rock on @lly, rock on.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why is there no BOE loot in ICC 10?

I'll try to be less ranty than I was yesterday, but I discovered something this weekend that I am confused and a bit irritated (yes, again... irritated) by.

Why is none of the loot from Icecrown 10 man bind on equip?

Let's take a look back at Ulduar. From Flame Leviathan to the General, every single boss with the exception of Freya dropped one piece of loot on 10 man that was BOE. In 25 man Ulduar, all bosses from FL to the General had a piece of BOE gear.

I'm sure 10 man raiding guilds remember these drops from back in Ulduar... stuff like Cable of the Metrognome from Mimiron or Nimble Climber's Belt from Auriaya or Armbands of the Construct. While it was annoying at times to see these drops when folks were looking for other drops, it was a nice way for our guild to sell these BOEs for the guild bank to finance repairs for our runs.

Now in ICC 10, there is not a single drop that is BOE. I wondered whether they had gotten rid of this feature for some reason and taken away BOE drops in 25 man ICC as well. Nope. There is one piece of BOE loot for every single boss in 25 man from Marrowgar to Dreamwalker. I then did some more research and learned that this was something they changed with TOC. Not a single BOE drop in TOC 10, but there is a BOE drop for every boss in TOC 25.

Ok so now 10 man guilds don't get the extra bit of cash from selling BOEs. Well luckily our guild bank isn't suffering for cash, but it'd be a nice bonus. Secondly, in 10 mans its more likely that you'd have a drop that someone couldn't use compared to a 25 man. Hello, 25>10 (maths FTW). It was also nice back in Ulduar when we would give some of these BOE drops to guildies who could use the upgrade but weren't there for the raid.

Why did they make this change after Ulduar? Bring back BOE drops in 10 mans!

Grrrr... I am irritated again! I shall try to temper the irritation by giggling at this pic of scrabble cats (click on pic to get closer look of the board):


Monday, February 8, 2010

Not so lovely charms

Warning: Incoming tree rant

Yesterday I spent some time participating in the new Love is in the Air holiday event and found myself running around figuring it all out. So I learn that I need to get Lovely Charms to turn into a Charm Bracelet, to turn in for daily quests or for Love Tokens. Well besides taking part in this holiday, I also spent some time doing what I typically do on any other day, which included a number of battleground runs and the daily heroic.

Im sitting there in my first AB of the day and notice and hear all these little dings with people creating the charms. What? Oh, so you can also get them for getting the killing blows? Seriously? The first thought that came across my head and which I shared in gchat:


Actually it was more like this:


Now don't even tell me that I could have hurricaned near a flag in this AB. Why? Why should I have to dps? I am there to heal. In fact, with my 1230 resilienced ass self (tree rawr), I healed in this AB more than anyone even did damage. In fact 100,000+ more. But I came out with nothing.

I then did the daily heroic with two guildies and was taunted by the fact that they were getting charms in there too. Sure sure, it was an easy Gundrak run and I definitely could have dpsed. But again. Why should I have to?

At this point, my guildies had heard plenty of it from me in guild chat. Guildies and friends were trying to be nice and understanding and telling me that I should go do the bombing quest in Icecrown (which wasn't available to me because I guess I haven't done the prequests), or grind Frenzyheart mobs in Sholazar Basin, or go kill mobs before Flame Leviatian in Ulduar. My response in guild chat? It's the principle!!! Sure, of course I can get them these other ways. But why should I have to?

Also, I think this screws healers even more at the lower levels. Yes, K has pretty decent gear now and it wasn't that bad to hurricane the mobs in Sholazar Basin. But for a lower level or less geared healer? With less armor, less spell power, less mana regen? Not so easy. Yeah, yeah other folks were saying I could switch specs. But hello, not everyone has a second dps spec. Mine is tanking, but for a long long time my second spec was an alternate healing spec.

Later we were able to pull a group together to go into Icecrown, and yep, guildies are getting charms from trash pulls. Poor Darcness didn't know what was going on and was asking what these charms were for. Poor Darc didn't know what he was getting himself into. It was actually pretty funny because everyone else was like:

Darc! Shhh! Don't get K started! Didn't you feel the white hot rage when you came in?

Sammy even made a charm bracelet for me from the charms he got and tried to trade it to me, which I shut down faster than, well... fast. Sweet as it was, I don't want your mercy charm bracelets. Again, its the principle.

What I found even more irritating was not only that you can see that all these other folks are getting the charms, but that you hear it just in case you didn't see it. Ding! Ding! Ding! Charms! Charms! Charms! Screw you healers! No charms for you!

As my irritation was building, I went online to try to find some more information around this and came across this forum thread. I was very glad to see other healers expressing dismay. And I wasn't surprised to see the typical Stop the QQ, go do the quests... go farm these mobs... blah blah blah. Like Keeva, I was disappointed to see Blizz's response that its not a big deal because healers can get them other ways.

Ok, so I get that this game is set up in a way where the focus is on killing stuff. I get that. Kill the bad guys. But why is that? Why isn't there more of an appreciation for healing? Yeah, I know that Dreamwalker in ICC is a healer's fight. And yes, I am very much looking forward to seeing her. But why isn't there more of this in this game? Why can't there be more things in game where the objective, or the purpose is to heal things?

I'm talking beyond raid bosses now, though more raid bosses like Dreamwalker would be awesome. How about quests? Could some of the new quests when Cataclysm comes out incorporate something of a healing mindset? Remember that quest we had to do in Theramore to get some level of first aid? The one where we had to heal and bandage a bunch of soldiers? Could there be more quests like this? Either specific quests or dailies? Folks could either do them as healers, or on some sort of vehicle that Blizz loves so much. Come on Blizz, lets get creative here and think beyond the "kill this" mindset.

Isn't there that saying in game "Kill shit, don't die?" Where do folks think the don't die comes from? /sigh. I think I will create a new signature or tag:

Healers: Keeping your ass alive to tank or dps since, well... forever.

End tree rant.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

I'm not shucking oysters - help!

About a year ago I posted about my noobishness around technology, including the headsets that come with the iPhone. Remember this conversation I shared?

Conversation #1: K and techy sales guy (TSG) in Apple store:
K: So I also want to get a headset thing for my iPhone so I can take calls in the car while I'm driving.
TSG: Um, ok... so you already have an iPhone?
K: Yeah, I got it like 9 months ago.
TSG: So... you want a bluetooth headset?
K: No, I don't need bluetooth, just something I can hook into the iPhone is fine.
TSG:Well here's the headphones it came with.
K: No, I already have those... I just need to be able to talk into something.
TSG: Um... Ms... the headphone that they come with will allow you to talk while driving.
K: Huh?
TSG: Yeah, see this little white rectangle here? Just click it and you can talk into it.
K: What in the?!?! I've had the ability this entire time and didn't know it?
TSG: Um... yeah (/thinks this girl is a total dope). What did you think this little rectangle was for?
K: I don't know... decoration?

Well about a month ago I accidently dropped one of the headphones into a cup of coffee. And apparently as awesome as Apple is, and as much as they are taking over the world, their headphones do not work when one is dropped into a cup of coffee (yeah WTF). So why does this matter? Well, I have always used the headphone/mic thingie that I use with my iPhone as my communication device in WOW. Yep, no separate fancy headset or anything, just the iPhone thingie (technical tech speak FTW).

The set up worked just fine until the little coffee incident, which made one earbud thing not work, subsequently making me feel slightly off kilter. So I went to Apple and bought a new one. I figured that I would be able to just plug this new one in and go about my merry way.

Unfortunately, this hasn't been the case. My guildies are telling me that what they hear from me on a semi-regular, but not constant, basis is a sound akin to shucking oysters or cracking open pistachios. And contrary to guild belief, no I am not shucking oysters while raiding, so this sound has to be coming from these headphones somehow.

This causes comments akin to:

There she goes again, shuck shuck shuck!
Hey, K wants to weigh in (*click *click *click)
What the hell is that?

Which causes me to react with:

Oh for f'sake

For one day I had a small glimmer of hope where I thought I had identified the issue. I thought that perhaps the area where the mic is located (which is more than just decoration!) was brushing up against the zipper of my fleece zip up thingie I wear a lot at home. That perhaps that was the clicking noise everyone else was hearing. But alas, that was not the case because the sound continued when I was wearing something else.

Is anyone else using the iPhone headset on vent? Am I being a total noob for using this (I probably know the answer to this but am asking anyways)? Anyone have any idea what this oyster shucking noise could be? I have never used push to talk, and I really don't want to have to go to that because I like being able to yell out obscenities spontaneously. Its just odd because my last iPhone headset seemed to work just fine without this clicking sound. Anyone have any ideas? Help!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Resto Druid Season 8 Wrathful Gear with No Rating!!!

OMG! Two posts in one day! So Season 8 opened yesterday, and like the good little pvp tree I am, I had to go check out what was available. I first went to Wintergrasp, and see that there is no new gear available with WG marks. Boo. (There is new WG gear available, see below for edits). Then I trot myself over to Stormwind to look at all of last season's Relentless gear now available with honor. While I'm doing this, I hop over to the other vendor to look at the new Wrathful non-set pieces that I figured would be available with rating requirements.

But what? Huh? I see that a number of items, the bracers... the cloak... the neck piece are available to buy with just simply honor. No arena rating required. Holy crap!!! I wasn't sure if it was a bug that they would eventually take back, but what the hell, in case they don't, I picked up all I could right then and there.

I also made sure Wutsie came over to pick up his Ret Pally pieces. I am really looking forward to seeing how we do this upcoming arena season given that we are starting with a bit more experience and gear than we did last season. Our biggest issue was around finding the time. Wut and I did a good amount of 2v2 last season, but I'd love to be able to do some more 3v3 and 5v5 this season.

Now back to the phat lewts. Would the bug be fixed and the pieces taken back? I didn't know. But then today I find this forum post from Bornakk where he confirms that the Wrathful bracers, trinket, cloak, neck, and ring are available with no rating required. This is huge! Level 264 season 8 pieces with no rating! Equivalent relentless pieces were only available last season with rating requirements of 1450-1750+ and now they're just available with honor? Heck ya!

Below is the list of these Wrathful goodies for us resto druids. And don't forget we should be filling out the rest of our gear with all the Season 7 Relentless gear that is available with honor. (Note, I think some of the Relentless gear still requires arena points). As Jess noted last night, scary PvP K with her foul mouth (I'm very bad when I'm PvPing) is back. Time to farm honor kids, time to farm honor.

Wrathful Gladiator's Armwraps of Salvation
Wrathful Gladiator's Pendant of Deliverance
Wrathful Gladiator's Cloak of Deliverance
Wrathful Gladiator's Band of Dominance
Medallion of the Alliance


EDIT: Thanks to Ashley, there is new gear available with WG marks. 25 marks each for a neck or cloak, 40 marks for shoulders. I missed the vendor because its the smaller guy next to the big mammoth. For us druids, the cloak would be Titan-Forged Cloak of Ascendancy and the neck piece would be Titan-Forged Pendant of Ascendancy

I picked up Titan-Forged Spaulders of Salvation last night.


K gets all academic and scholarly

I think I've come across various articles here and there that analyze or research various aspects of WOW on a much more scholarly/academic basis. But I'm not quite sure I realized just how big this is. First, did you know there are journals just devoted to this? For example:

"Games and Culture publishes innovative theoretical and empirical research about games and culture within the context of interactive media. The journal serves as a premiere outlet for groundbreaking and germinal work in the field of game studies. The journal's scope includes the sociocultural, political, and economic dimensions of gaming from a wide variety of perspectives, including textual analysis, political economy, cultural studies, ethnography, critical race studies, gender studies, media studies, public policy, international relations, and communication studies."

Holy crap that was a lot of big words. Brain... tired now. Germinal? Is that some variation of the word germane? No, but seriously, take a look at the articles in their most recent January 2010 issue.

I somehow came across the personal site of Dmitri Williams, who does a lot of research specifically within MMOs. Checking out his list of published articles, there are articles on pretty much every topic you could think of including social dynamics of guilds, the impact of voice communication, sex/gender roles, role playing, and economics.

As an biology major in undergrad who also spent a couple years working in labs doing scientific research, I had to read a ton of academic articles. I might have been a bit more interested if they were gaming related!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

You know we're not normal, right?

I've had a number of resto druids whisper me in game lately. Perhaps I ran across their screen and mesmerized them with mah shiny staff (akin's to Tam's hat). Folks have asked about my perspective on stuff including spec choices, haste and gear upgrades with frost badges. Yes, I did pick up Circle of Ossus over the leather piece. With the haste and spirit... yummers! I also argued that if we need the extra armor from the leather piece, then the tanks are doing it wrong and we should yell at them. Ha.

In all of these conversations, as these druids want to delve a bit more into various topics such as specific haste numbers and spec questions, I end up referencing my fellow bloggers. Here's a sample of the conversations:

K: "What? Haste? You don't read any resto druid blogs? Huh? You have to go see Restoration Druid's post on haste numbers".

K: "Huh? You don't use Grid? Seriously? (this really really pains my woodsy little heart). You have to go see Keeva at Tree Bark Jacket for how to set up Grid to track hots. Go there now! Now I say! What are you still doing here?!?!"

K: "Hmmm... you want my perspective on the T10 4 piece set bonus? Yeah, I don't know if it will do much for us 10 man raiders. Well you must go see Beruthiel at Falling Leaves and Wings. Beru is serius bzness. Did you know she has Val'anyer?!?!"

K: "What? You want to know what druidy drops are in ICC? Go see Firewood at Tree Haelz for a huge list".

K: "So you want advice on how to heal certain ICC bosses? Well this is what I do... (blah blah blah) but all of the above bloggers have great guides, as do Kae at Dreambound and Virile at Rejuvo".

What have we learned here? A number of things. First, I am an awesome marketing tool for my fellow tree bloggers who actually do the more serious and helpful posts with guides and tips. Hee hee. No but seriously, I probably end up scaring most of these folks because I just start rattling off all these blogs they should be reading. I'm sure these folks are like, "Ok.... uh thanks (/step back from the crazy tree)"

However, I think I often forget that most WOW players are not reading tons of blogs. Its not that they're not good players, but just not how they choose to play. Perhaps it seems like too much work for them? I think those of us here who do regularly read tons of blogs and various sites can easily forget that we really aren't the norm for WOW players. We're the crazy seal in the pic above. :)