Archive for April, 2009

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This Week in Raiding… Ulduar!

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

This week was our first real week of 3.1 raiding, and it was quite the mixed bag of emotions for me.

On Tuesday we pulled together 25 people and headed in to Ulduar.  We managed to get Flame Leviathan down last week after a few messy starts, so this week the plan was to try it with one tower up.  I got to try out the Chopper this week!  It was fun.  So far I’ve tried everything but driving the Siege Engine… and I don’t know what I like the best!  They’re all pretty fun.

We got Leviathan down really quickly… but it turns out no one actually turned hard mode on, and we didn’t get the achievement.  Oh well!  We’ll try next time.  I did manage to pick up Gloves of the Fiery Behemoth – FINALLY netting me the Epic Achievement!  I had to respec and regem to allow for the loss of hit… but it’s completely worth it.

We hammered away at Razorscale most of the remainder of the night.  We had a couple of good attempts, but the best we did was getting her to about 57% at which point she enraged.  From what I can see, we have two major problems right now:  People are dying in crap, which should NOT be happening.  The solution to that is simple – just don’t do it.  The second issue is that our DPS is not up to par.  We are carrying far too many people.

We’ve got some people who are trying out DPSing for the first time.  Personally, I think Ulduar is not a good place to learn a new role.  Spend some time in a few Heroics first, or at least with a test dummy… but Ulduar isn’t Naxx – we can’t carry 5 DPS doing less than 2k, it’s just not going to get us anywhere.  These people either need to practice, get better gear, or get replaced if we want to make any progress.

XT’s trash?  Ridiculous!  I’ve been told it’s been nerfed since, but we really weren’t expecting it to be so hard, and it kicked our butts thoroughly on Tuesday night.  I got to do some trapping, but it’s difficult to trap a mob that pounces and stuns you!

Wednesday night we went in with another strategy for trash:  we kited them back to Razorscales room and ran around in circles taking them down.  It was messy, but it got the job done.

We didn’t have a full 25 at any point on Wednesday.  That was not a good start to things.  We still haven’t solidified a strategy for Razorscale, and we haven’t gotten her down.  We made some halfhearted attempts at XT, but again, no really solid strategy.

In the end, we split into two 10-man groups.  My group ended up taking down Flame Leviathan, and the other got Orbital Bombardment and a couple of XT’s achievements.

To be honest, I think we should be doing 10-mans regularly.  And I know the gear isn’t AMAZING, but we wouldn’t be doing it for the gear.  What we need is focus and practice.  I’m sure the people who were in the other 10-man and got XT down have a better feel for the fight now, and I wish I could have been there.  If we could all get a chance to try it without the chaos of 25 people running around, I think we’d do a LOT better stepping into 25-man.

But this has been discussed and the leaders have stated that we are a 25-man guild, not a 10-man guild (although I’m sure they didn’t mind getting those achievements and boss kills).

We spent Thursday night in 10-mans again.  I had so much fun, and I learned a lot… in fact, I wrote about it all yesterday.


treasure_chest1This Week in Raiding… is my weekly Saturday post where I allow myself to brag about new gear, bosses, achievements, and such.

Come back next week for another dose of epeen and QQ!

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Friday Five-hundred: Taz’dingo of Sen’jin

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Another short story inspired by Anna’s Friday Five – I chose to go the ficlet route with this one.

In 500 words, the conversation between your character and the Argent Tournament recruiter for his or her faction capitol.

My story isn’t exactly that, but it is about how Brajana came to discover the Argent Tournament.  And I’ve even added a backstory for my bank alt.  Ha!


Brajana dismissed her Proto-drake as she set foot on solid ground at Krasus’ Landing in Dalaran.  She took a few deep breaths – she was still trying to get used to the bumping and swaying involved in flying wtih her newest companion, it was not nearly as smooth a ride as her Netherdrake provided.

It had been a long day full of little excitement.  She’d spent most of it stocking up on leather from the beasts of Sholazar Basin, enough to craft a few new articles as well as see if the local leatherworking shop would be interested in some fine tanned hides.

On her way back to Dalaran she had stopped for a walk along the waters of Lake Wintergrasp.  It wasn’t really a calm place, but she enjoyed the breeze and the sounds of battle in the distance usually soothed her.  But today,  it left her wondering why there are still such petty battles between the races of the Alliance and Horde when there are such bigger concerns to deal with in this world.  She thought some might continue this battle only to feel a sense of familiarity – a reminder of a time when it was simply a battle between mortal races.

Brajana headed to The Filthy Animal to organize herself and enjoy a warm drink in the company of fellow Trolls. It was rather busier than most nights, but she managed to find a bench facing the fire that she could claim as her own.

“Brajana?  Dat you?”

She looked up, but didn’t turn.  She knew the voice – it was Taz’dingo, a young, excitable Troll who she’d grown up with in Sen’jin.  He took the liberty of making room for himself on her bench.

“Taz.  It is good to see you, brother.  How are your parents?” she asked, trying to avoid stories of his outlandish adventures.

“Ah, still keepin’ to de Islands, ya know dem!  Ha!  Dey ain’t been so happy dat I come ta da North!  ‘Too cold!’ Dey says.  Well, dere be plenty a Trolls up here!  ‘N dey’ll be so proud when I come home wearin’ da colours of Sen’jin as a Champion!”

Brajana hadn’t really been listening to him until she heard his last words.

“A Champion for Sen’jin? What do you mean?”  She was intrigued.  She’d been fighting for so long in Sen’jin’s name…

“The Argent Tournament!  Ya can not say ya haven’t been to da Tournament, out in da Northern parts of Icecrown!  We’re trainin’ to fight Arthas, all da races!  Da hoomans even be lettin’ me ride their horse.  Ha!  What a sight!”

Brajana usually didn’t put much stock into Taz’dingo’s words, but if there really was a place where people had put aside their differences and were really working towards fighting the Citidel…

“Taz… what is that monstrosity strapped to your back?! You’ll put someone’s eye out with that thing!”

“IT BE MY LANCE!” He exclaimed proudly, “For the battlin’, ya know?”

As tempted as she was, she knew better than to ask Taz’dingo anything further.  She made a note to make time for a visit to Icecrown the next day.

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This Just In: Raiding CAN Be Fun!

Friday, April 24th, 2009

I was going to save this for Saturday’s post… but I just couldn’t do it.

10-man Ulduar is so much fun!

Last night, I remembered what made me start raiding.  It was fun, once upon a time.

We had some trouble getting 25 people together and motivated this week.  We still seem to be nowhere near getting Razorscale down with our group.  It’s been stressful, drama-filled and depressing trying to push on, and I’ve even been tempted to say “Screw this!” and retire myself from raiding.  That’s how much I am disenchanted by the guild and our raid group right now.

Wednesday night we ran out of people and decided to switch to 2 10-man groups instead.  We all headed in to take out Flame Leviathan – our group didn’t have a proper composition, so that’s as far as we went.  The other group managed to get Razor and XT down as well, and even picked up a few achievements!

Thursday we didn’t have enough people, so we decided to continue on with our 10-mans.  It took a little scrambling to get 2 semi-properly composed groups, but we managed.  We headed in and our group banged away at Razorscale making very clear progress, getting her down after about 5 tries.

Mistakes were made, but the nice thing about 10-mans is that it’s easier to see where the problems are and improve them.  I forgot to go over after the first harpoon was ready a couple of times, but I learned, and I improved and then we achieved our goal.

We also took down XT and even had a visit with Kolgarn.

10-mans are more focused, and each person is more responsible for their actions.  This is a good way to learn how to do real raids again.  We can all find our weaknesses and improve on them and see real results from it.  This is the learning experience we need before we can even think of getting further in Heroic.

I learned and enjoyed myself exponentially more last night that I have since the day Ulduar game out.  We were taking down new bosses, learning new strategies, and were ACTUALLY PROGRESSING.

We weren’t spending 3 nights making the same mistakes and dying the same way on Razorscale like we do on 25.

The leadership has said we are a 25-man guild, so we’ll continue at 25-man raiding.  But to be honest, I think it’s silly.  I think everyone got more out of the 10-mans than they did when Razorscale just continually wiped the floor with us.

The gear in 10-man Ulduar may not be better, but for the level of skill we are at right now, the experience most certainly is.

If we end up doing 25-mans next week… I think I might cry, because now that I’ve remembered what fun and education I can get from raiding, it’ll make it just that much harder to go back to wiping repeatedly on Razorscale.

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Highlights from the Blogosphere (04/10-04/23)

Friday, April 24th, 2009

This one is spanning two weeks because I didn’t bother with one last week.  I’m going to focus on great 3.1 guide posts, mainly Argent Tournament and Ulduar!

The Argent Tournament Tourist Guide @ Banana Shoulders
Siha has a 3 part (only 2 parts are published so far) series explaining the ins and outs of the Argent Tournament.  It certainly helped me when I found myself lost and getting my Aspirant butt kicked!

Healing Ulduar @ World of Matticus
They’ve posted up a few very helpful boss-specific guides to healing at WoM, as well as overall strategies.

Ulduar Boss Fight Videos @ The Angry Butterfly and Less QQ, More PewPew
Neg and Dro have both posted up videos of their boss fights so far in Ulduar.  I haven’t watched them all yet, but I really prefer to watch videos instead of just reading strategies.  I tend to forget what I read, but videos help to really understand what’s going on and answer more questions.


highlightsHighlights from the Blogosphere is my weekly Friday post to share some of the interesting, funny or informative blog posts I’ve read over the past week.

You can check out all the blogs I read on my list of Other Peoples’ Blogs!

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User Interface Elitism

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

uiLet me start off by clarifying a couple of terms.  User Interface is the look and feel of the game, what you see and how you interact with it.  Addons are scripts written to extend the game, including addons to modify your User Interface, but also addons to add new features and display information that is not easily available otherwise.  Now, let me tell you what I mean by User Interface Elitism

You may have not noticed, but I don’t show a lot of images of my User Interface.  I’ve written about the addons I’ve used in the past, and I even write for a User Interface blog.  But very rarely will you see a screenshot with my interface.

Why?

Because a lot of people judge you by how your interface looks.  I once read a post on a blog that I don’t normally read where the author mentioned seeing someone play on their laptop in public.  He said they were obviously a noob, because they were playing with the default UI.

My user interface has gone through many iterations.  Like everyone else, I started out with no addons to speak of.  Then I found Cosmos, then I found CT… this is where I got my start.  I quickly found action bar mods – because back in the day, Blizzard didn’t have native multi-action bar support.

But nowadays – I run with almost completely default looking UI.

With the use of handy macros, I’ve managed to fit all my used abilities into 5-6 bars.  One or two of them are ‘non-combat’ bars, full of things I want easy access to but don’t need to see all the time (fun macros, professions, rarely used abilities like Tame Beast or Aspect of the Wild).

Do you know how many bars the Blizzard UI has?  6.  I keep 4 up on display, and the 5th and 6th are just a short shift-scroll away on my main action bar.  It’s hidden, but it’s easily accessed, thus is not taking up extra space on my screen.

I do use a unit frame addon.  I use Xperl, but not to make things pretty.  I originally began using it so I could see my focus target.  That’s built in now, but I do like that xperl shows specs/types on target frames, and that’s pretty much the only reason I use them on my hunter.

My unit frames are all relatively in the default places.  I don’t move them around to the middle of my screen or anything like that.

Of course, this is different when I’m on a healer.  I do in fact move my frames to a slightly more central area (although they are still at the top), and I use Decursive to see conditions.

I don’t use any mod to modify the display of my buffs, they are in the default location showing default numbers.

I don’t use a mod to move or change the shape of my minimap.

I don’t use a HUD.

Now here is the question: Does this make me a bad player?

User Interface Elitist says yes!

I say no.

I can have just as many keybindings as someone using an action bar mod.  So why are the default action bars so frowned upon?

Yes, I’m aware that adding special action bars, unit frames, HUDs and minimap mods can let me make my UI more appealing to someone’s eye.

But you know what?  When servers came up after 3.1 went live… I got to play the game.  So many people I know spent a few hours fixing their addons and getting things to look right again.  Trying to relearn how to play when their favourite action bar mod wasn’t properly updated.  You know how long it took me?  No time at all.  I disabled all non-essential mods (pretty much everything except Bagnon for me) and I went on my merry way to visit the Argent Tournament and try the fishing daily.

Yes, I was missing some functions and information.  But everything was where I expected it, and I didn’t have to do any rebinding or anything.

I can also play on other machines with no issues.  I can hop on my boyfriend’s computer and I don’t have to worry about not knowing where anything is.

This isn’t to say I don’t play with addons – I most certainly do.

But for me, addons do one thing.

They add to my experience, rather than change it.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with changing the look of your interface.  I’m saying that it’s a choice, not a requirement.

I have Recount and Omen to display information not otherwise displayed.  I have OmniCC, GhostPulse, Class Timer and Power Auras to remind me to do things and help me keep track of my cooldowns and DoTs.

I have AuctionLite to ease my auctioning process, and to tell me which quest rewards vendor for the most.  I even use Quest Helper on some of my alts!

So please, UI Elitists, explain to me why my default User Interface makes me a worse player than you.  Tell me how it affects my DPS.  Tell me why your 3D portrait is important, and why knowing I have 23:41 left on my flask is better than just rounding it to 24 m.

Tell me why it matters where they are placed on my screen if they’re all keybound anyway, and why it makes a difference if I have 3 rows on the bottom and 2 on the side, instead of 6 rows in the middle of my screen.