This requires immediate translation!

April 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

I don’t know what’s going on but I’ve never wanted to be able to speak Chinese so badly.  Who is that dwarf in the fancy blue dress?  Why is he in Thunder Bluff?  Who is that Alliance envoy he is with?  And what, pray tell, is that Tauren so worked up about?

The clip in question runs from 4:44 to 6:23.

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The magic of interrupting casters

April 8, 2010 § 3 Comments

Because at one time I played a tank, my healing style is a little unique.  I am hyper aware of what the tank is doing, where she is placing her mobs, and how she is grabbing them together.  I will admit that from time to time I get a little bit critical of the way they choose to pull their mobs but I always keep it to myself.  Nobody needs to have some opinionated shaman telling the tank how to do their job in the middle of a run.  That’s what blogs are for.

Anyway, because I know what goes through the mind of a tank during a pull, I try to do what I can to help them.  Sometimes pulls can get a little bit messy–and quite often this is because of the caster mobs.  Occasionally we’ll come across a pack of five or six mobs, very spread out and most of them are casters.  Even the best of tanks can struggle with packs like this.  No matter how they pull or who they choose to attack first, there’s always at least one caster mob that refuses to budge.  You know the ones I mean–those really annoying casters that don’t ever seem to want to go after the tank?  The one’s that stand defiantly in place, carrying picket signs, locking arms and singing ‘we shall not be moved’?  Yeah, those ones.

With these packs the way I try to help is by gently encouraging those casters to stop tossing glowey balls of death and that it’s totally a good idea to move into melee range and slap the tank around with their fists.  As a shaman, my preferred method of interrupting is [Wind Shear].  I have it bound to one of my mouse clicks so it’s ready to go at a moments notice.  Wind Shear is awesome for three reasons.  1) It interrupt spells. 2) It causes a two second silence. 3) It lowers my threat.  Oh! Four reasons. 4) It’s off the global cool down so it can be used at any time.

Take the 5-mob pull in Pit of Saron right after Krick and Ick.  I wait until the tank charges in (usually going after the big lady in the middle) and gathers up some aggro and then target one of the other caster mobs.  In between tossing around chain heals I will interrupt their casting with a well timed [Wind Shear].  What this does, for those of you not quite with us, is causes said caster to move towards the tank’s melee range.  This makes it a bazillion times easier for said tank to get and keep aggro on the mob.

How am I able to do this you ask?  A combination of situational awareness, clever key bindings, and Healbot.  Because Healbot is set up so that I interact with it via my mouse (by hovering over the targets’ name and clicking), I am free to tab-target the enemies that want to get a piece of the tank like a tween at a Jonas Brother’s concert.  And because I have my key bindings set up so that [Wind Shear] is easily accessible at all times, I can cast it on a moments notice.  True, I may have to temporarily stop healing for a brief moment, but if everyone is above 50% health with no huge incoming damage it makes much more sense to convince the caster that really they want to go after the tank instead of me.  Then, while the tank and his new fan are having some quality time together, I am free to heal, and the dps are free to unload their ‘phat deeps’ without fear of reprisal.

Although that brings me to another point.  I know, because I checked, that many other classes have some sort of spell interrupt.  Granted some are more powerful than others (silences), and some are more useful (stuns), but everyone that has an interrupt is capable of doing it.  I know this is a frustratingly foreign concept for some dps to grasp, but taking the time to stop damaging and toss out an interrupt can actually be more useful than continuing your dps.  If you notice a caster, off by his little lonesome, trying to get the tanks undivided attention the only way they know how (by spewing firey, glowey, balls of death), maybe you could, oh, I don’t know, do something about it?  Yes, you will have to briefly interrupt your rotation.  Yes that means you might dip slightly in the total amount of dps that you are putting out.  But if you bring the caster to the tank with a clever interrupt, you help everyone.

Think of it this way.  Tank charges in, grabs everyone’s attention except that poor caster off by his own.  For whatever reason the tank is unable to get him to move (don’t bother speculating why, just go with me that he can’t).  You start unloading your super-mega-death-kill-maim abilities, steadily climbing the aggro chart.  Suddenly that caster that was so interested in the tank is now interested in you.  And while the tank is able to absorb the 10k hits like a windshield might absorb bugs on the freeway, you are not built that way.  You’re total health may only be 20k and if that caster hits you twice in a row, you’re going to drop like the price of heart shaped chocolate on February 13th.  It behooves you then, to briefly pause and interrupt the caster, so that he starts moving towards the tank.  Even if you aggro him, if he runs past the tank, then the tank will actually be able to pick him up and save you from death.

Because your ‘phat deeps’ don’t count for squat if your dead.

“[Insert clever sign off phrase here]”

~Fizz (and Zula)

When do you say, “enough”?

March 29, 2010 § 6 Comments

First, a quick 5-man fail PuG story.  Then a 10-man fail PuG discussion.

I’ve been working on my shaman’s DPS set, in case I need to swap roles during a raid for any reason.  Because of that I’ve been queuing as DPS so that I can also get practice as enhancement.  I’m finally feeling the long-queue wait pains that DPS folks have been facing recently.  There were multiple almost-starts along the way, but someone would decline and I’d go back to the top of the queue.After nearly an hour hanging out in the queue I finally zoned in to the Nexus.  There were multiple almost-starts along the way, but someone would decline and I’d go back to the top of the queue.  I was unamused that it was the Nexus, but I sucked it up and stayed. (I hate the Nexus because for some reason, the color scheme makes it hard for me to distinguish the enemies from the environment.)  The group makeup was me (enhancement shaman), a marksmanship hunter, a subtlety rogue, a protection warrior, and a restoration druid.

Right from the start it went badly.  The hunter decided to take it upon himself to pull extra mobs.  The tank called him out on it.  It wasn’t in the most polite way, but he certainly wasn’t being a jerk about it.  He just very clearly and directly told the hunter to stop pulling.  The hunter decided not only to deny that he’d been pulling extra mobs, but that it would be fun to pull even more extra mobs.

When we engaged Grand Magus Telestra the hunter went back out into the hallway and pulled the extra packs of mob back into the group while we were fighting her.  Even though we didn’t wipe, it was really obnoxious.  This of course set the tank off.  The warrior and the hunter spent the rest of the time yelling at each other.  They were still fighting when we got to Anomalus.  The warrior then did one of the strangest things I think I’ve ever seen an angry, retaliating tank do.

As a form of retaliation he engaged Anomalus and proceeded to kite him away from us.  Back down the ramps, across the platforms, and back towards the hallway we’d just come from (where Telestra was).  And I know it was retaliatory because he made a point of telling us, “I’m doing this to annoy the hunter, and because I think it’s funny.”  The warrior got Anomalus a good way away from us and by the time we were able to catch up he’d gathered up additional packs and Anomalus had opened a bunch of Chaotic Rifts and tons of angry mana wraiths were coming through the rifts.

I know that some groups actually do this kiting technique on purpose for the achievement.  But they usually don’t also aggro as many extra mobs as possible, and then laugh about making it hard on the hunter.

The hunter died, followed by the warrior.  But the rogue, druid and I managed to take care of the rest of the mobs (shaman tank ftw!).  The hunter and warrior continued their pissy bitch fest.  Finally I gave up and said, “Look I can’t deal with this anymore.  I know it will be easy to replace me as dps, but I’d rather eat the debuff then put up with this nonsense anymore.”  And I dropped group.  The healer dropped group too.  (It took me a second to get from typing to clicking ‘leave party’ and in that time I saw him drop.)  I’m willing to bet the rogue left as well.  And I doubt that the hunter and the warrior even noticed through all their bickering.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they did their corpse run, got all the way back, pulled the first group, died, and then got mad at the departed healer for letting them die before they realized anyone was missing.

Blurg.

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I brokest-ed it

March 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

So I’ve been progressing through Icecrown Citadel with a nice group of raiders on my shaman. We have the first four bosses on farm, and can get Festergut down usually within the first two times.  Rotgut on the other hand is hitting us like a wall.  Last night we made fantastic progress on him, but I still ended up being incredibly frustrated.  Why?  Because we got him down to 7k health.  That’s right.  Seven. Thousand. Hit points.  That’s basically one crit from a dsp.  Hell, I could get that crit off my flameshock/lavaburst combo.  Of course that would require me to be alive to cast it.

GAH.

It is really nice to actually be seeing end game content.  Hopefully at some point, after we down the Lich King, we can do an about face and head back to Ulduar.  I’ve still never been past the keepers, and would really like to see what lies beyond that big round chamber.

I wish I had something clever or insightful to say.  But I really don’t.  So I’m going to end this before it gets out of hand.

“[Insert clever sign off phrase here]”

~Fizz

By the way…

March 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

I thought I would mention a few things by way of playing ‘catch up’.

First, I have really slacked in reading my wow-blogs.  I opened my reader today and had over 200 entries to catch up on.  But I am going through them, one by one.  So even if I don’t comment on the blogs I usually comment on, rest assured I am reading your stuff.

Second, for all intents and purposes, Thistlefizz is retired.  This is due in large part to certain events that happened back in January, but it’s also related to the fact that I don’t have anyone on the Alliance side to play with anymore.  It’s highly likely that come Cataclysm I’ll bring him back out of retirement, but it may require a server transfer.

Third, I found a new guild, but it’s on the Horde side.  They are awesome.  More about them later.

And finally, because I have effectively benched Thistlefizz, I’m been playing my shaman a lot more.  Like, all the time.  I have plenty to say on this subject as well because I’ve really gotten into the Resto Shaman world.  I would almost go so far as to call Zulaijang my main.  Except for the fact that my heart will always truly reside with Thistlefizz.*  So don’t worry, I’m not going to change the name of this blog to “the cranky old troll”; partly because that just sounds weird and partly because I still hold out hope that eventually I will find another group of people for Thistlefizz to run with.

“[Insert clever sign off phrase here]”

~Fizz

*I actually haven’t been called ‘Fizz’ in quite a while.  Now I spend my time responding to ‘Zula’.  Also, I must admit that in addition to the server transfer, I have been toying with the idea of a temporary faction change for Thistlefizz.  One that would only last until Cataclysm–it would be a great way to rekindle my love of tanking and getting Fizz in to raids.  But then I start to over analyze things and think about the philosophical implications of changing him from a gnome to a tauren.  I don’t think I could really do it.  We’ll see.

And now it’s time for another addition of “I never noticed that before”

January 22, 2010 § 1 Comment

In the Magus Commerce Exchange, Dalaran, there is a shop called the Scribes’ Sacellum.  It is here that scribes can learn their craft and buy their needed supplies.  It’s a well staffed, well stocked little shop.  And holy crap is it a tall store.  I was in there this morning, and I was reminded of a fairly true principle–most people just don’t ever bother to look up.  Because I looked up.  And what I discovered is that the Scribe’s Sacellum (sacellum by the way means small, usually unroofed, chapel consecrated to a divinity) extends up and up and up, and the walls are lined with books.  In fact, you know what it reminds me of is that room in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, the one where Charlie and his granddad drink that stuff that makes them float way up to the top where the fan blades are.  Except the Scribes’ Sacellum doesn’t have giant fan blades at the top of it.  It also doesn’t have any of that cool flying-inducing beverage.

In addition to this rather extensive library, there is a woman standing in the back of the Scribes’ Sacellum named Theresa Wolf, who carries the title Loremaster.  It would appear that this woman’s sole responsibility to conjure a spell that moves books from the shelves down below in the lower part of the shop, up into the very tippy top parts of the shop, ostensibly re-shelving them.  It’s hard to tell if that’s what actually happens because once the book gets all the way to the top it just disappears.  I don’t know why but it was really captivating to watch.

Anyone else noticed anything like this lately that they’d care to share?

“[Insert clever sign off phrase here]”
~Fizz

Broadening my horizons

January 18, 2010 § 5 Comments

I’ve become a little bit…disillusioned with WoW as of late.  Those who read my post/rant about the worst PuG ever know why.  So I haven’t felt much like playing.  Looking down the road, this may lead to a lack of topic ideas for my blog here.  Now, I’ve really come to enjoy blogging quite a bit and don’t have any intention of stopping simply because I’m not playing WoW these days.  Because of that, I’ve decided that I’m going to start broadening the topics of my blog to include…well, whatever I feel like.

I thought for a bit about if I would loose readers or not, but then I remembered that it’s my blog and I’ll write about whatever I damn well please.

So with that I just thought I would tell those of you who are going to stick around that I’m going to be broadening my horizons.  Future topics may be about my real life, my job, the industry I work in, rabbits, New York City, other games, crap on tv, and so forth.  Around the time Cataclysm comes out I’ll probably pull the focus back to primarily dealing with World of Warcraft, but for now, the gates are opening.

Everyone is still welcome to read, and comment on what I talk about.  Just because it’s not WoW related doesn’t mean I won’t accept comments.  I like comments.  They give me a warm, fuzzy feeling on the inside.

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say for now.  Sorry my posts haven’t been very eloquently written lately.  Also I’m a little bit more rambley.  I blame the brain injury.

“[Insert clever sign off phrase here]”
~Fizz

PS: By the by, if anyone decides to remove me from their blogroll because I’m not as WoW-oriented as I was before I won’t be offended.  Just remember, my posts are still gonna be good, regardless of their topic, so think about that before you remove me.

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