Still here…

… and playing plenty of WoW.  It’s hard to believe a month has gone by since my last post, but as I’ve said before, blogging about WoW was really something that I did to keep myself occupied during the day when I hated my job.  Since I’ve quit that job, my days are quite different.  I still like to keep track of things though, so here’s a little update.

A few things have changed for me in the game.  Our guild hit the same summer lull that many others are experiencing, made a little more sad by the fact that our guild leader, who always brought so much life into our guild chat, has been away, busy with family.  He finally decided that it was best for him to step down and let someone more active take over the guild.  As a part of this, they decided to bring in a couple new officers, as well.

(You know where this post is going now, don’t you?)

I think I knew when the conversation started that he was going to ask me to be an officer.  I’m one of those ever-present people, reliable and friendly, and I’ve been unofficially one of the go-to people for new casters getting ready to raid.  I teach them about spell hit, tell them which rep grinds to do first, make sure all their gear gets enchanted, and set them on their way.  I sign up for every raid myself and continue run heroics with people that are gearing up, though I have about 300 badges and nothing to spend them on.

I hesitated a little when he asked.  I’d always told myself I’d never agree to be an officer, wishing instead to be just a cog in the machine.  But when he asked, I knew I had to say yes.  I’d had a conversation with him in vent one night where we both agreed we would never want to be promoted beyond where we were (me a peon, him already an officer).  There he was stepping up to become GM when the guild needed him, so I was inspired to step up, as well.  And frankly, my responsibilities aren’t really that different now after the promotion.  I do what I always did, plus I get a sneak peek at what’s going on behind the scenes and a chance to help steer the guild a little bit.

Almost immediately after the leadership change, the guild felt more active.  Parts of our website that hadn’t been touched since before Burning Crusade are being updated.  We are recruiting and already have a handful of new raiders to replace folks that are busy with summer vacations or just plain burnt out.  It’s kind of exciting, actually.  I’m proud to be a part of it all.

I’m still very focused on my priest.  Because her gear is pretty much set aside from a few pieces in Naxx and a bunch of stuff in Ulduar, I’ve been working toward some of the more laborious achievement endeavors to keep myself entertained.  I thought the Children’s Week thing might kill my interest in holidays, but I did all the Midsummer Fire Festival stuff and had a great time with it.

I also PvP a lot now.  I was honor capped for a long time before I decided to take advantage of all those Wintergrasp battles and start collecting gear.  I’m past 900 resilience now and have a discipline PvP spec that I switch to when I feel like running battlegrounds for an evening.  I’m very, very hard to kill.  Bwahaha… I’m plotting a 2v2 team with a friend to see if I like arenas.  Lots of other folks in the guild are getting into it, as well, so I’m hoping we’ll also manage a 3v3 and 5v5, since that’s where the real rewards are going to be post 3.2.

I still raid as shadow and consider that my primary spec.  To make my PvE/PvP healing swapping less costly, I decided to go discipline for my PvE healing as well.  I resisted this for a long time, maintaining that I loved holy and never wanted to change.  On our last Naxx raid, I was pulled in as a healer, so decided to give a discipline a try there.  Sweet jeebus, that is a powerful healing spec.  And not only that, my mana barely budged.  I think I only got below half mana on maybe two fights, one of them being Kel’thuzad.  Hot damn.

The guild is progressing quite nicely in our raids.  We’re clearing Naxx in one night, usually Friday night, so the only thing that slows us down is drunkeness.  Many of the better geared raiders have stopped signing up for Naxx, leaving room for some of the newer folks to join in the fun.  I’m hoping we’ll have two full raid teams soon, maybe even allowing us to put together the occasional 25.

We’re also doing well in Ulduar.  We’ve cleared the Siege, aside from Ignis, who we’ve only tried twice.  During the first raid, we weren’t really prepared.  (We hadn’t expected to get to him!)  During the second, we were trying the brute force DPS method instead of dealing with the adds.  We got him down to 35% twice, but then we’d always get destroyed.  Next week, we’re going to give the good ol’ Tankspot method a go.  We’ve also got Kologarn down, no problem, and are working on the trash before Auriya.  (We were prepared for the fight, but those Storm Tempered Keepers took us by surprise!  We’ll be ready for them this weekend.)

I’m feeling much better about things than I was a month or so ago.  I can see in my drafts folder several unfinished posts where I was pissed about something or another.  My last beefy post does have a lot of complaining in it, too.  Hehe… but stuff is okay now.  :)

How are you?

A Few Steps Back

I’ve essentially given myself the week off from WoW.  I’ve been popping in to do a few dailies in the mornings and evenings, but I’m not doing much else.  I feel myself arriving at burnout.

Burnout has been precipitated by a few things.  Briefly…

School of Hard Knocks.  Yes, a damn achievement.  I stepped into the BG’s briefly to attempt some of these and it quickly became apparent that I wasn’t going to get them done.  It was complete and utter misery.  I can’t remember the last time I was so angry at the game.  I said, “%^&* it,” turned in my whistle, and tried to get used to the idea that I wasn’t going to get the meta-achievement done. *sigh*

Guild “progression” issues.  I feel like we give up too easily.  Last weekend, after downing Flame Leviathan, folks were like, “well, let’s go back and finish off Naxx!” since there was overlap with the group that had been there earlier in the raid week.  WTF.  We’d been in Ulduar less than an hour and the raid leader was taking us back to Naxx?  I was furious.

Minor guild drama.  Minor, but I felt pretty uncomfortable with the situation.  Our guild leader doesn’t play much any more because of family obligations and while the officers mostly do well in taking care of things, they’re not as … patient?  Attentive?  Er… ?  I don’t know.  I feel like the guild is slipping.

Other things in the guild that I could normally ignore have also been bothering me.  Again, it’s stupid interpersonal stuff that I’d been content to stay out of previously.  Now, I feel myself wanting to say something, even though it might make trouble.  Of course, I don’t … but, is this me?   What happen to the old nice me?

Yes, this is the new crotchety me, crispy around the edges.  I see burnout just around the corner. I’m getting mad at stupid things.

So, I didn’t sign up for any raids this week.  After I’m done with dailies each day, I log out and play something else.

The thing I look forward to most now is playing with our static group each week.  We’d hit a bit of a rut for a while there, skipping weeks as folks had RL stuff to deal with, but we’ve been playing pretty consistently lately.

This week, the static group is doing some non-dungeon activities, gathering up all the ZF quests. I’m really excited, given that that’s as far as our Pox Arcanum group made it, though it’s somewhat bittersweet because of that.

Only Two?

I almost wonder if people looked at the title of my last post and thought I was plugging someone else’s contest for the free Arthas book.  Seriously, Simon and Schuster would like to give away promotional copies.  So, please see my last post if you would like the opportunity to win a free copy.  Heck, if only three more people post there, you are all guaranteed a copy.

Either that or my readership has dwindled more than I realized.  :)

==

In WoW news, my priest shelled out for the dual spec.  It was a natural move, since I had been respeccing with reasonable regularity.  Several of the other priest healers are now working on shadow sets, which puts me in an interesting position.  I previously switched to shadow to be sure that I was still able to raid, despite the healer surplus we had.  Does this mean I’ll now have to heal while they play with their new shadow specs?  I suppose it doesn’t really matter.  I do like healing, too.

I’m still enjoying focusing on one toon, too.  It has been nice to have all my badge-earning centralized.  The only bad part is that, since I have just one 80 at the moment, it leaves me with just one raid ID per week for various raids.  Our guild is in the process of trying to put together a second raid team, and it kind of sucks that I have no toons to offer them.

My paladin made it to 70, but is waiting for the mister to be ready to play his shaman again, as we’d decided to continue leveling them as a duo.   He’s been focusing on his warrior, so I’ve started playing my druid a bit.  She’s at 46 now and enjoying the feral life. /pounce!

A Contest: Arthas

At first, he’d felt a little uncomfortable. The first few combatants in the ring were simple beasts pitted against one another, fighting to the death for no reason other than the enjoyment of the onlookers. “How are they treated prior to this?” Arthas had asked. He was fond of animals; it unsettled him to see them used so.

Langston had opened his mouth, but Blackmoore shushed him with a quick gesture. He had smiled, leaning back in his chaise lounge and snagging a bunch of grapes. “Well of course we want them at their fighting peak,” he said. “So they are captured and treated quite well. And as you can see, the bouts go quickly. If an animal survives and is not able to continue fighting again, we put him down at once, mercifully.”

Arthas hoped the man was not lying to him. A sick feeling in his gut told him Blackmoore probably was, but he ignored it. The feeling vanished when the fighting involved men against the beasts. As he watched, riveted, Blackmoore said, “The men are paid well. They in fact become minor celebrities.”

Not the orc, though. And Arthas knew it, and approved. That’s what he was waiting for — the chance to see Blackmoore’s pet orc, found as an infant and raised to be a fighter in these rings, in combat.

He was not disappointed. Apparently, everything up until now had been a warm-up for the crowd. When the doors creaked open and a huge green shape strode forward, everyone stood, roaring. Somehow Arthas found himself among them.

Thrall was enormous, appearing even larger because he was obviously so much healthier and alert than the other specimens Arthas had seen in the camps. He wore little armor and no helm, and green skin stretched tightly over powerful muscle. Too, he stood straighter than others. The cheering was deafening, and Thrall walked a circle around the ring, lifting his fists, turning his ugly face up to be showered with rose petals usually reserved for holidays.

“I taught him to do that,” Blackmoore said with pride. “It’s an odd thing, really. The crowd cheers for him, yet they come hoping every time he’ll get beaten.”

“Has he ever lost a bout?”

“Never, Your Highness. Nor will he. Yet people keep hoping, and the money keeps flowing.”

The above is an excerpt from Christie Golden’s wowcover_120smArthas: Rise of the Lich King, the new WoW book scheduled for release this month. (Read a longer excerpt here.) When I was contacted to see if I’d be willing to host a giveaway on my blog for copies of the book, I couldn’t resist.  They offered me an advance copy of the book, as well, though I was a bit slow on the response (due to work stuff), so haven’t received it yet.  I’ll certainly post my review as soon as I’m caught up on things.

In looking around the blogosphere, it appears that I am not the only one who was contacted by Marni, the woman organizing this promotion for Simon and Schuster.  I think this is a really cool thing that they’re doing for our corner of the WoW community.  Marni didn’t specifically ask that we do this, but I liked it that BBB posted a link to their opt-in alerts page along with his contest.  This is a very nice way to support Simon and Schuster and encourage them to continue these sorts of promotional giveaways.

The Contest

My initial thought was to have folks produce something creative related to WoW lore (particularly the Arthas story), but since 1) this is not particularly a lore-related blog, and 2) I know little about lore, I decided not to go this way.   Instead, I’d like to stick a little more closely to the blog’s roots in noobness, etiquette, and the joys of leveling and learning the game. Plus, in this book, we will be learning a bit about what Arthas, Thrall, & Co. were doing back when they were still leveling… ;)

To enter, all you need to do is respond to this post with a noobish confession.

Your Confession

Your confession can be long or short and related to any part of your progression through the game. (In other words, if you have a really funny raiding story, please do submit it.)  The more funny and cringeworthy, the better.  If something actually makes me laugh out loud or physically cringe in embarrassment for you, I might pop an extra copy of your name into the hat.  Readers are also welcome to add a vote for a story to receive such a bonus, as well.

Winning

As the contest closes, I’ll put all the entries in a hat (once or twice, depending on the funny/cringe quotient).  My lovely and impartial husband will then draw five winners, each of whom will receive a copy of the new Arthas book.

The Rules

Your mailing address must be in the US or Canada.  Not that it will be a huge issue, given the relatively low traffic here, but please just enter once.

I’ll close the contest on Friday, April 17th, noon, EST, and do the drawing that evening.  I’ll contact the winners by e-mail to get their addresses for Simon and Schuster, who will be mailing the books directly.

===

So, who will be the first to confess? :)

*poke poke*

/readies the soft cushions and the comfy chair

Naxx Cleared

Our little guild finished its first full clear of Naxx-10 last weekend.  My priest was on replenishment duty, blasting the minds and melting the faces of the baddies in all her purple, glowy splendor.  On Friday night, I was part of the team that cleared three of the lower quarters (the tougher three).  The following Sunday, we blazed through the Spider Quarter, got Sapphiron down on the second try, and Kel’thuzad on the third.  I hate to say it, but the Kel’thuzad fight itself was actually a bit anticlimactic.  It’s downright boring compared to Sapphiron, in fact.  The thing that seemed to get us killed the first two shots was people being hypnotized by their shot rotations, not realizing they were standing in whirling circles of death.  Heh… I guess that’s part of the fight, eh?  Paying attention?

Anyway, we’ve another attempt at a full clear happening this coming weekend. We’ll take our first few stabs at Malygos tonight, which should be entertaining, but I feel my interested in raiding (and WoW) waning just a little bit.  I want to stay active, keep raiding, hang out with folks, etc, but … I think this is sort of a defense mechanism.  I don’t want to burn out.  I put a lot of work into my priest in the months since Wrath was released, working with a calculated urgency to not let her fall behind the guild’s gearing curve.  I wanted to be among the guild’s first raiding teams to clear Naxx, and I did that.  I’ll definitely still go on the raids, lending my heals or face-meltings as needed, but I’m also okay with not going.  Now is the time to relax a bit, level some alts, and …

Play another game on the side.  I’m planning to subscribe to EVE Online after my trial is up (or before, if I hit some limitation that won’t let me progress), and start spending some of my free time in space.  Rather than clutter this blog, I’ve started a separate blog to my experiences in EVE.  Wara has also started playing, so we’ll be Noobs in Space together. :)

H’okay, so…

My priest’s gear pretty much rocks.  She’s gotten to the point where there are few easily attainable upgrades for her (for either her shadow or healing set), given the content the guild is running, though I do need to finish up that Sons of Hodir rep grind soon.  Her enchanting is maxed, her tailoring is just a few points away… wow, it’s sort of amazing.  I’ve never been in this situation with a WoW character before.  It’s sort of fun!  I feel more free to follow my nose.  I even step aside for others in heroics if they could use the gear, because I really don’t need badges.  I’ve brewed up some very low level alts, in part because I’d like to bask in this for a little while longer.

Our guild continues to make good progress in Naxx, too.  We had some troubles with Sapphiron last week, largely due to the healing, I suspect.  I was on DPS and in studying the WWS stats after, it seemed we didn’t quite have the party healing to overcome the frost aura damage, at least compared to the week when we did down him.  At any rate, another run begins tonight.  We’ll clear three wings and then return Sunday to finish everything off.

Also:

eve

Yes… I went through with it.  I’m enjoying a 21 day free trial of EVE Online, finally caving in after all the great articles and podcasts I’ve encountered recently from the Ancient Gaming Noob, Van Hemlock, and assorted SUWT folks.  The game is complicated as hell but the tutorials are helping me get my footing.  I confess it is sort of fun to be clueless and have a lot to learn, once again.

Beyond that, my writing work is keeping my busy as a little bee.

Where did February Go?

- I am still here!  Just writing other stuff!  I happened to pick up a relatively big writing job at the beginning of February.  My days of browsing the job sites, writing proposals, and sneaking in the Sons of Hodir dailies over lunch time are pretty much over for a while.  I can’t say that I write solidly from 8am to 8pm, but when I sit down at my computer each morning, that is my intent.  And I am content.  The guy I’m writing for likes my work well enough that we’re discussing a long term arrangement (omg salary).

- I’ve got a long post in the works to follow up my last one.  In essence, it’s how to recruit healers and not be too creepy.  You’d think it wasn’t that tough…

- I’ve gone shadowy.  As other priests in the guild began to pick up their tier 7 pieces, they all seemed to be going with the healing one.  After the third one did so, I decided I’d be the guild’s token shadow priest.  My holy gear set really kicked ass, but according to be.imba, my shadow set is now even better.  My DPS on Patchwerk last weekend (our first attempt at him) was over 2500, and I brought tasty replenishment to all the mana users.  Mana mana…

- I haven’t been back to heal the 25-mans with that other guild since all the stalking with Mr. Creepy.  This is in part because they haven’t been able to fill up their raids even with me along, so they’ve been taking some time off.  Last week, they seemed to have enough folks, but took a guildie instead of me (which is totally cool).  Our little guild is ramping up the raiding a little bit, expanding the Naxx runs from one night to two, so I don’t mind.  It’s plenty for me right now, especially with my limited play schedule.

- Our little guild regularly clears the Arachnid Quarter and have cleared the Military Quarter twice.  (People keep saying that we have it on farm, but … is downing the Four Horseman just twice really considered “on farm?”)  We had one hilarious attempt at Heigan (-splat-) and we successfully downed Patchwerk at the end of a run one evening.  Now that we’re expanding our raiding beyond a single 3-4 stretch (one night per week), I think we’ll make a little more progress.

- I haven’t had quite as many times for heroics lately, but the thing that I always make time for?  Wintergrasp. Yes, really.  I don’t know what Wintergrasp battles are like on your server, but on mine, they are positively EPIC.  In the evening battles, we routinely have two full raids (sometimes three) on each side, hundreds of people battling it out for the keep.  Last night, I was in a brilliant battle, defending the keep.  Both the east and west walls were breached, and in the last five minutes, the Alliance made a push through the front.  There were crowds of Horde blasting down the vehicles as they burst through one by one.  The Alliance smartened up, gathered up a bunch of seige vehicles, and made an organized assault on one of our inner walls.  My god, it was exciting.  They didn’t bust through it on that push, but they did on the next.  During the final two minutes on the timer, they managed to get a few catapults inside the heart of the keep.  We managed to take them down before they did too much damage, and we kept control of Wintergrasp.  Lots of elated folks in the channels after that one. :D

How Not to Recruit Healers

Our server, like many others, seems to have a bit of a healer shortage at the moment. I took advantage of this by leveling my priest first, and managed to see a lot of instances on the way from 70 to 80.  It has also meant running a lot of heroics at 80, as I developed a small group of tanks that regularly called on me as their pocket healer.  Doing very well in the pick-up groups began to earn me raid invites, as guilds found themselves short of healers, which has meant fairly easy gearing up.  It has been great fun, as I’ve always loved running dungeons, and I’ve gotten a lot of practice healing now.  I’ve gotten pretty good at it, I think.

So, a few of the guilds that I’ve run raids with have extended offers to join their guilds.  I have no intention of leaving my little casual guild, especially if those larger guilds will still have me along to fill out their raids.  It is nice to be invited though.  Nothing like a good ego massage.

I always thank the raid or guild leaders that ask me to join them, but explain that while I’d be happy to fill in that healer spot any time, I have no plans to leave my guild.  They’re usually very cool about this, thank me for the time I am able to raid with them, and keep adding me to the calendar.  The invites are made with the understanding that if they get enough guild healers to sign up, I won’t be going, and this is totally fair, I think.

All that said, there are some folks in these guilds (one in particular) that are not doing themselves (or their guilds) any favors by recruiting very aggressively.  Recruiting is like a courtship.  There is a bit of social finesse required; it doesn’t pay to smother the healer you’d like to recruit.  You should do just as you would with someone you’d like to date.  You should be respectful of their time, give them space, and let them get to know you.  Playing hard to get can make one a little bit more attractive.  Coming on too strong reeks of desperation.

Here are some things I would NOT suggest doing, if you are trying to recruit a healer to your guild.

1. Whisper them the second they log in.

I confess, it is nice to be wanted.  Who doesn’t enjoy this?  I usually get several whispers shortly after I log in, asking me if I’ve done the daily yet, whether I’d like to heal a heroic, etc.  Personally, I usually give a friend a good 5-10 minutes before I whisper them to make sure that 1) they weren’t just logging in to check their mail for just a sec before logging again, and 2) they didn’t have something else planned.  I realize this means I could miss out on a group or two, but I like to give people their space.  Usually, I get whispers within the first few minutes of logging in, while I’m saying hi to the guild and checking my mailbox.  This is fine. Lately, however, I’ve been hearing that “plink” that lets me know a whisper has arrived before Dalaran has loaded… uh…

If it’s a friend or someone just saying hi, that’s no problem.  If it’s someone asking me for something?  Please just give me two minutes to figure out what I’m doing.  It’s sort of like watching your neighbor’s house until they come home and calling them before they’ve even managed to put their bags down yet and asking them for a favor.  It’s kind of rude.

2.  Whisper them every time they log in.

So, this person that has been whispering me the second that I log in has been doing this for the past several days.  Really… is it necessary to whisper me every single day?  I have gotten the picture — I know they want me to join their guild.  I’m always polite about the recruiting part, and tell them I appreciate it, but remind them that I plan to stay with my guild.  (Are they hoping to wear me down?)

Also, they’re usually asking me to heal something at that moment for them.  Because they ask me every day, I find myself much less inclined to run with them.  I don’t want to do anything to encourage this behavior.   If you were hoping to build a relationship with someone, would you really call them every single night and ask them to do something?  Hopefully not.  It sends bad signals, suggesting that you are high maintenance.  This is a definite turn off.  It makes me wish there were some sort of invisibility setting so they couldn’t see me when I logged in.

3. Suggest that what they’re doing instead of healing your instance/raid is not worthwhile.

I am honest with people if I’m turning them down.  “I’m sorry — I’ve just signed on for another heroic.”  “I’m sorry — I’ve just logged in for a few minutes for some fishing.”  “I’m sorry — it’s getting late and I’m too sleepy to heal anything now.”  Normally I get a “kk, thanks!” or something like that.  This aggressive person instead says things like, “Fishing is a waste of time.”  “You’re not really tired, or else you would just go to bed.”  The most obnoxious was last night, when I’d passed on a raid with their guild because my husband and I watch Lost on Wednesday nights.  I had already mentioned it to the raid leader and guild leader, but of course, this person asked me if I was going to the raid.  I said no and explained why.  Their response?  “That show is stupid.” /sigh

So, really… insulting someone is going to make you more appealing to them?  I don’t think so, bub.

4. Stalk them.

A few nights ago, they whispered and asked me to come heal something for them.  I said that I couldn’t, that I was getting ready to log out soon.  “What are you doing now?” they asked.  I said I was helping a guildie for a few minutes.  Seconds later, they showed up and were standing right between said guildie and I.  They danced, they flirted, and as if that weren’t enough, they whispered my guildmate saying I said that my guildmate was awesome, making up a bunch of crap.  Wtf?

And then last night, as I mentioned, I didn’t raid with them because I couldn’t be on much past 9.  We DVR Lost, however, so that gives me a bit of leeway (and allows us to skip commercials).  After an Obsidian Sanctum run with my guild, I ran a quick heroic, which we finished up around 9:20.  Just before pulling the last boss, I got a whisper from this person that said, “LIAR.”  I responded, “STALKER.”

I know, I know, I need to put this person on ignore.  Before I do this, I think I’ll discuss it with their guild leader and let them know the issues I’ve been having.  I would still like to keep myself available for their raids (even if it means raiding with Stalky McGee), so letting them know directly could ensure they won’t get a twisted interpretation of what has happened over the last week.  I’m not sure how they’ll be able to muzzle this guy to prevent him from scaring off healers who may actually be interested in joining the guild, but I sometimes wonder if this is part of the issue they’re having.

Really, it’s worth treating potential guild recruits with respect and at a respectful distance.  Otherwise, there’s no way they’re going to join your guild.  (Plus, they might post about you in their blogs!)