PvE

Open Letters to Tanks

[note: more than average cursing in this one. I like my expletives when I’m pissed.]

Dear Tanks,

I don’t care who you are. I don’t care if you’ve got a healing offspec or heal in the top raiding guild on the battlegroup or if you’re an expert on holy pallies or my best friend or UTHER HIMSELF.

You do not tell me how to heal in party chat. Hell, or at all. The only people who will ever be able to tell me how to heal will be my holy pally GL and my healing lead. If you want to offer healing “advice”, don’t do it in any public chat, do it in a fucking whisper. I’ll probably still tell you to stuff it unless you do it very politely and nicely in an attitude of helping me be a better healer (rather than the attitude of annoyance that I’m slowing you down because I require time to drink). But I probably won’t drop group when you’re at 14% health with four mobs on you.

Do it in party chat, and all bets are off. Have fun waiting for another healer or making due with the enhancement shaman, you dickwad.

No love,
Apple, your disgruntled holy paladin.

Dear Druids of All Shapes (especially bears),

Innervate does not negate the need to drink. I do not need to conserve my mana so that your fucking Innervate cooldown can keep up with my mana usage. I don’t care if you think you should be able to NEVER STOP ONCE for me to drink because you’ve popped Innervate on me. It’s a great cooldown and I really appreciate it, especially mid-boss fight, don’t get me wrong, but it is not a substitute for stopping to drink every once in a while.

Also, on behalf of Boomkins and Trees everywhere, Paladin tanks, if you want to chain pull and never ever stop for your deeps and heals to drink, and you ask your Druid for Innervate so you don’t have to stop to drink in the midst of your chain pulling… it will almost certainly be on cooldown. Because they need to use it on THEMSELVES, to keep up with you, you jerk. Slow down and watch your healer’s mana, especially.

No love,
Apple, who prefers her filtered draenic water, thanks.

And, last but not least…

Dear Tanktard of the Day,

You know why I use Holy Light instead of Flash of Light? Well, the first is because you’ve got five mobs on you and your health is at 80%, not 95%. The second is because there’s some AoE damage going on with the melee DPS. I’m glyphed for Holy Light, so when I cast a Holy Light on you, even if it overheals you some, it’s also splashing over and healing them a bit, which makes me feel less worried about the state of their HP.

The third is because I don’t want to get too used to using Flash. If I do any raiding before Cata hits, I will be doing it in a Holy Light build, not a Flash of Light build. You chain-pulled the entire room, and only at the END did I pop my low-mana macro. Even if I’d been using FoL, I’d’ve been casting it so constantly that I would’ve wanted to drink anyway. So shut the FUCK up and stop telling me how to heal. I can manage my mana pool just fine – drinking is part of the caster experience, and you can fucking suck up and deal with it.

No love,
Apple, who feels absolutely no guilt for dropping group when you were at 14% health, you asswipe.

Dear Paladin Tank from Durnhold yesterday,

Thank you for being awesome. Thank you for looking out for my mana bar. Thank you for holding aggro. Thank you for taking charge but not being a dick about it. Thank you for not pulling groups that you couldn’t handle. Thank you for putting supplemental buffs on all of us and keeping up with them. Keep being awesome.

Much love,
Apple, who wishes more tanks were like you.

Dear Warlock from Yesterday,

Thank you for soulstoning me. You rock.

~Apple

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PvE · Roleplay

You gotta get a gimmick…

Do something special
Anything special
And you’ll get better because…
You’re more than just a mimic
When you gotta gimmick
Take a look how different we are!

~Gypsy

In marketing language, a gimmick is a unique or quirky special feature that makes something “stand out” from its contemporaries. However, the special feature is typically thought to be of little relevance or use. Thus, a gimmick is a special feature for the sake of having a special feature.
~Wikipedia

Today, I want to talk to you all about Gimmick Characters.

“What the hell, Apple?” you ask. “What is a gimmick character and why should we care about them?”

Well, I’ll tell you – a gimmick character is any character in World of Warcraft (or any game, really, but we’re obviously focusing on WoW in this blog) who is played in a distinctive way, or has a distinctive trait setting them apart from every other character of the same race and class combination on their server. It’s a character whose player takes time to instil with a sense of originality or uniqueness. And I’m not really talking about RP here, to be honest, though obviously you can have gimmicky RP characters. It’s playing the game in a relatively unique way that wasn’t intended by the designers, a weird quirk you give a character to make them stand out. Some people do it for attention, some people do it to change things up or challenge themselves, some people do it because… well, hell, why not? It can be as simple as always wearing a pimp hat or always speaking in-character (on a non-RP server), to as difficult as levelling 1-80 naked, or without dying. Reinisch levelled from 1-80 without intentionally killing anything, and I know that he’s not the only one, and I know there was a hunter somewhere levelling as melee-only a while back.

Now, obviously these aren’t (generally) the kinds of characters you raid with or anything, but they can be challenging, interesting, and a lot of fun. Sometimes, a person creates a gimmick incidentally, because of something RP-related; I read a blog post somewhere about a year ago of a guy who’d gone on a raid with a holy priest someone had invited, and when he asked her to psychic scream or something along those lines, she said, “Oh, I don’t have that, I never trained any shadow spells. My character wouldn’t do that.” I had a priest myself I took to level 12, RPing regularly amidst questing, who didn’t learn any shadow spells or talents until then. Her character had grown into someone who WOULD take the spells, by that point, but it was definitely an interesting experiment while it lasted.

I’ve got a couple of gimmick characters that I adore. Kaeleigh, my gnomeish DK on Proudmoore, is my only DK specced Unholy. This is entirely so I can have the hilarious image of a tiny, smiling, pink-haired gnome girl running around with a perma-ghoul and an attack penguin (also known as Mr. Chilly). She also emotes and speaks (in all channels) in-character. And she’s a bloodthirsty little psychopath. :D So much fun to play, though – she makes me wish I liked PvP, because the free-for-all of, say a PvA area like the Gurubashi Arena would make her positively gleeful. Mellie also fits this, to an extent – she’s on my main server, which is PvE, but I have PetEmote enabled on her, so her minions will randomly emote. She often reacts ICly to this, chattering at her minion or whoever happens to be around at the time.

One thing that I’ve always wanted to do would be to level a DK to 80 without turning in the last Acheron quest. This would mean silenced and pacified in Durotar or Elwynn (depending on faction), no runeforge, and no respeccing. It would be an amazing RP opportunity, and one that I’ve started and abandoned at least three times. But think about it: You hit level 80, and your character decides that yeah, maybe they don’t like this race or that leader, but that doesn’t mean they can’t align with the faction in order to better get revenge on the Lich King, or better atone for their past deeds, or just… help people. However you want to play it. You spend those 25 levels forging relationships and building character, and then when the moment comes, you mount up and walk slowly through the city, your friends and comrades walking with you, as you finally deliver that letter.

My point is, really, that we all do quirky things with our characters, sometimes long-term, like levelling pacifistic or undying, and sometimes temporary, like when I briefly had a druid who didn’t like wearing the skin of other animals and levelled up in cloth armour, before I realised she was a pansy and should be a priestess instead of a druid and deleted her. XD It’s fun and it’s a way to shake up the daily grind of Azeroth.

Have any of you had a gimmick, short-term or long-term?

Uncategorized

I promise I’m still here…

I’ve just gotten a bit distracted by a bunch of things:

-Lack of sleep
-Levelling Lisan (she’s 51 now!)
-Reading Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series
-Levelling Melusine. She’s my new Gnomish Warlock
-Bonfires
-Really ridiculous crack-RP with a couple of friends.
-Less ridiculous RP with my D&D group

I’ve downloaded JumpCounter and it’s kind of crazy seeing my jumping patterns. Lisan hardly jumps at all, Ais jumps a moderate amount, Kass jumps a lot, and Melusine had over 100 jumps before she even hit lvl 5! I’ve decided that jumping as a Druid is addictive and jumping as a Gnome is the most bouncy fun you can have. And also compulsive. Is there anyone out there who seriously plays a gnome who doesn’t spam the spacebar? I find myself bouncing without realising it sometimes.

Kurn has gotten a beta key, for which I am insanely jealous, and has been having Cataclysmic Adventures ™. Very enlightening and a little amusing – if you don’t read her now, I suggest you start.

Also, newish blogger Lara over at Root and Branch has posted a Shakespearian retelling of your average Oculus PUG that is absolutely hilarious.

And now I scoot off, so as not to be late to work! I hate working the opening shift.

PvE

To HoT or Hammer

Once upon a time, before I played on Ysera or hit the level cap or really got into instancing at all, I rolled a Tauren druid named Ilaah. I levelled her slowly over three or four months, eventually getting her to level 20 before abandoning her to roll a new DK (Aislinn!) on Ysera, so I could join Natural Order and play with Hano.

Then came my baby Paladin, Lizzy, harking back to the very very very first character I ever rolled on WoW (Kaadri, how I miss thee…), and my impulsive decision to spec her into Holy, and the discovery that I really liked healing. As someone who’d declared she would always be a DPSer at heart, this was a startling revelation, but a welcome one, and I now consider myself a Healer first, and anything else second. (This seems to be a theme with me, as I was ABSOLUTELY ADAMANT about being heterosexual until I met my girlfriend, and I now don’t even bother paying attention to boys. Our five year anniversary was this week, incidentally.)

So, since I liked healing so much, I decided I wanted to try out healing on another character, and preferably on Ysera where I knew people who did endgame stuff and could get advice that I trusted. I wasn’t really thrilled by the idea of starting fresh again, especially since Lizzy was only level 22 at the time, so I splurged and got Ilaah a server transfer and a faction change, and she started life afresh as Kassina. I eagerly got her some better casting gear off the AH, and queued up as a healer.

Which brings us to the actual topic of this post: I suck at druid healing. Now, considering Kass is still only level 22, it’s safe to say I don’t have much experience in druid healing, but the whole thing seems to end up with me constantly draining my mana and wanting to weep because even though everyone’s alive, I’m not entirely sure how I managed to keep them that way, which means I’m not sure I can replicate it for the next pull.

The problem is that I have a very paladin-influenced healing mindset. My first experiences in proper healing (as opposed to just slapping a healing spell on myself or a friend while questing) were on Lizzy (who, incidentally, is probably getting a name change soon, so if you see me referring to Lisan in the future, that’s who I’m talking about), and my whole approach to healing is based on paladin mechanics. And, in my opinion, druid healing is pretty much the polar opposite of paladin healing.

To offer a brief tangent to illustrate my point (and to incorporate my love of the Avatar: the Last Airbender cartoon), I find that my attempts at druid healing are similar to Aang’s first attempts at earthbending. Aang was born and raised an airbender before he ever found out he was the Avatar, and that colours a lot of how he approaches obstacles and learns new skills. Earthbending was extremely difficult for him to learn because it required him to re-learn how to bend, almost from scratch. Earth and air are opposites, in the Avatar universe, and the mentality and mindset of an earthbender is completely opposite from his own.

Druid healing is, from what I have seen and gathered, a very elegant process. It’s a complex dance of different heals, of HoTs and procs and making sure that you don’t pre-emptively refresh a HoT when it still has a couple of ticks left while still not letting it drop off of your target. Stacking Lifebloom, keeping that spell ticking along with other HoTs, and choosing just when to let it finally bloom, is a perfect example, in my opinion.

Paladin healing, on the other hand, reminds me of nothing so much as the whole reason I rolled a paladin in the first place: I wanted to wield holy power and hit things with a big hammer. Paladin healing is like that – you swing around a metaphorical healing hammer, and hit your allies with it to bring their health back up. Even the “small” heal, Flash of Light, can bring up most tanks I run with these days from 80% health or so to 97-100% with one 1.5-sec cast. I see your health go down, I hit you with a FoL. It drops a little more drastically, I hit two FoL’s to get you up a bit, then hit Holy Light, which will almost completely fill up most tank health bars even from 20 or 30% health. For me, it’s all about seeing a threat (falling HP) and hitting it with a hammer (healing) and seeing immediate results.

Druid healing is different in a couple of ways – first of all, most of their heals don’t hit quite as hard, which necessitates a little planning and pre-emptive casting, but then you come to the second major difference, in that you don’t get immediate results.

I cannot, for the life of me, trust my HoTs. I mean, rationally, logically, I know how HoTs work, and I know that they do work. But then I’m actually in an instance healing, and all my pally instinct kicks in saying “GET THAT PINK BAR UP STAT” (my vuhdo settings show health bars in pink. I’m a sometimes a pretty little princess, get over it. :P), so I throw Rejuvenation on. And when the pink bar doesn’t go up significantly, my instinct goes “AUGH BIGGER HEAL” and I throw on Healing Touch and then when more damage happens and Rejuv hasn’t ticked in a whole second, I spaz and throw on Regrowth, which initially takes them back up to 100% (or close to), and then overheals like a maniac when paired with the remaining Rejuv ticks. Lather, rinse, repeat, while my mana plummets and I look like a panicking idiot in front of anybody who might actually know how to heal. Which, granted, I am, but it’s frustrating because I know I can heal. I just can’t quite heal as a druid yet.

So all the myriad frustrations in trying to learn the steps to the Druid Healing Dance has left poor Kass stuck at level 22 while I level Lizzy, and this other holy pally that I’m RPing with, and a shadow priest I rolled two days ago and have managed to get to level 16 already. On one hand, I feel bad for abandoning her, and druid healing (especially after having put MONEY into getting her over to Ysera), but on the other… I just don’t think I’m ready for the dance just yet. I’ve never had to be patient when it comes to healing or damage, and I’m hoping that levelling Kili, my priest, will help ease me in that direction a little bit. Maybe once I’ve had a bit of a warm-up, I’ll be able to really get to work.

Until then, I’ll just keep swinging that healing hammer like the good little pally I am.

PvE

Ah, utility…

So the other day, on a whim (and because I felt bad levelling Lîzzy any further without her Shammy partner), I spent a little of this month’s extra money to get a server transfer for my level 20 druid, Kassína, who’s been languishing for months because the people I rolled her to level with don’t play anymore. Now I can level her and talk to my guildies at the same time, which is nice.

Now, here’s the thing: I WANT to heal with her. I find healing to be loads of fun, and I think Druid healing will be a nice counterpoint to Paladin healing, and keep me from getting bored. But at the same time, I know I’m not going to be running as many instances with her, and she has absolutely NO good gear for healing, and I’m sort of poor, as far as people with a lvl 80 go, and wouldn’t know what gear to buy her anyway. Instead, I’m speccing her into Feral, for now, and DPSing, and when I hit 40 and can buy dual specs, then I’ll look into healing with her.

But the funny thing is that I’ve found, on every random I’ve run with her so far, that every so often I’m dropping cat form to battle rez someone, or drop a HoT or two on the tank when the healer goes OOM. There’s something distinctly satisfying about being able to pause in my (rather nice, for my level, if I do say so myself) DPSing to keep the tank alive. Healer pride, with the lower tank-survival responsibility of a DPS.

I could get to enjoy this, I think.