Friday, July 31, 2015

Raiding - We Soc'd him a good one!

Wednesday's raid made me roll my eyes.  You know how you get complacent when you think a fight is easy? Well, it felt like everyone was thinking that on Wednesday.  For EVERY fight.

Hellfire Assault.  Dreadfully sloppy.  At one point we had 3 Terrors up.  The raid damage from stuff like that was bloody terrible.  6 people died on that fight.  People weren't focussing the adds down and just hitting whatever, it felt like.  I'm not sure main assist was working though.  I think Nok died at one point and I rezzed him because he was supposed to be main assist.

The Iron Reaver.  SO MUCH FIRE. The first attempt, he had more health than he had previously before taking off and then a lot of people died during the second ground phase.  We had to wipe it, and after a stern comment from Kyxyn the next attempt was better.

Council was alright, and Kormrok had a weird issue with people not doing the empowered runes properly. One ended up under the melee and then it went all over the place, instead of towards the middle to collide with one of the other runes.

We had to wipe on Kilrogg because a tank died early and we had used our rez on someone else.  But the next attempt was ok, except for Voe running a heartseeker towards me on the right instead of to the middle.  Adds getting close to the boss was a problem also and it drives me nuts when me or Rag have to call out adds when the DPS should be doing killing that stuff.

Gorefiend at least went down and we had a little bit of time to spare at the end of Wednesday so we had a look at Iskar because there wasn't much point in clearing trash to Socrethar when we wouldn't get many goes at it (and with everyone playing like goofballs then it would have been a waste of time anyway).  I have to say that it was kinda fun to do Iskar on heroic.  The winds are faster and we had lots of us falling off. On our 2nd and final attempt on Iskar, Crooked was running trying not to fall off the edge and someone decided to throw it to him just as he was falling off and suddenly we had no Eye of Anzu.  I died that attempt because fat fingered Yuuda threw it to someone else and I also got blown off the edge despite displacer beast and roar. I found the whole thing rather funny - maybe it was because it was late at night, but it looks like a fight that's doable.

Thursday we were all getting ready for Socrethar. AGAIN.

This time we had 5 healers - Rag, myself, Yuuda, Bish and Rowyn. Our plan was to extend phase 2 as long as possible to get more damage on the boss because if we didn't kill him by the second phase 2 it was enrage and game over.  We would need Socrethar's health to be at least 49% after that second phase 2.

It was Rowyn's first time and I prepped her on what to expect (and she had watched the 2 min video already) and she actually did the mechanics very well.  She ran the fire to the correct side, though she did take the orb for a bit of a stroll Ultra-style one time, which we don't encourage because if you're targetted for the charge and fire next time you will be out of position and end up with a bad fire. We had a few people get stuck in the Fel Prison on various attempts and HK/Aimei made some dreadful Felblaze Charges and left fire trails at really bad times twice during the night that caused a wipe.

However we made some changes over the night which worked rather well. I got Rag to beacon the first two Man'ari, and then Yuuda and I would do the next two Man'ari, so healing them was much better.  Duck and Dan started interrupting the casters more and so they didn't get their horrible casts out as much.  Aimei started hitting the Dominator more as well.  Ghosts were better, as everyone was getting used to lining up with the fire. The second phase 1 was better because there was more direction on where to go instead of the free for all that it had been previously with people milling around trying to figure out where they should be (me included).

It was late and we had just had our 11th wipe and there was less than 10 minutes of raid time left. People were tired - Bish and Rag were waning and Kelthal left because he was really tired.  We ready checked and had everyone wanted to have one more go.

And OH MY GOD, we got it.  Poor Kelthal, he missed the kill!

And this time we managed to get a kill pic!  I did it before we did loot so everyone HAD to be there.

And loot... now this was different!

THREE glove tokens of... not vanquisher!  Three glove tokens of Protector dropped.  Those guys were VERY happy.  Luxy, Aimei and Madcow were the lucky winners!

I was in the poops because there are 4 items that Socrethar drops for resto druids, 3 of which I would like.  And of course I rolled the one that I don't want.  Yuuda got the cloak with a socket however, which was awesome.  The rest of the loot was sharded but we all wanted Tier, and it was great to see everyone getting some Tier!

Everyone was so happy - and poor Kelthal will have to hear about it when we see him on Monday for raid, where we will be having a go at Iskar.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mischief with everyone else's Waystone Building constructs

I'm sure I'm just blind but when I've gone into Aimei's and Kyxyn's garrisons I've never really noticed these constructs with little portals and a line connecting them.  I was in Danleet's garrison and I noticed them and wondered what it was.

I tried to click on the portal and then suddenly I was riding on some little step thing on the back of one of those constructs. I'm sure anyone who has a Ogre Waystone building is probably laughing at me because I didn't realise what they were.  All they are is a fast conduit between two points. Dan told me that if I move it, you lose the little fast movement between the two spots. Kyxyn expressed his dismay that I hadn't noticed every time I go to his garrison because he has those same constructs. Aimei too.

Anyway, moving one around made the line go away.  So I thought I'd have some fun.

In Dan's garrison, whilst he was talking on Vent, I jumped on one construct and moved it into the Ogre waystone building.  I took it to the back of the building on the top floor and hid it behind a pole, then jumped off and innocently asked Kyxyn if I could use his Forge to get the buff and he said yes, and I could also check out the constructs.  Of course, that was what I was going to do in the first place.  So whilst he was busy looking at transmogs for his paladin, I immediately took one of the constructs and hid it inside the garrison main building.

Quick, before Kyxyn sees me!
This looks like a good spot
Here's a good hiding place...
There.  See if he can find it there hidden inside the archaeology artifacts room.

At this point, Dan shouted out on ventrilo, "Navi! Where did you put my other construct??"

I was laughing my ass off.  Unfortunately my bubble was burst when Kyxyn told him that he can just go to the Waystone building and talk to someone there and they will reset the constructs.  Well, that just took all the fun out of hiding them!  Well, that and the fact that I'm writing about it so he'll know where I hid them.

At least now I have something fun to do whilst I am visiting my friend's garrisons /rubs hands together mischievously

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Raiding - Still going on Socrethar

We had all night on Socrethar and I think we made some progress but still not quite enough - we hit enrage and died and he still had a fair amout of health.  That tends to suggest we haven't got enough DPS, but when you consider that the construct does a lot of damage...

... then you would think we should spend longer in Phase 2.

The night went a lot better though. It's funny how on normal you can just kill it in our first phase 2, and then you think you're doing all the same things but it just doesn't seem to gel.  We used to tank at the portal, but now we've moved to the middle of the room and that seems to be a bit better.  Ranged with Man'ari are now standing between Socrethar and the ghosts instead of off to the side (though in reality, it doesn't matter so much if the ranged stand off to one side and get a ghost coz they can kill it).

Mana is absolutely shocking for that fight.  Phase 1 is ok, it's just phase 2 draining all my mana, and keeping an eye on the Agony as well to dispel is also heavy.  I tried healing it with Moment of Clarity for mana but found that was really lousy especially in Phase 2 with all those Gift of Man'ari.  I thought to myself that I really wish we had 2 paladins so they could beacon both of those gifted people and make healing a bit easier.  At the moment I'm trying to get them into a mushroom and keep lifebloom on the weaker one and two rejuvs but once we hit 4 I've been telling Yuuda which ones I'm healing and he can focus on the other two whilst I'm going all out.  Nok was healing with us and I have to say his healing with 4 set is amazing, so amazing it just blows the rest of us out of the water, it's that good.

It was overall an improvement, and people are getting the hang of the fight, so hopefully it won't be much longer before we kill it (and then it will become like Gorefiend - you wonder why we struggled on it, it was just making everyone comfortable with the fight).

On Sunday we got Xhul'horak down which was cool, putting us at 9/13N.  I did an Ultra and managed to fall off the platform when I was trying to run my debuff to the edge - how embarrassing. Nok had pugged it before so it was nice to be able to do the fight with someone who knew it. I was going to take a picture of the kill, but I forgot (and it's just normal, hopefully when we get a heroic kill I'll remember!). Duck was happy to get his 4 piece bonus (I passed for him - it would hve been my 3rd piece so he might as well use it since I'd probably bank it).

This Sunday will be the last time we'll be doing the first 6 bosses in normal as we'll be getting that 4th soul crystal thingie. It will be nice to save an hour and work on some of the later tier bosses!  Hopefully all raiders will pick up some tokens in the next raid week.  We can only hope!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Ashran changes and a random meeting

Since the patch I actually quite like Ashran. I liked the changes they made and it seems more balanced - as in there are equal Horde and Alliance and your success really depends on your teamwork.  The 4 events + faction leader kill for a box containing an epic PvP loot item is a really nice change too, because it forces people to stay around for a while instead of getting their 200 points and then nicking off.  And you can get those 200 points from just killing people in Ashran, but if you want to get the chance of an epic you need to stay and play with everyone else.

I had already done Ashran earlier in the week and it was PvP night but nobody was on to play with when I first logged in and then only Sev was playing with me.  We ended up in Ashran and it was decent - firstly there was a queue to get in, and that's usually a good sign.  Crooked joined us as well and we got the dailies done.  Sev, unfortunately, like me, got an item that we already had as an epic item.

Whilst I was in there I got a tell from a hunter who said they read my blog.  I was excited and pleased to meet them and I photobombed them whilst we were in Ashran. I thought those kinds of things only happened to Rades (though that recognition was amusing because of a Cynwise anomaly)

I was surprised to see that they were in Tribo!  Which is Kaye's guild on Barthilas, which is also the guild where my crappy Barthilas horde alt is parked.

Brone told me that this was his alt and his main was on Saurfang alliance named Bronebeard, and I remembered, that was the name that I thought was spelled wrong.  I had to go check it up on my blog to remind myself and I found their comment on an old post.

After Ashran finished I met up with him at a neutral spot to try to take a proper picture.

If you can call this proper.  It looks like Talonpriest Ishaal is huging him from behind or smelling his neck or something otherwise indecent.  As I tried to reposition, I had a photobomber in platekini in my way.

So I decided to try to take a SELFIE.  Now I remember why I don't do selfies.  Because it's so bloody hard to try to take a good pic, especially when I'm a tauren and he's a dwarf.

Selfies as a tauren are hideous. No wonder I never use this thing.

Anyway, through the night I chatted to Brone, who introduced me to his wife Cass (also from Tribo) who was in the same Ashran. Interestingly, meeting her made something click - I had interacted with her before - I thought it had been on the Tribo facebook page but it was during a conversation on Tribo mumble. One of the female players in Tribo mentioned that her husband reads the Daily Frostwolf. Well now I know who said that!

Back to Ashran.  So the spawn timer on the Ancient artifact is now really annoying.  It drops and then there you have to wait a few minutes before it will spawn again (it's not an instant respawn like it used to be).  And I also like getting a box from every event now.  The other thing that was weird today (and I don't know it was me not looking correctly) was that Kor'lok had way more health than Kronos/Fangral.  I was pretty sure I saw 23million health on Kor'lok, and usually he's quite wimpy.

Secondly, I have never been to the jail/gaol on Horde side before. I went there for the first time today.

And I'm not sure if I've said this before, but that event under the ground is SOOO SLOW.  It is surely my least favourite event of the lot.  I do like how they made the races 5 rounds instead of 3, and also they increased the number of ores for Molten Quarry and the number of ghosts to capture for Ashmaul Burial Grounds (now 20, instead of 10).  They're not bad changes really.

But I'll say now, I'm never going to get those panda kills.  It's taking me forever and I've only done 168/500.  I miss those Nemesis group things we used to do!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Raiding - So far no scar on Socrethar

I was late on Wednesday so I missed Hellfire Assault.  Do you know it's actually quite hard to PuG Hellfire Assault because every group on Group Finder has already done it and are looking for more from Reaver onwards.  So annoying.  But I digress because I can always pick up a tome on normal on Sunday but was hoping maybe something nice might drop for me on Assault like trinket or bracers.

I made it for Iron Reaver but running into the house and logging in hurriedly does nothing for my warm up and so I was hit by 2 Blitz's like a real pro (you idiot Navimie) but at least I was in the right spec this time (though my healing looked like I was in boomkin it was that bad).

Enough about my failings, the rest of the night went ok until we got to Kilrogg. Rag was lagging, and that's the bummy thing when you rely on someone who is a great healer, because I let him DPS and our healing suffered a little.  It probably also didn't help that I thought that I'd let someone else go into the zone and heal for a change (Nok) with Rag DPSing and so we wiped a few times.  Not to mention our usual culprits who tunnel the boss and don't kill the adds made for extra stress - one of the ranged mentioned to me that the logic of the tunnellers is that they can let the adds get closer to the boss and then do their AoE attacks and then get them down, but in the mean time all the other ranged get a bit stressed as they switch to the adds and hit them as soon as they come out when they could also be using their DPS on the boss (because if you imagine 2 hits from the ranged who have the empowered buff versus 12 hits from normal ranged, then the empowereds feel like their damage is wasted and so do the unempowered).  Anyway, I haven't quite figured out how to make people understand what I am saying but the kill attempt we put it back to how we normally do it and it went fine.

Constantine has a bad habit of not listening on vent, so he went in on the wrong vision and threw us a little bit on one attempt.  Hopefully he will pay more attention after his minor nagging!  He wasn't the only one though, Aza asked about a changeup we did on Socrethar and we had only explained it twice on vent already LOL.

Thursday rolled around and Gorefiend went down easily with 2 vanquisher tier tokens dropping much to the disgust of every non vanquisher tier player.  This meant that even Constantine (who has the LOWEST EPGP of the entire raid could even get a tier piece).

Socrethar however, that's a different story. I had to laugh because we have 4 melee who soak with the tanks being able to not only move to the front of the boss to soak Reverberating Blow. Two groups of two melee move in rapidly consecutively and also have to be able to run out with their Felblaze Charge in the right direction.  Dan and Duck were really pro at it, but Constantine (who wasn't one of the 4 melee) was tunnelling and we had a dreadful fire followed by a melee Fel Prison (that is out of our control) and that stuffed us up.

Then we had a laugh when poor Madcow was targetted twice consecutively by the Felblaze Charge and both times ran in exactly the wrong direction so we had a wonderful 3 armed starfish of fire trails that none of us could avoid.  Madcow then asked us to leave him dead so that he couldn't get targetted a third time and the next attempt he actually stood in the corner for a while as a laugh while we waited for the first charge to go out.

I think we also have found Kelthal's HFC version of Beastlord Darmac's Pin Down. Kelthal was like a fly who consistently ran into the Fel Prison and got chained to it. Something new to tease him about :)

But what I find really difficult is the Gift of the Man'ari.  That bloody thing lasts 2 minutes and the people in them take so much bloody damage, that by the end of that phase they will be dead.  Especially when later in the fight another two people will get it meaning 4 people will have it.  With me and Yuuda we can lifebloom one each and shroom them and hot them up, and with Sars or Rowyn around we can get a shield on them but once they start getting low it's almost impossible to keep them up, especially when we have a whole bunch of other crappy magic debuffs going out as well - it's such a HUGE drain on mana.  I feel like we are missing something that's easy but important to be able to deal with that - whether that's doing something to the Dominators who are casting it or not dispelling the debuffs fast enough... anyway, it's something the healers are worrying about but the rest of the raid are worrying about something else.  I know, I know, how could something be more important than keeping people alive, right?

The rest of the raid are worrying about interrupting the Dominators and killing the ghosts that come out.  We initially tried spending a lot of time trapping them in a Fel Prison (because after Phase 1, the construct we were attacking becomes empty and then the other tank can jump into it and use the abilities that it had - the Felblaze Charge and the Prisons for the ghosts, and the Orb and the Reverberating Blow being used on to damage Socrethar), but after a while we stopped trapping them and just left a fire trail for the ghosts to walk in and leave the ranged to DPS them down and let the tank in the construct (Aimei) hit Socrethar.  That worked well as long as we didn't go running all over the place and stayed clumped together so that the ghosts moved towards us in a line.  We did try some other things that didn't work so well - one of them was this "Ghostbusters" group where a few ranged would be assigned to go kill ghosts, but that went poorly because inevitably one of them would get Gift of the Man'ari and move out of range of healers which basically meant death in 3 seconds. Another attempt I was standing too close to Socrethar with my Gift of the Man'ari and didn't leave Kyxyn much room to move Socrethar around and clipped a lot of people with my crappy circle.

Giggles from me and Kyxyn when Yuuda described the ghosts getting close to us and casting fears as "really inconvenient".  Those damned things feared me mid tranquility, inconvenient is putting it mildly.

We had one really good attempt where we made it through that phase and started again in Phase 1 but now it was a mirror image of what we were doing previously and fires were run all over the place, and that is the point where we decided to practice starting in the opposite corner so that we could learn to run fires to the left now instead of the right.

Anyway, I bet there will be someone reading this who has done Socrethar on heroic and thinks that we are all a bunch of nitwits, but at least I had some laughs while trying to learn it.  I suspect I will still be laughing, especially at Kelthal and Madcow, when we bash at it again on Monday.  What makes me worried is that people say this is so easy.  It was easy on normal. I wonder what I'm missing on the heroic version.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I should like Timewalking but I don't... and other random thoughts

I adore challenge modes.  I love the team work and the communication, I love the sense of achievement as we get a medal or a good time.  I love that I get to be a real healer.  However, I know lots of people that think CMs are a waste of time because there is no loot or gold so what's the point?

I don't mind mythic dungeons.  Easier then a challenge mode with the bonus of getting loot - most of the time they are DE's but at least I feel some monetary compensation for my time, as well as getting to play with my friends.

Timewalking is a step down from that, with our gear being scaled back to that level, but I never run out of mana so it's not really an issue.  It's something that we can do with all our guildies, and even Kyxyn said that the timewalking weekend was great because we could do runs as a guild with non raiding guildies like Ayelena.  Unfortunately for me I slept through Saturday night (much to my disgust) and so I missed all the guildie fun - but I managed to go on Sunday, and it took about 1.5-2 hours to get it all done.

However, I think because of the time pressure, I found the whole thing a bit of a chore. And there is this weird thing where you can do it all again on Tuesday - however, you could only do that if you were home before 4:30pm on Tuesday because of that weird reset and the small window of opportunity to do the daily again.

The thing about timewalking is that though there is some nostalgia for me thinking back to the times when we used to do those dungeons (I remembered how horrible Shattered Halls was at level when I was trying to do it back in BC - this weekend it was WoTLK timewalking and there weren't as many stressful dungeons as in BC (I remember I used to hate Shadow Labyrinth). But I think I was more disappointed in myself that I didn't like the dungeons as much as I thought I would.

Perhaps it was because it was a chore, and I felt like I HAD to do it.  Whenever something becomes semi-compulsory (ie we get an extra seal so we can roll an extra time on loot) then it doesn't become fun.  I wondered if the dungeon, without the nostalgia, would be a good experience - however, I don't think anyone really stopped to look at the dungeon, or the mechanics or the story of those dungeons (wait, there's story to the dungeons?) and it feels like it's just another instance to run, without the meaning. Many would argue, who cares about the story, it's all about loot and sometimes the loot can be good but at my level it's not really very useful except for shards and extra gold.  Would a little quest line make it more meaningful?  Probably not.

Speaking of coins, I really should ditch the war mill.  I have kept it for a while now and I don't really need the coin from it.  I don't really need to upgrade any more followers either.  Most people have moved on to get the Ogre Waystone building, but I thought perhaps I should go with a barn or something so I could get that pygmy cow pet.  Once I got that then I could go and change it again.

Things to think about.  If I can be bothered to change my buildings!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Resto druids: Haste - Letting it go

Goodbye haste.  I'm letting you go, Elsa (Frozen) style.

I was excited getting my first 2 pieces of tier last week.  However, that meant that I had to figure out which items of tier to drop, and wouldn't you know it, the items with the best haste were the ones that the new tier had to replace.

Mastery is not so terrible as a replacement stat.  My tranquility is better now. My regrowths will be bigger as well.  But my wild grwoth, lifebloom and rejuv ticks won't be as good as they were, though I think that will be more noticeable when I'm using germination so off I go back to Moment of Clarity. I suppose the lifebloom will be offset by the occasional blooms I'll get as part of my 2-set tier proc, so I'll see.

And here is a moment of embarrassment - when did Nature's Vigil change?  I was sure that it used to be when I cast heals I would damage others around me, which is why I didn't use it very much when we had cc'd targets, but I looked at it today and it actually says that single target healing also heals a nearby target (in addition to damaging a target).  I might play with that a bit more - though I admit that Dream of Cenarius seems to do better overall for me in terms of mana conservation and efficiency.

What I hadn't considered is the moonkin 2 set bonus which is "a chance to summon a faerie dragon to assist you in battle for 30 seconds".  I LOVE them!

Now who is not going to love having faerie dragons around you when you're fighting? SERIOUSLY adorable!

And of course, all that mastery is lovely for my pathetic boomkin.  Maybe I will play boomkin more just so I can hang out with those faerie dragons.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Raiding - Moving steadily along

Last night we were thrilled because we got Gorefiend down on heroic on the first attempt of the night.  It  may or may not have anything to do with the return of Kelthal (highly unlikely), or the absence of Voe (possible but unlikely).  After not getting very far last Thursday on it, it was nice to have a one shot of it.  The only person that died was me, and I was glad to have died because I clearly was not listening to Kyxyn when he announced a minute before the pull to check your gear and your specs, because I was in my PvP spec and trying to play like I was SotF instead of treeform... with barkskin and cyclone glyphs...

Anyway, adds seemed better controlled, healing was also very good and it all culminated in a tidyish kill. Feast of souls seemed rather short.  Kyxyn asked me if it mattered if a few of the ghosty things hit the raid and I said it probably didn't matter when we were using active healing cooldowns at that stage, but I do admit, when I saw them hitting us and health was a bit spiky I was a little concerned, though I shouldn't have been.

I won't deny that Sunday's normal raid helps a lot with keeping the continuation going.  Gorefiend was done well on Sunday, and we also killed Socrethar which was a new boss for us and didn't take long to figure out.  Our success on that drove us to try Socrethar on Monday after Gorefiend, but the translation to heroic didn't seem to culminate into much progress.

I was pleased to get my second piece of tier with a coin roll from Gorefiend (yay heroic warforged legs!) but I was sad to see all my haste being whittled away to mastery/multistrike.  Having two 2-set bonuses (T17 and T18) is quite nice, though I am not thrilled about the randomness of the T18 2-set (which is a chance for my lifebloom to bloom on a target) compared to the reliability of the T17 (3x nature's swiftness).  But, it's better than the lousy 4-set bonus on T17.

On normal we went on to try Xhul'horac, but perhaps it would be better if we tried something else. I've been thinking about how Sunday's raid is going to work.  I think once we get our 4 stones on normal then we will be skipping the first 6 bosses - but that's still another 2 weeks away.  There was chatter about getting tier tokens and things, but really, for main raiders, they will be getting the tier on heroic anyway so it's just getting tier for alts.  Hopefully everyone will be getting their tier tokens soon enough!

At least I got a kill pic this time!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

My fears for the Warcraft Movie - and it wasn't about the gender stuff

You know, I was going to write a post about the Warcraft movie since there was a lot of chatter about it after San Diego Comic-Con.  However, there are other people writing about it, most notably a post on Blizzard Watch that genereated 500+ replies - so much so that they had to close comments because some of them got very heated.

Any post that talks about representation of women in our games always generates a massive discussion.  It's like religion. politics or raising children - people have their own opinions and will vehemently defend them with teeth and claws bared.

Elizabeth made her stance clear - she thinks that Duncan Jones' comments about Warcraft being a welcoming environment for women is wrong, based on her experience as a woman in the game. Is there misogyny in game? Yes.  Has it happened to me? No. Does it mean it doesn't happen and it doesn't matter? No. Do I want to talk further on it?  Ummm.... no.

I want to talk about MY fears for the Warcraft movie which has nothing to with real or imagined lack of female representation.

The promo posters look awesome. I have a soft spot for Travis Fimmel (/drool), even if he is Alliance.

I watched the playback of the Warcraft panel and listened to what everyone had to say.  I was amused that Daniel Wu's wife played Warcraft and she told him he had to audition for the movie (and now he is her hero, he claims). I giggled at Dominic and Travis complaining about having to wear heavy armour and wigs and all the orcs got to dance around with dots and pyjamas.

Ruth Negga (Lady Talia) and Paula Patton (Garona) talked about their characters - especially when NOBODY ever heard anything of Lady Talia since she was dead.  It will be interesting to see her place in the story.

Naturally, I am excited to see Durotan and Draka in the movie and baby Thrall, after all, they are our forebearers, the namesakes of our guild Frostwolves!

However, I don't want to get too excited, even though it is exciting.  Why?  Well, I'm afraid of hype.  You know when a movie gets hyped up it's always disappointing?  I felt like that during the Dark Knight Rises, which was a good movie but it wasn't as good as I thought because there was so much hype about it.  And also... this is the biggest concern I have... name me one computer game movie that was actually any good.

Struggling?  You're not the only one.  Let me help you jog your memory

Street Fighter

Capcom's extremely popular arcade fighting game was made into a movie in 1994 which grossed $99 million. I loved that game.  I spent many hours in the arcades playing it after school.  And the movie, even with a cast starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kyline Minogue and Ming-Na Wen was a dreadfully dull movie with a lame action plot, even by my meagre standards.

Mortal Kombat

Another arcade fighting game, it managed to spawn a movie and a sequel. I think I have seen the first movie when I was younger but I don't remember it.  But the women's outfits... bleh (they were exactly the same in the game). If it was good I would have remembered.  But then, surely if it was terrible, I would have remembered.  Or maybe I have just blocked it from my memory.  The first movie grossed $122 million and the second $51 million.

Resident Evil

I admit, I did enjoy some of the Resident Evil movies, but I had never played the game, which was a survival zombie shooter game, I think.  There were five movies made, after all so somebody must have liked them.  Milla Jovovich is pretty cool, I admit. They made $102 million, $129 million, $147 million, $296 million and $240 million respectively.

Tomb Raider

All the versions of Lara Croft by Irishhips

Tomb raider's Lara Croft, famous because of her outrageous bosom is an adventure game with the player controlling Lara from a third person viewpoint. Lara has had a changes to her physique and bust with the latest Tomb Raider game showing a more realistic looking Lara. The movie was made in 2001 and with a superstar like Angelina Jolie starring as Lara Croft it was successful enough to spawn a second movie.  OK, I admit, I didn't mind these movies, and it made decent money at the box office ($274 million for the first one, and $156 million for the second).

Prince of Persia

Now I used to play the original game a lot, and I wasn't very good at it (I tend not to be good at any game that requires jumping) and the game was extremely popular with a number of sequels. The movie, made in 2010 starring Jake Gyllenhaal, grossed $335 million at the box office and it was not a bad movie.  I remember watching it at the cinemas.  I suppose you could say that was a success.

Max Payne

I have never played the game, so I was even less inclined to see the movie.  The game is a third person shooter (something I am never good at) and that's all I know about it.  The movie was made in 2008, starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis and grossed 85 million at the box office but had dreadful reviews from the critics.

Final Fantasy

I have never played any of the Final Fantasy games though they are were a very popular RPG and now an MMORPG (in it's XIV'th incarnation).  The movie, made in 2001, was fully animated and it was extremely good animation at that time too.  I watched it but found the story a little confusing, and the film itself grossed $85 million at the box office (a fair bit under it's $130+ million cost to make).

I'm concerned that if someone had never heard of Warcraft or the game, or never played it would be disinclined to watch it, like I was with Max Payne.  I'm also concerned that hyping it up will make the movie a disappointment to watch, because my expectations are high.  Of course I'm hoping it will be amazing, that the visuals will be impressive and the characters inspiring. And there will be FROSTWOLVES in it. I look forward to seeing Durotan (played by Tony Kebbell) and Draka (played by an Australian actress I don't know, Anna Galvin, who has been in the Stargate TV series). But I'm trying to reign in my excitement.  Aimei/HK has told me to stop worrying about it, the movie will be great, since there are so many people working on it that LOVE the game and the lore, so they will do their best to make it amazing because they love the story as much as we do.

The official trailer will be released in November, it was said, no doubt, they will be showing it at Blizzcon.  I guess we will be able to see it then!  Just 4 months to wait!
"I'm a gamer, and I know what I'm expecting is what you're expecting from this thing and I promise you, Duncan Jones has made the movie we want to see."

- Rob Kazinsky, Comic Con Warcraft panel 2015

Oh I certainly hope so.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Minipost: Mercenaries in Ashran are OPTIONAL you know!

There was a post yesterday saying that they were bringing in PvP mercenary mode in a future patch for Ashran. What that is, is that if there are some ridiculous queue times, you can speak to someone in your Draenor faction city (Warspear or Stormshield) and you can actually QUEUE for the other side and get in, and even look like the other faction.

You should see the number of comments raging about "Blizzard taking away factions" in about 10 different ways with just as many ugly words thrown in.  People on horde side complaining that all the bad players on Alliance side will come and clog up horde side and then horde won't be able to queue for Ashran.  Some people also seem to think that it's compulsory.

It's totally voluntary. You don't HAVE to queue as horde if you're alliance or vice versa.  The option is there if you want to have a shorter queue time.  But if you're like me, loyal to your faction, there is no way in hell you would be queueing as filthy alliance :P

I used to wish that maybe on one day of the year (perhaps Hallow's End!) we could dress up as the opposing faction for fun and talk to your friends on the other side. Just for one day.  Perhaps I can do it in Ashran instead - however, all the people I want to talk to are not the sorts of people who would do Ashran anyway....

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Are Video games destroying our boys, or are we not giving our children the right direction?

It seems that everyone these days is on the feminist bandwagon.  People are clamouring for equality and fair representation in games and I think there has been some improvement over the last year or two.  Other people may not be overtly feminist but they are clamouring for an increase in the choices available to us – a freedom of choice, of sorts, which is something I welcome.  I recently wrote about images of women and what I want to teach my daughter and what I want her to learn about being a female and her role in the world, and how women can’t be limited to what they can and can’t do by their gender or race, but by their abilities and their determination. Most people would agree that empowering women to be free of oppression is something to be celebrated.

But are we doing enough to help the boys and the men recognise their own freedom and help them be the best they can be in this same line of thinking?

An article in the UK Mirror by Jasper Hammill titled “Video games are destroying young men – it’s time to kick this modern addiction” paints video games and especially boys that play them in a particularly poor light.
“Boys are being choked at adolescence by a toxic digital culture which encourages them to shun the real world…. Brought up at home without fathers, poorly educated and then tossed out into a world they can’t deal with, so many boys seem to slump into a grim existence of dead-end jobs and cheap, meaningless thrills. 
There are a huge number of reasons why so many men seem to be faltering at the first step, but it seems every lost man… has the same hobby: playing computer games.”
This is a really depressing picture.  However, I am not sure it's fair to blame computer games for this isolated and withdrawn behaviour.  Alcohol, drugs - you could substitute these into the situation and the scenario would be exactly the same.

Psychologist Philip Zimbardo seems to have a very anti-gaming stance, saying that games are causing young men to have poor performance "academically, socially and sexually".  He also said that new video games encourage doing and acting and not really thinking.  Internet pornography is pushing boys to be isolated and not seek our real relationships.

Hammill says that men have always drifted into dream worlds, identifying our ambition and throw everything to realise it, ignoring food, friends, cleanliness and everything else, focusing on the fantasy whilst reality moulders around us.

(By the way, I don't think that's limited to men.  I get lost in my books and hobbies and games sometimes, shunning sleep and food as I try to finish whatever it is I want to do. However, in general, I believe that boys are more ambitious than women, and a typical male feature is being fixated or focussed on one task.)

Can you see the problem in those statements by Zimbardo and Hammill?  It's very obvious to me.  Both Hammill and Zimbardo are of the mindset that GAMING is the problem and it needs to be removed in order to fix the problem.

What they NEED to see, is that gaming is here to stay and you cannot remove it, just like you cannot remove the internet or the mobile phone.  The solution is not trying to revert to the past when there were no computer games, trying to make things "the way they were", but adapting and changing and somehow redirecting the energy into computer games to make them more constructive.

Rather than bemoaning the fact that this is happening, people need to use these as tools to try to fix these pressing issues. It's like complaining about pollution.  If you have cars, you will have pollution. Telling everyone to get out of their cars isn't going to work, the convenience of a car is too great. You need to look at how you can make your cars put out LESS pollution, or maybe get people to share cars so that it's 1 car causing pollution instead of 4 cars.  Computer games are not going to go away, they are here to stay.  So use them.

But HOW?

The tools are there, in the games themselves.  Choosing the right games to bring out what you want in your son, or children, I should say (since it's ridiculous to think that boys are the only ones affected by computer game addiction) or even harnessing the best of what are in existing games to help your children is something the savvy parent will need to find.  Games are changing, and the industry is catching onto that.

Keith Stuart wrote an in the Guardian in his article "The Cliche of the Lone Male gamer needs to be destroyed":
If boys are in crisis, I don’t think they need their new interests to be blamed and vilified – they need what they’ve always needed: unconditional love and boundaries. Just like girls. Parents don’t need knee-jerk diatribes warning about some looming masculine armageddon – they need actual advice on managing new devices, and monitoring what their kids do. The odds have been stacked against women for so long, the mere idea that the scales may be tipping in their favour shouldn’t fill grown men with apocalyptic dread. Technology hasn’t sabotaged what it means to be male, but maybe it’s changing it, and we just have to deal with that.
For parents who are non gamers, I can understand their concern. What is this thing that my child is doing?  I don't understand it, is it healthy? Who are the talking to and what kinds of things are they being exposed to?
Never Alone - a game about an Inuit girl and a spirit fox working together
As a gamer myself, and guiding my children when they play games, it's easy to see the advantages of computer games.  We have a lot of co-op play games in  my household that the kids love to play - Little Big planet, Castle Crashes, Never Alone, Brothers (all console games, by the way) - oh and how can I forget Minecraft - and I sit with them and watch them play and they love it, it's like family time in front of a movie. The children learn to share and play with others, working as a team. Yet, these activities are time limited and they still love to do things like go into the garden to water the vegies, ride their bikes or go the local fountain in the park and throw pebbles into it, especially if I go with them.

Brothers is actually a 1 player game, but each side of the controller moves one brother, so if you sit next to someone, you could share the controller and each person moves one brother (that's how I played with my daughter)
Fun is not unlimited.  It has boundaries.  Every person has a time for responsibilities as well as a time for fun.  You have to make sure that you apply those rules to yourself as well as to your children or they are not going to take you seriously.  At least that is somewhere to start.

Hammill also made this comment which made my hackles rise:
It's often said there is a worldwide community of gamers. Yet what sort of community is made up of people who sit alone in their bedrooms, mumbling to each other over headsets? 
These online communities are rank with loneliness and isolation, punctuated only by the occasional 'meet up' in the real world. 
Study after study backs up the claim that time spent playing online causes negative impacts on some obsessive players' real lives.
It's a gross over-generalisation to assume that everyone who plays computer games is like that, and a comment that comes from someone who does not truly understand the gaming community.  It's like saying that an alcoholic is the same as someone sipping their glass of french wine at a 3 star Michelin restaurant. Alcohol can be enjoyed, in moderation and in the right company.  Gaming is no different.

Many games these days are connected - WoW, Eve Online, Guild Wars are all MMORPGs where group play leads to better rewards; first person shooters are now team play with other online players; even Little Big Planet is prompting me to play with other people when I enter a zone on my own so we can do the co-op puzzles.  Boys in particular, who find it difficult to fit in, mix with or speak to girls, or even feel that they are different to other people, will escape to the fantasy to avoid the grim reality.  But within those fantasy realms you can meet people and make friends and perhaps they will be able to overcome their initial shyness and be able to be more interactive with other people. Once they advance beyond the online friendship they can even geek out with others who have the same interests in the real world, like going to Blizzcon.

How can you say that playing games is not social?  Look at the Blizzard community here at Blizzcon, that looks like a whole massive bunch of people at a social event, if you ask me.
How to be a good parent is also a difficult subject to tackle.  Comments like "Parents need to do more parenting," and "You need to control your child" and "Lack of discipline is why your son is like that" are very counterproductive arguments.  Pointing your finger and saying "You're doing it wrong" doesn't help the beleagured parent.  Solutions is what they need, and though I can't say I have all the answers, all I can offer is an example of what I do to try to make gaming work for me as a positive influence rather than a negative one.

It is an all too often scenario when parents want "the kids out from underfoot" and start off with pushing their kids into things to keep them occupied. Buying them iPads so they can get some "peace and quiet".  School camps over holidays. Parents having time away by themselves, leaving the kids behind.  In truth, I understand that logic, but what message does that send?  "I need time away from you, you're a nuisance," is what I would feel, if I was an anxious teenager or child.

I take my kids everywhere, to the movies (yes, even MA+ ones), to Blizzcon (well, to LA, kids weren't allowed into Blizzcon), we don't go on holidays without them, and I also let them take an active part in things like grocery shopping (including scanning and packing the bags) as well as cooking their food.  Yes they are slow, but patience is part of parenting. I play computer games with them.  And they LOVE it when we play with them. They feel included, they feel wanted, they feel LOVED.  As Keith said, that is what all children need to grow into loving human beings.

The other thing that I want to discuss is Keith's comment is "what it means to be male, but maybe it's changing."  THAT is the question that causes confusion for so many young men these days.  That is a question that I ask myself, what do I want my son to be like when he's a young man?  What values should I be instilling?

Zimbardo was concerned that "boys are bored in an overtly feminised teaching system" and high rates of divorce means that boys don't have "father figures to motivate them." The problem there is that he hasn't grasped that in a truly gender equal society, there is nothing wrong with a boy aspiring to have the qualities of his mother, or that of a female teacher. If a daughter aspired to be a rocket scientist like her father, is there any reason why a son can't aspire to be a doctor like his mother? Who says that it takes a man to show a boy how to be a man?  Why can't I as a human show my son how to be a HUMAN?

"Integrity, Independence, confidence and a decent human being." Every mother or father would say those attributes are what they want their son to have.  But compassion, love, kindness - these are things I want my son to have too. We want our daughters to have all those things, so what is wrong with saying we want our sons to have them?

Labelling these emotions as "feminine attributes", "girly", "pussy" or "not manly" are confusing when we claim to be a gender equal society.  Boys are human beings.  They have feelings and they are confused by them just like girls.  If the message they get is "these feelings make you less of a man" then what kind of men will they become? Conflicted, confused, introverted... afraid to share these feelings for fear of being laughed at, berated or bullied.

It doesn't help that young girls encourage that kind of behaviour.  It's intimidating enough for boys without having girls who only want "strong, commanding, mysterious" males as their objects of desire and fantasy and publicly shun and bully those who don't have that image. Is it no wonder that boys feel powerless and helpless and only when they are being threatening and bullying and angry that they feel powerful, or in control?  It's not just boys who need to be taught about how to behave, but also girls, who need to learn that a real man is not about who can do everything on their own and can take on the world, but one who knows how to work together in a team or relationship to make things work in the best interest of all parties.  We live in a society, not on an island.  Cooperation gets us further than working alone ever could, and in the real world, those are the attributes that will give us the greatest success when trying to exist within a human society.
Thinking about gamers as young boys lost and alone in their rooms is not only counter-productive and defeatist, it is also increasingly wrong. Good, positive things are already happening in games, they’ve been happening for years. Nobody needs another edifice of fear to gather around.
Fear.  That is a large part of the problem.  Fear of change.  Fear of the unknown. You can face your fears by understanding the games that your child is playing - read about them, play them, talk to other parents who DO understand the games.  Understanding is the first step to conquering fear.

Keith put it nicely and I'll end my post on this note (as I couldn't say it any better):
Thinking about games purely as an alien presence in the home that has to be feared and curtailed is the wrong mindset. They can be joyful and educational, and in moderation, they will provide a lively venue for family communication – an excuse to chat. It is about involvement, like most other things in parenthood.
And that goes for BOYS and GIRLS.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Raiding - A good week in heroic raiding with new boss down

We were so close on that Kilrogg kill on Thursday.  I was playing extremely sub-par and Yuuda wasn't there so the 8% wipe was my fault because I wasn't feeling well and mucked up my job.  I didn't run into the zone, which meant tanks got controlled and healing suffered and we wiped. Pathetic.

We got it down on Monday though and I even got a screenshot this time!

Then we worked on Gorefiend.  Monday was not a good day for Kyxyn.  He kept disconnecting and then got very put out when we blamed the fact that he was a Mac user.  Many of the raiders offered to donate money for Kyxyn to buy a real computer PC and he may or may not have let out some rather ungentlemanly language.  It was funny though.

I even learned something. I did not know that if I pressed Shift+V that friendly target nameplates would come up.  See, still learning stuff after 10 years of WoW.  I wish I'd known that earlier.  At least now found it easier to heal the caster adds inside the belly.  It was horrible trying to find them before (since I only had enemy nameplates on). I think some of our raiders were slightly bemused about that fact.

We were three down on Monday and we still had 21 people. 24 raiders, that's just nuts.  I wonder how long that will last. Anyway, looking forward to getting more bosses down on Wednesday and making more headway on Gorefiend.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Raiding - The illusion of choice: What is the correct path of progression?

Last tier we jumped straight from heroic highmaul into heroic Blackrock Foundry and fortunately for us by the end of it we had completed the instance on heroic by the end of the patch.  It seemed logical for us to do the same again.

We invited raiders to offer their opinions on whether we should be doing normal first and then going to heroic. Many had no opinion, happy to go with whatever we decided.  We did however, have a few wanting to do normal, but we had a greater number wanting to do heroic - myself included.

There were early stumbles, sure, as we tried to find our feet, and we found them after a day or so. On a personal level, I liked the challenge. It was at a difficulty that was just hard enough to make us work for it, and the reward for the kill felt... well, it felt like we had worked for it.

However, it was pointed out to me and the other officers that it may have been wiser to do it differently. Many other guilds were doing farming normals first, getting their 4 piece tier from normal and then coming back to heroic with a greater understanding of the fights and also with better gear.  We were going in there with our BRF gear and whatever we could glean from our heroic HFC kills and our 2 hours of normal that we did on Sundays.

Last week we only just did Kilrogg on normal, and this week were up to Kilrogg and I thought "Gee, I would like to be ahead on our normal kills so we know what to expect!" It certainly helped for our Kilrogg attempts (and I'm hoping it will go down today).

I wondered, had we wasted our time in previous weeks, not doing normal when we could have?

Yesterday, we decided to try to improve the siutation a little.  We discussed with some of the Sunday raiders about extending normal, and even making Sunday a longer raid.  The casuals were of course going to be coming, so we wanted their input.  Kyxyn thought that they would like it to be extended, I wasn't as sure - Sunday raids are supposed to be fun, not wipefests.  For someone who only raids a few hours a week, wiping for hours is not a productive way to spend that time.

However, another opinion was offered, which I hadn't considered.  Casual raiders would like to finish a tier, and see the end boss.  That is fun, that feels like accomplishment, and maybe extending raids or longer raids on the Sunday would make that happen.

So last Sunday, we started an hour earlier (8pm) and we raided till 11pm.  We made good progress! We got our usual bosses cleared and then worked on Gorefiend which we got down for the first time and then Iskar, which we also got down by the end of the night.  That was really exciting!

Yuuda pointed out to me the little phoenixes chained to the pillars - they would be cool to have as pets! Iskar, however, drops the Corrupted Nest Guardian, and I was lucky enough to be given one by Aimei who got one as a personal loot from that boss.

What I was wanting to say was that even though there are many ways you could decide to raid, but it sometimes feels like if we raid differently to others, we're "doing it wrong". I know that technically, we aren't doing anything wrong, but we might be making it a little more difficult for ourselves. Should we be making it easier for ourselves and are we a laughing stock because of the way we have decided to do things?

I suppose it's at least good that we have a choice.  Before, you'd have to finish normal first before you go to heroic, but these days you can just enter them without having completed the previous difficulty of raid.  Is that a good thing?  I must admit, I think that it is. Though sometimes, the choice is a difficult one and I am fearful of going down the wrong path, and wasting time.  This tier though, we took a gamble on doing heroic and I think that it's a gamble that has paid off.  We are happy with how we are progressing, but the only drawback is that I feel like we are a bit more reliant on Sunday raids to be progressive than the laid back alts/casual raiding that I initially made it to be.  Evolution and change are natural and healthy - it obviously works because that's what happens in nature - and I guess maybe we are moving into a slightly different guild mindset now.  I worry that we will lose the fun and casual feel of it, but I keep forgetting - there is nothing as morale boosting as killing a new boss and getting cool loot.

I wonder what raiding choices others are doing?  Has everyone gone down the do normals first and gear up and then doing one day a week of heroic?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Skimpy outfits - it's ok to like them, and it's ok for me NOT to like them

My daughter wanted to buy Batman: Arkham Knight on PS4 to play so I was playing (well, I was sitting down with my kids watching Aimei playing Arkham knight) and he was up to a bit where Poison Ivy was being taken into custody.  I looked at her outfit and couldn't help rolling my eyes.

What on earth is she wearing - or rather, not wearing?  What a dreadful outfit.  There is no reason why she should be dressed like that.

No, this is not another one of those "treat women with respect in games" posts, though in a way it is, because my daughter wanted to play this game, and this isn't particularly what I want her to be thinking is normal, or practical for heroes or villains.  Batman isn't wandering around shirtless. Admittedly, Catwoman doesn't either.  I guess because they both are fighting.

What was amusing was that I didn't even have to say anything to my daughter about Ivy's outfit.  She said to me "I can see her belly button, mum."  I said to her "Do you like what she's wearing?"

"No," she replied.  "She should wear a shirt."

I wish she had also said she should be wearing pants, but it was one of those half body shots that she was watching at the time so she may not have noticed she was wandering around in a bikini bottom.

It reminded me of something Chris Metzen said at Blizzcon, when his daughters were watching the final scene in Dragon Soul where the aspects come up to Thrall and Agra.  They said to him "Dad, why are they in bikinis?"  His answer, was an abashed "Umm, I don't know."

And then they were talking about Overwatch and I thought I think they've made some headway here, we actually have a whole range of girls to choose from from fully armoured to fully skimpy.  So everyone gets to pick what they like! Who wouldn't pick Tracer?? :D

Interestingly, right after I stopped watching Arkham Knight and went to go play WoW (and do some PvP with Sev, Shab and Scruff), I decided to buy my Conquest chest to replace the Wild one I got from my Ashran weekly cache.  Those wild ones don't give you set bonuses and I had two Wild items and thus had broken my 4 set bonus.

Anyway, I put it on and I was wearing THIS:

I know some people will think it looks great, especially on a night elf, but you know I'm not a fan of this kind of outfit!!!

So I hunted around for a shirt to wear underneath and this looks decent now.

So this post is just to say that I'm glad my daughter is on the right track.  Now, to make sure my son is on the right track too. I'll tell him how silly it is to have girls parading around in their underwear when they're supposed to be fighting - it's ok for the beach or the catwalk though!  Which is why mummy's character is fully clothed when she is playing so she doesn't get hurt so much /grin

Thursday, July 9, 2015

o.O I am in a Nobbel Video!

One of my shaman friends from Athanasy, Ananu, said to me yesterday that he thinks he saw me in a Nobbel video.

I will admit, I had no idea what that meant.

He was referring to Nobbel87, who likes making Warcraft Lore videos on Youtube.  Ananu said I was in one of his lore videos, something about Darkmoon Faire.  Unless there was another tauren female Navimie around.

No, there are no other tauren female Navimies around.  So I had to go find out why I would be in a lore video about Darkmoon Faire.

Here is the video:

You can see some stills of ghosts at Darkmoon Faire and my portrait at the top.  When I saw that I realised those pics were from my post Darkmoon Faire: The Dark and (un)Fair side of it.  I thought that was pretty cool - my five minutes of fame!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Raiding - A new boss kill and laughing at raiders channeling their inner Navi

I make it very easy for people to make fun of me.  I have a dreadful sense of direction, I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing for quests, I often forget to change my gear and talents, and I sometimes don't notice things like people joining the raid (or raid markers that have been there THE WHOLE TIME). I don't know how someone like me got into a raiding guild (let alone be the GM of one).

We got Kormrok down on Monday, and everyone was excited about that.  I somehow managed to do half the night not realising I had tree form instead of Soul of the Forest (and had been throwing out my heals as if I had SotF WHAT A WASTE - and not using tree form EVEN BIGGER waste) and we still managed to kill it.

Then Sev noticed.

"Hey Az, why are you using your PvP staff?"

Aza, who is the one who is always telling me about my gear, was horribly abashed.  Mortified.  I laughed.  I said to him I love him even more now because he is obviously channelling his inner Navi.

And, by the way, it's a long ass run to Kilrogg, even with Khadgar's puny little teleport.  Lots of people went the wrong way.  A few of our raiders were lost. More channelers of their inner Navi.

Kyxyn was impressed with the show of support for their observationally challenged GM.  Yuuda even piped in, asking Kyxyn if we could get some raid markers.  I am never going to live that Iron Reaver comment down, I think.

I should be talking about Kormrok.  And how I AGAIN forgot to take a picture of the killshot.  "Take a picture of one of the normal kills and pretend that's the killshot," everyone said.  BUT, I WILL KNOW THAT IT'S A FAKE SHOT, SO IT'S LIKE CHEATING!!

There was no angry yelling that day, much to my relief.  It was a much better raid.  We did have a few issues with overstacking and killing ourselves, and we had our raid cooldowns organised for healing so that was fun.  Three tier tokens were taken eagerly, so that was exciting.

Kilrogg is really fun too.  I don't like going to the inside bit, because I felt like mana got drained massively, and I had faerie fire so I might as well stay outside and do the slows.  Yuuda does more healing then me so he would do better with the healing buff anyway.  Heroic Kilrogg was different to our normal one because we had a LOT of ranged this time, and the ranged went into the inside zone, and it seemed to work well, except that the adds became a problem for a bit.  I'm sure those ranged tunnelers will get the hang of it.

Danleet came to his first heroic raid and he did really well! Kyxyn had the "I told you so" tone with me as I hadn't let Dan come before to heroic raids because his attendance had been a bit iffy, but his damage was good and he was trying hard and had been involved with the guild heaps - having another DK will help since we lost Hwired and Crusnik.

Looking forward to raiding tonight!  I have been offline from WoW for 2 days because of work stuff so I need to get back and do some of my shipyard and dailies and raid!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Minipost - Garrison apexis dailies completing whilst I'm doing Tanaan Apexis dailies

I've been having a weird thing lately where if I take certain Garrison apexis dailies before I start my Tanaan ones, they complete.  I first noticed it when I picked up the Pit daily and came back after my Tanaan dailies and noticed it was complete. I know I definitely did not do the daily but I did kill some Iron horde.  I didn't think much of it, except lucky me.

Then I took the a different daily (it might have been Shattrath daily) and I went out to Tanaan and when I came back THAT was also complete. Is it because of certain mobs that are named the same?  Or there are other shadow council mobs around?

Anyway, that's one I have to ask the Devs.  I don't want to think I'm cheating some game mechanic or something.  Or maybe one of my readers can tell me why that's happening - perhaps it's MEANT to do that! I won't complain about the free gold or the free apexis crystals :D

Friday, July 3, 2015

Raiding - A small turnout but a good raid night

When I logged into raid last night I was the only healer.  Rowyn/Kaillynn was on call so she couldn't raid, Yuuda had messaged me saying he'd be late.  Rag was feeling sleepy and wasn't sure if he could stay awake. And we only had 11 people in raid at 855!  Talk about a meagre turnout - still enough to raid though.  Luxy, Sev and Ultra were very under the weather with colds/flu. And I heard rumours that Crus would no longer be raiding.

However it soon filled to 15 and then eventually to 18 and Yuuda managed to make it with Crooked doing a bit of healing to fill in whilst we waited for Yuuda to arrive.

Iron Reaver went a lot better. We got that down and happy people got some loot.  I still forgot to take a picture though!

Unfortunately, I had been in Ashran earlier in the evening and I was in a PvP mindset and I had so much foul language!  I really need to NOT hit push to talk when I'm about to let loose with some swear words.  I was having some really brain dead moments.  The classic one was when I asked Kyxyn if he could put markers up for Iron Reaver and the reply was:

"Umm.... they are already up?"


That got me a lot of prodding.  And then after Iron Reaver was down we had people sneaking in.  Sev joined the raid and I wondered out loud when he had arrived.  Everyone said he had been there all along and I was concerned over my lack of awareness until I realised I was being trolled.

Then Ultra joined and the whole thing started again.  I may have let a few more potty mouth words let fly....

I still don't like how all the ranged are killing the outside bombs and poor melee are running into the fire to get the inside bombs.  It should be the other way around!  Hopefully that will improve.

Owl and the warlocks seem to take so much damage in that fight!  I wonder if the warlocks had some of their defensives nerfed.  Or maybe they just have to actually pay attention to mechanics now LOL. I despair of getting them in range of healing and hope that Rag or Yuuda has them topped up.  I seem to be able to easily spot Madcow, Duck and Rag (who doesn't even need healing from me).

Council was actually very easy.  I just had to keep an eye for that ghost that goes across the room, but once I figured that out I was ok.  Healing was good, the debuffs were easy to see now that I had added them to my healbot and overall reap was done ok.  The leather loot that drops isn't very inspiring, and though more leather dropped it was sharded.

Oh and we got our first BoE!  Kyxyn got some plate boots which Madcow took at the end of the raid. It's nice to see that they still do drop.

We had a few attempts at Kormrok and Madcow had a big blow up and yelled at Nok (who had told Madcow not to run the runes that way) and that was awkward and uncomfortable.  I apologised for Madcow to Nok, and Crooked whispered me saying this is what happens when I start swearing.  I should exert a bit more self control next raid (and not do Ashran right before raid) and I'm looking forward to trying some new bosses on Sunday on normal.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Guildleader chores - Trying to better teamwork out of a raid team and guild

My raid leader, Hwired, has been really tired lately and has decided to take a break from WoW.  You could see that he was winding down anyway - he wouldn't login till raid time, and when 6.2 hit he was not on in game at any time to do any Tanaan or shipyard stuff.  If you want your legendary quest chain done you need to do those things.

Who's going to direct this pack of wolves now??

There was a TED talk by Margaret Heffernan, "Why it's time to forget the pecking order at work".  It was the talking about chickens that fascinated me.

An evolutionary biologist wanted to study productivity so he studied groups of chickens (because productivity could be measured in egg production).  In one group, he just put 6 ordinary chickens and left them alone for 6 generations.  In the other group he chose 6 of the most productive chickens (superchickens!) and in each generation he only selected the most productive egg layers to breed.

What he found after those 6 generations was interesting.

The first group were doing well, healthy and egg production was good.  The second group, or the superchicken group, was very different.  3 of the chickens were dead because they'd been pecked to death.  Those superchickens had only achieved their success by suppressing the productivity of the other chickens.

It turns out that social connectiveness helps make a successful team.

A group at MIT studied this, putting volunteers into groups and giving them hard problems to solve, and the teams that were the most successful were NOT the ones with the highest IQ or had people in them who had the highest IQ.  The most successful teams demonstrated three characteristics.  The first one was high degrees of social sensitivity to one another. The second, was that they gave equal time to one another so that no one voice dominated.  And thirdly, they had more women in them. I think part of the third component is that women (as an overgeneralisation) do better in terms of social sensitivity.

I do feel that when we had some super competitive raiders within our team that the team in general did poorly.  They were like superchickens, pecking at the not-so-super members until they broke. There is no doubt that tension within a raid team does not create a productive environment.

One thing I like about our healers is that they tend to function as a unit than with individual heroes. For example, Kaillynn has never been a strong healer, but we helped her as much as we could, giving her advice on how to be better, always including her when possible, but still letting her know her limitations (H Blackhand, for example).  She has taken it all on board with grace and determination, and when she made her transition over to priest for the new tier because she felt she wasn't contributing, she has made a marked improvement.  Her healing is much better, even though she is 10 item levels behind the rest of us. Rag has always been a really strong healer, but he never throws the "I'm carrying the rest of you guys" line because we have always managed when he ISN'T there. Yuuda has also never had the attitude of an arrogant mythic raider, and knows that healer output depends a lot on what other healers are out there and the roles they play.  People comment to me sometimes about low healer output for certain people at certain times, but each healer plays a part in the healing, with cooldowns that need to be used at certain times that save the raid, not the actual numbers that they produce. I make a note of those things, yes, but raw healer numbers mean nothing when people are still dying from lack of heals.  We don't peck each other in the healer group, and hopefully that will improve healer longevity and productivity. Interestingly there are lots of females in that group.

The DPS are not quite as socially sensitive as the healers and often peck point fingers at who is doing lower DPS.  Low DPS does drag a raid down, but if there are tasks that certain people are doing that ends up decreasing their damage output that should be taken into account. There also tend to be more "heroes" in DPS but it speaks well for a team when those heroes are absent and the team manages to pull through and make a kill.

At present our two tanks are quite communicative and similar playstyles.  That works well for them as they function more as a team and less as individual superchickens heroes.

Leeroy Jenkins Chicken by Scott Derby
Making the effort to know each player makes a big part of having people feel like part of a team.  And guildies too.  Mctacky is a bit of a friendship bandwagon and Luxy chats to people who make the effort to chat to her.  And of course I am Ms Nosy and I will be asking all sorts of questions to get to know people better.  Individuals making the effort to get to know their fellow players plays a huge part.  Look at Brahski, for example. Unfortunately for him, the only person who knew him and talked to him was me.  He didn't make much of an effort to fit into the guild, hang out or help others, or talk to them.  He left one day because there was some tension in raid, but mostly, he didn't feel like he belonged. Other guildies wondered why he left, and found it strange that he went straight to another guild especially after we had spent time giving him tier, but in reality, he was just another number to the other raiders in the guild.  They noticed him when he was doing poorly but didn't notice him otherwise.  Koda also told me recently that she wanted to step down from raiding because she didn't really have any friends in the guild and she had been playing with her sister and her friends just casually and enjoying that.  I wondered if I had failed there - perhaps trying to include her more in things would it have increased her satisfaction in the guild?  The social connectivity is so important for holding a guild together and she is a lovely person - I could see why she felt isolated and I felt partly to blame. It's different from someone like Ultrapwnd, who is a lot more boisterous.  Not only is engaging in raid when he first came to the guild, but also is helpful, modest and willing to take on shitty jobs and at the same time forging relationships (of sorts) with other members of his class. The shamans too, in general, tended to be quite close together as well and they coordinate who will do the bloodlust and whatever other cooldowns they have. Both our warlocks are chummy and will pass on gear for the other and not peck each other to death.  I think that's nice, because that's social collaboration at its best.

To paraphrase Margaret Heffernan:  We need to redefine leadership and teamwork as an activity in which conditions are created whereby everyone can do their most courageous thinking together. Problems won't be solved if we expect it to be solved by a few superchickens.  You need everyone, because when you accept that everyone has value that will inspire the momentum from the team to get the best out of each and every member.

And I hope that we can try to do that in our guild.  I'm sure as hell going to try!