Written by | Posted September 8, 2015 – 9:51 pm Descent and Ascent

It didn’t take long to get from Thunder Bluff to the Echo Isles – Ankona took advantage of a wyvern so she could think and plan before getting to her destination. She had information to confirm with the spirits – was Gromnor dead? Was he really in the northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms, somewhere […]

Angrathar – Part 1
comment 2 Written by on April 23, 2009 – 5:48 am

This is Part 1 of Angrethar, the story, from Aelflaed’s point of view, of the battle for the Wrathgate. You can see all of the posts in this story on the Story Archives page, by searching for the Wrathgate category, or through this link. As mentioned in the Intro, occasionally we cooperate on stories, and the majority of this first post is thanks to Tarquin (who inadvertently created an AMAZING tie-in with a later happening). 

Saul Innis was tall, and young, and earnest – gristle for the grinder, coke for the forges. He took his duties as a courier very seriously, but with none of Fyodor Galliwick’s straight-backed arrogance, and the obvious fear in his eyes was leavened by dedication. And ay course, likely, by thit wee drink he had wi’ Geny, an’ whate’er it is she wis whisperin’ ta him. Tarquin smirked at the soldier as they strode away from the fire. Innis didn’t notice, of course – he was looking over his shoulder at Genise, who was watching him with eyes dewy with longing and, of course, deadly sharp with mischief.

Some f*ckin’ army.

“Aright, big lad,” he said cheerfully as they cleared the central wing and stepped into the relative calm of the outer camp, nobody even potentially in earshot but Yva Darrows, who was some yards away humming to herself and apparently mending a sock. “Wha’ manner ay business brings yeh here ta the belly ay the beast?”

Innis wiped the daffy grin off his features, all keen young soldier again. “Bad business, sir,” he reported soberly, and took a glance at Yva before continuing in a low voice, apparently satisfied that the shoeless madwoman was too busy risking hypothermia to eavesdrop. “Cultists in the ranks. They struck the medical unit around supper – poisons in the cookpot, and then black spells and knives. Nearly two dozen dead and another ten-odd out of commission. ”

“F*ck me,” hissed the northman, genuinely upset. More than thirty trained healers, on the eve of battle, was a blow to even an army as mighty as Fordragon’s. “Yeh’ve a raw deal, mate, an’ dinna mistake.” He cocked his head. “But Laird Bolvar kin hardly be wantin’ ta spread this word, ‘specially no’ ta the likes ay the Riders. Why’re yeh…” He paused, closed his eyes, and pressed the tips of two fingers to his temple. “Ah shiiite.”

Young Saul kept his voice carefully neutral. It sounded like he was reading from an official order, the ink of which was likely not yet dry. “I’ve been instructed to request, sir, that you send one of your medical personnel to the rear echelon of the main camp. I’m told that either non-combat or combat healers are acceptable.” He licked his lips. “We’re not picky right now, sir.”

Tarquin narrowed in on the admission of weakness.

“Ayeh, no’ picky an’ no’ in much place fir ta be makin’ demands, eh?” he snarled, and drew himself up to his full height, summoning that trained presence that might make the courier forget he had thirty pounds, ten years, and the weight of Alliance high command on this slapdash mercenary captain. “Angrathar leerin’ o’er us like the blackest mornin’ the world’s ta see, an’ yeh propose ta take my people fra’ me?” He stepped forward, the two men separated by the space of a jabbing, accusing finger. “Wir no’ Fordragon’s fodder, my lad. Wir the f*ckin’ Riders.”

Innis stepped back, avoiding Tarquin’s eyes. “I’ve received special instructions in your regard, sir,” he reported hollowly, looking as if he’d rather be anywhere but here. “A message from Commander Fyodor Galliwick.”

The breath literally hissed from Tarquin’s mouth, his teeth a vicious crescent in the grey. “Speak yir piece, then.” But Innis did not speak. Instead, he reached into the easily recognisable courier’s pouch at his hip, and drew forth the contents with fumbling fingers. Expecting a scroll tube or a folded parchment, Tarquin couldn’t identify the object that slipped from the young man’s hands and thumped softly on the snow. He waited until Innis bent down to pick it up, and when he took it in his hand, the rain of cold rage that burst on his mind was seeded with a new respect for their allies.

He let the “message” drop and pitched his voice low and easy, let the words speak for themselves. “Surely, Commander Galliwick widna be makin’ sich threats oan this eve. Surely his boss kens better’n thit. Especially wi’ sich casualties aready stainin’ the lists, he’d no’ be apt t’add anither. A terrible waste.” He glanced at the object on the ground, but his meaning was unmistakeable.

The courier swallowed and looked Tarquin ap Danwyrith full in the face. “I’ve been told, sir, that the night is young and you’re welcome to find out.”

What followed could not properly be called a silence, as it was occupied by the click-clack of Yva Darrows’s needle, the distant laughter and jeers of the Riders’ fire, and the further song and speech about fifty other such camps. But it had a weight nevertheless, and Tarquin waited until he was certain that Saul Innis had contemplated the possible abrupt end of his life before responding. “Yeh’ll have yir healer,” he said shortly. “Within the hour. Now piss off, an’ be sure ta give auld Fyodor my virra best regards.”

Innis nodded and somehow managed a salute. He reached down to pick up the Commander’s message, but Tarquin laid his hand on the soldier’s wrist. Innis jolted as if the older man were venomous. “Leave it, aye?” Improbably, the northman chuckled, and Saul quickstepped back and hastily started for his horse. “Yeh got a set ay balls oan yeh, Innis!” came the half-mocking voice after him. “Yeh live out the day, come an’ see me ’bout a job! Or talk ta Crownsilver!” Tarquin laughed again as the courier faded into the grey, his sardonic chuckle quickly taking on an angrier timbre and then fading altogether. He rubbed his temples with both hands and then turned toward the camp.

Behind him, a length of rope lay in the snow, carefully coiled and tied into a serviceable noose.

Angrathar – Introduction
comment 3 Written by on April 22, 2009 – 9:45 pm

One of the things I like most about the Wildfire Riders is that, at heart, we are as much a writing community as we are a gaming community.

While I’ve gotten to take a peripheral spot in a few stories that have gone on so far, I’m taking up as a full member (so to speak) for the first time with the most recent story.  It has all the potential of being both epic and tragic – for it is centered around one of the more monumental moments yet in World of Warcraft – the Battle for the Wrathgate.  I’ll be posting Aely’s story here in parts, as it goes live on the Riders site (don’t have to worry about spoilers), and while she is somewhat separated from the rest of the Riders and her story stands on its own, keep in mind that what is happening for her is still tied in with what is happening for and with them.

Several of the Riders will show up, notably Tarquin and Jolstraer – so you are warned of accents and apostrophe abuse.

Also, since he comes up at the beginning, Fyodor Gallwick is the commanding officer over recruited companies – and he is NOT happy about the Riders being there, and has threatened both Tarquin and Bricu.  As the Riders have a few questionable members and past events, to Fyodor, they don’t belong on the front (Tarquin isn’t known as “the man they couldn’t hang” for nothing).  However, his own commanding officer (Fordragon) would not let him throw them out, and so there they are, in a camp in the mountains, preparing to support the flanks of the Seventh Legion of the Alliance Army.

The first part of the story will go up soon, and takes place the evening before the battle itself.  You can see all of the posts in this story on the Story Archives page, by searching for the Wrathgate category, or through this link.

An RP Conundrum – Roflstomp?
comment 4 Written by on April 22, 2009 – 10:48 am

Courtesy of Illithias, messed up night elf warrior chick extraordinaire and author of whiteboard strategies, an RP conundrum post.

(Everyone bug Illi until he gets his blog set up. I’m told he has a domain already!  The Riders are fast approaching the “bloggingest guild” status, and we needs MORE!)

You come up with a brilliant idea. It’s emotional, it’s evocative, it suits your character well. It’s brilliant. You want to write it – it’ll be fun to write. However, there’s a slight catch. It, by necessity, requires the involvement and assistance of another PC. And they’re merely there to facilititate a story in which goes really bad for them. What is the etiquette surrounding God-Modding in mature, involved RP social groups?

In other words, how can you approach someone with “Hi, I had an awesome idea for a story, but it kinda involves my character totally WTFPWNing your character in some way, method, or fashion – you cool with this? Wanna help?”

Eeegh.  Nobody ever asks easy questions!

Anyway – this is something that has to be handled very delicately, obviously, since you don’t want to end up making any enemies out of your friends. It’s also something you’ll want to deal with largely OOC for awhile, and get the actual scenario set up.

However, I don’t think it’s in any way impossible to pull off.

Before you involve another PC, you probably want to make sure that it’s absolutely necessary for that particular person to be the target of the WTFPWN. It can sometimes be better to create another PC specifically for abusing them, even if that particular PC is played entirely by someone else. That way you don’t screw with the current group interactions in-character, but your own character still gets to have her moment of epic win.

Second thing you want to do is consider how to broach this with the other person in question.  Obviously, it should be out of character, and with a dose of humility that says you realize that you’re asking to let your character be big amazing and awesome, at the expense of another character.  You might be surprised that they’re willing to work with you on something, simply because getting roflstomped can be a good method of character development, if you do it right.

They also may have ideas about how to come to a similar moment of catharsis for your character, without necessarily involving as much WTFPWN as originally invisioned.  One of the amazing things about group RP is that you have other people to bounce ideas off of (more than once, another person’s input has bailed me out of a sticky writing situation). Having two characters in a relatively close-knit group go after each other, either physically or verbally, can create a lot of conflict, so again, tread carefully, and make sure everyone is on the same page! You’ve all heard me harp about communication before, so this shouldn’t be too surprising.

Anyway – once you get the actual scenario set up, I’d recommend you have an active OOC conversation going as well as what’s happening IC, or if you’re going to run the scene through writing, that you run posts past each other before you actually do them.  No surprises! And don’t be surprised if other people get involved.  In fact, be prepared for it, and possibly have people warned in advance (OOC) that something is going to go down. Otherwise you could end up with three very burly paladins in between you and your target, and have to awkwardly try to get around the situation!

And finally, no matter what happens or how you end up approaching it, if the other character says no – the answer is no.  “Stealing” a character to use as a passerby in your RP is usually OK within a close knit group, but anything major and you want the OK from the player behind the character.

This is a sticky situation, but one that can provide a lot of development for multiple characters (or just a chance to go on an Epic Tirade). Ideally, at the end, you find a way for everyone to meet their goals without anyone feeling tramped upon.

PS: As a side note from this particular question, Illi is offering his character up as a scapegoat in similar RP situations, as a way to keep her in check (as she’s something of a slightly demented, rage-suffering, bezerker most of the time).  I’ll try to post an update once a little more of that particular experiment goes through, or maybe I’ll even get a guest post out of it!


State of the Raid: Paladin Healing
comment 18 Written by on April 21, 2009 – 4:46 am

We’ve largely left Naxxramas and the days of bottomless mana behind, tackling the harder challenges of Ulduar and the taint of an Old God.  In that light, I think it’s largely time that Blizzard took another look at Paladin healing.  While we’ve come so very far from Molten Core, and Paladin healing has some amazing tools and abilities, we’re still facing some serious obstacles that are made painfully clear in Ulduar, especially in 10 man raids.

This is particularly directed at the Holy Paladin’s lack of raid healing abilities.

Flash of Light is now useless in 10 mans, and only usable in 25 mans as a method of regaining mana, when there’s not much going around so your other healers can pick up your slack.  Mana efficient it may be, but it’s not effective as a raid healing tool, since it just doesn’t heal for enough – and, even with haste and Light’s Grace, Holy Light is just too slow.  Which leaves Holy Shock – which is still on a 6 second cooldown for me, since the Glyph of Holy Shock isn’t available on my server yet.

Mana is continually an issue, since the entirety of 10 man Paladin healing is literal Holy Light spam, with an occasional Beacon or Sacred Shield refresh.  In a 10 man, fighting XT-002 Deconstructor, every heart phase had me DPSing, with Divine Plea and Judgement of Wisdom, since every normal phase took me down to 10-20% mana.  Fortunately, Deconstructor is set up for that to be possible.  Kologarn… isn’t.

We’ll leave behind how entertaining it is to push one button for 4 hours, since I mind that less than most.

Obviously this is less bad in the 25 man setting, since a team of healers has a lot more support options between them, and since I can literally worry ONLY about the tank and myself, and ignore the raid, because I know my raid healers are that good.  In a 10 man, they’re still that good, but there aren’t that many of us and we’re required to overlap sometimes, especially with the levels of damage in Ulduar.

Now, I’m sure I’m going to get accused of overindulging in QQ, and of ignoring the awesome raid healing that is Beacon of Light, and in not realizing how awesome Paladins are at being MT healers.

First – Beacon of Light is not a raid healing ability.  A heal that heals only two people, and then only if the first person isn’t overhealed, is a heal with a splash component, just like Binding Heal isn’t a raid heal ability.  No other raid healing ability is dependent on the first heal not being overheal (see: Chain Heal) – and even then, Beacon of Light hits a maximum of 2 people, while Chain Heal can (glyphed) hit 4, and Circle of Healing, Prayer of Healing, and Wild Growth hit up to 5.  In addition, though this is touted as a mana saver, it’s extremely mana intensive to keep this spell activated all the time – as has been necessary in Ulduar – and Beacon healing does not count towards Illumination.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Beacon of Light is an awesome spell, and it saves my arse and my tank in 25 man situations frequently.  It just doesn’t cut the mustard in 10 man raids.

Second – Paladins ARE awesome at being MT healers.  /flex! When it comes to keeping a tank alive?  That’s my job, and I’m fine with that – it’s what I do, and I don’t want to change that!  I like being a tank healer, and I try pretty hard to be good at it!

However, *NO other healing class is so pigeonholed*.  Priests can choose whether to be holy – and be able to do BOTH kinds of healing, but raid healing better – or Discipline – and be able to do BOTH kinds of healing, but MT healing better.  Druids can, through their HoTness and choice of spec/focus/glyphs, be either raid healers or MT healers.  Shamans can, through their chain-healing and choice of spec/focus/glyphs, be either raid healers or MT healers – though their raid healing is still stronger.

Holy Paladins can not do sufficient raid healing to be acceptable raid healers in Ulduar, even in a pinch when things hit the fan.  This has been a problem for awhile (Heroic Loken as a Paladin is nearly impossible until a certain gear level – which for me was unobtainable outside of Naxxramas. Having healed it as a Resto Shaman in mostly blues, I find the dichotomy striking.  Not to mention Ahn’Kahet and Azjol-Nerub.  And remember Magister’s Terrace?), and I’m not the only one that’s noticed it.

Ok Anna, you say, that’s a lot of griping, and we get the point.  So what about a solution and not just whining?

Well, I’d come up with one, but there’s already one out there that I would love to see implemented.

The wonderful Coriel of Blessing of Kings (if you are a pally and don’t read BoK, you should!) has proposed a simple solution, used through a Glyph, that would really help alleviate this – especially in the current situation where FoL is largely unusable as a tank-healing spell.  The basic gist is a new glyph that would increase the cost of FoL by 100%, but make it hit two targets – or increase the cost by 50% and have it hit a second target for 50%.  Having this as a glyph would allow Paladins that only raid 25-man content to skip it, where it is much less needed, but would let other Paladins pick up a little extra oomph to be more versatile in their 5 and 10-man groups.

Or even (gasp!) build this type of functionality into a talent, to encourage Paladins to Dual Spec for each role, as Druids and Priests (and to a lesser extent Shamans) are able to do.

I’m not asking for Paladins to be the end-all, be-all of every kind of healing.

Being a specialist in tank healing is a strong and viable role, much like Shamans are specialists in raid healing, and it’s one that I’ve come to be quite fond of (as I’m fond of raid healing with my shaman).  I want to be able to survive in other roles if I have to – even if it’s not the best or most useful way to heal, because sometimes other healers die or have to be mobile.  As yet there is not a fight in Ulduar that’s not had an insta-gib mechanic that you HAVE to move out of or run away from (Kologarn’s Eyebeams anyone?) and if your healers can’t trade off roles, at least keeping everyone alive while the others execute a Monty Python-esque RUN AWAY strategy, there’s a problem.

Paladins are lacking the appropriate tools to be able to handle those kinds of 10-man situations.

I would never to go to a 10 man Ulduar, Malygos, or Sartherion+ raid with two Holy Paladins, even if they were the only healers I had available.

If Wrath of the Lich King is about “bringing the person, not the class” – there needs to be an adjustment.  Not an overhaul, not a total re-tooling of the class, not a negation of the strengths of Paladin MT healing.  An adjustment that would allow enough flexibility to not be isolated on the basis of class, from healing roles.  Being the best tank healers is great – but being the best tank healers at the expense of being able to back up your healing team isn’t so great.  In a 25 man that matters a lot less, but in 5 and 10 man content, that’s a bitter pill to swallow.

TLDR Version: Healing Paladins are largely unprepared for the AOE damage of Ulduar for raid healing, and back to one-button spam for tank healing.  This is particularly exacerbated in 10 mans, where healer over-specialization is detrimental to the survival of the raid.

Descent and Ascent

September 8, 2015 – 9:51 pm

It didn’t take long to get from Thunder Bluff to the Echo Isles – Ankona took advantage of a wyvern so she could think and plan before getting to her destination. She had information to confirm with the spirits – …

The Stink Eye, Part II: You remind me of the babe

August 4, 2015 – 12:22 pm

An old story, reposted here as I’m shaking the mothballs off Ankona and needed an easy way to show people a little bit about the (batshit) things she gets up to. Enjoy, and don’t be too creeped out!

It really …

Very First Impressions

November 14, 2014 – 7:32 am

So I haven’t finished the intro quests yet (the server queues from the reduced server capacity due to the DDOS attacks meant I only got about an hour to play yesterday), but I’m finding that Draenor is pretty cool so …

A Girl and her Dog

November 13, 2014 – 12:30 pm

The morning of the all hands summon to the Blasted Lands, Aely went for a walk. The late fall air was clear and cool, and leaves crunched under their feet in the less-traveled parts of the streets. She and Roger …

Counting down to Warlords

November 11, 2014 – 3:09 pm

What a long strange trip it’s been. I’ll be the first to admit that, at the beginning, I wasn’t sure Pandaria was going to be for me. I’ve made clear my dislike of daily quests, and that seemed to be …


October 24, 2014 – 12:01 pm

Squire Benjamin William Sullivan stood in the middle of Light’s Hope Chapel in his underpants.

Actually, it was white linen pants and a shift, but the effect was approximately the same. The little chapel was warm, on the edge of …

Introducing the Newest Anna

June 29, 2014 – 4:39 pm

So I’m not really in a position where I should be creating alts. This, of course, does nothing to deter me from making alts when the inspiration strikes. I’ve been really enjoying my Alliance hunter, and she’s my raiding main …


November 19, 2013 – 4:46 pm

Bad things are happening in Stormwind – and beyond.

The Hand of Lothar, they call themselves.

Yva Darrows was their first target.

Tirith and Aely were their second and third.

They have since… expanded their reach and escalated their methods …

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