Written by | Posted November 19, 2013 – 4:46 pm Deconstruction

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 …

Roleplay Q&A: Life, Death, Dual Specs, and NPCs
comment 8 Written by on April 9, 2009 – 9:05 am

So I’ve been fielding a few RP related questions lately and, after thinking about it, they’d make excellent post fodder here.  So without further ado…

Lassira asks: “I know that being Jaina and Thrall’s lovechild or Uther’s beloved niece is rather taboo in RP, but is it appropriate to have relationships with other, non-central NPCs?  At what point do you cross the line?”

This is a rather delicate sort of question, and I’d generally steer people away from ANY relationship with a major lore character.  Obviously, a Knight of the Silver Hand would probably have met Uther sometime, but claiming a real relationship with these major characters is difficult, since it starts to push the boundaries of the lore.  It’s also pretentious, as though you feel the need to make yourself feel important by being related to a major lore character.  Not necessary at ALL!

That said, having a casual relationship with any of the various NPCs that hang around is less of an issue, especially if it’s a casual one.  If your character is a shaman, it’s absolutely OK to claim that you have a relationship with one of the Shaman Trainers who has been a great mentor to you – that’s what Shaman Trainers do.  Same with a mage that has a little bit of Khadgar-Fanboy going on. These relationships are both realistic, within the span of the game, and non pretentious – the mage isn’t claiming that he’s Khadgar’s personal student, just that he’s trying to follow in the steps of his hero.  Using NPCs CAN add a little extra flavor and motivation to your characters, so long as you’re careful to do so in a way that is neither a ploy for importance or an act of insecurity.

Belladauna, from Fizzcrank, asks: “Are you going to dual spec, and how does that effect the realms of RP.  Also I tried to pick a random RP realm and within 5 mins local chat and trade chat seemed no different to my non RP realm so I gave up.”

Ok – that’s really THREE questions, but here goes!

First, yes, I’m going to dual spec. Annorah will be dual speccing elemental and restoration – because that connects her to BOTH sides of her personality, and is very much in character for her.  She’s extremely spiritual and connected to the elements, and so it makes sense that she’d be using both of those specs.  I’m not sure yet about dual speccing Aelflaed – it would be fun to take her holy/ret, but she’s so strongly plugged in as a holy paladin that I”m not sure about spending the gold.

As for how it affects RP realms, well – I think there are people that will use Dual Specs as a tool for RP, and some people that will just use them like anyone not on an RP realm would use them.  They’re neither an RP focus nor a non-RP focused ability, just one more tool that people can take advantage of.  One thing they CAN help with is people that have raiding obligations but want to keep an RP spec on the side for when they’re farming/goofing around/instancing.  Having a non-optimized spec in a raid is rather irresponsible, especially once you start doing “hard mode” stuff, but using a Dual Spec can let someone do that without sacrificing their raid responsibilities.

Your final question is probably deserving of a post all its own, but I”ll tackle a little bit of it here.

Your experience in RP server starting zones is not at all uncommon.  If you don’t read Blogatelle, their Katafray Project is an attempt to find RP before level 20 on several realms, and they’re ACTIVELY looking for other RPers and still having trouble sometimes.  Why is this?  Well, WoW is an old game, and some servers (like Feathermoon and the other 5 original-release RP servers) are pretty old and established.  Most RPers on these servers are level 70+, and their friends are level 70+.  That, and they’ve had several years to develop into RP circles that they know, like, and are comfortable with.

Is this always the best thing?  No, but it does explain the dearth of RP in low level zones.  Also, keep in mind that many people roll on RP realms as way to get on a “more mature” server and just ignore the RP part – and sometimes people roll on RP realms specifically to be idiots and grief RPers and act in ways that cause drama.  Immature?  Yes, but not unheard of.  The other thing you might consider is time spent there – RP takes *time*, and good RP takes a long time.  You’re not going to get amazing RP at level 5 in Goldshire unless you get pretty lucky – just like you’re not going to get amazing instance groups at level 18 unless you get pretty lucky.  Sure it’s *there*, but if you wanted to find excellent PVP or PVE content, you’d give more time than just a short trip through a starting zone to determine the ability of the realm as a whole.

My best suggestion is to use the realm forums – people use them for more than just raiding posts, and if you post there looking for RP guidance and tips on where to find good pickup RP, you’ll likely get good advice (and maybe a few murlocs, but don’t mind them) and maybe even a few guilds that you might check out.

Engee asks: “Anna, I’ve been wondering whether or not I need to have an RP story to justify a new name on an RP server, and if that will help me integrate into a new server better?”

You absolutely do NOT need a story to justify your name.  Most people don’t have real life stories for their names, beyond “My mom and dad thought it was cool” – or maybe “I’m named after my great grandfather”.  If you have to write a long, developed story as to why your character has a specific name, it’s more likely to be a nickname, and not your characters actual first name.  Www.wowwiki.com is a great resource for character name conventions, as is Dramatis-Personae, if you’re looking for naming advice.  Any online fantasy/medieval name generator is probably going to be alright as well, especially if you don’t mind somewhat cliched names.

Especially dangerous is trying to “justify” a non-RP server appropriate name through a convoluted backstory.  Random people that pass you in town won’t know that backstory (and you probably wouldn’t force it on them anyway, since it’s not really normal to tell your entire life story to everyone you meet), so your name has to pass the RP server standards just on first glance alone.

Llanion asks: “Is there an official policy / community ettiquette on claiming to be a member of, or adherent to, in-game factions? Or former member of/adherent to?”

As far as I know, this one is similar to the NPC question, and is a problem of degree.  If your Druid is claiming to be a key member and leader in the Cenarion Circle?  That’s not going to fly – again with claiming NPCS as a form of self-aggrandizement – and a way to make your character more awesome.  Using the Circle as a part of your Druid’s history is fine though, since most Druids *are* a part of the circle – just like it’s absolutely fine for a human Rogue to say that they spent some time as an agent for SI:7, or a Paladin to work for the Argent Crusade.  These organizations have TONS of members, and player characters are very acceptable as members of those organizations.

Bricu asks: “Dear Anna; How do you RP the death of a character?”

To quote Elmer Fudd, “Vewy Vewy Cawefuwwy”… Joking aside though, this is something you have to undertake with a good deal of forethought and delicacy.  Killing off your character can be a way to obtain release, to let them go, and to finish their ultimate development with a sense of “finality”.  Killing off your characgter only to change your mind in a year with a “Just kidding guys!” is a really good way to annoy your friends.

Death is a part of life, so this is something that you should plan for and work out like all major character developments – but like with all difficult RP, it’s best to let other people in on the plan BEFORE you drop the “No, you can’t resurrect him, this time he’s ALL dead, not just MOSTLY dead” line.  Other characters that interact with yours will need time to adjust to his/her death, especially characters that are close to him/her.  Dumping this kind of thing on your friends very suddenly is likely to get you stunned silence or no reaction at all right away.  Obviously the death can and often will be sudden to the other *characters* – but the players behind them will need time to figure out reactions to something as big as the death of a friend.

Whether you choose to send your character on a trip to the afterlife in an extended storyline fighting big bad monsters or just have them wander off into the unknown to pass on quietly is up to you. Different characters will have different deaths – some sudden, some not so sudden.  And, in fact, it’s not unheard of for someone to just get old and pass away in their sleep.  Like in real life, there are many ways that people die – so don’t assume you MUST do any one thing or another when planning the demise of your character.

However, using character death as a ploy for attention and making YOU feel awesome and important isn’t so awesome.  And it goes without saying “You all just hate me, I’m going to kill my character” is NEVER ok.  Besides, every time I’ve seen someone do that, they’ve killed their character, deleted it… and then shown back up a few weeks later with a restored character and an “oops just kidding”.  So tread carefully, but don’t be afraid of this one if it’s the most realistic way for your character to progress.

If anyone has any other Roleplay related questions or concerns that they’d like to see addressed, I’d love to answer them!  If I get enough questions, perhaps this will become a semi-regular feature here at Too Many Annas.  I’ve enjoyed getting to work on these – hopefully you all get something out of the answers!

If you have questions for me, feel free to leave them in a comment here, use the contact form page, email me at toomanyannas at gmail dot com, or find me on twitter as JustAnna.

Cat Herding in Naxx 25: Frostwyrm Things
comment 4 Written by on April 8, 2009 – 9:15 am

This is the fifth and final post in a series on how to arrange your healers in Naxxramas 25.

I’d highly suggest reading up on Herding Cats in general, especially if you’re filling in for heal lead and aren’t usually the one with the job.

Otherwise, this is just a quick guide to how and why I arrange our healers the way I have been – which isn’t to say that it’s the end-all, be-all of healing assignments for Naxx! Just how things have worked for us.  Most fights I’m going to assume six healers, though some I’ll recommend an off-spec/hybrid healer to help out (or possibly picking up a seventh healer), and you can almost always safely substitute classes.  Since Frostwyrm Lair is quite a bit more complicated than the previous four wings, these layouts will be a little more complex as well.

Yes, Naxx25 has been done with only two healers, but I’d venture to guess that those raids are experienced and not just starting out, and those new ones are the raids that this guide is primarily written for (’cause if you’ve got the place on farm, you don’t need my piddly advice on how to set up your healers!).

This is not, in fact, a raid-wide, boss killing strategy – if you want one of those, I recommend looking at www.wowhead.com, www.wowwiki.com, and www.bosskillers.com!

Sapphiron – Giant Undead Frost Dargon with Epic Summoning Animation

  • Main Tank Healers: 2-3 healers, Pally/Disc Priest/Druid preferred
  • Raid Healers: 3-4 healers, Holy Priest/Druid/Shaman preferred

Sapphiron has two phases, and a metric ton of environmental effects.  During his “on the ground” phase, he’ll constantly be hitting the raid for frost damage from a giant, unescapable aura.  (Some raids use frost resist to help with this, others don’t).  You’ll also be dodging blizzards - if you turned your spell effects way down for Thaddius, make sure you turn them at least part of the way back up, otherwise you’ll not be able to SEE the blizzard.  Similar to the blizzard cast by Shade of Aran, this one moves around – but it chases people rather than following a set path.  It’s particularly nasty to melee (who have to avoid both dragon tail and dragon cleave and are thus bunched up), and anyone that gets too focused on one job.  There’s also periodic curses that MUST BE REMOVED.  Anyone that has a “remove curse” button will get a lot of use out of it on Phase 1 Sapphiron.

In Phase 2, he takes off and turns three people in the raid into ice blocks.  These ice blocks will do splash damage, so it’s important to spread out – but not too far!  Once he’s blocked three people, the raid has about 10 seconds to get behind those blocks.  Really behind them, not just near them, or kinda behind them, put the block between YOU and the DRAGON.  Because he’s then going to Frost Breath and kill anyone that’s not behind the blocks.  At this point, Sapphiron lands, and Phase 1 starts over again.  The periodic aura damage continues during this phase, and the ice blocked people are going to need a good bit of healing once the blocks fade.

Obviously raid healing is absolutely CRUCIAL on this fight – and there are a few ways to manage it.  I suggest (at least at first) putting raid target icons on your healers, to help them avoid clumping and range issues.  Also, have clearly defined areas that the raid can be in (or not be in) – we use half of Sapphiron’s room, some raids use less.  You might even try assigning raid healers to “areas” (Tail zone, Middle Zone, Dragon Head Zone, etc) rather than specific people, to help with spreading out and avoiding having all the melee get oneshot.

Kel’Thuzad – How well can you Juggle?

  • Main Tank Healers: 2 healers – Pally/Disc Priest/Druid preferred
  • Off Tank Healers: 2 healers – These can really be any healers that are geared enough to keep an eye on the offtanks in the last phase of KT.  It’s not an easy job, as the lower KT’s health goes, the harder these offtanks get hit.  Your raid healers can step in for ONE of these spots, but having one dedicated offtank healer is a good idea.
  • Raid Healers: 2-3 healers – Holy Priest/Druid/Shaman preferred

Ok – so Kel’Thuzad’s fight starts with 3 minutes of juggling adds that come attack you in the middle of his room.  Skellies, Abominations, and Banshees.  Healers will be pretty bored during this phase unless you’re trying for the 18 Abominations achievement – so feel free to add your DPS to nuking skellies and banshees in particular. After 3 minutes, KT will spawn.

Phase 2 of this fight is where the fun begins.  Kel’Thuzad has a few abilities that make healing this fight rather adrenaline filled.  First – he can target any raid member with a mana bar and detonate half of it away.  This doesn’t do damage to YOU, but does do damage to anyone standing NEAR you, so make sure you spread out.  Second, void zones – don’t stand in them.  Third, iceblocks, much like those from Rage Winterchill, they MUST be healed through QUICKLY.  Also, they chain, so again – dont’ stand too close to anyone, especially the tank, or your getting frostblocked can result in quick catastrophe.  Chained ice blocks are a particular problem for the melee – Wild Growth, Chain Heal, and Circle of Healing shine in these situations.  Fourth? AOE Frost Bolts – they cause about 4K damage to everyone in the raid, and are generally a pain in the rear.  Fifth (good grief already!) he randomly mind controls 3 members of the raid, who will need to be crowd controlled in order to prevent havoc wreaking.  And yes, if you are a healer, you CAN heal KT – and as a priest, if you Guardian Spirit him it WILL proc.  Aaaand Sixth (holy monkeys!) Single Target Frost Bolts – cause around 30K damage to the tank, and MUST be interrupted.  This is normally the job of the melee group, but occasionally one may get through and cause all the tank healers to have a few minutes of panic.

There is no “boring” job healing on the KT fight, obviously.

Anyway – at 45%, Phase 3 begins, and Kel’Thuzad is joined by four Nerubian Crypt Lords that must be tanked.  We usually put them up in one of the cubbies in the NW/NE corners – they hit HARD, and continue to hit harder until KT dies.  Everything from Phase 2 continues as well, so tanks and tank healers on the crypt lords CAN get frost blocked or mind controlled.  Be prepared for chaos, and have extra tanks and healers ready to pick up the pieces if things go wonky shaped.

*****

That takes us to the end of Naxxramas – with any luck, you’ve gotten some nice loot as a raid, and won’t have the luck that we’ve had on Kel’Thuzad (we’ve been killing him since January – no healing shield drops, no Betrayer drops, ONE Turning Tide… and a metric ton of tanking shields and fist-weapon main hands).  I’ll be adding up similar strategies for Sartharion and Malygos next week, and that will take us to the end of patch 3.0 content!  Hooray!  Just in time to tackle Ulduar.

Expectations, Etiquette, and Epics
comment Comments Off Written by on April 7, 2009 – 10:54 am

You can find my post for today over at the blog WTT:RP.  Run by four of Feathermoon’s Finest when it comes to RP, WTT:RP is a blog about casual players finding hardcore RP – a little bit story, a little bit teaching, and a whole lot of awesome.  If you’re interested in Roleplay, you should definitely be reading WTT:RP!

My post is on writing and managing an epic multi-character storyline, for what its worth.  (Oh – and it fulfills my “list post” for today’s 31 Days project!)

Another week, another Monday
comment 3 Written by on April 6, 2009 – 9:55 am
  • Aely and Phileas have *finally* set a date.  Maybe.
  • TRI had another successful week, which was incredibly difficult for me.  Not that we were successful, but that the stuff that kept happening was causing my healing targets to be unsustainable.  Which isn’t my fault, but still FEELS like my fault.  Healer guilt GO!  (Also – plz, for the sake of my sanity, do not die to a lava wave on Sarth?  ’cause all those adds?  make it really freaking hard to heal the add tank, which isn’t an easy job to start with.  /grumble)
  • Annylais is now a moonkin.  Which is really really REALLY fun.  Cluck, Cluck, BOOM!  Also, there are many amusing names for moonkins.  Boomkin, Boomkek, Lolkin, Oomkin, Doomkin, Featherbutt.
  • Annylais starts Outland this week.  I’m timing how long it takes for a 4 DK group to ask me to heal Ramparts/Blood Furnace for them.  Also, no idea how to heal as a Boomkin – need suggestions (other than 3 points in Dreamstate, which I have!).  Leveling is going quickly though.  Unfortunately finding motivation for Anaelle and Angoleth has been less successful.
  • I’m going to be participating in Problogger’s 31 Days to a Better Blog project.  Hopefully it’ll help me channel some energy back into this place and get back to “normal” around here!

Deconstruction

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 …

Patrol

November 13, 2013 – 9:59 am

The cathedral bells stop ringing overnight, except for chiming the hours. Three bell strikes, and Angoleth padded softly around another corner of the Cathedral District, staying carefully in the shadows. Trained ears picked up Mogget’s soft breathing – nearly inaudible …

Riders in Lordaeron – Memory

November 7, 2013 – 1:33 pm

(Written by Jolly, Tarquin, and Annalea)

The highlands of Lordaeron were not for the faint of heart; be it the putrescence of the Scourge’s long-lingering remnant, or the rock-strewn hills and valleys that made farmers out of only the most …

Riders of Lordaeron – Logistics

September 13, 2013 – 7:11 pm

(With Tarquin and Annalea)

Once more, four people made their way through the thickets and hills of Lordaeron, this time in the crisp chill of late morning, seeking after the Rider. Aelflaed had snatched what sleep she could while Chryste …

Riders of Lordaeron – Problematic

September 11, 2013 – 9:47 am

(With Tarquin)

She hadn’t wanted to leave Jolly – not so soon after finding him again – but once away, it took about five minutes for Aely to figure out she had a problem.

That problem had just announced that …

Riders of Lordaeron: Arrangements

September 9, 2013 – 10:05 am

It was an uneasy goodbye for him, but it was agreed by both he and Aely that a stroll back to Hearthglen would not be very easy to explain, nor would the explanation needed for the three Argent soldiers once …

Riders of Lordaeron

September 7, 2013 – 9:02 am

“Light sent me ye when I needed ye afore – an’ now again when I need ye. I canna ask fir more than tha’.” She sighed and slung the shield back across her shoulders. “It’s… Light. Been awhile hasna it? …

Dark Rider of Lordaeron (Part 4)

September 6, 2013 – 2:02 pm

She blinked, but did not drop either of her shields. “Aye, though I’ve been Caltrains fir th’ last near three years. Canna say I’ve any memory ay ye.”

“Yeh’ve far moar’n yeh realize,” he replied evenly, his grip tightening on …

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