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 …

Elixir of Life
comment 2 Written by on February 5, 2010 – 9:21 am

Icecrown, Argent Crusade Camp, 5:00 am

Fifteen years in the service, and mornings still came early.

Even though she was used to it – had done it every day even – her body still resisted in the mornings, especially cold ones. Both Aely’s knees cracked as she shuffled into her quilted gambeson and pants. Pulling on her cloak and a pair of heavy, fur-lined boots she stepped out quickly to get a bucket of water.

Back in her tent, she lit a single-burner stove and dug out a well-used, blue-speckled pot. She cracked open the seal on a metal tin and inhaled deeply, a rich, dark aroma wafting through the air. Nearby, a little glass container glinted faintly, a gift of finely milled sugar from Arrens. With a practiced hand she filled the basket, settling it into the pot, which she filled just to the little line below the spout with icy water.

And then she waited.  The stove worked its magic.

In just enough time to finish buckling on the last of her armor, the water came to a boil and her tent filled with the smell of wakefulness. A quick tug and her tabard settled over the rest of her kit.  Aely grabbed a large mug, stepped out into the pre-dawn air, and stopped short.

Six very young crusaders stood crowded around her tent – five men and a woman, each with an empty mug and the look of an over-hungry, slightly desperate stray dog. They all spoke at once.

“Sorry to bother you ma’am.”
“We just… well, you can smell that coffee clear down to the armory.”
“We’ve gotta be at watch in … 12 minutes.”
“Cookie says there won’t be coffee for another hour.”
“Cookie don’t make proper coffee anyway.”
“Please, ma’am?”

She arched an eyebrow at them.  “Yir th’ new watch crew?”

“Yes’m” The woman answered quickly, her hair creeping out around the edges of her helm.

Aely pulled on her best attempt at a stern face. “Well, I dinna jus’ give this stuff away, ye ken… wonderin’ how much it’s worth t’ ye?”

Six pairs of eyes widened, unsure and uncomfortable. Everyone had spoken of the warm welcome they’d likely receive, of the hospitality of the old Lordaeron Paladins, of this particular Lordaeron Paladin’s skill with coffee. The shortest of the group finally spoke up. “Worth, ma’am?”

“Yeh. Thinkin’ mayhap ye could do a bit ay work first. Like makin’ a snow angel t’ piss off th’ Commander. Maybe ye could make me a Snow Deader, f’r target practice?” Aely felt the corners of her mouth twitch, suppressing a laugh.

Silence hung for a moment until she could no longer maintain the straight face.

Aely laughed, grinning and waving them over. “Oh Ligh’, I’m jus’ takin’ th’ piss. Dinna fash. Ye lot ought t’ ken I alwis make enough f’r th’ first watch, so dinna sit lookin’ like I’m gonna make ye roll in th’ snow air turn ye away wi’ nothin. ‘S just finished, so yir right oan time. Got sugar an’ milk too.”

Healing your first instance (or Heroic!)
comment 15 Written by on February 4, 2010 – 4:31 pm

As most of you know, I recently “revived” my very neglected 80 Troll Priest and turned her into an Aely dual-class priest Alliance side. This put me with a fresh level 80 discipline priest, a class I’ve not actively healed with since Karazhan. Needless to say I was both rusty and horrendously geared in a smattering of level 70 epics, quest blues/greens, a few BoE pieces from the auction house, and even some *wince* BoE greens of the sorceror.

Even with that, I was pretty sure I could heal a level 78-80 dungeon without too much hassle. So I decided to start running some normal dungeons, got myself a proper spec… and after a really frustrating first evening of healing, realized I was probably doing it wrong when it came to setting up a learning run.

Of course, some folks really LIKE a trial by fire, seat of the pants, OH GOD DON’T DIE, wiping-on-trash run.

I don’t mind those once I know what I’m getting myself into, but right off the bat?  It was stressful and not very fun, most of which I could’ve prevented by doing a couple of simple things in advance. These will work whether you’re just hitting level 80 or are trying out a new healing spec but are old hat at the game.

Setting up your first instance run as a healer

  • Make sure you have your UI set up properly and your keybindings are done.

If you’re not a healer normally, this will be a little more work, but with two other level 80 healers, I’ve got a pretty good idea where I want things. I just… didn’t realize I’d not done any of that until AFTER the first pull. Also, make sure your keybound spells are your highest trained ranks. If you leveled with dual specs, your “invisible” second spec bars will NOT update with you automatically. (We wiped.)

  • Talk to someone who plays your class and get a quick rundown of how things work.

Knowing not to rely too much on Renew and that Flash Heal would be my bread and butter helped a lot… but I didn’t learn that until after a fated evening of runs, and I was OOM a lot. If you don’t know anyone else that plays your class, check out any of a number of excellent blogs or forums around the internet. (I watched the tank die during at least one Greater Heal cast… oops)

  • Even if you’re pugging some of the group, try to pick your tank beforehand.

You don’t need someone decked out in 264-Icecrown Epix. But someone that’s never tanked before isn’t really a good idea either. (Finding out afterwards that my tank, though level 80 and a skilled player, hadn’t tanked with that class before and still hadn’t trained his level 80 skills?  /facepalm). Basically, you want someone that will at least not make your job harder than it needs to be. (We wiped… more than once.)

  • Pick an instance or two that you are familiar with.

Never been to Halls of Lightning, but you’ve run Gun’drak and Utgarde Pinnacle a lot?  Run those first, to get the “feel” of how your new healing spec is going to work. That way you can concentrate on being the healer, and not on what’s going on around you. You’ll also be less likely to get blindsided by unexpected boss mechanics. (I got lost.)

  • If you’re building the group from people you know, try to get a mixture of DPS

Having all melee or all ranged can make some fights harder than others. Ideally, your first few healing jobs should be for balanced groups, rather than you, a tank, and 4 rogues (for example). A balanced group will let you get used to things like melee damage or running out of fires or keeping ranged alive – without having to stress too much if you screw up and the mage bites it in the AOE. (I don’t want to know what the melee DPS repair bill was.)

Of course, you can always just go by the seat of your pants, but I like to have at least a little bit of a break-in period before I get thrown into the fire!

None of these fixes are particularly difficult. Even if you can’t do all of them, just one or two will go a long way towards helping you get used to your new healing role, whether it’s with a new class, or you’ve never been in charge of the green bars before.

Particularly the part where you make sure your highest ranks of healing spells are the ones you’re using…

annas
(who is totally not immune to noobcake mistakes)

Warcraft Collective Nouns
comment 12 Written by on February 3, 2010 – 7:53 am

Collective nouns are the specific words that indicate a group of something, like a school of fish or a herd of deer or a flock of sheep.

Those are pretty common, but some collective nouns are really quite cool:

  • a murder of crows
  • a wake of buzzards
  • a parliament of owls
  • a prickle of hedgehogs
  • an ambush of tigers
  • an implausibility of gnuus
  • a horde of gerbils

The list goes on, and it’s pretty fun to go digging around for them. Last night, however, we started talking about collective nouns for warcraft classes and races. Someone mentioned that “gang” was a really lousy collective noun for a group of Paladins, and thus the game was born!

After posing the question to twitter and my guildmates, we came up with the following:

  1. A Bubble of Paladins
  2. A Volley of Hunters
  3. A Hearth of Paladins (Bubbles‘ idea)
  4. A Glitter of Blood Elves (from Skulley)
  5. A Faceplant of Fury Warriors (from Teuthida)
  6. A Beard of Male Dwarves and a Braid of Female Dwarves (with help from Teuthida here too)
  7. A Murder, a Mischief, an Ambush, or a Nuisance of Rogues – depending…
  8. A Pact of Warlocks, or possibly a Hell of Warlocks (thanks Tarq)
  9. An Apocalypse of Forsaken (that’s Arrens)
  10. A Buffet of Mages (from Bubbles)
  11. An Apostrophe of Northmen (Tarquin again)
  12. A Wrath of Moonkin (more from Arrens)
  13. A Cult of Warlocks (Krizzlybear for this one)
  14. A Tantrum of Forum Posters (The Daily Blink)
  15. A Shudder of Death Knights (Angelya)
  16. An Orgy of Darkfallen (Krizzlybear - that’s going to get me some fun google hits)
  17. A Litter of Feral Druids (The Pugnacious Priest)

And this is actually just a selection of them. If you think of others, leave ‘em in comments!

annas

Hillsbrad – A Dark Summonings Story
comment 4 Written by on February 1, 2010 – 10:12 am

You can read Dark Summonings, Into the Nether, and Into the Nether part 2 (which is new this morning, and should be read before you read this bit – go read it first!) over at Arrens’ blog.

Aelflaed jumped off her charger, the sharp winter wind tearing at her cloak, blowing snow into and under her armor.

“JOLSTRAER.”

She screamed his name into the gale, running across the frozen fields.

“JOLSTRAER TABORWYNN, CAN YE HEAR?!”

“Th’ hell are ye, Jol? I’m here. I’m back. Ye told me t’ bring ‘im, an’ I’m tryin’, an’ damn ye f’r all that ye laid on me about it. F’r makin’ me do it alone, an’ wha’ I couldna tell ye.”

There was no response, only an angry fire that started deep in her belly and felt like it would swallow her whole that subsided quickly into utter desperation. Sobs overtook her as she half-collapsed, sinking down into the snowy, sooty remains of his house.

“Damn ye, Jol Taborwynn. F’r all ay this. F’r leavin’. I cannae e’en let ye meet ‘im. Ligh’ but ye’d have made fun – a professor. Ye hear that? A teacher, Jols, nae a soldier. An’ I love ‘im. I love ‘im like ye said, an’ I’m no’ lettin’ go. Ligh’, Jol… please…”

The wind ripped at her face, turning tears into tiny icicles on her cheeks; it howled but had no words. She dug her fingers into the snow, ignoring the cold, until she found what was left of his charred hearth.

“He’s gone, Jol. Taken – like ye. Ligh’, an’ he’s gone.”

From deep within her chest she heard her name again – clearer this time, though soft. Her mind flashed to Dragonblight, to Jol diving out of the sky, his voice on the wind, searching for her. But this wasn’t Jol’s voice.

This voice was unmistakably Arrens.

“Arrens?” Aely looked around frantically before having a flash of realization. “Sweet Ligh’… Arrens! Love? Do ye hear me?” Her skin prickled and pain flashed through her mind briefly, before subsiding back to a dull ache.

And then his voice again, weak and hurting. “Aely.”

Aely blinked. “Ye… live?”

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 …

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? …

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