February 6, 2010 – 2:22 am
Newly updated screenshot here. This was taken in a 25 man Turavon kill before our raid on Friday evening. It doesn’t really get any crazier than this, unless it’s AOE funtime and there are a ton of ground-effect graphics around (like Putricide).
Addons used (primarily):
Mik Scrolling Battle Text
Satrina Buff Frames
Omen/oRA2/BigBrother/Bigwigs Boss Mods
There are probably a few others that I’ve forgotten, or that aren’t visible on screen – like Auctioneer (that I run for my banker only) or Totem Timers (for Annorah), but by and large, that’s my UI. I’ve been running with a setup like this for pretty much the whole time I’ve been raiding, adding and taking away as I tweak it. But I’m pretty happy with how it looks right now!
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.”
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.”
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…
(who is totally not immune to noobcake mistakes)
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:
- A Bubble of Paladins
- A Volley of Hunters
- A Hearth of Paladins (Bubbles‘ idea)
- A Glitter of Blood Elves (from Skulley)
- A Faceplant of Fury Warriors (from Teuthida)
- A Beard of Male Dwarves and a Braid of Female Dwarves (with help from Teuthida here too)
- A Murder, a Mischief, an Ambush, or a Nuisance of Rogues – depending…
- A Pact of Warlocks, or possibly a Hell of Warlocks (thanks Tarq)
- An Apocalypse of Forsaken (that’s Arrens)
- A Buffet of Mages (from Bubbles)
- An Apostrophe of Northmen (Tarquin again)
- A Wrath of Moonkin (more from Arrens)
- A Cult of Warlocks (Krizzlybear for this one)
- A Tantrum of Forum Posters (The Daily Blink)
- A Shudder of Death Knights (Angelya)
- An Orgy of Darkfallen (Krizzlybear – that’s going to get me some fun google hits)
- 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!
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