Updated Add-On Guides

To those that read the Add-On guides I provide, in order to reflect the new menu configurations and the options therein, I have updated :

Decursive, as of June 11, 2011.

Clique, as of May 28, 2011.

Grid – Part 1 and Grid – Part 2, as of May 22, 2011.

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Day 20 – My Last Day Playing WoW

This wasn’t my plan, as I fully intended on actually completing this 20 day challenge that Saga started a long while back, but since my last day playing WoW was literally just two days ago, I feel I can probably finish this bad boy once and for all!

Let’s start with the actual decision to stop playing.  I’ve known for a couple years that my WoW time was coming to an end.  The Burning Crusade was the golden years of my career in this game for many reasons, and as such, the subsequent expansions never lived up to that same standard.  Everything was getting more and more dumbed down, condensed and consolidated, the content was getting boring — especially with the introduction of the so called “Heroic modes” — and the guilds I was in were never quite the same as my original, familial one.  I think there’s a lot to be said for a community when you log on just so you can talk with the people you play with because you get along with all of them so well, rather than to play the game.

In short, I simply started enjoying myself less and less, little by little, after Wrath of the Lich King and, later on, Cataclysm came out.  I didn’t find the game play to be compelling anymore, there were not as many exciting things to do outside of raiding that were directly involved with raiding, like attunement chains.

Seriously, those were awesome, Blizz.

I’m the type of player that doesn’t like to do PvP (I’m also horrible at it, so I don’t think anyone would like for me to do PvP either, haha!), I don’t enjoy doing 5 mans after I’ve completed them a few times, and although I do like leveling alts … you can only do that so many times before you get to either: a) the level cap, b) bored of the zones you’ve leveled through a million times before, or c) you’ve leveled every class available.

Essentially, there really wasn’t much for me to do that I enjoyed, outside of raiding.  I had a lot of fun doing old school runs with various guildies when my scheduled allowed, and late night chatting with people on Mumble was always enjoyable (especially when wine was involved), but raiding was really what I was all about once TBC passed.  Given that the content got less and less interesting for me, and how I really hate Heroic modes — I’d rather move on to a whole new raid than go back through the same bosses, just with more damage, more health, more adds, and one new mechanic — I wasn’t feeling like I really wanted to stick around and torture myself through content I wasn’t particularly excited to do.

Then there were personal reasons, and one of the big reasons was that I play hockey, and winter league seriously screws you over in terms of raiding.  My guild, Apotheosis, raids on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings; the two hockey leagues that I play for have games on Sunday and Thursday evenings.  So not only would that put me below the required attendance for raiding, but being an officer on top of that … it’s just not conducive to getting anything done, and rather pointless as well if you’re in charge of loot mastering and aren’t around to do it half the time.

Aside from the sport aspect, however, I just didn’t have a whole lot of extra time and/or energy to work on things I wanted to work on, like all the many art projects I have lying around, unfinished.  Practicing my photography and photo editing.  Spontaneously going out with the girls on any given evening.  I simply wasn’t having fun by scheduling my real life around a game anymore, and I much prefer it to be the opposite.

So the decision was made, I let the officers know well ahead of time that I would be stepping down when 4.3 hit, and I later let the rest of the guild know as the patch drew near.  I was online, ready to step in if I was needed in a raid, but if there was anyone else that could be in, I told Kurn to sit me.  Hell, I wouldn’t even let her get me my “Glory of the Firelands” acheivement!  I think she resents me a little bit for denying her that small privilege, as she compared it to “not being able to get Maj Maj his ‘Hand of A’dal’ title”.  ;)

Then, 4.3 hit on Tuesday and my raiding career was over, just like that.  I was actually really excited at first; I was free of obligation on three nights each week, now!  Not to mention various dramas that are inevitable with any raiding guild, keeping up with officer forums, spending a good chunk of my own time outside of raids to keep up with the loot mastering duties, officer meetings, etc..  It was like my life had new prospects after 6+ years of playing WoW, and that felt pretty cool!  I had loads of free time now and I could do whatever I so pleased with it.

I logged on that day when I got home from work and started pilfering through all of my toons, working my way down the list.  I got rid of all sorts of stuff on all of them, mainly donating things to the guild bank, such as herbs, flasks and potions, unused glyphs, enchanting materials, leathers, cloth, volatiles, ore, Chaos Orbs … you name the profession, I had materials to donate for them.  I kept the more sentimental stuff, like goofy holiday items, tier pieces, tabards, etc., but I sold most other things, like my alts’ offspec gear and what not and gave away a few things, like AQ rep items to a priest friend, and the Dust of Disappearance and all of my lock boxes to Tikari.  I gathered up all of my gold on one toon and sent it all to my boyfriend.

And then that was it.  All of my toons had literally 0 gold, silver or copper.  Nothing to sell, nothing to do.  Save for one thing: find Avanai’s final resting place.  Darista stayed in Stormwind, her hometown.  Plus, as my good friend, Dayden, put it … she’s old and has to stay in the nursing home, never to show her wrinkled face again.

I found the perfect place for Avanai to rest for all of virtual time, a place that shall remain unnamed, save for the few that know.  Not that it matters, but I like some veil of mystery at times.

This particular place was in my favorite zone, and although this more specific spot within said zone is quite boring, it holds some great memories from my favorite era of WoW.  On that spot, I spent hours running around in circles, back and forth, just chatting and laughing with Kurn, Maj Maj, and my boyfriend, and the zone itself holds far more memories of hilarity and fun than I can hope to think of.  She’ll have a great view of the whole place from there.

Then Kurn logged on, Maj Maj and Toga were on Mumble, and it just kind of hit me.  Like I said, I was excited at first, but before I clicked on that “Exit Game” button, a sort of sadness hit me.  I was about to be completely done with the World of Warcraft that helped to create so many amazing friendships all those years ago, and that I still hold on to very dearly.  While it is just a game, it would not have been the experience that it was without those few people I have played with since day one, nor the great people I’ve met (some of them, quite literally) along the way.  I may hate the company for what they’ve done to the game in the last couple of years, but I will always love them for creating an avenue with which I was able to create such relationships that will last even outside of the game.

It’s been real, it’s been fun …

… but it’s been really, truly, fantasmagorically, fun.

Posted in 20 Day Blogging Challenge | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

You have earned the achievement [Firelands]!

Long time, no write!  As you may be able to gather from the title of this post, my guild went 7/7 on Thursday night with the obliteration of Ragnaros.  Shannox and Beth went down in one night, but I had previously posted on that … Lord Rhyolith and Alysrazor went down not terribly long after.  Baleroc took a few nights to work out the healing kinks, but that goes very smoothly the vast majority of the time now.  Majordomo Staghelm was the most frustrating so far, I think, but nothing some strat tweaks and discussions couldn’t fix.  It took us a handful of nights of attempts, tweaking of the strategy and discussions in the Raid Review threads, to finally get Rag down but we got him and now have a night off of raiding this week due to the lack of anything else to kill.  That feels pretty good  :)

So we started out like this a couple weeks back ….

 

 

… and we ended up like this, on Thursday!

 

 

Very exciting to finally down him, and I’m very happy for all of my fellow guildies that got some phat loot out of the deal.  A few more times and maybe I can snag something off him.

Other than that, I’ve been working on my Discipline Priest quite a bit, lately.  I got her to 85 yesterday and already have 8 epics for her (mostly purchased … that hurt the bank!), bringing her to an ilvl of 344.  I’ve always loved my Priest, and she’s secretly — maybe not so secretly — my favorite toon to play, hence why I had zero apprehension to go spend 25k gold on her in one go.  There’s just something about healing as one that other classes can’t compare to.  I think it’s all of the fun buttons; seriously, so many buttons.

So yeah, there’s the really fast, nitty-gritty update for all you people!  Heroic Tier 12 content awaits us, and I can’t wait.

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Healing Webring 2.0

I perused a few other healing bloggers’ posts about this questionairre, and figured I’d answer these questions myself at some point … then Kurn went and tagged me in her post on the matter.  ;)

So!  Here I am, answering these same questions for my particular class’ healing a little more immediately than I had originally planned.

1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?

Avanai, level 85 Shaman, Restoration

2. What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)

I primarily heal in 25 man raids; almost exclusively as a matter of fact.  I hate PuGs, so I almost never do any 5 mans.

3. What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?

  I still really love Chain Heal.  It’s not as spammable as it once was, nor is it quite what it used to be, but I like the fact that we have other spells we need to cast on a regular basis — like Healing Wave.  Chain Heal still remains a favorite just because it is so uniquely Shaman, and it’s an incredible tool in our arsenal of heals.  That, and it’s smart.  Very smart.

4. What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?

  I use Healing Surge the least, mainly due to the fact that it is so expensive on the mana stores.  It doesn’t do poorly for healing — I mean, it heals for more than a Healing Wave does, for sure — but there are much better options (based on mana constraints) for sheer normal use, such as a Greater Healing Wave after a Chain Heal or Riptide for increased casting speed: less mana and tons more healing than a Healing Surge.

I do use it, however, for dire situations when I absolutely NEED that fast heal to keep someone from dying and I just don’t have time to spare a GCD on a Riptide for the bigger, better heal.  It’s an “oh, shit!” heal, and it does its job as such very well.

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?

Definitely our zone heals … hands down, without a doubt.  Healing Rain is fantastic and Chain Heal is very smart, so we essentially have 2 AoE heals and they know how to get the job done, especially when used with various other heal enhancing abilities.  Add in the fact that Spirit Link Totem makes any group up situation a breeze (temporarily, anyways), and you have yourself a bona fide raid healer!

6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?

Well, I could go a couple of ways with this, to be honest.  Not that I find them to be weaknesses where we can’t perform properly, but ya know …

First would be tank healing.  Yes, we can do it — but given our sheer awesome capabilities as raid healers, it’s not something that we are typically better at doing than other classes.  The reason I feel this way is because of my number two weakness on the list:  lack of cooldowns.

We have Nature’s Swiftness, which is very handy sometimes (insta-heals FTW!), but other than that, we have … totems, and, uh … Heroism.  And these are typically more raid utility than anything else.  Mana Tide Totem is definitely awesome, but they nerfed that in 4.2, so not quite as much anymore — nor does it reduce damage, put shields on people, or save lives in a pinch.  And while I love and adore Spirit Link Totem, it clearly has it’s weaknesses.  SLT has a very small radius for area of effect, thus it really works best when in a larger, tight-knit group, and you don’t always get that in every boss fight.  I view SLT as our one, major cooldown, but it’s highly circumstantial for when you could/should use it to make it work really well.

7. In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?

“HEAL ALL TEH PRITTEE COLORED BOXEZZ!”

Yes, that’s what I get to do most of the time.  So I’m sure you can venture a guess at what my assignment is 99% of the time … raid healing!

8. What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why? 

I really enjoy healing with a Priest — either spec is fine.  The cooldowns that they bring make me happy, and I love their variety of spells.  I’m not sure if it’s just the fact that we have such awesome healing priests in my guild, or just that it’s the class/spec in general, but whenever I’m assigned to something with a priest … it goes very smoothly.  I like to think it’s the former reason!

9. What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why? 

I’d probably have to say a Druid.  I looooooove the amount of healing that a Druid can do, because it’s disgusting, and their mobility in fights is amazing, but I feel like I don’t really do much myself when paired with one.  The HoTs and Lifeblooms and what not keep rolling, and by the time I finish casting something on a player … the Lifebloom has bloomed and my heal just hit for 100% overheal.  That can be horribly depressing.  I just think that Druids are much better paired with a class other than a Shaman, like a Disc Priest.

10. What is your worst habit as a healer? 

I often forget to drop my Mana Tide Totem without someone needing to say “Can we get a Mana Tide?” in Mumble.  I’ve gotten better, and I tell people to let me know when they need one since my personal mana regen is pretty good and I don’t tend to think about it all the time, but I still feel bad that people would need to ask me sometimes.

Aside from that, my other bad habit is not making full use of the few cooldowns that I do have.  I know I could use Spiritwalker’s Grace more often, or Nature’s Swiftness … I’m a baddy at times.  I’ll admit it.

11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing? 

People standing in bad stuff, dying to completely avoidable damage, and/or just not doing their job.  People that get tunnel vision and mess things up for the whole raid drive me insane.  I’m not talking about off nights, ’cause we all have those; I mean the consistent offenders.  To be a raider, you need to stay alert, move out of the bad, stand in the good, and do what you are assigned to do, when you are supposed to do it!

Another pet peeve of mine that goes along with healing and the above mentioned stuff are people that do not research the fight before going in.  It takes 10 minutes to read a strat and kind of fast forward through a YouTube video to get the general jist of a fight.  I find it terribly disrespectful when someone (or a few someones) do not do their research and then stall the raid/cause wipes because of it.  Not cool, guys.  Not cool.

12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing? 

I would say so.  Shaman have very strong group heals, when the conditions for positioning are right, and single target healing isn’t terrible either if you use your spells wisely and with the correct abilities to enhance them.  I think the only thing that isn’t balanced is the fact that we can’t tank heal as efficiently as any other class typically can because of our lack of cooldowns and what have you.  But I’ve already discussed that above, so I digress.

13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer? 

Any healer would lie if they told you they didn’t look at the numbers on the meters  ;)  It’s always nice to see yourself up there, and I like seeing my toon’s name hovering in the top 3 spots as any other healer would, but the numbers really aren’t everything.

I tend to evaluate my performance on a few areas:

  • Did I avoid as much environmental damage as I could/should have?
  • Did I keep my assigned players alive?
  • Did I help other healers’ assignments when/if possible?
  • Did I make the most out of the abilities available to me?
  • Did I use the proper spells for the situation at hand?

There are so many questions I ask myself, and I always feel that I could do much better in various areas on any given raid night.  Sometimes I concentrate so hard on making sure that I do one thing, like making use of all my spells when needed rather than favoring one or two, that I forget to use other abilities that help increase my healing done.  It’s a vicious circle, really, and I — like anyone else — can always use improvement.

We parse all of our fights, however, so World of Logs is a huge help to me.  There’s so much information jam packed in there, I don’t even know how to work half of it … but what I do know helps me.

14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?

Umm, that we suck more than other healers?  Honestly, I have no idea.  I know that starting out, not many guilds even wanted to take a Resto Shaman because they “couldn’t keep up” (which was a total lie, I kept up and surpassed some others), but it seems that more and more people are accepting the fact that Shaman and Druids — the other red-headed step child healer to start in Cata — are back to doing what they do best: heal people, and heal them well.

15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?

I don’t think I could answer this one.  It’s been so long since I started playing my Shaman, and so many things have changed about them, I wouldn’t know what people are having a hard time with nowadays.  Maybe remembering to drop totems?  *shrug*

16. If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?

Probably that I highly favor Chain Heal a good portion of the time.  As noted above, I do strive to change it up and heal with various spells, but it seems that I always come back to a good ‘ole Chain Heal to help boost the health bars when it’s needed.  I tend to play it safe with my mana in new content, but I think I could afford to spend a little extra on the not so cheap spells when I think they might be needed.

17. Haste or Crit, and why?

I have always been a Crit/Mastery gal.  I stack Haste to the break point, and then I go to town on the other two.  With 4.2, critical heals were changed in a very good way, as well as our Water Shield talent, which is also heavily effected by critical strike rating.  So with a bit of extra healing from critical heals, as well as the pumped up mana regen from that particular stat, I prefer Crit at this point in time.  Haste, when I acquire more gear, might make a little bit of a comeback, but only to hit the second break point … then it’s back to Crit and Mastery for me!

18. What healing class do you feel you understand least?

Druids!  After playing the game for six years, I finally made a Druid at the start of Cataclysm.  I had tried a few times to level one previously but I just couldn’t do it.  My Druid is main spec Feral DPS with a Resto offspec, but I don’t ever play Resto.  So I still don’t understand them as well as I could.

19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?

Oh, ho ho.  Well.  Let me tell you!  I am the queen of addons and macros, so I use plenty.  Grid and Clique are the main ones (both of which I have written guides for, here and here), but I also use Grid Status HoTs, Grid Status Side Indicators, Power Auras for friendly reminders (sometimes angry ones, too), I use Raven for cooldown timers, Shaman Friend for more friendly reminders, Totem Timers, and I have VuhDo set up as back up in case Grid/Clique crash or something.

Macros are much more personal, but I do use these for sure.  I have one to use my “on use” Spirit proc trinket in combination with dropping a Mana Tide Totem (yes, I know the trinket doesn’t stack with MTT anymore, but the extra boost during this time is nice), and various other mundane things that most probably wouldn’t care to know about.

20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

I definitely favor some more than others.  I keep, for the time being, my Haste rating relatively low and I try to stack more Crit and Mastery.  Intellect is the one thing I will almost always gem/enchant/flask/eat for if it’s doable, whereas Spirit has kind of been left to the wayside.  So yeah, Intellect, Critical Strike Rating and Mastery are what I tend to lean towards when looking at gear and all those other great things.

Anyone that I tag has either already posted, or is tagged by someone else and working on a post.  But just for the hell of it …

Kurn (Paladin): Kurn’s Corner
Oestrus (Priest):  The Stories of O
Jasyla (Druid):  Cannot Be Tamed

Posted in Shaman | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Two Birds with One Stone

Tuesday we had some decent attempts on Shannox, but no kill to show for it.  There were some great discussions being had in the Officer forums and the Raid Review threads for this particular fight, and I even took it upon myself to compile the information we had regarding the encounter for a strat based on how we would be doing things.  I think if everyone researched a fight like that and physically wrote out what it is that needs to happen on all levels … people would know it like the back of their hand.  I know it helped me to fully grasp the fight!

Lucky for us, all of this discussion really helped us and we were able to down him on our fifth attempt of the evening:

 

 

So Shannox lay dead, and we were on to the next!  Beth’tilac.

I found this fight to be quite fun.  I was originally assigned to go up top with another healer, a tank, and a few other DPS, but ended up staying on the ground full time.  Going up top was fun, but being a Resto Shaman in a fight where grouping up for heals is key … I do much better down below than up top where DPS need to loosely spread out for Meteors and holes in the web through which you can fall.

After a few attempts, we figured out our “teams” for web duty, etc. and then it was just executing the fight correctly.  I don’t think any of us were expecting to kill another boss without a night of wipes, and trial and error, but a few more attempts followed, and on our eighth pull (the “Infamous Last Attempt!”) we downed her:

 

 

On our kill, Beth’tilac ate a spiderling and healed up to 97% health, so it was pretty much a full burn through Phase 2.  I have never been so tapped for mana in my life!  I used a Concentration Potion right before she came down, so I was at full mana, I used my Mana Tide Totem during the burn, I’m sure we got some Hymns from the priests, and I still ended up draining myself.  It’s a pretty healing intense fight, but that’s obviously not how Phase 2 is supposed to start out.  We’ll clean it up for next time and hopefully us healers won’t be scraping to save people by the end of it.

I was even more excited by the end of the night, as I won the shiny shield that so many of us want, but the best part is that Apotheosis officially went 2/7 for 25m Normal Firelands content on our second night in there.  Alysrazor and Lord Rhyolith shall fall at our feet soon!

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

As the first Tier of Cataclysm came to an end this week, I looked back and wondered where the time went.  The end of June nears, and these last six months have marked yet another new era in my WoW career.

I started out, six years ago, as a very casual player.  I was in a guild, but I had no idea what that even meant.  I did not know how to trade people the water that I could create on my Mage to the two nice people in my group in Westfall (not that I knew what grouping was, either!), nor did I know how to speak in /say or party chat to tell them that I did not know how to do this.

It took me forever to grasp the concept of “aggro” (What a funny looking word! I thought to myself), and learning how to navigate my quest log instructions alongside my mostly undiscovered map for quests was confusing (no, they did not have handy-dandy markers and colored areas for these things back then).

In the very first raid that I was pulled into, due to a lack of bodies (ohhh, the joys of 40 mans!), I had no idea what I was supposed to do save for cast spells at random.  Being a Fire Mage, I was immediately called out in Vent by damn near everyone for casting Arcane Missiles at the boss … which petrified me of ever daring to cast them again.  Not to mention I should have respecced to Frost since most everything was immune to Fire damage in Molten Core.

Heck, I didn’t even know what a “macro” or an “addon” was (I know — surprising, knowing me!), nor what it was that they did.

 

My, my, how times do change.


I slowly made my way through the casual progression of Apotheosis back in Burning Crusade and the start of Wrath.  I felt overjoyed at my fishing expertise to help lure the Lurker in SSC, gaining my Hand of A’dal title, defeating Archimonde in Mount Hyjal, the epic attunement quest line for Black Temple.  We eventually lost our momentum in early Wrath, Apotheosis dissolved and I joined forces with Soylent Green shortly after Ulduar came out.

I was no longer one of the best DPS in the guild I was in, and I felt a real need to kick it up a notch.  Or two or three.  This was not easy, however, given my distinct disadvantage of gear.  Ulduar was quite amazing, I cleared the entire raid instance with them, as well as a handful of the Heroic encounters.  ToC and the Argent Tournament hit, and it was on to the next best thing.  I was finally competing with some of the top DPS part way through ICC, but my personal schedule started to conflict with theirs, and raiding 4 nights a week for 4 hours at a time was really starting to drain me.

Thus I entered the ranks of Free at Last, with a much lighter raiding schedule, but more vigorous in it’s limited time.  Here, I learned the ropes of what it really meant to raid.  There’s 24 other people counting on you, the guild is already quite limited on time for getting stuff done, so you come prepared in every aspect and you progress.  If it’s a wipe, you die as quickly as possible, run back and buff immediately so you can pull again.  This was a much faster paced environment and I loved it.

In the meantime, I was taking my Disc Priest and Resto Shaman to alt and PuG ICC runs once a week.  Here is where I really found my niche for raiding, and what I loved to do:  heal.

Last fall, Apotheosis reformed in anticipation of Cataclysm and new content.  I jumped at the chance to come back to my home roots and start fresh with a different toon, hence why I ultimately left Free at Last.  I don’t regret that decision for a moment.  Any of the guilds I have been in still have great people, but the core of our guild, Apotheosis, is built upon people that I have been playing with since day 1.  They are my online family, my close friends, and people I genuinely enjoy spending my virtual time with (my real time, too, if we all lived closer).

I was chosen to be an officer in the new incarnation of Apotheosis, an honor I never thought would be bestowed upon me.  Having learned so much from my former guilds, I learned even more from being included in the “behind the scenes” work that goes into running a guild. The decision making, the discussions and the debates, the disagreements and the collaborations … it can be frustrating at times, but it’s also very rewarding to see things work themselves out for the betterment of the guild and knowing that you helped a great deal to accomplish that.

In the last several months since we reformed, our roster has changed and fluctuated for various reasons, and since then, I have gotten to know other awesome people that make this game more enjoyable.  We’ve successfully cleared 12/12 normal mode content and 7/13 Heroic mode content, pushing ourselves to the gritty end.  We were consistently competing for the number one 25m guild rank on our server, and will continue to do so into the Firelands, but even if we were coming in dead last, I would still be happy because of who I get to raid with each night.

I started out about as newbish as they come, not having played any videos games before this (aside from Mario Brothers, Tetris and Zelda on my grandparent’s Nintendo console every couple of months when we visited).  I’ve come a long way since then, and I’m sure in a couple more expansion I’ll look back on this time and, once again, say:

 

My, my, how times do change.

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