Friday, December 16, 2011


sketch of a resto druid tree casting a spell

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Heroic Yorsahj: Oozes (the wordy version)

The strat that worked for us this evening:

Yellow, Blue,Purple,Green -- spread a bit, 4 yds. Easiest.
Purple, Yellow, Black, Red -- stand ON boss, two add spawns, Healing CDs
Green, Yellow, Black, Red -- stand ON boss, two add spawns, Healing CDs
Green, Blue, Purple, Black -- stack, adds (alternative: kill black and spread)
Yellow, Blue, Purple, Black -- stack, adds
Green, Blue, Black, Red-- stand ON boss, adds

Addon used for convenience:

EVERYONE stand as close as possible on TOP of the boss. Not near him, ON HIM. The further away you are, the more damage you will take. When paired with Yellow/Black, be ready for healing armageddon. Healers and DPS with cooldowns, vocalize them and chain them to get through this. I would pop tranq, and once it was down, pally popped his. If we needed more, warrior popped rallying cry or feral popped tranq.

Adds will be beating on people, including healers or the DPS. If you have a DPSer continuously dieing, they may want to consider using a resist trinket such as Mirror of Broken Images (TB Trinket).

When you get your first blue, use mana cooldowns and slowly whittle the blue down to about 15%. Then, when the next oozes spawn, determine if:
  • a) your healers are low on mana
  • b) you have a blue in the next ooze spawn
If there is a blue in the next ooze spawn, WAIT on popping the current, low-health void until AFTER the new mana void has been created and is DONE draining mana--this will take a few seconds. Then, slowly whittle down the new mana void in time to renew your decision for the next set of oozes.

However, if you have a red coming and your healers don't need the mana yet, ignore the void. Trying to position yourself to be in range of a drifting void with red forcing everyone to stand on the boss will spell a wipe. If red is coming and you DO need mana, pop it ASAP and either hope you can get it down during the ooze-killing phase, or that your healers are in range to get the mana.

If you've been prioritizing killing purple on normal, then this is going to be a "new mechanic" for your raid. Make sure all of your healers understand what this ooze does: it is ENTIRELY on them!

Use healing assignments and add the debuff "Deep Corruption" to your raid frames, making certain you can track the stacks. Do NOT stack up to 5 on any given person: stop at 4 stacks. Every heal you cast on a person (that you TARGET and CAST upon that person) will give them a stack. Additional HoT ticks, efflorescence, and similar will not add a stack count.
  • Refreshing lifebloom counts as one stack, whether refreshed by LB or regrowth. Keep lifebloom rolling on the tank if you can; if not assigned to the tank's party, then I've heard a suggestion to roll it on a pet instead for replenishment purposes
  • Personally, I avoided WG on this because I was worried it would add a stack to everyone, so I don't know how it is handled for certain, but I was quite able to heal my party without it.
  • A single rejuv on a dps is very powerful; a swiftmend on them after, especially when they are stacked on the tank, provides additional healing to everyone.
  • Swiftmend counts as its own stack; efflorescence does NOT cause a stack.

I think of Purple like it turns every raider into a water balloon. A water balloon filled with acid. Every heal I cast on them adds water to the balloon. Five fills, and it explodes in a shower of painful face-melting doom across the whole raid.

...blame my resto shaman alt, I've been casting too much riptide lately.

Good luck!

Monday, December 12, 2011

On Fangirls

As a female gamer, I am accustomed to being the odd one. I don't expect others to all like the same things I like, or be excited about the same things I am, or agree that something is as awesome as I think it is. Most people who don't follow the mainstream or pop culture are used to this concept. When we stop by a Burger King while still dressed up and on the way home from a medieval reenactment event (think Ren-Faire garb), we expect a few weird looks. When we talk Warcraft with some non-MMO friends, we don't expect all the others to be interested in how we pwned Deathwing last night.

This is why I've been a bit amused and baffled at my mother in law, recently.

She's a grandmother. A teacher. An all around warm and good woman. Enjoys historical fiction. Greatly disliked that my husband and I lived together before we were married. Had a few wary things to say about Harry Potter due to the "witchcraft," years ago. Very conservative.

When she became a fangirl to a pop-culture band, I was surprised: I certainly hadn't expected this out of her.

Trust me, when I say fangirl, I mean fangirl. This is an obsession, and she is way out of the targeted market but she's had an opportunity to meet them and write to them and be active on their facebook group and show very vocal support for them. It's certainly not the first time that fans have existed outside of a targeted demographic, but I certainly hadn't expected this one.

I don't think it's a bad thing. She's happy, she has something to be excited about and look forward to when getting home, and it's honestly helping fight depression. With economy as it is and socialization flowing more and more to an online setting (and she lives in a rural area), she has embraced a very positive way to have an interest.

Her choice isn't my personal cup of tea, but I am happy for her.

The problem?

She has not yet learned that it's okay for others to not be excited and infatuated about the same thing. That it's okay and quite normal for not everyone else to be waiting with bated breath for a movie release, or think that the movie is the best thing that has happened to the world.

All those years of her sons being excited over a new comic book or video game release, that perhaps she didn't want to hear about endlessly? The connection doesn't seem to have clicked. Whether it is us, as her family, or the strangers that she was approaching across the town to promote a release and beg they all come and see and agree with her and become huge fans themselves. She was crushed when some came, saw the movie, and said they didn't really think it was that great. As fandom does, some did agree, of course. But others didn't. And it is confusing her.

It's interesting.

I don't intend to post the actual topic she is fangirling, as that is irrelevant. It could be ponies or singing vegetables or a rap group and it wouldn't make a difference. I'd still have to be explaining to her over facebook how to take a screenshot on her computer and upload it :D

I support her being a fangirl for the joy that it is bringing to her life, even if I myself am not a fan. I just hope that she will make the connection that it's okay that we're not all as excited on the topic as she is, and that she'll learn the methods that the rest of us do when talking about our obsession with disinterested people: generally keeping in short and to the point, and understanding that they don't HAVE to like what we like, or understand WTF l334 5p34k is.

I do, however, find it infinitely amusing that my mother-in-law is an obsessive fangirl.

It's suddenly a whole lot easier to shop for her for Christmas ;)

(as a random note, I heard someone's grandparent was told that WTF stood for "Welcome to Facebook." I'm sorry, but that's just cruel and going to result in a LOT of confusion!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Warning: H-Morchok bug

If you kill Korchom, Morchok does not immediately die. He still requires some killing.

And if you wipe...

You are counted as getting Morchok without getting loot or an achievement or valor points or anything. The instance leaves an empty Korchom corpse and just saves you to a Morchok kill.


Ticket time.

Flowchart: Yorsahj LFR

The LFR version of Yor'sahj the Unsleeping.

Ooze priority on it is the favored P > Y > Black, though some raids may opt for Y > P > Black if they think their healers will behave with a Blue/Purple combination :)

A flowchart of the priority for ooze spawns on Yorsahj, Looking For Raid mode.  Shadowed first, Glowing second, then Black.

Seemed like the most important one to get up, and quickly. >_>

Yorsahj Ooze Priorities

When my guild ran through Dragonsoul last week, our warlock--known to us as Bob even though it's neither his name nor his character's name (mostly because we didn't feel like calling him Damorons, and it stuck even after he changed his character name)--had spent a lot of time on the PTR and had put together a quick guide for us on each boss. He then, essentially, lead the raid as we went through, as the one with experience on it.

Out of all the bosses, the one that truly baffled me even after having downed it was Yorsajh. Oozes, oozes everywhere, all colorful and complicated! AHHHH!

When I went and ran three LFR raids following our normal raid, I tried to get a better grasp of what those oozes do and their priorities, but it was still a bit of a foreign concept to me that I was struggling to comprehend. So, when we started talking heroic modes and that we'd be seeing FOUR at once (3 simultaneous buffs), and I was already feeling a flowchart was needed, I sat down in google docs and made one.

This involved a ton of research and comparison of comments and suggestions. Here are some places I studied:
  • Icy Veins' guide
  • Sumanhi's slightly different version of Icy Veins' guide (had more details on alternative combinations and strats to deal with them)
  • Wowhead, mostly via the comments due to limited strat details on main page
  • Wowpedia
(I saw Beru posted something too, using one of the priorities, but didn't get a chance to read that in detail because I was doing resto shammy research at the time. Will edit this with hers as well. As a side tangent, my shaman alt went resto for the first time ever yesterday, and... well, it's a work in progress :) )

So. Multiple suggestions on ooze priorities. Icy Veins even appears to have altered their original to reflect a different priority. And, it seems, no hint of what combinations to expect on heroic mode.


That said, here are the results of my search:

There are two different recommendations on ooze priorities here.
  • Y > P > Black
    This priority avoids the combination of blue/yellow, instead resulting in a blue/purple. What this means is that the dps kills the void while there is little raid damage going out, and healers shouldn't need to be healing much. However, the healers need to understand not to spam fast heals on the tank during this phase; a single, slow-cast healer should be adequate.
  • P > Y > Black
    This priority is for when you just don't want to risk the healers exploding everyone. In the case of Blue/Yellow, things will get nasty and your tanks need to swap quickly as their debuffs will build fast from the yellow buff, and healers will be OoM or low mana. Risk is loosing a tank.
Normal mode makes green pretty scary. You will want to get rid of it. Again, there are two different suggested priority systems here.
  • G > Y > P
    This avoids a blue/yellow and a blue/green scenario, replacing both with a blue/purple scenario where, although the healers need to not be casting 5 heals on any one player, there is little damage going out. The healers need to understand not to spam fast heals on the tank during this phase; a single, slow-cast healer should be adequate.
  • P > G > Y
    This completely removes purple (shadow) from the equation, but will have higher healing requirements due to the blue/yellow and blue/green situations.
Where in normal and LFR it appears that there are only six possible combinations that will spawn together, I haven't found a list of possible combinations for heroic mode's spawns to be able to analyze the priority system. A tentatively suggested system is P > G > Y > Black > Red. Any further information on this would be very much appreciated :)

EDIT: Heroic version

Flowchart graphics are in the works, that include strategy to be used.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How kind of the Darkmoon Faire!

They provided us a litter-box!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Druid Chorus: "Lip Sync" Video

We didn't start the fire.

I greatly enjoyed this video for some reason. I think it's a cute idea :)

I found myself mouthing along at the chorus with the druid trio. So you can sing along too, lyrics:

Druid Chorus:

We didn't start the fire
It was always burnin'
Since the world's been turnin'
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Transmog: My Chosen Fashioncraft

I'm really enjoying the transmogrification feature of 4.3. While the "showing off" factor of sporting heroic t12 made me smirk when puggers dropped their jaws at their healer's gear, I didn't really like the look of it, and most of your time is spent in a mashup of mixed-color gear anyway while you work through bosses.

Now, I can at least match my gear to look like I am not a kindergartner who has insisted on dressing all by herself (the kind that wants to wear rain galoshes and a football helmet)... or completely forego the tier model and avoid looking like I'm decaying (t13 mushrooms). Instead... I am dressing as sailor moon with bird wings!

There have been elements of previous tier gear that I really liked, and revisiting their appearance, even in a mashup of tiers and expansions, is fun!

Haven't decided yet what I will do when I pick up the spellpower dagger and offhand, but I like this look :) My alts, alas, don't have near as much gear to pick and choose between.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dragonsoul First Night

(Our moonkin and holy pally weren't there, so no stick figures for them)

Dragonsoul. First night in the instance, and six bosses knocked over in four hours, including time for a lot of swapping and boss explanations. The most difficult of the fights we did was Blackhorn (aka Gunship2.0) due to the cleaves and charges combined with the big bombs we had to cluster in, but once we decided to mark the healers with icons to keep other people away from them in the final phase and to have tanks stay out of the Twilight Onslaught (the big swirly) while the rest of the raid soaked it, it became more manageable. Ultraxion was only a problem for figuring out timing of the tanks clicking their phase shifts, and making sure everyone's action bars supported the new button and clicked it on time.

We actually forgot to take screenshots for killpics for any of the bosses, because they didn't feel like bosses and we just kept rolling like we were speed-clearing Firelands.


So, they requested a stick-figure killpic.

I enjoyed the refreshment of seeing new content, however, and am looking forward to testing out the hardmodes and seeing if they will provide the challenge we're seeking.

Anyway, we got H-Rag to a heart-wrenching 3% on Monday night before the patch, and there are reportedly some stealth nerfs that remove the lava geyser from P4, so I'm suspecting we'll finish DS normal tonight and head back to clear H-Rag. I'm upset about the nerf to H-Rag (or is it a bug?), particularly as we'll be going in with DS gear upgrades to further cushion the fight.

I am hoping to kick myself into gear about getting more stick-figure guides done. The more you bug me about it, the more likely I will remember to make the time to draw them!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Care of Ketheres, the undead deathknight I am always trying to keep from revisiting death (again). He'd be the sleepy one.

Too funny not to spread.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On Current 10s Difficulty

Rahana at Blueberry Totem inspired this next post. So, it's half a reply to Rahana, and half my own rambling on the general topic.

10 man raiding: then and now.

Watching the shift in opinions regarding the difficulty of ten-man content is rather amusing for a former 10-strict guild to watch. As one of the few (and I mean literally, 3) guilds in the world to have gotten a 10-strict kill on HLK in WotLK, the end boss of the expansion, Vortex has watched with some smug delight as other guilds flocked to the 10-man format out of an assumption that it would be easier, only to find it far more difficult than they had expected and watching as 25-man guilds progressed more quickly.

Could 10s have been easier in this expansion? Possibly, depending on the tuning of the bosses.

The vast majority of raiders (and I'm talking those that probably never read this blog or followed ten-strict guilds) had it stuck in their heads that 10s were easy, and had no concept of the relative difficulty. In WotLK they had higher iLevel gear, and that mana and stamina and through-put matter. They had larger raiding rosters to pull from, cherry-picking their compositions for the harder fights. They had less room to spread out, but AoE heals weren't 40 yards in range so even 10's had to cluster up and stick together to a decent extent. The easier aspect came on the management front as there were fewer people to herd in 10s, though recruitment was a PitA.

Now, there are still fewer cats to herd in Cata 10s, but normalization of difficulty levels has ironically been in favor of 25s. I have to wonder if it's intentional, in an effort to keep 25mans viable. This doesn't really bother me: 10-strict was a very difficult format, and I am proud to say my guild is stubborn enough to tackle anything Blizz throws at us, though we may not necessarily be the first to down the content. So the concept that 25s are easier difficulty doesn't really phase me except out of some irony, in the form of "told you so" to those who doubted the difficulty of tens.

The difficulty currently lays as such:
  • Composition. In spite of buff and class homogenization, there is a definite disparity in what is "needed" for a raid to excel through the current content, favoring certain mixes of classes and a LOT of interrupts. Going to Cho'Gall without a hunter? Good luck. One of your interrupters out for the evening? Scramble for Nefarian. No warrior? Add-tanking in multiple fights will be entertaining, if hell. Two resto druids out of 3 healers?, your hots won't tick up fast enough to counter a lot of raid-heal mechanics and your cooldowns don't come up fast enough, have fun wiping. No resistance aura? HAHAHAA. On a related note, I feel bad for rogues. They are the only class my guild has looked at and said "we just really don't need one."
  • Loot Drops. Most 10m guilds I have talked with or read about have complained about never seeing certain drops. For Vortex, it is the trash-drop wand and the leather caster bracers. Out of two pieces and 10 players, there is less chance of it being something useful than with 25s. Guilds will shard the same drops off a boss week after week, the two drops always seeming to land on the same pieces. If something useful drops, there's a chance the person that needs it either isn't present that day or got rotated out due to compositional issues: something for the guild to plan around, certainly, but I have seen it happen often enough to remember. I will complain less about having only seen the feral bracers/boots/staff once or twice, as it means our mainspec feral has gotten them, but looking at blues in my offspec set is getting tiresome. Granted, I find it amusing that some of my feral upgrades have been straight jumps from blues to heroic-mode epics. It would be nice if the 'randomness' of the drops was twisted to rotate through the item table a bit more reliably, ensuring a more even spread of gear: some randomness is fine, but a bit more variety is also appreciated. Loot matters in progression. The drops can easily determine the rankings: an upgrade for a raider is worth more to the next boss kill than a shard.
  • Recruitment. There are more guilds, plainly speaking. It makes looking for a guild harder, as there are more to sift through. It makes advertising for your own guild harder, as you have to shine out from the swarm. There are a lot of excellent guilds, but there are also many that a recruit may find is crumbling as soon as they join. The guild/raid leader may have expected things to be easier than they are, and are struggling to make things work. Raiders may be disillusioned by progression or loot drops, or even the lack of community as a 10-man guild is smaller than the large communities they knew in WotLK or further back. The 10m guild loosing one player--and it is bound to happen--can leave you short on raid nights, and often you may loose multiple at the same time for various reasons. A death spiral if you can't fill those spots.
  • Hybrid requirements. This is the ultimate reason why we've not considered a rogue, as melee is generally being given the middle finger by boss mechanics: any melee we do get are all hybrids that will swap either to tank or heal on a given fight (cat/bear, unholy/blood, and ret/holy are our melee dps, excluding our two main tanks. Oh, and this crazy girl who is resto/bear and sometimes moonlights as a cat). With a smaller team, flexibility is very important, and that makes hybrids quite necessary. A healer/healer spec is less flexible than a healer/dps dualspec. On top of being able to spec for it, there is also the issue of knowing how to play it: someone who is used to healing is not going to have the UI and reflexes for reliable interrupts, in most cases (I am a prime example of that on H-Halfus when they had me tanking the fight as offspec!). Where a larger guild can support players who stick to one single role, a 10m requires most of its players to fluctuate between roles as hybrids, and this shows in recruitment.
Am I happy with raiding as it currently stands? Well, I am having fun with it, and I am certainly still playing. I love my guild, and I love playing my class. There are certain fights that I wish they will retune or reconsider the mechanics of (H-Chim as a resto druid) but hey, there are changes coming down the pipe for my class that will make it more bareable. Relative difficulty of content against 25s doesn't factor into my enjoyment of my own format; I wouldn't've been playing 10-strict through the entirity of WotLK if that were the case.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Watch us Wipe...

As a reminder, my guild's warlock runs a video stream of our raids! We are currently working on H-Maloriak and are hoping to kill him for the first time this evening. The stream has a chat bar that I periodically join in on :)

Aside, we are recruiting specifically a holy/ret pally or a resto/dps shammy to join our roster.

Raid times:
7:30-11:30 EST, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Oh hai?

It happens to all of us at some points: our focus shifts away to other things, our time gets consumed with other activities, and things we used to do regularly fall by the wayside. Awkwardly, that has happened to me with all things WoW. I am still raiding and have no intention to stop, but my time outside has been eaten up by external activities. Nothing bad, nothing huge and life-altering, but simply is.

Just to reassure, I have no intention of stopping blogging. For those that don't already, I suggest using an rss-feed reader like Google Reader to keep up with updates :)

General Rambly Life Update:

My regret, though, is that it has put a halt to any amount of art I used to do. Once upon a time, I would make real paintings and colored-pencil sketches. I even did medieval scrollwork, though I used acrylics (I like Celtic knotwork, and silver paint is fun). As I got into photoshop, I started doing full digital paintings, though I never got anywhere near the level of the "super digital artists" like Meerkat or Sarah Ellerton, both of whom I admire for their skill and dedication--both of them inspired me at times.

Of course, you all know me for the stick figures I have posted on this blog: the rough and easy quick doodles that serve to illustrate important aspects of boss fights. That's most of what my art has amounted to in recent years, though I have spent time with larger art projects, like creating removable "stained glass" windows ~5' x 5' tall out of tissue paper and plastic dropcloth.


I idly wish I could get back into digital painting, maybe one day be able to match the skill of those who inspire me, but that's a time commitment I just don't have the time for. For now, I need to take one step at a time and at least provide some stick figs for all of you :)

WoW Stuff:

I'm enjoying raiding on my druid, still. While the daily quests have gotten dull and repetitive--irritating, really, for a mainspec healer, spending time raiding with my guild is what keeps me interested in the game. I will admit, though, to a certain hatred of heroic Chimaeron.

- Heroic Chim rant -

Chim is one of those gear-and-skill-check fights on heroic. Communication and very strict job assignments are required. For a tank, it's all about communication and cooldown timing. For a dps, it's a snooze-fest except to dps as hard as possible and group up periodically, aside a single dps-tank who has to fill an out-of-the-box taunting role and sometimes deal with popping survival cooldowns.

For a healer... it is an intense fight that requires complete focus and quick reaction times. But you can't rely on your usual reaction of "fill the bar, they're low health" or you'll go OoM: the healers have to train themselves to AVOID that reaction and rely purely on low-health debuffs. It's all in decision and assignments and making sure each healer does their job and can trust that the others will do their job, while at the same time keeping an eye out on boss timers and making that snap decision of "massacre inc, there are two with low-health, I need to help them now" and have pre-arranged with the other healer as to which person you will heal (by party and by top-to-bottom vs bottom-to-top).

Entire nights of this will leave a healer's brain the consistency of porridge. I'm not talking about that thick glop, either: I mean the kind where you accidentally poured in too much water and it's beginning to more resemble stew or even soup. It reached a point where running into the room, I would see Chimaeron snoozing there with his little green z's and my mind would fill with loathing, loathing for the pixels before me. Pyrecraw didn't help, pre-stack-nerf when we all had to rotate LoS to drop the flame buffet stacks, and that was just trash. I preferred playing with Nefarian and wiping to tailwhip+electrocute combos to dealing with H-Chim.

Now, my guild did kill H-Chim last night. I wasn't there, but my guildies got it. I haven't heard what loot dropped, but I am hoping and hoping it was a pair of uber-bracers for my fellow resto druid Herc (the guild's new healer recruit, who slipped in in spite of our hope to get a shammy or pally simply because he is so awesome). We have never seen a pair of epic leather bracers drop off of Chim so we've both still been rocking blues all this time.

- Bear, rawr? -

On a feral side, they have had me tank H-Halfus for a few kills. Me, in my mostly-blues tank kit. I had to completely remap some of my bear keys to allow for a quicker interrupt reactivity, and I had to huge-ify (yes, I claim that's a legitimate word) my quartz target cast bars to be able to make sure I didn't miss the casts that I needed to interrupt. I am currently running around specced as a healer primary, bear secondary, which as you can imagine makes dailies 'interesting.' It was a change of pace that I enjoyed, though. I have yet to tank a 5-man in the expansion, yet I have helped tank 10-man heroic raid bosses. Ha. Go me. I even managed to keep aggro off of our insane DPS. Scawwy bear-kae, rawr!

Yay, Puppy!

FLUFFY! She is about 75lbs (or more) and still likes to climb in laps. She spends lunchtime laid out across the couch, mostly in my husband's lap and sticking her paws and nose in my lap while we eat; being able to go home for an hour lunchbreak is a wonderful thing. She and I like going for walks around the local college campus, where she has been getting better about not trying to yank my arm off or digging through the landscaping to find all of the food the students like to leave laying around.

The leash-training and behavior training have been a weekly challenge as she is true to her breed: stubborn and independant, but with lots of positive reinforcement and treats, she is coming along well. I have taken to training her on a few sledding commands for left/right (haw/gee), though I am using an archery-range command of "hold" to get her to stop and freeze given that I want her responding to that command when she hears it around that range.

She enjoys campus more than our local neighborhood, as she gets to see lots of people, and many college students love seeing a friendly fluffy dog they can cuddle with.

I'm just waiting for the moment I try to give a raid direction in vent and say "gee" or "haw." It is bound to happen. -_-;

So, that's a quick update for those of you who have been worrying. I have been plotting for more stick-figure guides, just need to get around to doing them.

Monday, February 14, 2011


A sappy Valentine's Day song to my guildies: those current, those past, and those gone beyond the game, whether by choice or because they have moved on from this world.

VANILLA TWILIGHT... a raider's remix.

The heals hug round to kiss you
'Less I go LoS and miss you
Pour me a heavy dose of guild raiding
'Cause I'll pug 'round safe and soundly
But I'll miss your spells around me
I'd send a postcard to you, dears
'Cause I wish you were here

I'll watch the boss turn to goo
But it's not the same without you
Because it takes ten to go raid perfectly
The silence isn't so bad
'Til I look at my cursor and feel sad
'Cause the spaces between my grid frames
Are right where you fit perfectly

I'll find repose in new ways
Though I haven't raided in two days
'Cause cold nostalgia
Chills me to the bone
But drenched in a pixel twilight
I'll sit in Orgrimmar all night
Waist-deep in thought because
When I think of you I don't feel so alone
I don't feel so alone
I don't feel so alone

As many times as I blink
I'll think of you tonight
I'll think of you tonight

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll get to raid and feel alive again
And I'll forget the world that I knew
But I swear I won't forget you
Oh, if my voice could reach
Back through the past
I'd whisper in your ear
Oh guildies, I wish you were here

/end sappy song :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Because I know I have a wide variety of readers, I wanted to toss this out there:

My guild is recruiting.
(Edit: we filled :) ty for the interest, and please feel free to drop us an application if you think you'd be a good fit for us anyway. We're always on the lookout for exceptional apps!)

I feel bad having to say that, because that means my guild even has open slots. Whenever one of our raiders has to leave or quite the game or drop to casual, it makes me sad. Vortex is a pretty tight-knit guild, so loosing any of our raiders is both a personal loss and a hit to our relatively tiny raid roster.

It happens, though, and we must move on, and make room to forge new memories with new raiders.
  • 1 healer, preferably a shaman or a paladin. (EDIT: filled... with another durid!)
  • 1 Unholy DK with a blood tank offspec. (EDIT: filled)
  • 1 ranged DPS. (EDIT: filled)
I've rambled on about my guild before, so long-time readers probably already know quite a bit about the wacky craziness that is Vortex, but I'll post a few links to specific posts if you want to get a better feel for what the guild is like: A 10-Strict Guild, Wall Feasts, Raiding at the End of an Expansion, Mages vs Warlocks, and Orcish Stick Figures.

If you think you can survive and even thrive in our insanity, we are currently accepting applications for the above positions. Guild Website is here :)

Various Updates

So, I've gone through and did some updates to a couple mod posts:
I added a few to the power auras post and updated some of the screenshots. My raiding auras for specific boss abilities include a few I found useful in current Cataclysm raids, like Parasitic Infection. Following in Beru's footsteps, I also made a Chef's Hat aura because, well, raiding with a chef's hat on is bad. >_>


In other news, I got Tyrande's Plushie, and I looooove it. It was the 123 total NE artifact I created... that's a lot of surveying, but oh so worth it.

I haven't surveyed since then.


In terms of spec stuff, I have been following my combat log parses for a month or so now, and determined that efflorescence really makes me cry. The amount of healing it does, especially in a 10-man where we still have to spread out fairly often, is too weak compared to other talents I could spend points in.

So I dumped it back to 1/3 points and stuck the other two points in Genesis. Mmmm Genesis.


This was in regards to the last boss of Stonecore wiping out 3 people at once with a rock.

Some PuGs have made me whimper, others have made me laugh until my sides were splitting. It is comments like that that get me to join the dungeon finder each day when my guildies aren't always available.

Of course, there are still interesting things I start to notice after running an instance for the ten zillionth time.

Like this.

My husband pointed this one out to me during a half-pug daily heroic. It has resulted in me spending a lot of time staring at the instances now rather than at the party's health bars, in search of more interesting faces in the walls and floor... no one has died from it. Yet. :D

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Surprises from the Sky

I have a bad habit of procrastinating more and more, the longer I am away from something. I keep telling myself "I need to take the time to write a post" and "there's nothing really keeping me from writing another post" and yet... days kept slipping by. I even had ideas, I just didn't seem to be able to get up the willpower to drop my other distractions and actually sign into blogger to share them.

Bad Kae.

Well, this morning I got the proverbial kick-start, in the form of an unguilded death knight dropping down on my head in the far corner of the world.

"Kae! :D "

I was out in Silithus at the time, having just finished collecting a survey node out in those horrible ruins full of poor, tormented druid NPCs, during my seemingly never-ending quest to make Tyrande's doll. I tilt my head slightly at the new arrival, mousing over her (female character), guessing that she must be one of my guildies' alts. Especially when she announces she has gifts for me. I have guildies drop me basilisk livers and potions at unexpected times. And an unguilded alt may just be passing me herbs or something to dump in the guild bank. All reasonable guesses, right?

I was wrong in my guess. He was Sakaki of Azgalor, author of Tree Sproutling, come along with some shiny gifts just because he felt like saying hi to me.

Stalker. *heart*

This was probably the best possible incentive to get me to sign into blogger and make a post. Thank you, Sakaki, for the minipet, for the dress, and for the motivation, even if it was unintentional! Was great to meet you :D

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Healing Chimaeron: Part 2

So after a lot of really good discussion on this topic and another kill of Chimaeron, I felt it a good idea to follow up on Monday's post with more consideration of healing this particular boss fight.

What I find most fascinating is the different ways druids have found to handle the situation:
  • a) Lifebloom on tanks per normal, and spot-healing with regrowth/nourish and rejuv+swiftmend for the Low Health debuff.
  • b) Lifebloom on tanks per normal, and spot-healing with HT.
  • c) Rolling 3-4 lifeblooms in a group with a nourish rotation.
Each method has its merits, though I find I prefer method C for its lighter mana cost.

2 Holy Priests + Druid?
I have now done the fight with a priest/pally/druid team and with a 2priest/1druid team. I found the paladins best for tank healing of the three classes: with two priests, we decided to see if I (druid) could focus on the tanks while rolling a 3rd LB on myself, but there were unfortunate occasions when a double-strike came too soon after a massacre and I couldn't get the tank's health high enough. My suggestion for mitigating that comes down to that tank's communication: if they know it's coming soon and don't think they'll survive, calling out for cooldowns (NS+HT, or other healers' help) could aid in preventing the necessity of a battle res. It's hard to call, though. We had this tank-gib happen twice out of 7 attempts; one of those times was on our successful kill attempt, where a battle-res brought the tank back up in time to get back in there and continue. So, it is manageable, but unpleasant compared to a more dedicated tank healer. The priest in the tank-party was helping where she could, but she also needed to prioritize clearing the low-health warnings from those not covered by the lifeblooms.

Alternatively, the druid could focus purely on tank healing, and the priest in that party will cover the rest. Tossing out the third stack of lifebloom gives the druid more time to cast bigger heals on the MT without needing to restart their refresh cycle of nourish casts. Might try that out next week, if we have the same healer composition!

2 Druids + Priest?
Jen of Stories of WoW asked me (and anyone else willing to ponder on it) for suggestions on how to heal this fight with two druids + priest. I haven't raided with a second resto druid yet this expansion, as our moonkin is now dual-specced as a tank, but I think having one of those two druids using the lifebloom healing rotation (3-4 lifeblooms rolling) and the other focused purely on tank healing could make this work. The priest would probably need to cover PoH on both groups during the fued/massacre to help the druids out, though.

I would probably set it up like this:
  • Druid 1: LB both tanks (2 targets), alternating with other tank-specific heals. Purely a tank-healer.
  • Druid 2: LB on both resto druids and their 5th party member (3 targets), using the 3-stack healing rotation I posted earlier this week. Use the 4th block of the cycle to throw regrowth/4th LB/swiftmend to tanks: swiftmend should be easy if the first druid is keeping up rejuv/regrowth on the tanks.
  • Priest handling the other party on their own, and aiding the tank party as necessary during fued.

Thoughts? Discuss :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Healing Chimaeron

Most of the bosses I've faced so far have been dealt with in a similar fashion for me:
  1. Keep lifebloom on a tank.
    Pop ToL if I want to roll lifebloom on two tanks. Refresh it with nourish or, if necessary, HT. I'm pretty comfortable with rolling two lifeblooms, though sometimes fumble them from range or spell pushback.
  2. Rejuv and swiftmend on raid damage
    ....trying to place the green puddles appropriately for maximum healing effect. Nourish, lifeblooms, and NS+HT if necessary and the tank doesn't need it more. Pop ToL if I need to spam lifebloom across the entire raid.
  3. OoC procs for regrowth or HT.
    As the most expensive heals, why not make them free?
  4. Tranquility!
    ...if the raid is spiraling the drain, and WG if it's less dire.
Generally speaking, it's worked, if a bit underwhelming on the mana management when I need to raid heal. THIS DID NOT WORK FOR CHIMAERON.

Chimaeron took my healing methods and said, "Okay, let's see how much I can screw with you. RAID HEALING, GO!"

I panicked. An entire raid constantly near death is a healer's nightmare to begin with, but the concept of just keeping everyone afloat above 10k health is a manageable one after you spend some time seeing everyone constantly drop to 1 hp and not die, due to Finkle's Mixture. You adapt; you say, "okay, as long as I keep you above 10k hp, you'll all live." I added a little Grid debuff warning for the Low Health debuff.

But I still was panicked.

This was not the standard healer panic of seeing lots of low health bars... no, this was the panic of facing a fight I didn't think I could, in current druid mechanics, handle. The raid damage was too high, and my HoTs weren't ticking fast enough to top people past 10k before the next health-dropping ability splatted them to the stone floor. And in my attempts to make it work, I was going OoM by 90% boss health.

I was upset. I was frustrated. And then my raid leader chucked me in a vent channel with the other healers and said "make it work."

Silence. My frustration boiling over, I waited for the others to speak first. Was this boss even possible for us right now? I wasn't sure. I didn't know if the others could handle the raid healing, and I knew that I alone couldn't handle the tanks.

You know what?

We made it work.

Props to Togopan (holy priest) and Draukadin (holy pally): I was the third wheel in that fight.

We grouped all of the ranged DPS in one party with the holy priest, who was chain-spamming Prayer of Healing in all its party-only glory (edit: yes, it can be cast on other parties, but we had him focus on only one party). He set up a lightwell in melee range. We put the other two healers (me, holy pally) with the melee (one cat) and the tanks in the other group: two healers dedicated to this group. And while Draukadin used Beacon and Protector of the Innocent and Flash of Light and Holy Radiance and all those wonderful paladin spells, and while the two tanks taunted the boss back and forth during the double-strike to keep from being sliced in half by Chimaeron's claws, I built a healing rotation and stuck to it.

A healing rotation.

Healing Rotation: Backstory

To truly appreciate my situation, you have to understand something about healing rotations. I was once told, back in Wrath, that I was a horrible player because I didn't use a healing rotation. This was coming from a sub-50 alt whose main was a caster DPS class, of course: a player whose entire world is focused on damaging a mob, not healing someone. Not triage. The concept of not using a casting rotation was a foreign, evil, wrong, bad, ludicrous idea to him. Of course, him saying I was bad because I didn't use a healing rotation to triage my raids became a huge running joke in my guild. Me with my Bane of the Fallen King title, world-2nd 10-strict guild to get it, was bad because I don't use healing rotations.

Healing rotations don't work, generally speaking. Healing is a more fluid creature, reactive to the health pools, aggro, gear, and decisions of the raiders around you as the combat situation shifts, new creatures coming in, walls of fire charring people, aggro being stolen or swapped, debuffs being gained, and so on. Healing is a triage situation: who is taking the most damage, and is more important to the overall survival of the raid? What spell is best for the situation: how fast are they dieing, is the mana use worth the cost or is it sustainable, will it leave me unable to save someone more important later? Rotations were not for such dynamic situations. Rotations were for healers who weren't capable of quick thinking, healers who couldn't do their jobs.

So, healing rotations were a joke. Something we laughed at.

The irony of the situation struck me hard last night, as I started testing how many lifeblooms I could roll and what I could fit into the refresh cycle during a break in the raid.

The Rotation

With party 1 covered by the priest, the paladin self-sufficient with his own heals and the tanks half-covered by the paladin as well, that left me 2 people I absolutely had to keep up, and then whatever else I could throw at the tanks. Okay, I know I can roll 2 lifeblooms: why not a third, if that's all I'm doing?

Shortly after the pull, I popped Tree of Life and got my lifeblooms rolling: four to start, with a focus on keeping three main ones up. If the fourth dropped, I didn't sweat it. I told the paladin which of the tanks I was keeping a constant lifebloom on, and that's all that really mattered. Lifeblooms on me, tank1, and melee cat. These are the three I would try to keep up come hell or high water. While ToL was still active, I popped lifeblooms on tank2 and anyone else I could reach, and started my nourish rotation. I went straight down the last three players of my grid frames because our alphabetical arrangement made it pretty easy.
  1. Nourish self.
  2. Nourish tank1.
  3. Nourish melee cat.
  4. Cast something shorter than nourish/HT: regrowth, or instant casts. WG, or lifebloom on tank 2, or regrowth on a tank, or on someone who had lingered with Low Health for too long. I could, if I was tight in my GCDs, cast two insta-casts (rejuv + swiftmend, or two LBs) before needing to refresh the cycle, but this was risky.
  5. Rinse, repeat.
With this, I could have kept 4 full stacks of lifebloom rolling by using LB on tank 2 and nourishes on the other three, and at times I did have this going. But I appreciated the flexibility of the fourth block of my rotation to sometimes cast regrowth during an OoC proc, or use WG, or swiftmend, and letting the 4th lifebloom bloom itself on tank2 was often beneficial.

On the plus side, I had absolutely no mana issues: nourish and lifebloom are our cheapest heals. It was only when I fumbled the stacks and lost one (or all) and I had to use the more expensive heals instead until ToL came off of cooldown and I could restart my lifebloom stacks that I then had any sort of mana problems. In future attempts, I will be looking to cast my innervate on the poor OoM holy pally instead.

Beyond my Heals

Due to the cast-heavy and time-strict nature of balancing 3-4 lifebloom stacks, it was beneficial that I was chosen to be the stack target for Fued. They stuck a big orange circle on my head and I stood near melee with the lightwell and it wasn't until about 20% boss health that I moved even an inch from that spot. Everyone would periodically move over and hang out and give me hugs while spamming their own survival/healing cooldowns (feral's tranquility, moonkin's tranquility, etc etc) and I kept chugging along with my healing rotation. They'd flee as the bot came back online and massacre was cast and poisons would start flinging around, and I was still standing there, trucking along through my rotation.

And then at 22% or so: I pop ToL again. I spam lifeblooms across the whole raid afresh, and tranquility, and get everyone as high as I possibly can because come the 20% mark, there's no more healing.

I look up. I see the boss before me, the Mortality debuff bright near my minimap, and I gulp. "Well, here goes," I say to myself, and start DPSing. I smile to myself that I have no DPS rotation. I spam wrath, and try to keep moonfire and insect swarm on the boss, while everyone in ventrilo is going wild with trying to survive as long as they can and DPS, and when it's finally my turn, I'm bearform and using frenzied regen and barkskin in vain hope of surviving more than a couple seconds, strafing away to keep my furry tail from his claws, even as I'm tugged across the room by a priest's lifegrip and Chimaeron swipes out and double-strikes my face.

An interesting fight. One that challenged me, as a healer, in brand new ways. While I would hate having a "healing rotation" as strict as that become the norm, it was a challenge that I enjoyed, simply for its deviance from the norm. I know better, now, my limits on how many lifeblooms I can roll at my current haste level.

See you next week, Chimaeron. I won't be panicking this time.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Two Weeks of Crazy

Incoming long ramble. It's been a while since I've posted, so I'm giving fair warning :)

I have greatly enjoyed my resto druid in Cataclysm. She has her strengths and weaknesses, as I have found, and they've led me to feeling rather happy with her as she provides a challenge for me. The weaknesses, of course, provide some entertaining lessons of their own.

CC, lol.
Healers have very low if any +hit. Avoid promising any CC to the party if you value your health bar. If you absolutely MUST use CC (because of running with a group of, oh, 3 warriors and a deathknight) then get your hots rolling on the tank before attempting to root/hibernate/cyclone/whatever! Or the tank will keel over dead because you were too busy running around screaming with your CC target chomping on your tail.

So, avoid being assigned CC as a healer. Of course, you can still use CC if you have the mana and time to spare... I find a quick cyclone can tie up a wildly swinging melee mob and give the tank's health bar a breather while DPS focus-fire down another mob.

Ultimately, though, my most-used CC has been Nature's Grasp. I have it bound to a mouse button in a lovely little barkskin+grasp macro that pops me 3 chances to root an offending melee mob that is trying to nom my furry hide. Yes, tanks should be rescueing their healer, or even a friendly helpful DPS with their own CC, but sometimes they're busy or distracted or dead or have things on cooldown because you know what? Heroics are hard. Or, sometimes, they're just blind idiots. Regardless, it's a CC I've found I want very quick access to.

AoE Healing? no longer our forte. Wild Growth has a monstrous cooldown, and Tranquility's is even longer. Swiftmend has a cooldown for its use and subsequent green puddle of aoe healing, but the puddle itself is insufficient for healing more than a sliver of health at current gear levels.

...and ToL
Treeform has become my "OMG RAID HEALS NAO" cooldown as I then spread lifebloom across the raid like a rampant infestation of kudzu. If I need to pop treeform to begin rolling lifebloom on two tanks, I try to time it to coincide with an early point of a boss fight where I can make use of that extra lifebloom love I can share with the raid. Like with the Ascendant Council when Fluvi-whasisface starts novaing and for some reason beyond my comprehension we don't interrupt it immediately. I should probably go look up why we don't immediately interrupt the first cast, but I've been busy so I'll just type out here a note to myself to go look at it later. ;)

I do enjoy that we can roll lifebloom on multiple targets after ToL ends, by refreshing one or another with HT/Nourish. What I do not like is when my nourish cast, in an attempt to refresh it on said tank, is interrupted or fails due to the tank running out of range, or due to some giant monster leaping through the air and landing on my head, only to send me flying across the room as though I were a gnome to be punted. I think that this particular circumstance is a racial punishment brought down by the evil gnome overlords in vengeance against tauren kind.

Mana mana. Doo doo, de doo doo. Yes, mana is an issue, and as Scythe so adequately described it to me, healer mana has become the raid's built-in enrage timer. If the tank pulls while I'm drinking back at the last trash pack, I usually let them die. If I go completely OOM, I have been known to run around bandaging players.

If anyone is taking unnecessary damage, I think it's okay to let them die or yell at them to pop cooldowns, healthstones, potions, bandages, etc. Or to, I dunno, GET OUT OF THE FIRE. Or maybe move when a debuff says you should move or you'll die horribly: is red light, green light really that difficult of a game?? Or when there's a flayer sitting there clawing wildly at the air and people think he's gonna give them a nice facial rather than attempt to julienne their bodies into dinner. Even tanks can move out of that, you know.

Pug Tank Egos.
....ugh. Okay, here's the scenario: guild group of DPS + healer, all with Bane of the Fallen King titles, gets a pug tank. My guildies know to CC when given a mark or directions, but this particular tank seems to think he can take everything. Mind, we're all in varying levels of blues as is the tank, and this is Heroic Grim Batol with massive packs of easily CCable targets, and have the CC available to use. So he runs in, nearly dies on the first few pulls, bitches about "Don't be Bad" when he looses aggro on things because he's got terrible threat (ahem, when healer gets aggro on things), and I sit down to drink after a pull. I say, "mana." He crosses the bridge and pulls one of the hardest roaming trash packs in the first hallway while I'm drinking down the hall at half mana.

You can imagine where this leads. I scurry across with my half mana and quickly try to save him with my limited healing cooldowns and getting hots rolling on him, while he's not using a single one of his tank cooldowns, and then, predictably, he dies from massive amounts of raw damage. He sighs and the group wipes and we start running back, DPSers beginning to suggest maybe we should CC something? His response: "Heal more. Stop being bad."

Me: "O_o're joking, right?"
Him: "Not really."

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I growl, literally, and initiate a vote-kick on the tank.

Unfortunately, the vote-kick tool may have somehow bugged, as it didn't give my fellow guidlies a chance to vote before it "failed" and went away. We're all in vent together at the time, and I simply said, "I am not putting up with this tank," and I left the party. I suggested they leave, too. We could find another tank. In fact, one of our guild tanks offered then to fill in for us.

Meanwhile, back in the party (I am hearing this over vent), the dpsers told the tank he shouldn't be pissing off his healers. His response, as I hear, was that "You guys can leave too, I don't care. I'm not the one with the 40-minute queue." Obviously, he missed the fact that they were queuing WITH the healer, who had a maybe 3-minute queue. Oblivious ego tank is oblivious. The DPS then vote-kick the offending tank from the party; this time it is able to actually be voted upon, and the tank is swiftly removed from the instance with a massive, ethereal boot.

Initiate re-invite of the seething Kaelynn and a helpful guild tank, we warp back into the instance, and clear the entire place without any problems. Of course, we all blacklisted the first tank to our ignore lists.

Who would've thought I had an inner paladin? RIGHTEOUS FURY!

Holidays with a Puppy
Travel/guests explosion. This was the first long-distance overnight trip with River, who at almost 6 months old, is a 60-lb puppy who can't sit still for long in the car. She tried sleeping in my lap during a 3-hour drive and that didn't work; she had to settle for just resting her head in my lap while I sang along to Glee soundtracks.

Both sides of my family have dogs of their own: dogs that don't quite know how to wrestle and play with other dogs. These dogs are people-only dogs that tolerate the presence of other canines as long as they leave each other alone.

River is not like that.

River is a puppy who thinks that every dog she meets will want to play with her, unless they're just old and grumpy. Ironically, the one dog we found she got along best with is a tiny little dachsund/chihuahua mix who is 14 years old and nearly blind: she just growled at our massive puppy and River backed off.

The others, sadly, mistook River's attempts at play as attacks. The youngest had been attacked by another dog before, so she freaked out every time River made a play-lunge at her, though to her credit she did TRY to play with River. She even play-bowed and brought toys over to my puppy. It was torture to River that every time she tried to play back, the other dog would then freak and snarl and turn it into a real fight. The other dogs just had no interest in playing chase or tug-of-war or wrestling, and would straight-out snarl and try to fight, misinterpreting River's overtures of play.

It was a learning experience for me, and for River. All of the dogs River has met prior to the family's are dogs that know how to play with other dogs. They wrestle and bite at each other in play, and chase and tumble and run into each other. Whether bigger than her or tiny, none have ever gotten hurt. It is play. But some dogs just haven't been socialized to be able to play with other dogs. I am glad I have been able to socialize River with other dogs, that she knows how to play with them: but I am going to have to teach her that not all dogs are willing to play with her.

Aside, she did get photos with Santa.

Shortly after the whole hectic holiday travel (in driving snow and ice, no less) I had to take River to get fixed. This means: cone of shame.

Contrary to most dogs, however, River seems oblivious to the cone of shame. Like, completely oblivious, to the point that she's nearly taken peoples' faces off while romping past them. It is merely a diversion that makes loud noises when she catches it on walls, doors, cabinet handles, corners, bowls, toys, sticks, bushes, the floor, the crate, people, etc. Something that makes chewing on her bone more of an interesting challenge. Something that, in itself, is a challenge to chew on. And, occasionally, an annoyance that she can't lick at her healing stitches.

Yes, I will get pictures up. I promise.

Now, the healing wound also requires that we try to keep her calm and docile, and not go up and down stairs, and be restrained by a leash while doing her business to keep her from tearing around the yard. Leash-walking a half-grown malamute who's been cooped up in "recovery" is an feat in itself, nevermind when it's done on a steep slope covered in snow and ice. It also doesn't prevent her from going absolutely bonkers when she's back inside, much to the amusement of the three guests we had over New Year's weekend (hi, Jae and Lundrac!)

New Years'
Lego Harry Potter, Rock Band, geeky movies like Dorkness Rising and Avatar, karate training (perks to having a 3rd degree blackbelt visit for a few days), and a giggly Kae after the others found she didn't mind the taste of rum + coke, provided it was properly diluted (I usually despise the taste of alcohol). All while wrangling a boisterous puppy with a massive cone around her collar who wasn't technically allowed to run and jump and romp and zip circles around the TV room, but did anyway.

I am still recovering from the past few weeks. I would like a day to just hibernate. But, alas, the "work" monster returned so I'll have to wait until Friday for that :)