Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Pull

Since I PuG more often then not these days, I find I get a lot of tells requesting my opening shot rotation.

Here it is:

Misdirect -> Serpent Sting with Rapid Fire/Call of the Wild Macro and Kill Command-> Chimera Shot -> Aimed Shot ->
->Misdirect -> Chimera Shot -> Aimed Shot and Kill Command -> Steady -> Steady -> etc. until Rapid Fire is done, then pop it again.

This is a massive amount of damage within the first 15 seconds or so, particularly with any number of trinket, pet abilities, and set bonus procs.

However, the one single greatest annoyance I have after listing all this out is when they ask afterward, "Why Misdirect?" And I never fail to answer, "Because there is absolutely no reason not to."

I understand that in order to remain competitive in the Big Name Guilds you want to be smart about your cooldown usage. It's a cutthroat DPS race on the meters out there, and the last thing you want to do is waste some potential-damage GCDs on a support spell. But this is not the time to be stingy about your GCD - this is the pull. The raid is setting up positions, tanks are moving the boss, most debuffs are still being applied. Right now, hunters OWN the damage, and with that comes some acceptance of sacrifice for the greater good. And really, with the amount of damage that you can do in the three seconds following that second Misdirect, it is more like the Best Possible Good You Could Ever Do.

So, no, don't waste a GCD on a Misdirect when the tank is so far above everyone else you can see his pink panties, but do be smart about the support spells you own. It is part of the class and expected of you to use it with the same intelligence that determines your cooldown rotation. As Ms. Martha would say, "It's a Good Thing."

Friday, March 26, 2010

On Healing

I suck at it.

Really, that's all I have to say.

Okay, okay, my total experiences thus far have included one Setthek Halls run and two Utgaurd Keeps. But, really, I'm terrible at keeping everyone up during a boss fight. Usually at least one DPS dies, and I'm unsure of how to improve myself.

My greatest annoyance so far is the fact that I essentially need two different spellbars/UI set ups in order to be an effective healer and still have the same configuration for my usual DPS-mode. I need to be able to see everything that pertains to me in the group as a healer, but I could care less as a DPS. It rather sucks. I also need to find a listing for all those nifty mouse-over macros and start using them - I'm sure that would help as well.

I don't think healing is good for my anger-management issues regarding DPS doing what they should, either. Just the other night, I ran a GDKP ToC25 to satisfy the weekly raid, and one roughly-equally geared hunter out-DPS'd me by a good amount on most fights. Why? Because he wasn't killing the adds. And now that I'm a healer and totally dependent on the DPS to take care of things like that, I can't see this boding well for the growing twitch in my eye.

I'll keep at it though. Maybe it'll grow on me.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fuck Zod's

Despite not personally killing the Lich King just yet, we plowed ahead on ICC10 Hard Modes, and Lady Deathwhisper decided to reward me for it. It feels sooooo good using a bow again, and I doubt I'll be replacing it any time soon.

It does seem that most of my posts lately have just been loot updates, but I'm sorry to say I haven't been playing very much to warrant a post! I've been tinkering on my baby boomkin - even practicing *gasp* healing! - but otherwise my RL has been keeping me very busy.

Friday, March 12, 2010


It only cost me 19,000g.

Cons: Every single time the trinket procs, I receive notification that I am now Patron Negathle instead of Matron Negathle. This gets extremely tiring very quickly.

You can't mount when it is procced.

Every race is male, evidently.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Dilemma

When I discovered that one of the officers of my Turalyon guild had returned to server, I was intrigued. His health hadn't been doing well, and despite his less than, how shall we say, amicable attitude, I was genuinely concerned for his well-being. After chatting for a bit, he suggested I apply to the guild that had replaced and surpassed our guild. After all, it had absorbed several other guildees, and he could vouch for me. I provided the usual excuses (costs, time, etc), but I did app out of morbid curiosity. Ah, who am I kidding. I want to fucking raid again. Really RAID. At least, I think I do.

Initially, my app was put on hold, and I admit I breathed a sigh of relief. Half of me has really been enjoying having four evenings off to get things done around the house, watching a movie with the Boy, spending time in the outside world. I was okay with my app being backlogged and even forgotten. A few days latter, however, I received notice that they would be interested in trying me. So much for that plan.

Half of me thinks this is the jump start I need to enjoy the game to the end. Half of me thinks I should just let it go and move on with my life. I just got accepted to grad school at the University of Virginia. I have a wedding coming up in July. I have local friends OUTSIDE THE GAME *gasp*. I think I'm going to say no. I really don't want to say no.

Being an adult sucks.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On Writing

I greatly dislike how lax I have become with the Butterfly, probably as much as I dislike how little the game means to me right now. I look back at my archive of posts, startled at how much content I was able to pump out to keep the masses entertained, even if the posts were frivolous. I made thirty-five posts in October of 2008; I'm lucky if I can squeeze out ten per month now. I love writing, but it fairly obvious my inspiration is running dry. After all, back in the day there were rants about spec inequalities or cheering on about new content to come to fill up the blogosphere. Today, there's just not much.

I have stories. Oh, do I have stories. Wonderful RP adventures regarding Negathle and her sisters, their history, their loves. But fiction cannot be forced, at least not in my case. It has to stew. It has to cook over time and absorb the aromas of details. Inspiration is a melting point - the heat builds up until the story suddenly flows. How many plots and ideas have I typed away on paper, only to be stored away in some folder, waiting for the melting point to be reached, if it ever does.

Not all stores are fiction either, but I am coming to find that most stories now are mostly laments than narratives. I could tell you how much I feel my guild as fallen, that the raiders of today are nothing like the raiders of yesteryear. Loot falls into their lap now. Just the other day one was day dreaming about a hypothetical fight that requires four tanks, the DPS and healers split up into separate duties and jobs. "That sounds just like... Al'ar," I said in gchat and was promptly ignored. Rants come easy to me know, and I don't like it. This is the Angry Butterfly, but that anger is turning more into depression, and the Depressed Butterfly just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Of course, there is always news, but news for a particular blog has to be news that is exciting to that blog, and not much news is very interesting to me anymore. I still read MMOChamp daily, but I admit that's all I have interest in, besides what filters though the blogosphere. I don't even have Warcraft fanned on Facebook. Why? Because it's simply too big, too popular. Thousands of bloggers and forums out there have already nitpicked the new information to death. My thoughts/concerns/rants are overlapping, and my apathy means I simply don't investigate as much as I used to. Fuck, how do you instigate hard/heroic modes in ICC again? What are the two BiS trinkets now? How is focus not like energy?

When things get too big and too popular, they lose their appeal. When everyone knows what you are saying when you announce "I finally dinged 80 on my Boomkin, and I'm starting to farm heroics" you are no longer a member of an exclusive club. It used to be fun to find someone else who played and trade server names and play styles - a secret handshake, if you will. But just the other day I met a lovely lady through a Meetup group who admitted to me (and the rest of the group) her great nerdy hobby is leveling her hunter. What are the odds? Well, significantly greater than it was two years ago. I wasn't particularly surprised (though I wondered why she directed the confession to me - had I let some piece of WoW jargon slip in conversation without even noting? I really do wonder how much I do this...) - but how do you write for a generation of gamers who probably has little to no appreciation for the times when specs were not equal, purple was not the color of a common raider, and knowing how to manage a shot rotation was crucial?

I suppose that's why I've always appreciated Pike's writing. She admitted coming up with topics was never easy, but she always pulled through, even if it was posting about something as common as a bank alt. She's taking time off from the game to let her creativity blossom elsewhere, but I am grateful the WoW community had the opportunity to be the recipient of her arts. I always wished I could satisfy the readers as well as she did, but I suppose, what with necessity being the mother of invention and all that, having a greater reader base had a hand in inspiration for posts. Obviously the Butterfly is no where as popular as Aspect of the Hare, so I never felt the obligation of filler posts. If I made any attempts at such, I suppose I felt that I was trying too hard to be bigger than I am.

Additionally, there is always the fear factor: The realization of exactly how few (or thousands of) readers you have. Open question posts have the merit of bringing out your readers, but they also have the curse of showing you that they might not exist in the numbers you were hoping for. I made a modest profit on the gambles I took by such posts, and I was quite satisfied with the number of responses they generated. However, I can imagine being equally as terrified by the thought of those posts generating dozens of responses. Having a large reader base brings about so many more obligations, and while I might have been able to handle it when my love for the game was still burning hot, I highly doubt I could meet the demands with any enthusiasm now. I feel guilty for only posting once this month for the small corner of the internet that enjoys(?) my writing - imagine my inner turmoil if the Butterfly had ever been huge.

Yet it is not these sort of posts - the reflective, pensive type - that gain the numbers. Blog hits are totally dependent on the guides. I've made a good solid dozen posts on loot, how-to's, and tips that have made circles around the WoW community, and I've very satisfied with them and the hits they've brought me, yet I'd be a fool to think they made any one stay around. Hopes are best not built around huge spikes made by loot lists. Guides are nice advertisements for the quality of the blog, and they are a ton of fun to do, but they are also deathly boring. Blogs that are solely comprised of guides rarely do well. Blogs need meat for readers to chew on, not simply snacks that readers can grab on the go. Opinions, analysis, open threads, and the occasional random off-topics keep the readers interested and wanting more.

I suppose it is a little presumptuous of me to write about what makes a successful blog work when I have little to show for myself. I can't say I haven't learned a lot by writing and reading WoW blogs over the last two years though, and hopefully these insights may be useful for some budding young bloggers out there. Just call me the Stephen King of WoW Blogs. Rawr!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Connections and Memories

I've always thought it interesting the way we forge connections in this game. I mentioned last week about a friend leaving WoW. I have no memory of our first meeting beyond, undoubtedly, our first raid together, in which I was terrified about proving myself, and in subsequent years he teased me about pulling aggro on Hydross, but I have no memories of the first time we grew close as friends. I can't believe this isn't normal, though. After all, how many close friends IRL do you recall your first meeting?

However, I do have tons of memories of people I played the game with and since forgotten details about beyond the gratitude I felt for their presence. Soon after we started playing, the Boy and I met another couple that played together, and we formed a friendship with them as we leveled up. They transferred servers one day, and while I tried to keep in touch with them, it eventually fell through. Yet I'll always remember them as our first WoW friends and the ones that showed me that the people on MMOs weren't composed of creepy assholes.

Bad memories have a way of fading, I'm happy to say, but they do exist. I recall the first time I was truly hurt by someone. She had issues herself, and I really can't blame her for them or the troubles that affected her life, but I certainly disliked how she handled our friendship. Back then, my entire world revolved around my guild. I hated PuGing, I saw other guilds as rivals, and to leave my guild meant entering the big, scary world (of Warcraft) alone and friendless. Ignorant and short-sighted? Oh, just a little, and it took me a bit to grow beyond that mindset. The player that hurt me was in our guild, had good relations with our guildees (until she dabbled too far with some of them), then she /gquit one day. I wasn't hurt that she left the guild as much as she never said goodbye to me. She knew I didn't associate with people outside the guild unless I knew them from other servers, and that I didn't like her leaving the guild, but I had accepted it. But not saying good-bye was like a punch in the stomach. Didn't she value our friendship? I never talked with her, nor her with me, again.

To say that I think it's stupid that people have shed tears over this game, myself included, would be a horrible lie. I think it's far from stupid that people are emotionally invested in the game and the people they connect with. I've cried multiple times - both in anger and in sorrow. I cried when Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix finally dropped in Karazhan, after dozens of weeks of running the instance, and the officer that had switched from his hunter to his pally and then back to hit hunter rolled against me for it and won. I cried when I accepted I could no longer raid with my guild, and cried a lot more the night I transferred off to a more progressive guild. I didn't want to lose those friendships I had forged, and the pain is even deeper now that I've come back only to find most of those friendships can never be reestablished. I'm a ghost in my own home.

I've learned so much about how we interact with each other in this game and found many things funny about it. Like how people are always eager to hear about gossip and the funny incidents that happen to you IRL, but shy away from making an investment into your personal self. The anonymity-power of the Internet doesn't stop just because they hear your voice over Vent. You will always be judged by your gear first and your actions second. Silly things that prevent any lasting relationships from forming, unless that rare someone takes the time and effort to look past them and reach out to you. That takes time, I believe, to become. I've certainly become more understanding and benevolent in my "old-age". I gave a random member of our Ulduar10 PuG 500g so he could get his Cold-Weather Flying and actually get inside the instance. Would I have done that four years ago? Probably not.

I found a good group to end my time on WoW with. We laugh, we tease, we work together to down bosses. I'm happy to raid with them, but they will never replace the years of friendships I've earned and lost over the course of my game play, and that's alright. I'm not looking for what I had, and in a sense, I rather envy my friend who left when he did have many of those friendships still lasting. Those connections existed for me, and that's all that matters. I pity anyone who plays this game and didn't find good people to friend and enjoy it with.