Are You a Lemming?

Lemmings are awfully cute aren’t they? Most people don’t even know what a lemming looks like, despite all the jokes that surround them. The following depiction is a much better portrayal of the common image associated with this particular cute furry little rodent.

The thing with lemmings however is that their so-called “mass suicide” urges actually have nothing to do with wired desires to solve over-population issues via self-sacrifice. The idea that a lemming jumps off a cliff because the lemming before him jumped off the cliff is falacious. Actual lemming population control involves mass migrations, and while it is true that a lot of lemmings perish in these phenomena, this is really due more to facts like small furry land-based rodents are not designed to cross big rivers, which is what many of them end up having to do in their search for new homes. A lemming doesn’t decide to behave as if he was an otter in a previous life because his fellow lemming claimed that it was the case. Unfortunately, this most basic of animal instincts sometimes holds more merit than human logic.
A major issue with many WoW players over the years is that many possess the tendency to jump on a bandwagon. Oftentimes, they don’t pause to ponder what is presented in front of them, but rather accepts and endorses it because it came from a fellow lemming. I’ve never understood why this was a beneficial behavior, especially when people are not cute little furry that are trying hard to survive. In the end however, things that people decide to do with themselves is their own business, and I figured that as long as they aren’t reaching out to pull others down with them, then it really doesn’t have anything to do with me.

Recently, I’ve started reading various blogs. This habit started with peeking into World of Matticus. Matticus was a name that I’ve only been vaguely aware of. I used to be vaguely aware of his site being a pretty big go-to place for WoW players and I had once followed a trail of links to PlusHeal.com, but have not really thought about him consciously until relatively recently.

A few months ago, a healer happened to mention Matticus in guild chat. He was met with severe denouncement of Matticus by another guild member who is no longer in our guild. The anti-Matticus individual described Matticus as “a complete idiot who doesn’t know the first thing about healing”, amongst other unpleasantries.

It was pretty clear that this individual doesn’t like Matticus, however these statements also made me quirk an eyebrow.  I didn’t know the first thing about Matticus. I wasn’t likely to play a healing class as my main ever again and thus it was likely that Matticus wouldn’t have anything to do with me. My guildmate is a lot more relevant in this sense. However, I found it hard to believe that a well-established and respected entity in the huge WoW community known especially for putting forth a place to go to for healing-oriented content would be mentally challenged and incapable of understanding the basics of what his establishments are founded on. Is it an act of disloyalty to one’s own guild members by questioning what they say about entities that one has never met?

I went out to World of Matticus, and began reading. I found the things Matticus wrote on the subject to be reasonable, well thought-out and in many cases tested thoroughly. I don’t know enough about healing so I hesitate to hail him as the All-Knowing One, but he certainly isn’t an idiot. At no point in time did I sense my mind being brainwashed and slowly taken ahold of a Cthuluoid creature.  Honestly, and although this is harsh, Matticus isn’t even the most charismatic and compelling writer that I have read. In essence, I could not believe that WoM is popular because Matticus possesses some degree of power to compel others to his will, which would be the only explanation of the popularity of his site if he was indeed a disreputable individual. My experience coming out of this is bafflement; how could anyone actually stand behind his own statement of something so ridiculous when evidence indicates that he is quite simply, wrong?

WoM made me curious about other individuals’ efforts in helping the WoW playerbase. I started to look through different blogs, but quickly became frustrated. I found myself looking at a plethora of what almost seem to feature as their primary objective the conscious efforts to derail other players that are searching for ways to better themselves at their classes.

There is nothing wrong with using one’s own blog to write about one’s experiences and thoughts. However, at least for me, it doesn’t seem right when a person asserts that his/her blog is a place to go for facts on specific information and then to use that space to assert points that are not backed up by poor logic or non-fabricated and/or selective irrelevant evidence. In the end however, what an individual choses to say is entirely his/her perogative, but I feel it is important that we as readers take at least a little time to ponder whether the advice being delivered to us is worthy of taking, or at the very least if it makes sense.

It is not a difficult thing to do to pause and think for a moment. However, it is a lot easier for someone to do this when he/she approaches a subject matter from a distance. Whether we are conscious of it or not, most WoW players tend to just accept what a friend says without pondering it. It is human nature and not something that will change on its own. We can change it on an individual level by stopping to think for a few seconds before accepting something. Although a few seconds seems trivial, in the scheme of fighting against what we are naturally compelled to do it is actually very significant. If more felt that undertaking this effort is worthwhile, perhaps the cliqueyness and senseless rivalries that plague many guilds and realms would be less pronounced.

I’d like to offer a few scenarios to ponder, however as thought experiments they are inherently flawed because it is difficult for anyone to project themselves completely into these proposed situations. Most reading this post do not know me very well if at all. You are approaching my points from a distance, but the natures of what I ask you to ponder are a lot closer.

Say that your best WoW friend told you that a five year old raiding guild on your server, <I Can Haz Bukkets>, has a loot officer who uses a ridiculously complex loot system in order to route the most desired items to himself and his fellow officers first. Say also that <I Can Haz Bukkets> in addition to its longevity also does not have much of a turnover rate. Given these points, do you question your best friend’s information, or do you go on believing that <I Can Haz Bukkets> is a vile place that exploits its raiders? This is a scenario set in the current WoW scene, i.e. it isn’t a vanilla scenario in which decent raiding guilds are rare.

Now, pretend that a WoW friend that you have not actually played with but have interacted with over a long period of time through out of game means, for instance blogs and forums, has a history of vehemently trashing people that you do not know. Say that one such target individual has been in his guild for all of his raiding career and is not an officer. On the other hand, your friend has been booted from three guilds within a one month span. Does your friend’s tendencies and status quo come to mind at all when you are reacting to his statements? Would you side with his assertions that said individual is a horrible and ridiculously selfish person because you do not know this person, while your friend is your friend?

Final thought experiment. Your good friend leaves her guild asserting that everyone in her guild hates her because the GM dislikes her and thus told everyone in the guild to dislike her. What would you believe in this situation?
Overall these questions are pretty vague as I did not detail hypothetical propensities of each involved party. I’m sure that everyone has experienced scenarios similar to the ones I described, and as such would have different characters to fit into those molds.

In the end, the trait that all of the scenarios share is the question of how much you would believe your WoW friend, and if there is anything worthwhile for you to extend the benefit of the doubt to someone you’ve never met, and most likely will never meet due to faction/realm differences.

Do you feel that even if you believe incorrectly, that it doesn’t matter at all because it’s the internet, and a game on the internet?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Tiger Can’t Change Its Stripes

Since there are tons of long posts out there regarding the Beast Mastery hunter pet changes in Cataclysm Beta Build 12942, I’m not going to another to the list. For easy reference, here they are, copied directly over from MMO-Champion.

Hunter (Forums / 3.3.5 Talent Calculator / Cataclysm Talent Calculator / Beta Skills/Talents)
Utility Abilities
(Pets with a – E are exotic pets tameable only by Beast Mastery Hunters)

Bloodlust / Heroism

  • Ancient Hysteria (Core Hound – E) – Increases melee, ranged, and spell casting speed by 30% for all party and raid members. Lasts 40 sec.
    Allies receiving this effect will become Sated and be unable to benefit from Bloodlust or Time Warp again for 10 min. / Instant, 6 min cooldown

Healing

  • Spirit Mend (Spirit Beast – E) – The Spirit Beast heals the currently friendly target for {1237.75+((RAP*0.35)*0.5)} plus an additional {475.97+((RAP*0.35)*0.335)} over 10 sec. / 25 yd range, Instant, 40 sec cooldown

Stat Boost (BoK)

  • Embrace of the Shale Spider – Fills all friendly party and raid members with the Shale Spider’s embrace, increasing Strength, Agility, Stamina, and Intellect by %. / Instant

Stamina Buff

Critical Strike Buff

  • Furious Howl (Wolf / Dog) – The wolf lets out a furious howl, increasing the critical strike chance of all party and raid members by 5%. / Instant, 45 sec cooldown
  • Terrifying Roar (Devilsaur – E) – The devilsaur lets out a terrifying roar, increasing the critical strike chance of all party and raid members by 5%. / Instant, 45 sec cooldown

Casting Speed Reduction

  • Lava Breath (Core Hound – E) – Your pet breathes a double gout of molten lava at the target, reducing the target’s casting speed by 25% for 10 sec. / 30 yd range, Instant, 8 sec cooldown (No longer deals damage)
  • Spore Cloud (Sporebat) – Dusts nearby enemies with spores, reducing all enemy targets within 6 yards casting speed by 25% for 9 sec. / 6 yd range, Instant, 12 sec cooldown

Attack Speed Reduction

  • Dust Cloud (Tallstrider) – Your tallstrider kicks up an obscuring cloud of dust, causing all enemies within 10 yards to have their melee and ranged attack speed reduced by 20% for 8 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 40 sec cooldown
  • Tailspin – Your fox twirls its tail around, kicking up an obscuring cloud of dust, causing all enemies within 10 yards to have their melee and ranged attack speed reduced by 20% for 8 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 40 sec cooldown

Movement Speed Reduction

  • Ankle Crack (Crocolisk) – Snap at the target’s feet, reducing movement speed by 50% for 6 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown (Replaces Bad Attitude)
  • Frost Breath (Chimaera – E) – Your pet simultaneously breathes frost and lightning at an enemy target, slowing the target for 5 sec. / 30 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown (No longer deals damage)
  • Time Warp (Warp Stalker) – Slows time around the enemy, reducing their movement speed by 50% for 6 sec. / 25 yd range, Instant, 15 sec cooldown

Healing Debuff

  • Monstrous Bite (Devilsaur – E) – Your devilsaur ferociously bites the enemy, reducing the effectiveness of any healing received by 25% for 8 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 8 sec cooldown

Root

  • Venom Web Spray (Silithid – E) – Sprays toxic webs at the target, preventing movement for 5 sec. / 30 yd range, Instant, 40 sec cooldown (Up from 4 sec, no longer deals damage)
  • Web (Spider) – Encases the target in sticky webs, preventing movement for 5 sec. / 30 yd range, Instant, 40 sec cooldown

Silence / Interrupt

  • Serenity Dust (Moth) – The moth’s wings produce a cloud of dust that interrupts the enemies spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school from being cast for 2 sec. / 25 yd range, Instant, 1 min cooldown

Armor Reduction (Sunder Armor)

  • Tear Armor (Raptor) – Tears at the enemies armor with the raptor’s talons, reducing it by 4%. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts 30 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 6 sec cooldown
  • Corrosive Spit (Serpent) – Spits poison at an enemy, corroding their armor, reducing it by 4%. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts 30 sec. / 30 yd range, Instant, 6 sec cooldown

Increased Bleed Damage

  • Gore (Boar) – Your boar gores the enemy, causing it to take 30% additional damage from bleed effects for 15 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown
  • Tendon Rip (Hyena) – Tears at an enemy’s legs, increasing damage taken from bleed effects by 30% for 15 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown

Increased Magic Damage

  • Fire Breath (Dragonhawk) – Breathes Fire on the target, increasing magic damage taken by 8% for 45 sec. / 40 yd range, Channeled, 30 sec cooldown
  • Lightning Breath (Wind Serpent) – Breathes lightning, increasing magic damage taken by 8% for 45 sec. / 40 yd range, Channeled, 30 sec cooldown

Increased Physical Damage

  • Acid Spit (Worm – E) – Your worm spits acid, causing the enemy target to take an increased 4% physical damage for 25 sec. / 20 Focus, 30 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown
  • Ravage (Ravager) – Violently attacks an enemy, causing the enemy target to take 4% increased physical damage for 25 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 15 sec cooldown

Stun

  • Sonic Blast – Emits a piercing shriek, stunning the target for 2 sec. / 20 yd range, Instant, 1 min cooldown (No longer deals damage)
  • Sting (Wasp) – Your wasp stings the target, stunning them for 2 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 45 sec cooldown

Physical Damage Reduction

  • Demoralizing Roar (Bear) – The bear roars, reducing the physical damage caused by all enemies within yards by 10% for 15 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown

Disarm

  • Clench (Scorpid) – The scorpid clenches the enemy’s weapon with its talons, and disarming their main hand and ranged weapons for 10 sec. / 5 yd range, Instant, 1 min cooldown

DPS Abilities

  • Bite – Bite the enemy, causing {187.74+((RAP*0.35)*0.40)} damage. / 25 Focus, 5 yd range, Instant, 3 sec cooldown
  • Claw – Claw the enemy, causing {187.74+((RAP*0.35)*0.40)} damage. / 25 Focus, 5 yd range, Instant, 3 sec cooldown
  • Smack – Smack the enemy, causing {187.74+((RAP*0.35)*0.40)} damage. / 25 Focus, 5 yd range, Instant, 3 sec cooldown
I wasn’t surprised by the comments following the post containing this information. A lot of happy hunters, and a lot of worries by other classes that their raid spots are in jeopardy. I can see where both of these parties are coming from, but at this point in time it just boils down to the two following points for me:
1. At this point, it’s really too early to freak out about much of anything. Even if these changes make it into Live, if they turn out to truly be too OP, Blizzard will do something about it. While Blizzard does balance chiefly around PvE, it also has balanced around PvP, which has caused shifts in PvE. No one is going to be perfectly happy with the way things will turn out since nothing will ever be perfect, to say nothing about the vastly different definitions of “perfect” amongst all WoW players. All of it will likely to be as game-wrecking as all of those “BIG GAME-WRECKING CHANGES” implemented in the past.
2. This is coming from me, a GM and RL of a semi-serious raiding guild, so people on extremes of the raiding spectrum may disagree. However, I would personally not include a hunter in my raid even if it could bring out all of those pets at the same time if it either: a) is prone to die within the first 30 seconds of an encounter starting or b) is an egotistical pompous freak. In more realistic terms, what I’m getting at is having formerly unique buffs available to more classes is a good thing. It actually helps raids move away from bringing raiders it does not wish to bring for whatever reason because of the buff they provide. If anything, I think it opens up more opportunities for individuals that have had to sit because he/she was not one of the individuals that bring a unique buff. Hardcore raiding guilds probably wouldn’t care as much about point b, but I suspect even the most progression-oriented individual has a limit in which they will not raid with someone unpleasant even if he/she is the very reincarnation of the greatest deity upon which the inspiration for his/her class was drawn.
Hopefully everyone will lighten up about this and many other things. In the end, the image at the top of this post is still a squirrel, even if it has weird colors and a freakish head that clearly doesn’t belong. It’s not going to suddenly be able to fly like an egret or swim like a dolphin.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On Mistakes

Last night was just a pretty typical raid night for us. As usual, there were many jokes about in-guild bromances, furry small animal pets and current events both in game and IRL.

We had a small hiccup occur while killing Heroic Blood Queen Lana’thel. One of our top ranged DPS got mind-controlled, and we had to kill him. This has never happened to this individual before; whether his bite target is another ranged DPS, a melee, a healer, or even one of the tanks (for achievement purposes), he’s always fulfilled his assignment without splashing Blood Bolt all over the raid. So, it was a fluke event, and ultimately wasn’t a problem.

No one likes making mistakes. I think that for many people, knowing that one made a mistake is pretty hard, but not as hard as admitting it in a public manner.

The aforementioned ranged DPS, after the kill, apologized in raid chat for messing up. There were no excuses following the “I’m sorry”, just a straight apology.

I thought this was very admirable. Thinking back, perhaps not many people saw it, since in between boss fights our raid chat tends to scroll pretty fast. Some people do not have microphones, but that doesn’t prevent them from participating in the conversations. The person of focus in this entry has a microphone and uses it regularly, however I can imagine that it might be hard to say rather than type the message.

I don’t understand why people get defensive about making mistakes in a raid environment, assuming that it’s their choice to be there. As a raid leader, I never enjoy telling someone that they did something wrong, and I’m betting that no one likes hearing that they did something wrong either. However, when it’s not a personal attack, does it just tend to be human nature to react to anything that isn’t positive as potentially offensive?

In the past, our guild has encountered individuals that would start making defensive statements on vent before anyone had said anything relating to them. Sometimes, the “errors” were not even their fault. However, individuals like that tend to not differentiate between reasonable and unreasonable fault association. This tends to cause an awkward situation to occur in which the majority starts to dislike such an individual, and then the guild officers need to make a decision about whether it’s worth the effort to continue to mollify the group, or to throw in the twoel and just cut the problematic individual loose. That is a major thing that I’ve been trying to figure out for a long time now. Perhaps I’ll find the answer that is right for my guild some day. I don’t mind playing it by feel for now; moles play it by feel and they’re cool creatures.

In the end, I think that one of the hardest things for a person to do is owning up to making a mistake. In a group activity, such as raiding, there’s always the dread of humiliation. I wonder if people ever think about what is more humiliating – to staunchly defend one’s wrong actions as correct in hopes others will adopt that view or to apologize for having made the mistake. The latter just seems so obviously more appealing.

To wrap things up, the individual I mentioned earlier will probably never see this post. However, to remind myself in the future if I ever look at this again, silly as this may be, that little action made me have a little more faith in humanity.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Your Mom is Restomental

This is my first entry. It is dedicated to Herbie, who has introduced the word “restomental” into my guild’s vocabulary.

In our recent 10-man kill of Heroic Lich King, Herbie ranked #144 as of that night (#152 now, which is when I took the screenshot) as a resto shaman.

For the grand number of ~700 HPS.

The irony is, Herbie is not a resto shaman.

Herbie is a long-time elemental shaman who has in the past played resto very occasionally as an offspec. Although he diligently collects the resto gear that would otherwise go to DE, these items just end up gathering dust in his bank. It isn’t so much that he won’t play resto, but rather we’ve always needed him as elemental and not so much as resto. So he’s pretty decked out now in elemental. I’m not sure what else to say to stress that Herbie is an elemental shaman.

While one could argue that a hybrid class can heal decently given that best in slot spell caster gear does contain stats that would help healing capacities, between that and lack of spec support it isn’t something that they can realistically sustain over a period of time.

We did not plan for Herbie to heal, and he wasn’t wearing a split of elemental and resto gear. I guess the guy was just so keen on helping out in the Frostmourne room (during which our pally was pretty much SoL) that he threw a few chain heals out!

On a slightly related note, I picked up a pretty whacked spec for that fight too, like I did for Illidan back in BC when our healing contingent was in a much worse shape. I didn’t end up losing anything, given that rage really isn’t a problem on a fight like Heroic Lich King and I could still apply the Thunderclap effect and improved Demoralizing.

It was fun, albeit hectic, to juggle all of my class’s abilities. The most normal thing I did was shifting between bear and cat to supply taunts during Soul Reaper and provide DPS assistance during val’kyrs. The more hectic thing I did involved a great deal of weapon swapping. I had specced into Nurturing Instinct, so when entering the Frostmourne room and swapping to my mainhand + offhand spell power combination, I was able to reach around 2k spell power and thus help heal during the Frostmourne room. My mana pool was hideously small however, so I could only pull 9-10 lifebloom casts in there. In the current raiding environment, prioritizing the use of lifebloom is outdated, however the faster ticks for an unglyphed and unspecced druid as well as the bloom aspect helped more than slower HoT ticks for bringing health bars back up.

Needless to say, upon exiting I switched back to my tanking staff, which switched to my DPS staff when I shifted to kitty.

Although weapon swapping nowadays isn’t as great as it used to be, on this fight, because of the way things panned out, the downtimes I’d experience as a tank I figured being able to do something is better than doing nothing. I am by no means advocating weapon-swapping and trying to perform multiple roles each fight, however the Heroic Lich King encounter, at least on 10-man, I feel really encourages hybrid classes to think outside of the box in terms of using their classes’ capacities to be versatile.

In conclusion, kudos to Herbie shaman for making WoL think you’re resto. XD

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment